Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Myra Hoefer - Intimacy in large open spaces

Large spaces are often sought after yet can be a challenge to be brought to real life.  
Creating intimacy in this cavernous spaces is a struggle for most people, but these designers did a great job.  The trick?   
Creating little vignettes and intimate settings throughout the great room,such as the stunning glazed 
pot on the rough table set in one corner of the room, the dining table in the other, and two fantastic sitting areas that speaks volumes
in this voluminous space.

The great living room – with its' monochromatic palette makes it easy to mix and match especially given the wealth of textures.
One of my favorite pieces is the Oly cast resin coffee tables that look like wedding cakes.    Note the Bora Bora jute rug with it thickly
 braided pattern, snow white throw pillows and volumes in piles next to the sofa enable easy reading and reviewing of interior design books.

The butterflies floating up the walls are an art piece made from salvaged beer cans by artistic Paul Filinski.

Myra Hoefer, owner and designer of this fantastic abode says it’s an open, casual house to being with and her first take on it was that
everything should be white!

The results are a smashing idea!  She says she wanted the the whole place to look like the color of bones and to let the furnishings
 be monochromatic very soft and subtle with lots of pieces that they had bought in France.  The backdrop was to be clean, and
 chalky white, like powdered sugar on a cake.  With layers of depth and movement.

The armoire and is left rough, exposing its' weathered wood, juxtaposed against the French provincial buxom side table.  White dining chairs
 with gorgeous claw feet look like chess pieces against the grey dining table.  The room is adorned by pieces sparingly allowing its' structure
 and volume to take central stage.  Dining chairs by Oly, armoire and dining table by Astier de Villate, chandelier by Ironware
 International. Bombe side table antique.

Hoefer created a delicious masterpiece with her simplicity and her flair.  Note how none of the furniture is pushed against the wall,
there is so much space, there is no need to, and it’s the number one thing you’ll find in most spaces.  The overscale pieces allow for
 touches of grandeur so you don't feel dwarfed by the celestial ceiling height.  She manages to mix together Napoleonic mirrors,
 cast resin tables, Louis the XV chairs and molded plastic, and yet it all fits together.  When asked how she does it she says it has to
 do with keeping the tones in the ivory and caramel grey stone pallet, anything else would be jarring and too sharp to fit in.

In the bedroom a fantastic four poster romantic bed brings the eye upwards to the gorgeous steeple shaped ceiling with
exposed wood work.The roughness of the ceilings planks works well with the cream tones of the bedroom furniture.
The Patricia Edwards ottoman is covered in a white cowhide.   Brings another texture into the mix.

Even if you’re not the principle cook in this family you would love to take up a baking 
challenge in its' welcoming setting.  The subway tile in its' fresh white, huge overhead vent.

The dining area is a juxtaposition old shaker style table with Verner Panton molded plastic chairs from the fab furniture provider
Design Within Reach.
The stools were designed by Hoefer  “A la Reine” which translates to Queens Style – with goat’s feet!  Love them!
 The French Patio doors let the light and the greenery inside.   Light and dark, old and new, inside outside blend perfectly in this setting.

The fireplace is faces in plastered with marble dust.  This adds depth and texture.   The column in the middle of the room was an eyesore,
but they beefed it up and made it more classic and now it’s turned into a beautiful piece of sculpture instead of an ugly thing to deal with.

The bath is sleek yet welcoming, with its’ carerra marble in grey tones.  The house is bathed in light greys, creams,
whites and natural wood tones.  Surrounded by windows yet it affords privacy given its' remote location.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Architects, interior designers, and more ∨

Find contractors, builders and design build firms that can help you with house designs for your dream home.
Collect and share photos of bathroom tiling, vanities, unique shower curtains and bathroom vanity mirrors to create your perfect home decorating style.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Luxe Loft - featured on Houzz

Most recently my very own home was featured on - and I was oh so flattered.
A very lovely local photographer and designer, Laura Garner,
 picked me out of oh so many Montreal homes to feature.

So, now you know how I live too!

The credenza above, was purchased at the Sears Liquidation Center for only $400,
 because it was slightly damaged.  Can you see it? Neither could I so I bought it on sight!

