This is going to sound like one of those annoying complaints from the over privileged — as in, "Sometimes I wonder if my house is just too big..." — but sometimes my job gives me design fatigue. I know, I know, my life sucks. The thing is, that take-your-breath-away experience, that amazing, inventive, refreshing new ideas spark is what keeps us design nuts invested, curious and hungry to keep discovering. But some days, I feel like I've seen it all before.
This makes the moments that grab my attention and demand a closer look all the sweeter. These aren't necessarily the wackiest, most daring designs. They're simply moments that offer a pleasant surprise.
Most recently, it was a fuchsia pink shower glimpsed through a narrow opening in a traditional white and brass bathroom in the London, England home of designer Harriet Anstruther that caught my eye. (The colour is the effect of a hot pink skylight.) Is pink Anstruther's favourite colour? Did she choose pink because it's the most flattering colour, and who doesn't want to look their best when clothes come off? Or maybe this was a brilliant compromise; the only room she and her husband, photographer Henry Bourne, could both agree to envelop in the feminine hue. Whatever the motivation, it makes me smile. I bet it has the same effect on Anstruther.
See our Bathroom Design & Decorating Guide for more unique ideas.
My tiny driveway has finally failed me! I must give it credit though, for a while it did manage to keep four vehicles ticket free and off the street and sidewalk. With a recent new addition, however, we now have to fit five vehicles in a two-car parking space. This has led to my newly blossoming love affair with grand driveways! And of course, the estates and the European-inspired fountains that often accompany them make then even more envious. Here are some driveways with fountains that make me swoon:
The fountain-centred driveway is timelessly elegant, luxurious and practical. There is undoutedly plenty of space for the homeowners' cars and guests' cars alike — of which you'd expect there to be a lot at a house this size. Its circular design makes coming and going hassle free.
I love the combined luxury of having a four-car garage and a spacious pavement area.
This attached side garage is so large it could accommodate cars and offer plenty of additional storage! The wraparound driveway is sleek and simple, but lengthy and operative.
Have you found ways to manage a defeated driveway? Comment below!
See our Front Yards With Curb Appeal for more driveway ideas.
The month of August flew by right before our eyes. Between time off and photo shoots, I calculated I was in the office for a total of four days.
Another reason why I was out of the office was the New York International Gift Fair. My colleague and good friend Stacey Smithers and I jumped at the chance to attend the annual trade show. Even though we were only in New York for two days, we managed to make the most of it. We stayed at The NoMad Hotel located in the heart of the historic NoMad neighbourhood (North of Madison Square Park). (Check out Mark Challen's article on the NoMad hotel in our October 2012 issue.)
As style editors, we are constantly finding inspiration in all sorts of places. As soon as you walk through the doors of the hotel, your senses gear into overload, and our rooms were no exception. We instantly fell in love with the overall design of the rooms — you felt like you were walking into a cool Parisian apartment. From the artwork to the gorgeous carpet and paint colours, the small details were nothing short of brilliant. It was the perfect place to end our day after walking the gift show for hours and touring the city.
See Cameron MacNeil's blog post on Vintage Chic Hotels for more inspiration.
1-8. Sarah Hartill
I was leafing through House & Home issues from 1996 and stumbled upon this Ikea ad that reminded me of my blog post on dark green kitchens. In a sea of dated (and hilarious!) mid-90s designs was this surprisingly fresh space! I think the cabinets and butcherblock countertop offer a timeless country look that could easily be updated today with nothing more than new hardware (and less plaid). What goes around, comes around, right?
1. House & Home Summer 1996 issue
Summer holidays are over and I have a mind packed full of memories from long weekend getaways to the family cottage in Saint Andrews, New Brunswick. For many of the people who spend only summers in Saint Andrews, the summer usually begins the May long weekend and ends sometime around the Labour Day weekend. This year I was lucky enough to spend both these weekends plus a few other long weekends in between enjoying the cottage out east.
