With spring finally here, it's the perfect time to refresh my room. Buying new furniture may not fit within my budget, but I can afford to update my bedding. If you're like me, bright colours and lighter textures can get you out of a winter slump. So, to help you spruce up your room for the season, here are some ways to add fashionable global, floral and zen looks to your space, with new finds from Home Outfitters. (This blog is sponsored by Home Outfitters — enter to win a gift card!)
As our March 2011 issue made clear, Japanese and zen-inspired looks are very much on-trend. Simple lines, woven materials, raw wood and the Wamsutta Grass Fusion bedding set capture this style.
Global-inspired looks are big right now, especially ikat prints. For a worldly look, the Wamsutta Fusion Daichi duvet cover delivers with its organic, stamp-like motif. Add a sculptural vase to your bedside table with some fresh flowers or greenery to bring more of the outdoors in.
Small-scale floral designs are so suitable for spring and summer, as noted in our April 2011 issue. Look for cotton vintage-inspired prints and don't be afraid to mix mix mix! This Steven & Chris Akira duvet cover could go with other printed sheets from different sets. If you don't want all your sheets to have florals, you could use more solids, as seen in the look above.
Flowers in general are popping up a lot right now, and larger ones look great on duvet covers. If all-over floral prints aren’t for you, try options like the Home
Studio Bristol collection, which features a bold blossom design. Streamlined bedskirts trimmed with ribbon make bedding look crisp, and give you another spot to add a splash of colour.
Upholstered headboards are always popular, and would work well with this bedding set. For a more feminine look, use a tufted one. (Learn how to make your own padded or tufted headboard.) The GlucksteinHome Sakura duvet cover creates an Asian-inspired look in a traditional room.
Other ways to update your bedroom include mixing patterns — stripes, chevrons and other shapes can all be combined with pillowcases and upholstery for layered looks. Using damask wallpaper behind the bed will really turn that area into a focal point, or consider a bold paint colour. Stuck with a small space? Use wall-mounted lighting to free up room on your night table.
For now, my spring bedroom revamp will include some new eclectic-style sheets with several patterned pillows. I'm on the hunt for a vintage wrought-iron headboard, too.
Visit a Home Outfitters location near you for more great bedroom products, including lamps, sheets and accessories. Be sure to enter to win a $500 Home Outfitters gift card — more than enough to give your bedroom a quick update. Plus, see our photo gallery with even more new bedding options. Then, watch our Spring Bedding TV segment for bedroom-update tips.
1-5. Home Outfitters
Decorators know how to make an entrance. They can take a space that seems purely functional and transform it into a statement-making room. Instead of neglecting these utilitarian areas of our houses, let’s take a cue from some decorative entryways that leave a lasting impression.
For something formal and dramatic, take a look at this New York City foyer by Miles Redd. It has a dramatic chocolate and floral wall covering, a high-contrast chevron floor and tons of beautiful objets. But beyond the wow factor, there’s a good lesson in function: a narrow console table is a must (if you have room) and a mirror to check yourself on the way out is also handy. Plus, you can see how Redd disguised some less-than-appealing ductwork with an all-over pattern. Clever!
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s this lovely farm-fresh number by Ruthie Sommers. Here, the decorator made a statement with one big element — colour. The floors are simple, the architecture is plain, but the fresh, sky-blue colour is what says, "Come on in, take it easy!" But function hasn't been sacrificed — sometimes a single decorative chair in a fun colour is all you need.
Somewhere in the middle of these two styles is this stunning foyer by Tom Scheerer. It has some drama mixed with simple, humble elements that blend oh-so-well. Now maybe your home doesn’t have a fireplace in the foyer (I know mine doesn’t!!) but you can always make up for it with a wallpaper that features an architectural motif like this Chinese fretwork. The sisal carpet is warm and inviting and the glossy dark front door adds a note of sophistication. My favourite element? Hands down, it’s that skirted table in a zippy persimmon fabric with contrasting piping. If you can squeeze even a baby version of this table into some corner in your foyer, you’ve got it made.
