Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mobile MIA

At some point between showing S pictures of Little Miss Fire Piglet at work and this morning when I was getting my bag ready to go, I lost my cellphone.

I'm at a loss when I try to retrace my steps from the last moment I had it: I stopped in at the Sephora Eaton Centre after work to pick up DDF's Aloe Toning Complex (so soothing!); went to the Club Monaco where I almost bought the most delightful aubergine patent leather bag but didn't; and then killed some time at the Indigo flipping through design books until my 6:30 dinner party at Bymark to celebrate capital expenditure approval for the project I'd worked on the last 3 months.

I'm so glad I got back in time for this dinner because it was fantastic - besides which, who doesn't enjoy dining on the company's dime? I started with the Crisp Frites With Butter Braised Lobster & Classic Béarnaise “Poutine Style” - I would have taken a picture with my phone but it didn't seem the right thing to do with a VP and a couple members of our Executive Committee in attendance, not to mention our external consultants on the project. But then again, if I hadn't resisted the urge, I might have found out sooner that my phone was missing...or not...Anyway, I followed this with the Roasted Lamb Loin with Wild Mushroom Risotto, and capped it all off with the Warm Mexican Churros With Dulce de Leche Rich Hot Chocolate Sauce and a glass of the Taylor 10yr Tawny. There was wine of course - a crisp Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc and a peppery Shiraz from Margaret River that I didn't get the name of - which I happily sipped throughout the evening.

I can't imagine how I lost my phone because I didn't use my phone last night and I don't see it falling out of my bag becaue my Kate Spade tote has a cellphone pocket inside which my mobile fits rather snugly. I don't want to think this, but could someone have taken it out of my bag? I did leave it under my chair at the restaurant when I left to go to the ladies room. But it doesn't make any sense to me! Where could I have left it?!?

I called Rogers to have my phone blocked so if someone does find it and tries to rack up long distance charges or something, they won't be able to. If it doesn't turn up in the next few days, I'm going to have to get a new phone. The good thing is that my mom's still in Hong Kong and if it turns out I do need a replacement, she can get me a new one for less there...truth be told, I've already got a few in mind....

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Interior Design Show

I spent 5 hours today at the Interior Design Show which celebrated its 10 anniversary, and what a great show it was.

I sat down to hear Brian Gluckstein and Sarah Richardson speak - 2 of my favourite designers ever - and was close enough to reach out and touch both of them on seperate occasions. I even crossed paths with Tommy in the designLIVE space! (I would have asked Brian for a picture but he was occupied chatting with a fan and there were others waiting in the wings for their Kodak moment so I decided to move on. Oh well.)

I also saw some fantastic design, so scroll down for a look-see.

Brian Gluckstein: Simply Fabulous

Brian Gluckstein was the first designer of the day on stage and I don't even know where to start except to say that he's one of my favourite designers ever.

He talked about his design philosophy and design inspiration - he loves black and white films from the 30s and loves reading - his home library (below) is my dream library.

He's inspired by the work of John Saladino and said he was speechless for the first time when they met.

When asked about young people and antiques, he said it's becoming more common for people in their 20s and 30s to be interested in the old. He said that antiques have a soul - consider dinner tables and all the meals, decisions, meetings and fights that took place at the table. This was his segue to his book recommendation, Ojects of Desire by Thatcher Freund, which tracks three masterpieces of 18th-century American furniture--a sofa table, which fetched $75,000 at Sotheby's; a card table, auctioned also at Sotheby's for $950,000; and a blanket chest, priced at $250,000, which failed to sell at the Winter Antiques Show.

Here're a few of his design rules/tips to live by:

* Go trendy with the paint colour on your walls and accessories but don't with your furniture - spend wisely
* Drapes should be 1/4" off the floor - you can play with skirt lengths and whatever else you like but not drapes
* Lights should be on dimmers, he rather tongue in cheekily said that the older you are, the darker it should be
* Sconces should be 66" off the floor, no matter your height or the height of your walls
* Don't be afraid to mix metal finishes when decorating because this provides interest and colour
* Paint crown moulding and base boards the same colour as the walls because this extends the height of the ceiling

Sarah Richardson: Green & Canadian

Sarah Richardson sat down for an hour-long chat in which she talked about her pride in Canadian design, product and manufacture; and her commitment to environmental sustainability, which she proved with her designLive space (I'll talk more about that later) and in her own personal life. She spends summers in her cottage on an island in the middle of Georgian Bay that is powered by solar power. She cooks by candlelight and the only lights are by the bedside table.

One of her first announcements was that she takes possession of a new Sarah's House tomorrow and will be renovating and filming until the end of June. I loved this show and we were told that there will be 2 or 3 more to come! I wonder what she'll do next?

She doesn't have the time to read design or fashion magazines for inspiration but wants us all to help her make Apricot the next big colour trend - after seeing a dress in that shade at auction, she re-did an entire guest room in Apricot.

