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July, 2011

  1. Maine: Our Trip 2011

    July 30, 2011 by admin

    This was our third time heading down to Maine together in our little car.  Well last year we borrowed a big SUV but I wanted to remove the temptation to buy lots of furniture this year so a car it was!  Lots of you have asked to see pictures of beautiful Maine so here you go!

    Maine is the perfect ocean-side location full of natural beauty.  The beaches are lovely (the water is freezing) and the views are spectacular.

    The pinkish granite rocks, trees and water were spectacular.  This, a view from a hike in Acadia Nation Park on Mount Desert Island.

    Acadia National park has a gorgeous beach and this year the waves were pretty big.  We spread out our blanket and just read and watched the water for a loooong time.  Further down the beach someone has spelled out the words, “Thank You” in stones.  I guessed it was a thank you to the beauty of nature.  If so I had to agree!

    This is the view from the beach in the park – how amazing is that?!

    Bar Harbor is the town next to Acadia National park where we stayed first.  There are lots of things to do and see including the charming harbour.

    After Bar Harbor we headed down to Kennebunkport to stay at our favourite hotel, The Colony.  Built in the 1870’s it’s like stepping into another time.  And I don’t mean that in a museum-y way – it’s just got such a beautiful connection with the past and a slow-paced, gracious way of life.

    Once again our room had vintage looking wallpaper and the old furnishings and fixtures.  But don’t worry, there’s an ipod dock too!

    Every detail is just lovely.

    The view from our room over looking the pool.

    Me searching for the perfect rocks on the beach.  Each had such beautiful colours and I was able to make a whole bunch of stone-inspired palettes.

    A classic East-coast general store.  I want that vehicle so badly!

    And can we talk about the plethora of amazing houses?

    This next one was my absolute favourite this year.  From the crisp white paint, the wrap-around porch, the striped awnings and the playful blue door.  It’s just perfect.

    There are people strolling and biking all over and just soaking in the scenery…

    As the sun goes down some houses look even more magical.

    Basically a fairy tale setting.

    It was just the break Sara and I needed and we had a wonderful, low-key, relaxing and inspiring time together.  And you should have heard us belting out songs in the car on the way down!!

    Hope you’re having a beautiful summer too!

  2. Pretty Palette: Steven Gambrel

    July 29, 2011 by admin

    Pale blue walls, an orange printed rug and a gigantic grid of botanical prints – what a great idea!  Thanks Steven Gambrel!

    Design by Steven Gambrel


    Get the look with building blocks like these…

    “Robin’s Egg” by Para Paints from the Sarah Richardson palette…

    The Isnik Dhurrie from West Elm

    A modern take on botanicals from John Derian

  3. Design Sponge + Michael Penney!

    July 28, 2011 by admin

    Amazing news came across my desk today:  I’ve been published in a book!  A real genuine hardcover decorating bible by the wonderful Grace Bonney of Design Sponge!


    This is a book aimed at empowering people to get out and decorate and enjoy their spaces without fear of the taste police or keeping up with the Jones’.  It’s full of cool, quirky and relaxed spaces and some pretty stellar designers too!  Genevieve Gorder, Nick Olsen, Amy Merrik, Molly Sims, Emerson and Ryan and Michelle Adams are all in there and the forward is penned by Jonathan Adler!  I can’t believe I’m in there!

    Here are some sneak peeks from the book!

    Design Sponge At Home by Grace Bonney


    Design Sponge At Home by Grace Bonney


    Design Sponge At Home by Grace Bonney


    Inside Grace has kindly featured our former Toronto apartment and it looks totally different than any shots you’ve seen before!  A special thanks to photographer Kim Jeffery for her beautiful work.  Check it out!


    You can pick up a copy here.

  4. Solid Cushions from Crate & Barrel

    July 28, 2011 by admin

    I’m really into solid cushions right now. So many times cushions are patterned, striped or zippy in some other way and I like this too. But right now I’m in the mood for solid, simple cushions. A few retailers are offering solid cushions in great colours, like these from Crate & Barrel that I’m hoping to pick up soon.

    At about $50 each they’re not cheap exactly, but still affordable. And I’m betting you won’t get tired of them any time soon. You can always mix and match them with patterns, or keep them pure and simple. How about you? Are you seeing this solid cushion trend out there?

  5. Classic Martha: Summery Decorating With Canvas

    July 27, 2011 by admin

    I’m sorry to say it’s been a while since I posted a Classic Martha post!  Scanning can be time consuming especially when you have an outdated computer like I do!  Well I hope this is some worth-the-wait eye candy for you!


    Classic 1990’s Martha Stewart + Decorating + Easy Summer Living = ahhhhhhh….

