Shop your shape

That moment when you finally realize what looks good on you is a bit of a revelation. It took me about forty years but once I got there it made shopping a loteasier and way more efficient. Those shift dresses that I love (but look terrible on me) now stay on the rack while anything that tends to emphasize my waist makes it into the change room. 

There’s a store in Toronto called Shopgirls that takes a lot of the guesswork about what to wear. The owner, Michelle Germain, has based her store around buying clothes for the shape of your body rather than just passing trends. She’ll help you figure out what shape you are and then guide you to styles that emphasize your best assets. 

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(Personally, I always reach for designer Veronique Miljkovitch.)

Shopgirls has recently opened up a long-term pop-up further down Queen Street close to Ossington. In celebration, she is offering one free outfit a month for the rest of 2016 to one lucky person. All you need to do is go down to the store (982 Queen Street West) and sign-up. 

Oh and did I mention that she only carries Canadian designers. Support our local talent.

Garage Inspiration

You might remember about a year ago I wrote a post about building a new garage. After months of reviewing drawings and applying for permits our garage is finally underway. The idea of building a garage doesn’t exactly excite me. It’s right up there with putting on a new roof or buying a new furnace. So when we decided that what we really needed to do to make our house more functional was build a garage I decided I’d make it the most exciting garage I could.

We decided to build a two-car garage even though we’re only a one-car family. The extra space afforded us lots of extra storage space for the bikes, skis, lawn mowers and Christmas decorations that fill our basement and a small sauna. To be honest, I’m building the garage for the sauna and it's where I started when I went looking for inspiration for what the garage should look like.

The Scandinavians with their love for outdoor wood-burning saunas have great examples of simple, rustic outbuildings that work equally well as garages. 

With the help of Zuzanna Krykorka of Studio Z Design we settled on a basic wood structure with a peaked roof and vertical lines. In order to make the garage unique it really came down to the play of materials. This is where we started.

PH 3-2 1/2 Outdoor Wall Sconce for the outdoor light

PH 3-2 1/2 Outdoor Wall Sconce for the outdoor light

Outdoor fire pit

Outdoor fire pit

Sourcing materials hasn't been easy but we've been very lucky to work with a contractor (Reno by Gueno) who was happy to search and try new things. After getting a few quotes on pre-made shou sugi ban wood we decided to do it ourselves. Our contractor burned pieces of cedar wood and then sealed them with an tinted oil to bring out the black finish. We've used a board and batten technique on the front and tongue and groove boards on the remaining three sides.

For the garage door, we started off at big-box stores but couldn't find a design to our liking. After a bit more research, we found a company called Garaga that have a wide range of door styles in some really attractive styles. They also have an online tool where you can custom build your door and see a rendering of it. This design centre helped us build our garage door without even stepping inside one of the stores. The best news was that the quote we received for a black, clean-lined, horizontal panelled door was the same price as the ugly doors we looked into at the big-box stores. Some times it pays to do your research!

Slowly the pieces are coming together but we still have a ways to go. I'll update soon with progress photos.

 

20 Best Coffee Table Books (that are also good reads)

I love a good book and a good-looking book but the best is when the two are combined. I'm not a big believer in just buying books because they look beautiful on a coffee table or nightstand. Why bother when there are so many well-designed books that are actually a pretty decent read, as well. Below is my roundup of some of my favourite pretty-to-leave-out but also worth reading from cover-to-cover coffee table books.

By the way, if you haven't dropped by the new Chapters-Indigo at Sherway Gardens (for those of you in Toronto) it's well worth the trip. You won't believe what they have done with the new store (designed by Burdifilek) which is a model they hope to start rolling out to other locations over the next couple of years.

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Warhol's Queens, contribution by Andy Warhol.

A Photographer's Life - 1990-2005, by Annie Liebovitz

More is More - Tony Duquette, by Hutton Wilkinson.

The Big Book of Chic, by Miles Redd.

Tom Ford: Ten Years, by Tom Ford. 

Balthus: Cats and Girls, by Sabine Rewald

Home by Novogratz, by Robert Novogratz.

The Story of Art, by E.H. Gombrich.

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Interiors Atelier AM, by Alexandra Misczynski, Michael Misczynski

Dior, by Farid Chenoune.

Domino: The Book of Decorating: A Room by Room Guide to Creating a Home that Makes you Happy, by Deborah Needleman, Sara Ruffin Costello and Dana Caponigro

Breakfast at Tiffany's: The Official 50th Anniversary Companion, by Sarah Gristwood.

If you're looking for more books and/or bookshelf inspiration check out my Pinterest board on Books in Interiors.

 

My Daughter's Bedroom - Final touches

My daughter's room is slowly coming together. We took these photos last night as the light was starting to fade. Most of the main elements are in place but there is still some work to do to pull it all together. For now, she is quite happy to be in her pink bedroom with all of her favourite things around her.

We decided on a queen bed (perfect for future sleepovers) for her room with storage drawers underneath. The bed is a modern take on the classic wrought-iron bed with a lattice-work headboard. The rug is from Baba Souk which never lets me down when I'm looking for something original and vintage for a room. The owner, Stephanie regularly travels to Morocco to stock her Montreal-based online store and her eye is incredible. This super-soft rug is like the cousin of the very popular Beni Ourain except it has hits of soft colours within the diamond patterns. 

The chair and light are from the new VIKTIGT collection from IKEA. Many of the pieces in this collection are made by hand from natural, woven materials. I love the warm, organic element they bring into the space.

This narrow shelving unit gave us a place to store some of my daughter's toys and favourite books. The baskets are also part of the above mentioned VIKTIGT Collection and fit perfectly underneath. 

We call this little area the cat corner. My daughter has an ever-growing collection of them! 

We combined a mix of pillows and linens to give the bed a layered look. Both of my kids have thin, vintage Kantha blankets at the foot of their beds which we use in the summer when it becomes too hot for duvets. What's missing is obviously some art or wall-hanging for over the bed. We have plaster walls in our house and have had a very hard time hanging anything heavy on them (no matter what time of wall anchors we try!) More than once we have been woken in the night to the sounds of art or mirrors crashing to the ground. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear.