Remember Sarah Richardson? She of the statement necklace? She of the white jeans? Well, she's back with another new show called Real Potential
Back in 2010, I was invited to a preview sort of thing about Sarah's then-new show, Sarah 101
. Sadly, I did not like the show much, and said so in my blog about it in early 2011. I haven't been invited to a Sarah Richardson event since. Haha. I can't say this bothers me much. So much of PR and Journalism is bullshit, and if I'm no longer in the loop, that must mean I'm not part of the bullshit, and that makes me happy.
Anyway, Sarah 101
wasn't good. It just wasn't. It wasn't horrible, but it was a disappointment. The show seemed to dumb down everything that had been appealing about Richardson's past shows. It was so banal. And it didn't last long. Whether by design or because someone or (many someones) on the team realized it was a bust, it seems to have ended after only two short seasons.
Now, however, Sarah is back. And I'm happy report that Real Potential
is a lot better than Sarah 101
. A LOT better.
The show is three quarters about real-estate shopping. Sarah helps a house-hunting couple shop for a place, gives them three options, they pick one and buy it, and then, finally, she helps improve the chosen home by renovating one room or area. The show is 22 minutes long and in my opinion, is a little light on the design and decorating side of things, but considering how much the masses seem to love real estate, the format was probably a smart choice. It debuted a couple of weeks ago and several episodes have already aired. I watched them online, though the HGTV website
The design work is a lot more aspirational than the work on Sarah 101. It's much more in-line with the stuff done on Design Inc., which I was happy to see. Sarah uses a lot more colour than she used to, and the rooms she's done on Real Potential reflect that. I'm not sure how I feel about this change. Colour is good, but sometimes, the blues Sarah highlights, in particular, feel a bit grating to me, but different strokes for different folks and all that. More colour is probably not a bad thing. (I just really hated these chairs, below.)
My final verdict is this: Real Potential is okay. Good, even. The real estate bit isn't that interesting to me, personally, but you might like it. And if you like Sarah, you will probably enjoy the show in general. So far, Tommy hasn't been seen, and I'm sure some fans will be bummed about that, but Richardson herself is there in all her statement-jewellery-wearing, sarcastic glory. Give it a try.
I know. I haven't posted in ages. The chic blog has been effectively dead all summer. It's not my fault. It's just that my apartment is small, and it's done. AND I don't really have the money or desire to redecorate over and over again. So, lately, I just haven't had much to say.
Then, the other night, I decided my office/guest room isn't working for me anymore. It's most often a trash-room, where we put things that we are hiding from guests. We sometimes have one person stay over, but rarely two, so the twin beds, while great in theory, haven't been all that useful. And finally, we need some more storage, and this room could easily house some if it was reconfigured.
Mostly, though, I want to change the colour. I want to paint the room green. Dark green. Maybe sage green. I'm not sure. Here's how it looks right now.
It's cute. Very white and serene and country-ish. But I want to go in a completely different direction. Here are some inspiration shots.
This one is apparently a room in a cottage in the Hamptons by Fox Nahem. Annoyingly, I was not able to find credit info on this photo. Found it here. Unfortunately, here's another with no credit. Found it here. If you know the origin, please comment.
Am I crazy? Green might not be an easy colour to work with. Have I lost my mind? Should I go for it? Is green the best idea anyone's ever had? Please comment. I need your help.
Lamps and pillows (and chairs) are some of my very favourite things. My basement is full of extras at the moment, mostly because I often can't help myself. And shops like Toronto's own Mod Pieces
are no help at all.
It's local, it's filled with awesome restyled vintage lamps, amazing and unique lampshades, and now, throw pillows. There are so many things in stock that I want. Like, RIGHT now.
NOWNOWNOWNOWNOW. I am full of covetous feelings, in particular for this pair of lamps that I just realized have already sold, sadly.
