Category Archives: Eye Candy

What’s in Your Closet?

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Skeletons? Probably not. But if you’re like me and have a bit of clutter phobia there may be some treasures that you have hidden away behind closed doors. For me this looks like wooden sculptures from my husband’s and my separate trips to Africa and trinkets inherited from beloved family members.

I was recently reading an article in a design magazine where the designers were complaining that when they went to a house to take pictures they always had to go through people’s cupboards to draw out personal items to add flavor to the home’s design. Looking around my own home, I see that my clutter phobia has left few personal touches in the space. Unless you count copious amounts of hot wheels and play mobile as a personal touch.

The recent removal of my Christmas tree from the corner of my living room seems to have left a giant decorative gap. I had decided on what I thought was the perfect unit to display some of my “hidden treasures” but it ended up overwhelming the space, so back to the store it will go. Until I find that “perfect” unit for this corner, I have decided to take up some of the space on the playroom bookcase to display a few treasures. I’m much happier with the overall styling of the  bookcase now that I have shuffled things around to include these items (and as you can see, I finally found some stylish little toys baskets to fit the billy bookcase)

As you can see near the bottom, I finally found some stylish little toys baskets from Walmart.

Top left is a gorgeous engraved jewellery box my sister bought me in India and an alphabet crochet my mom made me when I was a little girl.

The brass apple is a buy from a lovely fellow vendor at the flea market.

The brass apple is a buy from a lovely fellow vendor at the flea market.

My husband brought home this lovely wooden statue from Burkina Faso.

My husband brought home this lovely wooden statue from Burkina Faso.

These keys belong to my husband's recently deceased grandfather who worked in telecommunications during WWII.

These keys belong to my husband’s recently deceased grandfather who worked in telecommunications during WWII.

In my mother’s generation these kinds of treasures were displayed in china cabinets but since my decor style leans more towards modern, I love the idea of using etagères as modern day “china cabinets”. Given the smaller living quarters most of us inhabit these days, the airy openness of these pieces helps to take up less visual space than a traditional china cabinet. The downside: get your dust cloths ready.

I'm a sucker for vintage bamboo etageres painted in bold colours.

I’m a sucker for vintage bamboo etagères painted in bold colours like those framing this couch.

metaletagere

These are great for a more industrial look.

The vittsjo shelving unit from Ikea is sleek and super inexpensive at $50.

The vittsjo shelving unit from Ikea is sleek and super inexpensive at $50. They are easy to customize with spray paint, and if you google these units you’ll find them made over in a variety of gorgeous shades.

I'm a sucker for a good glass and brass/gold etagere and I love the Asian of these two pieces.

I love a good glass and brass/gold etagère, and the Asian influence displayed in the lines of these two pieces is beautiful.

Leaning shelves are another stylish way to display your treasures. Check out Crate and Barrel or the Container Store for some nice options.

Leaning shelves are another stylish way to display your treasures. Check out Crate and Barrel or the Container Store for some nice options.

 

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Sisters, Sisters

(If you’ve ever watched the movie “White Christmas” you will know the tune going through my head when I picked the title of this post.)

I’m one of those lucky people whose best friend happens to be my sister. I can only hope the same for Sofia and Anna when they are older (Anna being not in my belly would also help the situation).

My sister is one of the most extraordinary and talented people I know. We share a passion for beauty, in nature and in design, though my sister veers towards fashion and I towards decor. She lives along with her husband and three young boys in a cute house set in a trendy Vancouver neighbourhood. The owners of the house had, let’s say, “eclectic” taste, and have left many marks of their presence in the home including gecko stencils on the trim (yikes) and random pieces of gorgeous old decor (yay real Persian rug and mid century modern chairs!). My sister has been itching to give their living room a makeover since they moved in and her husband has finally given her the thumbs up.

Today, while our combined five children ran amuck in my house, we stole moments to look at some furniture and paint colours. Now, post bedtime, I’ve been having fun putting together some ideas based on our conversation. Here is my best attempt to show you (and her!) what my mind has been up to.

(note: these are just ideas, fabric and paint swatches etc. would need to be seen in person to assess true compatibility)

A loungy neutral sectional, vintage vogue posters, brilliant blue walls, and funky patterns would make this living room a classy.

A loungy sectional with neutral textured fabric, a gallery wall of vintage vogue posters, brilliant blue walls, and funky fabrics would infuse this eclectic living space with energy to match that of three rambunctious boys.

So sister, what do you say?

(special thanks to my dear husband who guided his technology deficient wife through making my first online idea board).

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Fun and Funky Alternative Christmas Trees

Next Saturday my little family will be bundling up against the (likely rainy) weather and heading to a Christmas tree farm for the second year in a row. This year will be extra fun and crazy as Charlie will be tramping around on his own two feet. However, if I find the creative energy earlier this week, I will be adorning our little playroom  with an alternative Christmas tree of its own.

