Monday, January 25, 2010

Beautiful Wood

Varying Size Log coffee tables.  Here.

These.....are going front and centre on my inspiration wall.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Brian's Condo - Front Entry

With only a week or so left til 'Move-in Day' at the bachelor pad,,,things have been progressing quickly and I've been sourcing and purchasing furnishings, bedding and lighting non-stop from morning til night (not to mention I'm simultaneously furnishing another entire house from top to bottom with a move-in date just a week after Brian!!).  All of the major pieces have been delivered to the condo and this coming week and thru next weekend we'll be installing new light fixtures, faucets, hanging artwork, shelves, hooks and getting the small accessories in place.

One of the most awkward spaces in the condo is an area just inside the entry, its a wide alcove area that I think was most likely intended for a home office nook.  Its right inside the entry area, past a set of mirror sliding closet doors, leading into the main living space.  Since Brian didn't want his home office located here (his desk will be in the 2nd bedroom) we had this extra space to deal with and a small furniture budget to boot.  Its a great amount of space for extra storage but that wasn't a priority in this situation as there's a spare bedroom and really Brian hasn't accumulated a bunch of stuff, he's starting from scratch.  It certainly would be a great spot for a library but Brian doesn't have much to fill the shelves at this point so we were planning a small library of shelving in the second bedroom where his desk would be.  So what to do with this area that you see immediately upon entering???

Inside the entry he needs a drop zone, a place to drop his keys, his briefcase, a shopping bag etc.  I'm not a fan of console tables as I think they take up space but don't give you any storage, you can't sit on them and they're not too handy for dropping all your bags on - I prefer a bench for this, which does double duty for you or your guests putting their shoes on.  Above the bench I thought we could add a 'console' shelf or two and start a small gallery of artwork and photos that Brian can build on over the years.  I was thinking of not just a picture ledge but a 'console' shelf wide enough to hold a tray or bowl for keys and mail,,,a vase,,,and other decorative objects.  This would provide a nice visual display upon entering the condo and is also the direct sightline Brian will have directly opposite his bedroom door - the first thing he'll see every morning, so it has to make him smile!

I sketched up two variations of this concept, one with asymmetrical shelves and one with 2 different size shelves justified to the right.   I hoped to find a vintage mid-century modern style bench in teak or walnut that would sit against this long wall, below the shelves and art display.   We would start with ready-made frames and add some personal photos of Brians then some small accessories and objects.  After looking at the two sketches, Brian liked the first option with the asymmetrical layout so this is the direction we'll take this weekend when the shelves are installed.

During one of my visits to Queen West Antiques right before the holidays, I walked in and immediately saw this incredible walnut slat bench - I gasped,,,,,yes, out loud (!) - as I knew this would be such a great piece for Brian.  I could hardly contain my excitement, this was going to be the very first purchase for the condo - It was in great condition and the price was right in our ballpark.  I love pieces like this, I go crazy for benches because they're so versatile.   This could be a coffee table, an end of bed bench,,,,a front entry bench,,,or just up against a wall or behind a sofa stacked with books, its the type of piece that can move with you from place to place and you can always find a spot for it.  It didn't take me long to seal the deal with Kate and voila, this was the very first item purchased for the condo!  It was the perfect starting point because it really represented what my approach would be for the rest of the furnishings,,,it was affordable, great quality, beautifully designed, clean lined, and versatile.

The only downside to the bench was that it was slightly lower than I would have preferred, so I'm having a nice thick cushion seat made for one side of it out of a tweedy grey woven fabric,,in a box style with button tufting.  This will make one side of it the perfect seating height and the other side great for dropping bags or purses.  I had the pleasure of storing this beauty in my front hall for a few weeks and I got quite attached to it - I'm missing it now so much that I really wish I could have kept it.

I'm picking up the wall shelves tomorrow and I'm still torn between the dark wood or going with white, right now I'm leaning towards the white as the photo frames will be a combination of black and wood and I'm not sure about the black espresso colour with the walnut bench.  I may end up buying both and making this decision on site.

