Saturday, December 29, 2007

My Favorite Things

Just in time for New Years my version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic... something light to hum about.

Neutrals on sofas and rich hardwood flooring
Stainless steel fridges and granite topped islands
Beautiful lighting dripping with crystals
These are a few of my favorite things...

Fresh cut bouquets and tables of whiteware
Flat screen tv's and black and white artwork
Plump downy cushions in designer fabrics
These are a few of my favorite things...

Hotel chic bedding and feather bed toppers
French pleated panels and white pillar candles
Glass topped tables with naguchi bases
These are a few of my favorite things...

When the room bites
When there's no bling
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things....
and then I don't feel so bad

Soft muted walls and bright coloured accents
Five paneled doors with brushed nickel hardware
Beadboard wainscotting all trimmed in cloud white
These are a few of my favorite things...

Warm cotton throws and button tufted headboards
Bowls filled with seashells and stacks of design books
Wicker baskets that contain all the clutter
These are a few of my favorite things...

When the room bites
When there's no bling
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Contained Christmas Decorating

The snow has finally made an appearance here on PEI and from my contacts with people across Canada, it seems to be everywhere and all at once. Canada, winter, the two go hand in hand. Except Vancouver, we had a sales rep in the store today who just got back and said the weather on the other side of the coast was wonderful.

I have to say I'm like most people and not a big fan of cold weather. In fact, I caught myself saying, out loud today, that I hate winter. It was so cold and windy here today, minus minus minus. How cold did it get? I'm not sure but let me check the weather channel. ... TV on, select channel. (does your tv say hello to your when you turn it on?) Ok, it says minus 7 but I'm not buying it. It has to be minus 20... brrrr

The one thing about this kind of weather is it really gets people in the mood for Christmas, decorating, shopping and entertaining. I had the opportunity to do a seminar on Christmas decorating a couple of weeks ago , which was really fun. I thought I would share some of my ideas with you.

Here are a few tips and things that I like to do with containers, glassware, dishes and bowls to keep things simple and stress free.

Glassware: It isn't just for flowers. I love and I mean love using glass vessels, whether they be vases, hurricane lanterns or bowls and filling them with Christmas ornaments. This is so easy to do. Take any vase and just load it up with colourful balls, shiny, matte or glossy, they just look good. Other things I like to do. Load up your vases with pinecones and perhaps a ball or 3 and again, voila instant arrangement. How about a taper candles tied with a pretty ribbon and just laid inside or on top of a glass dish. I also like to pour some sand inside and then add a pillar candle and a wee tiny ornament for colour. Has anyone ever used epson salts inside vases. It looks like crystals of snow and again just add a candle as above and you get another new look.

Cranberries: Don't just save them for turkey dinner. Cranberries placed in vessels with or without water and a candle makes a nice colourful arrangement. Amazingly they last for weeks. One of my favorite cranberry recipes goes like this... Get a tall open mouthed vase out of the cupboard, add some cranberries, then some water so they float, add a bunch of willow branches in the center and finish off by adding 3 stems (or more) of white lilies. I'm no florist but hey, I can pull this one off in my sleep. The lilies give you beautiful fragrance and the berries add a nice splash of colour. Depending on how fresh you can get your flowers this should last about a week. Once the flowers have seen better days throw them out, change the water and replace the lilies. A word on lilies. The stamens need to be picked off just as they begin to open. If you do this regularly you will not end up with the orangey stains they can leave behind on anything which touches up against them. I usually put a kleenex in my hand and pick them off with this as they stain like crazy.

Candles: Everyone loves candlelight. Flat dishes, trays or flat bottomed bowls are great for making terrific looking candle arrangements. Pillars set on flat surfaces surrounded with cones, sand, salts, little ornaments or balls set the mood. To get a nice burn trim your wicks to about half of their original height. Design tip: Use candles in odd numbers, 3, 5 or 7 etc... and either use all the same height or stagger them with varying heights.

