Art and Inspiration

My inbox is often full of beautiful interiors, colourful designs and inspiring artwork. I thought I would share some things that have been in the back of my mind lately while I’m creating my latest collection.

This styled vignette by Fenton & Fenton has a mid-century feel that I’m drawn to. The placement of the artwork isn’t the same as your typical gallery wall, as these paintings are actually for sale. The space has an eclectic vibe and is grounded with the use of blue and black. I love it all!

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Textiles such as raw canvas and worn denim are finding their way into my new work. I took a photo of these jeans that I bought in NYC when I was in my twenties before I cut them up. They no longer fit me but I was saving them for some reason. What better use than to incorporate them into my work?

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This is definitely not a washroom I would want in my own home, but I do love the mix of saturated hues. That lilac/grey shade is being used in my current work, and I love it with that peach. How fun are those tiles! They remind of of the 80’s and a deck of cards. My daughters are obsessed with playing cards so I shuffle them several times a day.

  Photo by Carola Ripamonti

Photo by Carola Ripamonti

Designer Jenny Komenda recently shared lots of details and some photos from her family’s holiday to Scandinavia on her blog. I’m always attracted to cool architecture and the muted tones shown in this photo “Sunshine Row” appeal to me. I think I need to print it out for our bedroom.

 Photo by Jenny Komenda for  Jenny’s Print Shop

Photo by Jenny Komenda for Jenny’s Print Shop

I love creating texture in my work. This brick wall I spotted this summer has just the right amount of chipped paint and I’m a sucker for all shades of blue. I would print and frame this as artwork for sure.

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Artist Heather Day recently painted this fun abstract mural in California. It makes me happy just to look at it.

 Photo by Margaret Austin. Artwork by  Heather Day

Photo by Margaret Austin. Artwork by Heather Day

I spotted this Interior on Dwell. I’m not into the furniture choices but man do I love those geometric walls and ceiling. The wall of windows is pretty amazing as well. I’ve been inspired to use blocks of color in my latest collection of paintings.

 Photo by Alice Clancy

Photo by Alice Clancy

I love discovering artists and San Francisco based Rebekah Goldstein is my latest find. Similar organic lines are presenting themselves on my canvases. The warm color palette shown here has me ready for fall.

 Rug designed by Rebekah Goldstein for  West Elm

Rug designed by Rebekah Goldstein for West Elm

Highlights of the week

My daughters started back at school on Tuesday which means more studio time for me. I'm excited to continue working on a new collection of abstract paintings that I began during the summer months. I'm adding texture to my canvases with the use of fabric. Here is a preview of one of my new pieces.

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I'm working more hours now so time for myself and my art need to be a priority when I have free time. There is nothing like getting my hands dirty and getting in my creative zone. Other makers can relate I'm sure, you can't force yourself to make something great but you can try and hope it doesn't feel like time wasted.

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We welcomed a new addition to our family at the end of August. He's a big guy who is full of love and wants our affection. We named him "Biggie" which seems quite fitting. He shares my love for vintage rugs, so it's a good thing I have a nice collection started. He's not a fan of the hardwood, but likes to nap on the soft surfaces.

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Here's another shot of him outside, he's so cute! When we walk him in our neighbourhood everyone asks if he is a Great Pyrenees. They do look similar, but he is a Maremma Sheepdog a breed that was new to us. He's great with our daughters which is so important.

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I celebrated my birthday last weekend, I'm in my forties and loving every minute of it. Other than the mornings when my body aches when I get out of bed. Then I know I'm not in my twenties!

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My friend Natalie made this gorgeous Earl Grey flavoured cake for me as a surprise and it was delicious! She was inspired by my painting on the left and it truly looked so good I didn't want to eat it. This is a hobby of her's not a business, how talented is she though? Look her up if you need something special for your next event.

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I hope you had a wonderful summer and made a ton of memories with your families. It's hard to get back into routines but if I can do it I know you can to. I'm ready for bed ands it's only 9:15, a sure sign I'm aging!

Goodbye Summer

My family just got back from a road trip across the border. We spent the night in Scranton PA on our way to Virginia. My husband & I are fans of The Office so, of course, Dunder Mifflin was on my mind (Pam and Jim forever!). We made it into Washington DC a few days and the architecture and Scuplture Gardens were highlights for me. Here are a few photos from our trip.

 The National Archives Building

The National Archives Building

 The National Museum of the American Indian. Those curves!

The National Museum of the American Indian. Those curves!

 Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

 We just saw an exhibit of Robert Indiana's work in Buffalo last month. Here's another of his gorgeous pieces!

We just saw an exhibit of Robert Indiana's work in Buffalo last month. Here's another of his gorgeous pieces!

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My husband and I went to a few concerts in Toronto this summer. The Foo Fighters were so good live, I highly recommend them. We both love to listen to 80's classics by Talking Heads so it was a treat to see frontman David Byrne's creativity come to life on stage.  My favourite song will always be "Once In A Lifetime." If you weren't born in the 1980's when it came out and have no idea who they are, please do yourself a favour and look them up.

