Thursday, October 4, 2012

Davisville Drama - Part 1

Back in May I was contacted by a young couple who were ready to tear apart their modest house and turn it into their forever home. They already had drawings, plans, architects, builders and contractors all lined up and ready to go. They made a great  decision to call moi, the designer, before they began demo and construction.  This gave us the opportunity to change a few things including moving a toilet from the center of the room to a hidden nook in the corner PLEASE NOTE: a toilet is NOT a focal point! Never! 

Typically - I get calls from client's who are looking for full service design & renovation. One big package including me and my design team along with Eric, our general contractor and his crew. It's easier for clients to know they can call me for trade assistance  like - when is the electrician scheduled to be on-site? or ask Eric to make quick design decisions because he knows my style so well. We keep everything in-house to simplify the process for our clients. However - I do work with other contractors and vise versa for Eric. This was one of those instances - my clients already had their team in place. A decision they'd go on to regret.....

And so the demolition began and their 1500 sq/ft home was turning into 2,500 sq/ft of living space. HUGE ADDITION to their property! Everything was going smoothly minus a few bumps and hiccups in the road - nothing major to report until we hit September. Their contractor had planned on completing the project and having the family move in the beginning of September.  As it turned out the contractor had also booked a vacation for himself, which he expected to take following the completion of this extensive remodel. As it turned out the project was running longer then expected and he began panicking. So the contractor decided to get his hands dirty (literally) and tried to complete some of the work on his own. "Some of the work" was now turning into plumbing work, WARNING: unless you are a licensed plumber please do not touch the pipes because you will damage something. Period. End of discussion. Guaranteed.

Then, Monday morning rolled around and I received that dreaded phone call from my client saying "it's bad, it's really bad". The entire house was under water.

Basement - tragically ruined

Main Floor - disaster

2nd Floor - semi salvageable

Just to give you an idea of where the project was in terms of completion - I was ready to go on-site that afternoon to guide the electrician in hanging the chandeliers.
YA, it was bad......but its gets BETTER!
More details to come.....

This is our concept board including our colour palette

House of Design is a full service Toronto based design firm. We create truly unique spaces catered to each client's specific requirements. We design, decorate and renovate from small scale to large residential builds.

For more information please visit or to book a consultation please contact us at

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fall Decor, Design & Renovating

Fall is just around the corner.
The air is crisp, its getting cool and as a result everyone is starting to move back indoors to stay warm, following our fantastic summer season. In my industry, the design world, it's one of the busiest times of the year.

is on everyones mind.
If it's not on your mind, and you have any plans of revamping your space for the holidays NOW is the time to get in contact with a design professional. Keep in mind scheduling, consulting, custom finishing and we are well into December.

Don't wanna scare you BUT, what are you waiting for?
If you live in Toronto or the GTA  - you're in LUCK
This Thursday kicks off the Fall Home Show at the Better Living Centre and runs until
Sunday, September 23rd.
If you're planning on coming to the show make your way to the Reno & Decor Booth for an oppertunity to meet with Interiors Designers available for free 15 minute design consultations.
One of those Designers is moi - I'm super excited to be apart of their guest line-up and have the oppertunity to meet homeowners with design dilemmas. I strongly encourage you bring photos, measurements and / or plans to get the ball rolling because let's face it, 15 minutes is not enough time to get all your questions answered!
Speaking of Fall - this season has completly inspired me on a design I'm working on for new clients.
They just moved to Toronto from Boston and have nothing but a futon in their family room. The space is going to be transformed into a blend of rustic elements with sofistacated finishes. This uptown family home is going to be designed for a family who LOVES colour and want to incorporate their cultered roots throughout their space.
Here is a look at our fall inspired colour palette....

