Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Texture, pattern, colour, faux, natural, orange, red, rust, brown yellow.....AUTUMN!!!!

How to create your own....

1. walk down a neighbourhood street and take a pic of any maple tree right now...most are starting to change

2. look in your basement for long forgotten fall decor and introduce once again adding a textural burlap runner and birch bark wrapped candles to the mix

3. if your dried green hydrangeas suddenly turn into brown dried hydrangeas....don't despair...place them with twisty twigs and chinese lanterns in a large clear vase.

4. buy a big potted mum. They are frost hardy and come in an array of beautiful fall colours.

6. replace your summer wreath with a leafy wreath outside your front door.

BTW...Can you differentiate the real from the faux?

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Thursday, September 26, 2013


I attended BlogPodium in Toronto this past weekend. This conference is geared toward Design and Lifestyle bloggers and about 250 of us attended. Below, is just a tiny portion of the loot I came home with. It was like opening up your trick-or-treat bag on Hallowe'en...or even better...your stocking on Christmas morning. Just look at these giveaways from Roots  Annie Sloan  Chatelaine  Style at Home  House and Home  Decorium   to name but a few of the giveaway sponsors and supporters.  

Great brands... Home Depot Canada , the lead sponsor, Delta Faucet  who introduced Keynote speaker Sarah Richardson (more on Sarah in a bit) and Para Paints who sponsored the keynote panel discussion Traditional Media, New Media and Social Media helped make BlogPodium a huge success. A complete list of sponsors can be found here including their logos or 'wordmarks' ... a new word I learned at a BlogPodium seminar. 

BlogPodium 2013 lived up to it's title ...CONNECTION, CONVERSATION AND COLLABORATION as evidenced with Sarah Richardson.  

Sarah Richardson, Canadian Designer extraordinaire, was our keynote speaker.  The audience was completely engaged with Sarah's honest, insightful and humorous narrative of her very humble beginnings as a Designer. She then shared her secrets to becoming a successful and sought after Designer and HGTV star. Honesty and being a good person are key. I had the opportunity to listen to Sarah Richardson a few years ago and wrote this blog post  Sarah Richardson and Other Women of Influence 

Lets talk about the seminars and stuff I didn't know before, OR had hammered into my head again, because I attended BlogPodium.  Very wise folks shared wonderful information.... because that's what bloggers do. 
The seminar What Bloggers Can Learn from Magazines presented by Corinna Vangerwen from corinnawraps.com. was quite an eye opener....

Her top ten tips for bloggers....

  1.  Find your niche
*2.  Think like an editor
*3.  Have an editorial calendar
  4.  Eye catching headlines
  5.  Write for your audience 
*6.  Practice art of packaging
  7.  Edit your content
*8.  Style guides 
  9.  Fact check your work 
10. Identify advertising on your blog

Because of Corinna's seminar, I will be more aware of these *items* in the future while composing my blog posts!!!

Avery Swartz at averyswartz.com knows her junk. She is an award winning web designer based in Toronto and her seminar focused on Styling Your Blog.  Her professional design mantra is "make decisions and stick with them"....simple yet powerful wisdom. Waaaay too much knowledge from Avery to impart here, but this is where I learned about wordmark logos. Those  logos we all recognize ...like NIKE  CNN COKE BELL.....these are all typeface logos, easily identified, simple yet dynamic. Avery also touched on the *style guide* thing...something I have not yet mastered...but it must be important if at least two session speakers mentioned it. 
I was so enthralled with Avery's enthusiasm for her job, her passion, I invited her to come to Ottawa for her CAMP TECH  classes and she said YES!  Stay tuned for more info!

As with any away weekend, particularly with friends, there is bound to be some excitement! I came on this weekend with 4 of The TBBs. Not only do we contribute to TBBs Wine, Dine and Design  blog, but we each have our own design blogs. Blog conferences such as BlogPodium are essential forums for connecting, reconnecting, information sharing and gathering.  It was at BlogPodium 2012, that The TBB blog seed was planted and almost a year later, +236K hits on the blog. This trip to Toronto was a win/win...in every sense of the word. In fact, two of us, Lisa and I each won 2 prizes. 

I won  a closet organizer and a table saw yes....a TABLE SAW....courtesy of Home Depot Canada. Did I mention that we flew to Toronto for the weekend? I was certain Porter Air would not allow the table saw on board the aircraft. Thankfully, one of our fellow Ottawa bloggers Katherine of girlaboutotown.com fame, kindly drove my table saw, closet organizer, Lisa's mirror and our fabulous loot bags back home with her. Thank you again Katharine. My first table saw DIY project is yours.

