I must admit I have a weakness for baskets, especially oversized ones. The warmth of the material and its unfussy aesthetic make this simple storage solution the perfect addition to any room. And really, I mean any room. I noticed that I'd been adding baskets to my Pinterest boards for a while now, always finding new and inspiring places to use them. Here are a few of my favourites:
My new favourite spot for big baskets is the kitchen (this stunning kitchen is Anthropologie's Glen Senk and Keith Johnson's) — it's great for storing extra baking pans or towels. If you have a basket with a lid, it would be ideal to keep your bulk goods like potatoes or onions.
Baskets get the most use in a hallway or mudroom. Whether nestled beside a hutch or tucked under a bench, a basket will keep all your messy, muddy or wet gear neatly in one place.
Use one as a decorative planter or to hold fireplace wood — there are no wrong ways to use baskets, anything goes!
And in a bathroom, a basket is always better than a plastic hamper!
If you're looking for a good oversized basket, keep an eye out at HomeSense, which is where I found most of mine. Crate & Barrel also carries many shapes and sizes on a regular basis. If you're looking for a specific shape, take a look at Bacon Basketware Limited, which is a also House & Home favourite.
You can also give an old basket a quick makeover with an easy paint-dip treatment. Check out our DIY video here.
1. Elle Decor, photography by Simon Upton
2. D. Stanley Dixon Architect
3. Cityclectic Design blog
4. Design For Mankind blog
5. The Marion House Book blog
6. House to Home, photography by Brent Darby
7. Stellan Herner
8. Marie-Christine Design
For the past few days here at House & Home I have been working on a colour feature with a few of my colleagues. Because of this I have actually been able to choose a few hues to try for the main room in my own home. I live in a loft-style condo, so choosing a wall colour has been difficult. This colour will have to carry throughout many different rooms, so it needs to be quite neutral. But at the same time, I would like it to have a bit of punch.
This combination will still keep the space feeling open and airy, but the bold trim accents will add a sense of drama and style.
Picture of the finished product to come!
Benjamin Moore's Pebble Beach.
Benajmin Moore's Gunmetal.
And here is a serene guest room painted in Pebble Beach — subtle, but more dramatic than white.
See more H&H editors' fall paint picks in our photo gallery.
And the main floor makeover continues! (If you missed my first post on the inspiration for our kitchen and dining room, click here.) Aside from the kitchen, we're also in the process of tackling the living area in our open-concept kitchen-dining-living space. The walls are a too-bright green, the bulkhead a too-dark brown, and the dated sofas are too large for the narrow space at the front of the house. We also want to create flow from the far back (kitchen) to the very front (living room) through common colours and patterns.
Here are a few living rooms that inspired our facelift:
This is the same layout as our space. I love the dramatic dining pendant and huge windows!
Soft grey sofas and clean white walls combine beautifully in this minimalist family room.
This living room appeared in Steven Gambrel's Time & Place (2012 Abrams), and I love the colour of the sofa against the warm white walls.
Palettes of grey, lilac and yellow always catch my eye. The painted trim here adds a polished look.
I've also fallen in love with Cole & Son's Woods wallpaper. You can't blame me — it's appeared in the pages of H&H over and over, and it always catches my eye:
The mauve hue really pops against white trim.
I love the white pattern, but I think we need the wallpaper to bring in a bit of colour.
Here is the ivory hue in a small bathroom. You can see how it adds subtle pattern without dominating a room.
And I love the photo wall in former H&H-er Emily Walker's home. We're thinking of creating a casual wall of black and white photos like this in our entryway — it's a great spot to pause and take them in!
Here are a few before photos of our own living area:
From the kitchen looking towards the front of the house.
There are two of these recesses in the long wall shared by all three spaces — one in the dining room and one further to the right in the living room. The artwork is old and tired, and we're thinking about swapping it for the Cole & Son wallpaper in both recesses, which would create cohesion between the dining area and living area.
On the opposite wall are the staircases — left goes down to the front door, right goes down to the grade-level laundry room and office, and you can also see the staircase to the second floor. Beige, beige, beige. Yawn. Old photos framed on the fly. Yawn.
I created this gallery wall of my own Leslieville photography for my fiancé as a Christmas gift, but it looks a little sparse and we want to add a few more to fill it out.
You can see that the TV and sofa are cramped into a narrow space. We want to replace the bulky TV with a wall-mounted one on a pivot bracket and downsize to a small-scale sectional that will run along the right wall and under the window. The green wall, dark brown bulkhead above and mix-and-match shades of beige need a long-awaited refresh.