For previous posts about this condo project, including floor plan click below:

A New Project - Brian's Condo
Brian's Condo - Dining Rm Update

Sketches and Photos:   Carol Reed

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'll Take Two...

On Sunday I took a drive north of the city to visit Victor and his Antique Iron Beds.  Victor has been collecting and restoring iron beds for over 35 years and boasts the largest collection in Canada.  For those not in the Toronto area, you can view and purchase all of his beds on his website here and he'll ship anywhere in the Country or the U.S.  He has hundreds and hundreds of beautiful, century old iron beds stacked up in this shop and even hundreds more outside, all rusted and patinaed.  As he can tell you, these beds are getting harder and harder to find these days and since I was searching for a pair of matching twin beds, I knew if I was going to find a pair anywhere,,it would be here.

He has white iron beds, pewter and black finishes, among some rarer colours like pink and tourquoise.  All of the beds have been modified to fit today's standard size matresses, with a huge assortment of single, queen and kings.  I was fortunate enough to find a rare pair of pewter, matching twins!!!!  I took this lovely twosome with me and dropped them off at a clients house on my way back home, they currently sit in the empty guest bedroom alone, awaiting all the other items I'll be bringing in over the next few weeks.

There's something about a pair of twin beds in a guest room that I just love.  Maybe its the symmentry or the double decadence of lush comfy bedding, even in the smallest of rooms they just seem so inviting to me and luxuriously pampering.  The thought of a beautifully made, cozy fresh bed JUST for me to spend the night in,,,,along side a best friend, or sister, or niece (or mother or daughter) who might be cuddled up in the other twin while we talk and laugh into the wee hours of the night.  Its a bed for one of those special sleepover nights you enjoy being away from home and spending time with friends.  I hope to one day have two guest rooms in my own house, one with a Queen size bed and another with a pair of twins.  Personally we have more single friends and relatives than couples, in addition to aging parents and teenage nieces and nephews, twins are just so much more practical when space is limited.

In my clients guest bedroom we're hoping to achieve a classic french inspired look but that's not too country looking.  I particularly love the contrast of simple iron beds in white rooms which emphasizes the lines.  Here's a few images of rooms with iron beds that I love because they're paired down and simple - not too cutesy and frilly nor too rustic or cottagy. 

If your budget doesn't allow for a small splurge on an antique iron bed, one of my favorite Ikea pieces is the Lillesand bed for its pure utilitarian lines.  Had this been available in a twin size, we likely would have gone this route for this client's guest room (photo below).

Photos 1, 2, 3:  Carol Reed
Photo 4:  Canadian House & Home (issue unknown)
Photo: 6, 8, 9  Country Living
Photo:  7  Kelly McGuill Home
Photo:  10  House Beautiful

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pretty in Pink

I spent a morning last week working on a room design for my youngest client, she's a 7 year old ballerina and like most little girls, she LOVES pink and ruffles and bows and candy stripes and fringe trims and pretty much anything frilly and girly.   She's never looked at a design magazine in her life, nor watched a single design show on tv,,,,,and has no interest in Philip Stark ghost chairs, Kelly Wearstler prints or Jonathan Adler furniture,,,,,well, unless its frilly or pink or sparkly then that's all she cares about.

This little girl and her mother are getting ready to move-in to their newly furnished house in about 4 weeks.  I've been working with them since October on completely furnishing and outfitting their entire 3 bed side-split and with most of the other living areas nearing completion I've been focusing on the bedrooms this month, along with a million other small details!!!   (this project in conjunction with furnishing the Bachelor's condo has been a crazy couple months of marathon shopping!)  The little girl's bedroom is tiny, measuring only about 10' x 10' with an 8' ceiling, a small window and has no architectural features at all.  The walls had just been freshly painted when I came on board, they're a light peachy melon colour and repainting was not an option so I'm working with it.  With a small budget, I decided to allocate a large portion of the budget to a custom upholstered headboard, bed skirt and window treatment.  

