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At this time of year I am always looking for fast decor fixes before the holiday crush starts and my money is earmarked for gifts and entertaining. I found these items on recent Ikea visit: they add a little décor lift and won’t empty out the Christmas coffer.

This super fun and colourful steel number has an almost futuristic vibe. It will lend a playful energy to your kitchen and it's much more interesting to look at than your standard wood bowl.

This clamping spotlight is a very cool mix of modern and industrial. The matte white shade perfectly contrasts the metal accents, and the light itself is really versatile, so it can adjust it to suit your needs.


Get the kiddies started early on their appreciation of good design. This simple wood stool is just the right height for a proper dining table, but because it's simple and black, it doesn't scream "childrens' furniture!".

Who doesn't love a good woven basket? This striped one has a cute nautical look to it. It's also big enough to store a load of toys, laundry or fresh towels.

Photo credits:
1-4. Ikea


Stacey Smithers

This past March, I was lucky enough to visit the Ikea headquarters in Älmhult, Sweden to get a sneak peek at the new Stockholm collection. In fact, I even had a chance to sit down with the lead designer Ola Wihlborg and chat about the collection (check out the September 2013 issue of H&H for all the details).

I love this new round nightstand.

Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you — that's velvet. Green velvet. Delightful! $1,099.

These nesting coffee tables have a gorgeous walnut finish. $299.

This cheerful flatweave rug would add a fun pop of colour to a dining room, living room or bedroom. $199 for 5-1/2' x 8'.

And my favourite of all the new pieces, this classic dining chair, also available in green. $149.

For more inspiration from Ikea, view our 2011 Ikea Kitchen Makeover and 2012 Ikea Kitchen Makeover videos.

Photo credits:
1-6. Stacey Smithers


Stacey Smithers

Sometimes when we're putting an issue together, great stuff gets left on the cutting room floor — just like in the movies. And as much as I might like them, some photos just don't make it into the magazine story.

That was the case with these photos below that I worked on with our food editor Eric Vellend, food stylist Sasha Seymour, and photographer Michael Graydon. These three were probably my favourite from the photo shoot, so it was especially hard to see them go, but it's fun to share them with you now.

The first is a lovely photo of Eric's silken tofu dish. I love the graphic blue-green art in the background. The gorgeous bowls are from a Toronto ceramist called Clayshapes. If you can believe it, the surface those bowls are setting on is an old-school locker!

This second photo features another bowl from Clayshapes. I love the painterly colouring on it. We shot this as a possible opening page to the food section. Gosh, those eggs are beautiful.

This supermodel is actually Eric, wearing my husband's bow tie!

Pick up our January 2013 issue to see which photos did make the cut.

See our Asian-Inspired Dishes if this blog post made your mouth water.

Photo credits:
1-3. House & Home January 2013 issue, photography by Michael Graydon


Stacey Smithers

When our two-year-old son Miles started climbing out of his crib, my husband and I knew it was time to start thinking about creating a room for him. His nursery, a teeny space, roughly 8 feet by 10 feet, didn't offer any room for play, toy storage, and all the other stuff a busy preschooler needs.

The solution was to let Miles take over the little used spare room.

The spare room has a bit more space. It also has a nice south-facing window, and a little space for playing on the floor.

It has a decent closet, but sadly, the majority of it is hidden behind lathe and plaster — not such a great use of space, unless you have a four-foot-long arm! Also, the window is drafty and leaks occasionally (about once a year) when the rain blows a certain direction. Not a great feature either.

But with a small budget and designer Cameron MacNeil, we started operation "big boy room."

The plan?

1. Replace windows in both rooms. We replaced both windows with affordable vinyl windows from Ply Gem. We selected the Elite Series Ambassador windows. With their triple weather seal and Eco 5 glass, we could bid farewell to leaks and drafty breezes.

2. Invest in creating a real closet in Miles' new room. The plan is to break down the lathe-and-plaster enclosed closet and build in Pax units from Ikea. We love the look of the Pax units with birch interior and white Pax frames. My idea is to prime and paint out Ikea Ballstad flat doors the same colour as the room (Pavilion Gray (242) by Farrow & Ball) for a seamless look that will help make the room seem bigger.

3. Paint the back wall of Miles' new room black. I have a feeling it might make the whole room feel bigger and add loads of impact to the small space.

4. Find a new use for the old nursery. Could a space this tiny make a good TV den?

The end result?

Well, this one is a cliffhanger, folks! Tune into H&H Online TV for the results. And I'll be sure to share all the details in a follow-up blog post soon.

Get Stacey Smithers' holiday decorating tips.

Photo credits:
1-5. Stacey Smithers


Stacey Smithers

There are a few simple things you can do to get your home holiday-ready. Here are five easy ideas to make this holiday season more special than stressful:

1. Tie jingle bells to your door — such a lovely noise to welcome guests.

2. Plant paperwhite bulbs. Sprouting bulbs always lift my spirits on grey winter days.

3. Mass together baby's breath for a simple snowy centrepiece.

4. There's nothing like old-fashioned cutout snowflakes hanging in a window to give any room some holiday magic.

5. Keep a stack of cosy throws and blankets at the ready for snuggling up.

See our Christmas & Holiday Guide for more decorating tips.

Photo credits:
1a. Smitten in Cleveland blog
1b. Lissy Lou blog
2. Head Over Heels blog
3. Indulgy blog
4. Bugs and Fishes blog, photography by Lauren Howard
5. Le Marché St. George via Hearts Together blog, photography by Klee Larsen


Stacey Smithers

My office mate Kai Ethier showed me this Prada video the other day, and it's full of enviable design — both fashion and interior:

The video was directed by Roman Polanski and stars Ben Kingsley and Helena Bonham Carter.

The story of therapist and patient is simple enough, but the decor — oh, the decor! The desk lamps, carpets, fainting sofa and sconces are classic and timeless — just like Prada. I love the lavender and crimson number on Helena, too.

See more runway to room trends in our photo gallery.

Video and photo credits:
Courtesy of YouTube


Stacey Smithers

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