House of Design is a full service Toronto based design firm. We create truly unique spaces catered to each client's specific requirements. We design, decorate and renovate from small scale to large residential builds.
For more information please visit or to book a consultation please contact us at

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Surviving September

Miss Me?....Well, I certainly missed my blog. I can't believe the summer has passed by so quickly and we are well into my favourite season - Fall. I haven't been blogging at all this summer so I'm back to share all of the exciting events and amazing projects at House of Design over the last few months.
Where do I begin?........
From full house additions to kitchen renovations to dining room decor - we've done it all and continue to work our magic throughout September.
I'll go more in depth with each of our 'projects on-the go' and recently completed ones but for now here's a sneak peak of  summer design highlights.
We began the summer with a full-house decorating project. Brand new built in Vaughan. Our client wanted a mix of show-stopping formal rooms and layed back casual spaces for everyday living, so
this house was going to be ALL about texture, (side note: clients hate too much pattern).
We've got grass cloth wallpaper, wool side chairs, linen pillows and a bamboo rug- that's just the family room. In the more formal rooms we've incorporated custom furniture upholstered in velvet, silk rugs, over sized art and high gloss painted ceilings (in black may I add) - more on that design concept on another blog post. It gets me excited just thinking about it.
For now here's a sneak peek......
We've also completed a STUNNING, if I can say so myself, kitchen renovation.  We took a kitchen which was completely falling apart - think duct tape holding the floor together to magazine worthy. OH and when I say magazine worthy, I mean cover of the magazine worthy. The project went off with-out a hitch, literally it was as smooth as butter, which is not something you hear all the time with Renos. But, thanks to my extraordinary team, lead by my hubby aka my General Contractor, my trade coordinator & project manager it was perfect!
This may be another project which needs its own blog post.
Perhaps, you'd like a teeny tiny sneak peek
Speaking of renovating. Back in May we met with client's who were ready to blow up their house, well not exactly their whole house but a majority of it. My Davisville clients had decided that after 7 years of living in their modest home their expanding family would need more space, like an extra 1000 sq/ft. They loved their historic Toronto neighbourhood and both grew up in houses they lived in most of their lives, so naturally wanted the same for their kids. So an overhaul took place and ultimately they lost their home to dozens of contractors, only temporarily though. The extension went pretty smoothly, for the majority of the project. They were all ready to move in last week when all of a sudden...................something major happened...........on the next blog post I'll explain it all!

House of Design by Erica Gelman is a full service Toronto based design firm. We create truly unique spaces catered to each client's specific lifestyle requirements. We design, decorate and renovate from small scale to large residential builds.

For more information please visit or to book a consultation please contact us at

Monday, April 23, 2012

House of Design gets published!!!

Very exciting news - House of Design makes its debut on paper!!!

 Pick the latest issue of Home Decor and Renovation Magazine -
available in Toronto & GTA


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Karim Rashid @ BoConcept

If there is one word to describe designer Karim Rashid - besides the obvious - talented, visionary, brilliant, creative, original - I would say he's pretty awesome. Awesome - a word so over used in society today, a word that almost lacks in any actual meaning is in fact the perfect description of Mr. Rashid. If you don't know who he is - look him up! He is a globetrotting product designer, interior/ architectural designer, furniture designer, speaker and he even tested his DJ skills at IDS here in Toronto this past January.
Yesterday I attended the opening of his latest furniture collection at the BoConcept store in Toronto. The event, put together by Sharyn Smith of EventfulPR was a huge success. The place was full of great designers, bloggers, media personalities and industry peeps. We all got the first look of The Ottawa Collection fully designed by Karim Rashid himself.
Karim, who by the way is so intriguing and well spoken that it is so easy to get wrapped up in all his words spoke about his concept and design philosophy. He told the story of his minimalistic vision and quest to produce furniture with function and comfort as key design elements. His goal is ultimately to create a pleasurable experience when using his furniture pieces, specifically his chairs. The collection features
The Ottawa Chair - a piece that began as abstract design, which is actually the way he prefers for things to remain - abstract.  Karim even went so far as to say he guarantees comfort while sitting in his chairs - and even joked that if anyone found it uncomfortable he'd give them away for free! The collection includes
The Ottawa Chair available in 54 colours, The 14 person expandable Table, a rug with Mr. Rashid's own thumb print, fun and colourful pillows, playful accessories, and The Side Board
all available at the BoConcept Store Toronto - 230 Adelaide Street East.

