Thursday, April 30, 2015

What's A Good Night's Sleep Worth?

Or how about 10 years of good night's sleep? I rarely came across posts on mattress in blogosphere. It's understandably so because in the decor world, mattress is relatively invisible compared to the lush bedsheets and pretty headboards in a bedroom. 

I recently went through a series of mattress shenanigans. It all began with our super comfy 12-year old mattress in our master bedroom starting to sag. Years ago we had the wits about picking a top-of-the-line model, and we had loved it ever since. Unfortunately in mattress world, manufacturers retire models faster than a chameleon changes colour. As you would expect, 12 years later our beloved mattress model was long gone. Here are a few things I learnt from my recent mattress buying experience:

  • We are among those who claim they would prefer a "firm" mattress, while in reality it's the "support" that we are after. We just didn't know what we wanted. Two years ago we purchased a firmer eurotop mattress for one of our guest bedrooms. In my mind, firmness equals support which means less chance of sagging. We slept on the said mattress for a few nights and we both woke up miserable. Though supporting the pressure points throughout the body, the firmer mattress failed to hug our body contour and hence caused us shoulder pains. 
  • A soft mattress can provide a lot of support. I want to feel weightless when I am in bed, so a good-quality eurotop or pillowtop would be my choice. 
  • I am not a memory foam person, so I opted for a pocket coil type. The higher the pocket coil count, the more support you will get. 
  • Temperature regulation: I love a cool and breathable mattress, so this was one of my selection criteria. 

After trying out many different options, we went with the Canadian made Kingsdown Duet Ireland, a 16-inch thick eurotop mattress with 2350 pocket coil - one of the highest counts in the marketplace today. Kingsdown is well known for its Palais Royale model which was unfortunately discontinued due to its price tag. The Duet Ireland is undoubtedly an investment piece, but it's well worth the splurge. When looking for a mattress replacement, you just need to ask yourself how much you are willing to pay for 10 years worth of restful sleeps. It's a no-brainer. Mattress is definitely not something you would want to thrift on. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Spring Refresh - Part Deux

As mentioned in the Part I post of my spring decor refresh, I ordered a pair of these gorgeous black and cream silk velour pillows from CC Deux Vie for my master bedroom. This Spring I crave colour and style juxtaposition, so the outcome is a mix and match of my latest obsessions. 

I created two versions: black/cream pillows with pumpkin Hermes Avalon blanket. 

Or with black Hermes blanket. Which one wins your vote? 

Again, black?

Or pumpkin?

A spring refresh isn't complete without some much needed work outside of the house. This is the before with our old bronze wall lanterns above our new garage doors. 

This is the after with a larger pair of carriage style lanterns in black - they pair so much better with the black wrought iron hardware below. In case you are wondering, the new wall lights are from Lowes. I looked at many different options, and this one is my style/value choice. 

We have two gorgeous Limelight Hydrangea shrubs in our backyard. Hydrangea is known to be floppy-droopy due to its giant and heavy flowers. It's recommended to always plant edging shrubs like boxwood to support them. But of course I didn't know that, so I have to stake them. 

I call this my poor man's Hydrangea stake. I got the idea from here. We will see if it's strong enough to support the Hydrangeas when they all come out. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spring Refresh - Part Une

This warm and sunny stretch of weather really awakened my design senses. Tis the season for spring refresh at home. It's time to stow away my favourite faux fur throw to make room for this droolworthy Hermes Avalon blanket.  Mom didn't just get me one but two of them, one in black and the other in orange. I used the black one in my living room. 

I like the monochromatic theme here - the ecru/black Avalon blanket works nicely with the rest of the throw pillows, a happy coincidence. 

Do you have an all-time favourite purse for special occasions? Mine is Chanel's classic flap bag. I am not usually a designer type of girl, but I have a soft spot for Chanel. Everything Chanel sends my heart racing. 

I think I finally figured out how to style my awkwardly long dining table. A large bouquet of silk Hydrangeas in a simple glass vase flanked by a pair of vintage brass lucite candlesticks did the trick. Were you gasping when you saw silk flowers in my home? Yes, I am going faux for this one. 

It's no secret that I am a sucker for pillows. I picked up a pair of these silk velour beauties from one of my favourite pillow shops CC Deux Vie for my master bedroom refresh. More on that to follow. 

Enjoy this beautiful spring weather everyone! 

Enlarge Your Living Room With Readymade Curtains

The living room is often considered the premiere room for greeting guests, socializing and entertainment. But what if the room seems not just cozy (a good thing!), but downright small? Here’s where creativity meets trickery: you can make your living room appear larger! Conventional wisdom is right in this case: using mirrors effectively can make a small living room look larger.

Check Pinterest and look to the Internet for ideas to use inexpensive wall-decals artistically, a large-scale wall or half-wall-sized mirror can provide a contemporary look. Set the mirror across from a window for an even more expansive look. Use window treatments that open to create the effect of seamlessness between the outside and inside. 

Image by Oyvind Solstad via Flickr

Speaking of window treatments, curtains are critical in making the living room look larger. Avoid fussy window treatments (too much swag and too many ruffles). Unnecessary details defeat the purpose of keeping the accessories streamlined, and achieving the desired effect, enlarging. That’s not so say you cannot opt for shades in lieu of curtains, or visa versa. In fact, you can create a unique window area using both. Research for shops online that demonstrate how the curtains will look like hanging in a home as well as choices of fabrics to coordinate with your home. A website like Montgomery ready made curtains will be very helpful and often offers discounts, special offers and quality clearance choices. One way to further create a greater sense of space is to match your curtains as closely as you can to the colour of the walls.