But fear not! My favourite lamps have already been scooped up, but there are plenty of beautiful things left. Here are some photos from the shop's recent Summer 2013 look book. (Cropped to fit. They look better in all their glory here
Happily for you guys, shop owner Lia tells me that Mod Pieces is having their annual "Shop Like a Designer" sale this very weekend. All weekend long, the store is extending their trade discount of 25% off to the general public. It applies to all items in the online store.
There are some SUPER deals in the sale section at the moment, so I suggest you look there first.
According to Lia, "The sale begins this Friday, June 28th and ends at midnight on Monday, July 1st. All buyers have to do is enter coupon code "OHCANADA" at checkout to save 25% on their entire order."
Anyway, guys, I just wanted to let you know. I have not been doing a lot of blogging lately, but I hope to get back into the swing of things soon.
Hey guys. Have any of you seen The Listings List
? It's basically a Tumblr blog filled with curated picks from Toronto's Craiglist and Kijiji offerings.
I've been following it for a few weeks and here's what I think: There are pros and cons. Sure, the curation is good. The items featured on The Listings List are basically the coolest, most designer-friendly things available on Craigslist/Kijiji (in the area) and following the TLL is therefore fun and could be a serious time saver. No more slogging through mountains of crap to find the best stuff, right?
Isn't slogging through mountains of crap kind of what online garage sale-ing is all about? I mean, if someone else does the work for you, is the hunt compromised? Is the find as satisfying? Isn't it better to earn a deal rather than having one handed to you?
I'm not sure.
Besides that, TLL might not be as practical as it seems. Great items worth curating have a tendency to go fast, and once something has been featured on the site, it goes even faster. I've already experienced seeing more than one great thing on TLL, only to find it already sold.
Anyway. Here are some of my favourite finds, found on TLL just today. At the time of this posting, I think they're all still available.
Anyway, what do you think? Do you love The Listing List or would you rather do the hunting all by yourself?
The Door Store
keeps popping up in my life lately. A few weeks ago, some friends bought a pair of doors there and fashioned them into a headboard. (See a photo of their project at the end of this post.) Then, someone emailed me asking about knocker hardware for their front door and I sent them a link to my own front door update
(which included a Door Store knocker). Finally, just today, while flipping through the Latest issue of Style at Home I saw a little thing about fun, animal-shaped hooks (for hanging coats and whatnot) and a few of the options were Door Store picks at excellent prices. Anyway, I think the universe is trying to tell me to write something about The Door Store, so here I am, writing something.I've got to plug the aforementioned coat hooks. They're adorable, and I believe they're only about $10 a piece.
Cute, no? And these prices are much better than the ones at Anthro. (And besides, screw Anthro. They are so annoying.)
As for actual doors, the shop's selection is huge and worth checking out in person, but here are a few of my personal favourites I plucked from the currently-available mech photos on the website.
Front and back of the same door. LOVE that green.
More colourful vintage choices. More love.
A couple of international choices, from Paris and Egypt respectively, I think.
Finally, check out the headboard I mentioned in the first paragraph - the one my friends Josh and Megan made with two doors they snagged at The Door Store. (They paid $375 for the pair.) I think these were outhouse doors once upon a time, but I'm loving their second life.
I really wish I had an inch of space or that I needed a replacement door... ANY real excuse to buy some stuff, frankly. I'd be off to The Door Store immediately. Alas, I must live vicariously. If any of you have some DS finds you want to share, I'd love to hear about 'em in the comments.
Hey y'allyall. I know I've been remiss. I haven't posted anything new to the Chic or Reviews blogs in AGES. I promise I'm working on a plan to get back into it on a regular basis, but in the meantime, I just had to tell you about a couple of bad ass deals I spotted this very afternoon at Toronto's own Honest Ed's.
First up: A kelly green trench coat. Brand: Ann Taylor. Original price: Around $180. Ed's Price: $12.99. Sizes: XS to XL and some variety of petites as well. It's looks kinda, but not exactly like this:
I seriously love this coat. I have no idea why the original Ann Taylor merchant had a problem with it. The whole lot I saw seemed fine. The buttons are a lovely tortoise colour, but could possibly use some reinforcement stiching (but I've had that problem even with garments from The Bay). The fabric - heavy and cottony, not unlike a light denim - seems to be in great shape and the green colouring is vibrant. This is one chic coat, my friends. AND IT'S ONLY $12.99.
