New in at Li’s house

Posted on Fri, 19 Apr 2019 by KiM

Hey folks. It’s been a while since I shared some of the things that have entered my home as of late, so I thought I would do that today since I’ve got some extra time thanks to the long Easter weekend. (Happy Easter to you all!) I’ll start with some of the things that have been gifted to me, and most of the purchases I made on my Mexican holiday (my carry-on suitcase with filled with only ceramics and glass LOL).

To start, the folks at sent over some of their new gardening titles they launched for spring. These were timed perfectly as I have gardening/landscaping on the brain these days. Very inspirational, and educational as well!

I loooooove air plants but have killed every one I have ever bought. This book is perfect for for people like me.  (by Yoshiharu Kashima (Protoleaf), a horticulturalist from Japan): These endearing plants are friendly to seasoned gardeners and beginners alike, and easy to grow and care for, once you know how. This reference and growing guide covers over 100 different Tillandsia varieties, and gives you all the information you need to select your plants and make them thrive. In this book, you’ll learn about the various types of Tillandsia plants and their characteristics, growth cycles and preferred environment, air plant care and selection, propagating/dividing plants from cuttings.

I am also fairly unskilled at keeping succulents alive. This book is also a wonderful resource and gives lots of ideas on how to make beautiful succulent arrangements.

 is a friendly guide to popular succulents, walking novices through all the basics, like choosing your succulents—from Hens and Chicks (Echeveria) to bristly flowering cactus varieties, mixing the right soils for your succulents and preparing the growing environment, easy potting and transplanting techniques, succulent care—including watering, fertilizing and providing the right amount of sun for each variety, understanding peak periods as well as seasonal traits and needs, so you can have a beautiful succulent garden year-round. This book also contains all sorts of helpful tips on what to look for when buying a plant, how to troubleshoot when your succulent shows signs of distress, how to trim the leaves and stems, and how to start new plants from cuttings. Clear diagrams and at-a-glance fact sheets for each variety, as well as inspirational photos of attractively and happily-housed succulents, fill the pages of this book. 

I also received 2 books specific to Japanese Gardens. The Japanese show unbelievable talent in this field and I was excited to devour these.

: A celebration of Japanese landscape design, this book features gardens from Kyoto and Tokyo, as well as from the sub-arctic island of Hokkaido and the semi-tropical islands of Okinawa. Author Stephen Mansfield traveled the length and breadth of Japan on a quest to identify the most impressive gardens in this vast and culturally varied archipelago. His erudition and love of the Japanese garden shines through on every page, making this the perfect primer for travel to Japan or an enjoyable armchair read for gardening enthusiasts. 

This book I really liked because it shows some less elaborate gardens than in the book above and many of the elements can be translated to our own gardening projects.

 is a comprehensive collection of the most notable gardens in Japan—including graveled courtyards, early aristocratic villas, palace gardens, esoteric and paradise gardens, Zen gardens, warrior gardens, tea gardens, and stroll gardens. Japanese gardens are rooted in two traditions: an ancient one in which patches of graveled forest or pebbled beach were dedicated to nature spirits, and a tradition from China and Korea that included elements such as ponds, streams, waterfalls, rock compositions, and a variety of vegetation. This book traces the development and blending of these two traditions, while also providing insight into modern Japanese gardening trends.

That’s it for new books. Some other items I received included some goodies from Canada. My favourite paint brand used in every room in my house, this was exciting because they sent over a book of theirs I had not read before called by Ros Bryam Shaw, a colour fan of their archived colours and a colour card with all of their new colours included in it. Sweet!

Stephanie Beebe and her husband Lisanathan Caldwell of Tiverton, RI design wallpaper and their brand, , has some of the most incredible, and creative wallpapers I have ever seen. Lisanathan studied fine art at the Chelsea School of Art in London and has been in the textile and wallpaper business for over twenty years. Their designs reflect his love of detail, drawing inspiration from organic elements and encounters with balanced landscapes, layered silhouettes, and watercolor prints. Also important to note that they use environmentally-friendly materials and manufacturing practices. Stephanie sent me some samples of my choosing, and I’m totally smitten with each one and trying to think up a project where I can use at least one… (the floral in the middle is my favourite – )

My friends at Miele Canada sent along a surprise package the other day. And what a surprise it was – coffee!