I made a quick trip to Designer Fabric Outlets and picked out a strawberry coloured velvet and a multi-coloured stripe.  The solid colour headboard will grow with her into her teens as will the stripe, the lighter peachy colour seen in the stripe fabric is similar to the wall colour and gives us the colour palette for the rest of the bedding which will be ready-made.   Next, I sketched up the design for the headboard and sent it all off to my upholsterer - fingers crossed it will all be ready before move-in!

With the headboard and custom skirt and window treatment being made the rest of the room will be filled in with some ready made, in-stock pieces and vintage finds.  I had a lucky day last week when I came across this french style dressing table in a consignment shop, painted white with a peachy glaze on the edges it was like it was made for the colour scheme of this room.   I scooped it up and headed off to the lighting showroom where I picked out a couple of sparkly pretty chandeliers,,,,I'll run these by my little client today and see which one she prefers....

All Photos & Sketches:  Carol Reed

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Brian's Condo - Dining Room Update

The design concept for the dining room was created earlier in December and all the items except for the light fixture were sourced and purchased before the holidays (record timing!).  Its a small space which can't accommodate a lot of furniture so the the budget allocated for this area was tiny but yet I still wanted it to have big style.   Now I have to admit the dining area is not a space that's of much importance to Brian, he's not intending to throw dinner parties or be doing a lot of entertaining, nonetheless, some sort of table and chair configuration would be practical for the occassional dinner guest or weekday meal.  The fact that the LR and DR is one open space means that the dining table will have a perfect view of the large screen wall mounted tv in the LR - this feature seems to have heightened Brian's interest in the dining room design!  Now that I had his interest, I suggested that the best value and style for the money would be to find some vintage chairs and mix them with a simple modern glass table, this is a great solution for both small spaces and small budgets but the best part is it adds some originality and authenticity to the room.

My biggest find was scoring a set of 4 danish modern dining chairs the Sunday before Christmas.  The chairs had just arrived in the shop less than an hour before I stopped in and as soon as I laid eyes on them, I had to have them and they were bought on the spot (sorry to the guy who had been on a wait list for a year, but he was of the country for 3 weeks and I was there with cash in hand!).  Two days earlier I had found an amazing deal on an interesting chrome and glass table that was just the size we needed and in-stock, so suddenly with this set of chairs now purchased the dining room was just about done and we didn't have to special order any of it - another great advantage to buying vintage pieces.

This past Thursday was a big delivery day at the condo project with several key pieces arriving.  In addition to the mattress set, the sofa, the front hall bench, a credenza and the dining table,,,,,I also had to deliver the newly recovered vintage teak dining chairs....which was not so easy.  I'm crazy for these chairs and I grew quite attached to them over the past couple of weeks, honestly I didn't want to give them up, it was like suffering thru a bit of separation anxiety!

The chairs were in absolutely perfect condition, the wood is beautiful and the lines of the chair are so organic and sculptural looking.  For only $100 a chair, I don't think you can beat the quality and design.  With some new fabric on the seats, they'd take on a new modern look.  I picked out a charcoal coloured vevlet that I think is a beautiful compliment to the caramel wood tones.

An indication that the chairs were all made at the same time by the same mfg is the wood grain, on these chairs you can see the same knot in the wood, in the exact same place on each chair.  This also speaks to the quality of the pieces.

Here you can see the continuous wood grain on all the chair backs and not a single exposed fastener or screw anywhere on the chair.

The underside of the chair had a muslin type backing on and when it was removed we found the original mfg's label.

I was thrilled to see the Schionning & Elgaard for Randers label.  These chairs would have been made sometime between 1957 and 1960.

Thursday evening at Brian's condo,,,,,not quite ready for dinner.