Me and some talented designers & bloggers having too much fun!
Christine Da Costa, Nicholas Rosaci, Jo Alcorn, and Vanessa Francis

Vanessa Francis, Christine Da Costa, Nicholas Rosaci, Sharyn Smith and Moi

Moi again, Vanessa Francis, & Christine Da Costa,

Photography by Larry Arnal


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy International Women's Day!

Do we really need a reason to celebrate the women in our lives; our grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, nieces, aunts........
Let's face it, us women we're pretty great -  we are beautiful & powerful, we are strong, we are smart, we are loving and independent, we are fierce and fabulous, we are creative and innovative, we are entrepreneurs and we give the biggest gift of all, life!
I told you - we're pretty amazing, us females. 

In honour of Women's day here are some of my favourite girly interiors, all things pretty and feminine.

Happy International Women's Day,

Too cute! I couldn't resist

All images via Pinterest

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Princess Margaret Home Lottery 2012

Would you pay $100 for a chance to live in a 7,662 sq/ft $3.79 Million Dollar Mansion? I would!

It's that time of the year when people drive from near and far for their chance to walk through The Princess Margaret Home Lottery "dream home". I too get equally excited to tour this showhome. My anticipation stems from different reasons then most, for me it's the expectation of seeing a design masterpiece. Although, walking through this mansion and envisioning myself as the big winner does cross my mind, once or twice. Greenpark interior designer Jack A. Celli does this incredible mansion every year from start to finish. This year's home is elegant yet bright and airy. Marble, marble and more marble adorn this manor so if carrara is not your thing, look away. This mansion has four luxurious bedrooms, an entertainment area equipped with three plasma TVs, a pool table, woven leather club chairs and a spa inspired basement with a gym, above ground pool and a wet steam shower. The gourmet kitchen is a transitional white & gray combo with not only a servery but also a separate "homework office", I thought the huge chalk board for daily notes was such a cute idea. This kitchen and the funky family room are divided with a two-sided glass tile fireplace, one of my favourite design details. The living and dining room are simple but tastefully done, a little surprising I must say. These main floor rooms are typically the piece de resistance, THE space where you can wow your guests and really indulge in over the top design fashions but the design team chose to go minimal in these otherwise formal rooms.  

In my opinion, for whatever it's worth, I believe that year after year the same design crew puts together these spectacular homes and although they are gorgeous, it may be time to see another great designer's vision transform this grand prize house into their idea of a
dream home.
Just Imagine Brian Gluckstein's lottery home!
AND one day, Erica Gelman's lottery home, oh...wait... that's me
(a girl can dream!)

On a serious note, The Princess Margaret Hospital holds a really special place in my heart, it was the place my grandfather spent his last days and although he never made it out there are thousands that do. Everyone knows someone who is either batteling, has battled, or lost their battle with cancer and The Princess Margaret Hospital is trying to put an end to that. So buy a ticket even if you don't end up the lucky winner of this fab home.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Glamorous Baby Suite

It's not every day that I get to live vicariously through a client, especially when this "client" isn't even born YET! However, that is exactly the case with my latest Designer Nursery project - which I prefer to call the Glamorous Baby Suite, it's much more fitting in my opinion.

I should have known that this project would be different, it was full of uncommon aspects right from the start. A few months ago I got a phone call from a dad-to-be who felt that although his wife had fantastic taste and knew exactly what she liked, mom-to-be was having a really hard time making any kind of final decision. He confessed to me that he did not want his 6 months pregnant wife stressing over these choices, but rather felt like hiring a designer would be best to make her life easier. Obviously I agreed! How great is that, dad was the one who initiated the design process and although all my meetings were with Vanessa aka mom-to-be, just knowing that he was equally as anxious as she was to see it all come together was great.

