For 16 years, the H&H Trends Breakfast has forecasted the looks and products we will be coveting for our homes.
This year, the event was held on December 4 at Toronto's Arcadian Court in the Hudson's Bay store in Toronto.
The annual breakfast represents not only an opportunity to thank the advertisers who support our publications (including Maison & Demeure, our Quebec edition), but offers a chance to talk about the way we live, and use our homes.
Publisher Lynda Reeves kicked the breakfast off with a compelling description of the New Cocooning trend. Now that homes can be equipped with every technological gadget, we're more connected than ever, but, she explains we still feel the need to congregate the old fashioned way.
She shared how she reluctantly joined a high-powered knitting circle, only to find she was thoroughly drawn in by the simple pleasure it offers. Gathering together to knit and gossip was something our mothers and grandmothers enjoyed, but they weren't surrounded by iPhones, iPads and flatscreen TVs. Even in a digital age, we still crave personal connection, and authentic, handmade goods. (FYI, knitting is a big trend among — surprise — the 25-34-year-old set. Lynda recommends newbies check out The Knit Cafe).
Then editor-in-chief Suzanne Dimma called out the big decor trends for 2014. (I'd hate to wreck the surprise, to see them all pick up the January Trends issue on Eastern newsstands Dec. 8 and in the West on Dec. 15). In it you'll find out the answers to: what's replacing the chandelier? What does this year's must-have coffee table look like? And what design trend is Suzanne most excited about? Here's a hint: it's groovy.
After the breakfast, Mark Challen announced the winner of the annual H&H Table Game. Each table was given the challenge of building their own inspiration board, complete with a fun write up.
Here's the winning entry (judged by editors Joel Bray and Stacey Smithers), which painted a vivid picture of the decor of fictitious young homeowners, Miley and Liam. Check out their furnishing choices — deemed suitable for the in-laws, and twerking.
1-8. Wendy Jacob
Since I started planning my wedding six months ago, it has been a whirlwind of DIY activity at my house — luxe velvet and pretty lace everywhere! The holiday season has forced me to put aside my planning and get my hands into some festive DIYs, which I happen to really enjoy. I like including handmade gifts whenever I can as I find a lot of people really appreciate them — I know I do.
For those who are not crafty but like the idea of handmade ornaments and gifts, Etsy has an endless supply of beautiful and unique items ready to ship. Check out a sample of what you can find:
I love how fresh and bright these rag baubles look; perfect for a beachy Christmas theme.
I am finding these felt ornaments everywhere but if you don't, Etsy has an endless supply in various colours. Fasten one to a gift box for a sweet touch.
Find unique Christmas stockings in every fabric and colour. I like the felt ones best.
Handmade Christmas linens are my favourite gift add-ons.
This fun garland is an easy alternative to intricate cut patterns, and looks great with minimal decor.
I find handmade stationery pricey so always convince myself to DIY instead. After getting carried away in the craft store, I usually come to the conclusion that I would have saved had I purchased cards like these: Etsy has a huge variety.
If you are a baker, these little tags add a nice touch to your treat giveaways.
For some, the holiday season starts when the lilting tune of Jingle Bells rings through stores or Santa parades down their city's streets. For me, the Christmas calendar doesn't get underway until the doors open for the holiday edition of the Toronto One of a Kind Show. The show runs from November 28 to December 8th at the Direct Energy Centre and is full of fab finds. Here are some that caught my eye.
Ceramics that make you want clear your cupboards and start fresh.
Subtle details that make all the difference define the cups and containers turned out by Quebec ceramicist Marie-Claude Girard (below).
If the OOAKS was a Pixar movie, MGirard's butter dishes would be the adorable sidekicks to her gallant tea pot.
There's something very sweet and sophisticated about the collection.
I might buy a cottage on the sea just to trick it out with Montreal-based Hugo Didier's (seen below) nautical- and Canadian-themed kitchen wares.
This year's show had a strong Canadiana theme running through it, including poutine pots.
And patriotic mugs emblazoned with a map of Canada.
