Friday, April 30, 2010

bath reno - end of day 5

Some drywall went up today, a frame for the back of the shower is done, and the exterior wall is all done! I can finally see progress... along with some other not so noticeable things.

Embarrassed to say, but I spent more time looking for the knobs for my cabinet than anything else in the bathroom - I just couldn't decide! In the end, I browsed the net and found some great knobs on the Anthropologie website so I took a drive over there tonight and bought them! I only needed two and thankfully I had shopped for so long on-line because my husband was with me and I started to change my mind... there are so many gorgeous ones at that store! Of course my husband didn't have patience, so I went with my choice from the net.

And believe it or not, I told myself it can always be changed if I don't love it... imagine that after all those hours pondering!!!!

Thankfully next week I am much busier with real clients. Should help me make any more decisions a bit quicker for myself. But in the end, isn't it the minor details that make the perfect space?! I'd like to think so. :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

bath reno - end of day 4

Well, not much to report on the look so far. Still the 'bones' stuff so looks similar. Had a nice lunch on the deck with the contractors and could have chatted forever, but they had to get back to work.

We did, however, need to change the lay-out today to accommodate the laundry chute I wanted. The original plan had the chute passing right through a cold air return and it would have been a lot of work to change that. So we re-designed. It wasn't too late so I stopped production on the cabinet as the new one needs to be a different size. We'll still get the same lovely walnut door for it, just now slightly bigger for a different spot in the room.

All good at the end of day 4. :D

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

bath reno - end of day 3

Ian is finally excited about the bathroom! He didn't even want this renovation and now he is more into it than I am, all excited about the big tub to be and the art deco sconces I found yesterday. This is all good!

Today the wiring was done, some plumbing re-routing and the ceiling insulation. The bones!

The big dilemma today, however, was that the 24" door that Ian and I painstakingly shlepped from Hamilton, stripped, sanded and stained can't be used. It is actually too big! We wanted a piece of our old house in Hamilton to be a part of this house, but the tub proved to be 6" too long.

I spent hours with my cabinet maker, going over the possibilities of using the door, perhaps cutting it down, but it still wasn't going to fit. Not with the pedestal sink I chose, and Ian's nice long tub. So, I sat and re-designed the storage cupboard and am actually now more excited about the new door than the old door! I love what we came up with and ended up going with a gorgeous walnut, solid wood door. Happy!... you'll see so stay posted!

Our 24" gorgeous gum-wood oak door so lovingly re-finished will have to go to some other use... I'm sure I'll find a project in the not to distant future to use it for. Time will tell on the old door, but for now, the bathroom is what's important and it was a good day. :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

bath reno - end of day 2

You can see the dust - it's only day 2 and I'm already tired of the mess! But at least the gutting is done. The concrete on the walls needing the jack hammer was a first for my contractor! - serious stuff with those original 1958 tiles!

Shopped today for my bathroom - found some hooks, the tp holder, towel bar and a recessed medicine cabinet with mirror that wasn't $3000! Thanks Taps! Ginger's had some gorgeous ones too, but they were the ones at the $3000 price point - ridiculous! Sorry Ginger's. Some lovely stuff, but seriously? There were some at the Ginger's store at $1200 - seemed like a bargain next to the $3000 ones. I paid just over $300 for mine - nice and simple with mirrors on the inside too and the perfect size.

The best part of my shopping today was finding the wall sconces. I had a vision and there they were at The Door Store! I love that store. They had just two sitting way at the back - vintage deco covers but freshly re-wired to chrome bases, which is exactly what I wanted - they were just waiting for me!

Decided to change my idea for the chair rail tile - will go with a simple bullnose tile instead. Not as interesting but saved me a bit of money. It is, however, more practical, so that's what I'll remember when I think back and say I should have waited...

Tomorrow is day 3.

Monday, April 26, 2010

bath reno - end of day 1

The demolition is still not complete, but at least they figured out the concrete and got through most of it. Tomorrow the floors, also with 2" of concrete... hmm, might have been slated as a bomb shelter originally.

Check out those dangling pot lights - no wonder the bulkhead had to be so big! Ginormeous!

Got all the missing pieces for the shower faucet system and just waiting for one back-ordered piece. Phew!

Dilemma - the chair rail I wanted is 8 weeks out for ordering and the tiling can't be done without it, so do I wait or find a different solution? My inkling is to find a different solution... will keep you posted.

Dust everywhere, but only one broken thing... so far! My perfume bottle fell and broke in the adjoining room, luckily on concrete for easy clean up. That room smells wonderful... will have to go buy a new bottle.

Tomorrow, more shopping for the little things.

bath reno - day 1

Today I live through noise, dirt and mess, but the workers have been great so far. They covered all my 'stuff', locked away all my plants in my office and closed all the doors with towels at the bottom to minimize the dust. Very thoughtful.

By this afternoon 4 guys will be in there demolishing, but so far, they are perplexed. The concrete on these 1958 tiles are wicked! The jack hammer is working overtime and still not cutting it. When the big guy gets back this afternoon, hopefully he will have a better solution.

We decided to save the old retro lights - one has a heater built in to it, but it's a little scary so we'll just re-use the light part.

All the new pieces for the bathroom have been delivered and I have a bathtub sitting in my living room right now. Very exciting! But going through the boxes, it seems there are some pieces missing... will have to get onto that as soon as I go through it all with the main contractor this afternoon.

All fun and part of the process. I'll be back tomorrow with another update.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

vegas vacation

I was in Vegas last week and naturally visited many hotels, lobbies, and restaurants, all with my critical eye to its design. There is so much flamboyance there - it's kind of what you expect. But when I finally made it over to the new Aria hotel, I fell in love. Simple clean organic lines define this hotel. This kind of design is so creative - I just loved it!

Here I have a photo of a restaurant - the movement in the structure was just so inspiring - bentwood at it's best!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

tea cups

There are so many people that have old tea cups that they don't use for tea anymore - we all seem to love our giant mugs these days. But for the beautiful cups that we inherit, or have bought but don't use anymore for its original purpose, try one of these ideas to keep them alive:

  • put a row of cups on your mantle or upright piano with tea lights inside
  • use them in the bathroom - the saucer for soap and the cup for cotton balls
  • use them as little bowls at a party for nuts, candies, toothpicks...
  • put one on your nightstand for your jewelry when it comes off for the night
  • use them as your cat dishes - one for food and one for water - why not?
  • put a small plant in them to place anywhere around the house
  • use them on your make-up table for eye-liner sharpeners, eye shadow cases, lipsticks, etc.
  • use one on your desk for paper clips
  • use another one on your desk for business cards
  • use one in the kitchen for packets of sweetener
  • they can be fun interspersed on a bookshelf with old books
  • use them as a contrast to rustic finishes as decorative pieces around the house
  • and if you really need the space and need to get rid of them, give them as hostess gifts - put some candies or chocolates in the cup together with the matching saucer, wrap with cellophane and ribbon and put a personal note on the front - gorgeous!
They are of no good sitting in your basement storage room - take them out and use them! Have fun!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

lighting can make the biggest difference

I have a small room in the basement that I use for storage, tools and the cat litter boxes. It has an old workbench that used to be my father's which is quite charming and I had hung a few of his antique tools on the wall as he was an old school carpenter.

This past weekend I decided to have someone come in to put down a new floor and paint the room. It has not been painted since before we moved in, so at least 15 years, but possibly even 5o years! It really gave me a chance to go through my things - so much to dump, give away, bring to recycling...

In haste I chose a colour. I know, how can I do anything in haste! But I did and chose a colour I quite like when I use it for clients - it's called Blue Grass from Benjamin Moore. It was colour matched to a Behr paint since my contractor was off to Home Depot - no big deal as it's just a workroom after all.

