A Gratitude Filled Giveaway

I have to admit something. When I launched the Hunted & Gathered podcast earlier this year I wasn’t sure it would go anywhere. Would anyone want to be interviewed by me? Who would listen to me prattle on about interior design? So, it was a huge shock when famous designers returned my emails, and even more of a shock when people listened to the show! I’m so filled with gratitude for the people I’ve interviewed (more really great guests are lined up!) and all the people who have listened to the show. If you had told me a year ago that this is what I would be doing now, I’d most definitely laugh at you and tell you’re crazy.

One of my favourite Amy Poehler quotes (she’s awesome and hilarious, so I have lots) is “great people do things before they are ready.” While I don’t think I’m great and maybe not even good yet, I love the idea that in life we have to make a choice and just go for the things we want even when we aren’t ready. When I recorded my first show I had pneumonia, I had to fake my way through the entire thing. Once it was finished I didn’t listen to it for two months. I have amazing friends who encouraged me to keep going. One of these friends is responsible for the technical side of the podcast. He does the editing and makes the show sound like a real thing instead of me just chatting to someone on the phone. I’m incredibly grateful for his skills and guidance.

I wish I could thank each of you personally for listening to the show and for all the sweet comments I’ve received. I’m usually a handwritten-thank-you-note kinda girl but that won’t do in this situation, so I’ve teamed up with my pal from Giftologie to offer you a little giveaway – a set of handmade coasters featuring a vintage Canadian map. I’m thrilled to feature Canadian designers and design on the show so I felt it was only fitting to have a very Canadian themed give-away.

Made of light weight aluminium, these cuties will keep your table safe and are easy to wash.

To enter, leave a comment here                                                                                      or                                                                                                                                               click over to my Instagram account @bethannlabelle and tag me and @giftologie in a post. I’ll annouce the winner next week.

Good luck!

 

5 Summer Sanity Savers

We’re half way through the school summer vacation around here. Which means the kids have settled into a routine of spending their days exploring nature in the fresh air, discovering new books to read and…..no, I can’t even pretend to go on.  It means an endless sink full of dishes and cups; bathing suits laying sopping wet on bedroom floors; and the constant clatter of sisterly love – and by that, I mean fighting. Ugh. The change of routine that I look forward to every year is also the thing that can make the summer the hardest. So, this year we’ve started some warm weather traditions that I hope will help make the house run more smoothly.

1.  While I want my kids to stay hydrated during the sizzling summer days I don’t want to spend the day washing glasses or finding cups in random places around the house. So, each day the kids are assigned a glass with their name on it. This is their glass for the day.

  1. Our glass drink dispenser gets almost constant use during the summer months. Whenever we have company I fill it with ice, water and lots of lemons, limes or seasonal fruit. It looks pretty and it’s an inexpensive way to serve drinks.

I also keep smaller litre sized refillable bottles with flip-top stoppers filled with water in the fridge. This is a small thing but it means that we drink less sugary lemonades and pop and more water or homemade iced tea.

  1. When we renovated the house we overhauled the main floor bathroom because it was disgusting (the shower was a cat’s litter box for starters) and a poor use of space. We removed the shower to make more floor space and this serves as the pool change room as well.

This bathroom is right inside the backdoor so it gets all the pool traffic. It’s all wet feet and drippy bathing suits. We contemplated installing tile here but knew from experience that grout discolors when water sits on it too long and I was concerned with the tile being slippery when wet. So we installed vinyl floor. It’s one solid piece so there are no seams for water to seep into. It’s easy to mop up and there’s no maintenance. It’s no one’s dream floor but it was cheap enough that we won’t feel guilty ripping it out in a few years when the kids and their friends are a bit more responsible.

Recently we (who am I kidding, it wasn’t me, it was all him – I don’t even know where the drill is kept)  installed these handmade wood hooks; perhaps the sight of them will encourage swimmers to hang up their wet bathing suits and towels. So far it’s going well, I hope the novelty doesn’t wear off!

