Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Secret To Staying Creative | A Modern Calligraphy Class With Plume Calligraphy

Would you believe me if I told you that the secret to being creative is actually about play?

They say creativity begets creativity. In other words, playing with new mediums - whatever they may be - can lead back into creativity in your own professional practice. Most importantly, creative play opens you up to new ideas and ways of seeing the world.

So lately I've been playing by learning the art of modern calligraphy. Guys, I have absolutely fallen for it. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll see little snippets of it in my feed. It's almost meditative as you start to find your groove, and I feel like my calligraphy game got way stronger after a private tutorial I had recently with my lovely friend Aileen Fretz of Plume Calligraphy.


Like me, Aileen is a slashie: in her case, a calligrapher slash photographer slash graphic designer slash artist slash wife and mom. If you don't currently follow her on Instagram, today is the day to fix that. I mean, just look at this daily dose of gorgeous:

Aileen's work has been featured on wedding sites like Style Me Pretty, Once Wed and the UK's Wedding Sparrow - as well as the gorgeous online lifestyle mag Cottage Hill - because all her work is stunning. Here's a sneak peek at a recent Plume Calligraphy feature on Style Me Pretty:

In addition to all her ridiculous talent, Aileen is also an incredibly inspiring and generous-hearted teacher, full of insights and little tidbits to up your calligraphy game. I came away from our time together so excited to keep exploring as I keep pursuing my own hand lettering style, and I loved how Aileen sparked new ideas in me. I could have spent hours with her!

Never one to keep a good thing all to myself, I asked Aileen if she would partner with me to share a Modern Calligraphy Workshop with you lovelies, and gratefully she said YES!

My favourite purveyor of fine fabrics, wall coverings, furnishings and accessories - Kravet - is kindly hosting us in their Mississauga showroom, and there are just 12 spots available.

Here are the details:

taught by
hosted by

TIME: 10am-12pm
COST: $125*

*All calligraphy materials are included in the class fee. 
Light refreshments will be served.

If you are interested in joining us, please reserve your spot by emailing me at sarah@thecuratedhouse.com. We're so excited to have you join us!

Cheers to raising your creative game, friends.


*All photos by White Photographie except where otherwise noted.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How Reconnecting With Family Roots Can Lead To A Beautiful Product | A Gorgeous Giveaway from pamuk & co.

What do you get when you take a Canadian designer with a luxury background {think retail spaces for Gucci, Tiffany, Prada + Dior} and reconnect her with her Turkish roots? You get pamuk & co., a collection of Turkish linens that are as beautiful to use as they are beautifully made.

If like me you love a meaningful {albeit bittersweet} story, lean in. Founder Jasmine's father emigrated to Canada from Turkey when he was very young, and remarkably didn't return to Turkey until 2009. On that fateful trip, while visiting his birthplace, he had a heart attack in his sleep. His life came full circle in a way that suddenly connected his daughter Jasmine with her Turkish roots for the very first time.

Jasmine immediately invested in meaningful relationships with her Turkish cousins - relatives she only met after her father's passing. She quickly absorbed all she could about Turkish culture and language. Armed with Rosetta Stone and a year's worth of classes, Jasmine became fluent in the language and - even more importantly - steeped in the culture. On one of her visits to Turkey, Jasmine became especially taken with the history and beauty of the peshtemal {what we know here in North America as turkish towels}. Seeking out the best sources for this beautiful product in Turkey, Jasmine met a family who has been weaving these luxurious linens for 5 generations, and thus pamuk & co. was born.

People with meaningful stories usually have generous hearts, and Jasmine is no exception. One of you lucky lovers will win a set of 2 pamuk & co. towels for yourself! How you ask? Easy peasy.

