Connect with H&H

I like all things woven, caned or rushed at any time of year. But one of my summer favourites has to be the looser weave you notice in accessories and furniture. Something about an imperfectly woven chair or lamp hints at a kind of relaxed decorating vibe that works in both cottages and on your back deck. And the big retailers must know that lots of folks feel the same since many new products have this look. It's a kind of vintage, cottagey, friendly woven look that invites you to sit, drink some lemonade and light an evening candle at dusk — which I think feels more summery than sleek and modern outdoor furniture. Sure, I am talking personal style here, but don't you think these new old-look woven products feel like summer? I do.

For more summer patio finds, see our Fresh Finds and High & Low Patio Finds photo galleries.

Photo credits:
1. Woven Glassware Set, West Elm
2. Woven Pitcher, West Elm
3. Montauk Nest Chair, West Elm
4. Diamond Jute Hurricane, Anthropologie


Meg Crossley

For me, one of the best parts about summer flea-marketing is the number of lawn games that seem to magically appear for sale. I do have a slight addiction to vintage croquet sets (you have probably seen a few of them as props in House & Home lifestyle shots — they are a bit of a summer go-to). If you don't have the patience or the time to troll the outdoor markets for things like badminton racquets, lawn bowling or bocci balls, you can get intact sets or hobble together pieces from many cute vintage shops on Etsy. Take a look at the ones I came across:

From Rustyboats.

From 5gardenias.

From Fishlegs.

But if you want them to function as well as look good, Pottery Barn is selling terrific repros on their website. All the pieces would be there ready for play, but the look is still fresh and fun. Like true vintage sets, these repros are dressed with summer stripes and colour:

Either way, whether for play or display, vintage lawn games are a summer classic. Pick some up before the season comes and goes!

For more outdoor inspiration, check out our Gardening & Outdoor Living Guide.

Photo credits:
1. Rustyboats' Wood Wedding Sign, Etsy
2. 5gardenias' Antique Wood Croquet Set, Etsy
3. Fishlegs' Vintage Croquet Balls, Etsy
4. Croquet Set, Pottery Barn
5. Lawn Bowling Set, Pottery Barn
6. Horseshoes Set, Pottery Barn


Meg Crossley

It could be the spring-like weather this past weekend that got me thinking about florals, in particular vintage flower paintings. Whatever got me going, I spent the better part of this Sunday past trolling a couple of country flea markets looking for them. Often vintage flower paintings are not technically good, in particular the oil paintings, and therefore cheap on the pocketbook. But when displayed either in combination with other florals (think real flowers) or when displayed en masse, they are surprisingly effective. The overall look becomes less about the kitschy technique of the artist and more about the colour and vibrancy of the subject matter. What a treat for the eyes after months of grey days.

If you like this look, check out online vintage shops like those on Etsy — it's a quick way to get a grouping of paintings. I like Thimble 'N Thread.

These two paintings from Thimble 'N Thread would add just the right amount of colour to a room.

For more floral patterns on the cheap, check out our photo gallery of 10 Floral Accessories Under $50.

Photo credits:
1. Hemingway & Hepburn blog
2. Decor8 blog
3. The Life of Riley blog
4. Still Life Oil Painting from Thimble 'N Thread, Etsy
5. Still Life Oil Painting from Thimble 'N Thread, Etsy


Meg Crossley

While watching Sunday's 84th annual Academy Awards (and feeling a little disappointed in the whole shebang, truth be told), I started trolling past awards details on my laptop, basically to remind myself that I tend to be a little disappointed by the Oscars every year. What a curmudgeon I can be!

Two years ago I was disappointed when the award for art direction went to Avatar, considering that the beautiful sets for Sherlock Holmes were also nominated.

Looking back on the set photos of Sherlock Holmes, I can say, "I was right, it should have won". The whole thing had such a layered, masculine look. It truly felt like Victorian England populated by incredibly clever sleuths like Holmes and villains like Professor Moriarty. Now those were men with lots of interests, and the set designs completely conveyed that fact — old books, stacks of papers, forgotten art objets, collections from a well-travelled life.