Miele Black Edition N°1 coffee is an exclusive selection of coffee beans perfectly adapted to the Miele coffee system (sadly, they did not include one in the package LOL). Produced in cooperation with the family-run German coffee roasting company Vollmer, four unique Arabica coffee beans were selected for this special blend. My husband and I are coffee lovers, and this coffee was fantastic!!! You can purchase it via their website .

And in case you missed it on my stories when I had returned from Mexico, here are most of my purchases from my trip. I think I should look into the cost of getting a shipping container for next time. 🙂

Garden inspiration

Posted on Fri, 19 Apr 2019 by KiM

Now that the majority of the snow that dumped on us all winter has left, I have got landscaping on the brain. No landscaping has ever been done on the property of my 80 year old home and it is a total embarrassment. We plan to tackle as much of it as we can this spring and I’m soooooo clueless when it comes to this stuff. I plan on spending any time I have looking for inspiration (please let me know your favourite resources – must be harsh-Canadian-climate friendly) and here is one firm that I found that I am in awe of. is a NYC based eco-friendly and sustainably minded landscape design, build and maintenance company, and I love every project in their portfolio. Here is a sampling of my favourites.

After that last post, I thought you might like to see the home of James Veal and Christine Stucker of  – another incredible renovation of theirs. Built in 1901, the 2,100 square foot brownstone was purchased by James and Christine in 2017, with the intent of gut renovating the entire home. The biggest challenge was the designers’ tight timeline, as they only had two months to complete the entire design, construction, and renovation process. Stewart-Schafer repainted the fireplace, refinished all of the flooring, created custom light fixtures and built custom millwork closets throughout the home. The stairs and railings were refinished by hand and all the spindles were repainted. To restore the home’s original details, the designers added molding to match the home’s original plaster molding. The entire master bathroom was completely gut renovated and ripped down to its studs. In the master bedroom, the plumbing was moved to reconfigure the layout, and Stewart-Schafer salvaged the original clawfoot tub and had it re-enameled. Stewart-Schafer creatively opened the space by adding a skylight above the vanity to make the space feel brighter. The entire bathroom was retiled and a custom vanity and mirror were made to add visual interest and a contemporary feel throughout the space.

Photos from the website of Stewart-Schafer and

A gut renovation of a Brooklyn townhouse

Posted on Wed, 17 Apr 2019 by KiM

I came across this project by architecture and design studio  and was mesmerized by the kitchen and that stunning marble countertop and backsplash. Also, dying over how the sink is inset into that raised section. !!! Then I learned this was a complete gut renovation when I came across more info on this project and was blown away at the amount of work that went into this project. Beautiful on the inside with a killer rooftop view outside.

Proof of just how much of a gut renovation this was…

Photos from their website and this article by  (Marco Ricca)

A renovated beach house in Tuross Head

Posted on Mon, 15 Apr 2019 by KiM

Mary, a very sweet blog reader, emailed us about her “beach shack” in a coastal village of Tuross Head, New South Wales. I had to share this beauty with you. What I would do to be able to spend a vacation here!

I know that there are a lot of great looking rooms out there that are far more fancy and luxe than my abode.  However, you may be curious to view my newly renovated 70s beach shack.  It sits by, what I believe, is one of the most beautiful and untouched coasts lines in the world – The Far South Coast of NSW. The interior styling of the house could be described as slow design.  The house includes art and furniture collections accumulated over many years of living in Asia and Australia.  To me the most important and inspiring pieces are from family: my dad’s old carpenter’s workbench and my parents’ Parker lounge chairs from my childhood.  These pieces inspired the look, feel and soul of my renovation, completed in December 2018. Mary Louise is a 1978 modified beach house. After being rented out for most of its life, it had become the eyesore of the neighbourhood. Despite its dilapidated condition, it had good bones and design integrity that needed saving. So, in 2017 the restoration of this 70’s original beach home began in earnest. After a year of work, Mary Louise was finally transformed. It now stands proudly getting the admiration it deserves. The living and dining area is open plan and seamlessly connected to a beautiful outside deck offering ocean, mountain and hidden garden vistas.