G I V E A W A Y  D E T A I L S

1. Follow @thecuratedhouse and @pamuk_and_co on Instagram
2. Like the photo I've posted from the pamuk & co. collection
3. Tag two friends in the comments

For a second entry, just share the photo on your Instagram account including all the details on the giveaway. {Don't forget to tag Jasmine and me in your post so we know about it!}

The winner will be announced on August 11th on Instagram. Best of luck to all you beautiful people!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How To Design A Kid's Room With Personality | Mastering The Art of The Mix

I can't tell you how stoked I was to see Noah's room featured on MyDomaine last week! As a deft curator of cool, MyDomaine is one of my benchmarks for rockstar design status, so the feature was definitely a design career highlight. It also never hurts to be described as an interior designer with "an incredible sense of style and an amazing ability to balance the old, new, bold, restrained, and playful" while being given the title of "coolest mom around." Hey, I'll take it!


This bedroom was definitely all about the art of the mix. Noah's a pretty sophisticated kid, so I knew it needed to reflect his passion for design and his love of details while having a vibrant, modern vibe and a hefty dose of vintage mixed in for good measure.

If you're looking to create an eclectic space of your own - whether for a kid or a grown-up - here are some tips you can take to the bank.



You know the old wedding superstition that a bride should always wear something old and new, something borrowed and blue? Well it totally applies to good design...at least, the first half does!

NEW: We totally fell in love the moment we laid eyes on the bold and vibrant duvet cover and shams from Aura Home {now available at The Bay for all my fellow Canadian design lovahs}. We knew they were the perfect choice to function as our modern centrepiece {OK, and our something blue *wink*}

OLD: Old can also mean traditional, or an older style, and I knew we needed to juxtapose those modern bed linens with some traditional touches. Enter a traditionally tufted headboard {covered in luscious black velvet from Kravet and beautifully upholstered by Barrymore}, and a gorgeous traditional rug from Kaarma. Hello lovelies!

VINTAGE: There's old and then there's antique, and nothing can take the place of the personality and style that real antiques add to a space. Would you believe I found these vintage French Art Deco side tables on eBay? Seriously the score of the century!

QUIRK-FEST: The whimsical deer head from Cardboard Safari {his name is Bucky} is the perfectly quirky mascot for the space, and he plays so nicely against the traditionally panelled feature wall.

Add some modern table lamps from West Elm and a naturally shed antler we picked up antiquing for an added dollop of quirk, and we can officially dub ourselves design mixologists!



If you've been following me for very long, you'll know I'm a passionate believer in original art. As I always say, it's the soul of the space. When it comes to kids' rooms, though, that can be a scary investment for some as you know your kids' interests and tastes will change. If that's you, I have three suggestions for you:

ONE, start with smalls, like the two canvases you see on Noah's dresser above. The outdoor hockey scene is by one of my favourite figurative artists, Elizabeth Lennie, and the piece on the left by Kelly Grace depicts an evening at the fair, complete with ferris wheel and food vendors. Not only are they fun and story-filled pieces full of life, but they are totally timeless and I'll be happy to reabsorb them into my own collection should Noah ever tire of them.

TWO, art doesn't just belong on walls. I love styling bookshelves and the tops of dressers with art to bring soul to every corner of a space. I also love the silver easel from Indigo as the perfect way to vary the heights of a grouping without hanging a single thing.

THREE, create a gallery wall with pieces that aren't too precious so that it can evolve over time. Noah's gallery wall is made up of vintage postcards of New York City bridges that I picked up at the Williamsburg Flea a few years ago, a mysterious moustached man from Mitchell Black, an inspiring quote/art print from Lisa Congdon, a stunning photograph of icebergs from Canadian photographer Irene Suchocki, and a reproduction vintage blueprint of a bridge I picked up from Touch of Modern. The grouping tells a story of Noah's current interest in architecture and travel and our hope that he'll always stay curious. The quote on the Lisa Congdon piece is by Thoreau and reads:

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.



