Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dream Home - Some After Pics

Friday night about 1am, it was all I could do not to collapse into this beautifully made bed and sink into a deep sleep!!  Friday was the scheduled completion day for the 70's sidesplit I was furnishing for a single mom and her young daughter.  After a month of planning and 3 months of purchasing, everything was finally put in place and ready for mom and daughter to move-in their personal things this weekend.   With brand new flooring and new wall paint already installed before I came on board this project,,,,my job was to plan the furniture layout and purchase all new furniture, window coverings and lighting to work with the house as it was.  My client was starting from scratch and everything needed to be purchased, right down to the small accessories.  The house is a 3 bedroom sidesplit with an eat-in kitchen and family room.   Her taste....... is very traditional leaning towards elegant and feminine,,,the budget was very very modest considering an entire house needed to be furnished top to bottom,,,and the lead time was extremely ambitious to say the least.

With such a short time line most items had to be ready-made, in-stock options but I did have a few select pieces custom made. So after what was nothing short of a purchasing marathon these past 3 months, Friday was the last day for deliveries and installations and I spent the past week making sure all the final last minute purchases were made and the wallart was hung etc. Although it was early Saturday morning when I had finally packed up all my things and locked the door behind me for the last time,,,,,,,there will still be some more accessories to be sourced (not critical but on the 'would be nice to have' list) and 2 or 3 back-ordered small items awaiting delivery. But despite that, the house is move-in ready and my client and her daughter were excited beyond words when they arrived Friday evening. For me it was exhilarating to finally be done and heartwarming to see their emotional response at seeing their new home and realizing how positively it will impact their lives from here forward on a day to day basis - the happiness they'll enjoy in the house and how many memories they'll make there.

I had a chance to take some preliminary 'after' photos on Friday, however, because the sun had gone down and I didn't have my tri-pod with me, the photos are on the dark side, so sorry about the poor quality but...I'll be returning one day in the next month or so, during daylight hours to take my time and get a full set of photos for each room.  (I like to photograph my projects myself using natural light, and more importantly - without props or staging, using only the things the homeowner actually owns!) Hopefully by then, the rest of the accessories and and final furniture pieces will all be in place.   I'll post those photos as soon as I have them along with the details of each room.  In the meantime, these will have to do!

The Dining Room. With grocery store flowers (that's all I had to work with!)

Mirrored Sideboard in LR/DR

Living Room,,,small artwork over side chairs one either side of sideboard still to come.  More grocery store flowers that weren't in bloom yet!

Living Room

Kitchen Table overlooking family room.

Front Hall,,,a wall of sepia photos on opposite wall still awaiting a pair of benches, and top of this chest of drawers still needs a tray.

Little girl's room with custom headboard, ikea drawers customized with paint and new crystal knobs.  Framed prints still to come.

My favorite room of all, the Guest Bedroom.

Master Bedroom....I'm thinking of raising the headboard a tad higher now that the last minute bedside lamp is in place (I could wright a novel called the Tale of Two Lamps, its easier to build an entire house than it is to find a pair of matching lamps in stock in this city!)

Master Bedroom,,,still some ironing/steaming to do after these shots were taken!  Bench for end of bed will be delivered next week along with second bedside lamp, fingers crossed.  And i'm still on the hunt for some accent pillows...

Family Room

Lots more after pics to come!

All Photos:  Carol Reed

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Lucky Find!

I don't make a lot of purchases at HomeSense,,,,,,,but I do visit regularly to check out the bedding and bathroom  and kitchen accessories dept. - every once in a while I make a great find.  Typically I don't bother to look thru all the other areas of the store and get tempted to fill up a cart with chatchkas that I'll inevitably regret buying.  I prefer to find small accessories at antique shops or vintage stores,,,,,,or collect them from travels.  Nevertheless, when I'm short for time and money its a must visit.  I do recommend if you ever see anything that strikes your interest, buy it right then on the spot (you can always return it later)...........if you think you can go away and ponder it for a while and then come back, you'll be out of luck.   I know from experience the stuff in this store flies out the door as fast as it comes in.   Decorators, Stagers, Editors and Stylists frequent this store daily, I've even gone back same-day for something..... and its gone.

Tonight, after a not so successful day of shopping I decided to stop in at HomeSense while it was still open.  I spotted this french style chair and knew instantly it could work in the Girl's room of the 70's sidesplit I'm furnishing, priced at only $149 it was really a steal.  Last month I was lucky enough to find a lovely painted french style vanity in a consignment shop that works beautifully in her room, the painted glaze finish on it looks like it was custom made for us, but the vanity didn't come with a chair or stool.  

