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Decorating Finds

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

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

The countdown is on to my vacay on Prince Edward Island. Last time we visited, the journey took us on a mini road trip to and from our flights from Halifax. On the return journey we took a detour thanks to a tip from our Charlottetown friends Christopher and Craig. (Check out their blog The Ottoman Empire.) They advised us to take a turn off the Trans-Canada highway for a visit to Great Village, N.S. It's definitely our kind of town.

This is the kind of vintage vignette you'll see all over the many shops in Great Village: nautical antiques mixed with simple painted country furniture — just beautiful and so me. The main street is lined with antiques shops as well as a multi-dealer co-op. When we visited we were on our way to catch a plane so we couldn't really take the plunge on purchasing. But we treated it as a reconnaissance mission, scouting what might be available when we return with a larger vehicle. That time may come in a week or so if our vacay offers up a suitable rainy day for a road trip. Here are some of my favourites spotted last time.

As a stylist, I'm naturally drawn to baskets. They have so many uses in any room of the house and bring a warm, earthy texture to interiors. I usually prefer vintage ones because of their patina and workmanship. Many of the baskets on the left are examples of Mi'kmaq basket weaving. The indigenous peoples of our East Coast have been making these for centuries. I'm thinking of starting a collection. To the right are fishing creels and a large picnic basket chest. I also love the natural aged grey tone of that shelf and the oars. Big furniture companies all over the world are trying to replicate that look these days. Nothing beats authenticity.

I love this fine example of coloured glass. I'm seriously hoping this one is still there when we go back. Must have.

Mint condition and ready for a Royal wedding or an excellent dress up party, this top hat was very tempting! I like the idea of elevating something like this to art status by mounting it on a base or displaying it in a Lucite box.

Wedding gifts and souvenirs from so many trips to Ireland, vintage damask linen is always available on the antiquing trail. Most of these were less than $40.

It's a bit covered up, but try to get a good look at that simple green work table. The colour is total perfection. I could see this piece loaded up with all the supplies for a cottage bar or used as a desk paired with an ultra mod chair.

What's not to love about a solid workhorse of a table made of gloriously beat up old reclaimed wood? This one was a great size and a steal at $395. Compare that price to a new piece made of particleboard and laminate.

You're bound to run into Lucy Maud Montgomery's ginger heroine at any East Coast antiques shop. I thought these volumes were remarkable for their dust jacket design and colours. To the right was my sole purchase of the visit — for the sum of $3. It's a compendium of the most bizarre and politically incorrect toasts from 1918. I think it will be lots of fun to have around the cottage as a conversation piece.

For more East Coast gems, read Sally Armstrong's blog post about antiquing in Maine.

Photo credits:
1-8. Margot Austin


Margot Austin

Most girls love shoes, I love chairs. Okay, I love shoes, too, but I really, really love chairs. While browsing furniture shops I find I'm constantly being pulled in the direction of interesting seating. Peculiar stools, beautiful sofas and rustic benches will stop me dead in my tracks and within an instant I have a place for it — in my imagination, anyway. I frequently walk away grumbling about not having enough space, or money, for that matter. (Think $900 for a set of antique courting chairs I had to forgo recently. It was a sad day.) Lucky for me, I'm all for second, third and even fourth hand furniture so I'm just as happy buying a castoff.

Here are a few of my favourite styles:

Bright red metal stools look great with a neutral palette.

George Nelson's quirky Pretzel chair will add instant charm if you can get your hands on one.

My favourite, the Ghost chair. I love its versatility — it looks right at home in both modern and traditional spaces.

Wedding planning has got me seriously considering swapping out all the horrid slipcovered chairs in our venue for these sweet Chiavari chairs — budget permitting.

Another favourite, the Windsor chair comes in so many forms these days that they fit both country and modern styles.

Steel French bistro chairs can double as outdoor seating and therefore make a great investment.

If I win the lottery, I'll buy every chair Mjölk has to offer. This beauty, at a scanty $2,275, would be my first.

Photo credits:
1. The Pie Tin via Pretty Pretty Yum Yum blog
2. George Nelson Foundation
3. Homevialaura blog
4. Meredith Perdue via Sincerely Sara blog
6. Pottery Barn
7. Mjölk


Floriana Paonessa

It's mid-July, and in magazine world, that means Christmas. Although none of us can ever be prepared for the deluge of gingerbread and tinsel in 30-degree weather, we're always happy to get a glimpse of what's to come.

Our latest preview was hosted by the talented team from HomeSense, who never fail to impress. Here are some of the great pieces you should keep an eye out for come fall. Let's begin with furniture:

Expect to see some great pieces from Drexel Heritage (brown-and-brass hutch), oversized rustic storage, cosy settees and smaller, Scandi-style pieces for the home. That little grey chair and ottoman are the perfect size for condo living.

The rugs were quite impressive as well. Here are a few standouts:

Here's a Thom Felicia for Safavieh rug (above). Not nearly as pricey as you'd think!

These cosy neutral rugs are sure to warm up any space. I love the striped, fringed rugs. So Scandinavian!

And of course, HomeSense always shines in the accessories/gifts department:

Beautifully framed fabrics and gemstone bookends make perfect gifts.

Warm-metal cutlery looks gorgeous on a holiday table. This set is actually affordable!

I loved HomeSense's solution to a drab office: jewelry boxes! Paperclips never looked so good...

Keep an eye out, as I've already spotted a few of pieces of their fall collection on store shelves. Happy hunting!

Photo credits:
1-10. Reiko Caron


Reiko Caron

There is nothing nicer than cooking in a well-organized kitchen. But without all the necessary tools like trays, jars and labels, it's hard to be disciplined about it. I need my space to be well-planned if I'm going to keep it organized.

I love the idea of a walk-in pantry like this one. Since a space like this is a luxury for some, myself included, stick to basics when it comes to organizing a kitchen. I've listed a few items below that keep my own kitchen clutter-free.

Here's what irks me: opened packages of baking supplies that live in their original packaging. A simple solution is large glass jars that free up cabinet space and look beautiful on your countertop.

Baskets have so many uses in the kitchen. I love seeing them tucked under a bench filled with extra linens and bags of potatoes.

A nifty cart is a perfect little spot to chop vegetables. The shelves on this one from Ikea make great storage for your cookbooks.

I fall into the "love open shelving in a kitchen" category. Picture those glass jars filled with baking goods on this sweet shelf from The Home Depot.

Keep things looking pretty in this eco-fibre compost bin.

And because everyone needs a string dispenser... West Elm brings you one that doubles as art.

Share your own kitchen storage tips below!

See our gallery of Kitchen Organizing Ideas for more inspiration.

Photo credits:
1. Light Locations
2. Heritage Hill Glass Jars, Crate & Barrel
3. Beachcomber Baskets, Pottery Barn
4. Bekväm Kitchen Cart, Ikea
5. Houseworks Unfinished Wood Decor Shelf, The Home Depot
6. Eco Fiber Bamboo Composter, West Elm
7. Owl String Holder, West Elm


Floriana Paonessa

This week my parents say goodbye to their lovely Thornhill, Ontario heritage home and say hello to a gorgeous new house up the road in Richmond Hill. To me, the garden is the focal point of the house with a koi-filled pond and built-in fireplace, so it's a nice time to be making the move with plenty of barbecue weekends ahead. We gave up most of our outdoor accessories during the last move because of space, so we're going to have to start fresh.

Below are a few ideas I've sent my mother's way.

These swivel chairs from Crate & Barrel look so cosy. I'd like curl up in one right now with a good book.

This patio set from Restoration Hardware is perfect, but a little on the pricey side for seasonal use.

I love Crate & Barrel's collection of umbrellas. The colours are so inviting, how will we ever pick one?

I'm only half kidding when I say I want this outdoor pizza oven from Williams-Sonoma. I don't eat meat so it only seems fair, right?

These jute rugs from Pottery Barn look just as great outdoors as they do in. A large one lining a deck would lend a homey feel.

These bloom pillows from Indigo would look stunning piled on any lounge chair.

Neons have even made their way into our table linens and I'm loving these napkins from Anthropologie. They come in pink, too.

My parents are hosting an engagement party for my fiancé and I this summer and these torches from Pottery Barn would add a nice touch lining the garden path.

See our photo gallery of Budget Patio Finds for more outdoor accessories.

Photo credits:
1. Calypso Mocha Swivel Lounge Chair, Crate & Barrel
2. Carmel Rectangular Dining Table, Restoration Hardware
3. Arroyo umbrellas, Crate & Barrel
4. Fontana Gusto Wood-Fired Outdoor Oven, Williams-Sonoma
5. Chenille Jute Basketweave Rugs, Pottery Barn
6a. Bluebellgray Abigail Pillow, Indigo
6b. Bluebellgray Blue Iris Pillow, Indigo
7. Neon Border Napkin Set, Anthropologie
8. Outdoor Torches, Pottery Barn


Floriana Paonessa

Historically toiles (scenic patterns printed on light cotton) have featured romanticized pastoral scenes: gamboling sheep, rolling hills, cavorting shepherdesses. These toile wallpapers riff on themes that reflect a more modern experience: think strip malls, trash day collection, and even the odd crime and misdemeanor, and offer a hip spin on urban life.

Undoubtedly one of the most famous of the urban toiles (an inductee into the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum) is NYC designer Sheila Bridges' Harlem Toile, which lampoons cultural African American stereotypes. Viewed from afar, the look of this toile is traditional, but the social context is much more complex. "Eighteenth-century French toile depicted pastoral scenes with classical ruins, ladies in frilly dresses on swings," Bridges says. "I wanted to make my own pastoral countryside, and the countryside of America is the suburbs."

