Monday, October 2, 2017

Interesting local businesses ... Antique Crates

I love antique crates. The combination of graphics, rustic wood and of course the history gets me every time.

Antique Colman's Mustard crate from Antique Crates

I was lucky to inherit one of two antique Eaton's grocery crates that sat in my grandmother's cellar for decades. My dad cleaned it up years ago and its uses are almost endless. When we first got married it was a makeshift coffee table while we saved up to buy furniture for our new home. Today, I use it to store patio essentials such as candles, melamine dishes and wine glasses for summer entertaining (grab & go) and in the winter it corrals wool blankets.

an Eaton's Grocery Box inherited from my Grandma

Awhile ago I discovered a guy on Instagram who collects and sells antique crates. His feed is filled with crates and boxes and he has a warehouse with space dedicated solely to his collection, which he sells!

Antique Crates in Etobicoke

His name is Joe and he owns Antique Crates. I had the chance to visit in August after I reached out to see if he was interested in donating a crate to the Habitat for Humanity project I was working on for The Toronto Fall Home Show. He said yes. Such a nice guy! I ended up choosing an antique berry tray which I stained and tattooed to match my table.

Here's my table. It's an antique basin stand which I "tattooed" with slogans for social change in support of Habitat for Humanity. It was on display at The Toronto Fall Home Show in September.

antique basin stand and berry tray upcycled for Habitat for Humanity

antique basin stand and berry tray upcycled for Habitat for Humanity

I brought along my camera when I went to check out Joe's warehouse in the off chance that he might let me snap some photos. He did.  I thought you might be as intrigued as I was to poke around his collection. So, here are some photos from my visit. It's a treasure trove of crates that he has collected from all over. You can follow Joe on Instagram or visit his website for more info.


Antique Crates in Etobicoke - there are two rooms like this one filled with crates

stacked crates and old soda bottles from Antique Crates

Beautiful old labels and paint are intact on many of the crates

stacks of fruit trays and crates

lots of boxes + other collectibles such as old signs and bread boxes

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

See it at the Toronto Fall Home Show! An old wash basin stand gets upcycled in support of Habitat for Humanity

I'm excited to share a fun project I worked on this summer.

For the past several years The Toronto Fall Home Show has hosted an Upcycling Challenge in support of Habitat For Humanity.   When the organizers of the show invited me to participate it was an easy YES. I'm a big fan of the work of Habitat for Humanity and I love shopping at the ReStores. Have you been? 

Participants are invited to re-imagine an old piece of furniture. The theme of this year's challenge is "From Runway To Room".  
This was my fashion inspiration. I was inspired by the slogan t-shirts spotted on the fashion runways recently.

If you like my project please take a minute to vote for me. 

*Please be sure to scroll down the page and fill out the form so your vote is counted. There seems to be some confusion around that...

I actually had my project piece before I had decided on the fashion element. It is an old wash basin stand. Here is what it looked like before.

antique wash basin stand - before shot

Beatty Bros. Limited Wash Basin Stand Circa 1923

So I took the old wash basin stand, it was in pretty bad shape, and tattooed it with empowering words and slogans, reflecting not only the work and empowering messages of Habitat for Humanity but also what is happening in our world today. 

I wanted it to be more than a statement piece. I wanted it to make a statement. So, I tattooed it with slogans for social change. Inspired by the political slogan t-shirts on the runways this past spring. 

Here are a few photos of the process...

First I cleaned the wood and then gave it a light sanding.  It was pretty dirty. Then I applied adhesive vinyl letters to the wood. 

 I applied the letters on the top of the stand and on the legs.

I applied a coat of Minwax Gel Stain in Walnut to the bench.

I used Minwax Gel Stain in Walnut. It worked perfectly for this project. I think if I had used a regular stain I would have had problems with it getting underneath the vinyl letters or bleeding. It was really easy to apply. PS This is not a paid endorsement. It just worked really well!

I then carefully peeled off the letters. The result is subtle and rustic. I really wanted to keep the patina of the old stand so I left the rusty wheels and hinges alone. The wood now has a richer finish. 

 Here are some after photos!

I think it would make a great table or plant stand. It would also look fantastic with a stack of wool blankets sitting on top. Perfect for a cottage or someone who appreciates a more rustic, industrial look.


It includes the antique berry tray which I also tattooed. Thank you to Antique Crates who generously donated the tray.

Habitat for Humanity’s vision is a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live.  Supporting their empowering message, renewing something with history and purpose into something useful while making a statement for hope and change. This is why I’m participating in this challenge.

