Well, this is it! I’ve officially been an interior design student for the past 3 weeks. It’s a ton of work, and I will definitely have less of a social life during the next few years, but ultimately it feels right. Change is good.
I thought I’d do a post to commemorate my beloved mid-century vanity table and all my little trinkets on it. It is now covered in books, drafting equipment, and half-completed assignments. RIP vanity table! Welcome, work desk.
In Danish, a hygge is one of those untranslatable words with a beautiful meaning; it roughly translates to the feeling of cosiness and joy you experience when sharing happy moments with good friends and family, in a warm, intimate atmosphere. It’s common in Scandinavia during the colder months, and since we share a similar climate in Canada, I think we should adopt this feeling to brighten up this dark time of year.
Here are some essential elements for feeling hygge in my home: 1) Plants
I don’t know about you guys, but I go through a major chlorophyl withdrawl around this time of year. As much as I miss the sun, I miss the greenery outside even more. To make up for the lack of grass and leaves, I filled my house with plants this winter, which makes any space feel more happy and bright. Bonus: they help clean the indoor air when it’s too cold to open the windows.
2) MusicI like playing records during the winter because the sound just feels warmer. The occasional crackle is reminiscent of a fireplace, and I love the ritual of picking out a record rather than just mindlessly selecting a playlist on my computer. Above: some of my favorites.
3) Ambient lighting:
I love natural light best, but when it gets dark so early in the day, a table lamp makes for perfect cozy lighting. Just please, no overhead neon lights! Home should not feel like the office or a department store. Above: Birch tree lamp from Montreal Machin. Thrifted curtains from Value Village.
4) Blankets, cushions, comfort
Extra slippers for guests, soft places to sit, maybe a blanket or a throw… anything that’s the opposite of cold hard surfaces.
5) Tea (or wine or cider!)
Tea is my beverage of choice lately, but some wine in a mug could be a nice option if it’s an evening thing. What are your musts for spending cosy time with loved ones?
I want to share a unique place in Montreal that always leaves me a happy customer: Two Horses on Jean Talon. A hair salon, tattoo shop and some pop-up vintage clothing all-in-one, my visits are never short of inspiring.
A little background: I only get my haircut a maximum of twice a year. It grows incredibly slowly and I like to stick to a certain length, since the fine and frizzy texture usually requires a bit of weight to keep me from looking like Cameron Diaz in Being John Malkovich. I’ve experimented over the years: undercut/shaved sections, short out-of-bed cut, bowl cut, baby bangs…. These days I like to keep it kinda long and low-maintenance, since it just agrees with my life currently.
My experiences at Two Horses have been relaxingly pleasant, and I think it’s mainly due to the fact that the hairdressers really listen and make sure that we’re on the same page. There’s definitely a system of a good system of trust going on; I never feel like I’m being boring by asking for a subtle cut. Add to that an incredible décor, good music and sometimes a friendly dog (belonging to one of the owners), and you can guarantee I’m overstaying my welcome.
I took these photos last time I went in. How awesome is this place? Above: enviable gallery walls, the most beautiful wallpaper (from Poland!) and a touch of taxidermy on every wall.
Below: waiting space flooded with natural light, some vintage finds, tattoo outlines and framed art for inspo. Visit their website Two Horses Salon and Tattoo: 170 Jean-Talon W, suite 306 (upstairs from the Atlas lighting store) See some of their work on their Facebook Page
I often get questions about this picture hanging in my living room, which is also my blog header at the moment. It looks a little abstract and mysterious, and It’s actually a photograph I took of a sunrise one morning in my old apartment. It was a cold (-30 celsius) Montreal winter day, and I was up at 6am getting ready for work, somewhat begrudgingly. It was so cold that there was a layer of ice on the windows. I’m not talking about cute little frosty ice, I mean thick sheets of ice that refused to melt for weeks. As I walked past the dining room, I couldn’t help but notice a golden shimmer coming through the window and just had to get my camera to capture it. I took it as an omen to stay positive during the dead of winter. 44 Wide is a Canadian company that creates high quality prints with your photographs, and produces them onto large custom canvases. I cropped the picture I took, rotated it horizontally, and uploaded it directly to their website, custom choosing my frame size, canvas texture and border. The final product, a 30X40 inch canvas, was delivered to my doorstep less than 3 weeks later. I’m pretty happy with the result; it ties the room together and more importantly, I feel like I was involved in the creative process. Rather than getting something generic that you’ll see in a ton of other homes, why not go for something more personal and unique? If you subscribe to their mailing list, they notify you about frequent sales. I happened to take advantage of one that was 40% off!
All links are non-affiliate and genuine appreciation. For more info on this company, please visit 44 Wide’s website.
PS: for gallery wall ideas, see here.
PPS: take a boring Ikea bookcase to the next level here.
