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I'm hiding a dirty little secret behind this door below. This is the kitchen of my country house in Tweed, Ontario. The door leads from the kitchen to the mudroom, or at least what used to be the mudroom. It used to be an ugly room, with teal-painted plywood shelving and a rotting floor covered with indoor/outdoor carpet. Now it's gutted and ready for a new life.

But the project has been stalled for 2 years (!) due to reasons too numerous to even begin to explain. But I just got word from our contractor that as soon as he wraps work on Sarah Richardson's latest TV series (it's a small world), he will be ready to get to work at our place.

Of course having this long to plan the design means I've changed my mind a million times about specific finishes. But one thing is for sure — I'd like the mudroom to be harmonious with my kitchen, shown above. This shot is taken from the mudroom, you can see the door open on the left.

All along the process, reclaimed brick has been the floor of my dreams for this space. But I am tiring of the over-herringbonization of the world so would probably opt for a simple offset installation. That said, I am beginning to warm to the idea of a floor of rough reclaimed wood planks either left raw or with a coat of paint. A good hard-wearing entry carpet should be enough to protect it from the mud and snow that gets tracked in the back door. I'm pretty sure the final decision will come down to our budget.

The space is 12' by 12' and needs to be kitted out with several different storage options. Along the north wall I'd like to have very simple open shelving like this. I might put the ugly stuff like garden supplies and sports equipment in baskets.

Or I might sew up some simple curtains to conceal the shelf contents like this. I'd love to find an old reclaimed sink for this space, too. I'm keeping my eyes peeled. And keeping my eye on the budget to determine if plumbing is doable.

I'd also like to relocate some serving pieces from the kitchen to this room, specifically my collection of ironstone platters. I'm no carpenter, but I think I can manage making a plate rack like this one (at Tricia Foley's Long Island, N.Y. house) myself to add a note of pretty to the space.

For the counter I will either use Ikea's Numerär oak counters and stain them super dark or just plain lumber topped with zinc. Which do you like better?

The walls and ceiling will all be V-joint pine from Chisholm's, a local lumber supplier that has been in business since 1857 (warms my heart). I used the same product on the kitchen ceiling, so continuing it in the mudroom makes sense. On the walls I'll have it installed horizontally.

The V-joint panelling in the kitchen is painted with Farrow & Ball's Pointing (2003) (top). I'll probably do the same in the mudroom, though I am also thinking of using Down Pipe (26) (middle) or Calke Green (34) in some way to add a little indoor-outdoor grittiness.

Could this be the room where I finally get to use Colefax & Fowler's Bowood fabric? Perhaps for a roman blind, or the curtains in front of the shelves? We'll see. For more design ideas, follow my Mudroom Ideas board on Pinterest.

Photo credits:
1. Margot Austin
2. Donna Griffith via
3. The Girl is Craftee blog
4. Chalon UK
5. Light Locations via Remodelista
6. Tricia Foley via One Kings Lane
7. Stillwater Story
8. Fabulous Home blog
9. Donna Griffith via
10-12. Farrow & Ball
13. Lara Robby/Studio D via House Beautiful


Margot Austin

The interior of an artist's studio reveals an intimate glimpse into the creative process and can prove almost as beautiful as the work that's created inside it.

Northern light is the best for painting. In Paul Cézanne's hilltop studio, Les Lauves in Aix-en-Provence, a gigantic north-facing window frames a view of fig and olive trees. Cézanne bought the property because it had the panoramic view of Mont Sainte-Victoire, a favourite subject of his works.

An array of pottery vessels displayed on a high shelf stand ready to be worked into Cézanne's still-life oeuvres. He lived 15 minutes away from his studio and was disciplined about making the uphill walk every morning to start painting at 6 a.m.

