30 Mar 2012

Lessons Learned: Buy What You Love (and can afford!)

Building a place or renovating or decorating is all about trade-offs. You can’t have everything you want – or at least I couldn’t.

So, what I would say is, invest in a few things that you really love and cut back in areas where you can get away with it. At least that was my overall philosophy.

I bought my BDDW mirror early on in the process. I knew if I pushed this off until the end, I’d never buy it. I had to cut back in other areas later on, but I love this mirror and it’s the first thing I see every time I walk into our place. So, yes, I spent a small fortune on a mirror, but for me this was a good trade-off. You can get knock-offs, but the lines and craftsmanship in this piece stand out.

I made a trade-off when it came to lighting. I really wanted a three (or four or five…) arm pendant by Lindsey Adelman. Her work is stunning and hand-made and I can see why each piece costs thousands and thousands of dollars. I just couldn’t do it. I went with three black Artek pendants instead. It’s a totally different look, but at a fraction of the cost, I couldn’t resist. Plus, I’ve always loved these pendants.

So – to each their own. Only you know your budget and what you really love. But if you’re anything like me, I think you’ll find that coveting a few special pieces will bring quite a bit of joy. Likewise, I love a good deal…and knowing that I saved big in certain spots makes me equally giddy!

BDDW Captain’s Mirror

Lindsey Adelman Lighting

Artek Pendants

Some of my favourites for another day:

Serge Mouille Lighting

Hiroshima Dining Chairs by Naoto Fukasawa

Hans Wegner seating

Bulthaup kitchen

28 Mar 2012

Lessons Learned: Form vs Function

Before we started building our place, I think I might have traded off function for good looks. Thankfully, I have a husband who balanced me out and in the end, I don’t think we had to compromise in too many spots.

If something doesn’t work, it’s far more annoying than if it doesn’t look exactly as you might have wanted. At least that’s my view. Don’t get me wrong – I couldn’t live with something I really didn’t like the look of, but I would trade off elements in order to make something function better.

I think the big area where this came into play was in our kitchen. I really would have loved a different island design – we were looking at something cantilevered, so that sets of stools could be facing one another. In the end, we would’ve had an enormous island, with little prep space and the kitchen seating and dining seating would’ve been somewhat on top of each other. So we went with a somewhat more traditional layout.

Here are some other very random examples of my practical side kicking in:

1) This modern house outside of Montreal was featured in International Architecture and Design a while back. I love the kitchen (particularly the wood top) – think it’s amazing. But when it comes to the living room. Those open tread stairs would freak me out a bit with kids and I would have loved to have seen them in a different spot of the house.

Yes, please!

Maybe not.

2) Speaking of stairs. These are pretty wild. But again, the kid factor. Actually, I think I’d even be afraid to walk upstairs!

3) I believe I’ve shown this photo before. It’s an amazing kitchen. But if I really think about what it would be like to use this space, I don’t think I’d be that comfortable. The counter top is a bit narrow and there are limited drawers with the island, so you’d constantly be running to another part of the kitchen to get stuff.

4) Kind of cool idea, but you loose a lot of heat when there are no doors to a shower. That’s what I’d be thinking.

via International Architecture and Design, Factory Chic Blog, Debbie Treolar, Ingber-be

26 Mar 2012

Lessons Learned: It’s in the Details

It’s been about a year that we’ve been in our place now. I figured this is as good a time as any time reflect on some of the things that I’ve learned throughout this process – things I’d change, things I’d do again. I’d love to share the House & Home photos, but that will come in a few months.

For now, let me start by saying that it’s been one giant learning curve. This was my first reno / build – and it was a pretty incredible experience all around. Lots of ups and downs, but this is definitely something I want to keep doing.

One of my big take-aways is about details. I have a much better appreciation for how details (both big and small) add to a space. At the end of the day, lots of decisions were made because of budget. Things had to get cut. But I’m happy that we kept certain design features in – like walnut doors and jambs. We didn’t put them in all rooms (just too expensive), but we did use them for powder room door and in the master bedroom. They really do make a difference. In our master bathroom, we wanted a full wall of caesar stone. We couldn’t do that, so we did it on part of the wall. Love it. In the living room, we have a walnut wall that could have been scrapped. I’m so happy we kept it. These types of features make a difference.

On the smaller side of things, little touches / objects bring life to a space. I saw this first hand while watching a photo shoot come together. Just the way objects are placed together and how textures are used, etc…can change the look of a room. We’re still moving in, really, and lots of stuff will be added over time. But I’m keeping my eyes open for those little touches.

I could literally share hundreds of images to show what I’m talking about, but here are just a few examples to get going:

Below: Serious doorways. Beautiful wood detail.

Below: I love this kitchen – particularly the grey detail. It makes the space in my opinion

Below: Where to begin? The glass floor definitely adds to this space, but I think the black wall is what initially caught my eye

Below: Sleek kitchen, minimal feel with some pretty bold artwork. The artwork adds a nice human touch, I think.

Below: Even look how flowers and wooden bowls can add to this space. I can’t imagine these are out all the time, but they are a nice touch. The suede stools also offer a nice bit of texture.

Images: Japanese Trash, Poteet Architects, Jackson Clement Burrows Architects, The Pursuit Aesthetic, Design Form, Home of Darren Star in Architectural Digest

23 Mar 2012

Print It

I can’t believe I haven’t even mentioned yet that my house is in this month’s Canadian House & Home magazine (well, technically the April issue).

It was a total treat to get to work with everyone that I did at the magazine. The amount of detail and care that goes into putting an issue together is incredible. I’ve always loved magazines and books and publishing – you name it – but I have a total new found respect for it all.

So, these ain’t my interior shots by any means, but here’s a little homage to printed matter!

Have a great weekend.

via Janne Peters, The Selby, French by Design, Stilinspiration, Hanna Skoog, Convoy, Pynter