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Praize your Favorite Local Merchants on At Home with Kim Vallee

praized community on at home with kim vallee

In a quest to serve you better, I am glad to announce that you can praise your favorite local places and share them with the At Home with Kim Vallee community.

I am really thrilled to host a Praized community on my site. The team at Praized Media developed an amazing tool. Their tool fits so well within the current needs of women and shoppers.

The recommendations you find on are better than searching in the Yellow Pages or Goggle because you know that they come from people like you. You only see the praises from At home with Kim Vallee’s tribe.

Time Saver

I added the Places (Praize your Local Merchants) feature as a way to save you time. You will easily find the places that carry what you are looking or that provides the level of services you wish for. It is about ratings and reviews. You get a voice.

Help us discover the little gems in your neighborhood by contributing to the content of At Home with Kim Vallee. It is about peer recommendations and not simply my own. Naturally, you can see which places I like the most on my profile. Do you hesitate to share your profile link on your blog and other social networks.

Day-To-Day Scenarios

I will give you some answers on how can simplify your daily life? Amazingly, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

I love small designers and independent stores. But where can you find these niche products in your city? In my future posts, I will direct you to a list of retailers, not just one. With your contribution and the input from brands and merchants, the retailer list becomes dynamic.

When we travel, we want to know the best hotels, restaurants and bars. You can check to find which ones are preferred by women with similar taste and lifestyle than you.

I am sure you will find plenty of other uses for Therefore, I invite you to start sharing your best spots. Simply click on Places (the last item on the main pink background menu at the top of the page).

Calling for Help

I am looking for the Bento Boxes available at Plastica. Unfortunately, they do not ship to Canada. If any of you knows retailers that carry the bento box I am looking for product write down bento_box as a tag for the merchants. Even if it is not in Montreal, I want to know.

+ Read what Praized Media had to say about the launching of my Local Praized community.
+ Praize your Local Merchants [Places on At Home with Kim Vallee]


Come to my Sessions at PodCamp Montreal

podcamp montreal unconference 2008 :: fall foliage print by sixhours on etsy

I will go sidetracks today for my first post. I wish to talk about what is happening in my life.

Some of you may be aware that I worked for 15 years in the IT and Web industry. I gained a pretty good understanding of the challenges and processes governing the online and offline universes.

I coupled my Web expertise with my design skills to build and operate At Home with Kim Vallee. My husband is a bright system architect and Chief technical officer. So I am still connected to that previous career. All this brings me to my participation at PodCamp Montreal this fall.

What is Next?

The world of social media is so exciting. For the first time in the history, non technical people, like most of the bloggers in our circle can participate actively and build a business around their passion. The female and mommy blogs are booming at an accelerated rate. It is normal that women embrace social communities because we like to converse.

I am reflecting about that because I am preparing for the two sessions I will give at PodCamp Montreal on September 20-21, 2008

  1. Beyond the Blog – How to Better Serve the Woman Market Through Social Tools: I am really excited by this topic.
  2. Managing the PR Beast : Building Relationships With PR Practitioners While Maintaining Credibility With Your Audience. This is a panel made of Michelle Sullivan, Rayanne Langdon, Eden Spodek and Kim Vallee. I am lucky to sit on a panel with these three talented women.

August 22, 2008 Update: The PodCamp Montreal schedule is out. My first talk (Beyond the Blog) is at 3 pm on Saturday and then at 4pm, it is the panel. So I got a busy afternoon.

Register for PodCamp MTL

The line-up is incredible at this unconference. So register, the event is FREE and you will get to visit the beautiful Montreal. The weather will still be nice but bring a light coat as nights are colder.

Love Links

Since I am talking marketing and bloggers, why not share blogs I enjoy reading but that are in a different sphere.

I feel guilty that I did not respond earlier on my blog to Renée from En Direct Des Iles who awarded me an Arte y Pico at the beginning of the month. I do not follow the rules on her award but I respect the spirit. Here are five blogs outside the niche of my blog that I enjoy for their creative thinking.

  • Six pixels of separation by Mitch Joel: I listen to Mitch’s podcasts while I do my daily exercises. If you see me smile or laugh at the gym, this is why. Mitch Joel has two upcoming sessions. His company, Twist Image is a major sponsor of PodCamp Montreal. First Mitch will talk with David Usher, the singer about the music industry. Then, his second session will be with C.C. Chapman, a new media maven living in Boston.
  • By the way, David Usher has a blog on art, technology and the communications revolutions called CloudID. There are good discussions on David’s blog.
  • Problogger by Darren Rowse: I go there for tips on how to build a more successful blog.
  • Innovation Playground by Idris Mootee: I enjoy his blog because it talks about innovation, brand development and consumer experience in an easy to understand way. It is easy to read.
  • Community Divas: Introducing a newcomer by veteran bloggers. Community Divas is the new podcast started by two of my friends from Toronto, Eden Spodek of Bargainista and Connie Crosby. Eden and Connie are doing a session at PodCamp Montreal about her podcast.

