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Holiday party season is nearly here! I love to entertain, but I'm hardly a hostess extraordinaire. (Sending an understanding guest to the corner store to haul back a bag of ice because you forgot to refill the trays is deeply uncool.) So when celebrated New York designer Bunny Williams — by all accounts an entertaining whiz — launched a collection of party essentials for Ballard Designs, I asked her how she makes it look so easy and what she's working on next.

Kimberley Brown: What's the key to hosting a successful party?
Bunny Williams: I always try to plan for everything ahead of time so that I am able to enjoy the party along with my guests.

KB: What's your favourite way to entertain?
BW: I love to have a seated dinner, but serve the food on a long buffet so that guests can feel free to help themselves. We'll use a large dinner plate and offer our guests three or four choices of dishes. Then the table is cleared and a dessert is served on small plates. Afterwards, we'll move to the living room for coffee and tea.

KB: Your new collection for Ballard Designs includes dishes, linens and holiday decorations. What ties them all together?
BW: I always say, the more prepared you are, the easier it will be to entertain. This collection comprises all you need to ready your home for guests, from tabletop items and cachepots for flowers, to a wonderfully smelling scented candle and beautiful bone or rattan holders for guest towels.

KB: Any plans to add to the collection in the future?
BW: We are already hard at work on the next collection which will debut in Spring/Summer 2015 and will include outdoor entertaining and tabletop items along with wall decor.

Pick up our December 2014 issue for more on Bunny's new line.

Photo credits:
1. Rectangular Brass Antique Cachepot, AV875
2. Campbell House Dinnerware 16 piece set, BD461
3. Grape Leaf Candy Dish, BT378
4. Bubbly Glasses, BG172


Kimberley Brown

During Toronto International Film Festival season, the infectious buzz around the city could turn even the most modest moviegoer into a celeb-crazed fan. Our team at House & Home caught the TIFF bug early when we began designing the 2014 Red Carpet Suite this summer.

Situated in Roy Thomson Hall, this cocktail lounge is a place for VIP ticket holders and their guests to mingle before the gala screenings, and offers a front-row glimpse at celebrities as they walk the Red Carpet.

Lounges, particularly during TIFF, often bring glamour to mind. In lieu of traditional glamour, we chose a look that depicts the relaxed refinement look we’ve recently admired in our favourite homes and restaurants. Still polished and sophisticated, this “new glamour” is about rich textures like velvets and leather, a saturated colour palette, and strong silhouettes.

This living space by Boston-based designer Frank Roop was our inspiration for the suite. As is his signature, Roop masterfully created a space that is at once colourful and spontaneous, while still elegant and intimate. The success of this look is achieved in the mix, and we frequently referred to Roop’s design over the course of our planning.

By installing khaki-coloured tone-on-tone carpet tiles by Kraus, we easily mimicked the subtle texture Roop had achieved with parchment-coloured wallpaper.

Rather than overwhelming the suite with colour, we accented opposite ends of the room with deep colours – Galapagos Turquoise (2057-20) and Lichen Green (2150-20), both by Benjamin Moore. These bold tones instantly livened the room and made it more intimate.

During my sourcing trips around the city, I looked for furnishings that were low in height, substantial and impeccably tailored.

The Profile Sofa by Roche Bobois is upholstered in rich blue velvet, perfectly complementing the Galapagos Turquoise wall. The scale and craftsmanship of this sofa made it the ideal statement for our centre wall.

The large walls were calling for a gallery arrangement, and movie posters were an obvious choice. We chose vintage posters with strong graphics, and framed them in a variety of ways. It took several sketches to properly arrange the wall and decide how each piece would be framed.

This painterly geometric artwork, called Equation in Blue from Shelter Furniture, anchored the gallery wall.

The Gubi Adnet Mirror from Hollace Cluny is incredibly luxurious with its tan leather strap.

During my visit to the festival this week, it was exciting to see the suite in full-swing — candles burning (flameless, of course), cocktail in hand, anticipating who might walk the Red Carpet next. A night at the movies is still as glamorous as always, just a little more hip this time.

Love the look of relaxed refinement? Watch our Look of the Year video to see how Joel Bray and Stacey Smithers designed a space that brings this concept to life.

