#AustinSuite decorating

Here's our jumping off point. Even though our condominium suite is far from decorated, the artwork is really coming together. One friday night a few months ago we just went for it. No measuring. No level. Just hanging hardware, a hammer, wine and some high volume tunes. We used a hanging method we call "eyeballing it." This piece was one of the first we put up. Since it's a longtime favourite, we gave it pride of place. All the others fell into place around it. Now I think this piece is about to become the inspiration for our new design scheme. Specifically that ugly mossy green colour. I'm so in love with that colour.

Also in my inspo files are a whole mess of pics of this restaurant in Paris. Monsieur Bleu was designed by Joseph Dirand -- current hotshot on the scene. (As an aside, I walked by the Toronto restaurant Lee the other day and they have replicated this design exactly. That's so offside as far as I'm concerned. Inspiration is one thing, but you've got to give it your own spin. Not cool Susur et. al. Not cool.) For me it's all about those greens. I'm stealing that idea of using several shades, some even a tad clashy. I'm also inspired by the antiqued mirror, lighting and green and black marbles. 

I'm also crushing on Zak Profera's place now. Love that fabric of his on the chair cushions. Hoping the folks at  Y&Co. can hook me up with some of that. I think some middle ground between the sexy resto in Paris and this NYC place might be the stylistic sweet spot for #AustinSuite. Are you following Zak on Insta or Pinterest? I highly recommend. Love his eye and of course his adorable Shiba Inu, Shinji. Check out the Zak + Fox web site.

Our current dining chairs are courtesy of Mr. A's eagle eye and shopping genius. Love these. I think they'd be great with diff shades of green velvet or mohair seats. Mr. A likes the black leather as is. We'll see who wins that one...

Not loving our current dining table situation. It's fine. Just fine. But we do have a vintage white tulip table that might be ripe for reinvention so it looks more like the one above. I'd just spray paint the base myself. Love this green marble top. Need to price that out and see if it's in the realm of reality. If the tabletop were green I'd prob leave the chair seats black.

Need to paint the interior of our entry door black ASAP. Like this. 

Speaking of doors, we currently have a coat closet that has hideous sliding mirror doors. They're taller than the nearby bathroom door and also lacking hardware. They are heavy and awkward to move back and forth. I loathe those doors. Would love to figure out a disappearing jib door situation for that...

Existing lever handles are the work of the normcore devil -- they are of the swirly brushed white metal variety :::shudders::: They'll go too. Maybe something like these above. Or antique brass? Hmmm.

Brass desk lamp is another Mr. A find. Wicked cool. The one on the right is our bathroom sconce by Flos. Love it too. I got that one at Gabriel Ross.

I have a bit of hankering for one of the lights in this new IC collection from Flos. Love that you can choose from floor, table, pendant or sconces all with this suspended light ball design. It's fun and makes me think of a balloon. Maybe a pair of bedside lamps? Or one floor lamp for the living room?

Storage is a major bugaboo right now. I thought I could tackle one area at a time, but I now realize I have to plan new clothes closet systems at the same time as I redesign the entry coat closet and some version of wall-mounted cupboards for the bedroom. I'm waiting with bated breath for the new IKEA kitchen system to hit stores. That's what I'll use (shown above) for the bedroom. 

If you can believe it we have room for only one comfy armchair. We have a petite club chair now, but I've got the chief furniture buyer on the lookout for something with more style -- like these Edward Wormley gems that cost a bajillion dollars. The sofa is a conundrum. Prob not in the budget to switch it, but not sure how to make a white slipcovered William Birch sofa work in this scheme. Like I said, a conundrum.

We've both always wanted a mobile. Mr. A actually found us a series of discs not unlike these -- ours are in bronze and gold -- we just have to figure out how to make them into a mobile. I skipped that day in physics class. Don't think I can DIY that.

So here it is all written down. Will be interesting to see if I can manage to stay focussed on this look or if I change my mind along the way.

photo credits:

1. Margot Ausitn. 2. Monsieur Bleu. 3. Brittany Ambridge. 4. Margot Austin. 5. Haus London.  6. Elisabeth Heier. 7. Andrew Skurman Architects. 8. Low Price Door Knobs. 9. Margot Austing/Flos. 10. Flos. 11. Elisabeth Heier. 12. Mid2Mod. 13. Corinne Van Havre.

happy easter flowers!