Here are some photos of the backyard on the May long weekend. The yard is ready for all the new flowers. You can see the foxgloves that we planted in the flowerbed on the other side of the tree. We also ended up planting more than 140 of them in different areas. It was a lot of work!
A conversation we always have upon arrival goes something like this, "How high is the tide today?" My husband and father-in-law both prefer a high tide to a low tide. I think both tides are mysterious and interesting in their own ways. You can see here how low it was in May.
These photos are from this past weekend. I love how they show all the growth over the summer.
And I love these garden shots I took last summer. Every year we have a lot of peonies and poppies — a lovely splash of colour to break up all the green.
It's always sad to leave, but the memories and photos you take really do keep you warm over the cold winter months.
For more gardening tips, see our Gardening & Outdoor Living Guide.
1-5. Holly Meighen
My fiancé and I have started a pretty exciting main floor makeover, and firstly, I'll share some of our before photos and inspiration shots.
The main floor consists of an open-concept kitchen, dining and living area, plus one staircase down and one staircase up. Last weekend, we actually painted the entire main floor, including the staircases with higher-than-I-thought ceilings. Needless to say, we put the "labour" in Labour Day weekend.
Here are a few before photos:
And here are a few photos that inspired the overall plan:
Before we started the cosmetics of our makeover, we had all the vents and ducts in the house cleaned out professionally by Sears Home Services. It was another item on our checklist to go along with our fresh start, and they did such a thorough job. Then came the cupboards. You may remember our plan to have the orangey-wood panels professionally sprayed out in a fresh white paint. (We've been meaning to get around to that for about a year now.) These Shaker-style doors are closest to ours, and I love the clean white paint paired with white walls, too. We opted for Benjamin Moore's Cloud White (OC-130) — a go-to here at H&H — and sent them away to True North Spraying Services to have them freshened up. We also painted three kitchen walls in Cloud White.
We both wanted a dramatic accent wall in the kitchen to break up all the white, and it's an eastern facing sunny room, so a dark wall could hold its own. This dining room from H&H's July 2008 issue strikes the perfect balance between dark and light — styled by the brilliant Stacey Smithers. The wall is painted in Farrow & Ball's London Clay (244), but I wanted a hue with cooler undertones.
Cameron MacNeil painted his interior doors out with Benjamin Moore's Overcoat (OC-544), and I thought this may be our winner (after an exhaustive search on H&H.com, of course). Cameron noted that it dried a bit lighter than he wanted — probably perfect for our accent wall.
When dreaming about a main floor makeover, I always come back to this dining room from Vogue Living Australia. There's something about the dramatic grey wall, crisp white moulding and mismatched Eames chairs that catches my eye every time I glance at my corkboard. I'm leaning towards four faux Eames chairs in shades of blue, green and purple.
And this drum pendant in grey felt from West Elm.
A former colleague, Emily Walker, swathed her home in a similar palette. I love how she used shades of white, grey and purple with pops of yellow here and there. Her bedroom has that bold grey wall I want, and her cute side table has inspired me to spray-paint a few vintage frames yellow for the kitchen wall.
Stay tuned for the after photos of the kitchen and dining room, plus more to come on the living room makeover!
1-5. Gwen McAuley
6. The Decorologist
7. House & Home July 2008 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
8. House & Home Makeovers 2009 special issue, photography by Michael Graydon
9. Vogue Living Australia via Decor Inspiration
10. Short Drum Pendant, West Elm
11. House & Home Makeovers 2009 special issue, photography by Donna Griffith
After flipping through the new October issue of House & Home — on newsstands this week — I was really drawn to Cameron MacNeil's DIY project of turning Instagram photos into wall art. I always think that rooms feel more complete when there is something interesting or artistic on the walls, so I'm looking for something with high impact for my own apartment.
I found a great option after recently scrolling through my Twitter feed. Back in October of last year, BlogTO posted about vintage photographs of Toronto at nighttime. These photos are not only beautiful and graphic, but rare — when compared to day shots — because of the long exposure time needed on cameras from the 1950s. Even better, they're available in a number of sizes and for incredibly reasonable prices on the City of Toronto Archives website.
