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I think we can all agree that January is bananas. Everyone is doing everything with fresh resolve, from hitting the gym to fixing up our homes. The result is a sort of frantic optimism that usually simmers down to a sustainable productivity. (Or completely evaporates, but I'm still being optimistic!). Perhaps not coincidentally, the calendar is chockablock with events that aim to inspire design enthusiasts to update, upgrade and embrace change.

In Toronto, the Interior Design Show (IDS), Come Up to My Room, Capacity and Toronto Design Offsite all kick off this week. This year, IDS welcomes Moroso's Creative Director Patrizia Moroso as international guest of honour; the above sofa is by Marc Thorpe for the brand. In Paris, Maison & Objet takes place from January 24 to 28 and will reveal what's new and next from nearly 3,000 different brands. And NY Now will do the same on this side of the pond from February 1 to 6.

But don't let all of this attention on the latest and greatest obscure the biggest trend of 2014. Marketers already have a term for it: JOMO or The Joy of Missing Out. The decade came in on a wave of frantic connectivity that made us social voyeurs and left us constantly wondering, "Are we missing out?" A few years older and wiser, our collective answer is, "So what?"

Twice a month, Google is hosting silent "mindful lunches." App creators are giving us guided meditation sessions at our fingertips. And our homes are reflecting this desire to stop multitasking and live in the moment.

The trend doesn't manifest itself as a style so much as an attitude. As I hop from event to event deciding what's hot and what's not, I'll be asking myself: Is this of the moment? More than ever, the answer will have less to do with colour and finish, and everything to do with how we want to live in the here and now.

Photo credits:
1. Moroso
2. Ditte Isager, Paul Costello
3, 5. Ditte Isager
4. Amy Neunsinger, Notes on Design
5. Ditte Isager
6. Miles Redd photographed by Paul Costello, Melanie Acevedo

I've been noticing a softer decorating palette for the holidays: candy-cane hues of red, white and bright green are taking a back seat to pinks, orange, forest, mint and gold. Delicious! Stationery company Rifle Paper Co. nails the mix in their holiday card collection. Here are my two favourite takes. Hopefully they inspire you!


Pale pink takes the spotlight, dressed up with ribbons of gold and sage with coral accents.

I'd love to see this pretty combination on a tall statement tree.


Minty blue and greens ground sugary pops of pink, and persimmon orange.

A house strung with evergreen garlands and lush wreaths would look great updated in these colours. Happy holidays everyone!

Photo credits:
1, 3. Kimberley Brown
2, 4. Justine Wong


Kimberley Brown

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.

Hugo Didier

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.

Atelier Make

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.

Flakes Paperie

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.

Photo credit:
1-18. Kimberley Brown


Kimberley Brown

The velvet ropes, black SUVs and throngs of screaming fans that proliferate during the Toronto International Film Festival have once again disappeared, but some of the best things to pop up during the star-studded event can be enjoyed year-round — whether you're a VIP or not.


For the fifth year, CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight commissioned a Made in Canada lounge for the festival, a kind of extension of the green room where guests of the show are treated to a selection of goodies that are, well, made in Canada. I dropped in one day to check out the space conceived by Best PR Boutique and Montreal's Apartment 4 (and to find out what celebs were snapping up). The stars that passed through included Jesse Eisenberg (The Double, The Social Network), Ryan Kwanten (The Right Kind of Wrong, True Blood), Taylor Schilling (Stay, Orange is the New Black), Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, The Wire), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Don Jon, Inception), Don McKellar (The Grand Seduction), Paul Dano (Prisoners, Little Miss Sunshine), Zoe Kazan (The F Word, It's Complicated), Joel Edgerton (Felony, The Great Gatsby) and Alan Cumming (The Good Wife), among others.

The set-up evoked a cozy cabin, with a branch chandelier by the Brothers Dressler adding wow factor to a snug seating area decked out with a sofa, chairs and tables by Style Garage, pillows by Pehr and Room 2046, a rug by Flor.

Painted paddles by Atelier 688, hung above an EcoSmart fireplace from Company B, gave the vignette a dose of hipster chic, while resin photo art of Georgian Bay by Christine Flynn (who owns both Love the Design shops in Toronto) stood in for windows with scenic views of cottage country.

This is Canada, so a partial wall was covered in Sher-Wood hockey sticks — a clever idea to raise money: stars could sign them for charity.

What swag was getting the most love? Those with tastes sweet and salty were satisfied by bags of caramel corn by Toronto's Bobbette & Belle. Manitoba's Wendell Estate Honey will be sweetening Hollywood's tea cups and breakfast tables, and Neal Brothers Foods captured the taste of the Great White North with its Maple Bacon potato chips. (Yum!)

For something a bit more spirited, Dillon's small batch white rye, gin and bitters proved popular, with Bitter Pear emerging as most people's first choice.

On the décor front, ceramic versions of mason jars by Vancouver-based Heyday Design were picked up for use as vases and tea light holders.

Nearly every visitor asked why the lounge smelled so good. The answer: Smells Like Canada. The company's candles come in four fragrances — Toronto Smoke, Saskatoon Wheat, Red Deer Rose and Fraser Valley Wood — with Toronto Smoke winning the most compliments.

Who says you have to walk the red carpet to treat yourself like a star?

