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    This One Time At Our New House

    I haven’t shared a post in almost two months. That might seem like a long time to you, but to me it’s been a whirlwind of minutes. I have lots of big news to share, and I also wanted to show you some snapshots from our new house so you can get an idea of some of the projects I might be tackling this year on the blog.

    So, that news. As many of you know I have been the managing editor of Our Homes Magazine for the past several years. Not only has it allowed my love for design to flourish, but the job itself is just wonderful. However, all good things come to an end. I have decided to take a new job in communications with a really amazing company where I live. I am very pumped to take on this new challenge, and though I won’t be writing about interior design at work anymore, that means I have all the more creative energy to devote to The Crux in my off-time, so that’s really great news too. Continue reading…

    How To DIY The Moroccan Pattern With Fish Scale Tiles or Ogee Drops

    Do you remember my post early this year delving into the history of ogee drop tiles? They are otherwise referred to as Moroccan fish scale tiles. I hope you remember because that backsplash is one of my most favourite features of our house. A couple weeks ago I received an email from a reader who purchased similar tiles and was having difficulty figuring out how to begin laying them to achieve the iconic pattern that we used in our kitchen.

    In that post I spent a lot of time talking about what an ogee drop tile actually is, and breaking down the misnomer Moroccan fish scale tile. As you remember, the ogee drop arranged in the right pattern looks remarkably like a fish scale, which is why they have been dubbed fish scale tiles. We went over the history of the ogee arch and it’s English Gothic roots, dissecting where Moroccan comes into the mix. Continue reading…

    Learning To Decorate With Wood Trim + Picking Paint Colours

    When we first decided to purchase Spruce Lawn one of the things I was dreading most was dealing with, what at the time, I considered the BS or “baseboard situation”. The house features mostly the original wood trim and I didn’t care for all that wood.  Now I’ve done a complete 180° on the subject and I want to talk to you a little bit about why that’s happened, because I think there’s a myth perpetuated in contemporary interior design, which I long-subscribed to, that suggests wood trim is bad and dated, and white trim is good and modern. 


    via Design Sponge

    The reality is not so nearly black and white. I now recognize that the real problem is cheap trim looks bad and expensive trim looks fantastic, regardless of whether or not it’s wood or white. Thick, high, and detailed solid wood trim will cost you, but let me tell you right now that the thin, small, cheap wood trim is actually what looks dated and tacky. You can’t cheap out with wood trim, if you do it will cost you in aesthetic impact a thousand times over.

    Continue reading…

    Freshly Picked Blackberry Custard Pie With Blackberry Reduction Sauce

    Two days ago my other half pulled open the crisper to find that the huge basket of blackberries he had picked were turning to mush and smelled vaguely of cheap wine. So, I spent the better half of the evening trying to decide what I could make with all those blackberries and what I came up with was this fabulous blackberry custard pie topped with a blackberry reduction.

    blackberry custard pie with a blackberry reduction sauce

    Before I arrived at pie, I briefly flipped through my trusted sidekick Preserving by Pat Crocker in search of some type of blackberry preserve recipe, but decided there weren’t enough berries for a small batch of jam. Then I recalled the most delicious pie my mother-in-law had brought home from a nearby bakery the other night—something called a blackberry yogurt pie. I surmised that the “yogurt” was actually a custard, and thus this recipe for a blackberry custard pie was born.

    Continue reading…

    A Yellow Brick Farmhouse

    Hi readers. I know I haven’t posted at all this summer and I’m not going to go into the details, except to say that I haven’t much felt like it mostly because I’ve been exceptionally busy lazing around at the beach. Oh and buying a house. Sorry, did I bury the lead there? We are purchasing a beautiful 124-year-old (ish) yellow brick farmhouse + acreage. It’s just so fabulous and I can’t wait to share it with you, which is what I am going to be doing for the foreseeable future because this house needs some love and it’s going to take a while to shine it up nice.

    A yellow brick Italianate style farmhouse built circa 1890 in a rural Ontario hamlet.

    Of course I’ve been researching. An Italianate style yellow brick home, built between 1884 and 1899, it was first the home of a once-prominent businessman and mill owner, named Thomas Pickard, in the small hamlet of Glammis, Ontario. It was originally dubbed Spruce Lawn, a name we plan to keep for the sake of historical authenticity. Here’s a nice little snippet I found written about the place in the local historical society’s book:

    The new residence, with extensive landscaped gardens, was called “Spruce Lawn” and was quite a showpiece. Much entertaining of community and extended family took place in the large beautiful home full of young people. Spruce Lawn was the scene of at least three weddings.

    Here’s a historical photo of the property. As you can see the cupola has long-since been removed. We move-in sometime this autumn, late October probably. Wish us luck!

    A yellow brick Italianate style farmhouse built circa 1890 in a rural Ontario hamlet.