Most of the time, I am happy with the furniture I have. My hodgepodge home of thrifted finds works for me. Nothing is too precious. Nothing would cost much to replace. But once in awhile, I crave a really nice piece of furniture. I think to myself, Yes, I WOULD like that one-of-a-kind table AND that super-sexy designer chair. 

Then I remember that I have no money and my house is already full. And then I feel a little sad. Maybe one day I'll win the lottery and become an entirely different animal. (Maybe not, but a woman can dream, right?) 

Anyway, the next best thing to buying, is, of course, sharing. And that's what today's post is about. I'm sharing with you the furniture of local Toronto dude Ian Devenney, who is a friend of my friend Emily. I've never even met him, but I'm in love ... with his furniture. His studio is called Foxwedge and his pieces are super-lovely.

Take a look at just a few:
This is my favourite piece in Foxwedge's current portfolio. It's called the Hawthorne patio table and ... ugggh. I need it. I need it bad.
This is a coffee table. I don't know if it has a name, but according to the Foxwedge site, it "will be shown at Digital Promises, a participating exhibition in the 2014 Toronto Design Offsite Festival."
Finally, this piece is called the Trifecta Low Table. It's a bit mid-mod, but contemporary too. 

Some pieces in Devenney's portfolio are still in the prototype stage, but if these finished numbers are anything to go on, I expect more excellent things in the future. And one day, maybe I'll even meet the guy. If and when I do, I'll tell him how his furniture makes me wish I hadn't wasted my time on an English degree, learning to read books, while folks like him were learning to make amazing things with their hands. Stuff like this  makes me want to rethink my entire life.

Check out Foxwedge, here! 
 
 
Hey dudes. So I've got myself into a bit of a pickle. I found this mirror on the Anthropologie website and talked it up to some friends who now really want it. But Anthro tricked me! Despite giving me a pop-up that promised shipping to Canada, it turns out they (it) don't/won't. Or rather, shipping to Canada is available in a limited way. A lot of big items aren't eligible. 

So I called every Anthro in the city. Sold out. Everywhere. I double checked for human-error and called the main American Anthropologie telephone number and found out that there are definitely none available in Toronto at all at the moment, and that no more are expected to be restocked in Canada. There are also none in Buffalo, so driving down to get one is out.

If I had an American address, I could order one online and have it shipped there, then perhaps have it driven up, but that seems like too much rigamarole. And besides, I don't have an American address.
So my question to you is this: What should I do? I want a French-style mirror like this one, and I can't seem to find one anywhere. It's a BIT like a Louis Philippe-style mirror, but more delicate. I can't find anything that compares or captures the same feeling. Do you have any ideas? Anywhere in Toronto that might have something similar or in the same vein? Y'all are very stylish and I could use your input.

Thanks peeps! 
 
 
So over the past month or so, I've been helping a couple of friends decorate rooms for their two little daughters -- ages 4 and 2, respectively. 

These are two VERY adorable little girls. And the house they live in is beautiful. It's a classic "Annex-style house" (that Victorian/Edwardian red brick and stone) but renovated to have a very sleek and modern interior, fused with some restored/classic touches. It's quite unique and very striking. A posh architect did the remodel. 

The family is very busy, and we're pals, so they asked if I could help them with a little shopping for the bedrooms. They just wanted some more homey touches to help counterbalance the sleek, modern stuff. After all, it's a family home. 

It's a straight decorating project, and really, they're picking everything. I've just given them a few ideas. (Don't worry, I'm not going to start calling myself a designer now or anything!) But I wanted to share where we are so far.
Before I arrived on scene, the walls of the first bedroom were painted what looked to me to be a muted chartreuse. (Later, the family told me the colour was meant to be like the interior of an avocado, and that is certainly a clearer way to describe it.) The floors are a slim-plank hardwood -- oak, I think. Matte, not glossy. And the doors and frames are a creamy white, which can be seen in the photo above, which I snapped with my iPod. I'm not sure if you can tell from the photo, but the light in the room makes for a lot of variation on the tone of the colour, which is why it looks darker on the right wall than on the left, around the door. 

