Thursday, 28 April 2011

Dan Dan the furniture man.

So in addition to having grand dreams of my own shop filled to the brim with amazing finds, I'd also love to produce a line of furniture.  Where, when and how this will happen are all yet to be figured out, but until that time comes a guy can dream.

I've always loved drawing and have been sketching out different designs for a few years now, and somehow along the way realized that I love creating outdoor pieces.  

I figured that from time to time it would be fun to showoff my love and also perhaps (teeny-tiny chance) attract the attention of someone in the industry who might (hint hint) want to get in touch with this guy.

So without further ado, I present to you a grouping that I've named The Hudson Collection -

An armless one-seater that can be used as a side chair, 
or used to extend the side of the sofa

Easily convert the two seat sofa into a sectional with this snazzy raised glass top corner table, or take a couple of the armless one-seater units, throw a couple of tables on their sides and BAM!

Is it an ottoman?  A padded coffee table?  Or a sofa / armchair add on to create an awesome chaise lounger?

The awesome two seater, or three or four or more seater with the addition of the armless one-seater.  Wide arms and comfy, thick cushions only add to this unit's appeal.

The two seater's best friend - the armed one seater; throw the ottoman unit along side and he's suddenly transformed into a chaise.

The ever essential console stand; complete with glass top.

And last but not least, a fun loving cocktail table ready for a party.

This might be some random chicken scratches, but they're the basis for a lot of dreams. Imagine this set with a polished chrome base, some on-trend dark thick weave faux-wicker finish and an array of brightly coloured cushions and even more interesting throw cushions? Huh, huh?!?  Sounds good right?


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Just one thing.

I've got a few collections.  Okay.  That's a lie.  I have a lot of different things that I collect.  You name it, I probably had a collection at one point.  Snow globes - yes.  Pencils with cool graphics - yes.  Archie comics - yes.  Vintage cookie tins - yes.  Hot Wheels - hell yes!

While I might not be digging around boxes at garage sales for Hot Wheels or snow globes anymore, there are still a few different things that I'm continuously on the hunt for.  As we get to know each other, I figured that it would be fun if I showed you some of my secret collections...I mean, why not?  If anything I might just inspire you to start your own collection - or to sort through your own collections.

First up - my vintage postcards!

I think that I started collecting postcards when I was still in elementary school and my Mom gave me a stack of old postcards that she'd collected over the years.  As I started checking out auctions and flea markets I'd randomly stumble across stacks of them....and they proved to be a cheap thing to collect.  I've never paid more than a dollar for any particular postcard - including a couple of European ones from the early 1900's.  Postage still intact!  

Each one is so unique and different and I think that after years of them being left in a couple of boxes and envelopes it's finally time to give them a permanent home.  I haven't figured out how I'd like to show them off yet, but I'm hoping to stumble across some ideas that I can put to use!

What do you collect?


Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Sneak Peek!

I'm almost ready to show off my dining room (I promise!)....but here's a sneak peek for you!  I was ready to go with my camera after work, but as luck would have it, it ended up being stupidly cloudy this afternoon....toss in some less than stellar apartment lighting (soon to change - I finally found a new chandelier) and yah, not exactly ideal photo shoot conditions!  Here's to tomorrow!

I've also go a couple of other things up my sleeve.  I'm hoping to give you the lowdown on my love of dollar stores and how I incorporate steal of a deal finds into my space.  I've got a couple of new thrift finds to share with you, some recipes to share and some new feature-ish pieces that I can't wait to throw on here!

Stay tuned!


Monday, 25 April 2011

Salvage Style.

Isn't it funny how the best finds suddenly appear when you least expect it?  Case in point, this evening I've slowly but surely been tackling some spring cleaning and realized that it was time to haul out a load of stuff to the dumpster.  Usually, this isn't a joyous or momentous occasion as I live in a newer building (well, late 70s) and have never seen anything interesting propped up ripe for the picking.  However tonight, I hit the jackpot (whoop!).  No seriously, if dumpster diving were a sport, I'd totally have gotten a gold medal.

So I go throw my bag in and it hits something and coming falling back at me.  Suddenly I spot a leg, then a couple more legs and before you know it I've come across not one, not two but four Duncan Fife dining chairs!

Aren't they amazing?!?  They're smaller, and the finish is a bit rough on a few of them, but they've got so much potential!  So many thoughts, questions and ideas are rolling through my head right now.  Do I strip them down and refinish them to their original splendor?  Do I paint them funky colours and replace my current parson chairs with them?  What should I do for fabric?  Stripes?  Ikat?  A bold print?!  Should I redo them and give them to my sister who's just starting out?  Or, do I stick these guys in storage and wait until I find my dream round dining table (it's out there somewhere...).

Hmmm......what do you think I should do?


The scary before pictures.

