The Little Kitchen That Could

There is nothing more exciting than buying your first home! Our clients made the big purchase with some big renovations in mind. In a previous blog we discussed the bathroom renovation we did for them, and this time it's all about the kitchen! Their kitchen had never been renovated, and I do mean never. It was in need of major update both functionally and aesthetically. 

Bungalow Kitchen

Who: L&J - first-time home owners!

What: 50's bungalow in the Strathearn neighbourhood.

When: Late Fall 2017

Years lived in: Under 1 year

Since the kitchen had such a small footprint, we wanted to make the most of every square inch. There was an unnecessary bulkhead taking up lots of cabinet height, the layout wasn’t well thought out, and there was hardly any counter space. Oh and did I mention there wasn’t a dishwasher!

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The biggest challenge of this kitchen was the layout. We worked on many many different iterations: from a little movable island, to having a little nook to house the oven, to adding an entire wall of cabinetry that didn't exist before, which was the winning idea. 

The kitchen was flooded with natural light so we knew that we could do something special, we presented the idea of an all black kitchen. The clients loved it and we ran with it!

Ge ready for dramatic after photos - drum roll please…

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 For the record this is a 6 month pregger belly!

For the record this is a 6 month pregger belly!

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Black cabinets may sounds scary and dark but coupled with so many other bright elements in this room it feels anything but dark. White subway tiles with white grout kept the space feeling bright, its also a timeless look that won’t date quickly. Bright white quartz counters and durable light coloured vinyl floors further keep the space bright.

Like every renovation we were keeping a close eye on the budget. The custom cabinets took a big bite out of the budget so we needed to find savings in other places.  We opted for a simple 3x6 subway tile backsplash and  3/4" thick quartz counter, slightly thinner than standard thickness it’s barely noticeable but gave us a little savings.

Another budget friendly option were the floors we selected. The floors needing replacing, and there was a very bossy honey wood laminate in the adjacent room, so we didn't want to compete with another wood tone. Our first thought was tile, but tile would be costly as it would require a new sub floor and would cost more to install. The other consideration is that tile can be cold and quite hard underfoot. We ended up choosing marmoleum product from Adura. It didn’t require a new subfloor, installed quickly and feels a bit warmer underfoot.

One of my favourite details in this kitchen is the brick chimney, if you look at the before photos you will notice it was hidden behind a cabinet. The cabinet was narrow and pretty useless. After a look in the basement I had a suspicion we might be able to uncover brick and I’m so glad we did! It adds so much warmth and interest to the space.

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Appliances can add a lot of bulk to a kitchen so it is worth choosing them wisely. For this kitchen we ended up sourcing a fantastic 30" wide counter depth fridge through Bloomberg that didn’t protrude into the room.

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This may have been a vintage home but our clients wanted a fun choice for the central lighting fixture. We selected this gorgeous light fixture from Illuminate Vintage, along with the pretty polished nickel sconce above the sink. They are made to order so you have the option of choosing your metal finish and your shade.

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This little kitchen turned into a big success. I am so pleased with the final results, not only does this kitchen look beautiful but it really functions well. We used every square inch and planned out the placement of every utensil. In the end we made a kitchen that used to make our clients frustrated into a space they love to be in.

J

Photography: Jillian Schecher

Contracting: McCormick General Construction

Flooring: Carpet Superstore

Cabinets: Gem Cabinets

Appliances: Coast Appliances

A Big Boy Room - for my big boys!

Baby #3 is arriving at the end of July and I know that it will turn our world upside down. I wanted to make the transition as smooth as possible for my boys. The plan is for Harrison and Asher to share a room and for the baby to move into our nursery. I wanted the boys to be settled before the baby arrived. 

Here's the thing you should know about my view on kids rooms. I don't believe that a kid's room needs to feel like a kid's room. I'm not interested in clowns, dinosaurs, or monkeys. I want to create spaces for kids to grow into; and one that I like too!

The Boys' Room

Who: My boys, Harrison 4, and Asher 2 1/2

What: Their big boy room formerly our old office/guest bedroom. 

When: Spring 2018

When we started renovating this room before having kids, I had a guess that this would eventually be a kid's room - but I knew that the design I chose would work as a guest room or home office.

The room was in a sorry state when we started. Thin strips of oak covered the 100-year fir floors. The walls were made of plaster, and filled with lath and 100's of sounds of sawdust, hiding plenty of illegal knob and tube wiring. We had to take it down to the studs; for a small room we ended up taking thousands of pounds of debris. 

