Can You Smell Smoke?

Well now, that’s just my brain, working overtime!
Go get yourself a cuppa (or something stronger)– there are a lotta words in this post.

On Monday you saw my lovely SIL’s inspiration pins. I used those to come up with a look for her kitchen/dining area, keeping in mind words like “young,” “fresh,” “fun,” “family,” all of which come to mind when I think of her, my brother-in-law & their kiddos. I laugh like crazy every time I am with them, so I think that a sense of whimsy without fussiness (who has time for fussiness with two kids under 8?) is important in shaping their space.

Here is what I envision:

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1. ¬†A series of the new Kallax (Expedit’s replacement) shelving units– two tall ones laid sideways along the long dining room wall and one short one on the short wall will provide TONS of storage for this busy family, without taking up too much valuable floor space. What I love about the new version is that they come in truly scrumptious colours, including a minty green similar to the colour in one of my SIL’s inspiration shots! They allow for open and closed storage, a must for my clutter-hating SIL. With some chalkboard tags to label the pretty baskets, everyone will
a) be able to put things where they belong,
b) access and take responsibility for their own stuff.
Even the kids will be able to reach– useful for putting things away (Auntie is a firm believer in “A Place for Everything and Everything in It’s Place,” as is Mummy, kiddos! ūüėČ ), and for helping to set the table, etc. The baskets & cubbies are big enough to store table linens, the protein powder, Tupperware, toys, cookbooks… the list is endless, really. These babies are not bestsellers for nothing.

2. A bright and cheery rug under the table will bring in the pop of bright colour my SIL would like in the otherwise neutral space (cupboards & backsplash are white, countertops dark). Choosing an indoor-outdoor rug means easy cleaning when spills happen, and it will resist fading in the strong southern sunlight that enters the room.
The coral colour ties in with some cute artwork in the nearby living space.

3. I imagine a chalkboard wall on the short wall at the foot/head of the dining table with room for personalized hanging clipboards and space for a calendar to help keep everyone organized. The top of the smaller Kallax unit there will provide space for a laptop and a task light (seriously, how GOOD are these Ranarp lights?)  for bill-paying/emailing school, a phone, baskets for keys, maybe a file  storage system for incoming mail, etc. And it will all look good while also being VERY practical. The idea is for my SIL not to feel overwhelmed by piles of stuff on the table.
(She and I both have pilers for partners. Luckily, it is their only flaw! ūüėČ )

4. Okay, Interwebz & family, stay with me here and TRUST ME on this one. I think the long dining room wall needs some visual interest to tie in with and balance the texture of the subway tile backsplash on the opposite side of the room. Which is where my most controversial design choice comes in.
(I can HEAR you, MJ & MB– just bear with me!)
The wallpaper shown here is
a) not removable, after all. Womp womp. BUT, it is STILL a Great Idea because it is
b) very modern and crisp, not old-ladyish or fusty at all,
c) the element that will take this space from “That looks nice, did you do it yourself?” to
“HOLY HANNAH! Your house is AMAAAAAAZING! Honey, this is what I want OUR house to look like!”
There is always one element in every space that causes a client/family member to balk. (See: trying to get men to paint wood.) When that happens, I remind said client/family member that they have asked for my help for precisely this reason: I can see what they cannot. They need to trust me. AJ & MJ, you need to trust me. It’s gonna be BANANAS! So, so, SO very good. It will be the thing that you cannot stop coming into the room to look at, to just stare at because you can’t believe how cool it looks and how you never thought it could look THAT GOOD. And (pinch you!) it’s in YOUR house!

That’s how happy it’s gonna make you.
I promise.

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5. On that long, wallpapered wall, above the Kallax units (in the gorgeous, minty green), I propose a gallery wall of all white frames. Some pieces might be permanent, some might be Real Art, some might be cute finds you pick up here and there, some (I hope) will be art made by my adorable niece and nephew.
It’ll be so great!

6. Finally, my SIL and I are going to DIY us up a series of the groovy Himmeli pendants in a few different sizes. The Pinterest is a-buzz with tutorials and we are relatively clever ladies, so I figure we can manage it. And then we will make my honey/my SIL’s big bro wire up all that Himmeli goodness. Because he loves his baby sister to the end of the world, so of course he will do it with a smile on his face. (And some swear words. It’s how he rolls.)

Alright, let me have it. What do you think?

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Home, Sweet Home

ZARA HOME, that is!

Here are some of the lovelies on my Currently Coveting List:

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1.  Mirror
2. Tumbler
3. Cockatoo Serving Plate

One of the (very, very many) things I love about the UK is that there are home wares shops affiliated with some of my favourite clothing brands. If you have ever checked out my other little corner of the Interweb, you will know that I am big fan of Zara, the Spanish chain specialising in spot-on designer knock-offs at very accessible prices.

I always make a point of visiting their home wares shop when I am in London and so I am over the moon to know that I can get some of their many delightful items HERE IN CANADA.

