Monthly Archives

February 2012

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

My Family-Friendly Decorating Tips in Canadian House & Home and Maison & Demeure

house and home photo gallery for family-friendly spaces

house and home photo gallery for family-friendly spaces

I was delighted when the talented team at Canadian House & Home and Maison & Demeure asked me if I would like to create a photo gallery about my favorite spaces. This top-notch home decorating magazine is always on my must-read list.

When they asked me what would be my angle, I immediately thought about decorating with kids in mind. Ever since I became a mom, I experienced the challenges of maintaining a stylish home with a young child. I featured inspiring family-friendly spaces and shared kid-friendly decorating tips that are fun and cool.

maison et demeure gallerie photo pour jeune familles

In fact, I have two photo galleries: one gallery for  Canadian House & Home and another one for Maison & Demeure, the French edition of Canadian House & Home. Each site has their own editorial staff. They handpicked the photos that spoke more to their audience. I love the look of both galleries.

Do not miss them and have a look right now.

SOURCING:
+ my photo gallery in Canadian House & Home
+ my photo gallery in Maison & Demeure

FAMILY KIDS products

Woon’s iPod Dolls

woon pax doll with boy

Look at the adorable rock chic doll that I bought this morning for my son Zack. Pax will be a nice addition to his hip and soft doll collection. When I shown him a picture of Pax on my iPhone, he laughed and he appeared to love him. Plus, I got an awesome deal. I bought the last one in stock at half-price at Indigo. I can’t wait to put Pax in my son’s arms.

What sold me Pax is the fact that Woon transformed a couple of quirky little dolls by adding music inside. You safely tuck away your  iPod (and I assume your iPhone) or a MP3 player inside the doll’s torso pocket. The doll comes with built-in speakers. As a mom on the go, I love that I can attach Pax to a stroller or my bag.

woon kids lulu and ipod pocket

I bet that little girls would love having Lulu as their friend. Both dolls exhibit a hint of British eccentric flair. I found them absolutely adorable.

SOURCING:
+ Pax ou Lulu iPod Doll by Woon
+ click here for the list of retailers

 

FAMILY KIDS rooms

Personalized Wall Art Prints for a Nursery or a Playroom

personalized wall arts

personalized wall arts

Here is a new source that I discovered on Twitter for alphabet wall art prints. This is from a Canadian Fellow. Grace Announcements offers a vast selection of design. I like the variety of style that she offers from the typical nursery illustrations up to modern geometric compositions.

As expected, her art prints will fit in the popular IKEA RIBBA. A framed personalized wall art print make an awesome baby shower gift. Simply inform you before buying about the nursery design theme and colors.

SOURCING:
Personalized Wall Art Prints by Grace Announcements $12 for an 8×10, $25 for a 12×16

DESIGN and style LIVING

I Embrace Stylish Living and Friendly Luxury. Do You?

the loft project in london

the loft project in london

At Home with Kim Vallee reached its fifth anniversary when I went to the Toronto Interior Design Show. When I pressed the Publish button on January 27th, 2007, I didn’t know that I started a new chapter of my life. So much has happened in my personal life and my professional life. The fifth anniversary also coincides with the end of maternity leave.

For a while, I felt the need to update what At Home with Kim Vallee stands for. I blogged less over the last months because I needed time to absorb and enjoy motherhood. I also took the time to explore how I want to spend my time and to update my business plan. Attending Conversations in Design, the launch of Kimberly Seldom’s Business of design online courses, BlogPodium and the Canadian Design Bloggers meetup enabled me to be immersed in the design world again.

Authenticity, be true to yourself, great storytelling, innovation, and creativity have been a recurring themes at these events. When I came back from Toronto, I formulated my unique selling proposition. I put in words what distinguishes my blog from other design/lifestyle blogs.

Embracing stylish living and friendly luxury summarizes what readers can expect from At Home with Kim Vallee.  “Stylish living” has been my trademark for years and it will continue to the heart of what I do. I added “Embracing” to bring the sense that we are in it together.  I tell you in a minute why “friendly luxury” is so important to me. I owed that piece of the puzzle to Claus Sendlinger of Design Hotels that spoke at Conversations in Design.

