I Need a Dining Table and Fast

Ok friends…I’m coming here asking for some help because my current workload is making it next to impossible for me to make a decision on anything related to my own house…brain dead as it were.

I have a shoot coming up that requires me to finish off some spaces in my house that are almost there but not quite. In my kitchen area, I have an attached dining room that has now seen three tables come and go. The first was the white tulip table from my old house.

(photo Donna Griffith)

I like the shape but it was making the whole space way too white and black…as well, though the oval works great functionally, it just wasn’t large enough for the space. So…I decided to sell that one off and really wanted something that brought some warmth in…enter wood. I had a harvest long narrow table custom made and was super excited for that situation…but…the finish on it just wasn’t what I had expected and was actually quite grey and in a weird way, didn’t actually look like wood. With this one, the shape and size was perfect, but it just wasn’t aesthetically what I was looking for.

So…I sold that one off and to make due until a decision on something new was made, I brought up the walnut Tulip table from my newly renovated basement…all well and good but now the basement is without a table and as with the white earlier version, it just doesn’t maximize the space. I also find the finish difficult to manage with the kids and their endless spills.

(photo Stephani Buchman)

As you can see, the walls are white, the chairs and cabinet are black.

The attached kitchen has more of the same (subway tiles, black cabinets, marble like counter) with a little brass and raw oak thrown in.

So what do I do for a table?!?!?!

My first thought was something old and made of wood.

But then I browsed this huge collection of designer dining tables and saw this beauty…

…which reminded me of my current favourite coffee table from West Elm that I’m more than a little obsessed with…

And I think the glass could actually be super nice in there. The brass detailing would also pick up on my island. Also, glass is easy to wipe up and clean, though when it’s dirty, looks dirty lol.

It’s a definite contender.

Others on my top five consideration list…

1. A stunning reproduction Refractory table

2. The oval version (two legs) of this beautiful Juno table

3. The most ridiculously fantastical antique table I’ve ever seen that I spied at an outdoor market, and then tracked down to a store in Toronto…

…but is easily 3x my budget.

4. Something super simple and raw like this vintage oak number…

5. The Restoration Hardware raw oak loveliness that we used at Project Brownstone

(photo Nicole Cohen)

I’d love love your thoughts on this. Pick a favourite and let me know pretty please!



I recently had the pleasure of hosting an event for GRASS Canada…

…to showcase their line of beautiful hardware.

Grass is a German and Austrian Hardware company that has been at the forefront of the business for over 80 years…truly innovators in all things hardware, Grass was the first to launch the Euro Hinge, concealed furniture hinge, metal roller slide, single and double wall drawer system, synchronized drawer system, soft close hinge, fully electronic drawer box, and the most advanced integrated soft close system on the market. Their hardware is truly the prototype for all that’s on the market and unrivalled in its quality.

I’ve used their soft close hinges in my kitchen, mudroom and basement…

*photos by Stephani Buchman and Ashley Capp respectively

…and have been so very pleased with how much they enhance the functionality of my designs.

We often pay a lot of attention to what something looks like on the outside, but soft close hardware truly allows you to appreciate how things are working on the inside.

Current kitchen designs, for example, often showcase lower cabinets only. In my kitchen, no upper cabinets means that glassware, plates and cutlery are all stored in my island drawers. Prior to having GRASS soft close hardware installed, I was having to deal with the almost constant sound of drawers banging shut and dishes breaking. Now that all of my big-box hinges and drawers systems have been replaced with GRASS, I can now enjoy the look I wanted with so much more functionality.

Another benefit of the GRASS system is their weight allowances. Before replacing my big-box hinges and drawers with GRASS, I had two large drawers functioning as pantries for food. The normal restrictions of 40 kg were causing my food drawers not to shut or open properly. Because GRASS systems allow for almost double the weight (70 kg,) my food drawers now open and close with ease, while enjoying the same soft close technology.

As I did, with GRASS, you can take inexpensive cabinetry and elevate the functionality by replacing the hardware…and with a lifetime warranty, even if your cupboards wear out, the hardware will always keep things working their best.

And the best news…this hardware that is used across Europe in all high end restaurants, kitchens etc. is affordable (approx. 20% more than typical hardware,) which means replacing hardware that doesn’t work and isn’t going to last, with the best of the best, is very achievable.

*event photos by Jason Hartog

I for one am a total GRASS convert and going forward, will always incorporate their hardware into my designs. Having cabinetry function as beautifully as it looks…such a win win!