Then the paint went up. I lost hours of sleep last night thinking I had gone totally wrong! The colour is in fact a bit off from the original, but not so much that it should invoke such hatred! I woke up this morning exhausted, and plodded down to the basement to see the room again. With much surprise and delight, the colour looked just fine! In fact more than fine with the sun shining in. And I think it will have a nice retro feel once the light maple floors go in and I put back the old workbench.... and a few decorative touches. ;)

Now all I have to do is find some new lighting so that the room always feels right, not just in sunlight.

Happy again! :D

Thursday, April 8, 2010


the Dr. Pitt Collection sectional

I can't believe I have never talked about Elte before. I love that store! This morning I was there for a designer's presentation on new and upcoming furnishings and rugs. It was great! It was nice to learn it is a family business and that the current owner is third generation with his wife as the sole buyer! His sons are now getting into the business as well and they all have a keen eye on the trends!

And for those skeptics that think Elte is just for the wealthy, think again. While it is not Ikea of course, it is also not Roche Bobois, and they have pricing in the 'good, better, best' ranges.

They also were talking about updating their website and there will be a second floor of even more stuff opening up very soon in their showroom. Woo Hoo - more great shopping!!

Start with their website, but be sure to have a walk through their showroom one day soon - there really is something for everyone.

Elte - 80 Ronald Ave., Designers Walk North in Toronto. Lots of parking.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

classic subway tiles

Subway tiles are the most practical tiling around. They have been around for decades and never seem to look dated. They are classic! There are so many colours and textures around, but I always say go for white for the most versatile.

In the past few years the trend has been to do white grout with white subway tiles. It gives a super clean look, and feels really fresh. And if you install it yourself and have a few crooked tiles, it will camouflage those mistakes.

But why not try a dark grout now? Years ago there was one grout colour - gray - and today you have about 20 choices if not more by mixing some together for a custom colour. Now you can try blue, pink, orange, or even black like in this photo.

For the most classic look though, stick with practical, dirt-hiding gray. In my soon to be new bathroom, I will choose gray. If you follow my blog, you will be privy to all the finer details of that reno when it starts to unfold, white subway tiles and all.

Friday, April 2, 2010

painted furniture

Can you picture this vintage piece of furniture before it had been painted? I kind of see a shiny mahogany veneer in my mind - something that was probably all dinged and scratched. It was also meant to look very sophisticated in its day but for today's decor, way past its prime. With this new coat of fantastic turquoise paint, it is now a funky piece that could fit in any decor style - traditional, country or even modern.

If you have a piece of furniture that is practical but don't know what to do with it because it has seen better days, pick a great colour and paint it! Here are some of my favourite colours for painted furniture:

All Benjamin Moore Colours:
Edgecomb Gray - HC-173
Cloud White - OC-130
Niveous - OC-36
Van Deusen Blue - HC-156
Bonaparte - CC-64
Split Pea - 2146-30

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Etsy - what a great website. It is an on-line store with artists selling crafts from this fun wall decal here to fine art, jewelery, clothing and so so much more. You have to check it out - but don't blame me if you find you spend all your time and money on the site - it's addictive!

Let me know what you find!


Anthropologie - What a great store!! They have one in Yorkville and one at Shops at Don Mills. Today I was at the store and with my bathroom renovation just a month and a bit away now, I am always looking for inspiration - this is the store for that!

The pictured towels here feel amazing and while not inexpensive, just one hand towel near the sink would make a huge impact! I think I should get one... or two! There are, after all, many wonderful colours. I also loved a couple of charming hooks and there were some great apothecary jars.

The kitchen items are great too, as are their knick-knacks, pillows, cabinet pulls... all with beautiful vintage charm. If you have never visited this store, it's time to make a trip. Start with the website... you'll be sure to want to visit the store after that. Have fun.