Since then, I havn't come across much that could work with this vanity and that was affordable.  So when I saw this beautiful cane back chair tonight,,,,,,,I thought it could be a perfect match.  It has a white paint finish but I think I can easily do a simple dry brushing or glaze over top of the white in the same peachy colour glaze on the vanity (which happens to be the same as the wall colour).  I know Mom won't be too thrilled with the white canvas upholstery, but for this price.....its worth living with for a while!

So I'll see how it works with the vanity tomorrow,,if it doesn't work in the girl's room, I can think of a couple other areas in the house where it could work!

All Photos:  Carol Reed

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Dream Home for a Single Mom & Daughter

Living Room sans wall art and accessories

This past October I began working for a new client, a single mom and her young daughter, who had recently purchased an outdated and neglected 70's sidesplit in a suburban neighbourhood north of the city.  After taking possession of the house in February of last year she hired a contractor to go in and update the entire house with new flooring, new baseboard, new windows, new kitchen and bathrooms and everywhere a fresh coat of paint.  When I first met the client this past September the work had all been completed and she was in need of some help to get the entire house outfitted and furnished from top to bottom - she'd be starting from scratch and wouldn't be bringing anything with them to this house except their clothes.  She works full-time and was looking for someone she could hand the entire project over to so she wouldn't have to do anything except give approvals when necessary (and write cheques of course!).

This project would be a departure for me because normally I would be involved in the renovation process as well but in this case I was coming on board at the completion of the renovations - making any changes to what had been done to date was not an option so my mission was to work with what was there.  Not even so much as a new coat of paint, truly a first for me!!!  But I was up for the challenge.  An entire house from scratch, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, mud-room, foyer, living room, dining room, eat-in kitchen and family room all  be completely furnished and made ready for mom and daughter to just move-in and begin a new life in their dream home.   I would have about 2 months to do the planning and sourcing/ordering main pieces and then another 2 months to do all the remaining sourcing, purchasing and have everything delivered and installed.   With a very modest budget and a short time-line, I could do a few select custom pieces but the bulk of the purchasing would have to come from readily available or in-stock sources.  We originally had hoped for an early February move-in but due to several delays in deliveries (and practically nothing being 'in-stock' at any retailer!!!) we're now scheduled for completion and move-in at the end of this month.  Its been a purchasing marathon.

The past 2 weeks at the house have been a flurry of activity with multiple deliveries of things that were ordered months ago and deliveries of all the things I've been purchasing and acquiring since early December.  New lighting is going up, window coverings are being installed, furniture is being put in place and very quickly this house that has sat empty for the past year has suddenly starting looking like a home and the neighbours are becoming very curious. : )  With so many rooms to pull together there's a million little details to attend to and dozens and dozens of last minute purchases to make.  Over the next two weeks I've still got some small miscellaneous pieces to buy along with wall art a couple of runners, some bedding and some accessories (ok I've got a LOT to do yet).  When filling an entire home from scratch for real people to actually live in (not a show home) the list seems endless..............but I'm starting to see the sparkly light at the end of this long winding road.

Inevitably, the more effort you put into trying to wrap-up a project,,,the faster things unravel.  It seems like with each newly delivered item, there seems to be a newly delivered issue that comes with it that needs to be dealt with.........

Family Room with custom armoire,,,and still no final selection on area carpet.  Carpet option no.2 will be delivered tomorrow for approval.  Fingers crossed.

The Mudroom....I just found these little treasures today, a Williamsburg style hall bench with coat hooks and storage under the seat, the basket is authentically really old and weathered, I love it.  I'll pull the rest of the room together around these.

The Dining Room,,,the chandelier was partially installed today.  The table was scheduled to arrive between 12:30 and 3:30 this afternoon,,,,,,,,its 9pm and it still hasn't shown up and no-one even bothered to call.  This was the second attempt at a delivery, the table originally arrived mid-January but was damaged and a replacement was ordered, which was supposed to have been delivered today.  So tomorrow when I'm not as %$#% mad,,,,I'll make some calls and try and find out what the problem is this time.

The Guest Bedroom...still needs the rest of the bedding and a night table.  Even though we had the smallest amount of the budget allocated to this room, its become my absolute favorite.  Given carte blanch to do whatever I wanted in here,,,,once I found the antique iron beds, everything else seemed to come together with such ease.

