I've always loved the look of painted floors. You can hide a lot of "bad" with a good paint job! If your floors are tired looking, or you don't like the colour of the wood, or you simply want to add some interest to them, then this is a relatively affordable option. Adding pattern to your floors with paint takes this idea up a notch. I'm not talking scrolly, stenciled looking patterns on your floor, though. I think graphic, geometric-inspired patterns make this look feel current, and give it a more youthful, modern appeal. The paint colours you choose obviously decide whether the look will be subtle or loud. That's what's so fun — you can customize every detail. These examples below show how painted floors can really add character and personality to a room.
A simple wide stripe is sophisticated but not stuffy.
This time the floor has been given a honeycomb pattern. The light grey on white washed wood softens the look.
No need for a rug in this entryway! And you're guaranteed to smile every time you walk in the door.
I think maybe this blog should be about honeycomb-patterned painted floors! Clearly that's what I'm drawn to. Here's another project by Sara Story. This picture has been seen so many times I know. The floors definitely contribute to making it feel so special.
This time black on white makes the honeycomb pattern bold and dramatic. Great for a dining room!
This would be fun in a kids' playroom. Actually, painted in the right colours, it would also be a fun pattern to paint onto your dining room floor – with your table centered in the middle.
When this listing appeared in September, the French press reported that Brigitte Bardot lived here in the 1960s. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be true. The 79-year-old bombshell opened a Twitter account and used her first tweet to insist that she had "never set foot in that apartment." It seems the property was actually owned by her third husband, Gunter Sachs, after their split. Still, like Bardot, this $8 million, three-bedroom home is a retro beauty, and totally worth a look.
Whether the actress visited or not, I think the apartment's gorgeous Art Deco trappings speak for themselves. I'm not sure whether this is the entryway or a dining room, but either way, that stained-glass window is worth lingering by.
The architecture here is a bit more classical, less swoopy, but the furnishings are just as dramatic. (You don't have to be a starlet to want to swoon onto that red velvet settee.) At right, the lipstick red walls continue through a gallery-like elliptical space.
In the open-concept living and dining room, the palette is a little more restrained. A great room like this is unusual for a Parisian apartment, but given that this house also includes a discotheque and billiards room, it's clearly doesn't play by the rules.
Frosted glass and glossy light wood make the eat-in kitchen feel a bit '90s, but I'd be willing to look past the decor to have this kind of space in the middle of Paris. Plus, it's easy enough to swap out dated seating for some chic-er options.
I'd be a little concerned about people looking down on this terrace and watching me eat, but let's face it: in Paris, people-watching is the whole point. And given the building's location in the ritzy Passy area of the 16th arrondissement, I'd bet the neighbours would be too well-bred to say anything.
Would you feel like a cat-eyed movie star (or at least, the former husband of one) in this glamorous apartment?
1–5. Barnes International Luxury Real Estate
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of walking through the Christmas assortment at The Hudson's Bay location downtown. I knew it was going to be a treat as my good friend, Arren Williams, the creative director of home fashions, was hosting with designer Brian Gluckstein (seen below).
They talked about the holiday collections this year, while reminiscing about our own family traditions (so funny, who knew we all wanted a train underneath our trees when we were younger?).
Traditional staples were well represented: the selection of wreaths for example, was varied.
I considered a few pieces, including these graphic candles (and believe you me, I do not need more candles or ornies) but I couldn't resist and bought a felt mushroom. I know it's random, but cute as a kids' room decoration year round. I also bought some Shiny Bright glass ornaments, which are lovely (see our story on Shiny Bright ornaments in the December 2013 issue).
The white tree above shows off this vintage selection really well (some pieces from Lord and Taylor's brand). Arren said he's been trying get a good matte white tree into the Bay's assortment for a couple of years and is really happy with this version.
The collections shown were so well done; the display department at the Bay has done an amazing job.
