treasures Archive


Room Swoon

Room Swoon

Do you swoon over your room when you walk in door? February is the month of love, so this week, let’s get right to the heart of the matter and address how much or how little we love our rooms. I’m away from home a lot as I have to travel for work, shooting TV, designing around the globe and as exciting as that sounds, the best part of travel for me, is always coming home. When I arrive home from a trip I just can’t help but look around and note how much I love my house. Treasures I have collected from around the world, colours I adore envelop me, textures that seduce the hand and the eye, art work that always captures your eye and great spots to curl up with a puppy and read a book or enjoy a cup of tea with a friend or glass of wine with my husband.

If you don’t have a similar reaction to your rooms then our goal this month will be to change that. It’s a gift of love that you can give to yourself. There’s no excuse for not having rooms you love, it’s not about budget and it’s not about time (if we are honest with ourselves, we can always make the time) it’s about designing for ourselves and caring enough about ourselves to take the time and make the effort to design for us. It’s imperative that we love our home; we spend so much of our valuable time there and with our most valuable people.

Before we divulge a recipe to love your home, let’s be perfectly clear about how great rooms are achieved. A room will never be finished-always be open to change, you find a new treasure, you add a new photo, a new piece of art, buy a new duvet; bring home a vintage piece of furniture. Embrace change and never settle in a space, rooms like ourselves should keep evolving and improving upon themselves. Rooms we love and that others love as well appear timeless. You also need to live your rooms (need to work and function as well as they look) as much as you love your rooms

Start with a palette that you adore and that is appropriate for the room’s main purpose. Colours you love to wear, colours that make you feel sexy or creative. A colour palette moves beyond the paint on the walls and includes fabulous textures brought into the room in the way of drapery, pillows, upholstery, flooring, throws, and wallpaper. Texture is has important as colour when it comes to creating fabulous rooms.

Arrange your furniture creatively and not simply lined up along the walls, have furniture with purpose and include unique and interesting pieces. Include art in every room. Art does not have to ‘match’ your space, hang and display pieces that catch your eye and that you want to see every day. Every room should include mementoes from your life, heirlooms from your family, collectables from your travels, treasured finds from a estate sale you attended with a girlfriend, and framed black and white photos of you and the family. Lighting is the most often missed design element. Hunt for great fixtures, spray a brass chandelier peacock blue and rehang it, be creative mix and match your table lamps, run rope lighting under a platform bed or even the sofa, add spotlights to your potted plants and art lights to wall art. Be sure to add life to every space, a potted plant and pair of gold fish housed in a fabulous vintage vase (be creative), rescue a pet. Now that fabulous living!

I love coconut oil and keep a bottle of oil in my bathroom for conditioning my hair and my skin but I also use it to polish the wood furniture. Mix equal parts coconut oil and lemon juice into a spritzer bottle and use as you would a commercial furniture polish-spray on and wipe off with a lint free cloth.



Passion for the Past

I’ve always had a passion for antiques and treasures from the past. My first home was filled with antiques that I found at various auctions and estate sales. Each sale found me buying new items often replacing something I had already at home which would appear at the next auction I attended funding my passion for design and decorating as I upgrade pieces. Today, even though I feel most at home in a contemporary space I still fuel my passion for the past by incorporating a few antiques amongst my modern décor.

Whether I am designing a modern hotel, restaurant or modest home I adore the mix of something old amongst all the new. If you are following home fashion trends then undoubtedly you have seen the most pedigreed designers bringing in a antique piece or two (depending on the clients budget) to create a one of a kind effect. A healthy respect for the past is key for great design. Whether you are drawn to a old steam gear mounted as sculpture, old architectural cornices set amongst your books in the library or holding up a collection of modern art books on an end table or desk top, a French country wood table or a rewired Indian chandelier or a set of luggage stacked for use as a coffee table antiques and these fabulous one of a kind pieces bring intrigue and personality to a space. It is the juxtaposition of the old and the new that brings intrigue and excitement into a room.

But you don’t have the budget for antiques! Actually I think that you’ll find that antiques have dropped significantly in price and may prove to be a wise investment. There are also many fabulous reproductions available and its also amazing to see what you can discover if you get out and go on a hunt. Have you caught an episode of Canadian pickers, Picker Sisters or Storage wars? Fabulous one- of- a -kinds, vintage and antique pieces are out there just waiting for you to find them. When we travel we are always checking out the local flea and antique markets. A few months back when Samantha and I traveled to Turkey we found some brilliant architectural column bases, a Muslim Cigarette poster on wood and an old carasoul horse from an old local carnival. This week we are antique hunting in China and have found fabulous Tang Dynasty Horses, antique pocket watches and even a pair of warriors we will turn into candle stick holders. Closer to home, we just stumbled across a antique leather and wood desk that now finds it home in a modern office adding a sense of history and stature to the space. Hot on our designer radar are antique frames and mirrors, furniture with ornate lines, one of a kind chairs and lamp bases, religious artifacts, books, ceramic sculptures and trunks.

Old is the new cool when we are talking about on trend home fashion. Now that’s fabulous living!

I have a new favorite drink to juice at home-pineapple, apple and mint. One of my regular haunts here in Shanghai is now home to my new favorite fresh squeezed juice. This combination is fabulously refreshing and I love the health benefits of the apple and pineapple and I always have too much mint growing at the base of my indoor lemon tree and this is the perfect solution to deliciously use it up. Throw the juices or fresh fruit into your juicer with a healthy handful of fresh mint, blend and enjoy.