Saturday, September 28, 2013

New Rug in the Dining Room

The sale at Rugs USA keeps getting bigger and better each time. I bought this fabulous Nedelya rug at 75% off in July, and a couple of weeks ago took advantage of the Labour Day 80% deal for a large 8x10' rug for my dining room, the Homespun Nelina Trellis Grey Rug. I didn't think the rug in my dining room needed replacement, but I would buy a new one anyway for a deal this good. If it didn't work out for my dining room, I could always use it in the living room or basement. Now you see what they mean by creating demand right? Well I am glad I ordered it. The new Nelina rug is also made of 100% wool, slightly plushier and a lot prettier than the old one.

The Homespun Nelina Trellis Grey Rug from Rugs USA, 8x10' in grey.

The new Nelina trellis rug with my double pedestal dining table on it. The table is custom made for my dining room by Anne Quinn Furniture. 

With the new rug in, I am only a few finishing touches away from wrapping up my dining room re-design. I am still debating whether to paint the upper wall in white matching the bottom wainscoting. Would you paint it or would you leave it as is?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hostess Gift

Fall has officially arrived, so welcome to the colourful foliage-sighting, trench coat-wearing and favourite-tv-show-premiering season! Though it's only mid September, media acts early. They usually start to buzz about the latest and the greatest for the upcoming holiday season in late summer. I am constantly being reminded that Christmas is only three months away and the message resonates so well with a Christmas enthusiast like me. I almost would start to think about the color palate for the next year's ornaments as I put away the tree. I know I am totally OC.

I could barely wait for these plates to hit the store shelf when I received the newsletter - the Gluckstein Home 10th Anniversary Architectural Accent Plate via the Bay. I am a big fan of antique architectural prints (like the ones in my living room), so I definitely have to have these plates.

I picked up a few sets this past weekend - two for my own collection, and a few to spare. They come in a very clean and elegant white box - don't they make perfect hostess gifts?

With the holiday party season fast approaching, they would certainly come very handy if we are invited to a party on short notice. Again this shows my OCD but I always like to be prepared (or at least appear so).

I was a bit skeptical about the print quality on the plates because often for patterns this intricate the print can be uneven. But no, not on these plates. Each and every single plate I bought has perfect print, not even one spot missing.

The fact that they are made of bone china is just icing on the cake. I would be so thrilled if my guests show up with these in their hands. :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Rustic Glam with Harvest Table

I love to add a dash of glam whenever I can. However, sometimes it's hard to know how much glitz is too much. Are crystal chandelier + gilded mirror + Florentine sconces too much? How about throwing trellis wallpaper, fur fabrics, gold-leaf Louis chairs, mirrored furniture and brass figurines to the mix? The answer is, it depends. It is always great to have a predominant theme but I am a big fan of eclectic style, so much so that it would be difficult for me to brand a certain style on some rooms I decorated myself. For me, the key lies in balance and harmony. So what's better to ground the bling-bling than earthy tones? Likely revitalized by Restoration Hardware, rustic glam has become an ever popular trend for those that love understated luxury but also want a bit of sparkle. Rustic glam is comfortable, casual, balanced, organic and timeless.  

Recently I've been on the hunt for a harvest table for my basement craft room, like this chunky rustic parson harvest table. The clean look is like a blank canvas which allows me to pair it with chairs of any style . Another option to is go for a more traditional harvest table with turned legs.

A blond-wood version like this.
(Image courtesy of Furniture Choice).

When it comes to harvest table, the first thing that may come to one's mind is "farmhouse", "rustic". True and true. But it can also work with a décor style of the opposite spectrum - glam. Case in point, this rustic farmhouse works in perfect harmony with gold-leaf Louis dining chair, and the bronze crystal chandelier ties the two themes together.
Via Modern Jane
 Or how about this parson table paired with feminine ghost chairs?

It also works with the ultimate glam décor staple - Hollywood Regency faux bamboo chairs.

This ought to be my favorite rustic glam room: wrought iron crystal chandelier and sconces and brass candleholder scream glam, yet the whole kitchen feels so grounded with a rustic harvest table.
Have you incorporated rustic glam into your décor?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Antique French Gilded Mirror

I still haven't decided on which mirror to use in my dining room. But one thing I am sure of is that I really want to have an gilded mirror in my house, may it be over the mantel in the living room, above the chest in the foyer, or on the wall above the sideboard in the dining room. I became completely obsessed after I spotted the antique French gilded mirror in this picture.
Atlanta Homes/ Amy D Morris

This is what I want: a very typical Louis Philippe mirror with rounded top corners in aged gold leaf finish. I want to lose the corner block look and have the 45-degree mitre joints where the bottom frame meets the rest of the mirror.

I also want a more dramatic header like this one that stretch out wider. But, I don't want this frame though - it's too ornate for my taste.

This is the frame I like, clean-lined with beaded details for extra elegance and sophistication.

Easy peasey lemon squeezy right? Not quite! The bad news is that the type of mirror I want does NOT exist! Or at least not my search so far could lead me to. So what now then? This is when I reach out for my silver bullet - let's try CUSTOM!

I emailed Christine, owner of my favourite custom furniture store Anne Quinn Furniture with my vision and all the specifics, and she replied, yes, she can make it for me! Woot woot! The best part about having it custom made, in addition to the obvious part about dimensions to fit your space, is that you could fuse together the Best of the Best and turn it into a brainchild of your own - sort of like what I did with the hutch buffet in my dining room. I think Christine should probably add a "Dolce Vita" collection, no? :)

So the wheels are set in motion and I now can look forward to the drawing to come back and the mirror to be made. Before I sent Christine my order, I did some scotch tape mockup on the floor to help me visualize the overall size and proportion of this mirror. Fun, right?

