Thursday, November 27, 2014


Last night I attended such a fun event hosted by Delta Faucet and designer/stylist/person Tiffany Pratt. A bunch of bloggers got together to have fun and make a #HappiMess - what a great idea!! We spent a few hours getting our creativity on with a blank canvas clutch, painting up a storm and letting the glitter fly. There were so many awesome ideas (that's my creation up there^^). Sometimes it feels good to let your inner artist out.

Mega Bonus: I got to take home one of the oh-so-gorgeous floral centerpieces created by bloom stylist
Becky De Oliveira of Blush & Bloom. Isn't that just the best?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fantasy Christmas List

Why oh why do I have such expensive excellent taste? I recently set out on the internet, hoping to come up with my 2014 Christmas Wish List. Things quickly escalated over the top as I delved into large $$ territory. I'm calling this my fantasy wish list:

1.Osborne & Little's Cathay Parade Wallpaper designed by Nina Campbell.
3. Panasonic Viera 42" Smart TV
4.Reed Krakoff Boxer Handbag in Natural & Black.
5. All expenses paid vacation to London, England + a quick jaunt to Paris.

So who's got my name this year?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Guest Blogging at Krrb

Today I'm blogging over at Krrb (pronounced 'curb'). If you take a look, the post reveals a few extra details about how I put together the young lady's bedroom featured in my recent reveal, #ProjectA. There are some great Before & After photos of the furniture I used in the room, where I tracked it all down and how I pulled everything together to create a room my client loves.

Follow the highlighted link to read today's post, Thrill of the Hunt: Toronto Edition
 Above Image via Krrb

Thanks to Krrb for the opportunity to be a guest blogger!! When you visit their site, take a look around and check out the online classifieds, it's a great place to buy & sell secondhand and vintage goods in your area.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Best Sellers with Style

If there's one thing I love, it's decor & design books. They're not only full of pretty pictures, but they offer great tips and inspiration which will get you excited about your home decor.

My Collection:

Last week I added two new editions to my burgeoning library, Sarah Richardson's Sarah Style and Erin Gates' Elements of Style. Are you sensing a stylish theme here? We've seen Sarah's work over the years on her show Design Inc. and the HGTV series Sarah's House, but it's such a treat to have all of those spaces (and more!) compiled in one volume. Erin's book also features her own design work, most of the featured spaces have never been seen before and all of them are gorgeous. (I wanted to jump up off the couch and rearrange my front entry when I hit page eighteen.) If you aren't familiar with Erin Gates, you should take a few minutes to check out her blog, Elements of Style.

If you are starting to think about the upcoming holidays, I highly recommend that you add both of these books to your wish list!!

Photos by moi via Instagram.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Art Appreciation

Now that summer has passed, and #ProjectA has wrapped, I finally have some spare time to catch up a few things I've been putting off around the condo. Two weekends ago I recovered the dining room chairs in a golden yellow velvet. This past weekend I was onto a new project: art for the master bedroom. I've been in this condo 23 months, and the walls of the master were bare until this past Sunday.

As most of you know, since I mention it frequently, budget is a consideration when I make decor choices. In this instance I splurged a little bit up front, and saved on the other end. Here's the story: I follow designer Christian Siriano on Twitter, and he quite often tweets a "sketch of the day". One day I followed the accompanying link down the rabbit hole, where I discovered "Violet Flowing", a limited edition Christian Siriano sketch. As art goes, $35 unsigned is quite affordable (signed prints are $89), and I knew the sketch would be perfect to hang by my bedside table, so I placed an order.

I'm sure it goes without saying that the 8" x 10" sketch print arrived unframed, so the next step was to find an affordable frame that would enhance the art and suit my bedroom decor. Basically, it had to be a gold frame. I looked at Michael's and Ikea, but it was slim pickin'. I thought I might have better luck at the thrift store, and I was right - I picked up a frame for the sketch at Goodwill and added a new pre-cut mat from Michael's. All in, the framing for this piece set me back $8.72.

The only catch was that while searching for a frame at the Goodwill, I fell for another piece of art, an abstract with lots purple and mauve and swirls of gold. I paired the $6 newly discovered masterpiece with a $10 frame and now it resides above the opposite bedside table.

What I find most interesting is how different these two pieces are, and yet I find beauty in both of them. Where will you find your next piece of art?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

On Time & Under Budget

Whaaaaaaaaaat? That's right, I just wrapped up a bedroom installation for a young lady (#ProjectA), and managed to come in on time and under budget. I gotta tell you, I love this room and I may just move in when it becomes a guest room in a few years. It's an incredible transformation, and my clients are super happy with the results. We achieved so much in just under 7 weeks, considering we changed everything from the chandelier to the broadloom.

