Friday, February 28, 2014

Project Add Character, Part II: The Living Room

Last November I talked about adding architectural detail to the living room, calling it "Project Add Character", and in January I talked about how confident I felt that it would be my best DIY project to date. Well, folks, the living room is now done, and I couldn't be happier with the results. This really could be my favourite project so far - it looks amazing!!

Last month I revealed the dining room wall which received the same treatment. That wall was my starter project, where I added one large section of trim moulding just to get a feel for the method and level of difficulty. If you're looking for the step by step DIY tutorial, click on the "Adding Character With Wall Moulding" link in the right sidebar of Cherish Toronto. The living room wall is a serious transformation. What do you think?

Here is the "Before" shot:

And here is the "After":

Since I had to work around the air vents & sprinkler I chose to place the mouldings 12" from the ceiling and left the same amount of space at the bottom for balance. I used the same placement on the dining room wall so that both spaces are at a consistent level. I want to add crown moulding eventually, but I've heard that installation can be tricky so I may just leave that to the professionals. Currently up for debate is whether or not to return the paintings to this wall, and exactly where to place them. I can't decide if I like the idea of both of them stacked vertically within the frame to the left of the television. I'm looking for second opinions on this one.

Of course there are a few things I dislike, but which I cannot change - one being the white sprinkler head poking out at the top of the wall (never paint the sprinklers), and the other being the ugly white thermostat on the right. I tried switching it out for a NEST thermostat, but my HVAC wiring wasn't compatible with that system. Boo :( Maybe this Honeywell will work.


You may have noticed that I switched out the lever door handle leading into the master bedroom for a beautiful diamond crystal knob from Emtek hardware. Shout out to my buddy Frank for getting me wholesale pricing ;) It's all in the details, like the way the brass finish of the rosette picks up on the gold leaf detail on the moulding.

The hardest part of this whole project was painting the wall and trim - first coat on Saturday, second coat on Sunday (thank goodness it only needed 2 coats). I must have been up and down the ladder 237 times getting into every nook and cranny from the door trim to the vent cover to the baseboards. I love the look of painting everything out in one colour - it adds even more height to the 9 foot ceilings and reminds me of Parisian apartments.

Since this is an open concept space, I'm happy with the way the living room & dining room relate to each other with the same treatment on both walls. Now I'm struggling with how to create flow through to the kitchen and study nook beyond. It's always something, isn't it?

*Thank you to Para Paints for supplying the paint for this project. The wall colour is Marine Bay, P5156-75, in an eggshell finish.
**Thank you to Home Depot Canada for supplying the Ryobi cordless brad nailer for this project. I'm pretty sure it would have take a lot longer without this fabulous tool.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Catch Spring Fever at Indigo

Back in January I attended Indigo's Spring 2014 preview. That day was crazy cold and I was bundled up against the elements as I hustled along King Street to my destination. At the time I wasn't sure if spring would ever return. Finally the weather seems to have broken - we hit 5 degrees yesterday, and today's forecast is for rain, not snow. Can I get a 'Hallelujah'?

I didn't want to tease y'all by posting these photos too early, but now that winter's end is in sight I think it's okay to start dreaming about warmer days ahead. Some items you see here are already available online and in store, and others will be arriving through March. The vignette below really sets the tone for the upcoming season; a palette of fresh blue & white is spring perfection.

Indigo has the BEST assortment of mugs with fun sayings like "Wake up & be Awesome!", "All You Need is Tea & Warm Socks" and my personal favourite, "Paris is Always a Good Idea".

These glass vessels set the tone for a relaxed gathering, each one labelled with an elegant script for water, white or red. They bring to mind a casual outdoor dinner with family and friends.

There is so much fabulous in the next photo. Lemonade on tap! Iced tea mix! Mason jars as drinking vessels and cocktail shakers! This table is here for a good time, not a long time ;)


Aren't these colourful porcelain vases lovely? I'm loving the ombre treatment, and I like that these containers are being used in a variety of creative ways for display and storage. Think outside the vase!

The soft colour palette doesn't stop on the table top, it carries into the living room with these painterly feminine floral fabrics on pillows. Toss 'em here & there for little hits of spring.

Tiffany blue, soothing lavender & pastel pink, now that's a colour scheme I can fall in love with. Add a metallic gold accent and I'm all yours. Watches & wallets & totes, oh my!!


