During Toronto International Film Festival season, the infectious buzz around the city could turn even the most modest moviegoer into a celeb-crazed fan. Our team at House & Home caught the TIFF bug early when we began designing the 2014 Red Carpet Suite this summer.
Situated in Roy Thomson Hall, this cocktail lounge is a place for VIP ticket holders and their guests to mingle before the gala screenings, and offers a front-row glimpse at celebrities as they walk the Red Carpet.
Lounges, particularly during TIFF, often bring glamour to mind. In lieu of traditional glamour, we chose a look that depicts the relaxed refinement look we’ve recently admired in our favourite homes and restaurants. Still polished and sophisticated, this “new glamour” is about rich textures like velvets and leather, a saturated colour palette, and strong silhouettes.
This living space by Boston-based designer Frank Roop was our inspiration for the suite. As is his signature, Roop masterfully created a space that is at once colourful and spontaneous, while still elegant and intimate. The success of this look is achieved in the mix, and we frequently referred to Roop’s design over the course of our planning.
By installing khaki-coloured tone-on-tone carpet tiles by Kraus, we easily mimicked the subtle texture Roop had achieved with parchment-coloured wallpaper.
Rather than overwhelming the suite with colour, we accented opposite ends of the room with deep colours – Galapagos Turquoise (2057-20) and Lichen Green (2150-20), both by Benjamin Moore. These bold tones instantly livened the room and made it more intimate.
During my sourcing trips around the city, I looked for furnishings that were low in height, substantial and impeccably tailored.
The Profile Sofa by Roche Bobois is upholstered in rich blue velvet, perfectly complementing the Galapagos Turquoise wall. The scale and craftsmanship of this sofa made it the ideal statement for our centre wall.
The large walls were calling for a gallery arrangement, and movie posters were an obvious choice. We chose vintage posters with strong graphics, and framed them in a variety of ways. It took several sketches to properly arrange the wall and decide how each piece would be framed.
This painterly geometric artwork, called Equation in Blue from Shelter Furniture, anchored the gallery wall.
The Gubi Adnet Mirror from Hollace Cluny is incredibly luxurious with its tan leather strap.
During my visit to the festival this week, it was exciting to see the suite in full-swing — candles burning (flameless, of course), cocktail in hand, anticipating who might walk the Red Carpet next. A night at the movies is still as glamorous as always, just a little more hip this time.
Love the look of relaxed refinement? Watch our Look of the Year video to see how Joel Bray and Stacey Smithers designed a space that brings this concept to life.
Red Carpet Suite Source Guide:
Blue velvet sofa and cream lounge chairs, Roche Bobois
Taupe upholstered sofa, chests and bookshelves, Decorium
Ceramic cocktail tables, Avenue Road
Marble cocktail table, grey lounge chair, velvet stools and blue art, Shelter Furniture
Walnut floor lamp and leather mirror, Hollace Cluny
Citrine high-back chair and mod beige armchairs, Pavilion Modern
Lightbox side tables, Style Garage
Table lamps, Absolutely Inc.
Frames and hurricane vases, Ikea
Custom picture framing, DeSerres
Throw pillows, Tonic Living
Trees, Sheridan Nurseries
Wall colours: Grant Beige (HC-83), Galapagos Turquoise (2057-20), Lichen Green (2150-20), Benjamin Moore
The presenting sponsor of the 2014 TIFF Red Carpet Suite is Quintessentially Lifestyle
Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of going behind-the-scenes at West Elm's HQ in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Only days before, former president Bill Clinton had also visited the office. He was there to learn more about the brand's commitment to pay $35 million directly to artisans around the world who produce products for West Elm using handcrafted techniques — and the buzz of his visit still lingered, leaving everyone in high spirits.
I was soon being led past beautiful rooms where product for Holiday 2014 was perfectly styled and presented, and into the busy design offices where shelves were messily piled with samples, walls were littered with pictures and palettes, and the seeds of new ideas were being planted and grown.
