One of the main reasons I enjoy watching period dramas is simply for the set design. Elaborate wallpapers, tapestries, endless mouldings and antique furniture — ah, what's not to love? One of my favourite pieces to look out for are settees, and these three current versions satisfy my desire for old world style without feeling dated:
Here in Kate Spade's apartment is a settee ideal for a small space — not much bulk here. I adore the contrast piping, and love the mismatched gallery wall behind.
This settee is slightly more substantial — and looks a fair bit cushier to sit on, too! As a pink fan, I love it. And a gilded frame doesn't hurt.
On my wishlist is designer Suzanne Kasler's Frederica Bench — a repro of a classic French style. That panelled fabric looks so fresh to me!
For more settee inspiration, browse these photos.
According to researchers, January is the most depressing month of the year. Consumer debt, failed New Year's resolutions and bad weather all add up to a kind of almanac rock bottom. Personally, I believe February is even worse because of its relative distance from a recent holiday. The best medicine is to spend a few minutes Google-imaging plush resorts and daydreaming about vacation getaways. So on this dreary Monday, I invite you to join me on a little trip south.
When H&H interviewed J.Crew Creative Director Jenna Lyons for our January 2012 issue, we learned of her love for Aman Resorts. The high-end chain has more than 20 hotels in off-the-grid locals from the private isle of Pamalican in the Philippines to the pristine central and western valleys of Bhutan.
Situated just a few minutes from the ruins of Angkor Wat, Amansara resort in Cambodia was once the guesthouse of King Norodom Sihanouk, where he played host to dignitaries and celebrities the likes of French president Charles de Gaulle and Jacqueline Kennedy.
If you're a looking for a little adventure (think safari hikes and tiger sightings) Aman-i-Khás resort is in fact a camp in the middle of a wildlife sanctuary in Rajasthan, India. Now this is my kind of camping.
And how about a romantic Valentine's Day getaway to Bora Bora? Nothing quite says "I love you" like a thatched bungalow with panoramic views of turquoise ocean and Mount Otemanu.
The Four Seasons resort in French Polynesia.
Okay everyone, back to work!
For more daydreaming, read about Gwen McAuley's favourite Thai resorts.
Yes, we all have what others may deem unhealthy decorating obsessions. For me, I can't stop buying charcuterie boards. In fact, I was taught how to make them and included the lesson in our October 2011 issue on the Editor DIY page (you can also get the instructions here). So imagine how many I have in the house. It is getting silly.
But I did come across a great image that gave me pause — I could take one or two charcuterie boards out of rotation and use them for a totally different purpose. One of my long boards would be great across the tub for soaps and candles.
The board above has warm wood with rich graining — a great contrast to solid, often white bathroom fixtures. This one gives the tub — the whole bathroom, in fact — a little soul. So that means with two tubs in my house, two charcuterie boards used in bathrooms instead of entertaining, well, that just gives me an excuse to buy two new ones. Don't judge — I fully admit to my decorating obsession.
For more easy DIY projects, see our DIY Guide.
I have absolutely fallen in love with green this season, a colour I never thought I would put ahead of the others. Here are a few of my favourite green spaces:
This is a clean, modern living room with bold green walls and splashes of green throughout.
I love this entryway with all the panelling and molding — it has a very classic feel. The different tones of green are a refreshing take on the usual white.
This kitchen is fresh and elegant. I love the pops of aqua green on the tiles and the stool cushions. The base of the island is painted in the same hue, sanded down for a vintage look.
See more green decor in our Green Rooms photo gallery.
In our upcoming March issue, we're featuring some great bold paint colours in our Colour Guide, and I found it really inspiring. Honestly, the majority of my house is painted white, with the exception of a black accent wall which some of you saw in my book nook blog post. (Some of you expressed your dislike, but to each their own.)
However, I have been itching to splash some colour on my walls. I'm not talking about painting another accent wall or doing all the walls in one colour. No, that would be too easy. I like to challenge myself. That is, I like to make things difficult so that I can procrastinate. Then when I do finally start, my husband will inevitably take over as I am "doing it wrong." It's all part of the plan (hey, why marry an artist if I can't use his expertise to my benefit?)
So, here are a few of the paint ideas that have tickled my fancy:
First we have this lovely idea from Farrow & Ball. You've probably seen this photo as it made the rounds quite a bit when it first came out. I would replicate this in a heartbeat if I had the ceiling height. You can check out more of the Farrow & Ball paint jobs/colour combos on the fab Man Make Home blog.
