Architectural Digest

Freaking Out and Lacquered Walls

January 20, 2014

Classes started again last week; on Saturday I had my first Interior Decorating 1 class and I’m admitting right now that I’m scared. So far the courses I’ve taken have been a little easy – no actual decorating happening. That’s going to change with this class, and I’m currently experiencing an overwhelming feeling of terror.

I’m absolutely terrified that I’ve made a huge mistake. What am I doing going back to school? Where in the hell did I get the idea that I had any sort of skill at actually decorating a room? There’s so much to think about, and source, and pull together, and I haven’t any idea what I’m doing, and there’s a looming deadline for the project and I don’t think I can have it done in time. Oh my God – what have I done???


One of the projects for my class (one of two that are terrifying me) is to take an image from a fashion magazine that has a triadic colour scheme and translate that into a contemporary living room. After hours of searching (mostly at Chapters since I don’t own a single fashion magazine) I ended up with one from a issue of Fashion magazine from 2009 that is predominantly navy blue (And yes, I used the term ‘ended up with’- what's with current magazines only having monochromatic or black and white fashion spreads? How terribly boring.).

Since I have to keep the colour ratio in my space the same as the image we're using which means most of the room will have to be navy blue, and in order to accomplish that I’ll have to present a room with navy walls. This worried me for a while – how to do a contemporary room with dark walls given that when I think of a contemporary space I usually think sleek, modern, open, and mostly white with pops of bright colour.

Yesterday morning when I woke up it hit me – lacquer. Lacquer has been popping up more and more frequently in the magazines and blogs that I read and I’ve always rather loved it as it adds a little something extra and unexpected to rooms.
Todd Romano's Manhattan studio via Architectural Digest
Todd Romano's Manhattan studio via Architectural Digest
The image above is of Todd Romano’s Manhattan apartment, and it has laid to rest some of my fears about an all blue room feeling very traditional instead of contemporary. What do you think? Do the lacquered walls add to the contemporary feel to the space? Or am I simply grasping at straws?


DIY Birdfeeder

January 16, 2014

One of the classes I took last semester was Design Fundamentals, and one of the major assignments of the course was to design either a birdfeeder or birdhouse. When my instructor first told us about the assignment I wasn’t worried – I birdhouse couldn’t be too hard right? I mean, kids build them all the time in scouts and girl guides. It turns out I was a little misguided in my assumption of the project’s ease. Our projects had to be created out of materials that weren’t originally meant for either a birdhouse or feeder (this of course meant that we couldn’t buy a kit from the craft store and simply paint it – drat!).

Once I put my thinking cap on I came up with an idea I thought was pretty smart. My plan was to take a vintage suitcase and turn it into a birdhouse – I’d cut holes in it, and create vintage looking travel stickers depicting bird migration destinations. I ran into an unexpected problem however – have you ever tried to find a reasonably priced vintage suitcase in Toronto? I have, and I can tell you it’s not possible. I blame the hipsters.

Anyways, when it became apparent my genius (if I do say so myself) plan wasn’t going to work I had to come up with something else, and by then I had just a week to source materials and construct it. Unfortunately I faced a rather large problem - I had absolutely no idea what I was going to create. Searching the internet for inspiration was no help, so I did the only other thing I could think of – the weekend before the project was due I took an epic shopping trip to every thrift shop I could find between Toronto to Burlington looking for ideas.

I have no idea how many shops I went to. I bought random things here and there hoping I’d eventually be able to make them into something, but I still hadn’t had that ‘light bulb’ moment. Before heading back to Toronto I stopped in Ikea (on a Saturday afternoon – this should tell you how desperate for inspiration I was) and I found an item that finally looked hopeful.
Ikea - Skurar Lantern
Ikea - Skurar Lantern
I bought a white Skurar candle lantern and planned to turn it into a bird feeder. A few more stores over the next few days and I had all the rest of the materials I needed.

With just two days to complete the project I got started. I wish I could say I took process shots, but I was more worried about just completing the birdhouse which was worth 20% of my grade. The idea was to use the sippy cup to hold the seed and then attach it to the plate as the base of the feeder. The plate would hold the seed to also the birds to eat it, and give them a place to perch. The lantern would be tuned upside down over-top of the sippy cup to protect the seed from the elements and make it pretty. I also loved that the cut-out in the lantern would allow some of the colour of the sippy cup to shine thought – especially when it was sunny outside.

My first step was to drill a hole in the middle of the bottom of the lantern. I’d use that hole and the hole in the sippy cup lid where the straw would normally go to bolt the two pieces together with an eye bolt. The eye bolt would also be used to hang the bird feeder. Bolting the lid of the sippy cup to the lantern would allow the bird feeder to be easily refilled by simply unscrewing the cup bottom from its lid. My next step was to drill a series of holes around the base of the sippy cup to allow the birdseed to escape. I also drilled a hole in the middle of the bottom of the cup – my plan was to bolt the base plate to the bottom of the sippy cup. All of these steps, while a little time consuming were fairly straightforward and I started to believe my plan would work.

