5 Tips for Creating Great Mini Bars

Happy Hour at Home!

Always be ready to serve up cool cocktails in an instant with these thirst-quenching tips on setting up a beverage station even in the tiniest spaces! All you need is a knock out tray, crystal or glass carafes & stemware, a collection of beverages and a few bar accessories to create a chic and inviting mini bar at home. Here’s a bit of inspiration to get you started. Cheers!

Pink Bar-262014_0254

1. Above: A small decorative cabinet makes the perfect beverages centre. The simplicity of this mini bar is so elegant and classic styled with an antiqued-brass Champagne chiller filled with bubbly, crystal flutes and wine glasses arranged atop a marble surface. The storage cupboard below holds essential barware. HomeSense.ca

Gold & Glass rolling bar cart-14002783

2. Above: Rolling bar carts, inspired by the homes and offices of the hugely popular tv show Mad Men, can be tucked in a corner of the room and can easily be rolled about the room as you need them. Look for carts with durable glass shelves that are recessed at least 1 inch below the frame so bottles and glasses won’t slide off, wheels that swivel and roll easily and finishes that won’t get damaged by moisture like marble, glass or mirror. Rolling bar carts come in a variety of styles, finishes and sizes. HomeSense.ca

din 2

3. Above: Add some personality to your mini bar! On my dining room sideboard I mix and match my glassware choosing colourful stemware to accent my best cut crystal. Display stemware on a knock-out tray in silver, mirror, leather or lacquer finishes to protect wood surfaces and they’ll come in handy when ready to serve your guests.  Photo by Paul Chmielowiec, paulc.ca

Credenza bar

4. Above: The “night cap” never looked so inviting! We set up a simple yet elegant vintage cut-glass carafe and two brandy snifters on a lovely curvaceous sideboard at our latest design project, Grandfield Homes Oakford model home. Photo by Paul Chmielowiec, paulc.ca

Sideboard, lamps, mirror, Housewarmings.ca. Faux florals, katesgarden.ca

ACCESSORIZE your mini bar.

5. Below: Accent your mini bar with accessories like this modern copper bar set with tray from Target.caThreshold copper collection - $14.99 - $34.99

Threshold gold and white bowl, $9.99 and $19.99

Above: Gold-lined ceramic bowls from Target.ca will add glam to any mini bar. Fill with lemons, limes or nuts.

farm 4

Above: Keep nibbles handy on your mini bar. Fill various sizes and shapes of wide-mouthed apothecary jars with treats. Photo by Paul Chmielowiec, paulc.ca

For those of you who prefer to go big or go home….check out this built-in bar we designed for Grandfield Homes Oakford model home recently. Party central!  Photo by Paul Chmielowiec, paulc.ca. Faux florals, katesgarden.ca



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7 Golden Rules for Decorating with Gold

Interiors get the Midas Touch

You’ll find a treasure trove of precious metals coming to market this fall! Everything from copper and brass to silver and gold will be on-trend this season to accessories our wardrobe and decorate our home. I’m loving the idea of giving my wardrobe and interiors the Midas touch this season with chic golden accents in a variety of finishes to suit any decor including mirrored,  polished and brushed looks.

After enjoying an exciting sneak peak at what’s coming to HomeSense this fall and holiday season, I thought I’d share a few of my Golden Rules for decorating with a few of my favourite golden accessories I fell in love with at the preview. I can’t wait to start shopping!

 1. Stemware with golden accents is trés chic and lends a touch of sophistication and elegance to any occasion! 
2. It’s okay….and recommended when decorating with golden accents…to mix up the finishes. The antiqued, polished finish of the Champagne chiller above is a stunning piece that compliments the mix of metal finishes in the leafy wreath. 
IMG_18573. Polished gold finishes can look garish on a piece that’s not designed well or when overused in a space. The natural wood top and the reflections of the patterned rug help tone down the high shine of this beautifully designed coffee table. 

IMG_19035. Bar carts are a must this holiday season! The petite proportions of this cart with its golden champagne finish and glass shelves, make it the perfect addition to any living or dining room. 

5. Brass, copper and gold all work well together and will compliment almost any colour.  Accent cushions with shimmery details are an inexpensive and instant way to add a little glam and drama in the living room or bedroom. 
6. Rose gold jewelry is all the rage. It’s soft pink tone is lovely on the skin and will look stunning on your walls and shelves too! Mirrored frames and boxes in rose gold offer a fresh new look for bedrooms and bathrooms. Mix them with natural wood and black frames.
IMG_18557. Introduce modern art like these pieces above painted or gilded in metallic gold. Hang near a chandelier or light fixture to create a shimmery glow in a hallway, bathroom or dining room. 

The way I see it…you can’t go wrong with a little touch of gold in your decor…anytime of the year!



