Saturday, January 30, 2010

Designer Focus: Thomas O'Brien

One designer I have come to admire is Thomas O'Brien and his company Aero. If anything, I am more traditionalist, but can appreciate and enjoy a punch of modern. It seems O'Brien could be described the same, although he has been called a Modernist. Eclectic is what I would call his style, with deep roots in Traditional. It describes a more interesting room, knick-knacks divulging the personality of its inhabitants; clues dropped. Thomas has a wonderful website, with many examples of his work. A super talented designer.

The images below are from Elle Decor July 06 featured on So Haute Blogspot:

There is something about white and black simple frames that allow the art to be, well, the Art. The use of black and white photography with the odd punch of colour add interest to the white wall. The use of animal print in both rooms, add coziness and comfort. Also, grounding black with the richness of honey or red-toned wood give it a European flair, much like Pottery Barn. Then there's the spice of modern in the blue lamp and chrome chair above.

I also found these Aero Studios snaps via Wide Open Spaces Blog:
Again, simple frames, warm wood, animal print and modern chair: Are we onto something? A recipe to great style?

Talk about eclectic and interesting! This reminds me of Mary Emmerling (care of M.A. Belle blogspot) - another fantastic designer and style queen, that I will surely feature soon! Note the similarities.

I love the serenity of this room.

In Domino, April 2007, Thomas' Long Island home was featured: story by Stephen Orr/Photos by Max Kim-Bee. A man after my own (taken) heart, Thomas seem to enjoying gardening. It is never to early to be thinking garden plans!

You can also enjoy an interview with Thomas O'Brien at Meade Design Group.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Keep Calm. Keep Warm.

We had a warm front come in last week and it was lovely! I almost thought Spring was here. Who am I kidding? It's January, I'm in Canada and I have another 4 months to see the first crocus. On that note, the knitting needles are busy and what could be nicer than knitting by the fire. Nothing beats a real wood fire, but in a pinch, a gas fireplace works wonders, lighting and heating up quickly. How would you like to cosy up to these fireplaces?

Charlotte Moss' Colorado Home
ELLE Decor Dec 09
Photography by Pieter Estersohn

Courtesy of Mrs Blandings Blog
Roger Lussier's Boston Back Bay apartment
source unknown: may be House Beautiful March 1994

Photography by Jeffrey Simpson

Photography by Steve Hall & Hedrich Blessing

Photography by Scott Frances

Wouldn't you love a fireplace in the kitchen? All I can think is toasting marshmellows!

Photography by David Gloom

Photography by Maree Homer

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sitting Pretty

Sitting Pretty
The sun is shining beautifully but it is very cold at a chilly minus 6 Celsius. Curling up with a book or some knitting with a cup of tea is all I can think to do. Wishful thinking!



Living Room by Bunny Williams

Bunny's Living Room (Affair with a House)


 Bunny Williams

Friday, January 8, 2010

Kitchen Renos and Organization

Bunny Williams Pantry
We recently renovated our kitchen. Well, not so recent, but currently finishing (YAY!) For those of you who know, a kitchen renovation is intrusive, disruptive, sometimes agonizing and very messy. It is not for the faint-hearted. Here a few tips before you jump in with both feet.
  • Planning is key. Think of all the things you want in your kitchen first. Your dream kitchen so-to-speak. List them. Blog them. Rip out magazines (I spent a small fortune on Kitchen mags).
  • Know you budget. Even then, do be surprised on going over it. The kitchen is the most expensive reno you will do in your house. Leave a buffer.
  • Cover you furniture before and drywall work. First of all, the area should be taped off with a plastic sheet wall and the furnace/air conditioner turned off. But even then, that wonderful fine drywall dust will find it's way into the rest of the house. Slipcovers or old sheets work well.
  • Organize your drawers in on paper before they're installed. Think end use. For example, your spice drawer or cabinet should be near your stove for handiness. You will be lost in your own kitchen for a while. Habits die hard, so make it easier on yourself.
  • If you have a lot of cookbooks, as I do, you will need a lot of shelves for them or plan on a separate book shelve to house them. If you have a walk-in pantry, even better.
  • Since I mention walk-in pantries, to add more space to my kitchen we knocked in my walk-in pantry. I have too say, I do miss it. But needed the gained space. Just contemplate this decision carefully! I still drool over great pantry pics (below).
  • Microwaves aren't the prettiest things. Why not store them below the counter on a shelf. More counter space!
  • A 6 burner stove is fantastic to have if you can swing it financially or space-wise. Don't get suck in with the inserts/modules: 
  1. The grill (the BBQ outside works just fine and guys do their bonding out there and do you want your house smelling like charred whatever?). 
  2. The griddle (OK this one is handy if you have a lot of guests to make pancakes for but a portable griddle or frying pan is good too).
  3. The steamer What happened to water in a pot?
  4. The fryer Bad skin. Greasy stove. Nuf said.
You may not be sold on my comments above,but just think, a burner with the right pan/pot will do all of these things. The freedom and versatility of a 5th or 6th burner, for me, out weighs all the bells and whistles.

So now that we are nearing the end (still a little drywall work to do and painting). I contemplate the organization of my kitchen, lament the loss of my pantry, but celebrate the gain of my smokin' hot Fisher & Paykel 6 burner 3rd child.

Barefoot Contessa Ina Gartner's pantry

Martha Stewart's Pantry and Wall of China "Skylands"
courtesy of  Martha Moments Blog
Below snaps courtesy of Country Living Magazine

This is so cute!

Below courtesy of Point Click Home
Home of Elle Decor and Metropolitan Home.