Also, I nabbed a little pair of classic yellow rain boots. They look just like Tretorn Skerry Boots, which were designed for sailing (so chi chi). Tretorn Boots cost about $70. These look-a-likes? Ed's Price: $9.99. Ed's is carrying women's sizes 6 to 9 only. Here's how they look:
The boots are lined with a thin layer of cozy flannel or felt, so they're pretty comfy. I am not sure how they ended up at Ed's but I will say that I notice they have one irregularity: with this style of boot, at the top back, you usually see a little tab meant to help pull the boot on and off. At Ed's these tabs have all been cut off. This doesn't affect functionality or style, but it's worth noting.* SEE UPDATE BELOW!
There are lots of other fun finds at Honest Ed's right now. I had forgotten how much I loved the place. When I lived in the Annex, it was a go-to shopping haunt.
Now, I warn you, there's lots of junk to sift through if you want to find gems like these, but it's fun and so worth it. And if you don't believe me, I invite you to consider my favourite-ever Honest Ed's find: a vintage-style one-piece bathing suit. Classic black and white stripes. It looked like this and I got it back in 2008:
How much did I pay? $2.99. Two dollars and ninety-nine cents, people. Chic and cheap. My favourite.
Anyway, guys. If those yellow rain boots or that kelly green trench appeal, I advise you to hop on down to Honest Ed's before they're gone.
As for blogging on the Chic page, like I said, I'm going to try to get back into it soon. Hang tight.
* UPDATE: Just 3 weeks into wearing the yellow boots, the rubber was torn in multiple places. They now suck up water better than they keep it out. So that's ten bucks down the drain. The green coat however, is awesome. I hand-stitched a little button reinforcement and the thing is wearing great.
So, I was invited to the media breakfast/preview of the One Of A Kind Christmas Show
which kicked off down at the Ex this morning. (I don't know why I get invited to this sort of thing, because I am a big nobody. And let me tell you, watching the vendors get excited by my media pass and fancy camera kind of broke my heart, but I digress.) Invited I was, and went I did. I mean, the show costs $12/$14 (online/in-person) to get in, and as press, I could get in for free. Between that and the offer of a free doughnut, I wasn't going to say no.
And for once, I did the show right. I went up and down EVERY AISLE IN THE PLACE. My feet are currently incredibly sore and I'm a little grumpy, but I feel like I saw everything and took note of everything that really caught my eye. And I took photos of all of it, which I will now share with you, but first, a bit of a caveat:
As huge as this post is, it features only a small fraction of what's on display. (I believe there are more than 800 OOAK booths/vendors this year.) My personality means I'm drawn to decorative objects, fine art, and that sort of thing. Things I generally avoid, and that you won't likely see here, but that are in abundance at the show: kids' stuff, woollens and knits, clothing, most wood and leather goods, art glass and most pottery, food and edibles. I also steered clear of most of the cutesy stuff (felted creatures, owls, bunnies, and the like), most of the jewellery, most of the furniture, and all of the body/beauty products. All of that stuff is amazing in its own right, but I only stopped to photograph the things that really jumped out at me
, which may not be what will jump out at you. So... there. End caveat.Now, some pro tips:
- Work methodically. I saw every booth, starting at the east end of the centre (end of the alphabet) and moving west, winding up and down every aisle along the way. I know it seems a little anal, but making a plan for the path you want to take (and sticking to it) is a smart move. The show is overwhelming otherwise.
- Wear comfy shoes. SERIOUSLY. I was wearing Toms and my feet are still killing. (I saw a couple over-zealous young "journalists" in 4-5 inch heels, and I bet they want to kill themselves right now.)