Red Carpet Suite Source Guide:
Blue velvet sofa and cream lounge chairs, Roche Bobois
Taupe upholstered sofa, chests and bookshelves, Decorium
Ceramic cocktail tables, Avenue Road
Marble cocktail table, grey lounge chair, velvet stools and blue art, Shelter Furniture
Walnut floor lamp and leather mirror, Hollace Cluny
Citrine high-back chair and mod beige armchairs, Pavilion Modern
Lightbox side tables, Style Garage
Table lamps, Absolutely Inc.
Frames and hurricane vases, Ikea
Custom picture framing, DeSerres
Throw pillows, Tonic Living
Accessories, HomeSense
Trees, Sheridan Nurseries
Carpet, Kraus
Wall colours: Grant Beige (HC-83), Galapagos Turquoise (2057-20), Lichen Green (2150-20), Benjamin Moore

The presenting sponsor of the 2014 TIFF Red Carpet Suite is Quintessentially Lifestyle

Photo credits:
1, 3, 6, 9. Jason Stickley
2. Frank Roop
4. Benjamin Moore
5. Archiproducts
7. Shelter Furniture
8. Gubi


Jenna Cadieux

House & Home magazine designed this year's TIFF Red Carpet Suite, and it's simply stunning! 

Want to see inside? Check out these photos:

Located inside Roy Thomson Hall, the lounge provides a space for festival sponsors and their special guests to retreat before gala screenings.

Update: Read H&H designer Jenna Cadieux's blog post to find out how she pulled the room together.

Jason Stickley

The presenting sponsor of the Toronto International Film Festival Red Carpet Suite is Quintessentially Lifestyle.

A roster of celebrities, from homegrown hockey greats and authors to Hollywood sirens, have donated ties and scarves to help Homes First's second annual fundraiser, Tie One On. Hosted by the CBC's Mary Wiens on May 7, 2014, the auction raises funds to help house 5,000 homeless people living on Toronto streets. 

We know a home is a reflection of personal style, but we thought we'd play a little guessing game to see if you can match the scarf to the stars (and if you really like it, you might want to buy a $50 ticket and make a bid). Scroll down to see the answers at the bottom.

1) No surprise that the Canadian maple leaf is front and centre on this team captain's neckwear. She represented Canada at two Olympic games, and brought home the gold both times.

2) The statuesque blonde who owns this scarf isn't just a pretty face, she won an Oscar for a gripping real life portrayal, and steps into comedic roles just as easily on Arrested Development.

3) The tie pretty much gives away which sport the owner is passionate about, but we love how he rose to the occasion in the "series of the century."

4) This classic, conservative print belongs to a high-powered Ontario politician, but it should probably be red to toe the party line.

5) This appropriately low-key tie neckwear is from a guy who is all about putting the focus on his guests, and making them open up on his nightly Canadian talk show.

6) We love the polished style of this busy actress and producer, who is launching a new lifestyle brand in the footsteps of fellow blonde Gwyneth Paltrow. And who knew she could sing?

7) A tie that's quirky and fun: we wouldn't expect anything less from a master storyteller who delivers the latest dispatches from the Vinyl Café.

8) This blue scarab print scarf must have made the fiery locks of its former owner really pop. It was donated by one of Hollywood's most famous redheads, a multiple-award winning actress who always stuns on the red carpet (and on film, especially when dressed by Tom Ford)

9) This tie is a pretty safe sartorial choice for a Canadian high flyer who spends time orbiting the earth, occasionally while strumming a guitar.


1) Cassie Campbell-Pascall
2) Charlize Theron
3) Paul Henderson
4) Kathleen Wynne
5) George Stroumboulopoulos
6) Reese Witherspoon
7) Stuart McLean
8) Julianne Moore
9) Chris Hadfield

Photo sources:
All courtesy of Tie One On, Charlize Theron via Thunderbird 37


Wendy Jacob

This past weekend, I visited Canada’s annual Interior Design Show 2014 in Toronto and photographed my favourite things. Here are some of the best things I saw.

Decorative tile is a big category this year, since pattern underfoot and on the walls is a huge design trend. Mettro Source has some great ones. Their Arabesque porcelain series in the classic Moorish shape was very cool, and comes in white, pale grey, grey or black.

Their Vintage and Europa series, heavily patterned, had a lot of variety.

This concrete tile from Creekside Tile Company Ltd. caught my eye for its earthy palette and rustic patterns. The dyed concrete tiles can be used indoors or out, and each tile is hand-pressed, creating a relaxed, imperfect look that I love.

The watery, iridescent tones of these glass tiles by Edgewater Studio are so fresh. This Vancouver-based company has a made-to-order program, so you can choose the pattern, material and colour that’s perfect for your project.

Quebec-based Jardin de Ville, which has stores in Toronto and Quebec, featured beautiful tablescapes and outdoor appliances in their booth.

This griddle takes its name from the Spanish word plancha, meaning iron or grill. The cast-iron surface sits atop two gas burners and uses minimal oil to cook everything from fish to eggs, and won’t create any smoke. Condo owners can look forward to an electric balcony-friendly version available at Jardin de Ville this summer.

I loved the combination of the black cast-aluminum table and teak chairs (that spring when you sit!).

