Happy Anniversary To Me!

March 31, 2011

Wow, how time flies - one year ago today I sat in a lawyer's office and signed my name on a whole forest's worth of paperwork, and officially purchased my first place!  It's hard to believe that much time has passed already!

When I look around my condo, I wish I could say that I'd completed its transformation from empty box to a home, but if you've been reading my blog you'll know that I have a wee procrastination problem.  Sigh,  Oh well. One thing I do wish I'd gotten around to is purchasing dining room chairs - I have a table, but with no chairs it makes it a little hard to invite people over for dinner.

In some ways I'm glad I haven't gotten further in my condo's metamorphosis.  When I think of the things I would have picked for my place even just one year ago, they're not exactly what I see myself  choosing now.  I wonder what my taste will be like on my second anniversary?

Ah but back to today - It's time to celebrate.  Cupcake anyone?
Martha Stewart Cupcake
Photo credit:


It Squishes Beneath My Toes

March 30, 2011

When I first moved into my condo, one of the first things I decided I needed to buy was a  rug for my living room.  I didn't have one in my old apartment, and even if I had it wouldn't have fit in my new 12'x16' space.  I'd read in a few different decor magazines that if you're starting a room from scratch it's always better to purchase a rug first, as apparently it's easier to match upholstery to a rug than the other way around (If you read my earlier post, I had some difficulty finding a fabric for my sofa to match my new rug so I can't begin to imagine trying to match a rug to an upholstered piece).

I was somewhat focused in my living room rug search in that I only went to one store.  That's right, just one.  I did however visit every single location of that store in the Greater Toronto Area (I'm not kidding, we looked at every one from Mississauga, to Scarborough and even north to Vaughan).  The store in question was HomeSense.  HomeSense is great for all sorts of things, but unfortunately for me being carless makes it a little difficult to visit.  There are a couple of locations in the city, but they just aren't as massive and magical as the ones you can find in suburbia.  Handily my mom came to town for a week or so to help me move, so I made use of her car.  Aren't moms wonderful??

When you go into HomeSense the rugs are hung very neatly from the walls which is great - you can flip through them quickly and see the whole rug easily - not like some carpet stores where they're piled up on the floor and in order to see one you fold back the corner of the one above it, and invariably the only rug you're even slightly interested in seeing is the one on the bottom, so you have to somehow lift up the 25 or so rugs above it. . . . Ugh! I get winded just thinking about it . .
Rug Store collage
Stacks of rugs vs. Homesense's neatly hung rugs
Anyways, back to the way HomeSense does it.  It's so much smarter, making it easy to flip through their rugs in just a couple of minutes.  In theory, if you're just looking for a rug as I was you could walk in, make a bee-line to the rug section, and if you don't find anything be back out at the car in under 10 minutes.  I've never managed to do that.  Sigh - did I mention I think HomeSense is magical??  I'm like a kid at Disneyland - I walk through the doors and stop and stare, and can't decide what to look at first - I'm sure I look like the spectators at Wimbledon with my head bobbing back and forth.

The only problem with buying a huge rug a HomeSense is you have to
get it home yourself.  Rugs are pretty heavy, and they're rather unwieldy.  I think regular rug stores roll them up for delivery, but a rolled up 8'x11' rug won't fit in any car so the people at HomeSense  fold it  several times like a piece of paper, and place it on top of a cart so you can roll it out to your vehicle.  That part's not so bad, it's the part when you get to your destination that causes regular folk to wish they had a friend or relative who looks like Popeye.

Given that delivering rugs is oh-so fun,  my mom and I did it twice as the first one I bought looked decidedly washed out against my hardwood floor.  The second rug purchase worked much better, and thankfully it stayed on my floor once we'd heaved it into my home - have I mentioned that my condo in on the second floor in a building with no elevator?
Homesense Rug in a livingroom
My new rug (Please ignore the 90's lamp in the corner)


The Sofa Saga

March 25, 2011

When I moved into my home and contemplated the vast amount of furniture I'd need to purchase in order to make it a 'home' I vowed that I wouldn't just buy anything to fill the space - I'd wait and purchase pieces that I really liked, and hopefully I'd be able to find pieces I liked at a price point I could also afford!!

Given my unit is only a one bedroom, when considering the purchase of a sofa, I decided that a sofa-bed would be my best choice.  There was only one problem - have you seen what's readily available in sofa beds??  UGLY!!

Eventually (after months of looking) I found a sofa that really liked - Yay!  It's the Monterey Sofa from Ethan Allen, and I fell in love.
Ethan Allen - Monterey Sofa
Unfortunately they don't make it in sofa bed - Boo!

The next step in my sofa search was the realisation that in order  to get the sofa style I wanted, in the format I wanted - I was going to have to go custom.  Oh boy - did I ever underestimate just how difficult a process this would be.

