A new phase – What do you want your home to be?

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

A new phase begins. What do you want your home to be?

So now that the kids have left or about to, how do you want or need your home to function? This is the key to making your home work for you and your partner. Think about how you want to live. 

What are your goals? 

For example, do you want to entertain or travel more, start or continue a hobby, or just get out from under the clutter?

What path would you like to go down? 

More entertaining?

If entertaining is key to you, then perhaps an open concept kitchen/dining/living area will allow you to host those larger groups more easily.  Perhaps removing some walls (once an expert has determined this is doable), will make this a reality. 

Maybe you need a guest room or bathroom for out of town family and friends, then it is time to redo a few rooms to suit grown ups.

Want to travel more?

Than how about making your home more maintenance friendly. Easy care and durable finishes are a must. Declutter spaces for easy cleaning and installing internet capable thermostats and alarm systems will give you peace of mind travels. Perhaps you want to travel so much that a condo may be the ideal move for you. No yard or exterior to maintain may just be the ticket….pun intended.

Planning on playing?

Perhaps continuing with or starting a new hobby is exactly what you want to do in the next phase. Think about changing up that extra room or space into an art studio, music, craft, sewing or even a theatre room, so you can indulge your inner movie critic. Rooms DO NOT have to stay as they are advertised on your floorplan.

Or do you just need a refresh? 

Something to make your home feel shiny, fresh and new! 

Decluttering of course, is almost always necessary. First, check with the kids about everything they may want or need. Than be pretty ruthless about this, you DO NOT want six storage units full of stuff that no one wants and that you are paying monthly fees on.  Those units should be for temporary use only. Such as if you’re moving and want to store some furniture while you are staging your home or you are keeping items for a university student to use when they get their own home (hopefully sooner than later).

I know grandparents stuff can be sentimental or valuable, if so keep the best pieces that you love and can incorporate into your home, but not the entire dining room set that you don’t care for or have the room for. That chandelier that is priceless and unique can be the focal point in a contemporary room. A mix of design styles makes your home personal and interesting so don’t be afraid to challenge the norm. Breaking rules can be just the thing. That chandelier could be a showstopper in your master bedroom or bath. It doesn’t have to be in the dining room.

Paint or new flooring can also go along way to revamp a home. If you have worn and stained carpet, install hardwood. It is timeless, especially a mid-toned brown one with medium sized planks. Think of a french chateau with those beautiful hardwood floors, they never date. A stunning herringbone pattern will be cherished forever. Just choose what you love and not what you see everywhere, because that is likely a trend.

If hardwood is not your style, then a stone such as marble, slate or granite is another classic choice. If these are too pricey, then a great faux stone tile can also work. Typically porcelain tile is more durable than ceramic, but always ask your tile supplier about the durability of your selection and make sure you tell him/her where it is going. What is durable for a busy hallway versus a hardly used powder room can be vastly different.

Keep grout in mind as well for ease of maintenance, ideally it should be mid toned as well and now there are many stain and water resistant versions on the market. They are costly but well worth the investment.

Paint should always be chosen last on a project, yes dead last. There are millions of paint colours available but not millions of sofa or drapery fabric or tile choices. And also keep in mind paint should always complement your fixtures so DO NOT ignore the pinky beige carpet or tile (if you are keeping it) or you may end up highlighting it instead of working with it.

So think about what your goals are for your home and then you can start making your Reclaim your Home plan. 

I’ll be posting more in depth information on all of these options in the next few weeks so keep checking back. 

Lisa

White, clean and serene master bath

Do you need a bathroom renovation that will make your house more serene, more practically organized and more like you? Well, keep reading to find out how the process works and just what can be achieved in your home.

This bathroom transformation went from dark, cluttered and drab to white, clean and serene. Isn’t she pretty and practical now?

Calm and serene master bath

These clients had a wish list that included:

  • two sinks,
  • lots more storage,
  • larger shower,
  • removing the tub,
  • better lighting,
  • proper venting, and
  • white and serene bath.

