Sunday, October 23, 2011


Muddy Bath in Guilin Shanshui

This is pretty much what it feels like in my living room. For that matter, in my dining room, family room, kitchen, stairwell and basement! Yes, my whole house is painted in various shades of dark brown. 

At first, I kinda liked it. It looked pretty good when I viewed the house before buying it. But, after a couple of months of living here, I'm feeling like it's really getting under my skin. Part of the problem is that a lot of our furnishings are wood, our flooring is honey-oak and every time I like a photo in a design magazine or blog, the walls are a shade of off-white.

I've been speaking to a few different design folks and they agree with me that for some reason, brown is a very, very popular colour in Regina. Even the "Fine Living" magazines here featuring million-dollar homes show most rooms painted in brown. I'm not sure I get it.

So, after our last White, but not Quite Right adventure, we've decided to return to Sarah Richardson's palette and give this one a try as an overall main floor living colour:

Paint Name
  • Bisque
  • Bisque lends a softening effect when applied to cabinetry as an alternative to bright white.

We're only one coat in, but so far, it's coming out as a nice, soft, warm white. Photos to come!

I should also share that it was a bit of a mishap that led to this choice... We started out with Benjamin Moore's White Dove but when we put some samples on the wall, it didn't look at all right. After some thinking, I discovered that the chips have a date code on the back and the chip we'd chosen was produced in 2001 - it had yellowed over time! With a fresh chip, we realized the sample was in fact the correct colour (and was also too stark for me). This was a good learning experience!

DIY Rating: 10 for testing out sample pots before buying 
(I'm learning my lesson after two failed attempts at white!)

As for my colour choice...I'll let you decide once the before and after photos are ready!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shop'n DROP!

Sophia Loren in her bedroom

Do you ever buy your furniture in sets?

What's strange is that most furniture showrooms are designed to show shoppers a full matching suite for each room, but real-life professional designers never buy furniture that way. If you take a close look at design magazines or tv shows, they way that they put rooms together looks good because they use an eclectic mix of pieces that work, but don't match. You won't often see anything that looks like a furniture showroom in Canadian House and Home!

It's this kind of matchey-matchness that makes
this site so hilarious to look at!
Image via Catalogue Living

However, dear reader, do not be deceived into thinking that look this is easy for us mere mortals to achieve! There is a unique talent at work in creating a certain unique and seamless looking decor. I've recently decided that the reason it's such hard work is that one must be an expert shopper in addition to having a flair for colour and space.

Image via (Sarah's House Season 4)

Just to get a sense of what I mean, take a look at the shopping guide for the new Sarah Richardson House Season 4 main living room here.

It's amazing the number of different stores and fabrics and paint colours that she sources for the room and is able to manage and pull together for a seamless look. I sometimes get overwhelmed in just one store trying to pick just one item - it gives me a new respect for what a designer is able to manage in their mind's eye.

Some of the tricks that I've heard of and/or used are to put together inspiration boards and to shop slowly and accumulate things you love over a longer period of time.

I've recently started an account with Pinterest to try to organize my thoughts and save digital images of what I like. It's frankly a lot of fun. I want to find a use for it in business by saving images of great marketing pieces that I see online and in real-life - still need to get around to that...

On the tv shows about decorating, like Sarah's House, it appears that they are working in a linear fashion and decorating the room in one shot, start to finish, in about two weeks time. Maybe you can do that if you're a superstar with a great support staff. I suspect what's really happening is that they're shopping out different parts of the house simultaneously and just showing a linear documentation of the process. I think in a regular house, you're going to have a lot of incomplete spaces for quite a while adding bits and pieces to each room as you find things that work. 

So, as you sit in your matching love seat, sofa, chair combination with the slightly too small rug and side tables that match your coffee table, don't fret too much! It takes time and talent to shop out that quintessential eclectic look that is you and isn't as easy as it looks! There are basements and guest rooms and used furniture websites to help you split up those sets and keep only the pieces that work with other things you love.

DIY Rating: 5
Reading the source list for Sarah's living room helps 
one to realize there is a lot of work and talent to pulling together a completed space.

It might be worth bringing in a designer to give some direction to your plans.

Start small and don't be surprised if it takes 1-2 years to create what happens in 30 minutes on TV!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Let's Talk Turkey

External Turkey Roaster via

Starting tomorrow (and actually, a little bit tonight) your grocery store is going to be a madhouse. Haven't got your wine cellar stocked yet? The parking lot at the liquor store will need traffic police. Sharpen your knives, break out the pie dish, dust off the extra leaves for your dining table, it's Thanksgiving weekend and it's time to whip up the big feast.

Except not for me. 

Don't get me wrong. Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday of the year. I love turkey dinners and I love having a big bunch of family and friends over at my place to celebrate.

With moving only 6 weeks ago, looking after little B. full-time and both of us working, The Do-tique just isn't quite ready for a big holiday production yet. 

That's why we're choosing not to do-it-ourselves this year and opting to leave dinner to the experts instead. You'll find us trying out the Thanksgiving buffet at the Hotel Saskatchewan with another young family that just moved here about the same time that we did. 

Hotel Saskatchewan
No shopping, no prep or cooking or clean up. Lots of time to take naps and walks and have friends over for dessert and maybe even unpack a few boxes.

The other upside? Works out to be considerably less expensive than DIY (especially when you consider labour). The only downside is that you'll be the only one in the office not having a turkey sandwich next Wednesday since leftovers aren't usually included!

Missing all our far-away friends and wishing all my dear readers a Happy Thanksgiving! 

DIY Rating: 0 Sometimes, you just have to choose your DIY battles

When life gets way too hectic, no shame in leaving 
the hard work to the experts and heading 
out to a hotel or restaurant for a holiday meal. 

Most places have special event menus and seating times 
and though things get tight closer to the date, we've always managed 
to find a last-minute reservation when we've needed to.