Garage - one year later

We finished our garage at the very end of last summer. By the time, all the work was done our backyard had been decimated and only a mud pit remained where once there was a garden. Just before the snow started falling we planted some trees and bulbs and hoped for the best. 

We opted to seed our new lawn rather than roll out turf as we had lost that battle a few times in the past with the raccoons pulling up all the newly laid grass. Our wet spring and diligent seeding paid off and by June we had a pretty good lawn to stand on. Incredibly after almost ten years of living in this house I now have a garden to play in. I'm excited to see how things mature and what works and what doesn't. I'm trying my best to keep a few things in bloom all summer long. We'll see how that goes!

As for our garage, it still doesn't have a sauna (crossing my fingers for this fall before the snow hits again) but is otherwise close to completion. At first, I was a bit hesitant to spend money building a garage when a new kitchen or laundry room could have been had but in retrospect it has been well worth the money. We've gained storage space, a workout room, place for the kids to play and a better backyard. Taking the time to design a building we like looking at from both back and front made all the difference.

The Garaga garage door looks great from the alleyway while the shou sugi ban wood front with its seamless doors and custom window make it look like a little cabin in the woods.

Up next, is some much needed patio furniture so we can actually get out there and enjoy some al fresco dinners.


Bathroom Renovation

Looks can be deceiving. I love our old Victorian house but it is not without its challenges. Our bathroom has been harbouring a dirty secret for years -- it has no ventilation. As a result, the humidity builds up and wreaks havoc on our walls causing the paint to blister and traces of mould can be found along the ceiling.

We're finally going to do something about it with the help of Broan who have passed along one of their newest fans, the Sensonic Speaker Fan, that as the name suggests contains speakers and hooks up to any Bluetooth wireless system. So not only will I have a less steamy bathroom but I'll also get to listen to music in the shower. 

Because my house is old installing the fan will take a bit more work than usual. (It has to be vented out of the roof rather than the side of the house.) In the meantime, I thought it would be a good opportunity to make a few changes in the bathroom. High on my list is switching out all the chrome faucets and shower accessories for brass ones. If possible, we might also try and find a vintage sink. My biggest dilemma is whether or not to change the colour of the walls. I love the dark blue-black colour but I'm also ready for a change. I think a dark green (either army or forest) could look really beautiful with the brass hardware or maybe some wallpaper. The there's the light fixture, shower curtain, window covering and medicine cabinet! Here's what I'm looking at for inspiration.


Inspired by

Inspired by. That's the name of a new monthly series of interviews Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge fame is doing with successful women over on the Ann Taylor site. It stems in part from Grace's latest book, In the Company of Women, which features interviews with over 100 makers, entrepreneurs and artists. It was probably one of my favourite books of last year. The series kicks off with an interview of Grace, herself.

Herewith a few of my favourite moments from that interview.

On the best piece of business advice she's been given.

"Embrace whatever works -- until it doesn't. You will always know in your gut what is right before anyone else does.

If she was given three more hours in a day how she would spend them.

"I'd spend more time with my family exploring around the Hudson Valley. I'd love to start the day getting fresh air before I settle into laptop mode."

What does success mean to her.

"Being able to keep a company running (and profitable) that stays true to its moral and ethical compass and pays its employees fairly."


To read more of the interview with Grace check out her Inspired By series over here.


Holiday Gift Guide - Part 2

Yesterday, I posted the first part of our Holiday Gift Guide featuring the work of local designers in the Toronto area (many of them also have online stores for those of your further afield.) We've got more shopping ideas for you today featuring a beautiful tablescape you might just want to copy for your own holiday table. I love the loose arrangement of juniper in the centre of the table accompanied by smaller sprigs at every plate. Thanks to the very talented Amy and Andreea for creating such a inspiring tableau.

Photography: Andreea Muscurel, The Love Studio 

Styling: Amy Carrillo, Love On Sunday

Space: Yoga Yoga Studio

Model: Noor


Source List:

Food: Cinq Foods 

Clothing: Curriculum Shop 

Plants & Pots: Urban Gardener 

Black Chairs & Stool: Coolican & Company via Green Light District 

Blue Carved Porcelain Sphere: Karolina-Anna Hajna 

Tea Towels: Lot 8

Geometric Wooden Planter: Rong Designs 

Distressed Succulent Planters: Dogwood Urban Farm 

Alphabet Planter: Keep Company

Cocktail: Station Cold Brew and Havana Club