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.


Changes, compromises and cabinets

Well, as I mentioned last week, we are plowing ahead with our cottage kitchen makeover.  Here’s how it’s looking these days.

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Part of keeping on budget, was the plan to reuse the solid cherry fronts of the cabinetry by painting them out. But sadly, after talking to two separate painting companies, it was a no go.  The cabinet fronts have a stained finish and don’t look too bad from a distance for 23 years old. But up close, well that was a different story, where they have been well handled, the finish is sticky and you can actually scrape it off with a fingernail.  Also, there was a constant white dust that accumulates on both the fronts and backs of the doors.  I would wipe them clean and two weeks later it was all back again.  Both painting companies didn’t feel comfortable trying to remove the finish and guaranteeing a new painted finish on them. Both tried various methods of sanding and paint finishes but they ended up a mess.

So the only option was to go for entirely new cabinet fronts, a shame really but I can’t say I was completely surprised, as I had wondered if the badly deteriorating finish was going to be a problem.

So onwards and upwards.

Earlier this week I met with the carpenter and he was looking skeptically at the drawer interior hardware and how the drawers sagged downwards when they were opened.  So, the next decision was made, to replace all the lower boxes, so that I could have new stronger drawer hardware and soft close drawers. Deep breath…..

Oh yes, and since we are going with new cabinet fronts, I may as well change the stainless steel fronted dishwasher I originally order with a panel ready one. I’ve always wanted one and what’s a few more dollars….sigh…..

Well, with my budget feeling very pinched, I went to Homesense to check out their stools and lucked in with getting two of these lovelies.  Then the next day, I went across town to see if I could score another one and lucky, lucky me, they had one.  Minus a few screws in the seat but that meant I got it at a steal and it’s an easy fix.


So since that was a great way to save some bucks, I decided to keep going. Instead of having the live edge shelves custom made we decided to take them on ourselves.  After a couple of visits to WoodSource in Manotick, I chose two live edge maple slabs (here’s one close up).


They will need to be cut to size and then lightly sanded and then I’ll give them a few coats of polyurethane to protect them.

Yay, for some budget saving this week.  We are waiting on the electrician to start some re-wiring this week, hopefully…fingers crossed.  Once that’s done, we will replace the drywall and then we will be waiting  for the cabinet boxes to be installed.



Industrial farmhouse kitchen reno update

So, I finally have some time to get you guys updated on the cottage kitchen renovation.  Hubby and I went away for a couple of weeks to Barcelona, Spain for our 30th anniversary, so I did have a good excuse.  It was FABULOUS, by the way….what a great city!  But more on that, in another post.

Back to the kitchen reno. When last I left you guys, I had shown you a mood board showing some items that would give you the feel of the kitchen I was going for.  And here it is again.  (If you want to see the before pictures take a look here.)


So here’s my design plans for the space.


We wanted to largely keep the footprint intact, with some minor changes here and there. Mostly because logs homes, don’t make it easy to move walls, electrical or even plumbing, but also because we have a fairly strict budget.  And with the island being part rock, well, that wasn’t getting moved either.  But, as per usual, things change when you are renovating and this space has been no exception, more on that later.

Let’s talk islands first:


The island will have be one flat surface counter as opposed to the lower edge that it has now. That way we can actually use it for stool seating. As it is now, it’s far too low for anyone to sit there.

All the perimeter cabinets will be painted Benjamin Moore’s New Hope Grey.  A beautiful blue/gray that I’m so excited to use.


Benjamin Moore’s New Hope Gray 2130-50

Hubby requested that the island be a contrasting colour and black, was the no-brainer choice. It will coordinate nicely with the black chalkboard wall, the existing knobs & cup handles (which I’m hoping to reuse) and the new light fixtures and faucet which are also in dark finishes.


Benjamin Moore’s Almost Black 2130-30

I will be reconfiguring some of the island cabinetry. Two wine racks will be moved from the left side of the island end to live beside the two on the right side of the island.  They should fit nicely side by side and that way I can square off the island, as I’m really not keen on the angled island ends.  A wine fridge is also being added to the island so the cabinetry will have to be adjusted for that as well.


The upper cabinets have all been removed and will be replaced with two live edge wood shelves.  That was a hard sell with hubby, but I persisted and I’m thrilled with how open the kitchen already looks without any upper cabinets.