When it came time to plan out the storage for Noah's space, we had some pretty big hurdles to overcome. There was just one very small closet shoved into the right-hand corner of the closet wall. It was totally awkward to the room layout and even worse, it just didn't leave us enough space for all of Noah's cool threads. Even moreso, the remaining wall space - which would typically be the right place for a dresser - came so far into the room that there wouldn't have been any clearance to open his drawers.

Gratefully, there was another under-utilized closet on the other side of that wall facing into the hallway that connects Noah's bedroom to his bathroom. Remember this hallway with the gorgeous chevron floors and dove grey panelled walls?


Well, we grabbed the closet from the hallway and flipped it into Noah's room and - with one move of stealthy designer ju-jitsu floor planning - we tripled his storage space with two closets the size of his original and room for his dresser to sit in between. Yes, it required filling in the hardwood underneath his dresser {which was no small DIY feat} but it was totally worth it.

In actually fact, we more than tripled his storage space. The closets themselves are IKEA cabinets with all of the awesome organizational "guts" that they offer - think customized pants hangers and the like - and we broke both closets up into half-hanging which means double the storage per closet. So I guess we quintupled his storage? Awesome.

You'd never guess they were IKEA cabinets from the outside, and that's because we customized them in three ways:

ONE, end gables. The end gables had to be super slim in this case to leave enough room for the dresser, so we just used some super-thin masonite and painted it out the room colour for a very simple fix to the non-paintable sides of the melamine cabinet's exterior.

TWO, custom doors. MDF slabs + panel moulding + paint + an awesome hubby = modern classic custom doors to drool over! #winning

THREE, interesting door hardware. Finish off the gorgeous DIY doors with texturally interesting faux bone door pulls from Anthropologie and the finished product screams Paris apartment. Totally my vibe. The hardware on the dresser is also from Anthro. Paint It Like New! sprayed out his existing, yawn-worthy espresso stained dresser in Para Paints' Jet Black, and the contrasting cream and brass pulls totally elevate the sophistication level from "so yesterday" to "on point" in a wink. 

So, are you ready to master the art of the mix? Which room are you tackling next? I've got my sights set on another space in our home and am just itching to get started. Soon I hope!


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Cure For A Boring Bathroom | New Ravenna Neutrals

"Beige is a colour that just doesn't try hard enough in life." So says my son Noah who clearly has a strong opinion about how to decorate. I love that he's interested in how to make a visual statement, and I understand why he might feel the need to avoid neutrals, but is he right? I love him to pieces, but I don't think so.

Take the latest collection of mosaic tiles from New Ravenna. The collection may be shades of grey {not beige}, but it clearly proves that neutral is anything but boring.

Texture. Pattern. Dimension. Detail. Contrast. Everything you need to take a bathroom {or backsplash, for that matter} from boring to breathtaking. This latest collection only underscores my belief that any product designed by an artist will have soul. Sara Baldwin's latest artistry comes alive with her use of jewel glass and marble in mosaics and water-jet cut patterns that are at once modern and a reinvention of the best of tile design history over the ages.

Take for example "Kelp Forest," an intricate, water-jet mosaic in glass that gestures at Art Deco with its undulating waves of cool perfection.

Even a classic hexagon is brought to life with the dimension and natural variation in this gorgeous grey stone.

New Ravenna inspires with endless options on how to elevate your next bathroom design to an unparalleled level of luxury and artistic sophistication. From tile carpets to feature walls to statement floors and delicate insets, the opportunity to create designs with delicious details is limitless. I hope you are as inspired as I am!


Monday, June 8, 2015


Searching for inspired suggestions on what to get for Dad this year? The search is over, friends. I've curated a few very special finds that will have your Daddio feeling the love.

ONE //  Does the Dad in your world love style, comfort and innovation? If so, the Noah Driving Shoe from Ron White is perfect for him. Ron took a year and a half to develop the layered technology in the insole of this shoe, transferring his All Day Heel technology from his women's line into a totally sophisticated men's shoe. Don't let the relaxed styling fool you: this shoe offers incredible arch support layered with PORON, the Nasa-developed memory foam that is the signature in Ron's shoes. Class and comfort combined, this shoe is perfect paired with jeans and a v-neck, but also amazing with a crisp linen suit.