These are both from the talented photographer Emma Lee. They are the same idea but a different technique. I love them both!
And here we have a third colour with the red stripe.
I'd love to have soft pink walls like set designer Jean Christophe Aumas.
With the temperature starting to drop, all I can think about is warm, cosy and intimate spaces. As much as I love Canadian winters, with photos like these I'm inspired grab a book and dive under the covers for the long haul. Maybe they'll warm you up too:
This space from H&H's special condos issue has beautiful and warm earth tones. The chocolate wall colour grounds the room while accents of green, beige and chartreuse give off great character. The crisp white bedding and abundance of pillows makes the bed feel luxurious and comfy.
Oh, how romantic! A soft sheer canopy along with an imperfectly made bed gives this space a lived-in intimate feeling.
The glamorous chandelier, high vaulted ceilings and well-placed accessories puts this polished room by designer and cookbook author Sophie Conran on of my favourites list.
This look from West Elm is sophisticated and relaxed. A fabric headboard and hits of neutrals soften the industrial feel of the brick wall and view to exterior fire escapes. A pop of colour in the bedding helps keep the space fun and relaxed.
For more cosy inspiration, see our 16 Gorgeous Bedrooms photo gallery.
1. House & Home Condos 2009 issue, photography by Harry Gils
2. House & Home August 2009 issue, photography by Angus Fergusson
3. Houseandhome.com, design by Sophie Conran
4. Organic Painted Swirl Duvet Cover, West Elm
Who thought I would ever love anything but a pristine white kitchen? For years, I've coveted the clean look of white cabinetry and marble countertops. I always believed (and still do) that a white kitchen is perfectly timeless and can easily be updated with nothing more than hardware. But now, these dark green kitchens have been popping up everywhere and I can't get enough of them! Check out what I've been drooling over:
I love this floor-to-ceiling green cabinetry. Throw in a few warm wood accents, copper pots and an apron sink and I'm ready to move in. Actually, I might change those white knobs. Am I being too fussy?
This cabinetry is a touch more olive and I'm head-over-heels. The white subway tiles brighten up the space and look great paired with all the vintage-rustic touches like the faucet and dining chairs. Now, those knobs and drawer pulls are just perfect!
You may remember this shot from page 77 of our January 2012 issue (Trend #6: Weathered Kitchens & Sky-High Subway Tiles). Dark green walls make a similar statement in the kitchen shown above, without the pain and commitment of repainting cupboards and cabinets.
The formula seems pretty simple: dark green + brass + weathered wood + copper pots. Easy enough, right?
Will you be renovating your kitchen? Find plenty of inspiration in our Kitchen Design & Decorating guide.
I've been working on a story for the magazine about coffee tables. At the same time I've been devouring every minute of the ITV/PBS costume drama Downton Abbey.
Of course you don't see any coffee tables at Downton Abbey. The drawing room (above), is devoid of the low monolith that acts as the central axis for virtually every furniture arrangement in a modern home.
Coffee tables were few and far between before the Great War. They didn't become a fixture in every home until well into the '20s. What you see instead are tea tables. So many tea tables. Every conversation worth anything on that show takes place over tea served by one of the faithful "downstairs" characters from a tea table. Most tea tables are oval or round and about 29 or 30 inches high. Some are small in diameter — about 24 inches — so that they can be moved around with ease. Some are larger in diameter and have a tilt-top table, so that when they're off duty, the top is tilted up and the table moved to the side of a room. I love a tea table and am happy to join the ranks of those heralding its revival.
Cora, the Countess of Grantham, takes tea in her boudoir served from a petite tea table by O'Brien, her scheming lady's maid.
At Crawley House, where Mrs. Crawley and Matthew Crawley live, the butler Molesley serves tea from a table that remains positioned along the wall.
Matthew, with his middle class uncouth ways, helps himself to tea. Molesley looks on, incredulous.
At Lady Grantham's, home tea service takes on a decidedly more formal character, with tablecloth and accoutrements to match.
One of the most ardent supporters of the tea table in contemporary interiors is Washington, DC, designer Darryl Carter. While I feel sure he'd get hives at the fusty remnants of Victoriana seen in Downton Abbey, he loves a tea table and regularly uses them either in concert with a coffee table (above) or in place of one.
