Saturday, 21 July 2012

Budget friendly spaces

I've just completed a 2-bedroom model suite in a modest multi-residential building outside of Toronto. Asked by the client to keep costs down, again I utilized some of existing pieces of furniture from their previous show suite - it just needed some updating.

By injecting some new accessories and pops of colour into each room, the space now feels fresh and inviting.

My favourite is the children's room. I had a blank canvas to work with, and transformed it into a fun, and happy room.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Be my guest


Deep in the heart of one of Toronto's most coveted and older neighbourhoods were two residential buildings with guest suites that needed an overhaul.

The larger of the two was a 2-bedroom suite. I utilized a few existing furniture pieces (in the bedrooms) to keep the budget in check - and hey, if they're still in working condition, why not save the environment? But for the Living and Dining spaces I started from scratch, taking inspiration from some fabulous art pieces. The space is now updated, sophisticated and ready for guests!


Before - Master Bedroom

Before - 2nd Bedroom

After - Master Bedroom

After - 2nd Bedroom
After - 2nd Bedroom work space

Here are some shots of the Bachelor suite. I worked with the existing wall colour that was recently painted and gave the space sleeping, working and lounging zones - all with a hit of glam!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

I ♥ NY too!

I've wanted to write this post since November 2011, but got caught up with the Christmas rush, and then a rush of projects...but New York city has yet to escape my mind.

I didn't expect my jaunt to the Big Apple would've left such an impressionable stamp on my mind - I thought of it just as a shopping weekend mixed with a little sightseeing. It had been some time since I last visited New York, somewhere in the 80's - albeit that too was quite memorable as Richard Gere was in the queue immediately infront of me waiting to be drilled by customs officers. He's just as handsome in person btw. I suppose the buxom beauty on his arm thought so too.

Anyhow, I digress. I set an itinerary for myself as always, to explore the city and managed to check off a few items from my lifetime To-Do list - have an early run in Central Park, and ride the city's infamous subway lines. I even had the opportunity to visit ground zero, eat at Mario Batali's Eataly, spent 30 minutes inside MOMA's gift shop, felt the rush of Times Square at midnight and had yet another celebrity encounter, this time it was Kimora Lee Simmons - we shared an elevator ride at the hotel. She's got mile high legs, probably doubling my entire height.

Truth be told, I did get a lot of shopping in. I was duly impressed with Uniqlo's gigantic flagship store on
5th Avenue and their Jil Sander collaboration collection, +J, as I was of the sheer imagination and glamour of Bergdorf Goodman's general displays and their holiday windows - for the latter, I peeked one late night as they were being prepped for the Christmas unvieling. But here's a picture of one window in all of it's glory.

The charisma and energy of the city was truly inspiring. There's just so many interesting things to see, and the importance of design is prevelant everywhere you turn. I didn't get a chance to capture all I wanted on this trip, so I think I'll just have to visit again soon. I understand New York in the spring is supposed to be equally as fabulous....ok, maybe I'll make it back in the fall. Inbetween I've got more pictures to share with you on what inspired me and why I love NY too!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Waiting in style

I was recently asked to complete the transformation of three apartment lobbies, that had undergone major renovations a few years ago.  It was now time to abolish the 90's furniture, carpets and accessories of the space, that hadn't gone away with the reno.

The buildings are home to approximately 1000 residents in an upscale and desirable area of Toronto. The lobby spaces are very similar in size, look and feel, with slight variances in colours.

I focused on giving the residents something entirely new, however complementing the renovations. I also paid special attention to the needs of the elder residents in the building as they utilize the lobbies the most, awaiting rides and guests at all times of the day.

The result are three unique spaces. Updated and classic. Durable with beautiful details. Purely functional yet has touches of home. My favourite aspect of the furnishings is the piping detail on the club chairs - it's like the satin collar of a tuxedo - the finishing accent that bellows style!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

What's in a frame?

When designing a room or space, the subject of artwork should always be in play - either to adorn walls, atop a table or to hang from the ceiling. Whether you capture inspiration for the room by the prized piece of art, or find something that without a doubt must be a part of the space, artwork should evoke a personal connection to the room and to you. You'll be more grateful (in the end) whether you glance upon or stare at it in amazement.

So how do you decide what should be in the frame? Well, I'm not a big fan of purchasing a print or painting from a big box store - something that has been mass produced and could easily be in my neighbour's home. I'm not trying to be pretentious, but I truly feel that art should be personal and unique...and you don't always have to spend a lot of money to achieve something great.

Approximately 10 years ago I travelled to China and stumbled upon a tiny pair of shoes in an open market. They are a delicate replica of what bourgeoisie women would've succumbed to wear when foot binding was almost a cultural requirement - circa 960, and lasted for many dynasties. The shoes didn't cost a fortune - I actually had my tour guide bargain for me - but they are important enough to me to be showcased. I purchased an Umbra shadow box/frame, and used pins to hold the shoes in place. They've been on display at the entrance of my home and currently hang in my office - I admire them every time I sit at my desk and remember what a wonderful adventure I had exploring China.
Kidlicious Designs - uniquely hand-crafted

The modern graphic artist also has a lot to offer when it comes to unique artwork. For example, Belynda Chen, Kidlicious Designs, places whimsical creative images onto beautifully patterned paper - with or without personalization. She's got many colour schemes to suit your decor, the price is right and the appeal is timeless for children's spaces.

My latest pride and joy is a promotional graphic of Richard Petty (who's image is fashioned as Mr. The King in Disney's Cars) touting touring across America. It's a perfect fit in red, white and blue for the Cars fanatic in my house...and it was free! After filling my gas tank, I simply asked the station attendant if I could have a copy of the placard, as I noticed the promotional date had passed - the sign(s) would've ended up in the garbage. Framed in a simple IKEA Ribba frame, it adds instant appeal to the room.

If photography is more what you're looking for, but you don't have the budget to travel to Egypt for the perfect picture of the Sphinx, check websites like Shutterstock. They've got millions of high resolution royalty free photos to choose from. You can browse for free, then for a small fee, you can download the file in seconds, upload to your local photo outlet or print to your home printer - painless, and all in the comfort of your own home....and don't forget to frame it!

Of course objects of adoration don't always have to be framed to be considered 'art' for a room or space. A friend recently purchased a home where the previous owners hung a 20 foot canoe on the ceiling. Hung upside down, encasing the track lighting, the statement of that art installation welcomes you into the home like no other - fantastic! Of course the house was negotiated on the basis that the canoe had to stay. The house is now referred to as 'the cottage' even though its in the city.

So, keep your eyes open, art is waiting everywhere for you to frame, hang and adore it!