I will go back to my original programming now. But first, do not forget to register for PodCamp Montreal if you are free for a week-end of great networking, sharing and learning. If you there, please come say hello.

+ Sessions at PodCamp Montreal
+ Fall foliage – 4×6 print by sixhours on Etsy – price: $10 USD


My Favorite Red Dot 2008 Furniture Winners

skin sofa by jean nouvel :: buddy table :: ribbon stools :: pumpkin seat furniture for roset :: karim rashid poly chair

The creativity level of designers continues to impress me. One furniture trend is sofa and chairs that adapt to the body and not the other way around.

I prefer the use of bands to the wire frame structure. But they are two interpretations of basically, the same trend.

I selected my favorite pieces from the crop of 2008 Red Dot Winners in the product design category to illustrate a few furniture trends.

Best of The Best

SKiN, designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel for Molteni & C, won the best of the best award. Within this avant-garde design, Jean Nouvel announces a new kind of comfort that is achieved through leaving things out.

Technologically, Skin is impressive too. The double leather cover is only supported by self-modeling geometric incisions. The leather feels soft to the touch. The floating seat makes this sofa surprisingly comfortable and brings a delicate touch. I would like to sit in one to fully appreciate the shape.

The Pumpkin Seating Furniture designed by legend Pierre Paulin for Roset follows the same concept but results in an opposite look. Pumpkin is a relaunch of a design originally part of the revolutionary redecoration of the Elysée Palace for Claude and Georges Pompidou in 1971. Pumpkin would sit perfectly in a family lounge.

From Ballet To Your Home

The laces of ballet shoes stirred the birth of Ribbon Stool series in the mind of its designer Nendo, a design group directed by Oki Sato. This amazing design is made possible due to laser cuts.

These high and low Ribbon stools are manufactured by Cappellini Spa with a polish lacquered finish in white, black, red, yellow and blue colors or in polish stainless steel.

Invite Your Buddy Home

The hourglass shaped table of Buddy is fun and chic. The leather-covered frame is matched with a steel top. In a pure European tradition, Molteni & C offered different finishes for the top and several leather colors for the frame.

The top opens to function as a small container. In fact, Buddy is fun, chic and practical. It characterizes the best friends of the fashionable crowd.

Stacking Chairs

When you host a party, having 5 or 6 chairs in reserve can make a big difference in the comfort level of your guests. Stackable chairs used to be the poor parent of furniture. With smaller condo living, it is time that thing turned around. 

Karim Rashid imagined a set of intersecting surfaces to form of the seat and the backrest of the Poly chair. The chair does not feel square-edged. The Italian brand Bonaldo manufactured Poly in transparent colors or shiny black and white. Shop around since the prices of the Bonaldo Poly chair since to vary a lot from one retailer to the next.

+ Ribbon Stools by Nendo for Cappellini at Unica Home – price: $538 USD low, $846 high, $375 cushion
+ Black Poly Chair at Topdeq – price: $195
+ Entire Poly Chair series at Karim Rashid shop – price: $340 USD


The Revival of the Pastels In Home Decor

decorating with pastels :: living etc

I am not generally inclined towards pastel rooms. But by referring to pastels as ice cream colors presented in a modern way, Living Etc caught my attention.

Soft Backdrop

Pastel colors are now on a mission to become the chosen backdrop. The softness of pastels is its biggest advantage over white. Pastels produce a high contrast against dark colors and look great next to light shades.

If you live in a small condo, white is not your only option. Extend a pastel wall color onto the floor for a seamless look. Pastels walls and floor create a subtle backdrop on which you can build on and add characters.

How To Create A Modern Interior With Pastels?

Pastel decors are typically associated with traditional decor. Living Etc tells us in their July 2008 issue how to renew the look. Their recipe relies on adding a dash of neon for modern edge and an unexpected twist. Here are some examples:

Use pastels as a base to boost punchy colors, such as this bright cube and acid cushion.

Paint white furniture of different pastel tones. Then, mix it with a huge bright color piece of furniture.

If you are tired of the clinical white look, paint your bedroom and select bed linens of different pastel tones. Add punch by incorporating a single statement piece.

If you miss the July 2008 issue, you can read the Decorating with Pastels article on Living Etc’s Web site.

+ Photography by Paul Massey, Styling by Marianne Cotterill for July 2008 Living Etc


Cost of Living in Los Angeles is less than in Toronto

modern architecture houses in venice beach, california

An interesting fact from the 2008 Mercer’s cost of living report. I would not have guess that it costs a tiny more to live in Toronto (54th), Canada than in Los Angeles (55th), California. For the weather, I know which city I would pick.

But the Unites States exhibits more  discrepancies in the standard of living. Take Venice Beach for example. This is a town founded by hippies where you now have hippies, surfers, performers and modern architecture fans living in the same cities. Venice Beach is not huge.

I visited a 2-million modern house on my last trip for the pleasures of seeing real-life examples of my dream house. The house was at least half a mile from the beach on a residential street. I can imagine the prices of the ones facing the beach.

I took plenty of pictures as I visited the house. I forgot to write about it while I was traveling. I will try to show you this beautiful house in the upcoming weeks.

+ Mercer’s 2008 Cost of Living survey highlights
Via swissmiss


Revealing the Secrets of An Amazing Entertaining Backyard

South Beatch inspired outdoor space - canadian house and home july 2007

This white and red backyard shares the South Beach hip vibes. This is the outdoor space of a couple with young children.

The magnificent backyard of Doris and Anthony Lapico was featured in Canadian House and Home last summer.

The couple divided their huge backyard in activity zones. From the draped cabanas to the open air bar in the pool house to the ceiling fans over the dining tables, every detail contributes at making this stylish outdoor a paradise.

7 Design Tips for the Ultimate Outdoor Entertaining Space

If you are planning to redo your backyard, remember the 7 design tips for an ultimate outdoor entertaining space:

  1. Every wonderful backyard starts with great space planning. Think about the function, the circulation path and the flow when you design the areas.
  2. Instead of one huge dining table, Doris opted to line up 3 dining tables. When needed, you can split the tables between the kids and the adults.
  3. Provide the ultimate comfort by installing an awning plus a couple of wall-mounted ceiling fans over the dining area. You get more design options and can cover a larger surface if you opt for a non-retractable awning.
  4. Placing the bar inside a pool house with a full window wall extends the bar usage to rainy days or cold nights. It is also simpler and cheaper to install a bar fridge, an ice maker and a sink if your bar is inside.
  5. Do not be afraid to add glamour to your décor. Play with contrasts to surprise your guests. Here the chandelier and the ornate mirror add sophistication to modern furniture.
  6. Your backyard should look and feel amazing at daytime and nighttime. You want to fully enjoy every corner all day long. The activity that you do may change during the course of a day but all the space must stay usable.
  7. Backlighting is an amazing technique to add drama. Softly illuminate the areas where you wish to promote intimate conversations.

Photo credits: Stacey Brandford for Canadian House & Home – July 2007 issue, pages 122-127 – rights reserved

+ My 5 design tips for the perfect backyard for entertaining


Modern Green Prefab Housing with Method Homes

method homes cabin :: prefab modern architecture by balance associates architects

One day, my husband and I wish to build our own modern cottage on a hill facing a lake. We are not ready yet but we are looking at options; it is better to be prepared.

With all the snows we get down here, this warm modern architecture, cantilevered roof prefabricated house may be our solution.

Designed by Balance associates architects from Seattle, the Modern Homes cabin has a pleasing design. Three lines of prefabricated cabins are available to meet your needs. The cabin can be one or two storey high. The plans are neither too big nor too small.

Completed in 3 months

The advantage of a prefabricated home is that it reduces the total construction time. Building on a lake is more complicated than building in the city. You do not have access to the stores if you are short on materials and you may need to bring specialized workers. Therefore, having a lot of factory-build components simplifies things.

Space Planning to Fit Your Lifestyle

My wish list includes a main section for the public spaces and two wings: a guest wing and our private area wing for the master bedroom, bathroom and home office. As a blogger and a host, this floor plan would fit my lifestyle.

The bridge that separates the guest rooms from the rest of the house is on my wish list. Having a guest wing has several advantages for you and your guests. It provides privacy to your guests, especially if they come with children. For you, it reduces the traffic and cleansing needs since it is inside to the main house. You can save on energy by reducing the temperature of the guest wing during winter.

Families will use the wing for the kid bedrooms, assuming the kids are old enough. You can design a wider bridge and place two single bedrooms for extra sleeping quarters.

Green House

All Method Homes models will target LEED for Homes 2.0 gold or higher. Visit their Method Homes for the list of sustainable materials and practices.

