[design]: Princess Margaret Showhome Review


Every year I like to visit Princess Margaret Showhome for some design inspirations and ideas. This year I could not wait to go after seeing some of the images of its kitchen and master bath and I managed to squeeze in a trip last week. Here are some of the thoughts..

What I liked

Here is what caught my eye:

  1. Tile throughout main floor looks less dark and more brown than grain in person than it does on the photos I saw originally (official ones) but even with that I really like them. I think that they really make a statement and I good for maintenance. I am currently debating if I should put tile in my hallway when we renovate our first floor or if I should have hardwood throughout. I love how transition between tiles and hardwood was done in this house.
  2. I also liked uniformed window treatments throughout the house - linen roman blinds - look that I love
  3. As always I like to see what was done with mouldings, trim, baseboards, etc. Both powder rooms (on main floor and basement) had paneling done and I really liked simplicity of the one in the basement even if I did not like the colour choice. I was also surprised to find black electrical outlets as I found the covers myself but not the electrical part for my basement... I guess I did not search hard enough.
  4. Finally, I almost walked into that mirror a few times and I just love how it expands the space - not that it needs much expanding given the square footage of the house!

What I did not like as much

  1. Workmanship - while some areas were done superbly, I've noticed too many little mistakes and bit of sloppiness. I was not the only one to notice it so I cannot blame this on my mommy brain playing tricks on me... I don't remember seeing this in the past and was generally impressed by PCM before.
  2. Hardwood floors had certain striations that I assume have been done on purpose (unstained lines throughout the space making high contrast). Initially I thought it was a mistake, but then realized it was everywhere and that it was probably done on purpose.
  3. Too much of Glucksteinhome furniture - I enjoyed in the past seeing the mix of different furniture and was always trying to guess where things came from. I also enjoyed in earlier years seeing how Ikea pieces were interpreted in the basement to source some ideas, but that is not the case anymore. 
  4. Overall, there were not too many different design ideas to emulate or consider unless you have considerable budget for your reno and can replicate that kitchen and master.
  5. Some of the flow was a bit confusing and space choices unclear to me (i.e. master bath size vs. closet space)

What I loved

  1. I loved the art especially the playful one in kids' rooms and craft room.
  2. Kitchen for inspiration - loved black cabinetry in the island and really liked overflowing quarts around all cabinets - even if it is almost too spendfull
  3. Master bath floor and vanity/suspended mirror while I was not too crazy about the size of the space.
  4. Craft room was really great and I guess it is great that it can be converted to guest room as it comes with en-suite bathroom.
  5. Foyer with glass see through fireplace and inlaid tile plus the powder room.

Other thoughts

It was nice to see the use of black (dark walls) in the basement to bring some coziness the way we have done it in our basement. I cannot say that I was crazy about the screen and would have preferred a sofa table but I really liked the earthy pieces on the TV console.

Not counting master en-suite rest of the bathrooms, while nice were not that exciting when it came to showers and tile choices as you can see by those three images in a collage - they are almost replicas of one another.

Laundry room is spacious and nice - but a bit too dark or almost gloomy for me if I think about doing my laundry there. I really liked the cloths line art and would have liked to see TV in order to spend more time there.

Exterior of the house I like - brick colour, black windows and doors even if I am a bit unsure about the roof - small and perhaps too simple to carry the weight. I assume there might have been some height restrictions dictating that.

Finally, I love how this little conservatory looks and it is a great magazine worthy look, but in terms of practicality and living with a tree - I am not sure if I would keep it due to potential maintenance and root issues. I also almost would have liked to see some comfortable chairs or benches in this space - but I am imaging myself writing a book there. I love the use of mirrors to replicate windows on two sides.

At the end - while not everything in this showhome is overly exciting from my perspective - it will make someone very happy and it was done for a great cause.

[decor]: Displaying Kids Art


I've already shared couple of spaces where I've used my kids' art to liven up the space. Up until recently I have enjoyed white walls devoid of almost any art or decorations , but felt a need for a bit of change. So empty wall featuring only our TV got a full gallery treatment, kids' rooms got their decorations up including decals, and I am still not done. I've pretty much done a complete 180 on a number of walls and in the process resorted to incorporating some of my kids art for three reasons:

  1. I actually like it and like looking at it
  2. It means something to me
  3. It is available and quite affordable

Medley of Art

In my case, I am not a big fan of putting kids' art and drawing on my fridge as I like to keep it clean and clutter free.  For some time, I've been meaning to put up some twine and hang the art kids bring home from school tiny wooden pin pegs... I've even purchased all of the supplies - but I am yet to get to it or change my mind.. whichever comes first. However, in the process of cleaning out multitudes of accumulated stuff - I've decided to display some of the art in the kids' playroom before parting with it for good.

Benefits are that kids are inspired, it is colourful addition to a playroom, it is also easily interchangeable, and very easy to put up. Other option is to get inexpensive and fun/colourful frames but that approach requires a bit more purpose and planning.

When we are done with a drawing/painting - I save really special ones and other ones I take a photo of and throw out.. I am that heartless..

My favorite approach is to frame those that I really like in formal frames and use them in unexpected places. This fish I framed using a great Goodwill find ($5) and a very serious frame. I ended up using this finished piece in our basement family area that up to that point looked quite serious and almost formal.

This painting definitely livens it all up and it can hold on it is own a big black wall.

