Monday, February 13, 2017

#TOLIGHTFEST ~ Valentine's Day Special

Hello Valentine's Day and have I got the perfect suggestion for you to spend a romantic evening with your other half surrounded by magical light sculptures, interactive installations, and delicious warm-hearted hot coco or mulled wine.

First of its kind in Toronto, the Toronto Light Festival is a new visual journey featuring imaginative light art by local and international artists with one common goal: to inspire us and to treat ourselves with something special to enjoy our city, even during the cold winter months.  Bright idea right?

image courtesy of Toronto Light Festival
From January 27th to March 12th, the Distillery is illuminated by captivating light creations including a series of angel wings, 3D neon wraps in the sky, a cozy spot for two for selfie, and interactive installations designed to enlighten your spirit.

Thanks Hollie for the great picture! 

Best of all, you can also warm up at the Cluny Bistro and pamper yourself with some delicious treats and savor a romantic moment in its beautiful surroundings.  If you haven't been to Cluny Bistro, you should make your reservation now!

images courtesy of Cluny Bistro

In case you are still not convinced yet, here are a couple of fun videos captured from my evening at #TOLIGHTFEST.  What FUN!  I might not have joined them on the dance floor, but I sure did ride a horse! 

Monday, February 6, 2017

#HDBlogSquad ~ Bathroom Makeover (The Reveal)

Hello Monday! It is reveal day and I couldn't be happier to see the transformed bathroom.  It was a lot of work to get from the Before to this stylish and serene bathroom in front of our eyes, and I can honestly say all the planning, sourcing, late night shopping, and weekend overtime are so worth it!  From where I stand today, I would say the bathroom is not recognizable and I even got a "WOW" from Chris!

Of course I couldn't have done it without a lot of help from The Home Depot.  From using kitchen cabinets to create our custom vanity, mixing in-stock materials for an intricate tile pattern, to tips on using a framed art as the door of the medicine cabinet, I owe all these special touches to the knowledgeable experts at The Home Depot.

Are you ready to see my calm, luxurious spa-inspired retreat? I bet you do!

We didn't change the layout of the bathroom.  To be honest, why making structural changes when the existing layout is efficient? Trust me, the decision to keep the plumbing as-is saved us lots of time and money at the renovation.  However, from top to bottom this bathroom was gutted and no surfaces were untouched.  Let's start with the vanity.

I love, love, LOVE this vanity!  Its classic shaker style doors echo the age of the home, and its timeless appeal complements the overall contemporary aesthetic beautifully.  By using one 30" cabinet and two 12" cabinets, I was able to create a 54" vanity of perfect dimension and it offers tons of practical storage.  I am so excited to show you the storage capacity:

From bathroom essentials such as toilet papers and fluffy bath towels to relaxing bath salts and sensual aromas, we have them all neatly organized behind closed doors. Now one thing I highly recommended is to install a shelf under the sink for extra storage.  It was such an easy job to trace the outline of the plumbing on the board and a few minutes later, the shelf is installed and we wouldn't have been able to achieve such organized storage without the top shelf.

Don't you love the elegant base of my vanity?

I was determined to get a furniture-like vanity and that means no standard apron base.  My contractor did an amazing job to turn my sketch into a reality and now I know this base is solidly built, and it will support the weight of the vanity and the countertop.

Speaking about countertop, shall we take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the Dryden two-handle widespread faucet?  It is so elegant and graceful, and I couldn't have sourced a more perfect faucet for this bathroom.

To keep the bathroom feeling timeless yet current, I have paired our classic faucet with a simple round mirror and a pair of Art Deco inspired sconces.  With seaside artwork on the walls, this bathroom now feels like a spa at a sun kissed destination.

Before we turn around to check out the bathtub, we should check out my medicine cabinet.  Once a basic in-wall storage solution, now it's an art that surprises everyone.  I am so happy of how well this DIY project turned out and I encourage you all to try it at home!

Did you have a little peak of the shower reflected in the mirror?  Well here is my brand new shower / tub central.

Whether you are in the mood for a relaxing aroma bath or a quick shower to kick-start your day, the Dryden shower system and the deep soaking tub have you covered.

The classic white ceramic tiles installed in a grid pattern keeps the shower feeling current, while the mosaic accent bands add just the right amount of embellishment to the crisp white wall.

Another tip for those of you who are dreaming a bathroom reno: look into possibility to incorporate a little nook inside the shower to hold your shampoo and soap.  We literally framed a space between the studs and I have installed the mosaic tiles inside the nook to make it that much more special.  Now there is a practical and stylish spot to put your bathroom products (without having them sitting on a shelf or around the tub).

One of my most exciting update in this bathroom renovation is to remove that bulkhead.  I still don't understand why it was built that way to begin with but what a significant difference it makes! The shower is now so much brighter and we can take the shower curtain almost all the way to the ceiling to make the bathroom seems that much taller. 

Oh the floor ... let's take a moment to celebrate this work of art if I may say so myself!

With a mix of mosaics, large-scale ceramic tiles, marble bands, and tile metal trims, I have created a highly custom designer look that is relatively easy to install and won't break the bank!  The creamy ivory tiles add warmth to this crisp, white, modern bathroom, while the grey from the Carrara marble bands add sophistication and up the luxe appeal.  

The best thing about using the mosaic tiles as the boarder?  It is so forgiving to uneven walls!      

