Lost But Never Forgotten

Today is my cousin’s birthday.

Paul, the ‘cowboy’ as seen in this photo below, circa 1980’s, always had a big smile on his face.  Paul & ChrisUnfortunately we celebrate Paul’s birthday without him as sadly his life ended a few years ago. But our lost loved ones are always in our heart!

Paul was ‘my brother from a different mother’ as he was my mother’s identical twin sister’s son.  Rene and NornieAnd when you have 2 mothers that are so identical their offspring are bound to be close.  And Paul and I were.

Paul had a passion for antiques and the 2 of us were often attending antique auctions together.  In those days I had a penchant for antique furniture (yes it’s true!) and we would load up my car to the brim with all the great finds.

But none was as memorable as the time we purchased an antique cast iron wood stove that weighed over a ‘million’ pounds.  We loaded that behemoth beast into the back of my hatchback and drove it all the way back to the city.  Let’s just say that we were quite the sight driving down the highway with the front tires barely touching the road.  I sold that car soon after!

That wood stove still holds a big place in my heart as it is the focal point of my cottage.  It withstood the recent renovation,  Cottage renovationAnd now holds pride of place in the cottage.IMG_7007

Thanks for the memories.

Rest in peace Paul. xo


All Images via MODMISSY



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

M.I.A. – But I’m back now!

Wow…..it’s been a while.

Lost my momentum – but I’m back on now.

bike riding

A lot has happened since I’ve been ‘missing in action’.

Autumn colours, the massive ice storm of 2013,  Ice Storm

Christmas (I did put up a tree), Pantone’s Color of the Year     Pantone Radiant Orchid 2014

Home renovations and lots of other stuff that I will write about in the coming weeks.

I’ve also been busy working on some really interesting client projects.

One project is a client’s basement that had to be totally gutted due to flooding.  Definitely a silver lining of an awful situation.  Check out the wallpaper that was in the basement bathroom that was probably hung in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s.  Love it!  And why wouldn’t I – same ‘mod’ colours as the back of my business cards!!       Mod Wallpaper And finally the Olympics – 17 days of excitement and passion.

The power of each of us comes from all of us.  Whether it’s your team or your country the power is the unity of the world.  Here’s to everyone!

Olympic symbol


All images via Modmissy.

Feathering the Nest

This summer above our garage door a nest was built and three birds were born.   Baby bird

For weeks the parents flew in and out feeding and caring for their precious offspring.  These young birds had insatiable appetites and the parents never seemed to stop working.   Hungry Birds.

Then one day I noticed the young birds had ventured outside the nest.  Leaving the Nest.

And the next moment the nest was on the ground and all the birds had flown.   Birds Nest.

Hatched, raised and flown.  Gone.

In my last post I mentioned that my son is now living away at university – born, raised and flown the nest.  Gone.

So, where did 18 years go?

It was only yesterday that he was born.  And what felt like a mere 5 minutes ago that he was learning to walk, talk and then heading off to Kindergarten.  Time flies doesn’t it!?

I have to believe that my years of parenting have given him wings and the ability to soar.  Made him want to venture beyond his very comfortable nest.

But I miss him big time!!

And now there is a void in the house with empty rooms and spaces where my son once occupied.

But instead of feeling sad every time I walk past these ‘gaps’………I decided to re-decorate.

I ‘feathered the nest’ for me!

High atop on the 3rd floor of my home I turned my son’s study into my space of relaxation and comfort.   Feathering the Nest.

Let me tell you there is nothing better than lying on a comfy chaise with a view out the window, my favourite books, pictures of loved ones and the remote in my hand.


All images via Modmissy

Oh Look…..it’s Me!

I went for a bike ride yesterday along Toronto’s waterfront bike trail.

Absolutely perfect weather and no crowds.

The bike trail was all mine to enjoy; very peaceful.  I pedaled along with nary a thought in my head.

Until I was quickly brought back down to earth when I saw a vision of myself posted on a billboard.



The likeness was uncanny even to me!                          Condo Billboard.

I’ve written previously about billboards, (see here) specifically billboards advertising new home developments with images of happy, smiling people living charmed lives but I never imagined I would be one of those people.

