Diffa Dining by Design…..

While I was at the Architectural Digest Home Show with Modenus’ BlogtourNYC we were fortunate enough to be given a guided tour by Barry Dixon, through some of the Diffa Dining by Design exhibits.


If you are wondering what DIFFA is about, here’s a synopsis from their site:

“DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS is one of the country’s largest supporters of direct care for people living with HIV/AIDS and preventative education for those at risk.  Merging care with commerce, supporters of DIFFA come from all fields of fine design and the visual arts, including architecture, fashion design, interior design, photography, digital media and consumer product design.  Since its founding in 1984, DIFFA has mobilized the immense resources of the design communities to grant over $40 million to hundreds of AIDS service organizations, nationwide.  For more information, please visit DIFFA.org.

Here are some of my favourites. Enjoy!


Silestone and the New Neutrals…..

Speaking of the new neutrals trends,  Silestone (Cosentino) was another sponsor of BlogtourNYC and while we were enjoying a fabulous brunch at the Poggenpohl Showroom, we also got to take a peek at their  new quartz countertops.

Silestone Transparent

White Zeus Extreme is the whitest white hue in quartz surfacing countertops, this has been accomplished through cutting edge technology and using very refined quartz.  This stark hue offers an unparalleled solid, bright, clean look with less grain than the original, White Zeus colour.  This clear bright white is keeping with the new neutrals trend in kitchens and baths.  It can easily be adapted into different styles of kitchens and baths, as white always feels new and fresh.

This clean look is ideal for any number of installations, take a look at these below.

Laguna Beach 4

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I love this modern sleek all white kitchen, contrasted with the very detailed architectural walls and ceiling and it certainly makes that floor stand out.

“White Zeus Extreme is for designers, architects and consumers looking for the ultimate sleek, modern, and refined white appearance throughout the home,” said Lorenzo Marquez, VP of Marketing for Cosentino North America. “Solid white surfaces are challenging to achieve and we are especially thrilled to have pushed our innovation to a new level with White Zeus extreme. This color truly underscores our commitment to being on the cutting edge of design and innovation.”

As with all of Silestone’s natural quartz products, White Zeus Extreme is naturally non-porous and never needs to be sealed.  It is easy to clean and has resistance to scratches, staining and heat.  It offers a combination of built-in antimicrobial protection that fights the growth of odour causing bacteria, mold and mildew and has the GREENGUARD certification for clean air quality and the National Sanitation Foundation certification for safe food preparation.

It’s available in polished, leather and volcano finishes and even comes in the Integrity sink.

I also recently posted about some of the other new Silestone’s quartz countertops from the Nebula series, Lyra and Cygnus, click here to read that post and for the gray/brown of  Merope, click here.  These are all part of the new neutrals in the kitchen and bath industry. And if you are looking for more on white, read my recent post on White, white, everywhere.

Photos courtesy of Silestone



BlogtourNYC Day 2…..

Day 2 started out with a hearty breakfast at the coffee shop, Viand, around the corner from our hotel.  Speaking of the hotel, I have to share my view with you from my hotel window.


Wait, is that a house on the roof of a nearby building?  Why yes it is, a house, complete with a front screened in porch and dormer windows.  Now I’ve seen everything! DSC_0124

Now back to Day 2, after breakfast we all hit the cabs for the trip to the Architectural Digest Home Show.



Upon arriving we were exhausted and thirsty, so we headed right to the Marys and Mimosas Bar, to start the day off right!  The Marys and Mimosas Event was originally started by Veronika of Modenus and has become the “must be” place at the ADHS.


                         Photo from Marys and Mimosas’ at the ADHS website


While here, we met and mingled with design royalty and other media types.  I’m still trying to keep all the names and faces straight.

Then we went on a curated tour of DIFFA’s Dining by Design headed by Barry Dixon himself.  Ok, this in itself, took up a huge amount of my camera card space, so I will just show you Barry Dixon’s space for Arteriors.  This really needs to be a totally separate post, which I promise, I will do up at a later date.


The custom designed wooden screen was my favourite part of Barry Dixon’s dining area.  It was inspired by a piece he found from an old church bell tower.  The new piece even replicated the chipped and worn paint just as the original had.


One of favourite thing in the show was the La Cornue booth.  I seriously could have just moved into this kitchen.  I loved the stainless steel island and cook tops and that wood octagon back splash was absolutely gorgeous.

IMG_2196 IMG_2195 IMG_2199 I mean it was swoon worthy!

And for my coffee drinking friends, the TopBrewer by Scanomat, is total luxury. All the workings are concealed under the counter, and it is controlled by your Ipad or Iphone.  So you can customize your brew and save as a favourite, so it is perfect every time!

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Another favourite was the Oborain outdoor showers in bamboo, teak or mahogany.  I can so see one of these at my cottage.  They are really beautiful in person and will hold up to the Canadian elements, with a little preventative care, of course, or you can let them weather naturally, your choice.

cove solo, closed and open 2                           Photo from Oborain’s website

And of course, we had to keep up the Blogtour tradition of getting in at least one or two of the beautiful Victoria + Albert baths. Here’s a couple of bloggers who were more than willing to oblige.


Munter and I are in the Cabrits bath and Michael is in the ios (loved the British flag painted on the side).


The Miele booth was particularly stunning with it’s green theme. The hanging garden done by Green EcoWalls was a huge hit and perfect for any space.

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And I loved the colour blocked refrigerator with the wood panelled front. If only the inside of my fridge looked like this. IMG_2258

The Jenn-Air booth was another highlight with its lovely fresh pop of orange.