Don't believe me? Check out the "Before" just before painting started:

I took this project on with a tight timeline of about 6 weeks, and the budget was tight as well. We wanted to hit a target of between $2400 ~ $2900, and I knew we could do it, but only with some thrifting luck and a lot of DIY projects. The first purchase was the 9 drawer dresser which I found at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. Although I wasn't convinced that the $55 price tag was a good deal, I made a quick decision to bite when they offered it to me for $29.99. The piece truly came to life after three coats of Para's* Whitewash White. The gold framed mirror above the dresser was a Kijiji score, and it's such a beauty, isn't it? I didn't have to change a thing!

Our original idea for the feature wall behind the bed was to choose a wallpaper, but we were having trouble finding a pattern that everyone could agree on. In the end, we took inspiration from a photo that my client had pinned on Pinterest and opted for an Indian Paisley Damask stencil. We painted the accent wall in Para's Exclusive Shopping, the other three walls in Trendsetting Style and stenciled the pattern in Whitewash White. This was my first time working with a stencil, and I was super nervous to tackle the task, but after figuring out the placement of the pattern it was actually quite easy.

I'm sure you've all been ogling that gorgeous, glowing chandelier up there^^^. It could be a vintage Murano leaf chandelier, but there's no way to know for sure without the papers to prove it. Regardless, it's my favourite piece in the room, and it may just be the best Kijiji find of all eternity.

The pair of bedside tables were another great score, and we lucked out at the online auction website, MaxSold. I bid on these tables based on the drawer hardware alone. Little brass pagodas? Yes, please! These bedsides also received three coats of Whitewash White to unify the look.

I finished off the room with lamps and accessories from HomeSense, bedding from Target, and added a punch of colour with pillows sewn by moi. I am so, so happy with the way the space came together, and I am even happier that my client loves her new bedroom. Mission accomplished!!

Photos by Aliya Amarsi, A Photography.

Design & Styling by Pamela Graham, Cherish Interior Design 

*Many thanks to Para Paints who supplied all of the paint for this project.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Prest-O Change-O Grey to Gold

In my house, procrastination knows no bounds! Shortly after New Years, I found a dining set on Kijiji and posted about it here on January 31st. At the very end of that post, I wrote the following:

"The chairs will need to be recovered in a new fabric,
and I'm obsessed with the idea of using a deep yellow velvet.
Can you picture it?" 

Fast Slow forward to March 1st, when I purchased 3 yards of fabric for this little project (keeping receipts helps to keep track of spending and project timelines), spending a lavish $36.36. Then life happened, and I tucked that bolt of fabric into a corner for more than 7 months before rolling it out in preparation for cutting. I removed the existing covers from the best fitting seat and chair back to use as pattern pieces to cut the new fabric.

There was some sewing and some stapling involved in this project, but I won't go into too many details, it's fairly straight forward. The trickiest part was avoiding wrinkles in the fabric while stapling and I didn't do a great job of that, but oh well. Despite the telltale DIY signs, I'm happy with the fresh new look:

I love the contrast of golden yellow against navy blue. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Not Exactly Quick, But We're Making Progress...

So according to my previous post, things were moving along quickly, and that is still true for the most part. Ninety percent of the key pieces for this bedroom makeover have been sourced, orders have been placed and furniture has been picked up. I'm still stuck on finding the ceiling light fixture and mirror, but other than that, we're chugging along.

The sloooowest part of the process has been the "elbow grease" pieces. The thrifted dresser ($29.99!) underwent a makeover, and since I could only work on it intermittently, it took about 10 days from start to finish. Sand, prime, dry, sand, prime, dry, sand, paint, dry, sand, paint, dry, sand, paint, get the picture.

Done at last!! Updated from scratched & dented 1960's veneer to a crisp, modern white (Para Paints Whitewash White, 2089-00):

Without missing a beat, I'm onto the next project. I submitted a max bid of $100 through an online estate auction, and the hammer came down at 95 bucks for this pair of bedside tables. I was completely sold when I saw the hardware. The drawers were a bit sticky, but some candle wax easily along the runners quickly sorted that out. After a good wipe down, it will be time to get back to sanding, priming & painting. Good times!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Quick Change

Change is good, especially if you're like me, looking for a creative outlet. Now that I have time to focus on design and this blog, I'm working with a family to update a young lady's bedroom. This is one of the first times I've taken on a project from square one, and the deadline is mid-October, so needless to say, the ball is already rolling!!

As it turns out, all those magazine tear sheets I've been saving for years came in handy for inspiration (I find Pinterest to be overwhelming). After a browse through bedroom inspiration photos, it became clear that this young lady has a penchant for soft greys and crisp whites, with a hint of gold for sparkle, and perhaps a dash of chartreuse. Here is the room inspiration:

We've already chosen a soft grey tufted linen headboard with brass tacks, selected paint colours, ordered a stencil for the feature wall and picked up a thrifted dresser (currently undergoing a makeover). The light fixture has been elusive so far, but I have an auction bid in on an amazing pair of bedside tables (check out the brass pagoda hardware). This room is coming together fast & furious (& fabulous)!!

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?