colour inspirations for a happy stampede!

Whether you’re a cowboy or not, over the next 10 days Calgarians and visitors will put on their cowboy duds to celebrate the Stampede, hitting the streets for free pancake breakfasts, music, beer gardens and of course, the Rodeo. It’s an all out party and working hours are at a minimum as folks jump from event to event. After all, it is considered the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. The city comes alive and you can’t help but feel the energy.

You’re either one of two people. You put on your boots, kick your heels and crank the country tunes, or you flee the city. As it happens we are not typically in Calgary during Stampede. Not because we make a run for it but it’s just the way our summer vacations have worked out. This year however we are here and I’m not quite sure what do with myself. I don’t own cowboy boots or any stylish country western items so I’m taking some tips from probably the coolest country dude out there, Ralph Lauren. I’m not terribly interested in the red paisley bandanas and cowboy hats so I’m on the hunt for some inspiration. I am loving the colours in these photos which means some shopping may be in order to pull together the right designer duds. Any excuse right?

Happy Stampede to my Calgary friends and a special ‘Howdy’ to those visiting. YeeHAW!

Image sources: Ralph Lauren, Paint colours, Cowboy boots

bathroom reno: progress report

A current bathroom renovation project is well under way so I wanted to share the progress with you. The tile work is coming along nicely and I’m quite pleased with the dramatic results. The black granite tile is going to offset the stylish white tub beautifully and how about that tiled area rug? Gorgeous!

Next on the agenda is cabinetry which will be quarter sawn oak in a natural finish. A quarter sawn oak has a linear grain which will compliment the lines of the limestone shower. You can see the inspirations that we started with over at my bathroom reno: sneak peak post.

We have an early August deadline as there is a wedding in the family. Can’t wait to show you the final result!



red & white interior for a happy Canada day!

I hesitated to post a red and white interior for Canada Day but when I saw this home I really couldn’t resist because it is red and white done right. Julio Jimenez del Corral of Circle Q Architects, has created an classic modern home with the perfect amount of red. It is crisp, but not cold. It is white and bright yet inviting and warm. If you are the least bit hesitant to infuse colour into your home, this is the perfect example of a space that has colourful accents and still maintains a sense of neutrality.

In the spirit of our homeland colours I hope you enjoy this home from Madrid and wish you all a peaceful and relaxing Canada Day weekend.

Images: micasa


summer solstice 2011

Is there anything better than a summer party? They are easy, casual and can go long into the night on a warm summers evening. We recently welcomed summer with our annual summer solstice party and even though it poured with rain we sparked up the bbq and had an amazing time. If you have plans to throw a bash or perhaps you end up with a spontaneous get together, I’ve got some tips for you over at Decor Mentor today. I invite you to pop over and enjoy more photos from our party and hopefully get some ideas for your own.

Happy summer!




dabble issue 3 is live!

Can you believe we’re on to Issue 3 already? I’m really excited to share this issue’s Reality Check column where the topic is Custom Millwork and all the details that you will need to consider when starting a project of your own. I’m also proud to show you my clients space that we photographed for this feature. Floor to ceiling bookshelves stacked with books that have been collected over the years creating a space filled with incredible stories and adventures. I hope you enjoy, get inspired, and learn a little something along the way. Pop on over to Dabble to find my column along with more inspirations in design • travel • food.

Photo credit: Lori Andrews


design: lake house sneak peak

Last Tuesday I flew to Kelowna to help a client receive and install furniture at their new (to them) lake house property on Lake Okanagan in British Columbia. I got off to a late start due to a crazy morning illness (NO it’s not what you might think so move on from that notion!)

I had put together a collage of some of the items we will be installing that you can see on my A Day in the Life‘ post.

The delivery truck was late arriving at the house so the timing ended up perfect. Plus I stayed overnight so we had extra time to work on unpacking, placement and putting together all of our fab purchases. When I arrived most of the furniture had been placed with packing still attached. The white glove delivery service was due to arrive within an hour so we got down to business to prepare for more pieces to arrive.

First thing on the agenda… hello beautiful view!

The state of the living room when I arrived.

A pile of pillows waiting for a special place to rest.

Here is the living room when I left Wednesday morning. Our original plan was to place the cane chairs upstairs in the family room. We’ve been looking tirelessly for a pair of danish modern chairs to take their place. With company soon to be arriving, these chairs will add the extra seats needed in the space and the hunt for our modern finds will continue.

We hung a fabulous white starburst over the fireplace with a concave mirror. I thought this was a fun shot of the space from a distorted angle.

Family room with pull out sofa that also acts as a guest room. Because we borrowed the cane chairs for the living room I didn’t capture the end result as it will be evolving over time.

Small bedrooms for the kids will accommodate two twin beds. We opted for low profile beds as to not obstruct the windows. I must say the girls room has the most incredible view.

