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The Shimmer


Monday, August 17

Those two stunners up above are the boyfriend's sister and new brother-in-law (and my good friends), as captured by the super talented Chelle Wootten Photography (who is also responsible for all the stunning photos in this post). They got married in June in the most perfect, hilarious, and intimate wedding. The dinner was held in the private dining room of an amazing little restaurant here in Halifax. The food was unbelievable. Like, so good. But the natural d├ęcor of the dining room, although classy, was very traditional and not entirely the bride or groom’s style. So we came up with a few little details to help the room feel a little more special for such an important day. This was our inspiration board:

And this is how it all came together:

The real stars of the show were several beautiful floral arrangements by the talented Chelsea Lee, so we did our best to complement them with a few subtle details: a grey-green linen table runner, grey ticking stripe napkins, grey-blue watercolour place cards in corks, white taper candles in brass candlesticks, and white taper candles in clear wine bottles. 

The groom is a pretty avid wine-maker, so I thought the cork place card holders and wine bottle candle holders were a subtle (but not cheesy) nod to his interests. The bride is often clad in shades of grey and blue (check out her gorgeous wedding dress!), so the colour pallet was an easy choice – especially after seeing which flowers Chelsea planned to use in the arrangements.

This was a super simple look to put together – the only remotely time consuming part was sewing the napkins, and even that was only a few hours (largely because I’m not the most skilled seamstress). 

Most of this needs no instruction but here’s how I made the runner and place cards:

LINEN TABLE RUNNER: I LOVE linen. It’s the perfect fabric to work with. Know why? It rips in a straight line. AND those rips actually make really beautiful rough edges. This is important because it DRAMATICALLY reduces your work load because you don’t need to hem the sides to make the edges straight. I chose to make the table runner 1/3 the width of the table (13” wide in my case), with an overhang of about a foot on either end (168” for our long table). Then, I cut a little slit about an inch in from the side of the fabric (parallel to where the fabric store cut it– it won’t rip the other way), and started to rip. You want to do this first to ensure that there’s a rough edge on each side of the runner (otherwise, you’ll have one piece with the weird “I cut with scissors” look on one side and all other sides ripped). Then, I just measured 13” segments, made a little slice with scissors and ripped the piece apart. Once  I had enough pieces, I ironed them to flatten the slightly-curled edges (from being ripped), pinned the short ends together, and used my sewing machine to sew all the strips in one long line. Then I flattened out the seams with my iron, hemmed the ends, and it was done. The whole project took under an hour!

WATERCOLOUR PLACE CARDS: These were also super simple. I simply cut out rectangles of watercolour paper in the size I wanted, used my paint brush to paint a swath of water onto the card, and then mixed a combo of mostly white and a little grey watercolour paint together and swiped that over top of the area I had just painted with water. Depending on how it looked, I sometimes added a few extra droplets of water on top to get the super wavy look. Then, I let them dry for a little over 12 hours, and printed on each person’s name (using Emily’s faux calligraphy trick). The bride helped with the cork holders by cutting a slice into the top of each cork for the place card and cutting a segment off the bottom of each cork so they would sit flat. She noted that it was actually a bit easier to cut the corks using a sawing motion with the knife – FYI. Again, the actual watercolour work was maybe 30 minutes (plus drying time). Super easy but a really pretty effect.

And that's it! A few really simple steps to help the space reflect the beauty of the day. What do you think?


Friday, August 7

We've had a pretty sentimental addition to our living room... This trunk.

It came from my grandfather's house. Grumpy, as he was affectionally known, passed away in February at the impressive age of 100 years old. We're not sure if the trunk came from his side of the family, my grandmother's, or my step-grandmother's, as they all had last names that  began with B. Wherever it came from, it means a lot to me to have it now.

It's not in peak condition - one of the leather handles is torn and there is some water damage on the top but none of that matters to me. Every time I look at it, I feel nostalgic and happy. And that's how homes should be - full of things that are beautiful or functional or just plain make you happy. 

