Friday, May 31, 2013

Where Will I Be?

Happy Friday everyone! I am taking a short break to enjoy the summer and will be back to post regularly in a few weeks.

Positano, Italy
 Provence, France

Monday, May 27, 2013

Retro Telephones

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'd know how much I love to mix the old and the new styles in my décor. I am a big fan of 30's Regency, a touch of 60's Vintage Mod, and the everlasting Hollywood Regency Revival. 

Lately I am pretty obsessed with retro telephones, and seriously contemplating replacing the super modern & sleek cordless phone in our kitchen with one of these.

Vintage Princess Phone in Cream and Gold via Etsy. My parents got me one of these for my bedroom back in the 80's. My design sense obviously hadn't sprouted yet, and I was so embarrassed (so much so I'd hide it whenever I had friends over) to use something I deemed so "old-fashioned", and mocked my mom for having no taste in style. Eventually my mom took the telephone back and used it in her own bedroom which she later gave away. Well, guess who is laughing now huh?  

Vintage Princess Phone in Turquoise and Silver via Etsy. Is it dreamy?

GPO 1970's Retro Push Button Rotary Phone via John Something so utilitarian and household back then can appear so chic today.

1960's Popular Princess Phones in Blue, Yellow and Pink.

I am pretty sure Mad Men's Betty Draper had one of these in Turquoise on her bedside table. Med Man's show put my desire for vintage accents on steroid.

And this is phone I am considering for my kitchen - the VTech's Retro Phone. Switching to one of the real retro phones featured above would be going a bit too far, I think, as it might look out of place in my kitchen. Not to say the inconvenience of using the telephony technologies from the past era. But something like VTech's retro phone seems to have a perfect marriage of vintage look and modern technologies.

So what do you think? Would you use a vintage-looking phone like this in your house, or would you go for the true retro piece?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Knobs for French Provincial Dresser

Ok I admit, this is yet another OC act of mine. This is the dresser in question: the French Provincial style white dresser in my master bedroom. I used those cube knobs years ago and I am pretty sure it was inspired by an episode of Sarah's House. She used exactly the same knob for a girl's bedroom dresser. I loved the look at the time and still like it now.

However, there is a problem. Do you see all the sharp corners of the knob? I should've known better right? I don't remember how many times I've bumped into these knobs and you really don't want to hear what slipped out of my mouth. So as much as I love these cube knobs, I have to replace them.

Here are a few options I am considering, and again I can't make up my mind. I don't want the knobs to be shabby chic; they can't be too modern but they can't be too antique-y either; I definitely don't want a whimsy/novelty type. I want them to be slightly Victorian, vintage-y, and go with the style of the dresser and the mirror. Do I make it too easy or what?

1. Anthropologie's Gleam Theory Knob: love the hammered brass look. They are discontinued so it might be challenging to find them online.
2. Anthropologie's Mercury Glass Knob in Silver.
3. Anthropologie's Mercury Glass Knob in Gold.
4. Antique Silver Knob from Etsy.
5. Anthropologie's Glass Melon Knob in Brass.
6. Anthropologie's Mother of Pearl Knob.

I did a quick mockup in Photoshop and this is what the dresser looks like with the glass melon knobs on it.

So which one is your favorite? Any other suggestions? Do you have a French Provincial style dresser at home and what type of knobs/pulls do you use?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

In the Mail Today: Eames Stool

I purchased this Eames stool in Queen style for my master bathroom a couple of years ago. I love a timeless designer piece of furniture like this, and have been thinking of buying another one for my living room. It can be used as a side table or extra seating, and its rich wood tone would bring some warm colors to the space. As I was debating whether I should again fork out that much dough for a small piece of furniture like this, I found a store in BC called Eternity Modern.

Have you ever shopped at Eternity Modern before? Seriously I wish I had known they carried the Eames stool a couple of years because I would've picked up a set of three from them in a heart beat.

After a few emails with the owner and phone calls to place the order, this King-style Eames stool in solid teak arrived in the mail. Can you believe the entire stool was carved out of a single tree stump? I love the wood grains in it and it weighs a ton.  

So now I have a King and a Queen in the house. I am happy.

Eternity Modern also carries a wide range of iconic mid-century modern furniture such as the Egg Chair, Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman, and Le Corbusier Chaise Lounge. Their quality is top-notch and the design pretty faithful to the originals. You can view a list of their product images here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Live A Little

We have a two-week Mediterranean vacation coming up soon so this Victoria Day long weekend we decided to stay in town. It turned out to be a super productive and relaxing weekend as we summerized both the front and the back yards.

Sensation French Lilac in the backyard.

Every year just before the Victoria Day is when I put out this pair of super cute owls in our garden.

Of course we also catch up on some shopping, movies, golfing, and sipping some Sangria. Gotta work a little, live a little, right?

Moscato Sangria using Movendo Moscato, simply delicious.

Hope you all had a great long weekend!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hutch Buffet Update

Ladies and gents, I have some exciting news to share. I promised to post images as the hutch buffet is being custom made by Anne Quinn Furniture, and here they are.

Isn't it gorgeous as is? I love the simple clean lines and elegant moulding & carving details. It's made of solid mahogany.

Remember a few weeks ago I posted this drawing? They look identical right?

