At this time of year I am always looking for fast decor fixes before the holiday crush starts and my money is earmarked for gifts and entertaining. I found these items on recent Ikea visit: they add a little décor lift and won’t empty out the Christmas coffer.
This super fun and colourful steel number has an almost futuristic vibe. It will lend a playful energy to your kitchen and it's much more interesting to look at than your standard wood bowl.
This clamping spotlight is a very cool mix of modern and industrial. The matte white shade perfectly contrasts the metal accents, and the light itself is really versatile, so it can adjust it to suit your needs.
Get the kiddies started early on their appreciation of good design. This simple wood stool is just the right height for a proper dining table, but because it's simple and black, it doesn't scream "childrens' furniture!".
Who doesn't love a good woven basket? This striped one has a cute nautical look to it. It's also big enough to store a load of toys, laundry or fresh towels.
A little while back I did a segment on an episode of The Marilyn Denis Show on one of my favourite DIY projects, inkjet transfers.
I like a DIY project that's fast, inexpensive, doesn't require tons of special skills or equipment and that delivers high-impact finished results. Pretty stringent criteria, but this project meets every one. I experimented with the technique again recently and thought I might share the step-by-step instructions. The coming holiday season might be just the time for you to try this method to create some pretty and affordable gifts.
The main supplies you'll need are Avery 03276 Clear Decals for Ink Jet printers (a pack of 6 sheets is about $11). I found them at a Staples store, but you can also find them online here. You will also need an inkjet printer. I didn't have one on hand, so I borrowed one from Brother Canada. They sent me the Brother Business Smart Series MFC-J4510DW. I like to consider myself fairly tech savvy, but I was a bit intimidated at first. I had never set up a printer before without the aid of an IT pro. But I'm quite proud to say I got this one up and running in minutes, all on my own. It packs a lot of functionality in a compact and handsome package. The materials you'll need are: transfer sheets, a printer, and something to transfer onto. I chose ceramic and glass vessels, since the decal sheets work best on these smooth surfaces.
Step 1: Find Images
You can use any digital file for this project, such as your own photos, text, monograms, a scanned fabric or book image. I went to Vintage Printable to search for images. The site has hundreds of images to choose from and you can search by browsing galleries or entering a keyword.
Step 2: Print
Test print your selected image on plain paper and experiment with the print size. When you are ready to print the final transfer, load the decal sheet into the manual feed tray one piece at a time to print. Follow the instructions enclosed with the decal sheets to ensure you print the image on the correct side.
Step 3: Cut out the transfer
Use scissors to cut as close to the edge of the printed design as possible.
Step 4: Apply, protect
Peel the backing off the cut out design and apply to the surface of the vessel. Try not to rub the surface of the transfer as the ink may smudge if not yet dry. Protect the finished project by spraying with Krylon Crystal Clear spray sealant, which will help prevent the ink from smudging.
I like the effect of these black-and-white transfers. The grey tones look as if the designs on the pitchers have faded over time.
On glass the colours become translucent for an ethereal effect. I'm thinking of covering several clear glass bottles with holly leaf transfers and using the bottles as candleholders for the Holidays. Also, one last note about this project — the transfers peel off easily and leave no residue so you needn't worry about damaging your vessels.
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.