If you’re looking to go the extra decorative mile to spruce up your foyer, consider some of these staple elements inspired by the rooms above.
For a graphic, old-school pattern like Tom Scheerer’s, try Thibaut’s Bamboo Lattice wallpaper in a rainbow of colours.
For a dramatic console with exotic flair and rich colour like Miles Redd’s, try this well-proportioned option from Pier 1 Imports.
Don’t forget to add sparkle (and function!) with a beautiful mirror like this mirror-on-mirror example from West Elm.
And for a place to perch and tie up those shoes, check out these timeless chairs from Crate & Barrel.
For more entryway inspiration, see our Foyers & Entrances photo gallery.
1. House Beautiful, photography by Thomas Loof
2. House Beautiful, photography by Don Freeman
3. Andalusia, PA home, Tom Scheerer
4a. Bamboo Lattice wallpaper in Black, T3132, Thibaut
4b. Bamboo Lattice wallpaper in Coral, T3134, Thibaut
4c. Bamboo Lattice wallpaper in Yellow, T3131, Thibaut
5. Kushak Console Table, Pier 1 Imports
6. Antique Tiled Mirror, West Elm
7a. Village Black Side Chair, Crate & Barrel
7b. Village Maremma White Side Chair, Crate & Barrel
8a. Blue & White Ginger Jar, Bombay & Co.
8b. Hexagon Ginger Jar With Lid, Ethan Allen
Apothecary jars are so easy to find these days. High-end versions can be purchased in almost any decor store, but they've become so popular that big-box stores like Zellers, HomeSense and Walmart now carry a variety of them. What's great about them is they are as beautiful as they are functional — if you know how to fill them. Of course bath salts, pillar candles and candies are no-brainers that are guaranteed to look chic, but there are so many more options out there. Here are a few ideas:
Let's start with the kitchen. Although the fruits look terrific, I don't recommend placing them in jars with lids as they will develop condensation. Use that idea for a quick centerpiece, but not for long-term display.
Take your beans, nuts and pasta out of the cupboard and expose them; it will free up space in your pantry and add a decorative touch to your shelves or countertops.
This storage solution is my favourite; keep all your cookie cutters in a jar! This looks best when all your cutters are made of tin or copper.
I think this idea can work without having to purchase a jar with the beverage attachment. Just use one with a wide mouth opening and use a ladle to dispense the punch. This is so much nicer than classic punch bowl — and it keeps your juice bug-free for outdoor parties!
I always see apothecary jars in bath and body stores piled high with soaps and salts. But realistically, who has 25 bars of the same soap to display? I prefer using jars as storage for everyday items like toothpaste, cotton swabs and loofahs. The stackable version from West Elm is perfect for small spaces.
Terrariums in a jar are always nice. Layer them with care for best effect.
Throw a small collection into a jar; it makes dusting a lot easier than exposing them all on a shelf!
Apothecary jars can also spruce up a crafts area or laundry room. Throw your buttons, ribbons, screws, clothespins or laundry soap into these for an attractive alternative to plastic containers.
I'm sure there are many more ideas I haven't thought of... What do you put in your apothecary jars?
1a. At Home With Kim Vallée, photo by Darling Darleen
1b. Pottery Barn
2. Michael Graydon for House & Home
3. Classic Hostess
4. Pottery Barn
5. West Elm
6. Once Wed
7. The Perfect Match
Jillian Harris, ABC’s former Bachelorette and a Vancouver interior designer, passed on tips to H&H from her new gig on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. She recently had the opportunity to reconnect with fellow Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky, and not on a stage with host Chris Harrison this time. Rather, she set to work redesigning Ali and Roberto’s San Diego home for OK Magazine. Here are some of the “after” photos of Ali's home, plus photos from Jillian's own home, and her three tips for adding personal style to your own space.
