[style]: Random Paris Spaces


I had this post in draft and forgot about it... Here are some random Paris spaces from HomeAway that caught my eye...

I really like how they hung the art and mirror in this first space using the iron railings. It is hard to believe that these spaces are offered for short-term rent.

I can't get enough of this hardwood floor... 

White slipcovered linen sofa? Yes, please

Interesting way they added lighting under the shelves in this kitchen - using wall sconces that low.  Also way to showcase collections such as these white vases.

There is something just so dreamy about this next space - exposed beams, albeit painted, wall paper, antique furnishings, that grand chandelier... or attic looking apartment - cozy and secluded..

I also like this bathroom - very simple yet interesting.

Again, can you believe this next space is also available for rent? I like how they changed the flooring to define spaces

Love this ledge and use of light in this shower..

[decor]: Weekly Roundup


This past week I was searching for quite a few decor items so it saw me enter a few more stores for a quick look - Anthropologie, Crate and Barrel, West Elm, Target, Chapters/Indigo, Home Sense, Restoration Hardware and Ikea... Sometimes when I enter some or all of these stores I don't know where to look first as all the decor and displays amaze me.. This was not one of those times.. There was not much that I felt excited about or drawn to, hence the lack of pictures... It must be  this in-between holidays time at the root of it all... but I remembered to snap a couple of photos when I saw something interesting..

In Anthropologie, horseshoe detail was throughout the store.. With 25% off sale, I managed to snap couple of goodies while returning some of those gorgeous knobs I was considering for our basement cabinets.

These beautiful books make for great gifts - I snapped this 'The Little Prince' pop-up book in Chicago some 3-4 years ago.

From Crate and Barrel not much to report about except this nice looking fire-pit on clearance that we considered buying for a second as we wanted one for some time. But it will have to wait.. I liked this gallery wall as the pictures are so close together and this island would be great addition to our future kitchen if we could actually fit it.. 

In Home Sense I noticed couple of these bar carts -

 plus striking photos, world maps and interesting mirrors..

Not that much to report from Ikea either - I liked these cute prints - 5 for $1 and took a photo of Ikea's suggested arrangements.

Finally we had not so nice experience at West Elm in their Toronto store trying to order a bed taking advantage of their 20% off bedroom sale for hour and a half only to leave empty handed as they could not guarantee delivery of one out of three items. While I like their merchandise, I dread going to the store for anything not being sold on the floor - I've never had successful purchase as anything I ever wanted seemed to be be out of stock. Oh well, now I need to figure out how to buy that bed...

[decor]: Halloween 'R Us


Fall colours here in Ontario are just amazing. These pictures were taken by iPhone and have not been touched by any program and, yet, they look incredible to me.  It is a rather short window where leaves turn colours before falling down and we traveled up north just before most of the trees turned so the pictures below are from our parks.

Halloween is upon us and while kids always go 'trick or treating' we never spent too much time decorating indoors or outdoors. I think it is mostly because I cannot find enough storage for all the decor. We were also quite busy with entertaining of guests visiting our newborn that creative and imaginative pumpkin decorating was just a quick exercise of kids drawing their designs (angry birds anyone?) and me carving one pumpkin based on those designs and just tracing other ones with oil based crayon. Kids also played with some of the last year's costumes...

Our front outdoor decoration for Thanksgiving and fall looked like this:

..and for Halloween was transformed to this... with loads and loads of ... take a guess...

With quite a few mature trees in our backyard, we have plenty of leaves to rake - a chore that kids help with, in their own way...

Finally, last week saw us complete a project that will hopefully help us keep the house waterproof. As we have a flat roof with gravel on top we cannot control how the water drains off it. Since the flat part of the roof seemed to be in good enough shape according to all those roof specialists - we decided not to change it and creating a new structure that would slope would be a lot of work and money. Two downspouts in the front of the house receive minimal drainage, and most of the water drained through one downspout at the back of the house or it would just overflow from the top. Solution that might help this problem is that we installed an eavesthrough at the back and added another downspout. Now we are just waiting for rain to come to test it all out.

