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deciding furniture

deciding on a new sofa

January 19, 2015

I’ve been mulling over how to re-do our living room for while now. With the new year, it’s high time to pull some triggers.  I’ve narrowed my search down to a few top candidates, and I’ll be honest:  I need some backup on this one.  Help!

Here are the contenders:

1. Organic Modernism’s Siena Long

Tufted, deep, with a definite nod to mid-century thanks to the tapered legs.  I really like the fact that the legs are shiny brass.  Very much in my ‘good-weird’ category.  I discovered this particular sofa through Homepolish, one of my favourite places to find inspiration.  Here it is in an NYC apartment:

Source: Homepolish


What I like about this sofa is that it’s refined, but not too opulent.  I think the neutral fabric would fit with the more earthy and relaxed feel I want.

2. The Nook by Jardan Furniture

This has been my dream sofa for a very long time.  I love the big cushions and low-slung, deep seat.  I just want to dive into this thing and never leave.  The hitch:  Jardan Furniture is in Australia.  (I blame Inside Out magazine for this impossible dream of mine. The interiors they feature are really playful and fresh, and so well-suited to California living.)  I have even gone as far as getting a quote, but getting a sofa shipped across the Pacific Ocean is probably too crazy, even for me.  The picture above doesn’t entirely do it justice, so here’s a taste:

Source: Homelife | Photography by Shannon McGrath


Oh, that yellow penguin chair and Jieldé lamp aren’t hurting either.  You can also feast your eyes here.  Then come back and commiserate with me.  Maybe we can move to Australia together.

3.  Capetown by HD Buttercup

On the more local and attainable front (HD Buttercup is in San Francisco):  nice tufting, simple with a mid-century feel and cute cylindrical bolsters. I’ve been keeping an eye out for this sofa in the wild, and spotted it over at Smitten Studio, where it appears to be doing quite nicely in Sarah’s amazing space:


My main issue:  charcoal or ivory?  I love both.  Charcoal is more practical, given that we have a canine friend living with us too, and it’s actually a neat herringbone pattern as I noticed when taking a look up close in the shop.

4.  Spencer by Gus* Modern

I checked this one out at HD Buttercup’s showroom as well and loved the quality.  The design reminds me a lot of the classic Florence Knoll sofa:

Source: Knoll

Source: Covet Garden


The Spencer sofa is well made, but I’m worried that it may be too stark for the feel I’m going for in our home.  The light grey is great.  It’s even more stunning in some of the darker fabrics they carry.  And Gus* Modern hails from my home and native land of Canada, so I might be feeling a tad biased.

What do you think?  Let me know in the comments!

This is not a sponsored post.

Images via [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

deciding landscaping projects

deciding: living wall plants

July 31, 2013

For those who are so closely following my living wall project, get excited!  It’s time …. ALMOST.

This past weekend we built the plywood framed backing for the living wall and we’re in the home stretch of this project!  I just have to mount the backing in our atrium, attach the Woolly Pocket Wally Three pockets I got last week, and we’ll be ready to plant.  It’s time for me to make a plan for this major plant purchase (hooray!), but first, I need to decide on the look for my living wall.

I’ve been researching what kinds of plants will do best where the wall is installed.  The wall gets about 4-6 hours of direct sunlight in the mornings and it does get quite warm due to heat being radiated by the concrete floor of our atrium.  We’re running drip irrigation to all of the pockets, so watering should be easy to adjust.

So:  options!  There are many, but here are three that appeal to my taste . . .

1.  A bit of Hawaii:  bromeliads and ferns

Your own little tropical jungle, on a wall.  The punch of colour from the bromeliad blooms is a nice way to add some interest and break up the greenery.  I’m quite drawn to this, but not sure if these shade-loving plants be happy given how much light this spot gets.  Then again, our long-gone bougainvillea was in this spot and never bloomed, leading me to think it’s not too much sun after all.