- Give yourself a good three hours for your visit. Or even a full 1/2 day. It's better not to be rushed and if you want to see the whole thing, it's going to take you a long time. (Note: if you're bringing babies or little kids with you, as I noticed many did... well, you're crazy. What can I say? The rules don't apply. You may need 12 hours. Who knows?)
- Eat, hydrate and let yourself rest from time to time.
- CHECK YOUR COAT. It's hot as heck in the Direct Energy Centre. I have no idea why. Coat Check costs $2, but it's worth it.
Okay, enough with the tips. Are you ready to see what I saw? HERE GOES!
Stewart Jones: Booth R-57
These fine art paintings by local artist Stewart Jones were the very first thing that caught my eye. I stopped to snap this pic as I made my way along the back wall (before even making it to the first official aisle). Jones does "urban landscapes" and I'm sure his work doesn't come cheap, but I like the realness of his subject matter. Very Toronto.
Daniel Pollak Accessories: Booth T-54
I know I said I steered clear of most of the jewellery, but this booth was so glittery, it caught my eye immediately. So decadent, so sparkly, so over-the-top. It's fashion/costume jewellery, rather than fine jewellery, but I enjoyed it.
Kat Kaland: Booth Y-62
Artist Kat Kaland makes toys, illustrations, accessories, etc. She told me when I popped by that she's moving away from the toys and focussing more on art, and having seen the art -- paintings incorporating doll parts -- just my kind of creepy -- I think she's making a good decision. The pieces shown here, with the hands and the little 3D girl figures, go for about $200.
Moon Rox: Booth Y-20
Again, jewellery is hardly my thing, but it was early in the day and this gold-toned costume statement necklace caught my eye. Moon Rox is owned/designed by a woman named Monique V. Chan.
Noelle Hamlyn: Booth W-43
Hamlyn has been at the OOAK show before, showing off her repurposed art/purses made from books and magazines, but she's also doing framed artworks now, using the insides of the books (paper, illustration, etc.) as opposed to the outsides. Now, in general, I'm a "READ BOOKS, DON'T CUT THEM UP" sort of person, but I like what Noelle does nonetheless. Her bigger art pieces are about $165, while the smaller ones are about $90.
iDENTITY: Booth W-09
I stopped at this booth because of the hipster-factor. Megan Irish makes these pillows from recycled blankets (vintage Pendletons, The Bay/HSBC classics, army blankets, etc.) hipsterified with prints on top. Her company makes tees and other apparel as well, I think. The pillows are $48 to $108. (The HSBC ones are more pricey than the others.)
Heyday Design: Booth V-09
Hailing from Vancouver, Claire Madill makes these neat ceramic mason jars. You could achieve the same effect by painting a glass mason jar with flat paint, but nonetheless, these are nice as far a ceramics/porcelain go.
C Comme Ca: Booth V-43
Artist Cindy Cantin makes these bags and wallets from leather and wool felt and I thought they were super chic.
Dapila: Booth T-15
This stuff looks like ceramic, but it's mostly made of cement, which is sort of neat. I know body-parts and surrealist stuff isn't everyone's bag, but I sort of love it. I like the idea of using some of the finger sculptures to hold everyday objects like makeup brushes or razors.
Eric Seguin: Booth S-53
This is not a booth I'd usually stop at, filled as it was with knives and such, but I a few natural skulls caught my eye. These are otter, fox and mink, respectively. I have no idea why I like 'em, but I do.
Felt Factory: Booth R-19
These felt, mounted animal head pieces by artist Sabine Alpers are very well done. I love natural animal stuff (vintage, generally) but these might please the vegan in you if the real deal creeps you out.
Laurie Sponagle: Booth Q-31
These AH-MAZING charcoal drawings look like photographs. No kidding. That's how amazing they are. Artist Laurie Sponagle really stands out. Bigger pieces are priced at $1600, but there's a nice range of sizes available and the smaller pieces start at $250.
