We made it! I honestly feel like we could rename the One Room Challenge “Survivor: Designer Edition.” Crowbarring your own space in alongside client work and completing it start-to-finish in 6 weeks? Well, as my lovely friend Lisa Canning said last week, it feels a bit like having a baby. While you’re giving birth you’re like “Why am I doing this again?” and when it’s all done you’re totally blissed out on the afterglow. Here’s to the bliss, friends, ’cause this baby is OUT!

I’m so thrilled with how everything came together in the end. The balance of dark and light, cool and warm, and the mixed layers of texture make this room both sophisticated and inviting – the essence of liveable luxury. The gorgeous Zena Holloway Angel print from Citizen Atelier is absolutely breathtaking in her pride of place, flawlessly finished with a Framed & Matted gallery frame. I find her truly mesmerizing! I love how the metalic silver linen drapery from Kravet frames her with a radiant glow.
Gratefully, the CB2 Crane Floor Lamps {see above} arrived at the 11th hour, and I love them. Lighting game is on fleek. I decided to repurpose a pair of end tables I already had and I think the caged brass bases create just the right airy feel next to the luxe Kravet black velvet tufted sofas. They also play beautifully off of the custom rift-cut oak coffee table which I love pretty hard.
I added a custom solid wood helix on the other side of the room to balance the wood tones and the warm against the cool of the black velvet {see below}, and I’m thrilled to finally have a piece that I’ve designed for clients over the years in my own home. I’m a lover of wood in its natural glory, and this piece {though you can’t see it very well} is pure poetry with it’s mind-bendingly torqued shape. I’ll be sure to post a shot of it on Instagram this week so you can get a better look.
I am thrilled with how the Thibaut ikat wallpaper turned out, especially given that we successfully installed it ourselves! It’s the perfect warm and textured backdrop for the art, like the gorgeous David Graham White piece you see above. 
I’m also thrilled at how the canvas-stretched mural from Anewall turned out when resined with Art Resin. If you missed the tutorial on how to do this yourself last week, you can check it out here!

In the hands of my amazing furniture maker, the Metrie mouldings definitely transformed our fireplace surround and mantel into a thing of elegance and beauty. Add to that the custom herringbone mosaic tile from Creekside Tile and a black curved fireplace screen from Anvil & Co and it’s a pretty huge transformation from the before.

I’m quietly delighted with how the shelf styling turned out. For me, styling a bookcase is a labour of love that is as much about curating your story as it is about making things pretty. I tend to add, tweak, edit and repeat until I get something I’m happy with, and I was zhushing this bookcase in little bits as we worked on the room over the last few weeks to get it just right.

The subtle yet sophisticated brushed brass Lewis Dolin pulls from Upper Canada Specialty Hardware are the perfect finishing touch on the cabinet doors of the built-ins.

To say I’m happy about the transformation of my desk area would be a major understatement. I actually LIKE sitting at my desk now. Just like with the laundry room, I’m reminded once again of the power of good design to transform our quality of life. I love my DIY modern pin board with Kelly Wearstler-esque nailhead detail. The radiant Kravet Contract reptile pattern velvet mixed with the faceted antique brass nail heads offers an elegant canvas on which to pin fabric memos and inspiration images, though I confess I may leave it clean for awhile so I can enjoy it in all its modern simplicity.

The trio of art above the desk – framed in gorgeous Framed & Matted gallery frames – fuels my sense of wanderlust and quite simply makes me happy. The two pieces on the left – limited edition prints from Minted – work brilliantly with Amy Friend’s emotional and moving Babushka {Blue}.

I like a bright work area {and I’m somewhat obsessed with symmetry} so I framed out the desk area with a pair of acrylic and brass column lamps from West Elm and love them. They’re timeless classics that I can repurpose in any room of the house should I choose to do so.