White glove service building the kids beds. These guys were nothing short of amazing going above and beyond the call of duty and so incredibly nice to boot.

I adored how the girls rooms were coming together. We decided to hang the round mango wood mirrors (shown in the family room image above) on the wall across from the beds to capture the view. That way the girls will have a view of the lake from almost every angle.

The main eating area in the house is not yet complete. We have an ‘L’ shaped built-in banquette to be installed against the wall with a wide striped sunbrella fabric for the seat cushion and several fabulous pillows we ordered from Etsy that were lost in the abyss of the Canada Post strike. I was so hoping we would have had more to show you here!

A collage of kids artwork will hang over the banquette and as you can see we planned the placement of the art with kraft paper for ease of hanging after I left.

As the sun was setting on our day I quickly grabbed a shot of the outdoor deck. Such a spectacular view of the Cascade Mountain Range.

Working together with my client on achieving the perfect summer getaway for their family has been so incredibly fun. It’s what really makes me love what I do.

There is still lots to do here at the Lake House however I’m so pleased with how everything has come together, especially considering this is the first time I have been in the home. So much can be done from a distance yet it’s very gratifying to be able see it all come together in person.

I hope you enjoyed this little sneak peak into one of my projects. And as always thanks for stopping by!



free design notes: 6.27.11

When I look at this kitchen, my first thought is “when can I move in?”. There’s really nothing I don’t love and oh how I wish I could flip the page of this Metropolitan Home image and see the rest of the house. *sigh*

What do you think? Are you bored with white cabinetry? Do you mind open shelves? Would love to know your thoughts!

Image: Elle Decor

Happy Monday!


a day in the life: lake house installation day

I’ve done a few projects outside of Calgary and most recently a Lake House property in the Okanagan. I don’t often get the opportunity to see the end result and help pull all our hard work together but today I’m headed to Kelowna and could not be more excited to see this place come together.

Our goal was to create a casual, beach-y feel that is stylish and family friendly. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the pieces we have on the truck ready to be unloaded and welcomed into their new home.

I hope to take lots of pictures and share some of the results with you!

Have a great day. I know I will :)

Sunbrella fabric, Ikat pillow, Chair, Bedding, Sectional, Chevron rug, Platform bed, Blue pillow, Floor lamp, Yellow patterned pillow, Coffee table.

free design notes: 6.20.11

While perusing the internet this weekend I came across, and fell in love with this image. Immediately I started to make notes in my mind so here it is as today’s *free* design notes. Of course you are always welcome to share your thoughts as well :)

Image source The Brooklyn Home Company via Design*Sponge. Photo credit: Emily Gilbert

Blogfest 2011: NYDC scavenger hunt

During our visit to the New York Design Center we were given the challenge of completing a scavenger hunt to help familiarize ourselves with the showrooms and give us an opportunity to use our creativity while we came up with our answers.

I wish I had more time to visit all the showrooms. So much eye candy and an incredible resource for Interior Designers.  I know I’ll be back to explore and take in all 16 floors of the building. Until then I will investigate more online.

Here are my answers to the scavenger hunt. Enjoy!

Find an item reminiscent of this famous New York City landmark.

The iconic Chrysler Building with art I found in the Atelier showroom representing the architecture of this magnificent building. Chrysler image via: Wikipedia

Central Park serves as a backyard to all New Yorkers and is the most visited urban park in the U.S. Find an item that would fit into the one of the parks 250 acres of lush green lawns.

In a grassy area of Central Park, I would love to see some of these sculptural elements and urns filled with colourful flowers. Both from 1st Dibs.

They say “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere!” Find an item that represents the glittering lights of Times Square.

Representing the lights of Times Square on the left and what can be somewhat of a mesmerizing experience represented in the art on the right. Both 1st Dibs.

This line of custom lamps “Petal Pink” Collection benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Visit this 5th floor showroom and take a shot of the colour you would choose for your creation.

New Mottega lamps from Arteriors and my choice, if I could choose just one :)

Sometimes when visiting NYC, you need a little assistance getting around, information on what’s happening and insights into all the city has to offer. The NYDC’s new Access to Design program allows both designers and consumers to navigate the NYDC and learn about design. Stop by our brand new office on the 4th floor and take a shot.

My favorite part of Access to Design is the fact that it’s a resource centre that connects consumers to designers and offers a helping hand that is much needed in what can be an overwhelming building to navigate your way through.

The BLOGFEST hosts showroom is always a destination for the NYDC. Currently decked out in colours that will make you smile, find your favorite texture and hue from Kravets new Modern Colors Collection.

It was hard to choose just one. I’m a little obsessed with all shades of orange right now so this seemed like the perfect choice. I love the geometric prints that can be used in traditional or modern settings.

The New York Design Center was built in 1926. Find an item that represents the 1920’s glamour that could have been shown when we first opened 85 years ago.

