Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A reminder that spring is just around the corner!

I love Holt Renfrew.  And when I say I love it, I mean walking through the store on my lunch hour, trying on sun glasses and awing at the rows of scarves and purses.  I've also had fun trying on shoes, drooling over the beautiful dresses and getting a spritz of the newest perfume.  I have only ever made one purchase from Holt's - a pair of red, leather Michael Kor's flats.  Apparently I thought I was a big deal and needed to go to Holt's instead of The Bay or Town Shoes to pick these up.  The iconic magenta bag was worth it though!

I work one block away from Holt Renfrew, so I walk by every day.  I love the fact that I work so close to such a fancy store for one reason....

The window displays!!!!!

There are a few stores on Rideau that dress their windows nicely (The Bay, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters) and I'm sure a few more around the city, but the windows that always catch my eye seem to be at Holt's.

They push the envelope and go outside of the box.  Most of the time I don't even "get" their displays, but I still love walking by every day trying to figure them out.  They really are works of art.

I always know when a new display is about to emerge because the window is covered from the inside for a couple days while they prep their scene.  A few days ago I noticed this was happening, and now, even though it still feels like the middle of winter with our never ending snow storms, I am able to walk by a lovely spring themed window display at Holt Renfrew.  How refreshing!

It's tough to really appreciate the displays with the glare, especially since you can see the snow!  But even still, you get the picture.  I love how they really bring the outdoors in, and there is dirt and bark mulch in there.  The rubber boots are pretty cute, as are the knee pads and the hose.  

My favourites are the green blazer paired with the orange bag and the red skirt.  

Lots of stripes and plaid.  Quite a preppy look.  I love the beige trench coat over the large print dress. 

Any favourites?  I just love seeing the bright colours and being reminded that spring is almost around the corner.  It's also funny to think that the colour of the manikins' plastic bodies is pretty close to the colour of my legs right now! 

Come on spring time!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An update on la Tiffani II

I think I mentioned that we have received one notice of delay for our move-in date to our new condo, la Tiffani II.  The new date is July 23, 2012.  The 20 day delay isn't really a big deal, and after over a year-long wait I am hoping it will fly by.  We are able to catch a glimpse of our new condo every day, and believe me, I take note of the progress!  From what I can see, it seems to be coming along really well.

Back in late November, Derek and I were out for brunch with our friends in New Edinburgh, and on the walk home decided to get an up-close-and-personal look at our soon-to-be home.

Here's what we saw:

This is the North facing side.  We face East towards the river.

The short, gray building to the right of the picture is the indoor pool.  

Even on a cold, dreary, November day the park across the street is inviting.

The paths are awesome for biking, roller blading and running.  And maybe one day pushing a baby stroller?

Here is the view of our condo from the park.

Across the river is our current building (the white one).
Kind of neat that we are just moving across the river and will still be able to see our current home.

Fast forward about 3 months and we find ourselves at the end of February.  Here is what we see:

I think that looks like pretty good progress for less than 3 months.  I can't wait to share pictures from the inside of our new home, looking out!  Hopefully there won't be anymore delays, and the pictures will be lush and green!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Introducing the fraser café's Table 40! (and our NYE wedding décor)

Since we've booked our venue at the fraser café's Table 40, we have been lucky enough to visit the space a couple times to show our friends and family.  I get more and more excited each time I visit and can't stop thinking about décor, our wedding party's attire, photo opportunities, what the weather is going to be like, and of course my dress (AND SHOES!!!)

I have found that using the Olioboard website to create vision boards has helped me put my ideas together and see how things will look side-by-side.  I have basically been collecting all of my ideas on Pinterest and have now transferred some of my favourites over to inspiration boards.

For the basic décor - we won't need to do too much.  The space is already styled and decorated quite nicely.  

  • Concrete floors, dark charcoal walls, exposed ventilation and industrial type lighting. 
  • Some of the ventilation and pipes are painted an orange-y/red which I'm warming up to as an accent colour.  
  • All of the doors (bathrooms and coat room) are old and rustic and there are even some antique shutters hanging on the wall which I love.  
  • The tables, along with the bar, are made of solid maple.  The edges are irregular shapes, there are holes in some places on the top and you can see the knots of the wood.  With the amazing glaze over top of the wood, it looks absolutely beautiful.  If my description is off, you can check out the pictures below.

Some pictures were taken on the evening we first met with Steve Capyk, Event Coordinator at Table 40, some after a Sunday brunch with our family, along with a few I stole from their facebook page.

View of the bar from the entrance.  It is an open kitchen style, so it's neat to see the food being prepared behind the bar.

View of the entrance from the bar.  I'm imagining that Derek and I will be married in front of the orange-y/red screen.  I would like to flank it with some tall branches strung with white lights in vases.

The wing back chairs and love seat which are currently in the front entrance.  I'm thinking about bringing them into the space to create a lounge area and adorning them with some sparkly pillows.

I love the bar, stools and all the exposed piping.

One of the two tvs which are in each corner of the room.  We are thinking of playing some of our favourite romance movies on silent throughout the evening.  You've Got Mail anyone???

