a patouche giveaway!

Last fall I was wandering around the One of a Kind Show in Toronto when I came across the Patouche booth. Patouche is a children's clothing line that is handmade by the very talented, Kessa Laxton, right in my own neighborhood. I admit that the moment I saw her girl's clothing line a very small,teeny-tiny, very miniscule part of me was sad that I have son!

I mean, come one, it's like these girls just stepped out of a childrens fable complete with little duffel coats, aprons and clogs! (And if you think this is cute, you should check out the little red riding-hood cape she makes.) Kessa started Patouche by making clothes for her own two kids after a career as a designer and scenic artist in the theatre world. She is committed to running a sustainable company and uses natural fibres like cotton and linen, wool blends that are milled in Quebec, vintage fabric trims, and limited-run styles that use end-of-the-roll fabrics from select Toronto woman's wear designers. Lucky for me and mom's of boys everywhere her boy's line is equally enchanting referencing swashbuckling pirates and roving scallywags. (Henry has one of the pirate hats and a pair of shorts complete with a pouch for his pirate booty!)

Back at the booth I struck up a conversation with Kessa about how much I loved her sophisticated yet whimsical children's line. After a few minutes of talking, I realized we lived in the same neighborhood and had some mutual friends in common. Always, on the lookout for new homes in my vicinity, I asked her if she would be willing to open her doors for a Hello! Neighbor house tour. She happily obliged and has us over. Tomorrow, I will back here with the complete tour of her house which believe me, is as charming as her clothing line.

But before we do that Kessa has kindly donated one of her Patouche smock tops as a giveaway! The reversible smock top is one of her most popular items and can be worn by 8 month olds to 3-4 year olds. It works on its own or transitions into fall layered with another long sleeve top.

She is giving away is the orange and brown version seen in the photo below.

In order to enter just leave a comment below telling me what item you like best from the Patouche store. The giveaway ends Sunday, May 22nd at midnight EST. I'll announce the winner next Monday. Enter away and don't forget to come back tomorrow to see inside Kessa's lovely, creative home.

Image Credits:
Lisa Kannakko for Patouche


design curveball

What do you do when life throws you a design curveball? Usually, when we put Henry down for his nap he chatters away to himself for about 5 to 10 minutes before he falls asleep on his own. The other day however I could tell that he really was not tired. He was singing, talking, bouncing up and down, kicking his legs and doing pretty much everything but falling asleep. I went in and checked on him and told him it was time for his nap and left again. Everything seemed fine until I heard the sound of paper ripping. My mind quickly raced through all the possible things that might make that noise when I thought - oh no, it's his wallpaper tree.

Sure enough, I was right.

Henry had ripped the wallpaper right off the wall in three different places. Calmly, I collected the scraps of wallpaper from his crib and left the room. Luckily, for me and him he fall asleep a few minutes later.

The first thing we did after he woke up was move his crib to the other side of the room far away from the wallpaper tree. As you can see, he has another tree here (this one inhabited by cats eating hot dogs, I kid you not!)

Then, I got to work trying to come up with a solution for fixing his tree. Luckily, most of the scraps I rescued from his crib were intact and could be re-wallpapered back on but there was one patch that was missing. Then I remembered that Inke Heiland made small wallpaper birds. I had used them before in his room and thought they would be the perfect fix.

Each packet comes with two birds and a little bag of adhesive. Putting these up couldn't be any easier. You literally paint on some adhesive and apply it to the wall. It doesn't set up right away so you have a bit of time to get the placement just right. After I re-glued the ripped tree parts, I added one bird to the part that was missing some bark and the other above the hooks on the wall.

I thought the one on the tree looked a bit funny just floating there in space so I went outside and got him a little branch to sit on.

I'm actually pretty happy with the way it turned out. When it happened I thought his tree was ruined for good but I actually think it looks better now. I'm sure this won't be the last design curveball Henry throws my way! Let's hope the others are as fixable.

homework - getting started

Ugh, homework! Whose bright idea was it that I start this? Oh right, mine! The hardest part is figuring out where to begin. When I work with clients, the first thing I normally ask them to do is to gather a file of images full of ideas and inspiration. I ask them to grab anything that speaks to them. It doesn't matter what it is. It could be a fashion related, or a bouquet of flowers, or an image of their dream kitchen. Once they've gathered all the images, I ask them to take another look and be ruthless about what it is they like, discarding images along the way. By the end, we usually have a pretty good idea of the look we are hoping to achieve.

I also have one of these files where I store away images that I love. Before I started blogging and collecting images digitally, I would comb through magazines and tear out pages of homes that really spoke to me. I thought it might be interesting to go back to this file and see what I had collected. I guess I'm hoping I will find some clues that will point me in the right direction. I have to say (and I think Michelle alluded to this in one of her posts) that when your working with design images on a daily basis it is easy to become distracted and totally overwhelmed by choice. Going back to the beginning, so to speak, seemed like a good start.

Bedrooms - With the exception of the yellow four poster bed (that might look very familiar and hey, are those the DwellStudio stripe sheets as well!) the rooms I tend to favor are fairly simple with little or no pattern, neutral walls, white sheets, a little bit rustic, natural organic elements, modern, clean lines and comfortable. As you can see, I was heavily influenced by the yellow and grey bedroom for my current bedroom which is maybe not a true representation of what I like.

Bathrooms - Black or white walls again, warm textures, organic elements, historical accents like old radiators and clawfoot tubs, and a little bit rustic. These images seem on track with the majority of the bedroom images.

Living and Dining Rooms - Ok, what do I see hear? Again a mainly neutral palette with a preference for solid colours over pattern, lots of textural, organic elements like sheepskins, cowskins, antlers and carved wood, big prominent art on the walls, mainly low, modern furniture, sculptural lighting, a touch of the antique through old mirrors and chandeliers, slightly bohemian, informal and casual in feel.

Kitchens - The first things that jumps out at me here is wood whether it is rustic and rough or painted or beautifully crafted oak. Again, the palette is warm and neutral with a touch of the industrial, elements like the counters and backsplashes are made of natural materials, the kitchens looked lived in with some things on the counters and open shelves. There is a sense of history with the paneled doors and candlesticks.

Amazing, don't you think? There actually is a clear message being told here. Sure, there are a few exceptions but those are the ones you throw out!

I think if I had to put my style into words it would be something like this: A laid-back and neutral space with organic and historical elements and a touch of bohemian yet spare and modern. Ok, that's a bit of a mouthful but it's me. A layered room is always much more interesting anyway.

The next step in this process is to take a look at each of my rooms individually and see if they fit into the description above. I already know that some of my rooms are going to be in trouble! We'll see what makes the cut and what doesn't next Monday.

Image credits:
1) via Nice Room