This post would not be complete without a huge thank you to Jennifer Flores of  the widely successful blog ramblingrenovators.ca . She and her team organized a wonderful event that has grown from an hour long session to a full day session in just three years. Way to go Jennifer and your remarkable team!! Cannot wait to attend BlogPodium 2014.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to get my table saw DIY game on. 

If you enjoy reading this blog...please hop over to my group blog http://thetbbs.com/  where there is SIX times the enjoyment. 

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Monday, September 2, 2013


I took this picture on my street yesterday, September 1st , 2013 
It is the final long weekend of the summer. In fact, today is Labour Day and I know many of you are noticing the 'nesting instinct' has started to creep back into your lives. From the email requests for consultations I have recieved recently, September seems to signal a resurgance of getting the house in order. Perhaps for the upcoming 2014 winter festivities, holidays and Christmas, or after a long hot summer, you desire to cozy things up in your home, or  you simply need a change.  

Above is the living room in a condo I decorated a few years ago. Notice how the before and after wall colours are similar in value (light /dark) but are very different hues (colour) Also notice how the light cast on the wall in the before photo affects the colour on the wall. Choosing colour can be challenging. If you are moving forward with your 'nesting' projects, I encourage you to read the post I  wrote for The TBB blog ......  Every Colour Under the Rainbow ... How to Choose. There are some great tips on how to make choosing colour less stressful.

Safe and Happy Labour Day to all. 

If you enjoy reading this blog...please hop over to my group blog http://thetbbs.com/  where there is SIX times the enjoyment. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013


There is finally an occupant in the nursery. Introducing Jaxson Michael Mather. 
Born August 27th at 2:05 am weighing 9lbs 6oz and 20 inches long. 

He is absolutely comfy amongst his Jungle Friends. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013


We have a nursery. It is adorable. Two days to go until Bean's due date. 

As you know, I wanted to design a gender neutral nursery....this is a one time deal, and will likely be the nursery for future babies. I wanted the nursery to be quiet, soft, serene and comfy for Mommy and Daddy. I also wanted texture and pattern to play a role...there are some interesting elements to the room, fun things for the baby to look at.

The 13' wide horizontal stripes were a given. I was working with newly painted walls and the base colour was not going to change. The crib and dresser/change table from Fab Baby Gear, became the colour inspiration for the stripes. More on that process here on STRIPES AND DIAMONDS  post. 

More colour inspiration came from Pottery Barn Kids 'Jungle Friends' Baby Nursery collection  .  Fell in love with this colour palette and knew it could work for a baby boy or baby girl.  The quilt is hung from two pieces of driftwood from our cottage.... actually borrowed from my walking stick collection... and tied with raffia. 

Fabric from Tonic Living was ordered, and paint selected for the former coffee table turned into a toy box. The coordinating leaf pattern, IKAT and geometric evoked a sense of calm, jungle to me, and adding the DIY spray painted toy box completed the colour scheme.

Every nursery should have shelves, and in this case we saved a ton of money by hanging white floating shelves from IKEA. All the pillows and toy box cushion seat are MODECOR designs and the items on the shelves and stuffed animals on the toybox are baby shower gifts . 

More colour, pattern and texture were added to the glider vignette as discussed in the previous post. I really enjoyed making the pouf and have passed on the pattern, with my own adaptation, to other keen pouf knitters. 

I was thrilled with the custom roman shade I designed and had made by a small local workroom Window Coverings by Wayne Chaif. Love how the dresser / change table fits snuggly into the dormer.

The only nursery project I kept a secret was the family photo wall. I wanted to surprise Mommy and Daddy. It's important that Bean have relationships with his closest relatives...some of whom do not live in Ottawa. I antiqued and framed head shots of Mommy and Daddy, both sets of grandparents, both aunts and one uncle and five great grandparents (you heard me...five great grandparents) and hung them in an irregular pattern, as if from a family tree so that Bean can become acquainted with our faces. This was a super inexpensive DIY as I adjusted the colour, printed the photos and framed them in IKEA frames. 

The narrow hallway between the nursery and the adjoining bathroom needed some colour and pattern too. These jungle animals are peel and stick....then peel and stick again. They can be moved up the wall as Bean starts to toddle around. 

I started to think that raffia had a great jungle vibe and texture, so I made sure it was repeated in various areas around the room. Hanging the quilt, tying up a cushion cover and wrapping the cord on a wall sconce. 