Flowers: Spring bulbs aren't just for spring. Pick up spring bulbs from the garden center in the fall. Instead of putting them in the ground in the fall place them in your fridges crisper. Leave them there for at least 8 weeks and make sure they have holes in the bag so they don't go moldy. After 8 weeks take them out and plant them in a container as follows; Add some river rock to the bottom of your container then fill with water just up to the level of the rocks. Place your bulb or multiple bulbs with the root sides down. Now place them in a bright location for another few weeks and after that a sunny spot. Keep on with the water just to the root level. Within a few weeks the roots will sprout and then the flowers will explode. This is actually a very simple thing to do to have flowers throughout the dreary winter days. Bulbs that work best include, paperwhites, amarylis, hyacinths and muscari. They also smell terrific!

Fruit: So good for you to eat and so good to decorate with. Citrus colours are in. The bright yellow of lemon, the warmth of orange or the bright green in limes look stunning in glass bowls. Vitamin C never looked so good. Granny Smith or Red Delicious Apples in ample amounts set about in bowls add to the feast of Christmas. Go for real or go for faux, fill a bowl and add instant colour.

I could likely write on and on but these ideas are hopefully a good start to easy Christmas decorating with everyday items.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Island Living

Just today the newest issue of Island Living Magazine arrived in the store. Moving Designz work was featured in this, the Christmas edition. The feature was a pictorial on the condo we decorated for Christmas in Harbour Terrace Condominiums. The beautiful condo is located upstairs in the same building as our store.

Kudos to Karla Kordyban, publisher, (and her husband Ralph) for her tremendous drive and spirit for starting such a magazine. I hope that many of you reading this blog will support the magazine and buy issues. The articles, writing and photography truly show a representation of what PEI is all about. I'm thrilled to be part of the magazine since its inception just this past June.

It's pretty amazing to pick up a magazine and read about people you know and others you may not know but have interesting stories to share.

A few months ago I received my 20th anniversay issue of Canadian House & Home magazine in which they tell their story of how they began, the struggles they faced and how they persevered to become a leader in Canadian publishing. Hopefully, in 20 years we will all look back at Island Living magazine and remember how they have grown from such humble beginnings.

Congratulations to Karla and all her hard working associates, writers, photographers and designers in bringing this magazine to PEI newsstands. If you haven't seen the magazine yet I encourage you to go out and buy it. Find out where at

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bringing out your Inner Designer

Whether you are renovating or starting a room from scratch you need a good plan can help you to get the look you want. I thought I would list some tips that we designers use on a constant basis.

1. Make a list of your furniture and accessories wants and needs.
2. Once you make the list prioritize, based on your budget. Consider the rooms function and what pieces are essential for comfort, function, and beauty.
3. Draw a floor plan of your room. Make it detailed to include doorways, windows and any architectural features. Include the sizes of your windows for reference when sourcing window treatments. Taking a few digital pictures is also a great idea.
4. Layout your furniture. All rooms need a strong focal point whether it is a fireplace or a view, arrange your furniture around your focal point to visually ground the room.
5. Identify what style you prefer. You can easily do this by flipping through magazines or surfing the internet to find what really appeals to you and your lifestyle.
6. When buying furniture purchase the large pieces first. These pieces will be your guide when choosing smaller pieces. Take your colour cue from these large pieces. Bring your floorplan and colour palette with you when shopping.
7. Vary the heights of objects within a room. When it comes to accessorizing create interest by using tall, medium and short items.
8. Display accessories in uneven numbers. Asymmetry is interesting to the eye.
9. Leave some space around objects and furniture. We refer to this as white space, it's the space that lets your eyes wander from one object to another without being overwhelmed. Furniture placement is crucial when creating a comfortable look and feel to your rooms.
10. Keep a file of your upholstery swatches and paint chips. I find a large ziplock baggy very handy for this. Keep it in the glove box or trunk of your car. This way when you are shopping it is always available.
11. Hang artwork at standing eye level. Use a small piece of double sided tape on the back to keep it level.
12. Changing out your accessories seasonally will keep your room feeling fresh.
13. If you are struggling or unsure consulting with a designer may be just what you need to pull your look together.

Project Renovation

Recently I have been working with a couple on their 4 year old house. What started as a consult on a new colour scheme and ideas to update thier home turned into an entire cosmetic renovation. The couple had found after living in their new home it wasn't meeting their expections.