Jonathan Orr, West Elm's VP of design for textiles and decorative accessories, had recently returned with his team from Peru carrying armfuls of pottery, blankets, knits and photographs that were laid out on tables. Why Peru? Orr said something about it being "in the air" — you see a nod to it here, a hint of it there, and suddenly it's of the moment... or it will be next spring and fall, when the designers at West Elm turn their inspirations into the pieces we'll all be coveting in 2015.
Expect to see lots of fabulous fringe, shaggy textures, bright but earthy colours and beautifully woven textiles. I was surprised to discover that there's a mini loom right in the office, which is used to work out patterns and create the samples that are later put into production.
Indeed, a lot of design work, at least in the initial stages, is still done the old fashioned way — by hand. In an area removed from the main offices, down a hallway and tucked behind industrial shelves stuffed with stock, was what amounted to an art studio. Pots of paint, colour-stained brushes and clusters of mini bottles topped with eye droppers crowded a long desk. I also spotted delicate watercolour sketches that may one day be turned into patterns for bedding and textiles.
Images painted for spring and summer 2015 had already made the leap from paper to pillows.
I was particularly excited to see these two mood boards. Alexander Calder is one of my favourite artists, and while Scandinavian mid-century is hardly a new idea in 2014, never mind 2015, I found myself swooning over the tangerine, midnight blue and cream palette. Perhaps it's time for me to get my own hands dirty with a little paint.
While I was in New York, I spent the weekend at the new Ludlow Hotel on the Lower East Side. The hotel, which is owned by the same team behind The Marlton, opened its doors in early June and was still undergoing construction when I was there, but any resulting inconveniences were overshadowed by the serendipitous moments that came out of the dust. After a maintenance man visited my room to monitor the air conditioning, he kindly snuck me up to the unfinished rooftop to take in the incredible view and peer into the windows of the still-unfinished luxury suites. Once the hammers and the drills fall silent, I will be back.
This is the courtyard, where I enjoyed breakfast.
And here some professional pics of the rooms.
1-10. Kimberley Brown
11-12. Ludlow Hotel
House & Home magazine designed this year's TIFF Red Carpet Suite, and it's simply stunning!
Want to see inside? Check out these photos:
Located inside Roy Thomson Hall, the lounge provides a space for festival sponsors and their special guests to retreat before gala screenings.
Update: Read H&H designer Jenna Cadieux's blog post to find out how she pulled the room together.
The presenting sponsor of the Toronto International Film Festival Red Carpet Suite is Quintessentially Lifestyle.
In the land of five-month winters, I'm always surprised to hear everyone declare an end to summer on Labour Day. Not so fast, partner. According to my calendar there are a few weeks left, and in Toronto, it's often the finest stretch of the season.
While it's still nice out, I like to park myself on the front porch after work and sip a refreshing libation while my daughter affixes stickers to every available surface. At my house, a late summer cocktail means something cold and citrusy with a good slug of gin.
Good things happen when gin and citrus meet, and they meet often in classic cocktails. The beloved Tom Collins is essentially a spiked glass of sparkling lemonade. A Sloe Gin Fizz is similar to a Collins, but with the addition of sloe gin, an English liqueur made by infusing high proof gin with wild blackthorn plums then sweetening it with sugar and diluting it with water. It's cloying on its own, but magnificent in a fizz. For something stiffer, the South Side is a straight-up icy drink that is perfumed with mint and has the sweet-sour tension of a good margarita or daiquiri.
All three cocktails are unbelievably refreshing, and the lemon's bite primes the palate for the dinner bell. They have just enough gin to wash away the day's troubles, but won't knock you over the head like a martini. These drinks are dead easy to make, and make them you should, to savour the dying days of summer.
A note about the recipes:
Lemon juice for cocktails is always fresh squeezed, preferably passed through a fine strainer to remove pips and pulp. Simple syrup is equal volumes water and granulated sugar heated and stirred until the sugar dissolves. As for gin, I experimented with various brands and found both Beefeater and Plymouth consistently worked best in all three drinks. Do remember to chill your glasses before mixing, as it makes all the difference.
