Friday, June 29, 2012

Holiday Weekend

This is a long weekend for Canadians as we celebrate Canada Day {July 1st}. Because the holiday falls on a Sunday, the stores and many services are open for business and closed on Monday instead. For our family, it makes the weekend a bit chopped up and busy. But I am looking forward to a bit of time to celebrate on Sunday night..... and maybe even catch a glimpse of the fireworks.

Wave your flag and celebrate our nations birthday.

Happy Canada Day!

images of Oakville by Katherine - GB@H

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A walk around our town

There are some wonderful historical houses in the downtown district of our town, many of them are like pictures framed by the intricate fretwork trim. I noticed a painter last week paying particular attention to the trim on a house and I decided it was time to take a walk around town with my camera.

According to the historical society the house has two names. The Robert Farley house or the Charles Lusk house {circa 1858}. The house changed hands three times before Robert Farley bought it in 1857 for 50 pounds. Records show that  'the house was sold again in 1864 for 300 pounds as an investment, but the owner George Rutherford of Hamilton, took a bath and sold it in 1867 for 125 pounds'.
It seems the real estate oddities regarding pricing in Oakville began way back then.

And Doctor Charles Lusk? He purchased the house next and was instrumental in building St. John's United Church in town.

image : Historical Walk of Trafalgar Road

It is a combination of the detailed fretwork and immaculate condition of the house that catches my eye every time I pass by.

Right next door is another historical house that is known as the Moses McCraney House {circa 1850}. This house has seen some recent transformations, not an easy task when dealing with the Historical Society and the town. We have all watched as an addition was put on the house to compliment the style of the house.

This is the original house with an addition on the front from many years ago. The front porch was restored in approximately 2006 and the main entrance to the house was put back to it's original place.

image : Historical Walk of Trafalgar Road

This is the house today. The current home owners should be applauded. It is difficult to maintain a historical home, but to restore it and add on to the building within the stringent guidelines it is a painful process.

Trim work on the porch has been repeated on the new addition {below}.

Notice the trim from the porch, to the back entry, over the side windows. And the incredible second story window.

The new additions to the house {2011} include the garage and second story, and the portico entrance. And ........ what cannot be seen from the front scape of the house.  

You can almost picture the McCraney's back in the late 1800's living in the house, walking up the front porch and helping to develop Oakville.
Moses McCraney was the eldest of ten children born to William Payne McCraney and Rebecca Teeter. Moses inherited the family farm in 1853 and provided farms for his brothers and mother. Rebecca's farm is now a part of Appleby College {another stunning historical property in Oakville}. 
In addition to the farm, Moses owned a general store and made buying trips into the U.S. with Timothy Eaton. Corsets were the fashion rage and Moses bought three of them giving one to his wife Sarah, who had a 21 inch waist {assuming he sold the other two in his general store}.

The south side of the house with a portico entrance.

The fretwork details are outstanding.

The details are carried throughout the house consistently - in the brickwork, the trim, the plantings, the lighting. That is what makes an addition, especially to a historical home, a seamless transformation.
There was a {tasteful} sign on the front lawn acknowledging the contractor who produced the addition. I didn't get the information before it was removed, but if anyone does know, please email me and I will gladly add the contact information.
As I watched the progress of the home addition from the street, I was impressed by the process and results.

Two beautiful houses that literally make me smile when I walk past them.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Glamourous Life

With the hot temperatures of late, I've taken my Granddaughter out to enjoy a shady park and play in the water. I have to admit, it brought me back many years to when I took my own two children to the park for the day. Twenty-five years ago we usually took the ferry across to Toronto Island and exhausted ourselves there for the entire day.

So off Kya and I went to the park with two beach bags with an assortment of towels, lotion, sunglasses, hats, ...... everything a couple of girls need to enjoy the sun and water.

Lunch in the bag included all of Kya's favourites, like strawberries....................

And of course a hot summer day wouldn't be complete without a stop for ice cream.

'The Blue Blanket' has been on many outings and has moved to the trunk of pretty much every car I've owned. My kids and I would drag the blue blanket with us to sit on at the grass when we watched the fireworks shows at Ontario Place. We took it with with us on every outing  {and it's survived many washings}.

Although it's been years since the blanket was used for a picnic and mainly has been tucked away in the car as an 'emergency blanket'; it was comforting to sit on the blanket with my Granddaughter and repeat the same activities that I did with my own children. Kya looks so much like her Mommy that it makes me step back in time to see her sitting and eating her picnic lunch. My heart was brimming.

We both came home exhausted and satisfied with our day in the water and the sun,........ on our blue blanket. There will be many more days like this together.

And I know without a doubt, that life doesn't get much better than this.

It is a Glamourous Life.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sarah 101 - Season 2

On this week's program of Sarah 101 - Season 2 {episode 7} the main living area of a small two story condo apartment in Toronto was renovated. The main floor of the condo is only 350 sq ft, so it brought a multitude of design challenges for Sarah and Tommy. The one saving grace is that the ceilings are high and it gives the illusion of more  space.

............ I can't resist showing the finished room first.

Soft mint green and cream shades of the new living area.

BEFORE ........... this is so small !


The walls were painted a soft mint green colour called Eyelet from the Sarah Richardson Designer Paint Palette for Para Paints. The jumping off point for the room was found in a verde green metal console table base {via The Door Store}.

