Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kitchen Island Inspirations w/ Sarah Richardson

Hello Tuesday! If you are following me on Instagram, you might have noticed I had a fantastic time with the Home Depot Blog Squad team (#HDBLOGSQUAD) at Terroni brain storming ideas on colors, kitchen, bathroom, and flooring.  What an inspiration group and I can't wait to work with the team on project in the upcoming year!

One of the topics we talked about was kitchen design.  From latest kitchen gadgets to timeless cabinet styles and colors, I am now ready to tackle the kitchen of my dreams ... on paper at least.  I know I am way early to start planning (since this kitchen of mine won't be built for another 3 years), but being proactive in ironing out a game plan at such early stage means the builder and the architect actually gave me the go ahead to alter their original kitchen layout (limited counter space + a dining zone) to an efficient / entertainment central hub.

So my plan is to pack the sink, dishwasher,microwave, and casual dining right all at the island.  Given the location of the island, it will likely be the first thing you will see as you walk toward the living space.  So it has to look airy and not a big visual block, meaning I want a mega-functional without being a giant in my open concept space.

So I have turned to Sarah for kitchen island inspirations, and that's what I want to share with you today.

Case Study no. 1: Country Living

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Compact in square footage but big on style and function, this kitchen at Sarah's country home is on top of my list.  I love all the extra storage built-in by the breakfast bar and how the extended storage on the left supported the marble overhang without the extra supporting brackets.

Another goal I try to achieve in my kitchen layout is to avoid seeing the fridge.  Sarah has tucked the counter-depth fridge on the side wall and has effectively made it "disappeared".  One thing to keep in mind here is that I will need to factor in clearance for the fridge doors/ drawers + traffic flow. 

The microwave is stored on the side wall as well ... definitely worth considering if I need to up my dining capacity at the island.   

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Case Study no. 2: Timeless Classics

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Similar design concept for the island but this kitchen layout will get me a larger island since I no longer need to consider clearance for the fridge.     

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Case Study no. 3: Fresh Country Kitchen 

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Of course I love the barnboard detail on the island (my inspiration for #ProjectChris) and the kitchen layout is pretty much what I have envisioned for my dream kitchen.  Casual dining capacity for this island configure is 2, because Sarah has put another dining area right next to kitchen.  I don't have the square footage to destinate a separate dining zone, so maximizing seating capacity is key for me. 

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Case Study no. 4: Raise the Bar 

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Country or city, these two islands both maximize on storage, offer seating for three, and come with multi-level surfaces for visual interest and to hide chaos in the kitchen.  This elevated serving counter concept is the one thing Chris has asked for to prevent splash issue specially now that I have proposed to move the sink to the island.       

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
I have also been thinking about how to create the elevated section without having the side profile looking like a "big block".  In this all time favourite kitchen of mine (Sarah's House 1), Sarah used two tall and narrow cabinets as her building blocks.  

Side note: love the glass doors and the open display shelves.

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Another brilliant kitchen with a raised breakfast bar.  I love the walnut accent, the backsplash, and hello bar stools!! 

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Now I maybe onto something: how about unique metal legs for support?  Perhaps a vintage piece on the left to keep the space looking airy while doing the tall, narrow cabinet on the right for storage.  Possible seating for 3 + storage, now this may just be it! 

I am also considering adding a little wine or cook book corner next to the fridge.  It doesn't take up a lot of space but probably reduce the risk that fridge door hitting the wall when Chris swings it wide open.  (I know … don't even ask me why is that a concern.

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Thanks Sarah for sharing with us many of your expertly designed and beautifully decorated spaces on TV and on Sarah Richardson Design.  Now if you want to learn more from Sarah and to have a go-to source right at home, you have got to pick up a copy of your Sarah Style!  It is available for pre-order now! Don't miss out!

image via Sarah Richardson Design

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Brilliant Inspirations @ House Beautiful

Hello Thursday! Hope you all had a fantastic long weekend!  Yours truly didn't have turkey + gravy or beer at Oktoberfest, but the smoked meat I had was simply delicious and I had a relaxing time hanging out with friends.

We also stopped by the presentation centre to finalize our paperwork for #ProjectPreDevelopment (not sure if I am crazy about the name yet … oh well, I have 3 years to dream up a new one before the place is ready for decorating!), and that got me researching for some ideas for the project.  Clipping the magazines on Monday had me inspired by three beautifully designed spaces featured in House Beautiful … and that's what I want to share with you today!

