I have too many tabs open on my computer right now. Most of them are related to lighting, specifically lighting products and lighting guides. So instead of keeping all the tabs open for much longer, I’m going to do a photo dump in this post, so we can all benefit from some of the pretty lights that are floating around the marketplace right now.
I came across J.D. Lighting in Tillsonburg, Ontario in the newest issue of House & Home magazine. They carry a lot of items – both in lighting and home decor – that I’m drawn to. Much of what I’m sharing here is also approved by my beau, so that’s a bonus!
Mitzi has a cool collection of lights. I like a lot of them, but not all of them suit our house. This modern chandelier stands out to me.
Burke Decor in the United States also has an interesting selection of lighting and home decor items.
The primary goal at our house is to find a chandelier for our dining room before the one-year anniversary of our move-in date in June. My secondary goal (my beau only sort of knows about this one) is to replace all the fixtures in the house soon thereafter…starting with our front hall.
By now, many people know that I’m collecting antique armoires for our new home. I have a beautiful Italian armoire in my office that I use as my bookshelf. In the kitchen, we recently added a large French armoire (one of the ones that come apart…a knockdown armoire) to use as our pantry (which replaced an open bakers rack that came with the house). This very old piece of furniture has travelled from France to Switzerland to Guelph and now it has a new home with us in Waterloo.
It brings me joy.
You know what else brings me joy?
After a bit of inventory analysis, I stocked up on supplies at Homesense (yes, this kind of organization system is an investment of time and money). I opted for white plastic baskets to house categories of items (e.g., pasta, crackers, tea & coffee) and OXO Pop containers for decanting items (e.g., flour, sugar, oatmeal). Then, of course, I labelled everything!
On top of all of this goodness, we have made friends with the previous owners of this armoire. What joy!
I’m sure you’ve come across many shocking before and after home renovations, but this one, I think, should be moved to the top of the list.
Up until one year ago, this house in Waterloo was a frat house. It was awful. Inside and out. The house was such a disaster that it made news beyond the city borders (e.g., on Narcity, Reddit). If you want to have a peak at how some 20-somethings like to live, check out this virtual tour. Warning: It’s awful.
But there’s really great news to share about this historic house. An ambitious and confident couple took on this project and have transformed it into a beautiful, three-story, single-family home. It’s absolutely lovely!
The Interior Design Show (IDS) Toronto begins on Thursday and runs through the weekend at the Metro Convention Centre. I hope to be inspired by all that is new, beautiful, and functional in the world of design after having missed any iteration of IDS for several years.
With my own house in mind, I’ll be on the lookout for what’s new in lighting, countertops, bath fixtures, rugs, and furniture…and pretty much everything else!
Here is a small sneak into some of the IDS 2022 exhibitors.
I’ll share updates on social media and post-show, too, as I’m sure there’s much more I’ll learn and observe in person.
When I look at the photos I’ve been taking and saving recently, there are some commonalities. One common feature is the black and white checkered floor.
I seem to have always been keen on checkered floors; I wrote this post about checkered floors back in 2016! My plan is to add a checkered floor to our entryway (hopefully I’ll get to it this spring). I think it’ll be so pretty.
As I’ve said before, our house needs very little in terms of renovations. Our largest renovation projects would be the kitchen and the backyard. And even then, the renovations aren’t essential…they’d just make me enjoy our house even more than I already do! ðŸ™‚ So the projects we’ve been slowly doing at the house are small tweaks to increase functionality and aesthetic.
One of the spaces that I’ve spent a bit of time working to improve is our main floor powder room. It was a white box that I knew could get even whiter.
Here’s what the space looked like when we moved in:
The bathroom was white and bright, but the light fixture was broken, the mirror was small, and the towel ring wasn’t my aesthetic.
We didn’t want to put too much money and effort into a massive renovation (like installing a custom vanity), but I knew we could do a few things to make it nicer. So we did!
One of the best things I did was to repaint the walls. They weren’t in the best shape, so I patched up a lot of holes, smoothed out a few gouges, and gave the whole room a fresh coat of white paint (leftover Benjamin Moore Simply White). The new paint job – like so many people often say – made a world of difference to this room. Magic!
Beyond the painting, I polished the window hardware (more magic!), hung a round mirror, and installed a modern light.
Seeing the before and progress photos makes me grin. A few tweaks has made a huge difference in the function and aesthetic of this space.
That said, the room transformation isn’t quite complete. The towel bar and toilet roll holder will arrive next month, and we have to decide on art. I’ll be happy to share more photos when all the pieces are in place.
