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

Journal Entry: Love, loss and a little self-care

Tennyson said:

Tis better to have love and lost than never to have loved at all.

I’ve heard the saying thousands of times and I agree but all that being said it never really prepares you for losing the ones you love.

In the past 8 months I’ve sat at the bedside of my beloved grandparents and said my final goodbyes. It has felt devastating, unsettling – losing the top tier of our family tree.

Often when you share the news that you have lost your grandparents people ask:  how old they were. It always feels like a qualifier of how much you should feel the loss. It’s true I was blessed to spend many years with my grandparents and they lived long and happy lives but losing your grandparents, losing a generation feels so final. It reminds you of the finality of life and of course the fact that one day you will mourn your parents and your children will mourn yours.

I come from a family where – when things get hard we work harder. I’m proud of how hard we work and how tough we can be. Last week I decided to be a little less tough and take care of myself. I unhooked from social media, answered emails from bed and put my out of office on my emails.

Funny, how doing a little self care can feel so foreign but I gave it a valiant effort.

Being a mother a wife and a business owner feels like a privilege, it is. I’m lucky.  I really am. But I will be completely honest it is also completely and totally exhausting. I hate feeling like I’m not doing my best or that I’m failing the ones I love the most. What I do know after a week at home tucked up in bed is that even though I am lucky I will continue to feel like I’m failing unless I take care of myself.

This is either a public journal entry or it will resonate with someone and maybe someone else who is feeling sad, tired, lost will take a day off and practice a little self care. Whether you are tucked up in bed or getting your nails done being a strong, smart and powerful woman means knowing how to care for yourself.

Jx

Quartz 101

The other week we talked about marble countertops, and this week we'll delve into the world of the super popular, hard-wearing quartz surface. We use quartz often on projects, it can have the sought after look of marble or granite without the worry of maintenance or staining you run into with a natural material.

 Our McLeod Building client's custom vanity featuring a quartz countertop.   

Our McLeod Building client's custom vanity featuring a quartz countertop.

 

So if it's not 100% natural, what is it? Unlike marble, quartz is an engineered product. Don't think you aren't getting any natural rock though- a quartz counter consists of 90% quartz mineral, and up to 10% resin and fillers. Because of this, quartz is non-porous, which means you don't have to worry about spills or sealing. Another amazing quality of quartz is that it is heat and scratch resistant, which makes it pretty low maintenance (and who doesn't love low maintenance!)

 Silestone Calacatta Gold Quartz

Silestone Calacatta Gold Quartz

Your next question may be: how is it made? Quartz mineral is ground and mixed with resin and colourants and then set, as opposed to granite, which is cut directly out of rock and into slabs. Veining, glass speckling, and colour can be manipulated, making it customizable in some cases!

When it's all said and done, quartz is really a phenomenal product. Its price point is similar to granite or marble, in some cases it can be less. It really comes down to maintenance and care vs. the look of natural stone. The variations, patterns and colour that you can find in custom stone is unmatched in quartz. Just like everything in life its about trade offs. 

 Image via digsdigs.com

Image via digsdigs.com

Outdoor Table Settings - Stress Free

The outdoor dining season is fast approaching - can we all say an Amen? I'm already planning spending every moment outside which means dining al fresco.

Not only do my usual table settings feel a little out of place outside, but it also makes me a little nervous. I know those plates won't bounce if they're dropped on cobblestone!

Melamine tableware used to scream picnic, but it's come a long way. My indoor table settings are pretty neutral, white & robbins egg blue. Outdoor table settings can be a bit more cost effective so its worth having a little fun and playing with colour and patterns you may not be prepared to commit to everyday indoors. 

I've rounded up my fav settings that will make outdoor dining stress free and stylish.

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Tiny Love Nest Project

Who: J+B, young working professionals with a baby on the way.

What: Heritage apartment building in the heart of downtown Edmonton.

Years lived in: Less than one.

 

Our clients loved their tiny love nest, small in scale coming in at less than 600 square feet. What it lacked in size it made up for in character and location. In a beautiful century old building and located in the centre of downtown it was the dream space for this care free couple. 

