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The Shimmer

West Living

Monday, May 25

Remember this bathroom? Well those lovely clients had me back to help them polish up their living and dining rooms. They already had most of the key furniture but they needed help pulling everything together, which is totally my favourite part! We finally wrapped it up last month and I thought I'd share a few snaps of their living room today. First off, here's what it looked like before (according to my grainy iPhone):

And here's what it looks like now:

My clients already owned the couch, coffee table, rug, artwork, and a few of the pillows. I chose this gorgeous peony fabric for the drapes to help pull all the colours together and filled the vacant space beside the couch with a petite modern side table and tripod lamp, which together mimic the tones of the coffee table.

We brought in a few additional pillows (can you ever have too many?), and a gorgeous rust coloured basket, which helps to pull the orangey-red tones from the curtains across the room. I also added an intricate lace-like tray to the table as a place to corral remotes. I'm always a fan of trays on coffee tables because they help the necessary clutter of living (remotes, coasters, etc.) feel intentional and organized - and they're also nice for showcasing flowers.

I couldn't resist the yellow gold of these ikat dots.

These two pillows already owned by my clients were the inspiration for the drapes, which in turn, inspired the rest of the room! I chose a floral pattern to balance all the geometric patterns happening elsewhere.

I adore this lamp from Target, and I'm very very sad that I no longer have access to it. Dang you, Target, for closing.

To flank the fireplace, we brought in a leaning mirror and sculptural bookcase. I love big mirrors in small rooms - not only do they make the room look bigger but when they're placed in the right spot, they can also make it so much brighter by reflecting twice the light.  We had hoped to switch out the traditional sconces for something more modern, but it was out of budget at this point. Maybe in the future!

It's a fairly narrow room, which limits the options for furniture placement. I think my clients were so smart to invest in a sectional and square coffee table. They give you plenty of space for sitting and resting a drink, without feeling like you're constantly tripping over furniture.

Here's the view from the other side, including a sneak peek of the dining room, which I'll share later this week.

I'm really happy with how this space turned out! It feels sunny, cozy, and welcoming - and as you can see, my good friend, Salty has given it her seal of approval over there by the window. I guess she likes the new look ;)

For Your Mama

Wednesday, May 6

This is your PSA that Mother’s Day (in Canada, at least) is this coming Sunday, May 10th. I know, you forgot. You’re not alone. But I’m here to save the day! Save the day with bluebellgray! (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)

Have we talked about bluebellgray before? I feel like we must have. They’re a UK-based textile company and they design the most stunning watercolour-esque florals. Chapters/Indigo carries a line of their pillows and I’m dying to find a client whose style they suit.  All wispy, pretty, feminine. Perfect for Spring! Perfect for YOUR MOTHER.

So here’s the deal: They were lovely enough to send me this gorgeous shopping tote and I want one of you to have it! You can keep it for yourself (get those groceries in style!) or gift it to your mom/maternal figure as thanks for all the hard work she did bringing you into this world (and keeping you alive for 18+ years... no small feat).  Your choice. (But your mom is pretty awesome, just saying.) And, even cooler – this bag isn’t actually available anywhere in Canada… so your mom will be one of a kind.

To enter, leave a comment below and tell me how you refer to your mom/maternal figure. I only call my mom "Mother" when I'm angry and she knows it... so I always have to search extra hard to find a mother's day card without the word "mother" in it. Trying times, I tell you. 

Giveaway is now closed and the winner has been notified. Thanks!

(P.S. If you're using Google to comment, make sure you sign in BEFORE typing your comment so your comment won't disappear!)

Best in Spring

Tuesday, April 7

The forecast may still be calling for snow (WTF?!) but at least it can feel spring-like in your abode. 

