Tuesday, October 5, 2010

HGTV Dream Home

Welcome to the dreamland of HGTV Dream homes. HGTV Dream houses are known to be one of the best constructions. All the homes are offered with spacious rooms, with the best facilities and luxuries. The professional services of HGTV are commendable as they take you through an orientation of the whole process of construction. Right from the quality of wood used to the detailed methods that follow every step is put on the website. You can follow up on every stage to see how the work has been progressing.

Hgtv Dream House: Fitness Room

HGTV offers many products for HGTV Dream house. You can have a tour through their online shop see the various products available for sale. They are all reasonably priced which are basic accessories for your bedroom and other home purposes. You can also get to know the quality of each room by taking a tour through their drop menus. There are photos of each room displayed along with the videos.

Hgtv Dream House: Dream Location

There are even sweepstakes offers for online customers who are above 21 years of age and legal residents of the US. The lucky ones may win HGTV Dream house in the most exotic locations. Application can be done online or even ordinary post.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Master Retreat: 70's Sidesplit

Since the end of August I've started on so many new projects, a few of which I'll be working on over the next 6 months to a year - and will tell you more about them in future posts. Since before the end of August I've wrapped up a lot of projects so I'd like to get some of these after pics off my plate so to speak before I move on to posting about the more recent stuff I'm working on. The 70's suburban sidesplit I furnished for a single mom and her daughter was completed earlier this year, for me it was the first time I took on a project that didn't involve any renovating whatsoever - that had all been done before I came on board. You can read more about the background story of this project here, and see after photos of the Daughter's room here and the Guest Bedroom here.

Like the other bedrooms in the house the master bedroom was on the small side but typical for a sideplit, it had a small walk-in closet and a tiny 3 pc ensuite and no redeeming architectural features at all. It had brand new hardwood floors and a fresh paint job when I first 'met' this room. My task was the same for this space as it was for the entire house, furnish it from top to bottom from scratch and have it completed and move-in ready in less than 3 months. Although she invested in a designer, her spending budget was modest so every splurge would need to be balanced with a few great finds.

The Before: this is what the room looked like the first day I saw it, the painters were just finishing up (talk about bad timing!). Once again I would have to work with ICI's Bavarian Cream. : / My client has a love for all things feminine and glamourous and traditional and elegant and french inspired and she wanted her new room to be all those things, but she's also young, professional and stylish so it had to be done in a way that looked modern and fresh (and by modern I mean current).

The After: I had a custom diamond tufted headboard and end of bed bench made, added an elegant crystal chandelier, a luxurious wool area carpet and glamorous mirrored chests on either side of the bed. The ruffled bed skirt, damask duvet cover and shams are from Au Lit.

Ready-made lined cream linen drapes with inverted pleat top and full length sheers dress up the not so fabulous looking window. I found an antique walnut dressing table with 4 big drawers and after contemplating several options for new chairs, my client found this antique chair stored in her mother's basement, it belonged to her much loved aunt. I thought it worked perfectly with the vanity and loved the fact that it had sentimental value. This chair and one pair of antique lamps were the only things that my client brought with her into this house. She does plan on reupholstering the seat or adding a slipcovered seat with 3/4 skirt. The etched mirror accessories are vintage from Chatelet Home. The knobs on the vanity were replaced with crystal ones since this pic was taken.

I had originally purchased a potted orchid for the dressing table but by the time I had returned and taken most of these photos,,,,all the potted orchids in the house had died, she's now replaced them with artificial. This is a bad Iphone pic, for some reason I have no decent after photos of this area of the room,,,I think its because from every angle I tried to shoot it I was getting a bad reflection in the mirror..

When it comes to designing spaces or furnishing a room, I'm most particular about lighting more than anything. Sometimes its to my detrement because I can get really hung up on finding something that I feel works just right,,,,,,,style, size, function,,,if its not just right,,the entire room falls short. These lamps are one of my favorites and are from Crate & Barrel. I like the simple form of the base and the drum shade which adds a modern touch to the space, it has a subtle crackle glaze, the soft curves and silk shade are so elegant. I think their simplicity pairs well with the traditional crystal chandelier. It was near impossible to find a pair of these in stock but after much begging, pleading and phoning I did manage to score a pair at the 11th hour.