Another surprise was that Etsy had a small pop up within the holiday assortment. Three artists, ceramicist Alex Boisjoli, wood craftsman Jack Fouracre (Son Of A Woodcutter) and Silver Owl Studio featured very different handmade products for sale.
These ceramics are by Alexx Boisjoli of RCBoisjoli Studios have graphic impact.
These vintage style ornaments are from Silver Owl Studio, a mother-daughter team.
I love the mix of handmade product along with the gorgeous array of holiday offerings inside. I have to say... well done Hudson's Bay! You're keeping the tradition of the fun holiday windows out front the store alive (I had to check them out, and do every year with my own kids in tow).
All photos by Morgan Michener
Many of the heritage homes in my neighborhood have gone up for sale over the last few months and I've spent several Saturday afternoons walking through and taking in their charm and individuality. One of my favourite aspects about these old homes is the original flooring, and the beautiful ways it ages with the house. A quirky bump or a hole contributes to the character that has developed over the century.
With proper care a solid wood floor will last a lifetime if not more; however, some types can end up looking tired over the years. Sanding and re-staining are standard procedures to freshen up old hardwood but what about painting? I would be hesitant to alter the original look of a home, but these beautifully painted hardwood changed my mind.
This understated hallway is simply gorgeous with diamond-clad floors. The original layout is still visible beneath the paint, keeping the original charm of the entryway.
Glossy pastel blue floors complement the modest white walls in this pretty little dining room.
Although I love the contrast of rich dark floors and snowy white walls, white on white is a refreshing alternative. The stainless steel seems to melt into this frosty palette, making the wood accents pop.
This all-wood entryway seems cabin-like with full-length white stripes. The contrast of paint and stain is cosy and welcoming.
I love the little imperfections that come with old hardwood. My last home had a heart-shaped hole as soon as you stepped through the front door. Lavish black floors are a great way to disguise blemishes, but there is something really lovely about an old home that flaunts its flaws.
While most people open a bottle of bub to toast an august occasion, I've long made the case for sparkling as an everyday wine. With frothy effervescence and mouthwatering acidity, it's remarkably food-friendly, pairing perfectly with everything from raw oysters to fried chicken. Some of the more robust rosés from Champagne can even match red meat. To help fill your flute for our New Year's Eve menu in the December 2013 issue (pick up your copy on Eastern newsstands November 11 and Western November 18), here's a primer on sparkling wine.
Read up on the long, complicated process of making champagne, and you will appreciate its hefty price tag. It usually starts with a blend of still wines (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier) from various vintages, a secondary fermentation in the bottle to produce the fizz, careful rotation of the bottles to gather dead yeast cells, disgorging those cells, then topping up the bottle with a dosage of white wine, brandy of sugar to adjust the sweetness. Is it worth the big bucks? In most cases, the answer is an emphatic yes. Champagne is by far the most complex sparkling wine with layers of flavour, bracing acidity and a rich, tangy finish. To quote John Maynard Keynes, "My only regret in life is that I did not drink more champagne."
My favourite entry-level bottles from the big houses include Louis Roederer, Perrier-Jouet and Piper-Heidsieck. For great value from smaller producers, look for Gonet-Médeville and Gardet. When it comes to the iconic Veuve Clicquot, you are better off spending a few extra bucks for their single vintage champagnes, which are considerably more interesting than their basic bottle.
Fondly known as "pour man's champagne", Cava is Spain's sparkling wine, most of which is made in the Penedès area of Catalonia, just north of Barcelona. The most common grapes used in Cava production are Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo, and it's bottle fermented like champagne, which, by law, must be referred to as method traditional, so there is no reference to the fiercely copyrighted "champagne."
Since it's younger, cheaper juice and a quicker, more automated process, most Cava is under $20. I rarely come across a cava I don't like. It's generally dry and toasty with a solid backbone of acidity. It's a weekday sparkler, to wash away a bad day, or pair with take-out sushi, one of my favourite food and wine matches. My go-to bottle is Segura Viudas Brut Reserva (see above), and keep your eye out for Codorniu Pinot Noir Brut Rosé Cava.
