Recent Posts

ReDesign: Interior Styling Without Adding A Thing!

ReDesign: Interior Styling Without Adding A Thing!

In today’s world of reduce, reuse, recyle, repurpose – so many ‘re’ words – what does it mean to you when you hear the word, redesign? Depending on the professional you’re working with, redesign can take on many different meanings from a full-scale renovation to…

Mary Fox: World Class Artist – Timeless Creations

Mary Fox: World Class Artist – Timeless Creations

The white crawl glaze spilling out like foam on a wave. This is how Mary Fox describes her white textured crawl glaze that stretches and swirls its way around her stunning navy creations. To gaze at just one of these pieces is breathtaking, but to…

Function as a Feature: DIY Your Own Coat Rack!

Function as a Feature: DIY Your Own Coat Rack!

What do you do when your search for a unique off-the-shelf item turns up empty?

I was working on a space that required a coat rack for its open concept entry, also the client seating area. As I began the sourcing process, it didn’t take long before I realized this item would be difficult to find, at least to find one ‘off-the-shelf’ that met all the criteria: a wall-mount; the right length; priced within budget; and unique, with visual character.

So you can imagine, how excited I was when I discovered a metal wall-mount shelf, technically a baker’s rack, and wondered if the slatted shelf would work in place of an actual rod for the hangers. A quick demo had me thinking this might just work.

As it turned out, when I held the unit against the wall the depth of the shelf was not quite enough for a hanger to fully clear the wall. However, the scroll detail on the sides of the rack opened up a whole new possibility for creative success. I could envision a rod resting in the scrolls, but would this really work? And how could I mount the rack so that the rod was far enough away from the wall to accommodate the hangers, and at the same time maintain its visual integrity?

Off to see Dad, my resourceful project partner.

After taking into consideration the criteria I mentioned earlier, Dad came up with a mounting solution that not only worked, but that was nearly invisible to the eye, and stayed within the budget!

DIY Coat Rack

If you look closely you will see shorter vertical pieces behind the frame the scroll is fastened to. These are pieces of box steel, 1″ in diameter that have been attached to the original frame. The box steel managed to bring the whole unit away from the wall just enough for the hangers to clear. The steel pieces were spray painted to match, and the ends were capped off with standard chair leg caps. A piece of clear Plexiglas was cut to fit on the rack and provide a solid shelf, as well as protection for coats hung below. And the rod, a piece of doweling stained to compliment, was secured into place with screws to keep it from sliding out of the scroll. The screws were camouflaged with wooden buttons stained to match the doweling.

DIY Coat Rack

So what do you think? What would you do if you couldn’t find what you’re looking for? I’m dying to know!

Oh, BTW, the rock mat is also a little DIY. I took two prefabricated stone mats, and placed them on a rubber-backed runner with the rubberized side up, and the carpet side down. This way the carpet protected the floor, and the rubber back acted like a vapor barrier between any drips from wet coats and the hardwood beneath. Isn’t it fun to stretch function in this way?

Thanks for stopping by!

Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use!

In & Out of the Closet

In & Out of the Closet

Something that comes up consistently in my consultations is the storage solution conundrum. With smaller footprint homes becoming the ‘norm’, clients are increasingly focussed on utilizing every nook and cranny in order to maximize their space. There are so many tips and strategies on this…

Take Your Coat Off and Stay A While

Take Your Coat Off and Stay A While

Not long ago we had company joining us for a weekend, and with the anticipation of their arrival came the ‘extra’ tidying, tweaking, and putting things in order to welcome them. Our home is compact and its space maximized to the limit, so I decided…

What’s Special On Your Table?

What’s Special On Your Table?

Our Canadian Thanksgiving has come to an end, and as I put away the ‘special’ dishes, I find myself thinking about what makes each piece special. I gently set away a small bowl that used to be my grandmother’s and drift back to the family dinners we shared, getting lost for a moment back in that time.

My Grandmother’s Bowl

My eye catches another bowl; it was a wedding gift to my Mom and Dad 46 years ago. I had admired it once, and Mom insisted on giving it to me that night. Even though I protested, Mom always got her way, and so… the bowl came home with me! I cherish this piece and its story as Mom is no longer with us, but the memory of that night lives on strong and clear. And every time I pull out this bowl I think of her.

Mom’s Bowl, a genuine Staffordshire china piece handpainted by Shorter & Son Ltd.

It’s the stories we remember with our things that make them special, not the things themselves. And the feelings that connect with the story are what make the difference between a ‘house’ and your ‘home’. What is meaningful to you is what matters. That’s the power of telling your story through your space.

(Left) Gran’s bowl with homemade cranberry sauce ~and~ (Right) Mom’s bowl with mashed potatoes

It’s about coming home… do you have something special for your table?