One of the rustic doors which leads to the coat room.

Table 40 set up and ready for an event.  Some tables will be moved to the side to accommodate hor d'oeuvres/dessert stations as well as a place to sit and eat for those who wish to rest their legs.  The others will be moved out. 

My goal is to incorporate some New Year's Eve sparkle, vintage flair and a hint of tartan while still keeping with the industrial/rustic vibe of the space.  Here is my vision board for the décor.

  • Ever green wreaths on the front door of the restaurant, along with 2 small Christmas tree/shrubs strung with white lights flanking the door way.  I would also love a red carpet leading from the side walk up the steps to the front doors and some type of welcome sign.
  • Candle holders made of mason jars, covered with vintage doilies, with some tartan or sparkle accents tied around the top.
  • A cluster of clocks on one of the tables (guest book or favour table maybe) - to represent the NYE count down.
  • There are a couple wing back chairs and a love seat at Table 40 which I plan on dressing up with some fun and sparkly accent pillows in gold, silver and black.  Maybe even toss in a faux-fur throw to keep things cozy?
  • Tall branches, strung with mini white lights in vases placed in a few corners of the room as well a smaller version on a table.  I love the picture of the branch in the vase of pine cones.
  • For the dessert and appetizer table - the use of old wooden crates to add varied heights along with some burlap accents to keep with the rustic feel.
  • I also plan on including photos of Derek and I in the space.  I'm thinking just a few nicely framed photos on some of the tables and bar area.

Another way I would like include the NYE sparkle is through my bridesmaids!  I am not sure if I have mentioned it before, but they will not be wearing matching bridesmaids dresses.  In order to keep things unified, the girls will all be wearing knee length dresses, but in various colours/metallics including: black, gray, silver, gold, and champagne.  This is what I'm envisioning.  

I am planning for my attire to have a vintage feel so to pull us all together I'm thinking some chunky vintage jewellery for the bridesmaids.  And I don't mind if there are duplicate dress colours (I have a feeling black may be popular), just as long as there is some variety.  I love mixing metallics, so I can't wait to see who ends up in fabulous gold and silver dresses.  All of my girls are stunningly beautiful and I imagine them looking smashing, in sexy and fun cocktail dresses ready to attend a formal New Year's Eve wedding party.    

I'm in the process of creating some inspiration boards for my own attire - one being solely assigned to my footwear!  I can't wait to go dress shopping and I think I may be even more exciting for the shoe shopping that will follow!  Derek and I just booked a trip to New York City in June, so I may save the shoe shopping for then.

I believe Carrie Bradshaw may have actually started the whole non-matching bridesmaid trend in the first Sex and the City movie.  Too bad that wedding was a bust - they all looked so amazing!

Picture from Storkie.com.  There is a whole article about the non-matching bridesmaid dress trend.

What are your thoughts on non-matching bridesmaid dresses?  I think they have definitely grown in popularity.  Each of my bridesmaids has such a unique personality and style, so I think it will be fun to see that shine through in the dress they choose which will be sure to compliment their body type and make them feel their best.  And do you like mixing metallics like gold and silver?  I just can't wait to see everything come together.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine's weekend

Furniture shopping may not seem like an adventure (or very romantic for that matter), but the mere fact that we had to walk downtown in freezing temperatures to pick up our car before we set sail was adventure enough.  Friday night, after work, we skated the canal and then went out to dinner at our favourite restaurant Chez Lucien, and ended up walking home, so our Saturday morning started off with a chilly walk into the market.

Before getting going on our list we stopped in at Bridgehead and fueled up/warmed up with some caffeine, soup and a sandwich.  It was delicious - we love the B-Head.

Our first stop was The White Monkey.  Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures.  You must visit this store - even if you just walk by to take in their lovely window displays.  It is a two story building furnished with really awesome antique and retro furniture.  This is the place to go if you are looking for interesting lamps, cool accessories (they carried a lot of vases, serving dishes, kitchenware, etc.)  The store is small so there isn't too much room for large pieces of furniture, but there were a few living room sets with awesome couches from the 60's on display.  The owner had embraced this year's colour of the year and there were pops of Tangerine Tango everywhere - very fun.

After enjoying the White Monkey (haha...) we ventured over to Found Design.  This was definitely our favourite store.  I would have never walked into this store had I not done some research online first.  This is what we saw when looking for the store front.

As we got closer we realized we were actually in the right place....

We weren't sure what to expect as we walked down the cement stairs and stared at the dingy metal door, but as soon as we walked in and our eyes adjusted to the light we knew we had found a gem.  The warehouse style store was immediately inviting and full of interesting, bright and unique mid century furniture. Also - it didn't smell funny, which sometimes happens when you are in a warehouse full of 60+ year old furniture.  

Here are some of the things we saw...

We loved the green couch/chair set along with the large swivel chairs.  We are on the hunt for the perfect swivel chair for our living room.

Derek actually said "I think this is the coolest place I've ever been".

This chair was super comfy and I loved the wooden frame.