This master bath had no personality and obviously was dismal at even providing proper storage. It had only one sink in a crowded vanity, a window and tub where my client had envisioned the shower going, an awkward semi-circular shower enclosure and virtually no ventilation or proper lighting. It is definitely not possible to get ready to take on the day here or for that matter relax at the end of the day?

Before – master bath

You can see the semi-circular shower in the mirror opposite the vanity and behind the door. And the built in tub that was never used.

Before – master bath

I did up three different plans and after consulting with me and their contractor, the clients decided on this plan.

burnsopt3layout

burnsopt3

 

Originally we were going to move the toilet and the door but moving a toilet is an expensive option, so in the end we left both the toilet and the door where it was.

Then I did up two mood boards which shows tile, lighting and fixture selections. They went with Option 1.burns-master-bath-001

Here’s a closer look at the tile selections.

 

Master bath tile selection

The large scale shower wall tile looks like glass but it is actually porcelain and it is a breeze to clean. As per the norm, some items were changed from the moldboard to creation. The vanity was a great find and you’ll see why as you keep reading. The lighting was also changed to discreet pot lights where needed. We felt there was enough going on in the vanity area so this kept the area cleaner.

Where there was cramped, dark and non functioning, there is now this clean, serene, spa like space.

Calm and serene master bath

So, what did we do exactly? We moved the vanity from it’s existing place at the right of the door to where the built in tub was. That way we got enough room to put two sinks and that enabled us to place the shower where the vanity had been. Originally, the clients wanted to swap the tub for the shower, but then the window was going to be partially in the shower enclosure. It could have been done, but this was a more cost effective and worry free solution. Moving the shower where the vanity was allowed for a much larger area and since it is all glass it feels very open when you are entering into the bathroom.

My clients also wanted a large inset shower shelf but since the main, long wall was an exterior wall, we couldn’t put a shelf there. So, instead we placed two smaller inset shower shelves, one on each side of the shower tower and it worked perfectly.

Custom shower with two inset shelves

Inset shower shelf

The inset shelf tile is the same as the shower floor and it was also used as a vanity backsplash, for continuity.

Custom shower with two inset shelves

Closeup of vanity area

 

Clean and serene master bath

The cool thing about this vanity is that the bottom toe kick is actually a secret drawer. Therefore, it has even more storage than you expect.

Clean and serene master bath

And those upper mirrored cabinets, well they cantilever up for easy access to even more storage.

Clean and serene master bath

My client, picked up this adorable teak stool that she uses in the shower, when needed.

Clean and serene master bath

How much nicer is it to get ready in this dream of a bath? If you need the answer to that question, give me a call and we can start working on your dream bath.

Lisa

 

How not to overpack on your next holiday

Do you need an intervention when it come to overpacking? I know I did! And over the years and through quite a few trips, I’ve read tons of articles and tips on how to pack properly.

When a trip was on the horizon, I would make a list. As I’ve always been a girl who loved a list. Then, after a few trips, to save some time, I made those lists into templates. And now, I use them every time, even for a weekend getaway. Just because, you know….I don’t want to forget anything.

Cancun mexico beach Packing inspiration above

First up, is my checklist of essential items to bring, of course, this will vary depending on the location (sunny, cold, wet) and the duration of the trip. But most of the items are a constant. I’ve even left room for you to add any other personal items you may want to bring.

Travel checklist template Then I use a weekly template to fill in the days I will be gone with room to add clothing for both day and evening, in case you will be changing for dinner/evening. I make sure to include shoes, outerwear and jewelry on this list. I find doing this day by day schedule really eliminates bringing a ton of extra clothes and shoes…HELLO…. as it gives you a visual of actually how many pieces/shoes you really need. Also, seeing the outfits listed out day by day helps you decide what pieces of jewelry and footwear you’ll need to bring and what can do double duty.

The list below the day by day template is for you to list the clothing/footwear pieces separately and then check off the items as you pack.

travel-day-by-day If you want to take it up a notch, you can assign each piece of clothing a number and see how many times you are wearing that particular item. And if you are only wearing it once, perhaps it shouldn’t make the final cut.

If you have any packing tips, I’d love to hear about them. I’m always looking for ways to streamline the packing process.

