Saturday, December 26, 2009


Thank you Santa for bringing us a brand new Aquaovo Ovopur water filtration system!  I've had my designer eye on one of these units for a while now and with a little help from my friend Robyn at Bergo Design, Santa was able to cross that off my wish list!!!  I simply LOVE the clean modern lines of this nature inspired, green approach to water revitalization.

The model we now own is the beautiful Ovopur on the glass stand as shown in the photo above.  A sculptural wooden stand is available as option to the glass base as are four other versions in black and a stunning signature base design made from rough-planed ash with a live edge, seen in the following pics.

If the 11L reservoire is full and filtering isn't needed for a time, you can even remove the filtration cylinder on the top and just use it as a dispenser (shown below).



Caviar: Marcato model

Caviar: Legato model

Caviar: Staccato model

Signature wood base

The Ovopur sysytem was conceived and designed in Canada but inspired by the age-old traditions of Chinese artisan stonecutters, glassblowers and ceramicists.   The egg shape is an integral part of the by design, as the curves ease the circulation and regeneration of the water and symbolizes abundance, purity, rebirth and infinity.  High quality materials like glass, porcelain and steel help preserve and revitalize the water.  The entire filtration system actually reproduces the basic filtration process of the earth's natural water cycle.  The system operates on gravity and uses no electricity and is made from sustainable, renewable and recylable materials.

Not only is this the most beautiful water filtration system I've ever seen but the addition of this sytem in our household means we'll no longer be stocking up on cases of bottled water every week and our blue bins won't be overflowing with the empty plastic bottles anymore.  Now, I'll drink to that!

All Photos:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh Joy!

Yes.....these bring me JOY!  I've been on a purchasing marathon this month, and not the holiday shopping kind of marathon.  Of all the beautiful and sometimes very expensive things I come across in my daily travels............nothing makes me more excited than to find little treasures like these!!  Seriously, I was so excited when I walked into Style Garage last week and laid eyes on these beautiful solid wood ornaments, my heart skipped a beat.  Was it a coincidence that they looked strikingly similar to these beautiful wooden tops that I was just gushing over in a recent post?   I knew instantly I had to have them and bought them all on the spot (sadly they only had 3) - they were a steal at just $12 each, which brought me even more joy!

When it comes to holiday decor I'm a big fan of simple and natural - which is why i was so drawn to these sculptural wooden ornaments.   Simple enough to leave out all year round but made even more special when incorporated into holiday trimmings.  Today I'll be putting the finishing touches on my own holiday decor with fresh flowers (hopefully they'll last until Friday).  I have one of these hanging on my front door wreath and I'm sure I can find a special place for the others.....

Note to self:  remember to ask Neil if he can get more of these for me.

Photo:  Carol Reed

Thursday, December 17, 2009

GUS MODERN - Sofa Love

The newst design from Gus Modern - The Richmond Sofa

I GUSH.  When I'm crazy for a product or service, or company,,,,I can't help it, I simply gush endlessly about it.  I've been a fan of Gus Modern for quite a few years now, its designed here in Toronto, right here in my own hood actually, just a few minutes away - and I've specified it for a wide range of client projects and have bought some pieces for my own home.  It also happens to be sold thru one of my all time favorite showrooms, Style Garage who have recently opened up a Gus Modern studio right next door to their main showroom on Queen W.  This product line is rapidly gaining recognition outside the country for its elegant, industrial inspired style. I think Gus Modern's own vision statement really sums up what I love most about this product and it happens to reflect much of my own design philosphy:

Simple forms, honest materials.........delighting in the simplicity of everyday objects, and combining great design with practical purpose.  These are credos that I design by.   Its no wonder I've always been drawn to this furniture line!

But this week,,,,I AM CRAZY for their brand new Richmond Sofa, it has the same clean contemporary lines Gus Modern is known for but with a cushion seat and cushion back.  This 2 over 2, full size modern sofa is tailored AND comfy-cozy - slightly more relaxed looking in style than their other sofas.  Its not even in showrooms yet but I've already ordered one for a client!

The Richmond Sofa in Lattice, Graphite fabric.

The Richmond Chair, I've test driven this in person,,,,its incredibly comfy!

If you're not familiar with Gus Modern,,,below are some of my favorite pieces from the rest of their collection but this is just a small sample of what they offer. Sizes and fabric choices are pretty limitless.

The sleek stainless steel and leather Delano Chair.  A statement chair - I love mixing this chair in with more traditional surroundings, and not only does it look stunning, its surpringly comfortable.

The Delano chair upholstered in pony hide.  Oh, I gush...

The Jane Chair - this is what I call, tailored comfort.

George Daybed - a stunner.

Nicole Ottoman.  Whatever size you want,,they can make.

Blythe Ottoman upholstered in Pony hide.  Made to order and any size you want.