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I started with the bones of the room and a plan. I knew I wanted a dark colour on the walls, which would be balanced by the amazing light that showers in through a large window. Bedrooms should feel cozy at night, and dark walls do just that! I also knew that I wanted white wainscoting to balance out the dark walls.  This was a bit of a budget buster but it is worth hiring a carpenter to get the detail right!

As in most old houses, the room is small and we had no closets. I decided to build in two Ikea Pax wardrobes into each corner and put a desk in between. It created the built in look that made sense for the era of our house and maximised our space.

Here's the plan for the room:

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I had a colour scheme in mind - Hermes orange, Navy and Chocolate brown with hits of brass metal.

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DIY: I wanted to have a shelf in the room to display keepsakes and the boys' art.

I had my eye on these gorgeous brackets from Anthropologie for hardware, but I didn’t want to break the bank with the shelf, and I wanted a length that would fit perfectly between the two closets.

For this, I purchased a length of unfinished wood from Home Depot for a steal and after staining it with 3 coats it was the right colour. I finished it with one coat of mini wax to seal it. 

The shelf houses some of the boys' artwork, and I used a few of my fav antique hand-painted lithographs that I sourced on a recent buying trip to the UK.

Beds: The space is small but I needed to fit two single beds and a side table. I didn’t want to close in the room so I chose open metal framed beds. They keep the space open and are super durable - pretty much indestructible!

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The result is a beautiful, practical, fresh space for my big boys that is not short of carefully-chosen details!

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Here are a some of the items I used for the decor:

Plum is moving! Here is our story and our new home.

We've been keeping a big secret... we are moving to a new home! After 6 amazing years we are growing into a bigger space. For the first time Plum Home and Design will be in one location! One beautiful location that we can't wait to show you! We will be opening in June and we hope you will visit us in our new home. 

If you know anything about us you will understand why we chose our new location, Oliver Exchange. We will be calling home a heritage building built in 1911. It started life as an early telephone switchboard building, The Edmonton Telephone Exchange and a police station. 

We loved the building's history had and we kept some of the original details in our new space. The doors to Jenna and Pamela's office doors are original to the building. 

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Our design philosophy has always been about creating spaces that feature homeowners personal stories and history. We followed this philosophy in our new Plum home. 

We weren't sure how to tell you about the big move and our Plum Team thought it would be fun to share the news with you through a little storytelling. So, here is a personal look into who we are and a bit about our journey. How exciting is this!

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PLUM team: When and how was Plum brought to life?

Pamela:We opened our doors in August of 2012 after spending more than a year planning during each and every lunch hour.  Jenna had already started her career in interior design when she came to me with the idea of opening a boutique-style shop that would give her design clients an opportunity to connect with the style and products she loves to use in her design practice. My role in the early days was as a business advisor and mentor for Jenna. My career had been spent in the business world, working with entrepreneurs and I had owned my first business when I was 22 and opened another when Jenna was a child. The opportunity to mentor my daughter in business was not one I wanted to miss. 

Jenna: When I started toying with the idea of opening a store front my mom was the obvious one to talk to about it. Not only did she have decades of experience but she also had the passion, drive and fearlessness you need to open your own business. 

PLUM team: Tell us about the growth behind this relocation?

Jenna: I'm really excited that finally both our design business and retail store will be completely integrated. Our customers will have the opportunity to shop for custom furniture, rugs and pillows that we create and source for our design clients; and our design staff will be on site to help.

We have also expanded our Baby Plum section in a big way; the new section will be larger than our current store with so many new lines!

We have expanded in all areas - our vision is to create a boutique style department store featuring local and Canadian made products. 

Pamela: After 6 years in business we knew what our customers wanted. They wanted more! More products, more variety, more of our antiques which is why we have grown into a space that is so much much larger. Our current store is 530 square feet and our new location will be about 4,000 square feet for our design studio and store. 

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PLUM team: Some people may not know that you are a mother-daughter team. What is your favourite part of working with each other?

Pamela: It’s delightful!  It’s really easy working together because I know Jenna so well and I understand her.   Our husbands often tease that we have our own language. That being said, when we are at work we have a professional relationship.  I'm not "mom" I'm Pamela. We have complementary strengths.  We respect that we both bring different skills to the table and we have our respective areas to look after. That’s what makes it work so well.

