Category Archives: trends

Timeless Design Tips: Black Walls

Today is installment #2 of my illustration of Canadian House & Home’s “Timeless Design Tips“. If you missed the recap on using bold colour in small spaces, click HERE. This was supposed to be a weekly series starting in November.  Whoops. It is a new year and I will try to post on a more regular basis!  Here we go.

“Black will make a wall recede into the distance. For a strikingly dramatic effect, use it with white trim”, (Norma King, Norma King Design, H&H October 1989)

I am taking a little liberty with this design tip, so rather than show you an array of different rooms, I’m sticking with the bedroom because there are some FANTASTIC black bedrooms out there.

Kudos to all those brave enough to swathe your walls in black. Gutsy but it pays off. Prime example: the gorgeous, sexy, masculine room of Nicole Cohen:

Even Martha does black! (left below). And loving the simplicity of J.Crew Creative Director’s  (Jenna Lyon) former bedroom (right below)… although on my screen the walls are looking more like a dark inky blue. Just pretend it’s black, ok?

More modern bedrooms with a black accent wall:

And keep in mind, black is not just for those with modern tastes, it can go traditional too:



Black walls are striking aren’t they?  Stylish in the ’80s and still going strong…



(images: 1-nicole cohen, 2-martha stewart, 3-jenna lyons via habitually chic, 4-nest instinctual interiors, 5-pinterest, 6- canadian house & home, 7-roco rennie , 8-the old painted cottage)

timeless design tips – bold colour

Did anyone else REALLY enjoy the 25th anniversary issue of Canadian House & Home?  There were a number of articles and features that I just loved!  One section that really hit a chord with me was a re-cap of six timeless decorating tips from past issues.  Reading through the tips, I couldn’t help but agree – they are timeless words of wisdom and are as relevant today as they were at time they were published.

I thought that over the next few weeks I would highlight each of these timeless tips for you.  So let’s get started!

“Bold colour is the perfect remedy for a small, dull area” (Kevin Fitzsimons, Fitzsimons Design+Build, Toronto, House & Home Nov. 1995)

Case in point – check out this ultra bold office nook design just featured on design*sponge:

Colbalt blue, hot pink, and red. Wow! Maybe a bit too bold for you?  How about painted dresser in a bright hue to cheer up a corner vignette? Or aquamarine tiles in an otherwise white-on-white kitchen?

Abigail Ahern is a master of bold colour set against moody dark walls:

A pop of colour in a small space goes a long way when it is unexpected, like these great pendants or this red ceiling:

And look what colour does to these two neutral space! Emerald curtains ooze style and a coral ottoman and bright floral make this sitting area so cheery.

So go on, add a bit of bold colour to your home.  ‘Tis the season to decorate, so if anything, try out some bold colour in your holiday decor.


*********  Announcing the winner of The English Muffin Shop map giveaway  *********

The winner is Stephanie! Congratulations!! I will be in contact to arrange delivery.

(images: 1-design manifest, 2-Pinterest, 3-House & Home, 4&5-abigail ahern, 6-design*sponge, 7-magnus anesund, 8-veranda, 9-house to home)

trend alert: vintage blossom by Dwell Studio

Yesterday I posted about my visit Tonic Living to purchase some fabric. While there, I spent a good amount of time admiring the line of Dwell Studio for Robert Allen fabrics. This modern eclectic collection offers up a nice selection of graphic and patterned prints in gorgeous colours at excellent prices.  Take this fabric for example:

Vintage Blossom (in Dove)

Here are a few lovely examples of this fabric used in in the home:

Absolutely beautiful fabric and at $18.95/yard it is an excellent (and easy!) choice.

Also yesterday, while shopping at a few favourite home décor shops, I saw this fabric used on pillows in two consecutive stores.  Trend alert!  But wait – my jaw dropped when I saw the price tags: $169 and $198 a pop.  Oh yes, you read that right!

Moral of the story: head over to Tonic Living, buy some of this fabric, and whip up a couple pillows! Alternatively, visit one of these Etsy vendors (Milk & Cookies Canada orWilla Skye Home or Lab Designs) to pick up a pillow for much, much less than the price tags I saw yesterday.

Your home will be oh-so-chic and your wallet will thank you.




(images: dwell studio, emily a. clark)

lucy fenton in Adore Home magazine

While {virtually} flipping through the pages of the June/July issue of Adore Home magazine I came across a fantastic spread that really called out to me. An interesting mix of bohemian, antique, contemporary, ethnic, pieces are accentuated by bold splashes of colour in pillows, art, and accessories.  Designed by Lucy Fenton of the Australian based retail shop Fenton & Fenton, this is actually a model suite for an apartment complex in Melbourne, Australia.  I’m sold!

I truly love this eclectic design. However, the element that really caught my attention was how versatile these rooms are.  Yes, the yellow bar stools are very cool, the bold stripes, ikat, and florals of the accent pillows are to die for, and the modern art is brilliant, but I can totally picture this apartment swathed in neutrals. Swap out the bold colours and patterns for some tone-on-tone blacks, greys, whites, and beiges and you’d have a very different but still beautiful look.  The versatility can be attributed to the strong design bones of the furniture: a mix of neutral and classic pieces that will stand the test of time.

If you have a few more minutes to browse, I highly recommend the following reads:

  1. June/July issue of Adore Home magazine
  2. In depth article with Lucy Fenton over on The Design Files
  3. Browse the Fenton & Fenton website and online shop (if you love Anthropologie, you’ll love this store!)




(images: fenton & fenton)


eames rocker for the modern nursery

The iconic Eames rocker is a must-have for the chic modern nursery. Whether you’re going for a mid-century vibe, a clean streamlined look, or a bold geometric aesthetic, this classic rocking chair is the way to go.

Available in a wide range of colours, this chair can be incorporated into just about any chromatic scheme. Bright and vibrant (above), or neutral and calm (below).

Designed in 1948, this style of chair is also known as the RAR (rocker height, armchair shell, rocking base) was out of production for 30 years but is back now and more popular than ever.  Originally made with fiberglass-reinforced plastic, these chairs are now composed of more eco-friendly polypropylene.

The original colours were ‘Aqua Sky’ and ‘Wafer’ (similar to those shown above) but as I mentioned, it is now available in a wide spectrum of colours.  A licensed original will set you back almost $500USD but a good looking knock-off can be found at many retailers.

Now let me be straight with you Moms-to-be: this chair is all about style and not necessarily about function.  At least not in the short-run.  A nursing chair this is not!  That said, as a chair that adds a whole lotta style to the nursery, a chair that your toddler will love to climb in, and a chair you can eventually move to another room in your home, I do think you’ll get a lot of use out of it in the long-run.

(images: 1-apartment therapy,  2-decor pad, 3-alexander van berge, 4-flickr, 5-decor pad, 6-project nursery, 7-decor pad, 8-le blog)

oh sheep!

My posts are 99% devoted to things that inspire me.  Today however, I am showcasing a trend that intrigues me (but doesn’t inspire me!)  At first glance, the following rooms are gorgeous examples of haute design and impeccable taste. Until you take a closer look…

This is the Goring Hotel, where Kate Middelton stayed the night before the fairytale wedding. I wonder how she felt about the livestock in her bedroom?

Picture it – - you are seated in the blue chair soaking up some sunshine while gazing across the room at that fantastic beach photograph; a glass of wine in your right hand…..and you’re petting that dang sheep with your left hand.

And finally:

Really? I get whimsy in interiors. But I don’t get sheep.  You?

(images: 1-vogue, 2- goring hotel , 3-canadian house & home 4- interior design)


white & bright week- reality check

I hope I’ve dazzled you all week with beautiful images of beautiful, bright, white spaces -so gorgeous and inspiring.

