I know fall is basically upon us, but I'm still finding it hard to let go of summer. My favourite part of the summer is definitely our family's annual trip to the coast of Maine. One of the best discoveries down there this year was a neat new store in the tiny village of Cape Porpoise (a few minutes drive northeast of Kennebunkport). Cape Porpoise Outfitters is the name of the store and it's home is an amazing red barn — apparently an old livery stable. The owner, Jared Paul Stern, has definitely brought a large dose of cool into this sleepy little village, selling antiques like vintage signs and watches, leather armchairs, old books (on subjects like James Bond, Steve McQueen, sailing, antique cars) and of course lots of interesting items with nautical references. It all feels very preppy, but with a bit of a New York edge. Can't wait to go back next summer!
(The store is located at 8 Langsford Road, which is just off the main drag in Cape Porpoise.)
1-4. Sally Armstrong
Behind the scenes tours are one of my favourite perks of being a design editor. I had just such a tour recently and I'm pleased to share a sneak peek with you. Recently my colleagues Meg Crossley, Sarah Hartill and I visited the Markham, Ont. finishing shop for Woodcraft, makers of solid wood furniture for more than 30 years. The location features a large showroom up front, and in back is a busy hive of activity.
Woodcraft uses Canadian-grown and harvested pine, oak, maple, ash and cherry. The various components of tables, chairs and cabinetry are milled, turned and assembled at another Canadian facility. Then they are shipped to this location and await the next steps in the manufacturing process here, neatly arranged on shelves. I just love the smell of fresh wood — definitely one of my top five favourite aromas.
This beauty of a table caught our eye right away and we couldn't resist touching it. The wood had a smooth satiny feel and we all agreed we'd like to see it finished with just some oil and wax. Woodcraft will custom finish any of its pieces, but offers 20 standard stain options as well. The same table (Jackson Double Pedestal Table, from $1,360) is in the showroom in this yummy chocolatey stain. Trestle base tables are so versatile. Style-wise they straddle the line between country and contemporary with a slight industrial edge. Practically speaking they are great for accommodating many diners with ample legroom for everyone.
My favourite table is this one called the Pottery Table (from $2,410), which I spotted on the Woodcraft website. I love the large turned legs. I'm a lover of antiques, but I know from experience that the search for an antique table like this can take years — they are highly sought after. Having one custom made makes a lot of sense. Another bonus is that this table can be made to extend and add leaves, which is rarely the case for antiques. I took this detail shot in the showroom of the extension mechanism that Woodcraft makes. It's so beautiful and all wood!
Another favourite piece is the Homestead Buffet & Hutch. The one in the showroom is painted a wonderful warm white. I could picture this piece filled with ironstone in an unfitted country kitchen or with stacks of towels and pretty toiletries in a large principal bathroom. It's the kind of piece you could own for a lifetime and use in many different rooms of a house.
See our Grand Country Houses gallery for more timeless furniture choices.
Now that Labour Day has come and gone, the days are shorter and the evenings cooler, and I can't help but feel the fall decorating itch! Just like in fashion, when it comes to fall decorating, I love to layer!
Take my sofa, for example. Throughout the spring and summer, I prefer to sparsely decorate the sofa with a few key accent pillows. Less is more — no blankets or throws, and all in soft, light fabrics and shades. I mean, who wants their back against a wool pillow when it's 35+ degrees out!?
Come fall, it all changes. I want to load that sucker up with as many pillows as it can hold. And bring on the blankets and throws to cuddle into on cool nights.
One look I absolutely love that's perfect for fall is the contrasting upholstered seat. Here H&H's Suzanne Dimma has left the body of her gorgeous William Birch sofa in a summer-ready white slipcover, but cosied things up with luxurious velvet seat cushions.
Consider using a patterned throw or even a few yards of fabric draped over the seat and up the back of your sofa like this photo from Elle Decor. Add a few throw pillows in contrasting patterns and colours and the blank white sofa is totally fall ready!
For me, I think I'm going to combine two of these ideas into one. Instead of splurging on new slipcovers for my sofa's seat cushion, I think I'll wrap them with a piece of textured linen fabric.
Or even this cosy linen cotton duvet cover from West Elm.
For fall-appropriate colour and pattern, I'm loving these quilted pillows, also from West Elm. I'd love to load up the sofa with a bunch of these guys and then throw in a few solids, possibly velvet in a rich charcoal, like this one below from Crate & Barrel.
