Tuesday, July 31, 2012


So I was over on Houzz and came across a design firm of Murphy & Co.  All I can say is WOW!!  I so love their designs.  But, what I think what I love more is their use of materials.  Their use of stone and wood is so amazing.  So..... I wanted to share with you all the talents of Murphy & Co.  I am going to show the one Reno that I LOVE!!!  If I ever get to do a reno like this I am using this as inspiration.   Enjoy:

This Kitchen for me is like.... well..... I can't even put into words really.  The creamy cabinetry, the Limestone Hood... a LIMESTONE HOOD!!!  The Oil rubbed Bronze hardware, the leaded glass cabinet doors.  Now that island is AWESOME!!  I love the wood, the Soapstone. I think it has a "leather" finish.  I don't think I have ever professed my love of Soapstone on my blog, but , I adore it.  There is nothing like it!  It is warm and full of character.  And lets face it, you can't kill it.  I mean, back in high school, way back, the tables in the science labs were all Soapstone.  It is also one of those stones that actually feels somewhat warm to the touch.  It really is beyond awesome.  The Hundi lanterns.  How I love Hundi lanterns!  And last but not least the coffered ceiling.  Nothing makes me happier than a coffered or interesting ceiling.

Another great view!  This gives a great look at the Soapstone on the island.  And of course my favourite sink of all time..... the apron front sink!

What I think I really appreciate about their sense of design is their sight lines.  Look how pretty this view is into the Butler's pantry.  Oh, to have a Butler's Pantry!

Here is a great look at that Butler's Pantry.  It is so simple, yet so pretty and functional.  Again they chose to use an apron front sink.  Here is a great example of the mixing of metals.  Yes!  You can indeed mix metals.  Here they have used  stainless steel, chrome and oil rubbed bronze.  Looks awesome!

Another great view of the sight line into the Butlers Pantry.  Another element that I love in a home is transom windows.  Not to mention leaded windows.  I just love the level of detail in this reno!

Another element I love in a kitchen is a desk.  Lets face it, we all have "stuff" we have on hand that we have to use everyday.  I know that people have true offices, but, I love to have certain things on hand.  Things like rubber bands, scissors, paper......  and having a "station" for all of that stuff really helps to make a functional kitchen for a family.  Plus it is a great place to have the laptop for recipes!  Oh and homework.  Can't forget homework!

This is a great close up of the cabinets next to the stove.  I love the leaded doors.  And can you see the little detail in the back.......

They chose to leave an existing window and use the natural light to shine through.  Great use of space and great use of natural light- Love it!

I also love the stone they chose for the counter and the back splash.  It is hard to say what the material is but I would love to know!  I just love the colour of it.  And that Limestone Hood is REDONKULOUS!!  Seriously!!  It truly is a showpiece.

Now when I saw this Sun room I think I audibly gasped.  Seriously I did!  You see,I have always dreamed of bumping out back and having a main floor family room just like this.  For years I have had the room in my head and it looks almost like this.  It is the closest I have ever seen to my vision.  This particular fireplace is made of Limestone.  The floors are made of French Limestone- Mon dieu!  It is so pretty.  Will have to keep that floor in the Rolodex in my head........

The last pic is of a hutch and buffet.  To say that I love it would be an understatement.  Normally I am a white painted kind of girl.  But the gorgeous dark stained furniture ticks the boxes for me.  And on top of that  the top of the buffet is PEWTER!!  Ahhhhh......  Pewter is one of those metals that is so amazing.  It has such a gorgeous colour.  I suppose since it is soft they are able to get that amazing edge profile!

So there you have it folks.... Murphy & Co.  You should check out their other projects, they are amazing.  I shared this one with you since the kitchen and the sun room comes as close to my dream space as there ever was.

Have a great day everyone.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Last week on "Sage Advice" my main topic was Paint.  Although it is one of the easiest ways and most cost effective ways to decorate, it is also way more complicated than most people care to or even begin to think about.

First of all, I LOVE Paint.  I love seeing all the paint chips in the store, I love watching people mix it and I love physically painting a wall- crazy I know!!  There is something so amazing and transformative about paint.  You can completely change the mood of a room with paint.
But paint is so complicated too.  Unless you understand the fundamental way that light can affect how you perceive paint then picking a colour can be a true challenge.
During one of my classes I took in design school, I had to take a colour course.  One of the best courses I ever took.  It fundamentally changed how I look and feel about colour.  I always have had the ability to pick and put colours together but this was a whole new world and one that I was so glad that I entered.  It truly made me understand undertones and the way that light changes how we perceive colour.
In one of our assignments we had to make a diorama of a room.  I did a little boys room.  The assignment was to be very creative but at the same time we had a certain criteria to follow.  So like in all things that I do, I kinda went overboard and made furniture and shelves and a little pillow..........:

You will have to excuse some of the items as this little "room" is 7 years old now!  I can hardly believe it myself!!  But the whole point in doing this assignment wasn't just to make a room, but after completion, we were given a whole new perspective on light and colour.  Let me explain how....