I decided on a matte white, large scale subway tile with a handmade feel to it.  It is shown below, except the ones I’m using are actually a little wider, but the same length.  I’ve chosen a soft grey grout as well, since I don’t want to deal with having to clean white grout…phbttt….


There is a lower part of the counter (due to two lower windows) at the end of the cabinet run. It turned the corner and ended with a never used desk. I have to admit it had me stumped for a long time, I originally wanted to do a window seat with storage but after going back and forth with designs, I just couldn’t commit.  Hubby wasn’t thrilled with this idea, as he felt that since we were having stools at the counter, we didn’t need a second seating area in the kitchen, especially because right outside the kitchen is a large window seat and a huge dining table with 12 chairs.  I agreed that it was probably seating overkill, so I ditched that idea and decided on making the area feel a bit more like a free standing buffet.  This way I would still have lots of storage and I could get rid of the useless desk at the end of the run and also have a nice little open area to feed the cats.  I’m going with open shelves between two closed cupboards so I have a little display area that will feel a little different than the run of drawers right beside it.


The upper microwave cabinet with be replaced with one that is shallower and slightly wider.  I am still going back and forth as to whether I want it to be an appliance garage but I will hold out judgement on that, until I talk it out with my carpenter.

So there you have it, the kitchen plans and I’ll update you next week, on how they have changed.  Stay tuned as I’ll be posting in the next few weeks, about the lighting (one of my favourite parts of any reno), the appliances and the fixtures.





Rustic/industrial/farmhouse kitchen makeover

I am super excited to say that we are going ahead with our rustic/industrial/farmhouse cottage kitchen update this fall…wow that was a mouthful. I’ve been such a busy bee getting all the items chosen, sourced and ordered that I haven’t even had any time to blog!

It’s so exciting! I’ve been dreaming of redoing this kitchen ever since I saw it.  This is how it looked when we originally purchased the home. (This is the realtor photo)


And how the kitchen looks now:

DSC_0194So you can see that I painted the side panel in blackboard paint (which I love and I’m leaving as is). I added the hanging pendants, due entirely to my hubby’s cleverness.  The white knobs were exchanged for the black square knobs and cup handles.  And the wood shutters were removed from the windows, they banged into the cupboards and generally, just drove me crazy.

Now, we will be doing a much bigger change to the kitchen, but it is still not a total gut.  We are leaving the footprint the same, since it’s a log home, any floor plan or lighting changes are a challenge.  I’m okay with the layout, so I’m just doing some fine tuning.  But, can I tell you how happy I am to be finally rid of those white track lights, they are definitely on their way out! More on the layout and all the details in another post.

But I will leave you with the kitchen’s mood board.  As you can see it has a rustic/industrial/farm house aesthetic together with some blue, of course!



Stay tuned for progress reports!


How to add the magical details to a space

Do you ever get right to the end of a makeover or renovation of a space and find that there is just something missing?

Well, I can pretty much be certain that you are just missing a few little details, to get the room of your dreams.

Want to learn more? Click here to read my Wicker Emporium post.

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Kips Bay Show House 2015

The last day of my NYC trip was spent exploring the Kips Bay Show House for the Boys and Girls Club. And what a beauty it is!

Here’s just a few pics of the gorgeousness!

Starting at the Foyer (done by Drake Design Associates) I fell in love with these light fixtures that looked like clouds against the stunning polished sky blue ceiling.


And who could forget that staircase! (Done by Ronald J. Bricke)


THIS FLOOR! (Done by Peter J. Sinnott IV – Home Works)



And yet another gorgeous bathroom. (Done by Clive Christian Interiors)  The wall covering was absolutely luminous!

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And yes, an exterior bath set up high! (Done by Greener by Design)



A masculine and sexy bar tucked in a small corner. (Done by Alan Tanksley, Inc.)


I was really taken with this bedroom. I am loving the tartan fabric on the walls.  (David Pheonix, Inc.)


And last but definitely not least…the kitchen! (Done by Christopher Peacock)

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And a little garden retreat on the main floor. (Done by Janice Parker Landscape Architects)


So that’s the end of my little tour.  Which room is your favourite? I have to say the bathrooms were outstanding! So hard to pick my favourite.

I have tried to be accurate with my design credits, but if I’ve made a mistake, please let me know and I’ll correct it asap!


