Hellooooo, Weekend!

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I hope your weekend is as full of fun and style as is this room!

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I’m Crackers for Animals

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One of my favourite booths at IDS 2014 was Imm Design.
They sell cheeky little storage solutions, kitchen tools, mirrors, hooks, even stationery!

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I fell for their stuff immediately and wanted to Buy All The Things!
Of course, this  reaction was not a practical one, so I set my cap for one of their crowned cookie jars to put in my kitchen (you know, the one that exists only in my head…) and contented myself with a more useful little treat in the interim.
I’ll show you that on Wednesday.

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In the meantime, here are some of their pretty bits and bobs, designed to bring a hit of charm and whimsy to any room.

L’amour fou

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I love Valentine’s Day.
Not for the romance bit (being romantic on cue is hardly romantic, after all), but for the imagery and the colours. I love seeing all the decor and the cute ideas for parties and treats at this time of year.

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These are a few of my favourite Valentine’s images this year.

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Heart’s Content

In my dressing room, I felt at liberty to go as GIRLY AS I WANTED with the decor.
I try to rein in my girly decorating tendencies in the rest of the house
(and fail miserably, most of the time), but I just let it all hang out in here! Within girlicious reason. Ish.

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One of the things I was really looking forward to styling was the interior wall of the Murphy bed. I collected images  for months and months, knowing I would use them in an all-white gallery wall over the bed, creating a cozy nook for guests.

Buying “art” is pricey and, while I do have some “real art,” I really just like to frame up stuff I think is pretty or cute. The frames are all from Ikea or re-painted ones I had at home. If you are thinking of embracing the gallery wall trend (which we have done in whole-heartedly around here!), here are some of the things I did to get on the bandwagon without breaking the bank.

I found the adorable Amanda Catherine print of the Kate Spade quote at Homesense and snapped it up. I strung up a sweet little Liberty garland I made with pre-cut circles from La Droguerie and some vintage chandelier crystals I found in London at the top, to camouflage the frame of the bed where it mounts to the wall & to add some softness. This is the inside of a bed, after all.

I kept the frames uniform– I went with all white for a soothing, fresh look that won’t keep my guests up at night. I added one gold frame and I mounted a sweet little box from Ladurée to add some sparkle. I like to use more than just framed images on a gallery wall to add some interest. In this case, I hung some starfish and the macaron box from Ladurée to add some depth to the display.

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Above, you can see that I used one of my favourite Dorothy Parker quotes and layered it over a wallpaper sample from Farrow & Ball. Instant cuteness!

How to get a gallery wall without a gallery price tag:

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1. Frame a snippet of vintage fabric. I got this piece at a vintage fair in Kensington, London. It’s an old piece from France and there is no way I could bear actually cutting it, so this was the perfect solution!

2. Use washi tape to hang pretty cards or postcards that tickle your fancy. I like that the flatness of the taped-up cards makes the depth of the frames and other items more interesting.

3. Keep your tongue in your cheek. I loved this postcard of a WWII propaganda poster. I picked it up at Churchill’s War Rooms and thought that I would have had a Very Hard Time with this particular piece of advice. Also, I often pick up postcards when I am travelling and then they just get stuck away in a box and I never look a them. This way, I can be reminded of my lovely summer trip.

4. Frame cards. They also make great travel souvenirs and are inexpensive and light to bring home. I got these in Shoreditch High Street; they are by an East End artist in London and remind me of William Morris‘ wallpaper designs. You will also see a Ziggy Stardust card I picked up at the V&A and a few more postcards and cards on this wall.

5. Frame wallpaper samples. This darling otter with a fan is one of the images on my beloved House of Hackney  fabric and wallpaper. Since I could not bring home the wallpaper (or convince my fella that we neeeeeeeeeed a wall of black wallpaper covered in naughty animals), I got the sample and framed it up.

In other words, FRAME EVERYTHING.
Frames can be had for a song at Ikea or craft stores and there is precious little that is truly un-frameable, so let your imagination soar.
Hung as a collection, even smallish frames and inexpensive artwork can have a big impact, so hunt around your house and see what you’ve got!

Update: Since writing this post, I have seen several posts around the web about the very topic of gallery walls. Clearly, this is bandwagon on a roll– hop on! 

Riddle Me This

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“Trad With a Twist”

I love a quiz. Not a math quiz or anything terrifying, but the kind of (deeply intellectually challenging) quiz one might find in, oh, say, a trashy women’s magazine. My favourite kind of quiz, however, is the “find your style” kind of quiz. Sure, I already know my style, but I still like to play along. Sometimes, I even try to throw the final result by NOT answering truthfully. (Cue Rebel, Rebel.)

Here is one I took the other day while drinking in the loveliness of Lonny Magazine.
Turns out I’m “Trad With a Twist.”
So, what’s your style?

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Amid the madness….

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…of back-to-school, ramping up for a new year, getting back into a rigid routine, it can be hard to find time to let ourselves be inspired and to indulge our creativity.

In my case, I am juggling all of the above and trying to find time to finish the badly off-schedule home improvements  (derailed by manufacturer and installer delays beyond our control).
Thus, you have not been seeing or hearing much from me lately.

There are many projects in the works (and I have even managed to take photos of some of them!) but I have not had time to do the graphics or the writing to post about them. So, I thought I’d share with you some of the places I’ve stumbled upon in my travels around the Interweb.

In addition to the folks listed in the blogroll (over there on the right), here are three places you can go if you just want a dose of pretty.

Manhattan Nest – Daniel is living the dream.
Okay, he’s living his dream, which is also pretty close to my dream.
His budget kitchen reno is particularly brilliant.

