From dark and drab to bright and pretty

Well, I can definitely smell fall in the air.  Makes me want to get all my cosy sweaters, leggings, tall boots and chai pumpkin tea out. It really is my favourite season, cool, sunny and not too hot.

As promised I thought I’d catch you up on some design projects that I worked on this past winter/spring.  And this master bath renovation definitely brings to mind a fresh, bright, spring day.

Quite a bit of work has been done on this client’s home, as the previous owner used a wheelchair and there was some retrofitting that needed to be done for my client.  High up on the wish list, was her dark, brown and dreary master bathroom.

Here’s the befores and I apologize for the absolutely terrible before pics. In my defence, it’s a small bath so it is very hard to get some good pictures but I think I accidentally deleted a few that actually were better than theses (shakes head).

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My client explained that she really wanted a white, clean, spare, spa bath with a freestanding tub and no shower (there’s one in the basement).

So, first up was removing the large brown walk-in shower.  I gave my client the exact measurements she’d need for a tub that would fit into small alcove (where the shower had been) and she was off shopping.  It was very important that she tried out the tub herself and made sure it was comfortable for her, tubs are like mattresses and seating, everyone fits in them differently.

And happily, she found the perfect one, modern, clean, oval and exactly the right size for our space.


Vanico Maronyx – Vesso

Isn’t she pretty?

Now it was time to find tiles. She loved the look of marble but with budget being an issue, I found some marble lookalike, large scale porcelain tile which fit the look and budget perfectly. We used them on the floor and then ran them up the wall about a third of the way, but just around the tub.


Ceragres Anima & Onix Nature

When I came upon this pretty matte and  iridescence mini hexagon tile border, I had an aha moment. However, the large scale tile and the border tile were different thicknesses, but after adding in the chair rail moulding tile and pencil tile, it will never be noticed.


Due to budget constraints we decided to keep the existing white vanity.


Caesarstone Organic white quartz

But upgraded to a new Caesarstone’s Organic White quartz countertop (above). Together with a simple white square undermount sink, shiny new Moen faucets and hardware you’d never guess it was the same cabinet. Feminine and sparkly!


Moen Weymouth

We added the matching two handle tub filer from Moen, which really makes a statement in the small bath.


Moen Weymouth

Again, excuse the photos, I haven’t had it professionally photographed yet, or even photographed by me properly, but here’s a few iPhone pics of the after.  And yes we were still waiting for the new handles to be installed in this pic as well as for a small shelf above the toilet.

White. grey and yellow master bath

White, grey and yellow master bath tub

White, grey and yellow master bath detail

Quite a difference from the previous space, wouldn’t you say?  Bright and pretty, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a nice soak.




It’s a new year and finally, a new post

Happy September! Doesn’t September feel more like the beginning of a new year, than January? It always has to me. After a ridiculous long blogging break, I’m trying to get back at it. Lots has been going on here.

The cottage kitchen was finished in late March/April and I LOVE it. I am trying to get it published so I’m very limited on what photos I can show here, but here’s a few teasers.

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All photo credits above: Melissa Kew Photography

We also took a short but fabulous trip to Nashville and Memphis in May. My appreciation for country music and cowboy boots has increased exponentially after this trip.


The view from our hotel room.


The site of a civil war clash.


We both picked up cowboy boots and a friend got the same ones.


We both thought this highway sign was hilarious but accurate.


In Memphis, we had to do the Graceland tour.


And of course, Sun Studio, the birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll.

We also had another very short trip to Quebec City this summer, where I used to live many, many years ago as a child. It is my favourite Canadian city, so old world and charming.

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Work wise, I finished up a condo decorating project in Mont Tremblant, a complete master bath remodel, started a new client’s living room/dining room/kitchen remodel, commenced another bathroom renovation, helped another client with the finishing touches to her mid-century modern apartment, gave a bunch of consults for painting and decor clients and I’m so excited to be starting a client’s very challenging and huge cottage renovation this Fall.

I’ll be sharing some pics of these decorating projects and renovations in the next while.

