As you may have read in my previous blog post, we're giving our open-concept main floor a bit of a facelift. Part of that process involves a new pendant light over the dining table. It's definitely a focal point on the main floor — it's the first thing you see when you walk in the front door, and it's visible from both the kitchen and living room. Here's the old fixture:
We're looking for something a little less sparkly and more sophisticated, but still dramatic enough to command attention in such a long space. Here are a few we've been tossing up:
As I mentioned in my previous post, I love the look of a round pendant, and this one from West Elm would look great with our grey accents.
However, I like this edgier metal version from Restoration Hardware. It's dramatic and industrial-looking, but not too trendy that we'll tire of it.
We also think a longer rectangular pendant would suit the long, open-concept space. This boxy version from Restoration Hardware also comes in a grey linen.
Edison-style filament bulbs are right on trend, but do we think they're timeless? I'm undecided.
These double-shade pendants are both industrial and long. I love the pulley system on this one from Restoration Hardware.
Another popular version from Restoration Hardware.
This one from Union Lighting has simple brushed stainless shades that I think would suit our space perfectly.
I'm not sure we would go with something this black, but these caged pendants would add an industrial element when set against our nature-inspired wallpaper (more on that later). You can adjust the length of each cord, too.
Again, I love the black, but it may be too much of a contrast against all the white. But these three pendants with shiny gold interiors have me dreaming of gold accents like this oven hood from Dwell.
These metal pendants have unique shapes and curves, but the black may be too black.
These oversized half-chrome bulbs are quirky and whimsical, but at $28 each, they really up the price of the actual light fixture. This was definitely our favourite statement piece though.
A more subtle pendant from CB2 would fill the space lengthwise, but we were thinking filament bulbs would jazz it up a bit more, since it's quite simple as is. What do you think?
And lastly, you can't go wrong with a brushed metal factory-inspired pendant. This one from CB2 has that worn grey finish we always gravitate towards.
What do you think? Any advice? Stay tuned for my next posts to see which one we went with.
1-2. Gwen McAuley
3. Short Drum Pendant, West Elm
4. Antiqued Metal Drum Pendant, Restoration Hardware
5. Rectangular Shade Pendant, Restoration Hardware
6. Filament Chandelier, Restoration Hardware
7. Industrial Pulley Double Pendant, Restoration Hardware
8. Clemson Double Pendant, Restoration Hardware
9. From Union Lighting, photo by Gwen McAuley
10. From Morba, photo by Gwen McAuley
11. From Modern Furniture Knockoff, photo by Gwen McAuley
12. From Royal Lighting, photo by Gwen McAuley
13. From Morba, photo by Gwen McAuley
14. Firefly Pendant Lamp, CB2
15. Victory Pendant Lamp, CB2
There is something about the temperature drop in September that makes me want to spend all my time in the kitchen roasting and baking. Maybe it's the heat coming from the oven? Anyway, after a long hot summer of steering clear of the oven, it's nice to get reacquainted with an old friend. And what's nicer than to introduce an old friend with some new ones? Here are a few fellows that I would like my oven to get to know this season:
I love the entire line of Dansk Kobenstyle cookware from Crate & Barrel, but I'm in need of something along the lines of this baker. Imagine a bubbling lasagna or gooey brownies in here... yum.
Then I clicked on the blue motif colourway and promptly passed out. Gorgeous.
And finally, because I don't want to leave my stovetop all on his lonesome, I think these copper guys would be a lovely addition to the gathering.
But seriously, how good would all that stuff look in my new kitchen? What? You thought I might go a post or two without mentioning it? Sorry guys, it's kind of the best thing that's happened to me since the birth of my son (who turns four this Friday — happy birthday, Louis!) so you will have to endure just a little longer.
See our Bistro & Restaurant-Style Kitchens for more great finds.
1. Dansk Kobenstyle White Baker, Crate & Barrel
2-3. Judy Jackson Nested Baker Sets, Anthropologie
4. All-Clad 7 Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Cop R Chef, The Bay
5. House & Home Kitchens & Baths 2012 special issue, photography by Ashley Capp
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