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Inspiration Board

Almost a year ago today, I blogged about visiting the BDDW showroom in New York and discovered that the designers there were up to something rather unexpected: making bows and arrows.

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.

Photo credits:
1, 3, 5. Kimberley Brown
2. Proenza Schouler fall/winter 2011 collection
4. Fuzzco offices via Remodelista blog

Author: 

Kimberley Brown

Storage is one of the most important elements for an entry hall to make it as functional as possible. These spaces are also a great place to express yourself with punches of colour or bold statement wallpapers. Here are some of my favourite entryways:

This photo from the blog Small Place Style shows various types of storage — everything from the small and easy like loose keys to the last minute items like a purse or umbrella — all find a home in an uncluttered and organized entry.

This entryway boasts a large amount of storage behind very tall and sleek doors. This allows such a narrow space to remain tidy and uncluttered.

This gorgeous entry features another important element. A mirror helps to open up a narrow or small space, plus offers a last-minute hair and makeup check. There are so many beautiful features in this entry, from the stained glass to the bench and mouldings, but this mirror really makes the space.

This entryway has the seat, storage and a mirror. It's also a segue into the next theme of using loud paint or wallpaper in these small spaces.

This entrance pops with cheerful wallpaper and colours.

Small entryways are a perfect spot to let your creative side shine — you don't spend much time in them so they're less daunting.

If wallpaper isn't your thing, try hanging photos, a plate arrangement or art to personalize the space a bit. See some examples below:

For more inspiration, view our Editors' Favourite Entryways segment.

Photo credits:
1. 7. Small Place Style blog
2, 3. Shelterness blog
4. Designed by Samantha Pynn, photography by Virginia Macdonald
5. Flor
6. Kristen F. Davis Designs
8. Arcadian Home blog
9. The Design Enthusiast blog

Author: 

Holly Meighen

Gentle reader, if you are anything like me, the hustle and bustle of the holidays leave you spent. I have been over-stimulated for months — too much food, too much drink, too many do-dads all around the house, just too much of everything. January has become one of my three "clean up my life" times of year. Second to April's spring cleaning but somehow a little more involved than September's back-to-school organizing (let's admit, that is just a hold-over from school days so that the older I get, the less important it seems), January is my new get-it-done month. What needs to get done is for me to create a calm and serene surrounding in which I can relax and undo my Christmas season damage.

My first step typically involves finding some inspiration — something I can leave on my computer desktop, print off, or tape to my corkboard, as a way to keep me inspired and on track. Below are this year's offerings:

Notice how each relies on a limited colour palette, a few well-placed objects and one or two pieces hanging on the wall. They are the antithesis of holiday houses, and a welcome breather for me. Enjoy.

For more ideas for de-cluttering, browse our Home Organization Tricks photo gallery.

Photo credits:
1-2. La Maison d'Anna G blog, photography by Marcus Lewett
3. Japanese Trash blog
4. The Style Files blog, photography by Bo Bedre

Author: 

Meg Crossley

Just before the holidays, I spent two weeks traipsing around Thailand to recharge and rejuvenate. If you haven't been, you should go — it's perhaps the most beautiful country I've visited. Along with white sand beaches, soaring temples and bustling street markets, Thailand is full of inspirational design. I couldn't resist snapping a few shots to share with H&H readers. Take a cue from the east and splurge on an elaborate ceiling design, introduce some teak furniture or brighten up a shower with some ocean-coloured tiles. Each city we visited had its own unique style. Enjoy!

Stone walkways flanked by lily pads? Perhaps not conducive to Canadian winters, but beautiful nonetheless. I also loved these hanging planters made from slats of wood — definitely something you could try indoors or out.

Open-air hotel lobbies with water features were everywhere — gorgeous. And an intricate gold ceiling at a temple in Bangkok put our plain painted ceilings to shame. Why not paint your ceiling a bold colour or add some detailing?

This stone wall to the left towered over a fish pond in a hotel lobby. A grey stone wall like this would look sharp as a fireplace surround. In the same hotel, an outdoor shower on the rooftop had the same shade of grey lining the walls. The natural stone was left unfinished, and I love how it showed the watermarks.

Thailand clearly has a more temperate climate, but I love the idea of these sliding doors everywhere. The one to the right looked like it was woven from bamboo.

Wood furniture was everywhere, especially teak. These simple designs to the left would suit a more modern home — even brought in for indoor use. See how architect Natalie Dionne used a teak Ikea table as a sleek dining table. These hand-carved chairs to the right were all over the Santhiya Resort in Koh Phangan.

These two elaborate benches were also at the Santhiya.

The lobby at the Santhiya had a raised platform with loungers for guests to recline on. As soon as we entered this courtyard, we were overwhelmed by the take-it-easy atmosphere — the entire resort was so calming.