Timorous Beasties is known for their lush, striking and edgy wallpaper designs, and this London Toile is rife with contemporary social ills that plague urban centres: homelessness, solicitation, public intoxication and a gunpoint mugging.

A rusted Mercedes and creaking metal gate is part of the cityscape of Darling, on the coast of South Africa, which inspired the pattern for The Wren Design.

Jessica Smith's toile fabric on the left is an homage to the time-honoured ritual of trash day pick-up, while a Gaugin-esque sun worshipper lolls under the palms at one of South Beach's boutique hotel pools.

This Spying on China toile pattern, also by Jessica Smith, has political overtones, showing the after-effects of a 2001 collision between an American spy plane and a jet off the coast of Hainan Island.

Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys worked with Revolver New York to create his Brooklyn Toile that extolls life in the King's borough, sprinkled with images of the Coney Island roller coaster, Hasidic Jews, Notorious B.I.G. and elevated subway tracks.

The banalities we pass every day are present and accounted for in Groovy Q's Dirty Linen collection. Strip malls, shopping carts and gas pumps are elevated to new, poetic heights, even though the toile itself is discontinued.

See our photo gallery of Wallpapered Rooms for more inspiration.

Photo credits:
1a. Sheila Bridges' Harlem Toile, Style Noir blog
1b. Sheila Bridges' Harlem Toile, Blu Label Bungalow blog
2. London Toile, Timorous Beasties
3. Darling Toile du Jouy, The Wren Design
4a. Jessica Smith's Trash Day Toile, Furniture Seen blog
4b. Jessica Smith's South Beach Toile, The Well-Appointed Catwalk blog
5. Jessica Smith's Spying on China, Design Salad blog
6. Mike Diamond's Brooklyn Toile, Revolver New York
7. Groovy Q, If It's Hip, It's Here blog


Wendy Jacob

While perusing the internet (I do a lot of that), I stumbled upon Kerry Cassill's gorgeous online shop. Featuring printed textiles in muted summertime colours, this collection is too pretty not to share.

These colourful striped bath towels are just right for summer, and pretty enough (without screaming kitschy beach towel) to display in a bathroom through the winter.

In a sea of primary-coloured polyester patio umbrellas, these fringed boho beauties are a breath of fresh air.

There are plenty of bedding options in the Kerry Cassill webshop. I have to say, I like them all! Lucky for me, they all seem to layer beautifully.

These fabric-covered notebooks also caught my eye. These would make the perfect hostess gift this summer.

Happy shopping!

Photo credits:
1-4. Kerry Cassill Shop


Reiko Caron

Finally, the weather has warmed up enough to consider eating outdoors again. If you're in the market for a new set of dining furniture, here are a few options that I think would do the job nicely. Enjoy your alfresco dining in style!

The Dexter Dining Collection from West Elm has an expandable dining table, seating up to six when expanded. The driftwood finish has a nice, weathered look to it and the curved-back chairs have a modern elegance to them. There is also a lovely bench available in this collection, if you want to break up all the chairs.

I don't think Ikea's Äpplarö table and Högsten chairs are new this season, but I like how they've suggested these together as a set. I often prefer a "non-set" for dining furniture. I like mixing up the materials and styles — and it's especially fun to shake things up a bit in the backyard. The chairs are made from hand-woven plastic, which will withstand the elements. This "set" definitely has a nice, casual vibe to it.

Crate & Barrel's Darwin dining chair and bench are the perfect light pieces to balance their dark Montague dining table. Again, I like the mix here. The honey-toned teak chairs/bench (which, left untreated, will weather to a lovely silver grey) with white resin wicker pair nicely with the slated, aluminum table. It's always fun to bring in a bench, too — great for kids, and keeps things casual.

Hauser's Coastal dining table (shown here in the driftwood finish) is a modern version (actually made out of metal) of a picnic table. The trestle base is a classic design. It pairs nicely with Hauser's woven rattan Coastal dining chairs.

This Design Within Reach collection is a personal fave. I have the perforated metal Tolix Marais counter stools in my house and I love them. Mix and match with some Tolix Marais A chairs. The plum stools and gunmetal grey would add a nice contrast to a white dining table. I love the Tolix Marais four-seater dining table. I would have considered it for my own outdoor dining area had it been a bit bigger. Having said that, there's nothing stopping you from lining up two of these tables end-to-end.

See more stylish outdoor furniture.

Photo credits:
1. Dexter Outdoor Expandable Dining Collection, West Elm
2. Äpplarö table and Högsten chairs, Ikea
3a. Darwin Dining Chair & Bench, Crate & Barrel
3b. Montague Dining Table, Crate & Barrel
4a. Coastal Dining Side Chair, Hauser
4b. Coastal Dining Table, Hauser
5a. Tolix Marais Stool 18, Design Within Reach
5b. Tolix Marais A Chairs, Design Within Reach
5c. Tolix Marais Four-Seater Dining Table, Design Within Reach


Sally Armstrong

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