During our first meeting mom-to-be proclaimed words that spoke like music to my hears.... She wanted a nursery that was designed with pure luxury in mind, a room based around style and refined elegance, I told you it was going to be different. Dad-to-be was right, Vanessa herself has wonderful taste and made putting these pieces together very easy. There was no second guessing, she just needed someone to guide the way. Final result....think velvet flocked drapery, silk bedding, bold colours, metallic accents and crystal embellishments. Can you say baby heaven? If that doesn't scream 'glamorous baby suite' then I don't know what does. Which brings me back to my first point of why I'm living vicariously through this baby and her luxurious accommodations. I can't wait to design HER master bedroom in 25-30 years.

We're just about putting the finishing touches in this baby suite so I can't give away the whole room design but I will share a peak at the unbelievably stunning drapery and bedding.

Gray Silk is wrapped around a decorative valance which hangs above the fucshia flocked drapery panels

Fucshia bows & blanket with silver & cream bumpers detailed w/  fucshia piping...

This is actually much more true to the colour of the drapery aswell, still love my instgram

Room will be all ready for baby's arrival!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Major Changes at HOD

I'm so so so excited about some major changes at House of Design I can hardly contain myself.

First order of business my website :::: although it looks really pretty on paper having to dictate house (dash) of (dash) design is quit frankly a pain in the behind. Solution = new domain name!
My entire website will be redirected to yes, I've taken the big girl step and branded myself.

Speaking of branding myself, guess who also got a new logo? That's right, its moi!
My current logo was designed about 4 years ago, a time where I saw my business in a completely different way then I do now. My new logo speaks volumes to me and represents my company image precisely. Needless to say,  I couldn't be happier the final results. It was an idea I had while having a late night coffee date with my best friend, who was talented enough to take a napkin sketch and turn it into a reality.  
A super big thank you to my besty for creating my perfect new logo

Can't wait to go live with the new website, i'll keep you guys posted.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Project Reveal - Fabulous Home Office

This is the story of how a suburban basement transformed into something super fabulous.... 

Once upon a time there was an unused basement storage room that turned into a sanctuary style home office. You see, my client Simone Sinclair  aka The Shapeshifter a nutritionist, hypnotherapist, national bikini champion, mom of three, wife to one (the list goes on and one) had this idea of bringing out the superhero with-in all women because she believed that we all have that ability to be our best selves. As a result, she enlisted in my best services - interior design and asked me to create a cocoon style environment where her "super heroes" in training could feel safe and relaxed in a tranquil setting. I was thrilled with this opportunity. And since this operation was all about finding the best, my clients' main objective was that all the finishes and furnishings would need to be just that in order to find a home in this fabulous space! 

Easy enough, we pretty much nailed the colour and fabric scheme on the first sourcing trip, we were ecstatic to say the least; cream, coral and gold how divine! 

Could it be that easy??? nah! 

Fabric back-orders ultimately resulted in a ruined plan. We needed to be open and flexible, which in reality is the truth of what makes any project successful. After the initial shock wore off we decided it was sign, the office would need to be even better, but was that even possible? YES! We tweaked the design and rearranged the fabric placement yet we kept the concept and mood of the space. 

Like I said, every piece that found a place in this room had to be amazing and beyond, it had to boost loads of characters and personality, not something you automatically think of when the words subdivision basement come to mind. One of the first pieces we found was the Throne Chair, who wouldn't want that in their office? And I mean, personality is an understatement when it comes to this chair. And speaking of personality, we incorporated vintage pieces my client already had and refinished them. Pairing the old with along new furnishings will produce a more collected look rather than a typical showroom feel.

 However, it’s not just furniture that gives charisma to a room or a home; its the details. And what better detail then paneled walls? Not only does paneling a surface provide unbelievable texture but it also gives the setting a sense of depth and a layered effect. We also wanted to incorporate contemporary elements while still presenting the allure of vintage charm. Our very last step was choosing the wall colour, something deep and dark, the 'wow-factor' is what we were looking for, we chose this fresh hue with the perfect mixture of gray and indigo. It was the element that tied it all in together and I couldn't be happier with the results.

Here it is before.....

and now.... happily ever after

Photography by Larry Arnal - Arnal Photography 

I hope you enjoyed!