The ceilings were painted in a colour called White Cap {Sarah Richardson Paint Palette for Para Paints} and highlighted further with crown molding trim. Custom cabinets were added to bring good form and function to the small dining area. Tall shelves house books and trinkets, cabinets with custom trim inlay keep things tucked away and serve as a base to the extended table.
The table provides options for working as a desk area or a dining table. The legs of the table were originally columns that Sarah had custom fitted to support the top. After a few unsuccessful attempts to find just the right chair for the space, these were found as the room was almost completed. And Sarah demonstrates again how to transform the blah old chairs with paint (colour : Oyster} and re upholstery.

Every inch of the tiny kitchen was used and packaged together with custom cabinets and finishing touches that would typically be found in a large home. Sarah proves that you do not have to compromise great features and style in a small space. The cabinets were retrofitted with a trim in the grove of the face of the doors to bring in another layer of elegance.

The original cabinets and bulkhead were removed to make room for the new tall cabinets. The added pillar style double sided cabinet gives the kitchen more storage and adds a solid design element that grounds the kitchen island.

 Lower height stools were installed under the island to allow guests to sit and chat to their hostess, and as another element for seating in the living area. 

 Here you can see the trim inserted on the cabinet inlay that adds a layer of elegance. I really love the colour combination, the back splash and the faucets in gold to pull in all of the other matte gold finishes throughout the space. 

Adding antique mirror backs to the open shelves gives another layer of custom finishes that makes a room stand out above the cookie cutter designs.

The sofa was designed by Sarah and is part of her furniture collection

One of the items revamped but not discussed on the show is the stair railing. From the early 'before' image you can see it was a plain builders railing, now the opening has been custom fitted with and iron railing that adds a lot of impact as you enter the space. The custom railing was created by The Door Store.
For those of us who live in the Toronto area it is always fun to watch when Sarah and Tommy go on a hunt for items to use in their designs, and we too can sneak off and hunt for treasures at their favourite shops. The Door Store is one of my personal favourites - I wrote about it here and showed a picture of one of our great finds.

I am impressed by the transformation of this tiny space. The use of quality treatments in the kitchen and a unified soft colour palette makes the small space stand tall.

all images via - here

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Go ask your Father............

She may be only two, but our Granddaughter is smart enough to know that these are shoulders she can always lean on.

Both Richard and I have two children from our former relationships, all of our children are now adults {ages 27, 28, 30, 31}. All four children know that he is the go to guy. He is the one to quiz when they don't know how to handle a problem or when they need day-to-day advise.
Richard is the fun one in our relationship and always gets the kids going with good-hearted silliness. But he's also the one to put the train back on the tracks when it comes off the rails - and the kids know that.

I think that all four kids and Baby K as well, know that Richard has the sturdiest of shoulders and the biggest heart of any man. They are all blessed to have him as a Dad and Grandpa.

Happy Father's Day Richard !

Dreaming and Reminiscing

Christina at Greige blog wrote yesterday about a possible upcoming trip to France and her words were giddy with excitement. It made me reminisce about my birthday trip to France and pour over the pictures that I took while we were there. I have to admit, of all the trips we have taken this was my favourite.

I don't think you can ever get enough of the beauty that is everywhere in France, but here is a little persuasion for those who already have one bag packed.

All images by Katherine - Glamour Begins At Home

The Queen's Hamlet @ Versailles  

Preparation Dairy @ Versailles

I can't think of a better place to have spent my 'big' birthday than at the Louvre. It was incredible and so memorable. 


Abbaye de Fontenay, Bourgogne, France

Richard and I spent hours at the Fontenay Abbey quietly wandering and taking in the vista. Just to walk the hallways and the beautiful grounds makes you think back to a time when the monks were silently in residence. It was 1790 when the last eight monks left the Abbey. 

Abbaye de Fontenay

Near Hotel Levernois

We stayed at Hostellerie de Levernois, in Bourgogne for a few nights of our travel. The property is beautiful and the restaurant is a gastronomic highlight that cannot be missed.

The restored kitchen with a double wide hearth open on both sides. It was a special place to enjoy breakfast.

Hotel des Saint Peres :: fresco ceiling of the bedroom we stayed in.

We stayed in a one-of-a-kind room at the Hotel des Saint Peres in Paris. I took the image above while lying in bed..... it was incredible to stay in such a historical and beautiful room.
'The ceiling is decorated with a more than 300-year-old fresco, painted by the Ecole de Versailles. It represents “the Virtue” and “the Goodwill” under a cherub’s protective look.'

A trip to France wouldn't be complete without visiting the Eiffel Tower. It was especially beautiful at night when the stars danced in the sky and on the tower for the light show.

I ventured on our trip with a brand new camera taking the regular tourist-style pictures, unaware of the blog world and oblivious to what denoted a good picture for print or publication. Thankfully I took hundreds of images to remember our trip, and discovered that it was a healthy start as a new photographer. 

Every good trip begins with a dream...................of adventure!

all images by Katherine at Glamour Begins At Home

Friday, June 8, 2012


My Daughter was admiring the bouquets of peonies at a flower shop the other day, and told me how much she loved them. She's always been a tulip girl {and wouldn't they look great with the peonies}.

I told her that I missed the big peony bush we had at our old house, and she was surprised because she hadn't realized we had one there.

We sat and took a peak at pictures of the garden at our old house and she started to remember how many flowers we had and the variety.

Here is another peak at those lovely peony and in the background the ever bloom roses {my sweet Daughter remembers planting that first rose bush so long ago}.

Happy Weekend :: Make it a Glamourous one!