Today is the first day back to school which in our house really kick-starts the new year.
The holidays were wonderful. I spent lots of quality time with family and had lots of fun with friends. For me Christmas is always about spending time with those you love.
This past holiday I learned 2 things about myself.
While spending a lovely afternoon Christmas shopping with my niece, who is a beautiful (mature) young lady, I was referred to by a saleslady as her ‘mother’. What I had envisioned as 2 females ‘out on the town’ having fun, swapping stories, trying on clothing together was now shattered. I must not look as young as I feel!
One of my cousins who faithfully read my blog told me that I had inspired her to re-decorate her living room. She had decided one day as she walked into her living room that it was time for a ‘change’. Encouraged by my blog she tackled the re-decoration of the room with confidence. Bravo!
In life you win some, you lose some. I am hoping that 2013 is a year of balance!
This past weekend I visited Niagara Falls, Canada.
The Horseshoe Falls dropping about 173 feet in distance and averaging 4 million cubic feet per minute of water crashing over the crest line provide an amazing spectacle of the power of water.
But while admiring the falls I find it hard to ignore the beautiful colour of the water. The green colour is a byproduct of the ~60 tonnes/minute of dissolved salts and very finely ground rock produced by the erosive force of the Niagara River. But I am thinking paint colour – Benjamin Moore Greenwood Lake 2037-50. A fresh green that brings life to spaces, illuminating the room with pure, extraordinary colour.
Of course design takes inspiration from nature and fundamentally shapes how a person experiences the world. One only has to take a look at the Waterfall Table and can predict what the designer’s inspiration possibly was.
Design is everywhere. In life take time to smell the roses and notice their beautiful colour!
I started writing about our cottage renovation a few months back. See start, gut, build, decor. It was a renovation that took many months due to distance, weather and holidays. But it is now complete. Our initial goal was to raise the low ceiling but at the same time to create a cohesive relationship between the interior and exterior. The cottage is truly about the nature and the ability to experience it. In the end our renovation has given us more than just a new space. The cottage’s clear lines and modernist approach has given us a greater appreciation of the amazing view beyond the large windows. But more interestingly is the cohesive relationship now created within the family. We spend more time together interacting as a family than ever before. This is a space where we sit down together and share moments rather than racing through on the way to somewhere else. We slow down and enjoy together.
Have a look.
The before photo minus the furniture. (Just prior to gutting)
The After photos.
We forgo the upper cabinets opting for a larger window and a better view of the lake. The wall above the stove is presently blank but waiting for the perfect piece of art that we have yet to find.
Counter space that we did not previously have is now a place for an ‘edible’ vignette.
I chose neutral but fun pillows to keep the space calm.
We are thrilled with the outcome of this renovation and love all that this cottage now gives to us.
I have been remiss on my posting duties of late. I apologize but summer seemed to have had a strong pull on me. When I visit my cottage in the north all technology and ‘city’ responsibilities get pushed away – happily.
I thought I would share with you some of the reasons why I went missing.
This is the first thing I see when I open my eyes each morning at the cottage. The view from bed with the sun streaming in and the sparkling lake – what’s not to love!
Once up I go for an early morning ride in this vintage boat while the lake is still like glass.
Of course the early morning call of the loon is like nature’s melody that lulls you into awe and harmony. And even more special if you happen to witness the union of adult and offspring during feeding.
Watching nature – colourful.
Observing wildlife – amazing! Notice the little fawn I came across on a quiet walk through the forest.
An afternoon water ski!!
The magnificent spectacle following an afternoon rain shower.
And the setting sun after a wonderful day at the cottage.
What’s not to love and possibly make you forget all of life’s commitments?
I always get ahead of myself or rather get ahead of the project. Whenever my husband and I renovate (and we have been doing that for over 20 years!) he is still in the ‘bust and build’ state while I am already decorating the space.
We are on track renovating our cottage, the drywall is up and the new window is in, the kitchen cabinets are assembled and the countertop is ordered. But way before all this I have been buying fabric, rugs, furniture accessories etc. all the little touches that will coordinate the final presentation. Make the finished space just ‘right’.
I pulled together my inspiration board which is always helpful to visualize the space.
