April 24, 2022
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See before & afters of these colourful home offices
April is always a month of significant weather changes here in Toronto. We see sun, sometimes snow and usually the first buds of spring. I’m not so much excited to see what has survived the winter, more hoping that something will have survived the tour de force that is our puppy, Reba.
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She has turned our back garden into her own personal racing track. I have a pair of lovely vintage obelisks that I spied one day for sale at the side of a country road. We couldn’t fit them in our car with two people, so we took one and went back the following week for its partner. She loves to run around these at full speed and then take off in a direction of her choosing. I used to get really cranky when the squirrels would lop the heads off my tulips, I don’t think they will get that far this year. And my normally heady hyacinths are probably being hammered back into the soil with each race around the garden – we will see what survives! Raised beds and spring bulbs in pots may be in my future garden plans.
Studio update
Trench is one of the new colours for our new website. It’s been a really interesting experience for me, working with another creative team on my site and my new branding. It's meant relinquishing control and letting them do their magic. Their insight, point of view and truthfully their care in the process has made it all go so smoothly.

It's hard as a creative entrepreneur to understand that sometimes you simply can’t do everything. Even if you could, some things are simply best done by others who can fuss and agonize over all the endless tiny details that I don’t have the experience in knowing or fully understanding.

It’s a lot like what we do for our clients; most clients come with an idea of what they like, certainly what they don’t like, and although shopping for items can be fun, they quickly realize that it's not how they want to spend their free time. The stress of carrying the responsibility of all the selections can feel more like a burden than a joyful experience. 
Before & afters
Having joy in your home environment has never been so important. We’re all still navigating the new normal with the bogey man and I know many of my clients are now working in a hybrid model and this looks like it's going to become the new normal for so many. 

Home offices have come a long way from the space once seen as the man’s domain in a household. It no longer needs to be furnished with heavy, dark, serious furniture – it can be a space to work, create, and oh yes, it can also bring you some joy! 

We recently had two projects photographed and I thought I’d share with you these home's glorious colourful home offices. One was in a penthouse condo and the other on my client's third floor – so both had the beautiful benefit of unobstructed views and lots of glorious light. 

So, let's start with the penthouse condo before. I always love a before and after story – this was the room as I saw it on the first day I met with my client and her realtor in her soon-to-be new home. 
As you can see this colour really brought the space to life, especially when paired with our incredible wallpaper and drapery fabric selections. 

My client’s grandmother’s rocking chair has pride of place near the window. This we reupholstered in a welcoming pink weave and we repurposed an area carpet from her existing dining room.
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The desk allows my client to sit on either side to allow her to select her backdrop. The cheeky orange ceramic lamp adds a happy pop of colour to her black desk. 

I adore this space and the bold colour choices that my client trusted us with. It's packed with joy and even if workdays are long, being a beautiful space curated just for you can really make a world of difference. 

The next home (before image below) was used as a guest bedroom by the previous owners, but it really makes a fabulous home office / den. 
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This space befits from an abundance of natural daylight.
Here we painted the walls and ceilings out in an understated trench-inspired neutral by Benjmain Moore, Grant Beige.
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We added a large white oak l-shaped, height extendable desk. It works great with the new golden yellow media cabinet and storage unit.

These pieces were a bit of a leap of faith on my client’s part as they also came in a charcoal finish which would have been perfectly nice, but the golden yellow is INCREDIBLE and that is so much better than nice! It picks up the brass in the pendant fixture and in a beautiful piece of art that is out of these shots.
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We created a bar and snack area around a group table for larger meetings or lego building! This multi-purpose area can be used equally for work or for art and crafts.

The chairs were repurposed from my client’s previous home - these were pieces that we had sourced for their kitchen that worked really well here.
This month's loves
April to me is always the month of decluttering and editing. It starts with switching out last season’s wardrobe and this month it also saw me delving into my makeup bag and changing my car! 
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1. My new emerald green all-electric Mini arrived this month. The whole order process was flawless, and it arrived in under three months of ordering. I have been wanting to change my car for some time but also knew that I wanted to go electric. This is the smallest and most fun car I’ve ever owned. I’ve always had a sensible sized ‘’family’’ car and it's lovely to drive something so compact you can always get a parking spot! 

