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2014/06/24 / Shanan


The construction in our basement renovation is nearly complete – electrical done, drywall done, ceiling all closed in. It doesn’t seem particularly sexy but it’s SO great to not have to look at hanging wires and ugly exposed beams, and to imagine that these are going to soon feel like actual, liveable rooms.  Actual rooms!

I can’t seem to find photos of the ceiling pre-reno but above and below is the soon-to-be family room area as it looks now —


It’s kind of a blank slate, yes?  We installed the faux-wood laminate flooring and had that grey wall painted when we moved in, the latter will be the site of the built-in bookshelves (Chris is working on those as we speak!).  The dead propane fireplace insert will soon be replaced with a vaguely cooler fireplace insert… the word ‘fireplace insert’ is starting to lose meaning for me altogether after hemming and hawing over the matter for like a year.

But what I’m really thinking about is pink.

A pink living room.  This sh*t is happening.  Ninety five percent of our place is painted white so I figure this is my moment.  I’m picturing a lovely light pink coupled with the blonde ‘wood’ floors and offset by the charcoal grey shelving unit.  Feminine without being over the top.


I am consciously coupling with this pic of Gwyneth Paltrow’s L.A. pop-up shop, via Goop.  It’s basically perfect and is serving as my main inspiration point.  The colour listed for the walls is Benjamin Moore’s ‘Pink Hibiscus,’ which is quite a bit darker and more saturated in the actual colour swatch.  So I’m going to seek out my own colour that matches the photo — light and a little peachy.  Interior design by Nickey Kehoe.


I also love this wall and the whole colour scheme, too.  Wish I could locate the proper credits for this photo; I found it via Bettina Holst.


This one’s a bit of a wild card and definitely deeper and more coral in tone than my husband will tolerate.  Fair enough, my love.  Still keeping it in the vault to refer back to because the combination of pink with white, wood, plants and a hit of navy/black feels spot-on for me.  Vena Cava designer Lisa Mayock’s Brooklyn kitchen, photo by Maria Del Rio from Mother Mag.

What say you?  More progress and photos to come…

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2014/01/27 / Shanan


Or, what happens when two white girls in Collingwood decide they want to style an elegant but fun table to celebrate the Chinese New Year, and are forced to procure 85% of the items from a dollar store field trip (incidentally we also found this, and this!).  The good news is that YES, we now know it’s possible to create a Kate-Spade-esque look on a shoestring budget.  In case you had ever wondered, I mean. GUNG HAY FAT CHOY!!

chiense new year tablescape celebrate horse chopsticks styling

2014 is the year of the horse.  We painted these little guys shiny gold, and embellished disposable wooden chopsticks with paint and glitter tape.

chinese new year gold red pink table styling champagne

Champagne dreams (mini Prosecco budget).

chinese new year horse tablescape styling celebrate chopsticks gold

We used gold glitter tape to liven up the vintage glassware, made homemade paper fortune cookies, and scattered the table with confetti and crepe paper.


chinese new year table setting styling festive gold pink red horse

The freeform hanging ‘lantern’ was created from a sea of red and pink crepe paper and tied with a thin gold ribbon.



embellished chopsticks pink gold chinese new year

SOURCES: tablecloth fabric from Len’s Mill (classy…)  /  all white dishes from various stores in Chinatown Toronto  /  red glassware and gold ice bucket are vintage finds  /  confetti sequins, gold doilies, gold glitter tape, crepe paper, gold + white striped napkins, + horse figurines (okay gosh these were actually zebras!) from Dollar Tree and Dollarama  /  paper takeout boxes from Uline.

If you’d like to see some other tablescapes we’ve done, there’s the Winter Cabin and the Earthy Maximalist table.

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2013/09/26 / Shanan


This weekend I’ll be attending my 15th high school reunion.  My attitude is somewhat ambivalent; I went to my 10th and it was fun enough, although these days with Facebook the whole thing barely feels necessary — we’ve already seen who lost weight, who’s been married and divorced, who gave their baby a really weird name, etc.