I pictured our cottage done in white, warm wood, sisal and hits of blue to give a pop of colour to the space. I choose Benjamin Moore Oxford White CC-30 for the walls (new drywall) which is a nice bright white. The long wall across from the windows is paneled in pine. The sofa is an existing Bauhaus sectional that we have had for years and works really well in the space. The sectional is in a neutral weave fabric of which I replaced the back cushion covers with natural canvas. I bought a new area carpet – IKEA Tårnby, a natural fibre carpet that has a great textural appeal giving the room a warm organic look.
To keep the room bright I bought 3 coordinating fabrics that I will sew into cushions for the sofa. Crisp blue and white fabrics with lots of white accessories in the room will give a fresh, lakeside feel to the cottage interior. I decided to replace the existing large upholstered (red) chair as its size was not appropriate for the space. I wanted something light coloured and airier in appearance. On Craigslist I found a leather IKEA Poäng chair (wish it was an Alvar Aalto Lounge Chair! – check out my previous post here) which I thought would be perfect for the room. Gotta love Craigslist!
Ok…..so I had it all figured out. I knew exactly in my mind how this space was going to look. WRONG!!!!
This past weekend when we started to put the furniture, carpet, etc. back into the cottage I realized the room looked nothing like my inspiration board. I think my biggest miscalculation was the light. The natural light that floods the room from all the windows changes the sense of the room. The colours – paint and fabric, the furniture etc. all read very different.
Yesterday I wrote about my front porch and how in summertime it is my oasis. Today I thought I would share some other porches. Enjoy.
Nothing says ‘hazy, lazy days of summer’ better than a porch swing. This one from Better Homes and Garden magazine is the ideal spot for an afternoon nap with its green and white ticking on a watermelon colour swing piled deep with vintage-inspired floral pillows. Languor away!
Wicker, rockers and wood suggests a country cottage feel. This porch from Canadian House and Home says “you’ve arrived”, now sit back and unwind.
Nothing says ‘calm and cool’ like a porch decorated in blue and white. This porch’s appeal is the combination of indoor furniture – a drop leaf dining table and mirror, mixed with director’s chairs and vintage finds. Cut flowers from the garden appeals to the senses with both beauty and scent.
A porch doesn’t have to be big to be great. Carving out a spot needn’t be about large square footage but rather any nook can fit the bill. This porch from Houzz shows how a small space, appropriate sized furniture and a great view is a perfect recipe for ‘drinks at five’.
While away the day drifting into a dreamy evening on this all white porch. The mixture of a white wicker settee with an industrial-style coffee table provides a nice contrast. But what I really loved was the unique table. This large white table top sitting on 2 huge white bases combined with wooden benches is a fabulous update of the age-old ‘picnic’ table.
So…..where will you be spending your lazy, hazy days and relaxed evenings of summer? Let me know.
Images: 1,3,5 – Better Homes and Garden 2 – Canadian House and Home 4 – Houzz
My backyard is both my sanctuary and my little ‘green space’ in the city. I look forward to being able to return to my summer hangout. But until the warm weather is here I can patiently only watch spring’s progress in my backyard. From my kitchen window, which is elevated above the backyard, I have a bird’s eye view to observe all the activity going on. The buds on the trees are just starting to come out and some of the perennials are beginning to poke up out of the soil. And the birds are so busy at this time of year. Blue Jays, robins and cardinals are constantly flying about; looking for mates and starting to nest. But here is the thing – I have a garden mirror that hangs on a wall in the backyard. The mirror tucked in behind some greenery gives the appearance of creating visual space where none exists. My yard is small so this ‘trompe l’oeil’ (French for ‘fool the eye’) is perfect for tricking one into believing that my backyard is spacious. Same tactic as when a mirror is used inside a home. But each spring I have to cover the mirror over with a plastic sheet to prevent birds from hurting themselves. The birds, mostly robins, upon seeing their reflection in the mirror believe it to be another bird that is in their territory. The bird fights itself to such a length that I have noticed blood on the mirror. Not nice for the bird! So I thought I would pass this info on to anyone who may have a garden mirror. Cover over the mirror during springtime until the birds are finished mating.
A photo of a robin in spring – let’s protect him.
My garden mirror in spring before plant foilage covers over.
My garden mirror in summer somewhat hidden from surrounding foilage.