Category Archives: STYLE AT HOME WEBISODE: NATALIE’S CONDO

Style At Home Webisode is live!

This project was such a joy to work on. I worked with Natalie Bahadur, Senior Web Editor at Style At Home magazine to transform her condo from very blah to totally glam. I made a new friend in the process and discovered some pretty fantastic resources along the way. Here is our shopping list and enjoy the video!

Couch and chair- Goodwin collection (discontinued) West Elm
Pillows- HomeSense $14.99
Branch occasional tables- West Elm
Shagrila Rug (x2)- The Home Depot $129
Book / storage shelves- Walmart $99
Clear lamps with silver shades- Walmart $39
Montclair Mirrors- Canadian Tire $49.99
Wallpaper- Marimekko Lumimarja from New Wall
Drapery- Ready Made by InVu Drapery Co.
Solid Onyx Bamboo Flooring- Tarkett
George Media unit- Walmart, $199.96
Black branches and vase- Walmart
Custom encaustic art piece above TV- RLS Studios, custom pricing
White frames- Walmart, $14.99 – $19.99
Cabinet spraying- Beresford Inc., custom pricing
Amerock Cabinet pulls- The Home Depot, $3.99
Writing Desk- The Shopping Channel, $239.98
Ghost chair- Design Republic, $125
Black chandelier- The Shopping Channel
White light fixtures- Debbie Travis, Canadian Tire
Blue vases- Debbie Travis, Canadian Tire

Lisa’s outfit- Mexx maternity

Photos by Tanja Tiziana

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HOW GORGEOUS IS THIS?

Thank you Tanja Tiziana of Double Crossed Photography for this stunning photo. A glimpse of Natalie’s finished space.

LUXURY TO GO: INVU DRAPES

These need no explanation. LUXURY! Ready-made panels from InVu Drapery.

SHOPPING CHANNEL: NOT JUST JOAN RIVERS

Today we shot the reveal shots of Natalie’s condo makeover for a fantastic Style At Home webisode feature. In a little less than a month, we accomplished a pretty dramatic transformation.

I was reminded today of some of the unique finds we were able to score. Shopping locally can get stale at times (which is why many designers will take fantastic inspiration trips abroad for themselves and for their clients) so it is always refreshing to find new products in creative ways.

A new spot to try: The Shopping Channel. They have several web exclusive products (not just skin care or jewelry!) for your home. In Natalie’s place we’ve installed this INCREDIBLE chandelier (for just under $160) placed directly above this charming desk. This desk is a cutie too but sadly, was not available in time for our reveal.

There is a lot more to share of this dramatic transformation- photos coming soon.

IT’S LOAD IN DAY- CLIENTS STAY OUT!

Here is a peek at some of the madness in Natalie’s foyer that ensued while were installing her items. Note the plastic covered floors!

We are wrapping up my big Style At Home webisode project (Natalie’s condo) and I thought it might be fun to share with you what goes on to make a space picture (and in this case video) perfect. Earlier this year Los Angeles Interior Designer Nina Petronzio shared a similar post on her blog that I found very insightful as well.

1. PLAN AHEAD I will usually give myself two days before the video / photography team comes in to shoot. On the first day, I style the heck out of the space, take photos, upload them to my computer to view, edit, and then I sleep. Sleeping (very essential) and taking some time away from a space I have been working on for several weeks or months is crucial. I find the objectivity of a camera lens helpful in this area. On day two I return with fresh eyes and usually a few small bags of accessories to try. Often my initial instincts are correct and the original accessories work, but the perfectionist in me just has to make sure.

2. PACK WELL It drives me absolutely nuts when my team and I get to a space and I have absolutely no idea where anything is in the 12 or so bags I have lugged up the elevator and into the space. With my current pregnancy brain I rely heavily on the members of my team (I could not do what I do without Kristelle Pabon and Scott Poborsa, design assistant and installer extraordinaire) to know where things are. I usually keep things grouped by retailer in their respective bags so it makes returns easier.

3. BE CLEAN I think my team will back me up when I say I have drilled it into their heads that we are guests in a client’s space so we have to keep in clean. Yes, madness ensues in the process (boxes everywhere, styrofoam bits make it look like the first snow has fallen indoors) and it often looks worse before it looks better. But I have a slightly anal attitude about working clean (meaning trying to pack down boxes as we go, sweeping, etc.) and then leaving the space cleaner than when we left it. I was told at the very beginning of my career that a sign of a good trade is one that leaves no trace of themselves except for an improved situation (ie. no garbage bags, no sawdust on the floor, no paint drips, etc.). I take this advice very seriously and do my best to work clean and to clean up. For me this includes covering floors with plastic, ensuring every piece of furniture is equipped with felt pads so there is no chance of scratching the floors, bringing dust cloths, removing garbage before I leave, and keeping all my tools and installation supplies in one place on top of a towel so I can a) find them quickly and b) they don’t make a mess.

4. HIRE PROFESSIONALS For whatever reason, I struggle with hanging pictures perfectly centered and straight. And while I can snap a cute photo of my son, my photography skills are amateur at best. So I call in the pros to do what pros do. It saves me time and I get guaranteed results- worth every penny.

5. CLIENTS STAY AWAY! Like in home reno television shows, it’s really fun to see a client’s reaction when the space is completely styled with candles lit, the table set and flowers adorning each vase. It is of course not always possible to do this, but the TA DA moment is very special for me and for the client and try to make the reveal a part of the process. I’ve also thrown reveal “parties” where friends come over to see the space for the first time.