Other example is using couple of Target frames and making our powder room more interesting. Paintings reflect in the mirror.

Final piece - that is very dear to my heart is my son's painting from couple of years ago. I've been moving it around, from a nightstand to a TV console to a side table, and perhaps I am subjective (not perhaps, I am), this painting of me just works anywhere I put it.

[decor]: Some Cabinet Bling

Our basement bar/kitchenette cabinets were pretty bare for a while I was looking and trying to decide on knobs and/or pulls (handles). Initially I wanted something sleek and modern like Ikea's Tyda handles, but then was afraid of too much stainless steel and was considering something less visible.

I finally settled on a simple knob, but never took the time to actually purchase them. Then on a trip to Ikea I saw Tyda handles on sale at half price and took it as a sign that they need to come home with me.  For the upper cabinet I trusted Anthropologie, again. I brought home some sample knobs to try out for our "built-ins" and from there I selected the knob below.

Well, how does one install knobs and pulls (handles). It seem simple and straightforward enough but I was feeling pretty anxious of not making mistakes. Then came hubby to the rescue.  He asked me where and how I wanted to position the handles and he was set to go. I managed to snap a couple of photos while he worked.  He used scotch tape to both protect the cabinet surface and to mark the position of the holes. In terms of position of handles, I've decided to make the top on in the center of the cabinet door as it was straight and for the other two fronts I've placed them on the top.

In terms of drilling holes, hubby went from good side (outside) in. You can see from the image above how the "bad" side turned out.

Here is the upper cabinet knob installed. I love it. It gives just enough sparkle and bling to the area. And here is how the handles look installed.

Here is the complete look - ignore the leftover mess on the counter.

One task down, a few hundred left on the list...

[decor]: Weekly RoundUp


A 6-week old definitely does not allow for lot of spare time for blogging let alone browsing and shopping, but I've managed to squeeze in a couple of quick shop visits and even one quick shopping that turned out somewhat successful. It was successful as I've managed to find beautiful lion lamp for my nephew's first birthday for a great price, less successful as it was cut very short .. again..

I took a quick snap of the lamp - I just love it so.. forgot to put the shade on it though.. Cake was finished in a matter of minutes...

I had a very brief visit to Chapters/Indigo which was also sporting those black and white boxes. That cool little clock caught my eye and those lamps were on sale at Pottery Barn.

Here is what caught my eye at Home Sense:

Loved the basket, airplane could be hanged and if I did not have one already in my son's room this would be a good contender. While I am generally unsure about wreaths - this one I like. I also loved this little people statue, or however one should call it, "mucho" interesting..

That little horse looks like something out of antique store; interesting triptych, more of wall wire shelving (now I am seeing it everywhere and it was nowhere to be found when I was looking for it for my son's room). Finally, great looking blankets - I have a couple of wool ones but these are tempting me..

A number of benches that can be found.. first one is really interesting - I have not seen it before at Home Sense.

Beautiful rugs - bottom left picture is of Nicole Millers 9x12 rug, just beautiful. I can see any of these in my basement.

I am completely mesmerized by the owl art in the first image - I can't keep my eyes of it. Cute owl pillow for kid's room. I like those pillows and cute box..

That big (and it is really big - the photo does not do it justice) pumpkin decoration was just too expensive at $200, but would look great. I can see this mirror in a nursery. Finally, I don't see wall sconces too often (or almost ever) at Home Sense.

First three are dressers, the last one is just a small box with fake compartments, but really cute. My favorite is bottom left dresser - great wood/mirror combo. It was already sold.

I took a picture of first vignette as there is a similar wing back chair my parents have that I am imagining upholstering this way. I love the picture of the ship as well. Interesting looking chair plus really cute table with marble top.

Finally, to round things up, fall is here and we are getting the last of vegetables from our garden. Cucumbers were  amazing this summer - tomatoes we did not prepare well but those that worked out tasted and smelled like "real" tomatoes. Our garden experiment was a success and we cannot wait to do it for spring with more vegetables and to involve our kids even more.


[style]: Kitchen Inspirations Part II


In yesterday's post I've shared some of the kitchen inspirations that I've collected over time and which caught my eye. What they have in common is play of light (mostly white), dark (mostly black) and natural wood. What is interesting is looking at how different designers and/or homeowners married these elements and interpreted them into different styles.

Kitchen in this first image has more stainless steel than black, but under certain light the countertop looks almost black. I love the collection on the shelves softening and personalizing the whole look.

This next kitchen is mix of several different styles and while it is very white and crisp, it is also homey - paneling on fireplace is interesting, I love the tile on fireplace surround and that table I would immediately take...

This kitchen appears to be quite the opposite from the previous one - very sleek and modern yet very interesting. I love black appliances surrounded by black cabinetry.

Here is more black/dark cabinetry...

I love white, dark (blue) and natural wood cabinets here.. You can almost imagine this island play a great wooden table. I am only not sure that these stools really work with the rest.

I visit The Door store from time to time and I always fall in love with old door or two. Ever since we started thinking of kitchen renovation, I wanted to incorporate some of those doors - something like they've done in this kitchen:

Love ceiling, pendants... interesting element - curtains to close off kitchen...

This is kitchen from Princess Margaret Show House from last year - love the dark backing of upper cabinets and dark hood to tie to island.

This is my dream at the moment - all the components are there - black, white and wood - and I just love the interpretation and choices - so interesting.