Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Whatever Mama Wants

Mama gets, and that's how it goes here at AM Dolce Vita. Remember this pair of Bergere chairs I picked up a few months ago? Well, Mom saw them, tried them for comfort, liked the almost-new upholstery, didn't like the fact I wanted to have them reupholstered, and asked if she could have them. And poof! just like that, they went home with her and I was left with no chairs to upcycle. 

I am a big believer of best things happen when one least expects it. I came across this pair of antique French Louis XV chairs when I was randomly browsing on CList. I expected them to be banged up because they were so cheap - I mean, really cheap; they probably just didn't show in the pictures! I picked up the phone and called the owner and the rest is history. 

They are not just in good condition, the frames are in excellent and almost in mint condition. I wanted to change the upholstery anyway so the stained needlepoint fabric didn't bother me at all. 

They will be going to Paint it Like New! for a few fresh coats of paint, and in meanwhile I will start to pick out a new fabric. Louis XV chairs are vintage decor staples, and I am so happy that I have a pair that will truly reflect my style. 

P.S. I use the terms Bergere, French Louis, Louis XV interchangeably. They are all French Rococo style derivatives. Check out their differences here if you are interested. 

On an unrelated note, I decided to keep the seahorse lucite table lamp and found a new place for it - on the bombe chest in the upper hall. Kinda like it there. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Gazebo, Pergola or Awning?

If there was a petition and the petition would actually be granted to end the winter, I would be the first one to put down my name. Winter weather continues to drag on - it makes me wonder if mother nature decides to skip Spring altogether this year. Although I am not a fire-up-the-grill-every-day-while-sipping-cold-beer type of patio person, I would still like to maintain a beautiful and serene outdoor space for guest parties. I've started to plan a few changes in my backyard, and my first priority is to take care of the sun shade. 

Right now I have a tiny 8'x8' gazebo with canopy for the sitting area, and a giant umbrella for the dining area. Both are functional except that for the gazebo it's been a pain to remove the canopy at the end of the season and put it back on the next year which requires some dissembling. I need a more permanent solution. 

Hardtop gazebos are all over my neighbourhood so I am sure they are good. I like that I will never have to remove the roof again because I could barely see any snow accumulation over the winter. The pillars can be screwed and secured into a deck so they are more permanent and sturdy. I heard the powdered aluminum material also makes them wind and rust resistant. 

Allen Roth Square Gazebo at Lowes, a tad too small for me at 10'x10'x10'.
The aluminum roof looks pretty stylish. 
Another popular hardtop gazebo is from Canadian Tire's Essex Collection, a perfect size for my backyard at 12'x10'x10'. I like that it's rectangular in shape so it can accommodate my dining table and more people. 
Canadian Tire
A pergola is also very tempting to me but I am concerned about the rain water accumulating on the flat canopy. Does anyone have any experience with this aspect of pergola? 
Or how about a retractable awning? 

You can have it custom made to fit your space, however, it does need to be mounted onto a wall so there's the location limitation of an awning. Plus when retracted it doesn't look very attractive, see below. 

So what's your experience with a backyard sun shade? Hardtop gazebo, pergola or awning?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Seahorse Lucite Base Table Lamp

Happy St. Patrick's Day! How was your weekend and March break? It was no rest for the wicked for yours truly. I had to be in Vegas for a conference for the majority of the week only to fly right back into the deep freeze again. The upside was that I received a free upgrade to a 1500 sq ft penthouse suite at the MGM Grand. The suite was so large for one person that it felt a bit creepy - there were 3 TVs, one of which would turn itself on in the middle of the night; there were 2 bathrooms and one of them had a bidet and a humongous jacuzzi tub in it; there were daily super lush bathrobes and spa slippers which I liked very much. Anyhow, I survived the busy week and hopefully I am off the road this week. 

Yesterday Mom and I met up for lunch and we took a quick trip to one of our favourite stores - HomeSense. It's been a while (by that I mean 4 weeks) since I last visited HS, and there were definitely quite a bit fresh inventories. Mom spotted this seahorse table lamp with lucite base and encouraged me to get it. 