1. “Throw away the catalogues and magazines, and bring personality into your home," she says. "Think about what is special to you and what will bring attitude into your room. Some of my favourites are tables made from reclaimed wood with permanent personalized placemats, your first home’s key framed in a shadow box, or your parent’s old jeans turned into a rustic denim duvet cover. Reuse and repurpose — it’s environmentally conscious and unique!” Ali and Roberto’s special mementoes (above) are displayed in their living room, adding sentimental charm.
2. “Use pops of colour," Jillian adds. "Don’t be afraid to mix colours — colour schemes can sometimes be restrictive. Mix different shades of yellows, greens, blues, and mix and match different patterns. Think plaid and gingham, or florals with a chunky herringbone. If you love it, it all goes.” Take a cue from these painted wood side tables. Two in different shades of green pair well together because they share an antique-inspired style.
3. “Make personal photos unique by blowing them up and framing them professionally," Jillian suggests. "Take interesting parts of a photo and crop out extra space. In a photo of your family, for example, zoom in on the feet only and tweak the colours digitally to give it artistic appeal.” Jillian enlarged candid photos of Ali and Roberto to hang over the bed (above), which really lend a personal feel to the space.
In Jillian's own home (above), her tutu is a childhood item that works well with the soft palette of the bedroom, and even complements the feminine ruffles of the duvet cover.
For more peeks inside stars’ homes, see our Celebrity Homes photo gallery.
There are a few things happening around the office that I’m pretty excited about, and if you can believe it, my secret stash of Lindt 70% dark chocolate doesn’t even rank in the top ten.
At the top of the list has to be the new Food & Entertaining section launching with the May 2011 issue of House & Home.
At once expanded and streamlined into a more user-friendly section, the new food pages now include more of what our lovely readers have been asking for, from test drives of small appliances to stories about new food-related stores across Canada — from a butcher shop to a vanilla-scented bakery.
The entertaining story, usually found at the front of the mag, moves into the food section, and will feature culinary-minded folk, along with their best tips, tools of the trade, and recipes.
Speaking of which, the monthly food feature will be more about the food and less about the table settings; doable meals that will still wow family and friends. And let me tell you, we just shot the June feature and I’m still drooling! (Our food and prop stylists are the best in the biz!)
We cap off the section with a brand new page, called Fresh & Fast. It’s healthy, it’s easy, and it’s for dinner tonight.
Also in the May issue, we’re running my food feature about the fab trip I took to the Cotswolds, in the heart of the English countryside, with House & Home senior design editor Meg Crossley. We stayed at the gorgeous five-star hotel, Eckington Manor, where we took a class at its Aga Cookery School. (Did you know that at home, 70% of cooking is done on the stovetop as opposed to in the oven, whereas with a heavy duty Aga cooker, that number is reversed?) Between bouts of baking bread and ambling alongside verdant farmland and the Avon River, we came to appreciate the produce, local lamb and especially fresh Cotswold air, in all of its British glory.
I hope you enjoy the Cotswold story and its accompanying British-inspired recipes in the pages of our May issue (on newsstands April 11, or click here to order a copy!). You'll see some of my photos from the trip below. Also, check out the launch of House & Home’s new Food & Entertaining section and let us know what you think!
Walks on the farm and sweet sleeps were both had at Eckington Manor.
We learned how to cook local lamb in an Aga stove, the inspiration for an easy lamb chops recipe that appears in the May issue.
I’m not going to tell you what this is, but you can probably tell it’s dessert, and this classic British pudding also makes an appearance in the May issue.
These black-faced sheep are unique to the United Kingdom.
The greenest of greens can be found in the rolling English countryside.
To try your hand at a few more British-inspired dishes, see Nigella Lawson’s and Gordon Ramsay’s recipes in our Food Network Chefs guide.
