One Room Challenge | Fall 2016 Edition | Week Two

It’s a grand thing to have hope, and for me, hope comes from signs of change. Those signs of change – though dusty and far from glamorous at the moment – are in fact starting to show up to the party in this little basement of ours, specifically in the form of the drywall and electrical being finished and the floor being patched with self-levelling concrete in preparation for the broadloom installation.

After living with a thin film of icing-sugar-like drywall dust on every living surface in the house over the last week, I am BEYOND grateful to have that nasty business over with so we can move on to much more exciting details this week. Remember our mood board?

media room mood board*

Let’s just say we still have a lot to do to get from today to TA-DA. But that’s what deep breathing and hard work are for, am I right? In addition to the drywall, electrical and floor-prep being looked after, I did receive a few very important deliveries this week, and that always feels good. First off, our wall, ceiling and trim paint. Let me catch you up on the decision-making there.

Processed with Snapseed.

I have a career-long love affair with the Farrow & Ball line of paints for many reasons. Their historical grounding, nuance and sophistication mean they bring depth and life to every space in which I use them. Their colours are richer and more complex, in part because of the unique clay base to the paint. White is not simply white with Farrow & Ball, as evidenced by the six shades of white you see above.

Choosing the right white is all about the alchemy of art and science, and the truth is, it should always begin with your fabric selections. In this case, that would be my seemingly daring choice to upholster Whittington’s Joni sofa in pure white. I know, I know. I have a teenager and a toddler in my house. Has she lost her ever-loving mind? you quietly wonder to yourself.

No, I have not. At least, not on this front. Because I know the designer secret behind having a beautiful white sofa and actually being able to live on it.

My friends at Thibaut have solved the red-wine-drinking, white sofa-loving age-old dilemma with the introduction of their line of nanotechnology-treated fabrics.

So what’s the deal with nanotechology, you ask?

  1. Through the use of nanotechnology, every fibre in the fabric is fundamentally transformed to repel liquids.
  2. The natural qualities of the original fabric are maintained, including it’s softness, hand and breathability.
  3. The combination gives you natural looking fabrics that repel liquids, resist stains and significantly extend the life of your fabrics.
  4. This is an eco-friendly process, so your conscience can stay as clean as your white sofa.

Basically, thanks to Thibaut you can have your cake and eat it (on your sofa), too. Even if it’s chocolate. OK, especially if it’s chocolate.


So the arrival of our amazing Nanotex-ified Thibaut white fabric immediately narrowed my six choices of white down to two: All White and Wimborne White. Whereas All White is a brighter, cooler, slightly pinkish white, Wimborne White is warmer while still neutral and without any yellow undertones.


Wimborne White is a perfect compliment to the warm white throughout the rest of the house. Add to that the fact that Wimborne White visually softens the feel of the Thibaut shade, and we have a clear winner. I cannot wait to get that painting done this week!

While we are still on the subject of fabrics, I’ve got some serious goodies to share with you in the form of my pilow selections from Arianna Belle. I’m thrilled to be collaborating with this brilliant woman again, and I’m seriously excited about how the pattern play has come together for this space.


Needless to say, that gorgeous linen Leopard print will bring a feminine edge to the space, while that touch of Blush Velvet (sans le gold piping for simplicity’s sake) will add an elegant softness. I know I’m repeating the use of Kelly Wearstler’s Channels from our living room drapery treatments with the kidney cushion for the chair, but can you blame me? This fabric has a sense of artistic grit, and I’m all about bringing that vibe into my home.

So what’s on tap for this week?

  1. Finalize and install the wall panelling on the wall behind the sofa with our amazing Metrie mouldings.
  2. Paint the entire basement with my superhubs.
  3. Cheer on said superhubs as he builds our media cabinet.
  4. Paint said media cabinet in more Farrow & Ball goodness and get it ready to receive the LG TV of our dreams (more on that soon, I promise!).
  5. Recover from the flu that I am literally fighting as we speak.

I cannot realistically ever expect to get through a One Room Challenge unscathed, and if the flu is my mountain to climb for this one, I’ll take it! It beats FedEx losing my fabric any day of the week!

I cannot wait to check out the mountains being moved by my fellow ORC design daredevils this week, and you should join me in taking in all of that goodness through the links below.

Jana Bek | Chris Loves Julia | Shannon Claire | Coco.Kelley | The Curated House

Driven by Decor | The English Room | From the Right Bank | Sherry Hart

Hi Sugarplum | House of Jade | Hunted Interior | The Makerista | Making it Lovely

Marcus Design | Pencil & Paper Co. | Megan Pflug | Place of My Taste | Suburban B’s

Waiting on Martha Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by CIH

Next week I should have a few exciting, real-life photo updates for you, as well as more delicious design details to share on how this space is going to come together. I do hope you’ll stick around for the party! I have high hopes this will be a good one.