I hadn't realized the scope of work they had in mind until after we met at the house. After meeting with them and discussing their needs and wants it quickly became evident that they had put some careful thought into just how they wanted the house to suit their lifestyle. What they needed was some direction and a concrete action plan to breathe new life into their space.

The real challenge became thier timeline, they wanted the project completed by Christmas so that they could enjoy the holidays with their family and friends. I should say our initial meeting took place just 5 shorts weeks ago. The home was your average 2 story with basic builder finishes. What we planned was a complete change in the colour scheme to lighter and airier colours and upgrades to all the finishes.

One thing about renovating is you need to have a solid budget, which they did. Which leads me to another fact about renovating ... people generally get on a roll and this often leads to more work and thus more expense. With my experience I have come to realize that most renovations will end up costing more and it is wise to know beforehand that your budget will likely be stretched an additional 10-25%.

In this case I would have to say that we have exceeded this figure. My clients decided after starting that they wanted to do more. Instead of just focusing on the main floor they decided they wanted to have the lower floor redone while we were at it. We're still working out those details and waiting for new flooring.

In the past 5 weeks we have had the original kitchen cabinets painted white, added a quartz countertop, a new tile backsplash and cabinet hardware, painted each and every single room in the house, revised the lighting plan and installed new light fittings and potlights throughout the home, changed the original entry floor plan and staircase, added wainscotting, installed a new fireplace, custom bookshelves, and a built in seating bench in the dinette, retiled the entry and the kitchen, changed carpets. Truly there has not been a surface that hasn't been changed.

One of the hardest things we had to do was to rip up hardwood flooring that was in the kitchen and adjoining dining area. The family's dog had ruined the floor with claw marks and nothing could be done to save it or revive it. It is heartbreaking to rip up a 4 year old floor but now that it is replaced with tiles it is far more functional and durable.

Some things still remain on the to do list but much has been accomplished in such a short time. This case is unusual, normally with this scope of work it can take months to complete. Luckily my clients are in the building trade and could round up contractors and finish carpenters to get the job done. As with any job you can expect things to go wrong, they will and it's nobody's fault it just happens. The quartz countertop arrived ahead of schedule but it wasn't theirs. It was the right countertop but the wrong house. So we wait for that ...

I was at the house just yesterday and the results are amazing to say the least. The rooms are barely recognizable as the same house. I will be posting the renovation before and after pictures on my website in the new year.

Here are a few tips on the renovation process:

Establish a budget with extra reserves to fall back on.
Develop a clear plan to meet your needs.
Realize that you will be living in a mess short term and the results will be worth the effort and wait.
Expect the unexpected. Nothing will ever go along smoothly.
Consult professionals for guidance and advice.
Communicate with your contractors on a daily basis.
The choice and quality of finishes will affect your budget. Upgrades in finishes will increase the long term value of your home.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Black & White

Just back from the CGTA show in Toronto. This meant hours and hours of walking through literally hundreds of booths on the hunt for new and exciting items to stock the store and inspire us. For true design divas it was pure heaven.

The show is held twice a year and is the largest in Canada. It takes up the entire floor space in The International Centre and also the Congress Centre, both located near the Toronto International Airport. I'm not sure exactly how many square feet this event covers but to say it is massive is not an exaggeration.

The show is open only to retailers and industry professionals. It includes everything from jewellery to home decor, to small appliances, kitchen goods, floral, tabletop, linens and the list goes on. Suffice to say there was a lot to take in.

The trend is certain, Black and White is still very hot. Entire booths were beautifully executed, designed and devoted to just these 2 colours. We, however, we on a mission to find some colourful accent pieces. I like words like earthy tones, coastal inspired, jewel colours, neutral shades and warm sunny tones.

We want Moving Designz to be full of colour and in turn, life. We found some great colourful home decor items to breathe life into your homes. Look for Moving Designz to be filled with warm knitted throws in a variety of colours, punchy accent pillows, vibrant coastal inspired artwork, gorgeous 300 thread count hotel chic bedding, lined baskets for storage, tabletop accessories in every colour of the rainbow, clear glassware for candles and flower arranging, wine and barware accessories and black and white accent pieces.

