Luxury Canadian Cooler

There wasn’t always enough room in my refrigerator for the oodles of prosecco that was drunk over the holidays. What was a girl to do? Use the natural Canadian cooler outdoors of course. To keep our bottles cold but not frozen, we put out a large box  lined with my sister’s vintage fur coat then tucked away the bottles of Italian bubbly…It worked like a charm!

Photo: Our Great Canadian Prosecco Cooler outside the house... #HappyNewYear


Time For A Drink

Nothing says holiday celebration more than a well stocked bar. Ok, maybe it’s just me who says that, but it is true.

When Jesus was born the Wise Men said “Mazel Tov” then threw back some rum punch and pretzels…I’m sure I read that somewhere.

The first thing I do when guests come to visit during the Christmas season is to offer a glass of Prosecco. Cold and crisp, it’s the perfect festive drink. As for the bar, I think if you can whip up at least 3 basics like Rum & Coke and 3 cocktails like a lovely Lychee Martini or Caipirinha, then your bar is in good standing.

My parents always had a stocked bar. Chris & Winnie would throw the best New Year’s Eve parties….the 31st of December is also my  Mum’s birthday which made the evening even more special…Food, drink and fun…that’s how they rolled.

 I’ve found a few beautifully stocked bars, just click on the pictures to be transported to the original web pages. Happy Holidays!

Bronson van Wyck's Bar Essential Mixers

Arrowhead Farms Drink Mixes

kathryn greeley interior designer




Wood, fire heat. This unconventional indoor fireplace makes it as simple as that.

The Spruce Stove is the brain child of Roel de Boer and Michiel Martens, Dutch designers who have taken most of the fuss out of building a real fire. Forget all the chopping and splitting of wood logs. Drag the whole blasted tree in the house and let it burn bit by bit. The tree trunk rests on a wheeled stand which is simply pushed slowly into the cylindrical stove.

Wouldn’t it be amazing in a non traditional apartment, an industrial loft or a modern house in the woods?


A good read ?

I love discovering new magazines.

In fact, it’s such a great pleasure to head to the International Magazine store and leaf through publications that are big and glossy and offer a design perspective that is fresh and foreign. The toll on my credit card is not so fresh mind you.

As I work on my new project, my stack of magazines is like a big airy paper soufflé; always on the rise.


Thank God for those online discoveries.  Residence Magazine is a beautiful publication based in Stockholm.

Attractive pictures that capture a fresh Nordic approach to design, new products, and profiles…love it.

My only problem is that I can’t understand a word of the text.  My translation program is getting a thorough workout. Still, a picture is worth a thousand words.





From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes

God I love art. As one of those people who can’t even draw a straight line, I deeply admire the thoughtful creativity and skill of artists.

British Artist Alex Chinneck has the eye. His most recent project is titled FROM THE KNEES OF MY NOSE TO THE BELLY OF MY TOES.

His canvas is a 4 storey townhome in Margate. It appears to be losing its face. The brick, windows, front door, even the lace curtains seem to have simply lost cohesion, detached  from the rest of the house and slipped almost onto the street. The top floor, now exposed, reveals surprising decay. Chinneck told the Guardian newspaper that he loves to play with ideas of distortion and perception.

Eighteen months ago he sent out a wide appeal and was able to enlist the owners of this derelict house to participate in the art installation. The artist says that “Architecture provides a fantastic canvas for sculpture”.

The massive public art piece will be on display until next year, the house will be then turned into apartments.



The Marvel of St Pancras

The last time I was in London my sister and I paid a visit to the British Library, It is the national library of the UK. My sister was doing research, I was along for the ride. That ride of course included taking in the extraordinary architecture and gobbling up great food which London is now known for.

Around the corner from the library is  St Pancras Station. It is in a word, magnificent. To me it embodies the very best in big city redevelopment.