    Created by Stephen Earle, Christopher Maya, and Scot Schy; Photography by Gentl & Hyers; MSL July/August 1999

    Love the beach house backdrop – so natural, so serene, not trying too hard…

    Created by Stephen Earle, Christopher Maya, and Scot Schy; Photography by Gentl & Hyers; MSL July/August 1999

    Simple loose flowers and summery natural light…

    Created by Stephen Earle, Christopher Maya, and Scot Schy; Photography by Gentl & Hyers; MSL July/August 1999

    Delicious sherbet-y colours mixed with muddier hues (so classic Martha!)…

    Created by Stephen Earle, Christopher Maya, and Scot Schy; Photography by Gentl & Hyers; MSL July/August 1999

    Yup.  Pretty.  Perfect.

  6. Vintage Finds in Maine

    July 27, 2011 by admin

    This year I eagerly headed back to Antiques USA near our hotel in Kennebunkport Maine. It’s a huge building full of antiques and vintage items and there are some great deals to be had. Last year I bought lots including furniture and large pieces for our new house. This year I promised Sara I’d be strict and only look for things we needed. Who am I kidding, we didn’t need anything, but I was fairly strict. Plus she’s the one who found half the items!

    Here’s what we found…

    First there was the amazing Blue Willow platter that Sara spied for only $14!  That was the biggest steal and we love it!  Next was the collection of Jadite items.  As you know I’m on a bit of a Jadite kick these days and have picked up some plates and a bowl recently.  Well Antiques USA didn’t disappoint and  I got an oval platter, a pitcher, a cake stand and a mixing bowl.  I can’t wait to show you them in detail.

    I also got two amazing wooden boxes that were both under $20 and that great burlap table cloth that would go on a round table and reach to the floor with an amazing burlapy fringe – it was $30!  I am totally in love with it!

    So all in all some great finds that didn’t break the bank.  Most importantly the Jadite was part of a focused collection (the Blue Willow too) and the burlap cloth and boxes are classic items that we’ll love for years and years.  No buyer’s remorse and no silent treatment on the drive home!

    Thanks to Katy Elliott who was there to help pick things out and aid in the editing process!

  7. Tabletop Tips from Charlotte Moss

    July 26, 2011 by admin

    When setting the table, many of us get in a rut.  White plates, same flatware, no napkins to speak of…you know the drill.  Why not liven things up?  I’m a tabletop-aholic and I just love picking up odd pieces here and there to layer in with our simple white china.  Charlotte Moss – New York tastemaker and tabletop wonder posted a few tips on her enchanting site recently and I just had to share them with you…


  8. Urban Farmer's Market

    July 26, 2011 by admin

    Well I’m back to the grind – I spent the day staring at a computer screen (hunting for a specific wing chair to no avail) and making copies at the photocopier.  The city loomed tall above me as I walked up to my office at the magazine and I had to ditch my week long shorts-wearing stint and get into some real pants!  Bah!

    But it’s not all bad working in a big city like Toronto.  Just before my trip to Maine I snapped these shots of the farmer’s market that pops up weekly not too far from work.  Seeing it on my walk in just made my heart sing and I wanted to share its wholesome lushness with you here.  Enjoy!








    Highlights were the gorgeous looking veggies and berries and those sweet loose garden bouquets in mason jars.  The vendors were from all over – some even from Port Perry, Ontario which is just north of my home in Oshawa!  I just love farmers and the idea of making things grow locally from the earth – it just feels so real.  And beautiful to look at might I add!

  9. Thomas O'Brien Furniture & Tabletop

    July 25, 2011 by admin


    Well, I’ve made it back from my vacation in Maine.  It was beautiful and I’ll tell you all about it soon.  It was gorgeous as usual!  And Sara and I met up with the lovely and talented Katy Elliott too!  A perfect week all in all.  More to come but until then…happy Monday!  Here’s a little inspiration…


    Thomas O’Brien has been a huge fav of mine for quite a while. And I don’t see that changing any time soon! His designs are just so refined and timeless.

    I’ve blogged about his work here before. I thought you should know he has an impressive roster of product so that everyone can get a little O’Brien – or TOB as he’s known – in their homes.

    Here are some of my picks. I’d take any of ’em!

    This ivory lacquered secretaire is my all time fav, available in Toronto at Elte. It’s part of TOB’s collection for Hickory Chair. They also make this handsome settee…

    And this creamy bamboo-style side table. Dreamy…

    TOB has teamed up with Reed & Barton for a line of china and silver pieces. I would love to own some of these plates in either brown or blue. Or BOTH!

    A little more from the Hickory Chair line. This beats my DIY any day I’m sorry!

    Or this?

  10. Teal Paisley Peter Dunham Chair

    July 21, 2011 by admin

    If there’s one thing I always love it’s a shapely chair upholstered in something fun.  I will admit it might be scary to do a whole sofa in a peacock-coloured paisley print (but how fun?) but a one-off chair like this?  That is my idea of heaven.

    This one’s by Peter Dunham (who you may have seen making an appearance on Million Dollar Decorators recently).