Monday, April 30, 2012


I had been talking quite a bit about going to the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show 2012 in Chicago. I have now been and am here to express my thoughts.
I am not a kitchen/bath designer per se....but as a decorator/designer,  I certainly have a huge interest in kitchen and bath design. Visiting Chicago for the first time and attending KBIS last week was a kill several birds with one stone kinda trip. Let me just say, that visiting The Windy City.... that toddlin' town....Chi-Town was a wonderful adventure. I could, and may still, write a post on my time in this fabulous stay tuned.

The show was presented at McCormick Place.....MONSTROUS....with 2.6 million ( yes, I just wrote million ) sq ft in total, of exhibition halls.  KBIS did not utilize nearly that much space...300,000+ net sq ft. was more befitting ...but still, if you were not wearing comfortable shoes, guaranteed you would have been blistered and limping by the end of the day. I spent the better part of Wednesday at the show, but could have gone back Thursday, if flying home had not been a priority.

Because I have never attended a trade show specifically geared toward only kitchen and bath design, I may appear somewhat excited and a little over the top emotionally at times ..... but this is my take.

1. There was an inordinate number of booths featuring vessel sinks. In terms of function, I am not a huge fan of the vessel sink myself. I have heard this expressed by other designers, but according to the variety of booths featuring vessel sinks at KBIS, we might be in the minority. However, there was one booth LENOVA which I visited twice. I quite enjoyed some of these unique, low-to-the-counter vessel sinks, shown below. And although not a vessel sink, the bottom right sink is worthy of a second peek, if only due to the anticipation of the cascading rhythm of water as it fills this sink.

2. Copper was everywhere, I mean everywhere. The booth that caught my eye was Premier Copper Products ....I loved their booth display and took some photos...sorry they're kind of wonky...but you get the idea. This company boasts products that are hand crafted by artisans, manufactured using recycled and reclaimed copper wire, and as a bonus, copper is naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial. Take a look at the hammered copper range hood, paired with a hammered copper sink below. Gorgeous.
An observation: warm metals are making a comeback, which is curious to me when the decor colour trend is moving away from beige to grey. Thoughts?

3. This next booth was a "be still my heart" booth. It got quite the traffic flow and no wonder. The bamboo vanities showcased at Native Trails were beautifully designed and executed. The lines, the curves the details are AWE worthy indeed. Their website is equally lovely. 

photos Native Trails

4. Special Products Division LLC was for me another 'stop in my tracks and take another look at' booth. 
This kitchen cabinet counter vignette features uppers and lowers made from exotic pomelle sapelle wood and the counter is constructed from paperstone. This company excels at constructing modern cabinets and furniture while maintaining, functionality, elegance and craftsmanship.

5.  Poggenpohl.....what can I say. WOWEEE!!!. Modern, integrated, space saving, luxuriousness... and take a look inside this drawer. I could live in this drawer it is so organized...a place for everything and at my house everything would be in its place. What a dream. 

6. Hafele...two words FUNCTION ADORATION! Talk about integration and specifically designed hardware that will make even the smallest space that much more functional. I cannot do this booth justice with mere photos...instead, watch their KBIS video on their Hafele Blog. You will have functional, sensory overload, guaranteed.

Honestly, there was so much to see at KBIS that one post cannot do the show justice. Keep your eyes open for other KBIS posts from your favourite bloggers who were at the show. I heard KBIS will be in New Orleans next year. I am saving my pennies now. 

Would love to hear your thoughts......

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I'm a purse aholic, and handbag hoarder, a sucker for satchels and have penchant for pocketbooks .......I admit it and I'm proud of it. If you follow this blog, I have mentioned my purse .... ahem ... addiction in a previous post. There is something about purchasing a new handbag that causes my heart to flutter. I have similar palpitations when I buy new shoes, but purses send me over the top in the heart rate department.

I'm going to Chicago next obviously I had to purchase a new purse, but not just any purse.
This purse.....

She resembles this Hermes Birkin....which I am requesting for my birthday....and at $62,251, am not likely to ever see in my wardrobe..... but a girl can dream.