I had a great time typing random ideas for alternative Christmas trees into Google images and never once failing to find that such a tree has already been created. My favorite, the one I plan on re-creating in mini version for our playroom, is one of the most simple:

papertreecasasugar

I find Christmas decor can be a bit overly colourful at times so I like the idea of holiday decorating with a bit of white. I’m hoping it’s not overly difficult. The instructions can be found here on Pop Sugar. The directions are somewhat lacking so if I make one I’ll try to write out a step by step and post it.

Here are some other alternative Christmas ideas that struck my fancy. Even if crafting isn’t your thing, some of them are quite simple, like the bay leaf tree below.

As simple as spray painting a bunch of bay leafs and gluing them on a cone.

As simple as spray painting a bunch of bay leafs and gluing them on a cone.

I had mixed feelings about this next one but its fun factor won me over.

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Parents of young children will cringe when they see this next alternative but it’s a cool idea for a Bachelor, especially if he happens to have an industrial loft.

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One of my favorite bloggers to read is Kate from Kate’s Creative Space. She is an extraordinary crafter/mother/decorator and I adore how she turned this mannequin into a “Christmas tree” for her kitchen.

kate'sfirladytreeAnother alternative that I could see my children trying to scale but is beautiful none-the-less.

walltree

And at the risk of giving your children the wrong idea about Christmas:

presenttree

So unless you happen to be a master metal worker this next one isn’t exactly a DIY project. You can buy it online here.

metalchrstmastree

One idea I love and could not find a picture of is using painted thrift store china plates to make a wall Christmas tree, not unlike the one made from shelves a couple pictures above. I already have my wall of china (see below) so I won’t be experimenting with this one myself but if anyone happens to come across such a picture please do post it in the comments.

We tried out our "new" dining room on some friends for a dinner party.

Have you come up with any of your own fabulous ideas for alternative Christmas trees? Please do share!

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Breeding Discontent

One of my greatest guilty pleasures (after watching stupid teen shows like “Vampire Diaries”) is looking at real estate. Specifically, I like to look at charming old houses which are outside our financial scope at this time but may be within it in ten years or so. I love to go through the pictures admiring the craftsmanship and planning renovations which enhance the original charm of the homes (what a travesty when over zealous renovators strip these lovelies of their detail!).

Right now I am drooling over this 3 bedroom heritage home in New Westminster’s West End:

English Garden, Sloped roof, front porch. Oh yah.

English Garden, Sloped roof, front porch. *Drool*. Picture via.

And rooms like the following with molding and arches:

heritagekitchen

I look at this room and my mind moves a mile a minute in excitement. I imagine new tile floors, built in banquette seating with gorgeous throw pillows surrounding a round pedestal table, whimsical wallpaper above the wainscoting and a gorgeous light fixture.

All fun and games until I start to indulge these fancies for too long, hence it being a “guilty” pleasure. I start to want the houses, really, really want them. I feel so frustrated that this dream is out of my grasp that discontent starts to grow in my heart. When it gets to this point I have to give myself a mental slap in the face in order to remember how much I already have.

Three years ago we would never have even imagined being able to own a three bedroom townhouse. Not only do we have the space we need for our family but also added pleasures like an en-suite, large closets, nine foot ceilings, and neighbors we adore. There is so much to enjoy and be thankful for in my current circumstances.

And not just in terms of housing. I have two beautiful children who have actually started playing together (between episodes of Sofia pushing Charlie over and him biting her in retaliation), as well as a healthfully growing baby who no longer makes me want to vomit every minute of every day.

Yesterday Sofia and Charlie spent like and hour "reading" together on our dismantled chaise.

Yesterday Sofia and Charlie spent like and hour “reading” together on our dismantled chaise.

I’ll keep these blessings close to my heart and mind as Steve and I enjoy being looky loos at the open house this weekend.

 

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Modern Patchwork Pretty

Patchwork? Modern? It might seem like a clash of words in your mind. Patchwork is more commonly seen and associated with country design like in the cozy living room shown below.

Cute. But not everyone's cup of tea, especially if you live are a city dweller.

Cute. But not everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you are a city dweller. Picture via

Because patchwork by it’s very nature is busy looking it fits well with country design where patterns tend to be a bit fussier. In fact, to call any design involving patchwork “modern” is a bit of a misnomer since modern design should be more minimalistic.  I say this mostly as a disclaimer in case my decor instructor ever reads this and thinks I’ve learned nothing. So let’s just say I’m looking at a more modern take on patchwork.

I essentially love patchwork because I love fabric (hence the name of this site) and with patchwork you get to enjoy a plethora of gorgeous fabrics in one object. It also opens up great options for using up scraps of fabric…which I happen to have left over from my living room pillows, my dining room shade, my chair slip covers…etc. I haven’t been able to find an appropriate table runner for my dining room table and I decided that a combination of these scraps would make a patchwork pretty table topper.