The busy train station designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott has been an important transportation hub for 140 years but the historic Victorian building had fallen on hard times; worn out and worn down. Over the last decade it has been subject to a massive overhaul. While it still serves as a railway station it is also home to a 5 star Marriott hotel with an amazing lobby bar and restaurant as well as residential condominiums and lofts.

Sufficeth to say, after the library we popped into the hotel, had a lovely glass of bubbly, dined on some tasty starters and took the time to feast our eyes.

Lobby, St Pancras Renaissance

Lobby, St Pancras Hotel London

Grand Staircase St Pancras

Junior Suite, St Pancras UK

I found some pictures of one of the open plan residences. It features three bedrooms spread over three levels. It was designed by T G Studio.




Ottawa Modern

What ever your thoughts on the social and political pandering in Ottawa, one has to admit that it is one of Canada’s most beautiful cities; small, regal, with plenty of historic eye candy. There is also a growing modernity in the city, arguably not in the halls of the House of Commons, but  it can be seen on some of the streets and avenues and thanks to this project by Christopher Simmonds Architect , it can also be seen on Ottawa’s waterways. This contemporary residence is built on the banks of the Ottawa River.












Slow Down

It’s so easy to let life get in the way of  inspiration. I am so often preoccupied by the stuff of life (most of it mundane) that I often tune out the myriad of things around me that can inspire or simply bring a smile to my face.

I guess you can call this is a ‘slow down and smell the roses’ moment.

Today I slowed down and found this beautiful styled, eclectic apartment in San Sebastian, Spain. Designed thoughtfully by Mikel Irastorza .




My Kind Of Subdivision

You know, It’s not right..

I recently came across pictures of one of the most amazing housing subdivision I’ve ever seen. Sadly, it’s not in the GTA.

This modern housing scheme, comprised of 6 semi-detached dwellings, is in Valencia Spain. Designed by Antonio Altarriba Comes (www.antonioaltarribaarquitecto.com) each unit has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and 2 light and airy storeys.

It could be built here in the Toronto area… should be… no reason it isn’t. Sad to say that local developers all too often take the easy road travelled.

How much more difficult is it to create beautiful designs, fresh with enchanted indoor and outdoor living spaces? I think it’s what everyone is after, isn’t it?








Mid-Century Modernist

I’ve got a love hate relationship with Mid-Century modern. Maybe hate is too strong a word.

The problem with the style is that it reminds me of my parent’s basement. When I was a youngster I certainly couldn’t appreciate the formed wood and laminates used in shelving and cabinetry that my parents stored books and records on. My mother’s love of shag rugs, minimalist upholstery and accessories made with colourful plastics and glass, was to me, oh so boring.

Still, I’ve grown up and so has my taste. This mid-century inspired Manhattan apartment by wUNDERground Architecture (http://www.wundergroundnyc.com/main.php) elegantly mixes Mid-Century modern with 21st Century modernism…My parent’s basement was never this beautiful.


Beauty in an all too often ugly world

So many people with ugly thoughts and troubling behavior in the world. It’s a fact of life I guess. But we all need a counterbalance.  I choose to calm my mind and soul with beauty. People with beautiful spirits, beautiful surroundings, beautiful food and beautiful art.

Plato wrote: “Beauty is certainly a soft, smooth, slippery thing, and therefore of a nature which easily slips in and permeates our souls.”

This 1880’s beauty is in Manhattan. It is owned by  J. Crew Creative Director, Jenna Lyons.



Magical Mushrooms

Love, love, love Mushrooms. My sister Celia makes the best mushroom risotto. I like to sauté them in garlic and butter and I’m not ashamed to say, I eat it right out of the pan. Portobello, chanterelle, cremini , oyster, white, you name it…yum!

Fresh is best and being a city girl there are few opportunities to walk the woodland; (and I’m not eating the odd-looking mushroom that grows on the dead stump in front of my house). There is another way. Grow your own, easy, peasy and beautiful.

Back To The Roots is one company that makes it possible and it’s available at Loblaws or online.