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Decorating Finds

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

The Aberfoyle antique market recently opened their gates for another delightful season of haggling. With 20 acres of booths and outdoor exhibitor space, the market is a gold mine for devoted collectors.

My countdown to the market's opening weekend begins shortly after Christmas — I'm not kidding. So when my future sister-in-law, Nadia, suggested her and I make a day of it a few Sundays ago, I was more than happy to oblige. We knew that leaving the boys with their trucks and power washers would give us hours of rummage time.

To those who do not share my enthusiasm for the hoary and musty, this may talk you into the idea of adding some aged charm to your decor. To those like me who gush over chipped teacups and rickety chairs, check out the amazing stuff I came across.

If you're looking to add some quirkiness to your kitchen, you're bound to find something on the heaped tables. I find the best stuff hidden in boxes, so be sure to dig around.

The booths can be overwhelming and it's easy to miss a lot. I keep reminding myself to look up!

The selection of china is endless.

I had to tear myself away from this vintage brass fire extinguisher. At $89 it would have exceeded the budget I had allotted myself for the day — maybe I'll find it there again next time.

Windows are easy to come by at antique markets, but a knockout like this is definitely a great find — I'm surprised it was still available.

Another reason to look up; the lighting is a never-ending array of crystal, brass wrought iron and porcelain.

This solid wood bench was only $80; an incredible deal for a piece that will last a lifetime. If only I had the space.

I had big dreams for this tub. A glossy coat of expensive paint and some refurbished hardware would have kept this $200 find way under the cost of a brand new one. Another piece I'll have to forgo for now.

If you're looking for great storage ideas, check out the vintage boxes on the lawn.

I love the look of a historic vignette.

Ducks, anyone?

I'm happy to say I went home with two sweet pieces of history. This aged industrial stool ...

... and a stunning vintage engagement ring from Cynthia Findlay my (now fiancé) Pablo surprised me with — just another magical moment in the world of antiquing!

For more flea market finds, watch a video of Michael Penney's antiquing tips, read about Sally Armstrong's trip to Maine and Hilary Smyth's trip to France.

Photo credits:
1-14. Floriana Paonessa


Floriana Paonessa

When it comes to designing a room with contemporary furnishings, it can be difficult to strike a balance between achieving clean lines and creating a space that is still warm and inviting.

But modern designs don't have to sacrifice comfort; Mobilia has found a sweet spot between streamlined simplicity and the comforts of home with its European-inspired furniture and home accessories. (This blog post is sponsored by Mobilia.) The Canadian company's luxury collections are influenced by the latest trends from around the globe and are built to last with quality materials. Each piece offers a great way to amp up style in your living room, dining room or bedroom, whether you have an urban space, dream of a European lifestyle or love a more playful look. Plus, choose from all kinds of room accessories — from bedside stands and wall art to table ornaments and area rugs — and warm up any room with Mobilia's line of handmade gold leaf accessories.

The Albia collection is constructed with handpicked walnut veneer, and customers can customize the colour and finish. The tables and dressers feature painted glass tops, giving each classic wooden piece just the right modern touch. The best part? The entire Albia collection is made in Canada.

This line of living room furniture from Mobilia’s “Gen Y” collection is called “marshmallow” for a reason — its feather-filled seat and back are so comfortable, you’ll want to sink right in. The modular design makes it easy to create your own configuration, depending on the size of your living room.

Inspired by New York City living, this Times Square dining collection offers several options to customize each piece, from the wood and metal of the table and chairs right down to the leather or fabric of the seat coverings.

This sleek bedroom set is also from Mobilia’s Times Square collection. The golden side tables and accessories add a rich glow to the room.

This Whistler line will make you feel like you’re living in a modern ski chalet. The sectional is made with premium leather and its seats and backs are filled with feathers. (Don’t like leather? There are several fabric options to choose from, too.)

Which modern look is your favourite?

To view the complete Mobilia home collection, check out their catalogue and visit for more information.

Photo credits:
1-5. Mobilia


Emily Sadler

I've been dreaming about tubs lately. I've never lived in a home with a bathroom large enough to have a freestanding tub and walk-in shower. But I firmly believe in the notion of collecting ideas for the time when I might live in such a place. Always good to be prepared, I say.

I Instagrammed this copper beauty last January — a showpiece of the Ikea bathroom installation at the Interior Design Show in Toronto. No, you can't buy this at Ikea, but the clever team there was showing how you can save a bundle by designing a bathroom with Ikea cabinetry and fittings, then splurge on a stunner like this. It was a very brave marketing move that helps spark the imagination. Job well done, Ikea. And just last week I spotted this tub again at Addison's, a vintage plumbing emporium, presided over by soft-spoken Scot and utter font of plumbing knowledge, Jim Addison, and his adorable St. Bernard, Morag. Such a beaut (the tub and Morag)!

On the weekend I found this handsome set-up on, a goldmine of tubs on the web. This design combines the best features of a big open shower and a deep tub all in one spot. The key here is that all water splash and overflow find their way into an in-floor drain. No shower curtain assaults. It's history-meets-modern-wet-room. Love it.

Here are some other dreamy tubs spotted on the site:

This one has a bit of an ocean liner vibe, but I think it's definitely more Billy Zane than Leo. I'm okay with that. The brass rivets make it.

Copper is coming on strong in kitchens and bathrooms. This is an interesting design, since it succeeds in looking vintage and contemporary at the same time.

One thing I'll always love about a clawfoot tub is that it offers an opportunity to up the decorating ante in a way other tubs don't. This one delivers a pop of Sherwin-Williams Oceanside Blue (SW-6496). So perfect for a waterside home.

Permit me to digress from the topic of bathtubs for a moment to share this — holy amazing! I would love to do a setup like this for the outdoor shower I'm planning for my cottage. Only three more sleeps until I'm headed there for the first visit of the season. Can't wait.

See our Spa-Like Bathrooms gallery for more freestanding tubs.

Photo credits:
1. Margot Austin
2-6. Baths of Distinction


Margot Austin

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