A well-worn sofa with slumped cushions is the centre of Claude Monet's huge Nympheas Studio in Giverny, France, all the best to contemplate the watery masterpieces depicting his lily pond that wrap all four walls of the room. Monet built this studio in the corner of his famous garden once he became successful — the pond and Japanese bridge were the subjects of some of his most popular paintings.

Here is Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in her Casa Azul studio, the childhood home built by her father in 1907. When Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera bought the house, they applied stucco to the French neoclassic design and filled it with Mexican artifacts and figurines.

Pablo Picasso gutted the salon of his Art Nouveau villa in Vallauris, France and turned it into a studio, where he hosted Brigitte Bardot in 1956. The villa was beside a yard where potters threw discarded metal and broken shards, and Picasso sifted through the debris to make this sculpture of a bronze goat.

The floor of Jackson Pollock's East Hampton studio tells the tale of an exuberant technique. Peggy Guggenheim loaned Pollack and his wife, artist Lee Krasner, $2,000 for the down payment on this home in exchange for artwork. Pollack used the barn as his studio, but the original oak floor suffered damage by powder post beetles. To save money, Pollack covered the floor with Masonite from a children's board game in 1953.

Abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning was a houseguest of Jackson Pollack, and decided to build his own East Hampton art studio in a wooded area not far away because the light reminded him of his native Holland. De Kooning designed the butterfly ceiling himself with found steel girders. His house was attached to the studio; an adjoining loft space let him view his lithographs in his studio from above.

His mobiles are precise and spare, but acclaimed American sculptor Alexander Calder took an eclectic approach to storing his materials in his Roxbury, Connecticut studio. He painted his old farmhouse flat black and his sculptures were scattered across the property.

Neo-expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat was known to paint walls, refrigerators, clothes, anything he could get his hands on. A raw industrial loft studio in Manhattan, once owned by Andy Warhol, is the perfect backdrop for his graffiti-like works.

See more raw spaces in our Industrial-Chic Interiors photo gallery.

Photo credits:
1. Best Travel Store
2. Atelier Cézanne
4. Pick Pocket Design blog
5. The Guardian, photography by Jérôme Brièrre/Getty Images
6. Pollack Krasner House & Study Center
7. Architectural Digest, photography by Jaime Ardiles-Arce
8. Mondo Blogo blog, photography by Pedro Guerrero
9. Art Nectar


Wendy Jacob

"It's like being drunk or on a ship — I think it suits me," says Florence and the Machine's Florence Welch of her London home in a recent Vogue interview. A peek inside the fiery powerhouse's flat in the May issue reveals the space to be a direct extension of her persona: bohemian, ethereal, fierce.

I've always admired a fearless approach to decorating — even if I couldn't live with the look myself on a daily basis. Romantic, whimsical and daring, each room woos its visitors with a grand gesture.

Colourful, bold styling in the living room explores an avian theme, working with complementary colours and original artwork, including a Keith Haring family heirloom.

A gilt sleigh bed in the bedroom covered with a silk brocade coverlet and surrounded by rich tapestries and antiques is straight out of a Gypset dream.

The bathroom — her favourite room in the house — features a wood-panelled tub, glittering mosaic tile and baroque accents.

In honour of Ms. Welch, here are a few other beautiful bohemian spaces I think she'd feel right at home in:

I love the contrast of coral pillows against a sky-blue sofa.

A lively mix of patterns on the sofa and a gallery wall gives this room an ecelctic feel.

Go big or go home! Green damask wallpaper is paired with an array of floral pillows in this bold space.

Gorgeous wood doors with hand-carved filigree lend an exotic edge.

A turquoise bead chandelier and colourful suzani bring this bohemian space to life.

Are you a fan of bohemian style? See more of Florence Welch's home here.

