Friday, December 31, 2010

Sign-off and thanks

Happy New Year everyone. I hope 2011 is a happy, fun filled year of design and new discoveries for you all.

I unofficially signed off from blogging a while back, but just want to say how much I enjoyed blogging about Ottawa's great artists, shops, and design. Our city has so much to offer, and I encourage you to visit some of the stores and artists I've profiled and all the other great ones out there, too.

While more blogging isn't on the radar right now for me -- other than reading everyone's great posts -- I'm still taking on new clients and helping them with their decorating projects. If you live in Ottawa and need help with colour selection, space planning, window treatments, furniture/accessory placement, and room design, please get in touch with me. I'd love to help you out.

All the best,


Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Great Ottawa Senators Decorating Adventure: Part 4

Well, it's Sunday, and as promised, here are final images of the Great Sens room! We still need a couple of posters and a small accent pillow, but the window treatment is up, matching shams are on the bed, funky lighting is installed, logos are on the walls, a fan looking like it has miniature hockey nets around the bulbs is up, and we have storage. I took the shots tonight, and probably should have waited until the morning, but I really wanted to post them up today so you could sneak a peak! Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Designing Woman

The Great Ottawa Senators room isn't quite finished (next week, I promise), so I'm interrupting coverage to bring you Designing Woman: Industrial Designer extraordinaire.

Here in Ottawa, we're really fortunate to have Carleton University where Industrial Design is a key program. And, fabulously, there are a lot of amazing young women enrolled.

Bonnie Van Tassel is one of these women. She has just completed her fourth year at Carleton, and is obviously driven, creative, and very, very talented.

Here are some examples of Bonnie's work for easy viewing. And, if you're interested in seeing more, click here for Bonnie's web site.

*** A word of warning: prepare to be impressed. This is a Designing Woman with an eye to the future!


Bonnie Van Tassel ...

Wazo Lounge Chair

This piece was designed for the Asahikawa International Furniture Design Competition. The challenge was to design an elegant piece of furniture that celebrates wood as a material and shows its beauty. From the beginning, Bonnie envisioned a flow of grain and texture. She worked in quarter scale (amazing but true!) to create a comfortable and beautiful lounge chair. The end product is a flexed fan of mahogany, cherry, walnut and maple, finished with olive oil and brass hardware.

Portable Seating: Axis

This piece was designed with mobility and portability in mind. The challenge was to design an ultra-portable seat which would be able to withstand any grown adult sitting on it, while being compact enough to be easily taken on a bus or carried around. The seat is made of birch russian plywood, ultra-suede fabric and high-density polyurethane padding, and weighs only six pounds.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Great Ottawa Senators Decorating Adventure: Part 3

Happy Sunday. I hope everyone had a great weekend!
Work on the Great Ottawa Senators Decorating Adventure slowed a bit this week, but here are a couple of shots showing how amazing everything looks with the black chair rail up. The wall colours just pop right out now! Especially the amazing red. I've moved the bed towards the window to gain some floor space, started outfitting the bed (note black coverlet and ever useful Hudson's Bay blanket!), and added an Ottawa Senators floor mat. Obviously, there's still lots to come including more bedding, a fun window treatment, lighting, storage, and other accessories, so do stay tuned. Enjoy your week! And, if anyone's decorated using a sports theme, please send along photos, and I'll post them up so everyone can see! Look forward to hearing from you!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Great Ottawa Senators Decorating Adventure: Part 2

Hi everyone. The Ottawa Senators are in a bit of trouble right now, but our room transformation is coming along fabulously! Here are some images of what's been done so far thanks to my extremely talented painting husband. The walls are finished now, and we are just about ready to add on a chair rail, which was very precisely measured, cut, and painted black. Again, thanks to talented husband.

BTW, we used a new Benjamin Moore paint line called "Aura". While it's quite expensive, it goes on easily with great coverage, and is environmentally friendly, too. Normally, red requires many coats to get the right intensity, especially if the paint is not high quality. But, using a tinted primer as our first coat, we only needed one coat of the red because the quality of "Aura" is so high.