This album by Australian band Middle Kids is amazing, it's been on repeat all summer at our house. "Tell Me Something" is one of my favourites! 

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I just discovered Toronto based company From Jess & Jules and I thought I would share them with you. Supporting small businesses is such a great thing to do.

"We are Jess and Jules. We've curated this beautiful assortment of pieces we've found all around the world in hopes that you will love them as much as we do. Each piece has been carefully selected, meeting our requirements of working with ethically sourced small suppliers, to bring you something special." 

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I love me a cozy cardigan once the cooler temperatures arrive. This chunky knit sweater is 100% Hand-knitted in Greece by some kick-ass mums. It's available in a variety of colors, I love this neutral as well as the Olive one.

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I would consider myself an amateur photographer but I would love to have one of these Brandy Camera Straps around my neck while I shoot photos of my family and artwork on our Nikon D600.

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I've never worn a hat like this but I'm always envious of ladies who can pull them off during the fall months. Grey is pretty much my favourite colour for clothing so, I think this would match everything. Can't you just picture me at the farmer's market looking so fashionable in this felt beauty!

A few more weeks until the girls are back at school. I'm ready to get back to a consistent routine and I'll also be starting to work more hours at my job come September. Painting and creating will happen, I will just have to focus on taking time for myself and making it a priority.

House Feature - Bridget Lowe

I discovered Bridget though Instagram and it turns out we actually only live an hour away from one another. If you are in the market for a wonderfully restored home in the Durham area you are in luck because this one is for sale. I reached out to Bridget to see if she would be up for sharing her home with us all on the blog before the big move. Her home features a ton of character and maintains its historic charm in so many ways while also including modern elements throughout. 

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"My husband Josh and I, along with our now three year old daughter Frankie moved into this house just about two years ago. We were the only ones at the open house and loved the place right away! We pinched ourselves when our offer was accepted! The house was custom built in 1931 by a local Oshawa Architect for a Mr E.A Cooper. It reminded us of apartments we had lived in in Montreal (my hometown and where Josh and I met)."

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The family uses the large back entrance to store shoes and coats.

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A peek into my favourite room in the home. Bridget is not afraid to use color, and this blue works so well with all of the natural light flooding into the space.

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"My general approach to designing a family home is to surround yourself with things you love and that nothing should be too precious. Our coffee table (a mid century teak piece I found on kijiji) has ring marks from that glass of water (or bourbon) that didn't find a coaster, and the floor is scratched from Frankie dragging a chair across it while playing make believe. All these scars are a sign of a well loved and lived in home and I wouldn't trade them for the world!"

In this shot you can also see the closed off foyer at the front of the house. How amazing is the gold detail on the base of the coffee table!

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The french doors allow the rooms to feel open for entertaining and when closed create an intimate space to enjoy a fire in the colder months. She has kept all of the original trim work natural where many people would have paint it white. The mix of old and new proves to be the perfect combination in Bridget's home.

"I took cues from the age of the home when selecting finishes and paint colours and I feel like we achieved a good balance between modernizing the space, being true to its period and infusing our own style (a mix of vintage and modern with a well travelled feel)."

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I love a good gallery wall and Bridget has curated an eclectic mix of artwork in this corner of the living room. If you want to create a big impact this is an easy way to do so. Their vintage record collection is on display here as well.

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Rugs can easily enhance the aesthetic of a space. This graphic pattern works so well to define the seating area and add a playful element.

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A mix of modern and traditional styles are combined here with the solid wood table and airy brass pendant light. Who says you have to store fine china in the dining room? The families collection of books add an informal element and pop of color to the neutral walls.

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Plants are good for the soul and are such an easy way to bring life to a room. Bridget has used greenery in almost every space, layering plants into vignettes and styling shelves with decorative pots.

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"We loved the creaky floors, original trim work and french doors. We didn't quite love the mirrored backsplash and honey oak cabinets previous owners had put in the kitchen! Updating the kitchen and adding a powder room on the main floor (where there was once just a small landing) were the two major renos we accomplished over the past two years."

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A view from the front entrance of the home.

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The small powder room on the main floor is classic in style. I have always wanted a vintage first aid kit, how fun is this Kelly green one.

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The spacious Master bedroom is a calm retreat.

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"Another eyesore we got rid of was a poorly thought out set of built in closets in our bedroom that were basically unusable. We ripped them out in favour of an open concept closet. We both really love how it turned out and how much easier our mornings are now!" 

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Bridget runs her Interior Design business from her home office. She is passionate about creating functional, beautiful spaces for her clients, allowing them to enjoy the beauty in their everyday. When they moved in they found the original blue prints for the home in the basement and they now hang proudly in this space.

 Photo by  Ashley Adams .

Photo by Ashley Adams.

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Her daughter Frankie's room is full of her favourite toys and books. A perfect spot to let her imagination run wild.

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"Leaving this place after all the love and sweat we have put into it is sad but I am also so thrilled about our move to Nova Scotia and the new home we get to make there. As the Irish author Cecelia Ahern said, "Home is not a Place, It's a Feeling" and my most favourite thing in the world to do is to make that feeling a reality. Both for myself and for my clients." 

Flashes of delight...

Is a hashtag I often use on Instagram and I thought it was the perfect title to recap some of my favourite pieces of art from my recent to trip to Buffalo. I haven't been to the Albright- Knox in almost 20 years since I was in art school. Back then my love for contemporary art was not as strong. I'm so glad we spent the morning there, it was a great experience.

"For more than 150 years, the Albright-Knox has collected, conserved, and exhibited the art of its time, often working directly with living artists. This tradition has given rise to one of the world’s most extraordinary collections of modern and contemporary art." They currently have a sculpture retrospective on by Robert Indiana, which I highly recommend going to see.

In no particular order here are a few photos my husband and I took while exploring the grounds and viewing the collection inside the gallery.

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I wish I could tell you the name and artist of every piece, you will have to trust me and go to the gallery yourself. You won't be disappointed.

 

 

Getaway

My husband & I recently went away for a few days without the kids. We had a full list of restaurants to try, murals that I wanted to see, and of course a quick stop at Target & Trader Joe's. I stocked up on Ginger cookies because they are so yummy! Why just save them for the Christmas?

Instead of doing a really long post with all of the photos I took of art, I thought I would focus this one on architecture. My friend recommended Hotel Henry & I'm so glad we stayed here. The walls were filled with original art from local artists and the overall vibe was right up my alley. In no particular order here are some photos we took. You could get lost in here. It is massive & the high ceilings everywhere just made it feel so grand. I commented to my husband that the drapery & blinds in each room must have been a small fortune as the ceilings appeared to be over twenty feet high! We explored each hallway we could, just to see the stained glass details, bits of original tile, and of course the artwork. 

It wasn't that expensive so if you are in the area check it out.

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 This window reminded me of The Handmaid's Tale. I love the light & simplicity is the hallway.

This window reminded me of The Handmaid's Tale. I love the light & simplicity is the hallway.

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We both love architecture so booking a tour to see Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House was a no-brainer. We've seen a few of his other projects, including Falling Water, and loved them. Check out this previous post.

You were not allowed to take photos of the interior, so here are a few shots we snapped while walking on the grounds. Check out the website link above to see more of the home. The guide told us that this residential home was the first to have electricity, which is pretty cool. They are currently restoring the property back to its original design, which sounds like it will cost a small fortune. One pane of stained glass with a tree pattern in the living room was only $30,000!

 

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If you have a chance to see any of his designs I highly recommend it. My friend tells me I need to read Loving Frank, it's on my summer to do list.

Art and Inspiration

I recently discovered the work of American artist Kevin Peterson online and was blown away. Wildlife and children in an urban environment, a combination I've never seen before. Make sure to check him out.

 Photo by Kevin Peterson

Photo by Kevin Peterson

In a few days we are headed to the Albright- Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo NY. I hope I leave feeling an urge to create, this often happens to me after viewing other artists work in person. There are quite a few murals I have discovered that are on my must-see list while we are in town. This is one of them entitled "We Are Here" by White Bicylcle Design Studio.

 Photo by Tom Loonan

Photo by Tom Loonan

I've been looking online trying to figure out what kind of moulding I want to do on the main wall in our living/dining area. This space designed by Amber Lewis caught my eye, our wall will be painted white. I like the spacing used and the flat pieces of wood (MDF). I've been wanting to get this project done for years, let's hope this summer it actually happens.

 Photo by Amber Lewis

Photo by Amber Lewis

The new Florence and the Machine album just came out and it's on repeat at our house. I always have music on while I'm creating and she is at the top of my play list.

  Photo- PJP PHOTOS/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

 Photo- PJP PHOTOS/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

This just arrived in my inbox, and it could not have come at a better time. "If you’re an ambitious, creative person you’re definitely going to have to train yourself to focus & hone in on what your mission is and what your priorities are all.the.time. because it’s easy to get excited about ideas, get distracted, and then feel lost in the noise. Don’t get lost. Stay grounded. And proudly be who you are. Stay boss." xx-Gina Moccio founder of Boss Babe Club

 Artwork by Libby Vander Ploeg

Artwork by Libby Vander Ploeg

Have a great week guys!

 

 

 

Bedroom Makeover

When we first moved into our home my now eight year old daughter Stellan wanted a pink room. Fast forward to today and pink is definitely not her favourite color. Here are a few shots of what her room looked like before.

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 All of these shots were taken by Lauren Kolyn.

All of these shots were taken by Lauren Kolyn.

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To switch things up on a budget all I needed was to change a few elements. I bought a gallon of white paint to cover up the pink that I had very carefully taped out. Two yards of Nate Berkus fabric that was on clearance for $6 to re-upholster the headboard. A new darker duvet cover, white was not the best choice as I would often find pencil crayons or markers on her bed.

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I had a small desk in my basement studio that I had got at an estate auction for $20. It is the perfect size for this space and now she has a spot to sit and draw. Her desk chair is one of two, the other one sits in my studio. I bought this metal occasional chair years ago at a second-hand shop and I have requested that she doesn't pile all of her stuffed animals on it so that she can actually sit here and read if she wants to.