4.  I love the look of white towels in the bathroom. While it makes the room look clean and pulled together, I’ve noticed that my all white towels have started to look grungier in the summer months. It’s like the perma-dirt that doesn’t come clean from the knees of my children have also become embedded in the towels. I’d made it my life’s work to discover the perfect towel – soft, but not too fluffy, absorbent but fast drying. My search ended when I found the Frajen bath towel at IKEA. I was skeptical at first but once I got them home and washed them a few times I was a believer. Plus, they cost only $6.99 and come in a bunch of colours. I love them more than chocolate (just kidding). I bought the grey ones thinking the dirt wouldn’t show – I’m sure it’s still there, I just can’t see it and that’s good enough for me.

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5. This last sanity saver isn’t for the kiddos. Pre-mixed cocktails from the liquor store can be poured into a beautiful glass and presented to your guests as though you made them yourself. Shhh. I promise I won’t tell. I’ll also enthusiastically pretend to be impressed with your bartending skills if you serve me one!

Cheers!

Interior Inspiration: Patrick Sutton

Where is the summer of 2017 going?  I can’t believe it’s almost the end of July! Next week I will be sharing some tips that are making these fast-flying summer months easier on our household, but today I want to share one of my favourite designers with you.

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Patrick Sutton is a Baltimore-based interior architect and designer who perfectly marries timeless style with a fresh, inspired spirit. Patrick’s designs feel both classic and original; innovative, yet familiar. He and his team are equally skilled at creating the most beautiful residential homes and the most jaw dropping hospitality spaces.

Residential

I love how these homes are refined, quiet and harmonious while still reflecting the personality of the homeowner.

Hospitality

These public spaces are inviting and warm but at the same time have a vibrant energy that make guests feel they’re somewhere special.

All images are from patricksutton.com

I hope you’re as inspired as I am by the work of Patrick Sutton. These designs have me indulging in serious interior envy. For more beautiful interiors from Patrick follow him on Instagram at @patricksuttondesign.

Happy Hunting!

Podcast Episode 4: Celebrity Interior Designer Karl Lohnes

This week on the Hunted & Gathered Podcast I’m chatting with Canada’s favourite interior designer, Karl Lohnes. I’m a huge fan, so it was an incredible honour to have him share his decorating wisdom on the show.

Karl Lohnes is one of Canada’s most well known interior designers. A celebrity in his own right, Karl has appeared on radio and television across North America sharing his expertise on decorating and entertaining. He has written for countless magazines and newspapers and was a founding editor for Style at Home magazine. For 8 years Karl appeared on HGTV America’s This Small Space, he was a regular contributor to The Marilyn Denis show and can now be seen on CTV morning shows across the country. On top of all this, Karl blogs about cooking, entertaining, art and design at The Karl Lohnes Daily.

There are so many amazing take-aways from this interview but my favourite is the idea that everything in your home should have a story. Karl’s recently renovated dining room is a beautiful example of this. It feels collected and curated and every piece brings personality to the space.

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While the rest of Karl’s gorgeous townhouse feels more traditional, the guest room is a cozy, nautical-themed getaway. Which perfectly illustrates Karl’s 70-30 rule. You’ll have to listen to the show to get this one!

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And I can’t finish this post without mentioning Karl’s famous mixed-media paintings of the Queen. These modern pop art prints have a remarkable story of their own.

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I know you’ll learn so much from this episode – click the the link in the sidebar to listen to the show. In addition to an upcoming book, you can see Karl on various morning shows across Canada starting this Fall as he travels the country talking trends and great products for the home.

Backyard Makeover – The Not-Quite After

The plan was to work busily all spring so that once summer arrived we would have the perfect backyard to enjoy with our friends and family. But you know plans- they have a way of getting out of hand and changing without notice. Plus it rained. It rained all spring. I mean all spring. So here we are into July and we have finished maybe half of what we wanted to do. So this post, which was supposed to be the big “After” reveal, has been downgraded to more of an update. See all the before pictures here.

