Home Tours: Maya's Mid-Century Modern Pad

Last week's home tour was ever so popular among my loyal velvet toolbox readers (that's you!), so I've decided to turn this into a series that will feature on the blog moving forward.

This week, we get to visit Maya's swanky home.  Maya and I went to high school together many moons ago and I'm happy to say that we've kept in touch throughout the years. Back then, Maya had a great sense of style, and it looks like nothing has changed. Case in point: I recently visited her home and literally drooled (more than her dog) over the cohesive color scheme and mid-century modern furniture selection.  

As part of this series, I decided it best to have the home owner answer a few questions, for us to all understand the rationale and vision behind the design choices that were made. So without further ado, here's a tour of Maya's home, with her commentary.

When did you move in?

We've been here for just over 5 years. As working parents of 2 delicious and high energy boys, time is a precious commodity. We have so many home projects on the wish list for this place, which we've managed to chip away at bit by bit over time.

In just 2 words, describe your decorating style.

Mid-Century Minimal.

What inspiration did you draw from to decide on the color scheme?

I really appreciate the simplicity and clean lines of mid-century modern furniture, and I love color! We painted the house in neutral tones of gray and taupe, giving us a blank slate so we can have fun with the contents of each room.

Favorite room in the house and why?

For both design and vibe, my favorite room is the dining room. We entertain pretty often so it's used a lot. I love the retro sophistication of the chandelier contrasted against our playful chairs and mirrors. It's a room for eating, drinking and enjoying - no stuffy dinners here :)

Your most fabulous find.

We've collected a lot of great pieces over the years, but the best would have to be this vintage radio/record player that I found at a bazaar. I love the gold woven into the speaker paneling, and the fact that at first glance it just looks like a cool credenza. The best part is that the radio actually works!! 

The only problem is trying to explain to the boys that it doesn't take specific song requests. Ahh, kids today.

Describe your next home project.

Kitchen, bathrooms, lighting, artwork, playroom...where to begin?! The next project will be converting our 1980's ensuite into a modern master bathroom. We're ready to upgrade our black and gold time capsule for a fresh spa-like atmosphere. Grey and white, big floor tiles, a nice soaker tub and a double vanity.

A peaceful oasis to relax (or, ahem, hide) in ;)

Black and Gold time capsule? Normally, that would sound fabulous.  Care to share a photo of the 'Before', so that we can see what we're truly dealing with?

Sorry if I made it sound sexy in any way - I assure you it is not! See for yourself :-)

This post was brought to you by velvet toolbox.

Have you designed or decorated a room/house that you are proud of?  Post your best photo below in the comments for a chance to be featured on the blog!

Project X: Progress, progress, progress!


I have some exciting progress pics to share with you today!

On Wednesday, I passed by the house being built for Project X.  The basement and main floor walls are up and the support beams and joists are being installed as we speak to prep for the top floor and roof.  I've been told that over the next couple of weeks, we should expect to see substantial progress on the home exterior.  So exciting!!

Side note, you might think that there are some walls missing on the main floor, but no. My friends, you are looking at wall to wall windows just about everywhere - the view is to die for!!

Here's a look at where we're at:

Next week, I will share the design vision for 2 key bathrooms in the home: the powder room and the master bathroom.  They're gonna be killer!



Vegas Baby, Yeahhh!

Howdy! Adam attended a conference in Vegas last week and Sienna and I were lucky enough to tag along and make a little vacation out of it.  It was my third time visiting sin city - the first time, I met up with my parents while I was living in NY. The second, with my 2 girlfriends for a much needed reunion.  This time, with family.  Each visit brought on a new perspective of Vegas.  

I was hesitant at first to bring Sienna to such an adult-geared city, but after some research I found that there were enough activities to keep us busy during the day while Adam was conferencing.

Over 6 days, we:

  • went on the High Roller ferris wheel and stood a whopping 550 ft above ground to witness all of Vegas and the neighboring mountains
  • visited Sigfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
  • watched the Bellagio fountains...3 times
  • went to the arcade at New York New York hotel
  • walked across Hoover Dam and stepped foot into Arizona for 2 minutes
  • visited Red Rock Canyon
  • checked out Mandalay Bay's Shark Reef Aquarium
  • ate WAY too much food 

I snapped LOTS of pics and will share the highlights, in 3 parts.

Family fun:

So many things to see!  I'd like to also point out some awesome doors that I came across at the Hoover Dam (I kinda have this thing for cool doors).  Gotta love the Art Deco architectural elements!

