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.
Maybe it's because I'm working on a wallpaper story for an upcoming issue of House & Home (and am consumed with all things wall right now), or maybe because it's fall and that itch to redecorate has struck. For whatever reason, I'm loving textured walls right now.
Who didn't love that wall behind the old threadbare sofa in Geoffrey Rush's office in The King's Speech? It was amazing — all peeled and worn, so much life. (For more movie interiors, see our photo gallery.)
It reminded me of a hair studio that was here in Toronto a million years ago (okay, maybe 20 years ago), The Rainbow Room. Walking up the salon stairs you couldn't miss that the hall was wallpapered with the Sanderson pattern Rose & Peony (above). The kicker was that the paper had been sanded down all over to fake age and wear. The look was so ahead of its time.
Stylist Glen Proebstel has worked with this rough cement wall beautifully (left). I really like the softness of the fabric mixed with the industrial wall behind. I think the image on the right might be a textile draped on the wall, but I love the watery stained look. Who needs art when your walls look like this?!
For more wall inspiration, see our Wallpapered Rooms photo gallery.
I recently went away on a big trip to France. I hadn't been since I was 14, and it was amazing. So beautiful, so different from our day-to-day lives — the food, the views, the people, everything. Here are a few photos from my trip:
We stayed at Corlac House, near Souillac, for a relaxing week. It's located in the countryside of France's south-west region.
Here is Corlac nestled in the valley among the walnut groves.
This is the view as you drive up to it — the neighbour's barn.
And here are the neighbours chasing their flock.
We spent lots of time lounging around the pool, sunning and dipping.
This is a gate to the village cemetery — beautiful.
And the local rolling hills.
One of our many amazing lunches by the pool.
Here's my brother-in-law and I playing ping-pong, one of my favourite past times.
1-10. Yotam Tintpulver
Last week I popped into Toronto home accessories heaven Hollace Cluny to see their latest displays. Every spring and fall they revamp the showroom, and every time they outdo themselves. The anticipation of what's to come always creates a buzz in our offices.
Last spring they wrapped a wall with neon ribbon (above), as featured in our Makeovers 2011 special issue.
And the latest is an edgy wood slatted wall finished in matte black.
The owner Susan has an incredible eye for bringing new talent into the Canadian market. One of the latest additions to Hollace Cluny is lighting by British artist Michael Anastassiades. The idea of marrying incandescent tube lighting with the gold hardware is absolutely stunning, especially with the newly created backdrop! The simplicity of his work is what draws me in. It's time to start saving my pennies!!!
For more on lighting, see Morgan Michener's Timeless Lighting Options.
1-5. Sarah Hartill
With Thanksgiving just a few days away here in Canada, I've been looking for simple table setting ideas to try at home. Here are some looks to try this long weekend:
Line a table with these black and gold Hakkari hurricane lanterns from Crate & Barrel to cast a warm glow at dinner. For place cards, stick a piece of cardstock into a pine cone.
Linen or burlap never fails for a simple, rustic touch. Create your own napkins by cutting to size and fraying edges. Then, use fabric marker to create a placecard.
Here, wheat makes its way onto a drink table at a wedding. Apples form wreathes around punch bowls.
Thanksgiving doesn't have to mean a complete overhaul of your table — celebrate fall foliage and use tree branches for a colourful centrepiece. Mix small painted gourds between place settings, too. Gourds can be used in a number of ways:
Painted and grouped in a single colour for a centrepiece.
Labelled for a name card.
Mixed between various objects on a tablescape.
Even hollowed out and used as a vase!
How do you get your table ready for Thanksgiving?
I have been browsing blogs for bathroom inspiration photos, tossing up an ensuite bathroom update. Here are some of the inspiration shots I've come across:
White marble is classic as a countertop surface. And the crisp white panelling completes the traditional look of this space. I'm not sure about the counter edging, though — I think an eased, less detailed edge would look more current.
Sleek grey quartz is more affordable than marble, but which do you think is easier to maintain day-to-day?
I've always loved the look of simple white subway tiles. With a dark grout, they would be easy to keep clean in a bathroom.
This stunning bathroom from Lonny has a half-wall of subway tile, leaving the top half bare for art and photos. Penny tiles on the floor are also a classic choice for bathrooms.
This tub is encased in walnut, continuing the warmth and grain of the floor. This wood is a bit busy for me, but a more uniform wood would lend a modern look. I love the idea of panelling the sides of a soaker tub, though. Brilliant.
