Monday, September 27, 2010

Tickling On Ivory


I am loving these light and airy spaces– mainly due to the stunning white pianos in both schemes – how refreshing!


(top photo: Domino, bottom photo: Tim Clinch)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

One-Day Freebie for Torontonians!

Well, it's not totally free, but it's a heck of a good deal!


School Bakery and Cafe is one of my favourite spots for a yummy brunch in an innovative setting, and for today only, you can get 50% off  a dinner!


Click here to get a $30 certificate for School for only $15!

Monday, September 20, 2010

When Your Eyes Are Bigger Than Your Stomach…

You should look to the beautiful artwork of Soojin Kim, whose depictions of sweets look good enough to eat. When I visited the Tao Water Gallery in Provincetown, I couldn’t help but swoon over both the skill of the artist and the subject matter! The paintings are so  lifelike that they could pass for photographs, but make no mistake, in person they are imbued with a depth and richness that only oil paintings can provide.


I would love to see a mini gallery wall of these cookie and cracker still life’s in a kitchen! (especially the teddy graham and goldfish- yummers!) The mix and match gold and wood framing adds to the off-beat feel of the series.


There is also the  oreo series, with it’s more simplified black and white palette that may appeal to more subdued tastes.


My personal favourite though, is the large square of candy spilling out diagonally across the canvas – how perfect would this be for a mod children’s room or nursery! The colours are so luscious and bright. I’m more of a chocolate and chips kind of girl, but looking at this piece makes me want some rockets right now!

Check out Soojin Kim’s website for more scrumptious works of art.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Welcome rue!

I have enjoyed browsing the premiere issue of rue magazine - an online publication catering to bloggers and designers alike!  Cofounded by Crystal Gentilello and Anne Sage, I am totally feeling their many philosophies, including their motto that a glass of pink champagne makes a party and that friendships can be forged across continents based on a mutual lust of leopard print pillows (so agree!)


I am really impressed with the roster of talent that rue was able to gather for their debut, including my Hollywood regency role models Ron Woodson and Jaime Rummerfield and the ubiquitous Vincente Wolf.

Just like Lonny, the mag has tons of features and photos that you wouldn't normally get to see in a print magazine due to the lack of reliance of advertising revenue for the volume of printing. A wide of variety of design styles are showcased, with an emphasis on the quirky eclectic look so many loved from the pages of Domino.

Here are some of my favourite images from the premiere issue:

imageimageimageimage  image  

If you sign up on their mailing list you will be entered to win from free swag so head to now.

PS- a bonus feature on the website aptly titled extras, has playlists and video how-to's for additional online fun- good times!

(all photos from rue)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fall Colours at the Figueras Home


The Buenos Aires home of hottie Polo player and Ralph Lauren model Nacho Figueras is complementing my very Fall mood today.


The red leather tufted chesterfield, orange accents, dark woods, and liberal use of cowhide have that warm and soothing palette of autumn colours while feeling fresh and modern instead of tired and country.


(images from ELLE Decor)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

TIFF: Black Swan Review

Because of the new arrival of our kittens and the overlapping of the high holidays, I haven't been into TIFF too much this year. I did see one movie last night though- the highly anticipated Darren Aronofsky film: Black Swan which has serious oscar buzz.

Starring Natalie Portman as a principal ballerina struggling to embody the duality of the lead role in Swan Lake, the film had the theatre on the edge of its seats with its twisted psychological drama. Some parts were a little too trippy and graphic for me due to my queasiness, but the dance sequences and beautiful score helped soften those edges. Natalie was so thrilling to watch especially, and its clear how far she pushed herself physically to play this role.  The final dance sequence was so visually stunning that it makes me want to don a tutu and put on some serious black make-up for Halloween this year!


I was so excited that Natalie was on hand with the rest of the cast to introduce the film. She looked so pretty with her soft waves, smokey eyes and frilly Jason Wu frock. I am dying for the black bow bracelet she had on!

image Also at the premiere was Winona Ryder, who plays a washed-up former prima ballerina in the film. She looked very sweet with her vintage-looking black dress, pale skin and red lips. I grew up with so many of her movies, such as Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands so it was cool to see her in the flesh!

Make sure to check out the trailer here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Presenting Lucille II and Little Edie!

I am so excited to say that the boy and I are the proud new owners of two adorable kittens! We brought home Lucille II and Edith Bouvier Beale aka Little Edie this weekend and we are totally in love!


We’re both animal lovers, but with our busy schedules we knew dogs were out of the question, so we turned to the best cat breed there is: the sphynx! (like the amazing Ms. Miu)


Although they look odd, they have amazing gregarious personalities and are pretty much dogs in cat bodies. We chose to get a pair so that they won’t be lonely when we’re out and they have already adjusted so well to the apartment.


In honour of Lucille II and Little Edie’s arrival, I have compiled a list of famous sphynx owners who are also mad for their kitties:

Supermodel Behati Prinsloo has Gollum:


Tattoo maven Kat Von D has Ludwig:


Michael Kors has Viola:


GaGa popped a sphynx kitten into her Bad Romance video:


And we all know the one and only Mr. Biggelsworth!


(images via oh so coco, refinery29, apartment#412, nikas blog, ocsphynx)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Chic, Pretty and Affordable Instant Guest Room

Inspired by Ballard Design’s awesome upholstery sale, I decided to play around with some of their soft furnishings and put together a guest room scheme that is equally chic and pretty as it is affordable.


I chose a soothing palette of pale aqua and cream with a few hits of faded chocolate and shiny gold to round out the soft yet sophisticated design.

