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.
Last October, my girlfriends and I stayed at a gorgeous bed & breakfast here in Toronto the night before my wedding. I booked it online without knowing much about it, other than its proximity to Allan Gardens for pre-wedding photos and a short walking distance to our wedding venue, The St. Lawrence Market.
Well, we rolled into the Banting House Inn and we were pleasantly surprised. For such reasonable prices, it was absolutely stunning. I couldn't resist snapping some photos of the perfectly appointed rooms before we headed off to the wedding. (Yes, I was even in my wedding dress at this point.) Owners Scott and Greg clearly have a knack for mixing styles, and injected a bit of industrial edge into each corner of this old Victorian home. They prove that even old homes with traditional bones can be decorated with both vintage and modern finds. Get inspired by their effortless style.
This connecting room is to the right of the entryway. I love how the black-painted walls make the original woodwork pop.
And here is the formal living room with crisp white walls and sky-blue ceiling. Nice touch! The dramatic tufted sofa balances the softness of the ceiling.
They even had stacks of design books and iPads for guests to borrow.
The ceilings in here were probably 10 feet, and this gorgeous mirror stands about 8 feet tall. It was a great photo op with me putting my lipstick on.
There was a mix of furniture in this room that just seemed to work. A Navajo-style armchair, a mid-century modern black chair, an ornate white bench and an industrial bookshelf made from raw wood and metal. Instead of over-thinking furniture styles, just invest in pieces you love. The owners probably collected these items over the years, and then worked them into this formal room with confidence.
I've always loved these brushed metal stools with adjustable height. They topped one with a lamp for use as a side table.
A vintage shelf is a perfect spot to display collections of vintage items, like these old cigarette tins.
And here is the dining room with rustic wood table and chairs. They paired the old wood chairs with two modern moulded plastic chairs to balance out all the wood. And how about that chandelier!?
The art throughout made a great backdrop for photography.
And here I am on the porch. Check out that front door!
And so we met at Allan Gardens park for our photos, which was right down the street.
And here we are inside Allan Gardens.
I'd like to thank Scott for being so gracious with us — a know bridal parties can be loud and giggly. But our stay really made the night before the wedding stress-free.
If you haven't noticed, Target stores are popping up in Canada now! The affordable retailer steadily expanded from its small start-up in Minnesota back in 1962 to a booming business across borders. In Ontario, the Milton (Milton Mall Shopping Centre, 55 Ontario Street South), Guelph (175 Stone Road West) and Fergus (Gates of Fergus, 900 Tower Street South) locations are already open, with another 21 stores opening by by the end of the month (dates are still hush-hush). To find the location closest to you, browse their store finder.
In January, Target reps rounded up media to introduce their new product lines and collaborations, and I was lucky enough to check out the event.
It was held at Toronto's historic Evergreen Brick Works, and they tented off an indoor-outdoor area to keep guests cosy.
There was even an ice rink! I was waiting for them to start renting skates for us to try it out.
They had gorgeous new items on display that will be available in Canadian stores. This graphic lamp is from Threshold. The bird base is perfect for spring.
Target has some appealing collaborations with talented types like designer Nate Berkus, Food Network star Giada de Laurentiis and Roots co-founders Michael Budman and Don Green. This leaf tray from Nate Berkus's collection was just one of so many gorgeous items of his. Use it for serving nibblies in your backyard this spring.
This ombre-effect shower curtain is also from Nate Berkus. Use it in an all-white bathroom for a splash of fresh colour.
Giada de Laurentiis's stainless steel cutlery sets come in a sturdy bamboo block that would look great on any countertop.
Collaborators were even in attendance to introduce Canadians to their brands. Here is Target Canada's senior vice president of merchandising John Morioka with designer and TV host Nate Berkus.
And Food Network host Giada de Laurentiis up close and personal.
From left: Nate Berkus, Giada de Laurentiis, L.A. stylist-to-the-stars Kate Young and Roots co-founders Michael Budman and Don Green.
Turns out the ice rink wasn't for us, it was a fashion runway! The new collections at Target were modeled on the rink.
