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I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up the July/August 2011 issue of Elle Decor with actress Courteney Cox on the cover. Celebrity homes are often hit and miss. But the Cougar Town star sure knows her way around a room. In fact, I learned that she studied architecture before pursuing a career in Hollywood, and it's clear that she still has a flair for remodeling and decorating. She moved from her previous John Lautner-designed beach house — which wasn't private enough — to this mid-century modern estate on two acres high above the Pacific. Here's a small sample of the gorgeous shots photographer Simon Upton captured from her new hillside home in Malibu:

For more celebrity envy, see Jennifer Aniston's home.

Which Hollywood homes have caught your eye?

Photo credits:
1-4. Elle Decor July/August 2011 issue, photography by Simon Upton

I first fell in love with chevrons when I was learning to knit and crochet — the simple twist on horizontal stripes always added a bit of punch to a project. The pattern has been quite popular for some time now, cited as a 2011 trend by designer Anne Hepfer, and seen everywhere from runways to interiors to stationery. Here are some of my favourite uses of the zigzag pattern:

Chevron wood floors are so dreamy. They give a room an extra touch of luxury. (It's one of Lynda’s favourite things for 2011, too.)

No budget for new floors? A rug will do the trick, too.

Or how about painting a chevron design on your floors or wall? I love chevrons in grey, and while I don’t have floors I can paint, I do have a bed that could do with a new duvet cover.

Have some striped fabric lying around? Turn it into an on-trend pillowcase following this DIY tutorial. Cushions are a small, low-commitment decorating tool, so use one for a dose of chevron.

If you get your hands on chevron fabric, it makes for a great table runner.

Painting thrift store furniture with zigzags can be fun. Just get your tape ready! I love the kitschiness of this green and white dresser, and how it coordinates with the drapery.

Using trim and moulding, you can also create a chevron pattern on a plain dresser to add texture. (Get the how-to instructions for this dresser.)

What are some of your favourite patterns?

Photo credits:
1. B&B Italia
2. House & Home September 2010 issue, photography by Angus Fergusson
3a. Merrilee McGehee Designs
3b. Urban Outfitters
4. Dana Made It
5. Design*Sponge, photography by Gabriel Ryan Photographers
6. House Beautiful
7. House & Home February 2011 issue, photography by Angus Fergusson

To me, the perfect summer embellishment comes in the form of grosgrain ribbon. I like how full-bodied it is — no frothy girly ribbon, this. Often in clean colours and crisp stripes, grosgrain is fresh, sporty and preppy. Three words I could use to describe my favourite teenage summers spent lifeguarding (in the 80s, when preppy was first truly big, and now I am dating myself, ouch). No wonder I have such a fondness for grosgrain. But when trolling fashion sites and leafing through mags, I see I'm not the only one. While I may consider this my indulgence in nostalgia, I think others see grosgrain for what it truly is, a North American classic.

This summery belted shift dress looks trimmed in black and white grosgrain to me, also perfectly crisp and cool. And look at the many colours of striped grosgrain available online. Imagine what you could do with those.

You could trim a hipster hat (similar to the one I might have rocked in the 80s, on the lifeguard chair). Or dress an outdoor table with grosgrain ribbon mini-flags.

Or, make the ubiquitously preppy string of pearls more casual. And how about dressing up your summer napkins in grosgrain belts?

Basically, anything you can trim with ribbon can be done with grosgrain, and when applied sparingly and paired with something crisp, you can create your own North American classic.

For other fun uses for ribbon, try lining a wallpaper blind or lampshade.

Photo credits:
1a. Alexis Mabille Spring 2011 RTW collection
1b. Pink Hedgehog Paper Crafts
2a. Above The Fray Cap, Anthropologie
2b. Martha Stewart
3a. Girls' Pearl Medley Necklace, J.Crew
3b. Martha Stewart

Most times I tell you about my antique hunting out in the country, at flea markets and old barns. Well, sometimes the best antiquing is done closer to home. Cynthia Findlay Antiques in Toronto is an amazing resource for all sorts of antiques, specializing in fine and costume jewelry from the past as well as every sort of china, glassware and silver. We use their beautiful wares at House & Home over and over again because there really is no other place that can compare!

