A Day at the Spa

Do you like going to the spa?

Being personally pampered and indulged in all things comforting, calming and relaxing.  Totally therapeutic – right?

I had a few girlfriends ask if I would like to join them for a day at the spa during my week of ‘stay-cation’.

I declined.

I am not a spa girl.

A Day at the Spa

For me my ‘therapy’ is visual.  I would rather spend a day strolling about just looking and seeing.

Often that ‘looking’ involves retail, admiring window displays and set designs that constantly change to reflect colour and trends.  I love to visit art galleries and see the beauty there.  I like to walk about different neighborhoods admiring homes.  I enjoy walking around downtown viewing the architecture of commercial buildings, skyscrapers – both historical and modern. 

I have come to realize that I am not a ‘spa’ girl but rather I am a ‘spatial’ girl! 

Here is what I saw while on my stay-cation. 

An early morning walk to Lake Ontario revealed a scene of tranquil beauty. 

Lake Ontario Toronto

This home renovation made me smile with its colourful plywood framing.

Plywood stained boards

The beautiful blue skies made St James Cathedral seem even more magnificent.

St James Cathedral

I thought this was really cool how the glass building seemed to disappear into the blue sky!

Clouds reflecting in window

Of course a visit to the AGO is always a must even if it was to just appreciate the Henry Moore sculpture on the outside of the gallery.

Henry Moore AGO

The cantilevered portion of the OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design) building in downtown Toronto always makes me pause.  And look….there’s the CN Tower peeking through!


The view from the floor to ceiling windows atop the Sheraton Centre is a great place to get a view of downtown Toronto.

Sheraton Centre, Toronto

Last week I had a wonderful stay-cation in Toronto seeing all the sites and visiting with family and friends.

All images via Modmissy excluding spa photo: www.blog.invitationbox.com




A Heavenly Home

Continuing on the theme of religion in décor I thought I would share another transformation of church to home.

The former St. Jakobus Church located in Utrecht, Netherlands originally built in 1870 was converted into a beautiful modern townhouse in 2009.

With almost 5000 sq. ft. of living space and ceilings that soar to 14 metres (46 ft.) high the Utrecht-based firm of ZECC Architects undertook the transformation from church to home with a great attention to light, space and functionality.

Converted Church Utrecht

Converted Church

Converted Church interior

Converted Church interior

Converted Church interior

Converted Church interior

Converted Church bathroomTruly a ‘heavenly’ transformation!

Images via ZECC Architects

Religion in Décor

Tomorrow, February 28th, Pope Benedict XVI officially retires.  Since his surprise announcement to the world indicating he would be the first Pope in 6 centuries to retire the world has been in a bit of a ‘holy mess’!

I can’t say that I blame him; Pope Benedict is 85 years old!  I think the man must be feeling a little weary.  While the rest of us are hoping to retire at 65 years old or ‘freedom 55’ (if we are lucky enough) still working as an octogenarian must be exhausting.

Today in honour of His Papal-ness I thought religion in décor would be fitting.

The focal point in this room is a very large Buddha.  Fortunately it is seated upon the window seat as I read that inappropriate placement of the Buddha i.e. on the floor, is considered a sign of disrespect in many Buddhist cultures.



In this photo religion in décor is taken one step further!

religious stairs


The Moravian Star has become a popular décor feature.  Originating in the 1830’s at the Moravian Boys’ School in Germany (possibly from a geometry lesson) the star was adopted by the Moravian Church as an Advent Symbol and also now commonly used in light fixtures.

Moravian Star Light


Often used interchangeably due to the fact that the population of Morocco is almost 99% Muslim is Moroccan-inspired/Islamic-inspired décor.  Seen in everything from wallpaper (1st photo) to furniture and light fixtures (2nd photo) to leather poufs (3rd photo).

Moroccan-inspired decor


Belief in angels is fundamental to many religions.

Angel wings in decor

And what better way to incorporate religion into décor than converting a church into a residence.  This photo is a converted church in Utrecht, Netherlands.

Church as residence


Images via: 1,2,5,7 www.houzz.com 3 www.shadesoflight.com; 4 www.phillipjeffries.com 6 www.thecrossdesign.com 8 www.zecc.nl



AGO 1st Thursdays

Last Thursday evening I attended 1st Thursdays at the AGO – a very happening ‘art-y’ party!

On the first Thursday of every month the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) closes its doors and lets the party begin.