At this stage, for me, it’s more about the possibility of rekindling a friendship than reminiscing about the past.  I often think about myself as a teenager but the high school experience itself doesn’t feel like it enters into the equation all that much.  I went to a private all-girls school and we wore uniforms; there were cliques but I kind of drifted around and did my own thing (or is that just how everyone likes to remember themselves?).

And so it is thus, on the cusp of the eve of this most fascinating of social rituals, the high school reunion, that I present to you a compendium of schoolgirls on film.  Some of them wore officially-sanctioned uniforms, some of their group’s own choosing.  Because if you wanna stand out, first you’ve got to learn to fit in.

Image above: probably (arguably) the best high school movie of all time, Heathers, 1988.  Dress code: power blazers.


The Virgin Suicides, 1999.


Clueless, 1995.


The Pink Ladies from Grease, 1978.


Catholic schoolgirls in Saved,2004.


Cruel Intentions, 1999.  Remember when Reese Witherspoon found the cocaine in Buffy’s crucifix necklace??


The senior girls do their hazing rituals in Dazed and Confused, 1993.


The Craft, 1996.  At one time we all kind of secretly wanted to be in this movie, right?


Pretty Persuasion, 2005.


Mean Girls, 2004.  On Wednesdays we wear pink!


An Education, 2009.


The Rancho Carne Toros practically lived in these uniforms.  BTW, I unapologetically consider this a minor contemporary classic.  Bring It On, 2000.


Luna Lovegood accessorizing her Hogwarts uniform in Harry Potter (one of those sequels).


Buttoned-up schoolgirls in Picnic at Hanging Rock, 1975.


He gets an honourary pass (and an A+ for unbridled enthusiasm).  Rushmore, 1998.

Any good ones I’ve missed?

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2013/06/14 / Shanan


A colour pairing post?  Yes, I’m going there.  Neon yellow, acid lemon, pink, peach, nude… call them what you want.  Maybe it’s so 2012 (gasp!) but I still love this fresh, summery palette for interiors and wardrobe.

Images above: Christian Siriano SS12 collection look, neon and nude Maggie large frame envelope clutch from Colette by Colette Hayman, child’s patchwork quilt dress by Harriet & Daughters on Etsy.


Teen bedroom for SF Decorator Showcase 2012, designed by Em Design Interiors.  Left image by Alex Amend for Houzz; right image by Helynn Ospina via SFGirlbyBay.  And in case you wanted to know: wallpaper on the ceiling by Timothy Sue, ‘Compass’ chandelier by Apparatus Studio.



Images above: Inside Out Magazine, Nov/Dec 2011 issue.  Photos by Sam McAdam, styling by Vanessa Colyer Tay.  Via Fancy! New Zealand Design Blog.

Inside Out is a great magazine out of Australia; it seems that every time I come across styling or interiors photography I like these days, it’s always from Australia.  Something in the water (besides weird creatures that will kill you)?

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2013/05/31 / Shanan


Friends and family who live far away are often asking me to send photos of our place, and I always stall them out or change the subject because a) I’m not a great photographer, and b) 90% of the time our house is a mess, and when it’s not, I rarely think to take pictures.  I can deal with clutter and crumbs… if you’ve got The Selby shooting it.

Insecure pre-amble aside, I’ve just got to stop being so precious about the whole thing. When we saw our house-to-be for the first time about a year and a half ago, the room that would be Theo’s looked like this (cue ‘before’ shot):


Note that clearly people don’t really ‘stage’ their houses for sale up here (at least not people selling houses in our price bracket…).  The room felt really dark, the walls were a sad beige and the old cheap carpeting smelled like cat pee.  Oh and looking at this photo, I completely forgot that all the window and door trim and the baseboards used to be unfinished pine.  Mmm.