Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hot Damn, Padma Lakshmi!

Now, while this doesn't do the same thing for me as a Zac Efron photo, let me be the first to admit that: Hubba-hubba! I want to go to there!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Great Friday

Today I had my family over for brunch.  My parents were in town to see Willie Nelson at Massey Hall and it was a great chance to sit down and break toast.  

I like few things more than setting a table.  Like decorating a house, I think it's important to love every element.  If you have strong personal style (and every piece of the puzzle makes you smile) chances are the whole table or room or whathaveyou will go together.  Below I've mixed vintage teak salad bowls with white Ikea plates with Jeff's family silver set.  A mish mash of glassware rounds it out, including the swirly-damaskesque tumblers and low-slung, slim green quasi-champagne flutes we used for white wine.  Fresh flowers are a must.  I put out two sets of salt+peppers (how could I choose?) and my favourite woven napkins.  The whole thing was springy and fresh.  Jeff wonders why I collect so much stuff, and it's because I just can't not.

Fennel, Green Apple and Carrot Salad

Slice a bulb of fennel, a Granny Smith apple, and several carrots into lovely little matchsticks.  Add in a bit of red onion (perhaps a third of a small one).  Chop some dill and throw that in too.  Coat lightly in lemon juice to keep the apple from oxidizing and prepare your dressing.  Squeeze a couple of navel oranges into a third of a cup (or so) of olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Shake in a container to emulsify.  Pour over the sliced bits immediately before serving.  Best served very cold.  It's like coleslaw and perfect for a light brunch or an afternoon BBQ.  

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Lo Bosworth

I'm coming out of the closet.  Jeff and I watch both The Hills and The City in an avid, rabid, desperate way.  We sing the theme songs, we know the ins-and-outs of every dramatic arch, and we get totally lost in the obvious editing and ludicrous stagecraft.  

Season 5 premiered tonight on MTV and it was everything they promised. Crying, fighting, shopping and cocktails - The same combo of delights we remember from The Golden Girls.  I love nothing more than these three things on a Monday night:

1) Lauren and Lo
2) Dan Levy
3) and several Kelly Clarkson power ballads.

Judge me if you must, but this is the shit dreams are made of.  It's like a trainwreck on the deck of the Titanic.  

UPDATE: Face Down on the FLOR

Today we went to our local FLOR dealer, Neat, on Queen Street West.  They carry samples of every single FLOR carpet option and facilitate the order for you.  Like those childhood days of choosing items from the Sears catalogue, this was a bit nerve-wracking, but exciting too.

While flipping through their pamphlet I spotted the House Pet line, which looks to me like a synthetic hide.  It's a bit rough to the touch, like the pelt of a short-haired pony, but durable and variegated and more interesting than a one-toned wool rug.

We chose the two colours below, one a lovely neutral beige and the other a teak-like orangey-brown.  Since accepting the fact that our new sofa verges thoroughly into the blue family, orange tones have become increasingly appropriate.   Using their online "configurator" I laid out the example below, a random smattering of tiles making them look a bit pixelated.  The world is our oyster, and we'll decide on an official plan when we move in (34 days!), be it stripes, a checkerboard, or something else altogether.  FLOR carpet tiles can be cut and manipulated so many ways! 

UPDATE: Late last night we set-up our living room the way it will appear in our new apartment.  The dimensions are similar so we rotated everything and laid out the furniture.  Turns out we'll see a shockingly small amount of the carpet. I'm not sure it's the place to make a statement, so we changed our order and, instead, got only beige tiles.  It will be a warm foundation for all our bits and bobs, but won't distract.  My eyes were bigger than my decorative stomach.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Faces I Won't Soon Forget

This little girl sat outside a little shop in Havana. Her little fingernails had chipped red polish, but she didn't seem to care. After I took this photo I offered her a tube of Cinderella chapstick and her eyes got even happier, if you can imagine.

I often wonder what she told her parents when they emerged from that shop to find her caking chapstick onto her lips.

Friday, April 3, 2009

More Wallpaper Inspiration

Apartment Therapy posted about wallpaper by Minakani. It's quirky and abstract and fantastic. This one, in particular, interests me. With all of the clean lines and tidy, mid-century stuff we've accumulated, it might be neat to have a chaotic wall like this to break up the order of things.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Another Satisfied Customer

I always rove around on craigslist for used furniture. In a sea of floral and wicker left behind by Dorothy Zbornak, you can sometimes stumble upon real treasures. Late last night I spotted a Gus* sofa for a hot price. We've been gunning for a sectional, but this guy is so much what I want - tufted, grey, tweed, and beauuutiful.  We can pair a chunky ottoman with this couch, if a chaise lounge is what we're looking for.

Normally selling for $1850 (plus Canadian sales taxes!) this 3 month old beauty was on the list for just $950.  (Craigslist Tip: I offered $1050 to secure it. If you know an item is hot you have to act fast and set yourself apart from the others.  She said she had 10 buyers ahead of me, but because I offered more, it was all mine.)  But apparently she has more money than brains and would only take $950 upon pick up!  Lucky day! It's glorious and will be a fantastic, high-quality anchor for our apartment. We've never had anything with more than an Ikea-pedigree, so I'm awfully excited about it.  

It's a bit bluer than I would have liked, so our colour scheme will need to give a bit to compensate. The scale of our existing chairs works perfectly with that of the sofa, as does the weight of their colours.  But no more dark grey paint and perhaps a bit of steely-blue will need to be injected into the bedroom to keep a balance.  I love the bones of this couch so much (and the price!) that I'm happy to re-think it all.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mother May I Steal Your Shirt And Make It Into Drapes?

This is my Mom when she was, like, 11. I dig that paisley shirt-dress. It was the early 1970s, she was rockin' some serious ringlets and could probably squeeze mashed potatoes between her teeth, like nobody's business.

Lately it's like I'm colour blind. I can only see the shades I want to design our apartment in. Tunnel vision. I'm also thinking of artwork. It might be cool to print this photo, real big, onto some canvas and hang it over the couch. It might also be scary to have tween-Mom lurking.

Up Against the Wallpaper

Things are moving along nicely with our apartment planning. We visited Blinds to Go the other day to discuss black-out options for our bedroom. Due to a bossy bulkhead, it looks like floor-to-ceiling drapes won't work in that room. All things considered, that much fabric would have been a bit much in such a small room anyway, so we're going the traditional condo route with roller blinds. With no privacy issues, they are purely functional and I like the idea of a city view and a bright, simple room.

That said, we're thinking one wall should have punch, so wallpaper could be a high-impact treatment. Graham and Brown offer some beautiful designs. Because so many of our pieces are solid, we need pattern, so I'm thinking something bold, something metallic, something like this: