Monday, April 7, 2014

Easter

Isn't this a cute table? So fun and easy for your Easter celebrations. It was originally from a baby shower, but I think it's perfect for a brunch or gathering where children will be invited. All you need are some fresh flowers and a few stuffed bunnies. Print out your guests names, cut out in a ribbon shape and place on top of each cupcake for place cards. You can read about it on Everyday Occasions here.






Monday, March 31, 2014

Laundry Room

Lately I have been working on the laundry room. This was one area of the house that was not finished when we moved in. So far I have had a plumber run pipes for a sink and I have had a piece of quartz installed. Now the fun begins; deciding on how to finish the space.
It looks like this now...



The cupboard doors and walls need paint and I would like to add a tile back splash and a new light fixture. I also need either shelving or art for the walls and something to hang clothing.

A laundry room is the perfect place to experiment with colours and finishes that you may be afraid to use in other parts of your home. Recently I have been gravitating to smokey grey cabinets, light grey cabinets, dark walls and open shelving. 




 I have lots of inspiration photos saved on my Laundry Room board on Pinterest, check it out for sources and more ideas.














Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Amsterdam Part II

One of the things I like about Amsterdam is the fact that everything is within walking distance or if it is raining a short tram ride away. I love wandering up and down the canals enjoying the gorgeous homes and flats and the lovely displays of flowers on the stoops. The outdoor space is very limited, but the residents always manage to fit in a little flower display. The Dutch also are know for their open curtain policy and large windows which is perfect for a design obsessed person like me. I saw so many nice kitchens, lots of blond or painted wood floors and cozy but minimalist interiors.



I also found myself taking lots of photos of doors, hardware and other details on the century old buildings.




 The kids enjoyed having fries and mayo almost every day!

This little Dutch girl enjoying her fries was so cute I had to take a photo.





I tried to stick to things a little more healthy to counter act all the pastries and chocolate I ate.
Big bowls of traditional Dutch pea or lentil soup are served at most cafes and they always come with a huge hunk of bread...you can really eat cheaply in Amsterdam.  This bowl of soup was 4 Euro, or about $6.00. It was so filling it kept us going for most of the day.


Utrecht is about 20 minutes south of Amsterdam. It was a little misty and overcast on this day, but we enjoyed climbing to the top of the famous Dom Tower. The tower was built in the 1300's and is the tallest church tower in The Netherlands. It still rings its bells every 15 minutes.
It was way higher than I thought! We actually climbed up a very narrow stone staircase that spiraled up inside one of the supports of the top part of the tower. We were a little dizzy and claustrophobic by the time we reached the top! 













Monday, March 3, 2014

Amsterdam Part I

We just got back from a week spent in The Netherlands. Amsterdam is one of my favourite European cities to visit. It is just so easy to get around on foot, everyone speaks English and the Dutch are very friendly.
We spent a few days exploring the city of Utrecht, which has a downtown that is very similar to Amsterdam, but on a smaller scale. It was our first visit to Utrecht and we really enjoyed exploring it. We then headed up to Amsterdam where we indulged in lots of good food, a few museums, miles of walking and time sitting in one of the many cafes. Life in Europe is so much slower than it is here in Toronto. It always takes me a few days to slow down and adapt to the pace. I couldn't believe how quiet it is on a Sunday morning. In Utrecht the shops are closed until 1:00 and the grocery stores don't open until 4:00 in the afternoon. It's all about sleeping in after being out late the night before. When the city does wake up it's time to find a spot at a cafe and settle in for coffee and people watching-so civilized!
We tried a new hotel this time and loved it. Hotel Estherea is located on the first and oldest major canal called the Singel. I think it is in the perfect location, close to shopping, restaurants and museums. It is also one of the only hotels in the city that has a room for families that sleeps four.

The hotel is housed in a row of typical dutch houses dating back to the 1700's.




 The lobby was very pretty...lots of fresh flowers and other natural touches like shells, crystals and even a mini outdoor fish pond.







 Each room is decorated differently. This one was up in the eves and had a great view of the canal.




If you visit Amsterdam you will probably want to see the Anne Frank House Museum and the Rijiksmuseum, which is the large national gallery. Both are well worth the visit, but are extremely busy. I advised buying tickets on line, especially if you are visiting during peak tourist times.






Some of the smaller, less busy museums that I love to visit are...
  • The City of Amsterdam Museum  -Everything you need to know about the history of the city.
  • The Canal Museum  -a 45 minute self guided tour, kids love it.
  • Museum Van Loon  -tour the home and garden of the Van Loon family, built in 1672.
Also just down the canal from the hotel is the famous De Bloemenmarkt or flower market and just west is De 9 Straatjes or 9 streets district of unique shops, restaurants and cafes.









Enjoying the balmy weather.

Hope you are all having a good day? It's -15C here today, thank goodness it's sunny or it would be unbearable.
Come back for part II tomorrow.



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Teeny Tiny Apartment

This week I have a 375 square foot San Francisco apartment to share with you. (Yes..375 sf...that was not a typo!!) This tiny gem of a home belongs to Caitlin Flemming from the blog Sacramento Street. I just love this little place! Caitlin and her husband were able to transform the apartment from drab to bright and fresh by painting the entire place in a very pale grey/blue colour that opens up the small rooms and visually expands the space. They were also lucky to find an apartment with ample built-ins in the dining area that provide storage and architectural interest as well as his and her walk-in closets.

Enjoy the tour!
                                                                           Before

                                                                           After

























All photos from here.