The dilemma was that the space wasn't working that well for two people, and their family was growing by 1 with the arrival of their first baby in Spring. You read that right, a less than 600 square foot bachelor condo and a baby on the way!

Small open spaces can be challenging, I have a few rules of thumb:

1 - Divide the space up into zones - we made sure they had a clear bedroom, living room, dining area, kitchen and living room

2 - Don't buy everything tiny - buying pint size furniture is usually the first reaction to small spaces but you end up with a space that feels like a doll house. We fit a full size dining table to fit 6 in our "dining area"

3 - What do you really need? Really think about it. If you haven't worn that sweater that your great aunt gave you it is time to give it away and fondly remember it. In less than 600 square feet there is no room for things that aren't functional.

We really got lucky with these clients, they were completely open to our ideas and we were starting from scratch. With only two pieces staying we could find the absolute best pieces for the space. Here is a little look at what we started with.

Before:

The Bedroom

Where were we going to put the baby? Well logically the nursery had to be in the old closet. Right?

We tore out the old closet and bumped the opening up. It was the perfect niche for a crib, change table and supplies. 

We had a wall built to divide the living from the sleeping area and tucked a ikea Pax wardrobe in the wall as their new closet. We got the tallest unit we could to max out space and left space on top for baskets and bulky items.

The bed lifts up and has tons of storage underneath. The floating bedside tables, made locally by Tomnuk are beautiful didn't take up any extra space. We also wall mounted the reading lights so as not to take up any table top space. 

Amy Dixon, a local artist, painted the beautiful painting over the bed for our clients. 

This may be an open plan home but I advocated for investing in black out curtains in the bedroom. Not only do they block noise and drafts from the original windows but I swear that I have NEVER had a client come back to me and complain that they regret putting black out curtains in their bedroom. Blackout = better sleep. With a new baby you need to sleep when you can. 

The Living Space

Our colour scheme in the entire space started with the Antique Heriz Rug. We pulled the rich navy, plum, deep red, cream all from this 125 year old rug. It was the perfect match for a building as old. 

The floors - when we first saw the space they were hidden under terrible cherry coloured laminate floors. After tearing them up they looked like concrete, but closer inspection revealed that they were the original terrazzo floors. Hours of grinding them down and patching left us with a beautiful foundation for the space. 

I know the living space is small but I wanted them to have space to have people over, play with the baby and work from home if needed. We extended the kitchen cabinets and counters into the dining room. They can use the surface for a TV, work station or a bar if they are hosting people. The ikea cupboards have tons of storage to hide away baby toys, books etc. 

The sofa we chose from Crate & Barrel packs a punch,  it pulls out to a twin size bed! The antique chair was an existing piece that we repaired and had a custom seat made for it.

Kitchen

Originally our clients asked for a U shaped kitchen with a counter for bar stools. I fought hard for our open concept kitchen. Not only does the space feel more open but I think a dining tables is so important. It's where you eat family dinners, do your taxes, celebrate birthdays or have the tough talks. Bar stools are not a substitution. 

This table was made custom for the space, the table top is made of old rail way box car floors. 

To make everything fit we did go with smaller scaled appliances. They have a fully functioning kitchen, dishwasher, oven, stove top, fridge, but we chose space saving appliances. 

We went with the classics in this kitchen, subway tile, dark grout, brass and black metal details.

No upper cabinets  kept the space feeling light and open, instead had custom shelves made for a cleaner look. 

Bathroom

This pint sized bathroom needed to work a lot harder than it was! We started with great bones, the floors were beautiful. The tub needed to be replaced and we got rid of the shower curtain for a glass partition. Pulling the tub out ruined the tile around it so we went with a contrasting black tile. 

We weren't moving the plumbing but the pedestal sink offered no counter space. We designed a custom vanity with a floating look out of the same wood we used in the kitchen. We were working within a budget so we asked our counter supplier for an off cut. These are a huge price savings! The problem was that it was too shallow, so we attached a beautiful wood backplate to the cabinet. Ta-dah! Problem solved and budget saved.

We used one coat of American Clay Enjarre paint from Carbon Boutique in the space as it's great for moisture, and has a nice industrial look. 

