Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Last week I went to Toronto to move some items into our  newly purchased condo.  I was also there to choose new colours for the entire space. I was particularly excited to explore colour options because I had taken  Maria Killam's  True Colour Expert training  course in early June. I love colour, always have, but I realized that I was weak when it came to choosing colours for difficult spaces...spaces where as Maria would say the "bossy" and perhaps existing fireplace, floor, counter, backsplash or wood trim is preventing wise colour choices from being made. The key to choosing colours correctly in this case is to examine the undertones. Determining undertones in colours, especially in existing 'can't change them' colours, is essential in order to wisely decide on new colours that should enhance, not fight with the space.

Both of the condo bathrooms exhibit pinky beige undertones in the floor and shower tiles and the counters.

I realized, with my newly acquired knowledge of colour and undertones that I would find the perfect colour to complement the existing and permanent pinky beige in the two bathrooms. Armed with my new 50 large Benjamin Moore neutral colour samples that I ordered from Maria, I was able to quickly determine, through the process of elimination and comparison that Bradstreet Beige HC-48 was THE perfect colour choice for each bathroom. Maria, I'm certain would agree.

The painters will be finished painting this week and I will be going back next week to try and complete the set up, or at the very least make it habitable for the family members who will be living there.
Stay tuned for the continuing saga of how I chose the remainder of the colours, and how I managed to decorate the condo on a budget.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


We hosted our 6th annual 'Break Family Reunion' this past weekend at our cottage. Thankfully, my family is relatively small...this year 22 of the clan descended on Chez Coates Cottage from Aug 5-7th.
The first reunion was celebrated in July 2006.  My husband, three daughters and I were really feeling that the long distance that had separated all of my extended family from us might be remedied by having a large gathering, not only to celebrate my father's 80th birthday, but to also christen the new log cottage that we had been building the previous summer and fall. We did not anticipate at the time, that this event would become a family tradition. (for more cottage pics, click on "Designer at Home" link in the right column)
There is some effort involved in hosting family members for 2-3 days. But I will tell you that we have got this event honed to the nth degree. My two sisters, my mother and I have a set menu which we rely on to make the weekend run tickety boo. Yes, it is about the food, the drink, the sun and fun, but we never forget that what we are trying to achieve is 'family catch up time'.

The bulk of this event happens here in our kitchen. (Photos of the kitchen in use during this weekend will be permanently unavailable.) It is complete, total, utter chaos, but somehow the fabulous meals, make their way to this table....
and 22-26 people (depending on the year) make their way around the perimeter to fill their plates and gorge on yet another delicious, communal effort. 

Even though the Coates host this shindig...we all have to 'pitch' in and make sleeping quarters for some who have not yet arrived. The large tent trailer in the background belongs to my cousin and her husband. They and my Aunt sleep very comfortably in KING size beds in this tent trailer. 
I will share in a later post what I chalked up to be humorous, but others might consider a daunting tale involving these three family members.

Last year, the newest member of our family was only 6 weeks old. This year, she is just over a year old and offered some of the best entertainment.... Jeepers....we get mushy about our babies. 

We have a super large deck on the front of our cottage. This group of family members are sitting outside the screened porch (an absolute necessity in my opinion). The white banner is our family flag.....
which my sisters and I designed several years ago for my parents to hoist on a flag pole where their large trailer (cottage) was parked. We now hang it at the beginning of every family reunion weekend....we just realized we need to add more stars however.

Remaining calm, sane and relaxed during the reunion has required me to be completely organized beforehand...however, I have had to learn to go with the flow.... a hard lesson....but an absolute must!

My Top Ten Rules for achieving success and not more grey hair are:

1. delegate, delegate, delegate
2. complete and thorough shopping lists for the meal planners and spirit buyers...DO NOT RUN OUT OF ANYTHING IF POSSIBLE
3. never clean the cottage BEFORE the reunion....except bathrooms and kitchen...as a cyclone will be travelling at warp speed through the inside and outside the cottage as soon as everyone arrives

4. make sure the family members are comfy looking for food and drink on their own....otherwise you will become an exhausted and cranky hostess
5. paper plates, plastic cups (never for wine...we always use glass) and plastic cutlery are sanity savers. All participants know to recycle the plates and plastic cups.....unfortunately, the plastic cutlery for some reason is not recyclable

6. have plenty of chairs and small tables on the deck and dock for appys, snacks, and drinks
7. bio shampoo and body wash should be provided for those who wish to bath in the lake
8. extra beach towels, sunscreen are a must....someone always forgets 

9. I have been up front and told my family that I will ask them if I need help.....I'm so organized and anal, it throws me off if they continue to ask me
10. be prepared for PLAN B....we have always had great weather, but we could easily have lousy weather, so I have 1000 pc. jigsaw puzzles, board games, cards, books, magazines, and movies on hand








Maureen at Modecor Muses: August 2011

Maureen at Modecor Muses