photographs Archive


Back to Work

Cheryll Gillespie, Back to work

It’s hard to believe that another summer has almost passed us by, and while I’m certainly not trying to speed through the few remaining weeks of my favorite time of year, I simply can’t help but look ahead to Fall and be inspired by all the back to school inspirations. I may not be going back to school and nor do I have young kids that are heading in that direction, I do find that this time of year I am inspired to address my own ‘work’ spaces.

It’s time to spend a day or two overhauling the office or den space, or perhaps even creating one that you didn’t have before. A dedicated work space in the home is a must have, whether it’s as simple and as unobtrusive as a small corner of the kitchen, an antique secretary desk in the corner of the living room or a complete room onto itself, we all need an inspired, organized and creative work space.

The first step is to allocate space, this may already be established for you but if it isn’t then let’s decide where you will locate your work space. Secondly, we need to decide how this work space needs to function and perform. Will it simply be used to organize current house records and receipts? Will this space be running a major home business or simply exist as a getaway area for the kid’s to work on homework? I love wireless and how it can afford us the aesthetics of a clean work space. I have my fax machine and printer located in the mechanical room of the house so that I don’t have to visually pollute my work space with the heavy equipment. When we are creating a den-style space in an unused bedroom, printers and fax machines are located on shelving installed specifically for that purpose in the closet. Furniture for your work space needs to feel and function as good as it looks. Choose your desk and chair carefully and ensure that you will want to spend time sitting and working here. Ensure that there is adequate storage for all your work materials and files that you need within reach. Your work space may need to include a credenza (think creatively as this could be a custom built piece, an up-styled dining buffet, a vintage pie storage or a series of shelves and boxes hung on the wall adjacent to the desk). Now, design the storage to either tuck into the furniture piece or to be cleverly displayed in boxes and bins on the shelves- label everything so you know exactly where everything is. When all your stuff has a home, it’s easy to find and readily available to use. You will also need good working light, place an attractive floor or desk top lamp appropriately. We always love having a living plant or bouquet of flowers in our designed work spaces, stimulating fresh ideas and new life.

Finally, it’s time to add the important finishing touches; the mementoes, photographs and small touches that remind us of why we work so hard in the first place and inspire us to work passionately. That’s living fabulously!

Creatively Yours,


Necessity Not Accessory

Imagine a room without accessories. Personally, I can not fathom such a space for it’s the accessories that add the personality and soul to a room. Accessories are provisions for great spaces.

We really should start calling them the ‘necessities’ instead of the ‘accessories’, for without them there is simply no life, just structure. My design team and I love all aspects of design, the space planning, the interior architecture, window dressing and so forth but we get especially excited when we get to begin accessorizing a room. This is when the room comes to life, the soul emerges, the personality of its inhabitants finds their home.

The problem with accessories is that all too often we simply and without much thought fill a room with them, resulting in a room with too much stuff that means nothing to anyone and tells no story. I want your accessories to tell me about you, I want your accessories to tell me of your travels and where you dream to go, I want your accessories to make me laugh, yes accessories, as with art, can and should have a sense of humor. Bottom line is that I want the accessories that fill a space to be meaningful to both the architecture and to those that occupy the space.

For example, all too often we throw in a few toss cushions that add some colour which is terrific as long as we love that colour but did you think of the message that the texture of the cushions convey or that the pattern or motif helps to tell the room’s story. The same can be said of throws. From the area rug you use on the floor and please size it appropriately – lately I have been seeing far too many area rugs that are simply too small for the room- which then makes the room appear cramped and small. Go big or go home, which you already are but you know what I mean! Think, think and rethink every accessory in a room, from the photographs and their picture frames to the art on the wall to the lamps and their shades, to the coffee table books-every accessory needs to be thoughtful and ‘designed’ to tell your story. I was reading through my design blogs this morning and came across a fabulous vintage blue based lamp that the designer had put a new red lampshade on-it was fabulous. The thoughtful addition of the red shade made the base modern and unique and a true pop for a room.

Never just fill a space with things, take your time and be thoughtful and reflective of who you are and what your rooms say about you. People love to come to our house as not only is it constantly revolving as I move pieces in out and around but there are just simply so many stories to be told from the things we have brought home. Our souls are exposed at home, this is the goal, the ultimate desire of any space is to make you look and feel fabulous and of course at home. Look at accessorizing as space as a treasure hunt which will be on display in your rooms-now that’s fabulous

I was out in the herb garden yesterday gathering herbs to bring in a dry so that we have fresh organic herbs through the winter months which seem to be arriving far to quickly I might add!! But anyhow its great to know that drying herbs is as simple as turning on the micro wave. Simply wash the herbs and remove the undesirable stems. Dry on paper towels or in your salad spinner. Then line the bottom of the microwave with paper towels and lay the herbs onto the towels and turn on full power for approximately thirty seconds. Repeat at thirty second intervals until the herbs are dry and crunchy. This may take several minutes. When the herbs are dried, remove from the microwave and store in glass containers.