Monday, September 20, 2010

The Window Dilemna... Solved.

For todays post, which will likely go down in history as my shortest ever, I am going to share a window treatment tip for any of you that are moving, helping others move or have a window that you're not quite sure what to do with.  I'm talking temporary window treatments that provide instant privacy. 

The reason I am posting on this topic is because this weekend I made a residence move to Charlottetown.  My new place has alot of neighbours with alot of windows and direct views into my unit, see above.  I measured my windows for custom shades but in the meantime I need something to get me by until they are in.  I'm sure most of us remember the days at University or having your first apartment or home and your windows were completely bare.  That's when the feeling that the entire world can see you really hits because at night yes they can.  Problem solved.

Enter the Redi Shade... I picked these inexpensive paper shades up at The Home Depot yesterday.  There is also a website with lots of different options and colours

No special tools are required.  All you need are sissors, a measuring tape, a straight edge and a utility knife.  The shades are made of paper and have an adhesive strip that attaches to the inside of the window frame.

My patio doors were looking a little bare. 

Within minutes I had complete privacy and coverage for $15.00.  This was so easy.

   Here's a closer look.  Paper pleated shades.  They come with little white clothes pins so you can actually make them go up and down.  These ones are light filtering so my rooms still stay nice and bright. $7.00 each.

For my bedroom I opted for the room darkening version.  The colour is a soft grey and they really do block the morning sunshine.  All told, I spent $60.00 to cover 5 large windows and a patio door.  Easy, fast, affordable.   I'm sure most of you have heard of these but just in case I thought I would pass this info along.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great week!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Magazine Photo Shoot

For todays post I am going to share some of the images I took while on a recent photo shoot with Style at Home magazine.  I can only post selected images of the actual process as they want to be the first to publish the finished images of the house. 

You're probably wondering how this all came about... Back in May I was contacted by the magazine to be the guest writer for their Shopping Etc page.  It was during our conversations that I mentioned we were just finishing up the interior design of a fabulous beach house on PEI.  Would they be interested in seeing it?  Yes there were and I was asked to send along some preliminary images of the project to the design editorial staff.


I firmly believe in the above fortune so much so that I carry it around with me in my wallet as a daily reminder to myself.  However, and this is big, I also realize that you have to find your own opportunities and if I have to do the knocking so be it. 

 Meet Margot Austin.  Margot is the Senior Design Editor for Style at Home magazine.  Margot is also a big fan of PEI and has family roots here.  Margot also has her own website and blog at

After seeing various images of the house they decided it was a good fit for the magazine.  Can you imagine how thrilled I was when the photo shoot was firmly booked for Sept 2 and 3?  Excited doesn't even cover it.  Every interior designer wants their work in magazines.

Day 1, Margot and I enjoyed an early breakfast at Number One Grafton and then headed out to the house.  After scouting the house in the morning to choose extra accessories and props we stopped for a little walk along the beach.  I have to mention that on both days of the photo shoot the weather was sunny and hot.  In fact, it was very hot.  I think those were the hottest days all summer with temps hovering around the 33 degree mark and humidex at 43.  Luckily the house has air conditioning.

It was a beautiful day and Margot looked pretty happy to be here.  With the tide out we were able to enjoy a few minutes of relaxation before getting down to some extra shopping and detail planning.  Margot came to my shop and chose a few extra things to enhance the house.  We then went and checked on the flowers, had a late lunch, and she left to prepare for the day of the photo shoot.

Day 2.  The photo shoot.  The team for the day was Margot Austin, Stacey Haines, Stacey's assistant Lea, myself and Anita.  We started at 9am Friday morning and finished up 12 hours later. 

First things first, all the pretty flowers were brought in before anything else so they would survive the day.  There were blue hydrangas, green hydrangas, yellow snap dragons, pink roses, blue delphiniums and a few other ones that I can't remember their names.  As you can see there were lots to choose from.  I love flowers.

The photographer was Stacey Haines and this was her equipment.  See more of her beautiful work here. 

The first room to get styled and photographed was the kitchen.  And I am so sorry but I promised not to take any pictures of the finished rooms.  This is Margot starting to style the kitchen deciding which items would make the shot.

After dozens of images are taken Margot and Stacey carefully review them.  Here, Stacey just finished photographing the kitchen.  She took 2 different angles showing both sides of the room.  The set up time for each room was aproximately 45 minutes and after each room is photographed they review all the shots.

If required changes are made to the room and it is rephotographed and/or restyled so that each shot comes out just picture perfect.

Next up was getting the great room camera ready.  The shelves were the first to be styled and then the furniture was moved a bit to accomodate the camera angles and then layered with more pillows, throws and flowers. 

The shots in this room were of the built-in shelving and then the room itself. They actually had me in one of them but whether I make it to the magazine, I won't know until it is produced.

I did take a couple of pictures.
 I couldn't help myself.
However, I didn't take any pictures of the entire finished and styled rooms. That will remain a surprise.

After working on the kitchen and great room we had a well deserved lunch break using up many of the food props that were used in the kitchen shots.  By this point we were all starving!!!

Lea made this healthy feast for us and it was absolutely delish...  

After lunch it was on to more rooms.  This is Stacey moving her camera to a new location with Lea following closely behind with the computer.  
Margot told me this was going to be a big spread, perhaps as many as 10 pages. The rooms are the kitchen, the diningroom, the great room, the sunroom, the master bedroom, one of the girls bedrooms, a bathroom, the laundry room and two exterior shots.  Along with those rooms several vignettes of close ups were also photographed. 