The wool area carpet had a traditional feel to it, it had a taupey cream coloured border with a grey/blue main field. The end of bed bench wasn't ready in time for move-in (the day this shot was taken) but was delivered only a couple of weeks later....

Diamond pique lace edged coverlet & euro shams, and lace edged pillow cases were great finds from HomeSense as was the sunburst mirror.

The bench was delivered a couple weeks after move-in...

When I delivered the bench I also brought along one more finishing touch (which is now my most favorite thing in the room), a cream coloured velvet pillow with feather trim. My client was completely in love with her new room already and this little find sent her over the moon. : )
Feather pillow, HomeSense.

Even though everything in this room is new to my client except her aunts chair, I'm happy that all things in the room aren't brand new - it was important for me to mix in a few antique pieces so the end result is a mix of new and old, splurges and saves, ready-made and custom made, feminine and tailored,,,,, but best of all I think we achieved traditional without looking dated.

Monday, September 27, 2010

HGTV Has Amazing Offers

For all residents of America above 21 years get eligible to win the sweepstakes from HGTV. They offer one of the best dream homes in the best of locations. In case you have a doubt you can visit their homepage for some concrete evidence. HGTV Dream homes have been brought to you through sweepstakes. You can try applying for the draw and if you get lucky you have a fantasy to live in for life.
Hgtv Dream House: Bathroom

HGTV takes you through a tour of the kind of rooms they offer on their website. You can just click one of the many rooms that come with their dream house prizes for you to have an idea as in what you would be getting. Apart from winning, you can take a look at the HGTV shop which has many products that’s needed for you home. You can purchase wonderful headboards to customize your bedroom.

Hgtv Dream House: Dream Room

There are even other products like down pillows, cocktail trays, end tables etc. You can just decide your budget and choose what you want to purchase for your dream home. The HGTV Dream home products are many and the prices of products also are set according to different affordable ranges.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Almost Afters: Gail's New Fireplace

Last Friday I attended my last official site meeting for Gail's Kitchen and Family Room renovation. I started working on this project on Dec.11th, 2009 so its been a looong process seeing this new space evolve from paper to reality week after week. This last meeting represented what I call substantial completion, meaning the construction is considered complete, and the homeowner moves back into her new space!!! The crew packs up all their things and they move-on to another job site, returning as needed to finish off any outstanding small items.

When I was at the house early that morning, the guys were doing some final paint touch-ups, I didn't have the opportunity to take any 'after' shots because they were just about to start the big clean-up but I'll be back for a follow-up visit very soon. One of my FAVORITE things in the space was the new family room fireplace and last week was the very first time I had seen it. The fireplace itself is a new clean face model gas unit by Napoleon. Since my previous visit the new surround and mantle had been installed so it was a bit of a 'reveal' moment for me when I walked in, and when I saw it there, I just stopped in my tracks and gasped! : ) The design concept for the fireplace had changed several times over the past couple of months....

Here are a couple of initial concepts,,,in each I had envisioned antique or reclaimed wood being used for the mantle. It was an awkward space, to the immediate right was a window to the immediate left is a half wall with stairs to the basement and the fireplace wall is also the only wall in the room for the tv.

A short time later we discovered a stash of antique wood boards in the homeowners garage (located in an income property they own across the street). Of course I went crazy over them and asked the contractor to make us a rolling door from the boards and.......if there was enough material I also wanted to use it for the fireplace mantle.

Then about a month later,,,,,the coppersmith visited the house to do a site measure for the new custom copper hood canopy I had designed. He brought a few samples for me to review and as soon as I saw them I asked if he could also make the fireplace surround out of the same copper. No problem he said (Oh I love to hear that!!!) so I sent him a sketch with dimensions....

Excuse the ugly 3D image, (this is why I prefer hand renderrings) but I used this 3D sketch to illustrate how I wanted the copper surround and the wood mantle to be built. A seperate sketch had all the dimensions on it. I emailed this to the copper smith and my contractor who was making the mantle. Unfortunately my contractor called me to say there wouldn't be enough of the antique wood left over from the door so what was plan 'b' ? I asked him if he could find some rough hewn, gnarly wood that was about 2" x 6",,,,,, and that was the last I heard from him.