+ Method Homes
+ Rental info: Mount Baker Brand New Contemporary Cabin “The Method Cabin” – price: $250 USD/Night, $1500/Week
+ Via: Method Homes prefab [Dwell blog]

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus TRENDS Promotes Better Eating Habits

manger bouger message

I was reading an issue of the French magazine Elle à Table at lunch. As I turned the pages, I noticed something particular about the food ads.

They have a warming message like we see for alcohol. Except that the message written in large font at the bottom of each food ad promotes good eating habits.

Processed Food Advertising in France

To feed my curiosity, I visited to get the facts. All processed food products and drinks with added sugar, sweetener or salt are subject to this law. The law became in effect February 28, 2007.

I think that Canada and the United States should do the same. Everyone can benefit by following these 4 simple rules:

  1. Avoid food that is too fatty, too salty or too sweet
  2. Eat daily 5 portions of fruits and vegetables
  3. Refrain snacks between meals
  4. Exercise regularly.

There are two schools of thoughts for snacks. Some experts believe we should spread out food intake in 5 to 6 meals during the day. Others believe in the 3 meals a day system. I follow the 3 meals a day. I will eat a snack once in a while. Snacks are bad because in reality, we do not reduce our meal portions. Therefore, snacks add calories to our daily intake.

Examining my earlier tomatoes, zucchini and fish menu shows that you won’t give up taste by eating well. That is a huge part of stylish living.

>>> Sourcing:
Learn more: – only in French


Modern Style Pools Fit For Entertaining

cool mdern style pools :: vanishing edge pools

I have a thing for square modern pools that are more on the Zen minimalist side. As you can see by looking at these pictures, you can create an elaborate pools with clean lines.

The first pool (1) is an ad from House of Lavande, the vintage jewelry shop. The pool is so hip! If you like fashion and jewelry, you must check their site.

The other pools are from the portfolio of two Canadian pool makers: Poolscape from Burlington, Ontario and Valley Pool & Spa from Kelowna, British Columbia.


The Altantic Edge (2) is the cliché vanishing edge pool done at the cottage. That pool features 12 foot tiled step and a natural style catch basin (viewable from the lake).

Orchard Beach (3) is a concrete pool with a tile interior. This pool has steps at three extremities. It shows that you can integrate a modern shape pool with a traditional house. Both styles get harmonized through the materials and finishes. This pool built in Oakville featured a Riverflow swim jet for swimming against the currents.

The raised desk is in fact the roof of the pool equipment bunker. I think it is a clever use of space. The raised pool wall creates an ideal spot for the two glass-walled waterfalls.

Valley Pool & Spa

This company built an impressive number of custom concrete pools. Many of their pools integrate one or many vanishing edges. Valley Pool & Spa used a cast-in-place-concrete process to create the pools of your dreams.

I do not dream of a huge pool. Picture # 5 represents the perfect size for me. I like the chic simplicity of that pool. But I prefer the glamour of pool # 4.

Features that are great for entertaining are in-pool bar stools (6), spas, and beach entrances. Placing the outdoor kitchen close to the pool (6) lets the cook mingle with the guests. Do not underestimate the power of lighting (4) to create a fabulous entertaining spot at night.

>>> Sourcing:
Learn more: Gallery Album of Poolscape
Learn more: Gallery of Concrete Pools by Valley Pool & Spa
Read more: Pool Design Trends for Summer 2008 [Guest Blogging on Style Sheet]


Guest Blogging about Bedding and Bedroom Decoration Tips on | News Flash

bedding and accessories for a summer bedroom look

You can read my third guest post on Style Sheet, the blog produced by

This time, I share decorative tips to freshen up your bedroom this summer.

I feel it is important to get two looks for our bedroom: a winter look and a summer look. To accomplish that, a few decorative changes are often enough. Read my post on Style Sheet to discover my tricks.

Via: Bedding and Accessories for Bedrooms [Style Sheet]


Guest Blogging about Color Trends for | News Flash

summer 2008 colour trends in style sheet from

I am talking about summer 2008 color trends on Style Sheet, the blog of

Go ahead and learn about my color ideas for a fashionable home this summer.

English from Canada

You can spot the British heritage of Canadians in the way we write colour. And the Canadian spelling is grey instead of gray. We also follow some American rules. For example, we prefer organize to the British spelling (organise).

If the topic interests you, the Cornerstone’s Canadian English Page summarizes the specifics of Canadian English.

Why I write in US English instead of the Canadian English? The answer rests in the fact that the majority of my readers are from the United States.

Via: Summer 2008 Colour Trends [Style Sheet]