The Ladies’ Lounge

I live in a neighborhood close to downtown Toronto nestled on Lake Ontario.  In the early 1900’s the neighborhood was used as a summer retreat for Toronto residents less than 10 miles away.  Large private homes and ‘cottages’ sprang up in the area which still remain standing today.  Many of the homes originally built were never intended to last 100 years – but they have.  Garages constructed to originally house buggies or Model T’s were narrow wooden structures built apart from the house.  One of these old wooden garages belongs to a friend of mine who I have named ‘Superwoman’.  Superwoman (SW) is capable of anything – she can leap tall buildings if she puts her mind to it.  SW has transformed her old wooden garage into a ‘ladies lounge’ – the female version of a ‘man cave’.  What SW started with was this:

And this.

At some point in the history of this garage a former owner had built a chimney and drywall the inside. (I suppose to use as a workshop.)  There were remnants of old linoleum on the floor and many, many holes where raccoons and squirrels entered to take up residence.  Of course SW had a lot of her own ‘junk’ in there too.  But once SW decided that this valuable piece of real estate could be better used there was no stopping her.  Out went the junk, the drywall was ripped down, the chimney was dismantled, the numerous holes were covered, the linoleum was pulled up etc. etc. etc.  SW had her work cut out for her.

But after many months of hard work the Ladies’ Lounge is finally ready.  Stay tuned for the reveal!

Upon Closer Inspection

My Friday space this week is a living room designed by Orlando Diaz-Azcuy of Orlando Diaz-Azcuy Design Associates or ODADA.  This Cuban-born American designer has had a significant impact on the contemporary practice of interior design.  With degrees in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and City Planning, Diaz-Azcuy is a master in residential interiors, architecture, landscape design, furniture design and urban planning.  While researching for a room that I would like to spend time in this weekend I came across this photo that depicted a lovely calm space; a bit more traditional looking than I usually prefer.  But upon closer inspection I realized that the furniture was actually a ‘dramatic experiment’ in curved plywood.  “Sweeps of glossy white vinyl lie atop a plywood “over-floor” and rise onto and over the simple plywood furniture forms—coffee table, daybed, and chairs. Beneath them an exposed ebony floor serves up high contrast to highlight the beauty of negative space.”  Refined elegance but innovative modern at the same time.  Outstanding!

Image via Matthew Millman

Royal Mail Stamp Rug

One of the many traditions that occur at this time of year are the sending of Christmas cards to family and friends both near and far.  Growing up in my house the Christmas card was as important as the baking of the ‘fruit cake’.  My Mother took her Christmas cards quite serious.  A lot of thought went into the purchasing of the cards, what was written on the inside of each card and the correct time of mailing the cards.  Cards addressed to overseas homes had to be mailed much earlier thus creating even more stress whereas local addresses had a few weeks grace.  But heaven forbid if any of those Christmas cards were received after Christmas!  My duty regarding the Christmas cards was to lick each stamp and affix to the dozens of envelopes.  I loved to see the different themed stamps that came out each year by Canada Post.  Recently I came across a new type of stamp –  the Royal Mail Stamp Rug.  The U.K. company Rug Maker has been officially granted a licence to manufacture the Stamp Rug Collection which features the iconic design of Machin’s Royal Mail Stamps.  Each rug displays the sculpted profile of the Queen’s head, a denomination and a sculpted edge to mimic the U.K. mail postage stamp.  The rugs are hand-woven from 100% New Zealand wool in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal and take approximately 12 weeks to weave.  Ranging from  3ft x 4ft to 8ft x 10ft, the rug collection is compromised of 6 stamp proportioned sizes in a wide palette of colours that can be used as a unique floor covering or as a wall hanging.  Each handmade Royal Stamp Rug is truly a work of art and takes ‘stamp collecting’ to a whole new level!


Part of the enjoyment I get from staging a client’s home for real estate sale is that I get to work (or as I like to call it – play) with the homeowners ‘objets d’art’. Their accessories and décor items.  Their tchotchkes!  Sometimes there are interesting pieces collected from world travels or beautiful vases and coloured glass bowls.  Often the kitchen may have cool stainless steel barista items or wooden trays made from exotic woods. And I always smile when I come across a gumball machine in a child’s room.  I think it is the rainbow of colours that are fun to work with and the childhood memories that are beckoned back. 

So recently when I came across this 2nd photo I was reminded of gumballs.  And once again it made me smile. 

Any guesses as to what these colourful balls are??!! They look just like gumballs.  This is the ‘Pinocchio’ carpet from the Hay Rug Collection   named after a Danish candy of colourful, sugar-coated licorice balls.  The Pinocchio carpet is handmade in Nepal from 100% pure wool and every single ball is felted by hand and then put on a string like pearls.  This carpet would definitely be a centerpiece in any room.  Not to mention that it would make you smile!