Be sure to check out your local Target for more home accessories that won't break the bank.
1-13. Gwen McAuley
In the magazine world, we get to view the fresh spring/summer collections while snow is still blowing around outdoors. I attended the HomeSense preview this past week, and spotted lots of items worth watching out for. In summary: colour, colour and more colour. It was so refreshing to browse a room full of robin's egg blue, mustard yellow and burnt orange. Some of these items are even in stores already, so be sure to check out your local HomeSense this weekend. Pick up one colourful, spring-y accessory, and the warm weather will feel that much closer. Here's a roundup of my favourite finds:
This muted robin's egg blue is a great way to bring subtle colour into a bedroom without braving a new wall colour or bedding. And the drawers are lined with this pretty Moroccan-inspired print. I wish I had stumbled upon this before wallpapering my own dresser drawers. What a chore that was. Two-drawer dresser, $200.
For a bold hit of colour, try a mustard-yellow console for the front hall or dining room. And check out the detailing along the front and legs! Console table, $250.
Two of these bright blue side tables would add a pop of colour to a ho-hum bedroom. Lacquered side table, $150.
This bench is small enough to squeeze into a condo entryway, and conceals shoes and storage boxes underneath. I love the Greek-inspired detailing at the sides. Fretwork bench with cushion, $250.
You could use this small bar cart for extra storage in the kitchen of a tiny rental apartment, then roll it out and top it with drinks and snacks while entertaining. It's also available in white. Lacquered faux bamboo bar cart, $280.
Speaking of orange, check out the fun, juice colour on this affordable sofa with a classic mid-century modern shape. Too bright for your formal living room? Use it in a basement media room or bedroom. Orange tufted sofa, $700.
This pale yellow version would surely help you beat the winter blahs. Yellow tufted sofa, $800.
I'm a sucker for anything teal, and I wanted to roll this rug up and throw it over my shoulder. I love the hints of green in it as well. Rug, $180.
Update your lighting this spring with a couple of simple glass pendants. Glass ball pendant, $70 each.
Need a place to hang your hat (or spring umbrellas)? This metal tree coat rack plays in with the nature-inspired themes we're seeing everywhere this year. Coat rack, $130.
Adorable. They have such amazing throw pillows at HomeSense — some are even down-filled.
The guava-coloured coverlet on the left would look beautiful against a charcoal grey accent wall. And for $70 each, you can afford to switch it again come fall. Coverlets, $70 each.
See more Top Trends Of 2013 in our photo gallery.
1-13. Gwen McAuley
As you can see from these before photos, the open-concept dining/living room was in need of some cosmetic changes. The walls were a too-bright green, the bulkhead a too-dark brown, and the dated sofas were too large for the narrow space at the front of the house. We wanted to create flow from the far back (kitchen) to the very front (living room) through common colours and patterns. We didn't move any walls or rip anything out, but last summer and fall, we went about making small changes like paint and furniture to refresh the space we use most often.
Here are our progress photos. It's been quite a journey!
From the kitchen looking towards the front of the house:
First came the white paint. We went with Benjamin Moore's Cloud White (OC-130) — just like the kitchen walls and cupboards — for fresh yet warm walls that would let the wallpaper and gallery wall stand out.
We traded the sparkly orbit chandelier for this silver antiqued metal drum pendant from Restoration Hardware. I love the contrast between the soft trees on the wallpaper and the industrial feel of the pendant. It's quite large for the space, but since it's all one room, I wanted something that would command attention.
And I should mention that we didn't toss anything — we sold everything from the chandelier, artwork, TV and sofas on Craigslist and Kijiji. Economical!
Like the inspiration shot in my previous post, I love the look of mix-and-match coloured moulded plastic chairs, so we ordered four from Ottawa's The Modern Shop in shades of blues and greens. Along with the wallpaper, they add some colour to the mostly grey and white space. One day, we would like to replace the dining table with a longer, more rustic version, at which point we can add more chairs.