Claus Sendlinger introduced me to the Luxury Matrix. Although I always talked of a certain type of luxury, I never include the actual word when I presented At Home with Kim Vallee. I was afraid that people would misinterpret it as flashy opulence. Hearing Sendlinger explained the 5 stages of luxury gave me a new perspective of the word.

What are the 5 stages of luxury?

Stage One: Acquisition and value (that is the flashy opulence)

  • At this stage luxury is used to demonstrate wealth, define social position and to visibly separate the buyer from the mass market. They show off what they are spending and wearing.

Stage Two: Discernment and worth

  • At Stage Two, the customer uses his or her wealth to buy brands, products and services that allow them to articulate higher levels of taste, discernment and discrimination. Tradition, values, heritage, craftsmanship, and true quality are key factors.

Stage Three: Emotion and experience

  • At this stage customers are less concerned with brand and value, and more with the uniqueness of the experience on offer and the emotional impact that this can deliver. Stage 3 luxurians desire a hushed and pared-down sense of luxury, and want to feel that this is shared by like-minded people.

Stage Four: Responsible and aware

  • Customers are concerned with a brand’s values as well as its financial or experiential value. Sustainability is a concern, while a dominant consideration is how resources need to be nurtured and controlled.
  • Luxurians at this stage seek brands that they can trust, with which they can have a dialogue, and develop and enjoy a relationship that is meaningful, intimate and increasingly altruistic.

Stage Five: Intellectual and poetic

  • This is a stage of passions, journeys, adventures and deep-rooted and meaningful experiences. It is not about brands, seldom about products, and less about service. It is about challenge, isolation, learning and the need to be changed spiritually and emotionally.

What Does it Means for my Blog?

I connect to the last 3 stages of luxury. Stages 3 to 5 lead to my Friendly luxury philosophy. Time is the ultimate limited resource. What you do with your free time can be seen as a luxury. From urban beehives, to city chicken, terrace vegetable gardening and the local food movement, these activities are all part of the new definitions of luxury. They are examples of unique experiences and values, just as staying at an eco-resort in the middle of the Rainforest.

As you can notice, friendly luxury was already a part of this blog. I simply put it into a statement. I will continue to inspire you with beautiful things and good design for your home and for entertaining at home. But you will read more often about what makes our life feels richer/fuller as individuals, parents and entrepreneurs. In short, I want At Home with Kim Vallee to be about what meaningfully makes us happy and stylish.

I’m still figuring out how to package the series. It will be in line with what I told you last October. I hope that you will follow me and embrace this updated direction.

SOURCING:
+ The Future Laboratory report on Luxury Leisure for Design Hotels
+ photo: The Loft Project

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

DIY Dollhouse with Ikea Expedit

diy modern dollhouse ikea expedit

diy modern dollhouse ikea expedit

They may have fallen somewhat out of fashion, but dollhouses are one of those sweet vintage-y children’s toys that always look at home in a little girl’s room. Unfortunately, old-fashioned dollhouses tend to be large and, when kids outgrow them, a pain to store and even pass on to others.

We loved this easy DIY version spotted on the Dutch blog 101 Woonideeen, which uses a small Ikea Expedit unit and wallpaper to create a modern version that doesn’t sacrifice charm. Not only is the unit sized perfectly for play, you can customize the look to coordinate with the décor in your child’s room with a vibrant wallpaper, removable decals or even just a different shade of paint on the wall. Best of all, the unit easily returns to its original purpose as a bookshelf or storage unit once your wee one outgrows her dollhouse.

The full instructions are written in Dutch, but the project is so straightforward you probably won’t need them. As we posted this, I noticed that their Website doesn’t respond today. It is good that you couldn’t read the instructions anyway. Let’s hope that their site will be back soon.

SOURCING:
+ DIY Modern Dollhouse from 101 Woonideeen
+ Ikea Expedit Unit, $39.99 USD/$49.99 CAD

ORGANIZING

New Uses for Old Things: Vintage Suitcases

vintage suitcases etsy photo

Easy spot to at second-hand stores and garage sales, vintage suiteases come with built-in charm (and, usually, a not-so-pleasant smell). Battered corners and silky linings tell tales of the suitcase’s travelled past, and you can instantly imagine the trips taken and memories made by previous owners.

vintage suitcases etsy photo

It’s just as easy to imagine taking one of those suitcases on a new trip, albeit one which tranforms it as creative storage, a cozy bed for Fifi, or a modern tech-savvy charging station.