A motion sensing dream via Adorne Sensaswitch

I have been meaning to post about one of the Adorne SensaSwitch that I had installed in the winter at my cottage, for so, so, so, long now, as it is SUCH a pleasure to have it.  But life just got in the way, but finally I’ve gotten around to it.

Just take a peek at this little marvel at the end of a long, with very minimal natural light hallway.  It’s the perfect switch for this spot! And it looks beautiful, to boot!


Here’s a look at the before, below.


Here’s how it’s described on Adorne’s website:

“The Auto-ON/Auto-OFF SensaSwitch includes motion-sensing technology, automatically turning lights on when you enter a room and off when you leave. Perfect for garages and pantries.”

It may not seem like a big thing, but let me tell you, when your “very well used cottage”, has a main floor powder room that is located around the corner, down a dark corridor, having a motion operated light switch is a God send.  No more, having to accompany guests to show them where the powder room is or where the light switches are for the hall.

Just like a little mini miracle, every time, as soon as someone is near the beginning of the corridor, the light at the end of the hall switches on.  So now I just say, follow the light, the bathroom is the first door on the right.

Obviously, I choose the white switch and matched it with the Mirror white plate.  I wanted it to blend in seamlessly and just look how great it does that.


IMG_8672Function and beauty! How could you go wrong?

To check out my previous update with Adorne switches, click here.



ICFF 2015 Inspiration

Well, I’m still recovering, after a whirlwind long weekend in NYC.  But, the TBBs and I certainly had a blast.

We spent Sunday at ICFF and here’s some highlights from that visit. Tons of inspiration to be found.  I especially noticed all the woven pieces of furniture this year.  70’s here we go again!

There was still tons of gorgeous wood around, on walls, floors and furniture.




Walking on Wood



Immersion Design

This amazingly creative design murphy style bunk bed/desk combo was so well thought and executed.  Just so you know, that desk area pulls down to reveal a double bed and the desk area also pulls out to reveal hidden storage and electrical outlets (which you can see a bit of on the left).  Just lovely!

Fabulously detailed sinks and tubs.







The insert on the farmhouse style sink above is inter changeable, brilliant!

And of course, there were tiles!



Country Floors

I’m seriously lusting after these hand painted beauties above, for my cottage backsplash……pitter…patter.



Some beautiful and interesting pieces of furniture.


Umbra Shift

These may be seen soon at a TBBs’ home near you!

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Loop de Loop

These woven chairs were soooooo comfy!

And of course, how I couldn’t leave out the lighting.

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Daniel Latorre Cruz


Ridgely Studio Works


Brendan Ravenhill


Loved these whimsical book lights below…for when books fly!


Ali Siavoski (

There was tons more of course, but this gives you an idea of what was there.

Next up, the Kips Bay Show Home – 2015.

PS. I thought I had gotten all the sources, but it appears I’ve missed some. If you know them, I’ll be happy to correct the ones I’ve missed.


Rustic and soft beachy bedroom

Today’s post is how to get a rustic yet soft beachy bedroom.  But first, I must apologize for that large blogging break! I was away in sunny California – San Francisco and Yosemite to be exact. What a beautiful place California is and we enjoyed it so much.

And now I’m back and a little swamped with all the spring fever that is going around over here.  I’m knee deep in lots of designs and plans.  And I had just enough time to do up a post for Wicker Emporium a few weeks ago (when the weather was still cool and pretty miserable here).  So if you are itching to freshen up your bedroom decor for summer, look no further.

soft rustic beach bedroom-001 And if you are looking for the links to the items above, they are below.

From top left:
Metal sand dollars; pillows;  New Haven Queen bed; artwork; glass lamp; drapery; dresser; area rug; cabinet

Have a great sunny week!




A new welcoming

So now that Spring has finally sprung here in Ontario, it’s all about updating and freshening up.  This past week I was helping a client do just that by giving her entry a new feel.

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Some fresh graphic wallpaper is the key piece and it will help make a grand statement to all who arrive.  The new dark hardwood floor and dark mirror will ground the space and complement the soft grey walls.  A hint of silvery metal in the pendant, tray, coat rack and hardware will give a little sparkle.  Texture comes in from the paper, baskets, and mens-wear grey inspired fabric on the ottoman. A classic console and an octagon shaped mirror make a great match and the blue vase and flowers are a little finishing touch to pull in the blues in an adjoining room.

I can’t wait to see it completed!