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how i work NOW & IDS 2016

January 19

A few years ago, spurred on by a feature at the Interior Design Show in Toronto, I wrote a post about how I work and my home office. At the time I was in a corporate job and used my desk at home for personal business only.

A lot has changed in almost three years. After the (now fortuitous) circumstance of being downsized from my job, I’ve become a full-time independent consultant, now using my home workspace for actual work.

home office - saf affect

Previously tucked into a niche between my fireplace and kitchen, facing a wall and away from any natural light, that was fine for now and then tasks. But working from home full-time, spending most of my time in my condo at my desk now, my office deserves the best spot for creativity and productivity. The occasion of getting new floors made it easy to try a new locale – one that I absolutely love.

BEFORE office - saf affect

Before the holidays, as I was putting my place back together after my new floors were complete, I swapped out my sofa in the window for this reconfigured desk set-up, also pulling my bookcases out from behind curtains as part of the arrangement, quickly plopping everything in place. I previously wanted to hide all my sins and storage away, but this new layout is far more functional, with everything at hand, even if it means being extra good at being extra tidy. The natural light is fabulous, especially when making paint recommendations as the resident CIL decor and colour expert.

NEW office mini rug - saf affect

Once I set up the new office space, I knew I needed a better solution than the temporary placement of a tiny rug to roll about on my vintage Knoll Pollock executive armchair. While I like how this vintage looking 5′ x 8′ wool and cotton, woven rug from Homesense fits the space, I’m not yet convinced it’s ‘the one’. And that makeshift adaptation of my DIY desk needs an updating.

NEW office - saf affect

NEW office rug - saf affect

Good thing IDS 16 is this week/weekend (kicking off with the opening party on Thursday January 21), where there are sure to be inspiring ideas for further updating my home office and for all areas of my and anyone’s home.

IDS16 Toronto - saf affect

all I want for christmas is … new hardwood floors!

November 20

After living for years with original, late ’90s builder’s-basic broadloom in my condo, I finally got what I wanted for many Christmases – new engineered hardwood flooring! While I am still playing with layouts and there’s still lots of unpacking to be done, I thought I’d share how absolutely pleased I am with my new Torlys Everest Elite engineered hardwood American Walnut floors from Speers Flooring in Oakville, ON (and expertly installed by Pro Floor Contractors, a preferred supplier of Speer’s).

Especially since the long-awaited transformation was made even more palatable by a Torlys fall flooring event rebate, that is on until Sunday November 22, 2015. If you’re in the market for a new floor, you’ll want to take a look at Torlys, Speer’s, Pro Floor Contractors – and this rebate!

torlys rebate details - saf affect

torlys everest elite american walnut boxes - saf affect

window area before - saf affect

torlys american walnut - saf affect

Just take a look at these beauties! While putting new floors into an entire, inhabited condo where there is nowhere to store anything away took the effort of moving house, it was all worth it. So was the extra effort and dust created by my request to remove the old, industrial looking patch of tile at the front door. I’m thrilled with the transformation from ‘before’ to ‘after’, the resulting continuous flooring and what it does for the visual flow in the space.

hall flooring befor & after - saf affect

I appreciated the care the installers took to not only protect my boxes and boxes of things and hoards of furniture that make an install like this challenging to work around, they also protected the public corridor leading from my unit to the elevator. Not mandated by my condo, but definitely appreciated by my condo’s management and board as well!

protecting while installing - saf affect

Packing up all of my worldly possessions also allows me to play with the furniture layout that I’d lived with for almost a decade. Now that I work from home full-time, I thought it is time to give priority to my desk placement in the windows, as that is where I spend the majority of my time at home. And look at that – I now have a corner office!

More unpacking to do, but I’ll be all settled in soon. Just in time to decorate for and entertain at Christmas.

desk setup A - saf affect

desk setup B - saf affect

’tis the season for festive & affordable holiday decor

November 15

I think I say this every year, but how is it almost the Christmas season again already? I’ve been busy packing and then unpacking my home for the installation of new engineered hardwood flooring, bidding adieu to 11-year-old broadloom carpet, just in time for holiday entertaining. More on this later, but a good reason why it feels the season has sneaked up on me.

It seems only a short while ago that the weather was still warm and I was previewing the 2015 PC Home holiday decor and entertaining collection, ingeniously set in situ in a historic Toronto home, showing how easily the pieces fit in with one’s own decor and accessories. And now these fabulous items are hitting your local Real Canadian Superstore. As always, the PC Home designers and buyers have curated an offering of beautiful, distinct and affordable items in themes to fit any home and style, many of which can help brighten your decor long after the ringing in of the new year, warming the cold winter months with good design. I can’t wait to explore in-store and pick up a few pieces to supplement my own holiday and winter decor.

