My husband and I are expecting our first baby this August, so we're on the hunt for a simple white crib. Infants are usually in their bassinets for the first couple of months anyway, but first-time parents often feel the need to perfect the nursery long before baby even arrives, and we're no exception. We've been busying ourselves with preparations since the first trimester.
Our spare room is already quite traditional — plenty of antiques and old furniture that have been in my family for decades. Since this will become the nursery, we'd like to decorate it in the same style. There are already two old dressers in that room that we'll use for the baby, and my sister is giving us her vintage change table (also white), but we're struggling to find a crib and accents that aren't too modern. Here are some of the cribs we've rounded up so far:
The Dylan crib from Duc Duc has that simple look we're going for, but I would prefer an open base and spindles on all four sides.
The Savannah crib, also from Duc Duc, is more my style, but I'm not sure about the wood panelling below the mattress. You can customize it with one of seven different colours, but I'm not crazy about any of them.
Bloom's Alma Max crib is a top-seller, but I think it's a tad modern for our existing furniture.
Oeuf's Sparrow crib is clean and contemporary — a timeless choice that could work in any style of nursery.
This Liberty crib from Franklin & Ben is a fresh take on the antique spindle crib, and I love the detailing on the legs and spindles. Also, priced at around $400, it's much more affordable than the ones above.
The Barcelona classic crib from Natart Juvenile is just as beautiful, but is made here in Canada. Also reasonably priced at $430.
And then there's the Gulliver crib from Ikea. I always go back to this one. It's simple and fuss-free.
What do you think? Will any of these more modern shapes work with our vintage white dressers?
Check out Katie Hayden's blog for more great ideas for kids' rooms.
Seeing the inside of someone's house is a fun (and harmless) way to get a glimpse inside their life. The art on the walls, the care with which pillows are fluffed, even an expanse of snow-white rug — all are clues to how people live. This house in the Buenos Aires suburbs of Argentina is a bit different: it hints at how the owner thinks. Let's take a look.
From a distance, the house, known as Casa Molecule, isn't particularly thrilling: boxy, grey and symmetrical. On the front steps, though, you'll encounter the first of many aluminum structures that the listing calls "an exceptional socket system ... with an incredible strength so as to resist any kind of weight." That — plus the name — makes me think this is home to a scientist, inventor or engineer.
Even the kitchen tables have aluminum-tube bases which, paired with thick wood tops, make them look like workbenches. Exposed ductwork, open shelving and polished concrete floors add to the laboratory vibe. If the science of cooking isn't really your field, the restaurants of downtown Buenos Aires are less than an hour's drive away.
The dining room is a bit softer, with wood floors, cream walls and Louis XVI chairs. But with only two chairs and a computer open on the table, it seems like this room is meant for work, too. And apparently it's paid off: the listing proudly states that the aluminum tube system's creator won an award from the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2009.
The geodesic structures continue inside, both forming a geometric motif and doing the important job of holding up that second-storey walkway. A chessboard and easel tucked in the corner suggest that the occupant's interests extend beyond engineering, though I'm not sure what hobby the full-length mirror on casters points to.
You don't have to be scientifically or mathematically inclined to appreciate that this is a pretty nice bathroom. Plenty of light, plenty of handy under-sink storage, plenty of room in that deep blue bathtub. There are 1-1/2 other bathrooms, as well as three bedrooms, a spacious terrace and outdoor pool, plus a lawn with a geodesic jungle gym.
Could you work — and play — here? Or would you rather invent your own space?
1-5. Sotheby's Realty Argentina
Simultaneously spare but warm, the Belgian farmhouse look has been basking in the decor spotlight for quite some time. While interviewing a homeowner for an upcoming issue, she professed her love for the style, observing that her own swoon-worthy kitchen has no uppers, an authentic Belgian country kitchen detail. I wondered if Belgian designers themselves were tempted to buck tradition in an effort to contain all our modern kitchen conveniences.
Bluestone tile floor? Check. Raw wood and rough-hewn beams? Done. Serious black stove? Got it. The kitchen in this Belgian bed and breakfast is textbook.
Walda Pairon, a leading Belgian designer, skips uppers in favour of open storage in her own kitchen, which is designed for her husband, a chef. A black farmer's sink and French Lacanche stove are simpatico accents for a dark stone counter, and the rope drawer pulls are thrifty alternatives to hardware.
Another kitchen designed by Pairon, who incorporated shelving to show off the tiled walls. An impressive stove, copper pot collection and deep window wells add to the timeless feel: it doesn't get any more Euro than this.
In this kitchen designed by Brussels-based firm Baden Baden, putty cabinets (a warmer alternative to grey) and a wide-plank wood floor add a cosy feel. The low ceiling would make uppers look crammed in and obscure the exposed rafter detail, so better to do away with them anyway.
Uppers galore, but who is complaining? Glass-fronted cabinets are so airy, they almost seem invisible. A big island has multiple drawers and the corn crib-like detail above it adds to the essential rustic character of this kitchen.
Leave it to the granddaddy of the Belgian farmhouse look, Axel Vervoordt, to figure out a storage solution that still looks authentic. The kitchen of his 50-room castle near Anvers contains a soaring built-in unit with a teal blue interior that embodies the grandeur of an antique armoire.
