Child’s Play

Home Sweet, Mom and Babe

I’ve been dreaming of a makeover for our basement playroom. Book shelves, reading corners, bunting, chalk paint, soft flooring, cozy cushions, art supplies and furniture in a tiny size are all on my vision board. Here we go! all images from Pinterest, the perfect place to collect your thoughts.


Nursery Reveal

Home Sweet

As we get ready for a little one’s arrival, things are all falling into place. Her nursery will never look like a STYLE AT HOME magazine, but it certainly does have lots of personal touches. The gallery wall is full of images, culled from our wedding, our travels, my childhood nursery, hand drawn art from the Disney studio and the decor is mostly second hand, repainted and made over … with lots of love. It’s eclectic and busy with a soothing palette, and I can’t wait to sit in that chair with baby in my arms.

Easter in the Garden 


I’m excited for the chill that is absent in the spring air. I can see the grass greening up. I love a good hand-drawn aerial map of the flower beds. It’s time to reinvent, after a long winter. 

This is phase one. After borrowing my sister in law’s spray paint, attacking some old, tired-looking pots and getting a few starter plants to help me see it coming into focus, bright and boho yard transformation is well-underway! 

DIY pots in two-tone jewel tones and gold. Mixing old and weathered with the new. 

What is your yard up to? Patio or balcony? Indoor nook with some indoor gems?

Gallery Wall 

Home Sweet

our love of gallery walls is a secret to no one. Anywhere that a large painting doesn’t fit, we have a gallery wall, full of found art, high and low pieces and mementos from our travels. 

Here are two of my favourite vignettes; the first is beside our stove in our kitschy boho kitchen.  

 A mixed media piece of zebra bums, decoupage, a wine trivet, hand painted letters, keys and evil eyes from a friend’s Greek wedding, the old iron match dispenser from my family cottage and a sassy vintage plate, redesigned with ‘la-di fucking da’ from Lousongmade.  

 And the powder room with a power-punch of colour that everyone said was a bad idea, but which we have lovingly filled with quirky art and items that make peeing a pleasure. Who says bathrooms can’t be a conversation starter? 

Travel photography by talented friends.    
Weird unicorns, spouting importational phrases and old photos of relatives from Jamaica. 

  Illustrations of sea life, menacing toddlers, and more cheeky table settings-as-art.   
If it makes you smile, put it up proudly. 

Big Time Sensuality

Home Sweet

I love a room with a sense of identity, quirk and a lush vibe. Here are some visuals that really fit the bill. Rooms can definitely be sexy. What room or corner of your home inspires you and makes you feel transported?

These are spaces and feelings that I aspire to, plus a few New Year’s resolutions thrown in for good measure.

*all photo links and credits available here





Serenity… now. Wouldn’t we all love a home that transports us and soothes us, stimulates us and rocks us to sleep? Something full of texture and contradictions. Something that feels timeless and makes us live in the present. In the New Year, my goal is to appreciate the beauty around me, to take comfort in the refuge of family, friends and home. To say ‘yes’ more. And ‘no’ more. And to floss regularly.

Happy New Year and cheers to a beautiful year ahead.

xo A

Maximalism, to the Max

Home Sweet

Minimalism has been the buzz for quite some time and although I love the aesthetic, in theory, I could never reconcile my love of objects, texture, pattern and colour with the minimalist ideals that seem to require concealment and pared back clean lines. The cleanliness appeals, but it feels so austere. It’s like getting an arty, but spare amuse-bouche when what you’re really craving is the tasting menu for two, all plated and dropped on your table at once. With that analogy, I realize, is the necessary aspect of sharing the experience. Tasting it and enjoying it all, together, in context. Talking about the many ideas and bouncing between them, rather than just honing in on one. My home is full of visual references, culled from experiences and passions. And I think I like it that way.

I am much happier, I’ve realized, surrounded by maximum visual interest and objects that may not be the singular ‘piece de résistance’ of the room, but which contribute instead to an overall treat for the senses.

Sensory overload and tackiness are the far end of this spectrum. You can take it too far. Subjectively. But, when done well, I’m overjoyed by the idea of maximizing the impact of a space, in as many nuanced ways as possible.

From discreet to over the top, here is an ode… to the max.


This Urban Barn story is more subtle, but still plays with the maximalist ideal: tone on tone, but with big ideas; big texture; perforations, sheep wool in muted jewel tones; amplified size and focal pieces that keep the eye bouncing around the image. Remove a few objects and it could easily change its vibe.


A more elegant take on the Mad Hatter’s tea party with some adult sophistication, monochromatic palette and global influence. Here the ‘more’ is in replicating details: more lantern pendant lights; more candles; more flowers; more pillows. There is a lot going on here, but the colour scheme keeps it feeling cohesive.


