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!

Vondom

With the warm weather now here the majority of us will be heading to a ‘big box’ store to purchase our outdoor furniture but Vondom, a manufacturer of outdoor furniture, lighting and flowerpots takes the experience to a whole new level. Vondom collaborates with the most prestigious designers and architects of the world to create a new form of understanding in outdoor decoration. “VONDOM works to create art, always in search of the natural beauty of the product, giving them their own personality, always bearing in mind the vanguard of contemporary design, simply and balance.” Here are a few pieces from the vast collection of Vondom. Enjoy!

The Pillow Collection

The Rest Collection

The Stones Collection

The Vertex Collection

The Faz Collection – used indoors here.

The Vela Collection – lit by LED lights

The Quadrat Collection

All images Vondom.com

My White Bedroom

‘Change’…..it’s time for change again.

When the weather starts getting warmer I change all the linens and accessories in my bedroom.  The room faces west and receives the hot afternoon sun so my summer bedroom gets the all-white treatment giving both a cooler look and feel.

Layers of white cotton linens on the bed give a ‘cool as cotton’ sensation.  I made the duvet cover from 2 sheets that we (hubby and I) brought back from Venice while travelling through Europe many years ago.  Hubby carried these king-sized sheets plus 2 cotton tablecloths in his knapsack for a month!  (had to throw out some of his clothing to fit them in!!)  The cotton chenille fringed bedspread is vintage and originates from the same era as my beloved orange lamps.  The cushions from West Elm provide the pop of colour on the bed.

The bergere chair is slipcovered in white cotton and the art above the dresser is exchanged for a white mirror.

My otherwise contemporary home gets a shabby chic makeover in the bedroom.  Bring on the summer!

 

Summer Porches

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 Front Porch – Summertime

I love going to fabric stores.  It is like an overload on the senses – looking, touching and imagining.  As I walk amongst the bolts of fabric, admiring the many beautiful fabrics, running my hands along them to feel them, my mind starts racing trying to envision where I could use them all.  So many gorgeous fabrics – not enough projects!

On a recent fabric store adventure I came across this fabulous orange/white fabric that I fell in love with – I bought 2 yards.

I decided to use the fabric for seat cushions on the chairs in my enclosed front porch.  My sewing skills gained from grade 7/8 Home Ec. are fairly rudimentary but I can sew cushion covers.

My front porch spring/summer cushions were looking faded and boring so the new orange/white gives the needed punch.  The patterned pillows which coordinated perfectly came from HomeSense thanks to a good friend who found them for me!  The twig furniture (hubby and I made many years ago), lots of potted flowers, good lighting to read with and candles in the evening makes this porch my summer oasis.

All Images via Modmissy

 

 

My Rustic Wood Table

Last weekend while lounging dockside at the cottage, I had the chance to catch up on some reading, specifically my design magazines.  Something that caught my eye was a DIY photo in Canadian House and Home July 2011 issue.  A weathered barn board table left uncovered was set for alfresco dining with crisp white linens and dinnerware.  It was the rustic feeling of the table that inspired me; the contrast of the weathered with the new.  I envisioned myself entertaining friends and family at a similar table in my own backyard so I decided to build one. (Actually I had hubby build one – see below)  My table is built from white pine boards that are over 100 years old.  Originally occupying a Pharmacist shop in Port Hope, Ontario, where the boards served as shelving in the stock room to hold bottles of potions, tinctures and salves.  When the shop was closed many decades later the boards somehow made their way to our cottage where they were then used as dock boards for over 30 years.  When a new dock was built the boards were no longer needed and thus relegated to the wood pile.  Fortunately for me the boards were never thrown into the bonfire and burnt!  So in the 100 year journey from Pharmacist shelving, to lakeside dock, to woodpile, to rustic alfresco dining my ‘new’ wood table certainly has weathered all. 

         

                My Inspiration – Canadian House and Home, July 2011

         

                  My ‘new’ weathered wood table.

Fruit and Vegetable Inspiration

I recently visited a farmers market.  It is that time of year when the selection of fruits and vegetables is so abundant and varied.  My senses came alive by the sights, smells and the feel of the freshness.  I ended up purchasing more than I could carry and quite possibly eat.  As I strolled along the stalls of fresh produce I also noted all the colours of the fruits and vegetables.  A cornucopia of reds and greens, yellows and oranges, purples and beige.  I took photos of the produce and noticed the similarity between the colours of the fruits and vegetables to the colours of home interiors.  So a trip to the farmers market may prove more valuable than just acquiring fabulous, fresh food because you never know where inspiration may hit.  ‘Feast’ your eyes on the photos below!

Radishes vs. Sarah Richardson – Benjamin Moore Burnt Peanut Red

Asparagus vs. Martha Stewart Green

Lemons vs. Martha Stewart Bright Yellow

Carrots vs. Martha Stewart Orange

Eggplants vs. Benjamin Moore Raisin Torte

Garlic Bulbs vs. Martha Stewart Shades of Sand

Summer Stars

Whenever I vacation at the cottage I can only sit still for so long until I get the urge to ‘create’.  To make something.  I love to cook and bake so I do lots of that, (big smiles from family!) but ‘crafting’ is something that really appeals when I spend time in the great outdoors.  I recently attended an afternoon of ‘wine and women’ at a neighbours cottage where familiar faces and some new ones got together on a Tuesday afternoon to share laughter and play lawn games.  We all bring our favourite ‘appy and sips’ but this year I felt the urge to also bring along a hostess gift.   Our cottage is not located where I can just ‘pop’ out to the store to purchase some cocktail napkins or scented candle so this was my perfect opportunity to create a nature-inspired hostess gift.  After walking around the property and picking up a bunch of sticks I decided to create something with twigs and twine.  And what better shape than a star as there is no better place to watch the stars in the night sky than at the cottage.  My hostess loved the gift and remarked that she had the perfect spot in her kitchen where a nail was already hammered into the wall just waiting for the ‘star attraction’!

                   

                     

                     

 

 

 

Dyson Air Multiplier – Very Cool!

So…..is it hot enough for you?!  I do love summer and never complain about the heat because winter is just so long and so cold and always seems to be just around the corner.  We do not use air-conditioning at our house but fortunately we are surrounded by large trees that provide shade, live near the water for breezes and have a cooler (renovated) basement that we can retreat to.  But I also like to have the windows open to hear the sounds of summer.  We have on occasion used a fan during the night but the noise of the fan blades chopping the air does not make for a restful sleep.  Enter the new Dyson Air Multiplier Fan® with its completely bladeless, non-buffeting design.  I had a chance to check out the Dyson fans today and was quite impressed by their contemporary, hip looking design.  The Dyson fan has great style and if standing in the corner of a room would appear as an interesting piece of art or architecture.  They are also much quieter than a standard fan and because there are no blades they are safer and easy to clean.  I even put my fingers on the fan while running which is a total no-no with standard fans.  The detail that was difficult to overcome though was the price tag.  The small fans start at a hefty price of $300.  Which makes me wonder, does great design have to cost more?  Hhmmm?  On that thought I am heading off to the cottage for a few weeks so keep cool and enjoy the rest of the summer.

                 

                      Image via Modmissy