Wednesday, December 29, 2010

AGO: A Taste of India

If you're in Toronto and looking for something to do this week I highly recommend checking out the bedazzling Maharaja Exhibit at the AGO.  "Maharaja, The Splendor of India's Royal Courts" is showing until April 3rd.  Touring this exhibit you'll enjoy the colourful sights, sounds and smells of India while viewing the spectacular showcase of jewels and costumes worn by India's crown Princes.  You can even see a carriage made out of silver and one of the world's most expensive cars, the Star of India, a 1934 saffron coloured Rolls-Royce Phantom II.

Earlier this month I visited the exhibit with a friend and to fully complete this exotic experience of the senses we enjoyed a delicious indian meal afterwards at the AGO's Frank restaurant.  Such a treat! During this exhibit the restaurant is featuring a special indian inspired menu, including a long list of Maharaja themed cocktails - what a perfect way to satisfy your craving for Indian flavours after soaking in all the spicy colours of the show.

I love the ambience at Frank restaurant, designed by architect Frank Gehry, its understated and chic with its danish modern furniture.  The tables are centred around a dramatic metal sculpture that soars up the centre of the space and all surrounded by stunning backlit walls of wine bottles.

There's a strict no photography policy at the AGO including the restaurant (no photographing artwork allowed!!) so I don't have many photos to show you.  I did get permission from the restaurant manager for the photos here as they weren't of the artwork (scultputre).

The bar at Frank Restaurant.

Just as I found this was a perfect way to kick-off the holiday season,,,,I think its an equally perfect way to celebrate some leisurely time off during the holidays.  

If you'll be spending some time lounging at home and catching up on some of your favorite blogs, you should definitely check out Rambling Renovator's blog for her Great Reads of 2010 Blog Tour series. Its a wonderful round-up of her favorite blog reads and those blogger's favorite posts of the year.  A huge thank you to Jennifer for including CREED in this series,,,honestly, I'm so flattered to be included in such great company!!

All Photos:  Carol Reed

Monday, December 27, 2010

That's A Wrap

This week I hope that everyone is celebrating the holidays by spending time with friends and family and just relaxing after all the craziness of the pre-holiday prepping.

I barely managed to get my gifts wrapped and under the tree in time for our family celebrations.  I've been wrapping my gifts this same way for over 25 years,,,,,but each year they look a bit different because I embellish them with whatever I have on hand so every year it varies.  Even when I was a kid, instead of buying the fancy (and expensive!) Christmas gift wrap I used to pick up rolls of plain brown paper at the post office or office supply store,,,,this was years before it was trendy.

I always have large rolls of black paper and brown kraft paper on hand for my gift wrapping needs year round.  On top of this I use plain twine, raffia or wired ribbon. During the holidays, I add fresh pine or cedar (whatever I have on hand) and then top it off with ball ornaments or pine cones, again, I just grab whatever I have.  Using a hot glue gun instead of tape keeps the branches and pine cones in place and there's no tape visible on the paper seams.

Every year during boxing week I buy a large package of ball ornaments to use on gifts the following year,,,last year they were all silver, this year I used these dark chocolate brown balls.  You can find them in practically every colour imaginable and if you buy them on sale they cost next to nothing - I think they're prettier than bows.

My other favorite gift adornment is pine cones.  I collect them throughout the year so I'll have a large bag handy when I'm wrapping. This one was sprayed with a little bit of fake snow.  A silver paint pen is perfect when you don't have any gift tags - you can write your message directly on the package.  Normally I use metal rimmed round white price tags from the office supply store but my large stash of them finally ran out this year.....

I pick-up bulk rolls of wired ribbon at Costco or a gift wholesaler in a few different colours, this year I used silver one and bronze (I've had the same rolls for 2 years and there's still lots left).  The wired edges on the ribbon are a fail safe way to make super easy bows and twists.