We were also treated to some tasty treats created by Loblaw’s executive chef team, with special President’s Choice ready-made food products that make making delicious holiday meals easy. Simple and yummy,  they are on my shopping list as well.

PC Holiday 2015 Decor - saf affect

PC Holiday 2015 Tree - saf affect

PC Holiday 2015 Bar - saf affect

PC Holiday 2015 Dining Room - saf affect

PC Holiday 2015 Hearth - saf affect

PC Holiday 2015 Bedding - saf affect

PC Holiday 2015 Culinary - saf affect


toronto, paint & decor, railroads – in miniature

September 24

Sometimes it’s quirky, how quirky yet related things surface at the same time. Such as … life in miniature.

While much of my livelihood depends on being on social media pretty much all day, I come across some interesting posts, and sometimes they relate.

Or it could be the psychology of prejudice that I’m paying more attention to the topics that interest me and / or are relevant to my clients’ business and their customers, and therefore I am  attuned to connections. Or it could just be a fun alignment.

Like this article from Toronto Life I saw posted on their Facebook page this afternoon, about an eccentric millionaire building a tiny version of Toronto:


Which was posted just minutes before one of my clients, CIL paint, launched this sweet, ‘mini’ ad on Facebook for a promotion at Home Depot Canada:

Which then reminded me of my own post a couple of years ago about the Model Railroad Club of Toronto‘s scale rail model that they were moving to their (yet to be opened) new location:

20 MRCT - saf affect

Or maybe it’s just that my childhood fascination with miniatures hasn’t waned. ;)

summer 2015: an instagram recap

September 1

It’s hard to believe that it’s September 1st already. And while I’m sad to see it winding down, Summer 2015 hasn’t disappointed. Yes, I’ve been quiet on the blog, but I’ve been busy living life, to which my other social media feeds can attest.

Here’s a sampling from my Instagram feed of some of the fun I’ve been up to over the past number of months, as I fondly look back on the summer of 2015 and forward to some more decor, design, food, travel and general merriment this fall.

Waterside fun…on Lake Ontario and northern Ontario locales:

Great day for a sail! #Toronto #LakeOntario #summer #sailing #water #urban #city #skyline #fun #landscape

A photo posted by Susan Forint (@safaffect) on

#summer #clouds #lake #landscape #Ontario #north #cottaging #camping #beach #clouds #weather #storm #boating

A photo posted by Susan Forint (@safaffect) on

Admiring  beautiful architecture, including FINALLY visiting the stunning and well-worth-the-visit, Parkwood Estate in Oshawa ON:

Beautiful day visiting the stunning #house and #gardens of #Parkwood #Estate in #Oshawa #Ontario.

A photo posted by Susan Forint (@safaffect) on

A beautiful stone house in #Hamilton #Ontario. Love the #gingerbread #details.

A photo posted by Susan Forint (@safaffect) on

A pop of colour brightens any day.

A photo posted by Susan Forint (@safaffect) on

FINALLY also getting to the to-do of turning some fabric I picked up for a steal into some new throw pillows and recovering my thrifted Mission style arm chairs:

And getting up to a little more decor fun at a recent CIL Paint’s blogger event where I presented some of the hot trends in paint techniques, colour and decor for 2016 – including a couple of easy DIY art with paint:

Read all about it on Ottawa Mommy Club, sparkleshinylove, and AKA Design.

If you’ve got a paint colour question, ask it by clicking here – as the resident CIL colour and decor expert, I’m the one who will answer! :)

pc home summer collection: get ’em while it’s not hot

May 12

With this weekend being the unofficial start of summer your thoughts may be turning to outfitting your patio, porch, deck or balcony with some new  and summery furniture and accessories. Well PC Home has a fabulous lineup this summer, that I was lucky enough to preview back on a bitterly cold day in February. These refreshing, forward thinking and colourful designs, including furniture, dishes, BBQs, beach towels, pillows and more are joyously filling the void that the funky wares of the exited Target Canada left behind.

Now that the warm weather is here, you too can admire and pick up full range of these value-priced beauties at Real Canadian Superstore, but only while supplies last. So get ’em before the really hot weather arrives.

PC Home summer - saf affect

colourful PC Home dishes - saf affect

Yup, these beauties are unbreakable, ideal for outdoor use.

coloured muskoka chairs PC Home - saf affect

Prepainted Muskoka chairs are comfy and hard-wearing.

plasticware PC Home - saf affect

indoor outdoor side tables PC Home - saf affect

These folding tables with removable trays would look good indoors and out.

furniture an bbqs PC home - saf affect

bio degradable dishes PC Home - saf affect

This dishware is gorgeous and environmental – it’s biodegradable!

