Category Archives: inspiration

northern rose wallpaper graham and brown

some news: graham & brown collaboration

21st May 2015

So I have a bit of fun news! I have been chatting recently with the folks over at Graham & Brown, and am going to partner with them for the rest of 2015 in a Brand Ambassador role.

graham and brown logo

So who are Graham & Brown? They are a UK-based, family company that make the most incredible wallpaper, along with other home products and accessories. I have admired their wallpaper for AGES. They have a huge variety of patterns, with an undeniable UK influence. I have been going to England ever since I was a kiddo – I think my first flight ever as a baby was over to London. Want a little throwback thursday? Here is my Daddio with me in the carrier (hello, old school babywearing!), out exploring the English countryside.

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My Dad was born and raised in England, and my Mum spent a large part of her childhood there while her Dad was stationed there with the Army. We still have loads of family and friends who we try to get over and visit, and if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I even took the opportunity to go do my Master’s degree over in London with Dan (it’s where we got engaged!).

The local pub near my grandmother’s place… does it get much more English than that?

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The houses that I have have spent time in over in England are usually plastered in wallpaper – hallways, bedrooms, living rooms, etc. It can add so much pattern, warmth, and richness to a space. I find that here in North America, we have way more trepidation about using wallpaper in our houses – don’t you agree? I am after a mix in our own home. I love a crisp, clean, almost beach-y aesthetic, but I also love an eclectic look with tons of pattern. It’s going to be a challenge to bring them together in our home in a way that doesn’t feel disjointed, but I’m up for it. I’m not going to be wallpapering all of the walls in our house (hello, I have been working like crazy to get them all painted!), but I have visions of wallpapering furniture, installing it as large scale art, and using it in unexpected places.

Check out what Le Zoe Musings did with some Graham & Brown paper in her home. Amazing, right?

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My Mum and I also have a room to makeover at my family cottage this summer, and my head is swirling with wallpaper ideas. A stripe? A subtle floral? I haven’t figured it out yet, but we’re definitely going to go for it.

The Graham & Brown “Wallpaper of the Year” for 2015 is Northern Rose. It feels SO English to me and has that garden rose vibe that would be so sweet paired in a room with tons of white and natural light.

northern rose wallpaper graham and brown northern rose wallpaper graham and brown

I haven’t done a project with the paper yet (I just ordered my first batch – they ship to Canada no problem!), but I am thinking it would be amazing either on the base of a wood chair, kind of similar to what these guys did here:

wallpapered chairs

(source unknown)

Or onto a piece of furniture, like this:

wallpapered dresser

(source unknown)

I have started a Pinterest board here with all things wallpaper-inspired, so follow me over there if you want to get some project ideas. I can’t wait to get started!

Have you guys used wallpaper in your house before? Have you used it in non-traditional ways, like as artwork or on furniture? Any tips to share? I’m all ears!

sofas, chaises, couches, oh my!

23rd September 2013

Do you guys remember the Reverie couch I won from EQ3 last year? Well, I thought I would give you a bit of a status update after living with it for over a year. The short story: We love it. The colour hasn’t faded, it’s become a little bit softer (which we like), the cushions have remained really plump so they aren’t doing that sagging thing that happens over time, and the “body” of the couch is still in great shape. Basically, it still seems like we just got it yesterday. And we use it – a lot. We are dinner-on-our-laps kind of people, and so I sit and eat on this couch every night of the week. It’s definitely a resilient beauty.

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The one problem we have had pretty recently is that one of the buttons came off. I had noticed in general that the buttons (which create that tufted look) were always a bit on the loose side, so I sort of expected this to happen. I called up EQ3 and was sort of ready for a long wait on hold, multiple calls, and lots of back-and-forth before I could get anything fixed. Well let me tell you – their customer service was fabulous. They didn’t ask anything about when I got the couch or require a receipt or anything, just setup an appointment right away for one of their contracted furniture fixers to come over to our house. A few weeks later, a very experienced furniture guy came out and not only fixed the one button, but reinforced every single one (all in about 45 minutes). Such great service!

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Do you guys love your sofa? Are you currently looking for a new one? Ever received a great hand-me-down? Before winning our Reverie, we had always had a cheap futon and our IKEA Karlstad. We still have our Karlstad and love it for its clean lines, comfy factor, and reasonable price point, but I have definitely come to appreciate a really well-made sofa.

Habitat, a UK based company, reached out about their latest lines of sofas and chaise longues. I used to pop into Habitat really often when I was living in London to check out their latest stuff (their stores are always beautifully laid out!), so I was happy to take a look at their new lines.