I had the chance to travel to Savannah, Georgia a few weeks back and I jumped at the opportunity. I was there last summer and fell in love, and I’ve been determined to revisit ever since. Known as the “Hostess City of the South”, this beautiful historic city makes a perfect long weekend getaway. It is one of the most picturesque cities I’ve ever seen, filled with Colonial architecture and the warmest people you’ll ever meet. My mom suitably called it the “Kingston of the South”. It has the same feel as Kingston, Ontario — old world architecture and history, cobblestone streets lined with boutiques, fantastic restaurants on the water, and so much charm you don’t know what to do with it all.
Savannah is home to the Savannah College of Art and Design, one of the highest ranked art colleges in the world. SCAD has played a big part in keeping this old city in fine form, putting efforts into maintaining and restoring the stunning homes, buildings and churches. The architecture of the city is mainly Colonial, but also includes elements of Federal, Georgian (naturally), and Gothic and Greek Revival-style architecture. You can spend hours aimlessly wandering the streets under the trees that beautifully drape the sidewalks with their flowing Spanish moss. I tried to capture some of the architectural beauty, but as you can see below, it’s a bit difficult to get beyond the trees. Savannah is definitely best seen and experienced on foot.
No two houses are exactly alike. Every single one has its own unique characteristics to make it stand out, but each adds some visual interest and allure to the block. I love the varying pediments above the windows, the black shutters, and the intricate ironwork on the railings and balconies.
Rumour has it that this yellow giant of a house had just been sold to Marc Jacobs. He fell in love with Savannah a few years back and even opened up a shop in the middle of the Historic District.
It’s really hard to stroll up and down these streets and refrain from pressing your face up to the windows for a peek indoors.
In between the gorgeous houses are even more spectacular gardens. I stuck my camera through an iron gate to snap this shot. Just picture yourself relaxing out here with a glass of sweet tea in the afternoon sun…
Can you say dream house? Hands down, this was my favourite house. It sits facing Forsyth Park, the “Central Park”, if you will, of Savannah. You know which park I’m talking about — the one with that iconic fountain?
Yes, that fountain. I was in Savannah in February and it was a sunny 25 degrees — this 30-acre park was filled with people lounging about, playing soccer, and walking their dogs. I couldn’t have asked for anything more, especially after hearing of the snowfall that had just hit Toronto.
Here I am with my mom and aunt (my aunt is the other blonde but we always get confused for the mother-daughter duo, sorry mom) in front of yet another dream house, the Moses Eastman House. On our first day in Savannah, we did a walking tour with the amazing Bobby Davis. If you ever visit this lovely city, I would highly recommend giving him a call. He does totally affordable (and hilarious!) private tours and you’ll learn more than any guidebook could ever teach you.
Bobby took us to see the location of the famous set from the 1994 classic, Forrest Gump that was shot primarily in Savannah. Just take out the bed of tulips and add a bench and that was the location of the famous bench that Tom Hanks told his tales on throughout the film.
Although I was on vacation, the H&H editor in me couldn’t resist going into a few, okay all, of the design shops. Thanks to the SCAD presence, Savannah has a thriving design culture. I figured I should share one of my favourites with you…
How adorable is the exterior of this shop, Number Four Eleven? I loved the striped awning, painted brick, and little flower boxes surrounding the faux moulded windows.
This charming shop had it all: modern yet decorative pieces, affordable colourful accessories, monograms that would make fellow editor Michael Penney weak in the knees, and a linen collection that Lynda Reeves would love. Trust me. On top of that, Claire, one of the shop owners, is one of the friendliest and obviously stylish people I met while in the south.
If you’re looking for a mini vacation, look no further than Savannah. This eclectic and historically rich town is a must-see. Did I mention that it’s also considered one of America’s most haunted cities? And I haven’t even covered the food there! After all, it is the city that Food Network’s Paula Deen calls home. Finally, don’t forget to pack your swimsuit because the beach is a mere twenty minutes away. It really doesn’t get any better than that!
For more southern-inspired style, tour an 1830s Restoration Home.