Tammy Shane: Booth Q-24
Tammy Shane is another stand-out fine artist exhibiting at the OOAK show. I would have bought one of her pieces in a heart beat if I could have. Gorgeous. Truly. I mean, look at those owls! Those birds! That sky! Love.
Yves' Drop: Booth N-06
Vintage neckties made awesome? Just my sort of thing. I kind of wish my husband would wear a tie every day. (And if he did, I get him a few of these babies.)
Tat Chao Design: Booth N-34
These glass candlesticks were pretty fabulous - substantial, yet delicate at the same time. Very unique. Tat Chao is a nice new addition to this year's show.
Sarah Tacoma: Booth L-23
Photography artist Sarah Tacoma caught my eye. I love how she captures stark branches and winter trees. And her pieces have rustic wood frames/mounts that I liked.
Sarah Hillock: Booth K-24
Sarah Hillock's huge paintings of farm animals (mostly cows, from what I saw) done on mylar, were maybe the most striking, unique thing at the entire OOAK show. I've never seen anything like Hillock's work in person before, and I have to say, I've never wanted a huge painting of a cow more. I mean... they're cows. And I'm a city girl. Yet I want one. Immediately.
Pepper Mills: Booth G-03
The name Pepper Mills kind of speaks for itself. These handmade, OOAK wood objects by Cam Lavers Designs Inc. aren't new to the show, but I've always liked them.
Him by Shima Itabashi: Booth D-5
I know I said I was going to stay away from cutie-pie felted things, but this booth's wee decorations spoke to me more than the works of other felt artists doing similar things. There's something really authentic and adorable about Him pieces and designer Shima Itabashi seems like a sweetheart. Her English isn't perfect, but that just adds to the charm.
Ateliers des Cent-ans: Booth C-36
This booth was a bit spare, but what I saw of the porcelain and wood pieces inside definitely left an impression. The stuff I loved most was delicate and white, with slim blue nautical patterning. Very chic.
Grace Eunmie Lee: Booth C-44
Some of Grace Eunmie Lee's wee white ceramics are highlighted with bits of shiny metallic and colour, but her monochrome pieces are my favourites. I love their small stature and weird, offbeat cuteness. Some of these wee works are merely decorative, while others are functional (salt and pepper shakers, for example).
Evelyne Rivest Savignac: Booth I-37
Interestingly, while I initially passed this booth during my official "go down every aisle" run, I didn't stop at it the first time around. I'm not sure why. Maybe the crowds were too thick and I didn't get a good look. Happily, I needed to hit a bank machine before leaving which took me on a second trip down row "i" and that's when I noticed Evelyne Rivest Savignac's pretty ceramics. The artist told me she's been a vendor at the show for the last eight years, so if you've been in the past, you may remember her. I was especially charmed by her little leafy bowls. They have the vibe of something sold at Anthropologie (but are much more authentic, of course).
And that's IT.
Honestly, I saw some other stuff I liked (bow-ties by Genuine Article
, for example.) but I just can't write about any more. This is already the most unwieldy blog post I've ever written.
Go to the show. Enjoy. Support your indie artists and crafty friends. And remember, wear comfy shoes. And if you're not too exhausted afterwards, tell me what you got!
P.S. Sorry about the lighting in some of these shots. I'm no photographer and since artists provide their own light at each booth, dimness is an issue.
P.P.S. Shout-outs to my web friends Jen @ Rambling Renovators
and Staci @ Switch Studio
for letting me talk their ears off at breakfast, Pam @ Cherish Toronto
for being my favourite person to run into at these things, and House & Home magazine staffer/editor Margot Austin
(who I may or may not have terrified when I declared "I'm obsessed with you!" - because I'm the sort of weirdo who says things like that, apparently). Sigh.
Okay, friends. I need your help.
See, I have this sofa. It's deco-era yellow vinyl number that I bought for only $100 (plus $30 in shipping) off Craigslist back in 2007. It has served me well and fits perfectly in our small living room.