And so our makeover begins. Here are some progress photos of the same areas with the first coats of paint:
First comes the white. We went with Benjamin Moore's Cloud White (OC-130) — just like the kitchen walls and cupboards — for fresh yet warm walls that would let the wallpaper and photography stand out.
We painted an accent wall in the kitchen with Benjamin Moore's Overcoat (CC-544), and used the same dramatic grey on the brown bulkhead.
And here are photos post-painting, but before the wallpaper:
We decided on the soft mauve Woods pattern (69/12151), available through Kravet in Toronto. I think it will add just the right amount of colour without the risk of us tiring of it in a year. And it will look great with the dark grey bulkhead, white walls and black frames on the gallery wall.
The white walls really do make the space seem larger. Now what are we to do with that beige sofa?
Here are a few sectionals we've narrowed it down to:
The Farley sectional from Elte. I like the cushion shapes and pointy legs, but we want a proper back on both angles instead of a chaise.
The Cosmo sectional from Cisco Brothers has two long seat cushions instead of several small ones — an item high on our checklist — but again, we want full-length backs on both angles of the sectional.
We learned that chaises are definitely easier to come by! The Richmond Bi-Sectional from Gus Modern has a gorgeous shape and perfect dimensions for us, but we just wish it weren't a chaise.
We came across this beauty in Stacaro on King Street East — made by Montreal-based Lucyau — and it definitely checked off most of our must-haves. Called the Cloud, you can order it with another arm instead of that table, making it large enough to fill our wall with the window. And no chaise means it can accommodate lots of lounging guests. The down-filled cushions felt luxurious when we tried it out in the store, but the shapes of them are clean-lined and contemporary. We loved the two long seat cushions and barely-there legs, too. We would order ours in a soft grey.
Charlie has been really helpful with choosing fabric swatches for a new sectional — we have to do the kitty hair test first before we decide on one. And we're working on training him to stay on his blanket. Let's see how that pans out.
Stay tuned to see which sectional we went with, plus after photos of the kitchen, dining room and living room!
1. House & Home April 2012 issue, photography by Stacey Brandford
2. House & Home January 2011 issue, photography by Rob Fiocca
3. Steven Gambrel's Time & Place, photography by Eric Piasecki
4. House & Home April 2011 issue, photography by John Cullen
5. Dining room from House & Home September 2010 issue, photography by Angus Fergusson
6. Bedroom from House & Home January 2012 issue, photography by Colin Way
7. Bathroom from House & Home August 2008 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
8. Dining room from House & Home Makeovers 2011 special issue, photography by Donna Griffith
9-26. Gwen McAuley
27. Farley Sectional, Elte
28. Cosmo Sectional, Cisco Brothers
29. Richmond Bi-Sectional, Gus Modern
30. Cloud sectional, Lucyau
31. Gwen McAuley
Working in the design industry, there are certain words and phrases that you hear over and over. "Layering" has been mentioned so often lately that I'm officially declaring it the word of the week! This got me thinking about all the things I could start doubling and tripling up on. My search led me to the simple but incredibly elegant trend of mirror layering. Why have one lovely piece when you can have five lovely pieces?
Since every closet just isn't complete without a full-length mirror, apply the technique of mirror layering in your dressing room or walk-in closet. The result is a charming aesthetic, plus it will really open up a small space.
Layering a small bevelled mirror overtop a wall-mounted vanity mirror is an easy way to add glamour.
Mirror layering also proves to be an inexpensive alternative to artwork. Whether you arrange a grouping of mirrors along an entire wall or simply stack them together on a mantle or shelf, the layering technique creates a gorgeous effect.
Do you like the look of mirror layering? What other items do you find look great when layered? Comment below!
Here at House & Home, I've spent a lot of time thinking, writing and looking at photos of the 2012 showhome. (It's tough, I know.) The most exciting part of this process for me was visiting the home in Oakville, Ont., at the beginning of September. While there, I did what everyone else does: I imagined myself living there. Watching a movie with family on the lower level, hosting formal dinner parties in the dining room, cosying up by the fire in the great room — you get the point. I imagined living in every space, including these, which weren't in the October 2012 issue but are still just as exciting as the rest:
1. The Closets
Hello, closet space. Connected to the principal bedroom, this walk-in includes ample room for shirts, dresses, skirts, sweaters, shoes, bags, etcetera.
The opposite wall features a number of drawers outfitted with California Closets' dividers for scarves, jewelry and whatever else you'd like to store. Dreamy.