I looked in to having it repaired but the guy seemed less than interested in doing the job... and basically just told me to buy a new trunk. He seemed to have difficulty understanding that I didn't just want a trunk; I wanted this trunk for sentimental reasons.

Given that a fix doesn't seem in the cards, I'm using a scrap of leftover linen to cover the majority of the water damage, and we picked up this fantastic new lamp from Wicker Emporium to place on top. We're also hoping to replace the bannister in behind with a built-in bookcase (like this) sometime soon. For now, I'll enjoy a little burst of happiness and sentimentality every time I look to this corner.

Project Hester

Thursday, June 18

I shared a glimpse of this project months ago and after more than a year of working together (a really FUN year), we're finally nearing completion. This was a floor-to-ceiling decorating job - the only furniture my client had was a bedroom set. She's really fun and adventurous, and loves things with a little bit of edge - so obviously, it was a blast to put this space together. It won't be ready to be photographed for another few months, so you'll see the full before-and-afters later, but I thought I'd share some iPhone previews of two of the almost-finished spaces today.

This little foyer was begging for some personality. When my client first moved in, it was pretty bare. After scoring an amazing bench, we sorted through a bunch of movie posters she had bought while travelling and picked a bunch to frame and hang. 

My client killed it at auctions and found this gorgeous hutch, and a pedestal table with a set of chairs. 

We paired them with this gorgeous vintage rug.

Then we recovered the chairs with a fun zigzag and styled up the hutch to give the room a dose of personality.

We still need to hang some art but this room is almost wrapped up!

These are just two of the rooms we tackled but the others, including possibly my favourite living room to date, will have to wait until some pro-photos are taken!

Scheming & Dreaming

Tuesday, June 16

In the midst of helping other people decorate and style their homes, sometimes our house takes a backseat. It's honestly a bit embarrassing how long I've left parts of our house unfinished while I focus on other projects! But just because they're not done yet doesn't mean I don't have tons of plans and dreams up my sleeve.

Are you plotting and planning anything fun for your abode? The more I stare at these ideas, the more impatient I am to get started!

West Dining

Thursday, May 28

Alright, I'm back with the second half of this week's post. You've seen this client's bathroom and living room before, and now it's time to share their dining room. My job in here was fairly minimal, as they already had a number of gorgeous antiques. They were just looking to help the room feel more finished. Here is the (grainy iPhone) before:

And here's what it looks like now:

I recommended that they choose a modern white dining chair to contrast the dark traditional look of the existing antiques. I love how the juxtaposition of the two extremes makes the beautiful details of each piece more noticeable.

They already owned these beautiful antiques. The rich wood really warms up the cool tones of the space.

Everyone needs a bar cart (or liquor locker?) in my opinion, and this one was perfectly sized for this tiny wall. We added a decorative mirror above it to reflect light coming in from the living room, as the dining room isn't naturally very bright.

My client made these curtains herself, and I loved the soft blues and greens. I used them as inspiration for choosing the art for the gallery wall. 

The other main role I played in this space was helping choose some additional art to round out my clients' existing collection and create a gallery wall. We chose the iceberg piece in the middle and the wild horse at the top. Then, I arranged the gallery wall in my typical fashion.

It's a little bittersweet to wrap up a project with someone you've been working with for so long! These clients were a lot of fun and very trusting of my judgment, which is always super helpful, haha. 

I also think that a lot of people believe working with a decorator or designer means they need to start from scratch, which can be so intimidating. You really don't. Your decorator might suggest that you switch out a few items that just won't work, but a good one will find a way to embrace the pieces you already have and love, while still updating the room to feel fresh and new. If you're local (Halifax and area) and are looking to update your space or just help it feel more put together, feel free to send me an email (use the little envelope in the top right corner) and we can chat about how I can help!

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 ;)