I will post updates as I have them. So exciting!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rocking Chair Makeover

We picked up the reupholstered rocker last weekend, and I couldn't be happier with the outcome. I had a long debate on the upholstery fabric swinging from Schumacher Jacobean to Windsor Smith geometric to Vicki Payne wide stripes, and finally decided on this super fun but versatile Ikat Polka Dot fabric from Tonic Living. The stone buff grey color has just enough warmth in it to go with the dark wood stain of the chair.

Here is the before.

This is the after.

The box cushion is so plush and it makes me so not want to get out of it. Now I just need to find a lumbar pillow to go with it.

It's been a crazy week for me at work so I am going chillax and catch on some sleep this weekend while enjoying this slightly cooler weather. Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pest Control

This post was long past due. I should've posted it at the height of summer but I guess it's better late than never. I love my flower garden, and like it's low-maintenance but it took  me a long time and a lot of efforts to bring it to what it is today. Why you may ask? Over the past five years I have been battling different types of pests throughout summer months, and luckily was able to keep them under control one by one. 

Thanks to global warming, Japanese Beetles have migrated further and further north and now they are everywhere from June to August. They are particularly fond of fragrant roses and can devour their flowers clean within minutes. Since Japanese Beetles haven't really threatened crop or fruit production, municipal governments wouldn't declare it an infestation. So, it's up to homeowners to win their own battle against these suckers.

This is a picture of a Japanese Beetle on a pink rose, kind of beautiful, right?
What about now? Nothing but!
I tried soap water, beetle traps, everything you can think of that's not harmful to the environment, but at the end I caved in. I yanked out all my rose bushes. So Japanese Beetle one, Michelle zero. The good news is that they are nowhere near my garden any more after all the rose bushes are gone. Whew!

I don't know it's because my garden is so vibrant or what, but wasps also love it here, and year over year they have been very persistent at nesting out of a certain spot underneath my patio awning. We tried sprays, traps and finally this chemical free "Waspinator", not a trap but a simple wasp deterrent that you can hang up anywhere in your garden. The territorial nature of wasps makes them think that the Waspinator is an enemy nest so they fly away! I am happy to report that the Waspinator lives up to its claim - we had occasional sightings of wasp but they were never again so bold as to nest in our garden any more. 

I am sure we all have our fair share of frustration over certain type of pest when the weather is warm. For example, downtown Toronto residents are constantly protecting their home turfs against raccoons, while my cousins in Australia had rabbit infestation (can you believe it? Cute bunnies!). In hindsight, I kinda wish I had left the battles to professionals like Terminix Pest Control. For the efforts I spent on keeping them under control and the time I missed out enjoying summer, it's just not worthwhile. Something should always be left to professional exterminators. Rest assured that if any of these suckers ever show up again in my garden, they will get the professional treatment. :)

What's your story about pest control? Do spill!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Neat or On the Rocks?

As I am onto the finishing touches of my dining room re-design, I am now seriously looking into adding a bar in my dining room. What can I say? Maybe I've got too much "Mad Men" in my blood now.

Catherine at The Life Styled blog certainly knows a thing or two about styling a vintage bar cart, feminine and glamorous.  

I am obsessed with these vintage numbered glasses by Tom Collins, but I haven't been able to find them anywhere. If you happen to come across any or lookalikes for sale please let me know or grab them for me. I will forever be grateful. :)
More vintage bar cart roundup by

I really wanted to get this decanter set, a close replica of the Dorothy Thorpe's silver rim glassware, as seen on Mad Men. However, I was set back a little by the not-so-positive reviews I've seen online. Decision decision!

Finally, I would really love to take home a beauty like this - vintage brass bar/tea trolley. A lady from Oakville was selling one a few months ago at a very reasonable price. It was winter months and I was lazy and a bit under the weather, so I stood her up a couple of times (I did tell her I wasn't going to make it a few hours in advance). And now I really want to buy it but can't find it anywhere - we know what karma is!

My fallback would be to use this Glamour mirrored chest from Bombay that's already in my dining room as a bar. So do you have a bar at home? If so, how do you style it and what's in it?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

In The Mail Today: Vintage Alabaster Lamp

I've been looking for a vintage Alabaster lamp for a while but the search was on and off. It was on my "must-have" list, but I also knew a true vintage Alabaster lamp especially those in mint condition is very difficult to come by. Why you might ask? The Alabaster which most of the lamps here in North America were made of is gypsum, so soft that it can be easily scratched with a fingernail. That means they are extremely difficult to be kept in perfect shape, any scratch or dent will undoubtedly show. I really can't explain why I had my heart set on such a delicate piece, but I just love it and no other substitute like white marble lamp would do it.

So I jumped at it the other day when my random browsing on Etsy led me to this perfect number - a true vintage hand-carved Alabaster lamp by Little Dog Vintage. The best part is, it's in mint condition with no visible nicks and scratches. I emailed the store owner Claire (who also runs a design blog at and she put it on reserved listing for me right away.
A few days later this beaut arrived. I haven't decided where in my house it will go yet, but I will have no problem of creating a vignette just for it. I am thinking a black silk tapered drum or cone shade might also work.

Here are some inspirations from A Country Farmhouse.

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