Photo credits:
1-4. Vogue May 2013 issue via Coup de Main magazine, photography by Angelo Pennetta
5. Interior Design Sense blog
6. Elle Decor via Dishfunctional Designs blog
7. This is Glamorous blog
8. From Bali With Love blog
9. House & Home Makeovers 2009 special issue, photography by George Whiteside


Chloe Berge

As a fabric hound, I'd be hard-pressed to choose a favourite. It seems every visit to the fabric showrooms kindles a new textile flame. But the top contenders remain Colefax & Fowler's Bowood, any given tartan or ticking stripe and this one below, Fig Leaf by Peter Dunham.

You may recognize Dunham from his cameo appearances on the TV show Million Dollar Decorators. Kathryn Ireland, Mary McDonald, Nathan Turner and Dunham are all running around in the same L.A. design circles. He's an ex-pat Brit and the proprietor of Hollywood at Home, in addition to being the principal of his own interior design business.

I'm a big fan of his aesthetic and in particular his hand-printed textiles, which include lots of paisley and leafy motifs. But Fig Leaf is by far my favourite of his collection.

Here it is in a bathroom Dunham designed for a showhouse. I assume the wallcovering is the fabric with a paper backing, since I'm not aware of this print available as wallpaper. I covet the matching robe!

This is a corner of Dunham's own home. His Fig Leaf fabric on a wicker chair is a match made in heaven. The mix of colours and textiles and artwork make this room look so relaxed and inviting, don't you think?

This living room appeared in House Beautiful a while back. It's been pinned to my office inspiration board for months, and during that time about three other H&H staffers have nabbed it to make photocopies for their own boards. I've never taken the plunge and done drapes in a print before — neutral linen is more my style, but this room makes a very good case for the power of a great print that makes a room. The other aspect I like in this room is the rush matting on the floor. It's so English but next to impossible to find in Canada — so frustrating!

San Francisco designer Caitlin Moran added a few splashes of Fig Leaf — the Roman blind and pendant shade — to enliven this kitchen banquette. I've always said that green is the very best kitchen accent colour because it echoes the colours of fresh produce.

This corner has so much to love. It's probably the dreamiest window seat I have ever seen. It's another design showhouse project, this one by Virginia designer Lauren Liess. You'll spy a few pillows done up in Fig Leaf mixed in with several textiles from Lauren's own line, Pure Style Home, which is also full of paisley block prints to swoon over.

This is my all-time favourite Fig Leaf room. This one is an East Hampton interior by Tom Scheerer. The print really makes a statement here alongside pure white and natural textures — there's that rush matting again! And if you are a Tom Scheerer fan, get your credit card ready to pre-order, he has a book coming out in September, Tom Scheerer Decorates (2013 Vendome Press).

And finally here's how I worked a little Fig Leaf into my own home — a single 24" pillow in my dressing room, as seen on Online TV and in the September 2012 issue of House & Home. I love how it mixes with the awning stripe pillow I sewed up from an Ikea fabric. A perfect high-low mix! And here's one last Fig Leaf tidbit — the print is inspired by a curtains and a sofa fabric Dunham saw in Salvador Dalì's house!

Find Fig Leaf in Canada at Y&Co showrooms. Or go straight to Etsy to order some accent cushions. This one above is from Spark Modern and might just be all you need to perk up your living room for spring.

See more floral finds in our photo gallery.

Photo credits:
1-3. Peter Dunham
4. House Beautiful, photography by Victoria Pearson
5. Moj Moly Azyl blog, photography by Laure Joliet
6. Pure Style Home blog, design by Lauren Liess, photography by Helen Norman
7. Tom Scheerer, photography by Simon Upton
8. House & Home September 2012 issue, photography by Virginia Macdonald
9. Spark Modern shop, Etsy


Margot Austin

If you've seen our May 2013 issue, you probably swooned at designer Colette van den Thillart's Barbados hideaway. Van den Thillart admits she's cherry-picked some of the elements to reflect the seminal style of one of the island's most influential residents, British set designer Oliver Messel.

Messel's charmed life started in London, but he ended up in Barbados, spending the last 12 years of his life there while bringing a refined elegance to tropical living that's still the gold standard. He transformed a former storage building at Leamington Pavilion with baroque touches such as louvered doors and balustrades, arched windows and a loggia.