{Don't tell Graham, but these Ron White shoes are his Father's Day gift this year!}

TWO //  I love celebrating meaningful moments with the art of story, and what better way to do that than with a piece of original art? Elizabeth Lennie is one of my favourite artists because of her ability to capture the memory-making moments in our lives through her gestural, figurative work. Her subject matter revolves around outdoor Canadian pastimes like hockey or playing in the water out on a lake. I want to live the story she tells with my family, and I'm thrilled to have a couple of her small pieces in our home. Remind your man of his childhood love of hockey with Shinny 9 from Art Interiors.

THREE //  For something small but special, why not choose a pair of handmade Rosewood Cufflinks from Jenny Greco via the One of A Kind online shop? They are a modern classic that will work with almost every suit he owns.

FOUR //  Make your man the master of the grill with this Weber Genesis from The Home Depot. We have this grill on our wish list for our outdoor living room update this summer. I especially love that this Weber grill has a sear zone for crafting the perfect steaks every time.

FIVE //  Use a daily ritual as an opportunity to remind him of how much he's loved. This bespoke shaving set from Taylor of Old Bond Street in London is now being imported to Canada. 

SIX //  For the Dad who travels a lot, this gorgeous Bison Leather Dopp Kit Bag from Kaufman Mercantile is a practical luxury that will remind him of the family he adores while he's on the road.

The reality is, the most important thing you can give to the Dad in your life is quality time together. Make him breakfast in bed, go for a bike ride or a hike in the woods, take him golfing if that's what he loves. Whatever you do, make memories together and be sure to get some snuggle time in there, too. I know we sure will.

I'm beyond grateful for the amazing Dad that Graham is to our boys, and I can't wait to celebrate him this weekend, Walker style. Wishing you and yours a connected and happy weekend together, whatever you do!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015


I'M DELIGHTED to be curating some of my favourite pieces today for the upcoming May 29th auction in support of Toronto's Design Exchange. This live and silent auction will feature a stunning collection of furnishings and accessories, and the proceeds all help to support the work of the Design Exchange, Canada's Design Museum. To say there are some gems in the mix would be a major understatement.

What is the Design Exchange, you ask? Located in the Historic Stock Exchange Building, the Design Exchange {DX} is a registered charitable, not-for-profit cultural institution, and Canada’s only museum dedicated to the pursuit of design excellence and the preservation of our design heritage. From furniture and architecture to graphics and fashion, DX exhibitions and talks are curated to reflect what is most current in contemporary culture, while reminding us of the relevance and importance of design in everyday life. Guest curators have included Pharrell Williams and our very own Canadian fashion icon Jeanne Beker.

ONE: This Dorwin Chair from Bernhardt is a classic revival of a mid-century design that is utterly timeless, while the brass frame makes it entirely fashion-forward and of-the-moment. I'll take a pair for my soon-to-be redecorated family room, please and thanks!

TWO: Gone are the days of the eyesore of a doggie day bed in some bland brown microfibre. Jo Alcorn has brought her fresh edge to the realm of home decor and honours our four legged friends in style. You'll be happy to coordinate your throw pillows with your pooch's perch when they're this hip.

THREE: Madeleine Weinrib's rugs and decorative accessories have graced the pages of luxury shelter magazines such as Elle Decor, Dwell and Coastal Living. Her designs epitomize relaxed elegance at it's finest.

FOUR: I adore anything paying homage to the beauty, vastness and wonder of our Canadian terrain. The Landscape Tableware from Drake General Store more than fits the bill. I'm hankering for a full set to use for endless summer entertaining.