The first home is by Steven Gambrel and really, how could I not love it? The spaces are bold in colours, punctuated with dynamite patterns, and luxurious through and through.  From foyer (floor), powder room (walls), to the study (ceiling), I simply can't get enough of Steven's ingenious injections of patterns!  

image via House Beautiful
The guest bedroom in #ProjectPreDevelopment is truly a space to satisfy my wildest dreams (or at least that's what Chris says now).  High gloss lacquer walls, built-in bookcases around a sofa (probably need to double as bed) + sconces, super sexy desk & chair for an office setup, and a killer fireplace … just a few things I want to incorporate in this second bedroom.

image via House Beautiful
I did say I am dreaming big for this room right? Here is a fantastic closeup shot as my inspiration.

image via House Beautiful
Now another area I started brainstorming is the foyer and hallway.  I am dreaming grasscloth wallpaper, dramatic lighting fixture, and a mirror that says "look at me!".  This elegant yet gutsy first impression is designed by Lilly Bunn.

image via House Beautiful
Seems like dramatic, glossy wall treatment is calling my name at the moment.  Solid natural backdrops enlivened by bright poppy red, now that is a timeless approach to beautiful design that can stand the test of time.  

image via House Beautiful
The beauty of symmetry: what is not to love especially with a pair of gorgeous white lamps, brass side tables with deco charm, and faux bamboo chairs for some chinoiserie fun?

image via House Beautiful
From sumptuous glossy hues to bright serene white, this casual elegant space by T. Keller Donovan led me to dreaming a Miami inspired outdoor oasis.  Not exactly how I am going to pull this off yet but lush green + darling coral pairing with crisp white may well be the palette!

image via House Beautiful
Here are a few more detail shots of the space.

image via House Beautiful
And what I love the most in this home are the pagoda chandelier and that Chippendale style mirror!  I already have a mirror and a pagoda style chandelier, now I just need to dream about where to put them! 

image via House Beautiful
So what do you think of my inspirations? Any elements you would use in your own home?

Before I sign off, we also have our winner for the HomeSense giveaway!!  The computer has once again done its magic and our winner is Pat!! Congrats Pat and please email me your contact info!

Happy Thursday friends! xoxo

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Big Renovation w/ Genevieve Gorder

Hello Thursday! How is your week? Yours truly have been busy cooking up a kitchen plan for the next #ProjectChris as I need to finalize some details with the builder this weekend.  This kitchen at Deb's home offers me details and layout inspirations.

Speaking about inspiration, I have always loved the warm, cozy, and elegant spaces designed by Genevieve Gorder.  I first met Genevieve when she was one of the designers of Trading Spaces.  Genevieve paid attention to the wish lists and despite the tight timeline (2 days) and a very limited budget ($1,000),  she created many beautiful and heart-warming transformations that brought happy tears to the homeowners.

Fast forward a few years and I loved Genevieve's show, Dear Genevieve, on HGTV.  The transformations were dramatic and I specifically loved the episode where Genevieve made over the tiny apartment shared by her two assistants.  Such an eye opener on how to incorporate stylish and practical storage with precious square footage in NYC.

The latest show added to Genevieve's portfolio is the renovation / expansion of her own home, Genevieve's Renovation.  Thanks to HGTV and HGTV magazine, today we are taking a tour of this fresh, sophisticated, and eclectic home.

image via HGTV 
Our first stop is the dining room, which is also connected to the kitchen + the staircase to the second floor.  Formerly a dining/living room, the space is now solely designated for dinner party and entertaining.  The stately herringbone floor works beautifully with the creamy white walls, the black framed windows, the stone fireplace, and the amazing built-ins.  With all these characters and charms, I felt like I was in a super chic apartment in Paris!

image via HGTV 
A couple of key elements for my next project: unique lighting fixtures and dynamite bookcases.  Love how Genevieve painted the back of the bookcases black to accentuate her colourful book collection and  decorative accessories.  A library ladder … I want that too!

image via HGTV 
This gourmet kitchen features streamlined, contemporary cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling to make use of every square inch as storage space.  The stone counter and backslash, the sexy matte black faucets and range hood, the trio of pendants over the island, the textile interest (and the pop of colours) from the recycled woven saris, and the black & gold ladder system … just to name a few of my favourites in this chef-envy kitchen.

image via HGTV 
Also on the main floor is this gorgeous guest bathroom with the incredible Morocco inspired tiles, plus brass shower system, vanity, and accessories.  The vintage door and handle work seamlessly with the old-world charm aesthetic in this bathroom.  It is such a departure from the bright, modern dining room and kitchen, but what fun!!  