As I mentioned above, quite a few furniture items were delivered on Thursday including the dining table.  Unfortunately, I didn't hire delivery AND installation for the table thinking that it would be a fairly simple DIY project for the new homeowner!!  So when Brian arrived we opened up the box and pulled out the instructions, anxious to whip this thing together and see the new table and chairs complete.  Immediately we were both relieved to see that no tools were required, because he doesn't own any!  A dozen fasteners and an allen key were all that was required so we sat down and attempted to piece it together..........every which way we could imagine,,,nothing worked, after 2 hours of frustration, we gave up.  The instructions were useless, there were only 3 steps (ha!) but step 1 looked like a diagram of the solar system with no explanation.  Trying to figure out the base configuration (which kind of resembles the eiffel tower) was like trying to figure out a rubic's cube.  I started to understand why the table had been on sale and concluded at that point that even if it had been free,,,,,It wasn't worth the price.  We agreed to call it quits for the day,,,,,but Brian vows to return on the weekend to try and figure it out.  I hope he brings beer.

Test strip of digital print on canvas.

Since there's no room for a sideboard or console in the dining area I wanted to do something special on the wall to give the space some impact,,,so it wouldn't just be a table and 4 chairs in front of a blank wall.  Original paintings or artwork of a substantial size is out of our budget range so I opted for original photography in this case.  While its not cheap, it is less expensive than a large painted canvas and offers unlimited subject matter of your choice and can even be from your own photo collection.   For this space I'm having a black & white image of a city scene enlarged and printed on a huge canvas, this will provide a great backdrop for both the dining and living area and create a modern urban vibe.  A photographic scene like this at this scale adds a lot of depth and creates a great 'view'.   I sent a photo to Kevin at Elevator Digital and he's printing it on archival quality canvas and wrapping it around a stretcher frame.   I stopped in yesterday to approve a test strip - it looks incredible, I can't WAIT to see this when its ready next week.

West Elm Globe Pendant

The last element of the dining room that remains outstanding is the light fixture.  I LOVE this simple globe pendant from West Elm and think its perfect for Brian's place.  Its not overwhelming and it has a bit of an industrial feel to it, especially when a filament style bulb is used - perfect for the modern vintage style we're after.  Unfortunately, everyone else must love this fixture too because West Elm in Toronto is completely out of stock on these and they're on back-order until March.  Uuugghh.  Despite my sulking, pouting, and just plain old begging,,,,they wouldn't even sell me one of their 2 floor displays.  So now I REALLY want this fixture but its going to require some creative resourcefulness.  The West Elm on-line shopping site doesn't ship to canada, not even to the West Elm store here.  I'm currently attempting to purchase it thru that site anyway as I have a US address I can have it shipped to, however,,,,,I'm getting stonewalled in the process.  Even though I have a US ship to address, they can't process the order on-line unless you have a US billing address, in which case you have to call their 1-888 customer service no. to place the order.  No problem I thought,,,,,this will all work out perfectly,,,,,,,until I tried calling the 1-888 number which doesn't work if you live outside of the US.???  The quest continues......

Stay tuned for posts on the front entry and bedroom design concepts and progress coming soon.

For the floor plan and first post on this Condo project go here.

All Photos:   Carol Reed

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cool Find

The Bodum Osiris stovetop kettle.

I'm crazy for well designed and cool looking kitchen essentials, especially those items that are left out on view on a daily basis.  I came across this at Morba yesterday and plan on buying one for my own kitchen.  I'm always trying to do too many things at once and my last stove top kettle had a melt down when I left it on the burner and forgot about it (without the whistle attachment cause that scares the wits out of our cat).  So I've been doing without one for quite a while now because in my own kitchen,,,,not just any 'ol kettle will do - since it lives on my stovetop its gotta look good!

My search for a new kettle is now over thanks to this cool design by Bodum.  The Osiris kettle was originally designed for the museum shop at the Museum of Modern Art.  Its not just great looking, the wider base means that water boils 50% faster than in other teakettles and will boil 1L of water in just 8 min.   Its made of polished stainless steel with a stay cool nylon handle.  And at only $69, I think its an affordable design splurge!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Project - Brian's Condo

I started a fun new project at the beginning of December that's kept me so busy I havn’t had a chance to post about it until now. I was hired by a bachelor client to completely furnish and outfit (with all the essentials),,,,,an entire condo from scratch. The condo itself is 2 years old but has never been lived in - it was just purchased this past November by my client, Brian. For him its a chance to start fresh and move into a brand new home completely tailored to his needs, reflecting his personality and lifestyle. For me,,,,,well, I've been given the challenge of furnishing this entire condo for him in just 2 month.