There's a vintage feel to the scalloped plates and botanical illustrations in Atelier Make's sorbet-coloured collection.
Jaimie Robson and Maya Ersan (above), are the duo behind Montreal's Atelier Make.
In fact, I think New York's Magnolia bakery should start selling the pretty flour scoops alongside its queue-inducing cupcakes. Genius product tie-in!
Platters in sugared-almond shades are made prettier with floral textures, made by pressing fabric into porcelain.
Say "Merry" the old fashion way.
You can't fill your mantel with e-cards. Flakes Paperie out of Cambridge, Ontario has lots of lovely screen-printed holiday cards to choose from.
Founder Ashley Coulson is adept at giving vintage-style graphics a sly, hip spin.
I especially like the ones with a home theme, natch.
But she offers a range of cards for any occasion (who wouldn't be thrilled to get this birthday card)?
Instagram isn't the only place to find great pictures.
Charlene Serdan Fine Art Photography
Breaking news: blank walls are boring.
Ontario photographer Charlene Serdan is offering her dreamy snapshots of landscapes, flowers and carnivals in prints that are pre-matted to fit a variety of standard-size frames.
For more great suggestions, stop by the House & Home booth to see style editor Stacey Smithers' favourites.
1-18. Kimberley Brown
This year we are really seeing the demise of boring drywall in favour of walls clad with textures to offer more visual interest. Here are some standout examples that have caught my eye.
I love the look of painted brick, whether it's the real thing or a veneer (seen above). You get a clean look and the texture of brick, it's such a fresh combo.
For traditionalists, the decorative detail of raised paneling always lends distinction and a historic elegance (the walls are painted in Farrow & Ball French Gray).
These supersized logs are the origin of the species when it comes to textured walls. This isn't a typical, old-fashioned cabin in the woods, it's modern and masculine with a weighty quality.
I am a big fan of Brussels' design firm Vlassak Verhulst. They are known for using vertical paneling in their interiors, it's such a crisp counterpoint to the rough-hewn beams in this kitchen.
In this dining room, the paneling runs horizontally to subtly expand this feel of this space. There's almost a zen quality to this room; the black is an unexpected change from typical Scandi white and makes the space feel cosier.
This is one of my favourite kitchens of all time. Creating a feature wall like this in patterned tile is an affordable way to create real design impact, and of course it's super practical in a kitchen.
A mod power room's undulating wall tiles create a mind-boggling effect in a small space; the walls almost feel alive.
Ok I probably would have never have thought of this, but you have to admit New Wall's Velcro wallpaper is arresting. The ghostly lamb face image certainly kicks homespun plaid up a notch. In a kid's room, it turns a wall into a piece of art (and can support items affixed with Velcro tape weighing up to 10 lbs., so the wall becomes a playful rotating gallery of stuffed animals and other toys). In addition to looking and feeling like flocked wallpaper, it's a great illustration of how fashion technology is being applied to home decor.
This wood wall by Area Designs goes a step further than surface cladding and is both geometric and organic at the same time. Sculptural and completely stunning, this wall feels special. How could you resist touching these blocks?
1. House & Home, September 2012, Angus Fergusson.
2. Farrow & Ball.
3. Maison & Demeure, Dec/Jan 2012/13, Jean Longpré.
4. Vlassak Verhulst.
5. House & Home, January 2013.
6. House & Home, February 2012, Michael Graydon.
7. Ceramic Design Studios.
8. New Wall.
9. Area Designs.
Today's house is a total escape: to a different climate, landscape and lifestyle. It's in Franschhoek, South Africa, a small town nestled in the mountains west of Cape Town that borders a vast nature reserve and is famous for its wine and cuisine. The property in question is a gorgeous country estate. It sounds pricey at 25,000,000 rand, but it works out to a (semi) reasonable $2.6 million Canadian. Let's take a look.
Here's the many-gabled house with its long, solar-heated lap pool. If the room doesn't have a pool view, it probably opens onto a terrace, faces a separate natural pond or looks up at the mountains.
