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Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Do you have a piece of furniture - or maybe more than one - tucked away in the far corner of your basement? Or stashed above the rafters in the garage? Perhaps it is a piece that has been in the family for years, handed down once or twice, or maybe even kept out of sheer obligation. Clearly, it just didn't suit your style when it first came to live with you, but I implore you to take a second look. Turn a creative eye to the enormous (economical) potential under that thick layer of dust!

These Duncan Phyfe dining chairs have been in my client's family for decades. While she currently uses the matching buffet, the remainder of the set has been in storage for longer than anyone cares to admit. A single "a-ha"moment two weeks ago led to these chairs being yanked back into the light of day. They are destined for a complete makeover and will soon replace an oak Amish-made set. In the grand scheme, the renewed chairs will relate better, and beautifully, to other pieces in the dining room and adjacent rooms.

Our fabric hunt was fun and fast. The beautiful wovens below from Robert Allen were a triple win: amazing complementary prints, perfect colours, and on clearance! And, as outdoor fabrics, they are moisture resistant and easy-to-clean. What else could we ask for in a dining room?

At present, the chairs reside with a local craftsman who will tighten up a few joints to make them sturdy for everyday use. Until then, my spray painting and upholstering tools stand at attention, waiting for the moment we can begin this renewal!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fine Dining

Last year it looked like this:

 Things became worse...

....before they became better.

Admittedly, we still have a long way to go. But two nights ago, for the first time ever, we were able to entertain a few remarkably gracious guests in a room that is actually designed for dining. I think in most households it's referred to as a "dining room"? Such a novel idea!

In prior months, having dinner guests meant serving a meal in our living room. Trying to seat everyone at a table squeezed into a room that was already home to a couch, coffee table, and a few other pieces inevitably made for tight fit. We were more than willing, then, to tolerate the current real (not faux) bois interior, as the scenery was secondary to having enough room to move and breathe. Dinner was positively enjoyable!

By now you've likely spotted the new windows and door I posted about recently. Transom windows are yet to be installed along the top, which will channel additional natural light into the room and open up the space even more, for many a "bon appetit" in the months ahead.
Monday, October 11, 2010

Double duty

2-for-1! Does that make your ears perk up? It's always great when a piece of furniture serves in more than one capacity. These stools, whether placed beside a sofa as a small table or pulled up as an extra seat, add a sculptural quality and color to any room.

Here are a few I love, in all their various colors, shapes and materials.

My absolute favorite from West Elm
Industrial look from CB2
Pretty color and subtle pattern from

A bold statement piece

Ideal for any kid's room

Clean-lined and simple from West Elm

Sure to brighten up a room!

The classic ceramic stool

Love this cut-out effect

I would love to see any multi-tasking piece you have worked into your home. Send me pictures, or leave your link in a comment.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010


Last week I found this beautiful orchid on my kitchen table, waiting for me to blast through the door after a hectic day.

A sweet anniversary gift from a husband who knows me well.

Today, the orchids keep me company - and keep me calm - while I work. They make me smile. I couldn't help but share.