Even the check-in desk had an intricately carved wood mantel. And more carved wood furniture to the right.

Our gorgeous room offered views of the Gulf of Thailand, and more of the same carved chairs to take in the view. Even the handles on the sliding doors were carved wood.

Each of the five hotels we stayed at had detailed silk runners on the end of the bed. I wanted to take them all home! The ceiling in our room at the Santhiya (right) glowed with lights from recessed valances, illuminating a — no surprise here — wood ceiling.

Even the bed had intricate carvings — beautiful! And most hotels supplied Thai silk robes and precious umbrellas in case of rain. These small details are what really reinforced the Thai hospitality.

You may be familiar with my teal fetish, and so these tiles had me taking extra-long showers. Paired with the natural stone to the right, it was a stunning combination. And aren't these silver dispensers with bamboo labels so much prettier than tiny plastic bottles? Easier on Mother Nature, too.

Several hotel rooms also had views from the tubs to the outdoors. If this is feng shui, I'm on board.

We also noticed some interesting lighting on our travels. This pendant was made from a repurposed tree trunk — very Urban Tree Salvage.

A glam chandelier in the dining room at Santhiya, and the wood lanterns hung all over the resort grounds.

The ceramics also caught our eye. Vases like this accessorized every meal we had — filled with fresh exotic blooms, naturally. And I loved this studded silverware. Crate & Barrel has a similar line of silverware.

At the Impiana Resort in Koh Samui, we had the pleasure of dining with this tableware each morning. The cube salt and pepper shakers were my favourite. This shade of grey would look great in our kitchen, but I couldn't find them to purchase anywhere.

And lastly, these are a couple of photos I'm thinking of enlarging and framing. Ahhh the scenery — breathtaking.

I hope you found the Thai style as inspirational as I did — there's always so much to take from other countries. What are your favourite countries to visit for design inspiration?

Read Lynda Reeves' Asian Adventure for more ideas.

Photo credits:
1-18. Gwen McAuley

Author: 

Gwen McAuley

After a year of trendy soft grey palettes and black-and-white rooms, it's time to break the mould (and the winter blues!) with some daring splashes of colour. Not sure where to start? Check out these cheerful spaces and take note of where and how colour has been used.

Take a look at designer and queen-of-textiles Kathryn M. Ireland's interiors. She balances bold prints and colours with crisp white walls.

This home featured on Design*Sponge dared to use colour in a very bold way. My favourite room is the homeowner's bedroom, which takes a softer approach with muted colours and plenty of texture.

This playful living room is from the home of Dutch designer Hellen van Berkel. She pulled her palette from the rug and coordinated the accessories for a bright yet cohesive look. I love the raw wood beams, they keep the space warm and homey.

Don't shy away from transforming your neutral space with a few punchy pieces. Make it your new year's resolution to revamp your home one room at a time!

For more inspiration, see our photo gallery on Colourful Kitchens and Colourful Spring Rooms.

Photo credits:
1,2. Kathryn M. Ireland
3. Design*Sponge, photography by Courtney Apple
4. Marjon Hoogervorst

Author: 

Reiko Caron

It wasn't until a few years ago that I finally built my first gingerbread house. It was a messy affair with a number of cousins, nieces and nephews crowded around my grandparents' living room coffee table, eager to turn the standard kit into a work of art. The resulting house was far from classy, but it was kitschy and made with love.

When I spotted these chic table settings in House & Home's November 2010 issue, I realized that even gingerbread houses could be stylish. Homeowner Stephanie McPherson's sister crafted a house for each person at the dinner table, acting as a placecard, complete with trees and hood moulding, too! This Christmas Eve I hope to tackle another gingerbread house, this time inspired by the sophisticated creations I've seen.

A-frames and Swedish style houses are so adorable! A candy cane door frame and double bows create a cute façade. And how about that chimney on the right?

Simple white designs of dots and stripes can work wonders.

This one even has baked-in muntins.

Or get fancy with wide scrollwork patterns!

Need a bit of colour? Coordinate your candy colours with your holiday decor like designer Lindsay Mens did for her home on the left. Or pipe green icing for winter foliage, as was done on this home inspired by Toronto's Rosedale neighbourhood.

Still not enough colour? Use coloured icing and whimsical patterns for a kid-friendly look.

Whether you plan to make something small and cutesy or over-the-top, have fun building a gingerbread house (or two) with your family and friends!

I know I won't be whipping up anything close to this Brooklyn brownstone made by Renee, author of Kitchen Table Scraps. Even the "snow" has been pushed into the corners of the stairs...

But these mini houses that perch on a mug don't look so hard! Can't wait to try it with sugar cookie dough.

