Sofas of My Past

Are we products of our youth or formed by our surroundings?

Do past memories influence decisions in our lives today?

My case in point – the sofa.

I can still vividly recall the sofas of my youth and the impact their design had on me.

For real!

My first childhood friend was a child of parents newly emigrated from Italy.  They barely spoke English but their hard work and commitment to success in this new country was strong.  They took pride in ownership of their home and its contents.  I remember their sofa.  We would sit on it while we watched cartoons, drinking Brio cola and eating Nutella® sandwiches.  It was soft beige in colour but I could not tell you what the fabric content was as I actually never felt it – the sofa was covered in plastic.  The entire sofa was actually upholstered with clear plastic shielding the decorative fabric.  So no matter if we spilled our Brio colas or dropped our Nutella sandwiches the plastic protected that sofa! Plastic upholstered sofa

My next childhood friend had a green sofa that we sat on hour after hour while listening to records on the family Hi-Fi record player (my friend loved music).  But for the life of me I could not figure out how to sit on that sofa without falling off.  Truly!  The fabric on this sofa was polyester – 1st generation polyester and slippery as hell.  If you sat on the sofa the seat cushions would slip forward and soon you would find yourself sitting on the floor.  Or at least I would, my friend’s family had somehow figured out the secret behind keeping the cushions from sliding.                     1970 sofa

My teenage friend was a child of parents newly emigrated from Germany.  Now they had a very different sofa.  Or at least different from what I had at home.  Their living room was all decorated in teak.  Teak sofa, teak chairs.  My friend’s living room was the essence of Danish design; very ‘Mid-Century Modern’ as it is called today.  I admired it then and I just had the opportunity to once again admire it after a recent visit to my friend’s parents’ home and it still looks wonderful.               Danishteakclassics

So in retrospect, I have never had a sofa covered in plastic although I do occasionally in summer throw a sheet over my leather sofa to prevent sticking.  I avoid synthetic fabrics on my sofas and prefer natural fabrics – linens, cottons, leather and wool.  And I am smitten with all things Mid-Century!

Images: 1. www.multiplemayhemmamma.com 2. www.ancientpoint.com
3. ww.danishteakclassics.com

      

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Robins Egg Blue

You know that spring is here when the birds are back.

Or maybe they were here throughout the winter but like me they kept a low profile outside.

Whatever.  It’s great to hear their song and see them busily flying about.

And the other day I had the good fortune to find the remains of a hatched Robin’s egg.   Robins EggSuperstitions have it that if a bird poops on you good things are coming your way so I am going to believe that finding the hatched Robin’s egg was a sign of upcoming good fortune!

Of course I had to do a colour check with my Benjamin Moore® paint charts to see if indeed the paint colour was aptly named.                     Birds Egg Benjamin Moore

I thought it was pretty close.

Interestingly enough I just staged a home that was painted Benjamin Moore Bird’s Egg in the bathroom.  With white beadboard and Carrera Marble it was a calm, spa-like space.

Benjamin Moore Birds Egg Bathroom

So here’s to Spring and all the wonderful things it brings and to summer just around the corner.

Enjoy!

All images via Modmissy

Not Your Grandmother’s Wallpaper

On a recent visit to my favourite paint store (everyone should have a ‘favourite’ paint store with knowledgeable staff, great products and lots of inspiration) to have some custom tinted paint for an outdoor project (details to follow) I noticed that there were some new wallpaper sample books.

And I mean new, as in edgy, sexy wallpaper samples.  Definitely not your Grandma’s kind of wallpaper!

I know that fashion is cyclical and although these wallpaper samples may have been similar in some ways to styles of the past, these newest wallpapers are ‘pumped up’ about a 100 notches.

So what was hip and bold for the 1970’s as seen in this wallpaper sample from a client’s home (before renovation),              Wallpaper 1970s

And the norm for the wallpaper of the 1950’s as found in my home under old wallboard,  Wallpaper 1950s

The newest wallpapers are taking walls by storm     Wallpaper striped

No longer being seen in only traditional or classic-style rooms; wallpaper presents a modern visage in a contemporary space.    Wallpaper Chevron

Wallpaper modernAnd it’s about marketing – these contemporary wallpapers are presented in books akin to glossy design magazines with fashion-forward photography.

I suddenly found myself re-thinking my sentiments on wallpaper.  When we moved into our home 15 years ago about 90% of the walls and ceilings were covered in wallpaper.  I couldn’t get rid of the stuff fast enough!

But now…..who knows, maybe a feature wall in striking contemporary wallpaper might just be the detail I’m looking for.

‘Hang’ here for details to follow!

All images via Modmissy

Image 3, 4, 5:  Metropolis by Michalsky Living

Curbside Treasures – A Nod to Earth Day

Yesterday marked the 44th anniversary of Earth Day celebrated worldwide by over a billion people.

Hopefully this day makes us pause and reflect on our precious planet and in its honour do something thoughtful towards sustaining this orb of ours

Keeping the 3 R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle in mind, my nod to Earth Day (and every day) is to always being on the lookout for curbside treasures.

What say is a curbside treasure?  An item that is no longer useful to one person is walked to the curb and discovered by another person.

This ‘sharing’ of treasures results in keeping unnecessary stuff out of landfill sites.  All good.

These are some of the curbside treasures I have found over the years.

A very recent find is an Eileen Gray side table.  Amazing!               Eileen Gray End Table

The MR Chair by Mies Van Der Rohe.  I had to replace the leather but there it was – curbside                                      MR Chair

I also found a Wassily Chair which will be heading to university with my son next year.  Lucky guy.                                                       Wassily Chair

I have written many posts on my previous curbside treasures.  My purple stool.  A coveted paintingMy antique spool bed.