This is what we started with. It really wasn’t bad. It just needed a few enhancements. (And I don’t mean that in the same way that your Aunt Rita uses that word when she goes away for her “spa weekends” and comes back with her cheeks pulled up around her eyes.)

And here’s the not-quite after.

From a distance it looks the same, except with more people wearing less clothes. Here’s what we have done:

Paint the pool shed.

Before

After

The trim is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy. It looks like a lighter blue here in the blazing afternoon sunlight, but it’s actaully a dark navy. Most importantly, the brown is gone!

I had planned to install these lights from Wayfair, but the price of each sconce was $150 and we wanted 2 of them. I couldn’t justify spending $300 on lights that would only get used during pool season. Instead, I was able to find the ones in the picture above at Home Deopt for $35 each. They were similar enough in feel and finish and I can always remove the cage and globe around the bulb for a more exact match.

Last year’s hammock didn’t even make it through the first pool party of the season. This innocent looking place of relaxation is actually a giant swing where children are hurled through the air and upside down while screaming madly. I hope hammock number 2 can live up to the challenge.

The view from the hammock

and at night.

Here’s the garden by the pool before – I am so good at growing weeds.

And after

and at night

I had hoped the sitting area by the shallow end of the pool would have been finished by now, but it’s not so it still looks like this.

The ugly air conditioner is still visible along with all the venting pipes and the garden hose. The plan is still to build something to cover all this up. The inspiration for my plans can be seen here. But it’s just so much nicer to sit by pool and enjoy the summer rather than work on a project!

I haven’t even mentioned the other gardens in the yard. Seriously, there are  too many gardens. The good news is tree debris (and rat village) has been remeoved so we can start thinking about doing something in that corner of the yard.

I have to keep reminding myself it’s okay that it’s not picture perfect and that our projects have been sidetracked by life. Despite my strivings for backyard utopia, not one single person has mentioned that they might have a better time if only the yard looked a little better. So, if you need me, I’ll be in the backyard – probably laying right here, ignoring the weeds in the garden behind me.

 

 

 

Podcast Episode 3: Style Maker Cobi Ladner

I’m incredibly excited to introduce the guest of my latest episode of the Hunted & Gathered Podcast. Cobi Ladner is one of Canada’s leading design authorizes. During her 15 years as editor in chief at House & Home magazine Cobi helped develop the magazine into Canada’s source for design inspiration and information. Under her direction, readership increased from 600,000 to 2.5 million. Each month her editor’s page was the first place I flipped to when my issue of House & Home arrived. Style and design became accessible and attainable through Cobi’s warm, personal and insigtful editorials; as if what I saw in the magazine could truly be something I could create in my own home.

In 2008 Cobi left the publishing world to create her lifestyle brand Cobistyle, which now includes furniture, fabric, home décor accessories and more. Cobi has recently jumped back into publishing as the editorial director of Reno & Décor magazine, inspiring readers with the latest decorating and renovating tips and trends. I’m thrilled she’s back writing those wonderfully inspiring editor’s letters.

The self-promclaimed poster girl of pretty decor (and colour!) chats with me about her favourite Instagram accounts and how to create a comfortable and approachable home by infusing personal style and individuality (like she did in her amazing kitchen, pictured here).

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Here are some of Cobi’s favourite Instagram accounts for fresh doses of decor inspiration.

Studio McGee

Zhush

One Kings Lane

Feasby & Bleeks Design

Cobi has also written a beautiful children’s book.

Why is an Orange Called an Orange?

I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did! To listen click here or on the link in the sidebar.

 

 

“Art is Anything You Can Get Away With”

Let’s talk about your walls for a few minutes. You may have painted them in a fantastic colour; and perhaps they’re the perfect backdrop for your favourite piece of furniture; and oh, what those walls would say if they could talk!       But just maybe, your walls are feeling a bit neglected? I know art can be pricey, especially original art. While I strongly feel that art is a great investment for your home, it could be that you have never found anything you’re crazy about or you just don’t have the money to make that kind of commitment right now. No matter, you can still have incredibly stylish and unique wall art that is personal and heartfelt. You don’t have to cave in and settle for that flimsy framed canvas from the big box store (unless of course that flimsy framed canvas totally speaks to you and is your art soulmate, then by all means – get it!) Read on for some creative ways to fill your walls without emptying your bank account.