The Bishop table - I've used this little table a lot, it cantilevers beautifully over an ottoman or armless sectional.

The Pawn stool - a little scultptural end table or stool.

The Pawn stool in the 'latest' hottest colour.

The Timber Tale table - unexpected fun with faux bois 

The School House chair.

the Thompson Chair

the Swing Arm Lamp.

Check out the Gus Modern website for the complete collection and visit Style Garage for pricing and showroom location.

All Photos:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Victorian Row House: A Designer Reno on A DIY Budget - Part 6

Kitchen & Family Room - Before & After

Below are some before pics showing the old 1980's kitchen.  Half of the ceiling was badly damaged from a leak in the old roof, there was no dishwasher or exhaust fan and the cabinetry was rotted and falling apart.  The first photo shows the extent of cabinetry, lowers and uppers along the window wall and a small cabinet over the bulkhead for the basement stairs.  A table and chairs sat next to a freestanding fridge and in front of a long baseboard heater.   We ripped it all out......including the window.  In its place would be a new ceiling, new flooring, new window, new lighting, new appliances and new Ikea kitchen cabinets.

Before - View from Kitchen to DR and LR

Before - View from LR and DR to Kitchen and FR beyond.

It was definitely a challenge coming up with a layout for this kitchen.  It was elevated from the Dining and Living rooms and also had an adjoining family room with a walkout to the deck and access to the garage.  The kitchen spanned the width of the house so the main path of traffic flowed thru the kitchen, thru the family room and out to the only parking spot - in the garage.  What I found most awkward about the kitchen was that the opposite walls were too far apart to make for an efficient work space but it was too narrow for an island or peninsula layout without removing the walls between the kitchen and Family Room - not an option for us.  I wanted to utilize the long wall opposite the sink for full height cabinetry and add an island, even if it would be a small one.  The walls between the kitchen and family room had to stay so I redesigned the layout within the existing footprint.   One of the key elements was removing the baseboard heater and replacing it with a toe-kick heater that fits under the cabinetry on the one wall.  This allowed us to utilized the entire wall for new full height cabinetry.

After - View of Pantry in kitchen looking thru to back door in Family Room.  Toe kick heater under cabinetry.

The view to the back of the house from the LR and DR was directly down the middle of the kitchen and at eye level (because of the elevated floor level) so I wanted an island that was more of a table style, something that was visually light and airy looking and moveable.   Because I had limited time and even a more limited budget, I designed an island that we could make ourselves from stock goods - so the kitchen island became a DIY project.  I purchased a ready made stainless steel top from Ikea (or you could use butcher block) some unfinished solid wood butcher block style legs from Lowes, and a bit of stock lumber.  I planned out the apron size and blocking required and had the lumber store cut all the boards to the exact sizes I needed.  Next I purchased all the fasteners and brought all the pieces home, ready to assemble.  I supplied my 'other half' with the design drawing and instructions and within an hour he had put the entire thing together for me.  To finish it off, all it needed was primer and 2 coats of finish paint.  Super easy and quick!! The entire thing cost less than $300 and I absolutely LOVE the results.  There are so many variations you could do by following the same simple steps.  In an upcoming post I'll provide the design plan, the instructions and list of materials needed.

A new double hung window was installed, taller than the old window and I added a frosted vinyl film to block the unappealing view of the neighbour's house but still allows the light in.  I opted for solid cararra marble counter and wrapped it up the wall 28" for a clean contemporary look. I had planned on adding a long wall mounted shelf with traditional corbel style brackets on the wall to the right of the window but since I had decided to sell the house, I left this open for the new owners to chose if they wanted to do this or not.   To me this would be the perfect finishing touch - a great spot for displaying pretty bowls, plates and artwork but for those who like to cook, its great access to your dishes.

All of the cabinetry was from Ikea, and I chose the simple white Applad door style for a clean contemporary look.  I customized it by adding full height thick gables between each of the cabinets, (which gives the cabinets more of a furniture look) and gave the entire kitchen a high end style by splurging on marble counters and backsplash, an oversized custom stainless sink, great appliances and a unique custom designed island.  The slide in range reinforces the clean lines and the contemporary rectangular hood was a great find at Lowes for only $699.

The light fixture in the family room was by Jonathan Adler but I customized it to have a 6" drop, I loved the black metal detail on the shade and how it ties in to the other touches of black on the window frames and door hardware.

The family room was adjacent to the kitchen, with its walkout to the deck it was a really bright, sunfilled and comfy space with room for a sofa and two lounge chairs and a TV.  I purchased an inexpensive but practical slipcovered sofa from Ikea, hung a small grouping of my own b&w photos, and brought an ottoman and 2 antique apple crates from home to furnish the space for resale.  The pin-up lamps were a STEAL at only $19.99 ea from a building surplus warehouse, they have a fabric drum shade, a swing arm and 3 way dimmer switch.  I've been back several times since to buy more and I'm sorry to say, they are completely sold out now!  The new owners of the house purchased the sofa and the lamps too.

