19 March 2012

National Home Show & Canada Blooms Redux: You Should Go. Seriously.

I may have mentioned on Friday how excited I was to be attending the National Home Show & Canada Blooms this weekend with my hubby (and by "may" I mean I totally did; it was No.5 on the list but understandable if you overlooked it owing to the dining room chair and plant suicide drama). "Excited" was an understatement, of course, and as soon as we could hustle the little one out of the house to drop her at a friend's, we were on the highway with tea and road-tunes, getting a little sun burnt (in March!) as we drove along with the windows rolled down. If the weather was any indication, the day promised to be an auspicious one ... and was it ever!

We looked like we might have some trouble actually getting into the building, as when we arrived at 12.30pm folks were already being redirected to the overflow parking lots surrounding Exhibition Place. All the main lots were full, which made me a little concerned for the state of the show and how jam-packed it was going to be. We wound up parking over at Ontario Place instead and walking the half block to the Direct Energy Centre, which was totally worth it: parking onsite was $15. Parking at Ontario Place? Just $5!! We saved ten bones just by being a little late for show-opening. Sweet.

Once admitted to the show, we stopped immediately to pick up a program and to review the floor map. To say we were a little intimidated is an understatement: the show is huge!!

Like I said: HUGE. I wouldn't lie to you.

We decided to tackle the "Home" part of the program first, followed by the "Blooms" but honestly it wound up being a mishmash of a day, partly because we had no specific outcome in mind or anything that required "doing" but also because it was hot as Hades in the Home section and so cool and lovely in the Blooms that we were wooed by the atmosphere. It ended up being fairly evenly split overall: we started at the far end (farthest right on the pink side) and spent a couple of hours in the fray, then slipped over to the yellow side for lunch and a casual stroll around all the garden-related booths and features, and then threw ourselves back into the Home section for the final hour or so. Overall, a fantastic day, but I know you didn't check in today to hear about hubs and I holding hands and being all romantic and kind of gross while swooning over tulips and ground cover and kitchen islands. I get it. So here it comes!

We came across a few vendors that I knew already, and loved. Remember these guys from the Christmas Craft Show?

Even more adorable than I remembered. Reiner's Originals is out in full force at the home show, with a spectacular deal on their amazing ottomans. If you're in the market for one of these unique leather footstools and you can make the trip out to the show, NOW is the time to buy. Check them out at booth #3706 ~ seriously. You won't regret it.

Another booth that struck my fancy was Alta Moda. Much of their furniture (at least on the showroom floor) was very straight-laced and contemporary, which is not usually a style I'm drawn to. But these three pieces in particular had me swooning:

So sleek and sexy, in a buttoned-up kind of way. Veeeery touchable upholstery, also.
To the left, an over-scale chair that had a very "Alice in Wonderland" feel from the dimensions to the fabric.
To the right, the MOST COMFORTABLE leather chair I've ever sat in. I could have stayed there all day.

A little booth at the back caught my attention with a whole lotta sparkle and shine: I'm a sucker for crystal lighting and the Home Ideas booth was nothing but! Also spotted was a wall-mounted aquarium which might feel a little too early-noughties for a main living area, but which I think would be perfect in a kid's room, especially if real estate is at a premium and you don't want to sacrifice desk or dresser space to a traditional tank.

Also for kid's rooms was the amazing Beetling Design, who had traveled to the show from Coquitlam, BC! Specializing in 3D murals, these fun and fanciful art pieces are delicately crafted, beautifully designed but durable enough to live with kids. If you're looking to make a splash in any child's room, a piece by Beetling should be on your list of must-haves.

At Palmyra Design, both Daryn and I were amazed by the stunningly gorgeous Moroccan and Turkish lighting, which is sourced individually by Fran Devlin, the shop's owner (who, by the way, absolutely made my day by saying when I handed her my blogger business card, Oh, I know this blog! I've read it before... Thank you, Fran! You put a permanent smile on my face for the rest of the day).

Gorgeous, no? Visit her at booth E334 and check out her beautiful pieces. Had hubby and I any money to actually to spend at the show, you could bet we would have spent it here. Specifically on these.


Other moments of spectacularity (is that a word? it is now) and general awesomeness around the show were spotted here:

This is tile, people. TILE. Someone did this with their own two hands.
Orro Mosaic

A ceiling of papered lanterns at the Taipei, Taiwan Featured International City Garden exhibit

The foliage got a little bossy, but its wisdom was undeniable

Conservationists need not apply. A rain shower head nearly 2 FEET in diameter

A climbing ivy privacy screen (or "Green Screen") that hubs is lusting after for the backyard
Mori Nurseries

Kitchens were the name of the game for me at the show, and these two were absolute stunners. Don't let my crappy photography fool you: both were absolutely gorgeous. The one on the right would be perfect in our little bungalow.
Lido Cabinets Limited

Possibly my new favourite counter top option: SOAPSTONE. Love.
CabinetWorks Plus

Robert Webster Company, designed by Natalie Rebelo

My favourite of all, however, was a kitchen installation at The Kitchen & Bath Studio through the Robert Webster Company {above} that had me at Hello. Designed by Natalie Rebelo, it featured not only a gorgeous kitchen (which I stupidly forgot to take a photo of because I was too busy ogling everything else!) but also a dead~sexy leather tile floor and the most amazing barn door table I've ever seen.

From a practical perspective the leather floors are dead-on: easy to care for and maintain, soft underfoot, good-looking as all get out and best of all, no need to add underfloor heat! The material is naturally warm. To say I fell in love with it is like saying FAO Schwartz is a Big Apple institution: it goes without saying.

The table, while slightly less practical (I would have topped it entirely with glass or encased it in an acrylic or glass box, as otherwise it's not at all hygienic. I'm a country girl: you can't get that past me :) was an amazing example of upcycled design. It's perfectly proportioned for a family table or a generous kitchen island, and the uniqueness factor is off the charts. In speaking with the lovely rep at the booth, we were assured (and had no difficulty believing!) that all of the projects executed by RWC are done so with the same commitment to individuality and creativity as their Home Show display. In other words, beautiful and unique aren't just to sell the product; they ARE the product. And I can't say enough how lovely the RWC rep was (I didn't catch her name ~ my bad ~ but she was working on Sunday afternoon and if she or her colleagues are reading this, they know who she is): we talked her ear off for a LONG TIME! She was generous with her time, her opinions, her expertise and did an excellent job of talking up her company. Thank you for a great showroom experience!

And I gotta say, folks, all of the stunning kitchen displays at the Home Show are making our little kitchen look increasingly inadequate in comparison. I wish I was kidding.

On a final note, both hubby and I were delighted by the POP-UP VIGNETTES designed by Janette Ewen (booth #5900). At 2PM on Sunday, March 25 (closing day), all 12 vignettes will be sold at discount prices to benefit Food Banks Canada. All proceeds will be donated, so hurry down to take a look and get there early on Sunday to score your favourite pieces and contribute to a good cause! Here's a sneak peek at three of our favourites:

All in all, an excellent day out and a thousand new ideas for the house rattling around in my head. I'm seriously considering returning to work to finance all the projects I'm now planning! If you haven't made it down to the show yet, definitely consider going. And if your trip is already planned (or you've already been) I'd love to hear what caught your attention! What did you love the most?

I also encourage everyone who likes what they've seen today to visit the websites of each vendor for additional information, much better photography and of course, to order! All images in today's post are by me.

Finally, be sure to tune in tomorrow for this month's edition of Design This Dish, and on Wednesday for Money Pit Love's first-ever GIVEAWAY!

Ciao 'til then!!