A few days later I showed up for my final site meeting and this was what they had built. I LOVE it!!!
The homeowner is over the moon about it, and seriously I wish this fireplace was in my own home. Its rustic and contemporary and I have to say I've never seen anything else like it, my contractor hit it outta the park with this one. The wood he used was rough-hewn douglas fir, the knots are absolutely gorgeous and have the same character as the loft grade natural oak floor. When I took this photo it wasn't quite 100% finished yet, the mantle was about to receive one more light sanding and a coat of oil. Then the copper surround gets a once over with steel wool to remove some of the black coating and bring out the copper, the steel wool also gives it a low lustre sheen.

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of what the 'almost' finished space looks like, I have to say its a dramatic transformation from what was once there and I can't wait to post all the after photos.

Note: When building a surround and or mantle for any gas fireplace, its critical to refer to the mfg's installation specifications where you'll find all the minimum clearances that must be maintained. There are strict clearances that must to be adhered to with regards to the use of combustible and non-combustible materials when cladding the surround and there are various clearance requirements with regards to mantle projections. Always follow the mfg's specs for your exact model.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Guest Bedroom: 70's Sidesplit

Earlier this year I completed a project for a single mom and her young daughter which involved furnishing an entire house for them, from scratch, in only 3 months and on a tight budget. This was a bit of a departure for me as far as projects go because there was actually no renovation work involved at all, not even a paint job. To see some of the 'before', 'during' and 'preliminary after' photos of the project you can check out some earlier posts here and here. You can also have a look at some after photos of the little girl's bedroom here.

My favorite room in this house was the guest bedroom,,,,,,which seems to always be the case with me! Since this particular clients has a love of all things french country, I had envisioned a simple, understated french inspired room. The total spending budget for the room was $3,500 incl. taxes but not including the mattresses, design fees or mark-ups (note: reality of small budgets like this is that design fees can often be as much or more than what you spend in the room). Because I didn't have much time for sourcing this also meant no time for refurbishing, refinishing, reupholstering or getting crafty with DIY projects either - I had to be fast and resourceful with ready to use finds. I also had to work with the paint colour she had already chosen for the room, ICI's Bavarian Cream. To be honest I wasn't a fan of this colour choice at all, in fact I really dislike any colour that resembles peach and these walls screamed peach. Since repainting wasn't an option my approach was to play it down and ignore it. I avoided putting anything in this room that had more of this colour,,,or enhanced this colour in any way - I find the best way to do that is with black and white. This classic b&w scheme did such a fantastic job of neutralizing the peachiness of the wall colour that my client thought I had repainted the walls.
I took these photos back in early June and the room is photographed exactly as it looked when I arrived, except for the fresh roses which I picked up at the grocery store on my way there! I really make an effort not to prop-up rooms for a photo with things that don't belong in the room or aren't owned by the client - I prefer to keep it real. In this case, I literally had a few dollars left over for a couple of accessories so I purchased a small bud vase at Pottery Barn and a bedside clock at Loblaws, the books are from the clearance table at Chapters.

I started my sourcing by searching for a pair of antique iron twin beds, not an easy task. Its challenging to find a pair of anything and even harder to find a pair of antique anything. A short road trip to one of the largest antique iron bed suppliers in Canada scored me this stunning pair of twins which I blogged about in an earlier post here.

At $600 a piece they were definitely the splurge for the room but worth every penny! They had been restored and modified to suit modern day mattress sizes so they were ready to use. Seasonal hypo-allergenic duvets and egyptian cotton tone on tone striped duvet covers from Bed Bath & Beyond are folded back at the ends of the beds. I tried to find duvet covers in a twin size that had a bit of black stitching or banding,,,but no luck.

A couple of days after buying the beds I experienced one of those rare ocassions of being in the right place at the right time when i came across a pair of twin matalisse bed sets at Elte for 60% off. Two matalisse shams and two coverlets with beautiful scalloped edges for less than $130! They were perfect for the antique beds. Then on top of this I added a lace trimmed pillow case from Pottery Barn, and a lace-up accent pillow from HomeSense to each bed.