I am thrilled to have found a tile cover that mimics the mosaic tiles exactly and its brushed metal finish is the perfect match to the accent metal trim we installed between the mosaic tiles and the ceramic tiles.  It is a small detail but what a difference! 

Last but not least, accessories make the room and in the case of the bathroom, I paid my attention to towel bar, toilet paper holder, and artwork.

The Arzo towel bar and toilet paper holder have a mid-century modern aesthetic and that's the perfect ingredient to finish up my contemporary, Art Deco inspired bathroom.

I hope you all love the new bathroom as much as I do!  Thanks so much again for all the help and expert advice from The Home Depot to make this dream bathroom comes true.  What are you planning to renovation in 2017? I would love to hear all about it!  

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Home Depot Canada. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words.


Monday, January 30, 2017

#HDBlogSquad ~ Bathroom Makeover (The Progress + DIY)

Hello Monday! Welcome back to round two of my bathroom makeover, transforming a practical, yet ho-hum bathroom into a timeless, tranquil space to enjoy for years to come (especially during the winter months!).  I walked you through the Before, my To-Do list, and my must-have items from The Home Depot for the transformation a couple of weeks ago, and now we are ready to check out the progress!

Here is a quick refresh of the Before:

And here is the beautiful blank slate after demolition:

My awesome contractor did an amazing job preparing the walls and levelling the floor to ensure the room is ready for its new look.  That means I have to get all my key components (tub, vanity, faucet, tiles) on site FAST to keep the project moving. 

And that's why I love shopping at The Home Depot: all my major components are in-stock in store or online!  If you are nervous about ordering your items online, The Home Depot has made online purchasing so simple and consumer-friendly that you can either pick up your order in a store nears you or simply have it delivered to you.  Check out our fantastic progress:

One thing I enjoy the most in renovation is to incorporate DIY elements and custom touches to make the space that much more special.  In this bathroom makeover, I will share with you three of my favourite design tricks to make fabulous in-stock products shine like showstoppers.

1.  "Custom" Vanity

There are many vanities available at The Home Depot, and yes I would have picked up this elegant one in a heartbeat, especially with the unbeatable price.  However, I have a specific dimension in mind (54" wide and 22" deep to be exact) and it's hard to find one that fits the bill.  A fully custom vanity is not in the cards as it generally has a long lead time PLUS a hefty price tag.  So here is my compromise: a semi-custom vanity with kitchen cabinets.

Armed with my measurement and specifications, I headed to the kitchen department at The Home Depot.  The super knowledgeable kitchen designer showed me various options in terms of design and price point that fit my requirement and in a few short minutes, my dream vanity from Fabritec was printed on paper!

Standard base kitchen cabinetry generally comes with short black feet and an apron that covers them.  I knew from Day 1 that I want this vanity to look like a piece of furniture, which means my vanity will have elegant exposed feet! So I opted out of the standard apron in my order (to save a few extra bucks) and after a couple of chats with my contractor, a base is custom built with lumber from The Home Depot and painted a fresh coat of dreamy white! 

2.  Incorporate Arts

I don't know anyone who doesn't love a medicine cabinet in the bathroom (I am still dreaming one in  my own condo) and instead of the typical mirrored door, why not use a piece of framed art as your "door"?  Here is my step-by-step guide for you to try at home:

Step 1: measure the existing wall opening and frame your art accordingly

Make sure the framed art is a few inches wider and taller than the wall opening to ensure you are well covered.  In my case, the wall opening is 12" wide and 24" tall, and my framed art is 16" wide and 28" tall.  Also select a frame profile you that is wide enough to cover a hinge on its back side. 

Step 2: determine what you need to hang the "door"
Depending on the size and the weight of the art, you will want to make sure your wall can support the weight and select the appropriate hinge for the task, especially when you are going to be opening and closing it as door.  With that in mind, I have made sure my art is light on weight (so the hinges I need to use is smaller in size) and that my contractor has put in a solid frame ready to support the door when preparing the "hole" for my medicine cabinet. 

Step 3: measure twice and drill once

I don't know about you but I tend to make a few holes on the walls before my art is hung right.  Well that won't work in this case as I really only have one shot to install the hinges on the art frame.  For that, I enlisted my beloved German engineer for a simple task from 1 to 4.

3.  Designer Floor

Ceramic and marble tiles are the typical go to options for bathroom floor.  Marble mosaics have come a long way for a high-end designer look.  As you all know, "designer look" generally equals to "designer price" and today, I am showing you how to "customize" readily available tiles at The Home Depot for a stunning floor pattern at fractions of a custom designer floor.

Pattern-mix is what I love most in the design process and I am determined to add wow factor to my serene bathroom with a truly unique tile pattern.  Here is my game plan incorporating ceramic tiles (12"x 24"), glass and stone mosaics, marble shower jambs, and metal trims:

Key notes if you are tackling this project at home:
  • Make sure the floor is level: some tiles are more forgiving than others with uneven floor and since we are mixing tiles, make sure you get the OK from your tile guy  
  • Sketch out the pattern on paper with reference to exact measurement: so you can visualize exactly how the floor will look like and determine the material requirement to avoid wastage 
  • Double check all your tiles share the same thickness: we all want a smooth floor to walk on I assume?
Are you excited to see the final reveal? Come back next Monday to check out my tranquil, sumptuous, spa-inspired retreat!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Home Depot Canada. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words.