By |October 12th, 2016|20 Comments

Where To Start When Renovating Your Master Ensuite | Five Fabulous Freestanding Tubs

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, the master ensuite is the sanctuary. It’s the space we dedicate to our wellness and self-care, and as such it deserves a great deal of thoughtful attention to the design details in order to ensure that each element is as nurturing as it is beautiful.

I know I had promised you a post about an incredibly beautiful new book last week, but said book was picked up by a larger publisher at the 11th hour and thus the release was delayed, so we will just have to wait with bated breath on that one until it is ready to share its good fortune with the world!

In the meantime, I wanted to follow up on my “Where To Start When Renovating Your Kitchen” series with a post about Where To Start When Renovating Your Master Ensuite. The sheer volume of design decisions to be made in this process leaves most people overwhelmed, but if you have a clear blueprint on where to start, it makes the process much less dizzying.

For me, the centrepiece to any beautifully designed Master Ensuite is the freestanding tub, and today I’m sharing my five favourites.



ONE: I love the Toto Nexus for many reasons. The first is that it is cast iron, which means it holds the heat much longer and is beautifully easy to clean. The second is the timeless aesthetic. This is a tub that can be seamlessly integrated into both modern and traditional designs alike. At 21 1/8″ deep and 66″ long, it’s a generous soak that allows you to drift into relaxation without feeling cramped or wishing for more water.

TWO: The Victoria + Albert Amiata is the embodiment of modern classic elegance. The combination of volcanic limestone and resin composite that makes up V+A’s signature EnglishCast is warm to the touch and shares the thermally insulating properties of cast iron while also offering a solid, one-piece tub that is much stronger and highly stain resistant. The exterior of the tub can also be painted for a truly customized design.

THREE: The Aquatica Purescape is made in Canada (Alberta, to be exact) which naturally makes me love it all the more. It is made of a stone and mineral polymer blend that is non-porous, hypoallergenic and shares the thermally insulating properties of our first two tubs. At 24.8″ deep, it’s a luxurious soak with a modern aesthetic.

FOUR: If you’re looking to make a visual statement, then Thompson Traders’ Britannia may be the bathtub you’ve been searching for. With its refined copper finish, classic and elegant lines and dimensions that are generous enough to accommodate two bathers, this beauty offers a stunning design statement and an elegant place to unwind at the end of a busy day.

FIVE: If a truly classic aesthetic is what you are after, then Kalista’s Circe tub is perfect. I’ve shown it here with a dramatic black painted exterior, but it’s also available in a classic white and can also be painted any custom colour you choose once you’ve purchased it. Once again, thermal insulation is key on my list of features, because no one likes having their soak cut short by the water going cold. The Circe relies on the tradition of cast iron for its insulation, and I love the elevated reinterpretation of a classic claw-foot with the eagles feet adorned with fleur-de-lys and gargoyles. Traditional does not have to mean conservative or boring, and the design details on this tub prove that in spades.

So there you have it! Five fabulous freestanding tubs that would each make an incredible centrepiece to your Master Ensuite. Leave a comment below and let me know which one has your name on it!


PS: I’m in the process of upgrading my site, so the blog is going to be down for a few days just after this post. Fear not! All shall return better and brighter than ever in very short order! (Cue excited designer squeals of joy!) Can’t wait to share it with you.

By |March 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

How To Buy A Home And Have Someone Else Pay The Mortgage | Responsive Homes with Bobby Berk

We all have one – a vision of our very own dream home. A space to host the most fabulous parties, to live a meaningful and connected life, all the while easily entertaining both indoors and out. But paying the mortgage on that dream home can sometimes feel out of reach.


Enter the brilliant space planning of the Responsive Homes we recently visited as a part of the Modenus BlogTourKBIS in Las Vegas. With interiors designed by Bobby Berk and built by Pardee Homes, these innovative spaces blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living with an apparent simplicity that belies their clever flexibility. But beyond designs that include sliding walls that open to invite the outdoors in, these unique floor plans offer homes that really can pay for themselves.

Targeted at Millennials, the Responsive Homes are uniquely designed with main floor “lock off” suites. The suites include a bedroom, bathroom, sitting area and small kitchenette that allow the homeowner to rent the space out to either a long term renter or – at higher short term rates – via online rental services like Airbnb.

Not only does the rental suite option make a new mortgage payment easier for Millenials in the short term, but it also offers a space that will flex with the needs of the home owner, evolving into a nanny suite, for example, when future kids come along. From bachelor parties to birthday parties, these houses will have no problem growing with their owners through the many seasons of life ahead.

What do you think? Are you inspired by this innovative approach to space planning, either for your own home, for a child’s first home, or for an investment property? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

And stay tuned for all of the many design finds I spotted at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. I’ve got lots of great highlights and exciting trends to share with you in the coming weeks!


By |January 26th, 2016|3 Comments