I saw this image on Chris & Julia’s Instagram story, and I instantly loved the look of the sofa. Black and white and bold. I love it! I think it could be a cool element in a living room, office, library, games room, and more.
In my own house, I could see this type of loungey sofa in what we’ve named our sitting room. Or potentially the secondary TV lounge. But where does one find such a cool piece? I’m keeping this photo as inspiration, and now I’ll put it out there in the world and perhaps a similar sofa will find its way into our home (magically, somehow).
Here are some results from my “black white striped sofa” Google search.
I think I love the look of a boldly striped sofa, and I’m now considering such a pattern on my vintage settee that needs reupholstering. This might fulfill my desire for a cool striped piece while I wait for something more lounge-worthy like the one from April Tomlin to come along.
Our home is absolutely lovely. It’s a special place with an interesting history. There are unique nooks and crannies. And there are so many windows.
With every house, no matter how lovely, there’s always work to be done to upkeep it and to make it one’s own. Since moving in June, we have tackled a few minor projects, and we’re really trying to prioritize tasks to align with our needs and budget. This has been hard for me because I want to do everything all at once!
One of the areas that will need the most work in the future is our kitchen. It is large and fully functional, but we have ideas about what how we may want to change it to maximize the space and increase efficiency. Our design dreams, however, are costly, and the changes we have in mind are in our long-term plans.
That said, there are a few things that we would like to change now to make the kitchen more functional and beautiful.
Here’s what the main part of the kitchen looked like just before we moved in.
We like all the windows, the basic white cabinets, and the appliances, including the double fridges (what a luxury)!
The counter and backsplash isn’t our style. The faucet and sink don’t maximize functionality. The cabinetry doesn’t maximize our nearly 10-foot ceilings (future project).
The faucet is terrible. The pull down option is broken, and it looks and feels so inexpensive. It feels like it could break at any moment. When I suggested we get a new faucet, my beau told me that the sink was even more bothersome to him than the faucet. The sink is shallow and has two bowls (regular size bowl plus a 3/4 size bowl). The sink, to my surprise, was annoying him just as much as the faucet was annoying me! We discussed the possibility of replacing one or both items in the short-term or living with the existing set-up until we’re ready for a larger remodel.
In the end, we decided that we wanted to complete a mini makeover so that the kitchen would be enjoyable, functional, and pretty (more for me!). A mini remodel makes sense for us while we save money and plan a larger remodel for the future (similar to Tiffany’s approach). Essentially, this means installing a new sink, faucet, counter, and backsplash.
Step 1 of our mini makeover meant that on one rainy day, I ripped off the fake-tin, plastic backsplash panels. I then primed the walls as a temporary, cheap makeover. We removed the glass domes on the lights, too.
Step 2 will be to replace the faucet and sink. We’re getting some help with this thanks to my long-time partner, BLANCO Canada. (Remember my old laundry room? I was sad to say goodbye to that little space.) I was so happy to coordinate our current kitchen project with the BLANCO Canada team – they’ve always been a real pleasure to work with! And I love that their products are made in Canada (remember this BLANCO factory tour?).
On our wishlist:
a high functioning faucet with pull-down spout and minimal splash
a deep double sink that could withstand messy kitchen work and that would look modern
Here are the faucet and sink options we considered:
Step 3 will be to install a stone countertop (I’ve got my eye on carrara marble or a white quartz), backsplash, and door handles.
Our current mini-makeover design board looks like this:
We liked just about all of the faucets in BLANCO’s collection. Everything was sleek and powerful. We wanted a high arc with a pull-down feature, and the BLANCOCULINA suited our tastes well.
We have chosen BLANCO’s Silgranit PRECIS U 2 sink in white. Daring, right? We debated between single and double bowl options, but decided that a double bowl might suit our current needs best. We were open to both stainless and Silgranit options, too, but I was drawn to the PRECIS U 2 in Silgranit because it’s unique. I have seen the Silgranit in action, and I am confident that the white will withstand the wear and tear of daily kitchen use. Tim and Chris have a white Silgranit in their kitchen, and they let me know that it has been easy to clean.
And this brings me to the end of the first post about our kitchen mini-makeover. In a few weeks, I’ll be sharing some progress and after photos.
Are you surprised to see so much colour? Me, too! Thankfully, the walls in our house are bright white, which is the perfect backdrop for some new additions in our furniture collection. To break up the traditional elements – the sideboard and the rug – I knew I wanted to add white accessories. I started with a pair of bubble lamps – super fun if you ask me!
Soon after I posted the above photo on Instagram, I received direct messages of other bubble lamps.