My favourite part of the design was the large carriage house lantern in front of 221a Baker Street (address painted on the glass of the lantern). It reminded me so much of the light fixture in Tommy Smythe's own kitchen (above left), which we showcased in H&H back in 2004. And of course similar to another fixture he painted red for a client's kitchen which we published in January of this year (above right).

Of course, it doesn't hurt that I love this look and have wanted an oversized carriage house fixture in my own home for years. Unlike Tommy Smythe and Sara Greenwood (production designer for Sherlock Holmes), I seem to be having a hard time finding the real, authentic lantern. But there are some decent new ones to be had from both Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn (both above).

And a new colleague here at H&H shared a resource with me that is perhaps even better at giving me that look, Troy Lighting. I love their Brookline fixture (above).

One last key to getting this look: buy an exterior hanging lantern. The size is bigger and the finishes more robust.

For more inspiration, see our Statement Lighting photo gallery.

Photo credits:
1. Sherlock Holmes set, Set Decor Online
2a. House & Home October 2004 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
2b. House & Home January 2012 issue, photography by Angus Fergusson
3. Stockholm Pendant, Restoration Hardware
4. Gothic Lantern, Pottery Barn
5. Brookline Fixture, Troy Lighting


Meg Crossley

There was snow on the weekend yet it's sunny today, making this Monday feel like spring. Should I be thanking global warming? Probably not. But the one positive of this odd weather is that it makes me think about spring decorating. I have already picked out my warm weather palette. And no pale blue is involved this time. In fact, I'm more into a mix of petal pink with neutrals. And trust me, I have never been a pink girl. But these inspirational shots won me over.

Spring blossoms from flowering trees will get the creative juices flowing every time.

I love the small hits of petal pink in this living room. Maybe this is how a non-girly-girl can be swung to the pink side, by keeping it subtle.

Now this is more my style, the petal pink on the wall. I'm assuming it's a combination of lighting and wall colour that gives the room that pretty sundowner glow. But the odd mix of old gritty objects and beaten up floorboards keeps this pink from being too sweet. This is the one.

So now onto my new favourite colour palette blog Design Seeds to find a fully put-together palette.

Trust me, if you love looking for paint colour inspiration, this blog will be your new guilty pleasure — guilty only by how much time you will spend searching her palettes.

How about you? Which palettes are getting you excited for spring?

For more, see our Editors' Favourite Paint Colours photo gallery.

Photo credits:
1. The Paris Apartment blog
2., photography by Tria Giovan
3. 1 Kind Design blog, photography by Debi Treloar
4. Petaled tones, Design Seeds
5. Ranunculus tones, Design Seeds


Meg Crossley

Yes, we all have what others may deem unhealthy decorating obsessions. For me, I can't stop buying charcuterie boards. In fact, I was taught how to make them and included the lesson in our October 2011 issue on the Editor DIY page (you can also get the instructions here). So imagine how many I have in the house. It is getting silly.

But I did come across a great image that gave me pause — I could take one or two charcuterie boards out of rotation and use them for a totally different purpose. One of my long boards would be great across the tub for soaps and candles.

The board above has warm wood with rich graining — a great contrast to solid, often white bathroom fixtures. This one gives the tub — the whole bathroom, in fact — a little soul. So that means with two tubs in my house, two charcuterie boards used in bathrooms instead of entertaining, well, that just gives me an excuse to buy two new ones. Don't judge — I fully admit to my decorating obsession.

For more easy DIY projects, see our DIY Guide.

Photo credits:
1. House & Home October 2011 issue, photography by Kim Jeffery
2. Design*Sponge via A Tall Drink blog


Meg Crossley

Comment Guidelines

We welcome your feedback on H&H reserves the right to remove any unsuitable personal remarks made about the bloggers, hosts, homeowners and/or guests we feature. Please keep your comments focused on decorating, design, cooking and other lifestyle topics. Adopt a tone you would be willing to use in person and do not make slanderous remarks or use denigrating language. If you see a comment that you believe violates any of the guidelines outlined above, please click “Flag as inappropriate.” Thank you.