Saturday, March 8, 2014
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Hi again! As a designer of kitchens and baths, I’m always looking for hardware suppliers who have a wide range of high quality, stylish products at an affordable price with a fairly quick delivery time.
I was happy to become acquainted with Top Knobs, another company I hadn’t heard of until BlogTour Vegas. A quick check of their website, however, reveals that their products are available through a large number of dealers across Canada. Who knew? Plus you can order online.
I snapped this photo and Instagrammed it even before our breakfast and private tour at their KBIS booth as I just loved all the hues of these crystal knobs. Just think of how these pretty, shiny things could transform a bathroom vanity or a piece of furniture.
And these knobs (below) in the center and handles on the right are right up my alley.
Top Knobs introduced a few new collections at KBIS and I have to say I quite like them all.
The Europa series consists of Tab Pulls and Cut Out Tab Pulls that attach to the inside of the drawer for a minimal look. Christine Zimmer, product manager for Top Knobs says “Our unique detailing adds ergonomic strength so that even the well-used drawer is easily accessed. Hand polished quality and detailing ensures the Tabs and Cut Out Tabs are smoothly finished wherever they are touched.”
When describing the new Glacier series, Zimmer says “Glaciers are impressive landscape elements that imply both power and beauty…with ergonomic geometry and details that elevates this classic minimal pull.” There are two knobs and seven sizes of pulls from 2” to 12”.
The Oculus series has a strong circular shape and clean lines. Rounded bases for the pulls and tops of the knobs add strength and performance.
The Quilted series is fashion inspired and the geometric shapes reminiscent of a Chanel purse offers depth and textural dimension.
Top Knob knobs and pulls come in different finishes including Brushed Satin Nickel, Polished Chrome, Polished Nickel, Sable and Umbrio. All products come with a proprietary sealed finish and lifetime warranty.
What do you think? Even changing the hardware on a furniture piece can completely transform the look.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
(If you are reading this in a reader or email, please go here for the full post.)
Hi there! It’s been awhile since I posted an interview and you will love who I have lined up for today. I first heard of Tamara Robbins Griffith when she was an Editor with Style at Home magazine where she worked for five years. I also have had the pleasure of meeting her on quite a few occasions and I have to say she is one of the nicest, for lack of a better word, people in the industry. She is talented, genuine and gorgeous to boot.
She is now with everyone’s go-to destination for decor items – HomeSense. Read on to find out more about Tamara and view what will be in store this Spring/Summer 2014 at HomeSense.
1) Tell us a bit about your background.
I was a floral designer before I got into the magazine world, so that’s really where I got my start. I was in school studying fashion at Ryerson, and making floral arrangements and working on weddings on the weekends. So I guess the relationship between fashion and entertaining and décor has always been very strong for me. My first experiences in styling were really about merchandising store displays, which is I think how a lot of people in the industry develop their eye. And of course, once I became a magazine editor I had tons of practice on set scrutinizing shots, and getting things to look “just so”. I think there’s definitely something to Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours of practice, because after that, you learn to really trust your instincts. At the same time, I have always loved collaborating with other creative people, and have been so inspired by many of my former colleagues who are friends to this day.
2) Describe your role at HomeSense and what a typical day looks like.
I love working for HomeSense and have been a fan of the brand since it launched in 2001. There is a lot of variety in my job, because I manage the public relations program for HomeSense, but I am also a spokesperson. I spend a lot of time working with our buyers to figure out the right mix of products to showcase each season to the media. The retail side of our business is fascinating to me, and we have so many talented buyers who really understand the subtle nuances of great product design. Working with the media is also really gratifying because I understand what it’s like, having been there myself, and I have a lot of friends in the media. I like helping them to create great content. And of course, being on set with stylists and photographers is sort of my wheelhouse. I certainly don’t do that every day, but when we are shooting creative, I have a lot of fun.
3) What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Well, I don’t know who gave me this advice first but to try and live in the moment is something that enriches everything in life, including our appreciation for design. It’s tempting to always look down the road at what will be hopefully better one day (a basement reno?), but it’s important to enjoy parts of your home (and your life, and yourself) that are great as they are, in the moment. I have a small semi-detached house and I appreciate it every day, even if the roof needs to be repaired. It might even be a pink silk cushion from HomeSense on your sofa that brings you joy, even though you may want to replace the whole sofa next year. And naturally, we need to value our health and families, but I’m trying to use décor as a metaphor.
4) Who inspires you?
From a style point-of-view, I really love Thom Filicia. He’s such a nice guy, but so talented and his interiors are always so rich and layered. I also love Amanda Nisbet and Celerie Kemble. But from a life point of view, I am very inspired by Michael Pollan. I’ve read most of his books over the past eight years, and have increasingly cut out processed foods and started to cook more and grow some of our own vegetables and herbs. I think that what’s good for the planet ends up being good for our bodies and also good for the dynamic in our families, spending time together in the kitchen and around the table.
5) Name one thing about yourself that readers may be surprised to learn?
That I have been skydiving. Although those who know me aren’t surprised by that at all.
6) How would you describe your own decorating style?