This West Elm pillow convinced me that I could take a more modern approach to patchwork which would suit the considerably not country style of my home.

patchworkpillowestelmI haven’t made the table runner yet. That’s another post for another day but now that I’m in my second trimester I’m beginning to find the energy to get off my butt. My hands are starting to itch and once little Charlie gets over his cold I’m hoping to get to some sewing. For now I just have some gorgeous pictures of how patchwork can be used beautifully in modern interiors.

It would be quite the commitment but wow!

It would be quite the commitment but wow!

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Patchwork isn't limited to fabric.

Patchwork isn’t limited to fabric. Picture via

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There’s a variety of gorgeous patchwork pillows for sale on Etsy like this cutie.

This couch has to be my favorite. I bet it costs a pretty penny.

This couch has to be my favorite. I bet it costs a pretty penny.

 

 

 

 

 

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Useless Sludge and Golden Dreams

When I am in my first trimester of pregnancy I am essentially reduced to a useless pile of nauseated sludge. My housekeeping falls to ruins, my daughter gets to watch lots of TV, and my stomach yearns for little other than french fries , ego waffles, and roast chicken. Point being, that though I have all the necessary fixings to complete my budget friendly makeover of my master bedroom and bathroom, it’s probably not going to happen in the next six weeks.

Instead, while my body rests (as much as possible with two active children), my brain is in overdrive, contemplating different problem solving schemes to make three kids work in two small bedrooms. In terms of decor, it will certainly be simpler if this baby is a girl and can eventually share Sofia’s already girly room with her. If the baby is a a boy I will have some decorating to do since the smaller room is certainly geared toward a little boy.

Right now I am dreaming of a gold, white, and pink bedroom which Sofia can grow into as she transitions into a school-aged child. When I mentioned the idea of her having pink walls her eyes lit up with eagerness. I think there is a lot of potential to go all wrong with a pink bedroom but the pictures that have been inspiring me are all right.

It started with this lovely bedroom decorated by Christine Dovey of Bijou and Boheme:

pinkgoldbedrrom1pinkgoldbedroom2

The stunning gold and white floral white paper is uber classy and the mix of soft pink and hot pink is all girl. But I know I won’t be able to afford wallpaper so….stencils of course:

girlbedroompinkThis room exhibits the same glam use of white and gold but keeps it to one stenciled feature wall. The hits of orange and blue add playfulness and keep it from looking too delicate.

girlbedroomtigerstripesNow I’m not sure about those zebra stripes but I love the way teal looks with soft pink. Adding teal to the pink room would allow me to salvage some of the design elements from Sofia’s current room.

pinkgoldblackroomAdding black to the pink, gold and white colour scheme would be a fantastic way to mature the room once Sofia was older.

pinkbedrrom3This room is a bit fancier than I would go for but I love the shade of pink chosen. Like in the previous pictures the furniture has a vintage/antique appeal which I love. One of the things I prefer about some of the other pictures is that they maintain more of a modernity whereas this last bedroom is starting to get quite traditional.

The pink and gold bedrooms I found became increasingly fru fru after this last picture so I’ll stop at that. Time to get back to my sole feat of the day: making dinner.

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I Heart Jonathan Adler

Today has been a bit of an ugly day. Or rather my children’s behavior has soured the sun shiny beauty of the day. I was feeling the need for a hit of beauty to refresh myself so I went onto Jonathan Adler’s website. Have I ever mentioned before that I adore everything Jonathan Adler? The glamorous quality of his designs feeds my inner girly girl. I love his use of materials: glass, brass, luxurious fabrics.

Ge ready to beat down that covetous nature before you continue because the pictures I’m going to share will make you wish you could afford such splendor (or maybe you can, lucky you!).

My love of Jonathan Adler started with his pottery. These bird bowls are my favorite and actually an "affordable" Christmas present. Hint hint, nudge nudge, Steve.

My love of Jonathan Adler started with his pottery. These bird bowls are my favorite and actually an “affordable” Christmas present. Hint hint, nudge nudge, Steve.

What uniquly beautiful chairs. And that bar cabinet. Check out its innerds in the next picture.

What uniquely beautiful chairs. And that bar cabinet. Check out its innards in the next picture.

Mixing metals. So pretty. And that blue! What an unexpected surprise.

Mixing metals. So pretty. And that blue! What an unexpected surprise.

Light and sculpture in one piece.

Light and sculpture in one piece. I would love this in my house. Too bad the hubby would hate it.

This little bench is very vintage chic in appearance. The dusty rose colour is so sweet.

This little bench is very vintage chic and the dusty rose colour is so sweet.

Lucite, brass, and a high gloss finish. Glamorous much?

Lucite, brass, and a high gloss finish. Glamorous much?

If I saved up for one item it would probably be this. I have a hard time finding side tables I like and this one hits the mark for me.

If I saved up for one item it would probably be this. I have a hard time finding side tables I like and this one hits the mark for me.

Ahhh…dear Jonathan, you refresh my mind with your ingenious creations.

 

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