But there I was (or at least someone who looked a lot like me) rolling along the bike path, part of a new, vibrant, sustainable neighbourhood pictured in a huge billboard for all to see.  I had become that common face, the ‘this could be you’ person, living a life full of opportunities.  Charmed.

The billboard was part of the hoarding surrounding the upcoming Bayside Development.  The condos are being built directly on Toronto’s inner harbour of Lake Ontario transforming an underutilized, industrial area into an active and diverse mixed-use community and thriving waterfront destination.  With great views of the lake and a prime location to downtown Toronto who wouldn’t live a charmed life here.   Bayside Development

Toronto Inner Harbour

Fabulous, but am I ready for condo life yet!?

All images via Modmissy

A Focus on Space

Yesterday I attended a focus group for the Brother® Business Smart™ all-in-one printer; the MFC-J4510DW. 

Brother MFC-J4510DW


With the ultimate combination of printer, scanner, copier, fax and wireless networking this piece of technology has it all.  Including great looks!

But while attending yesterday’s very informative event it occurred to me that I have not been using my Brother® Business Smart™ to its best capabilities.  Although it occupies valuable real estate on my desk I have been ‘under’ using this all-in-one printer.  I have since changed that.  And love it now even more!

This got me thinking about our homes.  Do we use them to their best or are there rooms/spaces that we ‘under’ use? 

I often say that space is highly overrated.  What good is having a lot of it when we don’t use it??

I like having my formal dining room but how often do I use it?  My TV is in my media room so I don’t really ‘hang’ in my living room.  The guest room is for guests.  I seem to never leave my kitchen as it is the hub of the house which means that I don’t use my other rooms. 

So I have started to re-think some of my space.


All images via Modmissy

Home Staging

I have not written in a while because I have had my head ‘stuck in a house’.  Head in House

Really!  For the last 2 ½ weeks I have been staging a huge house (a real biggie!) for real estate sale.  It will be listed for $$ million so a lot of pre-presentation work went into this house.

In total I counted 25 people who at some point throughout the 2 ½ weeks worked on this house.   At times it felt like we were ants crawling all over the house!  Bless the homeowners for being so patient as they lived in the house while all the work was being done.

To get this home ready for Open House presentation I had all the wall-to-wall carpeting ripped out and replaced with hardwood.  Interesting what you sometimes find underneath carpet.  Faux red brick!!!!!

Faux red brickThe stairs were treated to new updated wool Berber carpet.  The mint green walls were painted Benjamin Moore White Down, the dark paneling was painted Cloud White and the wallpaper border was stripped off.

Nothing dates a house like light fixtures so many of those were replaced.  Retro tulip light

All the outside fencing and decking were re-stained to make them look updated.

The garden was tended to.  All the windows were washed.  A cleaning crew went ‘full-on’ inside for a day.

And the homeowner’s contents were edited.  (!!!)  Then I did my thing – staging and propping.

Needless to say the house looked beautiful in the end.

I love ‘playing house’!

I was so focused on this house I almost missed a beautiful part of spring – the blossoms!

Magnolia tree


 All images via Modmissy

Fence Design – Love this one!

As previously mentioned the fence in my backyard needs replacing – 10 years ago!  And now with summer on its way decisions need to be made sooner than later.

So what’s the 10 year hold up you ask?


What should the fence look like, what style do I want?  Should I go with horizontal or vertical fence boards?  Stained or natural?  Should it have modern influences or be more traditional?  And what extra details should be incorporated into the design?

I have posted twice about fence designs. See My Fence Design Dilemma and More Fence Designs. 

Similar to a home’s interior décor I believe a fence requires as much thought to the style and design. 

Recently a neighbour of mine decided it was time to tear down their old dilapidated garage and install a parking pad and build a new privacy fence.  Yeah for me!  The [ugly] garage is now gone and there is a really nice fence to admire.  And…..I love the design.  Fabulous Fence Design

The fence boards run horizontally and are staggered in width with narrower boards at the top creating interest and a sense of design.  To break up the abundance of wood 2 panels of sand blasted glass were incorporated giving a contemporary feel to the fence.  sand blasted fence

I like the gate hardware, a black lever-style handle, a variation from the norm.  A peep-hole ‘viewing sliver’ has been built into the design also.  fence hardware and peep hole

So…..is there hope/inspiration for my fence replacement?

All images via Modmissy


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