Design & Decor Blog

store spotlight: the jacaranda tree

If you are ever in the Mt.Pleasant and Eglinton area of Toronto, I encourage you to pop into one of my favourite little stores, The Jacaranda Tree. It is my go-to store for hostess gifts if I am attending an event, or looking for a perfect gift for a family member or girlfriend.What I love about the store is that it mixes items that are manufactured present day, with antiques. The result is a little shop that is bursting with must-haves for your home. From vintage china, body lotion, furniture on the second floor, and linens, this little store is filled with beautiful pieces.

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shopping for new hardwood floors

I don’t know if any of you have ever been in this position but the past few years have been tough ones for me and my family. My father passed away in March 2009 and it’s been a long and difficult journey of recovery and healing. Overcoming the overwhelming grief has not been easy and now, two and a half years later, we’re still struggling to understand and accept.

But life has a way of pulling you along, even when what you want most in the world is just to stand still. My mother has finally reached the point where she is ready to sell our family home and move into a smaller, more manageable space. We finally found a condo that was perfect for her – large and spacious with an incredible ravine view. The size and layout of the space were ideal but the decor – not so much. We decided to take the condo anyway, and renovate it from top to bottom to turn it into a space that she’d love for the years to come.
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elegant vanity tray

Fab find
Cut lace vanity tray, $24 US; Urban Outfitters.
fabfind vanity tray elegant vanity tray
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a cup of coffee at cafe myriade

Since moving to Toronto, there are a lot of Montreal food spots that I find myself really missing. On the top of my coffee shop list is Café Myriade, a quaint little store near Concordia University. In a small but cozy locale, this coffee shop carries a myriad (pun intended!) of specialty coffees and some of the best pastries I’ve had in town.

cafe myriade latte a cup of coffee at cafe myriade
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kate spade cards

Fab find
Kate Spade All Occasions Boxed Set, $35; indigo.ca.
fabfind kate spade cards kate spade cards

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prairie farmhouse, part 2

If you were sweet on the snap shots from Part 1 of my visit to the Janzen’s family farm, then you’ll be totally smitten over these shots of the farmhouse’s intriguing interior.

Farmhouse Kitchen011 prairie farmhouse, part 2

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stoneware measuring cups

Fab find
Austin’s Flora Measuring cups, $28 for set; Anthropologie.
fabfind measuring cups stoneware measuring cups

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cottage hostess gift

Looking for a creative hostess gift this summer?

Untitled 8 cottage hostess gift

colourful striped hammock

Fab find
Multi-stripe hammock in a bag, $26.95 (on sale); Crate and Barrel.
fabfind hammock colourful striped hammock

Is there anything more relaxing than laying out on a hammock on a sunny, summer day? Take a nap or just enjoy the fresh air in this colourful, multi-stripe hammock wherever you go! This comfy fab find comes with a handy drawstring bag so you can simply unpack and unwind all summer. Just make sure you have somewhere to hang the reinforced steel hooks from and you’re good to go!

Do you like hammocks?

a new backsplash makes a world of difference

If you’ve been following along with the tales of my renovations, you know that I’ve been tackling my one-bedroom condo one room at a time. After completing my bathroom renovation, I think it was just a matter of time before my eyes wandered on over to the kitchen. Though I’d recently made some changes in the kitchen, it wasn’t perfect and that backsplash still caused me anxiety. Let me walk you through it:

OK, this is what the backsplash looked like when I first moved into my condo eight years ago:
backsplash before2 a new backsplash makes a world of difference The lobster, the tomato … is that beer in a Champagne flute? I just couldn’t handle it but you know how it goes … you get settled into your home and before you know it, eight years have passed and you’re still rooming with a lobster.

Once I’d renovated the bathroom and updated my living room, it was really time to do something about the backsplash. Because funds were limited, my amazing and talented designer Lisa Canning encouraged me to paint the existing backsplash. It was a quick and easy job and really did make a difference; at least I wouldn’t have to look at those lobsters any more. Problem: I took a shortcut (never a good idea!) and painted around my existing stove. I know, I know – I should have moved it but it was too heavy for me so I did the best job I could. But when I got around to replacing my appliances, the new stove was lower than the old, thus exposing the shortcut.

backsplash during a new backsplash makes a world of difference So I suppose it was inevitable that I’d have to rip the whole thing out and start from scratch, which I finally got around to a few weeks ago! And, as many of you probably know, once you start one job, it tends to snowball. My contractor convinced me to replace the countertop at the same time. “Once you put the backsplash in, you can’t replace the countertop without damaging the tiles,” he said. Before I knew it, the countertop was off and out and the real fun was about to begin!

Off I went to Home Depot to choose my backsplash tile. The choice was a no-brainer. I LOVED this tile and knew it would look great with my white cabinets:

backsplash tile a new backsplash makes a world of difference This Marble Mosaic tile (Home Depot, $19.99/sheet) is beautiful and looks wonderful contrasted against the dark countertop I selected. The Home Depot sales associate was so helpful, not only helping me to choose my tile, but making sure I knew exactly what kind of mortar and grout I’d need, and pointing out which sealant should be used following installation. He gave me step-by-step instructions, which I listened to carefully, then imparted to my contractor.

backsplash after a new backsplash makes a world of difference Finally! My kitchen looks polished and complete – no lobsters and no amateur paint job peeking out from behind the stove. After all these years, it still takes me by surprise when I walk into the kitchen and see it looking so … finished. There’s nothing more to be done in there now and it feels (and looks!) great. It was really worth the wait.

What around-the-house task do you keep putting off?

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