Instead of replacing this '90s-like metal-shaded table lamp with a pricey new one, I replaced the shade with a creamy linen one from HomeSense. I really like the geometric base of the lamp, so I didn't want to toss it. I did the same with a matching floor lamp in the living room, and they look like new!
We wallpapered this recess and the one in the living area in Cole & Son's Woods wallpaper in lilac (69/12151), available through Kravet. We were going to go with a plain grey and white version of this pattern, but I'm glad we opted for some colour. The two wallpapered walls really add warmth to the main floor. And having the same pattern on a dining room wall and living room wall creates cohesion between the two connected areas.
On the opposite wall are the staircases — left goes down to the front door, right goes down to the grade-level laundry room and office, and you can also see the staircase to the second floor. Beige, beige, beige.
I was inspired by the photo wall in former H&H-er Emily Walker's home. We wanted to create a casual arrangement of black and white photos like hers on our boring entryway wall — it's a great spot to pause and take them in!
I brought a memory stick of digital photos of all our loved ones to Staples and they printed them on good-quality paper for me. I cut them out, then used one stainless steel thumbtack to pin each photo directly into the drywall. There will be lots of little holes, but drywall filler will easily cover them up if we move one day. Everyone who visits lingers here on their way in and out to pour over the memories — they love finding themselves in the collage! And we can easily add to it over time, too.
I created this gallery wall of my own Leslieville photography for my husband as a Christmas gift a couple of years back, but it was a little sparse and we wanted to add a few more to fill it out.
Did you know you can browse your city's archives for old photos that were taken in your neighbourhood? The City of Toronto Archives has an extensive database full of old transit photos, construction photos, demolitions and new buildings going up. You just type in the street names in your area and you'll find lots of fascinating snapshots. You can save small JPGs for free, or you can order larger JPGs for printing purposes. We ordered five new photos of the Leslieville area to fill out our gallery wall. Some of them are even the same photos I happened to take of the area, so we paired them side-by-side on the wall to show the old and new. Some of them date back to the 1920s! Our gallery wall is finally complete.
You can see that the TV and sofa were cramped into a narrow space. We want to replace the bulky TV with a wall-mounted one on a pivot bracket one day, but in the meantime, we're enjoying the quiet of not having a TV on the main floor. Is that crazy?
The TV will eventually go on the wallpapered wall to the right.
It took us longer than expected to find the perfect sectional. It was tricky to find the right dimensions, since the speaker needed to stay to the left and the sofa needed to fill the corner properly. Several sectionals we loved didn't come far enough along this half-wall, so they would seem a bit lost in the space. Many sectionals also have a chaise instead of a full back, but we really wanted to maximize seating for guests with two proper backs.
But we found it! We could keep the speaker where it was, and it was just long enough to cover an unsightly outlet to the right. We came across this beauty in Stacaro on King Street East — made by Montreal-based Lucyau — and it definitely checked off all our must-haves. Called the Cloud, no chaise meant it could accommodate lots of lounging guests. The down-filled cushions are clean-lined and contemporary in shape, and we love the two long seat cushions and barely-there legs.
I found the down throw pillows at HomeSense for a song, and their linen-like covers (removable!) are the same texture as the sofa's upholstery. The braided twine piping adds a raw contrast to the soft fabrics, too.
We kept the same curtain rod and Umbra drapes to save money.
The white walls really do make the space seem larger. Eventually, we want to replace the carpet on the stairs and paint the spindles white, but alas, that will have to wait. Charlie the cat seems pleased with the makeover, especially because of all the grey.
What do you think? I would love to read all your feedback. Comment below!
By now, your mailboxes and front hall tables are probably piled high with Christmas cards. If you don't have a fireplace mantel or console to display them on, check out this neat idea from Emma Reddington over at The Marion House Book. She used corkboard, fabric, tape, paint and ribbon to create this striped board for cards and holiday artifacts. I love the preppy stripe pattern and fun colour scheme.
Not all these stripes were created with ribbon — some are actually painted on. Visit The Marion House Book for complete instructions.
For more easy DIY projects, see our DIY & Home Improvement section.