I recently spied this 18th century American tea table (left) on 1st Dibs. It's a Chippendale carved walnut version with a pie crust top, 29" high by 29" in diameter, from Arader Galleries in New York. So pretty. And a contemporary version (right), The Hudson from Hickory Chair. This one is 30" high by 35" in diameter. I love its satiny finish and how the stripe detail punctuates the design.
I've experimented with a tea table as an alternative to a coffee table, too. Here's one in my Toronto living room. It's a small room so I like how the height makes the room seem less crowded with furniture than a lower coffee table does.
I'm in the process of decorating the living room at our weekend place in Tweed, Ontario (hence the lack of window coverings), so I'm not sure if this lovely antique tilt-top table will stay in place, but for now I love it here. It's fun to switch up the accessories on top. Usually I keep it simple — one large design book, a magnifying glass and a decorative box. In spring, summer and autumn I add flowers or branches from the garden.
For more table ideas, see our Traditional Living Rooms photo gallery.
I just finished shooting an incredible house for our upcoming March issue about colour. (Look for it on stands February 13th — I think you will love it.) While there was loads of fabulous colour throughout the house, I was most struck by an interior door painted bright blue. For colour shy people like myself, painting a single door is less of a commitment than walls. A fun colour brings so much personality and energy to a space, especially during these dreary winter months. A door with details like panels or applied moulding offers the possibility of more than one colour — double the fun! And of course it's a fairly quick and easy weekend DIY project that doesn't cost a bomb. No rollers required.
Here are some my favourites painted doors:
The perfect blue for a beachside abode or any place that's close to nature.
This may be my fave: a soft blue that still feels fresh. I love it with brass hardware. I'm thinking of doing this at home in my front hall (which is in desperate need of a makeover). I'll paint the stair banister black and re-carpet the stairs with sisal or a striped runner.
Any door style can benefit from a coat of colour. Sunny yellow bridges a bedroom to bath here.
Glossy yellow doors make this entryway.
And how about painting a pair of tall doors for pop?
A powder room is the perfect place to have fun. The pink door and trim reinforce the colour of the grasscloth wall covering and somehow it doesn't feel too feminine.
School house red feels hip and graphic.
Soft grey is subtle but effective, especially when punctuated with hits of black.
For more painted doors and trim, see our Painted Trim photo gallery.
1. Hooked on Houses blog
2. House Beautiful, designed by Christopher Maya
3. Victoria Dreste Designs blog
4. A Design Story blog
5. Apartment Therapy blog
6. Grant K. Gibson Interior Design
7. CIL blog
8. Little Green Notebook blog
I ended the post by predicting, "Don't be surprised if their wild west inspiration proves just as influential as their furniture designs. Navajo-print pillows anyone?" And almost immediately I started to notice First Nations-inspired design moments everywhere. Now, I'm ready to declare the look is a full-blown trend.
For the Proenza Schouler fall/winter 2011 collection, fashion designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez took pattern inspiration from Native American blankets they picked up on a road trip from Santa Fe to Wyoming. The collection, which reworked the prints for a contemporary look, was a critical hit, with Vogue's Hamish Bowles declaring it "a modern approach to couture — thoughtful, inventive, and desirable." The same can be said of the look at home if the approach is similarly modern.
Arrows in particular have emerged as a hip accent. Whether it's childhood nostalgia for summer camp days spent trying to hit a bull's-eye or the artisanal appeal of arrows and their colourful feather tips, stylemakers are eagerly exploring their decorative potential. In Blu Dot's Soho shop in New York, two arrows that echo (or inspired?) the colours of the Cant desk topped the walnut work surface during last spring's design week.
Fuzzco, a branding agency in South Carolina, recently designed new offices that they describe as "functional sculpture." A boardroom features a salvaged wood wall and two arrows that playfully shoot into the concrete floor.
And Partners & Spade, a knowing arbiter of all things cool (the studio/shop, located in New York's NoHo design district, is co-owned by Andy Spade, the husband half of Kate Spade), recently featured an installation of arrows among its artful objects.
When you have your own arrows in hand, a theme song might be just the thing to further spark some inspiration. In which case, cue up "Arrow" from the Sainthood album by Canadian indie band Tegan and Sara, and start redecorating.
For Suzanne Dimma's favourite Navajo-inspired accent, read her blog post.