Nancy Meyers : The Best Yet

I can remember a time when clients would mention the movie Somethings Got To Give at initial design consults, claiming if they could create a feeling in their own home that was it. Being fairly new to design at that time and having a relatively small portfolio Nancy Meyer's set design provided great inspiration for many homes I worked on. Nancy Meyers dining area in renovated LA home. fireplace, cerused oak table black wicker chairs and antique lantern

There's a simple and refined, yet casual elegance to her aesthetic. She's always done the best job of creating spaces that were ever inviting, embodying the perfect marriage of traditional with a modern touch. I was so happy to discover that Architectural Digest has featured her renovated home. It's interesting to see how her taste has evolved and yet stayed exactly the same and I enjoyed reading about her decision to stay. 

Have you always been a fan too? Which images are your favourites? To read more about Nancy Meyer's home and the recent updates click through to the Architectural Digest article here.


Holiday Prep : 5 Tips to Get Organized

Is it just me or do the holidays sneak up quicker and quicker every year? The season can be stressful for many of us with lots of tasks added to our usual daily lists, so this year I took a minute to think of some different ways to make it fun and a little easier to prep for.

I made a trip to one of my favourite destinations, Southcentre Mall, and got prepared with some extras so organizing would be that much easier and more enjoyable. I started with decor set up and to make an afternoon of it I bought new pyjamas and slippers for LL and myself. Together we picked out some new ornaments and decor things to replace what had broken from last year. (Let's be honest I picked them out and hoped he agreed- haha)
We visited our friends at Kernels and brought home popcorn for stringing (thank goodness popcorn is white and works with my decor theme). I've been wanting to do this forever and it actually ended up being a lot of fun to work on while watching a Christmas movie.

I also maximized my mall visit by making a list of gifts plus items I needed for my house guests and I was able to pick everything up in one stop.
Ornaments from Hudson's Bay. Candle from Sephora.
Here we are in our new pj's decorating the tree. On LL- Gap Pyjamas and Old Navy Hat. My Pyjamas are from Victoria's Secret and slippers are from Old Navy. Flicker candle in lantern, fireplace votives, cranky throw blanket from Crate and Barrel. Tree skirt from Hudson's Bay. 
Throw, cushion and popcorn bowls from Crate and Barrel. Ornaments Hudson's Bay. 
New linens and toiletries were quick to pick out and are on hand for when guests arrive. Towels are from Crate and Barrel, toiletries are Bath and Body Works, new guest bedding from Hudson's Bay. 

Holiday Prep Tips:

  1. Put lights on timers or purchase flicker candles that have a timer built into the base. Coming home to the ambiance of lights already on feels so inviting.
  2. Pick up some new toiletries for house guests. There's nothing worse than discovering you're out of a necessity.
  3. Many of us come from an era of grandparents or parents who made it all but I still say it's best to make the things we're good at and buy pre-made for the rest. For instance I can bake a cake but I don't make the best pie pastry. It's ok to substitute store bought items
  4. Indulge in a new candle or two. I love how this will mask cooking odours and make your home feel inviting. Don't forget to put one in the guest powder room too. 
  5. Pick up a few extra boxes of chocolate or things you yourself would enjoy that can double as last minute gifts for your mail delivery person or an unexpected guest or to be a hostess gift for a last minute dinner party invite. 

If you're feeling a little uninspired with what to buy loved ones the Southcentre Holiday Gift Guide might help, and their new Search. Find. ShopNow tool makes shopping easy! I found some great suggestions.

To celebrate the season I will be doing a giveaway in collaboration with Southcentre for a $200 gift card to spend at the mall. To enter pop over to my Instagram (here) and leave a comment.

Post sponsored by Southcentre Mall. Styling, opinions and images my own.


Outdoor Room Interior Reveal

You might have noticed there has been a lot of updating going on around here. It seems when you're a homeowner everything starts to need attention at once. My most recent transformation and fix was on my little backyard cottage. The exterior had begun to show significant signs of wear and tear. I partnered with Canadian Tire and their Premier paint line to redo the outside to prohibit any further deterioration while the weather is nice. The best outcome was loving the new update. (see last post) At the same time I decided it would be wise to tackle the inside as well. The cork flooring which had been repurposed or upcycled from another project had suffered serious fading. I've had painted floors before and loved them so I decided to take the plunge and update the space with a fresh new colour underfoot.
I couldn't be happier with how they turned out.
Here is a glimpse at the before. I never did love that floor but it hadn't occurred to me to paint it. To see what the space used to look like when I first completed it in 2010 visit (here).
I used Premier paint in exterior grade with a flat finish. This way it will hold up better to drastic temperature fluctuations given this space isn't insulted or heated. I also kept in mind that it's scrubbable as well which is obviously an important consideration for a floor. The paint itself went on really well and covered evenly. And possibly the best part- no VOCs mean no smelly fumes in this tiny space that can get very hot on summer days. 
I haven't had the chance to visit much since it's been completed but I'm looking forward to some downtime in here with a book. We've even moved a little tv out here on a rainy night for a family movie... almost makes me hope for rain. 
Would you paint a floor in your space? If so what colour? xo e

Post sponsored by Canadian Tire Premier Paint Line. Styling, opinions and images my own.


