Recently my step sister- in-law Sarah decided that it was time to rearrange her 3 children into their two available bedrooms. The “baby” was ready to leave her crib and join her 4 year old sister in the Ultimate Girly Princess Bedroom that Sarah enlisted me to help design. Sarah and I both felt that because the girls are so young and so close in age that is was okay to go completely over the top in this room and still be able to get some years out of it.
Sarah and her little girls felt that there could not be too much pink or too many flowers and ruffles. I had no problem running with this concept as you can see from the results!!
Sarah found these amazing vintage inspired printed cottons online at Grand Revival Designs. We ordered a pink floral, a green stripe and a pink and white dot to use in all kinds of ruffly, girly combinations on the window dressings and the bedding.
The pair of antique French beds were from the Chatelet warehouse and I had them painted white and upholstered in a celery green ultra suede with pink trim.
In order to save on costs, Sarah picked up this chest of drawers on Kijiji and painted it herself. It is the perfect complement to the night table from Chatelet on Yonge which now nestles nicely between the two beds.
My thanks to Sarah for taking these lovely pictures. (She is a WAY better photographer than I am.) I love how she styled the kids for the photos with their fun beaded necklaces and pretty headbands.
The smiles on the girl’s faces speak for themselves on how they feel about their new room. What little girl wouldn’t be over the moon to have such a perfect princess bedroom as this?!!
Our Florida home is located in the old historic Northwood community of West Palm Beach and it just so happened that the “Old Northwood Candlelight Tour” coincided with our family’s last trip to Florida this winter.
This is one of those amazing events where you get a pass to trespass into people’s yards and peak into their houses and they even give you free food and drinks along the way. The tour of 12 historic homes, organized by the Old Northwood Resident’s Association, begins at the neighbourhood clubhouse where you are given a wristband, a complimentary drink and a map route.
My favorite house by far was the very first one on the tour owned by designer and antiques dealer Lee Skinner. The house was full of well curated objects beautifully displayed.
The other stand out for me on this tour were the yards with their gorgeous pools and lush landscapes. Being a northerner, I’m pretty easy to impress when it comes to landscaping. Palm trees, banana trees and all these other crazy plants that I’ve never seen in my life are so novel and exotic to me.
My husband and I had a blast seeing how other people had restored their 1920’s Florida homes. Secretly we were imagining our own house on the tour next year once it has been restored.
By now most of you have probably heard of Rachel Ashwell, a British ex-pat now living in Malibu California, who coined the term “shabby chic” back in 1989 when she started her Shabby Chic brand.
Shabby chic is all about furniture and objects that are less than perfect but have a beautiful time worn patina. Rachel sticks exclusively with a muted color palette of whites, creams, pale blues, pinks and greens. Her spaces are always comfortable, inspiring and full of soul.
This is Rachel Ashwell’s seventh book and although I think her very first book, simply titled “Shabby Chic” is still the best, this one comes in a close second. The book is a pictorial tour of twelve homes (three of them are her own) that all share the famous Shabby Chic aesthetic.
Rachel Ashwell is an icon in the design world. A well deserved status because of the beautiful spaces she creates for herself and for the inspiration she provides to others who want to recreate that shabby chic feeling in their own homes.
Check out the Shabby Chic website at http://www.shabbychic.com/
Also check out Rachel Ashwell’s blog for tons of pretty pictures and up to the minute Shabby Chic info.
The older I get the more I hate winter, so after last winter I vowed to myself that I would find a way to spend more time in a warmer climate. Even though I would prefer California or the south of France, Florida is the most practical option for its proximity and accessibility.
I began checking out listings on MLS. Initially I was looking at Miami but after a visit there last May I decided it wasn’t a good fit and shifted my focus to more familiar territory in the West Palm Beach area.
I eventually found a listing for a “handyman special” in the historic neighborhood of old Northwood in West Palm Beach for $115,000. It was love at first sight for me and the price didn’t hurt either. There we other bids in so I bid $130,000 and ended up getting the place.
It’s kind of scary but exciting to be buying a house in another country. The place needs extensive renovation/restoration. The exterior of the house is a bit neglected but not too bad. The inside of the house is where the real work is. There is serious termite damage, the electrical needs to be completely updated and there is no heating or air conditioning. The house needs a new kitchen, new bathroom, new flooring throughout and the list goes on.
Here’s a bit of information on the house. It is an 1,800 sq. ft. 2-story wood frame and stucco home built in 1925. It sits on a 40’x120′ lot that includes a two car garage and a rentable guest cabin. Fortunately the guest cabin needs very little work and is where I’ll stay when in Florida during the renovation.
There are three bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor and the main floor is comprised of living room, dining room, kitchen, powder room and sun room. All the rooms in the house are staying in the same places but the kitchen and the bathroom need to be completely gutted.
As you can see from the photos I really have my work cut out for me but I thrive on this kind of challenge. I really feel like I need this kind of work to keep me stimulated and feeling alive.
Anyway, the place has so much potential and I am thrilled to be the one to realize that potential.
I am going to tell you the story of how I grew into a love affair with Florida starting from the beginning. My mom and step-dad have a mobile home in a 55+ community in Boynton Beach Florida and for years my mom had been bugging us to come visit her there. My husband and I resisted, thinking that this would be the most lame vacation imaginable until my mom bought us plane tickets for Christmas and we had no choice but to go.
So off we went with our two children to discover so many great things about Florida that we have returned each winter for the last five years and have now purchased a home in West Palm Beach Florida (a lot more on that later).
