I Am A Sucker…

Remember I am a sucker for pillows and mirrors? Well, I couldn’t put mirror up on every single wall inside the house, but I could fill up my couches, chairs and benches with plushy pillows. And the best part is, since they are so inexpensive (compared to major furniture piece), no long-term commitment is required, and I can change/alternate them whenever I feel like it. I must have at least 20 pillows present throughout the house, and another 20 covers tucked away somewhere in storage.
I thought I’d share some of my recent favorites. Can you tell I am into geometric patterns these days? :-) Most of these pillows are in my living room and bedrooms.
(Click on the picture to enlarge it)

1. Blue Chevron; 2. Moorish Tile Pattern in Apple Green from Williams-Sonoma; 3. Windsor Smith in Pelagos Cove from Etsy; 4. P. Kaufmann Clarice in Dove from Etsy; 5. Imperial Trellis in Black from Etsy; 6. Fretwork Ikat in Espresso and Oatmeal; 7. Dwell Studio from Tonic Living; 8. Windsor Smith in Pelagos Lime; 9. Morrish Tile Pattern in Black from Williams-Sonoma.

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Before and After: Windsor Chair

Shortly after I finished the makeover the writing desk for our guest bedroom, I was in search for a chair to go with it. I found this sad little guy on CList for $20. This comb-back Windsor chair is an antique piece, and was passed down to a pastor from his family for generations.

 He seems in high spirit after a few coats of paints in Martha Stuart’s Chinchilla.
 Look how perky he is dressed in a blue chevron cushion? The chair pad is a DIY job by yours truly.
 And now they are finally an item in our guest bedroom waiting for to be used by our lucky guests!

Total costs = $20 (chair) + $0 paint leftover + $0 fabric remnant + $5 foam insert = $25.

West Queen West

One of our investment properties is located in the West Queen West District, and naturally we go there from time to time to check on the area. It always amazes us to see the area has become so artsy and hip; new lifestyle and fashion boutiques are filling up both sides of the Queen Street West; and the shopping crowds are getting bigger and bigger each time we were there.

Another reason for us to go down there this weekend is to check out a few stores that I’ve always wanted to go but never got around to. One of them is Chatelet Home located at 717 Queen Street West. The store is small, but it’s packed with tons of quality and elegant furnishing and decor items: French Provincial and English Country are the predominant styles offered.

This is the store front of the Chatelet Home. If I still owned a bachelorette pad, I would definitely haul these two chairs home.
 And this pink headboard too!
 Love the trellis/lattice pattern in the lamp shade.
 Take a guess of the use of these cute little ceramic mushrooms…salt and pepper shakers they are!

I didn’t end up buying anything from Chatelet, but I did find this Mersman Mahogany End Table at Captain’s Treasure on Bloor West. The store is cramped and untidy, and there are piles and piles of junk all of the place, but if you look really hard, you might just find something of value and to your liking. This was my second time at the store (I call it Craptain :-)), and I found this Mersman Mahogany End Table made in 1920s for $39. The table is in perfect condition, and it’s valued at $250 at whole bunch of antique/collectible sites. So yet another super score to add to my “Design on a Dime” list.

And as if we didn’t have enough excitement in one day, we also went to West Elm to check out the Essex Upholstered Ottoman I was going to buy. The real thing looks even better than the pictures from their web site, and I really really love the feather grey Ikat fabric pattern and the turned bun feet. Unfortunately the ottoman is too short relative to my sofa and all other major pieces of furniture in my living room so I had to let it go.

 Love love the azure Ikat fabric!

Living Room…Day 1

Today was a big leap forward for us away from our “bleh” beige wall in our living room, and we have Expert Crown Moulding to thank for. This is the third time we used their service, and they have never disappointed us. Look at these full-wall picture-frame wainscoting. It’s late and I am tired so I didn’t take any close-up pictures — but the work is flawless!
I was debating whether to go with the full-wall wainscoting up until last night but I am so glad that I went through with it. Just wait until how divine these walls look when they receive a couple of coats of antique white paint. Yes, white is in, and following footsteps of Janice at Life Begins at Thirty and Lindsay at Aubrey & Lindsay’s Little House Blog, I am painting my living room white too!

See the three frames above the mantel? The arched mirror from Uttermost (out of stock until May) will go in the middle, and the two sconces will sit in the narrower frame on each side.

