Monday, July 30, 2012

How to Deal with Ugly Floor Tile

My kids share a bathroom and it's quite a big bathroom.  That's great but the big bathroom has a big floor and the floor is an orangey/coral ceramic tile.  I need to do a small and inexpensive reno on this room so ripping out tile is not on my wish list.  How on earth do I decorate around a loud, obnoxious, orange tile?  Here are my thoughts on ways to make this work without requiring a complete gut of the room.

Option 1 - Go crazy bold on the walls with a wallpaper or maybe a painted stencil.  Make the entire room a big, bold, lovely statement and don't try to "work around" the tile.

Option 2 - Adding the same orange colour from the tile to the wall would essentially kill the drama of the tile.  The floor won't stand out as much and we can add a large vanity in a neutral wood or painted finish.

Option 3 - Our bathroom has enough room for a long vanity with double sinks.  Using the floor colour on a large vanity will incorporate the colour and allow me to use some neutral wall colour.

So have you got any fabulous ideas on how to tame the wild beast on my floor?

Friday, July 27, 2012

London Calling

Well today is the opening day for the London Olympics.  Are you a fan?  Winter Olympics are my preference but I"m sure I'll be situated in front of the tv for many of these events as well.

British design has been all the rage for a while now and I imagine it will continue long after the Olympics are finished.

Get your very own special Olympic limited edition print.

I love me some bull dog (don't tell my pug!)

I know you've seen a hundred different versions of this dresser.  Are you sick of it yet?  I hope not.

Lizzie in pink.  I'm a fan

Let the games begin!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Summertime Fun

Oh, summer.  I love you but you really get in the way of blogging.  Somehow diy projects don't seem so important to the kids.  This is what is really important to them.

Since school ended there has been a steady stream of kids in our house.  They eat a lot, they need rides to a whole lot of different places and they definitely force me to put work and blogging on the back burner. Imagine my surprise when my 11-year-old and her friend told me they were making dinner for me and all I had to do was drive them to buy the ingredients.  Hell yeah!

They even created a menu...

 Think you know the answer to the riddle?  My husband was the winner and did indeed get a bowl of Cheetos

The appetizer - Black bean dip with corn chips

The most delicious salad EVER - Arugula, apple & grape salad

The main - Farfalle with salmon, peas & mint.  We went to a local farm to buy the peas and they had literally been picked 5 minutes before we arrived!

 Raisin Rounds - These turned out to be scones or biscuits depending on where you live.  The girls were a bit disappointed they weren't sweeter so they added jam.

Many thanks to my junior chefs.  What a way to spoil a lady!

I'm working on Livy's bedroom (yes, still:).  I promise to report back very soon with a chandelier transformation, a diy bedskirt, duvet cover and pillows.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Is White the New Black or is Stainless Still the Bomb?

I watched an episode of Sarah 101 last night where she renovated a small, urban kitchen.  She wandered the kitchen aisles at Ikea looking for cabinets and ended up with the predictable shaker style cabinetry.  What I wasn't expecting was WHITE appliances.  They were sleeker looking than the dated white appliances of the past but they were white.

Is the beloved stainless steel that has reigned supreme for the last decade (two decades?) being threatened by a new player in the appliance department?


1.  The "new" white appliances seems to be sleek and high gloss.  I'm not sure you are going to be able to troll Craigslist for bargains and get the same look.  Then again, maybe you could.

2.  White cabinets are the key to success in these images.  I could imagine them working well with painted cabinets as well.  Stay away from wood because this might give a dated "I-desperately-need-a-reno" look.

3.  There's a definite flow to the kitchen with white cabinets and appliances.  There's no choppy breaks where the stainless appliance would normally belong.  If you're renovating a small kitchen this could be a winning combo.

4.  If you're really wanting your backsplash or counter to be the star of the show this looks works.  Again, nothing else interrupts the flow.

5.  Unlike stainless, white appliances will come with slightly different "white" finishes depending on the manufacturer.  Make sure if you're planning on buying from more than one manufacturer that you've done a side-by-side comparison.  What looks like white in the showroom might read off-white in your kitchen.

