Tuesday, 28 February 2012

*I Heart (Need) Spring Cleaning*

The last few weeks I've found myself doing a crazy amount of Spring Cleaning.

I usually clean when I'm stressed, but more than anything this time I can tell I'm just anxious to lighten up, de-clutter and will some good weather my way.

Cleaner London

After a few of these super-productive spurts of energy, it dawned on me that I'd successfully accomplished a few items on a home organization to do list I made not too long ago - hooray!

I don't have any shots of my recently revamped 'junk drawer' in the kitchen, but between that mess, my overflowing under the bathroom sink basket, and my reorganized half of the closet, I've made a serious dent in my household clutter!

Note: "Before" shots would've been a tad too embarrassing to share, so just trust me when I say these "afters" are a huge improvement. 

Yes, this is my half of the closet... gotta love compact city living... 

How'd I do it?

I tossed millions of half-used lotions, gummy nail polish and shattered eye shadows... wrapped up clothes, books and shoes to give away... created a 'to sort or shred' pile of old paperwork - which I still have to tackle - and generally just made more sense of where the surviving items were stored.

I actually had to take apart my new set of plastic drawers and break off one level to make it fit inside the cupboard, but now it fits perfectly and I am in love. 

I know these ideas aren't especially ingenious or original, but with every choice I made and everything I chucked, I simply made better use of the space and now I can actually find things - what a novel idea! 

Naturally, in our snug little apartment, staying organized will be an on-going battle, but it seriously amazes me how much more efficient I already feel as I get ready each morning with these few, relatively small changes.

Have you tackled your personal mountain of stuff lately? How else do you de-stress or get your place ready for spring?

Share your story or, for the love of God, just tell me I'm not alone in my "Monica"-esque neurotic tendencies, will ya? ;)

KLI | NofW

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Jaunt to the Junction!

As some of you may know, I took a couple of days off last week, which resulted in an extra long Family Day weekend. It was equally lazy and productive, just the way I like it!

I saw some family and friends, watched an embarrassingly high number of BH 90210 re-runs, but also did some spring cleaning, went to Toronto Rock game and made my way up to the Junction!

Photography by Grant McDonald
I used to trek up that way a lot when I worked in production as an art department PA, but that was a while ago now and for months I've meant to revisit a few shops in the area.

For those of you not familiar with this neighbourhood, the Junction sits just northwest of Roncesvalles, above High Park. 

Starting around the area's main intersection of Dundas and Keele and going west, there's a well known strip of furniture and antique stores including SMASH, Cornerstone, Forever Interiors and many, many more.

Side Rack Wine Racks at Forever Interiors
Unfortunately, it was way too cold and blustery for window shopping that day, and it seemed I wasn't the only one who thought so because the place was like a ghost town.

Roughly an hour later, with no purchases to show for it, I was freezing and itching to get home to King West... but here are a few snaps I took before hopping on the TTC!

Everyone is wild about globes lately... how 'bout these lamp stands?

Damnit! Forgot the name of this store and the painter, but aren't these incredible?
I love card catalogues but I can never imagine what I'd use one for...
My fellow bloggers were quite enamoured with a few Union Jack pieces at IDS.
This Cornerstone piece wasn't too shabby either!

Loved these prints and posters at SMASH!
Made me wish I had a garage or workshop to decorate.
Intrigued? Click here for Design Lines Magazine's guide to the west end and map out all of the shops, restaurants and galleries you think you'd like to visit!

I'll be back myself... once it's 20 degrees and sunny :)

KLI | NofW

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Sewing and the City

For the last four years, this particular week has been very busy for me, as MLo's birthday immediately follows Valentine's.

Since last year we spent those days on Maui, horseback riding across a cattle ranch and feasting at an authentic Hawaiian luau, I sort of succumbed to the fact we couldn't top ourselves this time around!