Lisa

The main accessory at IDS18

So what was the main accessory that you saw everywhere at IDS18?

It was plants, plants and more plants!  Take a look at just a few of them and get your gardening gloves out.

IDS18

Somehow, I missed the name of this booth, if you know it, please let me know and I’ll add it in.

Seedlip

The Seedlip booth had the most beautiful botanicals and they received lots of attention.

Seedlip

Mobilia’s booth was divided up into different rooms with different themes and it was a stunner. Here’s just a few pics from a couple of the rooms, with lots of green!

Mobilia

And how about these interesting globe lights on stands. Perfect to light up a dark corner.

Mobilia

A little nod back to the 70’s in this vignette, with those hanging plants and a shaggy throw pillow.

And my favourite booth, Benjamin Moore’s living space, had lots of greenery and an especially cute little clementine tree. Now I want one. I wonder how long it takes to actually get fruit that you can eat, assuming of course, it survives.

Benjamin Moore ids18

Homebody Collective had the cutest little cactuses and airplants displayed. The bottom containers are actually moulded from avocado skins.

Decimal

I couldn’t resist and came home with these two. They can be placed on their sides and used as a ring holder as well. I love a multi-purpose!

Homebody Collective

 

Lisa

Lighting at IDS18

Lighting is always a big feature at IDS and this year was no exception. Here’s a few of my favourites.

Biefbi Cucine

These gossamer cloud like pendants were so beautiful IRL, they just looked like they were floating up in the air. Here’s another look at them. The whole Biefbi Cucine booth was beautiful in fact, a dream kitchen!

Biefbi Cucine

From Cofo design, an original chandelier, again that was airy and cloud like. Cofo design

These are 3D printed lights from Decimal. So light and sculptural. Do you see the trend in all these lights,  all are inspired by clouds and light and airy. Not heavy at all and made of alternative materials.

Decimal

img_0146

Don’t forget your lighting, it can be your light source and your art all in one!

Lisa

Handmade at IDS18’s Studio North

The 70’s influence was definitely being revisited in the decor at IDS18. Handmade and bespoke items are still being showcased and Studio North is the perfect place to see what’s next in design.

Large scale knitted upholstery and macrame rugs, lights and art were the key features at these booths. These lights are totally familiar to me, as they are very similar to one I had myself as a teenager. Totally dating myself…..

ids18 Studio North ids18 Studio North

I missed the names of these booths, so if anyone knows, please message me and I’ll add the credit.

Atelier C.U.B.

Custom leather and wood stools and leather tent shaped lighting was featured at Atelier C.U.B.

Gypsy Potter Studio

Gypsy Potter Studio had beautifully patterned pottery on display. Would you believe horsehair is used to create most of the designs? It is placed on the pottery before firing and it is a surprise as to how the final product will look.

Dusil Design

Dusil Design had these stunning barn doors that have been embellished with metal sculpture. Amazing!

Locus VIE & Hidraulik

Locus VIE & Hidraulik showcased their beautiful floorcloths, which are made to look like concrete tiles. They also did placemats in these designs. So pretty and practical!

And of course there was this unbelievable rug from W Studio. I was there and it’s still hard for me to believe it was a rug.

W Studio

Lisa

 

 

IDS18 observations

I’m just back from Toronto’s Interior Design Show (IDS18) that was held last weekend. And I thought I’d share a few of my observations about the show over the next while.

For me, the Benjamin Moore booth totally summed up the show and what’s happening in decor at the moment. It had the pattern (in the tiled floor and the fireplace), the neutral and jewel tones (in the furnishings and artwork), and the greenery that was everywhere. And it was eclectic, the envelope of the room was traditional with the black and white checked floor and panelled wall treatment, the fireplace was mediterranean inspired and the furnishings were all mid-century modern.

Benjamin Moore ids18

Benjamin Moore ids18

Benjamin Moore ids18

Could you live in this space? I certainly could.

Lisa

 

Bathroom storage secrets

If you are thinking of a bathroom renovation and space is at a premium, this is an attractive vanity and coordinating mirror with a couple of storage secrets!