So what do you think of white appliances?  On board or happy to stick with your stainless?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Review - Day After Night

Well here we are again with another Blogger Book Club review.  This is the 3rd book review for the Blogger Book Club.  In case you missed the first 2 you can read them here and here.  You can also participate by joining our Facebook page here.

The Design Pages
More than 10 years ago I started a book club in Toronto and Anita Diamont's first book, The Red Tent was our very first selection.  Everyone in the group adored the book.  I was actually a bit nervous when I started to read Day After Night because I wondered how it could ever live up to the wonderfulness of The Red Tent.  It did not disappoint!

This story chronicles the lives of 4 young Jewish women who are all detainees in Atlit, a British detention centre for refugees.  The story is based on an actual historical event - the rescue of more than 200 detainees from Atlit in October, 1945.  The people in Atlit were mainly European Jews who had survived the Holocaust and were looking for a new life in Palestine.

Tedi, Zorah, Leonie and Shayndel are all orphaned girls whose parents have been killed during the Holocaust and in their own way each of them wonders why they have survived when so many of their loved ones have not.  The girls, all under 21, have survived through various means.  Tedi was hidden in the Dutch countryside, lost her sense of smell and has now regained it with a vengeance.  Zorah spent time in a concentration camp and vows to spit in God's eye for what has been done to her family.  Leonie is a French beauty who was forced into prostitution and Shayndel is a Polish Zionist who swears she will not pick up a machine gun again "not even for the Jewish state".

Before reading this book I was unaware that during this time many Jews without papers, whether destroyed, lost or left behind somewhere, were considered to be illegal immigrants.  They would end up in these Detained Persons camps and continue to suffer behind bars.  How amazingly horrific to be so close to freedom after the war but unable to resume life outside of barbed wire.

Most of this book takes place inside the detainment camp and while it could have been a heavy and difficult story to read it is fundamentally optimistic.  It's a story of the small comforts that these 4 young women take in the friendships, the food and the religious celebrations they share together while detained.  

The book was only 300 pages and for once I'll say that it could have been longer.  The only fault I find in this book is that I would have liked to learn more about the circumstances of the lives of each girl before Atlit.  

Thumbs up and bravo Anita Diamant for another wonderful novel.

Our next book club selection will be On Beauty by Zadie Smith.  We don't have an exact date but it will be reviewed in September.  We'll keep you posted on future reads in the next short while.

So, what did you think of Day After Night?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thrift Store Bonanza

It's been a while since I've been thrifting but this week I had a good excuse.  We were invited to a party to celebrate Calgary Stampede which is taking place right now.  Costumes were required and needless to say, I don't own a cowboy item or accessory so off to the thrift store I went.

Before I even made it to the clothing section I spotted this gorgeous solid brass tray made in India.

I love the detailing on the handles.

Cut crystal gets me every time so no way could I walk out the doors without this guy coming along.

Always on the lookout for great frames I spotted this beauty.  I haven't yet decided if I'll keep the daisy painting or update the picture with a painted abstract.

This was written on the back of the painting.  Kind of makes me sad to think that Lori didn't want this anymore.

And just for the record, the thrift stores are filled with cowboy gear so I was able to bring out the inner cowgirl for one night.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cloud White or Chantilly Lace - The Fight is On!

Cloud White aka CC-40 or OC-130 and for those who have been a fan for a LONG time, you'll remember it as simply 967. I know, I know.  We're all sick and tired of hearing about Benjamin Moore's beloved Cloud White. Or are you? It has had a cult-like following over the last couple of decades by both designers and homeowners.  It's an off white that doesn't look too stark or too creamy so it works really well with lots of different colours.  

Gray is the hottest colour going right now and I haven't been to a consultation in a while where I didn't specify gray for some part of the house.  Cloud White can look too yellow against a gray so I've been using less and less of it recently.

This is Cloud White paired with Gray Owl OC-52.  Cloud White looks yellow against this pale gray.

I prefer the crispness of Chantilly Lace OC-65 against Gray Owl.

Chantilly Lace is crisp and clean and bright.  It looks fresh against gray so it's starting to become one of my very favourite go-to colours for trim and cabinets.

I mean really, can this be more perfect...

Don't worry Cloud White.  I'll never abandon you completely but I'm taking a short break from you.  See you again sometime soon.
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