Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Everyone loves a fireplace.  It is one of the most requested items on most people's "wish list" when purchasing a home or renovating the one they already have.  There are many types of fireplaces these days, everything from the traditional wood burning, a gas insert, and now the Ecosmart™ Burner fuelled by Denatured Ethanol, which has become increasingly populara.   The styling can be anything from a country style field stone right through to a contemporary metal frame hung on a wall with rocks rather than the usual logs.   These days even electric fireplaces have come a long way and offer the opportunity for everyone to have the look no matter where they want to place it.  A fireplace conjures up the feeling of warm, cozy, relaxed but can also give off a luxe vibe or that of romance.  Don't we all imagine how romantic it would be to have an intimate dinner for two and some wine by the fire.  Or what about just relaxing with a good book and hot chocolate on a wintry day.....

Here are some great fireplace designs.....

We even have fireplaces outside now!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Painters' Place - Oakville

Pretty much everyone who lives in Oakville and surrounding areas and has purchased Benjamin Moore paint knows the Painters Place http://www.paintersplace.ca/ also known as "Tom's Place" at the corner of Neyagawa and Dundas.  They have great products and also carry other paint brands, wallpaper and decor items.  The staff are extremely knowledgeable and incredibly helpful.  You couldn't ask for better service.

Tom and staff have had a couple of "design" nights that I have attended, where the focus is on topics of interest to consumers as well as decorators & designers.

I recently attended an event where the topic was "updating kitchens and bathrooms inexpensively".  There were a couple of presentations; one from Bath Fitter and the other from Custom Resurfacing Solutions Inc (CRS) Design.  Bath Fitter is a product whereby you can cover your old bathtub, walls and ceiling if you are not wanting the disorder and chaos of a complete "tear out" but want to update the space.  Bathfitter  http://www.bathfitter.com/  has really come a long way from years gone by.... They have some great "tile" look-alike finishes for the walls; some with texture some with a border inset look.  Of course they also offer the built in soap holders.  There are many different styles of the actual tub apron.  Maybe you need a shower update - they also offer this service and glass doors of many different styles and sizes. They can do wonders !

CRS Design  http://www.crsremodeling.ca/ offers a product made from granite and quartz that goes over existing laminate or any older countertop.  It definitely is more cost efficient than removing the entire countertop and installing thick granite.  This product gives the high end look at a fraction of the cost.  What a great idea if you just want to do a little updating and do not plan on removing cabinets or changing the kitchen foot print.

To complete the evening, Tom spoke about the newest Benjamin Moore product line - Kabinet Coat which has replaced Melamine.  It gives a nicer finish and is eco friendly.  The durability is excellent for painting kitchen & bath cabinets and furniture.  The only proviso is that it must be in lighter colours.  If you are planning on a dark shade then Tom says go for Aura Satin.

Back to School ..... again.....Sheridan College

I just can't stay away!  Recently I attended the Business Class for the Interior Decorating Program at Sheridan College.  I was there in my capacity as an Ambassador for CDECA - Canadian Decorators Association of which I am a proud member, Director and part of the GTA West Chapter.  It is a great Association and of course Sheridan is a great school so I went and spoke to the evening class about joining CDECA and gave them the a, b, c's of why it is important for them to become members as students even before graduating.  We had a great time interacting.   

I had the company of my daughter, Megan, who is a professional photographer and had been asked by the instructor, Audrey Macdonald, a professional interior decorator herself,  to give some "tips" for taking photos of their projects in a way that would highlight the best features of the space.  She emphasized the importance of having great photographs of your work.  After all the photos are like your "calling card"  -  a picture says a thousand words!    All in all it was a great night and everyone came away with some sound information.    
Thanks to Audrey and her students for inviting us.          

Megan and Audrey

Yours truly and Audrey

A very attentive class!

Kingsway House Tour

WOW!!  These homes are spectacular even before the Christmas Decorating takes place, but after the decorating they are magical.  Each year many cities, towns, neighbourhoods etc put on Christmas House Tours in order to raise money for a particular charity.  I have been to many over the years and last year attended the Christmas House Tour in Lewiston N.Y.  They are always done very nice but my favourite is still the Kingsway Christmas House Tour.

I have a friend who lives in the area and she is very involved in this event through her church.   The Kingsway Christmas House Tour is a signature event for the Canadian Cancer Society and held every two years. Several beautiful homes are decked out for the holiday season by talented local florists and professional decorators who have volunteered their time and expertise to show the very best the season has to offer.

I have assisted her by acting as one of the monitors required in each home for a few years now and always enjoy meeting and talking with the many people who come through.  We always  view the other homes prior to taking up our post at the home we are volunteering at.  This year I volunteered and viewed the lovely homes even though I was still wearing my "air cast".  Nothing can stop me when there are gorgeous homes to see. 