Warm flourescent



Daylight Fluorescent

Our teacher picked a couple of rooms as examples and them proceeded to place different types of light over the rooms.  It was mind blowing seeing how the different types of light really did change the colours in the room and the "feel" of the room.

So you can see by the photos that the type of light really does effect a room.  The warm flourescent isn't bad but still doesn't cut it for me.
The Incandescent is warm of course and changes the room from regular daylight.
The Xenon which I took from my under counter lighting in the kitchen really yellows things up- a lot!
And lastly, the Daylight flourescent.  If there ever was a case for lighting NOT with daylight flourescent then this is it everyone.  Not only does it make everything look HORRIBLE, but you get the least accurate perception of colour.  It greys everything out and makes everything dull and lifeless.
So you can see how important it is when picking a paint colour for your walls to do so at varying times of the day.  Daylight will cause the walls to to look way different during the day compared to when you have your lights on at night.  And if that light you have has a cool undertone to it like in Daylight Fluorescents then your paint colour that you love during the day will look positively horrible at night.

To me Halogens are a great option for lighting at night as is Incandescent bulbs.  That being said in an age where we should be green especially with our lighting the best option would be LED.  I wish I had an example of that.  But to me LED's have to come a long way before they pump out the same "lumen's" as an incandescent or a halogen.  But things are changing all the time. In the past we were stuck only with awful daylight fluorescent-thank goodness things have changed!!

So what was my whole point in this?  Well..........  First of all picking that great colour for your room is way more complicated that pointing your finger on a paint chip.  If everyone could do it then everyone would be happy with their choices and wouldn't need professional help.  Secondly, you have to really think about your lighting.  It is so important and way too many people don't even give it a second thought.  "Why don't I like my walls at night but love them during the daytime"???.....  well it could be your lighting.
Just some food for thought everyone.
Have a great day

Friday, July 27, 2012


Hey everyone!  Hope you have all had a great week.  It has been TOO QUIET here at the Casa.  Without my boys here causing chaos, it has been quiet lonely and quiet.  But they will be home very soon and they are having a blast with their Cousins and Grandparents.

Again I wanted to share with you all some advice in terms of PAINT.....

1.  ALWAYS USE TESTERS WHEN CHOOSING PAINT.  I know that when choosing paint, buying and testing can be a royal pain.  Lets face it, you are busy, you are anxious to get on with it and you just want to get it over and done with.  Now picking the wrong colour in the scheme of things really isn't the biggest mistake you can make in life, however, it will cost you time, money and well MONEY!!  That is why it is SO important to test your paint.  I cannot tell you how many times people have said to me, " I wish I had listened and bought a tester".  I will tell you till the cows come home that YOU and even ME for that matter CANNOT tell how a colour will react on the walls until you get it up there.  I have a little more experience since I know a thing or two about colour and how it works, but, until you get it up on the walls you WILL NOT get a true representation of a colour and that is just plain WRONG!!  I don't care who you are, using a 1"x 2" paint chip will NOT give you a true representation of how a colour will look. It will give you a starting point.  The colour you pick will always intensify when you have a larger sample to work with.  What is light watery blue on a chip will always do what I call "blue up" on a wall.  Blue has that unbelievable ability to get really blue even when you think a particular chip may have very little blue in it.  That is why it is so important to stay towards a more "grayer" blue when you want a subtle blue in a room or you end up with "baby blue".

Almost every paint company has testers now.  Except for one of my fav's and that's Home Hardware's Beauti-Tone Paint- come on Home Hardware - If you want to compete and show everyone how amazing your paint truly is you have to get yourselves testers for your customers- hopefully they are listening!!
I always use a 2'x2' hardboard that I paint for my test board.  You can pick up hardboard in any bigbox store- heck buy a "handy panel" and paint that.  Move it around the room at different times of the day.  That colour that you fell head over heels for at 10am..... well... you may just hate that same colour at 10pm.  So check it out in all lighting conditions.  That way you won't have to "live" with a colour because a. you don't want to paint again or b. can't afford to do so.  Get it right the first time.