They have a huge selection of sofas and armchairs, and also a ton of chaise longue style sofas.


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I definitely veer towards a couch that has clean modern lines, fewer seat and back cushions, and slim legs. I find that a couch that sits entirely on the ground can look heavy in a room. And although I think a neutral sofa is a smart investment, I do love the idea of a brightly coloured couch. Bright turquoise, mustard yellow, or a poppy red? I’m digging it.

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I also have always defaulted to fabric sofas and chairs, but leather is inching its way up on my love list. A well-worn warm brown leather sofa, especially in a room with white walls, kilim rugs and throw pillows, mixed metals, and other global flare, is my idea of a good time.

Hubs and I have dreamt of having a nice big sectional at some point to really stretch out on. Our current small living room would get swallowed up by a sectional – but maybe with our second-storey addition down the road we will be able to put a sectional into our expanded living room. A gal can dream!

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What about you guys? What’s your sofa-style? Are you a fabric or leather lover? Like tufting? Into boxy lines, or more traditional rounded sofas? Light? Dark? Slipcovers? Have a sofa that has really standed the test of time? Ever re-upholstered? I want to hear about it!

**Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by Habitat. All opinions and text are my own.**

a book review

9th September 2013

I just recently got my hands on this beautiful new book by Annie Sloan…

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Have you guys heard of Annie Sloan? If not, she’s the brains behind Chalk Paint – a decorative paint developed for furniture, floors, and walls. The paint has a super matte—almost chalky—finish.

I had a fabulous time sitting in the backyard devouring this book. There are tons of inspiring projects that I happily browsed… 

annie sloan book-small

There are 40 step-by-step projects showing how to use Chalk Paint to create a variety of different looks – from really French styles, to more shabby chic, to country looks. The claim to fame with chalk paint is that it can be applied directly to surfaces without sanding or priming (hallelujah!), and will adhere to pretty much anything – wood, plastic, stone, brick, concrete, and metal. It’s low VOC, and dries quickly into that matte finish.

A few of my fave projects… how amazing is this copper claw foot tub?

BC - copper leaf bath

The green and gold combination here is sooooo lovely.

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These chairs in various shades of blues and greens would look amazing around a harvest table, don’t you think?CO - sanded kitchen chairs from the Country Style section

FR - distressed armoire

The really matte texture of the paint looks pretty gorgeous, right? It makes this black desk seem really warm somehow… I am totally keen to try it out on my next furniture makeover. MC- modern bureau

One of the cool things about the paint, is that Annie talks about how to mix the colours to create custom looks, and how to use the wax and other techniques to create different finishes.Working with Paint Colours 1

Annie Sloan stockists and workshops can be found on Annie’s web site: www.anniesloan.com

Color Recipes for Painted Furniture and more
by Annie Sloan
CICO Books, $28.95 CD; www.cicobooks.com
Photo credit: Photography by Christopher Drake

 

*Disclaimer: This book was received complimentary, but all opinions expressed in this blog post are my own!*

 

Have you guys used Chalk Paint before? I have seen lots of other bloggers who have done some amazing makeovers with it. I am picturing a gorgeous turquoise chest of drawers with glass knobs…. !  

trending triangles

31st July 2013

As with fashion, interior design tends to go in trends. Some things are classic and ever-lasting (I’m thinking herringbone floors, beautiful moldings, linen anything, etc), and others are more trendy. I have definitely been known to embrace the trends – whether it’s a pattern like chevron or ikat, colour trends like the recent mint and coral obsession (love!), or lighting trends like industrial pendants. I think with trends you just want to make sure it’s something you do genuinely love, and to keep it in check on budget so that if you end up replacing it a few years down the road, you’re not regretting your decisions.

One trend I have happily jumped on board recently? Triangles. Have you noticed that they are like the new polka dot and are popping up everywhere? From artwork, to wall treatments, to fabrics, to nail art.

These black and white beauties from Simply Grove from are a graphic statement…

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via Simply Grove

This gold version from Bovee Bird, with that pink sign, totally had me at hello (or bonne nuit.. !).

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Via Bovee Bird

 This triangle pattern in a rectangle is a cool twist on the application that I spotted on Dot + Bo.

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 Via Dot + Bo

This canvas idea from Third Floor Design Studio makes an easy DIY art project that you could totally customize with your fave colours.photo 7

Via Third Floor Design Studio

And this wall from Mandi at Vintage Revivals has a tribal vibe that I’m totally digging. I love that the stamp effect makes it sort of imperfectly perfect.photo 8

Via Vintage Revivals

What do you guys think of the triangle trend? Love it? Hate it? 

the inspiration files: sliding barn doors

3rd May 2013

Happy Friday, guys! Thought I would do a little roundup of a trend that I am totally in love with today. There is nowhere in our little pad where I could squeeze one of these in, but one day (maybe if/when we put a second storey on our house?), I would love, love, love to install one of these.

