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Sarah Style

Monday, November 30

It's no secret that I'm a Sarah Richardson fan. I've loved her since her Room Service days and my life was pretty much made when I got to have tea with her in Toronto a few years ago (thank you, Blog Podium!) So I'm sure you can guess my response when Simon & Schuster offered to send me her new book, At Home: Sarah Style, to review.

No exaggeration, when I got home from work and saw that it had arrived, I literally stood in the kitchen for 30 minutes, leaning against the counter reading it with my coat still on. 

Sarah has such an engaging way of speaking/writing and it was really cool to get an inside peek at her home and life. I'm in love with that flamingo wallpaper in her daughter's room!

Not only does she share peeks into never-before-seen spaces, but she also included some of her personal family recipes, like the one for wild rice salad below that I am definitely going to try this week.

And who doesn't love a book with a gorgeous spine?! The perfect gift for the design-lover in your life.

Although I was sent the book for free to review, all opinions are mine and I only choose to share things with my readers that are consistent with my taste and this blog.

Operation Office: The Full Story

Monday, November 23

You guys. We started #OperationOffice almost two years ago. How nuts is that?! It’s funny how your own projects always seem to get put on the backburner. But no more! Operation Office is finally complete! 

Check out a few of our recent upgrades:

Degrees! On the WALL. Like proper ADULTS. It’s amazing how satisfying it is to see these up instead of resting in a stack on the floor. And it took under 5 minutes to do.

A proper filing cabinet (which you can just barely see to the left of the photo)! We had been storing our files and papers on our bookshelf in clear acrylic boxes from Target (moment of silence for its Canadian demise) but we felt that space could be better used for other things and I have to admit, it’s nice to have all of our boring-looking papers tucked away, rather than out in the open.  We grabbed this one off Kijiji and it’s a little banged up… but we both kind of like that. It gives the room a slightly worn-in industrial feeling. We’re in talks regarding a plant to put on top. The main hold-up is that I’ve managed to kill everything but my fiddle-leaf fig (which is my BABY) and our snake plant (which is strangely durable given how much neglect it faces). But this space does get way more light than practically anywhere else in the house, so maybe I can branch out into something more advanced. (Probably not.)

I’ve been using the acrylic storage boxes that used to house our files to store fabric samples, which are WAY prettier than boring papers. And they’d just been sitting in piles on the floor or the desk, so this is also incredibly more functional!

Probably the most exciting development so far for me has been these chairs… THESE CHAIRS. I’ve been coveting them for ages – they’re the Spencer from Structube. I had intended to get them in white but we both wear dark denim a lot and I was worried about colour transfer. Rather than spend all of our time stressing about magic-erasering the material, I decided to go with black, which works just as well in the space (if not better).  They were shockingly easy to put together (I think we were both a little wary after our dining chair debacle) and so far seem to be a great quality match for our needs.

We organized the closet. We had done this once before but now we’ve had time to see how much stuff we actually never use. We donated and turfed a bunch of things and grabbed a few organizers and hooks to keep the contents nice and easy to find. And it no longer stresses us out to open it… I'm planning to replace or spray-paint the door knob, but I haven't got to that project yet.

We switched out the light fixture. It was a generic traditional fixture before, and we found this awesome globe light at Home Depot for 14.99. Yes, you read that right. Insane. It’s fun and modern and I love how chrome base picks up on the chrome in the office chairs, and…

Our new curtains! It took me forever to decide on a curtain fabric but I finally chose this simple acid yellow linen. I like how it picks up on the Apple print (from PopChart Labs) but doesn’t compete with the pattern in the rug. One of our windows presses right against the wall, which made for a slight challenge in figuring out how to configure our curtains. This is the brightest room in our dark house and we didn’t want to risk blocking any of that light, so instead of having two panels made (one of which would sit in front of the left window and block light, even when open), we opted for one wide panel that can be pulled all the way to the right and out of the way of the window. We also chose grommets over pinch pleats to ensure that the panel could be completely pulled away from the window (pinch pleats are a lot more voluminous and may have slid back in front of the window, even when pulled to the side). The chrome-look grommets and chrome curtain rod tie in nicely to the chairs and light fixture.

And the final task was completed just this past week. We had one of the French doors from the basement moved upstairs to replace the office door in order to let some of the light streaming in filter into the rest of the house. It's perfect. I'm thinking I might spray the handle and paint the brass casings black to make it a bit more modern, but that's a project for another day.