FIVE: What can I possibly say about this iconic design classic? Eero Saarinen's earlier studies in sculpture reveal themselves in this side table's fluid form. Truly timeless, the Saarinen side table is equally at home in an otherwise traditional space as it is in a restrained, minimalist environment. 

SIX: The Dream Chair looks like a modern invitation to the imagination, the sensual curves ready to embrace and the subtle pillow ready to support your daydreams.

SEVEN: Doesn't every dream home need a touch of Kelly Wearstler? Strong and graphic, this electric sculpture would bring dynamic energy to any room in the house.

EIGHT: I've been crushing hard on Sebastian Herkner's bell tables for awhile now, and his Bleeker Street Table only confirms my design crush. Simple, timeless and elegant. The man can do no wrong.

These eight pieces are my design favourites, but there are even more amazing selections up for grabs at the auction. I'd love to know which pieces you love most!

Fancy the opportunity to see them all in person and bid on one {or all} of them for your own nest? Well here's your chance! I'm giving away one ticket to a lucky reader to attend this design event on May 29th from 7-10pm at Toronto's Design Exchange. Rub shoulders with the who's-who of design and design media and try your luck at picking up an iconic design treasure while you're at it!

Here's how to enter:

1. Follow The Curated House on Instagram
2. Follow The Design Exchange on Instagram
3. Save and share the photo of your favourite piece from this post on Instagram using the hashtag #designexchangeXthecuratedhouse

The winner will be announced on Monday, May 25th on Instagram. Good luck!


Thursday, May 7, 2015


Happy Thursday design lovers! If you're new to The Curated House, you've chosen a great day to stop by as it is at long last time to share the "afters" for our project for this season's One Room Challenge. Do the last six weeks feel like a blur to anyone else? What an adventure! I'm so excited to share my little Luxe Laundry Room project reveal with you.

Before I do, I need to say thank you. First and foremost, I need to thank my incredible husband who has tackled this room on top of his extremely busy job as a software executive, all in his "spare time." His perseverance, patience, persistence and incredible work ethic are the number one reason I have beautiful "after" photos to share with you here today. I am incredibly grateful to him and for him, not just in this project but in our real and everyday life together. I love you, babe.

I'd also like to thank Linda from Calling It Home for creating such a dynamic event. As a designer I can say that we all need someone to light a fire under our behinds when it comes to completing our own personal projects, and the One Room Challenge is the perfect spark. I plan to fan it into a flame with the Fall 2015 edition, and I hope more of my fellow interior designers will join me in taking on this design dare once again.

Speaking of design community and lighting a fire, I'd also like to thank my friend Lisa Canning for cheering me on with this little personal project. For years I've worked solo and been very isolated in my design business. Now that I have a design sisterhood, there's no turning back! You are a gift, my friend.

A HUGE, heartfelt thank you goes out to all of my incredible brand partners, all of whom I will list with much gratitude at the end of this post. Without your generous support, this project would not have been possible.

Thank you, too, to all of you lovely people for following along and commenting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and right here on the blog. I have loved having you weigh in on the selection details with me! You've made the process fun and engaging and I'm so grateful we got to do this together.

OK, so without further ado, here is our much awaited "after."

Vases - Black Rooster Decor

Do you remember how dark and dreary our "before" was? The typical basement dungeon of a laundry room.

Well as Florence And The Machine would say, the dark days are OVER!

Now it is bright and pretty, happy and practical, full of storage solutions not just for laundry, but also for calligraphy, art, sewing, gift wrapping, painting and all kinds of other fun and creative activities. I now think of this space as my laundry-room-meets-arts-room in the storage sense of things, and I love how the TooFifteen bins accommodate everything with casual elegance.