Her gallery wall got a little smaller, she requested that we keep the pieces I hung back up. Thifted wooden butterflies, her first real painting she made when she was 3 and a unicorn that hung in her Aunt's room when she was little.

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Her bedroom has a huge closet so a dresser is not required. She loves creating and last summer took a pottery class, this new shelf we picked up at Winners gives her a spot to display her favourite pieces. A few touches of greenery help to break up all of the various animals.

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Her old nightstand has a shelf where we put baskets for her socks and underwear. This has now been put in the closet as it's on wheels and quite versatile. Since we now have a lamp on her desk she really didn't need anything too large beside her bed.

This vintage rug I scored at an estate sale was previously in our kitchen, but I thought these colours worked great in here. She often complained she would lose her small toys in her shag rug, this one is flat so all the Legos and Shopkins can stand up easily. Her mirror which I found for $10 was hung back on the same wall.

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We had been looking online at wallpaper to put on the wall behind her bed, but it really was out of the budget. I decided to hand paint a fun pattern in a dark blue paint I already had on hand. Hopefully she likes it for years to come as it took me a few days to complete!

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At the fabric store, she fell in love with this round pillow and bought it with her own money. The fun print above her bed by September Wren was previously on the gallery wall in our living room.  I thought it went perfectly in a kids space. That bentwood stool has been painted a lot, I had it in the basement and it fits perfectly for her water at night. I think I will repaint it again, but I haven't decided on a color yet.

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This wooden planter previously hung in my husbands office in our basement. I took out the faux plant and hung it here beside the window. I already had the turquoise pot so it was an inexpensive way to add a pop of color to this corner. 

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If you ever want a room or wall hand painted let me know, I had a lot of fun creating this space.

 

Holly's Dream Home

I know I'm not the only design lover who has been following along with Sarah Sherman Samuel's renovation project with actress Mandy Moore. Mid-century architecture is hands down my favourite style. Her space had me drooling from the start, and the design elements that were chosen are so good!!! In case you haven't checked out the article in Architectural Digest, I thought I would share some of my favourite shots with you.

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All photos by Architectural Digest. Check out the full feature in the magazine here. All those glass windows and that view, I can't even imagine!!

Today we booked tickets for our tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House next month. I can't wait to share our getaway with you.

My authentic self

I recently listened to a podcast by Kate Gremillion and honestly didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did. I don't listen to a lot of them, but every now and again when I'm doing boring stuff around the house, like folding laundry, it helps time pass quickly.

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Selling yourself and your brand is something that is important in this day and age. Social media allows us to share ourselves and sell our product to people all over the world. Sometimes I wonder what it was that first attracted a new follower on Instagram or someone to my website. After listening to Kate's words I know that discovering my personal brand came quite naturally for me. I'm a visual person I have been since I was a child.

My strength is visual art and creating colourful artwork. I've mixed that with what I've always enjoyed, interior design & styling. "People want to share their experiences and make connections." -Kate says and I couldn't agree more.

"Opportunities come to us if we let those around us know what we are interested in, and what kind of opportunities we are looking for." I need to start doing this more. My friends and family know that I have a passion for writing about interior spaces. I do it because I love to read them and share them with others. I don't get paid to write my blog and currently do not have any companies that advertise on it. Maybe I need to change this? I am putting this out there for all my readers. If you work or own a company that would be a good fit let's chat. If you read about a position online for a contributor to a design based website, send me the link. I have a few artist friends that have been very kind and supportive, sending me job postings they hear of. Keep them coming!

 Photo by Anne- Marie Ezeard

Photo by Anne- Marie Ezeard

If you have been following along since the beginning you may know that I taught evening art classes part-time for several years. That has recently changed and now I have a part-time job during the day, which still allows me time to create and spend time with my daughters.

I remember when I was in college my friend asked me what my dream job was and I told her working for a home decor magazine. I honestly had no qualifications and didn't love writing so I'm not sure why I gave her that answer. My friend went on to study graphic design and work for several in-house publishers. Today I have a blog and discovered that I actually do enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts and interests with others.

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I have never considered myself a blogger, I do it because I enjoy it. Not because it's a job and I have to. Maybe one day this will change, but it's going on three years now since I started my website. Thanks for following along, encouraging me and giving my artwork a place to call home.

 

 

New collaboration with cardamom

I'm excited to share that select pieces of mine are now available through cardamom based out of Vancouver. "This collection of collages combines line, texture and pattern which is a consistent theme found in Holly’s work. Each piece is carefully thought out and put together using bright swatches of paint, remnants of fabric and hand painted canvas. Each mixed media collage is an original work on heavyweight watercolor paper."

 One of my favourite collages available now!

One of my favourite collages available now!

"We created cardamom to bridge the disconnect between the stuff we buy and where it comes from. For us, these connections form the narratives behind each piece an artist makes and sharing them is central to what we do. Getting distracted by the finished piece is easy, but wouldn’t you like to know a little more about it before it comes home with you? Each story, each artist and each piece is one of a kind." - Emma & Sally

There are so many gorgeous pieces available through cardamom, I decided to share a few of my favourites with you. Make sure to check them out and happy shopping!