Affluent and well connected (Messel was the uncle of Tony Armstrong-Jones, the former husband of Princess Margaret) with a gift for gab, Messel started as a portrait painter for the social set. He moved easily into London theatre, designing sets and costumes for superstar productions of the day, and then Hollywood films such as Suddenly Last Summer and Gigi. Messel first visited Barbados with friends in 1959. Overworked and suffering from arthritis, he was reinvigorated by the tropical sun.

Messel had no architectural training, but he borrowed tricks from set design to create perspective, evident in this London production of Sleeping Beauty, and transplanted them to his new projects in the Caribbean.

His redesign of Cockade House in Barbados, a former sugar plantation, made it one of the prettiest houses on the island. Messel transformed it with slender Greek columns, flattened arches and fanciful fanlights.

The Cockade House terrace features lavish use of "Messel Green," his trademark shade, along with lattice trelliswork, two of his most lasting legacies.

He even draped the stars in green, designing this dress for Elizabeth Taylor.

Fustic House was his favourite property in Barbados. Made of local coral stone, he accented the façade of the Messel wing with trademark louvered shutters to let the breeze flow, and Bajan parapets (small hoods over the windows) to block the sun. The cement floors were scored to look like tiles.

Messel green softens the transition from the interior to the lush palms surrounding the east terrace, and curtains buffer the elements.

His interiors incorporated white-on-white schemes with splashes of bright colour and elaborate plaster mouldings. He had a quirky habit: Messel was short so many of the light switches were placed close to the ground.

The first home Messel bought on the island was Maddox House, a rundown property on the St. James coast. He redesigned it to suit life in the Caribbean with balconies, loggias and terraces looking out to the sea.

Maddox House was such a hit, it sparked a booming new career as jet-set residents clamored for the Messel touch for their own vacation properties. He was tapped by Lord Glenconner to design 30 houses on his private island, Mustique, from 1960 onwards, including the winter escape of Princess Margaret, Les Jolies Eaux (the pool cabana is pictured above). But Barbados remained Messel's first island love and his home until he died there in 1978 at age 74.

For more, read all about Margot Austin's trip to Barbados.

Photo credits:
1, 4, 10. Antique French Living blog
2. A Certain Cinema blog
3. Royal Opera House
5. Charles Edwards Lighting blog
6. Social Bliss blog
7, 9. How To Spend It blog
8. Fustic House
11. Les Jolies Eaux home, 10K Vacation Rentals


Wendy Jacob

I love the look of big things in small spaces. While browsing for my own rooms, I find I'm drawn to giant pendant lights, oversized baskets, looming wardrobes and colossal paintings — the items that pop without overcrowding, instantly winning your attention. The relentless concern is how to keep the room from looking too small with these big items. I say it's an easy fix — add another huge object and make it a mirror.

A king-size mirror propped against a wall will reflect light and double the visual size of your room — the result is really lovely.

Check out some examples of oversized mirrors below.

This elegant Palladian mirror from Restoration Hardware is pretty high up on my "maybe one day" wish list.

How have you used mirrors in your cramped spaces? Comment below!

Learn how to make your own oversized mirror in this DIY video.

Photo credits:
1. The Decorating Files, design by Jennifer Ferreira, photography by Angus Fergusson
2. The Kitchn
3. Interiors Magazine June/July 2012, photography by Matthew Millman
4. The Right At Home Designs
5. Heart Handmade blog
6. Palladian Mirrors, Restoration Hardware


Floriana Paonessa

I must admit, I'm guilty of pinning dreams on Pinterest: pins that are so glorious and eye-catching you can't resist adding them to your "Inspiration" or "Must Buy" boards, when really, you'll never own any of those things in a million years. Let me quickly share a few with you:

Ah, the ever-dreamy lofty glass house! Last I checked, I live in Canada, it's snowing in April, and hydro still isn't free. Maybe I'll just buy a cloche and let my cactus live out my glass house fantasies.