My favorite hotels to visit were the Cosmopolitan (where we stayed) and the Delano.  Here are some of the interiors that inspired me:

I had to photograph this high-end shopping mall - it's so unique.

Last but not least, in the last couple of days of our trip, we rented a car so that we could explore outside the city a bit.  During one of the afternoons, I begged Adam to drive us around residential areas so that I could see what the homes look like.  Although the homes all look very similar, with the tile roofs and beige paint color, I kinda like the desert plant life and general sunny feel of it all!

Apologies if bits of the houses are missing, I made Adam do a drive by as I was snapping pics - I felt like such a stalker!

And now I leave you with a little cuteness to brighten up your day:












Guest Room / Office Makeover Moodboard

On my long list of personal projects is to convert one of our spare bedrooms into a dual-functioning space: an office and a guest room.

Our spare bedroom had not been touched since we moved in - it's still got the same dark and gloomy red paint color whose existence I had conditioned my brain to ignore... until now.

My vision for this room has been stewing for quite some time, and after some space planning and design research, I am really excited to share it with you.

Bare with me for a second here. In my 30+(++) years of existence, I have only known long, harsh winters, and a brief respite from the cold via one-week getaways down south and the short-lived joke we call summer here in Canad-eh. I (too) often dream of living in a warm place like California one day, but for now I must settle on a taste of Cali in my humble abode.  To encourage creative thinking and happy vibes, I dreamed up a Palm Springs Office Escape theme for this space.

My color scheme of choice: blush pink, green, white, and grey, with copper accents.  I've been seeing a lot of rose gold and copper everywhere lately, so I'm pretty stoked about using it on this project.  And it works beautifully with pink.


The whole office area will be a combination of DIY and IKEA pieces.  White walls all around, a pink ceiling, a comfy pink and grey shag rug underfoot, a DIY copper and pink pendant, palm springs-inspired prints, plants, and pillows, and a sofa-bed to make our guests' stay as comfortable as possible. I can't wait to get started on this project!!



The transformation will undoubtedly take a few months to complete, thanks to life getting in the way and all, but I will be sure to keep you looped in as the project progresses.



Dream Living: Wilson Lofts on St-Alexandre

This month's Dream Living post features a 2,500 square foot loft in downtown Montreal.  This loft has just been put on the market by Engel & Volkers at a listing price of $1,399,000. A true gem for urban dwellers in search of a bright and open space with industrial design and a touch of history. The red-brick building, erected in 1911 as a paper manufacturing facility, was restored between 2008-2011 and converted into 98 units ranging between 600-1500 sq ft (I wonder if the below unit was 2 units converted into 1...?) 

  • 4 bedrooms
  • 2 1/2 baths
  • 2,500 sq ft
  • 11ft ceilings
  • Shared rooftop terrace

West Elm hotels coming to a U.S. city near you

My loyal readers will know how I feel about West Elm, a retail chain originating from Brooklyn, NY.  It is often my go-to store for affordable yet stylish furniture and decor. So it was a surprise and delight when I learned that they plan to open at least 5 West Elm boutique hotels in 2018 as a business strategy to sustain brand and revenue growth (without having to open more stores).


Here's what I know:

  • The first 5 locations will be: Detroit, Minneapolis, Savannah, Charlotte and Indianapolis.
  • Each hotel will have between 100-250 rooms
  • Pricepoint will start at USD175 and upwards of 400 for luxury suites
  • Guests will be able to buy the furniture and decor by downloading an app when checking in, or via the west elm website

Do you think West Elm made a smart move?



Project X: Demolition

Demolition of the existing property and excavation for the new extension was completed over a span of a few weeks.  It's been so exciting to follow the progress week after week.

As with most renovations, surprises always have a way of creeping up.  In the case of Project X, the first biggie came during demolition.  As I previously mentioned, the idea was to keep the old structure intact but gut it down to its bare bones.  As the construction company kept at the demo, they found that they were losing a lot of time putting up supporting structures in some areas in order to be able to take down others.  And, the state of the original home really was not up to par in terms of construction standards. At some points, they feared that parts of the house may come crumbling down. So, while they had previously stayed away from the idea of a full tear down (doing so would have required a minimum of 6 months wait time for city approval), the situation forced the construction company to rethink strategy and convinced the city to approve a full tear down in a matter of 24 hours. 

Progress pics for your viewing pleasure:

Week 1 (anyone wanna buy a vintage clawfoot tub??):

Week 2:


Week 3:

 Week 4 (this is when the full tear down happens!):