image via HGTV 
The bedrooms are on the second floor, and here is Bebelle's super adorable bedroom completed with a swing! 

image via HGTV 
Painted pale pink + a playful wallpaper as special feature, this bedroom is anything but a room to sleep for a 6-year old. The pair of white book cases are practical solutions to keep the "toy situation" under control, and they look custom thanks to the updated hardware and canvas bins.  The brass and glass chandelier looks like the Northern Star, while a family heirloom is painted black to punctuate and anchor the space.  The peacock was picked out by Bebelle herself and Genevieve tied room together with a couple more peacock blue pieces such as the pouf and the chair.

image via HGTV 
Ready to check out Genevieve's private retreat? It was a lot of work but definitely worths it.  Just check out the amazing doorway leading to the master bedroom!

image via HGTV 
Genevieve's bedroom is calm, soothing, and every piece of furniture here has a history or story.  The bedside tables were her great grandmothers' sewing tables, and the bed was constructed with vintage wood fences and columns.  A pair of wall sconces provide lighting and free up valuable tabletop space.

image via HGTV 
One of the bedrooms was converted into Genevieve's office and isn't that table to die for? I am sure Chris will want that in his office.  As for my favourite elements in this room: the floor tiles laid in a chevron pattern and the brass sconces! 

image via HGTV 
I have saved the living room for the last as its colorway is such a drastic contrast to the rest of the home and what a bold, dramatic statement!  The black walls make the space feels cozy and inviting.  Genevieve balanced the black with light colored pieces such as the sofa and the area rug.  The brass accent and the moroccan tables in nature wood add warmth to the living room, and don't you just love the chevron drapery panels and the zebra above the antique cabinet?      

image via HGTV 
Thanks Genevieve for sharing your cozy home with us! I can't wait to follow along on your next project!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ideas at #ProjectChris + New Finds!

Hello Tuesday! It is bright and sunny outside, which makes it very difficult for me to stay indoor for a whole day meeting today (why can't the weather be nicer on the weekends right?).  Fingers crossed the long weekend will be a nice one and I will try to wrap up a few things at #ProjectChris as well.

Speaking about #ProjectChris, I have been wondering about what I can do to add some drama in the bathroom.  The picture on the left is our serene spa inspired bathroom.  I WANTED wallpaper (see my thoughts here) but Chris said NO!! So I have been checking out Urban Walls for some other "non-permanent" options.  An inspiration came to me on the weekend with the purchase of this dynamite fabric which I am dreaming as shower curtain (works beautifully with the sconces don't you think?), and the discovery of the ginkgo leaf by Michael Aram.  Maybe custom wall decals with Danielle is in the cards!

Speaking about couple differences with their likes and dislikes, here is a classic illustration of "my likes" and "his likes" via our bedside tables.  A home decor addict vs practical engineer, which side do you like better?  

I've also found a few fabulous items at HomeSense this weekend.  That metal mirror is amazing in scale and that intricate basket weave detail just looks divine with an industrial vibe.  I am trying hard to find a place for it. 
Other items a little easier to incorporate in my own home include this handsome ram in matte white and a little black book of Marilyn & Me.

Have a fab Tuesday friends! xoxo

Thursday, October 2, 2014

2014 Fall / Winter Preview ~ HomeSense Edition (PART ll)

Hello Thursday! Did you enjoy the three different looks in Part I of my HomeSense Fall / Winter Preview?  The Homesense team has outdone themselves by inspiring us with five distinct spaces filled with stylish accessories and luxurious furnishings from around the globe.  Today, I am sharing with you my absolute favourite look from the preview + a gift guide for this holiday season.

I am calling this look "Luxe Sophistication".  The monochromatic palette of charcoal grey and matte black creates depth and gives the space its dimension.  The panel moulding adds charm + character to a blank canvas (I may need to do that at the next condo ... if Chris will let me) and the eclectic mix of decorative accessories and signature styles had me at hello!

Here is a sleek, modern corner outfitted with a statement leather sofa with a mid-century modern flair (check out the nailhead and tufting details), a mirrored side table that screams art deco, and a larger than life floral for a dramatic conversation piece.

A few showstopping pieces from this vignette: black hand blown glass table lamp, antler inspired stand in antique silver, and the silver + horn pitcher doubling as a vase for the silky faux peonies.