It reminds me of the Jonathan Adler's seahorse lamp. The lucite base and gold leaf seahorse sculpture combination looks so glamorous. 

I know nautical motif is pretty popular in a nursery, but would you use this lamp in it? Is it too formal and too much regency for a nursery? Is it a keeper? 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Paris Flea Market Chandelier?

Warm weather is in sight, and my decorating bug is active again. One of the first things I would like to tackle is lighting. I am thinking of replacing the Edwardian lantern in my living room with this Paris Flea Market Chandelier in antique brass from Circa Lighting.

Really digging the distressed antique brass finish and seeded glass beads. 

This is my Photoshop mockup illustrating how the chandelier looks in my living room. It gives the room a boost in vintage flair. The size and the finish also work well with the rest of the room. What do you think?

This is my living room now with the Edwardian lantern.  

I plan to relocate the lantern to the kitchen dining room.

I am also thinking of adding two sconces to the hutch buffet wall in my formal dining room. This pair of crystal wall sconces are similar to the main chandelier, but are they too matchy matchy?

Is it odd to pick wall sconces in a completely different finish and style from the main chandelier, like these brass sconces from Visual Comfort?

Do you like the Paris Flea Market Chandelier in my living room? It's so hard to buy something without seeing and touching it in person. It gets harder when this something costs over $2000!

Decision decision!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Which Interior Option?

We have a few condos as rental properties in our investment portfolio. Thanks to social media user groups, I found out about potential material changes to one of our downtown properties before receiving a call from the builder. It turned out that our unit wasn't just changed materially, it disappeared altogether! Tens of units were eliminated to make room for a third elevator, and ours was one of them! Most people affected on the user group had already been notified, and didn't have good things to say about their experience: they were given non-comparable alternative units to choose from; or a refund with minimum interests.

I was worried and thought for sure I was going to have to back out of the deal. A couple of days later I finally received the call from the builder representative. They gave me the bad news along with a few alternatives. One of the options was a comparable two-bedroom unit on a lower floor, with an additional bathroom with stand up shower, 50 more square feet, additional wrap around balcony, and corner unit with unobstructed park view - these are all pricey premiums of a downtown Toronto condominium. My first reaction was, you killed my unit and now you wanted me to pay more to continue to do business with you?! No way, I said to myself. I tried my best to remain calm and collected throughout the conversation with the builder rep. The rep said it was refreshing that I didn't yell at them, and that they were going to try to give me the alternative unit at no additional cost. We were talking about quite a bit in difference so I was very skeptical. The next day the official amendment paperwork came in, and guess what, they gave that super duper suite to me at no additional cost! I guess a little kindness to the builder rep goes a long way!

Now comes the fun part. This unit is closing next year so we need to select the interiors. This was the first time I was given the option to pick the interiors electronically. The builder sent me these pictures. I think I am still going to see and touch them in person, but for now I would like to run a poll to see which one is your favorite. From top to bottom, left to right, are kitchen cabinet, kitchen counter, kitchen backsplash, engineered hardwood floor, bathroom wall tile, bathroom counter (all Bianco Carrara), bathroom floor tile, and bathroom cabinet.

Unfortunately they are fixed combos so I don't get to pick and choose across different panels. Please vote for your favorite combination(s). Thanks! 

Interior Selections

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Welcome to March

I don't know what to expect any more. It is March but there is no sign this snowy deep freeze sub zero weather is going away any time soon. The only upside is that days are getting longer, and despite the windchill we are still getting ample sunshine. I can live with that. 

In preparation for Spring, I updated my bedroom with some fresh linen from the Pottery Barn's Pearl Embroidered collection. 

I am also fantasizing about my Spring garden. The crocuses are the first to come out every year in late March and early April. 

It is summer in Auckland New Zealand, and this blueish purple flowers are everywhere. They are also very popular in major California cities like San Francisco. Do you know the name of this plant? Hint: it was one of Monet's favorites. 

Speaking of California, I am going to sign off now and watch myself some Oscar. I will be sharing my spring-summer project list later this week. Stay tuned.

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