Office / Guest room Makeover: a new layout

Now that the room has been painted, it's time to show you what I plan to do with it.  As you may know, I've been teaching myself to use Sketchup to design room layouts and it has proved to be quite the useful tool.  

I've been working and re-working this plan over the last little while, fine-tuning it based on my storage needs.  I'm really excited to make this room come to life!

First up, a top view of the room which measures roughly 12.5' X 14'.  The large wall opposite the door will have a full length desk with ample storage above it.  Opposite the office will be a sofa bed that can sleep 2 whenever we have guests.  The one thing I will not get a chance to change is the parquet floor (sobs) - it's just not in the budget right now.  To minimize the burn (my eyes!!), I'll be covering the parquet with a cozy 8X10' rug. Flank the windows with curtains, Add some custom trim to the bifold closet doors, and we have ourselves a pretty swanky retreat!

As you can see below, the desk area is loaded with storage:

  • 2 IKEA 'Alex' drawer units acting as support at the middle of the desk.
  • 7 Besta storage units above the desk, one of which will be used to hide the printer
  • Open shelving for file folders and other supplies that need to be accessible.
  • A refurbished filing cabinet that my hubby found laying outside by the curb and quickly grabbed, to my squealing delight!

I left the space above the filing cabinet clear, in case I need to store tall items in a basket, e.g. wrapping paper.  

The desk and shelf will be made of furniture-grade plywood - really looking forward to seeing how that turns out.  Below the shelf, I will be adding a full length sheet of metal, to make an insanely large magnetic board for keeping inspiration photos, important memos, samples, etc.

The sofa bed will also be an IKEA purchase, and it'll be stuffed full of pretty pillows.  Above it, I'll add some artwork, and to the side, a small end table.

For the closets which I am currently using as my main clothing storage space (our bedroom is lacking in storage space), will stay as bifold doors (although i hate them and find them so impractical) but I will add some custom trim to dress them up.

And, last but not least, I'll be putting up a 9-light pendant at the center of the room that I made - it's gonna be a good one...get ready for it!

Up next, I'll show you how to add custom trim to existing doors!  





Be gone, red!

Operation red-be-gone is in effect.  The guest room / office makeover is under way and the first order of business was to paint the red walls.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's remarkable what a couple of cans of paint can do to liven up a room.

In keeping with the moodboard that I shared with you late last year, I opted for a crisp white paint color for 3 walls (Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace) and a soft pink (Benjamin Moore Melted Ice Cream) for the fourth wall and the closet doors.  The annoying thing about going from a dark color to light is that you often need more than the usual primer + 2 coats.  I've found that, no matter what super duper deep cover primer and paint that a salesperson tells you to get, I find that after 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of paint, there still some of the old color coming through.  It was a lengthy process, but I am ecstatic about the result.  

Here's a look at the before:

Now, I've got a clean slate to work with:

In the next post, I'll walk you through the plan for the office / guest room.  Coming soon!

2016 in Review


I am VERY happy to report that this will be my last post of 2016.  Echoing the sentiment of many, 2016 kicked my butt and I am really looking forward to ushering a new and better year. In discussing my ill feelings towards this year, Adam brought a positive spin to the table, saying that having a bad year every once in a while makes us appreciate the good years all the more.  And... I can't truly say that it was all bad, definitely not.  It was a year of self-reflection and a few big life-changing decisions, and I believe that I will feel the benefits of these changes in the years to come.

In the velvet toolbox world, I made some exciting accomplishments:

Here are some interesting stats on the blog:

  • Over 11K page views since Feb
  • A readership size of 6600 over the last year
  • June was the most popular month, most likely due to the Powder Room reveal!
  • Over 58% of you are reading my blog from your phones :)

Anyhoo.  2016, it's been swell, but I am ready to say goodbye.  2017, I welcome you with open arms; I've got big plans for you and this time, I'll be kicking YOUR butt. So there.

Happy Holidays

Well whaddaya'know, Hanukkah and Christmas start on the same day this year.  We are lucky to be able to celebrate both in our home, so this year will make for an especially joyous occasion!

Wishing you all happy holidays - may your homes be filled with cheer, stomachs filled with delicious eats, and lives be enriched by those around you.

Stay safe, kids.

Dream Living: Lofty Penthouse in Mile-End

This month's dream living post features a two-storey penthouse condo in the Mile-End, listed by Marzitelli, Hamer, Moreau & Associés.  Another conversion project, construction for the building is set to complete in February 2017.  The penthouse illustrated in the photos below is their model unit, but it looks like there are 4 (!!) two-level high end units in the building.

The model unit provides a clear picture of the finishes available, and comes at a price tag of $1,315,000.  


  • 3 bedrooms, 2 + 1 bath, home office, den, living room, dining room, laundry room
  • 9 and 10ft ceilings
  • Bathrooms have radiant heating and high-end fixtures by Aquabrass
  • High end kitchen finishes, including Quartz countertops
  • Gas fireplace, wine cellar
  • European-style tilt and turn windows
  • Private terrace and private inner courtyard (YES!!!)
  • Centralized hot water system, Central air, and central vac
  • Top of the line soundproofing
  • Building has elevator, storage/bicycle spaces and indoor parking available

The big question is, when can I move in?!  Full listing details available here.

Dream Living is a series of posts where I share swoon-worthy properties for sale in the Montreal real estate market. If you are in real estate and think one of your property listings fits the bill for this series, please contact me for a chance to be featured on the blog.

Project X: Powder Room Moodboard

Good morning! Hope you are all keeping warm indoors on such a frigid day like today. I myself have decided to hibernate and curl up in a blanket (I am always cold, even when it's above 20 degrees in the house!) with my laptop.

Today, I get to share the moodboard I prepared for the powder room that will soon be built for Project X.  The powder room is similar in size to the one I designed earlier this year in my house - it measures 3ft X 7.5ft.  

As the primary bathroom to be used by visiting guests, this small space is a perfect opportunity to introduce drama in big sorta way.

The client requested a powder room that makes guests feel like they are at a hotel with dark and moody hues and ambient lighting.  And so, after reviewing 2 design options, I'm happy to say that they chose this puppy:

Let me explain a bit further.  The back wall holding the vanity will be outfitted with a small three dimensional hexagon tile, from floor to ceiling.  This tile is so special - it is pewter but the edges of each tile have a copper sheen.  The custom floating vanity will be made of stone with faceted textures and a linear drain.  The faucet will be sensor-based, something I have rarely (if ever) seen in a home.  The mirror will most likely be store bought, but we will add strips of LED lights behind, to provide ambient lighting.  Here's an example of what I mean:

On the other walls, we will have a combination of dark grasscloth for the upper portion and long concrete-like tiles for the bottom half. Like the vanity, the toilet will also be suspended on the wall to make the room feel uncluttered. The floor will be polished concrete, as the rest of the main floor of the house. And finally, I will put in some accessories with hints of copper to bring out the copper tones from the hex tile. The artwork will most likely be black & white photography, to continue with the overall hotel feel of the space.

It's going to be quite a while before you get to see the end result, but I will post pics of the progress as the construction continues. I'll keep you posted!






Pantone's color of the year for 2017

Pantone just announced 2017's color of the year as Greenery (15-0343).

"A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings."

"A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings."


A little more about Pantone's color of the year selection process:

Per Pantone, the color of the year is a color snapshot of what they see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.



Before I share my opinion, I am curious to know what you all think about it. Would you decorate a room with this color?

This weekend in Montreal

Montreal folks, there are two events happening this weekend that you should know about! I'll be going on Sunday, so I'll try to snap some pics and report my findings (and finds!) to you next week, in case you can't make it.


Etsy Montreal, in partnership with Hochelaga is hosting a Holiday Market (Marché des Fêes) on Dec 10 from 10am-6pm & Dec 11 from 10am-5pm. 

There will be over 70 local Etsy sellers there - your chance to buy unique gifts for your loved ones this holiday season (including yourself!). Support local artists, people! A full list of sellers can be found here.

Address: Maison de la Culture Maisonneuve (4200 rue Ontario E, Montreal, H1V 1K1).

Puces Pop

The winter edition of Puces Pop will happen over the next 2 weekends: Dec 9-11 and Dec 16-18.

Per the Pop Montreal site, this is not a flea market. Puces POP is a platform that showcases the best and brightest of Montreal’s burgeoning creative artist community.

Get the complete list of vendors here and the full schedule here.

Address: Eglise Saint-Denis, 5075 rue Rivard, Montreal, Quebec H2J