For more on this gorgeous range of outdoor furniture and accessories, check out the Outdoor Living lookbook:

PC Home Lookbook Summer 2015 - saf affect

cinco de mayo T.O.

April 29

Cinco-de-Mayo - LCBO - saf affect

Spring might only be a third of the way through but the LCBO (Ontario’s liquor store) is anticipating the return of summer by celebrating the spirit of Mexico’s victory holiday, Cinco de Mayo.

A good friend of mine is leading the PR charge for this event and she knew that as one who enjoys to sip and savour tequila (yes, that is a sophisticated option for this tasty beverage), that I’d be all up for this event featuring cocktails, modern Mexican tapas, a mariachi band and more.

And you can join in on the festivities too!

When: Tuesday May 5, 2015 | 6:30pm to 10:00pm

Where: The Drake Hotel | 1150 Queen West, Toronto, ON

Tickets: $15 at the door

it’s church sale season

April 23

While on this cool, crisp Toronto April day it feels like mother nature has taken a bit of a step back in seasons, it’s a bit tough to imagine waiting in line in anticipation of the doors of a church rummage sale swinging open. But even if I have to bundle up, that’s what I’ll be doing this coming Saturday. Bring on the thrifting!

rummage sale finds - saf affect

Here are a few of my favourite upcoming church rummage sales in the west end of Toronto:

Saturday April 25, 2015

Kingsway-Lambton United | 85 The Kingsway
8:00am to 1:00pm

Saturday May 2, 2015

Humbercrest United Church | 16 Baby Point Road
8:30am to 12:30pm

All Saints’ Kingsway Anglican | 2850 Bloor Street West
8:30am to 1:00pm

Friday May 8 & Saturday May 9, 2015

St. Demetrius the Great Martyr church | 135 La Rose Ave
Friday: 11:00am to 7:00pm | Saturday: 10:00am to 3:00pm.

rummage sale - saf

don’t throw that out! delectables from compostables

March 24

Just the other day as I was peeling an orange rind into my green bin, I thought to myself that in the ‘olden days’ this peel would not have been discarded but rather candied for a future treat or turned into marmalade or such.

While I don’t leverage rind into a new food-stuffs, I do try to use most food to its most. For instance, I now have three litres of duck stock in my freezer having made it from the carcass of a duck my boyfriend roasted for dinner one evening, that I just couldn’t throw away. Must make risotto soon.

Hawthorne Green Living Show Preview - saf affect

So I was excited to try a few delectables from compostables a number of chefs prepared at a Green Living Show kick-off event the other night at Hawthorne Food and Drink. These tasty morsels included standard and more unusual throw-aways such as chicken skin, kale stems and tongue!

You too can enjoy these delights and more, along with other local food and drink at the Green Living Show this coming weekend (March 27 to 29, 2015.) Themed as The Mindful Plate: Delicious ways to shrink your foodprint, Ontario chefs will inspire attendees to cook delicious meals using local misshaped vegetables and ingredients that are commonly overlooked, offering tips on how to get creative with leftovers and have a greener kitchen.

Hawthorne Chicken Chicharron Crisps - saf affect

Chicken Chicharron Crisps with Whole Chicken and Carrot Kimchi

Hawthorne Food and Drink

Root Veggie Pakaora Wild Organic Oat Smoothie

Wild Organic Berry Oat Smoothie with Wild Flower Honey Yogurt and Hemp Heart Sunflower Seed Crumble

Root Vegetable Pakora Skillet Cakes with Tart-Apple Reduction, Crisp Winter Slaw & Toasted Broken Caramelized Seeds

VEGHED Fresh Bar

Cured Cow Tongue Slider - saf affect

Cured Cow Tongue Sliders with Haitian Pikliz

Urban Acorn

Green Living Show wine and beer - saf affect


is life really that random?

March 20

On a quiet walk through Toronto’s Kensington Market early this morning, when only the coffee shops and produce stores are open, I came across this vintage, old and rusty CIL / Dulux paint can quite randomly sitting in the middle of the road.

I barely had a moment to snap these photos before a City of Toronto street crew member came up from behind and scooped it up for the trash.

random paint can in kensington toronto - CIL Dulux - saf affect

random paint can - CIL Dulux - saf affect

While the instance of this lone and forlorn paint can in the middle of the street may seem random, fully random it isn’t as these two paint brands are actually my clients! And it is rare that I would be in Kensington Market so early on a Friday morning, as I only just this week decided to start joining my boyfriend on his walk to work in the mornings, emerging finally from the cold grip of winter and building some more physical activity into my day. As well, my route back home could take me any one of  many choices of many different paths.

Is life really as random as we may think?


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