Thursday, February 27, 2014

KOHLER Artifacts, is a new faucet collection that is adding a new level of personalization to the bath. While traditional design never really goes away, this classically beautiful collection will look good in any space. Not sure what you want? You have a choice of three spouts and three different handles, all available in five eye-catching finishes. Designs include: Tea design, Bell design, and Column design, with your choice of Lever handles, Prong handles, or Swing Lever handles in finishes ranging from vibrant polished bronze to oil-rubbed bronze. Quite an interesting look using black and white which I love.

For more great photos of the Kohler line link to this

Friday, February 21, 2014

De-cluttering for a move... or just to lighten your load!

I started to go through my own home a couple of summers ago and did manage to remove some superfluous items.  It was like Christmas down at Goodwill.  I then got busy and didn't get back to it until again this past summer.  It feels so good to say bye to things you no longer need but know that somebody else will be able to use them.  I thought that if I were moving, I would definitely purge way more items that I didn't need so that is just what I am doing this wintry season.  I may very well move in the near future, but is it is a year away, then I will have done all the work prior to the move and really have lightened the load for the movers.  I found this article from Hellen Buttigieg, a professional and well known Organizer and thought I would share it. Check out her website for many other great ideas.
  1. Start now. Our tendency is to put it off until packing time, but most people are in a time crunch at that point, and will often put things in a box to deal with them ‘later’. Remember that you are paying for each item you move, not only in the time it takes to pack and unpack it, but also by the space it takes up in the moving truck. Why pay to move something you don’t really need? You’ll be busy when you move into your new home, and will probably put off going through those ‘deal with them later’ boxes indefinitely; believe me, when I work with clients, I come across unpacked boxes that have been sitting in the basement or garage for several years after a move.
  2. Take pictures of all the large items you know will not work or fit in your next home and post them on one of the resale sites online, like Kijiji, Craigslist or Ebay. You can put the extra money you earn towards your moving expenses and perhaps some pieces that fit the new place much better than your old stuff. And the nice thing about photographing them in the first place is that, if you have any sentimental attachment to the items you are selling, you can always use the pictures to trigger the memories.
  3. Go through your house one room at a time and get rid of the no-brainers first. No-brainers are items you don’t have to think twice about letting go of, like torn towels, chipped plates and broken electronics (if you haven’t fixed them by now, trust me, you probably never will). Do this every day, even if it’s just for just 15 minutes, until the task is complete. This is a great way to warm up your de-cluttering muscles and will give you an immediate sense of accomplishment and motivate you to tackle the tougher stuff.
  4. Do some research ahead of time and decide where you will take your discarded items. Although some things will be garbage, most items can be donated or recycled. You will be motivated to let go of more things if you know they will be going to a cause that you believe in or disposed of in a way that doesn’t hurt the environment. Could a local women’s shelter make better use of the clothes you never wear? Find the closest drop-off location where your unused electronics can be reused or recycled safely (do an online search – there are hundreds of locations).
  5. Fight the ‘what if I need it someday’ fear. If you haven’t used it in a year, chances are you never will. For example, we wear only 20% our clothes 80% of the time. If in doubt, toss it out (or donate/sell it). On the off-chance you do need it months from now, you can always replace it, but chances are you’ll never look back. If you keep everything because of this fear, it will probably cost you much more in time, money and stress than it would to replace it.
  6. Be prepared; set up your supplies in advance. For the de-cluttering process, you will need bins, sticky notes (for labeling) and garbage bags. Use bins to do the initial sort; label them ‘donate’, ‘sell’, ‘recycle’ and ‘toss’ and ‘keep’. When the bins get full, transfer the contents into bags. Use clear bags for items that will be donated and opaque bags for garbage, so there’s no confusion. Arrange for a charity to come and pick up the donations or drop them off yourself before the end of the week (you can always go back again as you accumulate more items to donate). Give yourself a deadline on the ‘sell’ items and have a plan for the items that don’t sell (i.e. donate). Transfer the ‘keep’ items directly into the moving boxes.
  7. Get the whole family involved. Everyone should make decisions on their own things when it comes to determining what to keep and what to let go of. But a little competition never hurt, so make a game of the de-cluttering process. Set a timer, give everyone a bin, and put some up-beat music on to make it fun. Choose a token prize for the winner who got rid of the most items and a reward for the entire family for the effort each member put in.
article courtesy of Home decor and renovataions, Jun/July 2013 and Hellen Buttgieg website

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Chalk Paint vs Chalkboard Paint vs Milk Paint....

You may have been hearing about Chalk Paint and wonder if it is the same as the already popular Chalkboard Paint??  They are two entirely different products with entirely different applications.  Yes both come in a myriad of colours so it may be easy to confuse. Chalkboard paint has been around for years and is now available in many great colours to enhance any decor.  It is applied to a surface so that you can apply writing, drawings, etc to it.

So what is all the buzz about lately on Chalk Paint??  Why is it different from Milk Paint??

Milk paint comes in a powdered form and has to be mixed with water and blended.  You have to be careful not to add too much water or it will run off the furniture and if too thick it will leave lumps.  If the piece is pre-finished you need to add a primer.  Raw wood is fine with just the paint.

Chalk paint, created by Annie Sloan in 1990,  is a decorative paint available in 30 colours, both decorative and historical and is made specifically for painting furniture, floors and gives a completely matt, velvet like finish.  

