We recently had our first snowfall in Toronto, and as a Winnipegger used to nothing less than a bright white Christmas, I was happy to see it. Although it wasn't here to stay, I’m excited to do a little holiday decorating. I don’t have the storage space in my small apartment to house boxes of decorations, so I’ll be keeping it simple. For me, it’s twinkly lights that make a space feel festive, so I’m looking for ways to incorporate them both inside and out.
Here are some inexpensive projects I’d like to try:
I love the arts and crafts feel of lights piled inside beautiful glass containers.
I’m going to try to bring nature indoors by wrapping fallen branches in white lights and hanging a few shiny baubles. (Similar to the ones made in this Online TV segment.)
This hallway is magical. The dreamy ambience is something I could live with all winter.
And finally, if I ever own a beautiful brownstone such as this (Santa, are you listening?), this will be my decorating inspiration. Over the top? Maybe. But it certainly gets me into the spirit. Happy holidays!
Bookmark our Christmas & Holiday Guide for more decorating inspiration.
Urgh. It's winter again. Not officially, but who cares what the calendar says — I just want to curl up in a heavy blanket with a pair of wooly socks and eat soup! Chunky sweaters and a cable knit throw are perfect for the faux-hibernation I do at my desk, but how cosy would my home be with that kind of texture layered all over my bedroom? See my inspiration below:
Warm and fuzzy yet? I would trade my ruffled duvet in a heartbeat for a chunky wool blanket! And pillows. And pouf. And lampshade. Oh my...
I also stumbled upon these Crate & Barrel ceramic vases awhile back. Sally Armstrong blogged about these too! Super cosy, without the laundry!
For some shopping inspiration, check out Seema Persaud's round-up of Cosy Winter Throws.
With carols streaming through the radio and festive store displays at every shop in the city, I think my ornaments should finally come out of the basement. This year I love the small trees that can fit right on a console table, in a bedroom or on a pedestal. They're cute, add a little Christmas spirit to any room, and are affordable and easy to decorate given their size. Here are some looks ideal for small spaces:
Classic red, white and green by the stairs.
Wrapped in burlap and tied with twine on a windowsill.
Kitschy country style on a bedside table.
Branches in a jar with simple ornaments.
And, my personal favourite, these curled wood trees from Anthropologie. Aren't they darling? I think they'd be perfect for my desk here at work.
In my line of work, I'm lucky enough to visit the websites of talented photographers from all over the world. Some of their websites are so captivating that I thought I would share some of my favourite interior shots with you. Like fashion photography, it takes a certain je-ne-sais-quoi to capture a room in just the right way — whether to grab the attention of newsstand browsers or magazine flippers.
And what makes a shot cover-worthy? Can you guess which of the photos below landed covers of top shelter magazines like Elle Decor, Architectural Digest, The World of Interiors and Vogue Living? In your opinion, what makes a standout interior shot different from a so-so shot? Browse my picks below, and take note of lighting and angles. And next time you're browsing through H&H, let me know which shots make you linger on a page.
Martin Morrell, U.K.:
Grey Crawford, Los Angeles:
Matthieu Salvaing, Paris:
Henry Bourne, U.K.:
Simon Upton, U.K.:
Antoine Bootz, New York:
William Waldron, New York:
Pieter Estersohn, New York:
Mikkel Vang, Melbourne, Copenhagen, New York:
Paul Barbera, New York:
And now the answer key. These are the photos from above that made covers of major magazines:
Tell me, what do you think makes a great interior shot?
1-2. Martin Morrell
3. Grey Crawford
4-5. Matthieu Salvaing
6. Henry Bourne
7-8. Simon Upton
9. Antoine Bootz
10. Dean Kaufman
11. William Waldron
12-13. Pieter Estersohn
14. Mikkel Vang
15. Paul Barbera
16a. Matthieu Salvaing, Elle Decor Italia
16b. Matthieu Salvaing, Architectural Digest France
17a. Simon Upton, The World of Interiors
17b. Paul Barbera, Vogue Living Australia
I regularly pop into Toronto café and design shop La Merceria to sip a yummy cup of caffeine and chat up owner Sandra Rojas-Chinni. Sandra has amazing style and is a trend forecaster for retailers like The Bay, so I like to pick her brain often about what's catching her eye. When I popped in recently, all she could talk about was the new look Club Monaco is giving its stores. Sandra worked for the Club waaaaay back when, so she knows the brand well. "It lost its way for awhile," she noted, "but this new direction is perfect."
When I popped by Toronto's Bloor Street store, I understood her enthusiasm. The clothes were nice — I remember fondling a cashmere sweater — but I was far more interested in the decorating. Right from the double door entrance, you feel like you're walking into the fabulous apartment of a fabulous friend — who has so many clothes, she's devoted her whole home to them. The walls on the main floor are painted creamy white and given architectural interest with added mouldings for an old world feel. A showstopping chandelier at the entrance complements the hinged brass task lights that are mounted above the displays and cast a warm glow that dominates those unforgiving overhead lights (shudder). Instead of boring floating shelves, tall weathered-wood wardrobes fitted with glass doors were filled with seasonal woolens.
But it was the men's department on the lower level and pictured here that I found most inspiring.
If I were a bachelor, I'd be shopping for ideas as well as pants.
Warm grey walls covered in art, tons of books, rustic wood tables, filing cabinets refashioned as dresser drawers, vintage task lights — oh so masculine, but a look women love, too.
I would happily help my fellow update his wardrobe here. (A task we both dread.)
And since we're in the midst of updating his apartment, I made a million mental notes, like how these vintage wooden shipping crates fitted with castors would be ideal as extra storage under his bed. I hope you're equally inspired.
