31 January 2012


Happy Tuesday one and all!

So I realised (thanks to Lisa Roy) that I never did follow up to my what to wear post...so I thought I'd share a quick photo of what my shopping trip garnered...which ended up not really being anything like any of my inspirations, but a great outfit none-the-less.

I finally found a pair of high boots that would go around my apparently large calves...woot! I have been looking for a dogs age and was happy to find a great deal on a pair from Sears of all places! I ended up choosing the blouse and purse (both at a great price) from Laura. It was funny because neither my mom nor I really liked the blouse on the hanger except for the pop of colour it provided, but once I put it on I knew that was it. I looked good, was comfy and above all else felt good. I wore it with a pair of leggings, a scarf, the boots (of course) and some wooden bangles.

So that's it...that's what I wore...sorry no pics of me in it...maybe that's a god thing ;)


On to other updates...the laundry room and adjoining bathroom reno/update is in full swing and wreaking havoc on other parts of my home...namely my kitchen...

In the laundry room the washer and dryer has been moved and thank heavens is functional even if the rest of the space is not. The ceiling, trim, and doors have been painted (by yours truly), and hopefully I will have some time this week to paint the walls that are being painted. Once all the painting is done I can wallpaper and once that is done the men can converge and put up the shelves. 

picture the ceiling and the trim white...honest it's been done...just no photos

As you can see I have ended up with one little bit of that fake stone panelling that needs to stay, so the decision was to paint the whole room (what is being painted) white because of the multiple surface issue. The turquoise will go in the bathroom...yikes!

In the bathroom, my wonderful husband and father have stripped the old mirror and tile, and the sink has been removed...the toilet comes out this week and the new bead board goes up, I will then paint in a hurry so the toilet and sink can go back...with two young kids (one of them potty training) we cannot be without the main floor bath for too long.
So those are the updates round here...what's up in your world? Any exciting projects on the go?

Happy Tuesday!

30 January 2012

I won't bore you with the details...

So by now everyone has probably seen a recap of BlogPodium and IDS somewhere, so I will simply say I attended and here was my take...

My day Friday started at 5:30 am driving an hour (which actually ended up being an hour and a half with the weather) through awful conditions (snow/freezing rain) only to be late for the train...late as in just late, as in I pull into the station turn the car off reach for the door handle only to see the train pulling away from the platform. And that about sums up the days direction...just a little off track for me. I took the next train a half hour later and in another hour and a half I was in the heart of the city and hightailing to the convention centre and sneaking in the back just in time to hear the start of BlogPodium discussions. (Side Bar...Go Transit has some of the best customer service I have ever experienced!)

BlogPodium was a great event, well attended and with a great discussion on blogs and media, but I found it did not really apply to me; at this point in time, I do not consider myself a design blogger, rather a lifestyle blogger and so the discussion surrounding getting published and press coverage for your blog on Design TV or in Design Mags, was in the end a bit beyond the purview of my blog. No matter it was a great discussion with a wonderful panel of 'media mavens' and I enjoyed listening in and took away a few really great pointers. I look forward to the next discussion which is to be about monetizing your blog...something any blogger can relate to I suspect.

As far as IDS is concerned, while I may be the only designer to say this, I never fail to be a bit disappointed. Having been absent from this event for several years I guess I expected to be blown away by the new and exciting, and I was not. Don't get me wrong, I saw some great things, but nothing that knocked my socks off. What surprised me most was that I had no intention of wearing my 'Gallerist hat'.  I had intended on simply representing my blog and my newly conceived design business (Your Muskoka Design Assistant), but by far the best of the show for me was Studio North and Prototype where I met some wonderful product designers with...get this...wonderful product! (which I'm not gonna share at the moment until I can secure it in the gallery).  The best of the rest of the show for me personally was not the best because it was the most innovative, or groundbreaking, but the best because I just personally like the style.

I can so see myself soaking in this tub by Native Trails

Perfect winter cabin look from Up Country and the ode to the British would make my hubby feel at home.

This metal chest from Elte is an organizers dream.

These Vista Teak chairs in a bright apricot from Andrew Richard Designs brightened my whole day.

And because I'm a mom, I thought these indoor play gyms; Rhapsody by Cedarworks were to die for!
 I was supposed to meet my oldest daughter after the show for a bit of downtown shopping, but her bus from Kitchener was late and so I trekked to the Eaton Centre and back alone (and empty handed...my heart just wasn't in it). She made it just in time to catch our train north back to Barrie where she was going for the weekend to see friends. We had a wonderful visit on the train ride, but not what we had planned on.