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What’s Up at J G & Associates?

Wow! We’ve been busy J G & Associates!

The Merry Month of May was a very busy but wonderful month for all us here at J G & Associates and we’re so excited to tell you all about it!

The month started with a shoot at my home for my monthly segment on Cityline. Click here to see the segment.

Image Check out the great furniture I featured on the show that are designed to make your techy family members comfy. Left to right: The Spider Phoebe by Limitless Canada Inc., Boss Sofa Plus with adjustable back rests from House Warmings and Ikea’s Stockholm high-back armchair. All of these furniture pieces offer firm head and back support, durable construction and quality fabrics to ensure hours of gaming, watching tv and working on laptops and iPads in comfort.

Image   Image  Image

Following the Cityline shoot, my favourite photographer Paul Chmielowiec dropped by to photograph my latest home renovations that I’m excited about showing you soon! Stay tuned!!!


From left to right: me, photographer Paul Chmielowiec, the JG&Associates design team; Christine McGee (co-founder), Lisa Pearson, Pia Hugglestone and photographer Natalia.

Burlington Mall – Pillow Talk Contest

I had a great time working with Kim Lorande at the Burlington Mall on their month-long Pillow Talk contest! I’m looking forward to meeting the lucky winner of the $5,000 (holy cow!) bedroom makeover for their complementary consult. We enjoyed meeting all who attended my Pillow Talk finale presentation on May 21! It was a delight to show everyone some of the great finds I discovered at A Room of My Own, check out the amazing “Princess Castle” below, HomeSense, Classique Decor, Target, Living Lighting, Teavana, Clair de Lune and Bowring in the Burlington Mall. The soft gray colour I used on the wall of my stage below is Benjamin Moore Origins Stormy Monday. It’ll work beautifully in any bedroom, especially when paired with crisp white linens and accessories.









Blue bedroom


Our latest model home- Grandfield Home’s The Oakford in Markham

Our design team worked for months to create an exceptionally beautiful model home for Grandfield Homes in Markham. The entire month of May was spent working with the builder to get it completed and decorated for the grand opening May 31. It was a team effort that we’re all proud of but special kudos have to go to our Design lead, Lisa Pearson who took charge of the final decor details of this large, 3-story 4,000 sq-ft model home in Markham. The home, finished last week, is gorgeous and to prove it, all 48 homes in the development sold out on opening day, May 31! We’re shooting the house on June 6 so stay tuned to our website and FB to see the results!


Hey! Who’s the chick in the red dress? My alter ego!!


Above: Lisa Pearson with floral designer, Kate Seaver of Kate’s Garden and her hard-working gals, and Jackie as they start sorting the florals on set up day.


Above: Agents camped out for a week before the Sat., May 31 grand opening. They all had several clients registered to see the house and didn’t want to loose their place in line so had people take turns to do the night shift to save their seats. Insane!! No wonder the 48 homes sold out before the end of the day!!  You can still see the house if you make an appointment with Grandfield Homes.


Above: Lisa and me with our amazing project manager who made it all possible…and always with a big smile! Thanks Dave MacDonald!!!



Above: The fantastic managers (and great movers!) Karen & Elizabeth and their muscle men brought in all the furniture from House Warmings in Oakville to decorate the entire house! Below: The guys had a bit of help to get the dresser up to the third floor! Check back with us for the big reveal in mid June!


We’re being featured in the Summer issue of Canadian Home Trends!

We’re so excited about being featured in the upcoming summer issue of Canadian Home Trends magazine. Pick up an issue to see one of our favourite condo renos featured in the issue. We had a great time at the client’s home shooting four videos last week for the publisher’s new daytime talk show, The Marc & Mandy Show. Visit Marc & Mandy Show website for air dates and times. We wish them all the best!



What a fantastic time we’ve all had together in May! Thanks to everyone who partnered, helped and joined us in all the excitement! June is shaping up to be another jam packed month so stay tuned for more adventures from JG&Associates!


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phtography by PaulC Photography

I think it began when one of the radio stations I listened to in my car started playing Christmas carols nonstop. What a playlist! From Bing to Bono and everything in between. I am not sure whether it was my humming to the tunes, a warm car at dusk or some light snow, but I found myself in the Christmas spirit much earlier than I can ever remember.

So much so, that I started styling my home with some Christmas candles, spilled bowls with ornaments and decorative trays with holly. I even, mercy of mercies, bought some gifts and wrapped them in NOVEMBER.

I then started tracking the retail trends we are seeing this festive season. And this is what I saw.

Owls. Owls and more owls. Some big, some small, but they were everywhere. Put them in your tree, on a mantle, as a giveaway to your guests. Some are made of pine cones, some of ostrich feathers. Some white, others natural. Get at least one.