The last part of the plan was to drill through the dollarstore plate to allow it to be bolted to the bottom of the cup. I’ve drilled through some ceramic tile before so while I knew it would take some time I was confident it could be accomplished. I was wrong. I drilled, and drilled, and drilled, and drilled some more. My neighbours must have thought I was nuts. Over an hour later, and I’d only just managed to get through the plate but I still had hours of drilling left to make the hole big enough for the bolt. I gave up, and decided to take a chance with gluing the plate to the cup. I picked the plate up out of the sink where I was was drilling (I was using a bit of water to keep the bit cool), and started to dry it off.
I could have cried. There I was, on a Sunday night, and I’d just dropped and smashed the plate I’d just spent over an hour drilling, and I didn’t have a spare. Class was on Tuesday so I had just 24 hours to get another plate and hope and pray that gluing the plate would work as I no longer had any time to come up with an alternate plan.
DIY birdfeeder
Thankfully it turns out that two-part epoxy works really well at attaching plastic and ceramic together and my DIY bird feeder ended up looking like I had imagined it would. More importantly my bird feeder was appreciated by my instructor, and I got an 18/20 on the project.
DIY birdfeeder

DIY birdfeeder
What do you think? Have you ever made a DIY birdfeeder? How did you do it?


Monday Morning Love - Hotel Mansour

January 13, 2014

During my Design Theory class last semester the final project involved using images to demonstrate the theories we'd learned. Naturally I used Pinterest as my source for images. I came across one picture that I loved, but unfortunately it wasn't credited properly so I did a bit more digging and discovered where the image was taken.
The spa at Hotel Mansour - Marrakesh. Photo by Richard Powers
The spa at Hotel Mansour - Marrakesh. Photo by Richard Powers
This incredible space is part of the spa at the Royal Mansour in Marrakesh, Morocco. Can you believe how beautiful it is? I love the intricate lace details in the screens, and the lovely inlaid marble floor. I can totally see myself relaxing here before going back to my room and it's private courtyard. For almost as long as I can remember Morocco has been on my 'one day I must visit here' list. I'm not sure what it is about the country that appeals to me but I know one day I'll visit.

PS - in case anyone was interested I did a bit of digging, and a stay in the Hotel Mansour costs just $1400US a night for a one bedroom riad. Want to bring your family? A three bedroom riad costs just over $12,000US a night. I'll now add this to my 'places I'll visit when I win the lottery' list.

Monday Morning Love

Monday Morning Love - Pharrell Williams' Happy

January 06, 2014

Happy Monday Everyone!  I know for a lot of people today is the first day back to their regular schedule after the holidays so I thought I’d keep this morning’s post short, simple, and, well, happy.

Have you seen ‘Despicable Me 2’? I haven’t, so I’d never heard the song. When I discovered the video for Pharrell Williams' Happy yesterday while stumbling around the endless abyss that is Youtube (please tell me I’m not the only one who can’t resist clicking on ‘just one more video’). I may have played it a few times consecutively while dancing dancing along in my kitchen. I think this song is the perfect way to start off a week – don’t you?


Looking Back, and Moving Forward

January 03, 2014

Happy New Year! I hope you spent the Holiday Season eating WAY too much with your family and friends – I know I did. Toronto was hit with a rather destructive ice storm the weekend before Christmas but I was lucky enough to have escaped to my parents early Saturday morning before the fun started. My building didn’t suffer too badly with only two large branches down on our property, one of which may have damaged the car port, but I’m hoping that when the limb is removed it’s a quick fix. Unfortunately the power was off for almost three days so I had the lovely task of emptying my fridge and freezer when I returned to Toronto. Mother Nature - you owe me a couple of hundred dollars.

With the arrival of 2014 I’ve been thinking a lot about what I did (or didn’t) accomplish in 2013 and what I hope to do in 2014.  I blogged about my favourite posts in 2011, and 2012 so here goes for 2013 even though the pickings were a bit slim as I didn’t blog as much as in previous years.

In February I completed my DIY foyer Rug, and I’m happy to report it’s holding up pretty well.
DIY fabric rug
In August I completed my very first set of pinch-pleated drapes for my bedroom. I’m still quite pleased with them, and hope to repeat the process for drapes in another room this year.
DIY pinch-pleated drapes
Also in August I shared my final project for my Intro. to Drafting course. Going back to school accounts for a large part of why I was more absent from my blog this year. I completed 3 more courses in December (I hope to post about a couple of project I completed for one of those classes soon).
Intro. to drafting final project
Fast forward to November and I showed you my DIY Boot Inserts. This reminds me - I need to make a second set for a pair of boots I got over Christmas.
DIY boot inserts
In December I finally posted about the wonderful job my parents did in fixing my dining room.
Newly repaired dining room
And lastly I shared some DIY Christmas ornaments that I’m quite pleased with.
DIY art-deco inspired Christmas ornaments
As for 2014? I’ll be continuing with my studies this year and have already signed up to take 3 courses between January and April. There are some other courses I’d like to take as well, but we’ll see how these three go first. Wish me luck – it’s going to be a lot of work on top of my 9-5 job.

As for this blog? I’ve got some major plans for it as well which I hope to finish before the end of January. Here’s a hint – remember way back in 2011 when I wrote about not really loving the name of my blog? Well, I’ve made a decision.

In terms of ‘resolutions’ for 2014 I’ve again signed up for the Apartment Therapy January cure. If you remember I signed up last year and I made a big list of the things I wanted to complete. I was only somewhat successful, so I’ll work on the same list this year. If at first you don’t succeed – right?

Is anyone else working on some resolutions goals for the second time? Please tell me I’m not the only one.

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