Rarely do we disagree on the ultimate goal but we approach it  very differently which is always interesting. We have a saying: Jenna is the telescope and Pamela is the microscope. Jenna is always looking ahead and I'm focusing on how we get there. We share a common vision for the company and we trust each other completely so ultimately the path is pretty smooth and we do have a lot of fun. 

Jenna: My favourite part about working with Pamela is that I get to work with Pamela… I love her as my mother but I also really like her. Obviously there is a mother daughter relationship but there is also deep respect and friendship in our work life.  I know working with family can be hard, but I actually find it easy. We are very lucky. 

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PLUM team: What advice would you give to your younger self about starting a business?

Pamela: Follow your gut and do it with confidence. When you are immersed in your business, you really do understand your market and you know your customers’ needs.  Be fearless, trust that you’re on the right path and believe in what you’re doing. 

PLUM team: Do you have any advice to share with other women in business?

JennaI learned early on that I could drive myself crazy comparing myself to others. Measuring my success against theirs. I found the phrase: Comparison is the thief of joy. It is something I carry with me. We are on our own path and that is all that matters.  Focus on your own business.

On that note I think as women in business it is so important that we support each other, this means remembering that her success is not your failure. By supporting another woman in business you aren't diminishing your success. You are just celebrating another well-earned win! 

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Want to be part of the PLUM family?

We are excited about our big move to a new location, with a larger space we need to grow the Plum team and we are looking for passionate, design oriented individuals who want to love where they work!

We are currently looking for:

Full time Store Manager, Full time and Part time Retail Associates

Please email jpryor@plumhomeanddesign.com with a cover letter and resume.

Interviews will begin June 11th.

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Interview by Veronica Petrola - Content & Community for Plum Home and Design.

Laundry Rooms Can Be Pretty Too!

When you think "laundry room" -  your mind might go to the dingy dark corner of the basement, the closet that contains a stacked washer and dryer, or the boring and bland room that is just never organized. 

This is about how we to took a boring room to beautiful. It almost makes doing laundry fun!

One of our regular design clients asked us to dream up a pretty laundry room with an e-design she could follow on her own. E-design can be ideal for little jobs with limited construction and this one is a perfect example of how a vision can become a design reality.

This home was a newly built home so the room started with great bones but lacked character. When you are building a home it is hard to splurge on a laundry room with a long list of expenses.

Our client asked us to:

  • Pretty up a room that is usually not too pretty.
  • Make it feminine!
  • Use wallpaper
  • Work with existing cabinetry and counters.

This is the room we started with:

 

With every e-design we begin with a suggested floor plan, 3D drawing and moodboard. It helps paint a picture for our client. 

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The wall cabinet was not yet mounted, so we opted to mount it in the middle of the wall which then allowed open shelving on one side, and a much needed bar for hanging clothes on the other.

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With some relatively easy fixes like a new faucet, pretty hardware, and stunning, self adhesive wallpaper, the space was transformed to somewhere you actually want to be!

Since the laundry room was on the top floor, in the same hallway as the bedrooms,  we wanted to be sure that even if the door was open, the view was pleasing to the eye. We think we accomplished that goal. What do you think?

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A Family Home Part 2: Dining Room

Back in November I shared the kitchen of the Classic Home renovation we designed. The project was so large that I thought it was best to share in bite size pieces! 

Today I'm sharing Part 2:

An Elegant Dining Room 

Who: Sherry + Phil and their son

What: Kitchen Renovation

When: Spring 2016 - Summer 2017

Years lived in: 10 years

Before we can chat about the after, you need to see the

BEFORE PHOTOS:

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Ta-Dah! Now lets look at the final product!

The first order of business for this space was to remove the wall separating the kitchen and dining room. It opened up the space and made it function for this family. It also showered both rooms with the stunning light from the French doors.

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When we took out the wall between the kitchen and the dining room I really wanted to make sure we didn't end up with an awkward kitchen gable in her formal dining area. And what does every great hostess need? Well a built in bar of course. We continued the kitchen cabinetry into the dining area to create a hidden built in bar. Perfect for serving part guests and to hold all of her beautiful glassware. I repeated the antique mirror from the kitchen in the back of the bar for a cohesive look. 