'Sherbert Long Board' by Teil Duncan
Moonlight Jade Platter and Divided Server from Chapters/Indigo
Citron Metallic Striped Pillow from Chapters/Indigo
'Salt the Skies' Serving Board by Millie Fairhall
'Indio' Foil-Pressed Stationery by Amber Barley via Minted
'Hello Friend' Foil-Pressed Stationery by Erin Deegan via Minted
Striped Jewelry Tray from Chapters/Indigo
Fresh Coconut & Vanilla Candle from Chapters/Indigo
Indian Lace Wood Grain Platter by Nicole Porter Design
Violet Antique Anatolia Turkish Kilim Rug from Shoppe by Amber Interiors

How to Emphasize Flesh-Tone Trim

Friday, April 3

It's been ages since I shared a foyer update. Apologies for the prolonged absence. Life, you know? But I'm back. And you know that expression, “it has to get worse before it gets better”? I can’t think of anything more apt to describe our foyer’s current state. A few weekends ago we tackled painting the walls. Three coats of Benjamin Moore’s Paper White yielded this:

Pretty dramatic difference from before, right? The whole space feels so much brighter. Unfortunately, it’s also managed to somehow make the flesh-toned trim look even MORE disgusting. 

Don’t worry though – the trim isn’t staying! We’re going to add pieces to the existing trim to make it more intricate and it seemed like a waste of time to paint the trim before we did that. But… if it takes us much longer to get to the trim details, we may just need to do an in-the-meantime paint fix.

Lesson Learned:  Sometimes progress can make things look worse instead of better.  Keep going.  Also, never ever let anyone paint anything in your house the colour of flesh.

P.S. We finally bought a wide-angle lens. It hasn't arrived yet but when it does, it will make it SO much easier to photograph this tiny little space!

P.P.S. More foyer posts here, here, and here.

Get Sprung Already, Spring

Monday, March 30

This past weekend, Halifax was hit by yet ANOTHER bout of snow. This winter has been beyond ridiculous. We've had METRES of snow. Hey, Mother Nature - parkas and snow boots are NOT appropriate gear for the second week of Spring! Here's what I should be wearing:

Paint It Black

Monday, March 2

Remember how I said that our doors were already looking pretty fierce? That may have been an understatement. Check them out now:

We painted them Benjamin Moore's Space Black - which is a fairly true black, although a bit softer. We used a pearl finish, on the advice of the paint store guy (If you're local, we always go to the Acadia & Quigley BM on Quinpool - they're amazing and know EVERYTHING.)

I do acknowledge that our doors were already pretty fantastic - old, solid wood, lots of interesting moulding details. I feel like this transformation is akin to Rachel Leigh Cook taking off her glasses in She's All That and suddenly everyone thinks she's beautiful. Except, I suppose, we put on her glasses. Or maybe we dyed her hair. I don't know. This analogy is getting confusing. Basically, yes our doors were pretty awesome underneath - but even cheap doors look amazing painted black. 

Now it's time to move on to the next project on our list: Painting those dang walls. You can check out earlier iterations of the foyer here and here.

P.S. Trying to photograph this tiny little entry is really making me aware of my need for a wide-angle camera lens! Sorry for the terrible angles!

I can probably just leave it like this, right?

Friday, February 6

If you read Tuesday's post, then you've seen the atrocious 'before' photos of our frightening foyer. Gulp. Click here for a little refresher. Well... we've made one very important step in the right direction: NO MORE WALLPAPER!

Check out those marvelous mauve murs. We can probably just leave it like that, right? No need to put in all the work we had planned?  After all, it already feels so much brighter in here.

NOT. Oh, you guys. It's going to get so so SO much better. Just you wait and see...

P.S. If you're looking for wallpaper removal tips, I think it probably depends on the quality of the wallpaper you're removing. For ours, we used spray bottles of boiling water (be very careful - the bottles get super hot and one of them - a cheaper/thinner one - actually crumpled) and spackle knives. The longer the water sits (up to a point), the easier it is to scrape the wallpaper off. We basically just sprayed a bunch of the area we were working on; let it sit for a minute and then used the knife to peel up the edges. After you get started, you can spray ahead so you don't need to wait. In some areas that have been well-sprayed, you can peel off huge strips off paper with your hands instead of the knife. The wallpaper comes off in two layers - the top coloured bit and the white sticky underlayer - we actually found the top bit the hardest to remove, but the whole process was much easier (although still time consuming) than we had imagined.