Demolition Day

Mea Culpa. It has been a while, make that a long while since the last update on the house that I am building for myself in Downtown Toronto. The honest truth is that I just couldn’t manage. I couldn’t manage being knee deep in the renovation and reporting on it at the same time.

Anyone who has undertaken a renovation, big or small, will know that it can be overwhelming ; I was overwhelmed!

In any event, is the house finished? Yes it is. Have I regained my sanity? Yes I have. What’s more, I am ready to continue with the story.

Press here for the  Demolition Day Video.



Leave it to British Design Icon Kelly Hoppen  to push the wallpaper envelope.

She’s created two immersive images for manufacturer Graham & Brown.

Her co-designer on the project,  Magician Dynamo. “His skill for illusion and my experience as a designer came together and create something truly unique and experimental.” Hoppen says.

Perhaps the most striking of the two is the Enigma design, the square pillars create a mesmerizing optical illusion.


House Boat

There is something so appealing about a floating getaway.Yes, you can take a cruise but how about a houseboat?

Innovative Designer, Dymitr Malcew has taken the houseboat concept to a whole new level. He has created a true modern house on water for  French developer H2ORIZON.

The 2 bedroom, 2 bath home with open plan living room and kitchen is built on a platform that can be towed to different scenic  location then anchored in place. Maclew says “The floating house was designed for people who appreciate freedom and nature at their doorstep”.



Wish Big: Richmond Reno Pt. 3

It’s not enough to wish, why not wish big?

While the crumbling house that I bought was far from the big and beautiful building I saw myself moving into, reimagined, I knew it could be transformed into something else, something I could call my home.

To that end I started my research, spoke to architects, interviewed some contractors, got some quotes then hired a builder.  I put all of my savings and trust on the line. In August of 2012, the next phase of this new journey began.

Click on the picture below if you’d like to see part 3 of my video digest. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3V1Bf5SWNH8)

Richmond St Project


A Clever Drip

Dripping candles are such a…drip. But we humans are such clever-clogs or at least  Benjamin Shine is.

The British Artist/Designer developed an ingenious candleholder called the Rekindle. Just pop a candle on top, as the wax drips it collects below in a clear plastic mold that also contains a fresh wick. The old candle burns down and presto, a new candle is being formed. How cool is that?

While it’s not going to last forever as candles do dissipate, it will certainly Rekindle at least a handful of times.


Richmond Reno Part 2

Every girl needs options. It is the ultimate kind of freedom.

My options were to stay in a big beautiful house I could no longer afford, start anew in something small and affordable or take on a challenge. I decided to take the challenge. Still, being one of those people who cling to comfort, luxury and familiarity. I was about to get out of my comfort zone….In fact I’m still out of my comfort zone.

Just click the image below for the latest video update.

Pt 2



What was i thinking

While we all know that change is good, you have to admit that change is not always easy.

I purchased this property in downtown Toronto in May of 2012 at a very turbulent time in my life. My marriage of 17 years was coming to an end, I was selling my family home, issues with our landlord was forcing my business partner and me to close our design store, my niece had developed a very serious illness and my father had recently passed away; Alzheimer disease took his mind then his life but not his spirit.

All I knew was that If my dad were alive and well at the time, he would have seen the house, shook his head and with a big chuckle tell me to ”Run for the hills Ter, it’s too much work.” My mother who is still very much alive would have agreed with him. Nevertheless, what she said to me was, ” What the hell Terese, if you love it, why not take a chance.”  Both of my parents were hard workers who through their lives experienced plenty of turbulence and took many chances in an effort to find a better life for themselves and their family”

So I took a chance.

Click on the picture below to view my first video.

Richmond Reno Video Pt.1

Richmond Reno Video Pt.1




The House that Terese Built…Almost

I always loved the Ugly Duckling fairytale.  Oh such woe I felt for the sad little grey bird. He was unloved and cast aside by all the others in the farmyard because of his plain looks. So, what a joy it was to read the part, where after a lonely and miserable winter spent by himself, the bird re-emerged in spring a strong and beautiful swan.