On art and decor, she proposes the save and splurge approach: hold enough back over the course of your project so that you can splurge at the end with great accessories and art. If given the choice between a $2000 sofa vs. a $5000 sofa, she'd spend $2000 on the sofa and $3000 on a great work of art.

On the dirty word, budget: be honest about your budget. Make a list of absolutely everything you need and then put reasonable price points beside each item. The sum will inevitably be at least twice as much as you think, so decide what you must have - consider your lifestyle and how you're going to use your home.

On timeless design: play it safe -keep the fixed elements neutral, but everything else is open season, e.g. a grey sofa can be accessorized with hot pink pillows one season and aubergine the next; also, a white or cream kitchen is always in style and may be dressed up with different knobs, which are preferred over handles which require more than one hole.

designLIVE @ IDS08

designLive is the concept space at this year's Interior Design Show that was built in 3 days. Brian Gluckstein of CityLine, Allen Chan, Anwar Mukhayesh and Matt Davis otherwise known as The Designer Guys, Lynda Reeves of House & Home with Lynda Reeves, and Sarah Richardson of Design Inc., each converted 800 square feet into Good Living by following their collective 10 must-have elements:

1. Sustainability
2. Entertainment
3. Environment
4. Aspirational
5. Timelessness
6. Technology
7. Flexibility
8. Collaboration
9. Culture
10. Retreat

First up was Brian Gluckstein, whose space was inspired by the 30s and 40s. He used Deco-inspired furnishings and lined the walls of the second floor "library" with photographs of books.

The second space was by the Designer Guys, which I found rather ho-hum. The wow for me though, was the bathroom walls and its textured, readable text.

Lynda Reeves showed us a space that had hits of colour from ethnically inspired fabrics and accessories.

Last was Sarah Richardson's space which she called "My Country." Everything in the space is Canadian - she searched high and low for a tent manufacturer and finally found one made by an Inuit producer near the Arctic Circle; the upholstered furnishings were made in Toronto; the windows in Quebec; the towels made by the only Canadian manufacturer of towels, Cambridge Towels in Cambridge Ontario, etc.

In keeping with her commitment to be sustainable in her design, everything in her space save for the ramp for wheelchair accessibility was built modularly so it can be reused or recycled. (D'you notice her attempt to bring Apricot to the forefront?)

My favourites @ IDS08

I was inspired by much of what I saw today and here're the favourites that caught my eye...

I love the gorgeous, sparkly mosaic mirror and decorative plate made of glass tile, rhinestones and glass beads by Karen Johnston:

Vases made of clay and tobacco leaves from Haiti at the Trade Facilitation Office Canada (TFO Canada) booth. This NPO was founded in 1980 by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) following a decision of the Canadian government to establish an office “to assist developing countries to export to the Canadian market.” They weren't available for sale at the show, but I was told they can be found at Ten Thousand Villages:

Love this fun chair at the Trevisan booth - the flowers remind me of poinsetta blooms:

This tub, part of the Axor Massaud line by Hansgrohe, is a protoype and to.die.for.:

Bright white Chinoiserie, care of Dragon Heir - I love the screens, and they manufacture in Beijing:

Art Signs has been in the business of "professional sign and wayfinding design" for 15 years, but they've branched out to decorative wall art to great effect:

Art for your floor at the sourceuk booth:

After seeing these pretty and inspired-by-nature accessories at AT Design Group's booth, I must now check out their store in Rosedale:

Continuing with the natural theme, lovely pendants by Toronto-based designer Mathew Birtch:

Beautiful ceramic and porcelein at Kosoy & Bouchard - I want this for bowl my sink in my grown-up powder room:

S Bloc by Rob Southcott. From the Designer's Statement - "Cast plaster blocks are simply arranged in any number or configuration. Inspired by embellishments of the Victorian era these casting can be used to enhance any surface or environment.":

LOVE this banquette by reCraft Furniture - something else for my grown-up home...I think in my kitchen/dining room:

This deslightful sink (it's actually a double) is made of concrete by Magnus Nordstrom:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Back in TO

Me and my mirror arrived at Pearson this afternoon in one piece - the only problem was that we had to pull it out of the box I'd spent an hour packing it in so that it would actually fit in my brother's car.

I spent the afternoon vegging in front of the TV, downloading a few hundred pics I took yesterday of Little Miss Fire Piglet and now I'm sleepy.

Tomorrow is an exciting day though - I'm going to the Interior Design Show! And the Oscars are on, so I'll be parked in front of the TV all evening - first for the pre-show arrivals because I like to see what everyone's wearing and then I'll be half-watching, half-surfing during the broadcast.

So glad to be home!

Friday, February 22, 2008


After spending an hour wrapping up my mirror and taping it up in the box my niece's crib came in, M drove me to the local Canada Post Office but I was denied because the package is too big to ship. Boo!