1st Thursdays at AGODesigned to engage and entertain the 19+ crowd (alcohol is served!) 1st Thursdays are interactive art nights that feature performances, art-making activities (free nude life drawing and yarn bombing to name a few) artist and curator tours, talks and live events allowing people to see, make, do and hear as much art as they can.  The evenings theme, City Scrawl: Urban Intersections, was to bring Toronto’s diverse cityscape inside the AGO for one night.

Of course there were DJ’s spinning tunes throughout the gallery getting the sold-out crowd  in the groove.

Spinning tunes at the AGO


No party is complete without food and drinks so pop-up bars located in various areas provided signature cocktails and food. The Galleria Italia before and after!

Galleria Italia   Galleria Italia 1st Thursdays

At the Wheatpasting Workshop the evening’s theme ‘Urban Intersections’ challenged the idea of city and space through the practice of street postering creating collaborative murals that are appreciated as street art.

photo (21)

AGO - Wheatpasting Workshop  AGO Wheatpasting Workshop

It was a fabulous night, lots of fun and a whole new way to see the AGO.  Check out the website http://www.ago.net/1stThursdays and consider booking a 1st Thursday event.

All images via Modmissy




The ‘How To’ of Shopping IKEA

Congratulations to Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada) on the recent arrival of their first IKEA store!

For a city with a population of approximately ¾ million, the people of Winnipeg have been patiently waiting for the opening of their big ‘blue and yellow’ retailer.

Now being a bit of a veteran when it comes to shopping at IKEA I thought I would share my tips and suggestions on how to best tackle (shop) this big store.

(Or for anyone who may be a bit timid when it comes to shopping IKEA read on.)

IKEA logo

Welcome newcomer,                                                                                                        Your first trip to IKEA has finally arrived.                                                                               As a seasoned shopper with valuable tips,                                                                              I will explain how I have survived.

Navigating the big blue and yellow store,                                                                         Initially may seem like no easy feat.                                                                                    But with a few of my simple tips,                                                                                              I promise there will be no sense of defeat.

Most important of all,                                                                                                              Is to wear your most comfortable shoes.                                                                   Because as I have already mentioned,                                                                             IKEA is big and has lots and lots to view.

Don’t worry about ever getting lost,                                                                                     For IKEA has this unnerving dilemma sorted out.                                                             With big arrows on the floor,                                                                                                 An easy way-finding system avoids any sense of doubt.

Before beginning your IKEA journey,                                                                                 With smaller ones in tow,                                                                                                   You might like to use the Småland childcare service,                                                          Its free and yours if you choose so.

Head directly up to the 2nd floor,                                                                                          For this is where you will see.                                                                                         Room settings that will truly inspire,                                                                          Designed with IKEA furniture and accessories.

Now you might need to understand,                                                                                While you are on your shopping mission,                                                                          That IKEA’s roots and origin,                                                                                             Hails from the country of Sweden.

So be prepared to be introduced,                                                                                         To POÄNG, KLIPPAN, LACK and LIATORP.                                                           HEMNES, OPPDAL, MALM,                                                                                 ASPELUND, RYKENE, PAX, and EKTORP!

Now that you are more fluent in Swedish,                                                                        Head to the 1st floor and grab a shopping cart.                                                                    For on this level you will begin to discover,                                                                           All the kitchen ware, bedding, lighting, carpets and art.

Now keep following those arrows,                                                                                      And very soon you will see,                                                                                                 The place that has made IKEA globally known,                                                                      A warehouse full of flat-pack and self-assembly.

And don’t forget to take some time,                                                                                      To nosh on a variety of IKEA treats.                                                                                    For there is lots of fabulous food,                                                                                       Eat-in or take-away that just can’t be beat!

You have now successfully made it to the end,                                                                With the check-out clearly in view.                                                                                     You never got confused or lost,                                                                                          And had a wonderful shopping experience too!

The End!

All words composed by Modmissy




Allen Gardens Conservatory

Grey is great, but a grey day is not, so to banish the ‘blahs’ I visited Allen Gardens Conservatory  in downtown Toronto for a boost of colour.

Allen Gardens Conservatory

The Victorian-style cast iron and glass conservatory, the ‘Palm House’ was built in 1910.  Over the years extensions were added on and 5 greenhouses covering over 16,000 sq. ft. now exist.

Rare tropical plants and flowers from around the globe provide a spectacular showing and a big hit of ‘happy’.

Allen Gardens Conservatory


Orange Flower Allen Gardens Conservatory


PinK Flowers Allen Gardens Conservatory


Allen Gardens Conservatory


Unfurling Plant Allen Gardens Conservatory


Cacti at Allen Gardens ConservatoryAll images via Modmissy


Condo – The First Impression

“I have bought a Condo.”