 The color & texture of the glazes in Brian Giniewski's ceramics are so dreamy. I want them all!

The color & texture of the glazes in Brian Giniewski's ceramics are so dreamy. I want them all!

 These geometric mountain-inspired studs by Rowa Jewelry make me want to visit Vancouver & see the mountains in person.

These geometric mountain-inspired studs by Rowa Jewelry make me want to visit Vancouver & see the mountains in person.

 Modern textural vessels by MiMIKO are influenced by Scandinavian and Japanese design.

Modern textural vessels by MiMIKO are influenced by Scandinavian and Japanese design.

 Greetings cards by Perfect Rooster are so fun. Cardinals drinking my go to winter cocktail a White Russian...yes please!

Greetings cards by Perfect Rooster are so fun. Cardinals drinking my go to winter cocktail a White Russian...yes please!

 I love these playful ceramics by Sam Knopp. They have a mid-century vibe that is totally my style.

I love these playful ceramics by Sam Knopp. They have a mid-century vibe that is totally my style.

 The patterns on Kaiko's textiles are so simple and graphic. These would look amazing in any home.

The patterns on Kaiko's textiles are so simple and graphic. These would look amazing in any home.

 These arch earrings remind me of one of my collages. My favourite color blue with some beautiful patina by Sarah Sears.

These arch earrings remind me of one of my collages. My favourite color blue with some beautiful patina by Sarah Sears.

 I can imagine myself using these gorgeous speckled bowls by LUPA ceramics every day. I eat a lot of cereal folks!

I can imagine myself using these gorgeous speckled bowls by LUPA ceramics every day. I eat a lot of cereal folks!

Remember to support local makers. It really does mean the world to me when my art finds a new home.

Shelf Styling Tips

After I graduated with my BA in Visual Arts I then went to college to study something I've always been passionate about; Interior Design. That was 18 years ago, it really doesn't feel like that much time has passed.

When my friend Lesley asked me to share a few shelf styling tips on her blog I was on board. We have built-ins in our living room and they really pull the entire space together. You may require help from a friend or expert, but when you get it right you will just know. I kept ours the same for three years! That is an eternity in the world of design. If you don’t do anything too trendy, they will look great until you decide to change them again.

Check out the entire post here at Swell Made.

 Photo by Swell Made

Photo by Swell Made

Highlights of the week

Two weeks ago I made a lot of new work for an upcoming collaboration I'm excited about. So this week was about trying to get my house in order and doing some much-needed gardening. 

 Last year I discovered The Modern House. Even though I'm not planning on moving to Britain, it's still fun to see all of the beautiful homes & inspiring designs they promote. This one caught my eye...that pop of yellow is so fun. The architecture reminds me of a vintage dollhouse from my childhood. I love me a bungalow!

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Our vintage/new dining table is finally in the kitchen. (Read about it here) Which means changes need to happen soon. I have always hated the backslash in our kitchen & after four and a half years of living with it, I think I may have found an inexpensive solution. Peel & stick tiles, now I have to decide on how much of a pattern I want. Debating if I need to order samples or just go for it. 

 Our kitchen shot by Lauren Kolyn a few years ago. The glass tiles are much more beige in person, and stores please stop selling accent tile! I'm not a fan.

Our kitchen shot by Lauren Kolyn a few years ago. The glass tiles are much more beige in person, and stores please stop selling accent tile! I'm not a fan.

 I kind of like this graphic tone on tone pattern.

I kind of like this graphic tone on tone pattern.

Recently I read Emily Henderson's post about her being on the set of the television show New Girl. I had only watched a few minutes here and there but decided I should give it a go. I've been binge watching it ever since and am now on the third season. I laugh so hard in every episode and my husband even enjoys it as well. 

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Netflix brought back Arrested Development and we're loving it as well... Gob Bluth is my fav! If you want to feel like you've got your shit together, I suggest watching this or Shameless. They are both very strange families.

My husband was out of town which means I sat in bed and watched random celebrity interviews on youtube and caught up on design blogs.  I discovered this show and had another great idea...but realistically I need more hours in the day to accomplish everything I want to do.

I love this hand painted wall treatment and am going to try something similar in my daughter's bedroom. We've been talking about switching things up for a while and I love to decorate so it's a go. She was hoping for wallpaper and I would love to get this from Juju Papers, but it's not in the budget. Wish me luck with this technique.

 Photo by Mr. Kate

Photo by Mr. Kate

Since my house is already a mess I thought why not repaint our master bedroom as well. I'm doing it first as it will hopefully be quick and easy. I just happened to go grocery shopping yesterday and drive by Sherwin Williams to see that they were having a 40% off sale. It was meant to be folks!

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I went with the shade of green on the left, the color was inspired by this room that Mandi Johnson used in her study which she is currently designing.

 This will be on my summer reading list.

This will be on my summer reading list.

It's been a while since I checked in here so I thought I would catch you up on what's happening. This tired lady is off to bed!