As you can see, the great debate on what colour to paint the gorgeous faux bamboo mahogany chairs from 55 Downing St. ended up with a “no paint” solution! My Brazillian walnut floors have a lot of variation in them, and I am a fan of mixing wood tones for a more interesting space. Add to that the madcap dash to the finish line of this design dare, and not painting them turned out to be the perfect solution! I really do love them, especially finished with the Kravet dove grey mohair seats and Bermingham & Co. lumbar cushions. Check out my Instagram for a straight-on shot of the chairs side by side from yesterday’s feed.

As a pair {perched atop the super warm and cozy lambswool rug} they face into the family room for a beautifully balanced floor plan, and one of them easily pulls away to sit at the desk when I’m working. It’s an elegant, flexible solution to a room with more than one function! It is practical and pretty without looking utilitarian. Perfection.

I can’t believe it, but that’s it! I’m grateful and delighted to have this room completed and can say that my family is already connecting more and feeling inspired by the dramatic transformation of this luxe family room makeover. 
Huge thanks to Ashley Capp for being such a delight to work with on the photography, and to the one and only Linda from Calling It Home for corralling all the designers daring enough to dive into this adrenaline-fueled biannual design event!
Black Velvet Tufted Shelter Arm Sofas – Kravet | Ikat Wallpaper – Thibaut | Shelf + desk – Custom | Rolling Desk Drawers – IKEA | Pin board fabric – Kravet | All frames – Framed & Matted | Desk lamps – West Elm | Wall Art – Citizen Atelier, Art Interiors, David Graham White, Minted, Anewall, Art Resin | Crystal Docahedron, Coral Mounted on Lucite, Geode Mounted on Lucite, Gold Stretching Greyhound, Michael Aram gold candlesticks – Elte | Leather Bound Books – Vintage | Sepia Sketch in Bookcase – Purchased on the streets of Paris | Lewis Dolin Brushed Brass Pulls – Upper Canada Specialty Hardware | Glass Cloche, Glass + Brass Box – Indigo | Sea Urchin – Paxton Gate SF | Silver Hurricane – Ralph Lauren available through Elte | Faux Coral – House Warmings | Tibetan Fur Pillows – Fibre by Auskin | Python Print Fabric – Kravet | Herringbone Faux Fur Fabric {on blanket} – Kravet | Ombre Chevron Fabric on Bench – Cassaro | Reupholstery of Bench – Switch Studio | Paint – PARA Paints | Silver Linen Drapery Fabric – Kravet | Sewing of Drapery + Pillows – Hollie Cooper | Hexagon Pencil Cups – CB2 | Lucite + Rose Gold Kate Spade Tape Dispensers + Stapler – Indigo | Brass Wallhanging File Holders – CB2 | Voluspa Candle – Indigo | Sheepskin rug – Costco | Mouldings for Fireplace Surround + Mantel – Metrie | Custom Nero Marquina Herringbone Mosaic – Creekside Tile | Curved Black Fireplace Screen – Anvil & Co. | Rift Cut Oak Coffe Table + Helix End Table – Custom through The Curated House by Sarah Walker | Silver Tray – Heirloom | Vintage Opera Glasses – Heirloom | Coffee Table Books – Indigo |

Be sure to check out the stellar work of these designer daredevils. There are some incredible finished spaces to be seen as a part of this year’s One Room Challenge, my favourites being those by Design Manifest and Kimberly Whitman. But that said, they’re all gorgeous!!

Apartment 34 | Arianna Belle | Because It’s Awesome | Coco+Kelley | Christine Dovey | Design Darling | Design Indulgence | Design Manifest | The English Room | Vanessa Francis | Hi Sugarplum | Honey We’re Home |Jojotastic The Pink Clutch | The Pink Pagoda | Simplified Bee Style Your Senses | A Thoughtful Place |Kimberly Whitman | The Zhush | Guest Participants

Until next time, darlings!


By |November 12th, 2015|96 Comments


Two down, four to go! It’s really just one week since this whole design dare began, but with the speed of life {which is apparently faster than the speed of light} it’s already blurring by. Here’s how my selections are shaping up as of today.



Weekend plans to install the wallpaper were foiled by the flu, but we did get the grooves of the panelling filled and sanded and the stone of the fireplace removed, so I don’t feel completely unproductive.