This sleek outdoor shower from Jardin de Ville is a Swedish design and hooks up easily to a hose.

Bigfoot Door showed off their amazing high-performance doors and windows, but what caught my eye was the black iron log rack mounted on the wall. Wonder where that came from? Such a simple design.

The Cerana Fireclay Sink by Blanco is the perfect combination of traditional form with modern style. It’s a new take on the farmer’s style sink with the exposed apron.

W Studio recently launched Picture-Perfect Carpets, an exciting program that can turn a high-resolution image into a custom area rug. Imagine the possibilities!

Over at Studio North, Canadian furniture designer Laura Langford showed her Lounge Chair No.137 (Burnt) in dark chocolate leather with a charred ash frame. Pretty gorgeous!

These unique bedside tables by Drake Wood Design are handcrafted using maple, walnut and cedar of Lebanon, and finished with a limestone handle. They would be beautiful in a cottage or country home.

I loved the simple form of Jonathan Sabine’s ash shelf. Jonathan was inspired to create this piece after noticing scaffolding in an old Japanese film. I’m continually drawn to Japanese minimalism for pieces in my own home.

After this inspiring roundup, I look forward to seeing what IDS15 has to bring.

Photo credits:
1-2. Jenna Cadieux
3., 5., 7. Margot Austin
4., 8-13. Lynda Reeves
6. Lauren Petroff


Lynda Reeves

The weather outside was bone chilling but the party was in full swing last night at the 2014 Interior Design Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on January 23. 

The "See the Light" trends space showcased four interiors, including one by designer Shirley Meisels of MHouse Inc., which was presented by Suite 22 Interiors. Meisels put together a trend room for Italian brand Kartell, featuring this closet stocked with fabulous vintage wear (and her own collection of purses). Notice how the light is built into the closet's rod, how cool is that?

“It’s all about glamour,” says Shirley of her trend room. “I love mixing, making a room feel cosy and modern. Eclecticism is a big trend for 2014, mixing metals and vintage and modern looks. The Kartell lights are plastic so I explored the idea of something upscale, using plastic in an unexpected way. People tend to set them in more of a casual space, in this room it feels sophisticated.” Watch this video and see how Shirley put her philosophy into practice when decorating an Edwardian home.

At Korhani Home, models were dressed in carpet fabrics to show off the fashion forward appeal of the brand’s patterns and colours for 2014.

Inside the interactive showcase, models of a very different kind were dressed in Korhani samples in settings from the Mad Hatter's tea party to the court of Versailles. 

Jason Cass of Farrow & Ball posed with Bertie Blue (who has his own #bertieblue hashtag, natch), a skeleton painted in F&B's St. Giles Blue. The theme of the exhibit was science lab, and Bertie lends a touch of Biology 101 authenticity.

Over at Andrew Richard Designs, this model is immune to the -18 temperatures outside and reminds us that better weather lies ahead.

Andrew Bockner (shown at left with brother Richard) pointed out that the marine-grade leather sofa shown behind them will make a big splash in 2014. “The quick-dry foam lets you leave it out all the time because it releases water, and the leather is really durable, it's treated with a new process from Japan.”


And we bumped into H&H senior design editor Margot Austin with designer Grace Castaneda (you can catch a glimpse of Grace's work in this sleek lounge-inspired living room or her own country home on H&H TV online). They both had some fun turning this poster into a living tableau.

Don't miss House & Home Sunday on January 26 as Lynda Reeves and Kelvin Browne of the Gardiner Museum take the H&H stage at noon to discuss how to give well-loved furniture and traditional elements fresh energy. At 1:30 Suzanne Dimma and Mark Challen debate the balance between design and decorating, and at 3 p.m. Mark quizzes designer Sarah Richardson on the best way to create beautiful and happy rooms (for a preview, Sarah talks about IDS here).

Photo credits:

1-3., 5-6., 8. Wendy Jacob
4. Korhani Home
7. Michelle Gelman


Wendy Jacob

The 2014 Interior Design Show is fast approaching. This year features over 300 exhibits showcasing innovative designs and concepts from established designers and emerging names, all under one roof at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, from January 23 to 26. Get your tickets here!

Join H&H on Sunday, January 26 as we take to the main stage for decorating talks. See H&H's Lynda Reeves in conversation with Kelvin Browne of the Gardiner Museum at noon, followed by H&H's Mark Challen with Suzanne Dimma at 1:30 p.m. and special guest and design expert Sarah Richardson at 3 p.m. (Get more information about H&H's Sunday Speakers Series here.)

I asked some of our design editors which exhibits they’re most excited to check out at the show this year. Here’s what they said:

Meg Crossley, H&H Senior Editor: designboom mart & Studio North

I am most excited for the designboom mart, a design bazaar featuring unique items for sale by interesting artisans and shop owners. Last year it was fantastic. It showed a real mixed bag of things: linens, pottery, books, jewelry and more. (I am wearing the ring I bought last year and have had so many compliments!)