I've been in my place for a couple of years now, and it's slowly but surely starting to feel like home.  Actually, scratch that.  You know it's home when you start dumping out desk drawers to hunt down that one stupid tax paper that you can't find.  Damn you income taxes!

That said, my place still feels like a work in progress.  Basically the canvas is painted, but it's all about figuring out the details - deciding how to tweak what I've got going on and how I can best showcase my pieces.  But before I show you any of that tweaking, I think that we should back the bus up a bit.  That's right!  It's time for me to share some amazingly ugly before pictures of my place!

When I landed my last position I had yet to move into Winnipeg, I basically had four days to find a place and move into the city from a little farm four hours away.  Having lived with roommates my last year of college, I had nothing (absolutely nothing) when it came to furniture - so have started from scratch.  Who doesn't love a fireplace surround painted in 'ugly house trim' brown?

This also explains the Rubbermaid tote nightstands and camping bed.

No furniture, but a snazzy dishwasher (that works most of the time)!

The first furniture purchase - the classic, yet unbelievably uncomfortable Zen stools from Superstore.

Yet another glimpse of the ever classy master bedroom and it's uber-chic window covering.

So you're probably wondering, "how did his place turnout?"  You'll just have to wait and see!  Prepare to have your mind blown!  Well, maybe not blown, but it does feel a heck of a lot more homey....stay tuned!


WWDD (What Would Dan Do?)

In the past I've had a couple of individuals ask if I'd give them a hand with picking out paint colours, deciding what furniture pieces to throw into their rooms, how to arrange this pieces, etc.  One friend even went as far as to say that she thinks about me when she's buying stuff for her place (I secretly love knowing this fact).  

I have to tell you - I love creating spaces!  While some people find the process of putting a room together scary and overwhelming, it's one of my favourite things in the world to do.

However, that said, I don't have a lot of guinea pigs to let me play "Designer Dan."  Therefore, for the fun of it, I've decided that from time to time I'm going to put together some mock-ups showing you how I would decorate and furnish a particular space.  

I'm going to keep it easy for the this first WWDD room - 

A boring, run of the mill bedroom.  This room really doesn't look like it has that much going on for it, other than some shiny hardware floors.  Basically a blank canvas of sorts.  Where to begin?


How about a lovely gray?  Something like Sarah Richardson for Para's 'Shoreline' for the walls


Followed by a snazzy off white like 'Bisque', also from Sarah's Para collection for all of our trim work.

Next, I'd throw in a rug - say something like this classic looking chevron rug from Crate & Barrel.  When it comes to hardwood floors, I say throw on the rugs.  There are the purists that are like "you're covering up the floor."  But then are the realists that are like "hardwood flooring is !%$# cold when you crawl out of bed on a January morning."  I'm with the second group of people.  It's bad enough that it's dark, let alone having cold feet.  Oh yah, it's important to make sure that your rug is large enough that it gives you ample landing space when you're hopping out of that bed.  The last thing in the world that you want to see is a rug that looks like it's being eaten by your bed.  Speaking of beds & headboards  - we need to find one.  Say something like this   guy - 

I really like the ornate feel of this beautiful bed from Crate & Barrel.  It's classic, without looking stuffy.  The gray linen finish keeps it fresh, as do the brushed pewter nail head trim.  I say we add it to our room!


Every good bed needs an equally good set of bedding - like this cushy duvet set also from Crate & Barrel.


Why not add a bit of fun and colour with some ikat cushions?  I can't get enough of this print!

Or, find your own fabric like this beautiful print from Thomas Paul and create your own cushions?

If you're like me, you read in bed, so it's important that we have some good lighting so that we can flip through Tolstoy, Robert Lewis Stevenson, or those tabloids that we claim we don't read.  I love the look of the wire ball lamp from's all about the details.

And since we've come up with some lamps, we're going to need something to put them on.  I say we go with pieces from the 'Ashton' collection at Pier 1.  These guys have girth and hiding sports for all of your knickknacks (and those tabloids that you don't want anyone to find).

While you're going to be spend the bulk of your time in your room sleeping, I feel that it's important to surround yourself with beautiful art wherever you are.  For this room, I love the idea of finding a series of prints to hang above the bed.  Or, if you're like me and don't want to shell out the cash, hit up your local Dollarama, Zellers or Value Village for frames that can house your own prints.  Frame something that inspires you - pictures of your kids, travel prints, scenes of your favourite place.  The opportunities are endless.  It's all about you (and maybe a little bit about your partner).  Going up shortly in my own room are prints from a recent trip to Mexico.  I can't wait to share!

Hmm....what else do we need?!

Candles!  They make any room feel personal, cozy and like your own little sanctuary.  I love the scent of the Warm Vanilla Sugar candles from Bath & Body Works.

Stacks of books (or trashy tabloid magazines) to inspire you!