There is very little colour in the house otherwise. White and wood tones rule. 

The family chose furniture from Pottery Barn. It's all very well-made, classic stuff. The bed is a double, there's a dresser, and a bookshelf as well. All white.

I admit, when I first saw the walls, I was a little uncertain. It seemed like a tough colour to work with. Initially, I was focused on choosing wood-toned furniture, but once the family went with white painted pieces, bedding became the most important thing. 

Googling offered up inspiration shots that featured the wall colour in various states of intensity, often paired with bits (or "pops" as they say -- stupid phrase) of other brights.
What colour pairing might be best?

There I was, thinking and Googling, and thinking and Googling, and thinking and Googling some more, when I came across the old Bob Hope movie Louisiana Purchase (1941). I love old movies, and often find myself putting Turner Classic Movies (TCM) on in the background while I work.
Anyway, Irene Bordoni in that coral/chartreuse knot-waisted dress is BOOM, right? I loved her chunky emerald/gold jewellery, too. As a colour-scheme, I thought it could really work.

So. Back to shopping. While I suggested a bunch of different stuff -- deep navy blue bedding, turquoise-trimmed bedding, yellow bedding, etc., here's the bedding I found that I liked best: 
I have my issues with Anthropologie, like a lot of people do. I wish they wouldn't steal designs from independent artists, for one thing, but man ... I love this bedding. It's called the Zocalo Embroidered Quilt. The family is still deciding, but I think I'm firmly behind it. And that dress is the thing that first turned my head.

Anyway, just thought I'd share. That's where we are.
 
 
So, a couple of years ago, I bought a Tarnby rug from Ikea. It's one of those natural fibre dealies -- 100% jute -- and supposedly hand-woven. Only $150. Not bad, eh? It looked great, at first. You've seen photos of it in my guest room, which I've been talking about a lot on the blog of late, so I won't repost those photos. I'll find some other photos of it looking great.

Pretty, ain't it? 
Yeah, it's pretty. It's also horrible.

Pardon my not-French, but I fucking hate this rug. There are so many problems with it. I have heard that others have had similar problems, so I know it's not just me. At the same time, I know some people who are happy with it. I just don't get it. 

Here's a list of just a handful of the problems I've experienced with the Tarnby jute rug:

1. It sheds dirt, constantly. I knew this would happen to some extent -- the natural jute would disintegrate a bit. But I also thought regular care and cleaning would solve the problem. ... Regular care and cleaning did NOT solve the problem. Sandy, filthy dirt accumulates in piles under and around the rug constantly. And moving ALL the furniture in order to get under the damn thing is frustrating to say the least.

2. Speaking of being under the furniture, even if you use protective pads, furniture legs ruin this rug, leaving massive dents that won't come out, holes, etc.  The Tarnby is NOT hardwearing. Walking on it wears it out/down very quickly, too.

3. I'm sorry to say that this rug may damage your floor. Reports online talk of permanently scarred hardwood AND laminate. WTF? What kind of lightweight, natural-fibre rig leaves permanent marks on hardwood!? I've never heard of such a thing. Nonetheless, a lot of people are talking about it. (Sidenote: I don't really trust the racist garbage-humans on that particular thread, though, since some of them are talking about fear of dirt "from a third world country." One is even afraid that foreign dirt might be carcinogenic. These people are being xenophobic ... about Ikea rugs. Psychos.) 

4. The rug attracts bugs. This is embarrassing to admit, but I really don't feel it's my fault. I clean! I have disinfected. I have tried everything. But every damn time I lift this thing to attack the latest sand/dirt/dust deposit, I find myself face to face with larvae. Yep. Worms. Not a lot of them -- just a few each time. They. Won't. Go. Away. I think they are rug beetle larvae. They are disgusting. WHERE are they coming from? They are nowhere else in the house. The other rugs are fine. (I was going to post a picture, but I don't want to traumatize anyone. Pray, do not Google these things. You will be sorry.) 

