An avid blogger, with no time to blog. That’s been my story.
You can’t imagine the conversations I have had with you — in my mind.
So, please forgive the delays and let me start fresh.
Last year was such a rough year, with all media under huge pressure from the troubled economy. But we weathered the storm thanks to the support of all of you, our readers and viewers, designers, homeowners, retailers — and advertisers.
Thank you so much.
And then this spring, as if by magic, it has turned around, and things are good again.
Our magazine issues are getting fatter and House & Home TV is rolling again — this time online which is so convenient. Curled up in bed with my laptop and my headphones has become my favourite way to watch TV. Don’t you agree?
There have been plenty of changes at our magazine. You might have noticed a new, fresh energy on our pages. I hope so. I certainly see the difference, and I like it a lot. The mail has been great! Your feedback and suggestions to our editors and TV and website teams have been so helpful. Please keep them coming!
Personally, I have never been busier. This past winter, I renewed my determination to exercise and eat a more healthy diet. I’m lucky to have a great trainer, Stacey, who has been preaching the importance of fuelling — all day long — with lots of small meals that start with vegetables and fruit and low-fat protein. In February, I went to the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa for a week of extreme discipline — and I mean extreme!!
It was a huge eye-opener. Never a breakfast person, now I start my day with steel-cut Irish oatmeal. Lunch is a big salad topped with chicken or tuna, and dinner is meat or fish. Sometimes it’s brown pasta and veg — and lots of berries and non-fat yogurt. I learned that if I can do this for five to six days a week, then it’s okay to eat just about anything on that seventh day, along with a glass or two of wine.
Not so bad.
Most of all, I have so much more energy, which I need because life is hectic. Besides the day-to-day at the magazine and taping online TV shows, there are events throughout the week — plus the biggest project — the fourth showhouse we are building and decorating.
It’s once again on a great lot in Oakville, Ont., but the big news is our dream team — led by architect Gordon Ridgely and landscape architect Ronald Holbrook, with Coivic Contracting doing the stone work and planting and PCM (Project and Construction Management) building the house. So much amazing talent!!
Of course, the H&H in-house design team is on the job again.
This year’s theme is “A House in the Hamptons,” inspired by the famous beach house in the movie Something’s Gotta Give. It has the big front porch, the wood-shingled exterior walls with big windows, plantation shutters and a gorgeous, classic interior featuring a great room and separate eat-in kitchen. I think you’ll love it. You’ll recognize Diane Keaton’s dream home from this shot of the exterior.
Here’s the famous kitchen from the movie. Ours will be very different!
Here are a few snaps of the construction underway — even though you can’t tell much, you can at least see the amazing great room space and some of the many french doors in every room.
There’s even a sunroom with full walls of windows on two sides, slate floors and a painted tongue-and-groove wood ceiling. Very romantic.
I went looking for inspiration in NYC — and saw the decorated rooms at the Ralph Lauren Mansion on Madison Ave.
Back home, we’re busy finding inspiration from the great stores in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary. Like this sofa from Restoration Hardware, for the living room of the showhouse.
This month, we’ll be out every day looking for furniture, rugs and accessories. Only eight weeks until the finish line!
Almost forgot to tell you about the most exciting thing that happened at our house this past spring. Michel’s daughter, Aria, married her prince charming, Elie Deshe, in a wonderful three-day wedding weekend at the new Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Las Vegas — right next to the new Aria Casino, which was a fun touch.
Here are some snaps of the beautiful couple, Elie’s parents, and us, having so much fun.
Michel and I and our great friend, Rodney Birrell.
Summer is around the corner. Our garden is almost planted, and this weekend I’ll be filling my pots with herb plants, getting ready to make basil pesto — my favourite.
Speak to you soon!