White expands the space, it creates the sense of having no boundaries. White makes a strong foundation.” (Vincente Wolfe)

White provides a gallery-like backdrop for you to display your art, it highlights architectural details, it reflects light to make a small room feel larger, it can unify an eclectic mix of furniture, and it provides an uncluttered look to calm a space.

But it is time for a reality check – Is white achievable for everyone?

Sadly, the answer is….no.

You may have noticed one common theme this week – most of the spaces had huge, un-adorned windows that provide tons of natural light.  If your space is lacking ample natural light, white walls may look downright dingy.

Do you have kids? Dogs? You may want to think twice about going all-white, as things are bound to get messy pretty quick. Still, if you are willing to give this look a try, think about using white materials that are easily cleaned – white tiles in the kitchen and bathroom, semi-gloss white on the walls,  white slipcovers over furniture, and good quality white bedding that can be bleached again and again.

If you want more advice on choosing the perfect white, check out this great post over at 10 Rooms: Getting White Right.

And in case you missed any of this week’s previous White & Bright posts, here are the links: white & bright [room of the week], white & bright: bedroom, white & bright: nurseries & kids rooms, white & bright: living room.  And a few other old favs: elements for the perfect white kitchen, more white kitchen inspiration.

(images: 1-dwellings, 2-one hour, 3-rue mag, 4-pinterest)

another online mag to bookmark: est

Est: Global Living with an Australian Twist launched this month.  And with the birth of another hot online magazine, you have to wonder – how long will our beloved glossies last? Love them or hate them, online magazines are a trend that is here to stay.

Here is a sneak peek of the relaxed yet stylish, trendy yet casual, vintage yet new, Australian yet global vibe of the mag:

So set aside a few minutes and peruse the first issue {here}.

And then go out and buy an Eames chair.  Yes or no?

(images: est, Issue #1)

[homework] top trends of 2011 – the new global

“Subtle and tailored” is the way Canadian House & Home described the “New Global” trend for 2011. Moving away from the wildly eclectic decor we’ve seen in the past, we are going to see a more elegant approach to the look.

You can channel Moroccan vibes with items like carved screens, perforated-metal lanterns and leather poufs. Leggy chairs, African artwork, natural woods, and Asian-inspired furniture can be combined with subtle accents to achieve today’s contemporary global decor.

Here is my take on the look…

For those who may not have the luxury of globe-trotting to amass worldly items, you could make a trip over to Anthropologie (in person or online) to buy yourself some exotic decor. They have a number of great ethnic-inspired lines this season, including really gorgeous bedding and rugs.

This concludes my five part interpretation of  H&H’s Top Trends of 2011.  Let’s sit back and see how the predictions play out….


You can read my first four posts on the Top Trends of 2011 herethe new modernthe new vintage, the new country, and the new traditional.

(images: 1-made by girl, 2-houzz , 3-katie leeds , 4-desire to inspire , 5-me, 6-Anthropologie)

[homework] top trends of 2011 – the new traditional

I’m a little behind schedule, but here is the fourth installment of my take on Canadian House & Home‘s top trends of 2011. This week I am looking at the “New Traditional” which is a bit of  a buzz word in the design world these days.  According to the Editors at H&H, traditionalists are infusing more colour, drama, and bold patterns into their interiors. Recommended means of achieving this look are chinoiserie wallpaper and exotic brights which could work in any room, and camp-style blankets and upholstered headboards with nailhead trim in the bedroom.

(images: 1- Massucco Warner Miller, Ngoc Minh Ngo)

Here is my take on the look….

While we are on the subject of “new traditional”, I want to mention how much I love an upholstered headboard with nailhead detailing.  It is sophisticated with a bit of edge. It is traditional with an air of modernity. A curved headboard can be grounded with this slightly masculine detail. You can find some of these great heaboards at regular retail shops such as Restoration Hardware or West Elm, a custom version through your designer, or try your hand at a little DIY.

(image 1-Restoration Hardware, 2-West Elm)


You can read my first three posts on the Top Trends of 2011 here:  the new modernthe new vintage, and the new country.