Here’s Kelly Wearstler’s version (perhaps the original bubble lamp?):
And here are some other bubble lamps (brands unknown), including a DIY version, too.
We moved into our new home in June 2021, and while the house does not need any major or minor work (really move-in ready!), I have a list of projects to make the house feel ours. Since June, we have done a few things that were quite necessary like installing a water softener, leveling patio stones, hiring an arborist, and getting our chimneys cleaned.
Merging two houses has also meant that we have spent a good chunk of time sorting through our pieces of furniture and artwork and deciding what we want to keep, sell, and donate. We’ve also worked on a few different layouts in different rooms as we’ve learned more about what kinds of spaces we need and want in our home.
While we don’t actually need anything for our home, there’s a bunch of stuff I want to do in 2022. Here’s my list (which my beau mostly agrees on, too):
Install a new sink, faucet, and countertop in the kitchen. Replace the cabinet handles. Add a backsplash. (Affordably!)
Upgrade lighting (modern, modern, modern) in as many rooms in the house as possible.
Add rugs to certain space to increase cozy factor.
Install a backsplash in our basement kitchen.
Invest in a upright freezer.
Organize and make better use of our garage and shed.
Continue to hang artwork (and maybe buy a piece that both of us like).
This past weekend, I worked to get my office finally cleaned up. I added a new rug and light, and I saw my design vision come to life. I love my office. It’s a positive place to work, and I think it’s an accurate reflection of me.
I originally had two similar plans for the main components in my office. One version had black accents, and the other had white. In both design plans, I had my heart set on mixing old antiques with modern elements (which is the aesthetic I’m aiming for elsewhere in the house, too). When I made the design boards, I had just purchased an antique desk similar to the one I featured.
Now, my office looks like this:
I was lucky to find my antique desk here in Waterloo from a seller who told me it was her long-time writing desk. How perfect! She bought it in Montreal decades ago, and I think it must have come from France originally. Oui oui! The desk has a leather top inset (protected with glass), wood inlay, and brass details. It’s a special piece of furniture.
Not too long after that, my mom sent me a link to an antique Italian armoire at an auction, and I jumped on it. Things were moving quickly, but I guess timing was right because before I knew it, it was mine! It is lovely!
I feel fortunate to have these two pieces of exquisite craftsmanship in my possession, and they fit beautifully into our historic home. I met the previous owners of each of these pieces, and I could tell that they had strong attachments to them. They cared for the pieces, and I promised that I would, too.
The final two pieces were the rug and the light. I tried to get the black and white striped Ikea rug (seen above) on several occasions, but it was constantly out of stock, so I took it as a sign that the rug wasn’t for this space. Instead I opted for the “let the pieces find me” approach, and when I came across a soft white rug, I took it as a sign that white accents was the way to go for my office. Then I spotted a modern, airy light, and I could see my vision come to completion.
You’ll notice that I have a lot more wood in this office than I ever had before. The pieces are so refined and I just love them against the white walls. And speaking of white, there’s still plenty of it!
The design plan is just about complete. I may exchange the rug for the next size up, and I’m waiting for the delivery of an ergonomic desk chair. In the meantime, I’m using the balance ball and have already noticed that it’s better for my back (core and legs, too) than the dainty antique chair that came with my desk (but it’s just so pretty!).
I am gathering inspiration for lighting…again. I am currently strongly drawn to modern, unique, unexpected lighting to mix into our historic home. I am dreaming of a home with a mix of pieces that we love rather than maintaining the Edwardian style throughout.
The Gino Sarfatti and Aerin chandeliers are especially striking.
While we don’t currently need any table lamps, I seem to be collecting images of ones that I like. For some odd reason, it’s been much easier for me to find and save images of table lamps that I like rather than ceiling lights and sconces. Why is that?
If I was in need of a table lamp, all of these six would be on my wish list.
I have now acquired the two major pieces of furniture for my home office – the desk and bookcase (my office design plan is coming true!). Both pieces are absolutely stunning, and they make me so happy. Isn’t it funny how furniture affects us? Is it just me?
Although my office is still in a state of disarray, I love working in it. The light that shines in at this time of year is just perfect.
I now enjoy this view from my desk.
It’s not white! (And I won’t be painting it.)
My antique Italian armoire is 7 feet tall, and it fits all of my books (and more). The solid bottom of the doors hides my not-so-pretty binders and academic books, and I’ve been able to add trinkets and art among shelves of my non-academic books and magazines. I do quite like the wire front panels, but I can easily trade this out for glass, mirror, or fabric in the future.
Once I find a rug and modern light fixture, then my office will be just about complete.