2 oz. gin
1 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup
Soda water, chilled
Orange slice and cherry, for garnish (optional)
Step 1: Chill a 12-oz. highball glass. Fill with ice.
Step 2: Pour gin, lemon juice and syrup into a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice. Shake. Strain into prepared glass. Top with soda. Give a light stir. Garnish with orange and cherry, if desired. Serves 1.
Sloe Gin Fizz
1 oz. sloe gin
1 oz. gin
3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 oz. simple syrup
Soda water, chilled
Lemon slice, for garnish (optional)
Step 1: Chill a 12-oz. highball glass. Fill with ice.
Step 2: Pour sloe gin, gin, lemon juice and syrup into cocktail shaker. Fill with ice. Shake. Strain into prepared glass. Top with soda. Give a light stir. Garnish with lemon, if desired. Serves 1.
5 mint leaves
1/2 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. gin
3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 small mint leaf, for garnish
Step 1: Chill a coupe or martini glass.
Step 2: In cocktail shaker, muddle mint and simple syrup. Add gin, lemon juice and ice. Shake. Fine strain into glass. Garnish with mint leaf. Serves 1.
1-3. Eric Vellend
If there’s one thing you’ll notice about the homes we feature in House & Home, everything has its place. From what’s on the table to what’s on the nightstand, everything stands out because it has the space to do so.
Even when they’re not “minimalist,” our featured homeowners let their furniture and accessories shine by avoiding clutter. So here are a few places you can pare back in your home this fall. (This blog post is brought to you by Just Junk.)
1. The Never-Used Gadget, The Multiple Mugs
The drawer with several melon-ballers. The cupboard of ‘I Love NY’ coffee mugs. As hard as it may seem, getting rid of these kitchen squatters helps in two ways. It not only saves space in your drawers and cupboards, it opens up the possibility of displaying the things you DO use with open shelving.
2. Keep, Donate, Dispose
It’s hard to do, but get two huge bags and step in front of your bedroom closet. It’s time to get rid of clothes. Basic rule of thumb: If you haven’t worn it in a year, it’s got to go. One of the bags is for donating, so anything in good condition can be given away. The other bag is for disposal, i.e. for that ripped shirt too far beyond repair.
3. Old Linens, Older Makeup
That red towel that’s starting to fade into a light pink? Time to throw it out. Old, fraying and even unused bathroom towels take up a lot of space. And while you’re in that closet, remember that makeup has an expiry, too. It’s better to get rid of that lipstick you ‘borrowed’ from a friend years ago, rather than give it back.
4. It’s An Office, Not A Repository
Even the most obscure appliance has an online manual, so there’s no need to keep a physical one. Also, as impeccable as your university notes are, they’re just taking up space! Think about it like your clothes: If you haven’t read a piece of paper in more than a year, you can probably get rid of it. Also, recycle those old cameras and obsolete chargers. You’ll find a cleaner office is a more efficient one.
Finally, the rooms that hear “I’ll just put this here for now” the most are the garage and the shed. From broken lawnmowers to bent screwdrivers, these spaces beg for a good cleanup. You’ll not only realize what tools actually work (to fix up other parts of your home), you’ll see creative new uses for the space, beyond the storage of old boxes.
When decluttering, professional junk removal companies like JUSTJUNK® can help you out. Just Junk’s team will come to your home and take away all your clutter, and recycle, donate and dispose everything from appliances to furniture. You simply pay based on how much you want to get rid of. Visit justjunk.com today to see how they can help you get a clean, organized home. Just Junk serves cities across Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Alberta.
1. House & Home March 2013, photography by Donna Griffith
2. House & Home February 2014, photography by Michael Graydon
3. House & Home June 2012 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
4. House & Home Makeovers 2013, photography by Donna Griffith
5. House & Home July 2012 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
More than a month since my Part 1 post, and you’d think my tiny galley kitchen would be complete with a set of pretty after photos. Not so. The kitchen at our new place, which I have dubbed #Austinsuite on Twitter and Instagram, is at a plateau. Let me bring you up to speed on our progress.