Just in this week a great selection of new lamps and lighting, upholstered pieces from VanGogh Designs, solid wood furniture from Riverside and our new line of hotel style bedding.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lighten Up

While paint is the quickest and least expensive way to change the look and feel of any room many people overlook the effect of lighting. If you are looking for a way to update your space it might be time to consider changing out your lighting fittings and fixtures.

Lighting has the ability to change the way we feel in a room, it can create just the right atmosphere. Let's think about candlelight as an example. I love it, under candlelight it is quite possible to suddenly become 10 years younger without any surgery. And who doesn't want to look younger? Yes I do love that candlelight... :)

Where does one start with the process when it comes to lighting your home? Take a good look around your house at your present fixtures and ask yourself a couple of questions. Are your lighting needs properly met? Are you living with fixtures that are tired or out of date? Have you bought any new table lights lately? Make a list of your priority rooms and start looking around.

The trend in lighting finishes is brushed white metals and oil brushed bronze which is more of a brown. Brushed gold also marketed as aged brass is also making a serious comeback on the lighting scene. And lastly black... been seeing lots of those black shiny chandeliers. Done in the right space it can look terrific but personally I find them kind of gothic and not for everyone. I am hoping a trend that won't last.

Chandeliers are a hot and lasting trend and not likely to go out of style. They are being used in washrooms and bedrooms, as well as, dining areas. They add that certain sparkle, romance and class just like that perfect piece of jewellry can accent your outfit. I don't know why but I always think of chandeliers as jewellery. Changing out your ceiling mounted lighting to chandeliers in either your bedroom or bathroom is a pretty quick and easy update. Note the word pretty.

Anyone who knows me knows I love jewellery and anyone who has been into the store will soon know I like room jewellery. My bar chandeliers over the sales counter and over the diningroom vignette are perfect examples and add to the overall ambiance of the space. The combination of chrome and crystals are stunning. I've been getting lots of positive comments on those babys. Seen below you can understand why.

Finding the perfect pendants to go with them took some serious sourcing and just when I was about to give up and settle, (I hate settling) I found the drum shade pendants also adorned with crystals. And all this happened just in the nick of time for the contractors and electricians needed to get on with the job.

Lighting a commercial space is basically not a lot different than lighting your home. You need good overhead lighting, good task lighting and then hits of accent lighting. It's all about the layering and of course the budget. A solid budget on any design project is essential. Even if you pick away at updating your lights you will be amazed by the difference it can make to your space.

My next post will cover my thoughts on The Canadian Gift and Tablewear Show from last week in Toronto. What is hot and new on the horizon.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Word of mouth

It's been a month exactly tomorrow since we have opened our doors at Moving Designz Home & Cottage. And what a month it has been with each day continuing to be more amazing than the last.

We are so thrilled with the positive response from people within our community of Summerside, people coming from all ends of Prince Edward Island and the tourists from all over Canada and the world for that matter. I am truly grateful to all of you for coming in and telling us what a great store we have. Of special mention are those of you who are visiting us a couple times a week ( the design diva's) and also those people who are spreading the word about the store with kind referrals. It's been happening day after day. Thank you for supporting us.

Since the last posting I have been very busy with the store, consults, design projects and keeping up with the paperwork. We are also very happy to be featured once again in Island Living magazine. We have just completed a fabulous home we have been working on since January. It's funny how long projects take. It has become my mantra that everything always takes longer than you expect. I think the readers will find this home quite inspiring.

Sheri was with me on Friday as we fluffed, staged and photographed the home. It was a hot day and we worked hard for hours getting it perfectly set up for the photography and ultimately for the readers to enjoy. As we drove home later we discussed some tv shows that make it look so easy, in particular Design Inc. I love that show but how do they do it? While we looked and felt totally dishelveled ( it was 30 degrees) we wondered how they always look so fresh after all we are doing the same thing. Honestly they must have little elves working behind the scenes or very good editing. Perhaps a little of both?

Our next post will focus of what you can do to update your home. We're going to focus on lighting. Something most people overlook yet is so important in our daily lives and can have a huge impact on your home.

Thank you once again for coming into the store and spreading the word. I welcome your suggestions and comments. And please let us know what you would wish for or like to see carried in the store.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Somethings gotta give...

