Monday, February 8, 2016

White space pt 2

A bit of silence on the airwaves here over the past couple weeks. I'd had posts planned and lots of ideas to share, but as it happens life hit all at once and I've been taking a bit of time to take stock and catch up a bit. Just a day before we closed on our home, we were hit with a sudden and very tragic loss in our family. Suddenly all the logistical issues and moving details seemed so trivial and it was a reminder of what's really important in life - our family and those we love. In the midst of the clutter of so many thoughts and far too many boxes, I've found myself seeking a bit of white space - both literal and figurative. As I stare around at the sea of taupe walls in my new home, I can't help but revert back to thinking of my favourite palette of whites and soft greys as the perfect foundation to base our space around.

This home is the second White Location owned by stylist Catherine Woram and her husband Michael Bains. Calm and serene, they are decorated entirely in white and soft grey tones. The perfect background for the photoshoots that frequently take place here - companies such as the White Company, Marks and Spencer and Laura Ashley have used this space. While this home is all around quite neutral and understated, it boasts gorgeous of a master suite, complete with a stunning en suite. The space is all white including the painted floors and feels airy and bright. The antique carved wood doors lead to the bathroom with a vintage tables as a vanity with hammered brass sinks. I can definitely see why it's the perfect neutral background, with just the right amount of interest, to show off all sorts of lovely products. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

White space pt 1

An all white space done well is a timeless classic - crossing styles and periods. It is at once simple and soothing, but also layered and varied. Such is the case in the beautiful London home of designer Catherine Woram and her husband, architect Michael Bains. A large Victorian with classical details, decorated exclusively in white throughout, with very little exception. Together they meticulously renovated the space, restoring some of the original Victorian features, and adding details like the tumbled herringbone flooring. Catherine has collected many of the pieces over time from thrift shops and car boot sales - but the neutral monotone colour scheme makes it all effortlessly coordinated. This house boasts an unexpected twist at the back, with a thoroughly modern renovation. Clean lined and light filled, it opens right out to the backyard. 

Another twist to this all white space is that, while it is a functioning family home, it is also a fully rentable photoshoot space that has been used by companies such as Laura Ashley and Marks and Spencer. With its large five metre kitchen island it has been host to celebrity chefs such as Antonio Carlucci and Jamie Oliver. Pippa Middleton used the space recently as the setting for some of the images in her book, Celebrate. Proving once again that an all white space is always the perfect backdrop.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Naomi's Modern Menagerie Nursery

Of all the spaces in our current home, the one I'm most reluctant to leave is Naomi's nursery. I had a lot of fun putting it together and it's been such a special room to enjoy together. I wanted to create a calm and serene space that flowed well with the neutral modern decor of the rest of the home and that would be enjoyed by both baby and adults, especially in this early stage. I shared my original inspiration for the space here, and it came pretty close to what I'd been envisioning.

As an avid animal lover, I have a not so secret agenda to instill a love of animals in our daughter as well. They can be found throughout her room in all forms - from the little Holstein cow from my grandmother who used to have a dairy farm to George the Giraffe, who was the very first thing we got for the nursery. 'Pippa the Panda' was bought on Naomi's first trip to Ikea, she was still tiny but immediately reached out for it when we showed it to her. I think she was attracted to the contrasting black and white. Since then more pandas have joined our little menagerie and they've become a bit of a theme of hers.

I worked with a mix high and low pieces, investing in pieces that would last well beyond the baby years, and didn't want to spend too much on pieces that were baby specific.  

The large grey lacquer dresser was a super lucky Craigslist score for only $100. I’d been looking for a vintage piece that I planned to paint grey and add brass hardware to. I was thrilled to come across this piece in the perfect colour and with brass toned hardware that was almost identical to what I’d had in mind. The lacquered finish is an added bonus I hadn’t originally thought of, but had ended up being super practical for wiping down and cleaning up. I had a simple white base made to raise it up to use as a change table at the moment, eventually it can be lowered back to the ground.

I love these handy little bins from Pehr Designs which can be used to round up anything and everything. The Jonathan Adler Elephant was a sweet gift from a friend.

The white Eames lounger was actually Andrew's suggestion. It's piece we’d long admired and decided to invest in as it will last much longer in our home than a traditional rocker or glider. It’s been the perfect chair for nursing or to cuddle up together and read. Next to it is a $7 table from Ikea I've had for years.

The bookshelves are a constantly rotating little showcase of treasures, old and new, like the handmade 'N' card made by a friend and framed, the tiny little handmade gold moccasins - which are far too adorable to be stored away until they fit, or the little brass mouse which used to sit on my late grandmother's bedroom dresser next to my baby picture. 

These sweet little lilac butterflies were an Etsy find  - Heidi has a fantastic selection in all sorts of colours in her shop. They are lingering up here in the corners and a few other little spots throughout the room. 

Aside from a few lilac and lavender accents, the textiles are all in different patterns but united in soft grey and creams tones. I painted the room in a very soft grey - CIL Paint's Simple. Finding the right grey can be tricky and grey comes with many different undertones and they can really have an impact on the overall mood and tone. This shade is a perfect soft neutral, and I plan to use it again! It's bright, fresh and clean - with just the tiniest little hint of pale lilac that makes it warm yet bright and prevents it from looking too cool or dull as sometimes greys can be. 

I had originally envisioned a thick, plush Beni Ourtain rug in the room. But after much thought and contemplation (and talking to other, more experienced mums) I realized I didn’t want the hassle of maintaining it or the heartbreak of having it stained or ruined quite quickly. Along with all the unmentionables that can happen with babies, we also have a dog in the house - so I decided on a much more practical solution - carpet tiles from Flor in one of their plusher collections. With a light colour and thicker texture, but a clean modern look they are the ultimate in practicality in a busy house. They are so easy to clean and care for, (as I've already had to do) I've been converted to a carpet tile believer (especially for these types of spaces) and so happy I made this decision.

Over on the left you can see the Boontje Garland light. It is actually much prettier in person than in the photos and has the most lovely shadowy golden glow at night. I'd seen it years ago and thought it would be so pretty in a bedroom but was a little too feminine for me to get away with at the time, but that someday it would be perfect for a little girl's room. It is! I was quite impressed too that the order arrived with a little handwritten Thank you note from Tord Boontje himself. 

The disco ball wasn't originally intended to stay in this room and will have to be relocated once someone starts crawling, but for now I wanted to leave it because it casts the most magical little stars of light all around the room when the sun hits it in the morning. 

The faceted artwork above the dresser and the geometric paper mobile with a branch above the crib I made myself. It adds a shot of colour to the otherwise neutral area and was a fun and easy way to tie a colour palette together perfectly. I'd originally been looking at the Themis mobile, but making my own this way allowed me to match the colours in the painting and the mobile perfectly. (I'll be sharing the easy DIY on how to make a similar mobile here soon!)

As much as I'm sad to leave this cozy little corner of our world, I'm looking forward to working these pieces into our new home and creating a whole new space to enjoy together!

Photos 1 + 8 by myself, all other photos by Shannon Echlin


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