We LOVE this round mirror we used in the space! A gorgeous 36", rubber edged piece from Umbra.

Originally our clients had a washing machine in the bathroom, but we sourced a washer/dryer combo unit. Installed shelving above and a rod to dry clothes. 

Front entry

Although we made minor changes here, they were important. We integrated a tall pantry into the kitchen for their broom and vaccuum, which meant the front closet was for coats and shoes only. We added a shelf and double hooks. Painting it out white kept a fresh and clean look. 

Our clients love having a home full of greenery, so we couldn't resist giving them this beautiful succulent arrangement from Fringe & Flora. 

 

All the construction and custom cabinetry was done by the amazing team at  McCormick General Construction

Source List:

Curtains, custom pillows, upholstery, antique rug - Plum Home

Sofa - Crate & Barrel 

Backsplash - Tile & Stone Source

Kitchen cabinets, Pax wardrobe, bed - Ikea

Appliances - Coast Appliances

Mirror in bathroom, faucet, bathroom lighting - Wayfair

Dining Table - Custom by Underground Furniture

Photography Jillian Schecher

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marble 101

The countertop world can be intimidating, there are so many choices and its a big purchase! I have a soft spot for marble but its not for every client. If you are considering marble you may be wonderig: How much should I budget for marble countertops? What does the maintenance look like? Will it scratch? Will it stain?

In this post I've given you some background on marble surfaces to help you decide if it's the right stone for you!

 A bathroom marble countertop we installed for a client.   

A bathroom marble countertop we installed for a client.

 

If you know us at Plum, you know we LOVE marble. It's classic, sophisticated and oh so versatile. Great for counters, tile, fireplace mantels - you name it.

As much as we love the gorgeous marble, the downside is that it can be more difficult to maintain than other materials, especially in kitchens. Since it's not the hardest of natural metamorphic rock, it can be porous (there are no binding agents or glues to eliminate pores) and it can be susceptible to staining and scratching.  We aren't trying to deter you though- if spills are cleaned up quickly, a marble kitchen countertop is totally manageable (just maybe don't cook with a lot of pomegranates or beets) ;) 

Sealing all marble surfaces is a must - that's the first step to avoiding pesky stains.  Another suggestion for easier maintenance would be to choose a honed marble instead of polished. What's the difference between honed and polished? Honed has a more satin finish and velvety touch. Versus a high sheen polished finish. The honed finish is more forgiving and doesn't show marks as much as polished. 

To clean, simply use a cloth with light soap and water (baking soda can be added if you are afraid of staining). 

Price point: There are several types of marble but the most commonly used are Carrerra, Statuario and Calacatta, on average you'll be spending between $90 and $250 per square foot of marble surface. If you want your marble honed as opposed to polished (recommended), that can sometimes add to the cost!

 Image via Becki Owens

Image via Becki Owens

Feeling ready to commit to marble? Maybe not, thats ok. Next week we are going to chat about other counter options worth taking a look at. Your countertops are a big part of your kitchen or bathroom budget so it's worth taking your time and considering all of your options!

Oh Honey Honey!

Hey honey, take a walk on the wild side!

Raw honey is delicious and packed with healthy enzymes, vitamins and minerals. You may know that it’s a healthy choice but did you know it can also be a beauty treatment for hair and skin. Thanks Mother Nature!

We’re giving you the inside scoop for a honey themed night in, complete with a tasty snack (we love snacks). Each of the beauty treatments only use ingredients you can find in your kitchen, it’s so simple, we had to share.

Honey Conditioning Hair Mask

1tbsp coconut oil

1tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp raw honey

Melt coconut oil and add in honey and vinegar; mix well. Add to hair, starting at the tips. Let sit for 15-20 minutes. Wash out with a mild shampoo, and you’re set!


Honey Face Mask, for glowing skin.

Remove makeup and cleanse face.

Take 1 tbsp of honey and rub between your fingers before applying to your face.

Let sit for 20 - 30 minutes.

Rinse with warm water.

Use a cotton pad lightly covered with apple cider vinegar as you would toner.

Moisturize with coconut oil.

Pro Tips:

•   Add a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon to the honey for acne prone skin.

