Monthly Archives: January 2012

Blog Podium: My head is spinning with inspiration & ideas!

It’s been a whirlwind weekend of design inspiration, seeing old and new faces and learning so much my head is about to explode! Today I want to share with you what I learned at the inaugural Blog Podium which was held in conjunction with the Interior Design Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The blogger brains behind this fantastic event are Lindsay of Little House Blog and Jen of Rambling Renovators. The mission of Blog Podium promised Conversation, collaboration and connection in a conference series that brings design & lifestyle bloggers, marketers, and the design community together.

Friday’s session didn’t disappoint. The topic was “Blogs & Media” and the panelists explored everything from the evolving relationship between traditional and new media to how to make your blog stand out to how to pitch magazines, television and other media with content ideas.

Blogs have leveled the media playing field and magazines are paying attention. As Margot Austin of House and Home said – she loves the dialogue it creates with readers and the feedback she gets on articles that are run.

To be a successful blogger it is critical to have a key message and stay on point. Kimberly Seldon wants to learn something from the blogger and is looking for an original voice with original thought. Kate Moore wants to see more about who we are and moments from our work. Who is the individual behind the blog? And, Margot Austin loves a beautiful, well edited blog. As she said: “There is space for appreciators not just creators”. She really appreciates someone who “creates a package of lasting beauty” with their own unique voice in how they present their words and images.

Jen Flores provided a unique blogger voice to compliment the media panel and her key pieces of advice for bloggers are to network, do guest posts on other blogs, make sure you have a blog roll so your readers can link up to other like-minded blogs and make sure that your content is easy and concise for editors to find.

So, how do you pitch your content to get published? All three media panelists had specific suggestions but the key elements to consider are the story behind who lives in the space, what does the space look like and a bio on yourself. But most importantly know who you are pitching to. For example, Chatelaine has a very different look than a House and Home story.

And finally, credit, credit, credit. Too many bloggers take liberties and don’t credit their images appropriately. It’s a hot topic in the blogging world and a message that was shouted loud and clear by the Blog Podium panelists.

Many thanks to IDS12, Delta and Olioboard for sponsoring this fantastic event.

So what am I going to do differently after Blog Podium?

Well, for starters … ReDesigning Sarah is about to introduce a new logo (thank you GS&B!) … Here’s a peek:

I’ve also got some ideas on how to structure content and better interact with other bloggers – stay tuned for more!

I’ll provide a recap of the IDS12 and Canadian Design Bloggers Meet Up I attended in the next few days but was so inspired by Blog Podium it deserved a post of its own.

Have you ever attended a conference or seminar that got your creative juices flowing?

The workhorse of the home … the Mudroom

It’s on wet, snowy days like today when I’m reminded what a workhorse the mudroom can be. Especially in my house where there are three boys and a big dog!

Since adding a mudroom to our house we’ve effectively replaced the front door – 80% of the traffic in and out of the house is through the mudroom entrance. The space we had to work with was small – about 6′ x 10′ but we were able to fit in a closet for coat and shoe storage and a built-in unit with a bench, hooks, storage above and to one side.

Here’s what one side of the space looks like today (not staged … a real-life photo):

Critical to the success of the space was storage – everything had to have a place!

In the spirit of mudrooms … here are a few prettied up ones for you to drool over.








Do you have a mudroom? How is yours organized?

A Week of Design & Blogging Inspiration

This week the Interior Design Show (IDS12) rolls into town and I am super excited to be going!

The show kicks off with a gala evening on Thursday followed by a Trade Day on Friday. In addition to the show itself I am attending the inaugural Blog Podium on Friday morning.

Blog Podium is the brainchild of fantastic bloggers Lindsay of Little House Blog and Jennifer of Rambling Renovators. This week is a panel discussion on Blogs & Media and I’m looking forward to not only hearing the speakers but also connecting with other bloggers. After the session I will tour the IDS12 – look forward to tons of design inspiration.

Saturday is another Canadian Design Bloggers Meet-Up at the fabulous Brasaii. I attended for the first time last June and was blown away by the people I met (and oh yeah, I won an iPad!). Look forward to catching up with familiar faces and meeting new people!

So! That’s what’s coming up for me at the end of this week. I will be sure to debrief afterwards! Now I just need to get down to the serious business of figuring out what to wear …

What do you have on tap for this week?

Real Estate Musings: Making A Home Less Country Part II

Remember this lovely home I featured last week?

This week I wanted to share with you the kitchen in the house and how it could be transformed. The home is beautiful. One of the best features is the amount of natural light throughout.

Check out the kitchen …

I love the light from the window and patio doors and the exposed brick. What it needs is a more unified look.

Thinking in terms of quick fixes for the space (ie not fundamentally moving things around) here’s where I’d start:

I’d eliminate the butcher block counters and add darker counters (including the island) in a granite or a quartz like this …

Right now the two upper cabinets look like they have randomly landed on the wall. I’d eliminate the upper cabinets on either side of the sink and add open shelving that runs the entire way across. Something like this …

The terra cotta paint colour is a wee bit dated so I would do one of two things: either paint it a neutral white or grey colour or add white subway tile from the top of the counters to the ceiling. Like this …

Or this …

Here is the subway tile up close …

I’d also paint out the pine stained pantries and island base in the same colour as the rest of the cabinetry and definitely ditch the trinkets such as the stars and animal accessories. And, oh yeah, replace the lighting!