The Upcycle Challenge projects are on display at The Toronto Fall Home Show and are also available to purchase.  One of the projects will also be auctioned off at the show. You can help choose which project that will be by voting. 

If you like my basin stand please take a minute to vote for me. 

Please be sure to scroll down the page and fill out the form so your vote is counted. There seems to be some confusion around that...  

The Toronto Fall Home Show Upcycle Challenge - a bench that makes a statement in support of Habitat for Humnaity

By the way, big thanks to Vicky Sanderson for including my stand in her story on the Toronto Fall Home Show in The Toronto Star last Saturday.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Late Summer Weekend Getaway at The Walper Hotel

I finally had the chance to visit The Walper Hotel a couple of weekends ago and I wanted to share some photos and thoughts on our little overnight getaway to Kitchener.

The chic lobby of The Walper Hotel in Kitchener, Ontario

It's been years since John and I have stole away together on an overnight.  We used to try to plan a trip at least once per year when the kids were younger but as they have gotten older (they are teenagers now) it's somehow become more difficult. It's easier to ferry them off to grandparents for an overnight when they are little. Life with teens is busy. Anyhow, when The Walper invited me to experience their hotel I jumped at the chance.  

The lobby is gorgeous. They have done an amazing job of restoring this historic hotel which was built in 1893 and underwent extensive renovations. I was surprised to find out that Prime Ministers, celebrities and even royalty have visited The Walper.

The lobby of The Walper Hotel.

I thought I would give you a little tour of the hotel including a snapshot of the area. In the interest of transparency... although this isn't a sponsored post I was invited as a guest of The Walper to experience the hotel which I had heard from many others was just gorgeous. It did live up to it's reputation. 

The Urban Suite at The Walper Hotel
We stayed in one of the Urban Suites, a spacious suite including a bedroom with kingsize bed, a comfortable lounge area including a coffee station and a sylish, modern bathroom.

I love the mural on the wall in this room at The Walper Hotel.

The three things I want in a hotel room are a comfortable bed, a clean, modern bathroom and stylish comfortable decor. The Walper ticked all three boxes and then some. I love the mural on the wall in the bedroom.  The bed was so comfy and the bathroom was amazing and included toiletries from Skoah and Buck Naked Soap Company. 

My one comment about the room was that I would love to see some variation of the amazing art found throughout the hotel in the lounge area of the suite. I know the room decor varies throughout the hotel but it would really help to make that part of the suite even more inviting. That said, it is so stylish and comfortable!
Really great toiletries in the bathroom at The Walper Hotel including dreamy smelling soap from Buck Naked Soap Company.

Luxurious Turkish cotton robes from Pamuk & Co.

Really lovely personal touches such as the gift bag/coffee kit for the pour over coffee station.

If you visit you won't want to miss the second floor which includes a stylish bar, lounge area, breakfast room and the ballroom where special events are held.

The second floor Lokal - lounge at The Walper Hotel

The perfect place for The Queen to reside. Appranently the Queen Mother visited the hotel. I loved this painting by the talented Karl Lohnes.

What a nice surprise to spot one of Karl Lohnes paintings at The Walper. I had heard the Queen was here but had forgotten until I spotted her hanging quite regally. Lovely reproduction paintings of the Queen are available to purchase at the hotel.

Beautiful original details ...

Black and white perfection.
We ate a delicious dinner in at TWH Social located at the hotel and then headed out to check out the blues festival whcih just happened to be going on that weekend. To be honest, I'm not really a huge fan of blues music but it was fun.

Oysters at TWH Social

Delicious lamb at TWH Social

Entrance at The Walper Hotel

Across the street is the Museum and some great little cafes and bars.

Beautiful beaux arts inspired architectural details at The Walper Hotel

We really enjoyed our getaway to Kitchener. There is lots to do in the area and is a great base for exploring the area including all the great antique markets not too far away from KW. -- Aberfoyle Antique Market on Sundays, nearby St. Jacobs, Stratford Antique Warehouse isn't too far away and Shakespeare (on route) has charming little antique shops. There is also Southworks which has relocated from it's amazing old stone buildings which are being torn down for condos (why???) to a rather dull, office building. That still makes me sad.

By the way, before we left, I connected with Jordana of White Cabana to get some suggestions on what to check out in KW. She had so many great tips. Thanks Jordana! If you are visiting the Kitchener-Waterloo area be sure to check out her city guide which you can find on her blog. 

Verdict = We loved our stay at The Walper! Next time I go I'd love to get there earlier so I can check out the Saturday farmer's market or arrive on a friday to take advantage of drinks at the The Lokal. 


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