 It's almost perfect. Bean will make it absolutely so. 

Stay tuned for more of Bean's nursery. Ottawa at Home magazine will explain the expenses of Bean's nursery in a 'high / low' article in the Fall issue coming out in September.

All photos in this post, unless otherwise stated,  Jessica Deeks Photography


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Monday, July 22, 2013


Only 4.5 weeks to go until the expected arrival of Master Bean. As you can see below, Mommy is getting comfy with Geronimo Giraffe, a gift from me and his two Aunts....a big cuddly guy I could not leave in the store, particularly since he goes with the jungle theme I'm designing the nursery around.

So way back in February, when Bean was the size of ...well, a bean....Michelle and Jordan went baby shopping and picked out a crib and matching dresser. I suggested that they get good quality furniture and they did just that, choosing a crib that triples as a junior bed, then a double bed, and a solid dresser all from Fab Baby Gear The next decision was to choose a wall colour and all parties agreed on 13" horizontal stripes around the room in BM boulevard CC-394...a super close match to the furniture. You can read about the stripe project here.

At this point, we did not know the sex of Baby Bean and my thought was to have a gender neutral nursery....who knows how many Coates-Mather babies will be rock-a-byed to sleep in this room. I gave M & J a few choices of themes / colours from Pottery Barn Kids nursery collections. They chose the Jungle Friends theme and I was secretly thrilled with their choice.  Hence Geronimo Giraffe.

Now for the fun part... choosing coordinating fabrics for the roman shade, pillows, bench / toy box seat pad cover. I get super excited when I'm on the perfect fabric hunt. Colour, pattern and texture are integral components to the finished room...I get giddy when I find the perfect fabric. The green leaf pattern will be the roman shade, the IKAT fabric is now a pillow cover and the geometric will soon be the bench / toy box seat pad cover. I have to mention that this project is chock- a- block full of high/low decorating solutions, which I will reveal in the 'reveal post' at a later date. However, I will tell you that the green bench / toy box used to be M&J's coffee table in their condo. Spray painting is a joyous thing which brings new life to old stuff!

There have been a few baby showers, three in fact, and the last one was hosted by my dear friend Karen and her lovely daughter Amy. It was decided that a group gift would be the ideal surprise for M and J and the glider I had chosen for them fit the bill.

Gramo and Mommy at the shower ... seven weeks to go. Isn't she glowing?

The fabulous glider group gift, also from Fab Baby Gear.....waiting to lull Bean to sleep. Wasn't keen on the supplied kidney pillow so I designed one from the fab fabric chosen earlier. Michelle mentioned that she wished she had an ottoman to go with the glider. I had a better and less expensive idea. I knit a pouf and stuffed it with 3 duvets. DONE! 

Not sure you'll hear from me on this project until the room is completed...hopefully in a few weeks. Even if Bean arrives early, the room is more than functional now. 


If you enjoy reading this blog...please hop over to my group blog http://thetbbs.com/  where there is SIX times the enjoyment. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Hoping all Mom's had a fabulous Mother's Day last Sunday. I certainly did...in fact the entire weekend was a smashing success. I spent Saturday and Sunday at M&J's painting. The 13" stripes in Bean's nursery went up without a hitch.  When colour blocking, the majority of the time and effort is spent in the prep, and if you take your time using a level and marking carefully, it is well worth the extra effort. This is a two person job and Jordan was an excellent 'co-striper'. 

We used a laser level to mark the stripe and Shurtape to tape the stripe. I highly HIGHLY recommend using Shurtape.

The light stripe is the original colour of the room, the darker stripe is Benjamin Moore boulevard CC-394 shown on bottom right. The painting process went super fast as Mommy, Daddy and I participated with rolling the stripes in place. 
(stripes shown in photos are NOT this mauve)

The paint colour was chosen to coordinate with the crib and dresser from Fab Baby Gear.
(sorry for poor quality of colour in these photos, but trust me....it looks wonderful)

On Sunday, while Michelle and Jordan gave the stripes a second coat of paint, I went to work stencilling their kitchen backsplash. I chose Benjamin Moore rocky road CC-470. This stencilling job was a much easier task than stencilling the bathroom  two weeks before.
Sunday evening, we enjoyed a glass of Proseco, then a wonderful Mother's Day meal at a Japanese restaurant.

More to come on Bean's nursery as the weeks roll by...in fact only 14.5 weeks to go before he makes his expected grand entrance.

Maureen at Modecor Muses

Maureen at Modecor Muses