2.  A bit of Palm Springs:  succulents and agaves

I love succulents, don’t you?  Trailing succulents might be perfect for the wall.  Agaves, on the other hand, might be a bit on the heavy side for a wall installation.  (Have you ever tried moving an agave?  They are dense, water-hogging prickly monsters, trust me.)  Still, here they are, tempting me to try them out as part of my wall.  The installation pictured here, and at the top of this post, is from Smog Shoppe, a really cool event space in LA, with a HUGE number of plants (just shy of 2000 plants, I kid you not!) in Woolly Pockets.  Bonus:  you can check out the full list of the plants used in the case study for this project.

3.  A bit of everything:  staghorns, grasses, and heuchera

This is reminiscent of the walls I saw in person at Flora Grubb.  There are even some lime-green bromeliads in here!  This wall, designed by Daniel Nolan of Flora Grubb, is what started it all for me.  It’s a great mix of textures and colours.  I especially like the silvery look of the staghorns as compared to the other foliage.  And I might add some foxtail ferns in for even more crazy texture.

What do you all think?  Any green thumbs out there with recommendations on what to plant?

All images via Woolly Pocket and Flora Grubb Gardens.


deciding: outdoor lounge chairs

April 15, 2013

Hi all!  How was your weekend?  Mine was very full and a lot of fun:  visiting with friends, eating great food, cleaning windows, napping with the dog, and of course putting glitter on things.  The weather has really been warming up, so naturally it’s time to talk about furniture.  Patio furniture!

Now, as some of you may know, my husband has recently bestowed a new nickname on me:  The Decider.  You see, he really appreciates the intense and time-consuming research that I put into any purchase … and the subsequent indecision after generating a (usually perfectly reasonable!) number of options.  Even if it’s two or three options, I’ve been known to agonize for entirely too long before deciding on one.  It’s a condition, of sorts.

I thought I’d start this series about things I want to (someday!) decide on, so you can get a peek into what my obsessive research looks like.

Here’s the deal:  right now only one of us can truly lounge in the backyard at a time.  We have a lounger, which is great, but all of our other seating is decidedly un-lounge-y.  Most often if we want to enjoy the yard together, The Other Person Not Using the Lounger (usually me) is perched on an Eames chair hauled over from the dining room and it’s just weird and not relaxing.  I want some backyard relaxing times, damnit.

So, let the backyard relaxing times begin!


acapulco chairs with iron base and vinyl cord seat
photos:  Vartnya Hus | OK Design | Real Living

Ah yes, the totally throw-back Mexican patio chair in so many yummy colours.  Depending on your colour choice, they can be super bright and fun and almost kitschy.   Like it would only ever be right to be sipping on a margarita whilst sitting in one.  Or they can be graphic and serious and quite sophisticated like the black pair pictured above.

Based on what turned up in my mailbox last week, CB2 now makes it in a black+blue combination which is pretty fun, but I’m liking the one-colour versions a lot more.

Worry:  one unsupervised child + one pair of scissors + 30 seconds is all it would take for complete Acapulco obliteration.


butterfly chairs with cloth cover and iron base
photos: The Parker Palm Springs | Martha Stewart | The Brick House

I love the suuuuper laid-back vibe of butterfly chairs.

Just look at how well they go with a roaring fire and mid-century architecture!  They also remind me of The Parker Palm Springs, one of my favourite spots to visit.  I’ve never stayed there, but getting lunch at Norma’s and then taking your time walking the grounds (and maybe playing a game of croquet) is a great way to enjoy it.  I digress.

I really like these from a practical standpoint too — I could change out the covers with different coloured ones over time, and the good folks at Circa50 have a nice selection of them.


diamond chairs with wire grid base and seat pad
photos: Knoll | Design Within Reach

This is certainly the priciest option based on what I’ve seen, and these are not so easy to come by vintage.  They’re more swank mid-mod than the others.

Clearly this is a chair to be enjoyed either with white wine or strong coffee, and most likely some serious intellectual conversation with your guest.  While wearing black turtlenecks.  Too serious?  Maybe.  I do love the lines and grid patterns of these, very much.

What’s your vote?