•   Mix some lemon juice into the honey for a light exfoliation. Used over time this will also fade scars and dark spots.

•   If you find your skin is ultra dry, add 1 tsp mashed avocado, and 1 tsp plain whole milk yogurt to the honey. This will add a boost of extra moisture and give the slightest exfoliation at the same time.

 Photo via Unsplash

Photo via Unsplash

Honey Truffle Popcorn

1 tbsp truffle oil

2 tbsp raw honey

Ground sea salt to taste.

Combine honey and truffle oil, gently heat as necessary. Toss popcorn with the honey truffle combination, season to taste with sea salt. (This is honestly so delicious, prepare to make seconds.)


You can use any raw honey for the above recipes, but we particularly love Drizzle Honey. They are founded in Calgary, support Albertan bee keepers, and keep their focus on sustainability and the nutritional value of their products. We can’t get enough!

Splurge vs. Save: Lighting

In our line of work we are always working with varying budgets- some large, some small. The nice thing about working in difference price ranges is that we get to source from so many great suppliers... and trust us, there are tons of lighting suppliers out there.

During the redecorating process,  people often like to pick where they want to spend the "big bucks" - often times that’s on pieces that get the most use like a sofa or table, and want to save in the lighting department. Luckily, there are so many affordable lighting options that still have the wow factor.

Check out our roundup of some gorgeous comparable lights at both SPLURGE and SAVE price points! 

Pendants:

Semi Flush Mounts:

 

 We love that in both options you get that hit of brass!   

We love that in both options you get that hit of brass!

 

Sconces:

 These lights are so similar... and check out the incredible savings!

These lights are so similar... and check out the incredible savings!

Chandeliers:

 Chandeliers can vary immensely in price. Here's an example of two similar fixtures (style-wise) that have more than a $3,000 price difference between the two. $3,000!!!!!

Chandeliers can vary immensely in price. Here's an example of two similar fixtures (style-wise) that have more than a $3,000 price difference between the two. $3,000!!!!!

Sputnik:

 The Classic Sputnik from Lucent Light Shop also comes in other finishes at different price points.

The Classic Sputnik from Lucent Light Shop also comes in other finishes at different price points.

3 Light Vanity Sconce:

 A little bit different in terms of look, but   a     lot   different in terms of price!

A little bit different in terms of look, but a lot different in terms of price!

There you have it! Lighting comes in all shapes, sizes, styles, and price points. The best advice we have before making a lighting purchase is to look around. If you do your research, you are bound to find lots of great options, big budget or small!

It's Wine Time!

For all the ladies working nine to wine… the weekend is here! Pass the glass (or bottle).

If you, like us, are wondering just how it’s possible that we’ve entered yet another cold spell… stay in and keep warm with these tasty wine cocktails.

Wine collage.jpg

Red Hot Summer

We know, the name is such a tease. But we promise Summer pretending is easier with this drink in hand.

3/4 cup of red wine of your choice.

1/4 cup of lemon-lime soda.

Combine ingredients in a glass filled with ice and stir. Garnish with a lime wheel and commence daydreaming of warmer days.

 

Red Splash

For anyone who had one of those weeks, wine + tequila is the answer.

1 1/2 oz tequila

1 1/2 oz pinot noir

1/2 oz lime juice

1/2 oz agave nectar

2 oz grapefruit soda

Combine ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, shake and strain into a glass, garnish with a lime wedge and get the pyjama party started!

 

The Beauty Elixir

To accompany those spa night beauty treatments we all feel much in need of by Friday, mix this concoction in a martini glass and get to pampering yourself.

1 1/2 oz gin

1/2 oz strawberry puree

1/4 oz lemon juice

1/4 oz simple syrup

1/4 oz rose sparkling wine

2 cucumber slices

To make simple syrup, mix equal parts hot water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Muddle the cucumber in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and all ingredients except for wine. Shake and strain into a glass, then top with sparkling wine.

While you’re sipping, browse our favourite wine related goodies here, and (wine lovers rejoice!) we’re giving away a Swell Made Co. Wine key tag (shown in image above)! To enter to win, visit the above image on our Instagram!