Image by MaryEllen and Paul via Flickr

In regards to colour, it’s no secret that darker colours are usually reserved for a warmer, closer, cosier feel. That’s why you should opt for lighter, more natural hues and walls painted in the same, cohesive colour. An accent wall of a darker colour will only “cut” the room off and detracts from the goal of making the room seem larger. However, if you choose light, cool colours, the walls will seem to recede.

Image by Jeremy Levine via Flickr

Whether you choose carpet, wood, slate or alternate flooring, a key method to opening up a room is to blend the floor, walls and curtains. Add a floor-to-ceiling bookcase in similar colouring to push both the walls and ceiling out. The bookcase provides an interesting focal point and is excellent for storage. However, it is important to not fill up every bit of shelf space. Allow for a more spacious and airy feeling by leaving empty portions.

This isn’t relevant unless you live in an older home or flat, but if there are doors separating two rooms, you can remove the door for a more flow-through feeling. You may also replace the traditional door with a pocket door, which can be hidden until necessary.

Scaled-down furnishings are ideal for smaller spaces and prevent the crowded feel that large and regular-sized furniture brings. However, avoid the temptation of filling the living room with too many small-scaled furnishings because it creates a cluttered feeling, and not the desired effect. Another way to further impress a spacious and airy sense is to choose sofas, couches and chairs with legs, rather then those that sit directly on the floor or are covered with fabric, giving the illusion of being right on the floor. Another great option which provides seating, visual interest, as well as storage, is a leather or faux-leather bench with a storage feature. It’s even better if you can double it as your coffee table. Bottom line: choose scaled-down furnishings with legs that will accommodate guests and don’t make the mistake of putting in too many downscaled pieces as it detracts from creating an open, airy space.

Avoid getting too attached to furniture. Be prepared to get rid, donate or switch what you have. Of course, if you have an heirloom piece and you’re worried about having to dispose of it, don’t. If you love something, or if it has familial significance, you can, literally, work around the piece or even design the living room with that family piece as the focal point. 

*This post is contributed by Media Buzzer.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Sale

The first ever spring cleaning sale is on now at AM Dolce Vita. Spring is the time I perform a complete sweep of the house to part with things that I no longer have room for. These are all my treasured belongings so rest assured that they are either in like new (some were never used) or vintage mint condition. 

I would be willing to ship smaller items internationally, and will only charge you the actual shipping costs. Send me an email at amdolcevita88(at) to let me know which item(s) you want and I will set them aside for you. Local GTA pickups can be arranged. 

1. Pair of vintage turquoise foo dogs, a Chinoiserie design staple, perfect mint condition, 8" L x 5.5" H each, $120 for the pair. 

2. Brand new Nate Berkus for Target brass feather trinket box, 4 3/8" in diameter, $25. I thought I needed two, but turned out I am only using one. 

3. Set of 4 mid-century modern black white genuine horn bone decorative spheres/balls, each 3" in diameter, $25 for the set. 

4. Hollywood Regency faux bamboo octagon mirror, vintage mint condition, 32.5 (H) x 25.5" (W), $165.

5. Chinoiserie decor figurine, 1960s blanc de chine Kwan Yin "Mother of Mercy", 12" tall, $45.

6. Antiqued silver leaf arched mirror, it used to be in my living room over the mantel, 40" (H) x 30" (W), $175.

7. ELTE free-standing mirror with storage, perfect for an industrial chic/minimalist style, 71" H x 23" W x 16.5" D, $250. 

8. Pair of bar art, original acrylic paintings on canvas board signed by me, each 12"x12", $30 for the pair. 

9. Set of 3 nursery/kids room art, original acrylic paintings on stretched canvas ready to hang, signed by me, each 8x10", $45 for the set. 

10. Pair of nursery/kids room art, original acrylic paintings on canvas board, signed by me, 8x10 each, $25 for the pair. 

That's all for now. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Weekend Recap

This Easter long weekend initially we were going to make a wine & dine trip to NYC again, but since we are going to see the Smash "Bombshell" musical on Broadway in June and we had friends from out of town visiting, we decided that we would be tourists in our own city instead. The double-digit temperature and glorious sunshine on Friday was short-lived. These droopy tulips perfectly conveyed my feelings on the weekend weather - snowy and gloomy, really Spring?! 

After meeting our friends at our favourite Dim Sum hangout Lai Wah Heen, we went to catch the Douglas Coupland exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum. I can never get tired of photographing the spectacular ROM Michael Lee-Chin "Crystal".

Douglas Coupland popularized the term "Generation X". Some of his works are so intriguing that they can only be comprehended through your smart phone camera lens. 

The Light of the Desert, 900 carat Cerussite, at the ROM Earth's Treasures exhibition.

We also tried out a few new restaurants, such as the Luckee by Susur Lee. I am a big fan of Susur Lee, and his Luckee certainly lives up to his reputation. At Luckee, Susur Lee scales back his signature esoteric fusion in favour of good old-fashioned Chinese food. It's the upscale casual and comfort Chinese cuisine at its best. 

Every dish was like a food party in my mouth, so much texture, flavour and depth. This Shrimp Cheung Fun with crispy rice paper is a must-try.

This was Spicy Soy Bean Crumble Shrimp. The entree portion size was good for sharing; the food came fast and the service was excellent. We are going back to try their signature dishes  "Luckee Duck" (Peking Duck) and "Steamed Whole Sea Bass". I heard their "yum cha" is also very good. 

A staycation weekend wouldn't be perfect without hitting up a few antique joints. I added two sets of FBC teacup sets by Rosina Queen's. In case you haven't already noticed, I am at my "rose" phase of my china collection. 

How was your Easter long weekend?

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