Prosecco, Italy's famous sparkler, is the darling of restaurateurs, who pour it by the glass and mark it up into the stratosphere. Usually made from Glera grapes, prosecco is produced by the charmat method, where the secondary fermentation takes place in big, stainless steel tanks. Other than price — usually under $20 — the big reason for prosecco's popularity is that it's slightly off-dry. Throw in peachy flavours and softer acidity, and you've got one easy-drinking sparkler. (Warning: Even when the label says 'extra-dry', that's just by prosecco standards, so there is usually still a hint of sweetness.)
While I would take cava over prosecco any day, I've recently enjoyed the basic bottles from Zonin (see above) and Villa Sandi, both of which are under $15.
Other Sparkling Wine
While sparkling wine is made all over the world, the good stuff comes from cooler climates: grapes that get too ripe won't have enough acidity, which is what give the best bubbles its snap, crackle and pop.
Sparklers made in France but outside of the Champange region are usually referred to as crémant. The bulk of these wines come from Alsace and Burgundy and cost around $20. Like cava, I haven't met too many crémants I haven't liked, and I'm especially fond of the ones that come from the Loire and Jura.
On home soil, Canada is producing some world-class sparkling wines. The Niagara's Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut (see above) is consistently delicious with red berry aromas, frothy mousse and vibrant acidity. In Prince Edward County, Hinterland is making killer bubbles using both method traditional and charmat. Look for it on smarter wine lists in Ontario.
Saving the best for last, the Canada's finest sparkling wine is made in — surprise, surprise — Nova Scotia. From the Gaspereau Valley, Benjamin Bridge Brut Reserve Methode Classique 2005 is an exquisitely balanced sparkler that sells for around $100, but can go toe-to-toe with grand cru champagnes that cost three times as much. It also makes a great conversation piece on New Year's Eve.
I recently started watching a Lilyhammer, a TV show about an American mobster who enters the witness protection program in Lillehammer, Norway. While part of the humour lies in the fact that he chose to hide in some snowy mountains instead of a beach somewhere, it's also easy to see the appeal of the area: everyone races around on skis, dons chunky sweaters and lives in cosy wooden farmhouses with sprawling views of the hills and lakes. Personally, I wouldn't mind hiding out in this charming retreat just west of Lillehammer in the town of Heggenes. Let's take a look inside.
Nine traditional buildings are tucked into the hills on nearly three acres of land. Part of the property is currently being used as, charmingly, a Christmas tree farm, so I'm guessing some of the buildings are used for equipment storage. When you tire of paddling the canoe around that tiny pond, portage over to the dock on a much larger fjord.
This angle gives a better (and gorgeous) idea of the setting. I love the use of the exposed rock as a terrace, which makes it look like the house has been here forever. (And it may well have — the first building on the property dates from 1770.)
The current owners are decidedly unafraid of colour, and even brought in Norwegian artist Sigmund Årseth to paint the rooms. (I'd love to get just a bit closer and read what it says on the back of the door.) The combination of the unabashedly cheerful pink, blue and red with a fussy gold console and chandelier is intriguing; you might say mismatched, I'd say... spirited.
This panelled and painted dining room really drew me to the house; tidy cupboards and red chairs make the room seem tended, but unpretentious. For even more relaxed dining, there's a breakfast nook off the brightly painted kitchen (which may or may not have a wood-burning fireplace; I can't tell from the photos).
There's only one photo of the four bedrooms (and none of the one full bath or one half bath), but it's enough to convince me. As a kid, I would have loved tucking in to one of these bunks; as an adult, I could lounge on the couch and look out the window for hours. And with 2,600 square feet, there's probably a quiet corner for everyone.
What do you think? Would this charming country home inspire you to pay the $1.5 million asking price and start a new Scandinavian life?
1–5. Regent Eiendomsmegling, via Christie's.