While this project won't have a huge budget, its one I think a lot of people can relate to - it gets eaten up pretty fast so every dollar has to be planned for maximum value. At this point things are well under way and over the past few weeks I've sourced, purchased and ordered many of the main pieces. In the upcoming weeks I'll be racing against the clock to get everything else purchased, delivered and in place for February 1st.

THE CONDO is a 2 bed, 2 bath unit measuring approximately 1000 s.f.. Its appointed with fairly generic builder's finishes, the kitchen has upgraded granite counters and stainless steel appliances, but the rest of the condo is pretty standard. I like that the walls are all white and that there's lots of natural light. But you might also notice,,,the unit is made up of many odd angles, a common theme in new buildings which unfortunately makes for a lot of unusable space.

View of Front Entry

View of Living Room Area from Dining area.

Master Ensuite

Guest Bath

THE PLAN: For this initial move-in phase, we're not planning any new construction or on replacing any existing finishes. We will be replacing light fixtures, faucets and cabinet hardware, other than that,,,,the budget is entirely all for furnishings and accessories. The living room has to accommodate a large (very large) flat panel tv and the second bedroom has to accommodate a desk and a sofa bed. Based on that criteria I prepared several furniture layouts for Brian's review before we settled on the furniture layout below. Somethings may be slightly changed or tweeked along the way but this is the direction we're headed.

With the furniture plan agreed upon I set about sourcing and selecting items that would work together and create the kind of vintage modern style we were looking for.  We don't have the budget or timeline to do much, if any, custom work so with the exception of one or two pieces already on order, everything else I purchase for Brian needs to be in-stock or readily available.  This is when it becomes a real hallenge to create spaces that are unique and not 'catalogue' looking.   In the weeks ahead I'll post about each of the individual rooms,,,,,the before pics, the concept plan and after photos.  In the meantime, here's a sneak peak of the design concept for the dining area.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Brighter New Year

Happy New Year!  I wish I could say my lack of blogging and tweeting lately has been because I was taking some leisurely time off to enjoy the holidays........but sadly, no, it's been just the opposite - since the day after boxing day I've hit the ground running full speed again working on client projects.  Its been particularly hectic this week because with so many people off from work,,,the furniture, lighting and fabric stores have been crazy busy with shoppers!  If this is any indication of what's ahead in 2010 on the home improvement and decor front, I'd say things are looking brighter than ever.

If you're planning a home renovation or intend to purchase some new furnishings for your home this coming year you'll definitely see some bright and colourful options among your choices of tile, fabrics, furniture and accessories.  In fact, the Pantone colour experts have selected TURQUOISE as the tint of the year for 2010.   I have to admit I don't pay much attention to trends when it comes to planning a new design for a room or home, my approach is to keep the bones and fundamentals classic and timeless (ie; neutral!) but add in the latest accessories or accents of colour to make the space look current and fresh.

While I do see more individuality and less trend following than ever before,,,,we can't help but be influenced by trends when we hit the shops and scour the latest design mags.   This is why I'm surprised to learn that the tint of 2010 is tourquoise - because that's not the newest colour I'm seeing in the showrooms right now.  To me, I think turquoise has been so prominent in interiors over the past 2 to 3 years, especially popular in Domino and the world of design blogs, that I wouldn't describe it as a new trend, in fact its already becoming a bit predictable.  The trend for tourquoise we saw the past few years was it being used in new unexpected ways (modern glam), in other ways it will always be classic (cottage, tropical, country).  For those who can't get enough turquoise you can check out the House of Tourquoise, a blog devoted to all things, tourquoise.  Never the less, I think its a colour that people will always be drawn to but now, I see it being used in tandem with what I think is the hottest new 'statement' colour - YELLOW. (more on that below)

