Yourhomers aren't quite ready to pull an Ellen Page and fertilize their plants with human urine, according to last week's poll. The majority, or two-thirds of readers who voted, said they wouldn't pee on their plants, while the remaining third said they'd be willing to give it a shot. Read the full story.
This week, I'm turning my attention from caring for the landscape to admiring it, and am wondering if the view out your window influences your decision when you're scouting a new home or neighbourhood? Can you cope with a view of a brick wall or is some greenery a must? Read the full story, then let me know in the front page poll.
And, for some more weekend reading be sure to check out:- Tales of a renovation gone horribly wrong
As I not-so-slowly slip into vacation mode, I've been thinking a lot about views. You see, currently I've got a rather amazing view of Toronto from my new apartment.
Looking out from my balcony, I'm reminded both of how massive Toronto really is, and how the urban sprawl really has its own beauty to offer. It's pretty during the day, too.
But, of course, as I anxiously watch the clock in anticipation for my East Coast vacation, I'm also struck by the view from my childhood home - which, admittedly, is almost as far as you can get from admiring downtown Toronto!
This line of thought always brings to mind the experience of a family member, who would recall how their home was purchased,k in part, for the lovely view of the sunset. The first year, they watched the sunset almost every night. The second year, most nights. By the third year in their new home, that spectacular view was largely forgotten.
So, I wonder, how much does the view affect your decision when you're scouting new neighbourhoods and vacation destinations? Does a brick wall (or a neighbour's living room) deter you? And, if you love your view, how do you make sure you keep appreciating it?
Sure, Christmas is still more than four months away. But, in my world, that means that holiday-themed products and press releases have been landing in my mailboxes for months!
Yesterday I popped over to Rock-It Promotion's holiday preview event (rumour has it that even the jolly old elf was in attendance, though I missed him), and got a peek at how holiday season 2010 will look at PC Home.
I, of course, am a fan of their modern colourway - full of slates, silvers and shiny, shimmery accents!
I bought similar stockings from my local Loblaws last year - but am tempted to upgrade to this new, slightly less embellished version.
Another fun entertaining idea - plates and wine glasses that slot together!
So, are you feeling festive yet?
This is what a new apartment looks like at Ikea.
(For more of an explanation, see yesterday's blog post.)
Generally speaking, a house (or condo) is always more than just a roof above your head. It speaks to your lifestyle choices, your future plans and your personal style. Really, it’s an extension of you, and the life you want – as well as the one you want to showcase to friends and acquaintances.
But sometimes, when you step back and take a look at that home, you realize that it’s all wrong. That you’ve somehow ended up on a path towards backyards and nurseries and hour-long commutes when really all you want is a small space where you can actually keep up with the maintenance and cleaning.
And then, on a deeper level, you realize that nothing about it really reflects you at all.
A few months ago, this realization came crashing down around me. My marriage had crumbled and Casa Speedy reflected the life I thought I was supposed to have – the husband, the home office, the room for a nursery and space for a family to grow, plus a backyard where I was supposed to play gardener.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved that house. I loved the gleaming hardwood floors, the fun feminine damask wallpaper and the storage space. But I didn’t love what it represented. Nor the fact that I was miserable much of the time I was living there.
To some extent, the house had become yet another trap in a life where I was already feeling stuck on a path I wasn’t all that confident about. Sure, from the outside it looked like I had everything together – a lovely husband, a great job, a beautiful home – but my days were filled with begrudging obligations and a sense of dread.
So, in quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do – I am, after all, a planner who chose to become a journalist at age 7 – I moved out in April. I left the house that I’d poured money and creative energy into, and the life that I’d spent the past six and a half years carefully building. I had no plan.
First I stayed with friends, living out of suitcases. Tears, wine and chocolate were all on the regular menu, but slowly my new life started to take shape. I started exercising again, even signing up for a half marathon in the fall. I stopped having migraines for the first time in five years – a miracle unto itself, as those blasted things had created a further level of rules and restrictions on my life; like no caffeine after noon and always getting eight hours of sleep at night. I reconnected with friends. I started to rediscover things that I’d loved, like music and books. Suddenly, I had stories to tell when friends and family made their weekly calls. And I started smiling again.
Logistically, it was a nightmare. For a homebody like me to be separated from my routines, my carefully chosen baking supplies, my pet and my full wardrobe was a recipe for daily annoyances. Whether it was another morning of getting ready and finding only one strap for my preferred frock, or wishing I had a pair of shoes that were still back in my other life, there was a flood of frustrations that came along with my decision. Yet I never really wavered. Instead I pulled on another summer dress, a different pair of shoes, and went out and bought that new baking pan.
And, throughout the process, it killed me to not to write about all of this. After trying to pretend for so long that everything was OK, I wanted to shout the truth from the rooftops, along with words of reassurance that yes, in fact, I’m happy now. I wanted to explain why I wasn’t writing about my renovations and decorating projects. But I couldn’t. Because life is messy and emotions are complicated.