I'm proud to say that this entire kitchen, including all materials, appliances, labour (electrical, plumbing, drywall, cabinetry install, flooring install, fabrication) and all taxes came in at $17,700.  The only work my handyman and I did ourselves in this part of the reno was the demolition, the painting, and hook-up of the kitchen faucet and dishwasher...and of course the design planning.  All in all,,,,I think the quality and value of the end product is much greater than its modest budget and demonstrates that its not how much you spend,,its how you spend it!

Stay tuned for a future post with instructions for a DIY kitchen island.

For Parts 1 thru 5 of this Victorian Row House Reno:

All Photos:  Carol Reed

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Master Bedroom

Master bedroom at HGTV dream house 2009

Design ideas come in all forms and shapes. The tranquil color palettes, impetus for cooling are included in the 2009 HGTV dream house’s master bedroom. The home planner Jack Thomasson along with the designer Linda Woodrum selected the stunning bathroom tiles.

Hgtv Dream House: Hgtv Dream House Master Bedroom

For making a color story and designing an oasis of calm, Linda initially paid her attention over the lavish queen sized bed, further teaming it with the headboard made from the wood scraps by a professional wood-worker David Brown, upholstered and padded in the untreated linen for matching with the box-pleated duster.

Hgtv Dream House: Dream Bed

When it came to the layers of the luxe textiles, West Elm contributed in arranging maletesse shams and duet covers, while John Robshaw made cotton cushion covers and Bliss Studios made the French style crewelwork cushion. Open invitation for cuddling up is provided by rattan tray on the bed foot, which holds the satin PJs plus rests atop the cable knit and cotton rayon blanket.

Hgtv Dream House: Bedroom

The panes lining the bed and giving a scene stealing sight of screened patio are beautifully dressed in the bamboo shades plus lined hemp curtains along with a shine over the parson style tables are custom crafted by David Brown, the carpenter.

Hgtv Dream House: Master Bedroom

Every tabletop flaunts a locally sourced lamp along with an assortment of the seaside treasures, including potted orchids, resin coral shaped bowls, and adorned pots by Emissary Home and Garden. A shelf beneath every table gives extra space to the stow rattan bins. Wool like nylon cushions at every footstep along with the energy star rated and brushed steel ceiling fans maintains a cold breeze circulating all through the space.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December Song

WARNING: Guaranteed to make you smile and give you that warm and fuzzy Christmas feeling. : )

I have to thank Brad Ford, Interior Designer and blogger, for posting this video on his blog Design Therapy the other day which is the first time I'd heard this song by George Michael - fitting because i think its a bit of 'Holiday Therapy'!  He described the animation as mesmerizing and it truly is - I am crazy for this song and completely smitten with the video.

If you're not in the Christmas spirit yet, this song will surely do it.   Dare I say, I think its a new classic. And ok, I'll admit it, I heart GM.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dear Santa......

.......All I want for Christmas are these spinning tops.

 Oh Pretty Please : )

These stunning tops simply make my head spin with joy, and are ranking pretty high on my wish list.  To commemerate the innovative design of Charles and Ray Eames, Herman Miller introduced these limited edition solid walnut tops in October of this year but they'll only be available for purchase until April 2010.

This collection of exclusive tops are inspired by my all time favorite design team, the Eames' giant collection of huge toys, and designed by one of my favorite porcelain studios, KleinReid.  How can I not have these these!

“Toys are not really as innocent as they look. Toys and games are prelude to serious ideas.”
- Charles Eames

"We drew inspiration from Ray and Charles Eames' gigantic toy collection - calling them "avid" collectors puts it mildly!  We sifted through cataloged toys, games, folk art, models - you name it - and spent an afternoon at their case study home in Pacific Palisades, CA.  We quickly fell in love with their tops, from primitive to refined, amassed from around the world (and featured in their film "Tops" of course).

Back in our studio we set to work creating shapes and making models. The trio is turned solid walnut and celebrates silhouette, material and most importantly - PLAY!  They're intriguing at rest and addictive in use."  - David Reid




This select edition of three are the first of what will be a series of 12 tops with additional designs slated for future release.  The trio are available thru Herman Miller for $199US per set and thru contacting KleinReid, however, a note on their website states they're currently out of stock.  So Santa, maybe if you call my friend at Herman Miller she may know where to find some. ; )

Herman Miller describes the tops as both classic toys and kinetic art!

For those of you who live in the Manhattan area, I'm so envious...., this weekend KleinReid is having their annual holiday sale this weekend.  This studio is at the forefront of porcelain design, (even Michelle Obama is a fan), so if you're in the area this is sure to be a treasure trove of unique "made from scratch" finds.

Photos:  and