5. Did I mention the dirt? The massive piles of dirt?
I threw away the Tarnby several days ago. I cleaned out the room, deep cleaned the floor, and lo and behold, everything seems better now. This rug was the source of all evil in my house. I'm convinced of it.

 Even at a measly $150, it's overpriced, in my opinion. I have always loved Ikea. It has never failed me so spectacularly in the past. That general love remains, but this rug was a nightmare. Thought I'd better warn you.

(And if you have this rug and have NOT had any problems with it, I'd love to hear from you too. Where do you live? What is your space like? What sort of magic do you use?)

P.S. I lied about not posting a gross picture. Here's one I sourced online, featuring some very lovely larvae. (Shudder.) 
 
 
Okay, so awhile back, I posted about updating my guest room/office/imaginary nursery/sick room/we're-having-a-fight-and-am-sick-of-your-stupid-face room. (Let's be honest, people. If you've got a two bedroom apartment, and two people live in it, that extra room probably wears a lot of hats.) 

I talked about painting it green.

Though several months have passed, I have not actually painted it green. There's so much work I would need to do ... emptying the space, cleaning it properly, getting the paint, etc. Overwhelming. So I've pushed painting to the end of my to-do list and have tried to forget about it. 

Still, redecorating the room has been on my mind. I've just decided that focussing on the furniture and layout would be a simpler first step. Things are in motion. So I thought I'd talk a little bit about textiles and what I've been planning in the bed-department.

You've seen the room has it was, right? Two twin beds? Very country/white. I'm so tired of it. I want more colour. I want one bed, not two. I want more storage. I want to bring up some antiques from the basement. 
Photo by Abby Cook for Apartment Therapy.
I bought the mattresses and box springs for these twin babies from Craigslist and at Value Village. They are very so-so. I am thinking of throwing away one box spring/mattress combo, and keeping on in storage for potential future use. (Anyone want a free twin set? Anyone?) 

My antique three quarter bed needs a good home, having returned from a five-year college sojourn with my brother-in-law in Montreal. Before that, it was my bed at my single-lady apartment, and before that, it was the guest bed at my parents' house. Before THAT, it was my high school/childhood bed, and before that, it was my great grandmother's. The mattress has been replaced relatively recently, thank goodness, but other than that, it's just the bed that keeps on giving. (That sounded dirty and I'm sorry.) I'm using it instead of the twins.

Getting sheets for a 3/4 is a pain-in-the-bee-hind, I can tell you. However, certain retailer such as Beddington's do carry them. I just use a double or queen comforter/duvet on top, even though it's a little too big.

I've been shopping for new duvet covers, which is actually a pretty fun activity. There are plenty of options to choose from. Having been to Bed Bath & Beyond -- or Bed Bath & Barf, as it should be called* -- and seen their $300+ options, I think I'm likely going to go with something from Ikea. Ikea hasn't failed me yet. I have a couple of Ikea duvet covers that have been going strong for 10+ years. Cotton that gets better with age is really the only reasonable choice. 

ANYWAY, here are some of the bedding looks I've been keeping my eye on at everybody's favourite Scandinavian superstore. 
The ÅKERTISTEL set is my current favourite. Look how bright it is! Love. Only $34.99 for a double/queen.
With yellow bedding, the room could end up looking something like this:
This image is all over the web, with no proper credit. Know the source? Please share.
The NYPONROS set is pretty classic, and only $54.99. But would it look juvenile/too casual?
Stripey, seersucker-esque bedding could look something like this:
Williams Sonoma Home, no longer available. 
The BJÖRNLOKA set is very, very tempting. Only $44.99, and it looks like grain sacks/vintage linen.
This gain sack-style number could look like this:
Ikea Spain promo shot.
Finally, we have the ÄNGSÖRT set. It's pretty classic, made of real linen, priced at $89.99.
Blue and white bedding is very common. This particularly choice has been styled thus:
Styling by Camilla Krishnaswamy, photo by Idha Lindhag via IKEA Livet Hemma.
Oh god. What should I DO? Don't even get me started talking about the curtains. We'll have to save talking about additional textiles for another day.