The first problem was I had no idea where I could get a sofa made.  A Google search solved this fairly readily - of course sofa manufactures are not located in Midtown Toronto - they're all in the suburbs.  This was a wee problem as I don't have a car.  Let's just say I became  quite familiar with a few of the GTA's transit systems during my quest.

The second issue was the actual choosing of fabric.   The designers make it look so easy on all those shows on HGTV, but for people like me with no design training it's a little bit of a nightmare.  I'd select some fabric that I thought would work, schlep a sample home only to discover that the shade changed completely once in my space.  Part of the problem was I'd already purchased a rug which is a bit of an odd colour - not gray, nor blue or green, but somewhere in the middle, and finding a fabric that didn't clash was surprisingly difficult (It's even more surprising when you consider I was looking for a beige fabric - who knew beige could clash with anything?).

At the start of June, after several weekend jaunts to the dreaded suburbs, I'd finally chosen my fabric and was told my sofa would be ready in 6 - 8 weeks.  I figured at this point the hard part was done - I was wrong.  Six, and then eight weeks went by, and still no call from the manufacturer to arrange for delivery.  When I called them I was told there had been a  delay in receiving the fabric, but I'd get my sofa in 2 weeks.  Okay a small delay, but nothing to get too worked-up about.  Three weeks passed.  Four.

I finally got the call that my sofa was ready (Hallelujah!) and arranged for it to be delivered.  I should probably admit something here - delivery services make me uncomfortable.  Not because there's some strange people in your home, but because I always feel really stupid just standing there - I feel like I should be helping.  I know it's their job, but still I feel weird just watching them lift and carry my stuff.

Anyways, the two gentlemen showed up with my sofa, and I squirmed in the corner as they maneuvered it into my apartment.  It looked pretty good in its packaging, and I waited impatiently for them to remove it so I could really take a look at what I had waited so long for.  They removed the plastic, and after a cursory look at the sofa I found this:
Small hole in sofa upholstery

That's right - I hole right there on the front of my very tardy, newly delivered, pricey sofa.  As there wasn't anything the guys could do about it, they took their leave and advised me to call the manufacturer in the morning.  I admit it was a small hole, and I'm sure some would have just lived with it, but I knew I just couldn't (remember the problem I had with the hole in my foyer wall?).

After the delivery guys left I stood back to admire it in its new home - I'd waited so long for it to be here that despite its little flaw I was excited to finally have it.  Strangely it didn't look quite as magnificent as the original, and it took me a moment to realise why. As you know I'm not a trained interior designer, nor am I a person who builds furniture for a living, but it only took a quick look to realise that there was a serious problem with the sofa:
Sofa Collage

To this day I don't understand how they missed the fact that the pillows were the wrong size.

In an effort to make this massive post shorter, the guys came back for the sofa and  at the end of October I got a call to say it was fixed and ready for delivery.  Given the issues I'd had before, this time I went there to inspect the sofa first before it was delivered - I figured that as much of a pain traveling to the suburbs was, it was less painful than watching two guys deliver a sofa again only to have to again send it back.  This attempt was much better.

On Monday November 1st, only 5 months after it was first ordered, my sofa finally took its place in my living room.
My New Sofa
Finally! It's arrived!
Am I completely happy with it? Honestly? No, but I finally reached the point where I couldn't think about it any more.  One thing I do know - if I ever decide to buy another place, one item on my 'must have' list for the real estate agent - a living room that will fit this sofa - there is NO WAY I'm ever purchasing another one! Once was quite enough thank you!


Love: 20x200

March 20, 2011

A few years ago I read about the website and for a while checked it regularly to see what marvelous art they had on offer.  As I've recently been  making a concerted effort to decorate my home (including maybe hanging things on walls), I recalled the website I used to visit  and was quite pleased when I discovered that it's just as great as I remembered.  So pleased I thought I'd share.

The idea behind the site is quite simple - limited edition prints of art and photographs in varying sizes and price points means everyone can afford a piece of original art.  The smallest pieces are usually priced at $20(US) and are limited to just 200 prints.  New pieces are released on a weekly basis so there's always something new to discover.

Here are some of the pictures I love right now:

Wouldn't he be great in a kids room?
White Tiger No.5, By Sharon Montrose
I think this would be cute by a back door:
Boots and Raincoats, San Diego, California, By Taj Forer
Lovebird #5, By Luke Stephenson
This painting of San Francisco was done using an iPhone App!
iSketch842, by Jorge Colombo
This one is so simple, and made me smile:
The New Math of Relationships: Laughter, by Craig Damrauer
I like the contrast of the red against the gray of this one:
Jacks, By Katie Baum
Winter Flags (East Village, New York), By Youngna Park
The only issue is that while the site does ship to Canada, it's quite expensive - $20 for one 8"x10" print (vs. $8.50 if you live south of the border).  Still, if you really like the image, $40 isn't a huge amount - consider that mass produced prints at Ikea start at $10.