Remember this sketch I posted here.......

Well here it is almost all completed.  This is the little girl's room - the custom headboard and skirt were delivered last Friday, the headboard still needs to be mounted up on the wall.  Her Mom ordered a regular height box spring which you can see when used with a pillow top mattress makes this bed a little too high for kids so the box spring is being exchanged for a low profile model.

So stay tuned for lots more updates and all the before and after shots coming soon!

All Photos:  Carol Reed

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Brian's Condo - Sneak Peak

Dining Area

Well HELLOOO,,,,It seems like only a few days have passed since my last post but my most loyal and faithful follower sent me a message yesterday to 'remind me' it had been 11 DAYS since my last update!!!  Honestly, I've been so entrenched with multiple projects and overlapping move-in dates that I've been working 24-7, and having to decide whether to sleep or blog.  Sleeping seems to have won out every time,,,but not by choice.

So back to Brian's condo........aside from a few finishing touches like getting some artwork framed and waiting for an unfortunate 'delayed' delivery of a club chair for the living room,,,Brian's condo is about 95% done!  I'm still searching for just the right night tables for his bedroom as I'm determined to find something interesting and unique - they're such a focal point in his layout but the budget is small and my time is limited.  Its pieces like these, ones that need to 'find you' and are often discovered when you're not looking that can take the most amount of time to find but its the difference between your space looking cold and catalogue or looking personal and original.  I'm all about your space evolving over time, mixing old with new and don't believe in an everything new and off the shelf solution, so completely furnishing this condo from scratch in 2 months has truly been a challenge.  Its hard to find unique and vintage on a deadline.  So I'll keep searching for some interesting night tables as long as Brian is willing to be patient,,,, I know he's anxious to cross everything off the list and be done so we may have to make a compromise soon. ; )

I've been taking photos of the condo along the way but most of the time i've spent there has been during the evening or during times when there was no lighting installed so having proper lighting for half decent photos has been a challenge too.  Until I have time to post in more detail about the design concept for the Living Room and Master Bedroom I thought I'd post a bit of a teaser of the nearly finished spaces as they've looked over the past couple weeks.

The dining area (photo above) has been in the same unfinished state for some time now,,,,you'll notice the table is actually assembled now - personally I was ready to throw it off the balcony but Brian geniously, single handedly managed to solve this geometric puzzle and get it standing on all three criss-crossed legs, despite the instructions.  The large photo canvas has been hung since this photo was taken but we're still waiting on the globe pendant fixture which has been on back-order forEVER.

A new light fixture updates the guest bathroom.

Brian's customized travel photos, vintage bookcase and lamp in the Den/Guest Bedroom.

Some cool finds and a framed personal photo accessorize one of the floating shelves in the front entry.

Living Room with custom subway sign art.  Accessories still to come....

Wide slat 'cherry like' blinds and grey flannel pin-stripe grommet header drapery panels were a great find at Home Depot, in-stock and inexpensive but they've transformed the space.  Paired together they're really tailored and handsome looking.

Speaking of tailored and handsome,,,,,,the bedding in the master bedroom was one of my favorite finds and was really key in pulling the entire room together.  You wouldn't believe the steal of a deal I found on this, and I'll admit I have no shame and will shop anywhere for a deal. And this time I have to say I hit the jackpot!  In a warehouse, behind a car rental shop, behind a used car lot, under a highway overpass, in an industrial unit with no signage, I discovered duvet covers for $19.99, the same duvet covers I had just seen in a store at a mall a few blocks away for $200!!  I'm not embarassed to say I bought multiples, and then went back for more. : )

Black & White Toronto Photo prints from an 1898 publication, $45 ea.

Antique Canadian landscape prints, vintage 1807, $15 ea.

As I mentioned in my previous post about the Guest Bedroom/Office,,one of the challenges for first time or new home owners is finding the budget for artwork for your walls.  With so many bare walls, it certainly doesn't' take much to add up fast yet your home will never seem complete or lived in with bare walls.  It would have been so easy to go into a store and buy ready-framed decorator art but it would have no significance to Brian whatsoever and just look staged.  So two weekends ago I managed to convince Brian into attending an antique show at Sherway Gardens with me.  This was no small feat,,,,trying to talk the bachelor into spending a Sunday afternoon a MALL,,,let's just say it was a first for him (and likely a last).  But he was a trooper, he managed to hang in there for almost an hour and it was just long enough for us to find a few potential treasures.  I had scoped out the show a couple days earlier and saw some things I thought he might like but I wanted him to be involved in making the selections as I just don't believe in picking out artwork for clients. I think the trip, brief as it was, was really successful - we ended up finding some pieces that he was really drawn to and now he'll also have the memory of the experience of finding these (or block the experience out of his memory completely?).  

