vintage vacation: tommy smythe styles

As of last Thursday I'm officially on vacation. A much, MUCH needed vacation. It's been a year since the last time I took more than two days off. I plan to sleep and eat an obscene amount. Truly obscene. I also plan to stuff a years worth of inspiration into two weeks, to tide me over until the next time I unchain myself from my desk . . .

To kick things off, Saturday I made the trek to my parents' place, and yesterday I got to do one of my favourite things in the world: go shopping with my mama. It doesn't matter how old I get, I will always love to wander around looking at trinkets holding that lady's hand.

Part of the day included visiting a couple of Ottawa's best vintage/antique haunts, including my absolute fave - The White Monkey. That shop is filled with so much eye candy it's ridiculous, and is always reasonably priced. Here are just a few of the bits and bobs I was drooling over:

Their lamp collection alone is to die for, and the black shades they use make everything so chic.

I was already feeling a pretty strong Tommy Smythe vibe when I spied these next two pieces at the Ottawa Antique Market:

While they're pretty much a dead ringer for what Sarah Richardson used in her Farmhouse . . .

. . . country just isn't my style. Instead, I would mix a bit of shop one and a bit of shop two and go for this:

Oh Tommy, you kill me every time.

Next stop on the vacation trail? Well, my cottage, but after that is Toronto, so any suggestions for vintage shops choc-full-'o pretties are MORE than welcome! Remember, I seriously need to get my fix . . .

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old-school china cabinets in the kitchen

If you know me you know I'm an absolute sucker for 'traditional' detailing, and pretty much anything interiors that looks like it might be more than a hundred years old. Crown moulding, ceiling medallions, herringbone wood floors, corbels . . . I would choose that shit over a modern interior any day of the week.

So when I first came across old-school china cabinets being incorporated into updated kitchens, my heart skipped a beat and did a little happy dance! China cabinets are usually reserved for dining rooms, but using them in kitchens is such a fresh, unexpected, and most importantly smart twist on tradition. The amount of storage is phenomenal, and the charm is palpable!

Some of these are clearly original to the homes, while others were only made to look like they could be, but all of them are simply divine . . .


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sara story design

Yesterday's post included a bathroom that I have been in love with forever, but whose original source I had never gotten around to tracking down. Turns out it belongs to the townhouse of New York designer Sarah Story, and her other work is just as impressive.

I'm especially loving Sarah's showstopping ceiling treatments. She doesn't just remember the 'fifth wall', she makes it the focal point of the entire room. The results are incredible.

{images via Sara Story Design}

So what do you think? Would you go bold up top? I gotta admit, I'm pretty tempted. I think I sense another fixation a brewin' . . .

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a particular shade of red

On Friday, Heather of Habitually Chic posted pics of the Tribeca apartment of Mario Grauso and Serkan Sarier, and I have to say, it really is a showstopper. Apparently it was recently featured in Harper's Bazaar, but as HB isn't one of my go-to magazines, I hadn't seen it. So glad I got the chance. 

The entire flat is absolutely gorgeous and expertly curated, but I'm most enamored with the bedroom of Harry, Grauso's son. It's the perfect mix of masculine, feminine, tailored, and traveled. And the red. Oh the red. 


I don't even know what to call it. It's too light to be Oxblood, but too deep and refined to be Cherry. Whatever it is, it's magic.

A few of my all-time favourite spaces use the exact same shade. Like this open kitchen and sitting room by Tommy Smythe that literally blew my mind every which way from Sunday when I first saw it . . .

{images via 1/2}

. . . and this bathroom by Sara Story that I cannot get out of my head. I honestly think it's one of the most striking bathrooms I've ever seen. 


Those floors. I can't even take how much I love them. 

I would say, though, that I absolutely prefer them left bare like in the first pic, without the multicoloured bathmat drawing attention away. Because I'm pretty sure that's the key to what makes these rooms so amazing. In each of them, the red is allowed to shine against a backdrop of black, white, gold/brass, a little patina and almost nothing else. The designers have treated the shade like the star that it is, and haven't forced it to share the limelight with any other saturated colour. 