My family used to think it was weird, wrapping gifts in plain brown kraft paper,,,,and now,,,,many of them do the same thing.  These days you can find rolls of kraft or black paper just about anywhere but what I love about them is that the fresh greenery and pine cones (your topping of choice) become the feature. You can pretty much add anything you want to embellish this basic wrap, in the past I've used gingerbread cookies, candy canes, fresh flowers and even dried fruit - you can't go wrong.  But I think the best part is the hand crafted look of the package.  I'm not the type who plans out my gift wrap ahead of time - this method of always having basic plain wrap on hand allows me to embellish with whatever I have in the house (or from outside) even at the last minute.

Despite all the simple beauty of these gift wraps,,,,I was outdone by a sibling this year.  Under the tree at my moms was a gift box addressed to me that looked like it had been shipped from around the world.  It was sooo mysterious, I can't tell you how exciting it was to open it up.  I needed a flat head screw driver thought because it was a wooden box with stapled edges.

My brother made then entire box which had labels on it from all over the world....(this pic is from after I destroyed most of the packaging to open it)...

And the gift inside was handmade too......a solid walnut serving board made for me by my brother.  Aren't these the best gifts ever!  We don't even exchange gifts among my siblings but he made this for me anyway - so it was a complete and total surprise.  I love it, thank you no.2!

Now that this Christmas is a wrap, I'm going to find the time to relax by the fire this week and enjoy a couple of new design books Santa left under the tree for me.

Happy Holidays, from my house to yours!

All Photos:  Carol Reed

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Past

Weeks ago many bloggers started sharing photos of their holiday decor,,,but I'm still here scrambling to get some festive touches in place around casa CREED before Christmas day actually arrives!  Ah the joys of running your own design business usually means you don't have any time left to focus on your own home.  So since my halls are still only half decked for xmas 2010,,,I thought I'd share some photos of xmas's past.  These pics are also mostly from pre-blogging days so I'm sorry to say they're not the best quality photos but I think you'll see a glimpse of holiday decor despite the really bad flash exposure. 

My tree this year, looks exactly like my tree last year, as shown above.  Its simply adorned with white lights, hand-blown glass ornaments, glass icicles, dark chocolate brown balls, lots of silver balls and natural pine cones. I'm always on the lookout for new tree ornaments and usually pick up something new every year but nothings caught my eye this time round.....

Like usual I was running short on time last year so out of necessity I kept the mantle simple, these vases are on the mantle all year long I just added some evergreen branches and silver balls.

During the day an oversize bowl filled with huge sugar cones and evergreen branches sits on the coffee table, when guests arrive I move it to make room for food.....

This is what our coffee table looks like all day long on Xmas ,,,,always covered with food and wine! A guest brought the flowers.

Our dining table last Christmas,,,,,and our $2 light fixture from Habitat for Humanity (which replaced an unsightly ceiling fan).  Even though this is just a rental property and is not a 'designer home' by any means it's never stopped me from entertaining here -  I can't stress enough how strongly I feel about this - never hold off from entertaining family and friends because you think your house isn't 'perfect' yet, your guests really won't care.  Make the most of what you have, you can create an inviting and festive atmosphere with simple things and have memories you'll cherish forever.

Our Christmas table in our Condo about 4 or 5 years ago.  I had more hydrangeas,,,but of course they died a few hours after I brought them home, this was only one that survived. : /  The disco balls were from the dollar store, I loved the sparkle they added.

Another Christmas at the Condo, I think about 4 years ago, orchids instead of hydrangeas on the table.  I had hung crystals from the arc floor lamp the xmas before this and I liked them so much they stayed permanently.  

This is a pretty good reflection of my holiday decor style,,,I keep it really simple and as natural as possible. Some fresh evergreen, white flowers, pine cones and silver balls are my essentials. This was a favorite way to dress up the mantle at the condo, one bough of evergreen with a vase of orchids and branches at the end with a few oversize silver balls.  And probably my favorite holiday accessory I own are the 3 white letters, JOY.  I especially love the subtle effect of them on white walls.