Here are just a few of the most creative suitcase re-purposing projects we’ve spotted. (Look for links to full DIY in the Sourcing section below!)

It doesn’t matter if you’re a cat person or a dog lover, your furry family member will feel right at home with a stylish space of its own.

vintage suitcase pet bed diy

Of course, suitcases make lovely seats for your less furry family members too – just add legs, upholstery foam and pillows.

vintage suitcase chair diy

Did you see this colourful train case-cum-charging station on Design*Sponge last week? Most charging stations tend toward masculine styling, so we loved that the suitcase’s original girly colour was preserved, and the colourful feminine lining that was added.

diy suitcase charger device design sponge

Thinking outside the closet is the key to giving these suitcases a new lease on life. Create an organized and portable crafting station for kids (or mom!), or a picnic-party-in-a-box that will be ready to go when spring weather arrives.

vintage suitcase craft organizer diy

vintage suitcase picnic basket diy

Anyone who’s visited the home of a musician knows how instruments can take over the home. This guitar stand from the master Macgyver-ers at Readymade keeps things corralled, and folded up is easy to tote on stage or to band practice.

vintage suitcase guitar stand diy readymade

Of course, don’t overlook the suitcase’s original intent: storing clothes. Britsh artist James Plumb created custom chests and fitted suitcase fronts to the drawers for a one-of-a-kind look.

vintage suitcase chest of drawers james plumb

SOURCING:
+ “Journey in Blue” Vintage Suitcase Print, Simply Hue Designs on Etsy, $25 USD
+ Cat Bed DIY by Camilla Styles
+ Doggy Day Bed DIY by Covet Garden
+ Vintage Suitcase Chair DIY by See Kate Sew
+ Charging Station DIY by Design*Sponge
+ Craft Suitcase by Inspire Co.
+ Picnic Basket Suitcase DIY by Funkytime
+ Guitar Stand DIY by Readymade
+ Suitcase Chest of Drawers by James Plumb via Bless This Stuff

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Winter White Dessert Party in Gatherings Magazine

gatherings magazine white dessert table

gatherings magazine white dessert table

If spring is all about colour, winter is a study in white. Or at least it should be. Thanks to mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine, for many of us this winter has been anything a white wonderland.

Looking for a little frosty inspiration? Check out the Winter 2012 issue of Gatherings magazine – the “white” issue. Gatherings is a newish digital magazine created by interior designer and blogger Heather Spriggs.

We fell for the Snowy Sweet Sensations white dessert party – with its refined palette of white, cream and cocoa-coloured neutrals, and pretty vintage touches, it’s sophisticated enough for a winter bridal shower or an evening with your most stylish girlfriends, and yet homey and kid-friendly enough for a relaxed Sunday afternoon gathering with family.

gatherings magazine hot chocolate marshmallow stir sticks

The creamy white serving pieces look glamorous next to glass-domed cake stands, and we love how simple mugs of hot chocolate get dressed up with the addition of beribboned marshmallow stir sticks. The display could have fallen flat with such a limited palette, but contributor and food stylist Jessie Senese smartly used dark chocolate brown for contrast and tone-on-tone textured food items – a cake with white chocolate shavings, powdered sugar donuts, white-chocolate dipped pretzels – to add visual interest to the display.

gatherings magazine white dessert table

Other must-read sections in this issue include tips on how to pick the perfect white paint (it can be more challenging than you think) and a collection of yummy white winter side dishes.

SOURCING:
+ Winter 2012 issue of Gatherings Magazine

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Happy Valentine’s Day!

happy valentine's day cupcakes

happy valentine's day cupcakes

In this day where we remind the ones we love about how much they are important for us, I want to tell each of you how much I appreciate the support that you gave me over the years. And I want to thank all the fabulous home design / lifestyle / party and wedding blogs that inspire me on a daily basis. Happy Valentine!

SOURCING:
+ photo: the Valentine’s Day cupcakes that I bought at Les Glaceurs this afternoon.

 

ENTERTAINING Gift WRAP

Corinna Wraps Spring Flower Workshops

gift wrapping workshop

paper and petals gift wrapping workshop

Though we’re in store for a few more weeks of winter, spring flowers are already showing up at markets and in stores – we’re already thinking about spring decorating!