Nonetheless, I treated him to a terrific dinner one night then he cooked me an incredible dinner the next... in fact it was so good it earned him the right to open his birthday gifts early.

I picked him up a couple odds and ends, plus tickets to one of Joel Plaskett's upcoming Toronto shows... in other words, I did good! 

I normally consider myself pretty talented at gift giving, but one thing Marc's mentioned time and time again, which I've not thought to pick up for him is a sewing machine.

The only thing I know how to sew is a button, but he allegedly knows his way around a machine quite well and would love to be able to make and mend things around the house.

The Student Sophisticate
My Mum always said her father was so handy he could make anything, including living room curtains, but something tells me Grandaddy had a little more room to work with than we have in our modest apartment. So what's an urban craftsman to do? 

I just figured it out... head to The Workroom

The Pin Pals

The Workroom is a pay by the hour sewing studio in Parkdale that's equipped with sewing machines, cutting boards, button presses, fabric and more, where experienced sewers and newbies alike can work on their latest projects. 

Even if you're like me, and wouldn't know where to begin, there's a Sewing Machine Essentials class that you can take for just $55 that will help you find your way around a sewing machine and learn this useful skill. 

Then once you're up to speed, there are a whole bunch of classes you can take that will help you create everything from dresses to men's ties, bags and more. Cool, eh?

I'm not sure MLo would necessarily go for this, but at least we know The Workroom is there if either of us ever wants to give it a try!

Do you know how to sew? If not, are you interested in learning how? What would you do with that skill?

Wishing everyone a very happy Family Day long weekend!

KLI | NofW

Monday, 13 February 2012

Liebster Love!

I always love when people comment on my posts but the other day I was extra excited because April from Money Pit Love did me a solid and granted me, or rather NofW a "Liebster Award"!

Not sure what this award is? I wasn't either... in fact, I'm still not quite sure where this whole Liebster thing started or how it works, but what I do know is that it's about showing some love and generating traffic to well-deserving newbie bloggers.

How sweet is that?!

Like I've said before, just chatting with April and others at Blog Podium I could tell how fun and encouraging this community of design bloggers is, but now awards? Real or imagined, I am so down with this...

Apparently, in addition to linking back to April's lovely blog, I have to pay it forward to five other blogs/bloggers who may also have under 200 followers (from what I can tell anyway), as well as share five random things about myself.

Here goes!

The next 5 Liebster recipients are...

Shannon & Robin @ Hoopla
Pam @ Cherish Toronto
Emily-Jane @ Not a House, But a Home
and, assuming not all of these have to be design-related blogs...
Andrea @ Andrea Palen

And now for the five random things about myself, eh... hmm...

  • I'm a condiments fanatic. My fridge door is jam packed with barbeque sauce, peanut sauce, plum sauce, hot sauce, mustards, ketchup, teryaki, etc. etc. etc. My parents Santa has even left sweet chili sauce in my Christmas stocking before! 
  • Before I became a bona fide yuppie, I was once told I could survive on sunshine and music. God, I miss school days in Waterloo...
  • When I was three years old and my family and I went on vacation to Myrtle Beach, I inexplicably decided I wanted to be a boy and asked my parents and sisters to call me Bobby. They kindly obliged, and Bobby had a blast running around the beach, but within a few days little Krista Lee was back in action for good.
  • I have a horrible and bizarre phobia of anything too dry. I have to track competitive ads in five newspapers every day at work and every day it creeps me right out. Sand between my toes, dusty cardboard boxes, chalk, chalkboards... ugh, even thinking about these things right now, I'm sitting here with goose bumps all over my arms. Gross!
  • I often have premonitions of myself, forty years down the road, rocking a bum-length grey mane and making furniture in my garage. And I like it. 

"Bobby" and his sisters en route to Myrtle Beach circa '88

I think that about does it! Thanks again to April and congrats to all of the latest recipients... I look forward to reading your Liebster posts soon!

KLI | NofW

Thursday, 9 February 2012

What are Design Junkie Friends for?