Just add a cool evening, a glass of red wine and a good book, and me and my sofa will be set for fall!
Browse our Fall Decorating Ideas for more tips.
1. Houseandhome.com, photography by Rob Fiocca
2. Elle Decor March 2012 via Carolina George, photography by William Abranowicz
3. House & Home October 2011 issue, photography by Janet Kimber
4. Linen Cotton Duvet Cover, West Elm
5. Kantha Quilted Pillows, West Elm
6. Monroe Charnavy Pillow, Crate & Barrel
I'm going through Olympics withdrawal. I miss the drama and excitement and emotion of the games, which jumped, tumbled, sprinted and dove out of my boob tube nonstop for two weeks straight. I know, I know, the U.S. Open has started, but it's still early days and with Nadal out of the mix, it feels more subdued than usual. So in an attempt to take the edge off my malaise, I decided to virtually snoop around London. I found just the retail therapy I was looking for when I clicked on Folklore's website and e-shop.
Opened in May by interior designer Danielle Reid (who designed the shop's interior) and her husband Rob, the store focuses on mindful designs made with care. That includes everything from furniture and lighting to accessories and tableware.
Among its bespoke pieces are these fetching screenprinted pillows, depicting a backgammon board and dominos, which were designed exclusively for the store by artist David Shillinglaw. They're made by hand in London by the Working Well Trust charity, which helps people dealing with mental health issues integrate back into the work force.
This chair reminds me of Cameron MacNeil's clever DIY project from our own pages of H&H. And these linen blankets are made by artisans on 100-year-old antique shuttle looms, which is a fun fact you can share with guests who will inevitably ask, "Ooooh, where did you find this?"
Two of my personal favourites: the Pulp Pendant, which is handmade in Spain from recycled newspaper pulp, and the powder coated steel Anchor paperweight. Made in the U.S., it's the size of a postcard and comes in a canvas silkscreened airmail envelope. Plus, the white anchor is separate from the red frame, so it's really two paperweights in one. Adorbs!
There are lots of gorgeous tabletop finds too, from handmade porcelain milk bottles with gold stoppers by British designer Shan Valla (who cast them from an original vintage English bottle) to beautiful woven buckets made in Brooklyn by Doug Johnston. (I also spotted these in Toronto at Bluebird.)
And this is only the tip of the Folklore iceberg! But proceed to the website with caution: like most visits to London, my web trip took way longer and was far more expensive than anticipated.
See Suzanne Dimma's favourite London shops for more inspiration.
Last week, my colleague Kimberley Brown and I took a day to visit the Toronto Gift Show at the International Centre. This is a semi-annual trade show to reveal the new and exciting products and trends for the next season.
As we toured around the show, we tested samples of Nespresso and checked out new and exciting gadgets that you may find under your Christmas tree this year (I know — already!).
Here are a few of the items that spoke to me at the show:
These gorgeous upholstered pieces are by Lady Rosedale. The Markham-based company had some really great new fabrics for pillows and slipcovers in the primary colours, as well as some beautiful linen napkins that would be perfect hostess gifts for a weekend away at a cottage, lodge or camp. They also had some Union Jack inspiration — a trend we saw in many of the stalls at the show.
Steven & Chris was our next notable stop. These two amazing men are loved by House & Home editors, and I was thrilled to see their new collection. Their booth, like many others, was set up as various vignettes. Two of my favourite areas were this first one with a hit of glamour, and this second one with a dash of tribal.
Directly connected to the Steven & Chris booth was Cobi Style. Cobi featured vibrant, inviting colours for the holiday season — definitely something for everyone.
For coffee lovers, Nespresso's newest model — released this September — is sure to be a hit come Christmas. This model is called the 'U' because both the water tank at the back and the drain portion at the front can be moved to either side of the machine and held with magnets, making the machine a U-shape. The functions on top of the machine are also very sleek. All around this machine is very compact and useful for small spaces.
This was merely a snippet of the exciting new products we spotted for next year. Keep your eye out for others in the upcoming holiday issues!
For more trends, browse our Affordable 2012 Trend Finds photo gallery.
1-7. Holly Meighen
I'm really digging the new EQ3 catalogue. It hit my inbox a while back along with an invitation to check out the new EQ3 store in Toronto's Liberty Village neighbourhood next week. I'm looking forward to seeing the pages of the catalogue come to life and seeing the Marimekko shop-in-shop.