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Even though our client wanted to open her dining room to the kitchen she still wanted the space to feel formal and elegant. I knew the space needed wallpaper. Deciding on that wallpaper did not come quickly or easily - we looked more than 50+ options from all over the world before finally arriving at this beautiful mural from Anthropologie. Unfortunately it was not available in Canada, but that is when having a designer comes in handy. We found a way!

We decided to frame it with trim rather than apply it to the entire upper wall to really make it special and feel like artwork! The design is in the details.

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The homeowner had purchased the light fixture before the renovation began, so we needed to be able to tie it in to the design, hence the repeated brushed brass accents throughout. The table was a family heirloom and the chairs the client fell in love with right before we started the renos. I love how the black chairs tied in with the graphite in the wallpaper. 

We were fortunate that our client was prepared to commit to luxurious custom drapery in the dining room. They were an important element in the formality of the space. Yes, they are beautiful but they also are functional, the blackout lining keeps the heat out of the room and keeps the sun off her beautiful table. 

We added grosgrain ribbon along the edge of the drapes for another little detail. Of course the hardware mattered, so we went with a gorgeous heavy brushed brass with the most amazing tie backs. They will keep her beautiful drapes out of harms way when they are going in and out of the French doors. 

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Such a bold statement with the wallpaper required the elegant foundation of the trim and wainscoting we applied. If you are planning to install wainscotting the key is to plan, plan and plan some more. How will the trim end? How will it tie into doorways and windows. In this room I didn't want to see electrical outlets in the middle of the design so I had them all moved down so we could hide them in the baseboards.

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In the end we were all thrilled with the result. What do you think?

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Contracting: McCormick General Construction

Photographer: Jillian Schecher Studio

Hardware - Hard Choices

Whether you are buying a custom kitchen or working with Ikea for your dream kitchen there are little things you can do to up the ante in your space. Cabinet hardware is the easiest place to make an impact.

Every kitchen showroom, Home Depot or Ikea has cabinet hardware to choose from - take it from me DON'T. Be an original and have fun!

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Things to keep in mind:

  • Many cabinets come with pre-drilled holes for your hardware so you will be working with a set size.
  • If the cabinets are custom this can be changed but at an expense.  
  • Interestingly Ikea does not pre-drill holes so you can choose whatever you like.
  • Anthropologie makes a ton of fun options but they are made to work with furniture so they come with very thick posts. They will need to be cut down to work with most cabinets.
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Have you ever thought of switching out pulls on budget friendly furniture? It is such an easy change but be prepared for a big impact.

Here are a few of my fav cabinet knobs and pulls:

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Knobs: 1- CB2 Hex Bar Knob, 2- House of Antique Hardware Cadet Knob, 3- Emtek Freestone Finger Pull, 4- Anthropologie Tuva Knob, 5- CB2 Selene Knob  6- Rejuventaion Perles Cabinet Knob, 7- Rejuvenation Beckett Finger Pull, 8- Schoolhouse Electric Radcliffe Knob, 9- CB2 Hex Knob
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Handles: 1- Schoolhouse Electric Card File Pull 2- CB2 Marble Handle 3- Wayfair, Amerock 3" Bin Pull 4- Schoolhouse Electric Galley Pull  5- Wayfair, Hickory Hardware Cottage Bar Pull  6- Anthropologie Saddle Stitch Handle 7- Wayfair, Hickory Hardware Crystal Palace Pull 8- Signature Hardware Highland Ridge Pull 9- Anthropologie Lina Handle
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A Family Home

Quality is not an act. It is a habit.

- Aristotle

The goal of every project is A) a happy client, and B) a beautiful quality project.

I'm so happy that this project resulted in both! Mind you, it took a a wee bit longer than we had planned.

The gestation of most projects is longer than clients expect, but in my experience rushing things has never ended well. There are tears in design and they often result from short timelines or disappointing results. 

When our client reached out to us she had spent a few years compiling photos, plans and dreams for her space. The project was to include the kitchen, dining room, living room, pantry, front entry and eventually the stairway and powder room were added. 

We spent almost 12 months working on this project, and considered everything right down to the most minute detail. It was a pleasure when our clients walked in the door and saw the finished product.

Since it was such a big project I'm going to break it up into a few parts. Let's start with the heart of the home - the kitchen! 

Who: Sherry + Phil and their son

What: Kitchen Renovation

When: Spring 2016 - Summer 2017

Years lived in: 10 years

The old kitchen suffered from a bad layout, beige cabinets circa 1980's, and outdated appliances. It had room for improvement!