Blog Scheduling, Project Flip (Elevation Work, Sourcing and the Floor Winner) and House and Home

Three things for today:

First, In an effort to get back to regular blogging, I’ve decided on a schedule of sorts to keep things on track.

So…to keep me accountable, here’s the line up:

Mondays- Project Flip

Tuesdays- The Business of Design (i.e.project updates)

Wednesdays- Wednesday Wallpaper

Thursdays- A lifestyle trend report…more details on this one to come

Fridays- Art Fair Fridays

That’s 5 posts/week people…god help me;)

Thankfully, I have some amazing helpers on this front so stay tuned for lots of goodness.

For today, as it is Monday and all, I figured I should update you all on the progress of #projectflip i.e. my attempt to renovate and sell the house we originally purchased for demo re: the dream house.

project flip christine dovey style

You can read the history of the decision flip HERE if you haven’t already.  And to see the befores, go HERE.

If you recall, my architect WJB Designs and I put together a plan that involved a total gut reno of the existing 2 story cement block of a house.  We also decided early on to extend the main floor to include a garage, mudroom and combo kitchen/family. The addition proposed added much needed space to the first floor but left he upstairs with a simple tweaking of spaces to make room for a master ensuite.  After looking at the plans and really analyzing a few things, we quickly came to the conclusion that the upstairs would need a little more space as well. We also decided that the elevation, though pretty, really needed some help in terms of window sizing. So…round two of design work began and brought us to here…

project flip facade chrsitine dovey wjb designs

project flip christine dovey second floor wjb designs

project flip christine dovey second floor wjb designs

We have a few hurdles to get through in terms of the site plan in that the existing structure is placed to the far left of the lot and much closer to the road than current setbacks so we’re crossing fingers the addition can go in accordance to the plans…a meeting with the town today will hopefully give us the go ahead.

There is also likely to be a little more tinkering with the layouts.  For one, I’ve changed the shower in the master bathroom to run the length of that space, with the toilet on the outside. I’m really hoping to get a freestanding tub in the shower area with the showerhead coming from the ceiling. I’m also playing with the kitchen/dining room to make them more open to one another so I can extend built-ins into the dining room…the kitchen is quite small so I’m hoping this will add some much needed storage.  The dining room is dinky too so again, hoping this helps open both spaces

As far as what the house itself is going to look like, I’ve been running around like a crazy person lately trying to source and spec everything.

On the facade, the existing structure will be re-stuccoed in white. The additions will be covered in wood siding, again in white. The windows will be black on the outside and on the first floor interior…white upstairs inside.

The bathrooms are coming together but probably warrant their own post so I’ll run through the first floor for now.

To start, the kitchen is going to have lowers only and I’m leaning towards using IKEA’s Tingsryd cabinets in all black…I adore this kitchen from the Princess Margaret Showhouse kitchen and want this look for the main cabinetry area.

princess margaret showhome kitchen inspiration for project flip

I plan to do all the walls in subway tile but with white grout…same goes for the hood…want it to be a simple box shape like the one I have but covered in tile…

subway tile hood inspiration project flip

The counter will be carrera marble in a honed finish and for the island, I want an antique drapery table…thinking this one from Black Rooster

drapery table for island christine dovey project flip

For the combo dining room business, I want to use a more panelled cabinet door and line the walls in black cabinetry a la this kitchen designed by Jessica Helgerson, which is PS, in my top 5 of all time faves…

jessica Helgerson inspiration for flip house kitchen

For the floors, I’m going to be using Cement Tile Shop goodies in a pattern that makes me think old bistro…

cement tile shop bouquet III project flip

And really love this look (designed by Ste. Marie design) overall…

homer stree cafe inspiration project flip kitchen

I’d also love a tufted leather banquette in there but we’ll see how the budget fairs.

And I guess that’s the kitchen/dining.

What else can I tell you?

The office area, along with the rest of the first floor will be panelled to within an inch of it’s life thanks to the amazingess that is Metrie.

fashion-forward-fireplace metrie project flip christine dovey

Overall, I’m going for this sort of business…

inspiration for project flip christine dovey

project flip inspiration bookshelves

…which is as you all know by now, my favourite look. Parisian apartment meets bronx loft.

I’m going to try and do metal doors on both entrances to the office, that slide on a track like in my current laundry room.

