Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Featured on Houzz

Today I received an email from Lydia, Professionals Support at Houzz that "my work was hand-picked by one of their writers for a featured Ideabook on the homepage of the site!". How cool is that?

This is my living room photo reviewed by designers behind Design Chic. The article titled "Two Sides to Black and White Art" is about a mother-daughter design team that shares their preference in modern and traditional black-and-white arts. They each illustrated how versatile bw arts can be for the space you work into.  

You can read the rest of the article here.

Btw, I've picked up painting (on canvas) again, so hopefully I will have something rustic to show soon for my comeback.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Master Bathroom Lighting Update

Thanks for your feedback on the ceiling chandelier for my upcoming master bath reno. Over the weekend, I suddenly realized the crystal globe light reminds me of a disco ball...do you agree? Anyhow, I went ahead and ordered the Robert Abbey Bling chandelier hoping it would turn out great over the tub.

And now comes to the other lighting source in the room -- wall sconce. I know I want to put up two mirrors over vanity, so that means I will need three sconces. I've been tossing among these options.
1. Visual Comfort's Bryant Sconce: most expensive among all options, sleek and elegant.

2. Restoration Hardware's Wilshire Sconce or Robert Abbey's Muse Calliope Scone (they are the same btw): perfect size, would've been absolutely my #1 choice without the crystal accent.  
Another angle of the same Wilshire or Robert Abbey sconce.
3. Eurofase Bauhaus scone: local supplier, taller (15.75"H) than I prefer, not so keen on the crystal accents.

4. Go with something I've used and already known how it's going turn out: Restoration Hardware's Lugarno sconce. It's also the cheapest among all options.

My basement bathroom

So which wall sconce do you like the most? In your bathroom reno, how do you balance between style and budget?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Master Bedroom Before and After

I should feel great that I've completed yet another room makeover in my house, or..should I? Well, perhaps not. I've missed not just one, but two awesome opportunities to meet some fellow bloggers in person -- the Blogpodium on Friday due to work (aka rat race); and the Canadian Design Blogger Meetup due to mother nature (blizzard and skating rink at where I am). Regret aside, I am sure there will be more meetup opportunities, and hopefully then nothing could stop me from going again.

Since we were pretty much trapped inside, we decided to finish painting our master bedroom and wrap up the project. I would like to start by sharing a few pictures of what our master bedroom used to look like Before and During the makeover.

This is what it looked like from two years ago. I need the room to be completely dark in order to sleep and hence the ugly espresso dupioni drapes with blackout liners.

The new bedroom in the basement gave me a perfect reason to replace the bed set that we took with us from our last house.

And the new upholstered bed from Williams-Sonoma, and the Niche nightstands from West Elm arrived! 

So this is our After of our master bedroom. The entire project took about two months.  

The ever-popular Windsor Smith Pelagos Mist drapes with blackout liners.

West Elm Niche Nightstand/Bedside Table in White

I was hoping to find an area rug from the Elte Outlet, but unfortunately they only have ~50 patterns at 5x8 (all the rest are 6x9 or larger), nothing out of which really caught my eye. So I gave the Ikea Alvine Ruta rug a try, and I think it turned out great. Do you know how insanely cheap it is for a 5'7" x 7'10", hand-woven, 100% pure new wool rug like this?

And no master bedroom should ever go without displaying some girl's best friends, right? My daily bling-bling.

In summary, these are the things we've done to transform our master bedroom:
  1. Ordered the Windsor Smith Pelagos fabric in Mist from the US for drapery;
  2. Replaced the old bed set with a upholstered bed from Williams-Sonoma, and two nightstands from West Elm;
  3. Replaced the old table lamps with two taller crystal lamps from Union Lighting;
  4. Replaced the ceiling light with a 6-light Maria Theresa-style crystal chandelier from Union Lighting;
  5. Painted the wall in ICI Dulux Silver Cloud;
  6. Re-upholstered an old bench in Laura Ashley Bowlin Driftwood Fabric from InVu Drapery;
  7. Added an Ikea Alvine Ruta Rug.
Total time spent: on and off over a 2-month period;
Total cost: too painful to recall.

Hope everyone has a great weekend, and stay warm!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Picking a Chandelier for Master Bath

Last night after dinner we went to Prima Lighting with the hope to pick out the master bath chandelier. To re-cap, this is the freestanding tub, and the light will hang over it.

This is the crystal ball chandelier that I worked into my design plan.

I found two different sizes in the store (pardon the lousy picture quality from my smart phone). The small one is 6-light, 16" in diameter with a $1,500 price tag. It has all the glitter and shape I want to soften my master bath, but since it's ball-shaped, the chandelier appears so much bigger. I am concerned it might be overwhelming in a relatively small room. 

An associate in the store suggested this oval-shaped (or donut) crystal chandelier as an alternative to the crystal ball as it`s shorter. I don`t find anything unique about it, nor I am really crazy about the look. Do you like it?

And then there is this popular Cyan Design's Janus pendant in chrome (perhaps you remember it from February's Style at Home).

This is what it looks like in the store. It's the right size, simple, subtle and has a bit sparkle, but the downside is that it only comes in one-light and not bright enough for a 12'x13' bathroom. Plus it seems to belong more in a kitchen than a bath retreat.

And then this light caught my attention, and I wondered why. It's the Anemone light by one of my favourite designers Jonathan Adler.
I like that the shape reminds me of a rainshower head, but a all-metal construction makes it appear cold. And my lovely husband`s comment finally made me walk away from it: ``oh this? It looks like octopus attack!``

And then there`s this fabulous Robert Abbey Bling chandelier that Janice used in her own master bath.