So there you have it! Operation Office is DONE. Two years later, but DONE. And, just to show you how far we’ve actually come, check out these before and afters:

Pretty radical, right?

Other Office Posts:
- Before
- Chalkboard Wall 1 and 2
- Walls
- Trim
- Desk
- Bookshelf
- Art
- Rug

Ahead of Schedule

Tuesday, November 10

It's no secret that I love paper goods. It's also no secret that I love Minted (see here, here, and here). But what you may not know about me (unless you know me in real life) is that I'm a huge procrastinator and am constantly doing things at the last minute. So when Minted offered to send me some holiday cards to review a full TWO MONTHS before Christmas... it was exactly what my procrastinating self needed to get on the ball this year. 

I chose these gorgeous foil-pressed flat cards from Alethea and Ruth, keeping with my preference for botanicals, calligraphy, and metallics (here are last year's cards, which are still available). 

But this year, I amped up my order by adding these pretty green speckled envelope liners and Minted's signature skinny address wrap. I've never tried either before and unsurprisingly, I was super impressed. In keeping with Minted's attention to quality, both are beautiful in person and add a really polished final touch to the cards.

Although Minted has a plethora of gorgeous paper goods (and fabrics! and art! and homewares!), I'm always drawn to their selection of foil-stamped goods. There's something about that added reflective element that seems to completely elevate the whole look.

And although we're not really at the family-photo-christmas-card stage of our life yet, Minted has a ton of gorgeous photo options if that's what you're looking for. Below, I've rounded up a few of my favourites in case you're in the market for something a little special this holiday season.
Joy by Makewells   |   Cheers by Hooray Creative   |   Season's Greetings by Laura Hankins   |   Warmest Holiday Wishes by Cheer Up Press  |   Happy by Waldo Press   |   New Year Cheer by Up Up Creative   |   Merry by Hooray Creative   |   Merry & Married by Hooray Creative   |   It's a Wonderful Life by Geekink Design   |   2016 by Phrosne Ras   |   Oh What FUN! by Alicia Schultz   |   Joyful by Erin Deegan   |   Happy 2016 by Geekink Design   |   Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Laura Bolter Design   |   Merry by Leah Bisch

Aaaaand, Minted's Free Foil Event starts today (and ends next Monday, Nov 16th), which means you get 20% off anything foil-pressed (including art)! PLUS, you can also get 15% off any orders over $150 and 10% off any orders over $100 with the code JOY. What are you waiting for?! If I'm not procrastinating this year, neither should you ;)

"How is the foyer coming along?"

Wednesday, November 4

“How is the foyer coming along?” It’s probably the most asked question about the house I get from family and friends. Well. It stalled for awhile. We need to beef up the existing trim (which is insubstantial and unimpressive) and after a few miscommunications/prolonged delays from craftsmen, we decided to tackle it ourselves. Which always ALWAYS ends up taking way longer.  And eventually, I just couldn’t wait for the trim to be fixed anymore. That flesh-toned monstrosity had to go. So I broke out my trusty little shortcut brush (the BEST) and painted all that dang trim Benjamin Moore’s Snow White. Big sigh of relief.

Yes, it would have been more efficient to wait until the new trim was installed to paint but installing the trim was holding up the rest of the project. Now, we can move ahead with other components of the space (like the CEILING!!!) and get to the trim when we finally make the time to DIY the work. 

In the meantime, I’ll just be in the foyer making all the heart-eye emojis.

P.S. Check out this before and after:

The Gift List

Sunday, November 1

It's no secret that I'm an Etsy addict. And unless you've been living under a rock, you're likely well aware of its legions of wares. It's one of my favourite places to look for art and accessories for myself, for friends, and for clients. And it's a fantastic place to look for gifts. You can find pretty much anything. I mean it. Have a friend who's (still) obsessed with NSync? I know where you can find earrings with Justin Timberlake's face on them. Need pyjamas for your cat? I know where you can find those too. So, in honour of the upcoming holiday season, I've teamed up with Etsy to bring you a few of my favourite gift ideas. The possibility of getting all of your Christmas shopping done early (and all in one place!) is my gift to you ;)

(And check out the bottom of this post for a fun giveaway!)
Like what you see? Well, you're in luck! I have a $50 Etsy gift card up for grabs! Just comment below (and make sure you're signed in with an email address so I can contact you if you win) and let me know what YOU would spend your $50 on. Contest closes next Sunday at noon (Atlantic)! 

Giveaway is closed and the winner has been notified. Thanks to all who entered!