Here, the white backdrop creates a clean surface for a lot of detail. Colours pop and no shade is off limits. The colourful bookshelf shares focus with textiles, and painted furniture. Everything is spaced out to keep the eye flowing, and the wood textures help add variety, but at its heart this room is a well curated version of a rainbow, with artisanal and folk influences, housed in an old world shell.


This room relies on paint and fabric to get big impact and to emphasize the importance of every part to the whole. The turquoise wall, crystal and metallic chandeliers, bright artwork and jewel tone hues in the accessories add richness to the already sumptuous velvet couch. Add to that a graphic floor rug, splashy artwork and a side table, sideboard and accessories from a variety of styles and the look reflects a love of many, rather than one specific decor genre. 


This gallery wall, velvet tufted couch, woven stool, statement lighting and movie theatre seats bring every point of reference into one shot. Quirky, classic, playful, modern, beachy, global, retro, mod… the gang’s all here.


From the book ON Maximalism, this cover shot has the same fun mashup as the previous image. Clear trends run towards combining eclectic furniture styles with patterns, texture, books, collections, stand out items (stuffed peacock, anyone?), fur, pieces from a variety of cultures and maximizing both the floor space and vertical space. Take it all the way to the roof.


I’m totally drawn to the texture and bold pattern of this rug, which picks up in the cushions on the couch. There is definitely a palette at play, but the motif is confident and playful. Mixed wood and classic details like the chandelier and Chinoiserie ceramic stool make the eye travel, not unlike the designer/owner who clearly has a love of world cultures.


Handicraft pillows, yellow lamps, sarape blanket, coffee table art books, abstract polka dots, man’s head, stripes, art in a variety of styles. This place screams ‘an artist lives here’. I don’t know if that’s true, but the tone of the room is anything but severe and restrained. Maximum colour and texture. To vet a piece, just remember, … if you like it, the answer is ‘yes’.


Too far? Paintings on the ceiling? Flags and quilt squares hung from the raftes? Every surface covered? Yup. This room is a little much for me, but I think that has more to do with the moody colours and overall darkness. If this were done in cheerful Frida Kahlo inspired pinks, greens and mustard yellow I’d be head over heels.


Here each item is precious and stands on its own. Satisfying. Together, it’s a feast for the senses.


This indoor-outdoor room looks like a film set. Part jungle, part royal love nest, I’d feel transported just reclining into this pile of pillows. The lushness of the plants, the warmth of the lighting, the texture overload… carved furniture and regal textiles. OTT!


The classic bones of this room, molding, crystal and carpets, all speak to old-world tastes, but when you sneak in some Marilyn, floor cushions, sexy velour couches, fancifully upholstered chairs and a seat that cops a feel, you have an unexpected menagerie that makes a maximum impact. Are you a maximalist, minimalist, or somewhere in between? In my heart of hearts, the max is where I’m most at home.

The Sweetest Thing: Cara Carmina – OOAK Artist Profile


I was smitten with the bubbly, sweet personality and equally adorable artwork of Norma Andreu – the creator of Cara Carmina. I was first pulled in by her beautiful greeting cards, which featured illustrations that were vivid, imaginative and cute, with just the right amount of strangeness.

As the Cara Carmina website (!portfolio) describes in the artist’s statement, the influences of Mexico’s culture and art, as well as a background in children’s illustration really bring together a playful set of circumstances in the work – and the results are just magical. Check out the website for pages and pages of portfolio proof – and you’ll fall for her work, too, I dare you not to.

I would love a set of the Frida dolls for my little one’s room (or my own, let’s be honest). They are so much cooler than the plastic, cookie cutter dolls mass-marketed to our young folks.

If dolls aren’t your thing, clothing, dioramas, cards, textiles and paper dolls are also on offer and available in her online shop, as well as on Etsy (

Cell phone cases (definitely something I am planning to get for myself!)

Cell phone cases (definitely something I am planning to get for myself!)


Textiles in full effect: cushion covers with a sense of humour.

Sweet wall decals.

Sweet wall decals.

Dress to impress.

Dress to impress.

I heart this.

I heart this.

Norma was absolutely lovely in person and so humble about her talents. More and more people seem to be clued in to the fact that her work is a hot commodity. According to her Etsy page, she has back orders and a waiting list for some of her designs, so … get on it! Supporting artists by taking a piece of their imagination and heart home with you is the perfect way to breathe life into your own little nest. Definitely check out her work and look for her at future One Of A Kind Shows.

Cara Carmina’s Blog:

All images culled from the web, or taken at the show.