Staging for the Seasons

Staging for the Seasons

Did you know that staging for a new season is upon us? Staging is not simply tidying up and moving furniture around, or putting out fresh towels, and putting away the dishes. In fact, there is nothing ‘simple’ about staging. Staging is a very deliberate…

Designers ‘Rate’

Designers ‘Rate’

Like anyone working in a profession, the longer you are ‘in it’, the more you learn. Whether it be learning with intention or vicarious learning, the point is a foundation of knowledge is built over time and is brought to each new project along the…

9/11: A New Tapestry

9/11: A New Tapestry

Today is the 9th anniversary of 9/11, and today I have a much more personal connection with that day than ever…

Just 3 weeks ago my family and I were in New York, and we took the time to go to St. Paul’s Chapel where, through the course of the 9/11 tragedy, it served as a refuge for the workers, the volunteers, the family of those lost or missing.

Today it remains as it was then, a place of worship, but since 9/11, new threads and fibres have been added to its tapestry. Stories of the people and events emerging from that time are captured in the “Unwavering Spirit: Hope and Healing at Ground Zero” exhibit you will find inside St. Paul’s Chapel. But it has more to do with the ‘feeling’ that is present, which words can’t begin to describe and images can only barely translate, that truly captures the spirit that lies within the story.

Timeline of St. Paul’s Chapel – created by ESI Designs

Taken outside of St. Paul’s Chapel, this shot captures visitors reading the timeline of the Chapel’s history up to 9/11 and in the months following. As we moved through the timeline the ‘feeling’ was an introduction to the story about to unfold inside.

Upon entering you are greeted by the banner below.

A banner made by students in Oklahoma

The banner is signed with many, many words of encouragement and hope. On each far side of the banner are more beautifully constructed messages…

THE PEWS sign below is attached to one of the pews and it describes the purpose the pews served throughout the 9/11 relief ministry.

The Pews

It says:

Fireman’s Jacket in Pew

THROUGHOUT THE 9/11 RELIEF MINISTRY, the Chapel’s pews became a refuge for Firefighters, Police Officers and rescue workers. Some came to sit quietly alone; others came to pray. Many came to sleep, stretching out with a blanket, pillow and teddy bear provided by volunteers.  Letters from children covered each pew, offering an uplifting message of hope.

Always ready to be called back to “the pit” at any moment, workers kept their boots and equipment belts on, creating deep scuff marks in the pews. When the Chapel was cleaned and refurbished in 2002, it was decided not to repair the pews, but to leave the marks as a witness and a tribute to the workers.

Today, St. Paul’s Chapel continues to honour the first responders of 9/11 by participating in the 9/11 Neediest Medical Campaign.

Though the photo of the fireman’s jacket in the pew is a little blurred, if you look closely you will see some scuff marks left behind as described above; another sign mentions that it was a common sight to see firemen’s jackets hung over the pews.

Uniform patches sent from across the country

This exhibit is called “Healing Hearts and Minds”. It is a policeman’s uniform covered with patches received from fellow officers, firefighters and others from all over the Country conveying a message of strength and solidarity.

Helping Hands

Helping Hands for the Tree of Hope… In this image of ‘helping hands’ the blue sign explains this exhibit.

It says:

In the Winter of 2003, thousands of our visitors took part in a holiday project to create ornaments for our Tree of Hope. The little hand-shaped cut-outs represented the countless hands that came together at St. Paul’s to pray, heal, comfort and embrace all those who walked through our doors after September 11th.                                                                                                                        

This next image is a fabric art piece. I think it is truly symbolic of the 9/11 tapestry that has been woven so tightly.

Tapestry of 9/11

I find this piece haunting and a stunning work of art.

The images I have shared are just a snap-shot of what you will find at St. Paul’s Chapel. You truly have to experience this for yourself in order to feel the story that unfolds; words simply can’t describe it. With each exhibit there is a sense of strength, a feeling of hope that is bound by unity and bonded by commitment.

Construction underway at Ground Zero

The conclusion is yet to unfold… but new beginnings are taking shape. With the construction of a new tower underway at Ground Zero, fresh meaning is brought to the words above the entrance of St. Paul’s Chapel, ‘Out of the Dust’.

And the memorial that is St. Paul’s in Manhattan is powerful in the story it tells. While there is no sense of deliberate “design” in the traditional sense, the company behind “Unwavering Spirit: Hope and Healing at Ground Zero”, ESI Designs, has done a remarkable job. All one experiences are the displays of loving memorabilia in the most direct way, yet the whole exhibit was in fact carefully designed to tell the story without intruding. The exhibits at St. Paul’s Chapel are not only a testimony to those lost that day, and to those who made such a huge difference in the days and months following the attacks of 9/11…

Crane in the distance sits at Ground Zero

They are also a testimony to united strength, the will for rebirth, and the determination to move forward.

Just Say ‘Yes’

Just Say ‘Yes’

When you hire an interior specialist (designer, stylist, decorator, redesigner, stager, organizer, etc.) chances are that you will hear ideas and suggestions you have not considered or even thought of. And that is why you hired the professional! Let your mantra for this journey be to say ‘yes’…