Outdoor Room Update Reveal

My little outdoor room has been one of the most visited and read posts on my blog. (here) It's been an amazing little retreat to go to when I wish. I've had wine with girlfriends in there, sleepovers, etc.
It truly does feel like a little cottage in my own yard.
The exterior was starting to show serious signs of wear and tear with the original paint pealing and chipping. I recently gave the space a makeover with a fresh new coat of paint. I partnered with Canadian Tire and used their Premier brand paint line. I chose a colour called Yellowknife Ice PR16Y18 from an amazing array of off white tones. I was impressed at the coverage and encouraged by the fact that its resistant to cracking and peeling, is impervious to mold, mildew and algae.
Repainting the space wasn't just for an aesthetic outcome. Caring for our home exteriors is important to maintain them and prolong structural integrity. But to be honest the aesthetic outcome is my favourite part.
I'm so happy with the outcome. Redoing the outside also prompted a really fun transformation on the inside. That reveal will be coming soon! What do you think? xo e

Post sponsored by Canadian Tire Premier Paint Line. Styling, opinions and images my own.


Around Here : Master Plus Bathroom Reno Update

So I'm that girl... the one who almost always takes on more than I should, especially when it comes to projects around the house. I like to give myself the excuse that it seems everything is dated all at once. Home fix ups have that domino effect that leads you by the hand from one room to the next though right?
master bedroom Amber Interiors
I started working on my home office last year (reveal here) and my plan was to move on to my bedroom. At some point in between the bathroom had mildew specks on the ceiling and painting the space somehow turned into a new vanity purchase. Long story short the master and bathroom have been taking up my time neck in neck but I'm nearing the end. (thank goodness)
Here's a little update on where I'm at. I'm luring you in with a pretty a inspiration picture first so that my iPhone photos can hide out at the bottom... but the truth is even this rough phase is exciting. I can't wait to finish these two spaces. I still have several things to coordinate with the bedroom and the bath.
As soon as they're done I'm planning a quick update project at the side entrance of my home plus a big project outside and then I'm moving on to a kitchen update. I'm hoping to get a couple of years out of the existing kitchen but it's starting to feel worn down, so I'll start on some simple cost effective ways to spruce it up. That's what I've been up to. Can't wait to share the reveals.
Master Bedroom Update Erica Cook
Click link to see what finished bed will look like. (here) I also need to order a mattress! 
Bathroom Update White Vanity Brushed Brass Hardware
The vanity is in the space but needs some serious modifications to accommodate water lines and drainage. Fingers crossed that my plumber can work around the drawers. Reveal of both coming soon. xo e


My Recent Stay At the Hyatt Regency Calgary : How They Help Locally

I recently enjoyed a great staycation at the Hyatt Regency Calgary. I had been asked to attend a brunch a few weeks prior and learned there the Hyatt would be doing a mass renovation with plans to do something amazing for a local charity organization called CUPS Calgary that helps families in need.

It’s never lost on me what a privledge it is or how lucky I am to work in this ever changing industry that I’m in. What touches me the most though are the experiences that incorporate the well being of others, donations to local charities, or just helping the community. Long story short the Hyatt purchased all new furniture for their suites. Having worked in the design industry I know that most hotel chains send their lightly used furnishings off to auction. It’s an excellent way to offset the cost of renovating and they often fetch a fair share because hotel furniture is so darn solid. 
Erica Cook Hyatt Regency Calgary Staycation Lifestyle post Top Floor Lounge

What I love about this story is that the Hyatt Regency chose to do something else. They’ve been long time supporters of CUPS and decided to donate ALL of the suite furniture to families in need. Not only did they donate furniture but they also welcomed the families (most with small children) to come and enjoy a fun packed sleepover at the Hyatt. 
While I haven’t had to use CUPS myself I have been in a position before as a student where I struggled to make ends meet and cover the basics for my boys. It isn’t always easy and it’s great to know that these families will all have one less worry. 
Renovated suite Hyatt Regency Calgary comfortable bed
Renovated Washroom Hyatt Regency Calgary travel Alberta
(I love the filtered water taps in every suite- delicious cold water, at no extra charge and no wasteful plastic bottles!)

