interiors

AN INSTAGRAM-WORTHY OUTDOOR SPACE ON A BUDGET

**This is a sponsored post written by me in partnership with Kijiji. All writing is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Archives of Cool.The dog days of summer are finally here and I am absolutely thrilled to be spending more time outdoors with my son – especially on our balcony which I recently gave an overhaul. Patio season used to mean finding the best perch at my favourite coffee shop or eaterie but now that I’ve created my dream space right here at home, I’m finding myself entertaining more and spending each evening on the balcony.

My son and I moved into our heritage apartment just over a year ago and while last year we did enjoy spending time out there, I didn’t end up putting a lot of effort into making it feel like home. It felt drab and lifeless. This year it was my goal to create an extension of our home out to the balcony, essentially creating another living space that was functional for entertaining, relaxing or eating. I wanted to continue the warmth and colour scheme of the interior of our home into our outdoor living room.

I knew I was going to shop second-hand for almost everything, since saving money is one of the top reasons why people use the second-hand economy and because this space will only be utilized for a small part of the year. According to the latest Second-Hand Economy Index Report, data collected by Kijiji shows that I’m not alone in this. In 2017, a total of 2.3 billion items were given a new life in the second-hand economy while Canadians saved an average of $825 by shopping second-hand versus new.

I started designing the balcony makeover from scratch after I sold some of my older patio pieces on Kijiji; an old bistro set I had been carting around and some festival chairs I no longer had use for. I also repainted my son’s toddler-sized picnic table to give it a fresh new life for resale. For the new design of the balcony I wanted to have a designated eating area, a relaxing spot where we could lounge, read books or work and as a place to house my ever-growing collection of plants. The balcony gets great natural light for most of the day so it is ideal for growing beautiful flowers and we’ve already had three tiny harvests of strawberries!Seating was definitely important to me but I wanted something that was comfortable for just Jack and I or for friends if I was entertaining. I ended up finding a beautiful wooden chaise lounger on Kijiji that fit beneath my balcony window perfectly. My Mom and I sewed a gorgeous custom cushion for it (the mid-century modern-inspired fabric was from IKEA) and added some cute throw pillows (Simons) and cozy blankets (Simons). I like how the second-hand economy gives me the opportunity to create, DIY or upcycle items into something brand new! It turned out beautifully and I love sitting out there reading magazines or writing on my laptop.For our eating area, I found a great long and skinny sofa table that also just happened to fit the space. There wasn’t much DIY to be done but I repainted it a fresh bright white to liven it up and provide a blank canvas for the beautiful outdoor meals to come. While I was able to find pretty much everything on my list on Kijiji, the only must-have I wasn’t able to find was a pair of cute chairs for our little eating bar. After selling my old patio furniture on Kijiji, I had enough extra cash to pick up a pair of white metal chairs that I had my eye on at Structube. The table actually sits four chairs all of the away across but since it is usually just the two of us I opted to only buy two outdoor chairs and bring out chairs from our dining room when we have company.The last furniture piece I found on Kijiji was an unfinished wooden utility shelf to house all of my flowers and plants. Because I’m a sucker for a glowing twinkly patio, I wrapped wire LED twinkle lights around it – it looks gorgeous at night!

Beyond the furniture pieces, I sourced some gorgeous accessories including a blush ceramic plant pot, a metal wall planter and a lovely hanging LED candle lantern – all on Kijiji. All combined, these six pieces cost me less than one brand-new piece of patio furniture. I saved nearly $100 from buying these items second-hand versus brand new! I get really excited thinking about the kind of savings I am taking advantage of by shopping the second-hand economy. If you’re outfitting an outdoor space the savings from buying used over new can be incredible. Outdoor furniture is pretty expensive despite it being of limited use in a place like Calgary so if you are able to save some money on it, it’s a huge win for your bank account. According to Kijiji site data, patio furniture is actually one of the top searched and listed items during the month of June so it really is a great time to start seeking out those deals.I am beyond thrilled with the transformation of the balcony. It feels so welcoming, comfortable and a true extension of the interior of our home. I always describe my personal aesthetic as – Scandinavian Princess Moves to Venice Beach and Learns to Surf – I feel like this space totally embodies that – minus a cool surfboard propped up in the corner! Every time I go out there, surrounded by all of my flowers, I feel so happy and at home. Jack and I can spend hours out there – blowing bubbles, reading books or enjoying a meal together. It is our little happy space and we’ll be taking full advantage of it until the first snow – fingers crossed that won’t be for a long long time.

A few other details from the space:

The wall hanging is a cute rug (Simons) that my Mom added handmade pom-poms to. The outdoor rug is also from Simons.