My brother and I a couple of years ago.  This was the first Christmas my family celebrated since my dad's passing,,,,he's wearing dad's Christmas Pants - my dad wore these every xmas for about 30 years or more (they're really old!) until he finally outgrew them, and my brother took over the tradition.  Yup, he actually leaves the house wearing those!!

Ah the morning after, this was boxing day morning from 2 years ago here at the house, my most favorite day of the year.  (Seriously it is).  The centre piece on the table is an example of what you can whip up in about 2 minutes as your guests are pulling in the driveway - I can't even take credit for it, my 'handyman' made this literally seconds before the doorbell rang.  He took a glass cake stand, laid some pine cuttings on it,,,,threw some silver balls and pine cones on top.  Done.  I loved how it was elevated but low lying so it didn't obstruct any sightlines or take up table space and it lasted for weeks.  I thought it was brilliant. 

Here's hoping this Christmas will be just as brilliant as Christmas Pasts!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Freeze Frame

I know it seems this blog has been frozen on Dec.4 for a little too these roses in the garden of a house I'm working on right now.  To see such a spectacle of beauty amongst a pile of construction debris - I couldn't resist but stop and 'smell the roses'.  It was wonderful to just take a breather for a moment and enjoy the beauty, even for a minute in the bitter cold.  Just like these buds I've spent my days freezing my butt of on this job site over the past couple of weeks,,,,and driving all over the city non-stop sourcing for another project, all while talking other clients thru site issues over the phone in between!

Thoughts of holiday decor or shopping haven't entered my mind yet,,,but I feel the stress building up in my shoulders already.  I'll have to do something about the decor this weekend so I've been looking thru photos from Christmas past to try and get myself motivated.  If I can manage to find more than one photo that wasn't taken with a horrible flash exposure, I'll share a few here in the next couple of days.  And if I really get my act together and manage to get the house looking somewhat festive this weekend, I'll snap some pics and post them too,,,,,,but that's a big if at this point. : )

Please excuse the lack of new posts over the next couple of weeks while I concentrate on getting merry and finding joy.  I hope you are doing the same!

  Photo By:  Carol Reed via Iphone

Saturday, December 4, 2010

NYC - Fishs Eddy

If you love to cook and love to entertain you'll love Fishs Eddys.  While I didn't do a lot of shopping when I was in NYC last month (too much sightseeing!)  I did manage to make it back to this meca for diner ware twice.  I wish I could have brought more things home with me but I discovered they provide shipping services for purchases in the store and on the website so I know I can get my fix anytime.   I imagine if I lived in New York I'd be a frequent visitor to this shop,,,like everytime I throw a dinner party!  This store is a home cook's dream, its chock full of retro and classic style kitchen ware both new and vintage.  While the store itself isn't huge the shelves are stacked to the ceiling and overflowing with wares.  Quirky vintage finds, classic diner plates, american glassware and every kind of kitchen gadget you can imagine all displayed amongst a collectioin of vintage portraits hung on beadboard walls.  On your next visit to New York don't miss a chance to visit Fishs Eddys, its right across the street from ABC Carpet & Home so this local is a destination point for any home decor enthusiast.  

They had me at Diner Whites.  Gasp.

Hotel Silverware...

Glove Moulds,,,,I bought a couple of very small white ones.   Remember seeing similar ones in this House Beautiful shoot from January 2009.....

......colourful, quirky and unexpected!

She was my favorite of all the portraits and looked stunning beside this American glassware.  I'm pretty sure they colour co-ordinated their displays to the portraits...

No space was left bare, portraits were everywhere....

another beauty,,,,and see how great she looks with the gold and green dishes in the background...

I'd never seen such a large collection of everyday glassware...

I was crazy for these Italian wine glasses sold in sets of 6,,,,,,I was so sad to leave these behind.

