Monday, September 27, 2010

Kitchens - The Hub of the House....Part 2

We all gravitate to the kitchen. No matter how we live the first thing most people do when they visit friends and family is continue right into the kitchen and perch at the island or kitchen table. Such was the practice of long ago and we cannot change that no matter how beautiful our other rooms are. There is a comfort level to being in a kitchen - relaxed and easy going. No wonder the kitchen renovations and updates bring so much bang for the buck!!    If there is any space that you want to change in your home it should be the kitchen. Whether you are part of a large family with children or an empty nester who likes to entertain, this is the one place you want to work on. An updated kitchen (& bath) will bring more value to your home than any other renovation you undertake. 

These days there are so many different ways to create your own personal and distinct kitchen with a vast variety of materials.  It has become increasingly popular to mix painted and stained wood surfaces.  One of the ways to add a a lot of style is with your back splash.   There is a large selection of products available in all price points and since the area being covered in many cases is small you can go for something a little more upscale to really get the wow factor without breaking the bank. 

Here are some great kitchens...... I have my personal preferences, but there is a kitchen for everyone, no matter what your style is. 

Even the outdoor kitchen is evolving into a gathering spot 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Eating, Drinking and All that Jazz.....

I love going to Jazz festivals at home and away.....

I'm down in Lewiston N.Y., a favourite haunt of mine, enjoying the Historic Lewiston Jazz Festival.  There is so much going on.  The entertainment is absolutely fabulous.  The main street has been closed off for this event and all of the restaurants, wineries, breweries, etc have set up tables with wonderful fare.  One can dine on the street listening to great music at the various stages along the way or enjoy one of the great restaurants.  We selected Carmello's,   one of our favourites for fine authentic Italian cuisine.  The ambience is what pulls you in - owned by mom Phyllis and son Carmello, head chef, this is definitely a place to go. 

The welcoming and cozy interior of Carmelos

Outside of Carmelos where people were dining and enjoying the music by the Tune Babes

Two of my favourite ladies - The Tune Babes  - April Mazzone & Lynne Fredericks,  were sponsored by Carmelos Restaurant and can really give a great performance.  Loved it!!  Check out their activities at

This Jazz Festival carries on from the Friday through to the Sunday and has over 40 offerings throughout the the main street.   It is in thanks to the many sponsors for their contributions that this wonderful event continues each year at end of August.  

We sampled fine food, and some great wines (which unfortunately we cannot purchase here).  I think I have been through every winery in Niagara on the Lake so thought it was time to start south of the border......

 We sampled a wine we had not tried before from Spring Lake Winery in Lockport and fell in love with their offerings.  I especially enjoyed the Riesling.  We were told that their grapes are grown and harvested in Lockport.

The Spring Lake Winery Booth

Freedom Run Winery - tasty wine too!


Enjoying Evening Music at the Main Stage - Looks like we were having a really good time!

One of the things that interests me in Lewiston, besides eating, drinking and shopping,  is the Architecture - very much like what we have in Niagara on the Lake, many different styles.

 Waterstreet Landing  - another place I like to eat at!  You can sit and enjoy a lovely meal and watch the sunset over the Niagara River.  It has had mixed reviews, but I have been there many times and always enjoyed excellent food!

Barton Hill Hotel and Spa an incredible place to stay, eat and enjoy the spa,  again overlooking the Niagara River
Local Architecture all with significant history - check out the officeal Lewiston, NY website for details

It's worth a visit to Lewiston N.Y. - they have events going on all year round.  Last year I was at the Christmas House Tour and all of the other festivities in the town and had a great time.  I believe I will go again.  I may even go to the one in Niagara on the Lake, ON as well.

Keep checking..... I am off to Niagara on the Lake  for the September 18th Historic House Tour, visit some wineries and to see a play at Shaw...What a great way to spend a fall weekend!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Kitchens - the hub of the house...