BlogTO posted 31 photos, but this one is by far my favourite. Prints can be ordered as large as 16" x 20", so this could be a stand-alone piece. A selection of six or eight of these night shots would also create impact if framed in simple white matting and black or white frames, grouped close together on a white wall.
Here are some of my other favourite shots:
Ribba frames in white, black and aluminum are always popular.
How have you added a bit of personality through art? Comment below!
See our Great Gallery Walls photo gallery for more inspiration.
Bringing the outdoors in is the perfect way to inject a bit of life into a room. Plants and wicker furniture can do the trick, but I'm currently coveting the rough, European look of brick pavers in kitchens and hallways. Here are some of the shots I have pinned across my inspiration board:
What do you think? Should pavers stay outside, or is this the newest way to add texture indoors?
I often find myself day-dreaming about moving to Europe, making over a fourth storey walk-up flat, and eating copious amounts of artisanal breads and unpasteurized cheese. And to top it off, I would also jet set to other European cities for long weekends at a fraction of the cost compared to flights leaving from Canada!
While these might remain dreams for now, a flight to Montreal, Quebec (especially when you find a seat sale) is more affordable and offers a little taste of Europe, right in Ontario's backyard!
I recently ventured up with a few friends and fell in love with the city all over again. I have to say, it was my first time visiting Montreal in late summer and the entire place had a buzz about it that was hard to deny. The shops were busy, the patios were packed, and the endless public places were pruned to perfection!
One of the highlights was the hotel we stayed in. Hotel St. Paul (above) is located in the heart of Old Montreal amongst a sea of gorgeous historic buildings.
The interior of the hotel was quite the opposite, however — still stunning, but more contemporary. The lobby was probably my favourite space with its towering alabaster fireplace and sleek banquette seating. I love how they've slung loose hides on the backs and seats of the furniture for a bit of personality and edge.
The room we stayed in was designed in the same aesthetic — comfortable and serene with unique touches like these amazing bronze table lamps.
While walking the streets of Old Montreal, I came across endless beautiful stone buildings. I think what's most impressive is how well preserved these buildings are.
In some large Canadian cities, these architectural gems are scattered in different areas, but in Montreal there are entire districts that feel as though you're strolling through the streets of Paris.
And these areas just get prettier and more romantic at night!
So if a weekend in Paris doesn't quite fit your budget (I'm in the same boat!), take a short flight to Montreal and soak up the Canadian version of French culture, architecture and design. You won't de disappointed.
P.S. I may not have had my artisanal bread and cheese, but I made up for it in poutine!
See our Classic French Style photo gallery for more inspiration.
Recently, I was lucky enough to spend a week down in Turks and Caicos with my family for an end-of-summer vacation. The island of Providenciales is the destination for most who travel down to the white sand beaches of TCI, and you may remember Suzanne Dimma's trip there last April.
Although the cooler months are approaching, let's make the most of these last few weeks of beachy inspiration. Take a cue from the colours and textures of the Caribbean when styling your indoor and outdoor spaces this summer.
While in Turks, I was intrigued by this great interior design shop called Belongings. I loved the look of the store and really appreciated their translation of the sand and sea into tangible and translatable products and vignettes. They offer both interior design services and sell island-inspired furniture, textiles, art, lighting and accessories that are elegant, not kitschy.
Check out how these beach treasures have been collected and displayed under glass domes and bottles — clever. I also like the references to worn, sun-bleached wood in their offering of case goods.
This tablescape offered an interesting mix of handmade pottery, modern wood pieces and glass elements. The combination of black utensils with blue-grey glass plates also caught my eye as a cool and casual pairing.
Finally, although it's more overtly beachy, this collection of cushion patterns and art would be perfect in a Canadian cottage for a hit of the tropics.
For more beachy decorating ideas, browse our Seaside-Inspired Interiors photo gallery.
1-5. Lauren Petroff