Ready for a dramatic BEFORE?

The first order of business was taking down the wall into the dining room to allow for a peninsula. We did countless layouts and finally landed on one that made the most of the space. 

Our client wanted to add style and substance to her home which meant considering all of our choices carefully: trim, paint, hardware. It all needed to say quality!

This was our clients dream kitchen and it needed to check all the boxes, but it also needed to be a wise investment, so there were decisions to be made. Where to spend and where to save?

Cabinets - Splurge

These cabinets were solid wood doors and boxes, custom sprayed and with dove tail drawers and soft close. The appliances were panelled, the vent hood was custom, we added a built in bar and glass doors with custom antiqued mirror backsplash. It was a big part of the budget but worth every penny! 

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Faucet & Backsplash - Save

We didn't choose a particularly large sink as we were trying to maximize the counter space, this meant we could choose a bar/prep faucet rather than a full size faucet. You probably wouldn't notice the difference, but with a slightly smaller reach it's best suited for smaller sinks and the client saved hundreds of dollars.

The backsplash was a classic Carrara marble, trust me I tempted our clients with beautiful mosaic marble options and multiple patterns, but by sticking to a classic size and an easy pattern to install, they saved on the budget without sacrificing style.

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Appliances - Splurge/Save

Our clients elected to choose Ikea appliances for the microwave, oven, stove top and vent hood. Ikea now offers a fantastic warranty and excellent value in their appliances. This is always a great place to save on your kitchen budget, a high end kitchen package can easily exceed 30k.

The fridge and dishwasher were both panelled so they were a bit more of a splurge but worth it because they impact how the kitchen looked. 

When your budget recovers you can upgrade your appliance package (if you chose standard sizes).

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Fun details!

Our client was open to trying new things and that isn't always easy. We fell in love with the idea of antiqued mirror in the bar and in the china cabinet. Well let me tell you - it's not an easy thing to find and it's not inexpensive. Me and my team called all over North America getting pricing, eventually finding a place in Calgary that could do it. Our client happily drove the 7 hours round trip to pick up her mirrors.

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Knobs and pulls - my oh my this was the source of many many emails. If you are getting a kitchen designed please do not choose the hardware available at the kitchen showroom. There are so many beautiful options and doing something different will take your kitchen to the next level. Make sure to ask your kitchen manufacturer what size the their template will work with so you don't incur any extra charges.

After waiting on backorders and getting short shipped, our beautiful Anthropologie knobs finally arrived. Of course nothing's easy - the posts were too long and all had to be cut back but they were worth the wait!

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Don't be afraid to mix hardware vendors, the lucite knobs are Anthroplogie but the rest of the pulls are from Lee Valley. The appliance pulls are from Richelieu - if you are considering panelling your appliances be prepared for the cost. A pull for a fridge can range from $100 - $300 each and most units need 3!

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In every project problems come up, we ran into a big one when the cabinet maker hadn't taken into account the size of the crown moulding that was throughout the rest of the house and was meant to go above the cabinets. The cabinets could not be changed but I came up with a plan! 

We decided where to make the transition, and created a design where the crown went on the ceiling to look like it was the height of our chosen crown. In the end it became one of my favourite details. The 8 foot ceilings magically looked like they were 10 feet tall, something that could be easily replicated and cost was minimal. To keep the trim cohesive we had it sprayed the same colour as the cabinets. 

*Do you see those beautiful ceiling? Hard to believe they were once covered in unsightly popcorn ceilings!

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This was such a wonderful project, I can't wait to share the rest!

J xx

My Favourite Pumpkin Loaf

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The moment the leaves begin to turn I can't help but crave homemade baking, especially if it's pumpkin! When the time for colder air, warm sweaters and crunchy leaves comes around, one of my favourite things to bake is this delicious chocolate chip pumpkin loaf. A good friend of mine baked this yummy loaf for me after having both of my babies, and I've been in love with it ever since!

It's super easy to make, extremely moist and oh so delicious. You can make it in a loaf pan, or in muffin tins (just adjust your bake time). 

This recipe freezes like a dream for 2-4 months so it is worth making. My kiddos love it. 

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Recipe:

2 cups pumpkin puree

2 cups white sugar

1 cup oil 

4 eggs

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 or 1/8 tsp ginger (depending on how much of that flavour you like)

1 1/4 cups chocolate chips (I prefer 1 cup or none at all for a less sweet loaf)

Directions:

Mix pumpkin, eggs, sugar and oil.

Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl.

Add dry ingredients to wet, mix well.

Bake at 350 for 60-65 minutes. Bakes 2 loaves.

Once baked, allow to cool then enjoy a slice my favourite way... with a cup of tea! 

Loft Closet Renovation

You know the saying about there being an elephant in the room? Well when our client called us to help her design a new closet, that was the perfect way to describe the existing closet situation.

A beautifully appointed industrial loft in the center of downtown had so much working for it... until she introduced us to her bedroom closets!

The closet was a poorly designed brown vinyl wallpaper wrapped box. Needless to say- it didn’t float our boat. When is brown vinyl wallpaper a good thing?

Here is a little before:

Pretty bad... right? We started by creating an e-design after asking our client a lot of questions about her wardrobe. How many pairs of jeans does she have? Folded or hung? Workout gear? Functionality is crucial.

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We turned to the Ikea Pax wardrobe system and a little customization to make our client's dreams come true.

These closets sat right across from her bed so they needed to be beautiful and that is just what we created – ta dah!

We wanted her closets to be extra special so we customized the doors by cutting out the top panel and installing a beautiful metal detail. We sprayed the metal grates with gold Rustoleum spray to compliment our chosen hardware.  

Basic white wasn’t going to cut it for our client so the doors were sprayed in the lightest shade of grey.

Whether you are doing Ikea kitchen cabinets, dresser or wardrobes; my design tip is to NEVER use the supplied handles or knobs. Changing them out for something different sets a big box purchase apart. For our client we chose beautiful glass knobs from Anthropologie. 

For added convenience LED motion censored lights were added to each closet. When she opens her doors they illuminate her wardrobe. Let there be light!

I’m a big fan of the new drawers from Ikea with a Lucite front. 

When all was said and done - the brown wallpaper closets became ancient history, and her new closets were beautiful, unique and functional (and didn't cost the world!)

Holy Guacamole!

During the warm summer months my family is all about eating outdoors and easy snacks - enter guacamole. We eat this more than I care to admit because it's fast and easy. Whether you're eating it with chips, fish or a taco- you won't have anyone complaining. 

Making Guacamole isn't really a science, it's more of an art. Everyone likes their guacamole differently: more salty, spicy, no purple onion, not too much cilantro. You get the idea.

There really is no right or wrong but here is how we make ours.

Ingredients:

3 Ripe Avocados (I always grab a paper mushroom bag at the grocery store to help quickly ripen my avocados)

Cilantro - Fresh and chopped to your preference. 

Jalapenos - The heat is up to you, keeping the seeds in your jalapenos always dials up the temp.

Salt - To taste

1 - 2 Limes

Tomatoes - Seeded

Purple onion - Diced

I like to mash up my avocado first, then add the lime and salt.

I add the jalapenos and purple onion next.

Add the cilantro.

Once I'm happy with the flavour I add fresh diced tomatoes. I always seed my tomatoes so the guacamole doesn't get too liquidy!

Happy Dipping!

Birds of a feather

Maybe its the buds on the tree reminding me that spring has finally come knocking but lately everything I source has strong natural elements.

If you ask me to source wallpaper today I guarantee I will show you a menagerie complete with peacocks, flamingos and chickadees. 

Images Via: Architectural Digest, Designer Susan Simonpietri, Caitlin Wilson Design, Style Me Pretty and  Luxe Interiors & Design.

It's not just me the trend is everywhere - like they say: Birds of a feather flock together. 

Netflix-ing!

Netflix-ing. Yep I made that a verb! After a long week of work it is my fav activity. Add in in popcorn and its basically all I could hope for.

 

I rounded up a list of my current favs and a few of oldie but goodies that just came out with new seasons. If you know me at all you know I’m a die-hard BBC fan, but I mixed in a little fun too!

Hinterland – New Season!

Dark and gritty I love everything about this series. The accents can be thick so be prepared for subtitles. Interesting tidbit- it was filmed in English and Welsh.

Scott & Bailey – 2 New Seasons

Basically anything Lesley Sharp or Suzanne Jones is in I love! The series follows two strong minded detectives.

Wallander

Originally a Swedish series, I can’t help but love Kenneth Branagh in this.

Shetland

Get ready for more subtitles! If you don’t want to miss any details the thick Scottish accents can be tricky. So worth watching!

