news and appearances

Thurs. Mar. 12, 2015; 6:30pm-9pm

Join me at Hudson's Bay, Queen St. Toronto

See my fave picks from the Spring Home Book and let's shop the 6th and 7th floors! Visit the event page on Facebook for more deets.


Wed. April 15, 2015

I'll be a featured speaker at:
What doesn't break you makes you stronger.

Market Hall Performing Arts Centre, Peterborough, Ont.

Buy tickets here.

Feb. 11-17, 2015


Oct. 16-20, 2014



rattan cabana

How amazing is this? Can you imagine chillin' in here on the beach in PEI? I can, but I'd be afraid it would blow away. Plus you'd need a sherpa to carry it out, put it together and dismantle it every time. I think I've been watching too many picnic and hunting scenes on Downton. Still, a girl can dream.

Or maybe just keep it in the backyard. I think I'd get a polkadot sunburn through the weave. And lastly, the price tag is $8,000...and you'd have to order it from the UK at Whitestores.

Oh well. Still....counting down until May long weekend!



pei 2014

A public service announcement. If you've never visited, this is your year. 


screened porch

Exciting times for our little corner of Prince Edward Island. Mr. A and I are hatching plans for a screened porch addition onto the back of the cottage. Very simple. Like a semi-exterior room. All the good breezes but none of the mosquitoes. Those blasted wee beasties can really hamper your exterior living on the island. I'm obsessing on Pinterest looking for inspiration. The structure itself will be dead simple: walls up to chair height and then panels of screen. Probably a lean-to roof. The inside will be the real design challenge. I want the space to fulfill a million functions: lounge, dining, game-playing and sleeping. Furnishing it wil be a challenge. The structure will go up soon and then in May it's full steam ahead to get it ready for 2014 entertaining! Here are some of my inspiration images:

The structure will likely be something like this (but smaller), but the lower portion of walls will be closed in - prob with beadboard. Interior will be painted white, floor likely grey, exactly as the main cottage.

The structure is about right but daybeds look a tad austere, no?

The ceiling height here is to die for, but sadly out of the question for us. I love vintage wicker furniture and will be keeping my eyes peeled for some mismatched pieces. I soooo loathe that brown plastic woven faux wicker shiz. It will be banned.

These DIY sleeping porch beds are from the folks at Martha. I'd love to be able to cook something up like this that could do double duty -- L-shaped sofa and twin beds as needed.

This is my fave porch design of all time, as you may know: a Tom Scheerer room with a smattering of my favourite Peter Dunham Figs fabric. As much as I love that fabric I don't feel it's quite right for my PEI space. Stripes will be my go-to more likely.

sources: 1: Courtney Bishop Design. 2:Kay Douglass  3: Allison Ramsey Architect 4: Lisa Hubbard Photography. 5: Tom Scheerer.


ellsworth kelly

So, speaking of knock-offs (which I was in my previous post), here's the story of the "artwork" in our PEI cottage. I call it an "homage" but essentially it is a work of an ilk that actually irks me -- DIY knock-off abstracts. So here I am, the pot who calls the kettle black. I'm fessing up (but don't worry, I'm not opening an Etsy store anytime soon.)

Here was the situation. Our little cottage already had a wall full of coastal-referencing bits and bobs -- ships, water, birds, shells. As seen here:

Whatever was going above the sofa needed to be different. A bit of relief. I wanted to hang a mirror. It's true what we say in the decorating mags - mirrors are quite amazing at expanding tiny spaces and this space is super teeny. I held a mirror in place and only then noticed that once hung it would reflect the kitchen -specifically the side view of open shelves and the side the the fridge. UGH. Never hang a mirror if it isn't going to reflect something pretty. And hence Plan B came into effect. I taped off the trapezoid shape on a piece of bristol board and painted it using leftover paint from the entryway. Boom. Done. It's shameful, I know. But grant me this: I chose this particular form because it's inspired by an Ellsworth Kelly piece called "For Leo". My Dad's name is Leo. He is was born and raised on Prince Edward Island. I call mine "For Dad".

Here's some real deal Ellsworth Kelly:

This one is called "Purple", a limited edition lithograph that sold at auction in Dec. 2012 for $4,688.

This one is called Colored Paper Image XIV (Yellow Curve), 1976. It's available at the Susan Sheehan Gallery in NYC for $30,000. I spied it on 1stdibs this morning.

I am moved by this stuff. I can't explain it. Art is like that I guess.

Here he is in his Spencertown, NY studio. Photo by Annie Leibovitz (!) for this piece in Vanity Fair. Would that we could all be so cool at 89. PS. I'd give my eye teeth for that paint-splattered chair in the foreground!






Paulistano and Locksta

Meet the Paulistano chair. It was born in 1957 in Brazil, but only made available in North America in 2006. I spotted it on the Interwebs a while back and marvelled at it's simplicity. I love simple design. Just enough. Not too much. Design that looks like utility. And then, just a few weeks ago I spied it on the floor at the Design Within Reach showroom just a few doors down from the office. I dared to sit in it. Oh my. It is so unbelieveable comfortable. It is also astronomically expensive. What you see above is a 17ft long piece of steel bent into shape and welded in one spot. The sling style seat is made of canvas. The price as shown:

US $1,062.50

OK, take a breath. Now, I've been at this game a while. I've learned what goes into great design and quality materials and construction. I've seen cheap knock-offs and the real deal up close and personal. I get that not everyone can afford originals (I am mostly one of those people). But I gotta say, I just do not get the price of this thing. It's a chunk of canvas and a metal bar. I recognize it as an architectural wonder, but still isn't the cost associated with that mostly tied to prototyping. I mean, once you've figured out the angles (which they did in 1957!), how complicated can it be to make? More. Than. A. Grand???

And just FYI, it comes in two different metal finishes - black or white, and in several different fabrics: 10 different colour/finish combos for an outdoors version, 4 combos of the indoor version and 4 versions in leather (the leather ones ring in at $1,317+).

Safe to say I will never own a Paulistano.

Meet the Locksta easy chair. It is a newborn, just in at your local IKEA (of course). It has a steel frame, which comes in several pieces and requires assembly using screws. The fabric is polyester. It comes in these other two colours:


Locksta price as shown:


So, I'm thinking it's time for an IKEA hack: spray paint the steel frame white, have a new white fabric seat made (frig, I could even make it myself using the provided one as the pattern). Conservatively that hack would bring the investment to $80.

I see new chairs for the PEI cottage in my future because (confession) the white faux bamboo ones we have are murderously uncomfortable and must go. 

Flights are booked for the long weekend in May - YTZ to Halifax and then road trippin' it to the Island. So 'cited.