I was back in the gallery Saturday for a quiet day as the weather was not good, and Sunday was spent trying to get the laundry room and bathroom closer to completion. The extent of the chaos from not having the laundry room functional is getting to me...an update on all that later in the week.

There you have it...my take on things, for what it's worth.

Happy Monday...or Tuesday as I've posted this a bit late.

24 January 2012

What to wear...what to wear...

Okay so the appointment has been made and it is not...I repeat not on Friday so off to Blog Podium and IDS 2012 I go!

As I said yesterday I am nervous and excited all rolled into one. Going to this blogger event is the highlight of my week...no lie...but I feel a bit of an impostor, a bit like I am infiltrating a group of people who already know each other, and know what they are doing out in blogland. Me with my paltry 11 followers and 10 pageviews a day (if I am lucky), sitting in a room with the likes of Jen from Rambling Renovators (incidentally one of the founders of Blog Podium), and Janice from Life Begins at Thirty Right?... feels a bit surreal. More than being a bit start struck, I am most worried about what to wear. It feels a bit like the first day of school...remember picking that perfect outfit sure that if you dressed just right you'd be guaranteed to have the best year ever...tell me I was not the only one.

Anyhoo...I scrolled through my 'Personal Style' board on Pinterest and have narrowed down my look to the following four options.

Sophisticated yet casual...

Comfortable and casual but pulled together...

Black white and red confidence...

Sleek and sophisticated simplicity...
 I am sneaking away Thursday afternoon to shop for the appropriate attire...which direction would you go?
The outfit has to tick a few boxes...it needs to make me feel good, be comfortable to trek around the city and the Interior Design Show all day, not wrinkle too much as I will be driving for two hours then sitting on the subway all before 9am...and make the right impression to bloggers and designers alike. A lot to accomplish with one little outfit isn't it.

So this is what I am thinking about this week, scanning my own wardrobe, testing all my shoes, and deciding where to shop.

Are you going to Blog Podium, or to the Interior Design Show? What are you wearing?

Happy Tuesday everyone!

23 January 2012

Blog Podium...IDS 2012 et al...

So this is the week of all weeks...I am excited to be attending Blog Podium this Friday, my first ever Blogger event. I have no idea what to expect, I am nervous and excited all rolled into one. My only worry is that I am awaiting a medical appointment that is beyond my control and just hope it won't be scheduled for Friday...fingers crossed for me please!

I spent the weekend exploring new blogs, and I am struck by the number of bloggers who sell their services as designers. Many have no formal education in Interior Design but have a knack that they are now basing a business on. I have no real problem with this other than it can be somewhat irksome when I spent a gazillion dollars for my formal design education which I am still paying for. None the less, there is a lot of talent out there and that talent deserves to be shared. It got me thinking though about the validity of formal design training, and the term 'Interior Designer'.

Interior Designers (in Canada) have graduated from a 3 year Interior Design program at an accredited college or a longer degree program through a University, and have had rigorous training in structure, building code, life safety, drafting, space planning, programming, budgeting, lighting, millwork design and detailing. The fun stuff, the 'icing' as I call it comes later and is as much innate as it is learned. We cover off colour theory, history, learn about fabrics and finishes, but what they cannot teach you is style...you either have it or your don't.

Interestingly in the province of Ontario only members of the Association of Interior Designers of Ontario  (ARIDO) can legally use the title 'Interior Designer'. On their website they note that "the Association will take all necessary legal steps to protect the title "Interior Designer" and ensure non-authorized parties do not use this designation or "ARIDO" behind their names." So for me, I am not registered with ARIDO (for financial reasons) and even though I have paid a gazillion dollars for my Interior Design education (graduated from an accredited 3 year program with honors) I cannot call myself an Interior Designer without the possibility of penalty. I am okay with that. The basis of the law is to protect the consumer. And though I have all the formal training, there has to be a governing body to ensure the consumer is protected.  I question how many consumers understand the difference between a designer and a decorator, and how many know of the law meant to protect them. Did you know that as an Interior Designer you can be held accountable if a project you worked on has any failings and causes bodily harm? Yup. Did you know that Interior Designers carry liability insurance to protect themselves and their clients?

My question is this; with the world of design blogging exploding, is the line between Interior Designer and Interior Decorator becoming fuzzy, and does that fuzzy line put the consumer at risk? Or perhaps it is that design bloggers have opened the flood gates even further than HGTV did originally to enable the DIYer on a whole new level. Have they negated the need on a residential level for Interior Designers and Decorators, or are they bolstering the industry?

