/Elle Decor

Project Ugly Duckling | Update: The Wallpaper Is Up! The Wallpaper Is Up!

I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I am that we are rounding the home stretch. As you know, with Graham’s unexpected summer of constant travel for work {he was gone more than he was home!}, progress came to a near stand-still for awhile. But this week, 3 very exciting {and very good-looking!} pieces of this pretty puzzle came together.

ONE: the ceiling, crown, casings and baseboards were painted in a GORGEOUS Farrow + Ball semigloss paint. This incredibly handsome colour is called Down Pipe, a truly classic charcoal.

You may be thinking “A dark colour on the ceiling of a small space?” Yes. And as you will see, it actually makes the ceiling feel like it might just go on forever. It’s also the perfectly dramatic contrast I was looking for to frame out the etched wallpaper, and let me tell you, Farrow + Ball‘s premium paint goes on like a dream. I cannot thank the team at Farrow + Ball enough for sponsoring the paint for this project!

The beauty of painting your trim before the wallpaper is installed is that you only have to be careful cutting-in at the floor.


As a designer who bridges the worlds of luxury, custom design for my clients and DIY design-on-a-budget in my own little home, I know my place. This is one project that I was not about to take on – or have Graham take on – independently. When dealing with a hand-blocked, random drop, book-matched wallpaper that requires specialty paste and a great deal of expertise to install, you call in the big guns. Enter Leo from Queen City Decorating, who has over 30 years of experience and has been installing wallpaper for some of the major Toronto interior design firms since the last time wallpaper was popular.

I loved watching Leo’s process unfold as he matched up the incredible pattern of Fornasetti’s Nuvole etched mural of clouds. He labelled the rolls meticulously, and at least half of his time was spent in planning and preparation. A lesson for all of us!

For this paper, Leo applied the paste to the walls first with a roller. Not all papers are created equal, though, so this technique doesn’t apply in every situation. I cannot say enough about knowing when to call in the professionals, friends, and this is definitely one of those times.

Because this paper is book-matched and has a random drop, the feeling in this bathroom is now one of being surrounded by an endless, custom-etched mural of clouds. Do you not LOVE it??!! I’m seriously giddy, and I cannot thank the team at Cole & Son enough for their generous sponsorship on this project. You’ve truly made this girl’s “head in the clouds” dreams come true!

THREE: The custom-made linen roman blind that has been sitting patiently waiting to find its home was also installed. The gorgeous linen we used is from Kravet, and while you can see only glimpses of it in the above two photos, I promise to take some better shots for you once the vanity is installed so you can see the whole thing come together!

Oh yes, I nearly forgot! The custom vanity I designed is going in sometime in the next two days and the toilet has already been re-installed, so I do believe we will have a functioning bathroom by the weekend, folks! Lord have mercy, I’m so excited! I have definitely reached my quota of the use of exclamation marks here, but can you blame a girl?
There is definitely something inexplicably delicious about seeing a project come together, especially one you’ve been waiting for with longing, anticipation and a heaping dose of delayed gratification. While I hope Graham never has to travel that much ever again – because I miss him, not just because of project delays! – hitting the pause button may have made the final stages of this transformation even more satisfying. Hmmm. Feels like a life lesson, doesn’t it?
I know I’ve promised you a couple of recipes and I will follow up with one of two tomorrow! Tonight, I’m off to learn from the president of Hearst Publications about the world of design + lifestyle magazines {think ELLE Decor, House Beautiful, Harper’s Bazaar, Veranda} thanks to the kind invitation of my dear friend Lisa Ferguson. Feels like a bit of a “pinch me” week, really, as I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Brian Gluckstein last night! I’ll be posting an interview with him soon, so stay tuned!
By |September 26th, 2013|3 Comments

Design Find | Kelly Wearstler Fabrics + Wallcoverings for Groundworks

I have a confession to make. I have a girl-designer-crush on Kelly Wearstler. It’s been a real thing for a few years now. Why? She’s fierce, she’s sexy, she’s bold, she’s the embodiment of luxurious, maximalist chic, and she’s taken both the interior design and fashion worlds by storm.

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With that confession out of the way, it should come as no surprise that I am head-over-stiletto-heels in love with Wearstler’s new collection for Groundworks.

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An international tastemaker and famed interior designer, Wearstler has a remarkable gift for reclaiming a vintage aesthetic and reinventing it with such an overdose of modern, rock star glamour that it becomes completely fashion-forward, fiercely sexy and utterly drool-worthy. Take the stunning wallpaper pictured above, for example. Reminiscent of the 60’s? Yes. Totally bleeding-edge gorgeous? {bites palm} Yes.

In creating her first collection of wall coverings and second collection of trims for Groundworks, Wearstler references environmental elements {both natural and urban} including street art, brushstrokes, gradient colouring, water and wood. Her lavishly modern aesthetic reinterprets these references into a collection that is nothing short of stunning.

Kelly Wearstler’s work has been featured in international publications including: Vogue, Elle D├ęcor, Harper’s Bazaar, Architectural Digest, InStyle, Conde Nast Traveler and The New York Times, among many others. In an extensive 2009 profile, The New Yorker called Wearstler “the presiding grande dame of West Coast interior design.” 

If this little amuse-bouche of Wearstler’s aesthetic has whetted your appetite, you can get a regular fix by following her blog, My Vibe, My Life.

Better yet, go get your interior designer to pull all the memos he or she can find from Wearstler’s collections of fabrics, wall coverings and trims for Groundworks and infuse your home with some of her unapologetically over-the-top glamour.


By |August 15th, 2013|0 Comments