Bathroom storage vanity & mirror

Not one but two hidden storage areas!

Bathroom storage vanity & mirror

How clever is this! A secret drawer in the vanity, that looks like it is just the cabinet’s baseboard with a toe kick. Instead it hides a large storage drawer, perfect for a small bathroom or for someone like me with lots of extra items to store.

The mirror door also cantilevers upwards to offer even more storage, this is especially perfect if you don’t have room for a medicine cabinet door swing.

I used the double sink version of this vanity in a recent client bathroom renovation and they are loving the extra storage room. I’m hoping to be able to take some proper photos soon but here’s a little sneak peek of the space. A total refresh from their previous master bath.

Client bath reno - sneak peek

Lisa

Dresden, Germany

Happy New Year! I hope you had a great holiday break and are right back at it now.  I have no excuse, except laziness about not blogging, but I’m committed to getting back into it for 2018.

So, I’m going to finish up with my trip to Eastern Europe from the fall for my next few posts and then start back on giving you some lifestyle and design inspiration. I’m planning some rebranding and refocusing this year, so bear with me while things get cleaned and spruced up just in time for Spring.

After leaving Berlin and on our way to Prague, we were up early and stopped for a few hours in Dresden, Germany.  It has, of course, a castle, this one called Dresden Castle, but more amazing to me and most tourists, was this huge mural (done in porcelain tiles) of the Procession of Princes. It was first painted in 1871-1876 and then when it was deteriorating they redid it, in these porcelain tiles (1904-1907).

Dresden mural

Dresden castle

There is also a huge church, Frauenruche (Church of our Lady) and the beautiful Zwinger Palace and Fountain. Parts of the fountain were unfortunately under repair, but we did manage to see this portion and get an idea of how stunning it was.

Zwinger Palace dresden fountain

All is all, Germany and especially, Berlin enchanted me and I’d definitely return, in a heartbeat.

dresden streetscape

Lisa

A trip to Berlin, Germany

We just got back from an European trip and it was soooo wonderful. I love Europe, it’s history, it’s old, interesting buildings, streets and I would happily travel there every year.

We travelled via a bus tour, our first time and it was really great. No worrying about schedules (someone else did that for us), traffic, directions or parking. But we had alot of time on our own, which made us very happy.  All in all, it was a very stressless holiday.

The itinerary was Berlin, Prague, Vienna and Budapest. And with a few town/cities in between the major stops.

Today, I’m sharing Berlin, which was our first stop and where we stayed for 3 nights.

I wasn’t overly excited about visiting Berlin, but the closer it got, and the more I read about it, the more intrigued I got. I had just finished reading Ken Follett’s series on the WWII, in the summer, so that was a good history refresher for me.

We arrived after the loooonnng overnight flight and jumped on our bus to get to our hotel. We stayed on the Western side of Berlin and I loved our hotel.  Here’s a few pics from the lobby and our room. The bathroom was very funky with it’s overscaled art on the glass door.

H10 Berlin Ku'Damm       H10 Berlin Ku'Damm

H10 Berlin Ku'Damm    H10 Berlin Ku'Damm

On the way to the hotel, the history lessons started when we stopped at the Olympic Stadium where the 1936 Olympics were held.

Olympic Stadium Berlin

That night we met up with our fellow travellers for dinner and to get acquainted. The next morning we started off with a bus tour of the city for the morning. A great way to get your bearings in a new city and we saw the double row of bricks that designate where the Berlin Wall had stood.

Berlin wall

We also walked along the part of the wall that is still standing. It has been graffitied and beautified by art. The wall ran pretty much along the side of the Spree river, which divides the city in the two parts.

Berlin Wall Berlin wall

Not far from the remaining parts of the Wall is the Oberbaum Bridge which is an amazing red bricked double deck bridge that crosses the Spree (built in 1894).

Oberbaum bridge

We visited the Brandenburg Gate and saw Bellevue Palace (the residence of the German President) and also Berlin’s Konzerhaus (Concert hall) where a busker was blowing huge bubbles to the delight of many kids and adults.