The super hubs had to travel for work and left Sunday, so I’ve been waiting until he gets back to tackle the paper as a team. I just keep picturing myself wrapped in a swath of wallpaper and unable to extract myself! OK, not really. We’ll get it done, folks.

In the meantime, this week has been all about finalizing some of the {bigger} details. I feel like I’m living on the edge here at the intersection of deadline + decisions yet to be made. Take end tables, for example. I’ve got two of these brass beauties secured and on their way, but I’m still landing on my other pair.

Crossing fingers I can make a pair of these stunners happen.

If not, there is a back-up plan. Just a significantly less glamorous one. We’ll see what comes together on photo shoot day!

Gratefully, all of the fabrics have arrived and are in the capable hands of the talented Hollie Cooper, who is also working on a One Room Challenge space of her own. Here’s the fabric story in all its glory.

Let me take you on a tour of what is going where. The black velvet in the middle is going on the pair of custom Kravet sofas which are being finished as we speak.

{Perhaps we can all pause and say a prayer that they’ll arrive on time for the photos?}


After more than a decade in this business, I’ve come to know that if it can happen, it will happen. That’s why I ordered these babies back in August. That might sound crazy if you’re not a designer, but good quality, bench-made custom furniture takes time. It’s the difference between 8-way, hand-tied coiling that will keep the seat from sagging for life vs. zigzag springs that will give you 3 years tops before you have a hungry sofa and you’re the main meal. Kiln-dried, dowel-joined hardwood frame vs. a Lord-knows-what mix of composite materials and toxic glues. Down-wrapped cushions vs. cheap foam that breaks down quickly and leaves you regretting that “deal” of a furniture find. If there’s one place to invest in a room like this, it’s in the main furniture pieces. This is where you do life, after all. My motto? Go for liveable luxury and do life well.

{Consider the above your personal checklist for quality on your next sofa purchase.}

I’m also all about texture and inviting comfort, so I ordered four of these gorgeous Tibetan wool pillows from Fibre by Auskin, which will pair beautifully with this stunning luxe Python print from Kravet.

Having drooled over this Cassaro ombré chevron for months, I’m thrilled to have found a home for it on this little bench I picked up at Aberfoyle Antiques Market.

This photo doesn’t show the full range of the ombré – it fades into a really light dove grey with just touches of the black. I absolutely love the dimension this fabric creates! I’ll be stripping and painting those feet this weekend, and then it’s off to Staci at Switch Studio for the final step in the ugly duckling transformation. I’m thinking this will be the perfect little perch to warm yourself in front of the fire on a cold winter’s night.

Speaking of cold winter’s nights, this decadent Kravet Couture chevron faux fur will be magically transformed into a blanket thanks to the lovely Hollie and her genius ways. Perfect for power snuggles.

The champagne metallic linen is headed for a life as our drapery panels. It’s hard to see in the photo, but this simple fabric is incredibly radiant and will add a subtle sophistication to the room.

The reptilian velvet you see above will be the pin board fabric for my desk area, which I have yet to introduce you to. Friends, meet the “before.”

This desk and shelf are neatly tucked against the wall opposite the fireplace, framed in by the stairs. As you can see, it’s all helter-skelter right now as we are moving things around to fill and sand the grooves, but once it’s finished this will be a super practical hub for our household – my office during the day, and Noah’s homework spot at night. That’s why I’m beyond excited to have two of these gorgeous faux bamboo Hollywood Regency chairs on their way to me from 55 Downing St.

I have been searching all over the earth for an unexpected yet practical chair that can function at the desk but also be stylish enough to be flipped around and pulled into the living room when we have groups of friends over. Enter these bamboo beauties! I must say, the selection of chairs at 55 Downing St. really impressed me and I nearly went in the direction of one of their gorgeous wingbacks, but these lovelies are light and will be easy to move around. They also won’t close in the space and will keep the floor plan feeling open and inviting. So thrilled to have found them!