 

 

 

 

Art Opening

This week I had the opportunity to hang some of my artwork at a local brewery that is new in town. They gave me permission to do whatever I wanted and I got excited. Over the past few years I have experimented with many techniques and styles. A gallery wall featuring some of my favourites was what I had in mind and I'm thrilled with how it all came together.

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Now I should add that this opportunity came about simply because I made the first move, I inquired if they would be interested in displaying my work. If you are reading this thinking boy she's lucky, let me tell you my secret... JUST ASK.

The first time I came here I noticed the walls were blank, it dawned on me the next day to email them. The response was quick, they said they were open to supporting local artists but unsure how to go about it.

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"Only women truly know what other women go through on a daily basis. Whether it’s work, life, or mental circumstances, no one knows what a women is facing more than another women. It’s so important that we build each other up, no matter what. Be cool to your fellow sister!" - Wise words from Candace Molatore.

 Photo via pinterest

Photo via pinterest

When I was in my twenties I don't think I would have had the courage to put myself out there as much. Today I'm forty and know that the responses I will receive are: no reply at all, no thanks, or a yes. It's really that simple.

Design Sponge's Grace Bonney shared these words about collaborating with others and I thought they were very helpful. There is definitely some good advice here if you are unsure of what to say when reaching out.

Don't take things personal and keep trying. If you feel passionate about it then you will find a way to make it work. If you need support or have a question send me an email.

House Feature - Kristi Lucero

As soon as I discovered Kristi through Instagram I knew her home needed to be shared on the blog. Some people just have a great eye and sense of style, this lady knows how to make a space look good! 

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"Hi I'm Kristi, I'm a Realtor in Montana with a major obsession with Interior Design. My family (husband and two boys, 3 and 5) and I built our home a year ago."

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"We wanted something modern and smallish (it's less than 2300 sqft) but with a large open living area. Basically the opposite of the two ranch style homes we owned before this. It couldn't be too precious.. because, two boys are wild and crazy."

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Kristi knows the importance of curb appeal and your home making a good first impression. How fun is her door bell from Rejuvenation. 

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When you enter Kristi's home you are welcomed by this gorgeous vintage Oushak runner she discovered on Etsy. The bench provides a perfect spot for her sons to sit and tie their shoes. Her favourite light fixture in the home hangs in the foyer. In the evening it gives off a soft checkboard glow.

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"We love our sectional, it’s a custom Jonathan Louis design. Our wonderful, sweet, sweet puppy has chewed a few holes in the cushions.. but let’s not get into that. This is my favorite spot to sit and sip coffee and check my phone every morning."

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The family dog Nova making herself right at home.

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"We live in MT, surrounded by mountains and lakes so I try to make sure our home fits our surroundings and is a true representation of the people who live in it. My style is eclectic with Scandinavian influences and a pinch of boho."

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The palette in the kitchen is neutral and timeless. Kristi has chosen various materials that add texture to the space, including these gorgeous leather stools. The open concept floor plan makes this family home a great spot to entertain.

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"Floating shelves were always a key part of our kitchen design. Our builder wanted a ridiculous price to install them and he didn’t seem to have a clue how it could be done without side supports. My dad installed some pretty sweet floating shelves in their kitchen, so I knew it could be done. Plus, they’re all over Pinterest. So we planned to do it our selves."

"My husband's biggest hesitation was drilling into the tile we just had professionally installed. So it literally took 10 months (and me requesting them as my Birthday gift) before I could talk him into doing this project. Once he started though, he realized it wasn’t all that hard. It only took him an hour from start to finish."

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Kristi had a difficult time deciding on what piece of furniture to put underneath the television as they didn't need storage for electronics. "I came across this simple shelving unit from Ikea and decided I could push two together. It was a perfect solution and the price was right."

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Now Kristi has a great spot to display her vintage pottery collection. My kind of gal!

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"Big (black) windows were a must. I love that our home has an abundance of natural light!" I know I'm not the only person drooling over them.

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"The big tree was an awesome Craigslist score, $55 for a house plant that big, yes please!!!  It’s about 9 ft tall, I re-potted it and viola! It weighs a million pounds and my kids like to dig in it with their toys. But I love it!"

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Kristi got this large Fluorite rock for Christmas from her in-laws. They know her taste so well & began this collection for her from their travels to North Dakota. From the size of them I would assume they were quite pricey, but Kristi tells me they are $20-$40 from a local gem shop. My daughters would lose their minds if I ever bought them one of these beauties...gorgeous!

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"With two young kids, it was a high priority to have a designated play space on our main level.  We chose a floor plan with a Den/4th Bedroom that we can use as a playroom while they’re young. This way we can see what the kids are doing without them completely destroying our main living space. (disclaimer: they still destroy our main living areas, but this helps a tiny bit!)

"It was important to keep it kid friendly yet aesthetically pleasing. The wood cabinets are a stylish and affordable storage solution, they hold soooo many toys and games. The kids and I both really enjoy hanging out in here. It’s bright, cheery, comfortable and has a pop of color that I love."