What are your favourite materials to use in bathrooms? Do you have any regrets about splurging or saving?
I love homes that have details like panel moulding, pretty windows and beautiful interior doors. Sure, choosing a great front door gives your home curb appeal, but interior doors are what you'll see every time you walk between rooms. At home I have builder-basic hollow doors with shiny gold hardware, so these ones are truly inspiring, setting the tone for each room, and turning walls into focal points.
Love the vintage-looking doors in this French home.
A pair of doors gets a unique diamond treatment in Patrick Frey's Paris apartment. On a plain, smooth door, recreate this look with painter's tape and a contrasting paint colour.
This door's aged look with detailed trim and contrasting black hardware is very romantic (sans taxidermy).
Sliding barn doors are another unique door option. Using reclaimed doors adds an extra rustic touch.
A grey door with contrasting trim stands out against this gingham wallpaper.
Dramatic velvet curtains separate two rooms in this glamorous Manhattan apartment, and I love the door in the background, too.
I realize most of these doors are quite intricate, and not every room will suit these looks, but the photos show how paying attention to that occasionally forgotten detail can result in a big impact. For your interior doors, consider painting them black, like Stacey Smithers did in her hallway. And have you seen the doors in the 2011 Princess Margaret Welcome Home Sweepstakes showhome? Stunning!
1. Marie-Laure Helmkampf Interior Design
2. House & Home September 2009, photography by Eugenia Kazarnovskaya
3. Photography by Stacey Brandford
4. DesignSponge, photography by Emily Gilbert
5. Elle Decor, photography by William Waldron
6. Architectural Digest, photography by Miguel Flores-Vianna
Around the same time Jeff Bridges took home an Oscar for his role in True Grit, Rodarte sent models down the runway in long prairie coats and flowing dresses printed with a wheat sheaf hem for fall 2011.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, I can't help but be inspired. A symbol of abundance and respect for mother earth, the wheat sheaf is the perfect motif for fall decorating — whether or not you live on the plains or the prairies. And with warm metals still heating up stylish homes across the country, it's an elegant way to introduce a few gleaming hits of gold.
Coco Chanel introduced the wheat motif in her celebrated home at 31 rue Cambon in Paris as the base of a glass-topped coffee table (left). I spotted a similar one on 1stdibs.com, though I'm sure it's probably pricey.
For something less permanent, top a table with a flared wheat sheaf tied together with a wide ribbon. My former colleague Michael Penney styled this one for the Fall Ablaze story in the October 2011 issue of H&H. Check it out for more great ideas on readying rooms for fall.
For more inspiration, see our Fall Decorating Ideas photo gallery.
Ever since I saw this year's Princess Margaret Hospital lottery showhome, I can't stop thinking about classic herringbone floors. Lynda Reeves and her design team left the floors in the spacious Oakville home natural with an oiled finish, and I think they look beautiful. The finish is rustic and casual, but the pattern is traditional and classic. We often see herringbone floors glossy and polished — very New York City brownstone — but now we're seeing them with a dulled, matte finish, and I'm loving both. Here are a few of my favourite rooms with herringbone flooring:
Not just for living rooms, a herringbone pattern also looks great in a bathroom. However, in an area with moisture, be sure to seal them properly.
This California home is filled with soft, neutral furnishings that allow the warm wood floor and gold accents to stand out.
No blog post of mine would be complete without a J.Crew mention, and what's not to love about the raw flooring in their New York City bridal boutique?
This Park Avenue apartment has those dark-stained herringbone floors so characteristic of New York apartments. Paired with crisp white original baseboards, the flooring really pops.
Kate Spade's New York City entryway has similar floors, but with a warmer, lighter stain, lending a more traditional look.
I love the unfinished look of this floor — tricky to clean, perhaps, but I bet it's so soft underfoot.
Or, bring the herringbone pattern into a kitchen for a classic look. I love this golden finish paired with white cabinetry and black painted window trim.
For more on the herringbone trend, read Kimberley Brown's blog post.
1. Lonny Sept/Oct 2011 issue
2. Veranda, photography by Roger Davies
3. J.Crew bridal boutique
4. Lonny Sept/Oct 2011 issue, photography by Patrick Cline
5. Kate Spade's entryway, The Selby
6-7. Sarah Wandering blog