I would like to take this opportunity to bring up Expert Crown Moulding again. They didn’t just put up full-wall wainscoting in my living room today (and it’s a very large room), they also installed this half-wall wainscoting in my foyer and along the curved staircase. And they did all this in one day from 9am to 8pm!

Now here comes the downer! I just found out the Troy Alta Sconce I love so much has been discontinued. There are some odd sites in the States that still sell it, but I don’t know if I can trust them.

And then I fell in love with this Twinkle Crystal Sconce from Chameleon. I was so heartbroken when I saw a silver-finish one costs $1,800! I just can’t justify spending two grand on a tiny sconce like this, as much as I so dearly adore it. So the hunt for a new sconce goes on.

So that’s it for Day 1, enough excitement in one day. We are going to take the long weekend off, do nothing but eat and sleep…ah, La Dolce Vita!
Happy Easter everyone!

Next Project…Living Room

Would you agree most deals are scored when you least expect them? 
I’ve been in search of a perfect-size lantern for my living room for months. After a couple of order-and-returns, I found a lantern that looks like this one during my usual HomeSense stroll. This Edwardian Lantern in Antique Nickel is designed by Sandy Chapman available through Circa Lighting for $1,218. 
And this is the lantern that looks almost identical to the above designer one from HomeSense. Take a guess of how much I paid? $500?…nope, lower. 300? not there yet, come further down. How about $150!!! Everything is almost perfect to the same scale and style for 1/10 of the price.
 I switched the candelabra light bulbs with round ones for a more fun and casual look.
 And this is my next project — refresh my living room. It’s time to tackle the least appealing room on the ground floor. Here are some elements that will dress up the room.
1. Jonathan Alder Meurice Floor Lamp; 2. Troy Alta One sconce; 3. Arched Mirror, source unknown; 4. Eclipse Ceiling Medallion; 5. Lantern by Wilson Thomas from HomeSense; 6. Cushion in Inessa by Kravet; 7. Cushion in Charcoal Greek Key; 8. Pemberly Wool Rug; 9. Cushion in P Kaufmann Clarice Dove; 10. Cushion in Blue Chevron; 11. Pier 1 Dimante Fireplace Screen; 12. Fabric sofa bought from Realtime Furniture.
The refresh list is consisted of:
  • Install full wall wainscoting: both top and bottom sections;
  • Paint all area in antique white (yet to decide on a paint color but I bet it’s going to be a struggle again);
  • Add ceiling medallion;
  • Install sconces to flank the mirror over mantel;
  • Buy the area rug;
  • Make the cushion covers.
I anticipate the entire project will take a month. Stay tuned for the reveal…

Falling for Hermès…

I usually take the Spring clean time to replenish my wardrobe. Just like a Chanel suit can make a lady feel legit, I see Hermès scarf complete a career outfit.

I picked up this Grand Manège Silk twill scarf (36″ x 36″) from Hermès today. I am hoping it will add a dash of colors to my boring grey, black and indigo suits.

Take a look at the vibrant colors and vivid design patterns in it! I have this bad feeling that this scarf is going to trigger a whole chain of shopping spree — I am already onto their Home collection!
This is how the Grand Manège scarf looks like when knotted. There are supposedly 25 ways to knot a Hermes scarf.
And yes, I am already at the Home section! I’ve spotted this Avalon Signature H Blanket numerous times in decor shows and magazines, and I was totally in love with it. It seems so close to me now that I could almost sense the softness when my hands caress through it. All it takes are a few clicks away from my computer and a piece of plastic! However, at almost $1,500 after taxes and shipping, I think I will hold my horse for now and perhaps it will show up on our wedding anniversary day. (wink!)
 Doesn’t it look divine in this light grey shade? I know just where it’d go in my house! Do you, hubby?



Borghetto Flaminio Flea Market

While in Roma we set aside a couple of hours to go to Borghetto Flaminio Flea Market near Piazza della Marina. It’s only open on the first Sunday of April every year. To our great disappoint, the market is nothing but a household garage sale. Whatever other web site reviews tell you they are overrated. There are nonetheless a lot of varieties: antique silverware, porcelain, figurines, and picture frames, jewelry, clothing, etc. What it’s lack of is what I like and real solid quality pieces.
 This is FUGAZI Italian Style, baby! (Does it sound like Buddy Valastro from Cake Boss?)
 This vintage white chiffon dress is so pretty! Yep, I could probably fit into it when I was 18!
 More “Your Junk, Other People’s Future”
We walked out of the market, empty-handed.