2. I’m prone to tension headaches, sometimes for a whole week at a time, and my back and upper shoulders have been likened to concrete by some massage therapists. A long-time follower of the Brooklyn-based, traditional Chinese medicine company Lanshin, I recently ordered their porcelain, infused with tourmaline, massage tool. Headaches be gone! I’ve used this every night since I received it and I can’t believe the difference it has made to my stress-ey, tech-neck headaches. Sandra has a great YouTube tutorial that takes you through the steps. It's simple and so easy to use; I make my evening cup of herbal tea and pour some boiling hot water into the tool and then I’m all set! I like to use the massage tool with organic jojoba oil from Living Libations.

3. This trench coat, Alexander McQueen – The puffball hem takes me back to my teens. It's ball gown meets coat and I’m somewhat obsessed. Possibly too much puff to fit into my mini 😊

4. Detox Market – I have used green cleaning products in my home since my early 20s, always avoid artificial fragrances and aim to eat more organic food than not. I take a more holistic approach to my health and try to incorporate products into my skincare routine that are both healthy for me and for the planet. But, until now, I hadn’t culled my make-up bag. Like most of us, it’s been a long time since I even wore lipstick, let alone bought a new one. I recently had new headshots taken and my gorgeous makeup was done by Suzanne Cyr. Suzanne has made me look good when needed for the past five years. She’s wonderful at just getting it all perfect and she prefers to use all-natural products. During our latest shoot, she was using some new products from Detox Market, and I so enjoyed the experience, feel and look that I booked a shopping trip and follow-up makeup lesson with Suzanne. We went to the Spadina store as they have the full range of products (although there is also a new one at Yonge & Summerhill and all their products are online). I came away with all new products, most by brands that I had never heard of, and all that are easy to apply and give a flawless finish. It feels good to start spring with a new take on my makeup - it has been so long since I did this. One of my favourite finds are these beautiful brushes by Well People – I mean how can this not make you feel good! Now all I need is a new bag to put all my finds in as it’s the one thing that Detox Market does not sell! 

5. Meagan’s Hug – I heard about this charity on the CBC and their goal to assist Ukrainian families whose children are here for cancer treatment at Sick Kids Hospital. The charity was started in 2001 by Denise Bebenek following her young daughter’s death from inoperable brain cancer. As the war in Ukraine continues to take, break and shape lives, this small local charity is giving hope to those who have escaped the war but who badly need our help and support to fight their own personal battle.

6. Hegemone Wallpaper, Farrow & Ball – Yes, it's green, and the inspiration image also has saffron yellow so for me this is a double win, but I am head over heels with this paper. Named after the Greek goddess of fruit & flowers, to me, this shouts ‘’Hello Spring’’. I love that the pattern is fairly organic - this works well when walls, ceilings and baseboards don’t all run perfectly true. It hides imperfections and connects beautifully with the outdoors. 
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Photographer unknown, image sourced via Kate Monteith, GGI Pinterest Board Exteriors
Bookcase elevation, source unknown, GGI Pinterest Board Bookcase Style
Dries Van Noten, GGI Pinterest Board Fashion
Spring Bulbs, source Claus Dalby, GGI Pinterest Board Plants
Trench Coat, British Vogue
Before image of GGI client's soon-to-be home office, Gillian Gillies
After images of GGI client’s home office, interior design Gillian Gillies, photography Virginia Macdonald
Before images of GGI client's soon-to-be home office, Gillian Gillies
After images of GGI client’s home office, interior design Gillian Gillies, photography Virginia Macdonald
This month’s loves – 1. Electric Mini, 2. Lanshin, 3. Alexander McQueen Trench Coat, 4. Detox Market, Suzanne Cyr & Well People, 5. Meagan’s Hug, 6. Farrow & Ball
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