What else could we add into this bedroom to finish it off?

-A few silver frames with pictures of your loved ones?
-A potted plant, or fresh flowers?  I'm not big on potted plants in the bedroom, but do love flowers.
-Throw blankets!!
-A fuzzy white robe...who doesn't love a good hotel style robe?

The opportunities are endless!  It's all about what makes you happy and comfortable!


A change would do yah good.

I'm kind of at a crossroads with what I'm currently doing and where I want to go with my career.  Some guys would kill for a hardware buying gig, but not this guy.  It's getting to the point where I'll be sitting at my desk saying "I hate this.  I don't want to be doing this.  I want to go home.  I want to be creative."  That and there's a yellow post-it on my wall that has a quote from Gary Vaynerchuk, a successul entrepreneur of somesort that feels like it's kicking me in the balls.  It basically say "...if you live for weekends or vacations, your shit is broken."  I've just had four days off, have been back in the office for half a day and I'm already ready for the weekend.  Not good right?  Yah, that's what I thought.

How?  When?  Where?  What?  Who?

All questions yet to be answered.  But at least I realize that it's time for a change.  A time to explore.  To be creative.  To entertain new ideas.  Who knows what could happen or where I could go.  All I know is that a change would do me good.


Thursday, 21 April 2011

Around the house.

At some point I plan on giving you guys a snazzy photo tour of my humble abode - complete with before and after pictures.  However, that takes time and requires me to dust and vacuum each and every crevice of my place...which I really don't feel like doing right now (it's the weekend...can you blame a guy for wanting to be lazy?).

That said, I figured that I'd give you a sneak peek of sorts in showing you one of the favourite things in my place - the inside of my dinner and glassware cabinet.

You're probably thinking "he's nuts...on to the next blog."  But no, wait!  I promise you I'm not nuts....perhaps a bit eccentric, but not nuts.  Take a second to think about it though - I love entertaining, whether it be group of people or just one special guy.  Also, food and drink are two of my favourite things, so why not enjoy them with some nifty pieces.  That and I've got a small fetish when it comes to glassware and shiny things.  The cabinet might be full, but I'm still on the lookout for new pieces and sets to add to the mix....maybe a set of Mexican blue glass tumblers?  Or something in crystal?  Some beer glasses?  Hmmm....


Black wine glasses / shakers / martini glasses - Value Village (I know!)
White ware - Canadian Tire
Wine glasses - Liquidation World ('The Cellar' line....originally from Macy's)
Carafe - The Bay (Gluckstein Home....on clearance for $4.00!)
Shot glasses - The Bay (House & Home collection)
Italian coffee glasses / lowball glasses - Real Canadian Superstore 

Thrift Thursday

Mister and I decided to make the long weekend extra long by taking today off to just kickback and relax. Obviously, this included a bit of thrifting fun with a stop at my favourite thrifting hot stop.  Yup, that's right, Value Village.  Sometimes I score, sometimes I don't.  Sometimes I'll come away with a book or plate or random trinket that makes me smile but today I hit the jackpot!

First, up this snazzy shell vase in a pale blue-green tone.  Canadian made, and kind of cool looking, this guy will look nifty perched atop a pile of books or holding small-goods on my desk.

Next up, yet another bag of shells.  What can I say?  When it comes to bags of shells I'm a complete sucker.  I've got them scattered around my place....I love the way that a couple of vases filled with them look, or how a fishbowl filled with them can help bring a guy back to Mexico....le sigh.

Lastly, we've got the piece de resistance of my haul - an AMAZING enamel fondue set!  A couple weeks ago, a group of us were out for fondue and we kept coming back to how much we loved the restaurant's vivid enamel pots.  I've seen them on Etsy and in a couple of vintage shops but wasn't ready to fork out the big bucks to buy one.  I never dreamed of stumbling across an unused set - original stickers intact, for get this - $3.99!  I can't wait to put this bad boy to use!  Drool away friends!

Not a scratch to be seen; this set is mint!  Be jealous!

Can you believe it?!?  $3.99!  

The only question left to answer is - chocolate or cheese?


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Who inspires me?

I love a good success story, especially when it's Canadian based. Case in point, the guys over at Andrew Richard Designs.  Beginning with the 2005 season, they've worked their asses off to create an awesome line of outdoor furniture and accessories.  If designing a line of furniture and operating a 12,000 sqft space in Toronto wasn't enough, they've also worked with one of my faves, prominent Canadian designer Sarah Richardson to bring her furniture collection to life.  As well, they've worked with a number of prestigious resorts including the Fairmont, Four Seasons & the Sandals chain of resorts.

Not only is their collection unique, it's VAST.  We're talking design after design.  I remember checking out the Andrew Richard Designs website after the first time I read about them in Style At Home being blown away by the in-your-face styling of their products.  I dig their story and their products; they're not just about selling you a bistro set or chaise, anyone can do that - they're selling you a lifestyle...they're changing the way that you look the cement pad or deck or whatever's outside your dining room window.