Handpressed Amercican glassware cake stands.  Need I say more...........

Just a small sampling of all the other tempting treasures....

Want to see more Fishs Eddys but wont be in NYC anytime soon, you can hop on over to their website and drool some more, I recommend starting at their American Glassware section. : )

All Photos:  Carol Reed

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Modern Love: Dining Room Progress 1

'Modern Love' is a current project I'm working on that involves furnishing a rather large sub-urban house for a busy young couple who love modern furniture.  The process actually started a few years ago when he was still a bachelor and a new first time homeowner.  I worked with him on updating all the interior finishes and purchasing some key furniture pieces.  Flash forward a couple of years to today and.....,,,well,,,,, the house still looks the same as where we left off - but his bachelors days are over!  He now has a fiance and they are brand new parents to a beautiful baby girl.  Early this past summer we met  to pick up where we left off and begin the process of actually completing the mostly still empty spaces.  I'll be filling in all the holes and focusing on all the finishing details that will make their house a comfortable and stylish family home -  all the things he thought they (he) would get around to doing themselves but.....never did.

Since the only furniture pieces they do own are the new pieces we bought for him a few years ago,,I want to now incorporate some vintage pieces and some artwork into the mix as well as bring a more family style vibe to the house.  Its so exciting for me to envision all the wonderful gatherings they'll enjoy in this house with family and friends and how these spaces that I'm creating will be the backdrop to their life and all their special memories.  With this inspiration, I've been busy sourcing for many different rooms but the dining room seems to be coming together first. This is a glimpse at the progress we've made thus far which should give you a taste for what's to come in the other rooms!  My absolute favorite piece I've found so far in all my sourcing is this 1950's Danish sideboard which will be the star of the dining room. 

It was truly LOVE at first sight. I had scoured the city and beyond for a vintage, danish modern sideboard in excellent condition, but without much luck. So the second I walked into the shop and saw this rosewood beauty my heart started to race, and I knew the search was over. Secretly I had wished to find one in walnut or rosewood but expected only to find teak, so seeing this before my eyes was literally what I had been envisioning,,,, like I'd seen it before.

The simple lines of danish modern pieces will always appeal to me for many reasons, with these designs its all about the form rather than decorative details,,their refined proportions make a statement on their own and I love how the tapered legs are so graceful.  But mainly, these pieces with their simple lines and lack of decorative detail are really all about the wood,,,,,,the beauty of these pieces is the wood itself, each one with its unique grain pattern and natural colouration.  The rosewood used to make this piece is an example of how stunning the natural beauty of wood can be, all you need to do is let it be the star.


The cabinet is made of rosewood with four lower drawers and 4 sliding doors on tall tapered legs.  At 44" high it won't be lost behind the dining table or chairs so it will be quite visible.  Again what I love most is the dramatic pattern of the wood grain and the beautiful warm tones.  Did I mention a few of the upholstered pieces already in the house are a spicy orange leather! 

The deal closer was the centre area which opens up to reveal a bar with etched mirror back panel, an upper shelf and 2 interior drawers.  So decandent!

The new/vintage sideboard will be placed on a wall opposite a large ebony rectangular dining table and white leather tufted chairs (existing), the cabinet will be flanked by extra side chairs and a pair of new sconces.  For the wallspace over the sideboard I've found a bronze starburst mirror that I think pairs perfectly with the modern style of the cabinet and balances out all the square lines in the room.  I've also found a pair of gorgeous chandeliers for over the long table and new drapery panels for the rooms bay window.