Well, here it is almost a full 3 months since my last posting. I had thought that I would be able to maintain the blog with regular updates, manage design projects and open a store all at the same time. Who was I kidding? And what was I thinking? The time has virtually ( excuse the pun) flown by. There have been several occasions when I would start an entry but everytime something would come up and I just couldn't finish my thoughts.

So here we are 3 months later and finally some time to update the blog. I'm absolutely thrilled to have Moving Designz Home & Cottage open since July10/07. Originally we had hoped for July 2 but as anyone who's done any renovating or construction knows or has experienced, scheduling does not always go as planned. 8 days late is actually pretty amazing in the big scheme of things.

The renovations went along smoothly thanks to our general contractors, Bayside Builders. My design vision was carried out like clockwork with very little problems other than a slight delay getting in the space. Kudos to Mike Fraser (Fraser), Peter Brown, Lou Gallant and Bayside's terrific team of carpenters, tradespersons and all of the suppliers who were involved. My hat is off to all of you, job well done, thanks team.

I do have a lot to be grateful for including our newest staff members. Sheri Buote who worked by my side diligently through long hours setting up the store, unpacking merchandise, cleaning, assisting with design projects and helping with the entire process during the last few weeks leading up to opening the store. Our other new face is Stacey McKenna. She has also been extremely helpful and with her years of experience and talent certainly adds another dimension to our entire team. I feel very fortunate to have them both with Moving Designz Home & Cottage.

I'm also feeling pretty grateful and appreciative for the support I've received from family, my children, friends, clients and last but certainly not least Barry Hirtle. Barry has been my rock through the long days and is my number one fan. He has worked hard getting us ready, providing a helping hand, man labour and outfitting our store with an amazing sound system, equipment and the latest Sharp 42" LCD television. He also made all the arrangements for our security and telephone systems. Thank You, all of you.

The television becomes part of the equation later this fall when we begin to host bi-monthly design clubs, seminars and special guest speakers.

For those of you who have not come in yet, please come in and say Hello. For those of you that have been in, thank you for the many, many kind and positive comments.

It has actually been quite a bit of fun. I would compare it to having a mini Christmas everyday without the turkey dinner. Opening stacks and stacks of boxes to reveal purchases of merchandise you almost forget you bought. In fact, when the couriers and transport companies arrive it's all quite exciting. The only negative is getting rid of all that packing material. We used to have nice long fingernails but have given up on any manicures for the time being :)

I've posted a few pictures on the Moving Designz website of the interior of the store and have also kept a log of pictures taken throughout the process. We are recieving new merchandise on a weekly basis so our inventory will be constantly changing. I will post a few more over the next several weeks as we continue to settle into and develop the space.

I'm looking forward to posting more blogs with articles and tips on design. Stacey, who has a knack for writing will be doing some of the postings with her ideas, as well.

Thanks again to everybody who's helped to realize my dream.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

April showers bring May flowers

It seems all of April I have been too busy to keep up to my posting. Read on to find out why.

Going back to Design Tuesdays I have faithfully been watching and following the progress on Sarah's House. The rooms she is turning out really are stunning and imaginative. I like what she is doing. One of my favorite things about the show is how they interject true thoughts and humor into the narrative. The chemistry between Sarah and Tommy is outstanding. The show is well done and worth the watch. I only wish it was on earlier in the evening.

Moving Designz is expanding. I've been working on our not so little pet project for just over a year although I have been dreaming of it for several. We are opening a storefront location "Moving Designz Home and Cottage" in the historic Journal Pioneer Building. We will be stocking our store with beautiful home furniture, home decor and all the little extras that make a home a home.

I thought I would track our progress through this blog. We only recently completed lease negociations. We're truly excited and a little nervous at the amount of work we have to do over the next 2 months to get ready to open. It's like when you build a house, first you do the homework and decide what you want and then you get hit with decision upon decision. Often some you never thought of.

Here are a few pictures of what it looks like now and I will add more as we go along.
Looking to the right... this area will be the main showroom.

and to the left.... this area will have more showroom space and our work island.

Yes, the place needs a lot of work. It's hard to tell in these images but the place has loads of character, high ceilings, brick walls and even comes with 2 bank vaults. It not only housed The Journal Pioneer (our local paper) but was Summerside's Bank. Lots of history... I'll let you know if I find any hidden gems.