For more of what inspires me, follow me on Twitter @kkb416.
1-8. Club Monaco
The film My Week with Marilyn opens in just a couple of days, and being a combination fan for old Hollywood scandals and Michelle Williams anything, I have been trolling websites looking for comparison photos — does Michelle Williams really nail the look? I relied on my favourite Cecil Beaton photo of Marilyn to start the comparison. I think the vulnerability is definitely captured in both the real and faux Marilyn photos.
And with my experiment comes a renewed interested in black and white fashion photography, especially from the 1950s and '60s. Did you know The New Yorker magazine sells black and white photography? I went searching for Cecil Beaton prints and found lots of stuff I could hang, on both the Condé Nast Store site and Allposters.com. Take a look at what I found:
And imagine them filling one wall, as in this dining room by designer Christine Ralphs. The repetition of black and white and subject matter makes this a really strong art wall.
For more on creating a gallery wall, read Gwen McAuley's blog post.
1a. We Heart Vintage blog
1b. Joblo.com, courtesy of The Weinstein Company
2a. Photo by Cecil Beaton, Condé Nast Store
2b. Photo by John French, Allposters.com
3. Photo by Leombruno-Bodi, Condé Nast Store
4a. Photo by Jacques Boucher, Condé Nast Store
4b. Photo by Georges Dambier, Allposters.com
5. House & Home February 2005 issue, photography by James Tse
I'm surprising myself with a colour I've been using a bit more than I normally would: purple, and all shades of it. Violet, mauve, lilac, raisin, you name it. I think it's because it looks great with grey — it adds a feminine and sophisticated touch to often cold tones of grey. Plus, it enlivens a grey room without adding too much colour. What's your favourite shade of purple?
For more inspiration, see our Purple Rooms photo gallery.
This is my favourite room in the catalogue. There are a couple of elements that stand out for me. Their new London sofa and chair covered in grey linen, the metal and wood coffee table from their Graydon Collection, and that artwork! The piece is entitled "Saturn's Rings", and it's an exclusive piece from Natural Curiosities. It will, however, be available through Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams signature stores in the U.S., and in Canada through Elte (if they don't have it, they can order it).
I'm all about a mix of styles, and that's what they have here: a classic sofa style, rustic table and graphic artwork. I love the dark blue colour on the walls as well — it offers a nice contrast to the upholstery and a perfect backdrop for the artwork.
For more of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams' style, watch this 2011 trends video.
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Be it food or furniture, juicy mouthwatering colours add sustenance and style to everyday dining. I like my colours served up on the dining chairs that circle a table — sometimes in a rainbow of shades all mixed together, sometimes as a single pop of a bright hue. It's a great way to break up a matching set or bring an edgier feel to a traditional room.
U.K. design legend Terence Conran believed that, "The setting for a meal should be as joyous as the sharing of it." Seating in a cheerful palette of primary red, yellow and blue instantly lifts the mood of this mainly white room without overwhelming it. The classic scheme also gives the mix-and-match assortment a cohesive look.
Decorating with a trio of colours is a tried-and-true recipe for chic results. In this sophisticated white and pale grey space, chairs painted a sunny shade of goldenrod can be painted a new accent colour with little fuss.
L.A. designer Kelly Wearstler is known for her irreverent mix of colours and styles. At the Eos restaurant in the Viceroy hotel in Miami, she used bold orange chairs, marble floors and burnished brass accents to impart a sexy downtown vibe.
Former Elle Decor editor-turned-designer Ilse Crawford punches up her own dining room's dark velvety walls, old world herringbone hardwood and trad-ish white table with mid-century modern chairs in pretty pastels and preppy kelly green.
Hot pink is unapologetically pretty — and a perfect foil for a minimalist modern loft.
Suppliers, designers and retailers are encouraging the look by issuing classic chairs in hot new hues. Last year, to mark the 60th anniversary of Danish designer Hans Wegner's coveted Wishbone chair, the company that makes them, Carl Hansen & Son, released the design in 12 new colours. Toronto architecture firm AKB, chose the fiery red to give a modern chalet in Collingwood, Ontario a little sizzle. Mission accomplished.
For more inspiration, see our Inviting Dining Rooms photo gallery.
1. Decora Tu Alma blog
2. The Detailed Designer blog
3. Viceroy Hotels & Resorts
4. Ilse Crawford's home, photography by Magnus Marding
5. Ant chairs by Arne Jacobsen, Fritz Hansen
6. Maison Glissade home in Collingwood, AKB
I've resisted the large flat screen TV for a while now, but when my 10-year-old son's friend came over the other day and asked if our TV was a computer, I decided maybe it was time to graduate. I think it's interesting to see how people choose to handle the large screens — to hide or not to hide? Here are some ideas that appeal to me.
When these sliding panels close to conceal the TV, they visually disappear into the wall, which will then reads as panelled. Cool.
In this case, the designer chose to showcase the TV and suspend it from a pole in the corner of the room. An interesting approach — minimal and uncomplicated.
Here the TV is balanced by all the books and accessories that surround it. When the TV's turned off, the shelf displays take centre stage.
I'd love to know how this one works — a part of the TV surround must open up to allow the homeowner to access the TV when needed? Unless I'm reading this wrong and it's actually art. What do you think? Regardless, it looks great.
Here's a freestanding option from Restoration Hardware that's also unapologetic, treating the flat screen like a piece of art and displaying it on an easel. Polished nickel updates the look. The locking wheels make it easy to move around. In a condo/apartment/loft where living is all on one floor, this would be especially useful.