Since making these key finds the rest of the dining room pieces are falling into place beautifully and I can't wait to share more progress pics with you as it all comes together.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


My eyes are always scanning and memorizing, I observe everything that's around me down to the most minute details, I'm like this all the time wherever I go often to the point of distraction.  This partially explains my obsession with photographing things that strike a chord with me for what ever reason.  I came across this photo mosaic mural in a showroom yesterday and I can't get it out of my head.  The scale of it was dramatic at about 8 feet tall.  I keep returning to my laptop to stare at this image, I'm so drawn to it - the concept of it, the possibilities.  Being such a lover of photography and especially black & white photography my mind can't stop imagining the possibilities that could be created from this concept.  There are many places where original canvases or framed photography aren't practical (an outdoor terrace,,,,,above a tub or in a shower, above a cooktop, a pool or water feature, or on a sun drenched wall).  Using tile artwork is the perfect application in all these circumstances.  Imagine a photo mosaic using an image in the reverse of this, a mainly white background with the image depicted in shades of subtle grey and black,,,and imagine an image not necessarily of a person but of an object, or a flower, or a bird,,,or a landscape.......and then imagine a sculptural freestanding tub sitting in front of it,,,,or the image framed by an arched opening at the end of a hallway.....

Then I saw this enormous slab of unbelievably beautiful malachite.  Its a piece of artwork all on its own.  I can imagine this slab of stone wrapped in a metal frame and hung on a wall,,,,or cut into a series of pieces, framed and hung gallery style,,,,,or imagine it used as a screen or inset into a wall dividing a space and how it would glow with backlighting....or imagine how gorgeous it would look as a table top on a small side table......

And then I came across this.  At first glance I didn't like this light fixture.  But then I returned to look at it again and again.  And I loved it.  I know its a trend,,,I'm seeing chunky chains everywhere, normally I'm turned off by anything trendy but still I'm attracted to these chains in a way I was never drawn to the crystal chandeliers with the organza shade trend.  Its elegant with an edge,,,and I think more than anything I'm always drawn to that bit of edge and things that are more masculine than feminine.  The chains remind me of cascading water and although they're very similar to the fashion jewellery women are wearing right now,,,this fixture to me is a great mix of simple and elegant that appeals to masculine tastes too.  I can imagine all the types of settings I could design where I could see this fixture, preferably a pair of them over a long table.......made from reclaimed wood.....with black walls.....

So at the end of the day and 100's of photos later, I'm incredibly drawn to these three images for no particular reason or specific project.  I'll keep these on my inspiration wall, continue to dream of the possibilities,  even imagining all three of these things used in the same environment. I don't know exactly where or exactly how but one day I know I'll incorporate a little bit of inspiration from each of these concepts into a design plan. 

Oh yes, it was a good day for sparking the imagination!

All Photos:  Carol Reed

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NYC - Kips Bay Show House 2010

Day 2 of my trip to NYC included a visit to the 38th annual Kips Bay Showhouse, as luck would have it we arrived in the city just in time for the final day of the event.  The 5 storey, single family townhouse is located on a beautiful tree lined street in the Upper East Side of Manhattan just one block from Central Park.  Its currently for sale with an asking price of $28M.   Before the renovations for the showhouse took place, the house was previously divided into 2 separate dwellings, and I think even prior to that it had once been divided up into multiple apartments, this place is huge!

Even with an elevator, I think the current layout of the house would be challenging for the lifestyles of today's modern family living.  The kitchen was on the main level but the living room and dining room were on the second floor and the third floor consisted of 4 very small bedrooms.  So even with a price tag of $28M, I think most prospective buyers would need to consider some remodeling....

The 5 storey circular staircase was a favorite of mine even though it made me pretty dizzy and I nearly fainted every time I looked straight up or down the centre of it (I don't like heights!), check out the photo at the top of this post, my palms were sweating when I took that one.  The walls were adorned with framed black & white images.  If you concentred enough on not being dizzy,,,,you couldn't help but feel glamorous as you made your way up or down this staircase.

  Michelle patiently waiting for me as I'm obsessed with taking photos of it....
Staircase decorated by Rod Winterrowd Inc.