Interested in any of the pictures I've posted above? Here are the links:

Baby White Tiger No.5, by Sharon Montrose

Boots and Raincoats, San Diego, California, by Taj Forer

Lovebird#5, by Luke Stephenson

iSketch842, by Jorge Colombo

The New Math of Relationships: Laughter, by Craig Damrauer

Jacks, by Katie Baum

Winter Flags (East Village, New York), by Youngna Park

Things I Love

Sleeping Beauty

March 16, 2011

I was in the mall the other day, and popped in to Crate and Barrel to take a look around.  The store is relatively new to Canada so I haven't visited them too often.  I went in to take a look at their living room accent tables, and instead have become enamoured with this:
Crate & Barrel Colette bed
Crate & Barrel Colette Bed
Isn't it gorgeous?? It's so pretty, I think it all but guarantees a good nights sleep.  All thoughts of accent tables flew out of my head, and instead I stood there happily daydreaming about what I would do in my bedroom to highlight this new bed.  Ah Bliss!

I then took a look at the price and came plummeting back to reality. $1,899!!  That's crazy!  Especially when you consider that as I currently have only a double bed, I'd need to spring for the queen mattress as well.  While I do want to replace my bed, and plan on getting a queen when the time comes, that purchase is not in the immediate future.  Oh well - I'll have to dream of it instead of sleeping on it.

Here is a link to the bed: Colette Bed

Things I Love

Going Pear Shaped

March 10, 2011

Have you ever gone into a store and spotted something so completely ridiculous that your just had to have it??
White ceramic pear
It's just Pear-fect!
Meet my 2 ft. tall pear.  I know it's crazy, and serves no purpose whatsoever (other than make me smile), but I just had to have it.  Now I just need to figure out where to put it . . . .


House & Home - March 2011 - Spotted!

March 06, 2011

I get House & Home magazine delivered every month, and unfortunately I usually find the things they feature to be completely out of my wallets limited reach.  Most of the time I just like looking at the pictures to get ideas, and dream about one day being able to afford to decorate my home like they do.

This month's issue was shaping up to be no different, but about halfway through the magazine I spotted something that made me stop flipping the pages.
House & Home - March 2011 - Laundry Day
House & Home - March 2011 - Laundry Day
On the bottom of the second page of their Laundry Day feature is a stainless steel laundry basket that jumped out at me.  It's the Large Metro Laundry Basket, and  it's available at Ginger's for $99.

Before you go thinking I've been sniffing too much detergent (or even worse - eating it like on that TLC show 'My Strange Addiction')  and its made me decide to spend $100 on something to hold dirty clothes, take a look at this:
Stainless steel laundry basket

This is the laundry hamper that has been in my home for the past decade or so.  A wee bit similar don't you think?  The best part?  I bought mine at Loblaws for $19.99!!

PS - See that white hamper pictured on the top right hand side of the magazine - it costs $600 at Design Within Reach!!!


My Condo is Famous!!!

March 03, 2011

A few months ago on a brisk Sunday afternoon, my condo had a sort of meet-and-greet on the rooftop patio.  There have been a few units change hands in the past year and it was an opportunity to meet the new people (including yours truly), and hopefully put names to the faces I see in the halls.

While all the residents didn't turn out, I did learn some very interesting things about the neighbourhood, some of the neighbours, the building, and my unit.

Interesting fact #1: The living room ceiling in my unit fell down about three owners ago.  This explains the drywall in that room vs. the plaster in the rest of the unit.

Interesting fact #2: My unit is famous!!!  In 2002 the then resident was featured on an episode of Peter Fallico's 'Home to Go' which aired on HGTV in Canada.  Appearing in the second season the episode is entitled 'Tres Thai'.

I haven't yet figured out how to add video to a blog, so here's the link:

HGTV - Peter Fallico's 'Home to Go' - Season '2: Très Thai' (This video will only be viewable in Canada - sorry)

Some things have changed a lot since the show was filmed, and some not so much:
  • The kitchen floor is the same
  • The countertop Peter Fallico put in is still here, but the cabinets are different
  • The door molding is all different, and there are now doors between the foyer and living room, and living room and dining room
  • The fake fireplace is gone
  • There is no air-conditioning unit
They don't show the bedroom, which is too bad - it would have been interesting to see if my theory about the closet is true.  Oh well - how often do you get to see what your home looks like 8 years before you move in!!

I wonder if I could convince him to come back and redo my unit - a kind of follow-up if you will :)

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