So which one do you think will work nicely with the tub?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Marina Dreams

Really, Michelle? In the middle of this year's yo-yo winter weather? Yes, indeed. Call me a dreamer, but I've been thinking of cottage, and to be more specific, buying one. Am I out of the ballpark to look for a cottage to buy now?

Anyhow, location wise, we would like it to be at most 2 hours drive from where we live, so that narrows down to: Lake Simcoe Kempenfelt Bay and Lake Scugog Kawartha Lakes areas. I kept reminding myself that this shouldn't be an impulsive purchase. Nor should it be a mental escape for the moment. Instead, like all other properties we hold, it should first be a good investment, and for this particular one, also a great year-round getaway spot.

Just a glimpse of these pictures (from an actual cottage that I am interested in) will send me back to my marina dreams. Don't you just love those giant ceiling-to-floor windows, and the lake view from the dining room?
Dock outside of the backyard
Now I just need to figure out how to drag ourselves up north to actually see a few of them. Grrr! After all, not everything can be purchased over the web, right?
So what do you think of a cottage in those two areas (pretty wide range, I know)? Is it risky to buy a cottage now mostly based on their "summer" pictures since everything around the house is likely covered in snow?

Friday, January 20, 2012

And The Winner Is...

The Giveaway brought in a total of 39 comments. Though everyone likes free stuff, this contest showed what the "popular" free stuff is, and plan for future giveaways.

This is what comes out of the Random.org generator, so the winner of the Designer Trellis Pillow Cushion Covers is....Janice at LB30! Congrats!

I thank all of you that threw your names in the hat. Please stick with me, and I am sure there will be more fantastic giveaways in the near future.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Jewel Collection

Well, not quite, but definitely my type of jewel/gem collection. Before we get into that, I would like to make a note of the gradual migration of my blog to a new template, as well as the Disqus comment tool. I will write more about the designer and company behind it once it's complete. I've noticed some comments haven't been moved over yet due to some hardware issue at Disqus, but not to worry, I've imported a copy of all the comments, especially those to the Giveaway contest, so none of your entries will be missing, I promise. There should be a total of 40 comments so far, and only 33 of them have appeared on my site (I've kept a copy of the other 7 in my inbox). I will announce the winner tomorrow around 5pm.

Now back to my type of jewel collection. Last summer I picked up two Clarus glass display boxes from Crate & Barrel, and have since been adding different crystal/mineral display specimens to them. The latest additions to my jewel family are Kyanite, Citrine and Auqa Aura (do you know how awesome it looks in real thing?).

My latest crystal/mineral specimen collection

 And this is "My Precious" now in my living room.

Tell me if this doesn't remind you of Jurassic Park?! :-)

That's it for today, until tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Master Bath Design Plan

There is still time to enter to win the Pair of Designer Trellis Pillow Cushion Covers giveaway. I will announce the winner this Friday.

I joined Inspire Me Heather's Project Blogging a couple of weeks ago. The goal is to gather anonymous critique and suggestions for your blog. Here is one of the comments Heather forwarded me:

"I thought her blog was absolutely beautiful. Very readable. Nice sized photos. Good-looking sidebar. The only negative I saw was that she rarely posts. If a blogger doesn't post at least 2-3 times per week, I lose interest because I feel like the "relationship" I have with that blogger has been interrupted. Just my personal feeling!"

And it hit the nail right on the head! I started blogging in May 2008 for fun, and never felt the need to commit to the frequency of posts. But, over time the blogging grows on me, and I truly love it provides me with an outlet for creative thinking, writing, sharing and gathering feedback on design projects. In short, writing and reading blogs makes me...happy! So, one of my 2012's resolutions is to blog more often, say 2-3-posts-per-week type of often. Let see how long I can keep up. :-)

Now getting into the subject this post: I've started to plan our master bathroom renovation slated for March/April timeframe. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will know how much I love the mood board, and here's another one. I find this exercise helps me visualize how the room might look like when different elements pooled together. It also helps organize the list of things I will need to buy (and for this room, it's a lo-ong list!).
Source (clockwise from the top): Bryant sconces, Restoration Hardware (RH) mirror and vanity, Sarah Richardson's Jetstream SR19 Para paint, Schumacher Hothouse in Mineral fabric (cost me an arm and a leg) and Windsor Smith Pelagos in Mist for roman shades, Eames walnut stool, Acri-tec freestanding tub from HomeDepot, Floor-mount tub faucet and rain shower faucet yet to decide where to buy from, Crystal Ball pendant from Union Lighting, Towel bar and other hardware from Rona, RH Cartright wall cabinet, Carrara tiles yet to decide where to buy from.
Do you like the mood board? Is there anything you would suggest changing/improving?

Before I go about buying pretty things, I need to first make sure our contractor would approve the new layout. It involves knocking down a wall, removing a tub and its deck, relocating vent and toilet. This is the current layout of our bathroom...what was the builder thinking when they put the shower door right behind the door? Yes, they bumped into each other every frigging time we get in and out of the shower! And the massive tub deck is a joke...not only could we not use that space, it also quickly became such an eye sore.

This is what I will show to our contractor, and hopefully they will tell me everything is doable. Fingers crossed.
To end my post with something exciting, I will be changing the layout and look of my blog, hopefully soon! :-)

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