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The tray trend isn't dead yet, and, being my crafty-thrifty self, I decided to make one inspired by my new white and gold iPhone! The whole process took only two afternoons and a few affordable crafting supplies.

Here's what you'll need to do the same:

  • tray
  • sandpaper
  • paint brush
  • white paint
  • painter's tape
  • X-Acto knife
  • ruler
  • gold paint
  • clear varnish

 

I started off with an inexpensive painted tray that I found at HomeSense. I sanded it to roughen up the surface, providing better adhesion for the new coat of paint. If your tray is really beaten up, I suggest filling any holes and deep scratches with wood filler.

On day two (after the three coats of white paint dried completely) I began taping out the bottom. I used two sizes of painter's tape to get the herringbone effect I was looking for: 1/4" for the vertical lines and 1" for the diagonal lines. The key to a herringbone print is to offset the diagonals — otherwise, you will end up with a chevron print.

Unless you have a razor-sharp eye for detail, I suggest using a ruler for accuracy. You wouldn't want this print to look off-centre after all that hard work taping it!

I used inexpensive gold acrylic paint — which you can find at any craft or dollar store — as the accent colour. I used a smaller paintbrush for this to avoid making a mess. The gold paint required four coats, but the layers dried extra fast! This step only took an hour.

After delicately pulling off the painter's tape, I waited a few hours and applied a coat of clear varnish to seal the deal. Sometimes inexpensive acrylic paint tends to become a bit tacky with weather changes, so the varnish will prevent any damage or adhesion to the objects you place in it.

Now, all that's left to do is find the perfect place to display it!

For more DIY ideas, check out our DIY section.

Photo credits:
1-4. Reiko Caron

Back in April, I went along with Meg Crossley to the High Point furniture show in High Point, North Carolina. I'm a total furniture nerd so I was very excited to see all of the new products that manufacturers from around the world were presenting.

I took hundreds of photos with my iPhone. Most of them were tight shots of product or in your typical trade show type of space. It's a show filled with thousands of people, so I was lucky to get a few unobstructed shots from some of the showrooms. I love how a simple camera phone can take such nice photos. Here are a few of my favourites:

The fall show is scheduled for October 22-27, so consider heading down to North Carolina if you're just as passionate about furniture as us here at H&H.

Photo credits:
1-5. Cameron MacNeil

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.

Nothing says comfort in the fall like a hot bowl of soup — the West Elm gourd-shaped soup tureen will look perfect at the table. (For some Thanksgiving soup recipes, click here.)

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?

Photo credits:
1. Crate & Barrel
2. Country Living
3. Coren Moore
4. West Elm
5, 7, 10. Better Homes & Gardens
6. Isabella Novotny's Pinterest
8. HGTV

9. Sunday In Bed blog

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?

Photo credits:
1. Decor Pad blog
2. CaesarStone
3. West Elm
4. Lonny via Simple Dwellings blog
5. Blushing and Sweet blog

It’s finally time to reveal the dramatic "after" shots of my new kitchen with cabinets from AyA kitchens! So exciting. From being frustrated with my previous kitchen to planning for a new one, it’s a great feeling to have the project completed. (This blog is sponsored by AyA. Follow my kitchen reno progress here.)

Ta-da! The result is a contemporary bistro-style kitchen. In place of the usual kitchen table, we went with a long counter-height table outfitted in the same marble used elsewhere for ample workspace.

Here's the handy new bar sink in the corner, with a ledge above made out of salvaged timber. To go from those yellow walls and mismatched cabinetry to this is quite dramatic.

I love the new cookbook shelves AyA put in, complete with drawers underneath.

Here's the new sink — it's so great to not have it squished next to everything else in the kitchen. The dishwasher is placed next to it for convenience.

I really like the magnetic chalkboard wall we painted. It's a cute way to showcase kids' artwork.

I now also have double ovens and a garbage pull-out to the left of it — love them both.

Under-cabinet lighting and glass doors are two features that really make the space brighter. The overall change was quite substantial, and I'm happy with the design and workspace created.

Going through any renovation is a learning process! Here's my advice:

  • It’s worth sitting down with all those involved in the kitchen reno to ensure everyone is aware of what is happening first, second, third, etc. For instance, if you’re installing new floors, requiring new electrical lines or water lines, ensure each of these steps are happening at the right time, and that everyone knows what will be needed of them.
  • By working closely with the AyA team, you’ll ensure your needs and wants are addressed, and will have a clearer idea of what to expect, and the process will run smoothly.
  • Going in with a good sense of what you want in a kitchen, including many photos for ideas and inspiration, can be very helpful. It will help you and the designer see what elements are truly needed and inject more of your personality in it, too.
  • Read the AyA Design Guide to learn more about the choices you'll have to make.

If you haven’t already, watch this online TV segment of my kitchen reno. In it, Cameron shares more details on the design choices. Now it's time for me to get cooking!

Photo credits:
1-3, 6. Jason Stickley
4, 5, 7. Cameron MacNeil

Sources:
Cabinetry, AyA Kitchens & Baths, visit ayakitchens.com for showroom locations across Canada; antique brass hardware, Restoration Hardware, Vancouver (604) 731-3918, Toronto (416) 322-9422, (416) 223-2055, 1-800-910-9836 or visit restorationhardware.com; Bianco Carerra marble countertops and island top, Marble & Granite Stonecraft, Mississauga (905) 565-7557 or visit mgstonecraft.com; subway tiles, Moscone Tile, Toronto (416) 741-7385 or visit moscontile.com;
Axor Montreux Bridge Model kitchen faucet with side spray (main sink), Axor Montreux kitchen faucet (bar), Hansgrohe North America, call 1-800-334-0455 or visit hansgrohe-usa.com for retailers across Canada; island construction, shelf brackets, Perfect Stainless, Toronto (416) 533-5653 or visit perfectstainless.com; counter stools, Crate & Barrel, Calgary (403) 278-7020, Mississauga, Ont. (905) 949-1545, Toronto (416) 657-4100, 1-888-657-4108 or visit crateandbarrel.ca; salvaged timber shelves, Canadian Salvaged Timber, Toronto (416) 889-7801 or visit canadiansalvagedtimber.ca; pendant light, West Elm, Toronto (416) 537-0110 or visit westelm.com; rug, Elte, Toronto (416) 785-7885, 1-888-276-3583 or visit elte.com; Active Wall magnetic primer, MagnaMagic, visit magnamagic.com; curtain fabric, Designer Fabrics, Toronto (416) 531-2810 or visit designerfabrics.ca; curtain sewing, Tonic Living, Toronto (416) 699-9879 or visit tonicliving.com.

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 blacklike Stacey Smithers did in her hallway. And have you seen the doors in the 2011 Princess Margaret Welcome Home Sweepstakes showhome? Stunning!

Photo credits:
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

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