Am I the only person who is owled out? This season, the motif of the moment appears to be owls. In the past week alone, I've received a slew of press releases featuring owl this and owl that. Every website I browse also has some sort of owl ornament, accessory, ceramic piece or textile inspired by that cute nocturnal creature.
I wonder who decided the owl should be the "it" motif of 2012? What will we do in two years time with all the owl objets we've acquired? Will we still want to arrange our flowers in owl vases, drink our coffee from owl mugs or cosy up against owl cushions?
Portlandia's Put A Bird On It spoof illustrates my point quite effectively.
Don't get me wrong — as an editor of all things decor and design, I love the notion of bringing nature into the home and taking inspiration for our interiors from the great outdoors. But sometimes, a theme or motif just gets too darn gimmicky. At this point, I don't give a hoot about the owl.
With that said, there are some very compelling owls on the market right now, and I've rounded up a few of my faves below:
Glazed Tawny Owl from Anthropologie.
Nature Nursery Owl from Anthropologie.
Caviar Owl from Anthropologie.
Owl Pillow Cover from West Elm.
Owl Dessert Plates from West Elm.
Owl print from Natural Curiosities.
What do you think of the owl motif? Comment below! Any guesses as to the next big trend for 2013?
1. Glazed Tawny Owl, Anthropologie
2. Nature Nursery Owl, Anthropologie
3. Caviar Owl, Anthropologie
4. Owl Pillow Cover, West Elm
5. Owl Dessert Plates, West Elm
6. Banzanini Owl Studies 1, Natural Curiosities
The results are in! After polling our readers online about top holiday decorating dilemmas, we can now share the votes. Much like the designers and homeowners who commented on these questions in our November 2012 issue, the numbers are close.
1. CHRISTMAS TREE: Real or faux?
57% prefer a real tree. Nothing beats the smell of natural pine.
2. ON TOP: Angel or star?
The results were especially close for this one, with 53% voting in favour of a star tree topper, and 47% would rather top their tree with an angel.
3. ORNAMENTS: Homemade or chic?
Personally I love the look of homemade ornaments, but 62% of readers polled opt for chic ones.
4. OUTDOOR LIGHTS: White or coloured?
When it comes to lighting up your home's exterior, 60% of readers favour white lights over rainbow strands.
5. DOOR WREATH: Ornaments and sparkle, or natural boughs?
Here's where we saw a clear winner — 71% of readers would pick natural boughs over wreaths with ornaments and sparkle.
Thanks for voting, everyone! Find out what Suzanne Dimma, designer Nicola Marc and more homeowners had to say about these hot holiday topics in our November 2012 issue.
Discover more Christmas and holiday decorating ideas in our guide.
1, 3. House & Home December 2011 issue, photography by Virginia Macdonald
2. House & Home November 2012 issue, photography by Angus Fergusson
4. House & Home November 2010 issue, photography by Donna Griffith
5. House & Home November 2010 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
Though the true Canadian in me tells me I shouldn't start complaining about the weather until at least November, the fact of the matter is, it's starting to get cold here in Ontario! So I've started my cold weather regimen of taking all the warm blankets out of the storage closets, keeping an unlimited supply of hot chocolate in my cupboards, and fidgeting with the heaters to find a comfortable room temperature.
The next step, of course, would be to snuggle up next to a charming fireplace for the winter season, which would be great if I actually had a fireplace. This inspired me to look into the different fireplace options available. As I browsed around, I was faced with presumably the most commonly asked new-fireplace purchaser question: "Gas or wood burning?" Here are my favourite inspiration photos for each:
Aesthetically, both are beautiful. So I ruled that out as a deciding factor. Then I had to consider the ventilation system, installation process, fuel requirements, maintenance and other aspects of owning a fireplace.
Keeping all of this in mind, I still decided that you just can't beat the smell of a wood-burning version, which has influenced me in that direction.
Do you prefer gas or wood burning fireplaces? Comment below!
See our Fireplaces & Mantel Displays photo gallery for more cosy inspiration.
Summer's been a scorcher in southern Ontario, so I'm always surprised to see the immaculate, plush lawns that surround my neighbourhood. Sure, a good gardener goes a long way, but it seems more and more homeowners are opting for a fuss-free lawn: one made of polyethylene. Growing up, I've never had to care for a lawn myself (thanks, Dad!), therefore I'm not one to understand the burden of caring for grass — so I'll leave this debate up to you. But first, can you tell which of the following photos showcase real versus artificial grass?
The answer is: all these lawns are fake!
Sure, faux-lawns have come a long way since AstroTurf. They don't require upkeep like irrigation, pesticides or fertilizers and keep a lush appearance year-round. They're also the only viable option for many patios and rooftops... but how do they compare to the feel and smell of freshly cut grass? Weigh-in in the comments section below.
Most of us can admit we've had a momentary crush on antlers at some time or another — but now that they've become a staple in every home and dorm, is it time to retire the pointy taxidermy?
Does papier-maché make it better?
Are they timeless, sculptural pieces of nature?
Or, should they only be found in hunting lodges?
Personally, I think they add a rustic, wintertime touch that will be perfect for the holiday season, so I say: put them away and keep them for Christmas.
What are your thoughts? Is decorating with antlers in or out?
(If you can't decide, here are even more photos of interiors with antlers.)