On the family front we have been very busy. Our youngest daughter graduated from her Masters program and started her first permanent job with the Government. Our other daughter got engaged and bought her first house, all in the same weekend in March. One of our sons moved back home from out west and will be going back to school this year.

And last, but certainly not least, our eldest son is getting married at our cottage, in like….less than 3 weeks. Whoa, that scares me to write that.  We are well into the throes of final decorating projects and this past long weekend, we were a beehive of activity. The beach got de-weeded (is that a word?), long grass got trimmed and manicured, trees were cut back, things got painted, take away gifts were embellished and readied, terrarium centrepieces were done, chalkboards were written on and general planning and details were ironed out.



Artesso articulating faucet in the kitchen


Now, is that not a pretty awesome faucet?  I am totally in love with the Artesso Articulating Faucet from Brizo. 


So as you can see my kitchen reno is coming along. Just down to the final little pieces.  We have almost all of the lighting installed, just one more articulating sconce to be put up (I sense a theme with all this articulation). Unfortunately, one of them arrived damaged in the box so we are awaiting a replacement at the moment.

We had some trim pieces for around the windows and on the ceiling made but I have yet to get to the paint store to have the stain custom matched.  I’m really hoping to get to that this week.

Even the central vac outlet under the cabinets has been all connected up. I have one of these in my kitchens at home and love it so since, it’s relatively easy to set up, since our basement area is open, it was a no brainer to do it here.  Sand and dirt be gone!


**Disclaimer: Brizo was kind enough to offer me the opportunity to test out this faucet, that I had been admiring, in exchange for an honest evaluation. Well, honestly, I love it. Absolutely everyone who has been in the kitchen has commented on how handsome it is.

As you can see it articulates from the middle, so you can have it higher (easier to fill large pots) or lower, towards the sink. The faucet head also detaches easily so that you can clean the sink and anything else easily.  I know I’m going to love this feature when I’m filling large vases or bowls.


The oil rubbed bronze finish is a great complement to the light quartz counters.  Is anyone else in love with all the succulents out there?  They are perfect for the cottage, as they are regularly neglected.

It has this great little switch on the front of the faucet, so you can go from a steady to a spray stream quickly.


It comes in three other finishes, chrome, polished nickel (shown below, which is pretty spectacular if I do say so myself) and stainless steel.


And the finish line is just around the corner…phew!

I’ll leave you with a little snippet of my FINALLY installed live edge wood shelves (that I just managed to stain before this pic).  They were a real pill to get this far, but I’m so happy with them. I will be putting a coat of clear polyurethane on them, but for now, I couldn’t wait to style them.


**Brizo provided me with this faucet in my colour of choice in exchange for sharing my opinion of it here.


Modern, rustic and slightly industrial kitchen reno update

After a loooonnnnggg Christmas break, I’m back.  Hope you all had a great holiday with family and friends.  We finally got winter here and let me tell you, I didn’t miss it.  But, now onto more fun updates.

So there’s been lots of progress with my modern, rustic and slightly industrial kitchen reno.  Cabinetry fronts finished….check, hardware added…check, appliances installed and working…check, sink and faucet done…..check.

A little sneak peek at the cabinetry that was installed just before Christmas (obviously before the hardware was added).  I’m absolutely loving the blue/grey cabinetry, it is such a refreshing change from the overwhelming presence of honeyed wood in the house. Please excuse the dust on these as I was so excited to take a pic and share that I didn’t even wait to dust them off.


Together with the grey/black island, it’s pure GORGEOUS!


What are we still working on?  Well, the backsplash and therefore the rest of the electrical outlets, lighting and live edge shelving are still in line.  Trying to figure out how to install floating 100 lb+ maple wood shelves onto a tiled backsplash wall has been quite the learning experience.  In the end we got lots of advice from our contractor, our cabinet maker, a steel company, fellow designers and our local welder.  We, actually my  hubby did most of the legwork on this problem, hey…I just come up with the ideas, the implementation…well that’s a whole other issue.