Anyways to kick off the completed reno I was invited to stay. To say I enjoyed myself at the Hyatt would be an understatement. The rooms were beautifully done and what I always look for in a hotel is whether the beds are comfy and I can tell you, yes, yes they are. To take in the full hotel experience, we ordered room service because it's one of my favourite things to do. I'd never eat eggs and toast in bed at home but it sure was nice.
Erica Cook Room Service Hyatt Regency Calgary Staycation Lifestyle post
Another thing that should be noted and praised is the staff. They were all so warm and accommodating, but there was also an air of something else I detected that made my heart happy... pride. Yes they all had a sense of pride at being part of this united team to help us enjoy our experience and would go out of their way to take care of us. I was also delighted to pop by the beautiful Stillwater Spa with the others that attended. Suffice is to say there was no detail overlooked there and after receiving a hand massage it was easy to see how any treatment big or small unwinds stress. 
Hyatt Regency Business Lounge Calgary
P.S. They also have an amazing pool, hot tub and gym on the 18th floor with a killer view just down the hall from this lounge. Book your stay (here). To make a donation to CUPS visit (here)

Thanks so much to the Hyatt for having us. We truly enjoyed our stay. xo

Post sponsored by Hyatt Regency Calgary. Opinions and images my own. 


Home Office Reveal : How To Make Your Workspace Happy

It's been a while in the making, but I'm so happy to reveal my home office update. I'd shared in a getting personal post before (here) that it was filled with boxes and had become a storage space after the flood I had a while back. I also shared a preview of the looks I was considering (here)
Erica Cook Home Office Update Books Desk Lamp Snake Plant
Erica Cook Office Update Shelf Styling
Here's what I did:
The walls, ceiling and built in shelves all received a new coat of paint. The old track lighting is out and replaced with a fixture that makes my heart flutter. There's a new office chair, area rugs, soft furnishings, plants and a few accessories. (I'll take any reason I can get to order a new candle!)
I partnered with The Mine and set out to find pieces that would work in this room but also created a sense of continuity with the rest of my home. I love how easy the site is to navigate. I was able to pop in different parameters to narrow my search fields and find some truly great additions.

I started with a white desk and office chair for my base pieces and figured I'd weave black and neutral accents into the space. I thought hard about how I work and the primary functions that needed to be covered in this room. Aside from working on my computer at my desk I find that I'm often on conference calls, so I picked out a cushy bench and cushions to recline a bit while talking.

I had existing lower cabinets that I decided to keep. I swapped out the hardware as this is absolutely the easiest way to give them a whole new look. A set of layered area rugs soften the space underfoot and give some dimension with texture. The addition of a new round mirror bounces light around the space and creates a simple yet impactful focal point.

I cleared out many of my books and kept only the ones I truly love (most tucked away inside the cabinets) while the rest of the books I kept displayed all coincide with a colour scheme on each shelf. I love the striking visual balance it creates when layered with other decor items. I added several plants as well to evoke that calm, clean air feeling to a workspace.

I took the time to seriously think about what I could instil in this space to inspire me while I work. 
I came up with some tips. The most important thing about creating an inspiring work space is to think about your needs and incorporate items that make you happy. For instance I need a desk and a place to sit that isn't just an office chair. I also needed a flat surface other than my desk to put files and products as I work through my day. From there I considered my other personal happy work necessities: a lit candle, music, fresh flowers and plants, etc,. To me this is what really makes the space impactful; the styling of vignettes and table surfaces. A desk might be beautiful but it will always just be a desk... it's the visual impact of the way you adorn these surfaces that makes them have personality. So I went full steam ahead creating as many little vignettes as I could. However the items I used to style weren't just random nick-nacks. I only layered in bits and pieces that mean something or bring happiness.

Shelf Vignette Diptyque Large Baies Candle Books Palo Santo Erica Cook
Erica Cook Home Office Update Framed Fortune Cookie paper
Each shelf has something of tremendous meaning on it... for instance this framed fortune from a fortune cookie I had whilst expecting my little guy. It's a reminder of family and the joy he brings. 
Erica Cook Home Office Update Shelf Matches Books Candle
The carved wooden box on the left belonged to my late grandfather. It's a little way to remember him.
Erica Cook Home Office overhaul Shelf Styling with Cactus'
Erica Cook Home Office Update Shelf Styling
Erica Cook Home Office Update Shelf styling
Erica Cook Home Office Update String of Pearls Succulent Coco Chanel book
Erica Cook Home Office Update Shelf Styling
Erica Cook Home Office Update Shelf styling with books and succulents Erica Cook Home Office Update Shelf Styling
Erica Cook Home Office Update
Erica Cook Home Office Update
Erica Cook Home Office Update
Erica Cook Home Office Update 
Erica Cook Home Office Update
Erica Cook Home Office Update Desk Mirror Area rugs
Erica Cook Home Office Update Desk Tray Roses Vancouver Candle Co Candle
Erica Cook Home Office Update Justina Blakeney Cushion Loloi Cushion Shag
Erica Cook Home Office Update Sage sticks Jonathan Adler Box Acrylic Waterfall Nesting Tables
So there you have it. I'm so excited to actually start using the space. I've been working at the kitchen counter for months. Thanks as always for popping by and reading.  xo e
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