We all love kitchens and no matter what goes on we all end up in them. Everybody gravitates to the kitchen.
Recently I was as a new showroom in Burlington, Interior Works Inc.,, located in Burlington,  where you can do one stop shopping for all of your kitchen needs.  Interior Works has formed an affiliation with one of my favourite haunts - The Decorating Centre  to offer everything from the planning, cabinetry, counter tops & back splash ideas as well as wonderful hardware choices and of course appliances.  There are a variety of companies represented including Richelieu, Cambria, Goemans; Oatman; Slate Flex, etc.

The warehouse where all the cabinets are created, was as clean as any living room!! What a feat. Besides giving us plenty of great information on what they are offering, we also enjoyed wonderful hors d'oeuvres (I know, I am always going to events where there is yummy food, I have to eat it, can't waste it, what can I say!)

Kitchens are one of the most popular renovations today for both your own enjoyment and resale potential. With all of the wonderful options around, it is quite the undertaking to try to make decisions on your own. That is where your decorator/designer and companies like Interior Works come into play.  We make it happen!!

 Dave Routery, President & his wife Brenda, Interior Design Consultant where the warehouse is kept amazingly tidy and clean!

Representatives from Cambria 
Sara Rooney, District Manager for Cambria
Beautiful Kitchens

Again, here we are smiling for the camera!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Debbie Travis supports Walls of Hope in her new series "All for One"

This past spring, Debbie Travis challenged different communities across Canada to step up to the plate and honor their hometown heroes. These are the people who are the glue of a community. The go-to people. The folks that make the place we live, well, just better. All For One is a heady mix of construction, decorating, family, friends and most of all community. It is about an entire neighbourhood coming together. It is modern day ‘barn raising’.  The "hero" selected from Oakville was a lovely woman, Sera Mansueto who is the person who started helping others and started Walls of Hope.

Founded in 2005, Walls of Hope has already helped the lives of 10 families. We believe that through home transformations we can create an environment that will inspire and create a home atmosphere that does not reflect the hard circumstances a family has fallen into. We have witnessed this philosophy work!!!!

Walls of Hope looks for families who have fallen on hard times, through no fault of their own, and are truly trying to change their lives for the better. We prefer to work with famlies with children as they are the innocent ones.

A colleague of mine, Linda Graydon is very involved in this charitable foundation called "Walls of Hope". I felt this was something I would like to be involved in so I mentioned to her "count me in".  The project we were involved in was right here in Oakville where Debbie re-designed several rooms in the home of the woman who started Walls of Hope way back.  She is always helping others and not taking any time for herself or her own home so...... Debbie along with many people from Walls of Hope and neighbours, friends, etc jumped in and took over this house for 5 days to create something really special and it was done while Sera, the owner was away so when she returned home she in for a huge surprise.  So glad she loved what was done!!  It really looked splendid.  Photos of the home are below.

All For One with Debbie Travis launches 26th of September at 9:00 pm on CBC Television.  The home in Oakville will be aired October 31.  If you miss it go to and have a look

Below are some photos to show just a "few" of the many people who helped make this such a success and are courtesy of Karen Hubert.!!

Debbie and a couple of Walls of Hope members create gorgeous lampshades.

Another great idea to raise money for Walls of Hope was the creation of a calendar of some of the great men who worked on this project along with a "ladies only" evening at Oliver & Bonacini where these great guys  strutted their stuff on the "catwalk" and were auctioned off.  They volunteered 4 hours of their personal expertise to the lucky ladies who bid the highest and all of the money raised goes directly to help Walls of Hope help others.  What a great idea!!

Debbie announcing the Walls of Hope "Studs" to be auctioned off.

A quick peek at what you missed! (photo courtesy of Audrey Madconald)

p.s.  The first printing of the calendars sold out, but there will be more coming...

Here are some of the photos of rooms we worked on
Daughter's Room
Another Daughter's Room
Master Bedroom

New Office for Walls of Hope