Here are some items I found from that era representing a time of breakthrough design and timeless elegance.

The Brooklyn Bridge is the oldest suspension bridge that connects NYC to uber stylish Brooklyn. Find an item that reflects it’s architectural splendor.

I found this mirror at 1st Dibs that I thought was a perfect match to the architecture of this striking bridge. Brooklyn Bridge image source.

While this bird is not native to New York City, we love seeing its colours and motif explored through this 6th floor showroom. With over 4,000 pieces introduced each year, Global Views is full of incredible treasures. Take a shot of your favorite item.

Many fabulous accessories to be found at Global Views and my favorite being the area rug and mirror.

Strike a pose in front of the BLOGFEST Step and Repeat backdrop. Take a shot of the “Sweet Endings Event” special A-list guest. Peacock image source.

Me, striking a pose and A-list designer Thom Felicia on the right.

Find something that represents your experience at BLOGFEST 2011.

Finally, to sum up my experience at Blogfest 2011, it was an incredible few days of the most inspiring experiences, people and places. Thank you Kravet for all your efforts. Please know they are appreciated and I’m sure I speak for those who attended and the many who were on the wait list….we can’t wait until next year!


Special thanks to Michelle from Holley & Gill for helping me!

Blogfest 2011: Day 1

I’ve just returned home from my trip to New York City and what an incredible week I’ve had. So much so, there are many blogs to come in order to report my experiences, findings and inspirations. I can’t possibly fit them all into one post.

My first day at Blogfest started with a rainy taxi ride to the Hearst Tower, a building that welcomes you street side with an old facade indicative of many building in New York. Look up and you’ll see that it towers with modern architecture. This is the first building in New York City to be certified LEED Gold and also the first to break ground after 9/11. It’s beautiful, inside and out.

Atop the 44th floor and celebrating the meeting of new friends and reuniting with old, we had lunch in style with House Beautiful. Our view was hidden by a dense fog but that didn’t matter much. We were all so happy to be sharing this incredible experience together.

After lunch we moved into the theater for panel discussions. Above, the team from Veranda magazine lead by Dara Caponigro where she shared her vision for Veranda and how they work towards creating the pages of their magazine. One thing Dara said that spoke to me was “magazines can really touch people”. There have been many times, countless actually when I’ve had a *moment* with a magazine and I have been experiencing and reading Elle Decor and House Beautiful for years. Dara has definitely opened my eyes to Veranda. With their gracious approach to a liveable luxury, you bet I’ll be checking them out regularly now.

During one of the discussions the panel was asked the following:

I was very appreciative of the thoughts on blogs from the editors. Magazines are imperative to me and my designs, not only from the perspective of leading the industry in design, inspirations and news on what’s up and coming, but also giving me ideas on what to blog.

Above the team from House Beautiful with Newell Turner leading the panel. Newell charmed us with his poise and encouragement with the acknowledgement of the time and effort that goes into blogging. He also shared that House Beautiful has some exciting news coming to the airwaves, so stay tuned!

With both House Beautiful and Veranda we had the chance to meet some of the people behind the scenes. I loved hearing where they got their start and what their position involves now. It was interesting to learn that almost everyone included in the panel that day had at one point or another worked in the offices of House Beautiful.

Another topic of discussion with some advice to bloggers from the magazine editors:

Again, so appreciative of what the editors had to offer as advice to bloggers. Nothing we haven’t heard before, but a reminder and reaffirmation is always good.

What was most incredible was listening to the editors and stylists from these magazines. It’s quite a moment when you realize that you are sitting in the same room with people you admire, learn from and drool over the pages of the magazines they work hard to put forth each and every month. The candor and respect they displayed for each other, their industry and even us as bloggers was quite something.

Taking a break on the mezzanine floor of the Hearst Tower was no hardship as we admired the architecture and mingled. There never seemed to be a shortage of words!

Finishing the day with a cocktail party with Mark Rozzo, Editor At Large at Town & Country magazine. Covers from the archives showed us how far T & C had come. Can you believe it’s been in print since 1846? In 1901 the name changed to Town & Country where you’ll continue to find fashion, arts, culture, interior design, travel, weddings, gala events and most recently, philanthropy has become a priority for the magazine.

I was proud to be one of many Canadians attending Blogfest and I don’t think this is even all of us! From left to right: Yvonne of Layers & Layers, me, Jennifer Powell of Kravet, Dane of 2Hounds, Michelle of Holley & Gill, Lisa Ferguson of Decor Mentor, Vanessa of Decor Happy, Sharon of Layers & Layers, Meredith Heron of Sashay and Amy of Eye See Pretty.

What a full day so far, but it doesn’t end here. Thursday’s post will share the rest from Day 1. Tomorrow watch for a fun scavenger hunt that we did during our visit to the New York Design Center.

Thanks for stopping by!