It's a great little sofa. Solidly structured with foam and innards in good condition. Problem is, the vinyl is going. You can't tell in the pictures, but on the seat cushions, it's cracked and peeling like a mofo. It doesn't look good.
Now, here is my dilemma: I would love to keep the sofa. I've looked into having it reupholstered, and I estimate it will cost about $1200 to do so. Considering our personal finances, this is a LOT of money. For between $300 and $400, we could reupholster just the seat cushions and leave the rest of the frame as is, but again, it's a pretty pricey prospect.
I'm torn. I'm torn because I spent so little on the sofa to begin with, so perhaps spending a lot now isn't such a big deal. Then again, I could get a new sofa for less than reupholstering, and a new/old Craigslist model for WAY less. Financially speaking, a different sofa makes more sense. But I don't want to send this perfectly good piece to a landfill either, not when it can easily be rehabilitated to last another 20 years, in any fabric I want...
Speaking of which, here are a couple of the fabrics I've been considering were we to reupholster:
Trina Turk's Peacock, (which I think may be too much):
Dwell's IKAT Citrine:
I just don't know what to do. 1. Nothing. Live with the tears until we feel comfortable spending on redoing the sofa right.2. Reupholster: spend the money and get the sofa we want and the pleasure of knowing we saved something from landfill death. Try not to be so fussy about money.3. Reupholster just the cushions.4. Ditch this sofa and get something affordable new/old from Craigslist or similar.You guys are stylish and smart. Weigh in, would you? And if you have fabric ideas, I'd love to hear them. If we reupholster, we're going to have the lovely Staci at Switch Studio do the work.
.. which means we also will have to haul the piece to and from Oakville from Toronto...Sigh. I am paralysed. Help!
So remember when I posted about wanting a door knocker
? (It was just last week! You better remember.) Anyway, I posted about that because I really wanted to do a little mini-makeover on our front door. And I've done it!We live in a rental and our front door was pretty ugly before, but thanks to a little paint and a heavy iron knocker from The Door Store in Toronto, I'm loving it now. The Door Store was recommended to me by Jen at Rambling Renovators. I'd seen the place on TV, but never been inside. I LOVED IT. While a lot of the hardware they had was a bit out of my reach, price-wise, we were able to find something neat for only $35. And yes... it features a bird.I put a bird on it. AGAIN.
Deal with it.Okay, so let's take a look:
Good, right? The flat black paint hides the dings and imperfections of the old door pretty well, AND it makes the vintage hardware pop.
Here's a shot of the mail slot (at the bottom of the door, not shown in the first pics):
And here's one of the bird-knocker, up close.
What do you think? Good?
And for the record, I will never stop putting a bird on it. NEVER.
I have so many posts in the hopper right now, it's not even funny. But so many of them require just one more picture, or a bit of staging. So in the meantime, I'm going to tell you about the number one item on my current wishlist: a door knocker.
We live in a rental with an old doorbell. It's probably been broken since the 1950s. But people always push it, not realizing that it doesn't work. So I thought a knocker (perhaps with a little note telling folks to knock) would be a pretty solution. But I'm finding it really hard to find something!
Here are a few of the ones I've found (online). I like these, but I don't love any of them. And without seeing them in person and testing the heft, I'm just not sure I want to buy one.
What do you think? Do you like any of these?
This "Sly Fox" knocker is from Anthropologie and is $24.99, but it looks a little small and I'm not sure about the tail.
This vintage cast iron knocker is from JunkFromMyTrunk
on Etsy. It's $28. But I don't think the seller ships to Canada (and that would up the price too much anyway).
I love Victorian-style hand knockers like this one, but there seems to be a massive price range online (say $10 to $300). I can't tell what's real and what's reproduction. And I can't spend $300. (My budget for this is $50 max). Plus, as I said, without seeing the knockers in person, I can't be sure I like them.
Anyway, what do you think? Got any advice for me? Should I go with an animal, a regular knocker, or a weird shape like a hand? And I need local help: know any Toronto brick and mortar places with good knockers? (No strip club jokes, please.)