Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Fun Stuff

Many of the basics at the new condo are complete - the furniture is in place, the closet is organized, and the artwork is hung. Now it's time for the fun stuff; the finishing touches, if you will. Once the drywall repairs are done (hurry up already, Edilcan!) the painting can get underway and the wallpaper can go up in the guest bedroom. Until then, I've been working on the little things, like these pillows I had made for the master bedroom (thanks to Tim for setting me up with a talented seamstress).



Sunday, January 27, 2013

New Year, New Thoughts

The New Year always brings with it a sense of renewal, and I always feel the need to make a change of some sort. As I look back through this blog, I can see a pattern of January rejuvenation:

January 2009:  On January 9th, Cherish Toronto was introduced.
January 2010:  Goals were set for the year 1,2,3,4,5 (all of which were eventually accomplished) and I had a quick getaway to NYC.
January 2011:  My living room got a quick & colourful makeover with a fresh coat of Flamingo's Dream.
January 2012:  Bedside tables were found and plans were coming together for guest room decor in the new condo.
January 2013:  Crickets...

So far this year I've been feeling rather uninspired. That's not to say that things aren't happening - in fact I've tackled a few projects (closet organization and an art wall), but I'm not excited about anything new. I'm having a hard time putting my finger on the problem, but I think it might be this:

 Inspirational quote via Girl Hearts Camera

The blogging community here in Toronto is made up of some very, very, very talented people, many of whom I consider "blogger friends", and I often make the mistake of comparing my efforts to theirs. Big mistake. Big. Huge! Many of these bloggers have either been a guest on CityLine, appeared on Steven & Chris, or have been featured in Style at Home magazine. Is it weird to be super happy for all of these amazing bloggers, while at the same time being just a little bit jealous? They make we want to step up my game, and I'm struggling to get there, but I often feel that what they're doing is soooo much better than what I'm doing. I mean, look at what these bloggers have up to over the past year:

Christine Dovey of Bijou and Boheme
Christine set the tone for her entire home with Project Kitchen Gorgeous:

Image via Bijou and Boheme

Jennifer Flores of Rambling Renovators
Jennifer and her husband Sean have mastered the skills of home renovation:

 Image via Rambling Renovators 
Vanessa Francis of Decor Happy
Vanessa is an interior designer by trade and her home reflects her talent:

Image via Decor Happy

Sarah Gunn of Sarah Gunn Style
Sarah is the Queen of DIY and is a regular Cityline Guest Expert:

Image via Sarah Gunn Style 

Tim Lam of Design Maze
Tim always puts together beautiful rooms:

Image via Style at Home

Lisa Mackay of Wicked & Weird
Lisa has created a comfortable home for her young family:
  Image via Wicked & Weird

Lindsay Stephenson of Little House Blog
Lindsay and hubby Aubrey recently finished a kitchen renovation:


 So what are my thoughts for the year ahead? I think that it's an honour to be acquainted with such an incredibly talented group of bloggers who delight their readers by chronicling their DIY, design and renovation projects online. In 2013, I hope to by INSPIRED by them, and yet CONFIDENT enough in my abilities to find joy in my own home.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Why You Should Be At IDS Right Now

The Interior Design Show is on this weekend, January 26th & 27th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Front Street West. The show is sure to inspire you to get creative in your home this year!!

Clockwise from top left: Fun with balloons at the IDS entrance, industrial felt clocks from The Felt Store, pencil crayon wall from blackLAB Architects, a rainbow of paint colours at Farrow & Ball.

Clockwise from top left: Chic vignette at Cocoon Furnishings, modern traditional furnishings at Pearson, another gorgeous vignette at Cocoon, bath time at the Ikea installation.