So they came up with a custom made steel bracket that has three rods that will fit into the corresponding holes that will be bored into the wood shelf.  These brackets will be lag bolted into the wood logs that form the frame of our log home, and the shelves will then slide onto the rods. Presto……magic!  Apparently we will be able to park a car on the shelves 🙂

So since we couldn’t finish the tiling until the brackets are totally completed and installed, my hubby just tiled the areas where he could.  We are really hoping to have both the brackets installed this weekend and that the tiling can continue.  I will then resume the sanding of the shelves….which is a joy, let me tell you. Then a coat of a clear finish and we will be ready to get them up there and start using them.

We also have some trim work that needs to be completed. I’m going to be trying to match 24 year old wood stain, so that the new trim is not too noticeable against the original pieces…wish me luck!

The electrician was also hoping to have this large lantern installed over the island and all the switches and outlets finished this week as well.  I can’t wait to see it actually hanging in the space!


That will just leave the articulating sconces and of course, the shelves, to be installed on the backsplash wall after all the grouted is done. So exciting!  I am seriously dreaming (no, not kidding) about styling those live edge wood shelves.


I’ll leave you with one more pic that I shared on my Instagram account recently.


****Some design inspiration coming up, I’ll finally be sharing some pictures from my recent trip to Miami for #ModenusTalksMiami and #DesignMiami in my next post.


Appliances, lighting, and faucets, oh my!

The most fun part of any reno, well to me anyways, is the finishing touches.  Early on in the renovation planning stage, I sourced and decided on the appliances, lighting fixtures, faucet and sink so that they could be ordered and already be delivered when they were needed.  I didn’t want any problems with waiting for items to be in stock or shipped.

For appliances, I had a wish list, an induction cooktop, downdraft fan, a microwave/convention oven, wall oven, a warming drawer (since we entertain a lot at the cottage and in the winter, it’s always nice to have warmed plates), a wine fridge and a new dishwasher (which quickly became a panelled dishwasher). I decided on Bosch, for everything but the wine fridge, because their appliances hit every mark and I love their sleek look.

Early on, I had seen this Brizo Artesso faucet and I had to have it.  The cool industrial yet rustic vibe was perfect for my vision of the kitchen. Brizo agreed and I’m the happy recipient of it, in a beautiful oil rubbed bronze finish.


For the sink, I was very torn between a large single, double or a sink and a half. I went back and forth relentlessly.  A large single sink is great, lots of room to do those large pans and soak just about anything, but I really wanted a place to stash my dirty or drying dishes (I hate on-counter drying racks, which I’ve  had and continue to have, and I resent it a little every day).  A double sink would give me that extra space to hide dishes but each sink was a little on the small size, given that I had to stay within a 31″ total width, so I compromised with a sink and a half.  I settled on a Franke sink as it gave me the contemporary edge that I wanted, had the size I needed and had slightly rounded corners to make clean up a breeze.


Onto my lighting choices – I’ve had a hate on for the existing white track lighting, as there is typically only one or two of the lights working at any one time and let’s face it they are just fugly.  We added the Pottery Barn pendants when we first bought the cottage and they have certainly helped but I desperately need more light than they can give. (see before pics here).

An open rectangular lantern fixture with plenty of lights would be the perfect fit for the long island. I also wanted one without glass, to keep glass cleaning down. The Hinkley Fulton open lantern is perfect with it’s black iron exterior frame and it’s soft bronze interior finish which ties in with the oil rubbed bronze faucet.  To mount this, we will have to have the electrical boxes (where the track lights are now) capped and then somehow hidden (I’ve given this job to our fabulous carpenter and electrician).


To coordinate with it, Restoration Hardware’s  20th Century Library sconces with their iron finish and touch of brass (to pick up on the warm bronze tones) were an easy choice.  Three of them will line up on the far wall between the windows to light the counters and open shelves there.

prod2460589_av1I also had my heart set on a pendant light over the sink and wanted something that was light and bright but with some dark metal.  Hinkley hit it again with this Clancy fixture, in a warm bronze finish.  Again, some creative carpentry will have to be done to hide the wiring…oh the joys of a log home.


**Disclaimer, Brizo provided me with the faucet of my choice, in exchange for my honest opinion of it, here on my blog.