Abstract The Art of Design

This documentary follows designers through their design process. Of course my fav episode was Ilse Crawford, the legendary UK designer.

The Mindy Project

I can’t watch BBC exclusively! Plus a girl needs a little levity. This is my go-to for a giggle.

First Monday in May

Anna Wintour – I adore her! She is also at the helm of the renowned Met Gala. The film follows the development of the 2015 China themed event. Its star studded, snobby and stunning.

Dior and I

Love this documentary! When Raf Simons took over as Creative Director at Christian Dior the cameras were rolling. Wisely, it was quite the combination. You get a behind the sense look at Couture. Wait until you see the home they wrapped in flowers – ah-mazing!

Jane the Virgin

This quirky series feels like a soap opera but I still thought it was a hoot.

Mug Life

As far back as I can remember, a hot cup of tea is the most comforting gesture I know. When we would visit my Grandma's house, the kettle would go on as soon as we arrived. When I got home from school I would put the kettle on and after a break up, a poor exam result or a quiet moment the kettle would go on and I would enjoy a hot cup of tea from my fav mug. 

Even if coffee is your go-to I expect you have a mug that is yours, that nobody in the house would dare drink from. Right?

My mug is a handmade mug by a local potter Selfridge, I have 4 mugs from them but I only use two. They feature a hand painted woman. They are the perfect size, I have a chance at drinking a hot cup of tea and they feel just right in my hand.

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I noticed that Crate & Barrel just launched a campaign for their new line of hand made mugs and it got me thinking: what does your mug say about you? Maybe you like a tea cup and saucer? Is it a 20 oz cup? Do you like a tall mug? Wide mouth? Does the handle matter to you? Finding just the right mug feels a bit like goldie locks looking for the right bed. Too big, too small, just right.

I rounded up a few fav mugs. Whether you like, dainty, cheeky, handmade- I have options for you!

1. LE CREUSET Set of Two Cappuccino Cups-  The Bay

2. Buttercup Yellow Mug- Crate & Barrel

3. Staccato Grey Mug - Crate & Barrel

4. Sophia Mug- Pottery Barn

5.  KATE SPADE NEW YORK Greenwich Grove Cup and Saucer Set- The Bay

6. Mottahedeh Teacup and Saucer, Blue Lace - Williams Sonoma

7- AERIN Embossed Mugs, Set of 4 - Williams Sonomoa

8- Pickard Color Sheen Teacup, Green Gold - Williams Sonoma

 

Jx 

Gingham

Summer and Gingham go hand in hand.

 1- Gingham Oversized Dress- Zara.  2- Gingham Rug- Target.  3- Mini Bucket Bag in Gingham- J Crew.  4- Gingham Romper- Kate Spade.  5- Poleng Gingham Umbrella- CB2.  6-Ralph Lauren Gingham Fabric- Available through Plum.  7- Valencia Gingham Shorts- Club Monaco.  8- Elite Home Gingham Sheet Set- Target.

1- Gingham Oversized Dress- Zara.  2- Gingham Rug- Target.  3- Mini Bucket Bag in Gingham- J Crew.  4- Gingham Romper- Kate Spade.  5- Poleng Gingham Umbrella- CB2.  6-Ralph Lauren Gingham Fabric- Available through Plum.  7- Valencia Gingham Shorts- Club Monaco.  8- Elite Home Gingham Sheet Set- Target.

Maybe it's the blanket you put down for a picnic, napkins at the table or a cute gingham tablecloth. Either way this adorable pattern is a fav of mine and I’m seeing it pop up everywhere this season.

Did you know that the pattern is over 500 years old? It actually started off as striped. But after the Victorian period when it arrived in North America it became more like the check pattern we see today.

It has no right or wrong side since the yarns are dyed and then woven. Traditionally it's lightweight and seen in a blue and white pattern. Lightweight and inexpensive, it’s been used for mocking up couture gowns as well as table and bed linens, but became really popular in the 1960’s.

These days it's not just relegated to the table top. I love seeing it in unexpected places.

 Image via Pinterest madredallas.com

Image via Pinterest madredallas.com

Fun Fact: Did you know Bridget Bardot wore a pink gingham wedding dress?

I rounded up a few gingham inspirations that will be impossible to resist.

 Image via Pinterest  cottageandvine.blogspot.com

Image via Pinterest cottageandvine.blogspot.com