If you’re eager to brighten things up with a bunch of blooms, and want to learn how to transform potted plants and bulbs into something spectacular, don’t miss two new workshops at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto this spring with writer, stylist and creative wrapping pro Corinna vanGerwen.

gift wrapping workshop

Known for her genius wrapping ideas that have been featured in Canadian Living and Style At Home, Corinna is pairing her love of paper with petals for two one-day workshops.

On April 21, you can learn how to create a spring wreath from Japanese watermark tissue , or join her on May 12 to learn how to “wrap” daffodils, tulips and other spring flowers for gift-giving, party favours and other decorations. Learn more about the workshops and register at the Harbourfront Centre website.

Do not forget to check out the Corinna Wraps blog for more creative wrapping ideas. An idea to steal is her yellow striped suit gift wrap.

gift wrapping workshop

SOURCING:
+ Corinna Wraps Blog
+ Harbourfront Centre Spring Workshops

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Easy Valentine’s Day Breakfast Ideas

valentine's breakfast eggs hearts

Scrambling to come up with a Valentine’s dinner plan? Both Kim and I agree that staying in is the way to go, but if you really want to surprise your loved ones, create a special start to their day by putting a little love into the most important meal of the day.

Although Tuesday mornings don’t usually afford a lot of time for a leisurely meal, these quick Valentine’s day fixes will send them off with a smile without having to set your alarm for 5 a.m. wake-up-call.

Bacon and Eggs
A match made in heaven if ever we’ve tasted one, this classic breakfast combo gets a couple of creative tweaks to make it V-Day appropriate.

paper mama valentine's breakfast bacon heart

  • The Paper Mama cleverly twists strips of bacon into the shape du jour

valentine's breakfast eggs hearts

  • A heart-shaped cookie cutter turns easy-to-make egg-in-the-nest into something to remember (we love the cute ketchup hearts too!)
  • If hardboiled eggs are your family’s preference, try this heart-shaped version – you’ll be surprised how easy it is to make. (Tuck this idea away for Easter brunch.)

Hot Drinks for Valentine’s Day
For those who prefer a liquid breakfast, these creative ideas put a Valentine’s spin on their favourite warm-me-up drink – whether coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

valentine's tea wrapper printable creature comforts

adore magazine valentine's tea printable

  • Make their tea simply sublime with free printable teabag wrappers from Creature Comforts or Australia’s Adore Magazine. If a mid-afternoon cuppa is your love’s thing, stash one in their work bag or notebook for a surprise.
valentine's day drinks hot chocolate printable
  • What could be more fitting for Valentine’s Day than a steaming cup of hot chocolate with heart-shaped marshmallows? All if takes is a mini heart-shaped cookie cutter (or a warm knife and a steady hand) to make these.
  • If they’re taking their bevvie to go, wrap their travel mug (or ask for an extra cup when you stop at your favourite café today) in this adorable printable sleeve from Eat Drink Chic.

Do you have any Valentine’s Day traditions? How will you celebrate this year?

SOURCING:
+ Bacon Hearts How-To from The Paper Mama
+ Heart-Shaped Egg-in-the-Nest How-To from Cute Food For Kids
+ Heart-Shaped Hard Boiled Egg How-To from Anna The Red
+ Free Printable Valentine’s Tea Bag Wrapper from Adore Magazine
+ Free Printable Valentine’s Tea Bag Wrapper from Creature Comforts
+ Heart-Shaped Marshmallow How-To from MarthaStewart.com
+ Free Printable Je T’aime Coffee Cup Wrappers from Eat Drink Chic

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

eValentine cards from West Elm

west elm valentine's day ecards

west elm valentine's day ecards

West Elm partnered with their favorite New York city small design shops, sites and green organizations to this Valentine’s Day initiative. They told us they have a crush on Etsy, Brooklyn Flea, Book By Its Cover, Grow NYC, La Colombe and Brooklyn Brew Shop. Each card is a wordplay that is representative of its associated brand. I love them all.

  • You are sew cute
  • Love you to pieces
  • we’re on the same page
  • You’re my pick
  • You give me buzz
  • with you, it’s always happy hour

So. tell me which one would you prefer to receive from your partner? I wish to see “with you, it’s always happy hour” on my inbox.

SOURCING:
+ Send your eValentine from West Elm