Now what the heck does she mean by that??  Well..........  I can't even begin to tell you how many times I see in a big box store people will take a paint chip and have it out in front of them horizontally or on the ledge of the paint chip area and choose a colour.  Take that very same chip  and put it vertical on a wall and you have a very different colour my friends.  Try it out next time.  Lay a chip on a table and then put it up on the wall.  Presto- very different colour!  It is such a little thing but I see people do it all the time.  The same goes for your sample that you paint.  Don't just leave it on the dining room table or on your bed.  Put it on the wall to get the true representation of that colour.  Lets face it.  Light hits a horizontal surface far differently than it does vertically.  And we all know that light is a huge factor in determining how we perceive colour.

You should click on over to the source for the paint chips.  She has an amazing and very eye opening view on Paint chips!!  Love it!

3.  NEVER, NEVER PICK YOUR PAINT COLOUR IN THE STORE BEFORE GOING HOME TO CHECK OUT HOW IT LOOKS.  Again I have many times been in a big box store and seen people choose the paint that they are going to use right there and then without even checking it out at home.  And then they wonder why the colour looks like crap in their room!!  SERIOUSLY!!  First of all you need to TEST it remember.  Secondly, those stores are filled with CRAPPY flourescent light.  That light affects how you see that colour.  I am serious.  The colour that you see at the display will not even remotely be the same colour that you see if you take that chip to the window of the store or even what it will look like when you get it home.  The lighting in these stores is HORRIBLE!!  I cannot stress this enough!  Have you ever seen one of those light boxes in the paint area?  You know, the one where you put the chip in the box and slide the button so that you can see the affect of flourescent light vs.Incandescent light vs. daylight.  It really is amazing to see how the coolness or the hotness of light can affect colour.  Now I am not saying use that little box to pick your paint.  It is just agreat excersize in showing the affect of light on colour.

4.  DON'T BUY CRAPPY CEILING PAINT.  First of all it is CRAPPY paint.  It is cheap and not worth it.  Secondly, you won't even get a great "colour".  To me, you should be picking the ceiling colour just as you would a wall colour.  I know, I know...... that means more work.  But so what!!  Something worth having is worth the effort.  If you buy Ceiling Paint it will unvariably be a crappy dull and lifeless colour.  A little harsh maybe?  But that's my opinion!!  The main reason that I won't use CRAPPY Ceiling paint is that you CANNOT wipe it.  People say to me all the time.....  I don't wash my ceilings!!  Well I am here to tell you that if you have kids or if you are lucky enough to be like me and have crazy stuff happen all the time then you need to buy paint that will hold up to life.  If you use a washable flat (like I have), then when you drop that glass of juice on the counter and it splorks up onto the ceiling defying all laws of physics then you will be able to clean that said law defying juice stain.  Real paint will wash so much better.  A final reason I like Flat better for a ceiling is that it goes on better.  It splatters less, it goes on more evenly and it just looks better when dry.  Now I am giving a sheen of Flat as an example, my whole point is that you use good quality paint in the sheen that YOU like.  I happen to like Flat for ceilings.  But I also love Semi Gloss for bead board ceilings.

5.  PAINT MORE THAN ONE COAT:  I don't care what the paint says.  I don't care what the person says in the store.  Never, EVER only paint one coat.  STOP BEING CHEAP!!  If you are going to paint a room then do it right the first time.  I don't care what a paint says. You HAVE to paint at least 2 coats.  It makes me noodles when I hear people say.... " I painted the living room and only had to paint one coat".  That's great for you- but it won't hold up, it will look patchy and the colour won't be a true representation of the colour you paid for.  I mean..... you are going to all that time and expense, don't you want to get what you paid for?  I will argue this point to the ends of the earth.  And anyone who is a true professional will tell you YOU CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT PAINT A ROOM WITH ONE COAT OF PAINT !!!  Full stop- EVER!!  End of discussion!

Just wanted to pass along a few thoughts on paint.  There are more believe me.... but that's for another time.
Have an awesome weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


When it comes to describe the design genius of Anthony Baratta many things comes to mind. One of those things is Classic, Tradition, Preppy design. When I spoke of Preppy the other day I described it as a style that can be two ways.  Perhaps it should be described as .....Dual Personality Design Disorder or  DPDD for short!!   Honestly, that is how I see Preppy design. What do I mean by that?  Well let me tell you. When I recently visited Anthony Baratta's website my jaw literally dropped and I made a kind of exhaling noise- no really I did!!  I couldn't believe my eyes.  His designs are a feast for the eyes.  And since I love all that is preppy I LOVE his designs.
Like the other day when I was discussing Preppy Design, I was discussing what Preppy means to me.  And it couldn't be more evident than with Mr Baratta's designs.  I talked before about how Preppy can be that South Beach vibe or the more traditional English Country style.  To me Preppy is so DPDD.  Preppy can be bright, fun, youthful.  Or Preppy can be Traditional, Classic and Warm.  Mr Baratta is able to walk the tightrope between these two worlds flawlessly.  Let me show you:

When one thinks of the quintessetial English Prep style the above pic is it.  Where do I even start?  The classic panelling of the walls, the plaid of the traditional Wing Chair, the Horse Prints, the Hundi Lantern.... I could go on and on.  I love, love this hallway.