I just had to pin this (most likely expensive) freestanding, round statement tub that won't fit most normal-sized bathrooms. All that's missing is a Persian rug at the foot of the tub.

This one's been repinned quite a few times. I'm fairly certain there aren't many people spending weeks moving their furniture, laying out drop-sheets, meticulously applying masking tape and covering their 14-foot ceilings and walls with two very daring colours that they'll grow sick of within months. But I had to pin it. I love it. And I can guarantee you I will never attempt it.

I couldn't finish this blog post without mentioning the Serge Mouille lamps. I've pinned every one of them, again and again. I know these fixtures might not be completely out of reach for some people, but for me, it goes like this: an original Serge Mouille or a first-class trip to Bora Bora? And that is why this is another Pinterest dream.

Now I understand that inspiration boards are meant to be just that: a place to gather ideas and jostle your creativity. I'm definitely not done pinning dreams and hope that you keep pinning "big" too.

For the old fashioned type of inspiration board, see Wendy Jacob's blog post about H&H editors' offices.

Photo credits:
1. Openhouse
2. Interior design by Chelsea Hing, via The Design Files
3. Farrow & Ball
4. Metropolitan Home


Reiko Caron

Dorothy Draper's name might not be bandied around as much as it used to be when she reigned as an ultimate tastemaker. But her bold, modern Baroque influence is still felt today, just look at interiors by an up-and-coming young buck like Miles Redd, or her abiding affection for emerald green, Pantone's pick for the colour of 2013.

From the roaring '20s to the swinging '60s, Draper was the uncontested doyenne of interior design. The first professional interior designer, her firm still operates in New York. She paved the way for modern media mavens by penning a decor column in Good Housekeeping and a book, Decorating is Fun! (1939 Pointed Leaf Press), collaborated with fabric firm Schumacher & Co. on a tropical print called "Braziliance" and designed a pink polka dot truck for Packard.

Draper hailed from a privileged background and grew up in tony Tuxedo Park, New York. Her star rose just as Americans were shaking off their dowdy Edwardian colour schemes. She was famous for creating fantastical commercial spaces (she looked down her nose at interior design for private homes). Clients who had the nerve to question her decisions were rebuffed by "Perhaps you don't really want us to do this job?" She said, "I don't believe there is any rule in the game that can't be broken." In a word, she was fearless.

Clashing colours, big floral prints, and black and white floors were Draper's trademark. To her design was entertainment — a themed experience that encompassed architecture, furnishings, matchbooks and staff uniforms. She didn't care if a room was historically accurate and encouraged clients to "jumble periods cheerfully," even advising them to dye antique Persian rugs.

Draper's design of California's Arrowhead Springs Hotel was so detailed it included pink-and-white wrapping for the bathroom soap and the black-and-red swizzle sticks in the bar.

According to Carlton Varney, author of The Draper Touch (1988 Simon & Schuster) and president of Draper & Co. in New York, her favourite combos were aubergine and pink with chartreuse and turquoise, or dull white and shiny black. Her signature cabbage rose chintz was often paired with bold stripes and she loved elaborate plaster mouldings and ornate mirror frames.

The Victorian Writing Room (above) in the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia was once considered the most photographed room in the U.S. Designer Thom Filicia says Draper took classical elements and injected them with an incredible amount of fantasy: "She exaggerated it and made it feel new and clean." But not everyone was a fan. Draper's outrageous eye prompted architect Frank Lloyd Wright to call her an 'inferior desecrator.' Do you think Dorothy had the magic touch?

For more classic American design, see Katharine Hepburn's Beach House and a Relaxed Georgia Mansion.