Many of my plant pots were bought from thrift shops over the years. Kijiji is a great resource for that as well. Always look for showhome furniture sales listed on Kijiji as they often have great accessories for sale – and believe me, they are priced to sell!

My twinkle lights and pink flamingo lights are all from Jysk.

EQ3 Spring/Summer 2018 collection

All of this warm weather is inspiring me to dream up fantasy vacation homes near beautiful lakes and deserts. Lucky for me EQ3‘s new collection did all of dreaming for me so now I’m just sitting here drooling over these images. The EQ3 Spring/Summer 2018 collection presents an assortment of pieces inspired by mid-century female designers consisting of a palette contrasted by bold monochromatic textiles, diverse materials and simple shapes.  At the core of the collection is the newly envisioned Replay Sofa (love how comfy and cozy it looks), the Cape Outdoor Collection and the Place Collection –  all designed by British Columbia based designer Shawn Place. I’m also swooning over all of the stunning accessories – mostly the stunning all glass coffee pour-over. It is perfection! 

Enjoy the inspiration! xx

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MIELE EXPERIENCE CENTRE NOW OPEN IN CALGARY’S BELTLINE

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There is nothing quite like walking into your dream kitchen; a space where you know you’d be just as inspired as Jamie Oliver or Martha Stewart to create amazing, flavour-rich dishes, capturing the hearts of your dinner guests immediately. I felt like that recently when I had the opportunity to check out the grand opening of the new Miele Experience Centre right in my neighbourhood, the Beltline of Calgary. The new centre is absolutely beautiful with stunning kitchen set-ups, the latest innovations in Miele technology and the ability to actually test-drive every single product in the store.

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As part of my visit to the Centre I also had the opportunity to interview the special guests of honour for the grand opening event – Dr. Markus Miele (Executive Director and fourth generation owner), Dr. Axel Kniehl (Executive Director of Sales & Marketing) and Dr. Reinhard Zinkmann (Co-Proprietor and Managing Director). It was fantastic to sit down with them over coffee and hear their passion for not only Miele itself, but for the innovations and design they are spearheading through their new projects and products.

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The stories that Dr. Markus Miele shared with me about his family history were really fascinating and shows how far Miele has come since the company was founded in 1899. For example, the company started with a butter churn and then quickly moved on to the first Miele washing machine. With this kind of innovative history behind the brand it is no surprise that the company quickly evolved to debuting the first electric dishwasher in Europe in 1929 – which was a big undertaking and expensive for consumers but did end up finding success in the 1950s. Since then they’ve become a household name across the world and are known for the exquisite design and quality that they ensure in every level of their products.

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Walking through the Miele Experience Centre I was blown away by the attention-to detail of all of the beautiful products and innovations. The space is exquisite with every square inch thought out and their helpful staff is just the cherry on top – offering up demos and so much knowledge on every piece of equipment.
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Dr Axel Kniehl shared with me how the new Miele Blizzard CX1 Vacuum (which debuted late last year) is a truly revolutionary product that is quickly changing the way we will clean our houses – and actually create healthier spaces with the reduction of fine dust that normal vacuums can’t suck up.

“These vacuums are incredibly strong, durable and long-lasting. You can literally stand on top of them – that’s just how durable they are,” shared Dr. Kniehl. “Of course, that’s not the only key point of this product – the really innovative part is the filtration system. There are basically three levels of filtration happening simultaneously. They vary from very rough dust to very extreme micro-particles that you can’t even see. The canister is very easy to use – easy to open and quickly empty the canister eliminating the very rough dust. Our system makes the air that is coming out of the exhaust pipe of the vacuum cleaner significantly cleaner than the air that you will be breathing right now. The second level of filtration doesn’t involve anything besides simply running the filter under water to clean it periodically. The third level of filtration is a lifetime HEPA filter which you never have to change.”

For anyone out there who loathes vacuuming (my three-year-old included!) will be pleased to know that this vacuum is incredibly quiet and is more *soothing* and subtle than disrupting. A welcome change for anyone in charge of cleaning the floors in their house.


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One of the newest innovations in cooking was announced by Miele last September that is truly going to change the way people cook. Called the Dialog Oven, this new product is revolutionary in the way that it uses electromagnetic waves to communicate in a *smart* way with the texture of the food. The Dialog Oven’s waves cook the food without browning – which is incredibly awe-inspiring when you think about how you currently cook your food.