I love this room.  The trim alone makes me giddy!  I feel like putting on my Ralph Lauren Golf shirt, popping the collar and dropping myself into this pic!!

Just look at all of that detail!  Such a pretty room.

The previous 3 pics with all of the blue and pink has been one of my favourite country homes for years.  I remember these pics in a magazine ( I am trying to remember if it is Traditional Home or Veranda).  I think I will have to pull out my old mags because I know I have this one somewhere!!  This lovely home is such a case study in the use of soft pastel colours but done in such a way that it isn't too sweet!  Know what I mean?

This room is where those who love plaid die and go to heaven!!  Who would have thought to cover the entire ceiling in that great plaid.  What a job that must have been!!  Those Rafters!!

This particular bedroom isn't Preppy per se, but, I just had to share it with you all.  I don't know what I like best; the rafters, all that toile or that friggin' amazing window!  If you love tradition, then this room is for you .

The next set of pics fits into that 'Southbeach Preppy".  Great classical details with juicy colours:

This house is such a happy place.  It may not be for everyone, buy boy is it happy and full of life!
And really one could only do this house in this style in a "warm" climate.  Why is that?  Well.......it all has to do with the quality of light.  That means that the light itself affects the colours that we see.  Warmer climates really do lend themselves to saturated, juicy colours.  Colours that are deep and bright really "shine" in warmer climates.  Those of us in more Northerly climes tend to go for more "toned down" colours.  Because really, those lovely juicy colours really do look best in more "tropical climates".  Does that mean that you shouldn't use these colours if you live in the North- absolutely not!  What I am saying is that they really do "shine" best in Southerly climes.  Personally, if this bedroom were in a Northerly house, can you imagine how you would feel about it in the middle of winter with snow on the ground?  Since in the North light tends towards a bluer cast, these colours would look best in brighter, more intense yellower light- like in the tropics.

These next set of pics are what I call Preppy Deco:

Mr. Baratta is so seamlessly able to reinterpret Art Deco in a modern way.  By using Preppy colours, motifs and Art Deco lines, he so flawlessly reinvents Deco for now.  And again, this particular home is a fun, happy and lively place to live.

One last pic I wanted to share with you is this Contemporary Interior.  It isn't "preppy" per se but I wanted to share it with you anyways.  I love the clean contemporary lines, the bright open feel and best of all the use of juicy colour.  It really is a lovely, bright modern interior.

So I guess you can see that Preppy can be interpreted many ways.  What Preppy is to one may be totally different to another.  And I wanted to share with you the amazing talent of Anthony Baratta to showcase this point.

Have a great day everyone.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Recently I was in one of my favourite yarn stores Spun and bought a ball of Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace.  It is $8.95 a ball and is around 380m.  I think that is fair price for a yarn that is so nice to the touch and knits up so great:

It is a ball of loveliness!!  It is such a gorgeous ball of yarn. I Usually steer clear of fine gauge yarn like this, but something made me pick it up and the rest is history!  It is a lace weight yarn at 33sts/4"  on a 2.75mm needle.  Like I said, I usually don't knit with such a fine gauge yarn. 
I can't even begin to describe it.  It is a 2 ply yarn that is fine, yet has some body to it.  It also has a bit of "springiness" to the yarn itself.  It knits up really nicely as well.
I am currently working on a project that I am designing (pattern to follow later).  I am using a 3.25mm needle and it is knitting up beautifully.  It knits up into a really nice texture too.  It isn't ultra smooth like some other yarns yet isn't so textured that it takes away from the simple pattern that I am doing.
And although it is 100% Wool, it is made of Merino Wool so the resulting yarn is soft and not itchy at all- yes Karen and Lisa, I said "Not Itchy"!!  It has such a nice hand to it.  So those of you out there that shy away from Wool, you should check out this yarn.

These are a few of the projects available from Debbie's Spring 2012 book.

if you also look in her Magazine for summer there are a few projects that also use Rialto Lace.

Here is what I have so far:

It really is great to work with.  And like I said, I am not usually a fan of fine gauge yarn.  Maybe it's the impatience in me, I don't know.  But usually a project knit with finer gauge yarn takes like forever!  But this is knitting up quite fast.
Anyways, just wanted to share the loveliness with you all.  The boys are at the cottage for their annual Cousins and Grandparents week without the parents so it is going to be VERY quiet around here for sure.

Have a great day everyone.