The first thing that is happening is a total clean out following by chipping plaster to expose the brick walls. The landlord will be carrying out our leaseholds for us since he is also a local builder. Our first issue is whether to paint the brick walls white or to leave them au natural. All along I wanted white but have promised the owner of the building that I will revisit that decision once the brick is exposed.

This week I will be planning the floor layout which includes electrical layout, new washroom, new office space, new raised platform, planning wiring for security, audio/visual, telephone and internet. Followed closely by choosing flooring, electrical fixtures and plumbing fixtures.

We have decided to move the entry door to the side of the building on Queen St and close off the old corner door to use as a showroom window. If you know the building you can appreciate why we are choosing to relocate the door from the corner.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Design Tuesdays

I must admit I am slighty addited to HGTV. It is definitely the channel of choice for moi. My favorite show is Design Inc. Headed up by Sarah Richardson and her talented team of designers they really do show the ups and downs of redesigning spaces. True to the show, it has been my experience that on each and every job things do not always flow as smoothly as one likes. There are always little things that pop up but with persistance, a good sense of humor and a constant vision the rooms always turn out beautifully. Check out the show's website

I look forward to the show on Tuesday nights just to see what wonderful space they create next. Her rooms have that modern classic style of being both livable and elegant. Or in some cases extreme elegance The last couple of weeks have been reruns but it didn't really bother me as I still find the show entertaining even when watching it for the second time around.

I'm looking forward to her new show "Sarah's House", it starts tonight at 10pm. It should be very interesting to watch the entire renovation process. It's been my experience that everything always takes longer and costs more than you think it will. Most lived in homes have problems lurking somewhere that need attention and when these pop up that's where some of your dollars end up heading. The other thing I find is that as we go through the process most people choose to to upgrade on the finishes. Afterall what truly defines one house from another and makes it more interesting and valuable are the finishing details.

Another show that I find myself watching is Flip this House. The show where people are buying houses and then fixing them up to sell with the bottom line of trying to make a profit. They really get into showing what can go wrong and what can go right. Sometimes I like the homes and other times I wonder what it would be like to buy those homes without knowing how shoddy some of these renovations have been. Or even scarier to buy the home and then see it featured on the show.

I was watching an epidode over the weekend where the renovator completed a million dollar house in LA. My favorite line in the show was when he was finished the house and was showing the Realtor the property. At this point they are downstairs in the massive great room... "Do ya wanna? maybe we should go upstairs....
I don't why but the line continues to crack me up and I can't get it out of my head.

Which reminds me...

The other line which really gets me is from The Colin and Justin Show aka How not to Decorate. The line Colin says to Justin and which they play over and over on commercials for the show. "I'm pitching a tent in my design panties". The things those guys get away with saying always has me in stitches. And who could forget "this room, it's just wrong, prison canteen chic" I could probably rhyme off several others but perhaps they might be to offensive taken out of context. For the entertainment value alone of listening to their cheeky remarks I have to say this show is worth the watch. If you are up and up on your HGTV you probably know they are headed to this side of the pond to work their magic on Canadian viewers homes. Now this I can't wait for....

Other shows which I admit to watching, are Design Rivals. Once again their finished product is always worth the 30 minute wait. The follow up show The Designers Guys, now there are 3, do great spaces but I admit to skipping to the end and missing the body of the show. I just don't find the middle interesting, the part where they interact with each other or take in the local scenery. Somehow it just seems too contrived....yawn.

I do like the House & Home show with Lynda Reeves although it never seems to be on TV when I have have the time to watch it. And I just love the magazine. I also really enjoy watching Restaurant Makeover and the Opening Soon series, again it's hit or miss on finding it. I don't keep to a schedule except on Tuesday nights.

I watched most of the Designer Superstar Challenge series but ended up being somewhat perplexed when Bruno won. In the last challenge he did nail the outdoor room but what about the rest of the episodes? I thought either Penny or Mariana were the obvious choices with their ease in front of the camera. I am looking forward to seeing what will happen with Bruno.