Brandenburg gate

Berlin concert hall

Checkpoint Charlie was another stop and I have to recommend the museum at the checkpoint, it seemed a little small and gimmicky when we first went in, but it actually was huge, it just goes on and on, and we easily could have spent half a day there. So many stories on how German’s coped during the war and how some managed to escape East Berlin and some that didn’t.

Checkpoint charlie

We then visited the Holocaust Monument, (also known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe), it is a stark and cold place. The artist did not give any explanation for the monument so we are left to interpret it on our own. I think he meant us to feel stark, cold and alone. The long tunnels and maze like structure were built to allow us to feel what it is like to be caught in a maze and to keep trying to get free and into the light.

Holocaust Monument, Berlin Holocaust Monument, Berlin

Literally a block and a half away from this monument is the site of Hitler’s bunker, where he committed suicide. There is no building or even a plaque on this site, it is a parking lot. The only way you know it was there is there is a sign describing what had lain beneath the concrete.  It felt like, Germany has vowed to not let any of these sites become a memorial to him.

Hitler's bunker site

We also went down the huge boulevards that run throughout Berlin and saw typical communist apartment buildings, that were built during the 50’s – 80’s.

Berlin

Berlin

On a lighter note, we also visited Charlottenburg Palace, the German palace that was modelled on Versailles. If you’ve been to Versailles, you’ll see the similarities in these pictures. The grounds were also beautiful but at that point, our feet were done, so we didn’t do too much exploring of it.  I’m thinking I’ll do a full post on this palace at a later date as the flooring and chandeliers were Ah Mazing!

Charlottenburg palace

Charlottenburg Palace Charlottenburg Palace Charlottenburg palace

We also stopped into the sixth floor of the KaDeWe mall that is legendary in Europe for it’s amazing selection of any type of food and drink that you could desire. We of course, bought some amazing pastry to enjoy.

KaDeWe

KaDeWe

The Sony Centre is another cool sight in a city that doesn’t stop.

Sony centre

Did I mention that the bars in Berlin have no closing hours and also you can walk along the street with your beer or alcoholic drink of choice with no issues? It’s definitely a party city for the young and the young at hearts.

We also saw these crate sofas…. crate beds??? in at least two places in the city. (I’ve blurred out the faces as best I could).

crate sofas crate beds

Bears are everywhere, sort of a Germany’s mascot, they are often standing on their heads and are always painted in interesting colours and designs. Art and creativity are everywhere in Berlin.

thumbnail

There is also Museum Island, which comprises 5 different museums. We didn’t get to all five, but we did manage to get to the Pergamon which is one of the most famous ones. It houses classical antiquities, such as  archaeological treasures such as:

the Market Gate of Miletus, it has reconstructed from the ruins found in the Middle East.

Pergamon museum

And the Ishtar Gate of Babylon also reconstructed from ruins. Pergamon museum

The last day we were there we went on a boat cruise on the Spree river and it was a fabulous way to see the city. I took way, way too many pictures of the Berlin Cathedral as it was just so photogenic.

Reichstag from Spree river Boat cruise, Spree river

Boat cruise Berlin Cathedral

That night we also saw the Reichstag dome. This is the glass dome at the top of their Parliament building. After you get to the top by elevator, you read the history of their government, by circling around the centre column. Once that is done, you can walk up the long, twisting ramp to get to the outdoor viewing area and are treated to an amazing view of the city. It was pretty spectacular to do this at night.

Reichstag

Reichstag Reichstag

Reichstag

The blue seats you see below are their parliament seats.

We ate well in Berlin and enjoyed their very welcoming citizens. People were always quick to help and get us going in the right direction when we looked lost. We enjoyed a couple of hours lounging in this very casual and cool bar, right on the side of the Spree river, near the Island Museums, where we were serenaded by talented musicians. I could have happily stayed there for another few hours.

bar on the banks of the Spree river

And one last beautiful photo of the Cathedral.

Berlin Cathedral

Berlin surprised me with it’s beauty, creativity and history and I’d definitely go back in a heartbeat. So if you get the chance to visit, go.

Lisa