From top left: Custom bird cage lamp at Eclectic Revival, a plethora of pendants at Ikea's kitchen installation, organic frosted glass sphere pendants at AM Studio, stunning custom twig chandelier at Living Lighting on King.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Art Wall

On January 15th, 2012, I posted about my plan to create a gallery wall at the end of the front entry hall in the new condo. Just one year later, it was time to get the art out of the closet and up onto the wall as planned. This was the original idea for layout:

A few of the pieces were placed elsewhere, and I added in a mirror for variety, but the art wall turned out pretty much the way I'd imagined it. I tried to keep it "organic" so that I can eventually add more pieces to the mix. Also, once the wall has been painted (I'm still thinking about an inky blue), I think it will add more depth to the art and photos.

There was a bit of planning involved to get the arrangement right before hammering multiple holes into the wall. Using brown kraft paper, I cut a piece to the size of the wall and laid the artwork out on the ground until I was happy with the placement. Then I traced around each piece and marked where the hangers would go. I taped the kraft paper back up on the wall and followed the markings. It was easy-peasy!

Hope you had a great weekend!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Just Launched: Jeff Lewis Colour/Color

Designer and star of the HGTV series Flipping Out, Jeff Lewis has just launched his own palette of 32 paint colours. The spectrum is comprised of neutrals, touching on greens, greys, blues, beiges and browns. Currently available in a limited release to stores in the southwestern United States, I have a feeling this is the beginning of something big. It's so hard to get just the right shade of a neutral and Jeff's palette consists of so many good looking choices!!

Here are some of my personal faves from the online gallery:


Dirty Martini



All photos via, and visit the website for more information.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Weekend Organization: PAX Wardrobes

For the past 6 weeks I've been living out of suitcases in my own home. As a Virgo, this has been driving me craaaazy!! The builder's "step in" closet organization system was comprised of a single wire shelf with hanging below - such an ineffective use of vertical space. Since the room is tight on space (10'5" x 11'11"), I needed to get everything into this one closet.

Exhibit A:  Before

When I found out that the Ikea bedroom event (15% back in Ikea gift cards) started last Monday, I printed my shopping list, jumped into the work van, grabbed a friend and headed straight to aisle 17 at Ikea's Vaughan location. Take heed people - do not attempt this alone, these boxes are H-eavy!!

Time to start my weekend project:  Closet Beautification. The first step was to remove the existing shelving which literally had to be torn out of the walls - that meant spending Friday night with a putty knife and a bucket of drywall compound. Saturday morning arrived, the patches were dry and after a touch of sanding it was time to paint. I used Para Paints* Dusk (SR39), another colour from Sarah Richardson's Designer Palette, and it covered really well in just ONE coat - bonus!! Next up, I assembled the wardrobes and managed to squeeze the boxes through the door frame and into position, although not without a lot of sweating, a touch of swearing, a moment of crying and finally a huge sigh of relief.

The rest was a breeze - assemble the drawers and insert them into the wardrobe boxes along with the shelves and bars. The most time consuming part was figuring out how to get all of my purses to fit. What a pleasure to be able to open the closet door and see this. It was a weekend of time well spent :-)

*A big "Thank You" to Para Paints for supplying the paint for this closet project. I was beyond happy that it went on so well in a single coat, it certainly made the job much easier and quicker!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Vintage Persian Rug: Process of Finding "The One"

For me, the great debate of 2012 had nothing to do with politics. Instead it was all about choosing the right rug for the living room in the new space, and it was the subject of many, many posts throughout the year. In the old condo the living room had broadloom so a rug wasn't required, but with laminate floors the new place would definitely require the warmth of some texture on the floor. Also, with an open concept living and dining area, the addition of a rug would also help to separate the two spaces.