Here are a couple of my favourite Andrew Richard Designs looks -

The Sumatra Sofa (there are a gazillion ways that you can make it "your own" just by changing up the toss cushions!)

Sumatra Sofa

The Greenwich bar in teak and stainless steel

Greenwich Bar

The Sro Flared Daybed (part of the Sarah Richardson for Andrew Richard Designs collection)

SRO Flared Daybed

The Harrison Chaise Lounge

Harrison Chaise Lounge

Their take on the classic Muskoka chair - in teak of course (is it blasphemy that all I can think of is taking this piece and painting it a shockingly bright and fun colour?)

Muskoka Chair

What's your favourite Andrew Richard Designs' piece?  Also, what's on your list of outdoor projects to tackle this summer?


Monday, 18 April 2011

Crushing on Jayson.

If you're anything like me, you love stumbling across new retailers while wandering around online.  I love randomly and unexpectedly finding a shop, with new and undiscovered treasures.  Case in point - a couple of years ago, while tackling an import project for my previous employer a factory in Northern China of all places introduced me to what looks like the sexiest, classiest and dare I say it, dreamiest looking home and garden shop that Chicago has to offer.  Long story short, apparently Sophie or Annie or whatever her name was that introduced me to Jayson Home & Garden had sold them a couple containers of planters at one point.

Jayson Home & Garden
Since that time, I've been hooked on the company's website and would KILL (no seriously) to check out the store for myself.  I just have to convince mister that at some point we need to make a road trip to the windy city...if only just to look around and see what's in-store.

As an independent retailer, this shop dares to think outside of the box - and it shows!  Their online assortment of products is huge and I can't get over how amazing their website is.  Plus, I love how their purchasing team has gone out and found an amazing assortment of products that are unlike anything that I've seen at any of the other shops that I've discovered.

I love everything that's available online, but I'm crushing on a few pieces.  Here a few of my absolute faves - 

Unique pieces like the 'Tucker' reclaimed teak console table

A huge selection of custom upholstery including the 'Clinton' sofa...evidence of Bill not included (how comfy does this bad boy look?!?)


Loads of awesome lighting including this vintage pendant light

The afore mentioned planters (with or without plants!)

MODERN HERB BOX (delivery included) / $170.00

All sorts of nifty vintage pieces including this delicious piece of framed advertising 

And one-of-a-kind, completely out of my budget (and probably yours), but still leave you drooling and dreaming imported antique pieces like this stunning 19th century French island cabinet (it's on the top of my Christmas list....just in case you were wondering)

Until such time when I can convince mister that we need to need to head south with a U-Haul, I'll be content with their website at  PS.  my birthday was a couple of weeks ago....


Sunday, 17 April 2011

Kitchen Lovin'

So in addition to having countless business ideas and whims of redecorating people's spaces for a living (as mentioned before, being a hardware buyer just isn't cutting it), I've also got this goofy idea that at some point along the way - sooner rather than later, I'd love, I mean LOVE to redecorate an older home....on a shoestring budget (obviously)....besides, that's what makes everything more fun.

While stumbling around the net this evening, I came across this amazing kitchen redo on  From there, I ended up stumbling across the awesome blog of a couple named Dave & Joi who have done exactly what I'd love to do.  They've got some really fresh ideas and have an amazing sense of style.  Their Kitchen is just one of my favourite rooms in their home.  You must investigate the rest of their place via their blog Nuestra Vida Dulce -

I've seen the above kitchen a gazillion times.  Everyone's Grandma and her friends have the same 60's era cabinets, complete with built in cutting board, nasty laminate counters and strange cutout detailing in the sink false-front.

While a lot of individuals would have instantly written off these cabinets, this homeowner embraced them and brought them back to life.  New counter tops, multiple coats of paint, refreshed vinyl flooring, new hardware and appliances and BAM an amazing space!  I love everything about this room!  First off, how great does the cabinetry look?  The fresh coat of white paint and new hardware has revived these cabinets.  The addition of the island and random pops of colour only add to the space.  

Grandmas's ceiling fan has been replaced with a stylish new unit in brushed nickel.  Lastly - look how amazing the rustic table and Stark's Louis Ghost Chair look when combined with each other.  I'd love to work in this space.  Imagine spending an afternoon just puttering at the table, or spending the evening making cookies on that island?  Yes please!

The horizontal stripe adds to the modern feel of the room, and who'd of thought that a vintage sideboard could look so good smack dab in a kitchen?!  I love everything about this space!  9:30 on a Sunday evening....I wonder if there's anyone looking for a guy to start sanding their cabinetry and ripping out their old vinyl?  Hmm....



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