That story literally flashed into my mind when I turned the corner and saw this building. Pt 1- 1

It’s a tiny semi detached, 2 storey house on a corner lot, fronting on a main street in a once downtrodden part of Toronto’s Old Town neighbourhood.  Built in a modest 2nd empire style of architecture in the late 1800’s, the building hasn’t been lived in for several years.

Pt 1 -2

It was ugly, not because of its historic style; people know that I love this city’s beautiful old buildings. It was ugly because for too many years it had been unloved; crumbling bricks and mortar, a sinking foundation, rotting wood, broken glass, a tarp even covered a portion of the roof. It was an absolute and total wreck.

I had to have it.

Pt 1 -3

Pt 1-4

Much more to come……




Far Away From Far Away

It wouldn’t be accurate to say that the Fogo Island Inn is in the middle of nowhere. Actually, it is on the outskirts of nowhere, closer to far away from far away. Fogo Island sits off the north coast of Newfoundland. Flat earth believers say it marked one of the four corners of the earth. They weren’t that wrong, Fogo is one of the most beautiful end of the world places anyone can find anywhere.

The 29 room Fogo Island Inn is perched on a rocky piece of land overlooking the powerful North Atlantic Ocean. The hotel is the brain child of brainy child, Zita Cobb, a high-tech multi millionaire who found success on the mainland only to return off shore with a desire to encourage more people to explore this wild and beautiful island.

Cobb enlisted the design gravitas of fellow Newfoundlander Todd Saunders to craft the modern architectural skin & bones of the award winning Inn. Then she pulled from local artisans to embellish it with bespoke furniture, soft goods and art. Her vision for the retreat was further realized with the return of Newfoundland Chef, Murray McDonald, who created a trendsetting Nordic Canadian menu.

While the floor to ceiling windows offer unrestrained views of the unflinching tides, the building vistas are supported by the Inn’s interior rustic glamour and amenities; wood burning stoves en suite, heated floors, heated towel warmers, heated toilet seats, organic king sized beds, wireless internet, 24 hour room service, even beer brewed with water from a 25,000 year old iceberg. The Inn was featured in the most recent edition of Architectural Digest .





Pony on up to the bar


When I thought I had enough of cowskin covered everything, the team at Canadian design firm Powell & Bonnell ‘udderly’ changed my mind….sorry for the pun, I couldn’t help myself. It is called the Contralto Stools and yes, it is pitch perfect.

First of all it is meticulously tailored. The ‘ponyhair’ is partnered with an elegant black metal frame. The marriage makes for a contemporary stool that would suit most decors. What’s more, the seat itself is designed to be roomier, measuring about 20X20 inches, perfect for sitting and chatting and sipping for extended periods around the breakfast bar.

Contralto Stool

Contralto Stool



Wild Ride

When art met furniture in the studio of  Maximo Riera  the Spanish artist unleashed an homage to fauna wild and sea creatures wilder. His statement pieces are chairs formed from sculpted polyurethane plastic on metal frame.

To my eye they are indeed sculptural beauties. Riera, who is perhaps better known for his pop art and photography, says “I wanted to create a strong linkage between the piece, the spectator and the surroundings”. He hit the mark. No doubt the chairs would be the focal point in any room.

While the animals seem to be captured in a state of elegant repose, the price tags are certainly more beastly. They start at about $70,000 dollars.



Not Just For Colouring

Crayola crayons. Every first world child has had them, coloured with them and yes, I admit it, even eaten them…they don’t taste as good as they look.

Still,  Hoang Tran, a young California based artist, looked at his crayons and saw something else;  Darth Vader, cats, foxes, Dr Who,  a bride & groom, even a kraken. The colourful tiny sculptures are crafted by hand and feature iconic images from pop culture. Best of all for burgeoning art collectors like me, they are available for sale on his Etsy site at about $30 a pop.

Great House Sigils of a Game of Thrones carved crayon set




Cat carved crayon

Doctor Who Dalek carved crayon

Star Wars Darth Vader carved crayon