Mercury glass. Again, lots of different versions from candlesticks to containers. Mercury glass adds a regal, glowy look to your holiday table.

Mercury Glass 02

Mercury Glass 02 (Photo credit: smilla4)

Snowflake themes. Whether they are simple beaded ornaments for the tree or the motif embossed on glass, snowflakes are…well, hot. And buy some faux snow if this is your look. Sprinkle on trays, around candles. It brings out the kid in you.

White. My favourite color. But it is one of the biggest colors this season. Alternatively so is hot pink and bright turquoise. Acid green is also popping up. I think there is more fun in Christmas wares this season than I have seen for a long time!

Mixing of golds and silvers. Yes, we mix our jewellery so why not on the table?  Mix silver and gold dishes, stemware and cutlery. Then add some natural elements like birch logs, white twigs or bleached antlers. Finish with tiny tea lights and the table is magical.

Faux fur. Luxurious fakes are big. Think white fur throws for your sofas. Soft, downy fur pillows. The weather outside is frightful…

And finally, get a great playlist going. My current favourite Christmas track is Jim Brickman-Hymns and Carols.

Hope you are getting in the mood!


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I really have no excuses for my noticeable absenteeism on the blogging front. Really none.


Let’s just say that time got away from me : (


On that note, Christmas 2013 is soon upon us. And what a year it has been!


Probably one of the most exciting things was my involvement in a brand new magazine called appropriately DiGS. I am the executive editor and part of a strong team determined to make this magazine one of the best out there!


You won’t see it on the newsstand. DiGS will be dropped in selected demographic mail drops across the GTA. Form, function and finance is the thrust of this publication. We offer information on new stuff in the marketplace, how to navigate through a bank loan for a renovation, new home profiles, before and afters and also have a great “explore” section which shows how people live in other parts of the world. I think it is pretty cool.


We only just launched our first edition with the second one coming off the presses in time for the holidays.  Of course you can always subscribe to it or see the digital version.


Also exciting is my design firm’s impending move to new offices. Already we are discussing color schemes, flooring and window treatment choices. I am glad I never tire of this stuff!


I am busy this week preparing for my seminars this weekend at the season’s Christmas Show held at the International Centre this weekend! My topic is dressing a Christmas table in white. I felt it was an apt topic considering how much I love anything white, cream, caramel…


I am on stage at 12:30 and 3:00 on Sunday, November 24.


If you attend the show, let me know. It would be a great incentive to keep on blogging!





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Here’s what I am loving this Spring!

I know, if you are like me, that you are absolutely sick of rain and pining for warm temperatures and sandals!

I am always on the look-out for what is new and fresh in the new spring offerings seen around town. I took my umbrella and started scoping out my favourite retailers.

Here’s what I saw…

Mongolian Lamb Pillow Cover

Beautiful Mongolian Lamb Pillow Covers from West Elm add trendy texture to a space http://www.westelm.com

Texture. Whether it is Mongolian lamb fur inspired pillows, large coiled baskets, or large, nubby, ropey ottomans, there is lots of over the top, larger than life texture.


Flowers! I am sure this is not a surprise. Floral patterns abound both in fashion and design right now. Outdoor table settings are multi-colored and resplendent with floral patterns. Buy a set of four dishes, add some crisp green stemware, add a fresh posy here and there and you will be sure to be the most stylish on the street! Who needs a garden?

Lucite. Yes, clear plastic but mixed with natural textures. So the key thing here is that modern and country can co-exist happily together. Who knew?

Turquoise. Not really a big surprise considering the season and how we all really deep-down want a beach house with an ocean view. This pairs well with neutrals in the warm, creamy, yellow-toned way and can work in any decor whether it be modern or traditional. Beware though, if you are like me, it can be tiring to the eye so apply sparingly. I would personally buy a turquoise pillow…

Shagreen. Huh? A bumpy textured surface that is taking the furniture world by storm. You will know it by the tiny mini bumps and is seen on everything from sofa tables to small one-off accessory items. And again, it is not a modern look because it can be interpreted in any kind of furniture.

Flat weave carpets. Remember dhurrie rugs from the 80’s, only better. If that isn’t your thing, then shaggy carpets made from different textures are another option. Area carpets either start the color scheme in the room or complement what’s already been started. There are lots of options in between.

While it is always such fun to see what’s current, never, ever fret if it doesn’t fit into your scheme right now. I guarantee you that it will…..sooner than you think.

Happy spring!


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On the move

I am so sorry it has taken me so long to make another entry. I have been busy moving home and office!

I am now an expert in packing. Seriously, call me and I can pack your stuff efficiently and expertly!

I am also quite good in purging which is a very good thing. How does one acquire so much?

So now to the unpacking. Now that is a whole other skill-I will keep you posted.


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