My own style is eclectic and relaxed but still polished. I love colour and pattern, but I tend to like it against a creamy backdrop.
Not having an overall vision or plan. It’s certainly ok to buy what you love, but I see too many friends and clients who just rush out and get something without considering the mix, or a floor plan or a colour palette. I know that most people can’t decorate a whole room or a whole house top to bottom at once. But it needs to be strategic. And a good decorator can help you come up with a plan, even if it means that executing that plan on a budget will happen slowly over time.
8) What does every room need?
For sure, artwork. A mix of original paintings, family photographs and found objects. I like things framed and under glass mixed with unframed canvases. My walls are pretty full – of beauty, I think – and I’m working my way down the stairs on a curated gallery.
9) Tell us about the Spring/Summer 2014 collection at HomeSense. And what is your favourite piece?
I love the collection for Spring and Summer because it’s so fresh and on-trend. And of course, HomeSense being HomeSense, there is something for everyone. I think we are really bringing a ton of great quality and value. We’re always going to have fashion-forward, trend-driven product but I am blown away when I see for instance, the melamine we sell and how much more expensive it is at other retailers for that weight, that texture and level of quality product. I have always been at odds with myself since I love luxury and high-end product, but I am a total bargain hunter. So that makes me a good fit to work at HomeSense.
My favourite items are a beautiful wooden fretwork mirror, a green bamboo étagère and the wool rugs with watercolour patterns – they almost look tie-dyed.
And this is what Tamara had to say regarding product availability.
In terms of product availability, the mix goes to a range of stores, but every store is different. And we have an allocation department that tailors content and product to what does really well in each location. If there are a lot of families in a given neighbourhood, then they will probably have a larger kids department. We do receive shipments daily with new product, so my best advice to people is to shop at a few different stores and shop often. That's where the magic is really, because you never know what you're going to find
10) What can we expect from HomeSense going forward? And you – anything exciting planned for the foreseeable future - work or personal?
I think from HomeSense, you can expect to see pattern and colour in rugs, and lots of texture in bedding. There will be a lot of mid-century modern lines in the furniture, and amazing-quality faux florals (natch!) And storage. You will see even more beautiful boxes and baskets this year. I love how our buyers can make the most functional item into something very chic that you want to display.
We’re also really proud to announce the premiere of STYLE+TV - coming soon! In our premiere episode – airing on March 18th at 7pm - we’ll give members an exclusive preview of the HomeSense Spring/Summer Collection, hosted by myself and joined by Colin and Justin as our guest experts. We will be showing some great decorating tips/trends and answering real questions from TJX Canada STYLE+ members.
And there will be amazing prizes for viewers at home with the opportunity to text and tweet to win. It shouldn’t be missed. People just need to register a Style + card (available in stores) at tjxstyleplus.ca to be able to watch.
For me personally, I’m happy keeping things low key and spending time at the cottage or the farmer’s market in Leslieville. Between my busy job, travel and a 2.5 year-old toddler, I am very content to spend my downtime watching HBO shows.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
We were all touching a sample to see if it would smudge/show fingerprints and like magic, the fingerprints just disappeared. (That is Marilyn’s lovely hand, by the way!)
Monday, March 3, 2014
Hi there. Happy Monday! Hard to believe we are in March with these frigid temperatures (-17° C). Oh well, Spring is around the corner, I just know it!
I shared my bathroom makeover with you a few weeks ago here but didn’t mention the brand and style of faucets (as it was a sponsored post.) I’m happy to tell you that the beautiful, classic faucets are the Tresa from Brizo.
Choosing the faucets (last summer) was the first design decision I made for the mini-reno. It was an easy decision as I have loved this faucet for awhile. Once the faucets were chosen, everything fell into place from there.
It comes in different finishes and models like the widespread (which is what I have but I added the cross handles), bridge, single hole two-handle, vessel and wall mount.
This is the widespread with levers in the brushed bronze finish:
Here it is in chrome in the bridge version which I debated getting.
These are the types of faucets I am personally drawn to, ones that have an antique vibe but still look modern.
I can’t tell you how happy I am with these faucets. They really are the showpiece in the bathroom (besides the wallpaper and that requires a post of its own!)
My bathroom photos: Leah Kirin
I also have a Brizo faucet in my kitchen which you can see here. (PS I’m finally hoping to change the counter and backplash in the kitchen this year – fingers crossed!)
Check out Brizo, if you are undergoing a kitchen or bath reno or just want to revive your bathroom, like I did. Faucets can make a world of difference.
Have a great week everyone!
(Disclosure: A huge thank you to Masco Canada (they represent Brizo in Canada) for providing the faucets. They are an absolute joy to work with! It doesn’t need to be said but all opinions are my own.)
If you require design advice, please contact me at vanessa(at)vanessafrancis.com
Friday, February 28, 2014
- Warm water wash with 5 spray settings
- Instantaneous water heating
- Built-in air deodorizing system
- Auto open/close
- Adjustable water and seat temperatures
- Warm-air dryer
- Easy-to-read illuminated remote control
- Convenient magnetic wall mounted cradle
- Compact and slim design
- 2-user personal memory settings