This week I went scouting for new (old) finds and wanted to share some of Cynthia's treasures with you.

This sober and sophisticated Wedgwood Queensware caught my eye immediately. It's subtle and a true classic — you'd have this forever and could add and add to your collection.

Another long-time fave of mine is this collection of lusterware. It has a pink metallic glaze and exotic motifs that make it so interesting and romantic.

Planning a summer trip? Do it in style with some vintage LV luggage from Cynthia Findlay! Or use these pieces as fashion-forward accessories in your home.

Back to Wedgwood. How about this case full of unusually coloured Jasperware? They've got lots of traditional blue, but these green, pink and clay coloured items are amazing!

In homage to Prince William and Catherine's royal visit to Canada, Cynthia's even pulled out this collection of vintage maple leaf pins — just like the ones the Queen and Kate have worn while visiting!! Any monarchist worth their salt has got to pick up one of these rhinestone babies!

And everyone knows I'm a sucker for blue and white porcelain! This wall of platters is but a small sampling of what Cynthia stocks. In fact, it was from this collection that I found my very own Blue Willow platter, now hanging on my dining room wall.

If china's not your thing, how about a vintage car? A toy, yes, but an amazing accessory for the home? Why not?!

Cynthia Findlay has lots of white and cream ceramics to use at home on your mantel, shelf or that certain spot that just needs something...

They also have gorgeous old maps and architectural renderings to frame up. So beautiful!

Or perhaps you're in the market for someone else's ancestral painting?

For kitschy fun, Cynthia stocks cheerful Fiestaware...

And jadeite...

And West German pottery!

But my favourite find of the day had to be this old framed photograph. This type of sporting image is all the rage, very J.Crew, but I love it for its bold geometry, subtle shades of grey and sepia and those crazy oars! Plus the vintage frame is perfect as is!

When checking out Cynthia Findlay Antiques in Toronto, be sure to take your time, ask lots of questions — Alex is my go-to guy — and have fun sifting through the decorative ages.

To see how I've incorporated some of my favourite vintage finds, browse through the photo gallery of my new house.

Plus, find retail listings for Cynthia Findlay and more in our Online Shopping Guide!

Photo credits:
1-16. Michael Penney

Quilts always remind me of home. My mother's been making them with scraps of material for as long as I can remember and every room in my parents' house has one (or several!) lying around. I think they're absolutely darling, but their quaint cuteness never really resonated with my own space — until now.

Leave it to Anthropologie to take dowdy quilts and turn them into something drool-worthy. They have a whole collection of quilt bedding and I adore every single one.

Urban Outfitters also got on the trendy-quilt bandwagon with its Kaleidoscope Patchwork coverlet. Its graphic nature and retro colours make it a bit more guy-friendly than the ones from Anthropologie.

For a grungier look, torn denim is the way to go. Try making your own; I doubt you'd need any real sewing skills to put one of these together.

Do you remember these ottomans from H&'s Cape Cod Style Finds gallery? I think they're genius. I might attempt to make one myself with some vintage printed sheets, upholstery fabric scraps and some mattress foam.

If you still prefer the old English quilt look, check out these printed tiles from Welbeck's Vintage Collection. It doesn't get cuter than this!

So why not pick up a quilt for summer? It's a lighter option than a duvet, and several of the Anthropologie quilts come in gorgeous summery pastels.

What do you think of this quilt revival? Do you love these fashionable machine-made styles or will you stick to traditional handmade quilts?

Photo credits:
1-2. Anthropologie
3. Urban Outfitters
4. Flickr
5. Kava Gorna
6. Hay
7. Welbeck Tiles

I've been helping someone with a new staircase, and I wanted to show you some of my favourites. What I like about these, regardless of the style, is that they are nicely detailed but are relatively simple. The staircase is an important element of a house — and never an inexpensive endeavor — so I think simplicity is key when choosing one for your home.

Which is your favourite?

For more inspiration, check out Kimberley Brown's blog post on Standout Staircases.

Photo credits:
1. House & Home February 2011 issue, photography by Virginia Macdonald
2. House & Home September 2008 issue, photography by James Tse
3. House & Home May 2008 issue, photography by Martin Tessler

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