Back on the subject of Halloween - older kids are quite concerned by their costumes. My daughter really liked Cuckoo 4 Design's DIY Maleficent Costume idea so we will attempt that - she got her aunt's old black dress and is relentlessly begging me to create the headgear... I am yet to purchase black duck tape or face paint.. yes, terrible mommy... My son wants to be a solder and we might be good in that department... Younger kids will wear inherited costumes ... A few more days now.. then sugar galore!

[style]: Kitchen Inspirations Part III


Kitchen inspirations part I and II were my most visited posts - and I was just getting started. I guess years of collecting inspirations will do that for you, and these are just black-white with a touch of warmth ones.

Here is the next batch...


I have mixed feeling about this kitchen - on one hand it is interesting mix of styles and materials and it sucks you right in bouncing you from one focal point to another, while on other hand it is rather busy. While this hood is just beautiful but a bit too much for me, I really love the black subway tile wall. Floors are amazing and quite unexpected for the kitchen.

Here is example of a more tranquil kitchen. I am  not crazy about the dining room table wood in addition to that great armoire and stools and a different type of dining table would have worked better for me. What I just love is that armoire in combination of black and white kitchen.

This kitchen is example of a modern farmhouse kitchen. I love the rustic beams and floorboards and I love how cabinets are positioned not to hide that beautiful stove even though I am not sure how practical is this floor plan (i.e. stove seems to be too far from the sink).

While this next kitchen is a bit cold for me and besides some of those green apples seems to be missing some natural or warm element, I am mesmerized by black glass cabinet doors.

This next kitchen is more dark green than black, but if you squint it seems black.. it still illustrates the point especially with wood shelves and wood stools. I really like these pendants.

I really love how windows are framed in this next kitchen with glass cabinets. There is a lot of light so black works quite well and every inch of space seems to be used. Natural element comes from the butcher block.

This next kitchen really benefits from high ceiling and plenty of light allowing for some dark cabinetry to ground the space. Hardwood floor is just beautiful and almost steals the show here. Backsplash gives texture but is not overpowering and works with painted brick on the other wall.

Star of this kitchen is this tiled wall enhanced by interesting DIY looking (not sure if it is DIY or not) pendants. One must feel like dancing while prepping meals here. Natural elements come from what appears to be salvaged wood (or reclaimed wood) thick shelving on the side.

I found this next kitchen in one of the apartments for rent in Paris and it is something you would expect to see from Italian or French kitchen - curves are incredible and different colour toe-kick makes this kitchen appear to float.

The next kitchen is more traditional looking and has example of a hood I am liking more and more - very tailored looking.

Final kitchen of this post uses matte cabinetry and intertwines dark and white cabinets without any bling (knobs or pulls)/ I love how the look of the cabinets is repeated or emulated with fireplace and dining room table and chairs are just perfect to make this architected space warm and inviting.

[home]: Evolution of Our Playroom


Well, this post is more of before, and couple of after steps... When we purchased the house back in summer 2010, pretty much everything was in rough shape, but basement was unusable. Previous owners appeared to have used it as they had it functionally furnished.

This room is directly below our small family room with doors to outside (basically it is walk-out basement room). On the left, ugly bricks are on the back of the fireplace (room to the left has the "working" wood fireplace). At the very end of the room was closet with sliding door which were basically done against exposed concrete blocks - i.e. no insulation. Ceiling and right side of the room had these plaster like boards which we actually ended up sending to a lab to ensure that they did not contain asbestos. Electrical was a complete mess. Floor had carpet that smelled terribly I guess due to the previous owner's dog using it as a toilet so it was ripped out before we moved in. Underneath the carpet we found laminate tiles that were extremely glued to the floor - it took some muscle to ripped them out.