It's like pairing a bold lipstick with a strong smokey eye. It's just too much, and it diminishes the impact of the red lip. In one fell swoop, the look goes from classic and clean to trashy and overdone.

I, for one, am taking notes. I'm pretty sure that a bit of red is going to need to find its way into my next place. A velvet headboard perhaps? Or a painted vintage chandelier? The possibilities are endless . . .

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i heart your art: kate long stevenson

A few weeks ago a friend of mine noted that all of the art I love shares a really similar aesthetic, and that he's never surprised by the pieces that catch my eye. Looking through my inspiration folders I can see what he means. A lot of abstracts, a lot of unconventional portraits, and a lot of pink. A LOT of pink.

What can I say, I like what I like.

Strangely enough, when I thought about it I realized I could pinpoint the moment that I figured out what kind of art was truly "me". A few years ago I was reading one of my favourite design magazines (I think it was House & Home) and came across a feature on Kate Long Stevenson. I literally had an "aha" moment. For the first time in my life I considered saving up every one of my pennies just to own an original piece of art (something I now consider all the time).

I was intensely drawn to everything about Kate's work - from the saturated colours, to the broad and unrestrained brush strokes, to the beautiful yet oddly off-kilter silhouettes. I still am.

Aren't they beautiful? The similarities to some of my current faves are uncanny.

P.S. I wish I could find that original article in my mag collection. My next organizational project should clearly be cataloging. 

P.P.S. That's never going to happen.

{via 1/2/3/4}

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homemint. wtf.

When I first heard that Justin Timberlake was launching a home goods site, I scoffed a good scoff. I like a little JT as much as the next girl/gay (ok, maybe a little more), but that doesn't mean I wanted him hawking me table lamps. Unless he was literally selling a dick in a box, I wasn't buying.

Yesterday, though, the Remodelista published photos of the apartment of his business partner (and designer), Estee Stanley. And the woman has chops. Her home is well-curated, time-worn, globally-inspired and all around awesome. So not what I was expecting . . .

So I caved and checked out HomeMint, and I'll take my crow medium rare please. 

While there are a couple of kitschy/cliche items, for the most part the aesthetic matches that of Stanley's home, and everything is really reasonably priced! The pillows are especially cute, and super mix-and-matchable. 

Here are just a few of my faves:

You should definitely check it out.

I will warn you in advance, though, that there appears to have been an unfortunate oversight in the "dick in box" department. Don't worry, I'm already writing a helpful letter to let them know.

You're welcome.

{photos via Remodilista, products via HomeMint}

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pretty in pink kitchens

I'm just gonna go ahead a say it: I'm not really a fan of the Kitchen Cousins. Yes, they are so damn fine it's borderline ridiculous, and no, I wouldn't kick them out of bed for eating crackers. But 9 times out of 10 I don't like their kitchens. I find myself cringing while they do things like put up halloween-esque decals, or advise clients to install bright yellow, high gloss cabinets (that end a foot away from the ceiling) in a turn of the century home.

I mean . . . just . . . what?? It hurts how good that space could have been.

Well, the other day I caught an episode that may have won me back over just a teeny tiny bit. (Yes, I sometimes still watch. They are good looking and they are renovating something. Please.) In it they not only used Dwell tiles (kudos boys), but they also had the man balls to lay down pink countertops.

Yup, pink.

Check out these quartz beauties:


Now if there's one thing that's hard to do, it's pull off a pink kitchen without it looking like the fifties and Strawberry Shortcake just threw up all over the place. Accents may be easy, but counters, cupboards, tiles and anything else permanent-ish? Not so much.

So I'm gonna' give props where props are due. One point for you Kitchen Cousins. One point for you.

The best part, though, is that it looks like they aren't the only ones giving it a shot, and there are some folks doin' it better. Pink may be making a cooking comeback, and in the chicest damn way!

I, for one, couldn't be happier. In a perfect world, no room would go un-pinked . . .





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