Photo credits:
1-3, 8, 10. Tara Noelle Photography.
4-7. Kimberley Brown.
8. Bitters, Dillon's.
9. Ceramic jars, Heyday Design.


Kimberley Brown

Lately, I'm seeing wood in a whole new light — literally. Designers from Toronto to London to Horní Dubenky in the Czech Republic are making striking table and pendant lights that pair warm wood with shapely glass shades, colourful cords, glowing LED bulbs and all the clever details that make design fanatics smile.

Brokis was founded in Horní Dubenky by a group of lighting designers interested in making handmade contemporary fixtures. The Shadow collection of pendant lights is their updated take on classic French atelier lights. The wooden neck hides the LED light source and comes in natural or stained-black oak. Buyers can also choose the shade shape, cord colour (white, yellow, red, grey or black) and their preferred shade of glass: smokey grey, brown and black, opaque black and white.

And while I sometimes feel guilty buying a muffin for breakfast (it's cake! It sounds healthy, but it's really cake!), I'd happily enjoy Brokis' Muffins lamps every day. The waxed oak base can been combined with glass in a variety of tints, from warm amber to pretty purple, and cloth-covered cables in white, red, grey and black.

In Brooklyn, New York, Ryden Rizzo of Allied Maker handcrafts everything that comes out of his Sea Cliff studio. He chooses the wood he uses to make his lights by considering the grain, colour and sustainability of the timber, and packs everything for shipping in recycled and biodegradable materials. Nice. His no-frills Mini Lamp (left) is dimmable and ideal for small spaces. The hanging Wood Socket Lamp (right) dangles from a cotton cord and has a hand-turned flamed maple socket. Toronto-based Oliver Yaphe sells both lights. 

Also out of Toronto, world's cutest couple John and Arounna of Bookhou are showing these lights in the window of their delightful Dundas St. West shop. The lights are early prototypes, but more are in the works. John, who was inspired by the scientific look of items under bell jars spotted years ago in the British Museum, says he wants to make different sizes that can be stylishly grouped together or displayed on their own. The lights, which retail for $250, are actually a collaboration: while John made the turned the wood bases. "I bought a lathe and figured I had to do something with it," he says. The bell jars are blown by glass artist Nick Chase, who works out of Harbourfront Centre, and is featured in the October 2013 issue of House & Home.

Perhaps London, U.K.-based Vitamin was similarly inspired when it designed the Cloak Pendant Lamp. The light's wood sphere comes in walnut or oak and hides LED lights that emit a soft glow. With bright summer days on the wane, that sounds about perfect.

See more striking examples of Statement Lighting in our photo gallery.

Photo Credits:
1-3. Brokis
4-5. Allied Maker
6. Bookhou
7. Vitamin


Kimberley Brown

Here are five items I'm coveting this week:

1. Nerd chair

This shapely chair by David Geckeler for Muuto is a real catch. It's good looking, has great personality and adds colour wherever it goes. Plus, I love the name. It definitely doesn't take itself too seriously. (Ahem, Saarinen Executive, I'm looking at you.) I don't normally go for overtly pretty designs, but lately I've been all over rosy pink and this shade is perfect. My rule is, if you go pink, go modern. I'm definitely inviting this Nerd back to my place.

2. Lampe Gras lights

I'm following Le Corbusier, Eileen Gray and Georges Braque in my fanatical devotion to these beauties. I prefer the version with a more angular shade and have decided to save up to buy a sconce for my currently all-white bedroom — maybe the white and silver finish with red accents. Or all black. Hmm... deciding might be trickier than I thought.

3. Green

I blame H&H art director Mandy Milks for the gravitational pull I'm feeling towards green. My closet is filled with all manner of things green — from shoes to shirts to sweaters — but my rooms are all about blue, grey and black. Then Mandy painted her kitchen cabinets Dark Olive (2140-30) by Benjamin Moore and brushed Calke Green (34) by Farrow & Ball on the pocket door to her bathroom, and now I'm looking at my glossy black front door and thinking I might freshen it up this fall with fresh, natural, inviting green. Not flashy emerald, but a nice dark leafy green.

4. Tati tables

Nesting tables are genius for small spaces like mine. I first spotted these ones from Asplund at Toronto store Mjölk and became giddy at the sight of their slim proportions. At 13" and 12" wide, the two side tables could actually work as a coffee table in my super skinny living room. Plus, the lacquer frames come in several colours and I can opt for a tabletop of wood, leather, metal, Carrara marble or slate. Another selling point: how the overlapping legs create a rounded, graphic shape. I'm a sucker for details.

5. Tiny Tech

Most companies show the media their new products for fall and holiday in the summer. We call it Christmas in July, and products start rolling out around now. At the recent LG preview, I fell in love with this little pocket printer that's only 3" wide by 4-3/4" long. It connects to your phone wirelessly and prints wallet-sized photos reminiscent of ye old Polaroids. (The companion app lets you edit photos before printing.) That you can stash it away in a drawer makes it all the more sweet.

What are you currently obsessed with?

See our Top Trends of 2013 photo gallery for more great finds.

Photo credits:
1-2. Muuto
3. Lampe Gras
4a. Makeovers 2013 special issue, photography by Michael Graydon
4b. March 2013 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
5. Asplund Tati tables, Huset
6. LG


Kimberley Brown

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