Whether you own one or not, chances are you've sat in a Ghost chair (or an imitation of one) at some point in your life. Designed by Philippe Starck, these polycarbonate versions of the classic Louis XV armchair are the perfect combination of historical and contemporary with a simple, barely-there aesthetic. With their relatively affordable price tag — Toronto's Design Within Reach offers them for just over $400 — convenience (stackable, fits any room style, small footprint, etc.) and countless knockoffs, it seems everyone and their mother has one of these. Which leaves me wondering if these see-through beauties have lost their sparkle.
What do you think? Are Ghost chairs "over"?
Here are a few images of Louis Ghost Armchairs (with arms) and Victoria Ghost Chairs (sans arms) to help you decide:
With the success of this design, it's no wonder Kartell now offers the Louis Ghost in a multitude of colours. Is it just me or do these remind you of Hasbro Lite-Brites?
From home offices to dining rooms, these chairs have popped up everywhere. Clean-lined and versatile, I love them for not blocking sightlines and offering a breezy look — but hate them for having become so predictable.
I bet you've seen this look a million times. Maybe they just rub me the wrong way for having become the default wedding reception chair.
So where do you stand on this issue? Are Ghost chairs done and over with, or are they a chic seating option that will stand the test of time? Comment below!
A staircase can be the focal point of a hallway, whether your style is traditional or contemporary. Stairs can also be the perfect place to add some colour and pattern — but sometimes, less is more. Here are some examples of simple stair runners and eye-catching staircases that dared to be different.
Here is a classic black and white staircase with a neutral runner. With monochromatic decor, this space could have used any colour runner for a big impact, but this understated one keeps the focus on the wallpaper.
This rural home features a barn-door-red runner for a splash of colour. Even though the hue is bright against the room's neutral palette, its simple stripe and classic country colour is a safe choice that will never look dated.
This all-white space offers an unexpected approach to colour with coloured balusters. Definitely different, though I wonder how those pristine white stairs will handle wear-and-tear...
For big impact in their gallery-white space, the owners of this Montreal home chose a multicoloured runner. It's playful and practical, but not for the timid decorator.
A heavy chevron print in contrasting colours is sure to draw attention. Although it can be a bold choice in a busy space like this one, I think this runner could go both ways — flashy or classy.
How do you prefer to dress up your staircase — with bold prints and unexpected colours or traditional runners that will stand the test of time?
We've all seen interior brick walls given new life with a fresh coat of paint, but doing the same with your home's exterior is a whole different story. There are many points to consider before you undertake such a task. To make an informed decision, let me share a few pros and cons on painting a brick façade.
I'll begin by showing you before and after shots of Toronto design guru Arren Williams' home:
This is a great example of a gorgeous painted brick makeover. But before you whip out the paint brush, consider this:
- Paint can give your home a sleek updated look.
- It's less expensive than changing the home's siding.
- Painting brick does not require a lot of time or planning, it's basically a quick fix.
- When properly sealed, painted brick is easier to clean than raw brick, which is porous.
- Upkeep, upkeep, upkeep. Paint will eventually fade (red paint will take on a pinkish tint, yuck!), chip and peel, requiring a fresh coat within 5 years — especially in Canada, where weather can cause a lot of stress to your façade.
- Painting brick takes away its natural ability to breathe and expel moisture from the wall.
- You might as well say goodbye to the natural brick, because stripping the paint off is a painfully laborious process.
So there you have it. What are your thoughts (or expert opinions) on painted brick? Have you tried it on your own home?
Interested in knowing how to paint brick? Check out this link from Behr.
House & Home, photography by Angus Fergusson
It's been trendy to tear down walls in small Victorian homes, allowing light to flow though and families to share the wide open space. I love the idea, although I sometimes wonder if the lack of privacy (and the cost of heating) would become bothersome in the long run.
To help you visualize this dilemma, here are a few inspiration photos of open, lofty spaces, followed by smaller, closed-off rooms:
Open-concept living makes for bright, spacious rooms, but noise and cooking smells get around fast. As the alternative, check out these cosy, closed-off spaces:
Closed rooms are more private, but aren't always the best for entertaining. However, I do like that each individual room can have its own decor style — which is difficult to pull off in a space without walls or doors.
Seeing as I haven't lived in a true open-concept space, it's difficult for me to judge, so I leave it up to you — what do you prefer, open-concept or closed rooms?
1. House & Home, photography by Virginia Macdonald
2. House & Home, photography by Robert Lemermeyer
3. House & Home, photography by Virginia Macdonald
4. House & Home, photography by Michael Graydon
5. House & Home, photography by Donna Griffith
6. House & Home, photography by Chris Tubbs
Lately it seems that every art, hardware and decor store carries a wide selection of wall stickers for the home. From typography to flowers, anything seems to go. I must admit, I thought they were rather clever at first. It seemed like a quick fix — a cheap and easy way to throw on some oversized art without the pain and cost of framing. Nowadays, however, they kind of make me cringe.
Oh dear — the chandelier decal. I've seen this sticker one too many times. May I suggest getting a real chandelier?
Decorating, like art, is subjective and individual. So I totally respect that many may disagree with my take. Please weigh in the comment form below!
Oversized, nature-inspired decals seem to be popular in living rooms. Once again, I'd rather see a real plant and some pretty paintings, but that's just me. What do you think?
Somehow, I don't mind them in a child's bedroom. I guess the bright colours and cartoon-like flatness of the art works well in playful spaces.
This growth chart wall decal is adorable. Again, it's for a kid's room. I like when art becomes functional!
I'm sure you have your own thoughts about wall stickers. Perhaps you've found a way to make them work in your own home. In your opinion: are wall decals still trendy, or are they a fad?