The hunt for the one began almost a year before the eventual move in. I attended auctions and estate sales, visited consignment shops and endlessly scoured listings on ebay, Etsy, Kijiji and Craiglist. The breakthrough moment was when fellow bloggers Christine of Bijou & Boheme and Vanessa of Decor Happy tweeted about finding an antique rug dealer at Toronto's St. Lawrence Sunday Antique Market. Meeting Amedeo was the Best. Thing. Ever. He let me take several rugs "on approval", and I ended up trying SIX before finding the perfect one. Don't believe me? Here's proof:

My VW Beetle with four 6'x9' Persian rugs piled into the back seat:

Thanks again to everyone who cast a vote when I needed opinions about which of these three initial choices was the best. In the end, Rug #1 (left) came out as the winner, Rug #3 (right) was first runner up and Rug #2 (center) came in dead last behind Rug #4 (nonexistent, still to be determined).

I also really liked the first rug, but there was something about it that wasn't quite right for me - I think that the colours were a bit too bright (I may have used the word "circus" to describe the colour scheme). After so many tries, I was getting discouraged, but when I unfurled rug #6 I immediately thought to myself, "This my rug. This is the one." The size was just right (6'8" x 10'6"), the colours were bright but subtle. Perfection at last. Here it is in the test space at the old condo:


When the sun is shining the colours are vibrant and cheerful, while in the evenings the hues become soft and warm. I love that this rug has some personality - note the bunny and the bird woven into the pattern. Practically speaking, as an investment, I'm in this for the long haul.  A hand knotted Persian won't wear out in my lifetime, and the variety of colours provide a limitless palette to work with if when I decide to change things up.


I'll miss those auctions, estate sales, and endless hours of trolling through shops. What will I do with all my spare time? Ummm... maybe get the master closet organized, paint the bedrooms, hang some artwork. Okay, no worries, lots to keep me busy!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Toronto: City of Gold?

I love being home just as the setting sun hits downtown Toronto (this photo was taken at 4:49pm, January 1st, 2013), turning the buildings into glittering towers of gold.

PS - I'm so excited that I FINALLY figured out how to put larger pictures on the blog, which allows me to show you amazing photos like this one. Yay!!

Photo by Pamela Graham for Cherish Toronto.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Holiday Catch Up

I'll call this a New Year's Day catch up for the past few weeks. I don't know how people with kids manage to get everything done during the holiday season - I have a hard time with zero children. Normally I host Thanksgiving at my place and we go to my Mom's for Christmas, but since this year I was packing up the old condo in October, we decided to do a switcheroo for the holidays. By the time Christmas Day rolled around the cards and gifts were sent, the turkey was in the freezer and the house was decorated, all just in the nick of time!!

Since apparently my new motto is wait 'til the last minute, that's exactly what I did this year, breaking out the Christmas decor on the 16th. The tree didn't see the light of day until the 22nd, but that was mainly because I wanted to decorate it together with my Mom, who arrived in Toronto the Saturday before Christmas.

I added very few new pieces to the decor this year, since I love what I already have - my favourites are the acrylic reindeer (above) who graced the dining table. The only new additions were the white lacy chargers from Ikea, which also worked nicely as part of the centerpiece.

Our holiday was spread out over two days - since my sister and brother in law spend Christmas Day with his family, the Graham gift exchange and dinner was held on Boxing Day.  Everything turned out wonderfully, from the delicious turkey to my favourite sweet potatoes. Deelish! Sorry, there are no food photos, we just wanted to eat!!

I had fun mixing gold and silver at the dinner table - from the thrifted candlesticks and water glasses to the gold West Elm spoons mixed with everyday flatware. Simple linen napkins with snowflake magnets upped the fancy factor. And a good time was had by all :-)

Now the new year has arrived and it's time to start packing away the ornaments and the reindeer :-( No worries, there are lots of things to look forward to in 2013 - starting with a few "reveals" in the upcoming weeks. See you back here soon!!

Happy New Year

Since I wasn't feeling too hot, this may not have been the funnest New Year's Eve on record for me, but I enjoyed an evening of napping on the couch. Good times!! It was cool to be able to watch the fireworks at Nathan Phillips Square simultaneously on the television and out the window :-)

Wishing you all the best in 2013!!