Urban Barn Finds {psst...we have a new sofa!}


So you've probably figured out by now that we really love living in Fort McMurray - the only downside is {or is it a plus for my finances?} that there is not a whole lot of local home decorating retail therapy options.

I'm sure you recall my penchant for HomeSense and other retailers, like Urban Barn. I used to go to various locations a few times a week when we lived in the GTA. But now that the closest store is a 5 hour drive, I've resorted to shopping online and hoping for the best.

But even online, I still live by my home stylist motto -- 

So -- I bought a sofa from Urban Barn WITHOUT seeing it in person. Crazy yes, but one's perspective of crazy decorating choices changes when one is so remote.

Without further ado, here's our new sofa - the XANADU - I {heart} the name, so joyful and fun!  We purchased the floor model colour - Savvy Smoke!

{via here}

Big A saw it on a recent trip to Edmonton, and said it was comfy! It is a cool grey, so hopefully it goes well with our Smokey Gray hardwood!

I am also completely smitten by this amazing lamp {the Kelso table lamp} - it is HUGE & fabulous! I don't have a spot for it yet, but like my motto says - BUY IT & TRY IT!

{via here}
Isn't it just cool! Maybe that side table would work for us too!

A long time favourite of mine {that we recently put into my mom's house} is the Reflection Round Mirror. I think the clean lines make this mirror simply super chic. I think I'd like to put it in the powder room.

{via here}

So we definitely have a lot to do to style our new home. I'm so excited for the challenge. Luckily I have Urban Barn to help me!

PS: This post was not endorsed by Urban Barn or anything. I just simply ADORE their stylish and affordable stuff and wanted to share :)


Yogic Decorating


Since moving to Fort McMurray I've been doing a lot of yoga. Between the breathing {pranayama} and movements {asanas}, yoga is transformative. You cannot escape the calming, healing power of yoga. 

Sitting in the stillness, I am able to see the stresses in my life differently.

Image via here
One such stress has been this ugly tiger tail granite situation in my new house. I decided last week to take a high road with the builder, but since then {and after receiving super expensive quotes to replace the countertops with quartz!} I've had some time to really consider what I need {not merely just what I want} and gain some true perspective.

First - I'm lucky to have granite at all. I plan on decorating around it, and not with it. What I mean is, the current granite's colour scheme will not interfere with my decorating plans.  I'm going ahead with my plans, and when the time & money is right, the countertops will change. 

Second - There are MANY important and NECESSARY projects that will precede the replacement of the countertops. I hope Big A doesn't see this, but we have to:
    • Get window coverings for the ENTIRE house!
    • Redesigning Little A's room - since she's now out of a crib {so we need a bed, dressers, lighting, etc}
    • Design/Furnish the guest room/nanny's room
    • Get an outdoor swingset for the kidlets
    • Paint EVERYTHING - like every room, every closet, even the stair railings
    • Get new living room furniture & figure out
    • Buy new TVs, a VitaMix, a Kitchen Aid mixer
    • Change some light fixtures
    • Buy mirrors for every bathroom
    • There's probably MUCH more, but I can't think of it now

 Third - It's only a countertop. Who cares?! There are many things in my life that require my full attention, and this granite situation has been unnecessarily distracting and negative. I choose to see the light and know that everything happens for a reason.

So that's my current feeling about the tiger tail granite. If we get a reasonable quote or we come into a lot of extra money, perhaps we will change the granite. But that change should not precede the basics like covering our windows so we're not exhibitionists :)

So thank you YOGA {and family and friends too!} for helping me gain the appropriate perspective on this stressful and disappointing predicament. 



Countertop Decisions


Thanks for all your great feedback on yesterday's post. I'm happy to hear that my friends & followers agree with me.

Frankly, I haven't met a person that liked the granite. It's hard to explain design & decorating to a builder who thinks any granite is awesome because it's granite. Even tiger tail ugliness.

I guess some people would buy a house because it has granite, regardless of what it looked like. For me, it's a major turnoff if it doesn't go well with the other finishings.

Anyway, I digress because today's post is less about complaining, and more about DOING.

We are seriously considering replacing the tiger tail granite with a white quartz. Although the quote we got yesterday made me seriously reconsider if I could live with tiger tail. It's expensive to begin with, but then add Fort McMurray prices. Let's just say it was a 1/3 of my salary from my first law job!

Here are a few options we're looking at.  What do you think?

Ice Snow - warmer white with some tiny flecks to add interest
Image via here

White Shimmer - this looks amazing in the ensuite!
Image via here

Silestone Lyra - quartz's answer to Carrera marble
Image via here


The Tragic Tale of the Tiger Tail


Remember when I told you we bought a new house? Well, clearly it's under construction. And we came in late in the game, after all the colour/product choices had been made. 

One of the most important things to me is that the big ticket items {cabinets, flooring, countertops, etc.} are decent. Everything else I can DIY-ify into something awesome, but if you don't have good bones {and a lack of cash flow}, my cool customizations would be lost.

So immediately, before we even thought of offering on the house, I needed to see samples of cabinets, flooring & granite. The builder was SLOW to get back to us, but we eventually received some bad sideways cell phone photographs purporting to be our finishings. One of these was the granite the builder chose.

Here was the photo they sent:
{See...its black with gray & white swirls with a touch of gold. Not my first choice, but workable}.

Here's what was installed last week:


It's ALL dark greeny-black with giant ORANGE swirls and about 1% white.

You can imagine how disappointed I was with this granite. Like, we almost walked away from the house because it didn't AT ALL look like the photos. I understand that granite is a natural stone, so there's bound to be variation, but it doesn't look similar at all.

And to top it off {and I know we all have different tastes}, but I DO NOT like this granite. It's hard enough dealing with the dark cabinets, but you'll be pleased to know that I'm embracing them!

It doesn't match the cabinets THEY chose, nor does it go at all with the tile flooring THEY chose. And did I mention that this granite is EVERYWHERE -- kitchen, powder room, ensuite & kids bathroom -- The Tiger Tail is EVERYWHERE!

The long story short is that I complained loudly {I used to be a lawyer, I can't help that!}, but alas nothing was to be done in the end. The builder won't change it. The builder tells me this is top of the line granite. It's still ugly and not what I was promised. Boo.

I'm stuck with the tiger tail granite :( 

Unless I change it up...

White Quartz anyone? But that's another post for another day.

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