*Bed Bath & Beyond smells like perfumed ass. I'm sorry, but it does. It's also extremely overpriced, the website doesn't let you see what's available in-store, and going into one gives me an insta-headache. Irritating as all heck.
 
 
If you read the blog with any regularity, you probably know that I live in a rental.

And living in a rental means putting up with some stuff. But it doesn't mean you have to put up with everything.

Case in point: my linen closet. My linen closet is ugly. And not only is it ugly, but half the shelves are papered with a horrible, peeling vinyl.

Lemme show you:
Picture
Yuck, right?

Now let's take a closer look at that vinyl.
Picture
Closer ...
Picture
Oh yeah, baby! Boobalicious! It's some sort of Eve-themed kitch, and in a way, I like it. It's sort of funny. But it's also torn. And only on half the shelves. And I'm not sure the inside of a linen closet warrants amusing bare breast art from the 1980s anyway.

I mean, if I was going to go that way, I'd do it out in the open. (Wouldn't I?)

Anyway. The closet needs a makeover. Here are some inspiration shots.
This is from a Style At Home story by Margot Austin, with photography by Paul Chmielowiec.
This image came from the Au Lit Fine Linens blog. I hope it's theirs. Who is the photog?
Picture
These images are from the blog Simplicity in the South.
Better than the boobies? I think so. But that's just me. What do you think?
 
 
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.
I think this pic is from Atlanta Homes Magazine. If you know anything more about the source, please let me know.
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.
 
 
So, 'tis the season and all of that. I've been trying to decorate my apartment for Christmas, since those who worship Martha do that sort of thing and we're already five days into the month. (20 days to go, santa-lovers!)

Anyway, there are several issues to contend with at my house when it comes to holiday decorating:

1. Neither Nate nor I feels all that comfortable with religiously-themed holiday decor. (In other words, I'm into Santa, not so much the Baby Jesus. Sorry, mom.) 
2. I'm cheap! I hate spending too much money on seasonal stuff and prefer things I can use year after year. But even then, I don't really want to spend/invest too much.
3. I am bored easily and like to mix things up a bit, but (as per #2) I don't want to have to spend money on new decor every year.
4. Space is an issue. We don't have a lot of free surfaces, spaces or walls.

Enter Dollarama! My not-so-secret shame. It feels like their xmas stuff gets better every year and when you go with little pieces, you can place them and style them in different ways if you get bored. Here's some of the stuff I snagged last week:
The clear plastic trees and the clear plastic reindeer are my favourite pieces so far. The trees LOOK cheap on the store shelf, but clustered in a bunch at home, they're surprisingly elegant. The reindeer are plastic, but look like high end glass or lucite. They work as ornaments, or as table top figurines. I bought eight - you know, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, etc. No Rudolph. I'm a purist. 

I'm playing around now with placement. Where should these babies live? On the buffet? The coffee table? Should I surround them with fake snow? It's all up in the air.
Another thing I'm doing that falls under the category of "super cheap" is building a little holiday village of white buildings. This is an ongoing mini DIY project. Basically, every time I see one of those little hideous collectable houses for sale at Goodwill or the like, I snap it up. I never pay more than a buck or so per house. Then, I paint the houses with white primer. I've collected several over the last year, and have more still that I need to paint, but haven't gotten around to. Maybe one of these nights while I watch TV...
Anyway, folks. Those are the cheapo holiday things going on at my house at the moment. Got any cheapo ideas of your own?