For good 2 years we lived with this basement room like this (plus room next to it - but that is another post):

This is how things looked as you came down and if you wanted to get out to the deck.

What you see right at the exit (under the stairs) is just plywood which we left unexposed after removing the carpet. It became clear that this is where a lot of smell was coming from as all the dampness was raising up, it was also fairly unprotected and animals could have (not sure if they did) found shelter there. As our house from the 50s was extended to add staircase in 70s - this was done to building code - but the code itself does not really protect you. One of the first things we have done as part of renovations was to fill this up with cement.

In Fall 2010, my husband's dad visited us for couple of months and during this time worked on this and room next to it to rip everything out, put proper insulation, framing and drywall up and my dad and brother added flooring. It was a true family effort...

Work that was done:

1. Rip everything out
2. Found little bit of mold - work on treating it
3. Brought electrician to fix up the electrical and HVAC specialist to fix up heating...
4. Framing, insulation, drywall, taping
5. Paint - everything BM - Cloud White, CC-40 including fireplace brick
6. Decided not to keep the closet the back of the room to extend the size of the room
7. Due to its place (open to above family room) and height, decided to use it as a playroom.
8. Purchased flush light fixture (did not use pot lights - this was done on the cheap) from Rona to maximize the ceiling height
9. Installed laminate flooring with drycore subfloor to ensure we don't get dampness
10. Purchased really thick area rug from Elte to ensure floor was warm for kids to play on...

I like the colour of this rug as it makes the whole space that much more cheerful. I am not sure at which point in time we decided to turn this into a playroom. Probably in one of those moments where we were contemplating taking all of the toys to the nearest dumpster in a fit of pain of stepping on yet another toy in our already crowded space in the small family room. I guess one does not really realize just how many toys get accumulated until you start sorting them or cleaning them out. We rarely buy toys for our kids (only board games) and we even do not let them keep all the toys they get as gifts, but somehow they manage to collect a lot. I also purge them as often as possible, with a big number of them getting sold during our garage sale this summer - and yet it seems there are toys everywhere...

In any case, we decided to turn this space into a toy storage a.k.a playroom room.

Good thing was finding these nice little colourful shelves with storage from Indigo. Here is another blurry look forgetting to remove tools and garbage from the floor.

Finally, an interim before & after pic to show how far we've come on a very strict budget - I will post a better before & after when I have a chance to finalize some of the decor.

[design]: Hobby or 'a bit of everything' room


Here is yet another design - this time of a hobby room, TV room, office - just a bit of everything.

This was a really fun room to design and to try to incorporate everything without making it seem too crowded. Shape of the room was challenging but it lent itself nicely to incorporate two office desks by having a bit of visual interest naturally and avoid one long line of desk space.

Another challenge was structural post in the middle of the room that was resolved by use of shelving and continuation of that shelving in such a way to visually expand the room by making each level of shelves longer. Using curved lines, idea was to take the eye away from the post and add more visual interest.

More challenges in terms of space and storage and solving them through custom cabinetry 'hugging' the wall and at the same time visually expanding the space.

Different areas are further defined by use of area rugs.

Finally, placement of plant is such to further draw attention from the structural post. Furniture works as extension of shelving and lighting is both feature and necessity.

[style]: Two beautiful Paris apartments for rent


I've looked into 4th Arrondissement Pompidou Le Marais area for some inspirational rentals and I was not disappointed. First up is somewhat pricey 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment that combines 17tth century architectural elements with modern amenities. 

Originally constructed in 1652, renovations were overseen by an award-winning French movie set designer; virtually every element is custom, from the 17th century hardwood floors to the hand-painted Renaissance era beams and exposed stonework.

The unique character was lovingly created by its former owner, the wife of a French Senator, who scoured the flea markets and villages around Paris to create the ambiance of 17th Century France.

This next apartment shares the location, but is quite differently furnished. 

More images after the jump....