Lambert et Fils will be lighting up the entire house I hope, so that will also be pretty swell…

lambert et fils project flip

As for the floors, those who follow me on Instagram know of the debate I posted between my final two selections…

project flip floors from antique hardwood flooring oakville

To be honest, I had already decided in my own head but was curious to see what the general population thought…since this house is for re-sale, I wanted to see if my choice was also the one the people loved the most:) Thankfully, it was…but not by much. I think by final count, my choice edged out the other by just 20 or so votes.

So…drumroll…the floors will be done in the….

….BOTTOM one!!!!!

I freaking love it…it’s warm, old looking and I adore the small seems that make the floor look like it’s finished on site.  Though the grey is super pretty, it’s just not the look I want for this place…need people to come in and feel like they’ve been given a warm hug so they want to throw down their greens on the place and I think the washed oak is perfect for that.

And I think that’s all I have for today on the #projectflip front.

Which leads me to my last but VERY not least news…I’m beyonnnnnndddd excited to share the video I did for House and Home, which is basically an interview tour of the foyer and piano room I did for Project Barringham…

house and home video link

christine dovey piano room video

You can watch that HERE!

To say that maybe made my life is well, an understatement of the large kind.

And with all of that, I think I’m out for today.

Check back tomorrow for mucho updates on the work front.


A Plan and an Update on the Kitchen for #projectbistrochic

I thought you might like a little update on the kitchen I’ve been working on.
As the name #projectbistrochic suggests, that’s what we’re going for…a little Parisian patina mixed with a dose of refined glamour…this was the inspiration dossier…

And the design board I came up with…

Design Work- Glam Bistro

With all of this ‘planning’ in place…

…we’ve gone ahead and purchased two of these guys for over the island…

 Oversized Cone Paper Shade Pendant

…one of something like this…

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 …for over this table…



…6 of these bad boys to go around said table…

Louis XVI Square Back Side Chair

…along with this etagere (that already belongs to my client) that we’ll add some brass caps to…

And as for the kitchen itself, we’re ripping out all of this stuff…

…and installing  IKEA Lidingo cabinets…

…only in white that we’ll then customizing with a nice thick freeze and crown so they appear built in.

On top of that, we’ll be putting in a black sink and this gorgeous granite…

…and a backsplash of this sort of white subway tile/dark grout variety…

…hardware and faucet will of course be brass, starting with these bin pulls for the drawers…
{second one down on the left}
…and for the most exciting part, we’ll take the giant pantry that sits opposite to all of these cabinets,  rip it out, and replace it with a custom piece of furniture, thanks to master carpenter Allen…that business is going to look a little something like this…
…and I can’t wait!
So there you have it…a kitchen in the works.
More updates coming as they come.

The Dream House Diaries #6- Kitchen Idea Board

I’ve been working away on plans for #projectdreamhouse …drawing out the layout, sorting out rooms needed etc. etc.
And since it’s literally consuming most of every thought wave, let’s do another…
Today, I’m sharing the kitchen idea board.
I’ve sort of figured out what I want, which basically takes pieces from all of this…
…and mushes it together.
I think it’s going to be good.
Without giving away all of my secrets at once, I will say this stuff:
1. Glossy white flat front cabinets with brass campaign hardware
2. Butler’s pantry with display cabinets
3. La Corneu black/brass stove
4. Fireplace
5. Marble of the veiny variety/thick profile
6.  Panelled walls and hidden stuff
7. Black windows and lots of doors
8. Herringbone floors
9. Modern lighting
10. No kitchen/great room action…kitch will be it’s own separate space
The three bottom kitchens are the main inspiration I’m working with…hoping their hybrid kitchen love child is a pretty one;)


Black Windows

I am currently finding myself in the middle of a torrid love affair with black windows…of course the bigger, the better.

I think they’re so incredible dramatic.
I want some…in the kitchen.
Every interior door in my house is already black so question…should I paint out the kitchen windows so that they look like these pretties…
Mar/Apr 2011

When giving me the yes or no to getting out the old paint brush, please keep in mind that cabinets will be white, island will be grey, hardware is going to be gold and accents will be mostly blush.
Oh and my windows aren’t the fancy paned/double hung/rounded ones like above…they’re more like these…

{photos via my Pinterest board}

So what say you?

Oh and PS, don’t forget to enter my Ravel Giveaway because I know you want one of these pretties to call your own.

I’ll be drawing for the winner on Saturday.