It took a little more effort than expected, but our gallery wall is finally complete. I love how it makes the living room feel so much more cozy and colourful, and an extension of ourselves (Josh and I) in a way. Here are 8 pointers I’m sharing from my own experience: 1) Select the right spot: Preferably somewhere well-lit, but not in direct sunlight as the colours in the artwork can fade and the reflection will bounce off the glass. It will have more of an impact if it’s the central focus of a room, so the wall that is most visible when entering the room is usually a good choice. 2) Choose art or pieces that are meaningful to you: signed autograph, concert tickets, a child’s doodle, inside jokes… pieces that hold happy memories will conjure up good feelings when you look at them. I’m pretty fond of my Mick Jagger autograph from 1979, passed down from Josh’s mom. I also love objects that were collected during our travels, such as the alligator head from New Orleans. Continue reading “Tips for a gallery wall you’ll love”→
I’ve been working on a gallery wall for the past few weeks, and it ended up being a little harder than it looks. I needed a few pieces to complete it, and turned to Etsy. While I love browsing through different artists’ shops on Etsy, it can sometimes be intimidating. There’s so much to choose from, where does one begin? Here’s a roundup of a few of my favorite shops. Are there any artists on Etsy you love? Please share! 1.Raymond Biesinger
Montreal-based artist Raymond Biesinger creates silkscreened art prints that sometimes have a historical or political context. One of my favorites, which I own, is this map of europe from 1919, which also functions as a RISK boardgame thanks to some cards he includes with the print. 2.Leigh Viner
Colourful and feminine, Leigh Viner’s work captures what I love most about fashion illustration. The soft colours contrasted with strong makeup are often combined with collage and pretty scribbles. The women featured look beautiful with a usual hint of sadness to them, which is what makes the images so captivating to me. 3.Clare Elsaesser
Clare Elsaesser paints timeless paintings of women and the sea, among other things. Textured brushstrokes capture the movement of the waves and the light that is uniquely found when one is at sea. I had a tough time choosing which one, as they all transported me to my own memories by the ocean. 4. House Grafton
If you’re not a Game of Thrones fan, you probably at least know a few. I purchased this piece from House Grafton, an artist who made his own rendition of the Sigils of the Houses of Westeros.
5. City Map Art
City Map Art offers prints of different city maps, but the best part is, you can choose between 48 different colours. Definitely makes things easier if you’re looking for that specific shade to match the colour pallet you are working with. 6.Linton Art
I love the natural effortless art that is found in nature. These tree ring stamps offer a geometric quality to any room as well as a reminder that simple beauty surrounds us in all living things. These prints are all original pieces, no copies were made, and the trees are true to size.
When it comes going out, I’m not really a club person (long line-ups, bottle service, painful high heels… enough said). I’ll go to the occasional pub once in a while, but I’m not crazy about the ambiance of sports fans and being surrounded by TV screens. Bar Kabinet is my kinda place. Last fall, the inviting glow attracted me into this little nook of a bar, and I have been drawn to it ever since. Located in the Plateau/Mile End area of Montreal, it’s easily accessible and makes for the perfect after-dinner drinks spot. Luckily the inside is just as cozy as the exterior promises.
Bar Kabinet is inspired by Imperial Russia, both in the drinks and the decor. With ambient lighting and framed pictures of Tolstoy and Rasputin, it feels like you’ve discovered a secret time portal, à la Midnight in Paris, except in Moscow. They import foreign liquors such as Cachaça and Fernet to give their drinks a unique twist. I really loved the Casarah drink: a sweet mix of pureed strawberries, lime and mint with distilled sugarcane syrup. I’d also recommend the Filoettovvy (which translates to violet-coloured, since it’s tinted with beet juice) and the Chay Kabinet II (a cocktail with a splash of black tea for flavour). Be sure to check it out if you’re in the Montreal area. Take note that it is the size of a shoebox, so best to keep it to one-on-one dates or small groups.
One day, I’d love to go to a beautiful furniture store like West Elm, Montauk Sofa, or Crate and Barrel, hand them an entire paycheck, and say “One bookcase, please”. Until then, I’ll keep taking old pieces of furniture and doing my best to transform them into something decent. This Ikea Billy bookcase was in our storage room long enough for the colour to fade in the sun to an unfortunate shade of off-white. We nicknamed it “Pit Stain”, since it looks like that white shirt you give up on for the same reasons. But with just a bit of work, it looks like new! So long, Pit Stain. Getting rid of the holes for the adjustable shelves made it look a little higher end right away. I used a spackle tool and Polyfilla to cover them up. It dried pretty fast, then I wiped any excess off with a damp cloth till the surface was smooth. I used basic latex eggshell paint by Benjamin Moore that I had leftover from a previous project, nothing fancy. I removed all the shelves and did 2 coats of white paint with a roller. I didn’t remove the back because it didn’t look sturdy enough to survive any pulling, so I just taped the inner edges and painted 2 coats of turquoise with a brush. It seems to be holding up! I’d mention the paint colour, but I actually mixed 2 leftover colours had lying around (Pelican Grey and Mermaid Green). P.S: I have more books, I just kept it empty for show here. Have a lovely long weekend, all my Canadian friends!