I thought this desk/shelf was awesome.  Compact, good use of space and lots of storage.  The only thing is that I would love to paint it a bright white, and maybe wall paper the back of the shelves which is probably against the law or something.  So, since  it costs $1500 I'll leave it to someone who appreciates its original look.

This was a really neat swivel chair from the 60's.  The owner had it re-upholstered and re-foamed, so it was nice and fresh and comfortable.  It cost $350.  There was a matching chair for $200 which had not yet been re-done.  The owner said it would cost around $200 for fabric and labour depending on the fabric you choose -  so for around $400 you could have a great chair in the exact fabric of your choice!

Everything at Found Design had a story.  I'm sure we could have spent all afternoon speaking with the owner.  He was gracious and welcoming and we could tell that he loved what he did.  His pieces weren't cheap, but he explained that everything that he brought into his store was designer made and had history.  He also made sure to have things refurbished the right way and not just the "dip and strip" as he called it.  We really liked him and his awesome store.  

Next we headed to Hintonburg and stopped by Blueprint which was a lovely store full of beautiful furniture and a huge selection of pillows.  I will say things were pretty expensive, but maybe they have sales every now and again.

I'm looking for a desk for under the window in our bedroom and I liked the look of this guy.

There was a nicely decorated sunken living room in the store.  I love that coffee table.

Across the street was Alteriors, which is a really nice store.  Many of their items are made in Canada and they have regular sales.  For example, everything in the store is tax-free for the month of February.  

We loved this table and chairs set.  The chairs are very similar to the ones we purchased.  They had a lot of purple accents in the store, which reminded me of spring, even though it was minus 20 outside.

I had to take a picture of this lamp in the front window.  Check out the gun base!  

We reeeeaaaalllyyyyy liked this swivel chair.  It was super comfortable and came in so many different fabrics and leathers.  The fact that it was tax-free got us humming and hahhhing for couple minutes but we made it out of the store without opening our wallets.  

We finished off our afternoon in Hull.  First stop was Funky Furniture.  The owner is actually the nephew of the owner of Found Design.  See what you get to know when you start talking to store owners!  It was small space with some pretty funky furniture...yes, it lives up to its name.

Here is a picture of their window display.  I thought the overhanging orange lamp was pretty neat.  I wasn't too sure about the plastic framed chair and side table though.  

These paintings of the Original 6 goalies were awesome!  I wanted to buy the set for my little brother, or at least keep them stored until we are ready to decorate a child's room.  So fun, eh?

My second favourite and last stop of the day was Mikaza.  It was a huge space and full of everything I love.  The first thing I noticed was how much selection there was in the seating department.  If you are looking for stools or dining chairs, come here.  They also carry Umbra accessories, so it's a fun place to go when you just want to buy a small accent to perk up your space or to give as a gift.  

This red leather beauty caught my eye immediately.  Not cheap though - $400 a pop...so I kept walking.

There was a good selection of swivel chairs, all of which were available in many different fabrics.  We liked both of these the best:

There were a few pieces made from restored wood, including this beautiful console table.  I though it would also be a good fit for under the window in our bedroom.  I liked the sculpted lets and how they had a feminine feel.  I would swap out the chair for something in a pretty fabric, or maybe a "ghost chair".  And don't worry - I wouldn't pain this guy :)

Derek really liked this storage unit for under the television.  It was nice and there was plenty of storage.

I think some open shelving for behind our dining table would look really nice.  This shelf plays off the white from our kitchen cabinets and the polished chrome from our dining table and chairs.  

As we were leaving I spotted this beauty.  I would really love a bar cart and this one was the nicest I've seen.  It was HUGE!  I love the mix of materials.  Can't you picture it stocked with liquor, a martini shaker and great glassware?  Too bad the price tag was almost $1500.

I really enjoyed our Valentine's Day outing, especially since it was followed by a 5 star meal cooked by Derek!  It was fun to meet the different store owners and chat with them about their business.  I loved seeing all the beautiful furniture and sharing our ideas about how they would fit in our new home.  It was hard leaving some of the stores without buying anything - not even a picture frame or vase!  But I am really happy about the "research" we did and can't wait to visit the stores again once we are moved in and know exactly what we are looking for and what will fit.  And by the way - how is that for a cheap date?!

For those of you wondering about Green Light District - their store actually no longer exists in Ottawa.  It looks like a really nice place though, so maybe next time I'm in Toronto I will check it out.

On the way home we saw some people paragliding over the Ottawa River.  If you can't tell what those 2 dots are in the sky - they are crazy people!

I hope everyone has a really lovely Valentine's Day today.  We are just exchanging cards tonight and then I'm off to ball hockey.  I think a lot of people celebrated the big V-day over the weekend like we did.  Makes sense.

And on the subject of looooooovvveeee...I want to send a shout out to my 2 best friends who recently got engaged to the loves of their lives!!!!  

Congratulations guys!!!

Lisa and Ted, in Jamaica

Ashley and Matt, in Quebec City

I can't wait to celebrate your weddings and couldn't have picked more handsome and loving guys for you to spend the rest of your lives with.  

Awwww....  I'm allowing myself to gush just because it's Valentine's Day....and because I love love!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!!!