henry's room - the reveal

We made it! With only a matter of weeks before baby number two arrives we managed to get Henry moved from his nursery and into his new bedroom. The other night he told me as he headed to bed that he thought his new room was really fun. I'll take that as a huge compliment coming from a three year old boy! Here it is.

I painted three of the four walls Benjamin Moore - Old Navy. The ceiling, trim and remaining wall were painted Alpine White also by Benjamin Moore. I found the antique bed with intricately carved posts of palm leaves topped with what appear to be pineapples at The Barn in Mississauga, Ontario.  For linens, I paired indigo wood-block printed pillows I found at Haveli Home with a red and white striped duvet from Nautica. On the wall, is a Stendig calendar from December 2008, the month and year that Henry was born. Awhile back, I noticed it hanging in the office of a friend of mine and I thought it would make an interesting piece of art as a reminder of the day he was born. I'm trying to think of a good way to identify the date. (I'd love to hear your suggestions!) Once I figure that out I will be probably get it framed in a shadow box of some kind.

You might recognize the kilim rug on the floor. Up until now, it has been in our front hallway. However, I thought it would work well up here so I moved it upstairs. (I'll show you what happened down in the entry way at a later date.) Also making it's way upstairs was the vintage Union Jack I found at the Christie Antique Show a couple of years back. It just seemed to fit the vertical space beside the bed so perfectly. The white ceramic garden stool is also something I've had for awhile. It works for now as a small bedside table. Rounding out the image is the Noguchi paper lantern I purchased for the room.

I covered the window in Henry's room with a wooden roman blind and then layered an Indian printed fabric over top. I made a simple curtain tieback using a length of nautical rope and a simple ring attached to the wall.

For toy and book storage, we created this stacked arrangement of vintage wooden crates. We nailed each of the crates to each other and then secured to them wall. I then filled the crates with a selection of sea-faring treasures, favorite toys and books. On the wall, is a string of old cork buoys I found at a vintage store a couple of years ago. They too seem to have finally found their home!

A close-up of the shelves. The red "X" by Leanne Shapton was given to me by my Hello! Neighbor photographer Kristin Sjaarda and the carved wooden dog bookend came from my husband's childhood bedroom.

A collection of old sporting photographs my husband has started collecting will probably fill the one white wall in the room.

Finally, finishing off the end of Henry's bed is his treasure chest. You should have seen the look on his face when I told him he has his own special box to store his found bounty! We still need to find a way to stop it from crashing down on his little fingers but I don't think it will be too hard.

I'm so happy we managed to get him moved over before his baby sister arrived. Now, I can concentrate on making the nursery  a little more feminine and getting it set up for her appearance.

I'd love to hear what you think of Henry's new room!

toronto life - city homes

Back in December, the week before Christmas to be exact, I met with the editor-in-chief of the Toronto Life special interest publications, Maryam Sanati. Toronto Life, for those of you who don't live here, is a monthly magazine that covers everything that goes on in the city of Toronto from restaurants to real estate to shopping to current events. It also releases about six special interest publications a year. Maryam asked me if I would be interested in writing a couple of stories for them for their special City Homes edition of the magazine. Of course, I jumped at the chance. {By the way, do you recognize that house on the cover? It's none other than Jana and John's home from one of my Hello! Neighbor tours.)

My assignments were to find 15-20 unusual, off the beaten path decorating items for kid's bedrooms (divided into three schemes: the athletic child, the scholarly child and the artistic child) and to pull together five different tabletop settings. Today, I'll show you how the kid's room story turned out and next week I'll post about the dinnerware.

My direction was to think out of the box and come up with items that you might not normally put in a kid's room. The task was harder than it seemed! However, after driving all over the city I did come up with a few unusual treasures. For example, that soapbox car in the first image is an actual antique kid's race toy that I found at Smash. It's probably not practical for most urban sized bedrooms but if you had the space it sure would be great. Looking at the first photo you can also see how Henry's bedroom might have turned out if I had gone with moodboard number one. I think I was heavily influenced by my shopping sprees around the city for that scheme!

For the scholarly child, I love this vintage map from Post & Beam Reclamation. In fact, someone told me the other day that they saw a map like this installed as a window blind in a child's room which I thought was a smart idea.

For the artistic child, I found these great mobiles by local artist Dennis Lin. I'm very tempted to pick one of these up for the nursery as our other one was destroyed. And you can't help but love the Keith Haring rocker from The Drake General Store  - talk about a hip baby.

On a side note, the magazine also ran a few photos of our house.

It was a pleasure to have Michael Graydon come by and shoot our home. All around I'm thrilled with how the stories turned out. Thanks to everyone at Toronto Life for  making it happen. Those editors work tirelessly to bring these pages to you and they deserve a ton of credit!


hello!neighbor - jenny

This is the tenth Hello! Neighbour post I have done and with each one I reach a little further out from my network of friends to discover new homes and places. I first learned about Jenny Francis from her blog which I came across when looking for a web designer (not only is she an architect but a graphic designer as well). She had a post about a Parkdale Victorian which immediately caught my eye. I loved the images of the exposed timber wood ceiling and cutout in the hallway and immediately started wondering if I could do the same thing to my Parkdale Victorian. Then a few months later, I was flipping through an issue of DesignLines magazine when I spotted not only the same beautiful ceiling but a long horizontal mirror that looked eerily familiar. I knew that mirror, it was a vintage find that got away! I was so upset about missing out on that mirror that I actually blogged about it here. I now knew not only who owned the beautiful Victorian house but the mirror as well, none other than Jenny Francis, herself. So, I reached out and sent her an email and asked her if we could tour her house. Of course, she said yes. Enjoy the tour!