Floor Lamp from Winners for only $30, and photographs shot by me in Maine, USA,  a few years ago
are housed in IKEA frames, for the best purchase in town.  I periodically change these photos,
inexpensively by printing them on plain paper at a local printer on proper paper color format,
 costs less than a dollar a photo and for the non discerning eye, does the trick!
Keeps the home fresh looking, and creates a gallery that is forever changing.

The Living Area

Coffee table was also a 'find' when travelling in Boston.  I didn't like the dark top it originally
 had, but replacing it with a marble slab was going to cost over 400$ so, I took a can of para paint
 and spray painted it.  I messed up a bit and rushed so the finish wasn't ideal, but in fact, it ended
 up being even better than I originally planned cause the waves in the paint created a texture that
makes it even more unique!

 My sofa is comfy and chocolatey brown, allowing for dirt to accumulate on it without having an impact
 on my lifestyle.  I believe in really using your living space and home, and using your good
china and linens.  I tell every client to surround themselves by things that they love
 and treasure.    The yellow acrylic artwork by friend and fabulous Quebec artist Pascale Poulin.

I am a budget person, living in a great neighborhood!
Luckily I purchased my loft just before the market went haywire, and that was all pure luck,
 nothing to do with me being savvy.
However I cannot say that I am not savvy about picking and choosing how to
style my place on a really really tight budget, allowing me to spend my money wisely,
 making things look snazzy, hip, cool, and yet I am thrifty and imaginative!

You can do it too! I often find junk in the alleys, or even the garage of my condo building,
where people will toss things that they don't value any longer, and turn them into my treasure!
This gives me immense pleasure and a sense of accomplishment.


My bedroom is huge!  So filling it up with costly large pieces was not an option.  Instead I opted
to get a piece of wood, screwed those large planks together, and with the help of my best friend
Maria, we sewed some material together, created a padding for the back and staple gunned the
 piecing taut to the actual headboard.  My brother-in-law then mounted the headboard to the wall,
 allowing it to be sturdy and not budge!  Cost?  Less than 200$, depending on your fabrics
and materials.  

The piece above also on liquidation from a low end furniture store in Montreal was also
 bought for under $500.  I love it's shape, bulk and height!  The artwork, done by me, using a
stretched canvas I made myself following instructions from an artist friend of mine Pascale Poulin.
The yellow artwork in the living room is hers! I adore it!
  I then used left over house paint to create the swirls.

 I think this was the most intimidating project of all, expressing your inner child!
Also inexpensive and do-able.  Even if you projected an image onto the canvas you can
 easily accomplish a unique piece of art for your home!

The lamps were my parent's, housed in their basement from the 1970's.
Mom kept them stored away in the attic. When glass lamps re surged a few years ago,
 I asked her for them, bought some inexpensive shades and voila!
The side tables were also Winners finds for 250$ a piece. Wow!  Great find!
A discerning eye knows a good deal when it sees one!

The chaise lounge was a second hand buy for 60$.  I found it at Village des Valeurs
(salvation army style shop) and hauled it back home.  I re-upholstered it with a sewing
 machine, a book on upholstery and a staple gun!  Cheap, and ideal for lounging by
 the patio door.  

The white chess piece also slightly damaged was purchased again at Winners for less than 40$.  
Yes, the telephone works, it was purchased at Crate and Barrel years ago.

The Zen Den

The room a friend coined the Zen Den, is where I mix and match anything ethnic.  I love this room.
  It is chock-full of things like these old plates hand painted from the island of Rhodes.  
The crowning one was won by my parents during a dance competition when 
they were engaged at the club Elli in the 50's.  I adore it.  Some of these are no longer being made.

The armchairs  are from the basement where in the 70's we lounged around in them when teenagers.
 They have a classic  tuxedo shape.  The rug - found in the trash - 100% wool and clean as a
 whistle.  The piano stool also a trash find!  Mementos are everywhere in this room.
It hugs you when you're in it.


I spotted a mirror like the one above in a fancy furniture shop in Montreal, on St. Denis street. 
 It was priced at over 800$.  I was determined to make it happen on a dime.  
When I found these old ceiling tiles at 10$ a piece I bought them on the spot while in the Laurentians. 
 I then created his mirror, with screws, paint and a mirror cut to size.  
Cost?  Less than 140 dollars!  

More beautiful images from Maine inexpensively framed in the bathroom.
I hope I've inspired you to find your ways of designing on a dime!