Remember the problem of the furnace and water heater visually dominating the room? Such an eyesore! Not anymore. The incredible sliding door hardware system from Upper Canada Specialty Hardware matched with the gorgeous rift-cut raw white oak solid doors from Metrie mean that this now feels like a feature wall when the doors are closed, while still keeping the furnace and water heater totally accessible when necessary. These raw, rift-cut white oak doors add natural texture and interest while hiding a multitude of sins {including the rest of the floor tile yet to be installed on the other side of the floor-mounted track!}. I now love this side of the room - when the doors are closed, of course! - and it feels harmoniously balanced with the feature wall. 

Two of the design decisions you so kindly weighed in on that I waited to reveal until today include the countertop selection and the grout colour. In the end, I chose Silestone's Lagoon for the countertop, which led to the selection of Silver grout from Mapei to pull out the soft and subtle grey tones in the counters. I'm thrilled with the final result. The combination offers just enough contrast to be interesting without competing with the stunning statement floors, and somehow the palette speaks to a quiet femininity that just works for me.

Woven Ombré Towels + rose quartz Rock Soap - Anthropologie
Another of the decisions I kept secret until today was the question of which faucet would win the day. If you've been following along, I think it will come as no surprise that the Delta Trinsic was the right faucet for our space.

Cucina Hand Soap - Anthropologie

The champagne bronze finish of the Delta Trinsic is absolutely perfect with the gorgeous satin brass Lewis Dolin pulls from Upper Canada Specialty Hardware, don't you think? This faucet is extra special in that it features SmartTouch® technology. The proximity sensor allows us to use the faucet totally hands-free when needed, and just a touch of the faucet also allows us to tap it on or off. We can of course just turn it on and off the old-fashioned way as well if we choose to!

I decided to have a little fun with the storage for my pre-soak stain removal detergent and picked up the black faceted geometric terrarium you see below on the right from West Elm. Paired with an antique silver spoon it makes stain removal seem almost an elegant affair, don't you think? Perfect to use with our amazingly deep and functional Blanco sink from The Home Depot.

If you're a detail freak like me, you'll notice there are little touches that have yet to be finished {like caulking in the corners along the edges of the cut tile} but overall I couldn't be happier with this dramatic transformation. From the floors and brass details adding sophistication, to the white oak doors and floating shelf adding a humble yet modern warmth, to the vases and bins adding a feminine edge and sense of style, this little laundry room has a new lease on life and has successfully converted me into a laundry lover after all!

A huge thank you to Ashley Capp for doing such a beautiful job of capturing the space for me - you are truly the loveliest!

And once again, a massive and heartfelt THANK YOU to all of my incredible brand partners for making this laundry room not only possible, but ultimately a gratitude project:

Subfloor R+ and SMARTWALL system - Dricore
LED pot lights - CREE Canada
Casing, baseboard and white oak slab doors - Metrie
Brass cabinet pulls and sliding door system - Upper Canada Specialty Hardware
Cabinet, wall and trim paint - Para Paints
Trinsic Faucet - Delta
Blanco Sink - The Home Depot
Silestone Lagoon slab for countertops - Cosentino
Bevelled subway tile - Creekside Tile Toronto
White + brass vases for flowers and brass jack - Black Rooster Decor
Tyvek storage bins - TooFifteen

Now it's time for me to pour over the details of all of the reveal posts from these amazing talents!

Coco + Kelley * Jana Bek * Autumn Clemons * The English Room * Vanessa Francis * Greige Design * Hi SugarplumI Heart Organizing * Jenna Sue Design * Stephanie Kraus * The Pursuit of Style * Julia Ryan * Savvy Home Simple Details * Simply Grove * 6th Street Design * Jill Sorensen * Swoon Worthy * Waiting On Martha * Kimberly Shlegel Whitman * and my friends and linking participants Lisa Canning and Abby M. Interiors. Go to Calling It Home to check out all of the amazing "afters" posted today by the Linking Participants for the April 2015 edition of the One Room Challenge!

Be sure to leave me a comment below telling me what your favourite details are from our little laundry room makeover. I'd love to hear what you think of the final reveal. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Now, off to do some laundry! *wink*


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