I remember hearing those words for the first time and thinking ‘Wow’.

A condominium was the trendy and cool place to live.  I believed that anyone who lived in a condo had to be a real ‘jet-setter’ and lived a very sophisticated urban life.

My brother’s friend, a young hip professional guy, had just bought a condo and was throwing a party to which I was invited.  I was thrilled to be on the invitee list and to see inside my very first condo!

In my mind I envisioned the condo as a large space with high ceilings, big windows and 2 levels.  Definitely 2 levels.  The kitchen would be state-of-the-art and the furniture would be modern.  And the bathroom…..!!??  After all it was the early 1980’s and everything was excessive.

The night of the party I donned my best – big shoulder pads, big hair.

Modmissy 1980s

After introductions I began my own personal tour of this condo.  The windows – not so big but there was a sliding glass door to a (small) balcony, the kitchen was a galley-style kitchen and the ceilings were only 9 ft. high.  And try as I might I could not find the spiral staircase leading to the 2nd floor!  After a while I realized that it wasn’t the fact that there were so many people in attendance but that the condo was not large.

Then reality sunk in – the ‘condo’ was an apartment with ownership.

Sometimes reality bites!

Image via Modmissy

Henry Moore

“Please do not touch!”

4 words that sum up the rules of an art gallery.  Look and enjoy but never, never touch.

I understand – art from the Renaissance and Baroque eras do not do well with the human touch.  If we want following generations to enjoy works of art dating from the 1st century to present day keep your hands off!

But sometimes the urge to touch is incredible……

On Friday I visited the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) to see the Frida and Diego Exhibition.  Amazing, you could feel the passion in their work.

But as usual it is the Henry Moore collection of sculptures that always has the greatest draw for me.  Housed in a large room painted a very deep shade of grey, with minimal illumination are the bronze casts of Henry Moore.  The room is very sensual and the sculptures are very tangible.  Some appear very smooth, others very rough.  I have the greatest desire to touch them, to feel them.   But I don’t!

Instead I just truly enjoy looking at them.  Experiencing them.

Henry Moore Reclining Figure

Henry Moore Reclining Figure

Henry Moore Woman and Oval With Points

Henry Moore Woman and Oval With Points

Henry Moore Draped Reclining Woman

Henry Moore Draped Reclining Woman


Henry Moore Working Model for UNESCO Reclining Figure

Henry Moore Working Model for UNESCO Reclining Figure

Henry Moore Working Model for Three way Piece

Henry Moore Working Model for Three way Piece

All images via Modmissy


Mies Times Three

While scanning through some files today I came across a few photos that made me realize I need to do some travelling – some more sightseeing.

Chicago Federal Building Mies van der Rohe

Kluczynski Federal Building


New York City Seagram Building Mies van der Rohe

Seagram Building


Toronto-Dominion Tower Mies van der Rohe

Toronto-Dominion Tower

Having the opportunity to play tourist in Chicago, New York City and Toronto, I got to experience 3 very different cities, but all with 1 architecturally similar skyscraper in their skyline.

The Kluczynski Federal Building (45-story) in downtown Chicago, the Seagram Building (38 story) in Midtown Manhattan and the Toronto-Dominiom Tower (56-story) in downtown Toronto were all designed by Mies van der Rohe.  All 3 of these buildings are of the International style in which the buildings’s structural elements are made visible on the exterior.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (March 27, 1886 – August 19, 1969) was a German born American who left his mark on the world in a very visionary, forward thinking, contemporary way.  And long before social media or technology!  Mies van der Rohe was an architect who was widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture.

These iconic skyscrapers that Mies van der Rohe dubbed “skin and bones” architecture still stand today as a testament to the adage “less is more”.

All images via Modmissy


Floating Artist Studio

Continuing with yesterday’s post of living aboard a house boat I’ll now share with you a peek inside the owner’s floating artist studio.

In a house boat that was built over 25 years ago and now lovingly restored by its new owner a fabulous artist studio and retreat awaits a short walk away.

Under a very mod curved ceiling and vintage inspired wood built-in cabinetry the owner has set up her drafting table, cutting table and all the other necessities required for her passion – drawing, sketching and painting.

Who wouldn’t be inspired with the view out of the wrap-around sloped windows?

There is even a kitchen where snacks and refreshments are kept close to hand.

And I even had my sketch done!

Once again a big thank you to my host for sharing her home with me and all of you.

All images via Modmissy