To complete this sexy bachelor pad in Manhattan (I could totally live here by the way), the team has created an ultimate entertaining zone including elements such as:

  • an industrial twist to a classic deco design bar cart with its brushed stainless construction (check out those wheels)
  • a shagreen tray in navy blue with brass trims (don't you just love how glam the bar cart looks with these cut crystal glasses?)
  • an graphic, abstract art. 

If you are looking to steal this look but are not ready to give your space a total makeover, consider welcoming a few statement accessories into your home this fall season.

Here are some of my must-haves:
  • fine china with metallic accents for a sexy dinner party
  • agate artwork + hammered metal wine cooler with horn handles
  • Ralph Lauren photo frames in faux alligator fashion  

My top pick from this Luxe Sophistication look is this tufted quatrefoil ottoman with grey linen/cotton upholstery and a polish chrome base.  Nothing speaks luxe and glam better than this!

Now that you are done decorating your home, it's time to start thinking about gifts.  The team has turned a blank canvas into Santa's workshop to showcase the wide assortment of gifts available at HomeSense this holiday season. 

From toys for the youngsters, stylish favourites for ladies and gents, holiday cards, gift wrapping, and cozy retreats for the four-legged friends, HomeSense has got you covered.

And that's not all: HomeSense is giving one of you $50 to shop!  Simply drop me a note to let me know which of the 5 looks from the 2014 Fall / Winter Preview is your favourite.  For an additional entry, you could also tell me which item you want to bring home with the $50 gift card.

Winner will be selected randomly and announcement will be made on Thursday October 16th!  

Monday, September 29, 2014

2014 Fall / Winter Preview ~ HomeSense Edition (PART I)

Hello Monday! Did you enjoy our much anticipated summer at the end of September? I kid you not, I was literally sweating (with t-shirt and shorts on) while having lunch with Jordana on Saturday.  I am not complaining of course, and will embrace the bright blue sky and warm breeze for another week (at least that's what the forecast says at the moment).

Even though I wish summer will last forever, fall weather is certainly heading our way with the arrival of October in a few short days.  So are you ready to decorate your home for fall / winter? If you are looking for inspirations and a one-stop-shop to refresh your home for the season, you have got to check out HomeSense.  

The team has done an amazing job putting together a few signature looks for fall / winter 2014, and I will share three top collections with you today.  

I call this pretty and delicate collection of pink + grey with gold ~ Glam Romance.  The colours are soft, the furniture pieces are curvaceous and luxurious, and the metallic finishes add shimmer and sparkles to the space.     

Pink is a tough colour to decorate with as men in general are scared of such "girly" colour.  In this vignette, the HomeSense team injected various shades of pink via anchoring pieces such as the chesterfield style sofa, the graphic area rug, the diamond tufted armchair, and the walls were painted pastel pink, while pairing the pretty hues with subdued neutrals to create a serene, elegant space.

To appeal to the gents, the team used sculptural and nature inspired elements throughout including the striped coffee table, the horn side table, the huge wine bucket (love the scale and its old world charm), the elephant art, and the deer container.  

A couple of close-ups of our first look:

As for my favourites, I am crazy about the rose gold mirror frames, the deco styled console with a stone top, and a pair of these grey armchairs (they remind me of the greek peak chair by Thom Filicia)! 

Look Two is cozy, rustic, and it reminds me of the charming dining room in "It's Complicated".

I love the mix of pale mustard yellow with porcelain blue for an instant french country appeal.  Who wouldn't want to dine at a country estate in France right?  Dreaming aside, many of the pieces in this vignette are almost identical to those with much higher price tags.  For example, the rustic dining table and chairs from Restoration Hardware, tufted velvet + lucite bench and modern wingback chair from ELTE, cabinet / bar from Jonathan Adler, and table lamp and china from Ralph Lauren.   

My favourite picks in this look are the masculine wingback chair (love that pop of orange) and the vintage style rug! 

Look Three is all about creating your dream kitchen in classic black & white with natural wood accents.

Copper is showing up in all decor magazines and HomeSense has an amazing collection to you to dress up your kitchen.  I am totally inspired by this look and may just be using copper as decorative accent in my own kitchen this holiday season.  

My favourite you ask? Beside from all the copper items, I am crazy about these incredibly handsome cabinets with glass panelled doors and sexy oil-rubbed bronze hardware! 

So friends, which look speaks to you?  I have already spotted some of these items at HomeSense … you may want to check out the stores near you.  While you are busy shopping, be sure to come back on Wednesday as I will share with you my absolute favourite look from the HomeSense fall / winter preview and a giveaway for you! 

Happy Monday!