One of the fringe benefits of my styling gig is getting to take home flowers after a shoot. Well, this weekend it is bumper to bumper blooms chez Austin thanks to back to back floral shoots. On Wednesday, our place was the location for a floral story schedded for the July issue of House & Home. I was working with the most talented Virginia Macdonald - what a treat. I cannot wait for you to see.


Then first thing Thursday morning it was down to 299 Queen St. W. in Toronto to The Marilyn Denis Show for a segment on spring floral arrangements. It felt like I did the segment in 30 seconds so I have no idea what came out of my mouth - HA! The whole team there is so great to work with. I must confess though, my fave aspect is getting my makeup done. It just makes me feel so pampered and I rarely indulge in such things on my own (which I realize is dumb).

I got most of the supplies for the segment at the Real Canadian Superstore. I popped by today and sure enough the place is stocked with potted bulbs, tons of mixed arrangements, and of course they always have great vases and other vessels. I like the white ceramics in the serveware dept. even better than the clear glass vases. And the best part - nothing I used was over $20. So if you haven't decorated for Easter yet, click here to watch the vid and then head out to the Superstore.

OK, now I'm off to make some bouquets to bring to my Dad and Mom and her nursing home buddies.

Joyeuses Pâques!

tweed house door

Here's the front door at our Tweed House. Or rather, this is a picture of a magazine colour proof of a picture of our Tweed House door. The shot is from a story I once did on tartan (shot in August BTW, neighbours thought we were NUTS to have a wreath up). Notice the marker notes on the left -- the art director's directions on colour correction. The original photo was taken by the lovely, really and truly lovely, and talented Stacey Brandford. Stacey is the very first interiors photographer I worked with, and you know I'm a sentimental fool, so his work is dear to me. So anyway, I found this in my office papers. Funny, because I was just waxing on about great front doors, and in particular my favourite one (10 Downing St.), over at my new House & Home blog the other day. A glossy pitch black front door with gleaming brass hardware (and a lion head knocker) is on the list of features for my someday dream house.

When we got our place in Tweed I thought, perfect, it'll look great when we switch out the door for a shiny black one just like 10 Downing St. Well, I can't do it. I know that we shouldn't keep this door. These old wooden doors are terribly drafty. It attracts cluster flies, and a half-glass door is a no-no when it comes to privacy and security (especially since I haven't even bothered to make any sort of window covering for it).

This door is like a favourite pair of jeans with a hole in them. The style is perfect, the fit divine, the condition....not so much. But there is beauty in decay and I find the decay of this door ravishing. Which is why not only can I not bring myself to replace it, I can't even bear the thought of stripping the finish and repainting it.

Green is one of my most favourite colours, and the aligatored pattern of the decrepit paint is just so endearing. (Eat your heart out Restoration Hardware). And please, I could do a whole post on my love for old glass and its wobbly character.

There's no shiny brass lion head knocker. Instead, this little key that you turn to ring. The bell peals out loud and clear like the recess bell at grade school.

And the hardware - I just love it. All of the main floor doors have this same intricately tooled oval knob with matching escutcheon. It's not shiny and brass, but it fits. It suits the door and the house. 

Someday I'll install a velvet portière against the drafts and the lookyloos (and BTW people in the town have flat out told me outright that they've come to peek inside -HA!). But for now it will stay just like this. Over the holidays, after numerous kms on highways for family visits, I will be ensconced behind this door for heaps of tea, shortbread, stew, blankies, movies, Downton Abbey season 2, NFL football, naps, Scrabble...all the very best of Christmas, and I will be giving thanks for being so blessed.


farrow & ball green wallpaper

I met with some of the good people from Farrow & Ball at the Toronto F&B showroom today. Delightful, as always. Couldn't resist snapping a pic of this great little Christmas decorating idea from the window display. It's thin rigid foam core board cut into basic tree shapes and covered on both sides with a selection of magnificent F&B wallpapers in an array of greens, then suspended from fishing line in a cascade that recalls a ski slope. Luuurve. 

beautiful greens

It was a quiet Saturday. Out on my morning errands I saw these three sights. I was reminded that while I may rave on about coral and orange, it's green that I will always love. Green is transforming our world these days and every day a new green appears. I love green -- and it looks even more ravishing on a rainy day.

I couldn't resist buying a bunch of fiddleheads. My mom used to make these. I've never made them before so will be looking up prep instructions. Suggestions welcome.