Photo credits:
1. Fauxology blog
2. Museum of New York City blog
3. Re-Do It Design blog
4. Jodie Carter Design blog
5. Cabbage Rose Outpost blog
6. Villa Bisono blog


Wendy Jacob

Office decor can be bland, but that's not the case at House & Home. These design editors know a thing or two about styling a sweet vignette, so take a page from their inspirational ideas for your own workspace.

If your tools of the trade are pretty, show them off. Style editors Stacey Smithers and Sarah Hartill display fabric samples and paint swatches on big inspiration boards in their offices.

In design editor Joel Bray's office, a kilt pin from his mother's school uniform and a weather-beaten vintage map of his hometown are reminders of his roots.

Senior design editor Margot Austin is full of good ideas, from these floating picture shelves that let her change up personal displays, to the edited collection of all-white desk accessories (when was the last time you saw a white hole punch?), and matching mid-century Thonet leather chair.

Task lighting tends to be tech-y and cold. Assistant design editor Holly Meighen uses a mellow brass lamp she found in her basement to give her desk personality. The antique look injects an elegant quality while the scent from a dish of dried lavender subtly energizes.

Assistant design editor Kai Ethier found this inexpensive boho-style shelf in a flower shop. The pretty sage-green piece maxes out a corner and the curved shelves are a softer alternative to standard shelving units.

A glitzy matchbox from Mexico in a chic Lucite-lid box on a mirrored tray is a whimsical focal point for art director Jason Kang when layouts are piled on his desk.

I've propped a chunk of quartz on my own desk because crystals are supposed to stimulate mental acuity. Hey, it can't hurt.

For more, see Suzanne Dimma's favourite inspiration boards.

Photo credits:
1-11. Wendy Jacob


Wendy Jacob

Last October, my girlfriends and I stayed at a gorgeous bed & breakfast here in Toronto the night before my wedding. I booked it online without knowing much about it, other than its proximity to Allan Gardens for pre-wedding photos and a short walking distance to our wedding venue, The St. Lawrence Market.

Well, we rolled into the Banting House Inn and we were pleasantly surprised. For such reasonable prices, it was absolutely stunning. I couldn't resist snapping some photos of the perfectly appointed rooms before we headed off to the wedding. (Yes, I was even in my wedding dress at this point.) Owners Scott and Greg clearly have a knack for mixing styles, and injected a bit of industrial edge into each corner of this old Victorian home. They prove that even old homes with traditional bones can be decorated with both vintage and modern finds. Get inspired by their effortless style.

This connecting room is to the right of the entryway. I love how the black-painted walls make the original woodwork pop.

And here is the formal living room with crisp white walls and sky-blue ceiling. Nice touch! The dramatic tufted sofa balances the softness of the ceiling.

They even had stacks of design books and iPads for guests to borrow.

The ceilings in here were probably 10 feet, and this gorgeous mirror stands about 8 feet tall. It was a great photo op with me putting my lipstick on.

There was a mix of furniture in this room that just seemed to work. A Navajo-style armchair, a mid-century modern black chair, an ornate white bench and an industrial bookshelf made from raw wood and metal. Instead of over-thinking furniture styles, just invest in pieces you love. The owners probably collected these items over the years, and then worked them into this formal room with confidence.

I've always loved these brushed metal stools with adjustable height. They topped one with a lamp for use as a side table.

A vintage shelf is a perfect spot to display collections of vintage items, like these old cigarette tins.

And here is the dining room with rustic wood table and chairs. They paired the old wood chairs with two modern moulded plastic chairs to balance out all the wood. And how about that chandelier!?

And so we met at Allan Gardens park for our photos, which was right down the street.

And here we are inside Allan Gardens.

I'd like to thank Scott for being so gracious with us — a know bridal parties can be loud and giggly. But our stay really made the night before the wedding stress-free.

Photo credits:
1, 3-7, 10, 12. Banting House Inn
2, 11, 13-15. Photography by Brittany Ross
8-9. Gwen McAuley


Gwen McAuley

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