Smitten Studio – A lifestyle blog with a truly lust-worthy cabin renovation.
I am pretty much ready to just move right in to that cabin, thank you very much.

French By Design – Snippets of loveliness all ’round.

PS– off to see my mum’s reno-in-progress this weekend; I will be sure to take a few snaps to share with you. Her entire main floor is being transformed and I can’t wait to see it in person!

To Be A Pilgrim

delovelydelightfulFurther to Monday’s post, I thought I’d share with you a few reasons why I make a pilgrimage to Liberty of London a must for each of my visits to London.  If you have never been to Liberty, then I cannot do it justice here, in words or images. If you have been, then you will know what I mean.  Either way, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of what was going on there this July.

It is, in short, a shrine to all things gorgeous and stylish, from paper products to clothing to homewares to décor to sewing and haberdashery and crafting supplies to seasonal items to the purely whimsical and creative. I spend a few hours there each time I visit, just wandering and soaking up the amazing, inspiring, beautifully-styled displays of wonderful, wild, weird, beautiful things I could never afford. Think of Liberty as the elegant, sophisticated grandmother of Anthropologie— the effortlessly chic, stylish, individualistic kind of aristocratic, truly British eccentric, an iconic tastemaker who comes along only once in history.

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I have a few Liberty posts lined up for you, but today’s takes a look at one of the things they do best: push boundaries. This display took my breath away*– the juxtaposition of the religious imagery with the delicate blown-glass skulls and the traditional floral china patterns really works for me. I’d LOVE to have all of these dishes and accents in my home; I love the mix of the delicate and the hard-edged, the use of traditional elements in a decidedly non-traditional way. How pretty would a bunch of the little glass skulls look amid some ivory-coloured candles down the middle of a dining table?

*it also took my brain away– I forgot to check who made these beauties! If anyone knows, please let me know in the comments so I can link to the source. 

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Across the room from the dinnerware was a little display of candy skulls. I can’t explain why I love skulls so much– it dates back to my teen years and there is no good reason why someone as squeamish as I am should be so obsessed with something so macabre… Maybe because I’m a Hallowe’en baby? In any case, I love that skulls are all the rage these past few years!

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(Those of you who work with me will recognize that title, but this link is for those of you who are mystified. The religious connection works on more than one level today. 🙂 )

Back in the Saddle

Taxidermy is really having a quirky, hipster moment. This fella was lurking near the T-shirts.

Taxidermy is really having a quirky, hipster moment. This fella was lurking near the T-shirts.

Hello! I’m back from my travels and am already up to my eyeballs in projects around here (despite some maddening delays… grrr), but before I get into that, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of a lovely shop I first discovered in Brick Lane in 2007 when I went to London for the first time. Luna & Curious  (Seriously, click on that link– you will NOT be sorry, I promise!) has since moved to Clavert Avenue, just off Shoreditch High Street and LHR and I were delighted to stumble on it again.

There is pretty much nothing in this shop that I wouldn’t love to own. It is chock-a-block with the beautiful, the cheeky, the whimsical and the unexpected. Here are just a very few of my favourites.

Naturally the “Alley Cat” plates tickled my fancy.

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Pretty mugs & stripey straws make me smile. I particularly love the mugs that say “Scrounger” and “Nosy Neighbour”!

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How about these to dress up your bathroom routine?

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The faux animal head trend is one I adore– the giraffe brooch now lives with me and I can’t wait to wear it.
I’m also a fan of the mug with the hind-end for a handle. 🙂

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Meet the Designer

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How clever is her logo?

The very best thing about my day job is the teenagers. And then they grow up and into their gifts and talents and, sometimes, if we are very lucky, we get to see where their journeys take them. Such was the case this past weekend at IDS2013, when BMad and I got to see and chat with Jess Tasker, talented owner and designer at Trunk Studio Design.

It was great to see her after 10 years (!) and to see her truly beautiful designs.
She has had a lot of great press lately and deservedly so.

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Here is what her website has to say about her beautiful work:

Trunk Studio blends the clean lines of the Danish Modern furniture tradition with a new Canadian aesthetic. Designer Jess Tasker works with Nova Scotian woodshops to ensure her designs transition seamlessly from paper to their functional form. Her designs are inspired by Canadian culture and landscape, while also incorporating aspects of her Danish ancestry. Trunk Studio was accepted into the Studio North section of the Interior Design Show (IDS 2013) where the Station Chair, Scout Side Table and a ‘yet-to-be-unveiled’ Toque Wall Rack will make their debut on the Canadian and International design scenes.

Designs are subtle, yet creative as she plays with angles and mixes wood species. Pieces must be aesthetically pleasing but also functional and long-lasting. Much like hand-stitched quilts, the character shines through in the details. In other words, the patterns put on display by the wood grain and the design elements engaged. By working with small woodshops to produce her furniture, she is able to insure that pieces are built to a high standard of quality. Trunk Studio pieces are essentially functional works of art.

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The furniture is gorgeous to look at, but what you can’t tell from the photos is how beautifully it is made; the quality of the joinery and the finish of the wood is divine. The pieces are sturdy and durable, as well as lovely to look at. I wish you could feel how silky and perfect the finish is. I wish you could feel how comfy the chairs are!
The craftsmanship is exacting and each piece really is a work of art.

 

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I love the way the furniture hearkens back to Danish mid-century design; the blue fabric is even a re-issue of Danish mid-century fabric. If I were buying, I’d get a Station Chair with upholstery made from 100% wool blankets manufactured by a P.E.I. family — talk about Canadian!

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