Once they arrive, I’ll be painting the frames black and then Miss Hollie will be making seat cushions in a gorgeous dove grey mohair from Kravet. The piece-de-resistance will be lovely lumbar cushions in this gorgeous silk ikat from Bermingham & Co. I absolutely love the story behind it.

Unlike most fabrics which are dyed or printed after they are woven, Ikats obtain their distinct designs through a process of “tie-dyeing” the warp threads in specific pre-determined patterns before the weaving process begins.  The manipulation of these individual dyed threads on the loom create the “blurred” patterns most associated with Ikat fabrics.  In fact, the Uzbek name for this textile is “abr” meaning “cloud.”

All-in-all, the fabrication process employs 37 separate steps, requiring over one month to produce 200 yards of Ikat fabric. It is truly a labour of love and artistry. The patterns are determined by the artists who create them, and they are all one-of-a-kind. Once that 200 yard run of fabric is sold, that’s it. I love having something with such a special story and process coming to make its home in our home. Very special.

And that, my friends, is the fabric story! Check in with me next week for updates on lighting and to see where we are at with our progress.

In the meantime, go get your design inspo on by checking out what all of these lovelies are up to in their daring transformations.

Apartment 34 | Arianna Belle | Because It’s Awesome | Coco+Kelley | Christine Dovey | Design Darling | Design Indulgence | Design Manifest | The English Room | Vanessa Francis | Hi Sugarplum | Honey We’re Home | Jojotastic | The Pink Clutch | The Pink Pagoda | Simplified Bee | Style Your Senses | A Thoughtful Place | Kimberly Whitman | The Zhush | TM by CIH | Guest Participants

Until next week, my design daredevils!


By |October 15th, 2015|4 Comments

Project Nursery Update | Getting the Bones Right | Wall Paneling, Paint Colour + Curtains

You may remember my post from a few weeks ago on where to start for inspiration when decorating. The advice I shared in that post really does apply to almost any room in the house {save kitchens and bathrooms}, but the nursery is a lovely example. Working with this gorgeous rug and incredibly charming and slightly whimsical Thom Filicia for Kravet fabric, I knew we were off to a great start.

The mood I wanted to create in the nursery was something of a quirky elegance; a whimsical sophistication. I knew I wanted a quiet colour palette to soothe and calm both baby and me, so the grey and cream colour palette offered the perfect place to start.

To up the sophistication factor, we opted to keep the walls very simple while still making a statement. Enter one of my favourite go-to wall treatments: paneling. Some applied moulding added to the new baseboard and crown give this room a sense of “bones” and presence without working too hard. It creates just the kind of elegant backdrop I want for the kind of new eclecticism I envision.

Sherwin Williams very generously provided me with my all-time favourite go-to paint for the walls, ceiling, baseboard and trim: Creamy 7012. The walls, paneling, crown and ceiling were all painted flat, but the baseboards, casing and doors are done in a semigloss. I love this colour because it is a warm white without being yellow, and yet it has more depth to it than some of the other go-to warm whites commonly used. Even better, we used Sherwin Williams’ Harmony VOC-free paint to ensure a happy, healthy environment for the sweet babe.

{Side note: I wanted to see the floors sanded and stained in the nursery to match the floors in the rest of the house, but the time and effort required as well as the fumes it would have produced nixed that decision. Another project for another time.}

Once the painting was done it was time for the custom curtains to go up. I can’t begin to tell you how much I  l-o-v-e  these drapery panels! The Thom Filicia linen fabric – an incredibly generous gift from my kind and lovely friends at Kravet – is both lighthearted and elegant and will transition through many years of living. I would happily use this print in a living room or a grown-up bedroom just as much as a nursery, and I love the sense of freedom connoted by all the birds in flight. I have no doubt we will be living with these gorgeous linen panels for many years.

Working together with the feature wall of books and art in the reading nook, things are really starting to feel inspired. I just know I’m going to enjoy spending countless hours in here with my little one!

There is still more artwork to be installed, and of course the rug, crib, chair and ottoman need to be put in place, so stay tuned! More sneak peeks ahead…


By |January 8th, 2014|0 Comments