While these pieces are getting framed and we await the delivery of a few items still on back-order for the condo,,,,,I'm on the final leg of a designer marathon getting a 70's sidesplit completely furnished and outfitted for a single mom and her young daughter to move-in before this month's end.  I'll have loads of photos to come yet on this project as well as design sketches for an amazing kitchen re-design I'm working on for a chef's home.

You can check out previous posts for floor plans and before pictures of Brian's Condo Project thru the links on the sidebar.

All Photos:  Carol Reed

Monday, February 1, 2010

Brian's Condo - Guest Bedroom

Its been a crazy week of deliveries and installations at Brian's condo and with today, February 1st, being our deadline we are about 90% complete, and I'm happy to say we also seem to be reasonably on-budget.  A few pieces of artwork to be hung, small accessories and finding the right nightables are left on the 'to do' list.

One of the areas of the condo that we deligated the least amount of the budget to was the second bedroom.  Brian's intent was for this to be used as a home office space for occasional business related work but mainly for personal use and home finances etc.   A small file cabinet and printer would be stored in the closet directly beside the desk.  In addition to a desk area he would need to accommodate an overnight guest every once in a while but he didn't want to dedicate the space for a bed so we opted for a sofa bed which would allow him to enjoy the room on a day to day basis with a comfy sofa for reading.  The room is quite irregularly shaped so there wasn't too many options on where the desk or sofa bed could go.

The first image above is the design concept for the room which illustrates all the key pieces I sourced.  I opted for a simple work horse style desk with metal frame legs and glass top - this keeps the space open looking and definitely is keeping in style with our "vintage-modern with a touch of industrial" look.  I chose the black nickel saw horse desk from West Elm, the price was right and it was in stock!  

The next big 'splurge' for the room was for a desk chair.  I actually had found a sled base chrome and leather chair at a consignment shop for just $100 but Brian really wanted a chair that swivelled.  I was a bit torn on this one with the budget,,,,my own opion of desk chairs is that you might as well either go - super cheap $29.99,,,,or go for the best which are super expensive.  Everything else seems to fall in the 400-700 dollar range, they look better than the 29.99 cheapies but aren't that much better in quality, in my opinion.  During my 10+ years of experience in commercial design I've spec'd thousands of contract quality desk chairs and know them all.  At the retail level, what you mainly see in the home furnishing shops are knock offs and I'd just rather get the real thing - it will last you forever.   Having said all that, I did happen to stumble across a rather sweet deal on a floor model of one of those knock-off versions that made the decision for us - cash'n carry,,,I took it with me. 

Since Brian is starting from scratch he doesn't have a collection of artwork nor do we have room in the budget for Picasso's,,,,,,so the next best thing to original art is your own photography.  Brian had some old photos from past travels and I took the negatives to Elevator Digital where Kevin truly worked some digital magic on them.  He scanned the neg's at super high resolution, cleaned up the digital images and made large b&w prints for me which I put into ready made frames.  Certainly this isn't a cheap process as these are really the best quality images we could get from old negatives but its an affordable and personalized solution to starting a collection.  Below are low res scans of what we started with, a photo of the Grand Canyon taken from a helicopter and a photo taken at Pebble Beach golf course.  

Above is a mock-up I sent Kevin of what I wanted to do with the photos.  I like that both the images had similarities, a horizon with winding roads amongst peaks and valleys and I think they translated well to black & white - I picked them up on Saturday and I absolutely love the way they turned out!!

The last key item was the sofa bed - it was kind of a no-brainer to go with the Ikea Ektorp model, we splurged on the sofa in the living room so we had to 'save' on this one.  The style and size would work and the slipcovers make it versatile and practical for him.  Best of all,,,,its in stock and ready for delivery.   Over the past couple of weeks the rest of the room has been filled in with some great vintage finds and  some handsome window coverings - this spare room is really turning into one of my favorite spaces.  Here's a sneak peak at what it looked like yesterday when the window coverings were being installed.....

For before photos, floor plan and previous posts on Brian's Condo project:

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