High Seas and Summertime Style

Home Sweet

Taking a style cue from the textures and smell of summer, I got myself a new fragrance: Vent Du Sud, by Lise Watier. This Canadian-made fragrance is the smell of my vacation, distilled and prettily packaged. I went into the pharmacy with a few sheets torn out of a magazine, ready to treat myself a little (it’s been two years since I got a new fragrance). The scent is layered with jasmine and vanilla, with a definite island or beach vibe. It will live, coolly, in the fridge to mist myself on my way out the door.


It seems like everyone has the heat, seashore and breeziness of the season on the brain (despite hearing from my friend that she is currently shooting winter and Christmas spreads for her magazine). I am happy to stay firmly in the now. So here’s to summer and the ways we can keep it around us, all year long.


Summer cook out tea towels. Campy and wonderful, from Anthropologie.

A vignette inspired by coral and sea side iconography. Found on

A vignette inspired by coral and sea side iconography. Found on


A white bed spread, textured pillows and a wall hanging of twine-wrapped stones. If I felt up to it, I’d haul some home from the beach and build myself a similar art piece. No mobiles, please.


More texture and beading and faux fur, oh my! With an ornately carved headboard, reminiscent (or literally) from travels abroad.

A very literal interpretation of the theme.

A very literal interpretation of the theme.

Sea shell knobs and hooks. Found on

Sea shell knobs and hooks. Found on

I love the textural quality of the ropes in different gauges, and little creatures from the deep.

I love the textural quality of the ropes in different gauges, and little creatures from the deep.

Found art.

Found art.

A quiet retreat; calming, cool and collected.

A quiet retreat; calming, cool and collected.

15 shades of blue; a great mash up of beachy items.  Found on

15 shades of blue; a great mash up of beachy items. Found on

The right kind of whale tale. Perfect with ropes and soft accents.

The right kind of whale tale. Perfect with ropes and soft accents. Found on

Anchors away! I'm hooked on this anchor accessory. Pun intended.

Anchors away! I’m hooked on this anchor accessory. Pun intended. Found on

What summer inspired touches are warming up your days?

Muska: Boutique Profile – Santorini, Greece


On vacation in Greece, my friend (the bride) found a beautiful boutique in the maze of Thira’s streets where she purchased gorgeous jewellery and a tunic. I was smitten and she literally drew me a map of how to track down the shop. Belted, or loose, the tunic she found was on my must-have list the second I saw it.

The day after the wedding; the bride, Lindsay, was ready to relax on the beach.  Tunic/beach coverup from Muska - Thira, Santorini.

The day after the wedding; the bride, Lindsay, was ready to relax on the beach. Tunic/beach coverup from Muska – Thira, Santorini.

Muska has jewellery, textiles and two items of clothing. But the two items were both pretty amazing. Keeping it small and doing it right were exactly the right choice for this boutique. The tunic they offered had interesting details and beautiful fabric. This would definitely be my travel souvenir, plus my wife was equally excited to share this piece. We don’t see the bride enough in Toronto life to worry about bumping into each other in the same outfit, and she was more than happy to share her find!

Lindsay, the bride, rocked this entire outfit the day after her wedding. Looking so perfectly relaxed and stylish.

Lindsay, the bride, rocked this entire outfit the day after her wedding. Looking so perfectly relaxed and stylish. The other item on offer was also a tunic, in rust and cream. This blue variation summed up the colours we’d been seeing in Santorini, so the choice was a no-brainer. 

Each piece of jewellery was distinctive and the colours were exactly as you’d expect from the Greek islands. Statement pieces, indeed.

Gems set in ornate teardrop settings, in a rainbow of colours. I love the turquoise and coral with gold.

Gems in ornate teardrop settings, combined in a rainbow of colours. I love the turquoise stones with coral and gold.

Variations on a theme.

Variations on a theme.

My favourite earrings. The Butterfly. The colour was just amazing.

My favourite earrings. The Butterfly. The colour was just amazing.

My wife and I got matching bracelets.

My wife and I got matching bracelets.

Rings - too many to choose!

Rings – too many to choose!

We could have happily bought out the entire stock, but reasonably decided to leave with a tunic (to share), a pair of bracelets and a gorgeous handwoven, organic cotton hand towel for our guest bath. Now we will think of our travels every time we see it.

Hand-woven organic cotton towel.

Hand-woven organic cotton towel.

Muska‘s owner/operator was friendly and lovely to speak with; he even sent us to a delicious restaurant for our final night in Thira. All they need to do now is to get themselves onto Google Maps and to set up a web store. Good bye, Santorini! And Thank you – Efkharisto!