It always saddens me when I see something like this.  As a rule I never pick up upholstered items but a perfectly good white slipcovered chair (IKEA – Ektorp Armchair) I’m sure could have been given to someone (family/friend/student) before it was ruined curbside and destined for a landfill site.                    IKEA Ektorp Chair

My sister and brother-in-law just built a gorgeous new kitchen and were undecided about the style of new stools for their island.  While walking the dog one evening they found this curved plywood/chrome stool curbside which was a very nice stand-in until they made their final decision.                                                  Curved plywood stool

Another evening walk found this piece of art curbside by a friend of mine.  Turns out (after a long forgotten stint in his garage) the painting is worth $$$.  My friend had it professionally cleaned and re-framed and this curbside treasure now has a new life hanging on his wall.                                          Curbside Art

Have a fabulous Earth Day and please…….recycle responsibly!

All images via Modmissy

Killer Curves

While doing a little spring cleaning the other day I came across my favourite ‘night on the town’, black leather shoes.

Killer shoes!

Black shoes

These are statement shoes – they enter the room before I do!

As I admired these beautiful shoes with curves in all the right places with a sexy elongated shape I realized they reminded me of something else.

The iconic LC4 Chaise Longue designed by Le Corbusier.                Le Corbusier Chaise Longue

 

This tubular, elongated, body-hugging, black leather chaise is a ‘killer’ piece of furniture.

It’s sexy in a ‘Mad Men’ sort of way and makes a big statement in any setting.

Designed in 1928, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, (1887 – 1965) better known as Le Corbusier, was an architect, designer, urban planner, writer and painter.

Incredible that this piece of furniture was designed over 85 years ago yet by today’s standard is still considered to be ‘modern’.

Timeless!

Wonder what my shoes will be thought of in 85 years!?

All images via Modmissy

I Don’t Understand…..

There are things in life that baffle me.

Perplex, flummox, nonplus me!

I don’t understand how the internet/cabling works – I mean how does my email blast across the world to someone 1000’s of miles away?  Instantly.

If birds fly, why can’t I?  Actually the whole flight thing is baffling.

If a dog’s owner speaks German to it will that dog understand when I speak English to it?

Puzzling right?

And here are my bewildering questions when it comes to the world of design.

Why do cushions have different backs?  “Look at my lovely 1/2-only cushion!”    Mongolian fur cushion

To me the 1/2 cushion is akin to someone dressed nicely in the front and naked in the back.  Right?                                                                 naked man

Next on the list are Pot Filler Faucets.  Very convenient to fill a pot right on the stove but how the heck do you get that very full, heavy, boiling pot to the sink afterwards?    Delta Pot Filler

Any why did it take almost 100 years for manufactures of refrigerators to design them counter depth?                                                                            fridge

And duvet covers that are sized ‘Full/Queen’.  A queen mattress is 6 inches wider than a full (double) mattress so that silly duvet cover is too large for a double and too small for a queen. Dumb!                                                                

But on a serious note I want to comment on the baffling recent world event of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.  To date over 2.24 million square nautical miles have been searched looking for the plane and the missing 239 people aboard and nothing has been found.  My thoughts and heartfelt concern go out for those people and I pray they all be found alive and safe.

Images: 1. www.misi.co.uk 2. Modmissy 3. www.deltafaucet.ca 4. Modmissy

5. www.potterybarn.com

I Dream in Design

I am working with a client right now remodelling their kitchen/family room.

What was to be a small change (new flooring and wall colour) evolved into a large renovation.

The island was ripped out and a more functional one was designed.  There was a structural repair to the foundation.  The kitchen cabinetry was all factory spray painted.  New hardwood.  New tile in the kitchen area with in-floor heating.  New pot lights in the ceiling.  New fireplace mantel.  The powder room was gutted.  And of course the walls were all painted a new colour.

Lots of changes occurred and lots of decisions have been made.

But the biggest challenge to date has been choosing the backsplash tile – the ‘jewellery’ of the kitchen.

It’s the final piece to the kitchen similar to the choosing of the perfect necklace for that beautiful outfit.

And so last night I dreamt of backsplash.

Carrara marble or Calacatta marble, glass or stone, random strip or herringbone……?

dreaming of design

 

Is dreaming successful in decision making?  I wonder?

Growing up I shared a bedroom with my sister who used to dream (and talk out loud) of math equations.  Fittingly she became an Engineer.

dreaming in math

 

My son when he was little dreamt he played with wild animals.  He is studying business at university??

 

Are dreams indicative of what is or is to become?  Do they help us overcome challenges?

What do you dream of…..?

All images designed by Modmissy

Colour of the Day – Olympic Passion Red

Have you been glued to your TV watching the Olympics?

I have.

Glued to TV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So many of the sports seemed to be based on speed – death defying speed!

Athletes barrel down the mountain on skis or sleds at speeds upwards of 95 km/h (150 mph) and 152 km/h (95 mph) for luge.

Speed skaters can attain speeds of up to 70 km/h (43 mph).

And figure skaters while moving at high speed jump or are thrown into the air!

Crazy right?

Do you find yourself holding your breath while watching?

So what drives these athletes to do what they do?

It has got to be PASSION!

So in honour of ‘passion’ I thought ‘red’ should be the colour of the day.

PS.  Remember to breathe! 

Alvar Aalto Flaming Red Vase

Alvar Aalto Flaming Red Vase

 

Alessi Grater with Cheese Cellar                 Alessi Grater

James Hallan Acrylic Red Chair

Red Chair

 

Wave Bookcase in Red by Vidame Creation

Wave Bookcase

 

I thought these red items looked like they could ski, skate or slide.

1. Modmissy   2. www.iittala.com   3. www.alessi.com   4. www.jameshallam.com 

5. www.greeen-store.com

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!

OCAD

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