To learn how to make a gingerbread house without a kit, watch this Online TV segment and read this blog with extra tips.

Photo credits:
1. House & Home November 2010 issue, photography by Donna Griffith
2, 5b, 7b. Martha Stewart

3a. Cake Journal
3b. Taste.com.au
4. Globetrotter Diaries
5a. House & Home November 2008 issue, photography by Stacey Brandford
6a. Lollipops Sugar Shoppe
6b. Ladies' Home Journal
7a. Bon Appetit
8. Kitchen Table Scraps
9. Not Martha

Author: 

Seema Persaud

Am I the only one getting dizzy from all the red, green and gold stripes as I wrap gifts late at night? Let's refocus with some simple gift wrap that doesn't overdo holiday colour schemes and patterns. Check out these two ideas I came across — organic, natural and oh-so-pretty:

This Design*Sponge DIY project uses affordable raffia string and fresh pine as adornment. Keep it earthy! They have two other ideas as well.

Kraft paper is one of those timeless choices that leaves ribbon and accents open to creativity. Twine and a dried chive flower add a natural, yet colourful pop to this cute package.

So consider skipping the psychedelic patterns in favour of a more natural look this year — especially when wrapping late at night.

See more Christmas gift wrapping ideas.

Photo credits:
1. Design*Sponge blog
2. House Pretty blog

Author: 

Gwen McAuley

Sometimes all you need to set the holiday mood at home is one big hit!

Bright red baubles suspended from the ceiling (somehow!) add mod Christmas drama to this all-white interior. Additional accessories in red pepper the white table and bookshelves.

I don't think it's actually a pendant light, but rather a unique holiday decoration created by clustering ornaments and suspending them from the ceiling with red ribbon or wire — very reminiscent of Bocci's 28 Series lights. (See our new photo gallery with this light and more designs from Omer Arbel.)

I love the look. Why not try it at home yourself?

A reminder that using just one colour of decoration throughout can be super effective and less busy.

For more holiday decorating ideas, see our photo gallery.

Photo credit:
1-2. Roland Bello

Author: 

Hilary Smyth

As we get more and more into the holiday season I find myself continuously thinking about and commenting on my favourite types of holiday decor. Here are three looks I particularly like:

This table setting is simple and elegant with a hint of glamour and colour, thanks to the bold napkins and Christmas ornaments.

This photo of blogger Dottie Angel's 2010 mantel is quite organic with the log filled fireplace and the DIY twig Christmas tree, while the bench offers a hint of deco.

Finally, this elegant staircase garland complete with large white bows is fuss-free and natural. A small vignette of paperwhites and holiday cards adds a pretty touch. The hint of blue and white found on the wrapped presents is fun, too!

For more on simple holiday decorating, read Suzanne Dimma's blog post.

Photo credits:
1. Home Trend Design
2. Dottie Angel
3. Better Homes & Gardens

Author: 

Holly Meighen

Did you ever watch the 1997 movie The Sweet Hereafter, directed by Atom Egoyan? I liked it but also found it rather depressing (if you haven’t seen it, the plot revolves around a school bus crash). To be honest, I cannot recall many of the details of the film but the one thing that stands out in my mind is the snow covered A-frame house pictured below.

Since this encounter with an A-frame house, it's kind of been my dream to live in one. I can't put my finger on what it is that draws me in. Maybe I just like triangles? Whatever it is, as of late, I have seen these houses popping up here and there, which has only furthered my desire.

When this New Hampshire home was featured on the cover of ReadyMade magazine in 2009, I snatched it up immediately and pinned the image on my inspiration board. Cute, huh? It’s very much in keeping with 1960s-style when the A-frame was at the height of its popularity. I really like the retro vibe of this but also like the modern update.

This is the Allandale House designed by architect William O'Brien Jr.

In the May 2011 issue of InStyle magazine the stunning A-frame home of actress Jordana Brewster was showcased. Sleek & Serene is right!

But my very favourite is this one. It comes from Anne-Claire Rohé of the gorgeous Petits Papiers blog. It is the home of stylist Theresa de Scianni.

I encourage you to have a look at the rest because it's really so lovely!

And finally, Morgan over at The Brick House blog has been working on a project that combines my love of the A-frame with another minor obsession of mine — the doll house.

How awesome is this!

Next time maybe we can talk about my budding obsession with geodesic dome houses?

Photo credits:
1. The Sweet Hereafter
2. ReadyMade
3, 4. William O'Brien Jr.
5, 6. InStyle May 2011 issue, scans by Kim Ficaro, original photography by Dean Kaufman
7, 8, 9. Petit Papiers, photography by Anne-Clare Rohé
10, 11. The Brick House
12. Moon to Moon

Author: 

Kai Ethier

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