“It’s an entirely new way of cooking,” says Dr. Kniehl. “If you think about our entire history of mankind and the way we cook, we take heat and basically cook it from the outside to the inside. For example, when you want a medium-rare steak it’s typically medium-rare in the core, but there the further you go out the less medium-rare it is. Basically the new system is something entirely different – it cooks in the inside at the same time and same speed as the inside. One of our finest examples is putting an uncooked cod filet inside a block of ice in the Dialog oven and cook it for eight minutes. We remove it from the oven and the cod filet is cooked yet the block of ice is still there. We call it the Dialog because the oven and the food are communicating.”

The Dialog Oven is set to debut in Europe later this year and the timeline for North America is currently unknown but this new technology is going to change so much about how we approach cooking.

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While I did know that Miele has legendary coffee and espresso machines, one thing I learned on this tour was that they actually have their own brand of coffee beans. By roasting their own beans they leave very few variables for the consumer’s final product (aka the cup of coffee) to have something go wrong.

“People often buy an expensive espresso machine or coffee system only to throw in cheap coffee beans and then wonder why the coffee doesn’t taste right,” shares Dr Kniehl. “It is a combination of the perfect grinding system, the pressure system in the coffee machine, the water you are using, the filtration system and the beans. We can control pretty much everything except the water you are using. So, we decided to start with these new beans about a year ago and the feedback has been absolutely fantastic. You can use these beans for just about any coffee drink – from lattes to espresso to a cappuccino. It was really important for us to use fair trade beans, focused on using a small private roastery.”

I was lucky enough to stick around for a delicious latte and can happily report back that the coffee was delicious. Miele invites anyone to drop by and check out their coffee bar, check out a cooking class or simply browse their incredible range of appliances and products. It is an opening welcome space and is simply inspiring to anyone dreaming up their ideal kitchen space.


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This post is in partnership with Miele Canada however all words and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting such an amazing brand like Miele here on The Archives of Cool.

IKEA SUMMER 2018

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Anyone else craving warm summer air as though their life depended on it? I’ve just been daydreaming about long summer days when Jack and I can bring his little bike out to the parks and enjoy some some picnics in the sun. IKEA just launched their Summer 2018 lookbook that debuts on March 1st and it is definitely inspiring me to start planning out our summer. Their tagline is “this summer, there is no place like home” and I couldn’t agree with that more.

Anyways, the new collection is absolutely dreamy (those textiles!) and I’m excited to explore the products very soon when I pop by the Calgary store.

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SOMMAR 2018 mug $3.99

Dark grey SOMMAR 2018 bowl $1.99

Dark grey SOMMAR 2018 mug $1.99

Dark grey STOCKHOLM 2017 carafe $12.99

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SOLVINDEN LED pendant lamp, outdoor $49.99/each

Orange/blue SOMMAR 2018 tea towe l $4.99/2 pack

Beige/striped SOMMAR 2018 tablec loth $24.99/each

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SOMMAR 2018 tray $9.99

Beige INTAGANDE glass $1.99/each

Light pink SOMMAR 2018 tea towe l $4.99/2 pack

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SOMMAR 2018 beach towel $14.99

Multicoloured, light SOMMAR 2018 cushion cover $5.99

Multicolour/striped SOMMAR 2018 picnic hamper $19.99

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SOLVINDEN LED light ing chain with 12 bulbs, outdoor $39.99/each

Multicolour SOMMAR 2018 cushion cover $5.99/each

Multicolour/striped Pink SOMMAR 2018 full/queen duvet cover and pillowcase $29.99 PH148394

SOMMAR 2018 mug $1.99 27cl. Pink SOMMAR 2018 mug $3.99

Pink VARDAGEN teapot $9.99

Dark grey VIGDIS cushion cover $9.99/each

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PINK + GOLD HOLIDAY TABLESCAPE STYLING

Tis the season to be sparkly! I’m not sure about you but I am so ready for the Christmas holidays to begin – I’ve had my Christmas tree up since October (I bought a new one this year and wanted to make sure it was going to look good, okay?!) and I’m feeling very festive and excited to settle in for some holiday relaxation. I’ve been dreaming up some beautiful table stylings for the holidays and thought I would finally make it a reality. I love all things gold & pink and decided to forego the traditional red & green decor of Christmas for something a bit more glam and feminine.

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I am a big fan of shopping the secondhand market (thrifting, consignment and Kijiji typically) so when Value Village reached out to me to talk about holiday decor, I got super inspired to go out hunting for some special additions to my pink & gold holiday tablescape. Scroll down to the bottom for a few of my favourite tips on thrifting for decor.

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I set out to do my shopping with a few things in mind. I wanted to find some unique bowls, an ice bucket and some elegant decor touches for my holiday tablescape. I must have been very lucky that day because I found more than a few gems in my hunt.

