Wednesday, September 3, 2014

21 Weeks

It's been awhile, eh? To be precise, it has been 21 weeks since my last post (a purely unintentional hiatus). In the spirit of going back to school after summer holidays, today I'm back to blogging. You haven't missed much - I spent a busy summer doing my thing at work, and it's time to start dialing things back to a regular 40 hour week.

The first thing I want to show off is the gorgeous teak tray pictured above, a very recent thrift find. The tray was created by the prolific designer Jens Quistgaard for Dansk, probably during the early 1960's. The fab find was promptly dusted, oiled and displayed on my dining room sideboard. Check out those curves, what a beauty!!


Photos by Pamela Graham for Cherish Toronto.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring is Here... Summer Looms Ahead

With each spring, we welcome the warm weather and embrace the chance to shed a few layers and soak up the sunshine. For me, spring heralds the calm before the storm: summer. This is the time of year when my "real job" workload increases and blog posts decrease. Very soon my boss and I will be off to Los Angeles for the first buying trip of the season, and if all goes well, we'll do it again in July.

In summers past, blog posts have been few & far between because to be honest, I just didn't have the time or inclination to work on home projects. By the same token, my job becomes my creative outlet and this year I'm hoping to share more of my work here. It's hard to describe what I do for a living, because it's so multifaceted. I work in the clothing industry for a small business, and I do whatever is needed. My duties include selling to both retail & wholesale clients, preparing invoices, accepting incoming merchandise, packing outgoing shipments, tagging & pricing new goods, organizing the warehouse and keeping the office clean. And that's just the tip of the iceberg! My favourite "duties" include buying trips, store merchandising and visual display, where I can be more creative. We buy from many sources, and throughout the process I'm thinking about how the clothes & accessories will look together in the store.



Last year I started bringing items from home to use as props. Did you notice the champagne bucket holding quilted purses and the faux bois tray full of bracelets? This past weekend I hit up a few local thrift stores to pick up some interesting store props. I hope that this summer I'll have the opportunity to share some of my fun display ideas with you.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pink & Gold Dreams at The Grand Budapest Hotel

It is very possible that Wes Anderson, director & producer of The Grand Budapest Hotel, has dreams in shades of pink laced with accents of metallic gold. If true, the hotel's decor is the very manifestation of those dreams. I could spend the rest of my days at The Grand Budapest, if only it were a real place...

The movie was just released in North America last week, and I cashed in some Air Miles to see it. Like most West Anderson films, it's kinda strange & kinda quirky, but an absolute visual feast for the eyes. The funicular! The lobby! The baths! And you must see the red lacquered elevator! Highly recommended!!


Photos above via The Grand Budapest Hotel Facebook page.

Find out more about how The Grand Budapest Hotel came to life:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Easy DIY: Tassel Garland

Tassel garlands have been all over Pinterest for quite awhile, but I just hopped on the bandwagon this weekend. I was thinking that one of these garlands would make a great backdrop for a store display. I watched this YouTube video to figure out what I would need and how to make it (note: if you're reading this via email or on a reader, the video won't pop up, please visit the Cherish Toronto main page):

The hardest thing to find for this project were twist ties (most sandwich bags are ziplock). I picked up tissue paper and glue sticks at Target, string at HomeSense, and the other items I had on hand:

At a leisurely pace, it took about 3 hours for my Mom and I to make 20 tassels and string them together. We won't need the garland in the store until May, so for now I've strung the garland up at my office to let the creases fall out of the tissue paper. My boss thought we were having a party!

I love a quick & simple DIY project. What did you get up to this past weekend?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Let's Get Real About the Dollar Bill, Yo

Being a home design blogger has its perks; it's fun sharing DIY projects and room reveals with readers.. But to keep it real, the ongoing desire to add & update has taken its toll on my reserve fund. Thank goodness for companies like The Home Depot and Para Paints who contributed tools and paint for my recent dining room and living room updates. I recently sat down and looked at my financials, and as it turns out, mortgage payments, condo fees, property taxes and insurance are eating into the decorating budget.

Am I the only one feeling the pinch? I read a ton of design blogs, and I've come to the conclusion that at least half of those bloggers have a money tree growing in the backyard. Why doesn't anyone ever talk about how much it costs to put a room together? Am I missing something? Is everyone else rich?

