Dream House: Jessica Helgerson Design

I mentioned Jessica Helgerson Design in my kitchen blog post. But I want to revisit this specific home in her portfolio. This place is everything to me right now.


I've been thinking a lot about my place. I've always embraced a bottom-up style of decorating, where a home is decorated over time. Objects come and go, get moved around. Occasionally, a large piece of furniture is added or replaced. Sometimes, there's a rare find that's pounced upon. Hopefully, it all comes together. But, more than that, it's all organic and personal, not perfect or frozen in some "after shot" that was achieved after a swift, all-encompassing makeover.


Obviously, I find this bottom-up approach to decorating philosophically appealing. It feels more real and also more fluid. It's without the razzle-dazzle of decor TV before-and-after reveals. It's not all perfectly staged and vetted to come together by design. Rather it (hopefully) comes together because it's authentic to the individual and tells a story of a living, breathing aesthetic personality.


Still, sometimes I feel like I've embraced this approach by necessity as much as choice. The fact is this is how I have to decorate. I can maybe afford to buy one or two large investment pieces in a year - the idea of having the budget to do or redo a room, let alone apartment, in one fell swoop is simply not mine.


And sometimes I feel this poignantly — that my place always feels at about 80% and that the leftover 20% is a glaring thing, not that there's such a thing as "done". I see moodboards of ambitious renovations and I'm envious of that kind of top-down planning. I wonder what it would be like to step back and make decisions that are orchestrated to go together. And to have that moment when a room feels entirely new (I especially fantasize about this for my kitchen and bathroom - those renovations in particular don't lend themselves to bit-by-bit progress).


I feel both ways when I look at this home. Because it feels both top-down and bottom-up. I don't think everything in it was planned and purchased at once. But I do feel like it was conceived of as coming together and edited with a lot of discipline, though not lacking a sense of colouring outside the lines. I also love this place because it's totally my style and a look I would strive for.

A bench for my bedroom

My bedroom  floorplan right now is laid out like this (okay, the napping dog is a wishful embellishment):


I'd really like to add a bench / ottoman of some sort in front on the dresser (shown above in pink). These are some I've been looking at. I think my favourites are No.2 from Blu Dot and No.4 from Black Rooster, with the Black Rooster one edging to the front because it's somewhat a glammed-up Mies (No.8 but I can neither afford nor fit), without being a pure rip-off -- which would be unconscionable for me to consider.


Products: 1. Sculptural: Oly | 2. Plush: Blu Dot | 3. Boudoir: MGBW | 4. Upscale modern: Black Rooster  | 5. Sleek: Ethan Allen | 6. Comfy (but in another hue): Decorium | 7. Standard: Jonathan Adler | 8. Classic: Knoll

P.S. If you're looking to build a floorplan like mine above, google "Icovia Floorplanner". I'm sure there are many other (possibly better) tools out there, but I've been using this for years. Many furniture shops etc. offer this tool on their site (they usually require registration, but that's what your old yahoo email is for, amirite?! I built mine on Decorium's site)

The Stowe

In my world, there's no such thing as enough purses. And while I like to buy purses that are built to last, I'm loath to too often crawl into designer purse price ranges. The Stowe is a Montreal-based company that I've recently been admiring and they're right in my sweet-spot; quality, minimal styling (inconspicuous branding) and prices that lure you into thinking ahead to a second purchase. My favourite styles are Rae, Eloise and Brady (who can resist the current bucket bag trend!?)


You can follow The Stowe on Instagram (that's how I found them!) and visit their online store here.

Tali Yalonetzki / Tush Tush

Remember the heady early days of Etsy? I used to favourite new shops and items daily (and sometimes, feel an urgent need to splurge almost daily too). I was smitten with all of it; the vintage wares, the small-run designers... but most of all, the affordable art. Some of the art I bought back then still hangs on my walls, but many of those $25 prints came and went - especially when I did away with my salon-style wall.


One of the artists who endured and holds a special place in my heart is Tali Yalonetzki. I bought the original of her "Young Lady" portrait (above) in 2012 and it has been prominently displayed in my home since (many people on Instagram have asked if it's a portrait of me. It's not, though I suppose it maybe bears a small resemblance to my old profile pic if you don't know me in person).


I don't browse Etsy daily any more. But I did wander over to Tush Tush store last week and found another original called Dancers At Rest (above) and treated myself. It isn't the dancing so much (I'm no bunhead), but the intimacy and separation between the women that spoke to me. I've been thinking a lot about female friends lately, especially my closest female friends. They're the most intimate relationships I have but, at the same time, I feel very unlike all my friends and that's often underscored when we get together, just as much as our closeness and deep affection for each other. And not that I think this painting is portraying all this, but it seemed to capture what's been on my mind.

My favourite work from Tali's shop has a recurring feeling of an old family album. These prints and paintings remind me of pictures I've seen of my parent's childhood, even images I've seen in family albums of people I could no longer name. There's a universality of feeling associated with such images, and yet I don't seem them only as romantic nostalgia. There's also a feeling of regret and loss, perhaps even of damage behind such images for me. But these feelings only make these images so much more beautiful and poignant.

Sunday best: Height of summer

It's the very height of summer. My neighbourhood empties out every weekend and, for all I know, my addiction to kale chips is the only thing keeping the over-priced grocery in business. I have a bunch of leftover vacation days to use before the end of August and, suddenly, not being there on Fridays suddenly doesn't seem to matter that much.

Languor like this feels like the ultimate luxury and I love the looks it conjures - worn and soft but accented with gorgeous finery. Right now, I'm listening to a distant thunderstorm. They scare me but we need it to roll in and clear out the humidity. When it's gone, the air will be bright and clear and I'll stroll down the hill for an evening coffee. What more could one ask for?


Products: Mimi Holliday by Damaris bra from Net-a-Porter | Leaf bracelet from Anita Ko | Slim Broken-in Boyfriend Cone Denim Jean from J.Crew | The Uptown Girl Luxury Palette from Charlotte Tilbury | √Čtoile Isabel Marant Axel top from Net-a-Porter | Bamboo Daily Leather Top Handle Bag from Gucci | The Lip Slip from Sara Happ | Aquazzura Belgravia Suede Espadrilles from Shopbop