Pantone 15-5519 Tourquoise - the colour of 2010

The popularity of tourquoise is enduring, its universally appealing and most everyone reacts positively to this colour.  Its understandable why it was chosen as the colour of 2010, it represents protection, compassion, healing, faith and truth.  Inspired by water and sky it evokes a sense of escapism and tranquility.  During these trying economic times and world conflict, its easy to understand our current attraction to turquoise.  Personally, I find its a colour that has a true vintage personality and evokes a sense of nostalgic charm....its definitely a pretty colour that I find undeniably feminine and would describe as 'sweet' - but that's my own perception.  I particularly love to use it on ceilings, and in bathrooms and laundry rooms where it looks so fresh, crisp and clean.  With black and white its glamorous.  With white it can be beachy, cottagy, preppy, or tropical.  With black and dark grey or brown its glamourous and dramatic.  But my favorite way to use bright accent colours like this is with light natural neutrals, like linen and stone colours - its makes the neutrals look so new and current.

On line retailer One Kings Lane

Turquoise door - Domino Magazine.

Domino Magazine 

Turquoise accent pillos on linen headboard, via House of Tourquoise blog

Turquoise painted ceiling, kitchen design by Timothy Mather, in Canadian House and Home.

Turquoise floor, kitchen design by Windsor Smith.

Turquoise painted beadboard, laundry room by Carol Reed Interior Design.

There's lots of turquoise eye candy in this book by Mitchell Gold.

Turquoise upholstered furniture by Mitchell Gold.

Those are just a few of my favorite images of turquoise interiors but I could literally post hundreds of stunning turquoise inspired rooms from the past couple of years, as I said - its already experienced quite a run of popularity as the latest 'it' colour.

But over the past two months what I'm seeing in every showrooom I visit is a bold display of bright YELLOW.   Vases, pillows, area rugs, candle stick holders, stools, bowls, lamps, you name it, the stores are decked out in bright yellow accessories.  Call it canary yellow,,,or lemon yellow,,,or racing car yellow, its not a muted gold or ochre,,,its clear bright yellow.   Maybe it was the photo below that started this trend in interiors?  Who didn't fall in love with this living room - its the home of trend setter Jenna Lyon's, creative director behind J.Crew.  Yellow, just like turquoise when paired with black and white is a glamourous, high fashion look.

Jenna Lyon's living room, Dominon Magazine.

Yellow sofa, via Desire to Inspire

Its no coincidence that the latest issue of Canadian House & Home, the annual trends issue, features the home of Victoria Webster and its bold use of bright yellow and turquoise.

Canadian House & Home, January 2010.

Canadian House & Home, January 2010.

New Merimeko bedding at Crate and Barrel.

New Wrap Around Chair at West Elm

The entire West Elm website has been updated with Yellow!

A simple way to add hits of yellow to your home - books and flowers and small accessories.
image via Desire to Inspire.

My favorite yellow item of all - I spotted this painting at Canvas art gallery last week.  If you love yellow, this the perfect way to add the hottest colour trend to your home that will never go out of style. 
The Bright One by Meredith Bingham, Acrylic on Canvas 60 x 48.

Acrylic on Canvas by Meredith Bingham.

A old house gets a fresh modern facelift. 
Source of photo unknown but I believe this was featured in Canadian House & Home last year.

Given the characteristics of turquoise and understanding why Pantone has named it the colour of 2010, I can see this bright yellow being equally appealing during these times and a complimentary companion (for those who are bold enough!!).  Yellow is sunny and bright, joyful, young and vivacious yet represents caution and safety, it evokes feelings of optimism and stimulates the intellect.   I think we could all use a dose of yellow in our lives right now  - let's hope things are looking brighter for everyone in this New Year!

Joy, Peace and Good Health to all in 2010.

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