And … if I had even more money to play with … I’d replace the appliances, add a kick ass range hood and reconfigure the space to create a tighter working triangle (space from the fridge to the stove to the sink).

The possibilities are endless. What would you do to this kitchen?

If you have a home you’d like reviewed on the blog feel free to contact me.

images via here and here

Transforming Fireplaces

I’ve been thinking about ways to transform a fireplace recently. The options are endless – paint, stone, wood detail, marble and so on.

One of my clients will be painting their family room shortly and I’ve suggested they think about painting the brick a lighter colour.

It currently looks like this:

via moi

Here are some examples of what it could look like in a lighter colour …






Or, it could be painted out the same colour as the walls (including the bricks inside the fireplace!)


Or what about black?


Moving away from painted brick …

Black – a look I love by Toronto designer Carol Reed.

The black screen contrasts with the white fireplace surround.


Or check out this marble surround by the DIY couple behind Rambling Renovators … love.

Moving into more contemporary territory with a slate surround.



This one made me chuckle … Storing books in the fireplace, while quirky, might qualify you for an episode of hoarders.


If your fireplace surround is already painted but still looks dated an easy way to update the look is to paint out the screen. A friend of mine did this recently in her home and it took the fireplace from nice to Wow! Check it out:



via moi

All it took was a little black BBQ paint and voila.

If you had to update the look of your fireplace what would you do?

if original source not available image via SarahHep

Real Estate Musings: Making a home less “country”.

A friend of mine recently asked for my thoughts on a house. She loves the lot, the architectural details and the flow of the home. What she isn’t so sure about is how to make it a little less “country”.

So, I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on how to take this beautiful country home and bring it into 2012 while still respecting and celebrating its heritage. Today I’m starting with the foyer and dining room.

Here are some shots of the exterior:

Lovely property!

One of the easiest things to change in your home is the colour of your walls and this house is no different. The first thing I would do would be to rid every wall of the orangey-taupey browns. I’m the first to be in love with brown but in this particular home they really date the space.

Take the foyer for example:

The front door is fabulous as are the baseboards, ceiling height and the oak flooring.

But the wall colour is dated (think nineties) and the ceiling fan/light fixture could use a little va-voom.

Here’s what I would do in the foyer:

Paint the handrail black … like this

Paint the walls a creamy white or warm grey like Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter (HC-172)

Change out the fan for a hurricane pendant like this

Now, on to the dining room:

A few easy changes can update this space.

I’d start by ditching the window coverings. Period.

Then, I’d paint out the crown to match the same colour as the ceiling. This would blend it together but the texture of the distinctive crown moulding would still stand out.

Am thinking something like Benjamin Moore’s Rockport Gray (HC-105) for the walls (shown below) and a creamy white for the ceiling and all trim such as White Dove (OC-17) or Marscapone (AF-20).

And, finally, I’d incorporate a new light fixture like this:

In another post I will share with you what I’d do with the kitchen but in the meantime here are some other pics of the house. It’s got fantastic potential but needs a little TLC and a splash of youth.

What changes would you make?

images via 1 -3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Welcome 2012

New Year. New Look. Same great blog.

Welcome to the “ReDesigned” ReDesigning Sarah. I’ve been blogging now for seven months and decided that the start of 2012 would be a fitting time to mix things up a little. I’ve gone with a monochromatic palette and kept things simple to let the images speak for themselves. What do you think?

It’s been a whirlwind holiday of family gatherings, a hockey tournament and visiting with friends. I cooked a turkey (my second ever!), my oldest boys won their hockey tournament and we rang in the New Year with friends and all the kids made it to midnight!

Hockey Champs!!


In the past I’ve been cruddy about sticking to New Year’s resolutions. For example, last year I started a project to take one photo every day for the year. I lasted the month of January. In years past I’ve joined gyms and never went, said I was going to cook more but never really did and so on.

This year I’m taking a different approach. Instead of starting something new I am resolving to keep doing things that I started late in 2011 that are working well. Things that make a difference and things that make me a better person, wife and mom.

1. Focus on one thing at a time: I can be really scattered and find my mind wandering constantly. I’ve found by concentrating on one activity at a time instead of trying to multi-task it actually makes me more efficient. This is something I plan to keep doing in 2012.

2. Read before bed: Too often I flop into bed and I don’t give my mind time to unwind. There was a stretch when I didn’t finish one book between August and November! Very unusual for me. That is going to improve in 2012.

3. Continue Exercising: I’m a morning exerciser. If it doesn’t happen early in the day it won’t happen. Up until the Christmas break I had been pretty good about hitting the bike at 6am – this will continue in 2012.

4. Use my indoor voice: Translation – yell less. I’m getting better but there is always room for improvement.

5. Smile: Act how I want to feel and I will start feeling that way. It works I swear. I’m gonna keep doing that in 2012.

So there you have it – I’ve said it out loud so it must be real. I will let you know how it all works out.

Have you resolved to keep doing something that works for you this year?