You have to wonder what is so different between this Chalk Paint and the Milk Paint we all know. 

Chalk paint comes pre-mixed but can be diluted with water to create a wash/stain.  It has the properties to stick to almost any surface with prepping..... wood, concrete, metal, matt plastic, earthenware etc. It works well on exterior applications and dries quickly. If you are interested in creating an old worn look, adding a second colour which is then sanded off lightly in strategic spots, will allow the initial paint colour to show through and give an aged look.  Another point of preference is that it has extremely low VOC's and no odor. Adding Annie Sloan Soft Wax, will achieve a subtle sheen as well as protect your piece and add durability.

Below are some of the different looks you can achieve with this paint

You may just want a nice smooth finish, no ageing

In summary below are the main reasons to give this product a try.  (from the Annie Sloan website)

1. Chalk Paint® is the BEST paint for painting furniture by a long way
2. No need to prime or prepare
3. Extremely low VOC so it is good for the environment
4. You can use it on any surface, indoors and out (the outside of our shop was painted in it -- perfect!) 
5. You can use the paint by diluting it with water to make a wash to show the wood grain
6. The colours are mixed intelligently and the website shows how you can adapt your colours for your use
7. It's a girls' paint, but boys can use it too
8. It's flexible so you can be creative and change your mind 
9. It allows your walls to breathe so it is perfect for cottage walls
10. You can use it as an impasto (thickly) - leave the lid off to thicken 
11. We've been making it since 1990 so it's tried and tested

For more information on this product check out Annie's blog

Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy Family Day

Well here we are half way through February and I saw the sun recently and what a pleasure that was.
Thinking about this day and how it is a time for families to get together and do something and have fun of course my mind is always on decor and design so why not feature some great "family rooms".


Monday, February 10, 2014

Great Kitchen organization

I am always interested in what great options there are for kitchens.  It has been considered the main gathering place in the home back in time and once again we all seem to congregate in the kitchen.  Having it organized and efficient is always a bonus, especially when entertaining.  We all know that the party ends up in the kitchen no matter how nice the living spaces in your home are.

I was checking out one of my favourite magazines;  New York Spaces, for products of interest and came across this line - SieMatic and their newest drawer organizers.  We have seen this type of organization growing in kitchen design from every price point.  Ikea through to Bulthaup offer their own unique versions so I thought I would add this as well.

SieMatic unveiled a new interior accessories system and cabinet enclosures and surfaces at HausFair 2013. Featuring newly designed drawers with pullouts and interior accessories that streamline the minimalist designs, the new offerings go hand in hand with the new cabinet interiors. Why shouldn't the interior complement the exterior? Take a look for yourself and see why we love them so much! For more information, please click here

Convenient docking station for smartphones

Anti slip liner - very handy

Flexible storage drawers

If you are interested in this product line it can be purchased through

Binns Kitchen & Bath Design in Toronto

Surface Innovation - flexible veneers

Several Years ago I met Mike Stiller, owner of Surface Innovation at IDS and was amazed at his product line of flexible slate and other stone products.  Over the years the line has expanded and when he introduced barn board last year I thought that was great.  Now, he has gone a step further and the latest is also made of reclaimed wood - Barn board PS which is a thin weathered wood veneer with a self adhesive backing.  How easy can it get for the average DIYer.

So with the self adhesive barn board planks you just measure, cut and stick.  I think anyone could do that and get the lovely rustic and warm appearance of barn board without the weight and thickness.  A very cost effective way to transform your space adding texture, warmth and the rustic look which is so on trend these days.

Plank sizes - 1/8" X 5" in random lengths from 1' to 4', with the option of 20 or 40 sq. ft. per box. 

Barnboard PS

There is also barn wood which are a textured wood mosaic tiles made from reclaimed barn board and ship wood tiles, made from reclaimed sunken wooden boats.  How eco is that!

Shipwood web

Friday, February 7, 2014

A great Design Source..... Sullivan Source for flooring

In early December I was introduced to a fantastic resource centre in Etobicoke thanks to a couple of design colleagues.  The Sullivan Source,  is resource centre for the design and architectural community.  They specialize in numerous flooring and wall treatments ranging from leathers, exotic hardwoods, to flat weave carpet that are imported from all over the world including India, France, Italy, Austria, and the United Kingdom.

They have products to suit both commercial and residential projects.  The materials in their library are continuously updated with new and innovative products.

This is like a designer's playground.  Check it out!!

Amazing variety of products

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Italian Designer Paola Navone partners with Crate and Barrel

In September 2013 the Renowned Italian Interior Designer, Architect and Art Director, Paola Navone partnered with Crate & Barrel to introduce her first of three collections to the Canadian marketplace.  She likes to work with saturated colours for the mostpart and this collection is a gorgeous Cobalt Blue partnered with pure white.
Paola does not define herself within a particular niche or style and has a variety of home decor items ranging from tabletop to textiles, accessories, lighting, rugs, furniture and much more. 
The products available at Crate & Barrel currently are in the bright cobalt blue & white which brings such a breath of fresh air and a crisp look.  A visit to C & B is definitely something to consider when in need of a little retail therapy this dull and drab winter. It will take away the blahs and remind you of the Mediterranean and will definitely brighten your day.