Jltshowhouse(1)

Treat Mom To Good Design

I remember the first Mother’s Day gift I bought my mom. I was probably 10 when I decided that double digits was too old to keep threading yarn with painted pasta and passing it off as a present. My change purse bulged with quarters and carefully folded $1 and $2 bills (remember those?!) as I asked my dad to take me to buy Mom some perfume. My dad knew she loved Shalimar, but he didn’t say a word as I marched out of the drugstore proudly clutching a bottle of Charlie. I later discovered that my carefully wrapped parcel contained the fragrance equivalent of Dettol, but Mom never let on.

After years of well-intentioned offerings, my sister and I finally discovered THE perfect gift: time together. On Mother’s Day weekend for the past several years, the three of us have enjoyed pedicures and then gone for lunch (I recommend Saturday, not Sunday, if crowds aren’t your thing). With no husbands asking where the diaper bag is, no kids begging to play hide-and-seek, no roasts needing to be checked or gravy prepared, we kick back, catch up and laugh until the etheticians join in.

If you like the idea of spending time together this weekend but can’t get hers-and-hers mani appointments, take your mom to see the ultimate home makeover — the Junior League Of Toronto Showhouse. For the first time in 25 years, more than 50 top designers have reinvented the interiors and garden spaces at the lovely McLean House, one of the historic Estates of Sunnybrook. The doors are open for a limited time only between May 8th and 31st. Here’s what it looks like from the outside:

Instead of seeing the inside in a magazine (not that there’s anything wrong with that — we’re featuring the Showhouse in October 2009!), you’ll get decorating ideas by walking through rooms created by renowned design teams such as Gluckstein Design Planning, Jeanette Hlinka, Taylor Hannah Architect Inc., Douglas Design Studio, Katherine Newman Design Inc., Anne Hepfer Designs Inc., Holly Dyment Design and many, many others.

This year the Showhouse is both easy on the eyes and the earth. Each of the rooms features environmentally responsible elements such as sustainable, reclaimed and re-used materials, non-toxic products and energy-efficient fixtures. To really appreciate the transformation, look at photos of the house prior to the redesign, and watch videos of H&H’s Mark Challen during the planning and demolition phases. (Stay tuned for more videos!)

Best of all, proceeds from this year’s Showhouse go to support a variety of charities. Quality time with Mom: check. Stealing decorating ideas from a gorgeous estate: check. Helping people who need it most: check. I think we can safely forget the perfume this year: book your tickets today!

Now tell me: what’s the most memorable Mother’s Day you’ve ever spent? I’ll be watching for your comments.