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1. Skull Pillow
2. Romance Wallpaper
3. Onuki Nest of Tables
4. Gold Laminate Lantern

Thanks, Zara– you have eliminated the “I-can-buy-only-what-I-can-take-home-on-the-plane” problem! Woot!

(H&M, are you listening?)

What do you have planned?

delovelydelightfulI am away from Delovely HQ for the next couple of weeks, visiting my BFF in London. When people hear my accent and ask where I am from, the next question they ask me is, “What do you have planned while you are here?” ¬†I know they are expecting me to tell them I’m off to Westminster Abbey¬†or Buckingham Palace or to take a spin on the Eye, but I have done all those things before and, while they are all great and I am glad to have done them, I’m not really here to be a tourist. Well, not that sort of tourist, at least not the entire time I’m here.

I am here because, in addition to needing some BFF-time,  I needed a fix of London. I needed the sights, smells and sounds of this enormous, gorgeous, vibrant city that is so steeped in history that you feel yourself moving through the layers upon layers of it with each step you take. London feeds my creative soul. I love the aesthetic, the cutting edge of design that is omnipresent here; fashion, decor, art, performance are all beautifully innovative and perfectly executed here, from street style to interiors to flower shops to specialty food shops. There is here an effortless ability to mix and mingle the very old and the contemporary. And all of that is what I am here to see. I am here for the inspiration, for the vibe, for the feel of this amazing place.  Somehow, in these days of global mass-market homogeneity, London manages to be simultaneously timeless and entirely vibrant, ever-new. London is, in a word, cool.

Today, I wandered out and down to Shoreditch and Spitalfields Market. The latter was disappointing, but on my slow, meandering way, I stumbled upon the brick-and-mortar shop of one of my favourite online design discoveries, the enchanting House of Hackney. I nearly fainted from the gorgeousness overload! The young woman who greeted me was amazing– friendly and helpful and willing to find any answer I needed.

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I’m not normally a fan of the “more is more” school of design, but I admire the all-out gutsiness of layering¬†this cheeky pattern. It¬†works, somehow.

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When I saw this “Hackney Empire” wallpaper in person, I felt a stab of regret at not having chosen it for my dressing room. With its oversized scale, it is So Much Better in person than it looked online.

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Who doesn’t love a coquettish otter with a fan? An eye-patch-wearing badger with a mojito? A frog in tophat? A sloth smoking a hookah? A tequila-swilling raccoon? (oh, wait, that’s just a regular ol’ Toronto raccoon…)

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Is that an accordion-playing lemur on that lampshade? Don’t mind if I do!

My plan?
To bring myself home a wee souvenir in the form of a metre of this fabric so that I can whip up a cushion from it.
(And to somehow convince my Mr. that we need Hackney Empire as a headboard-style feature in our bedroom….)

Picking and Choosing

This time of year is a very busy one in my job– think tax accountant right before tax deadline, Santa’s elves on December 23rd… You get the idea.¬†Which means I have had no time to be creative at all, a fact which is making me mighty cranky! As a result, I also have no photos to show you of any projects around here.

Here, however, is a little something getting underway at my mum’s house. She has worked very hard to save up and is (finally!) giving her house a full-fledged makeover. That means the kitchen is saying goodbye to the ’70s, the living room is bidding farewell to the early ’90s and big, beautiful things are afoot! She is in the process of picking and choosing all the components– cabinets, floors, wallpaper, paint, etc. It’s a fun but nerve-wracking process.

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The paint swatch is called Thunder and it’s by Benjamin Moore.

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Above is a sneak peek at the wallpaper we’ve chosen for her living room. It’s called Swallows and is a reissue of a vintage Sanderson paper from the 1930s. It is sooooo gorgeous– I can’t wait to see it on the wall! ¬†The rug is just an inspiration idea, as she is also getting new hardwood flooring throughout the house. It is going to look amazing!

Wallflowers

Here is the Duchess, in a mock-up of her soon-to-be new surroundings.

I found the Ikat rug online and fell for itРhard. Then I had to decide which of the amazing wallpaper from Timorous Beasties I would choose. This brilliant little company in Glasgow, Scotland, does not make products for the faint of heart. But I find their gorgeous, edgy, hand-painted and/or digital prints completely irresistible.

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Ever since I saw the red/pink version of Thistle on the walls of a pub in Edinburgh, I have lusted for it and wanted to use it in my home. In fact, in the mock-ups, I still like it best.
The trouble is, the paper is darker in real life and really sucks up the light;
I am concerned it will make the room look too dark.

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Luckily, I am also all swoony over the (more expensive, of course!) Fresco, which also looks good with the Duchess and with the rug. Because it is lighter (it isalso quite a bit more silver-y in person), I have decided to order it, even though one person who saw my wall o’ samples took one look at ALL the Timorous Beasties paper samples, made a¬†moue¬†of disgust and said, “Ew! NO!” ¬†I disagree– I love it and, though I’m a bit sad about not being able to use my beloved Thistle, I am sure I will find a use for the latter in some future project. (I already have one in mind….)