I found a pair of ready-made gorgeous black and white toile style drapery panels from Invu and scored a black chest of drawers and milky glass gourd lamp from HomeSense. What doesn't show in the photos is the antique brass tear drop style pulls I installed on the chest - so pretty!!

A moravian star fixture (from Home Depot) was definitely the highlight of the room. Wicker trunks from Ikea are placed at the foot of each bed. The framed prints on the wall are in keeping with the french theme, they're copies of handwritten 'travel memoires' from Paris.

The only thing missing from the room on move-in day was a dresser. I wanted an old painted dresser and though not expensive these things can take some luck to find so I held off until the spring antique season arrived. A couple of months later and on my first trip of the season I found a vintage dresser at the Aberfoyle Antique Market. The size was perfect, it was only 17.5" deep and had 5 drawers so it worked perfectly with the room and the budget, it was a steal!

I added a vintage style oval mirror from Home Depot (handyman was there to hang it) and on the wall to the right of this photo is a series of decorative black iron hooks.

Overall I loved the way the room came together - its luxuriously comfortable and beautiful.... and on full view everytime you walk up the stairs in this house, so inviting you actually want to just stop and stare at it! My client and her daughter love the room so much they've had sleepovers in there themselves several times....

Friday, September 10, 2010

Give Away!

A budget savvy Victorian Row House reno.

The Toronto Fall Home Show takes place at the end of this month and the wonderful producers of the show were generous enough to send me 10 pairs of tickets for CREED readers! Based on the emails and comments I receive thru this blog I know most of you are tackling your own home improvement projects and this show is sure to offer an abundance of inspiration and resources. For readers in the Toronto area this is a chance to score a pair of complimentary tickets ($20 value) just for reading.

The theme of the show this year is 'Renovate Your Life' with a focus on creating a beautiful home that won't break the bank. Check out the lineup of celebrity appearances, expert speakers and exhibit highlights here along with all the show details.

If you're interesting in a pair of free tickets,,simply leave a comment below to request a pair. That's it, easy as that! If there's more than 10 readers interested I'll put everyones name into a draw and randomly pick names.

The Toronto Fall Home Show
The Better Living Centre
Exhibition Place
September 30 - October 3rd

AS A BONUS........with each pair of tickets I'll also include a brand new copy of the Crave Toronto guide (retail $19). These city guides have been published for numerous cities throughout the US such as San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, LA, Atlanta and New York,,they showcase and support local businesses featuring a selection of the city's leading female entreprenesses. This past spring marked the launch of the first Canadian version and I was thrilled to have been invited to be part of the Crave Toronto tribe. Fresh off the presses in May, I've got a box of these books in my office I keep tripping over so I've decided to make this a DOULBE give away.

Leave your request for tickets below before end of day September 14th. Check back here on September 15th for the results of the Give Away and how to receive your tickets and book.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

HGTV Dream House Might Be For You

You might be lucky enough to win a fortune which you thought could never be possible. Start visualizing your dream home which may become a living reality within 50 days. HGTV Dream house brings you the sweepstakes which you can take part in and be the lucky winner. You may just realize that your fantasy has been materialized by this lucky draw. If you are a resident of the US and above 21 years of age you can take part in this offer. Applications can be filled online or even sent by post. The postal address is available on the webpage.

Hgtv Dream House: Check out this House

To get ideas about the facilities offered, you can see the photos of the past dream houses HGTV has distributed to its winners. Different houses have different facilities and dimensions. HGTV also brings you along with the floor plans the construction updates and photos of the different periods of construction. Every detail of the construction is shared on the homepage. You can look into these details and know the quality of home you may just be lucky to get.

Hgtv Dream House: Master Bathroom

The woodwork is top quality and also the kitchens are furnished with all the necessary amenities. All the rooms are spacious enough. This is one sweepstake which you may not want to miss.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Upload: September 6th

The new look of Restoration Hardware Toronto.