One of the rug options that I have strongly been considering for my office is Ikea’s Stockholm rug in black and white. It, however, has been out of stock in Ontario for a long while now, so I’m considering other striped options.
The ones I’ve shown here all look pretty good online, but I’d much prefer to feel the rug in person pre-purchase. Have you ever bought a rug online? Were you pleased?
So it seems that I’m on Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji every day. You, too? Please tell me I’m not the only one who browses these sites so frequently. One of the items that I’m the lookout for is a mirror…or more than one, in fact. I have some idea of where one (or several) may end up, but I’ll know more as soon as I see one that I love. Over the last few months, I have bought three mirrors at a fraction of what they might cost at a store and, more interesting for me, they’re all antique (and unique!).
Here are some mirrors that I’ve come across lately (in Ontario) on Facebook Marketplace.
I’m starting to gather lighting inspiration. There are so many lights in our new house, and while everything if functioning well, not every fixture suits our style or this home. That said, I am finding that choosing light fixtures is an overwhelming design task. On top of this, I’m impatient, so I have to remind myself that it’ll take some time to get all the fixtures set.
For now, here are some fixtures that are getting my attention.
Having a bigger house means having more rooms to furnish. It’s completely fun, but it’s also overwhelming and a slow process. We also have a lot of furniture to begin with, so some of our furniture needs mean upgrading to pieces that suit our style and new home. It’s a tough problem to have, I know. We are lucky to have such problems! In other rooms, however, we are starting from nearly a blank slate. We have designated one room as our study/games room, and we are in need of a good set of table and chairs. As such, I’ve been on the lookout for an interesting round table at just the right size. I’d prefer a pedestal table, I think, with chairs that tuck completely in. I think this option would be best for the room and how we want it to function.
Here are some tables that have been inspiring me and the design for our study.
Part of me wants something quite sculptural without chairs, but I know that wouldn’t be practical. Darn!
As I recently mentioned, now that I live in house that was built in 1908, I feel like I want to incorporate some old, charming, refined, beautiful pieces into our interior design. Yes, there will still be a lot of white and modern pieces (like lighting, I hope!), but I just feel like this home should not be filled to the brim with modern and shiny.
I’m not really spending time on one room at a time, but rather I’m going to use the approach of when I spot things we love, that we think will work in a room, and where the timing of the purchase is right, we’ll make the purchase. Slowly, we’ll build each room to our liking.
This approach is slow, yes, and it feels like I’m juggling things in the air a lot, but I also feel like it’s a bit hard to concentrate only on one room at a time. In addition, we don’t actually need anything (combing two houses means you end up with a lot of stuff!), but it’s moreso that we’re trying to add pieces to our existing collections that will enhance function and style in our new old home.
On top of all of this, I’m also practical and we do have a budget to balance. We do have to spend money on less fun things as we get settled – this week’s purchase was a water softener. Not so fun, but very much needed in Waterloo.
So, anyhow, I bought a beautiful antique desk a few weeks ago, which is setting the tone for my office. I think I would like to add a wood hutch/wardrobe to serve as a bookcase, and a new rug and light that keeps the room modern. I’m not yet sure about art. I know a lot of people loved the gallery wall in my first home, but I think a similar installation would overwhelm my new office, so it’s unlikely I’ll be recreating it. Besides this, some of the art has already moved to other areas of our home. The colourful rug is currently in my office, but it, too, feels like it’s overwhelming the space and doesn’t quite match the desk, so I’ll be moving it out soon.
With that, here are two options that I quite like at the moment.
For a long while, I have been interested in mixing classic, traditional pieces of furniture with modern items into my home.
What do I mean by traditional? I’m referring to pieces made from beautiful wood, from the 18th and 19th centuries, with unique, ornate details. Think marquetry, inlay, trim, marble, and gold. (Not white!) I’m referring to pieces you see in antique stores in Paris, New Orleans, and Montreal. I’m referring to the opposite of what you’ll see at West Elm and Pottery Barn.
These types of antique pieces didn’t really seem to suit my first home – an 80s townhouse – and finding just the right pieces at just the right price was never an easy task. I don’t live in France, after all!
Now that I live in a century home, I feel that the time is right for some antiques. I don’t want a house full of precious antiques, but a few select pieces mixed in with existing pieces would suit me just fine.
Here are some examples of the styles I’m eyeing.
What do you think of this style of furniture? Is it for you?