Most of my favourite guest rooms start off with a pair of twin upholstered headboards with matching bed skirts. I fell in love with the beautiful upholstered quatrefoil headboard and took my cues for the rest of the scheme from its romantic cutout and polished nailhead detailing. The symmetrical look of pairs is continued with an x-bench at the end of each bed and a hexagonal mirror hung above each headboard. A single nightstand divides the two and is topped with a classic pale blue ceramic gourd lamp.

A muted oriental rug in the same tones grounds the space and an antique-looking chandelier provides ample light overhead. Patterned window panels add softness while repeating  the fabric used on the x-benches. A petite secretary and luxurious upholstered vanity stool covered in the same linen as the headboard make for a perfect perch to write a letter or put on make-up.

All that for the price of $4,680! Considering I’ve had headboards made for clients that practically exceed that total cost just with the cost of labour and fabric, I think that’s a smashing deal!

Clockwise from the top left: Quatrefoil Twin Headboard in Linen Spa, $459.00 each and Ballard Custom 18" Ruffled Twin Bedskirt  in Linen Spa, $309.00 each, Montserrat Chandelier in antique cream, $99, Marais Console Chest in Antique White, $599.00, Custom 96" Drapery Panel in Charlotte Floral Spa, $181 each, Catherine Rug 8x10, $599, Upholstered Swivel Stool in Linen Spa, $239.00, Anne Secretary in French White, $349.00, rosette mirror in aged gold, $149 each, Suzanne Kasler Gourd Table Lamp in Blue, $149.00, X-Bench in Charlotte Floral Spam, $225.0 each

The sale ends on Monday so click fast to take advantage!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Reader Request: Dining Chair Dilemma

I often get questions from readers asking where to find certain things I post about, for decorating help and even to purchase items (do I look like a store?), but one query from a reader was blog-worthy in itself due to my being deliriously jealous of her dilemma. Here it goes:

“I just picked up a Greek Key Mastercraft Dining Table on craigslist and wondered if you might have ideas on dining chairs that may work with it?” –C.J., Boston


What a lucky lady! Did I mention she only paid $200 for the beauty! After finding out C.J. loves Kelly Wearstler’s eclectic style and has other funky pieces, including a fabulous vintage bar cart, I got to work sourcing some dining chairs to complement her drool-worthy dining table.


My official design prescription for this decorating dilemma is to counteract the lighter feel of the brass and glass dining table by choosing a more solid parsons chair with glam detailing.


The woodhouse dining chair from Jonathan Adler has a cutaway silhouette at the top that gives the chair a feminine yet tailored feel. This added detail would really complement the regency-esque dining table.


The curved top of this SITA chair also has the simple parsons form but with that extra sinuous flair. It is a smaller scale piece and would be more delicate choice for a smaller space that may be overwhelmed by the tall back of the Woodhouse chair.


For fabric, a deep grey or taupe to complement the existing wall colour would be a nice neutral foil for the shiny brass frame. Choose something with texture, such as ribbing, so it doesn’t look too flat. If you're adventurous, choose a textured vinyl with a small scale animal print for added punch and easy cleaning. (Vinyls above are Brentano's Amazon in sidewinder, and Duralee's 15272 and 15244 in pewter)


If you don’t have the budget to purchase new chairs, look to craigslist and your local consignment stores for a set of simple parsons chairs that you can makeover and add your own flourish to. Choose a durable solid fabric for the body, spice it up with elegant yet tailored details, such as contrast piping and diamond button tufting, like in Nicky Hilton’s pad, and voila: a perfectly glam dining set!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Doris Duke’s Rough Point

The design highlight of my getaway to New England was the tour I took of Rough Point. One of the stops on the famed mansion circuit in Newport, Rhode Island, Rough Point was one of the primary residences of American heiress Doris Duke.

imageMs. Duke was quite the gal! As one of the richest women in the world, the public eye was fascinated by her multiple marriages and affairs, jet-set lifestyle and attraction to scandal. Amongst other things, she kept camels as house pets and even ran over her decorator in a bizarre accident!  But back to the important stuff…

Duke is a legend in Newport due to her passionate efforts to restore the city’s architecture after its glory days of the 1800s had faded to decay. She founded the Newport Restoration Foundation in 1968, with the goal of preserving the splendour of  the city’s “gilded age.” Ms. Duke passed away in 1993 and left the estate to the foundation, who have opened it to the public for tours in 2000.


Originally built for a Vanderbilt in 1887 and designed by the architecture firm of Peabody & Stearns, Rough Point is situated on tony Bellevue Avenue and is a must-visit for any art and design enthusiast.


Visitors find it today exactly as Ms. Duke had left it, complete with her world-class collections of European paintings, tapestries and antiques on display. Eclectic design schemes filled with luxe damask furnishings, sombre European portraits and Chinese pottery make for dynamic viewing and the entertaining stories from the tour guides behind individual pieces are a fun bonus.


When walking through the house you can clearly appreciate Duke’s eye for colour, culture and details. Highlights include her music room with its green and pink Chinese wallpapered-walls which she artfully combined from two different auction lots; a mother-of-pearl furniture suite in her master bedroom that gleams against the citron and violet colour scheme; the gilded furniture, painted paneling and glimmering chandelier in the yellow room, and the classic country kitchen with its white subway tile backsplash, hexagonal mosaic floor and dark cabinetry.


The draw-back of visiting Rough Point though, is the no-photography policy and lack of any updated literature on the mansions. A paperback book with stale photos is the only souvenir available, which didn’t do the property any justice at all. I wish a magazine like Veranda would come in and photograph the place so you could all see for yourselves, but until then, pay a visit to Rough Point yourself and wave hello to the topiary camels chilling on the front lawn in honour of her own pets: baby and princess.