Its been a couple of months since I posted an Upload,,,,with things so hectic before going away on vacation at the end of July I didn't have an opportunity to do one of these before we hit the road and then since returning I've been swamped trying to get caught. I've dumped hundreds of photos off my Iphone in the meantime, here's a random look at what I've been up to including; some job site photos,,some great finds, some new finds, some things that insprired and some things that just made me smile.

I popped into RH last week with a client and we stopped immediately in our tracks right inside the door, took a look around and asked if they were open? It was really dark inside even though it was the middle of the day, but yes of course they were open but with a entirely new look! The Toronto showroom had just undergone a complete overhaul, every inch of the store had been painted a dark warm grey, Restoration Hardware's Slate. You'll notice in the top photo they painted out all the mouldings and railings to create a monochromatic look - I love this treatment, it gives a contemporary feel to traditional mouldings and is particulary ideal for creating a gallery look. In fact, its a gallery look they were going for. Gone are the soap displays, paint displays and various nick-nacks and toys, even the hardware is contained and artfully displayed behind glass. They were still busy setting up displays and awaiting delivery and installation of lighting so in the meantime the store is pretty dark.

From an idea in my head more than 6 months ago,,,,, to a sample I approved in July,,,

To installation day a few weeks later.......

In addition to the custom copper hood, the counters and backsplash were installed in Gail's kitchen while I was away on holidays. All the finishing touches are happening this week so Gail can finally

Sourcing some lighting for Gail's mudroom. I've never met a schoolhouse fixture I didn't love..

A puurrrrfectly styled bookcase

Halfway thru setting the table on the back deck as his highness keeps an eye for squirrels. My new 'Soho' outdoor pillows from Tonic Living seen on the bench.

New exterior lighting for the urban rooftop deck project. Clean and modern looking it reminds me of the lanterns we're accessorizing with. Fixture from Sescolite.

In addition to white and dark grey sunbrella pillows, we're having a few non-outdoor fabric pillows made for the rooftop deck which will be brought out for entertaining. I selected these fabrics from Thom Filicia's collection for Kravet - large scale, graphic, gorgeous!

Speaking of graphic pillows...I was crazy for these quilted pillows that I saw on the East Coast, although you can't get more traditional that quilting - these geometric patterns have a modern feel to me, I'd love to see them in a clean contemporary space. They weren't made locally however, they were imported from Thailand which tells me this is a look we'll be seeing a lot of.

And these,,,,,folksy looking pillows, I regret not picking up a few of each!

I looked at lots of quilts when I was away but still didn't find 'the one' that I had to have. Unlike most of what you come across in many of the touristy stores in Nova Scotia, the quilts in this shop were all locally made by hand and cost thousands of dollars each.

On our trip we ate these almost every day - they were local Indian Point mussels from Mahone Bay and were the best mussels I've ever eaten. I make them at home all the time but I'd never had them like this before. Every where we ordered them they were served the same way, steamed (usually in garlic and wine) and served with a side of melted butter and lemon. Sooo good, I'll be making them this way at home now!

I helped a family member select a new faucet for his kitchen reno.....

It works beautifully with the custom sink I had made for him earlier this summer and was just in time for the new counters to be installed.......almost done. Sigh.

I headed north on a little road trip to survey this chink log home. I'm re-designing its kitchen, 3 bathrooms, a lower level games room and, cover your ears if you're a wood lover,,,we'll be painting out a LOT of knotty pine and giving this rustic home a modern edge.

The interior was a little slice of heaven for me, white, grey, and caramel wood tones, it just doesn't get any better than that for me. A view into the master bedroom on the second floor, the chink logs are visible around the lower section of all the perimeter walls. The plank floor boards are gorgeous and look stunning with the weathered grey logs. To the immediate left is an ensuite which will get an overhaul.

A few irresistables at Angus & Company, (perhaps my favorite shop in TO) talk about wanting one of each...., yes please I'm so looking forward to fall!

Oversize bowls, fringe,,,,,seagrass. sigh.

I'm wild for b&w accessories these, lacquered boxes look great in any room.

B&W pillow detail.

I've been craving hits of yellow since my trip out east,,,I found these silk pillows at a consignment shop the other day and I just might have to buy them for myself. In fact they're much brighter than they appear in this photo, in person they're a vibrant canary yellow - I think they'd make any room sing.