Now, four months later, we’ve decided to sell Casa Speedy and I’ve got my own space again. Newly moved in, there’s still a lot of work to do, but it’s my own little grey, white and purple haven. As for the story this one tells – it’s shiny, new and full of opportunities, much like my life these days. It’s tiny, but it’s all mine, and I can’t wait to share it with you – but that’s a post for another day.
Whether you're settled on a sunny roof-top patio or under the shade of a backyard tree, Shop like a Pro's Angela Koszuta (firstname.lastname@example.org) has handpicked everything you need for stylish sipping:
Babushkups set of three nesting cups, $19.95. Available at Rolo, www.rolostore.com.
Gin and Titonic ice cube tray, $8.95. Available at Rolo, www.rolostore.com.
Liqua Pitcher from Umbra, $110. Available at www.umbra.com.
Garden Beverage Stand, $299. Available at Crate & Barrel, www.crateandbarrel.ca or call 1-888-657-4109.
Ron Arad for Alessi Chiringuito Ice Bucket, $78. Available at Rolo, www.rolostore.com.
Mojito Muddler by Trudeau, $9.99. Available at www.trudeau.ca.
PC Home Classico Glassware, $1.99 to $3.49. Available at Loblaws stores, www.presidentschoice.ca.
Glass drink dispenser, $99. Available at Pottery Barn, www.potterybarn.ca.
Cocktail shaker from Trudeau, $34.99. Available at www.trudeau.ca.
Last week, I confessed to being a little bit creeped out by garden gnomes and it turns out that many Yourhomers are also disturbed, or at least not fans of, the little guys.
The majority, 62 per cent, say they wouldn't put one in their outdoor space, while the remaining 38 per cent are happy to provide homes for some of the 26,000 garden gnomes sold in Canada on eBay last year. Read the full story.
Continuing on in our garden theme, this week we're tackling another kind of weird garden trend: using human urine as fertilizer. Would you give this a try (or do you already)? Let me know in the front page poll.
And, for some more weekend reading, check out:
As one of those poor souls lacking a cottage to mooch this weekend, I'm consoling myself with a Liberty Village brunch and shopping jaunt, and in preparation I've been scouting the West Elm website. Here are my top five favourite finds for fall:
These studded wool pillows covers, $34 - $39, hit all the right notes for me: the wool adds weight and warmth for the cooler weather, while the studs offer just a bit of rock star style.
I also adore the silhouettes pillow cover, $30. It would be a great graphic punch for my sofa, and I find the silhouettes a bit of an unexpected touch compared to the more abstract patterns I've been drawn to lately.
Still on the silhouettes theme - I'm spotting a trend here for my own fall decor - I find this set of dog rectangle dessert plates ($24) pretty adorable. Plus, I love the styling in this shot - I've really got to start saving those wine corks before the temperatures dip!
It wouldn't be autumn without a great throw, and this chunky knit purl-stitch throw, $59, looks to be the right weight to handle being casually draped over the sofa to cozy up my space while also having enough heft to keep me warm on those chilly evenings!
So, nothing about books really says fall - after all, I certainly get some serious reading done poolside - but I still was happy to browse across this neat Herringbone Spine Bookcase, $199. It's a unique way to display some cherished titles - and definitely piqued my interest after my recent quest for creative book storage solutions!
While I've been happily eying all of the velvets, studs and chunky knits that are making their way to store shelves in time for fall, I'm also stubbornly holding on to visions of patio season. And it's not too late to spruce up and enjoy your outdoor space!
So in the spirit of hanging on to that summer feeling, here are the top outdoor living trends for 2010 from Andrew Bockner of Andrew Richard Designs:
Boutique chic: “If it’s not possible to come home and instantly create that environment, choose your favorite aspect of the luxurious boutique hotel and use it as an inspiration or starting point to build from season to season," says Bockner in a release. "Though these days we like to be instantly gratified, there is still something to be said for adding to your perfect outdoor oasis to personalize it and make it right!”
Casual dining: Skip the traditional table and chairs and opt instead for relaxed groups of sofas, love seats, soft cushions and comfortable chairs gathered around a coffee table.
Fabrics that last: “Chenille, silk- and velvet-like fabrics are all big for 2010,” says Bockner, citing new advances in outdoor fabrics that allow these interior finishes to stand up to the elements.
Understated colours: Subtler tones, like whites, slates, greys and blacks, are taking over from bolder hues, though Bockner recommends adding in a few bright accessories for a little summery pop.
Accessorize: Try outdoor rugs, stainless steel lanterns or pool torches, Moroccan lanterns and battery operated candles to give the outside the same polish as your interiors. “A little goes a long way,” explains Bockner. “A few well-placed accessories make any outdoor living space homier.”
Create separate spaces: Create areas for sitting, eating and entertaining to help break up your space into functional chunks. “I often use small pavilions, outdoor rugs and strategically placed furniture to define the spaces from one another. It gives each area its own feel and purpose” says Bockner.