The catalogue feels like a beautiful coffee table book. The photography and styling are lovely. I have it on good authority that it is the work of EQ3 creative director and Winnipegger Thom Fougere in collaboration with Zurich and London-based photographers Véronique Hoegger and Nicole Bachmann. Well done, I say. Here are some of my favourite photos and products.
A deep blue sofa — why not? It looks so inviting thanks to the haphazard arrangement of cushions and the casually draped throw. I wonder how many times they fussed with the throw before they got it just like this? I like to think it just happened this way. Love that grey chair, too — the Valentin. It's a perfect small space choice that can move from dining table to desk to living room.
EQ3's merch includes the company's own designs, like the Tobi Modbox storage system, which I think is genius. I dream about doing a wall of these in my house to sort out my massive magazine collection and my personal prop department (so many vases!). Also on offer at EQ3 are wares from world-renowned modern makers like Vitra, Magis, Stelton and Ton — the original Thonet factory in the Czech Republic, which makes this classic café chair that I have an ongoing crush on.
I'm seeing the cobalt blue colour of this chair pop up on my radar lately. I'm embracing it as an antidote to the overdoses of too-sweet turquoise I have been subjected to in recent years. This is the Vitra Tip Ton chair. With it is the Frame desk. The $149 price tag means you can afford to add a custom cut glass top so you can tuck photos and other ephemera underneath to make a pretty display. That's what I'd do. Again, love the styling here: Interesting bits, just enough, not too much.
I sure wish I were invited to this brunch. It looks so delicious and fun. If I had to make a critique I'd say I wish I could see a couple of napkins for a little softness here, but I can easily look past that to drool over the cheese. Plain white dishware has never looked so luscious! And I need one of those wooden boards, stat.
Here are a few more EQ3 faves:
I'm always a sucker for stripes, but I appreciate the looser design of the lines on the Nautical rug, 100% wool, 8' x 10', $600.
The Reverie loveseat looks plucked from the lobby of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (or will it be Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Harris?), but I'm picturing it as a breath of fresh air for the TV room in the basement of my Toronto bungalow. From $1,249.
The combo of big white shade, blond wood and red cord is a can't-lose design formula in my books. Finn table lamp, $130.
The Simone dinette table is a 36" diameter pedestal table with a marble top for $400. This is the kind of piece you could splurge on for your first place but keep forever and find a new spot for it in every home. It's a modern design that can blend in with traditional surroundings to give a room a little style kick.
For more timeless designs, see our Iconic Furniture In Hot Hues photo gallery.
Sometimes, when I'm at my desk and my legs are bopping up and down at a million miles an hour, I feel like I'm in grade school again. I just can't sit still and all I want to do is spring up, run around, and burn off some extra energy. But instead of changing into my gym clothes at lunch, I'm tempted to try working at an adjustable standing desk. The concept is really simple: a crank or lever allows you to move the work surface up and down, so throughout the day, you can easily transition from sitting to standing to be more comfortable (and less slouchy). The idea being that sitting for hours at a time really isn't very healthy (or productive), and standing for a few hours at a time might be quite good for the mind and body. Some big companies like Facebook and Google are already trying it in their offices.
The problem for me is finding a standing desk that looks good. It's hard! A lot of the versions I've checked out are too corporate or mechanical looking. The problem is that I'm not looking for an office desk, but one for my own apartment, so the aesthetic is particularly important. I've rounded up three options below, but if anyone out there has any leads, please let me know!
Ohio Design's Adler Table is by far my favourite. It's unfussy and simple, but still has character thanks to the exposed gears and hardwood top.
The look is a bit industrial but very contemporary.
Humanscale's Float Table is also very simple, but a little more sleek.
It's incredibly easy to adjust with this simple hand lever. The construction looks clean-lined and thoughtful, which I definitely appreciate.
MultiTable.com has a more affordable, practical option with its basic black table. It's not terribly fancy (like the two above), but it's all I'm looking for.
Above is the corner of my small apartment where the desk will likely go (after I find a new home for the easel and the CB2 Scan chair). The wall is a pretty bold red, so I need the desk to be fairly unobtrusive so as not to compete.
What do you think?
See more inspiring home offices in Seema Persaud's blog post.
Although chrome, brushed nickel and oil-rubbed bronze have been notable players when it comes to metallic finishes, warmer golden tones are now breaking into the market in a major way. In recent seasons, we've been seeing more antique brass and gold in applications that used to seem courageous. Well, now that the yellow-toned metallic finishes are entering the realm of "common", rose-toned finishes could begin to make their mark.
As many trends do, rose gold hues are trickling down from the fast-paced fashion industry. On the 2012 and 2013 runways, many designers prominently showcased the warm, feminine and optimistic tone. Here we have looks from Just Cavalli's Spring 2012 RTW collection and Felder Felder's Autumn/Winter 2012 collection. This pair of Giuseppe Zanotti heels and bracelet from Tiffany & Co. are also right on trend.
Commonly referred to as pink or blush gold, it's actually a luxurious copper and gold alloy with an iridescent tone. Modern interpretations experiment with material as well as tone. This flatware set from Anthropologie (no longer available), dramatic chandelier by Lara Kirar and tables by Tom Dixon show how the metal has been making its way into home decor. Personally, I like the application with glass and transparent surfaces. Variation in shape, material, opacity and quantity allow rose gold to be used for many types of home accessories.
What are your thoughts on rose gold in the home?
See Morgan Michener's blog post on gold accents for more inspiration.
1a. Spring 2012 RTW, Just Cavalli
1b. Autumn/Winter 2012, Felder Felder
2a. What do I Wear? blog
2b. Frank Gehry Torque Micro Octagon Bangle, Tiffany & Co.
3. Bronze Age Flatware, Anthropologie
4. Caviar Collection for Arteriors Home, Laura Kirar
5. Block Dining Table, Tom Dixon
When I got the go-ahead that our little Toronto house would be shot for the September issue of House & Home, I started to hatch a plan for a refresh that snowballed into something a bit more comprehensive than I had anticipated. The fact is, I had been planning most of the changes for a while — but the photo shoot deadline is the reason I got it all done — in just over two weeks! I can't help it. Without a tight deadline I can barely get anything accomplished — I attribute it to years working at magazines. Here's a peek behind the scenes at the process for readying the living and dining spaces for their close-up.
Here's how our living room was looking in the scouting shots. I submitted the shots with a few caveats.
I knew I wanted to change the light fixture to a George Nelson saucer pendant. I was totally over the previous chandelier — a bit of big box cheapy plastic number. I could never keep up with dusting it. We donated it. I couldn't get the real Nelson saucer shipped in time for the shoot so settled for a repro. Sometimes deadlines do require compromise.
The sofa in the window:
It's a green mohair beauty but was residing here temporarily until I could move it to our weekend place in Tweed, Ontario. It was time for it to go. Besides, the combo of a full-size sofa with a loveseat opposite was overwhelming the space.
The white love seat:
A friend had expressed interest in purchasing it if we ever decided to get rid of it. Um, sold!
Our book collection had outgrown the stumpy shelves we'd had since our first home together. It was time for some tall ones — more room for books and accessories.
The coffee table:
I still liked it but thought the combo of it with the saucer pendant above would be entirely too Jetsons for our sensibilities. We switched it for a simple square Parsons style. Better.
Soon after we decided to oust our existing sofa and love seat, my husband Kevin lucked into this dreamy sofa. He has been in the antiques biz for 18 years (his latest venture, Vintage Fine Objects is launching soon) and can conjure the most beautiful pieces out of nowhere. He's good to have on the design team! The sofa was the perfect apartment size for our window and is in the classic William Birch style, with down-filled back and seat cushions. Actually, it's our first proper, good quality, grown-up sofa. We should not have waited so long! The existing upholstery fabric was in pristine condition. I snapped this photo of Kevin one morning when I noted how he was matching the fabric. He loved the pink ribbon chintz pattern (!). I wanted a slipcover. I won, but now of course we have the best of both worlds and can switch back and forth as we like. Lisa Buchner and her team at Potato Skins in Toronto worked to our tight shoot deadline. Thanks Lisa!
My first stop on any decorating journey is fabric stores and showrooms. I pulled tons and tons of samples. I carried them around for days. I edited and re-edited. I love fabric editing. A tiny swatch of cloth can launch a million decorating plans in my head (I'm a broken record on this). My eureka moment came at the Robert Allen showroom when I found the watercolour landscape linen in the photo above. As is so often my modus operandi, it became the jumping off point for every decorating decision that would follow. Funny thing is, in the final room I used it only on three pillows. But to me it is the most important element. I didn't want any competitors to that print, so instead chose solids in colours pulled from the print. The yellow block-print Pierre Frey wallpaper was destined for the dining room and the small print fabric from Tonic Living was set for the kitchen window, which is visible from the living room.
My genius husband found these stunning French Empire chairs in the nick of time. The original blue velvet upholstery was much shabbier than it looks in the photo, plus I really wanted to keep green and yellow as the key colour statements. We happened to already have a bolt of green velvet that was a great coordinate for our signature print. Off the chairs went to the upholsterer.
Our fireplace bench got a fresh facelift with a blush coloured Beacon Hill mohair. I did this upholstery job myself to save a few bucks. I still need to add a row of brass nail heads along the bottom... someday.
I've wanted a piece of fully upholstered furniture for a year or so. We spotted this bench at Frontier Sales consignment shop and I knew it was the right scale to tuck under our console table. To be honest, I like the fabric that was on it — it had a certain Kelly Wearstler feel. But the neutral colour was a snore. I wanted zing, so it was recovered in sunny yellow linen.
Our quick turnaround time and tight budget meant built-in bookshelves around the fireplace were not an option. Luckily I found this tall bookcase at Scandinavian big box chain Jysk for just $120. The only downside — the "espresso" finish was all wrong for our space. I wanted the pair I bought to disappear against the wall, allowing the books and accessories to be the interest. No worries, I just painted them in Benjamin Moore's Simply White (OC-117), the colour used on the trim in our place.
The dining room was also treated to a few quick fixes before photo shoot day. I switched out the fussy pleated chandelier shades for crisp new parchment ones from Lowe's. The yellow block-print wallpaper in my collection of samples above replaced this sepia-toned dogwood blossom paper and is like a breath of fresh air.
Kevin also found a set of four of these fun metal chairs with caning and faux bamboo details. I like their Palm Beach vibe. We had new seats made for them using more remnant fabrics we already had on hand: white Sunbrella fabric for the cushions with a bit of yellow for piping.
Check out the September issue of House & Home (hits stands on Monday) and the video on Online TV to see the finished living and dining room. Plus, check back for future blog posts about more behind-the-scenes photo shoot prep.
I live in an apartment on the second floor of an old Victorian house with knob and tube wiring and, that's right, no air conditioning. Earlier this week, temperatures soared to 36°C. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but that's really, really hot. As a result, my usual defenses — lowering the blinds to keep the sun out, cracking the windows for a cross breeze — were not up to the task. I arrived home to a soupy abode that only started to cool down a full three hours after the sun set.
The humble fan is my only true weapon to beat the heat, and recently one of mine died rather dramatically when its motor issued a sudden pop of light followed by a puff of smoke. It had given me close to 10 good years — not bad for an ancient technology. I've always been partial to vintage-inspired stainless steel fans, but I decided to replace it with Dyson's bladeless Air Multiplier. I love its sleek look and it promised a quiet, powerful whirl that sounded (literally) perfect for my bedroom.
I brought it home, plugged it in and marveled at its ultra cool appearance and smart design. In seconds, I put it together and was impressed with its smooth movement and easy to use knobs. But the breeze it produced? Meh. I also found it surprisingly loud. Not in the soft white noise way of traditional fans, but in a mechanical way that reminded me of the fan in my computer when it kicks into high gear.
In the end, I kept my old stainless steel fan (the one that's still alive) in my bedroom. On a sultry summer night, a good fan determines whether you sleep soundly or wake up a hot mess (putting your pillowcase in a plastic bag and placing it in the freezer for a few hours before you go to bed helps, too). So the Dyson is in my living room, which faces north and stays cooler longer. It's the perfect place for it: although utilitarian, it's a statement piece that commands ooohs and aaahs from anyone who walks into the room. And when friends visit with little ones in tow, I don't worry about curious fingers trying to poke through a grate.
In the end, I still favour my vintage fans. But if anyone tries to swap my Dyson vacuum for a mid-century model, they better be prepared for the fight of their life.
How about you? Which fans are you keeping cool with?
For Sarah Hartill's favourite fan, read her blog post.
1-2. Kimberley Brown