For the space I have in my dining room, I am only going to be able to have a three-door hutch buffet, but I also really want a symmetrical look. I didn't want to have hinge on one side and pulls on the other in the middle section. So Christine and I brainstormed and she had suggested that we fix the middle door - isn't it ingenious? I still have more than ample room to navigate from both doors and the unit will look completely symmetrical. Love it! The three drawers are working drawers but for some reason they are not open in the picture. 

This is the unit from the side. The next step is for it to get a few coats of creamy white paint, have the hardware installed and it will then travel a long journey and be on its way to me. So exciting!

P.S. I did pick up eight bone china place settings so more on that later.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Painted Staircase Reveal

If you've been following my blog for a while, you'd know that Project Foyer has been taking for-ever. It started from a complete overhaul of the floor tiles, twice; swapped out a pillow on the settee then yet again; then replaced some really ugly framed art with a DIY abstract art; to finally (hopefully) paint the staircase. It was not an easy decision to get to the last step but with some help from Photoshop and inspiration from a few fellow bloggers, I eventually decided painting staircase was the way to go.

This is the Before: we are fortunate to have a good-sized foyer and a curved staircase, but the stained staircase with wrought iron spindles is has so much presence that it's overwhelming. It also makes the wainscoting and moulding work in the same space look incomplete.

This is the mock-up from Photoshop: I needed to visualize how a painted staircase would look like in my own space. So far so good.

This is the Progress: after getting a few quotes all north of $1,000, I've decided to tackle this on our own. I was wrong to think the taping was challenging - it turned out to be the easiest part of the entire job. The trick is to be thorough: there's no such thinking as too much tape. Over-protection will make your subsequent tasks less stressful. 

Staircase in ScotchBlue Edge-Lock Tape

I taped up all the spindles, anything I imagined would likely be in the way of brushes and rollers.

Once I started priming, I realized making a decision to paint the staircase wasn't the toughest part after all. After the first coat of primer was when I had the most doubt -  just look at all the streaks on the risers! That's when I said to myself that I might have made a mistake to paint the staircase but it was too late. Moving forward and finishing the job was my only option.

This is our staircase after two coats of KILZ Odorless Primer. It's not entirely odorless so if you are up close painting and have sensitive airways like I do, I would still recommend you wear a carbon filter respiratory mask to reduce the amount of fumes inhaled.  

This is the After: it made all the uncertainty, doubt, fear, confusion, sweat, and muscle aches worthwhile. The painted staircase turned out to be so much better than I imagined and works so well in our foyer.

So bright and airy and more put-together.

With lights on, the space has a warmer glow.

A more close-up picture of our painted staircase.

So my verdict on the ScotchBlue Edge-Lock? I think the result speaks for itself and a picture tells a thousand words. It's not 100% bleeding-free, but I would say compared to most of the painters' tapes out there, the Edge-Lock certainly does a much better job. Because the rest of our staircase was stained in oil-base lacquer, it wasn't too difficult for us to scrape off the bleeding paint.

So my foyer transformation is now officially wrapped up, and I think I am completely happy with how it looks. One key lesson learnt from painting the staircase is that don't give up when in doubt (when you see those streaks). It will only get better once you paint over primer, I promise. Also don't forget to stock up on Ibuprofen before you start - your legs are going to be so sore from squatting and your lower back from turning and twisting that you are going to need some once you are done. That I promise as well. 

Hope you like the After as much as I do.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

My Mom is a snowbird so she won't be back to Toronto in time for Mother's Day this year. I used to think the farther I lived away from her, the more I loved her. But that's no longer true. Though I am not a mother yet, as I grow older, I appreciate her more.

In the picture: Mom in early 1980s. 

Mom has been my single biggest fan and supporter, and she always has my back and makes sure I know it. She believes in me no matter what I do; she trusts my decisions and supports me in whatever way she can. She has such a big heart and strongly believes that everybody deserves a second chance. She is loyal, independent, and puts needs of others above herself. Growing up, I always wish I could become as good of a person as she is. She is the woman of style and substance that I aspire to be.

So on this Mother's Day, I will be fondly thinking of her.

Wish you all a Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bone China

With this gorgeous hutch buffet now being custom made by Anne Quinn Furniture, I can start to plan what goes on display. We have tons (when I say tons, I meant at least 4 different complete sets each serving at least 8 people) dinnerware sets already, some are for casual day-to-day use and others formal but none of them are made of fine bone china. I am thinking of buying a complete set of bone china because, first they'd look great in my new hutch; and second, fine bone china is not only a good investment but also a nice heirloom to pass down to generations to come. However, bone china is not cheap: a complete set with 8 place settings that I like go anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000, and I know as a fact that we are unlikely going to use them that often, probably not even for holiday family dinners.

Here are a few options I am considering, all available through Hudson's Bay.

When I close my eyes thinking about what I want my bone china set to look like, this would come pretty close, the Signature Platinum Set from Royal Doulton. I love all the clean lines of the plates and cups but not so much the design of the tea pot, creamer or sugar bowl.

Royal Doulton's Signature Platinum Teapot, Creamer and Sugar Bowl

Kate Spade June Lane 5-Piece Setting

Vera Wang for Wedgwood With Love

Wedgwood Signet Platinum, pretty similar to the Royal Doulton's Signature Platinum Collection
And then there's this set by Gluckstein Home, not fine bone china but really inexpensive , available in gold and platinum.

So do you use bone china? Would you invest in a set knowing you are not going to get much use out of it?

P.S. I went to William Ashley's private VIP sale this past weekend and picked up tons of stuff. Will take some pictures and share with you later.

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