Jenny Francis, principal and owner of Jenny Francis Design



How long have you lived in your home?

5 years

Any animals, kids?

2 charcoal grey cats

What is your favorite room?

The ground floor living/dining room. We have had fantastic dinner parties at this long table. It feels good to be in it.

What is your favorite object/thing/moment in your home?

The custom pieces that I have designed are special to me, such as the cocktail tables and the walnut dresser in the bedroom.

What are your future plans for the home?

Additional renovations are planned, for the exterior of the house, the upstairs (new bathroom, new custom closets) and we are considering turning the laneway garage into a little studio.

Anything you would change?

Yes certainly - the house is small and so every design move must be considered very carefully - we haven't touched certain areas yet but refinements are definitely planned.

Best thing about living in Parkdale?

It's a vibrant neighborhood, with a wonderful mix of cultures. It feels as though it's constantly changing and improving, which generates an energy that is exciting to be a part of.

What original feature(s) of your home will you never get rid of?

One of the nice things about the house is that none of the original interior partitions or finishes were precious, and so we could strip things back to a crisp, clean new space. The house is solid and well proportioned, but other than that, there is little we would hesitate to change. We would never get rid of the amazing douglas fir joists that we have exposed in the ceiling though - the wood is beautiful.

Thanks Jenny for letting us inside your home! I'm happy the mirror went to a good home. It looks absolutely perfect above your dresser. It was obviously meant to be.

All photographs by Kristin Sjaarda for The Marion House Book.


Image 1
- Wicker couch: InAbstracto
- Brass edged cocktail table: Custom designed by Jenny Francis for Hotel Le Germain
- Ottoman: 3rd Uncle for the Drake Hotel
Image 2
- Coat hook: Eames Hang-It-All
- Scarf: Virginia Johnson
Image 3
- Baskets: Hollace Cluny
- Jielde Lamp: Inside Modern Living
- Framed photo: framing by Soho Framing
Image 4
- Rolling bar cart: vintage stand, custom corian top
- Stool: Tolix
- Chair: vintage, reupholstered by The Big Stuff
- Mirror: from Chatelet
- Blanket: from Istanbul textiles market
- Pillow: from Fluf
Image 5
- Stools: Tolix
- Chairs: Caban
Image 6
- Brass edged cafe table: Custom designed by Jenny Francis for Hotel Le Germain
Image 7
- Mirror: vintage from Queen West Antiques
- Walnut dresser: custom, designed by Jenny Francis
- Side chair: vintage, from Machine Age Modern
- Pillows: Assorted, from Fluf, Caban, Dwell Studio
- Basket: West Elm
Image 8
- Framed prints: Top by George Taxali, bottom - lino cut bookplates
- Lamp, stool, case: all vintage
- Bedspread: from Istanbul textiles market
Image 9
- Mirror and framed photo: framed by Soho Framing
- Light: combination of vintage parts
- Dresser: vintage from Bungalow
Image 10
- Rolling table: vintage stand, custom solid walnut top

bought in france

So, I'm sure some of you are wondering what I bought while I was away in France. To be honest, not much! On the whole, I found it to be quite expensive but of course, I picked up a few things. When I visit another country, I like to bring back a few reminders of my time there; one or two carefully chosen items that bring back memories of the experience. High on my list was a classic Breton striped shirt made famous by such people as Coco Chanel and Pablo Picasso. It is one of my absolute favorites!

I picked one up at Petit Bateau on Rue Saint-Honore right across the street from Colette. I think it is one of those shirts I will have for a very long time. It never goes out of style. While we were in the store the sales assistant took time to show us how all of the shirts are made in France and carefully stitched so the lines match up from side to side. On the clothing side I also picked up a shirt at Muji and a pair of boots from Minelli which were more of a necessity than anything else.

I did pick one item (yes, only one) at a flea market in Paris but I will save that story for another post.

And that was it....well almost. I was also given a very special present from my Mum and Dad who had been traveling across China, Mongolia, Russia, and Uzbekistan to name a few of the countries before they arrived in Paris. While they were in Samarkand, the central city on the Silk Road, they stopped by the market and picked up a beautiful hand embroidered Suzani for me. I was over the moon when I saw it. The details and hand stitching are absolutely exquisite. I knew that this was going to be the one item that every time I looked upon would remind me of this trip - nothing could top it!

For now, it is proudly on display in our living room where I can see it every day. Isn't it beautiful? Thanks Mum and Dad! I really think it is objects like these that make a house a home. A home that is layered with personal items each with their own meaning bring a space to life and infuse it with personality.

How about you? Do you have any special objects or items in your home you purchased while away on a trip that have meaning for you?

And finally, I'd like to say a special to thanks to Mon over at Splendid Willow today for featuring my home on one of her Knock, Knock house tours. You know I love a good house tour! Mon is an amazing woman with great style that is evident through her blog. Thanks again, Mon!