The mail clerk suggested I send it back via Greyhound, but I'm not too keen on doing that, so I'm going to take my chances with Air Canada. Keeping my fingers crossed...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Can't get enough of bed

I can’t get enough of bed – and like their tagline says, they really do have what you want in bed because I kept going back for more - and who wouldn't, when confronted with this happy wall of linens:

The first time out I left with just a couple of printed pillow cases that, after I left, inspired a whole new scheme for my bedroom that is completely different from what I had originally thought.

Bedroom Scheme # 1

So I had to go back a second time to fulfill the vision with the purchase of a complete set of white muslin sheets, along with the duvet cover and co-ordinating red pillow cases. I also picked up a couple of Japanese cartoon throw pillow cases for my niece's bedroom, which inspired much nostalgia for my sister and I since they reminded us of the colouring books we used to fill in as children.

Today, my third and last time, I bought a printed duvet cover and co-ordinating sheets for my sister, and a blueberry fitted sheet to match the pillow cases for my niece. Oh, and a couple more printed pillow cases for me so I can switch it up when I’m bored with the blue and white.

Natural & Pumpkin for my sis

Bedroom Scheme #2

How I love this store and wish there was one just like it in Toronto...or maybe I don’t…because maybe it’s that feeling of scarcity that makes it special...I’ll be back though…on that you can be sure of.

The Boathouse Birthday

T & Little Miss Fire Piglet

My sis, T, is 30 today and to celebrate, we went to The Boathouse for dinner. We dressed Little Miss Fire Piglet up in a dress for the first time and dined on some seriously good surf and turf, and it was as good as it looks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

At the mall

My sis and I took the bus to the mall today – something I haven’t done since high school – and it turns out her local mall, the Coquitlam Centre is the mall where Juno spies Vanessa playing with a friend’s daughter in the mall play ground in the movie Juno!

Here's the view of the apple where Vanessa plays with the little girl from a higher vantage point then in the movie, with the People's Jewellers in the background:

Other than that, there’s really not much to recommend it. It’s a small shopping centre that apparently includes Aritzia, the Gap and H&M among its tenants but they must have been in a section of the mall that we did not visit because I didn’t see any of these stores.

Instead, my sis and I spent time at the Sears and London Drugs buying things like pillows, towels and hair colour and having lunch at the East Side Mario’s. So exciting was this day that Little Miss Fire Piglet slept through most of it – except to get up for her feeding and changing at the restaurant, she’s stuck to her angelic routine of sleeping through all of our shopping trips out to date. We head back out to Vancouver tomorrow so we’ll see if our luck holds…

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Imagined London

I started Imagined London while waiting for my flight to Vancouver last Friday and finished it this morning. It was a good and quick read written by Anna Quindlen and serves as the armchair traveler’s tour guide through literary London – from Chaucer and Dickens’ Southwark to Monica Ali’s Brick Lane and everything in between.

My favourite passage comes in the last chapter:

…neither constitutes my most beloved place in this best beloved of cities. For that you must come down to Earth and wander aimlessly. Maybe just off Sloane Square, or in Cheval Place, or on Burnsall Street, or Elgin Crescent. Maybe in Notting Hill or South Kensington or Bloomsbury. Finally you will reach it: a house with a handsome gate or a small garden.

Around it, a street or two away, swirls the clamor of one of the busiest cities on Earth. Inside is—what? Did a debutante once wait there for her car? Did a maid slip out to meet her lover? Did street peddlers sell ribbons here, or fruit and flowers? Does it stand on the ruins of an older house, or a cow pasture, or even a Roman fort? Did the bombs shake its foundation and the modern real estate boom triple its value?

Behind every door in London there are stories, behind every one ghosts. The greatest writers in the history of the written word have given them substance, given them life.

And so we readers walk, and dream, and imagine, in the city where imagination found its great home.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Granville & West Blvd

I had a very productive shopping day in Vancouver that started early – 6am early because we had to drive into the city with M so we could take the car for the day. My sis, Little Miss Fire Piglet and I started with breakfast at The Secret Garden, which thankfully opened at 8.

We started off with the apple scone of the day – so pretty with the Devonshire cream and raspberry jam and YUMMY too! T had the hearty cheddar omelet, I had the French toast croissant and Little Miss Fire Piglet slept through it all.

We then drove to the Chapters at Granville and West Blvd and chilled until about 10:30 at which time the real shopping began. I've included links and pics of the highlights below.

Our shopping trip in the city was bookended by a very late and fulfilling lunch at Las Margaritas back on West 4th where T and I shared the roast beef chimichanga and the enchilada suiza. Mmmm...


Farmhouse has a great collection of new and found objects – my favourites are the collection of old boxes and sleds and the fantastic hutch with the leaded glass.

18 Karat

I like the look of 18 Karat – their carefully-edited collection of home décor accessories are presented in a sleek and minimal space. I left with a short star-shaped vase in the softest green.

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