See more French farmhouse style in this video tour of a Montreal home.
When it comes to designing a room with contemporary furnishings, it can be difficult to strike a balance between achieving clean lines and creating a space that is still warm and inviting.
But modern designs don't have to sacrifice comfort; Mobilia has found a sweet spot between streamlined simplicity and the comforts of home with its European-inspired furniture and home accessories. (This blog post is sponsored by Mobilia.) The Canadian company's luxury collections are influenced by the latest trends from around the globe and are built to last with quality materials. Each piece offers a great way to amp up style in your living room, dining room or bedroom, whether you have an urban space, dream of a European lifestyle or love a more playful look. Plus, choose from all kinds of room accessories — from bedside stands and wall art to table ornaments and area rugs — and warm up any room with Mobilia's line of handmade gold leaf accessories.
The Albia collection is constructed with handpicked walnut veneer, and customers can customize the colour and finish. The tables and dressers feature painted glass tops, giving each classic wooden piece just the right modern touch. The best part? The entire Albia collection is made in Canada.
This line of living room furniture from Mobilia’s “Gen Y” collection is called “marshmallow” for a reason — its feather-filled seat and back are so comfortable, you’ll want to sink right in. The modular design makes it easy to create your own configuration, depending on the size of your living room.
Inspired by New York City living, this Times Square dining collection offers several options to customize each piece, from the wood and metal of the table and chairs right down to the leather or fabric of the seat coverings.
This Whistler line will make you feel like you’re living in a modern ski chalet. The sectional is made with premium leather and its seats and backs are filled with feathers. (Don’t like leather? There are several fabric options to choose from, too.)
Which modern look is your favourite?
On Tuesday night I got my Skinnygirl on with yummy cocktails and eats at the brand's summer party at the Rosewater Supper Club. Hosted by the original Skinnygirl, chef, author and reality TV star Bethenny Frankel, and eTalk's Traci Melchor, the evening benefited Dress For Success.
Skinnygirl Margarita was launched by Frankel in March 2011. The low-carb, low-cal drink became an instant success and the brand has now expanded to include seven ready-to-serve cocktails, a vodka collection and a wine collection.
Party-goers were greeted at the door with White Cranberry Cosmos, followed by the arrival of Bethenny and Traci, who treated guests to a fun Q&A about summer entertaining.
Ready-to-serve cocktails like the Skinnygirl Sangria, Peach Margarita and Mojito make summer entertaining easy. Frankel recommends sticking to classics with a twist for party food, like turkey burgers with wasabi mayo served alongside Mojito cocktails — her go-to for parties this season. The new White Cherry Vodka is a must-try, says Frankel, just add soda or serve over ice.
I'm partial to the Skinnygirl Mojito — my favourite summer drink! At only 90 calories a glass, it's a refreshing and guilt-free patio cocktail. I would still add some fresh mint to it for flavour and aroma, though.
Guests were given a tour of four cocktail tasting rooms featuring different summer entertaining tips. The White Peach Margarita room was all about home decor! Event stylist Marla Brown talked about outdoor decorating.
If you're throwing a patio party, Brown recommends setting the mood with torches, lanterns, votives, or hanging cafe lights, making sure to illuminate the walking path. Add bright colours like this turquoise and tangerine combo to your neutral furniture with vases and throw pillows, says Brown.
I could definitely spend some time lounging here with a glass of sangria! Brown also recommends bringing the indoors out. Don't be afraid to bring your indoor chairs and tables outside for your party, she says.
Chef Lauren Mozer, founder of Toronto's Elle Cuisine, passed on tips for summer entertaining with recipes that are big on flavour and small on prep time. Keep it simple and light, always use fresh ingredients and pay attention to presentation, which accounts for 75% of any food experience, says Mozer.
These chicken satays were marinated in Skinnygirl White Wine and served with a red pepper chimichurri — yum!
I'll be lounging on a patio in Vancouver this weekend, Skinnygirl Mojito in hand, if anyone asks. Cheers!
1-8. Chloe Berge
Here's the scenario: You have guests coming over and need to add a bit of wow to your space without too much effort. Here's an easy way to add an inviting touch: bring in a tree.
In the past year, we've seen the broad leaf ficus in almost every space. Although glorious and lush, I can't say that I know a single person who's managed to keep it alive for more than 8 months (including me... yikes!). My suggestion: try an outdoor tree that you can plant outside later.
The lilac in the bedroom above is absolutely stunning. I'm thinking it might be a branch (based on the narrow pot it's in), which also works, but won't last more than a couple of weeks.
For this porch makeover (watch the transformation on Online TV!), H&H Online TV's segment producer, Ryan Louis, suggested we make a trip to Plant World in Toronto's west end. We found this spectacular maple that brings the outdoors in — perfect for an enclosed porch. It elevates the space more than any house plant ever could. The best part is that the homeowner can plant it outdoors later in the season!
I couldn't write this blog post without showing this gem from 2009. Style editor Stacey Smithers threw a Japanese maple onto an entrance table and we're still talking about it.
Forget cut flowers — make a big impact with a small tree and create a focal point your guests won't soon forget.