Right after cabinet demo, this tile ugliness had to go. This mottled pinkish, greyish, bluish, texture tile covered the kitchen and entry floor. Ew. The result was a meeting of several disharmonious flooring materials as you entered our suite (right). Granted, the bathroom door (visible on the left in the photo on the right) would usually be closed (a pact I made with my husband, since when it’s open, the view is straight to the toilet — horror!). Alas, flooring disharmony is a personal design pet peeve of mine, especially in small spaces. The tile was ripped up and down went old school parquet in the kitchen and entry to match the rest of the suite.
Then I painted it all white. Here’s the view from the bathroom, across the entry to the kitchen after one coat of floor primer. Better already. More on the painted floors in a future blog post.
Way back in mid June, Ikea installed our Applåd cabinets in a single day. They were in place and ready so that when we moved in, I could unpack right into them — no delays. Perfect. There was only one minor hiccup. Here’s what happened.
You may recall that my plans called for a paneled fridge (as in the photo at left) and that I had some bulkheads to contend with (right). I wanted the fridge gable to be notched out around the bulkhead and continue right to the ceiling. When I met on site with the installer to discuss this, he talked me out of it. He was sure the bulkhead surface would be uneven, making the end-panel cut look sloppy. And he though that end of the kitchen would feel too crowded. He had a point so I took his advice.
This was the result. I knew right away it was wrong. Bummer. When stuff like this happens, you have to sit with it for a bit: Am I being too picky to want it changed? I decided to wait until the fridge was on site before my final decision. The fridge did not change my opinion. It still looked off-kilter and I knew it would drive me nuts.
Et voila! Fixed and so much better, don’t you think? Honestly I can feel the difference physically — it’s like I breathe easier. Note also the large fluorescent ceiling fixture from the previous photo had also been banished in favour of a sleek mod Ikea Bave LED ceiling track and LED under-cabinet strip lights. Note also the makeshift cabinet pulls fashioned from painter’s tape. That’s how it looks to this day as I remain undecided on hardware and won’t settle for just anything. (Perhaps you feel my husband’s pain in dealing with my uncompromising nature?)
And speaking of my uncompromising nature, may I present the hole where our range will one day be, God and Bosch willing. You see, being a member of the press, I was privy to a sneak peek of a brand new slide-in induction range made by Bosch (makers of the existing laundry appliances I already loved in the space). When you go to a press event, the people hosting hope you will write about their products. They don’t expect you to say “I love it. I want to buy one. How soon can I get it?” Their answer was “great” and "end of June." The current projected range delivery date is set for this month. I love induction cooking. I already had to compromise on my original plan for a wall oven with induction cooktop above due to the electrical wiring limitations of our suite. An induction slide-in range is the next best plan and they are very rare birds in Canada.
I am convinced this Bosch beauty will be worth the wait. But just so you feel the full effect of my decision, no range means the counter can’t be templated: no kitchen sink and faucet, no dishwasher. Also, since my laundry is in this area and the water is turned off, no laundry. It’s summer. No laundry is killing me. My husband and I have a hot date at a local laundromat tonight. Perhaps you feel his pain even more now?
In other appliance news, here’s my cute fridge. It’s by Blomberg. I got it at Caplan’s in Toronto and it’s a slim 22in wide. It sits here totally naked waiting for a skilled carpenter to make it some custom panels since my cabinet installers reneged on their original agreement to make this part of the cabinet install. I have placed a call to another guy who was recommended by a colleague. No call back. Here’s where I insert my plug for hiring a designer to handle your kitchen reno.
You see, finding skilled pros and managing them is a full-time job. I have a full-time job already; it’s hard to get this stuff sorted when you are busy at work. In other disappointing fridge news, it’s not working particularly well. I have reset the temps. No luck. Blurgh. Call is in to Caplan’s. My fridge is like a lazy supermodel — it’s tall, skinny and naked and doesn’t work much.
My Bosch custom panel dishwasher is sitting in my dining room minding its own business waiting for the range/counter/water to be turned on/elusive custom panel maker. Bless my Bosch dishwasher.
So, like I was saying, it’s a plateau….