Friday, November 18, 2016

Cottages & Bungalows Magazine Holiday Feature

Back in the summer I was approached by the editor at the Cottages & Bungalows Magazine for a feature in their 2016 holiday issue. It's true that in design world, Christmas starts in July. Preview and showroom tour invitations began to hit my inbox in August. Cottages & Bungalows Mag set up a series of interviews with me, and I got to work with the super amazing and talented creative writer Rachel Demeter. I was ecstatic to see three full-spread feature of my Christmas decor projects in print. 

Here is a screenshot copy of the electronic version in case you'd like to read the text. 

So over the moon about this! Thank you Cottages & Bungalows Magazine! The holiday issue is packed with a wide range of styling and entertaining ideas for the upcoming holiday season. In Canada you can find it at major retailers such as Chapters Indigo and Loblaws. 

I will be back to write about my jumping-off point and inspirations for this year's holiday decorating. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tips for Buying Your Next Bathroom Suite

~ This is a guest post ~

From the garden to the attic room, re-designing any area of your home is an exciting prospect. There is one room in particular though that always causes the most concern, because it’s ‘success’, in terms of design, is absolutely reliant on the fixtures and fittings: the bathroom. In today’s post, I’m looking at a few top tips for picking out your next bathroom suite; from what to buy to where to buy it, hopefully, this article should steer you clear of making mistakes.

Measure, and measure again
To avoid missing vital calculations, strip the bathroom clear of anything you don’t want to keep, and then take as many measurements as possible before laying out your ideas. Draw chalk guidelines out on the floor as rough estimates of where the toilet will go, where the bath will go and so on, but remember to allow space for practical use. You may be able to squeeze a toilet in-between a bath and a wall, but put a chair there to see how much space you will actually need; if there’s only enough for a small child, it’s time to re-think.

Quality is essential
You can’t compromise when it comes to the quality of the suite you buy. You might think that the deal you saw yesterday was a bargain, but what’s the brand? Who made the product? What kind of reviews do they have? Look for answers to these questions when you’re shopping for your bathroom suite. If you’ve spent thousands on the rest of your home to make it a warm and welcoming environment, but the toilet leaks or the sink basin chips and cracks, not only could these cause nasty accidents, but they create a bad impression for anyone who comes to call.

Don’t go crazy with colour
No matter what size your bathroom is, keeping it light and bright will always work well. The use of black tiles or dark stone generally only works in very large areas where you won’t feel closed in, so if you want to inject some colour, look at using subtler tones. Go for whites and pebble greys throughout, but include cobalt blue or sea green in the candles, towels and decoration to give it some personality.

Shop around, then showroom
Just because you’re opting for luxury doesn’t mean you have to pay the price for it, providing you know where to look. Shop around online for seasonal discounts and multi-buy deals on high-quality brands, before going and looking in a local showroom to “test out” the product itself, and see how it looks in a bathroom setting. There are plenty of retailers who do this, such as, and it will give you a much more realistic viewpoint in terms of colour, quality and how it will look in your home.

I hope you find this article useful when you come to giving your bathroom a re-design. Do you have any more top tips for readers? Be sure to leave a comment below if so.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

New York City in Late October

So far I've been to 40+ countries and 90+ cities, and New York is the type of place that I would never get tired of. I just love this city so much that I totally see myself move down there to live/work for a while. Add that to my bucket list maybe? In late October Hamilton Musical brought us back again, and we spent four amazing days in this greatest city in the world

Picture below: the magical sunset casting a soft golden glow over the entire city, taken from the Top of the Rock. 

Capturing the fleeting sunset moments took a bit of luck. The lighting and colours were changing in a matter of seconds. A couple of minutes too early or too late, the picture would've turned out very differently. We bought timed tickets at 5:25pm to go up to the Rock. I knew I wanted to take pictures in the dusk but I had no idea what time exactly to pick. 5:25pm was the only decent time available with the next slot at 7pm. So it was completely random for us but it turned out to be the best time for photographing the cityscape. The rain the day before helped wash away all the haze and pollution. The clear blue sky acted as a backdrop for a high definition view of the buildings and streets. 

Case in point, a few minutes from the above shot, the sunset turned into a more saturated shade of orange in the picture below, and quickly faded away from there. 

Picture below: aerial view of Central Park from the north corner. 

It rained one out of the four days in late October. I consider that pretty lucky for photo ops. Everything looked so crisp and clear after the rain. 

Picture below: wood stumps at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, with the Statue of Liberty in the distance. 

Picture below: Brooklyn Bridge. Houston, we have a perfect blue sky! 

While in Brooklyn, you have to try out one of the oldest and best pizzerias New York has to offer, Juliana's Pizza. Everything there was done to a perfection, from food, to ambience to service. 

We arrived at 11:45am just in time to beat the lunch crowd. When we finished there was a long lineup outside the restaurant. 

We are the type of travelers who would plan our itinerary down to the minute. But over the years of extensive leisure travelling, we also learned to be flexible. We moved most of our museum/gallery activities to the rainy day and hit up the Met and Guggenheim

Pictures below: sculpture garden inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I am framing this one. 

Picture below: one of the must-sees at the Met, the Washington Crossing the Delaware painting. 

Picture below: Guggenheim. 

Agnes Martin exhibition at the Guggenheim. So much inspiration! 

Picture below: The Mall at the Central Park. 

NYPD substation at the Times Square. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Why Laminate Flooring is a Good Choice

~This is a guest post~

If you want to give your home a new and fresh look, and do so quickly, replacing your flooring is a great way to do it. Nothing ages a room faster than shoddy or old-fashioned floor coverings.

In the past, replacing the flooring in a home would have been very expensive. Fortunately, this is no longer the case. The emergence of new materials and production techniques means that the cost has fallen substantially. One such material is laminate flooring.
It really is a great option, and the fact that you see it used so much is testament to this. Read on and you will see why so many homeowners opt to lay it in their houses.

Top of the list is that this type of flooring is inexpensive. Provided you shop around you can buy it is one of the cheapest options.

The fact that it comes in a wide range of different finishes, and grades, means that it can be laid practically anywhere. You can buy wood, stone and tile finishes, so it will fit in with any style of home decor.

If you want to use it in a kitchen or bathroom, you can do so provided you buy the right grade of laminate flooring. You just need to check that it is made to withstand being used in a damp environment.

Easy to Lay
Perhaps the best thing about laminate flooring is that it is extremely easy to lay. Most people can manage to do it themselves after watching a how to video, like this one. If you are planning to lay the floor yourself, it is important to factor in the cost of buying the tools you need. It is also wise to ensure that you have them all to hand before you start the laying process.

Easy to take care of
Once down this type of flooring does not take a lot of looking after. All you have to do is to sweep it regularly, and mop it over occasionally. If you notice an area wearing faster than the rest you many have to buy a rug or two to stop the finish from wearing away completely.

That said, this would not be an issue if you buy the right grade of flooring for the job. If you are going to lay laminate flooring in a high traffic area, it really is a false economy to buy cheap materials that are not designed to withstand a high level or wear and tear.
Where to buy laminate flooring

However, if you want to reap all of the above benefits you need to be careful where you buy your laminate flooring from. It is important to buy it from a well-established retailer like This type of firm offers a good warranty, as well as a huge range of styles and finishes. Most importantly of all they take customer service seriously, so are there to answer all of your questions. By taking advantage of their experience you can easily identify, which type and grade of flooring you need for any job.
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