There are no photographs allowed which respects the privacy of the owners who are generous enough to let hundreds of people walk through their homes in the first place. I do have some photos to share though, which are courtesy of the Canadian Cancer Society/Kingsway House Tour.  please note these photos may include previous years

Currently in its 11th year, this self-guided tour has become a beloved community tradition in the Kingsway neighbourhood. A tea room on the tour route has light refreshments and delightful holiday entertainment.

Touch De L'Afrique Boutique in Oakville

Located on Lakeshore Road East in Oakville is a delightful surprise - Touch De L'Afrique Boutique - http://www.touchdelafrique.com/ offering unique and rare finds from imported from South Africa.  These refined lifestyle items, art and original designer jewellery are a must for any home and the gift items offer a wide appeal.  I was invited to the opening of their Canadian Showroom for a first glimpse into what they have to offer - I didn't want to leave.  As they say a picture is worth a thousand words and looking at some of the photos below you will see what I mean.  They welcomed designers and decorators to an evening of wine, hors d'oeuvres and a very generous "gift certificate" on our first purchase.

Some of the incredibly stunning pieces

My friend & colleague Helena Asikainen of
Mei Interiors who was kind enough to take all of these
lovely photos.


A very nice at Touch De L'Afrique is the upstairs cafe where light lunches are available or just drop by for a coffee.   It is a quiet space to bring clients after some shopping and just relax!

Thank you to Petrus and staff for a very lovely evening.

SOFA and Jane Lockhart

SOFA - Source of Furniture and Accessories - located in the International Centre is a great place to visit when you are sourcing just about anything for Interior Decor.  This is a trade only resource centre, however bringing clients to this location is a great way to promote excitement when they see everything available.  SOFA is a huge space with many vendors and they often host seminars and new showroom openings.  The seminars are presented by knowledgeable speakers and are very in depth and offer detailed product knowledge.  I recently attended a Fabric, Window & Wall Coverings Vendor Showcase event which presented all of the newest offerings from 20 vendors.  What a great opportunity to see so many great products in one location.  Very time efficient.  Following this we listened to the guest speaker - Jane Lockhart who everybody knows from "Colour Confidential".  I had attended one of Jane's seminars in the past and knew this would be worthwhile to attend and it was.  She is a very knowledgeable designer as well as a pleasant speaker with a sense of humour.  She spoke about everything to do with textiles and the importance they play in designing spaces.
Following her presentation everyone, including yours truly wanted to have the photo with her.

 Here I am with Jane - one of my first ventures out after the accident!

Monday, December 6, 2010

CDECA Professional Development Day

Every year CDECA offers a Professional Development Day to its' members.  This year as in the past we enjoyed our day at the International Centre.   This is a day of inspiration, information and ways to improve our business.  Lots of networking opportunities and time to visit our Affiliate partners who displayed the latest design products and trends for us. Our presentations were from:

JANICE LINDSAY - ‘White or Wrong? Getting White Right’ courtesy of PPG Pittsburgh Paints

GAIL DOBY –  ‘How to Avoid Interior Design Fee Fiascos...     And Attract Your Ideal Client’

TRACY KUNDELL -  ‘Qualifying Your Clients and Building your Business’   Tracy Kundell, owner of Avalon Interiors and star of Food Channel’s Restaurant Makeover

Designer Night At Royal Lighting

If you want some great lighting then you should make a visit to Royal Lighting    www.royallighting.com; 1549 Avenue Road, Toronto, Ontario.

Recently, in October,  Royal hosted a Designer Night where many CDECA Members attended and were shown some fantastic products.  This was an opportunity to view their remodeled Showroom, New Product Lines and Offerings and learn about  Crystal, from Traditional to Contemporary, presented by Dirk Wald of Schonbek Crystal; and LED, presented by Phil Toddoroff.
Of course Wine and lovely hors d'oeuvres were served as well as we were offered valet parking service which was greatly appreciated on such a rainy night.  Thanks so much to everyone at Royal for a great evening.

Royal offers nearly 45,000 products which includes all types of lighting; mirrors and many more home accent products.

Below are just a few of the amazing choices available from Royal Lighting.

IIDEX - International Interior Design Exhibition - September 2010

I like to attend this design exhibition every year, however this year I was busy recuperating from surgery so I missed it.  What a disappointment!  There is always so much to learn.  This is where all of the new and innovative products are presented for designers, decorators, and people in the business.

Our association - Canadian Decorators Association, once again participated in this show by having a booth in order to bring more awareness of our organization.  Below are a  few photos from this years' IIDEX.....