In the last year or so, many friends of mine have been purchasing their first homes. For those few who may consider themselves decor-neophytes, the idea of furnishing these homes seems to be just one more item on a very long list of first time home-buyer stressors.

Since buying furniture is usually an expensive undertaking, even those with impeccable taste and a clear vision can benefit from a second opinion as they scout out pieces.

While I don't consider myself a design expert by any means, I've noticed that ever since I started NofW I've had lots of people come to me with their decor questions.

Whether they want my opinions about colours schemes, thoughts on furniture placement, or even just suggestions for retailers, I am beyond flattered and thrilled to help out however I can!

My friend Holly (who you may remember from this awesome guest post) is the latest soon-to-be homeowner to reach out to me for my two cents on a hugely important piece in every home. The couch!

"I'm having a hard time finding a small, open couch in my budget. Do you think that having just a chaise lounge as a couch would look funny?" 

I like a chaise lounge as much as the next guy, but like I told Holly, in my humble opinion you will never regret buying a real couch.

With that, HK agreed to let me do some digging her behalf and gave me free reign to feature this search in a new post. Boom!

"Holly's Must Haves"

Not too big/overpowering for a condo
Fabric, not leather
Grey is the only acceptable neutral
Under $1000, as she's furnishing the entire place at once
"Wish List"

Long enough for guests to sleep on
Secret storage definitely a plus
Clean lines preferred but not required
Legs (no skirt) and possibly armless to open up the space
Midcentury/Midcentury Modern feel

I will happily go shopping and have a "sit test" marathon to see how each of these add up comfort-wise, but in the meantime here are four great and affordable options I've found for Holly to consider, that meet most, if not all of her needs...

If anyone can rock this sofa, it's Holly... 

For only $699.99 + delivery you get a super vintage look and it converts into a compact sleeper! Loves it.

Not a pull-out, but super modern and on sale for $799 - down from $1199!!! It's a little on the bland/neutral side, yes, but pillow covers are a super easy and inexpensive way to add punches of colour or pattern that you can change with every season... or mood ;)

Clean lines and, depending on which swatch you choose from their extensive selection, you're getting a solid couch for as little as $887.89 + delivery... a tad pricier but a little bird told me HK won't be living too far from the store's Liberty Village location. Can you say "Zipcar"? ;)


$399 down from $499 until June 17th, this armless couch will keep the living room airy and open, plus it's fold-out sleeper, plus the cushions come with, PLUS it has extra storage beneath the seat! 

Blankets and linens, unseasonable clothes, a ridiculously large DVD collection... whatever you need to tuck out of site will fit here, no problem.

There you have it!

All fabric, long enough to sleep on, decently high off the floor and lots of variety when it comes to colour. Which do you prefer?

Even if Holly doesn't choose one of these pieces, hopefully I've provided a little inspiration for her and for anyone out there in the midst of their own search for an affordable and condo-friendly place to lounge :)

KLI | NofW 

Thursday, 2 February 2012

I Heart CB2!

Almost two weeks past its grand opening, I finally made it over to Toronto's very own CB2 store late Tuesday night.

I was already quite familiar with their website and catalogue of pieces, but seeing everything so meticulously laid across the two floors was a different story altogether...

Before we even set foot through the door I had already fallen exactly as in love as I thought I would!

The store is just a short walk from our place, CB2's prices are great, and most importantly the inventory is amazing.

I'd liken it to West Elm in many ways, only with greater variety in terms of colour and a much more urban flare.

Could this have something to do with the fact that the architects kept the facade of the iconic former tenant, The Big Bop in tact?

Absolutely! But that's just one of many distinctive features of this space and its contents.

As MLo quickly pointed out, I had wide eyes and a goofy awestruck expression on my face throughout this entire visit and both of us actually found a few things we really liked. Good enough for me!

Have you checked out CB2 yet? If so, what do you think?? Do tell!