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In the second picture above you can see the new Jenn-Air 36″ Accolade Downdraft Ventilation System that conceals itself into the counter until needed.  It is remotely controlled and I took a couple of short videos showing how it works.

It would be ideal in a sleek and minimal kitchen or one where a traditional range hood would be in the way.

These exterior showers by Jee-O were also beautiful and sculptural.  And I think that poster in the back was meant to catch all the ladies attention.

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Ok, I think the rest of the gorgeousness will have to wait for yet another post, or this post will take you hours to get through.

After an entire day of gazing at beauty and inventiveness, we were all ready for an All American New York kind of dinner, so when Veronika suggested 5 Napkin Burger, we all jumped at it.  It was all that we were expecting and more.  In fact, some of the vegetarians didn’t quite believe that their burger was really vegetarian.


5 Napkin Burger 5 Napkin Burger-1 The three above pictures are from 5 Napkin Burger’s website

I took these photos on the walk back to the hotel, some of New York’s famous landmarks.

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So that’s the end of Day 2.   Remember, there are still two more days….

All photos not credited are my own.

Mr. and Mrs. Steam……

While in New York City for Modenus’ BlogtourNYC, we had the pleasure of meeting Blogtour sponsor, Mrs. Steam (or Martha), the woman behind Mr. Steam.  Can I say what a pure delight she is.  Friendly, outgoing and always with a big smile, she is so easy to like.  And I must say, with the most beautiful skin, which she credits to her daily steam showers.  Sign me up.

feel good blue


So of course we discussed the benefits of steam therapy. They really are endless but here’s just a few that I’m highlighting:

1. Respiratory health – opens up nasal passages, helps to alleviate allergies, improves breathing, relief from asthma symptoms, soothes the throat and decreases croup symptoms.

2. Skin Care – cleanses the skin, may relieve acne conditions, opens up the pores, lubricates and hydrates the skin, rejuvenates and leaves skin with a healthy glow.

3. Holistic Health – removes toxins, increases circulation, helps our bodies get rid of excess sodium and relieves arthritic pain and discomfort.

4.Well-Being – relieves stress, encourages relaxation and promotes a deep and restful sleep. Adding Music therapy and/or Chroma Therapy will increase the stress reduction and mood enhancing properties.

5. Physical Wellness – increases circulation, boosts metabolism, removes lactic acid from overworked muscles and increases flexibility

All this and it uses less than 2 gallons of water for a 1/2 hr steam bath. It costs only cents to operate and can be added to an existing shower with no separate room needed.

All this and their new iSteam controls with a touch screen display that sits flush with the tiles, which really appeals to the designer in me.  And if you just don’t want to get up there is even an iGenie so that you can preheat the steam shower from up to 100 feet away.


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Don’t you deserve the pampering….I know I do!  Check out my City House Dream Bath and Country House Dream Bath to see how I’ve used them.



Poggenpohl and the new neutrals….

One of Modenus’ BlogtourNYC sponsors was Poggenpohl.  After visiting their fabulous showroom,  and seeing the sleek beauty and efficiency of their cabinetry, I dug a little deeper to find out more about Poggenpohl.

Poggenpohl logo (with transparency)

Did you know that Poggenpohl is the oldest kitchen brand in the world? It was started in 1892 in the heart of Germany by Friedemir Poggenpohl, who’s motto “improve the kitchen” has continued to inspire this brand.

They created the first unit kitchen, the first island kitchen and the first white lacquer furniture.  That’s alot of firsts! They are now available in more than 70 countries and are still representing tradition and perfection in kitchen making around the world.

Poggenpohl kitchens are built to last a lifetime and they have become iconic in their quest for perfection.  Each kitchen starts with a blank piece of paper and is custom built in collaboration with their clients to make unique one of a kind kitchens, that are perfect for each home.

Once your kitchen is created you are given a personalized service card and all your kitchen information is stored so that the highest level of services can be achieved throughout your kitchen’s long, long, lifetime.

One of the trends that the kitchen and bath industry has been noticing, as well as those of us who work in design, is the emergence of what we are calling the new neutrals.  That would be gray, greige (a combination of gray and beige), white, and I think, also the natural colours of stone, concrete, wood as well as other natural textures (think sisal, wicker, coral, twigs, etc….)

Poggenpohl partnered up with Hearst Publishing and their Designer Visions Showhouse in Tribeca, NYC which featured their kitchens in every unit.  This image below is the modern loft kitchen, designed by Anthony Todd, and featured in Veranda, with cabinetry by Poggenpohl, Jenn-Air appliances, Silestone quartz counters and Ann Sacks tile.

Veranda 2

Benjamin Moore paint, Night Shades and Silver Fox (one of my favourites to use), was used for the walls and showcases more of the new neutrals trend, moody and warm grays.  Mirrored Ann Sacks tiles as the backsplash, help to bring some sparkle to the space.  I love how the fixtures are all neutral, but pops of  red and pink were added, and those stunning windows certainly don’t hurt either.

Veranda 1

If you want to see even more on this gorgeous apartment, click on this link to Veranda’s site to watch a video.

And you can also view the videos for designers Matthew Patrick Smyth for Elle Décor’s apartment makeover and here for House Beautiful’s apartment done by designer David Rockwell.  All of them feature Poggenpohl cabinetry, Jenn-Air appliances, Silestone quartz countertops and Ann Sacks tile. Enjoy!