I am so happy that these two of my favourites are collaborating. I wander into West Elm every now and then to drool over the textiles and lighting. now that I think about it, most of our light fixtures and duvet covers came from West Elm. and I adore Steven Alan. his button downs are in heavy rotation right now in my closet. so it’s so nice to see his collection at West Elm – these pieces are so effortless-looking, yet cool and comfortable. I could see every last one of these in our house. here are a few of my faves…

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I wanted to share a photo of the perfect table I scored at the Christie Antique Market last weekend. I have been looking for a vintage table like this one forever. It had to be skinny enough and ideally have drawers to hide junk. this one fit the bill perfectly! the antique dealer tells me it comes from Hungary circa 1910. I might pop some new drawer pulls on, not a huge fan of these wooden knobs, and I think we can find something better. other than that, she’s in great shape and the combination of old, smoky wood and varnish smells divine. now I have a place to toss my bag down when I get home. all that’s missing is some artwork on the wall, but that’ll come soon enough.

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it was a soggy day, but worth braving the rain at the Christie Antique Market. navigating through the hundreds of booths with our umbrellas and trying to scope out the goods under the plastic tarps was tricky, but a friend and I decided to stick with it. the crowds weren’t bad and the vendors were willing to negotiate. all was worth it when the clouds finally parted – I didn’t leave empty handed. I scored a tiny horseshoe for a few dollars (replacing the lost one I got as a kid), and the perfect table for our entryway.

what’s funny about the market is that every year there is one thing that every other booth seems to have. one year it was old wooden crates, the next it was stoneware pottery crocks, the next it was pennants. this year, we saw dozens of decoy ducks…

now, to dry off and set up my finds!

finally, we unpacked the cord that lets us transfer photos off the camera. I’ve been spending some time looking back at photos we took a year ago, the “before” shots. that has really helped me escape the feeling that we have so much still to do (we do), and is proof that we have come so far (we have). I don’t really have any “afters” to share just yet, but hopefully soon.

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I never would have guessed that the first room completely finished would be the room that didn’t even exist when we moved in. it’s also the tiniest room in the house, so it was kind of the easiest. I should mention that we still have to caulk the baseboards in a few spots, so it’s not done done, but done enough for now. just don’t look down!

we decided to add a two-piece bathroom on the main floor, so our handyman built out a room in an unused corner beside the stairs to the scary basement. our plumber installed a tiny toilet and a water line, and our electrician installed a fan and a switch and a light. we took it from there. the walls were badly damaged in places, so it took a lot of patching, but priming and painting were a (relative) breeze because it’s basically about 10 square feet inside. we were going to build a floating wooden countertop and install a bowl sink, because we were feeling a little DIY-ey. plans changed when we went to the hardware store to grab supplies and we saw a perfect vanity on sale. it was just the right size, and with a switch of hardware, it was a done deal. I’ll save that floating sink idea for another day, I guess. the finishing touch was a sconce that I ordered months ago from westelm that was backordered. I started to think it would never arrive. out of the blue one day, it appeared on our doorstep. I was so excited to install it that I didn’t even change out of my high heels and work clothes. I love that light so much it makes me sick.

what used to be a neglected corner of the house is now a functional and dare I say beautiful two-piece bathroom. here it is!

I love seeing new businesses moving in to the neighbourhood, especially ones that seem to be smart and well designed. after what seemed like an eternity of seeing the “opening soon!” sign in the window, and the slow work behind the scenes, Gourmeats opened in the Junction. I visited the shop shortly after opening day to check it out. what a stunning interior! long strips of salvaged Ontario barn wood line the east wall, as well as the front desk and a tiny table for seating by the front window. the smoky, woody smell is amazing. a chalkboard wall by the front door highlights some fantastic meal ideas.

and then there was the meat. I’m not a huge meat eater myself, but every once in a while I do indulge, and I’d like to think I make it count. the shop has a wide range of meat and fish sourced from all over Ontario. it’s all incredibly fresh. the owner really knows his meats too, and will talk to you at length (if you let him) about what it means to be responsibly raised, ethically slaughtered, organic, grain fed, grass fed, and so on and so on. he is super passionate about good meat, and he sells an amazing product. this week, I picked up a humongous halibut steak that was so juicy and flavourful, and a package of marinated chicken legs that were to die for. I’m not a big chicken fan, but man, these legs were so good. they got good reviews from my partner too. we tried the “My Thai” marinade, and I can’t wait to try another one. 

Gourmeats is located at 2946 Dundas St W. Toronto ON · facebook.com/gourmeatsTO

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