These are the straight up facts: I'm a single gal with an average income. I own a 2 bedroom condo in a good location in Toronto's west end. I drive a tiny Honda. I get my hair cut twice a year. I buy whichever shampoo is on sale. I don't wear makeup. I rarely purchase new clothes or shoes. I haven't bought a new purse (my addiction!) in almost a year. I don't drink alcohol. I don't smoke. I don't eat at fancy restaurants. My last vacation was in the fall of 2012. All that being said, when I finally decide to splurge on something, it's with much consideration and thought.

Here's how I've been maintaining appearances up to this point: Kijiji, thrift stores, estate sales, and friends in the business. It's the bargains that allow me to indulge on rare occasions.  I can count on one hand the number of splurge "investments" I've made since moving into the new condo in late 2012. Here's my high ticket roundup:
  • Splurge Item #1 Vintage Persian Rug, Living Room: At just under $1000 it was a splurge in my book, but the dealer's price was more than fair for this one of a kind, hand knotted 7' x 10' wool rug. I spent a full year searching before I invested in 'The One':

  • Splurge Item #2 Upholstered Bed, Master Bedroom: I wanted this bed for soooo long that it was finally time to treat myself to the bed of my dreams (pun intended). The tufted Decor-Rest model with nailhead detail rang up at about $1700, but it will be with me forever.

    • Splurge Item #3 Custom Drapes, Master & Guest Bedrooms: I tried my best to save some money here, but finding hardware and curtains to fit the 9 foot ceilings wasn't something I could do on the cheap. I wanted drapes in a creamy neutral fabric, with a heavy lining to block early morning light and add weight, plus an inverted pleat was a must. The drapes for both rooms were custom made through a friend at Parallele Interiors, and they set me back about $2500.
    • Splurge Item #4 Crystal Doorknobs, Throughout: I hated the generic lever door handles that came with the condo, so eventually I replaced all of the interior handles with Diamond Crystal knobs from Emtek. It started with two knobs found at the Elte warehouse sale. The third I purchased at Ginger's using a gift card won on Vanessa's blog. The final four knobs were purchased wholesale through a friend in the business. All in all I spent about 450 bucks making the swap, which technically makes these crystal beauties both a save and a splurge.

    With the exception of the few items listed above, almost all other significant home decor purchases were made with a strict budget in mind. Remember, it's the bargains that make those splurges possible. Please indulge me while I revisit some of my favourite finds.
    • Bargain Item #1: Campaign Storage & TV Unit, Living Room: With a few coats of paint and a poly topcoat, this $100 Value Village score became the focal point of my living room. Best bargain score ever!
      •  Bargain Item #2 Faux Bamboo Bedside Tables, Guest Room:  Discovering a pair of Thomasville side tables on Kijiji was an awesome New Year's Eve find. Just $100? Yes please, and thank you!! They are the pride & joy of my guest bedroom. Side note: the pair of vintage lily lamps in the guest bedroom were also a bargain, found at an antique shop for about 60 dollars.
        • Bargain Item #3: Vintage Table & Chairs, Dining Room: After searching for the perfect round glass & chrome table for more than a year, this dining set popped up on Kijiji this past January. I paid $150, and at the end of the day I came out ahead after selling my previous dining table and chairs.
        • Bargain Item #4: Glass Chandelier, Dining Room. There aren't too many things that get me out of bed at 6 am on a weekend, with the exception of a juicy Saturday morning estate sale. If you really want a specific item, it's best to line up at least an hour before the sale opens. This gorgeous chandy was worth the early rise - a steal at $325.
        • Bargain #5: Faux Bamboo Desk Chair, Study. It's been more than two years since I found a set of 3 bamboo chairs on Kijiji. Since I only needed one of the chairs, my friend Tim scored the other two. (You must check out Tim's set, he had them sprayed black and upholstered in navy blue ostrich). My bargain price? 60 bucks.

        Having a strict budget means finding cheap labour, and I can't beat my own rate of zero dollars per hour. Over the last few years I've taken on quite a few DIY projects - I've painted walls and furniture, installed mouldings, sewn my own pillow shams & accent cushions and recovered chair seats. It feels good to be able to say "I did that", with the added bonus of knowing that I saved a few bucks at the same time.


        So tell me, how do you keep it all in balance? How do you manage the budget while creating a home that you love? Where do you splurge & save? Do you have a money tree?