It is a very interesting time where everyone and her brother seems to be in the industry and when you come across a website where the 'designer's' credentials are noted as having watched a lot of design programs and read many design magazine's and books, you have to wonder where the line in the sand should be drawn, and by whom?

Let me just reiterate; I love design bloggers, and I believe they are changing the world of design for the better. I feel personally that they generate a dialogue never before seen, and a community in which to share ideas freely and without prejudice. I fell out of love with design for a while, and through this world that has opened up to me, I have fallen in love again, I feel energized, inspired, and invigorated by all the possibilities and promise. Most of the design bloggers I have come across are intelligent, articulate, and extremely talented. I trust that those who have created a business with this talent only offer services they are qualified to perform, and that where necessary they seek the professional services of an Interior Designer or Architect. Those that do not and the people that hire them need to be aware of the consequences.

So it is with excitement that head into this week, where I get to attend Blog Podium, listen and learn about this wonderful world of blogging, and I get to attend The Interior Design Show all the same day!
Here's to a wonderful week, of inspiration.

Happy Monday all!

18 January 2012

Happy Wednesday!

Yes it has been another while...and yes I am sorry. I am still trying to find the time to sit quietly and post my thoughts, and struggling with what thoughts to post.

Today it will be short and sweet. I thought I would share with you where I commented today, because today was filled with some great posts from across blogland.

In no specific order, I recommend checking out the following blog posts from some of the best bloggers out there.

House of Fifty is getting ready to release their latest edition next week.
Emma Reddington from the marion house book is excited to be in HGTV Magazine and Today's Parent Magazine.
Over at Driftwood Interiors Kerri is getting ready to redesign her studio.
Jen at Rambling Renovators is on her way to the Alt Design Summit.
Lisa Roy made a darling pillow to link a hall bench and painting (which she also painted herself).

Lisa Roy a designer obsessed...
Carol at The Design Pages talks about being an organized shopper.
And finally Anne Marie at 10 Rooms shows us the fruits of her creative labour.

It was wonderful to take some time to read and comment today. Perhaps I'll do this every Wednesday.

I am off to do some more year end bookkeeping and to try to plan some time to tackle the laundry room, for which all the supplies have been purchased.

Happy Wednesday all!

11 January 2012

Laundry Room...the progress report

For those of you who have been following along for a awhile now you will remember the ugly truth of my laundry room, you know the one I was desperately embarrassed to show you but knew I had to so that the after could be fully appreciated...anyone new or who wants to see just how bad it was can read about it here

And so after a good push over the Christmas break, my darling father finished his part of the laundry room makeover. I am thrilled so far and now just have to set about decorating the room. My original thought was to paint, however the walls need just enough repair that I am thinking wallpaper might be the way to go.

The wallpaper will go in that corner where the samples are right now and be the background to the floor to ceiling adjustable shelving. We want something graphic but not too busy...I love the large scale damask in the store but felt it overpowered here. My husband loved the pseudo chevron but it comes out too dark in the space...it came down to the one noted above and the small scale damask...we agreed on the one noted above, but I am still secretly deciding.
As I mentioned previously I have a gallon of a wonderful teal/turquoise'ish colour that I am thinking of using as an accent, perhaps behind and to the right of the washer and dryer.

I am toying with carrying that bold colour into the adjacent bathroom above what will be the white wainscoting. I want the two rooms to relate as you have to go through the laundry room to get to the bathroom.

There is still lots to do and we still need to figure out what to do with the faux stone panelling on the left there, but we are so much further ahead and I am so thrilled at how much space I have.

I am even toying with a small ironing counter under the window (where the ironing board is now).

So because my husband and I both gravitated to the black and white wallpaper I did some searching for black white and turquoise inspiration...


I was happy to find some great examples and think it could really work for me.

Have you ever used turquoise? What do you think, is black white a turquoise the way to go...or is it too 2011?

8 January 2012

Looking back...looking forward

My husband and I were reflecting on the year 2011 the other night as often happens at this time of year. We realized 2011 had been a relativley quiet year for us...certainly in comparison to years past.
We met in 2005.
Bought our first house in 2006.
Had our first baby in 2007.

Bought our second house and got married in 2008.

Had our second baby in 2009

And bought a business in 2010...
So as you can see 2011 was a quiet year where not much happened other than staying the course and sending our little Izzy off to school.

We look forward to another quiet year in 2012 where we stay the course some more, hopefully make some gains and generally remain happy and healthy.

Sorry for being MIA of late, the year end is a busy time, but the inventory is done, and the year end books are almost completed, so hopefully there will be more from me in coming days...particularly a laundry room update!

See you soon!