I can't wait to catch spring fever at's been a long, cold winter!!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Dragon DIY

I trust that many of you had a lovely Family Day or Presidents Day holiday - depending on where you reside, of course. I spent a fun weekend with my Mom - we watched Olympics, caught The Monuments Men at the theatre, did some shopping, ate some good meals and worked on a DIY project. Because what's a long weekend without a little DIY?

^ Before & After ^

I found a pair of vintage 1980's (is that really considered vintage?) stools for the kitchen island at Around the Block just over a month ago, and the makeover is halfway complete. This past weekend I took the old seat covers off and used them as a pattern to cut the new fabric. I fell hard for Dwell Studio's new Ming Dragon fabric when I saw it on Tonic Living's Instagram feed last October; it's the perfect match to other elements in my open concept kitchen/dining/living area.

I even managed to match the patterns!!

My first time making piping was surprisingly quick & painless :)

Now I'm a bit stuck on what colour to paint the rattan part of the stools. White: too stark? Navy: too much? Gold: too bright? Brown: too boring? Cream: too wishy washy? Any ideas out there...?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Fab New Website: Tiger Flower Studio

When I started blogging in 2009, the blogging community was rather small. Now, 5 years later, many, many people write blogs about various interests such as decor, fashion, food, travel...the list is lengthy. Some write, some read, most do both. With so many special interest blogs out there, companies have turned to bloggers to spread the word about their products & services. I have personally worked with Para Paints, The Home Depot, Masco Canada, Style at Home, Chapters Indigo and West Elm, among others. These are all companies that I'm happy to endorse because I like their products and I appreciate the support they have shown for the blogging community.

The companies I mentioned above are some of my personal favourites, but I receive emails on a daily basis from various PR firms asking me to take a look at this or that (some of the more popular bloggers must get absolutely inundated with messages). I read everything that comes through my inbox, but I only follow up with the companies which I find truly interesting. And so I arrive at my point: Tiger Flower Studio. Wowza!!

 ^ The Blue and White Pavilion by Harrison Howard via Tiger Flower Studio

I received an email earlier this week introducing me to Tiger Flower Studio: a new website which offers "limited edition prints from artists who otherwise work in design, textile and fashion fields". There is so much goodness here!! There are currently five Artists in Design featured on the site: Caitlin McGauley, Gladys Perint Palmer, Kazumi Yoshida, Mita Corsini Bland and Harrison Howard. Those of you who know how much I love chinoiserie will understand why I would totally crush on the work of Harrison Howard. The above print ^ is my last minute Valentine's Day gift request. Check out my other favourites below:

 ^ Red Coat by Caitlin McGauley via Tiger Flower Studio

^ La Belle et La Bete by Kazumi Yoshida via Tiger Flower Studio

^ Brooke Astor's Library by Mita Corsini Bland via Tiger Flower Studio

 ^ Divine Christian Lacroix by Gladys Perint Palmer via Tiger Flower Studio

This select group of talented artists will no doubt be joined by others as Tiger Flower Studio's popularity grows. This website promises to be an amazing source for unique and affordable artwork. I hope you're as excited by this introduction as much as I am. Enjoy!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Yellow & Navy

I can't stop thinking about the combination of yellow & navy. As a matter of fact, I chose yellow tulips this weekend just because I knew they'd look fabulous with the navy blue dining room wall as a backdrop. Love!!

Instagram photo above taken by me :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What's Brewing for February...

Today I just thought I'd wrangle together a few thoughts about what projects are currently in the works. Hot on the heels of adding character to the dining room wall, I've been trimming out the main wall in the living room. As a matter of fact the wall is ready for paint and I'm currently trying to psyche myself up for that final step. If all goes well, this project will be completed by the end of the weekend. Stay tuned...

Last week I talked about my latest Kijiji score (a fabulous 1970's chrome dining set) and soon I'll be on the hunt for a few yards of golden/saffron/mustard yellow velvet to recover the chair seats & backs. I'm thinking this is just about the perfect shade:

Above image via.

There is one more project in the works too. A few weeks ago I found this pair of stools for the breakfast bar at Around the Block consignment shop:

^^They're interesting...right? I've been looking for a pair of stools for quite some time, with a strict criteria - the "right pair" needed to have backs for good posture & comfort, they needed to be counter height (not bar height) and they needed to be in my (low) price range. Et Voila! These babies met the criteria, although I know they'll require a little nip & tuck to update them.

I'm considering a fresh coat of white paint paired with this Dwell Studio 'Ming Dragon' fabric from Tonic Living:

Only three projects on the go right now!! And just when I thought I was getting close to the finish line.

Is it ever really done?