Splinter Cell - A Contemporary Classic

And so behold the mighty hybrid kitchen; a shining example of what is to come and the epitome of style fusion.  This is a splinter cell approach to kitchen design, an amalgamation of opposing style tribes.   But as the conflict dissipates the impact of peace presents something beautiful!
This design shows how contemporary kitchen designers are searching for a new avenue to explore and that in order to make progressive leaps forward some designers are actually looking over their shoulder.  They are reflecting on what has worked in the past and morphing significant design elements from each style generation to create a new direction.  It is simple really; by introducing classical elements like raised panel doors and beautifully turned posts, all finished in a high gloss lacquer this design reaches a whole new level.  Add to the mix sweeping worktop curves and this kitchen can be classified as a contemporary classic.
Breaking a contemporary, linear design apart and introducing softer geometry and classical design features will help to create the contemporary classic kitchen.  Try it...because this is becoming a growing trend and you’re going to see a whole lot more of this!  Oh yea...you can also create the look by keeping the contemporary linear lines and using more traditional materials and finishes.

Forward Facing Bookshelves

Oscar loves books (Almost as much as I love a good Ikea hack.) Every night he goes around his room picking up book after book and putting them on our lap to read. We know that it is likely a stall tactic, not wanting to go to bed, but we can't help but find it really cute. Over the last week I made some forward facing bookshelves out of Ikea Spice Racks for his room. I simply sprayed them white and ta-da! They were done.  The two shelves hide behind his door in his room and he can now pick out his own as the shelves are at his height.

Originally seen on Mon Petit Amour Blog, Idea from Domestic Simplicity

Sitting Pretty

This design is good but relatively unremarkable!  However the subtle introduction of vibrant colour makes you take a second look!  And when you look more closely you notice that this kitchen is actually an understated transformer. 
The back panel of the peninsula has been cleverly designed to provide a trendy seating arrangement for unannounced guests or snacking family members.  This consideration adds the necessary social element to the design without the stools becoming spatially intrusive when not in use!  It is also wonderful to see how the citrus orange colour sits with the wenge veneer!  Great!
Not sure if those stools look that comfy though, or if they would look just as nice or even be intact after the obligatory house warming party! 

Our Dining Room Table is home for....

On the heels of the last post, our Dining Room table has been a hangout for a number of frames and art waiting to find a home on our walls.

Previously all the frames were in hiding spots, but in an act of desperation to get some colour on the walls, I pulled them all out and placed the growing collection on the table. I thought maybe seeing them all together will help me come up with a vision. Not yet. But getting there. ;)

Alice in Wonderland.

This space is great, releasing powerful style statements and conjuring up feelings of warmth and safety all at the same time.  The island is not centred focusing the sight lines on the over-sized doors at the end of the room.  These doors reach up towards the ceiling giving the design an “Alice in Wonderland” appearance. 

In this example the kitchen is used as an aesthetical channel of architectural focus.  Soft tones and light enhance the simplicity and effectiveness of the design.

The kitchen is understated and consists of a very functional island with some free hung cabinetry along the back wall which helps to dilute the appearance of the kitchen.  The overall combination of architecture and kitchen is brilliantly spacious and delivers the kind of understated “wow effect” that everyone desires.

Top marks!

Landscaping Comes First

It is official. I am a homeowner. It's happened. The keys have been passed over. The large cheque has been written and the champagne has been toasted (thanks T and N!).

Yesterday was a big day. I brought in the crew, or should I say family, who generously helped me all afternoon clearing the overgrown forest that clearly had taken over the property. As you can see from the picture below, which I will refer to as B.C. (before clean up!), and then you will see afters, A.D. (after demolition!)....you can see what a little bit of elbow grease can do to a place!

The formula for this project:
2 Aunts
2 Uncles
2 Parents
1 boyfriend
1 trailer for brush
2 chain saws
pruning sheers
top soil (left by the previous owners, than you very much!)
brown bags for brush for garbage day
a few other gardening tools

And before you know it...your property will grow by feet!! Check out the results!

Front Garden, BC

Front Garden, AD
Garden from view on the porch, BC

Garden from porch AD

I even had a few neighbours praise us while we were working! I
have been officially accepted to the neighbourhood.