In 2006,  Martha Stewart released a home decor/lifestyle magazine called Blueprint. It was like the quirky middle sister of Real Simple and Domino. It only lasted maybe two years but I loved each inspiring issue. One of my favourite articles featured budget friendly and easy to diy art. These giant framed playing cards are just enlarged photocopies of a standard card. The best part of this project is that it takes zero skill to pull off. All you have to do is walk into a Staples with a playing card and ask them to enlarge it to your desired size. Then you put it in a frame. I’ll bet the most difficult part of this project will be hanging it on your wall. I can never get my art to hang straight!

(When my husband and I were dating he gave me a single playing card – the ace of hearts. I was going away on vacation and he told me that no matter where I go I would always have his heart. Cue the fake canned “ahhhhh”. This would be the ideal project to display my memento.)

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While you’re at the print centre, how about also enlarging something really personal like a handwritten envelope from a special friend or relative?

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These next ideas come from one of my favourite design blogs, Tattered Style. While the blog isn’t updated any longer, it’s a treasure trove of amazing DIY and vintage decor ideas.

Vintage shooting range target.  

Slices of a fallen tree.

Special family recipes.

If these ideas have been too sentimental for you, how about some broken hockey sticks? Maybe you’ve been keeping all the old sticks your children used over the years.  This is a nice way to bring them out in the open and relive those memories. Sorry – I just made it sentimental again!

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 The thrift stores in my city always have an abundance of these old wooden tennis rackets. This simple but striking display would make a great conversation piece in any sports fan’s home.

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These blue beauties are from Pottery Barn. As you can image they come with a Pottery Barn price tag. But even those among us who are craftily-challenged could manage to recreate these fairly easily using thrifted handkerchiefs, vintage samplers or other bits of fabric. Bonus points if your framed textile is older than you.

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I snapped a photo of this a few years ago at a store in Toronto. Unfortunately I can’t remember the store or the artist who did this, but isn’t this cool? And I’m pretty sure a few of you crafty vixens out there could totally replicate this using old books. I’ve been temped to try it myself but I haven’t worked up the courage to tear apart any of my precious books. Perhaps it will appear one day on this space as a DIY project. Or maybe it will appear on this space as a failed DIY project and cautionary tale. Stay tuned!

Whatever you choose to put on your walls it should be a reflect of you. Art should tell your story – whether it’s your accomplishments, memories or just a piece that you’re drawn to. So look around, you likely already have something special and personal that you could display. If not, hopefully one of these examples will inspire you.

Happy Hunting!

Podcast Episode 2: Blogger Kim Power from Kim Power Style

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It’s here! Episode 2 of the Hunted & Gathered Podcast. I’m having so much fun with this. I get to chat with designers, bloggers, DIYers, architects and renovators to find out what’s happening in the world of home design and interiors from the people who are making it happen. This week I’m talking with Kim Power from Kim Power Style.

 

Kim is the queen of serene blue and white spaces. Don’t you already feel more calm just looking at this room? 

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Here’s a peek at her recently renovated office/workroom that she completed for the One Room Challenge. Beautiful!

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I think my favourite part of our conversation is when we talk about how easy it is to feel discontented with our homes when we compare ourselves with what others are doing. Kim reminds us that what we see in the squares (the Instagram photos or the Pinterest pins) doesn’t show the whole story or even always the truth – like the messy kitchens and bathrooms. This is definitely a reminder I need! There is so much more happening in my home (and I’m sure this is true of your home too!) than just how it’s decorated. Right now there are piles of books in the living room, wet towels by the pool and a board game in progress on the table. But home isn’t about being perfect, it’s a place where family and friends feel comfortable and accepted. Which, to me, is better than a perfectly styled, photo ready house any day!