I hope you all have a fabulous week! I'll be posting on tile patterns later this week, so check back when you can. And, I'll have Part 3 of our decorating adventure up soon, too. Bye for now.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Great Ottawa Senators Decorating Adventure: Part 1

Well, I think spring is finally here and that means painting time! I've been dreaming of redoing my son's bedroom the whole winter, and now the warmer weather is here, it's time to get started!

Here's a picture of his bedroom now. It's actually quite cheery, and it's worked well for us because I kept the wall colour that was there before he was born, and just added stuff to brighten the room until it was redecorated for him. But, now he's really a little boy, and it's time for a fabulous change reflecting his personality and the things he loves.

So, with no further ado, here are the colours I've chosen for him, and some marvellously complementary fabric for the roman shade and accent pillows. Yes, it is most definitely bright, and, yes, I can hear my college instructors saying, "Jen, red does not go in a bedroom." But, what's a girl to do when your son is a hockey fanatic and lives and breathes for the Ottawa Senators ... !! The answer's pretty simple actually, and we're all having a lot of fun pulling it together. I'll keep you posted on developments, so stay tuned for the next installment of The Great Ottawa Senators Decorating Adventure. Have a fabulous week!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Delfina Falcao

Ottawa artist Delfina Falcao is one busy and extremely talented lady -- when she's not creating gorgeous glass murals, she's forming lovely glass lampshades and one of a kind area rugs. Here's a photo of Delfina in her studio and some examples of her outstanding work. I especially love the glass mural hanging in the bathroom. What a fabulous way to add pizzaz to a contemporary space. For more information, you can reach Delfina at 613-599-9540 or Happy viewing and imagining!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cheesecake extraordinaire

Well, luckily my Easter cheesecake was a resounding success, and it wasn't hard either! So, as promised, here's the recipe for the next time you're craving a fabulous finish to a fabulous meal. I pulled this recipe a few years ago from a Gourmet magazine spread called In Pursuit of Cheesecakes, where Gourmet says it is their absolute favourite in the creamy category. And, wow, is this ever true. Sorry I don't have a photo -- I kind of missed the boat on that one, and it was eaten way too fast! -- but it really is a little taste of heaven. Hope you enjoy!

Three Cities of Spain Cheesecake (from Gourmet Magazine, November 1999)

1 graham crumb crust
3 8-oz packages cream cheese softened
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar

For topping
16 oz sour cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

** I made this into a lemon cheesecake, so I also added 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of lemon zest to the filling, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the topping. I suggest, though, that you taste test, just to make sure you have the right amount of lemon/sugar that you like.

Prepare crumb crust. Stir together 1.5 cups finely ground graham crackers, 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted), 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. I also added 1 teaspoon of grated lemon rind. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 24-centimeter springform pan. Fill right away or chill up to 2 hours.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy and add eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla and sugar, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.

Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips)in middle of oven 45 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but centre is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken. Let stand in baking pan on a rack 5 minutes. Leave oven on.

Make topping:

Stir together sour cream, sugar, and vanilla. Drop spoonfulls of topping around edge of cake and spread gently over centre, smoothing evenly. Bake cake with topping 10 minutes.

Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen and cool completely in springform pan on rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.) Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove side from pan and transfer cake to a plate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Everyday miracles

Whew! What a week! Work was busy, and on top of it, my back decided to give me a hard time. Have you ever had one of those stiff necks that just won't go away no matter how many ways you've tried to fix it? Well, that's been me -- the person ahead of you in the hallway who has to move their ENTIRE body when they want to look at you behind them. Yep, one of those weeks ...

Anyways, I want to share something a bit different with you today. It's not exclusive, it's not even related to design, but it is related to life. Here goes ...

Last weekend, we were lucky to visit my sister and her husband at their 150-year old home just north of Kingston in Eastern Ontario. We'd been planning this visit for weeks, but for one reason or another -- hockey practices, colds, flus, you name it -- we just had to keep putting it off. Finally, we got around to it, and we had a fabulous day -- celebrating birthdays, singing and playing guitar, walking along soggy, but beautiful roads, and admiring all the work and love which my sister and her husband are putting into fixing up their home.

The highlight of the day, though, was definitely our marshmallow roast in the backyard. You see, their house is no ordinary house -- it was built in 1862 for the manager of a mill, and for this mill to work, well you had to have water -- lots of it, running fast ....