Hermes Birkin

I adhere to the elements of decor when choosing my wardrobe and accessories. I'm typically about Function first, then Form, but I have to say, when I spotted this handbag beauty, the two Fs were suddenly running neck and neck in the race to outdo each other. Let's talk Form first. My emerald green, leather, faux croc, gorgeousness Due Fratelli by H&V is made in Canada, not France, and I shopped locally buying her at an Ottawa store, Shepherd's, not Hermes.   
Let's take a closer look at this green lusciousness. The Texture, the Colour, the Rhythm and Pattern exhibit elements of sophistication from decades past.  Let's not forget about the Size, Scale and Proportion which are perfect for my arm...BLISS.

Let's take a look inside as I discuss the importance of Function.

A purse which does NOT have a cavernous cavity is at the top of my purse requirement list. Having designated compartments is a boon. I can add and extract items without emptying my purse in public, with keys, wallet, measuring tape (every decorator needs one in her purse), colour swatches and paint chips and lipstick scattered on the mall bench, slipping between said bench slats and rolling on the floor....all the while searching for my sunglasses, which still happen to be on my head. You get the picture.... because it's happened to you too!

And she also sports a detachable shoulder strap, which for me is perfection as I sometimes, need to be hands free. Did I mention I'm going to Chicago and may have to go shopping?.... but not for a new purse...obviously!

When all the elements are aligned there is Harmony! 

If you're curious, I'm going to Chicago to attend KBIS ... The Kitchen and Bath Industry Show with some designer 'tweeps' (twitter friends) and not only that, we will be joining other tweeps for dinner and drinks, not once, but twice. And since I have never been to 'that toddlin town', I will be wide eyed and in awe as my tweeps show me around.... with my fabulous purse perched over my shoulder.

Monday, April 2, 2012


I have a wonderful client...I'll call her Heather. She wanted a window treatment consultation for her adjoining living and dining rooms. She explained that they had been living in their home for several years with sheers as the only window covering. When I walked into Heather's lovely home, I was immediately struck at the spaciousness of the open floor plan. I noticed they have lovely carpets in the living and dining rooms, and chocolate brown leather furniture and a couple colour blocked walls. Their space is very warm, cozy, and comfortable, but I was having a difficult time with the colours not relating.

However, I was hired to solve their window treatment dilemma so I suggested, the demise of the sheers and instead a layered treatment in both rooms as the goals were privacy, sun protection and decorative. The solution... 'top up-bottom down' honeycomb blinds which would control the amount of light penetrating the room during the day, but would also provide the privacy sought at night. Side panels on a decorative rod would add the finishing touch to each of the windows.

I set to work sourcing fabrics for the side panels. This is the part of my job that often brings me the most pleasure. I'm a visual / tactile person and truly enjoy the finding the perfect fabric to accompany any room. But, this was proving to be more difficult than I had anticipated. 

Here was the dilemma...custom window treatments can be one of the single most expensive decor elements in a room. They can also have a huge impact on the overall look and personality of the room. Well chosen fabric and well constructed window treatments should have a healthy life span. I was not interested in compromising my client's bank account to satisfy a quick but ultimately unsatisfactory end to this job. 
I simply don't work that way.

I explained this to Heather on my last visit.  She responded by saying that they were going to be painting all their walls in the next couple of years, at which point, I strongly suggested that they not invest in the side panels at this time, but wait until the they were ready to paint. The existing carpets, would be the determining factor, not only for the paint colour choice, but for the window treatments colour as well. Interestingly, at this point, Heather wondered aloud, if the reason, they had delayed their window treatment commitment for so long, was because perhaps they knew something wasn't quite right with the overall look of the space, but were not quite sure why. 

Again, I cannot stress enough, how a professional decorator can answer those questions .... and perhaps save you money. 

Note: I have written about and used photos in this post, of her home with 'Heather's' permission and consent. 

Maureen at Modecor Muses: April 2012

Maureen at Modecor Muses