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"The coffee table is vintage and was such a score. My husband was demoing an old hospital a few years back and found this in their storage– it was covered in mouse poop and ready to go to the dump when he saved it. Smart man." It looks great paired with these junior Panton Chairs from Design Within Reach.

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I love the mix of textiles Kristi has used in her youngest son's room. Nothing too juvenile that he will outgrow, just classic colors and patterns. I have the same vintage rug in our home, it's so beautiful.

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One of my favourite elements in any home is artwork. Kids get so excited when they see something they made up on display, you can't have too much in my opinion.

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"I love mixing in vintage treasures I've saved from the trash with vintage/handmade textiles I've sourced on Etsy with modern store bought things.  If you asked my husband what my hobbies are, he'd say collecting vintage dressers and chairs..only half joking."

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"The boys’ bathroom was by far one of my favorite rooms to design. I love how playful the rope lights are for a kids space, you can knot them up or swag them anyway you want."

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Kristi's art choices throughout her home are inspired by nature. She found this print on Etsy by searching Drone Photography. It looks great hung above these modern wall hooks. 

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The large wood mirror from CB2 makes the space feel larger. A great trick to use if you have no natural light.

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If you want to be that cool mom, then use chalkboard paint in your child's room. My daughters saw this and were very jealous. I honestly don't think I could handle the chalk dust.

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"My husband is an ex-carpenter so he was able to build a nice deck, and floating shelves in our kitchen and laundry room." I love how Kristi has treated this space like any other room in her home styling it with family photographs, artwork and collectibles.

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"Our Master Bedroom is far from finished but I’m pretty happy with it in it’s current state. In fact, it hasn’t changed at all since we moved in. I still need to find a comfy rug, the perfect wood night stands and I would love to do a mural or wallpaper on the wall behind the bed. I have big plans later on, to panel the ceiling in painted white wood and add two wood beams. But since those things take time (and lots of money) I'll just enjoy it as-is."

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Kristi has been a realtor for almost ten years, so it's safe to say she has seen a lot of interiors. She hit the jack pot one day when a renter left this vintage Thonet chair in one of her Listings. "It was on it's way to the dump- I was like Nooooooo!!"

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A perfect spot to sit and relax after a long day.

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I want to thank Kristi for sharing her home with me. If I ever travel to Montana you know I'll be looking you up so we can hit the thrift stores!

Experimenting

 Abstract art is what I am the most comfortable and confident in creating. However, some of my favourite ideas are formed when I am not sitting in front of a blank canvas. The days when I wake up and have the urge to experiment and try something different get my adrenaline pumping.

I posted about a fashion photographer late last year and his work really caught my attention. My friend Roslyn has always been into trends, and the one who sported an animal print blouse into the art studio while we were in University.  I wore a grey cardigan similar to Mr. Rogers that once belonged to my Grandpa. For real guys, I wore it a lot! I did not dress to impress and still wear jeans and a plaid shirt most days I leave the house.

 I think I was 21 in these photos. I was into up-do's & as you can see, capris & platforms were obviously the trend. I even found a photo of Roz in her favourite top! 

I think I was 21 in these photos. I was into up-do's & as you can see, capris & platforms were obviously the trend. I even found a photo of Roz in her favourite top! 

Since that time Roz has started a fashion blog and has some inspiring looks. A few months ago I  asked her if she would like to collaborate with me. She sent me a few images and I played around on my tablet once the kids were in bed. I've always been drawn to pop art and Andy Warhol's mix of colours. These pieces were extremely satisfying to make and I wanted to share a few of my favourites with you. 

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The snow has finally melted here in Ontario & I think warm days are ahead. I'm so ready to give myself a pedicure and start wearing sandals, like every day! 

 

 

New Season, New Space & a Giveaway!

Spring is officially here, even though there is still snow on the ground. I think it's safe to say we are all ready to change up the decor when we look around our homes.

Is there a room in your home that could use some freshening up? I've teamed up with some local companies and we've decided to put together this ultimate giveaway. One lucky winner is going to win this amazing prize! Details on how to enter are at the end of the post.

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This painting I created will inject a pop of colour into any room.

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Sage Living & domino are inspiring coffee table books filled with endless decor inspiration. Check out Watson & Lou in Peterborough & shop their collection of unique handmade products. Also read about the fun & innovative workshops they offer.

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You know I have a weakness for anything mid-century. Dwellissimo in Port Hope has a wide selection of furniture & vintage decor. They are giving the lucky winner this modern chair. 

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Emerence of Stoney Lake Textiles has sewn this pair of gorgeous toss cushions that will instantly transform your sofa from blah to fabulous! The details like those gold zippers, I'm in love.

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Casa Alma out of Cobourg has an amazing collection of vintage rugs. Their collection of curated goods combines vintage finds, clean lines and globally influenced pieces. All of these colours are my favourites, it would look right at home in my entry.

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Aluminum black legs with a salvaged tongue and groove wood top. A touch of vintage charm to add into your space by Project Lola out of Cobourg.