This is the driveway, that can only fit one car due to the over
growth (BC)

Now there is enough space for three cars to fit! Once the over growth
was cut down, it was amazing how big the property felt.
(Driveway, AD)

And you are asking yourself....did the owner's before not 
believe in gardening tools?  The answer: No. 

You can now actually see the backyard to the street. And all the
brush that now needs to be transported to the dump. That is not
the fun part. 

View from deck, BC
The sign of hard work (and even some transplanting in the back)!
 We moved some of the over grown grass to the back to help
with privacy.
Trailer full for the dump.

It was a great project to begin with because I could see the improvement happening. Instant gratification, as we humans all love! Until I get the a-okay from the city, the garden and exterior are the only areas to work on for now. However, I am feeling very optimistic and excited after today!

Thanks for all those who helped and stopped by today to see our progress! You have no idea how much it means to me!

Happy Monday!

Ikea Frames Up...Art next

Well, we're closer to having art....We finally hung some frames in our living room. Since January we debated hanging 1 huge print [see post] but in the end, I liked the idea of having the relief and having 2 frames. I'm trying to figure out what to put in them. What I do know is the Ikea matting is coming out and I'm going to cut a new mat. [I find Ikea matting is yellow] Hopefully I'll tackle that this week. xo Lindsay

Mini Me Table

I bought a Svala wood table from Ikea for Oscar. I can't get over how cute it is. Granted, he is too young to use it properly but because he is showing little signs of wanting to eat on his own, I thought having a little table in the house couldn't hurt.

Seeing as no Ikea product is safe from hacking in our house, I stained it the same colour as our desk, Walnut, but it soaked in really well so turned out a bit darker. And, originally I was going to paint the top blue like in this post but I realized he will be banging the table with his trains/toys/spill juice and that table top if it was painted would get chipped/stained. So, it's staying as is. Plus, it looks like a "mini me" table beside our Dining table in our [work in progress] dining room.

In other news, check out my post on my obsession with Chevrons over on Style at Home, and my feature over on The Hip Urban Girl's Guide website , I was their "Hip + Urban Girl of the week". [don't laugh, I do think I'm exceptionally hip. ;) ]

O Kitchen!

By sailing into the West and ending up in the East Columbus may have been partly responsible for proving that the Earth was round and the popular notion about falling from the edge of the Earth was consigned to the history books.  At this stage in history popular culture had discovered the truth; that we were actually clinging onto a spherical mud-ball, shackled into an orbit around our closest star and hurtling through space! Heavy stuff!
So who said we couldn’t have a kitchen like this.  This spherical transformer is a magical glimpse towards the far reaches of kitchen design, a shadow land which can expose the designer to professional danger and acclaim all at the same time.  A place where the imagination breads concepts and raises the bar of possibility!  But some designers, just like Columbus dare to question the accepted norms and parameters set out by their predecessors, and it is by doing this that kitchen design will develop into a fundamentally accepted influence over architecture and the society in which we live!
Kitchen design is changing!

Work / Life Balance?

Before Oscar I used to work all the time. I could work until 3am and be happy. But when the little guy arrived, things obviously changed and for the last year I've been trying to find a work/life balance. We need my income, but also I am lucky to absolutely adore my job so finding time to work is a pleasure for me. It is also my "alone" time. I set aside certain times to work to make sure it doesn't impact this...

He's at the age where he's fully interacting and we play in the living room making forts (or, take them down)

But, my determination for work life balance hasn't been easy, in fact I've been working away at it for a year. I set up ground rules about my work schedule -  and although it helped me gain somewhat of a work/life balance, I did loose a corporate client recently who prior to Oscar, didn't have to deal with me having set office hours. They preferred my 7 day a week availability and and my new set office hours of 3 office days, weren't agreeable to them.

I was kind of bummed about the whole thing - for a little bit I felt like a bit of a failure not being able to handle it all - surely other people worked ALL the time and had kids? It was a fleeting moment, however, as I knew to be a good Mom, and a good business person, I needed to have boundaries. I saw this post on the Work Life Balance Project over on Design Mom. I loved # 4 where she writes 4) Multi-tasking creates poor results. Do one thing at a time and do it well. 

This was my ah-ha moment. After reading this I removed all work e-mail accounts from my blackberry. A small thing but already has positively impacted my life. No longer am I standing there making lunch for Oscar, just "checking" to see if anyone needs me. Responding to a customer while I'm making lunch for Oscar results in a poor response to my customer and Oscar, is not getting my full attention.