The great room and dining area open to a more natural-looking pond, probably created by a small dam in the property's landscaping. A solar-powered fountain ripples the water, and the plant beds and trees are maintained by an automated irrigation system. When you're not mowing the lawn, you can relax and enjoy the mountain views, or take a special wine tram and taste the area's Cabs and Chards.
This looks more like a spot to sip those wines and chat than a place to open a beer and host a braai. But no matter what your entertaining style, it's hard to object to the wide glass doors or airy white space. Invite guests to stay awhile in one of the main house's two guest rooms or one of two separate two-bedroom guest cottages.
The kitchen is sleek, functional, and opens to yet another outdoor dining area. Just visible beyond the kettle is the great room and a two-sided fireplace. If you don't want to build your own blaze, just flip on the underfloor heating which — surprise — is also solar powered.
Much of the living space is one large double-height room with a loft above. Open-plan spaces tend to extremes: they're either too empty (so much space!) or too busy (so many rooms in one!) But this corner manages to find a nice, welcoming balance.
The monochromatic principal bedroom totally commits to the tufted upholstery trend with a fully upholstered headboard wall. Sliding doors open to the pool, while louvered shutters provide a bit of privacy. In case the view doesn't inspire you to hop out of bed and fit in a swim, the house also has a gym.
Would the views (either indoors or out) from this house inspire you to make a move?
1–6. Fine and Country
At the end of cooking school, I did a month-long "externship" at Centro, a legendary fine dining restaurant (now closed) in midtown Toronto. From a jewel-like concassé of tomatoes to perfectly julienned peppers, vegetables were cut in a very precise manner, leaving a fair amount of scrap. Every ounce of these trimmings were saved, sorted and used up. The bulk of it went to flavour stocks and sauces, but sometimes they were transformed into a big steam kettle of delicious soup fondly known as potage de garbage (only the kitchen, never the dining room.) Even dark outer leaves of romaine lettuce, too bitter for salad, where used to cover salmon filets as they baked to keep them moist. This thrifty attitude showed both a respect for the ingredients and the restaurant's bottom line.
Today, as more people become conscious of where their food comes from, cooks are taking this mantra to the next level. Like nose-to-tail for vegetarians, the root-to-stalk cooking movement is coming up with creative ways to use edible trimmings that usually end up in the green bin. To further explore the root-to-stalk trend in the January 2014 issue (pick up your copy on Eastern newsstands December 9, and Western newsstand on December 16), here are some ways to get the most out of your veggies.
When I buy a head of celery, I divide it up into four groups. The tops, dark leaves and bottom cores go into stocks or braises. They can also be run through a juicer and used in cocktails or smoothies. The outer stalks, which are more bitter and fibrous, are best slow-cooked in soups or stews. The tender inner stalks are delicious shaved into salads or cut into sticks for crûdité. Finally, the delicate inner leaves are terrific in tuna salad or smoked fish sandwiches.
Some recipes require coring, peeling and seeding tomatoes. This byproduct adds a golden hue and hint of umami to vegetable stock. The seeds and their surrounding goop can be strained and the resulting liquid saved for gazpacho or Bloody Caesars. Or cook down everything to make a rough tomato paste that can be frozen and used in dark stocks or braises.
Often a recipe will call for removing the stems from portobellos. These brown cylinders are vegetarian gold. Deeply flavoured and packed with umami, they are delicious cut into julienne and used in stir-fries or omelettes. If you have bunch, pulse them in food processor and cook them down with butter, shallots and thyme for mushroom pâté. Shiitake stems are way too tough to eat, but they can flavour stocks and cream sauces.
Broccoli stems are good eatin', but all too often they end up in the garbage. Trim an inch off the bottom — it's usually too woody — and peel, saving the trimmings for vegetable stock. The tender stalk can be sliced paper thin and eaten raw in salads or winter slaw, or sliced into coins and cooked along with the florets.
The dark green leaves of leeks are so rarely called for in recipes that most people think if them as inedible. Au contraire. While they may be too dark and strong for elegant soups, leek greens are delicious sliced and braised in butter and chicken stock for a wintery side dish. Leeks are expensive, might as well get your money's worth.
1. Eric Vellend