The living room on the second floor was a show stopper!  The colour of the walls was magnificent (Benjamin Moore's, Blue Suede Shoes) it showcases everything in the room like a jewel box.  The space was glamorous but tailored + classic at the same time, every corner and every surface was soo beautifully styled.  The lighting.....was perfection.  

The flamestitch pattern carpet was simply stunning.  The collection of artwork gives the room soul, and you can see the art just pops on that wall colour.

I think I was so drawn to this room because it reminded me of the colour pallette I used for the Sico shoot I designed for House & Home a couple of months ago here.  Whenever I use a bold colour as the main colour in a colour scheme (particularly walls) I love to pair it with lots of black and white and natural wood tones then add in an accent colour.  This room is an example of that same concept.  Notice that except for the centre ottoman,,,,,all the furnishings in the room are white or black.  You could change the wall colour without having to change a single other thing in the room and have both a completely different colour scheme with a new look.

Room design and carpet design by Sherrill Canet Interiors Ltd.

I admit the highlight of the showhouse and my entire trip to NYC was experiencing this room - to just sit in this space and take it all in, *in person*.  I wasn't disappointed, there's nothing I didn't love about it.  Its classic Vicente Wolf.  I'm a huge fan and admirer of his interiors and his books, I gush.

The entry into the Library designed by Vicente Wolf.

The next favorite space for both Michelle and myself was the top floor of the townhouse, it was designed as a media lounge space with adjoining spa room (complete with his/her massage tables) and a walkout to this luxurious rooftop deck that was so elegant looking furnished in teak and black and white.  Yes, again me raving about black and white with wood!  I especially adore black with natural greenery.

Michelle and I were tempted to pop the cork on this champagne and just kick back....seriously, I don't think anyone would have noticed we had this deck all to ourselves. : )

The jawdropping view.....
The entire top floor and rooftop deck was designed by Jennifer Post Design Inc.

As I mentioned the house is for sale, the broker for the property has a wonderful on-line listing where you can view more images as well as the floor plans, check them out here.  (Note that the floor plans on the listing don't represent the layouts of the rooms designed by the designers for the Showhouse event.)  Photography wasn't allowed during the showhouse tour but many of the volunteers were gracious enough to permit it when asked.  Thank you!  Below are a few more photos of some of my favorite rooms, these photos (except for the shower close-up) are from the realtor's listing and are much better quality than what I was able to take with my phone camera.

Another look at that rooftop deck.

This bathroom was STUNNING!  
"Bubble Bath", Bathroom design by Coffinier Ku Design.

I snapped a close up of the shower tile detail to show a client,,,this is the same limestone tile I specified for their guest bathroom a while back so I was thrilled to show them an installation that used the same tile.  This tile is also used on the floor throughout the bathroom in a larger 12 x 24 but not so visible in the previous photo.

The library by Vicente Wolf.  (the wood panelling was all existing).

The kitchen cabinetry was existing too but I believe they were all refinished, the room was a great example of what I call modern traditional.  The architecture and all the built-ins are traditional in detail but the furnishings and decor are modern (my favorite combination) this is how you keep traditional looking fresh and current.  The counters and backsplash were calacutta marble, the ceiling and walls were papered in modern graphic wallpapers.  

The photo above shows two of this rooms highlights (for me anyways!) the vintage modern fixture over the table and the artpiece over the fireplace, a photo depicting black ink drops falling on water.  
(the above image, its a photo of a photo).
Kitchen Design by Eve Robinson Associates Inc.

I hope you enjoyed my personal highlights of the Show House, if you're EVER in NYC during this event its a must see and you'll be supporting such a wonderul cause!!  All proceeds from the Show House benefit the Kips Bay Boys & Girl's Club.

Photo Credits
Images 1, 3, 4 thru 13, 16 - Carol Reed
Images 2, 14, 15, 17, 18 - Corcoran Real Estate
Image 19 - original photo by Peter Margonelli for Eve Robinson Assoc.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...