Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Discover Ontario Summer 2015 - Part III

When Anthony showed me pictures of Elora he found on Internet, I was like "no way, this place is in Ontario?" It surely is. Elora is a short 90-minute drive from Toronto in the Town of Centre Wellington, 20 km northwest to Guelph. 

This is the Elora Mill Inn which is currently undergoing a massive revival project. 

I took this picture from the Metcalfe Street Bridge. It was sunny and the air was still, perfect for capturing this reflection shot. 

This shot was taken from a lookout point near the Drimmie Dam. So were the first two pictures at the beginning of this post. 

The following two pictures were taken from the south bank of the Drimmie Dam. 

Metcalfe is the main street in the historic Elora, which intersects with Mill Street. Most of the shops and restaurants are in the area. 

Try a slice of carrot cake with cream cheese icing and a gingerbread muffin at Ashanti Cafe. They were delicious! Their carrot cake is always the first to be sold out for the day so be sure to go there early. I liked the candied lemon zest (or was it orange peel) in it which added a nice crunchiness to the cake. 

Mermaid Antiques on Church & Metcalfe is a must visit. 

There are so many whimsical things and curiosities in there.

I remember seeing a pair of similar doorknockers in Barlenoa along Rambla de Catalunya. 

Here they are...found the picture to prove it. :)

I would be perfectly happy living in a house like this. Too bad the house was in the shade at the time, and my iPhone camera couldn't capture the vibrant shade of yellow it's in. 

I wish I had hiked up to capture an aerial picture of the stunning Elora Gorge swimming hole, but you get the idea. 

It's not creepy at all for me to use a telephoto lens for this picture below. I was trying to capture the different textures from the old quarry escarpment. Wouldn't be surprised if those girls gave me (my camera) a dirty look. :)

Have you been to Elora?

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Joy of Custom Made Furniture

Just before we left for our vacation in June, I came across this Swedish settee on Eloquence. I had seen similar style settees before, and always assumed it was French. It's actually Swedish Gustavian style which is a simplified version over the more embellished design of the Baroque. It strikes a perfect balance between the French flamboyance and the Nordic sense of practicality. It can be as formal as a settee, or as casual as a daybed for those weekend afternoon naps. I immediately fell in love with it, and needed to have it in my house. To have a massive piece of furniture like this delivered all the way from U.S. isn't realistic, not to say some companies don't offer international shipping to start with. It didn't take long before I realized I needed to go custom again. And there's no better place I would like to work with than Anne Quinn Furniture

Within days, Christine the proud owner of Anne Quinn Furniture, emailed me these design templates from her manufacturer. I was completely blown away. The drawings even captured all the different carving patterns throughout the settee. 

 Different finial details throughout the frame. 

By the time I came back from my vacation, the frame was already constructed. I couldn't believe how amazingly intricate all the wood carvings are. There was but one problem. Did you notice anything that didn't seem to belong with the rest of the frame? The bases of the fluted legs were so round and chunky that it looked like I was going for bun feet! 

Her manufacturer took my feedback, and immediately tried to trim them down. Better here in the next two pictures, but not quite there yet. For me, the legs make or break a piece of furniture. 

Christine was very patient and determined to get them right for me. So after another round of trimming and sanding, the legs are finally perfect. 

I like legs of any chairs slender because they look more elegant to me that way. I picked a stain-resistant fabric in grey but the lighting in the pictures below almost made the upholstery appear taupe. I will be anxiously waiting for it to arrive in October to see it for myself. 

I am so happy that this is yet another custom furniture which turns out to be exactly the same as better than expected. Do you do custom furniture?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Discover Ontario Summer 2015 - Part II

Remember those antique shield-back chairs in my kitchen dining room that I drove all the way to Jordan Ontario to pick up? It was just before Christmas back then, and the entire town looked magical adorned with twinkling lights. I've since always wanted to go back there for a visit. Jordan is also the historic village of the wine country known as the "Niagara Escarpment & Twenty Valley". 

This past weekend Anthony and I attended a beautiful wedding there while celebrating our own anniversary at the same time. One really can't say they've been to Jordan without either staying or dining at the Inn on the Twenty. 

We had a lovely and light luncheon there - a three-course prix fixe menu called "the winemaker's luncheon". We went with our server's recommendation and ordered a bottle of the Cave Springs Riesling Dolomite - it was delicious! 

Kew Vineyards Estate Winery was the first to introduce Riesling into Canada - these vines are almost 40 years old! 

We (I) also did some antique and furniture browsing inside the village. 

Niagara-on-the-lake, a short 30-minute drive from Jordan, is the birthplace of Ontario’s modern wine industry, a place where rural pleasures blend seamlessly with sophisticated entertainment. Prince of Wales Hotel is by far one of its most photographed landmarks. 

Once you are in the heart of Niagara-on-the-lake, make sure you set aside some quality time for the Doug Forsythe Gallery on Picton Street. You won't be disappointed. The gallery is comfortably lit and spacious while keeping all other accessories to a minimum so you can focus on what you are there for. I spent a good half an hour inside the gallery trying to decide which piece to buy because I loved them all. If my house had a more modern setting, I would've picked up one of these paintings. 

I finally decided on the "Sky is Blue" signed limited edition print. The artist Doug Forsythe himself was kind enough to agree to hold on to it and pose for my photo. 

It makes me so happy to look at it every morning while I prepare my first cup of tea. It's my moment of escape before the busy day ahead. 

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