Monika Hibbs wears and has worn many hats – doctor, blogger, influencer, designer, author, and shop owner. Based out of British Columbia, her namesake homewares shop is absolutely lovely. She has some really beautiful pieces in stock currently, especially in the areas of lighting and decor. Here are a few of the items that caught my eye (but are definitely not in my budget…sigh).
In a recent issue of Nuvo, this picture caught my attention and enticed me to read the adjacent article.
I like the table’s length and slim lines and the curve of the unusual light fixture. After reading the article, I learned that this place – Lune 1860 – is in Goderich, which is relatively close to the Waterloo region, and is a place I’ve been to several times in the last couple of years.
Lune 1860 is an event space in a 160-year old country house. It was founded by Lisa Mok, a Toronto-based creative director and graphic designer.
What are your thoughts about freestanding bathtubs? Do you have a favourite brand or design? What criteria do you have for the perfect bathtub?
I can count on one hand the number of baths I’ve taken since I moved into my house nearly eight years ago. Maybe if I had a more ideal design (rather than a massive corner jacuzzi tub where the water gets cold by the time it’s filled), maybe I’d take more baths. This is one of my hopes as I plan my bathroom reno.
These are the styles that I gravitate toward, but I haven’t seen any of them in person (and prices are way out of budget for some of them, so I need to find other options). Since my bathroom is so square, and the shower will be rectangular, I’m thinking a curvy bathtub would be best.
For the past few several many years, I’ve had a bathroom reno on my mind. It’s a really terrible bathroom, and I’ve grown more tired of it over the last year because of, well, being home and using it more than ever before. I am still a little while away from pulling the reno trigger, but here are photos that are serving as inspiration.
In the October issue of House Beautiful magazine, two couches stood out to me because they had been treated in the same way, and I hadn’t seen this look too often before. These couches were covered with throws. And not just a throw tossed over the edge of the couch in a haphazard fashion (nothing is haphazard in styled photos), but sort of in a slip cover approach. Have a look.
I quite like this look. The throw as a semi-slipcover accomplishes several goals: (a) adds warmth, (b) adds texture, (c) adds colour, and (d) adds a layer of protection. In addition, like throw pillows, the throw cover can be changed seasonally and can be washed regularly. Given these advantages, I opted to give this look a try in my home. What do you think of these three options?
Look at how the red throw changed the colour in the room. I took these photos on a very sunny day, and the combination of the sunshine and the red throw made the room rosey! I love the red throw, and I think I’ll save this for Christmas time.
Do you like this look? Would you try it in your own home?
I have been following Daniel Kanter (Manhattan Nest) for years. Seven years ago, he bought a dilapidated old home (with so much potential) in Kingston, New York, and he has been renovating it ever since. Recently, he has taken his readers down memory lane, and it has been wonderful to see the results of his effort to make his home beautiful. I appreciate his design aesthetic and how he has maintained the charm of historic home while injecting it with some modernity.
What do you all think about floating bathroom vanities? Normally, I don’t like them because they don’t maximize storage. However, I’ve recently had a change of heart after seeing this gorgeous vanity (see first image below). Although the vanity is not white, I love it. I also think it’s paired beautifully with the full wall of subway tile, the delicate gold-framed mirror, and simple sconce.
This image made me think about the feeling of lightness of the floating vanity. I think this would be a great option for a small space. A floating vanity would mean there would be more space for floor tile, which would give the illusion of a bigger space. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?
Beyond simple white vanity options in the marketplace, there’s a plethora of wood styles. These bathrooms are lovely.
I crave calm after busy days full of work and social time (in both pandemic and non-pandemic times). This is one of the reasons why I live in a white home. The white walls, art, decor, and furniture make me feel happy and calm. Yes, I do have colour around my home, but for the most part, I live in quite a white space.
The owners and designers of these two homes – one in the country and one in the city – seem to feel the same what that I do about the beauty and peacefulness of white spaces.
I came across this gorgeous home via Jen (Rambling Renovators) recently, and my jaw dropped. I love how La Shed architects were able to maintain the historical integrity of the home while adding in (many) modern elements. The stairwell is especially stunning.
I know my posts have been sporadic these last few months, but I think my creative juices are slowly coming back, and I feel like writing more regularly again.
I’ve had this California home saved for a while to share, so here it is. The view from the large living room window is spectacular, and I could imagine so many lovely meals at the dining room table. Wouldn’t it be ideal if the table was always set as it is in the photo?
The low-rise bed in the main bedroom is waiting for someone to jump on it, I think. And the the twin room is sweet and cozy.
A classic, inviting, and functional foyer design generally includes a bench or console with a mirror on the wall. These foyers share common elements: a wood bench/console and a large round mirror. It’s a great combo!