It added a great sense of fun to the show because you could leave with something in a bag beyond brochures. A word of advice: it got busy very quickly, so it’s a smart idea to get there early.

Second for me is Studio North. In particular, I love the chairs in Studio North. I think this could be the place we see the next big statement chair.

I always love this exhibit because I think you really see things either totally on-trend or before the trend happens, because you aren't seeing things realized for mass market. Instead, you’re looking at one prototype, one single piece. It always hits home to me that these individuals are creating, which feels closer to true design.

There is an excitement to seeing the prototypes or smaller batch pieces and knowing this could end up in large scale production, or I could be seeing some of these pieces in houses in the future.

Morgan Michener, H&H Senior Style Editor: designboom mart

I'm getting excited to walk the aisles and reconnect with designers and see new products and innovations. Last year designboom mart had so many great, affordable products for purchase — it was a fun destination to hit before leaving the show.

Sarah Hartill, H&H Style Editor: Solo Home

The idea of jetting off on the weekends to an energy-efficient bunkie really interests me. I'm drawn to the design of Joel Loblaw’s work. I'm particularly interested in seeing the end result, considering the collaboration with Style Garage’s aesthetic.

Lauren Petroff, H&H Assistant Design Editor: Studio North

This year, I'm really looking forward to exploring Studio North. It's great to see what aesthetic themes emerge from the collection as a whole, and I'm excited to see up-and-coming Canadian and international design talent.

Learn more about IDS14 at, and click here for a full schedule of events.


Photo credits:


American fashion designer Tory Burch brings her preppy-meets-boho aesthetic to her first home decor collection this month. Inspired by her own home and homespun family heirlooms, the accessories range from classic to quirky.

I'm swooning over this graphic black and white box. Wouldn't it look great on a coffee table?

Needlepoint pillows are designed after cushions Tory's parents, both needlepointers, made for each other when she was young. This little guy is calling my name!

 The Margaux pillows have a wonderfully retro look.

Brass accessories like this box and picture frame are traditional and elegant, and will develop a patina over time for a vintage feel.

A graphic throw is the perfect cosy accessory this season.

Photo credits:
1-5. Tory Burch


Chloe Berge

Are you guilty of drooling over the exquisite scarves and tableware in the windows at Hermès but balking at the price tag? Drop by the heritage brand's Festival Des Métiers exhibit, on now until Sunday at the Design Exchange, and you'll see why their goods fetch a hefty price.

The traveling exhibit features intimate demonstrations by Hermès craftspeople —  flown in from the company's French workshops for the occasion — of their painstakingly intricate design process. From their origin as master harness and saddle makers in 1837 Paris, to their present-day cult status among the fashion set, it's amazing to see these iconic designs by the legacy brand come to life before your eyes. Here are a few things that held me captive at the press preview this week — giddy up!

All Hermès porcelain tableware is handpainted using a multi-step system, starting with a paper sketch. Every different colour added is cured at a different temperature, making each piece a very arduous process!

One of their trademark silk scarves is a 3 month-long, 500 hour process involving up to 46 separate silk screening films. 300 cocoons of silk go into each scarf — wow.


Buttery leather Birkin goodness. I was tempted to make a run for it with one of these babies.

The saddlemaker, where it all began.

Festival Des Métiers runs from Oct 2-6 at The Design Exchange. Drop by this weekend to learn more Hermès secrets of your own.

Photo credits:
1-7. Chloe Berge
Top photo. Hermès


Chloe Berge

Famed Italian architect, designer and artist Paola Navone teamed up with Crate & Barrel to launch a collaboration line last week. Known for her colourful, globally-inspired aesthetic, Navone brings a playful elegance to everyday living. The collection is the first of three that the design duo plans to roll out over the next year, and includes tableware, lighting, textiles and furniture.

If a European getaway isn't in the cards this year, take solace in this dreamy, seaside-hued palette. Bold shapes are swathed in Mediterranean colours that evoke white, sun-drenched buildings above blue Aegean waters.

The pieces in the Como collection are modern and fun, with an artisanal quality that makes each piece feel unique.

Milky glassware has a handmade feel.

White and aqua tableware inspired by Mallorca has a fresh, beachy vibe.

This limited edition teak and tile top table lends a graphic element to a room. Woven white ceramic bowls are a softer, organic contrast.

Cafe-style chairs in synthetic rattan and a digitized houndstooth pattern make a fashion-forward statement.

The Paola Navone for Crate & Barrel collection is available in stores and online now.

Photo credits:
1-6. Chloe Berge


Chloe Berge

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