A Place to Get Your Hands Dirty

I'm a pretty traditional person. I work for a traditional designer, had a traditional upbringing and make pretty conservative choices. My taste in home decor follows the same lines; classic pieces and warm, cozy spaces. Anything modern normally reads as cold and uninviting to me.

English design company Bradbury's seems to have struck an unusually modern cord in me though. As I searched for exotic kitchen cabinets for a project I'm working on, I came across the kitchen in the photo above. Angels sang and the heavens aligned. I think it's that good.

As it turns out, so are all of Bradbury's other kitchens. Even their bedrooms and furniture are amazing. They've mastered the combination of sleek modern spaces, high gloss finishes and rich exotic woods. These spaces are undoubtedly sexy; quite an accomplishment for a kitchen. But they also look incredibly practical and well designed. Bradbury's little details, like the fuchsia-backed shelf in the kitchen below, are strategic and unique.

Maybe it's worth reconsidering modern design after all?


Office Space

It often astounds me what we did before computers. In those moments when I age myself from twenty-something to sixty, I find myself wondering what I did with all of that time? As a young girl, I recall spending Saturday mornings baking cakes (for no reason), or begging my Mom for a dog. The closest thing to computers that I remember was hearing my brother playing Duck Hunt. Other than that, we didn't really have need for an office.

Now, with a handful of computers and the growing need for space, even the non-business professionals of the world need an office. And space. We all need more space.

So I'm reverting to the age-old secretary desk. The space-saving, junk-disguising, storage-saving desk that can be quaintly tucked into a kitchen, hallway, bedroom or living room without much notice. I think they're ideal for condos and cottages in particular. Here are a few of my favourites.

This secretary below is truly my favourite; a classic combination of ivory and veneer, circular hardware and classic lines. It's feminine exterior disguises a masculine compartment. Available at Hickory Chair, this piece became infamous in a New York City apartment earlier this year. Recall Big's TV cabinet?

This Portofino Desk by Stanley Furniture is adorable with its traditional cabinets and antiqued finish. I'd love to see this piece in a cottage or country home (loving the black finish as well).

What's a furniture post without giving IKEA a little credit? Though a very simplistic model, this ALVE secretary is a steal at $249. For me, I would probably spruce up the hardware for a menial $20, but otherwise this piece is great.
I realize I've been very conservative with my choices - all neutral colours, similar styles, etc. But how could I resist showing you this? The first thing in the history of Restoration Hardware that I think has crossed the line! This Mayfair Steamer Secretary Trunk (on wheels) functions beautifully I'm sure. Leather, nail heads and antique patina...what's not to love? But this just feels like an obnoxious joke.

If you have room to swing this "trunk" shut, you probably have room for a full-fledged desk, chair and area rug. And to the rest of us, that's called an office.

Okay, back to serious design talk. Gorg. French Key secretary from Tonic Home. Everything a secretary is meant to be (take notes, Restoration).

And if you just so happen to forget your laptop altogether, pretend you're in an old movie and use it to write a good, old-fashioned letter instead.


Let Them Eat Cake!

This post is inspired by so many things that are floating around in my head right now, none of which include decorating. Well, if you count cake decorating...

It is that wonderful time of year for weddings, showers, engagements, traveling and relaxing in the outdoor weather. As a first-time bridesmaid, I went wedding dress shopping with my cousin last week. It was magical and surreal for her and us, and as she stood in a dress that resembled the top tier of a cake, I finally realized why it is one of the most important (and glamorous) days of our lives.

In addition, there is the new arrival of a sweet baby boy and another engagement! And in my (sweet-toothed) opinion, all of these celebrations should be marked with a beautiful cake. Even the smaller events like birthdays, anniversaries or the time to sit out at a cafe; to me, they are equally pleasurable. In fact, I expect nothing less than to spend an entire day indulging in sweets and cappuccinos this fall in Paris. Just plunk me in a chair and let me celebrate a Tuesday.

Who better than Oprah to set the bar for gorgeous cakes? Following the 10th Anniversary of O Magazine, Oprah has thrown an incredible bash and enlisted America's finest pastry chefs to create masterpieces to mark the occasion.

But if all else fails and the pastry Gods cannot deliver, I will delight in a slice of Betty Crocker's chocolate cake with the same passion I'd have for any of these sweet, sweet creations.


IKEA Takes On the World

I've been scoping out the latest IKEA invention for the last few weeks and can't resist showing you this beautiful home.

IKEA launched a website called LIVE (Ideas & Inspirations) that displays "IKEA homes" all over the world. These are real homes filled with real families, but they all utilize IKEA's latest and greatest pieces without the stuffiness of showroom sets or styling.

The marketing geek in me cringes at this bold move; it feels like The Truman Show meets furniture mass-production. Yet the budget-savvy decorator in me also knows that the world doesn't need another Architectural Digest.

So with these beautiful photos of a family home in Spain, I willingly admit to the genius that is IKEA that I do, indeed, feel very, very inspired.



Aren't these photos so inspiring and understated? I came across Jayson Home & Garden through the latest issue of Lonny Magazine! Always an exciting week in the world of design blogging and perusing when they release something new. Anddd it has also been an exciting week in the real world and I'm sadly only on page 32/237 of Lonny's latest...I figure by 5:00 on a Friday it's pretty much assumed you're not working anyways.

So here I am, 205 pages to go, and I'm already distracted by a few things that glitter. Like gold, brass and all the finishes that I now love that I would have adamantly denied a few years ago. Maybe I should go put on a pair of leggings, too.

Wire mesh bags = cute front hall accessory or kill yourself on the way out the door? Reminds me of medieval chain mail....but I like it.
I know, I've restated again and again the up-and-coming log stool/table, but this one is by far the oldest and most expensive at over 20 million years old and $1495. Maybe it's like the shell thing and you hear dinosaurs when you sit on it? I had to.
Okay, back to Lonny.


Playing House

I've always been obsessed with crafts and decorating, so when I finally decided this was my calling, friends and family thought it had only been a matter of time. Let's break down destiny in chronological order:

1992 - My Dad builds a playhouse in the backyard that later becomes, among other things, a giant canvas to take a paintbrush to.

1995 - Santa delivers a President's Choice Dollhouse kit on Christmas morning that is full of splinters and microscopic pieces, but Dad helps me turn it into something cute.

1997 - Hitting an all-time low in career admiration, I dress up as Debbie Travis for Halloween and go trick-or-treating with my very brave friend.

1998 - On a family road trip out east, I map out the blueprints of my "dream home". My brother and I fight and he threatens to tear them up. I cry and save the beloved pages.

1999 - My Mom "grounds" me for the first and last time (a bit of a joke if you know my Mom). I spend the time repainting my entire desk in yellow, periwinkle and cream. What a shame.

Fast forward to today...I'm still online shopping for dream items for my dream house.

Everything here can be found at Tonic Home, an amazing decorating resource that unfortunately only ships to Canada for a premium. Their products are beautiful and unique, and I've chosen a few of my favourites here.

Arabesque Rug - Coral

Trina Turk Outdoor Pillows - $285

Octagon Gourd Lamps

A derivative of the log stool I wrote about HERE.
Twig Stool/Side Table - $210

Cebu Spherical Lamp by Roost

Tide Oil Painting by Oly Studio

Serena Drum Chandelier

Pavillion Side Chair by Palecek - $620

Bungalow 5 Annette Chair
All products can be found at Tonic Home.
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