A huge thank-you to Kim for being on the show! She was lovely to talk with and her passion for creating home was so inspiring!

Click on the notes below to find more about Kim’s favourite decorators and the go-to decor items she mentioned in the show.

Life Style: Elegant Simplicity at Home by Tricia Foley

Atlanta Bartlett                                                                                                                 Keep it Simple: A Guide to a Happy, Relaxed Home

Easy Elegance: Creating a relaxed, comfortable, and stylish home

At Home with White

Sarah Richardson

At Home: Sarah Style

Sarah Style

 IKEA Lenda Curtains

 Curtain Clips

Produced by Valley Way Media

Rock Star Rip-Off

This super quick and easy DIY is 100% inspired (um, more like copied) by the amazing Tanya from Dans Le Lakehouse. Several years ago Tanya posted an art tutorial using framed agate rock coasters. Here’s what she did:

Gorgeous! I tucked this away in the back of head knowing some day I would have the right space for something like this.  Recently I was trying to find the perfect birthday gift for an agate-loving friend when I remember Tanya’s post.

I found my agate rock slices from the Etsy store, The Hollow Geode. This little shop has so many beautiful rocks, it was difficult to choose. I ended up selecting these:

and because I also wanted to make something for myself I bought these:

I picked up several of these frames from IKEA

and just attached the rock slices to a some white card stock and slipped it in the frame. Tanya’s instructions are so much better so please follow hers – I only snapped a few iPhone pics as an afterthought so the quality isn’t great. You can also see I took the easiest route to attach the slices of agate – double sided tape.

Here’s the ones I made as a gift:

and here’s what my completed project looks like:

(I never know what to do with the happy hour corner of the dining room, so I keep changing the artwork up)

This project turned out to be unassuming but full of character.

The pictures aren’t perfect; but let’s blame the lighting, not the photographer, okay?

I made four frames but I felt three was enough in the dining room so I put the forth in the bathroom.

This project was really easy, I worked on it while I made dinner. All six took me maybe 10 minutes. I promise the most time consuming part was unwrapping the frames!

Happy Hunting!

 

 

 

Mineral Experimentation 

I’ve been seeing Fusion Mineral Paint everywhere and been wanting to try it. I was given this beautiful campaign dresser which was just the right size for our front hall and the perfect opportunity to try out the paint.

Just for the record, I am that person who will take others people’s cast offs, go out of my way for a garage sale and slam on the brakes (often causing my coffee to spill) for a roadside find. This little guy came from a friend so no coffee was spilled for this project (but it was spilled on it – read on).

I follow Fusion Mineral Paint on Instagram and the makeovers they post are so amazing that I just had to try it. Plus it seemed super easy, which is just about my skill level. Every review I read said the prep was minimal and that the paint goes on like a dream.  So I was excited to try it myself. I was tempted by the colour Seaside but I ended up going with Midnight Blue. The colour collections can be seen here.

I did a light sand of the entire dresser, but I’ve read that if the surface isn’t too glossy you can paint right over top of the original finish without sanding. I’ve been painting furniture for lots of years so I just couldn’t bring myself to skip this step. The hardest part of this entire project was taking off all the brass box corners and the 38 tiny nails that held them on, plus all the pulls and knobs.  Once they were out I was afraid I would drop them and lose pieces so I wrapped each box corner and its nails in plastic. My inner David Suzuki was very unhappy at the wastefulness of this, but since clumsy is one of my more dominate traits it had to be done.

The paint really did go on so beautifully, it is easily the nicest paint I’ve worked with. My kids even helped with the painting and their uneven strokes just blended in once dried.

Yes I did watch paint dry. . .and photographed it. (in our garage with really poor lighting)

This is the finished dresser with only two coats of paint.  I did wait 24 hours in between each coat even though it was dry to the touch in about an hour. The paint dried to a gorgeous matte finish that is wipeable- I know since I’ve already spilled coffee on it.

I’m so happy with the results – I’m already looking for something else to paint!