Sliding barn-style doors. Rustic, a bit industrial, and totally a feature in any room. What do you think?

I love the rustic wood style – especially when contrasted with a nice, crisp white room. The juxtoposition of rustic + clean/modern is one of my fave looks.

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via source

This big black one also looks amazing. I think what’s really nice about it are the window panels up top, making it feel not too heavy. Again, see how lovely it looks next to the almost all-white room?

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via source

These painted white doors have a bit more of a country house feeling about them. Kinda Cape Cod-ish, don’t you think?

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 via source

Barn Door Open

via source

As a door to a bathroom ensuite, or a door between say a living space and an office, I think these are totally stellar.

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Here is a happy yellow version one of my fave bloggers – Dana from House*Tweaking – did in her old pad. Isn’t it sweet?

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If you’re DIY’ing one like Dana did, you can check out ‘Barn Door Hardware‘ out of California that have tons in the way of supplies needed to install your door, including rolling rolling door hardware.

What do you guys think? Loving this look as much as I am? Ever thought of DIY’ing one yourself? Would you go painted or for a natural, rustic vibe? Have a great weekend, friends!! 

**Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Barn Door Hardware, but love of this trend is all me!** 

reduce, re-use, recycle

25th January 2013

A friend forwarded me an email recently with all kinds of examples of stuff being re-used for new purposes. Of course we see examples of upcycling on blogs and pinterest all the time, but a few of these struck me as being pretty fun and original! Here are a few of my faves for your Friday reading pleasure.

This bike-in-the-bathroom is amazeballs. I’m sooo in love and can picture it in a fab apartment in Paris or something. Dreamy.

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via Benjamin Bullins

Got a chair with wobbly or broken legs? Saw off the seat and use it as a towel rack. Has a cute country vibe.

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via BHG

A clawfoot tub turned sofa? Not sure how comfortable it would be to lounge it, but the idea is pretty stellar.

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via Reestore

If you have a sporty room, these vintage tennis rackets turned into mirrors are so clever.

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via Country Living

I love the look of these bended wrenches. Would be great to have 5 or 6 lined up on a piece of barnboard as a coat/hat rack.

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originally via this etsy shop, but listing has expired

We have a few drawers in our office that are just full of cables. Winding them into old CD/DVD racks makes a whole lot of sense. Probably better for the cables, too.

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via Reddit user ‘Crath’

I’m all for DIY’ing light fixtures. These ones have used cool vases, buckets, bowls, mugs, and strainers. You just need a light kit and probably a drill. Fun, fun!

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top right photo via Jerry Kott lights, others unknown or expired 

Got any ingenious ideas of your own? Ever tried any of these before? In other news, you guys up to anything fun this weekend? We have a few dinners with family and friends happening, a bit of house project doing (will let you in on that next week!), and going to see a  play on Sunday. TGIF!

the inspiration files: winterizing

21st November 2012

With the weather starting to get frosty and December right around the corner, my mind is wandering towards cozy and warm winter decorating. Over this next season, we spend so much time indoors (at least we do here in Ontario!), so it’s nice to have a welcoming and snuggly pad to come home to. My favourite things to do at this time of year are to pile on the knit throws and pillows (it’s all about layers and textures!), add in lots of candles, and inject some warmer colours like burnt orange, deep reds, or gold tones. It’s also nice to bring in some greenery and natural elements to up the rustic factor.

Here are some pretty dreamy spaces I have been spotting lately on Pinterest

Source: ecosalon.com via gemma on Pinterest

Source: google.nl via gemma on Pinterest

Do you sort of want to go grab a cuppa tea, a throw blanket, and cozy up for a movie or with a book right now like I do? Do you change up your decor at this time of year? Have any winter decorating tips or tricks of your own? Do you like the white-on-white look, or do you like to add in other colours?

the inspiration files: bluboho, oakville

19th November 2012

So the other weekend when I met sherry & john in Toronto (you can read about that here), I had a great couple of days in Oakville with one of my BFFs, Jenn. We had some fabulous meals and browsed around the little shops on the main street. Jenn (who has known me since high school), casually mentioned that she had to take me into Bluboho — a boutique jewellery shop. As much as I love jewellery, I was a little stumped as I wasn’t really in the market to be buying any new bobbles. But as soon as I took a peek inside the window, I couldn’t wait to get inside.