I don't have any more images to share as my camera battery died on me halfway through the day.  This was such a fabulous experience for me and one I will never forget.  I learned alot from it, met some wonderful people and will have the thrill of having one of my favorite projects available for all the readers of Style at Home to enjoy.

Once the photo shoot was over last week I was able to concentrate this week on my next new and very exciting project.  This is the main floor of 98 Fitzroy Street.  A brand new building office building in downtown Charlottetown.

If you look closely you can see a for lease sign in the window. 

That sign is about to be replaced as it is now fully leased.  To me.  This is the new home for Moving Designz Home & Cottage.  I've been working and planning on moving my shop from Summerside to Charlottetown for the better part of this year.  Early last week I finalized the deal. 


I finally found the perfect location and picked up my keys last week.  Do I look happy?  Yes I am, very! 

Our plan is to be open by October 12.  I feel lucky that  both Anita and Ashley are following me and helping with all the advance planning.  There certainly is alot of work and planning for us to do.

I'm so looking forward to this new endeavor and bringing our style of furniture and home decor to Charlottetown.  

Thanks for reading.  Have a great week!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Building a Dream House

For this weeks post I have to share Kate and Gordie's amazing PEI waterfront house with you.  I've been blogging on the planning and building aspect of their house since last December.  I posted a couple of pictures of their almost finished livingroom, way back in May.  Today I think we are ready for the reveal. 

Meet Kate and Gordie.  A very beautiful couple.  Newlyweds building their first home together.  I met Kate in early spring of 2009 when she hired me to help her out with the dream house they were about to build.  At that stage we had only the blueprints to tweak and Kate's inspiration pictures.  As well, at that stage they hadn't yet married each other but were on their way to planning their wedding and dream home. 

Their home broke ground in September of 2009 just two months after their wedding.  This is one of the first pictures I took of the early construction when the exterior framing and sheathing was complete and the interior was yet to come.  It was time to get the details in order.

And inside looked alot like this, studded walls, bare windows, and unfinished surfaces.  That's Kate in the corner, this day, we were reviewing paint colours, and surface finishes in the light which would become their home. 

Fast forward last Saturday.... my photo shoot.  Their gorgeous livingroom ... a mix of soft white, cream, blues and hits of dark wood tones.  I actually shed a tear each and everytime I left this home.  I hope my pictures convery how lovely it feels with an atmosphere that envelops you the moment you walk throught the door.  My favorite word CALM.  Yes... it is.

Have to show close up, this house is outstanding and I can't say that enough.  Kate and Gordie have phenomenal taste and I was lucky enough to be the designer to help achieve a truly marvelous living space.  Furniture and design via Moving Designz Home & Cottage.  Decorating, finishing touches via Kate and myself.

The living space or great room consists of the livingroom, kitchen nook, diningroom and kitchen.  This view is the dining nook area way back when it was just timbers and not much else but a plan in our heads of how it would look.

The dining nook absolutely 100% complete with a lovely cream shag rug, white laquered table, and brown leather and chrome chairs.  Not to mention the amazing view!!!

May I just draw your attention to that amazing glass bubble lighting pendant?   Believe it or not but I found this stunning fixture at  the Home Hardware lighting department in Summerside.  What a find!

We used colourful accessories throughout the house.  The canvas of the house is completely painted in off whites and a neutral grays.  BM Edgecomb Gray, one of my fav's, is the wall colour of the great room in case you're wondering. 

Kitchen Envy :)

The countertops are quartz and the backsplash (some of you may recognize) my spring Home Depot tile find that I also used on the Oasis Kitchen and Bath project.  It was also an excellent choice for this kitchen.

With double islands this is the perfect house for preparation, cooking and entertaining.  Dare I say kitchen envy again?

The master bedroom... ahhh more white.  The wall colour in this pretty room is BM Mineral Ice.

Imagine waking up to that water view everyday...

The master bathroom with his and hers vanities.  Custom built espresso cabinets topped with white marble.

I have to say this is by far the largest walk-in shower on any of my projects to date at 30 sq ft.  The tile is Carrera Marble and the feature wall lovely blue glass tiles. 

The soaking tub directly across from the shower.  I'm loving this...  And yes we know we need a great piece of artwork over the tub to complete the room.  Something colourful :)  It will come along...

Kates dressing room/ walk in closet is just off the master bathroom.

It also has a make-up vanity.  OK OK loving this room too! 

Lets look at more colour in the guest room.

Yum ... Fresh....

White, orange and turquoise. 

The guest bathroom.  On to the second white guest room and more colour.

White with turquoise and this time fresh green accents.

I think I've covered most of the rooms... although to be honest there are still two more bathrooms and the laundry room.

Oops almost forgot the cozy family room.  

I have to say that this has been one of my favorite projects to date.  Kate and I share a very similar design aestetic and this made making decisions quick and easy.   I'm typically designing either cottages or more traditional classic homes.  This house allowed me to take a more modern approach to design and work with today's colours. 

Kate has also been an absolute pleasure no only to work with but to get to know on a more personal level.  Thank you Kate and Gordie!

Remember the SGG house pictured above?  I haven't posted the after pictures because...
Today I spent the day with Margot Austin from Style at Home magazine.  We were prepping the house for tomorrow's photo shoot.  It was a wonderful day and I cannot wait to wake up tomorrow morning.

  I won't be publishing any of the after pictures until after the magazine issue hits the stands.  As a tease this is a corner in the sunroom.  However, I will be taking pictures tomorrow and posting next week on the styling and photo process.

One last image to share.  I snapped off this picture on my way to the SGG house about a month ago.  The field full of yellow canola was just to beautiful of a photo op to pass on.  Isn't PEI beautiful?  Yes it is...

Thanks for reading.  Have a wonderful long weekend!