Apart from the obvious things like the sun, the warm weather, the beach and all the well maintained parks, the real stand out for us about Florida is the ANTIQUING! Who knew!? We had no idea about the amazing vintage and used furniture available down there. But it makes perfect sense, so many people go there to retire and when they die there are estate sales galore.
The great thing about Florida antiques, other than the fact that they’ re cheap and plentiful, is that they are so different than what we have up here. After scouring flea markets in Canada for the past fifteen years, it’s cool to see different stuff. Lots of lucite, lots of lacquer, over-scaled items. Tons of wicker, rattan, wrought iron, glass, etc.
I’ve brought back a load per year for the past four years and I hope to increase this to as many as possible. On my most recent load from earlier this month I brought back this great Mexican dining table that I bought from a Goodwill of all places.
So be prepared to hear lots from me about Florida, West Palm Beach specifically, over the next few months as I take possession and start renovating our new Florida home.
P.S. This photo, taken over the Christmas holidays in my mom’s park, only vaguely relates to this post but I’ve included it here for its comedic value.
Here are some more photos from DT’s condo. This time showing the master bedroom and the teenager’s bedroom.
I chose a large scale damask pattern for this feature wall in the master bedroom in the blue and brown color scheme that is present throughout most of the condo. The bedding on the King size bed is Ralph Lauren, purchased from The Bay. The headboard and two silk shams were custom made by Chatelet.
The antique French night tables from Of Things Past were a bit of a gamble as I wasn’t sure if my client would like them. (I figured I could just sell them in my store if he didn’t like them.) Fortunately he loved them, and rightly so because they are absolutely the right pieces for the space.
I knew I needed something great for the wall of this office nook in the master bedroom but I didn’t know what it would be until I stumbled upon these maps, taken from an antique French atlas, at the Christie’s antique show. I had them framed at Telegramme Prints and Custom Framing.
The desk is a Canadian made, mid-century piece that I found on craigslist and sent out to be refinished. Add in an industrial lamp chair and you have the perfect man’s work-at-home space.
As I so often do, I started the whole concept for this teenage boy’s bedroom from a fabric swatch. I loved this crazy, bold, mod, geometric print and pulled the colours from it for all the furnishings in the room. The bright red desk and grey office chair were found at Urban Mode.
On this double bed I used the coordinate of the curtain fabric for the duvet cover and shams. 1950’s night tables were painted gloss black and retro mosaic tile lamp bases with drum shades complete the mod look.
I came across an intriuging looking flyer advertising a small antique show in Caledonia Ontario. I took a chance and drove the hour from Toronto and was not disappointed.
The decision to make the trip wasn’t a complete shot in the dark as I recognized the name of the organizer, Kim Davies of Tattered and Torn, from booths at the Christies Antique Show and Southworks Antique Mall in Cambridge.
This was Kim’s first foray into hosting her own antique show. The 2 day weekend event was held in a large storage building on her Caledonia property and included 5 other like minded vendors.
Kim and her vendors have a genuine passion for beautiful old things, things that have been loved by others in the past and are imbued with a sense of history. Lovers of nostalgia and ephemera will be in heaven here.
If you like to buy things that are clean and in perfect condition do not come to this show. Like the name “Tattered and Torn” suggests, the antiques here really are tattered and torn, but in the time-worn-passed-down-through-the-generations way.
This a very comfoartable, cozy, homegrown show with cookies and hot chicken noodle soup being served in the canteen. The set up and quality of antiques on offer are such that I would recommend this show to all admirers of beautiful tattered and torn things.
Based on the success of this first show, (there were line ups both Saturday and Sunday mornings) Kim now has plans to make this a semi annual event by hosting a show in May as well. I will send out a newsletter to let all my subscribers know the exact dates of the spring show.
A Day in the Country Show
930 Haldibrook Road, Caledonia ON
Kim Davies (905)385-8170
Two summers ago I did an interior design job for a dream client. A recently divorced man, a banker with a good budget, who had just bought a 2,700 square foot condo at Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto. It needed to be furnished and decorated from scratch. My client was bringing nothing except his grand piano from his previous home.
The only request he made from me was for a large comfortable sofa and a really good home theatre system. Other than that I pretty much had carte blanche.
I decided on a bit of a retro “Mad Men” vibe, with lots of wood and brick and a hint of ethnic style. Plus a few of my signature French pieces.
This is such a beautiful light filled room, a corner on the 28th floor with amazing views west and south. My client is an amateur musician and his piano found pride of place where the windows intersect.
I ended up buying 2 huge sectional sofas from Elte to form a U shape infront of the media wall. The coffee table is a mid-century teak piece that I purchased from Bungalow in Kensington Market and had refinished in a darker stain.
The media wall was a real chalenge with 5 or 6 different tradespeople involved. This wall has recessed walnut display shelves, a recessed 52″ television and a recessed ethanol burning fireplace. There is a slate ledge over the fireplace with walnut cantilevered shelves on either side that run the full length of the wall.
The whole wall was given a faux brick treatment by Soho Brick and the wall sconces are midcentury Italian picked up from Residential Lighting.
Here are a couple of vignettes. The chest of drawers in the entrance is from Decorum. The lamp on the half moon table is vintage Murano.
My client likes to have occassional poker nights. He and his buddies can play poker in style on this 6 foot diameter pedestal table surrounded by 8 chairs. The dramatic stylized bamboo print wallpaper is from Crown Wallpaper.
My next story will show shots from the bedrooms so stay tuned.