Over in the room with twin beds, even the smaller closet space is cleverly designed. See that light in there? You can actually see what's tucked in the corners.
2. The Craft & Laundry Room
3. The Gym
Too tired to make it to the gym after work? No excuses here. Mirrored walls, a ballet bar and top-of-the-line equipment provide everything you need for yoga, dance and other forms of exercise. Need to follow along with an instructional DVD? There's a TV mounted on an adjacent wall. Really, no excuses.
Tucked into recesses on either side of the room are cabinets for storing supplies (think yoga mats, towels, gym clothes) and even a beverage fridge for post-workout thirst quenchers. With this much space, I'd invite my friends over for a group fitness session. Who volunteers to lead?
4. The Upstairs Landing
The spacious landing on the second floor, which connects to the guest room, features a stylish zone to pen a few quick letters, check your email or whatever else you'd like. It's minimal but still warm.
Do you need any more reasons to order a ticket for the Princess Margaret Welcome Home Sweepstakes? Didn't think so! Hop on over to helpconquercancer.ca now and order yours today for a chance to win this $4.3 million showhome. Tickets are already over 50% sold out! You could also win other homes, luxury vehicles, dream vacations and more.
1-3, 5-6. Seema Persaud
4. Michael Graydon
There are a few simple things you can do to get your home holiday-ready. Here are five easy ideas to make this holiday season more special than stressful:
1. Tie jingle bells to your door — such a lovely noise to welcome guests.
2. Plant paperwhite bulbs. Sprouting bulbs always lift my spirits on grey winter days.
3. Mass together baby's breath for a simple snowy centrepiece.
4. There's nothing like old-fashioned cutout snowflakes hanging in a window to give any room some holiday magic.
5. Keep a stack of cosy throws and blankets at the ready for snuggling up.
See our Christmas & Holiday Guide for more decorating tips.
1a. Smitten in Cleveland blog
1b. Lissy Lou blog
2. Head Over Heels blog
3. Indulgy blog
4. Bugs and Fishes blog, photography by Lauren Howard
5. Le Marché St. George via Hearts Together blog, photography by Klee Larsen
This past summer my boyfriend and I fell in love with a cottage we rented on Ontario's Stoney Lake, so much so that we had to get back this fall for another weekend away. I have to say, as much as I loved this place in the summer, the newly changing leaves brought it to an entirely different level of beauty. It was so quiet and serene, and felt as if we were the only people on the lake all weekend.
Located on an island, this beauty was built in 1932 and was extensively renovated by a previous homeowner and designer in the late '80s. The result is a peaceful and timeless exterior, an interior that is full of traditional cottage charm, and a dash of Golden Girls chic!
Now because of the field I work in, no matter how much I love a place, it's pretty much ingrained in me to think, "What would I do differently if I owned this place?" And I must say, I'm kind of torn on this one.
This summer my inner designer would have had the place painted white in the blink of an eye, but after spending time here in the fall, the sea of orange pine (dare I say it!?) has grown on me. I know these are dangerous words coming from a current designer, but there's a warmth and cosiness created by the wood clad walls that would be completely lost if painted out white. I think with a bit of thoughtful editing (cottage kitsch!), a few painted furniture pieces and some simple reupholstering, this place would be a showstopper!
I think the best part about visiting this rental home-away-from-home during the fall would have to be the wood-burning fireplace. I started off a bit hesitant, but soon my Boy Scout instincts took over and I realized just how rewarding heating a home with a wood-burning fireplace could be! (Read Lindsey Rae's blog post for more on fireplaces.)
Although it was a bit too chilly to eat out on the back patio during our fall visit, I love the how this space has been painted the same white has the cottage's exterior. It's a nice change from the natural pine.
The bedroom has got to be my favourite room in the cottage. Waking up in a space like this really feels like you're on vacation. Surrounded by french doors along two walls, the breezes were heavenly in the summer. When closed up in the fall (including the drapes on the four poster bed) it was a cosy place to nap. There's even a Juliet balcony overlooking the lake.
For more cottage style, browse our Cottages & Country Houses photo gallery.
1-6. Joel Bray
When I was a little girl my Dad brought me back a pair of lapis lazuli earrings from a business trip he took to South America. He would bring back gifts for each of us from his trips. I was delighted by even the most banal convention swag — like those pens that you could tilt back and forth to make it seem as though a little airplane was moving. Lapis earrings, by comparison, were quite spectacular loot. Recently I fished them out of the bottom of my jewelry box and have started wearing them again. The reason: that blue!