Anyhow, really this was all stemmed from reading the post on Design Mom and wanting to share it with you - I think it's a nice, clear list of how she juggles it all. I'm trying myself, a few balls are dropping, but I'm hoping to have it all figured out one day.

Dislodged Bridge!

To some this design may only be worth a second, nonchalant glance but The Mogul feels that this kitchen is quite noteworthy!  There is great use of contrasting materials and textures here with the design displaying some great contemporary features; but the real centre piece of this particular design is the stainless steel cooking zone.
The stainless steel bridging element with inset domino hobs is chunky and masculine against the slender and arguably more feminine worktop being used along the sink run.  The thickness of the bridge is used to conceal the services but it also causes a dramatic step in the cabinetry as the kitchen gravitates away from the wall and moves towards the island. 
Upon meeting the island the bridge again displays its dominance by embedding itself and dislodging a corner of the island!  This aspect is brilliant adding real aesthetic interest to the design.  The Mogul also loves how the bridge doubles up as an informal eating area, inviting conversation and creating a wonderful visual step in the design.  Great Job!

A Designer Tip - Collage Your Life

As I wait for my house, I dream of many different ideas for the space; re upholster my couches, get a new TV, new area rug, etc. The list could really go on and on, however, the money supply ends pretty quickly. This is where my "creative" juices come into play. I need to come up with innovative solutions that will not cost me an arm and a leg. My first task, wall decor, and even more specifically pictures.

In this day of digital photography, we all can call ourselves the next Ansel Adams. We have more pictures than we know what to do with. Here is the solution....create a beautiful wall of photos and paintings for a fraction of the cost it would be to buy them. Not only is it a penny saver, but it is also personalized. Anything can be framed: postcards, letters, children's paintings, magazine cut outs, etc. Place things of value to you that you want to look at and treasure each day.

The next trick once you have found these items is to frame and hang them. Some of my tips to make this process easier for you:

*use old frames from other pictures/paintings you don't like. Reuse, baby!

*Search through your old collection of pictures and paintings. Take these to a custom framing store and have them updated. You would not believe the difference and you may find yourself enjoying the piece all over again.

*Depending on the look you may want, frames can vary, or instead, be all the same. This is completely up to you, either way, it will still work!

*Go to antique stores, flea markets, Sally Ann's to find interesting frames that won't cost alot. A can of spray paint can do a world of good to those pieces.

*Lay out your frames on the floor in front of the wall you are decorating. Arrange them on the floor as you wish to see them on the wall. Take the centre photo, hang it and base the remaining photos off of that starting point.

*Don't be rigid with your hanging. Sometimes the best collage are the ones that lack symmetry and order. Be creative!

Here are some inspirational pics to get you inspired for your collage wall! I can't wait to get working on mine!

A monochromatic collage with different frame sizes, but all black and
white images (and note,on a gray background)

Again, the use of continuity in the frame colour and images,
but not in the size.

Travel memorabilia is one of the more interesting subject
matters to frame. This collage is filled to the brim, making a huge impact
on the space.

Using wall collages as the focal point of the room adds interest
and distracts from the fact that there is no headboard. Instead, the photos
are the headboard.

Here, I took all the client's old pieces, updated
a few and made a powerful impact on a vary large wall. No two pieces are the same
but somehow, it all works!

Last, here is an example of a quiet collage. These images were found
magazine tears my client enjoyed. Simple, found art creates
a contemporary, clean feel with the matching frames.

As you can see, it's all about the creativity and making it your own. One last tip I would suggest is trying to use frames with matting. It isn't always necessary, but it makes the pieces more custom and pronounced amongst it's frame. Now get to it. Open those photos boxes, and piles of memorabilia, and start collage-ing! If anyone cares to submit there collage, I would be happy to feature them on my blog!

Good luck!

Do gifts matter?

Fieldstone Windows sent us a little thank you gift for hiring them to do our windows. When I opened the box, look what I found... Custom cookies with their logo and OSCAR! I FLIPPED OUT. I would have recommended Ken before, but the cookies were the cherry on top. I mean, we were in LOVE with the windows to begin with, but the cookies were a genius move.