Back to now... and Tuesday nights

"...ever dream of buying a house, gutting it, and re-building, so it is perfectly you? Well I'm doing just that. I bought a house, renovating it room by room, making the most of every dollar. It's tough work but stick with me. I'll show you how to get the home you want." — Sarah Richardson

This should be good viewing.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Gone Shopping


This is the first time I have ever done any blogging. I wanted to have a place where I could post information and ideas related to interior design. On the average day I work from 9am to 7pm. I operate my business out of my home office which actually leads to longer days of working but it is worthwhile as I like to keep on top of things. I try to take weekends off but with the office so handy it is difficult not to slip into work mode.

Living on PEI, while beautiful, does have its disadvantages. Shopping for home goods and furniture can at times be an experience. There are times when I have something in mind but cannot locate exactly what I want or in many cases need to complete a project. For those of us who are passionate about design, PEI can be a bummer. If many of you PEI Islanders, like me, eat up Canadian design magazines you can't help but notice that we are often left lacking in selection. On the other hand, there are a few stores which do cater to the design conscious consumer and carry great decor and they remain on my regular visit list. For the cottage lifestyle there is certainly no shortage of small little antique shops for those who like a vintage or rustic cottage look.

I have several projects on the go, at present. One of which is a full furnishing job for a vacation home. I have been on the go non-stop shopping since Sunday. On Sunday, I slipped over to Moncton, New Brunswick for an afternoon of shopping. I like going to the Trinity Power Center where all the big box stores are located. There's something to be said for what we refer to as "off-island shopping". Seeing as Moncton is a little less than a 2 hour drive from here, it is pretty convenient. I guess the only drawback is paying the toll on the Confederation Bridge which these days runs $40.75 for a single car.

I started my afternoon browsing at Costco. I had gone in specifically looking for something but ended up purchasing other items. I'm not really a Costco person but they do have great prices on bulk food. There is a particular item, Alder Smoked Sockeye Salmon, that I look for every time and which they only seem to carry only at Christmas and Easter. For those of us who like Smoked Salmon they sell a 16oz vacuum pack for around $15.00, enough to make dinner for 4, and have leftovers(which are delicious). The first time we bought it, several years ago, we made the recipe on the package for Smoked Salmon Primavera. Now I am hooked! Parden the pun. I encourage you to try this tasty item. Smoked Salmon is an aquired taste but if you are already a lover of smoked salmon, this product is a good bet.

After getting that out of the way it was on to Homesense, Pier 1 and Bowring. I like browsing at Homesense and have at times spent up to 3 hours in the store, just to ensure I didn't miss anything. Did I mention that Summerside (the city I live in) only has a Zellers and a Walmart for home goods? With that said I guess you can appreciate how nice it is to do the Moncton circuit. I saw quite a few pieces of interesting and unique furniture yet most seemed to have damage on them, which was a real drag. The area rug section is pretty good. Where else can you buy a 100% wool rug for $199-$450? Another thing that I love to look for is the great selection of linens and throw cushions. A silk covered down filled cushion runs around $30.00. I prefer the down cushions to the synthetic polyester filled as they are way more comfortable. I have yet to find any down filled cushions anywhere on PEI(except at Winners in Charlottetown) and our local fabric stores do not even stock the down inserts. So cushions are always on my "to buy" list.

I didn't really see anything that caught my eye at Pier 1 on this visit. I think they must be waiting for new spring stock. A few months back I picked up some very real looking green apples for around $5.00 each. They are great for propping and display purposes. I absolutely love the colour, it's so fresh looking.

On to Bowrings, who have a just arrived selection of clean lined leather furniture, at pretty good prices I might add. Several hundred dollars later we closed the shop and I think I heard one of the sales people say "It turned out to be a great day afterall". She must have been referring to a sudden last minute increase in sales :)

We ran out of time as everything closes at 5pm on Sundays but all in all it was very worthwhile. I managed to cross many items off my "to buy" list and had some fun at the same time. Shopping is always fun for me except when it comes to loading and unloading. Yesterday I had to make 3 trips back and forth from the van to one store with parking several blocks away.

I think I will call it a close on this post but watch for more. I am hoping to get at this 3 times per week. My next set of posts will involve pictures of my finds.

I hope I haven't offended any local retailers because it is not my intention. I do rely heavily on local stores for many of our projects.