So, as you can imagine, their backyard is pretty amazing, and their house is, too. Everywhere you go, you hear the sound of running water, and everywhere you look, you see running water, or something else beautiful and wild. No cars, no traffic, no fabric swatches and paint samples to better, or perhaps, confuse the situation -- just nature designing itself in its own miraculous way. And, what a miracle it is indeed ...

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and if you're celebrating Easter, Happy Easter to you, too. We're spending Easter with my parents, and I'm cooking up a storm getting ready for their visit. Tomorrow, I'm slated to make a lemon cheesecake, and if it turns out, I'll share the recipe with you next week. Hugs from Ottawa.

View from my sister's house and backyard. In summer, you can swim in the pond near the base of the rapids. And, they have a huge vegetable and herb garden beside the house. I'm truly jealous about this!

Marshmallowing. The kids had a blast in front of the campfire. That's my sister's house being renovated in the background. The dilapidated brown building to the right is the old mill. I've heard someone just bought it, and I'm looking forward to seeing how they fix it up.

Apparently, roasted marshmallows are one thing, but even better are roasted marshmallow sandwiches with chocolate chips!! Mmm ... mmm ... good.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Unique Hotels: King Pacific Lodge

If you're looking for tranquility this summer, you might want to consider the King Pacific Lodge -- a unique floating fishing lodge moored in the shelter of Barnard Harbour, British Columbia. This beautiful, 17-room resort is truly serene -- a unique eco-paradise located right in the middle of the Canadian wilderness. Enjoy fly fishing, wildlife tours, hiking, and spa treatments during the day, and then at night, come back to your peaceful suite equipped with a king-sized bed, refined linens, and slate-tiled bathroom with soaker tub. Sounds good, doesn't it? True relaxation in the middle of the wilderness! Enjoy these beautiful images and I'll see you on Monday. Have a terrific weekend!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Greening up accessories

In a world where green design is king, Vancouver's Ouno Design is making waves. Ouno (pronounced OO-no) makes one-of-a-kind decor accessories using mostly vintage materials like antique and modern Japanese cottons and linens, mod-1960s and 1970s European graphic prints, midcentury-modern woven textiles, and sheepskin and fur reclaimed from vintage coats. Here are some images of Ouno's fabulous designs, including marvellous pillows made from vintage fabrics and bedspreads made from vintage scarves. Do you see the beaver in the first image? Well, he's a vintage scarf from the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal! I'd love to have that bedspread, and wouldn't it look absolutely terrific in an open-concept, warehouse loft?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Wall tattoos, anyone?

As many of you know, I love wall tattoos. They are a terrific way to add visual interest to a room, and easy to remove when it's time for a change! Here are some images I particularly like from Surface Collective, a very talented design company based in Vancouver. And, for more wall tattoos, check out my earlier posts on Wall Juice, a company based in Ottawa.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Unique hotels: Part 3

Cranes are huge machines that lift things, right? They're big and industrial, best suited to constuction sites and loading docks. But, imagine a crane where you actually spend the night, high above the water, looking over a harbour, and a fabulous lighthouse! Well, that's exactly what's possible at the Harlingen Harbour Crane in Harlingen, the Netherlands.

In it's previous life, the Harlingen Harbour Crane was used to unload timber freight from Russia and Scandinavia. Today, there's room for you and one other, to spend the night in the crane's beautifully appointed main room and cabin - complete with lovely bed, Eames Chairs, mini bar, a large roof patio, and huge panoramic views through wall and ceiling windows. And, guess what! You can even operate the crane! Here are some photos of the Harlingen Harbour Crane and you can click here for more information on the Crane and other very unique Harlingen accommodation. Here's to a fabulous weekend, and I'll see you on Monday with some ideas for your walls!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sharon Kelly - Ottawa art

I start to crave colour around this time of year. Big, bold, beautiful colour -- the kind of colour you find in summer; exotic locales; or gorgeous, textured paintings like those of Ottawa artist, Sharon Kelly. Here are some examples of Sharon's work -- all kaleidiscopes of bright, vibrant colour. Each totally meet my summer cravings, and I hope you enjoy them, too. BTW, Sharon's work is available through the Dale Smith Gallery in Ottawa, and more examples of her work are displayed on the Gallery website.