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I absolutely love these gold poinsetta picks that I found. I clustered them around my candlestick display and also tucked them into the green garland I had purchased from IKEA. They are super versatile (could use them on the Christmas tree next year or as part of a napkin holder) and they add a bit of holiday shine to the tabletop.

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Placecards are always an elegant touch to the table. These sweet Christmas tree cards are actually gift tags I found in my Christmas wrapping stash.

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This sweet little golden sleigh was one of my favourite finds at Value Village that day. It is so gorgeous on its own but I filled it with some of my favourite glitzy Christmas balls for a bit more of that holiday glam essence.

 

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The brass candlestick trio is another one of my favourite finds. Also, I love collecting candles in unique colours from the thrift store. They are very inexpensive (4 for $1.00 in this case) and you can put together some really beautiful arrangements with your finds.

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Another tip I can offer is to look at the silverware – it is definitely an overlooked section of the thrift shop as most people don’t want used cutlery but you can find some really beautiful, quality pieces if you look. I love these silver tongs I found!

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Another amazing find from the day, I have been searching for the perfect ice bucket FOR YEARS. I was so thrilled to find this gold and clear plastic ice bucket in such perfect condition. It works great – kept ice frozen over night – and it matches so much of my decor.

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I love this beautiful glass bowl I found; there is something so elegant and delicate about it. Plus, the colour is perfect for my collection.

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Another special glass find, these candlestick holders are gorgeous additions to my candle collection.

 

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Top 4 Tips for Thrifting for Decor

  1. Set a budget. The whole point of shopping secondhand is to save a couple of bucks so you don’t want to go over budget when you are hitting up the thrift stores. The more you thrift the better you’ll know what is a good price and what is not. If something is a splurge but is on your list, go for it but don’t go over budget just for the sake of finding something.
  2. Don’t get distracted by things you don’t need. Sometimes the thrift store can offer you a plethora of amazing finds on one day and it can be so easy to get distracted and start filling your cart with all sorts of treasures. Stick to what you are looking for and only get distracted if it is something you’ll never be able to find again.
  3. Come with a list. Though I do love to go thrifting just for the heck of it if I don’t have a list I end up forgetting the things I need (picture frames, candlesticks, ceramics – usually!) or end up wandering around aimless, buying things I don’t need.
  4. Take chances. Decorating is supposed to feel good and exciting and if you stick with the same old basics you’ll never fully explore your own creativity. Take some risks and try out something new and beautiful.

This post is not sponsored however I was gifted $50 store credit to Value Village to find these holiday decor items. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.

THE DEFINITION OF HYGGE: IKEA WINTER COLLECTION

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I don’t know about you but I’m totally ready for the holidays to arrive. I’m totally in the mood to dig out the Christmas decorations, fur blankets and twinkle lights – so I just might. I actually just ordered a new artificial Christmas tree for our new home (more about that in another post) and I can’t wait to pick up some new decorations to go with it. I’m super inspired by IKEA’s holiday collection this year, VINTER 2017. The hygge vibes are seriously strong and I can easily picture myself in all of these cozy spaces.

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Inspired by the rugged beauty of Iceland, this timeless collection is all about adding a touch of nature to your home through natural materials and warm muted tones. Holiday décor is spotlighted throughout including seasonal textiles, lighting, stoneware and festive decorations. Gift giving inspiration includes cosy slippers, baked goods, gift wrap/boxes and a unique DIY take on the Advent calendar.  The Winter kit also introduces the VÄSSAD collection, a new range from IKEA with an industrial feel inspired by the factory floor and IKEA products from the 1980s. The raw, authentic line includes a table, bench, chairs, textiles, chandeliers, lighting  and accessories in shades of black/ash, white,  green-blue and brown-red.

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These Bakglad Pastry Cutters are so whimsical and fun.

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Love these VINTER 2017 hanging decorations. And at $7.99 each it is hard to say no.

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The Stråla star pendants are my favourite thing at IKEA every holiday but surprisingly I don’t own any. I’ll definitely be picking up a few for some instant-holiday charm in my dining room.

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I love the VINTER 2017 series stoneware in a soft grey knitted pattern that reminds me of cozy winter sweaters. These would be perfect for Christmas Day breakfast. I love IKEA’s gold flatware as well.

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I am completely obsessed with these VINTER 2017 unscented block candles that come in a set of 3. The gem shape and translucent ombre is absolutely gorgeous.

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I love how simplistic the VÄSSAD table and VASSAD bench is. They provide the perfect blank canvas for creating a beautiful holiday spread.