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You know I have a thing for plants, they really do liven up a space & are an inexpensive addition to your home. The Local Bloom in Cobourg connects flower lovers with 100% locally grown blooms.

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Angie of Sticks and Strings Macrame is a busy lady, teaching workshops & creating these whimsical weavings throughout the Kawarthas. This boho wall hanging would look amazing in any setting.

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Thalita Murray Design is offering her design skills to you. Either an In-home consultation or e-package to help you transform your space.

This giveaway would not have happened without the amazing photography skills of Chantelle Watt. Based out of Cobourg Chantelle believes in "Capturing real love and real life. I love the chaos of family sessions and the love and support you can feel at weddings. I find joy in delivering clean, timeless photographs that will fill your walls, your heart (and likely your social media profile) for years to come."  She is giving the winner a $100 Gift Certificate!

You can enter the giveaway here. It runs until Friday, April 13th so tell your friends. It just may be you taking home all of these gorgeous pieces.

 I am blown away by how kind people are when you just reach out. Remember small businesses love other small businesses & want to connect & collaborate. Good things happen when creative minds join forces. I'm so happy to be apart of this & look forward to sharing more fun contests with you over the next year.

 

New Collages

In early January I set out to the thrift shop with one thing on my list. I was looking for some interesting books I could clip inspiration from to create collages. I've wanted to get out the scissors and paper for a while now but never made the time.  

 This was the starting point. I knew I wanted this graphic yet organic element to be the focal point.

This was the starting point. I knew I wanted this graphic yet organic element to be the focal point.

 I made two pieces I thought worked as a set, I was a happy maker sitting at her dining table.

I made two pieces I thought worked as a set, I was a happy maker sitting at her dining table.

I submitted these designs to Jenny's Print Shop & they really liked them, but asked if I could make a third. I was very excited as I admire Jenny's design approach and style. I spent an entire weekend playing around before I was happy with the collection of three. So what is this print shop you are wondering?

"Jenny's Print Shop is a digital print shop where all original, high resolution prints are just $15 each. Immediately after making your purchase you will be emailed a link that allows you to download your images to your computer and then print them however you want! No need to pay for expensive framing with limited sizes and finish options. You have complete flexibility to use the images the way you want to use them! One of the reasons I felt strongly about not offering physical prints or framing at this time is I really like giving you guys flexibility with the prints now and in the future. You will have your digital print files forever! And you can print them multiple times for your own personal use. Maybe you found a great frame at a thrift store for just a few dollars. You can save hundreds of dollars on custom framing by printing your JPS image to fit the great frames you already have!"

 Photo by Jenny Komenda.

Photo by Jenny Komenda.

As of today, you can download these collages through Jenny's Print Shop. I've never made any prints of my work before, so I think this is such a wonderful idea. The print shop allows you to choose from many images that Jenny has photographed herself or you can choose from one of the artist collaborations. All artist collaborations are priced at $20 each, affordable original art is something I am very proud to support. If you do decide to print these out and hang them up at home make sure you send me a photo so I can see how they look in your space. 

If you have never heard of Jenny Komenda before you should go check out her blog Little Green Notebook. I've been reading it for years and was so happy that these prints were featured in one of her recent design projects for the Gentry project.

Just a little tip for you. If you subscribe to their newsletter you get a code for buy two prints get one free! I've also added some new paintings to my online shop if you want to check them out.

Happy Spring, the snow is finally melting around here and I ready to put away my toque.

Holly's Dream Home

When I come across a beautiful home I get excited and a little envious. Gemma van der Swaagh is an interior designer out of Boston. Her family home is filled with colourful patterns, bold wallpaper and a mix of eclectic and modern furniture and accessories.

I admire Gemma's style and she has an art collection that makes my heart skip a beat. Check out these photos and see what grabbed my attention. I really don't think I can pick a favourite room, but her master bedroom is high on the list. 

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All photos are by Gemma van der Swaagh Interior Design.

Art

This weekend is going to be filled with new experiences for me, I can't wait for Saturday to arrive. The Artist Project is a contemporary art fair in Toronto and is in its 11th year. This is my first time attending. You can see mediums such as painting, sculpture and photography, and take home some original pieces. I can't wait to discover new Canadian artists and have a day date with my husband. I often leave events like this with a fresh mind and enthusiasm to explore new ideas in the studio. 

 Artwork by Bettina Carating.

Artwork by Bettina Carating.

Sunday I am taking a class that I have wanted to try for years. I have a thing for font, letterpress and printmaking. Local artist Jeff Macklin from Jackson Creek Press does it all and will be instructing a beginners workshop for lino block cutting at Artspace. We are going to make our own piece to bring home, hopefully, I will be happy with how it turns out. If not I know my daughters will want it in one of their rooms!

 A piece of Jeff's that hangs in our home.

A piece of Jeff's that hangs in our home.

I need to try pottery this year. I've been saying this for a few years and I still haven't gotten my hands dirty. I have recently discovered the work of Canadian potter Heather Dahl, and I am crazy about it all. Her abstract vases are so beautiful.

 Photo by Heather Dahl.

Photo by Heather Dahl.