Not since the 1980s have the worlds of fashion and design so embraced this vivid hue. You can call it cobalt or sapphire or royal — I suppose it could be that each of these is subtly different — but I will call them all lapis. Lapis lazuli is a semi precious stone found in Afghanistan, Siberia, Chile, Argentina, and even, apparently, in Kimmirut, Nunavut here in Canada.
I might be willing to set aside my lapis label for the Duchess of Cambridge, who wore this decidedly "royal" blue Reiss dress to her first public speaking engagement at a children's hospice in Ipswich this year. Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquière's interpretation of this colour manages to look retro '80s and futuristic at the same time. Love his pairing of this colour with cognac leather booties. The J.Crew Emmaleigh is a chic season-spanning shift.
Not surprisingly, Tiffany & Co. has a selection of lapis covetables. My favourites are the Elsa Peretti Sevillana Cuff — which I think would make a fine anniversary gift, since Mr. A and I did honeymoon in Seville after all. But since its $7,350 price tag is money earmarked for our reno, I'd settle for the sweet lapis anchor charm. It's very me, and just $440.
Amanda Nisbet's brave mix of lapis blue sofa against reams of zingy yellow drapery fabric and accent chairs in green malachite print lives up to her book's title — truly dazzling!
I love how Todd Alexander Romano uses high gloss blue in this high-rise studio. This treatment really takes the average and turns it into the amazing!
There's a school of thought with decorating that one should surround oneself with colours that flatter. If it's true then I might need to rejuvenate my boudoir with this Rivulets bedding collection from Anthropologie (left) or a headboard upholstered in David Hicks fabric.
See our Blue Rooms photo gallery for more lapis inspiration.
1a. Margot Austin
1b. Inner Bridges
2a. Reiss blog
2b. Fall/Winter 2012 RTW, Balenciaga
2c. Emmaleigh dress, J.Crew
3a. Elsa Peretti Sevillana Cuff, Tiffany & Co.
3b. Anchor Charm, Tiffany & Co.
4. Good Bones, Great Pieces (2012 Stewart, Tabori & Chang) via The Aestate blog, photography by Lucas Allen, room design by Miles Redd
5. Dazzling Design by Amanda Nisbet (2012 Stewart, Tabori & Chang), photography by Roger Davies
6. Photography by Thomas Loof
7a. Rivulets Bedding in Cobalt, Anthropologie
7b. House to Home, photography by Jan Baldwin
The idea of dividing rooms with curtains is an oldie but a goodie. When dealing will small spaces and limited windows, floor-to-ceiling curtains offer privacy as well as the flexibility of letting light through or blocking it from a sleeping area. Here are a few inspiration shots that have inspired me to pick up some curtains for my own studio apartment:
Use drapes in a bathroom to achieve a high-end hotel look. Opting for fabric — rather than a proper wall — is great for air flow (and easier than putting up drywall).
These white curtains are handy for keeping eyes away from a messy kitchen, and also accentuate this room's high ceilings.
In lofty, open spaces, hanging drapes as dividers is an easy solution when trying to shape a bedroom area. Extra-long drapes pooled on the floor create a romantic little bedroom nook, while clean-lined white curtains resemble an actual wall.
If you'd like to try this out yourself, take inspiration from Margot Austin's blog post on how to hang curtains from a bedroom ceiling.
2. Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles
3. Elle Decor, photography by Andrea Ferrari
4. French by Design via Apartment Therapy
5. Elle Decor via Apartment Therapy, photography by Simon Upton
6. Cain & Markus, photography by Bob Martus and Jessica Weit
I've lived in my current home for almost two years now, and am finally starting to put my stamp on a few of the rooms. Most recently, I've been working on the principal bedroom.
Originally our bed was oriented across the room, keeping access to the bedroom door open and maximizing views of Toronto's beautiful Casa Loma. When we moved in, this seemed to be the most logical place when considering layout and views.
Recently, I came across this bedroom photo that became my inspiration for the bedroom makeover. This room has that comfortable, cosy look that I love in a bedroom. The size and orientation of the room also mirrors the dimensions of our own bedroom.
After moving our bed over to the window, we realized our bedside tables no longer fit. We're happy to replace them, since they were hand-me-downs anyway. And relocating the bed has freed up room for a small seating area closer to the room's entrance.
For new side tables, we went with a couple of Malm chests from Ikea — cheap and cheerful, and they look great in the space! At $69 each, they do the trick.
We're still waiting on our curtains, and need to choose a carpet, paint colour and chairs for our sitting area. Stay tuned for my next blog that will reveal the finished space!
See our Bedroom Design & Decorating Guide for more small-space inspiration.