It made me think about the "little things" that make you recommend companies. I've heard of people's real estate agents getting them move in gifts, and sending them Christmas Cards/Birthday Cards. My head usually whips around and I say .. "Whaaaaaat? Really? Who is your agent?" Our mortgage broker for the first year or so sent us cards but it kind of tapered off. But I remember thinking that it was a genius plan. It was a little dent in her commission that she got from us but it made an impression that was such a worthwhile investment as no other report, sales tactic when you *need* my business compared to the follow up for a long time after, thanking me for my business. That is what makes people recommend people I think.

Did/Does your real estate agent send you cards every year? Did they get you a nice gift when you bought a house? I'm not materialistic but I do think that the little things like that (little in the scheme of how much freaking money you spend on a house) are what make you go back...no?

Cookies from FieldStone Windows, ordered from Passion for Desserts

Some recent metions

I always freak out a little when we see our projects on other blogs because it means that we've likely inspired someone, which makes me super happy. Within the last few days I've spotted our DIY work on not one, but two sites I admire. Ohdeedoh/Apartment Therapy are always uber supportive of our projects, and I saw that today they gave us a shoutout on our Kitchen Bench, that as you know, is another one of our IKEA Hacks.

But what got me flippin' out like good ol' Jeff Lewis is the fact that they called Aubrey and I "DIY Masters". (AS IF!) Next up Sherry from Young House Love posted our DIY Desk on Pintrest, we've gotten some new readers (hello!)

What's the common denominator between the two, other than the fact that these people/sites I admire? Both are IKEA hacks. So thanks to both sites for the shoutouts, and also for your kind comments. Welcome. - Lindsay

Fantasy Kitchen

There are several exceptional elements to this design.  Not only does it flaunt some fantastically trendy design features like split level, varied thickness worktops, the ever essential, zone busting open shelf unit and a very smooth social area, but it also presents a visual runway to the absolute show stopper.
This kitchen is a tease, it tempts the eye to look further and just when you think you have gorged yourself to capacity on kitchen fantasy you realise that the sensual hotspot of this design, the ergonomic erogenous zone, is presenting itself to you at the end of the island runway!  It is so stylishly sensual that it is blatantly revealing itself through silky glass, inviting you to enter the hidden chamber!  And what a party you would have in there!  All that stainless steel and champers!!
I think most kitchen designers would love to have clients who desire something like this!
Great design!

Monte Chair

When I was designing my nursery I came across Monte, a Canadian manufacturer who makes gliders that fit into more modern home decor. It was refreshing to know that there were companies out there that took modern approaches to baby items. Although we didn't get our glider from them we bought our son Oscar this little Cubino chair from them for our TV room. Oscar is already in love (see him pictured above in it)

I fell in love with the the charcoal and green colour combo as it was soft, and soothing and went with the rest of our decor in our house. Monte Cubino Chair $109 + Shipping

August 31st Update: This got blogged about on Style at Home's Blog here too. [Same post]

Ark of the Covenant Kitchen

The modern kitchen can no longer be described as being fitted!  It has become an important independent influence over its surroundings, becoming detached from architecture and a sea of interior design, the modern contemporary kitchen has actually become an island!
And why not!  The popularity of open plan living has allowed kitchen designers to explore their imagination and discover new ways of providing functional style solutions.  Designing a modern kitchen is like creating a freestanding, independent sculpture of function, a quietly imposing statement of personal style and taste.  When you are not restricted by the architecture you can create anything....you can play with shapes, colours and lighting  allowing the building to become the backdrop to your creation, a stage onto which you have poured your knowledge and expertise for your ever appreciative clients.
So the kitchen island now comes in all shapes and forms and this T-shaped design is certainly one that catches the eye.  It has all the required “jaw dropping” elements to impress guests.  The beautiful stainless steel central spine supports the gravity defying cabinetry and presents an inspiring work area that doubles up as a social hot-spot.  The chamfered worktop edge meets the cabinetry with sublime precision and the extractor looms overhead like rigging at a rock concert!  The stage is now set for the main event and a powerful performance by the chef!  And just like most touring rock bands this kitchen comes with an emblem, a logo that is powerful enough to be placed on the Ark of the Covenant, inspiring thousands of followers!
This is a fantastic kitchen!

Some Rectangles Are Squares...and Kitchens!

This design is elegant and simple offering uncomplicated functionality and an interesting formation of rectanges and textures.  Material contrast is used to subliminally showcase and separate each functional zone providing an understated but powerful affect!
This kitchen is under-designed to create maximum impact!  The Mogul loves this!