Seriously, how cute is this shop? I was totally giddy. Too many sweet things to look at all at once. It was a beautiful mixture of vintage finds, crafty things, lovely pieces of furniture, and beautiful jewellery.

Did you spot this DIY light fixture at the cash? I have seen these on Pinterest, but never one in person. It was gorgeous! Rustic wood + mason jars = my jam.

It was all in the details at this shop. Everything had been done thoughtfully and it was just pretty. So pretty. I totally felt like I had found my people.

Rustic wood crates, blue mason jars, simple but stunning flowers, and a vintage mint mirror? Come to mama.

There were so many vignettes around the shop, that even though it was quite small, it took a while just to take it all in.

I loved that they had taken old finds (like that door, wheel, and table in the photo below) and used such fun, bright and eclectic colours to paint them.

And did you notice that whale? This guy was made entirely out of recycled leather. Amazing, right? He reminds me a little of the watercolour whale from my etsy shop!

This old black and white photo in the mason jar was so sweet. It would make a great display piece on a mantel, a shelf, or even at a wedding (old photos of your parents and grandparents on their wedding day). I was smitten.

They also had vintage honey tins dotted around the shop (you can see one in right side of the photo below, and on the left in the photo above). I have picked up a few of these over the last few months – they usually have some great graphics, fun colours, and sweet typography.

And let’s not forget the jewellery. It was gorge. I was dying over the gold ‘love’ necklace on the rock in the photo below, that silver skull necklace, and the turquoise ring (in the second photo down).

Check out more from Blu Boho here. They ship to Canada and the US. And if you’re in the Oakville area, you have to pop in!

Have you guys ever stumbled upon a shop that felt like it could have been your own? I felt like all of the sweet touches in bluboho were so up my alley. Like finding my dream shop soulmates.  Haha. I can’t wait to get back there (and save my pennies to buy a piece of jewellery next time!).

** In case you’re wondering, this post was in no way sponsored by BluBoho. I just fell hard for their shop! **

the inspiration files: library card catalogues

17th September 2012

One thing I always look out for when I’m thrifting/flea market’ing is an old library card catalogue. Any size, any condition. I looooovvvee them. They have those little drawers, perfect for storage all sorts of treasures, history behind each piece, and an endless number of ways you can use them. One of my absolutely favourite spots when the hubs and I lived in London was this coffee shop/bakery that was housed in an old apothecary shop. It had exposed brick walls and small built-in wooden drawers that went all the way up one of the walls (up to the second level). I imagined all of the herbs and medicines and other potions that would have been stored in those drawers so many years ago. I’m not saying I’d want to live in an apothecary shop (though it sounds kinda cool, right?), but a big old library card catalogue has the same kind of appeal to me.

Check out these library card catalogues that have been re-purposed in people’s pads (found on Pinterest). I love the look of the old, worn guys, but am also digging the painted, modern versions.

Source: etsy.com via Carrie on Pinterest

What do you think? Gonna start looking out for a card catalogue when you’re out thrifting now? Ever actually found one? Ooooh I would be so jealous. Do you have specific items you always look out for when you’re thrifting? 

a long weekend in Boston

4th September 2012

Surprise! We just got back from a fabulous extra long-weekend in Boston. It was great. Full of sight-seeing, eating, walking around, and just enjoying the city (and some of the small towns outside of the city too). It was my Mum’s birthday, so this was a ma + pa + daniel + gemma getaway.

I’ll get to the details of what we did, what we saw, favourite spots, and tons of photos in the next week or so, but in the meantime I couldn’t help but snap some photos of the houses around Boston. These Colonial beauties with shutters and colourful doors had me totally swooning. This first one actually happens to belong to some family members of Dan’s, who we stayed with for a night. Gorgeous, right?

These others were from me snapping away like a paparazzi as we walked through various neighbourhoods.

These classic black shutters have kicked me into gear to get some onto our pad (I realize that one set of shutters on a little brick bungalow isn’t going to have quite the same effect… but a girl can try!).

The houses came in various colours – Lots of butter yellow, white, and different greys. I was ga-ga over the putty grey ones with a bright door (no surprise there!!). Do you have a favourite colour?

So pretty, right? Are you digging these classic pads like I am? I was pretty tempted to pick up and move to Boston right then and there.

Do you have any favourite house or door colours? Are you into this style of house, or do you prefer Craftsman, Georgian, Ranch, Tudor, or other styles better?  I’m a sucker for anything with a healthy dose of character and charm.