For more of my styling tips check out this article I wrote for The Toronto Star’s yourhome.ca.

WALMART: NOT JUST FOR SCHOOL SUPPLIES

While Walmart may not be the most obvious retailer for trendy home decor, it has always been one of my go to spots, especially for well priced and readily available accessories. For Natalie’s condo project, we found this great media unit, part of the George line (I LOVE the George clothing collection too) for under $200 (STEAL!). The price point is great, but what is even more fantastic is how it came in the box. All the parts were neatly packaged and labeled, and the instructions were clearly illustrated. I put this together myself (sans power tools) in approximately 30 minutes. What’s even more efficient, is that while you’re at Walmart picking up cute home goods, you can stock your fridge, grab a fun dress, buy some cosmetics and grab a pack of diapers at the same time. For this busy designer & wife / mother, the one-stop shop convenience Walmart provides makes running my business and my home so much easier.

George TV/Media Console $179 available at Walmart

WHAT DESIGNERS DO WHEN CLIENTS ARE AWAY

Hey clients- ever wonder what I do while you are away at work? To give you an idea, here is a behind the scenes look at the progress in Natalie’s condo. While she’s away working hard as the Senior Web Editor at Style At Home, I’ve been strategically planning what pieces will best fit her space.

I will sometimes use green painter’s tape to mark where desired pieces will go in a room. It’s great because it is low tack and won’t leave a huge adhesive mess. Using tape also helps me to communicate with my clients when they get home from work- if our schedules can’t coincide at the end of the day this is often how I will ask questions and get feedback. Being entrusted with a key to a client’s home definitely aids in making the transformation process timely and low stress.

BERESFORD INC. FURNITURE RESTORATION SHOP TOUR

Meet Tim Welsby. He is the brains (and brawn) behind Beresford Inc. While I was picking up paint for the gables in Natalie’s condo today, I asked if I could get a tour and see why it is SO worth it to hire a professional to spray your furniture for you. This is where the magic happens. This silver area is where furniture goes to get new life. The area is outfitted with a HUGE overhead vent- that he demonstrated for me. I was worried about Tim’s lungs but I think I’m more worried about his ears- this thing is LOUD! But it keeps the over spray contained and allows him to work on huge projects (a few antique armoires and reclaimed doors were waiting to be sprayed while I was on site).

Once upon a time I pondered if I could spray my kitchen cabinets myself. It can’t be that hard, right? Rent a sprayer, get some lacquer, throw down some tarps? When I asked Tim if anyone could spray, he politely shook his head no.

It takes a patient hand, technique, the proper space and equipment to do the job properly. Even the smallest of projects, like giving new life to a lamp or to a decorative accessory, requires proper technique. “When spraying small projects at home many people will try and get as much coverage as possible out of the spray can on the first go,” Tim says. “It is all about small, even bursts and light coats so you avoid drips and splotches.”

It was an interesting sneak peek at how furniture goes from drab to fab. His studio is an incredible chasm of furniture waiting for new life. I find it completely fascinating that a piece of furniture can go from tired and worn to sparkly and new with the hands of a pro. You can see Tim’s handywork in Natalie’s condo (reveal date in 7 days and counting!) or visit his website for more information. Here are a few images from his Toronto shop:

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SHOPPING GUIDE: NEW WALL WALLPAPER

As a fashion lover at heart (I love it when Carrie says in SATC2 that she’s been cheating on fashion with furniture- sometimes I feel that way too) it’s textiles and patterns that get this designer giddy. A fantastic pattern can enliven a room with more simple furniture elements, or add texture to a neutral colour palette.

This is the approach we are taking in Natalie’s condo. Grey sofa, white rug, white accessories (take a look at the design direction here) could look really boring or sterile without variety of pattern and texture.

So we’ve injected this (progress shot!):

I was introduced to this Marimekko wallpaper by the lovely Maria at New Wall. We installed it ourselves- which I normally leave to the pros but since the pattern match was pretty easy we decided to give it a go ourselves- big props to my assistant Kristelle Pabon.

New Wall has got some pretty incredible offerings. Maria was kind enough to give me an in-home preview of wallpaper launching in the fall (I am told I was the first to crack the spine on the NEW Marimekko collection, which features from pretty whimsical cow papers in lime and fuchsia). Take a look at some of the yummy offerings, or visit their website for more info:

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DESIGNERS & CLIENTS CHANGE THEIR MINDS

If you have been following my posts you will know I am working on a fun project with Style At Home magazine. You can read about it here, here and here.

Well since I reviewed the original design with Natalie (pictured here) we’ve made some changes:

Natalie felt grey couches would be a better option for her lifestyle. So instead of white we have selected the Goodwin Sofa from West Elm (#1). I found it at an incredible price (and in nearly new condition) on Craigslist (what what!). I love it for the colour & modern angular lines. I’m excited about (#2) these mirrors from Moveline Liquidators. Gently used from a hotel suite it has also helped keep us on budget. For a bit of softness against the lines of the sofa we’re going with a pair of these tables (#3) again from West Elm. We may spray them different colour- I’ll decide when they are in the space. And again, to add some softness, I am in love with (#4) this Marimekko wallpaper from Newwall. Maria from Newwall helped convince me this deserves an entire wall in the space. Cannot wait!

Keep reading about the process on Natalie’s blog and stay tuned for the final reveal.