For more on the article on Houzz  visit Exotic Luxe in Montreal Loft.

Enjoy and get inspired!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hearth of the matter

Brrrr! With freezing temperatures in Montreal and sunlight fading by four p.m., one of the things I long for is a wood burning fireplace. 
Here are a few hotties I’d love to be sitting by this chilly January evening.

You know what I’m talking about don’t you? The warmth and glow from the fire and embers bathes
you so that you feel you can practically get a deep bronze tan at close range. I can easily remember
the crackle of the well dried wood, the scent of smoky pine needles and roasting chestnuts makes me
 long for the the days when I lived back home where we did have a stone hearth.

On rare nights, when we’d lose electricity because of blustering winds, we’d entertain ourselves with
 idle conversation, all huddled on a warn velvet sofa, under wool blankets. I felt so close to my family
 on nights like that. It was actually disappointing when the electricity would come back. With a whoosh,
 the television would come alive and we’d all scatter to different part of the rambling house.

I do lovingly remember a few nights, where we just ignored the return of the electricity, continued chatting
 in the dark, roasting chestnuts and stoking the fire. We knew, this was special and we didn’t want to let
 it go. One of my favorite things, was dozing by the warmth of the hearth with my family close by.
 I miss that.

Today, it was minus 18 degrees Celsius with blustery winds and fat wet snowflakes being whipped
about the city.  Yikes!

 Makes me long for one of these hot babies. Instead, I am consoling myself by basking in the glow of my Ipad, gazing at the photos of a collection of hearths that make my heart pitter-patter.

Hope you're toasty warm wherever you are!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Holiday Wreaths

A warm welcome on your front door makes not only guests happy, but you too each time you come face to face with it!

This easy do it yourself Christmas ornament one is a classic.

Believe it or not this vintage beauty is hand made via
Click to go to source! Wow factor worth a million!

Have an old dog-earred book, but out the pages roll them into
rosettes and you'll have yourself a very unique wreath above.
Tissue paper do it yourself project - anybody can!  Even you!
These next few cool unique wreaths are all do it yourself projects - in fact - you can make all of these come to think of it!

Pages from books, felt balls, vines and candy were used to
stylize them straight to the heart! 
If you can glue it on - you can use it.

A lovely green moss wreath - lively -
and organic below or branches that are used
when still fresh and allowed to dry above.

Got some old outdated even perhaps Christmas
decorations use them to make a wreath like this colorful one.

Your children can help you make this one - with peppermint candies - sweet!

Fresh and inexpensive chrysanthemums for a white Christmas perhaps?

The easy go-to, green foliage that you can snip from your gardens - if you're not from northern climates.

Old books or magazine pages clipped and shaped
into cones - some glue and voila.
 The rosette is made with the same materials.

Dollar store finds can help you out on the cheap -
with lively pink tulips doing their duty here.


Happy Holidays to all!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Quick and Easy Holiday Decorating

The holidays are underway - and like it or not, we're all wrapping gifts, preparing
 meals for huge gatherings, and unfortunately we’re probably leaving decor to the last minute!
Here are some images to inspire you to create a lovely ambience fora your guests and family!
This easy styling above, chalk, a blackboard and some glass vessells containing
marshmallows and cinnamon sticks! Easy! And on a dime! That's my style!

 Snow flakes don't have to be outside only, here they are strung on pretty acqua
 ribbons and cascade behind the bed.  Skates are used to add a touch of whimsy
as well, they too are laced with acqua ribbon to tie the theme together.



Here a hefty branch with holes drilled into it becomes a chandelier when strung
 from the ceiling with rope.  Inexpensive and what a mood setter!

 I just love these whimsical wings.  Inexpensively done via a dollar store find.

  These stars can be used to inject a holiday spirit, but don't forget
to pull them out again in the summer as well on your porch or patio.

An inexpensive idea, candles in mason jars, and easily available epsom salts. Wow! 
 Fresh bows of green drape over the mantle in an unconventional way. Notice the pears ?

 Touches of aqua bring an unusual tone that makes any room happier.


Cake platters and vases are put to good use by placing a variety of similar colored Christmas baubles into them.  They create easy centerpieces and can be changed from year to year with great ease!

Enjoy and get inspired!