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Last night I attended the gala for Canada's largest contemporary design fair. Industry insiders, designers, press and media types all milled the aisles of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, where the show is running from today to Sunday, January 30th. (Today is Professional Trade Day, however — register here before showing up.) I was fortunate enough to have an insider's tour of the show, and there are so many exhibits worth checking out. Click here to order your tickets online, or head down to Front Street and buy them at the door for $22.

IDS 11 is offering up 300 exhibitors, design celebrity keynote presentations, professional advice and designer vignettes. Browse displays of 2011's trends, new and notable furniture and home accessories, and then take a load off and get decorating tips from one of the keynote speakers at the Krups stage. Get insider tips from the House & Home team at the Krups stage on Sunday.

At noon, Lynda Reeves and Toronto designer Brian Gluckstein are talking trends. At 2:00 p.m., H&H editor Suzanne Dimma will be joined by special guest Tommy Smythe to offer their best designer tips for adding edge to interiors, followed by H&H's Mark Challen, at 4:00 p.m. He'll be chatting with H&H editors about their own adventures in design. Take a peek inside their homes!

Here's the H&H booth (#922), with plenty of space for an audience!

Stop by our booth to take part in the action. Our Online TV department will be filming throughout the weekend. On Saturday, catch H&H editors Joel Bray and Michael Penney at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. — they'll be offering up their top styling tricks and demonstrating DIY projects. On Sunday, catch Meg Crossley, Cameron MacNeil and Beth Hitchcock as they talk about their renovation journeys. (At the booth, you can also take advantage of special trade show pricing for H&H subscription renewals, new subscriptions and gift subscriptions. Or, purchase past issues of House & Home for $2 each or three for $5 — deal!)

But back to last night. I particularly enjoyed the four "sibling revelry" concept spaces. Eight top designers teamed up with their sibling to create a vignette that reflects 2011's hot trends. Here are some teasers of each space:

1. HGTV star Sarah Richardson and Rich Brilliant Willing designer Theo Richardson, hailing from New York City, captured the essence of colour in their rooms. Check out this video of their concept plan.

Their eclectic dining room table — note the mix and match chairs.

What a fun way to keep loaves on hand next to the dining table.

Pops of colour and pattern in the bedroom.

2. Brothers Glenn Dixon (of Dixon Doyle Design) and David Dixon are the team behind Canadian fashion house David Dixon Inc., and designed a glamorous living room and bedroom for this year's IDS. Check out this video of their concept plan.

Minimal colour, but loads of pattern and texture. Check out that ceiling!

And a round bed to add to the romance of it all.

3. Twin woodworkers Jason and Lars Dressler (of Brothers Dressler) tore themselves away from their Toronto workshop to set up this mid-century like space. Check out this video of their concept plan.

This wood room divider reminds me of architectural wonders.

Gorgeous solid wood headboard.

And more hits of mid-century modern design with their shelving and chairs.

4. Brother and sister design duo My and Thien Ta Trun form Montreal's Periphere. Their concept space revolves around a green theme. Check out this video of their concept plan.

I walked into this space and it felt 10° cooler — so refreshing.

The Ikea space has some great kitchen organization solutions, wall storage systems and sleek islands.

Large islands like this are practical for food prep, additional storage, casual family dinners, and the hub at a weekend party.

Here are some other booths that really impressed this year. With over 300 exhibitors, there is something for everyone, whether you're a design aficionado or a curious decorator.

Blanco has some innovative sink designs on display.

I like the unusual shape of this double sink — contemporary and practical.

This light grey concrete sink and countertop from Mags Concrete Works makes me yearn for a grown-up kitchen.

Euro-Line has several condo-appropriate appliances that don't sacrifice style for size.

And options with custom panels to blend seamlessly into your cabinetry.

This corner shower from Fleurco caught my eye for its expansive curved glass panels. Simple, modern, uncluttered ... I like.

Cabinet has some beautiful wood pieces worth checking out.

This bookcase from their Historic Lumber Collection is made from old whiskey barrel racks. Wouldn't it look great in a cottage?

Selene also had some notable furniture pieces — more Italian contemporary.

These lilac armchairs hit just the right note of colour.

Their Face Wall System provides both open and closed book storage.

I noticed several booths with mid-century modern-inspired pieces, but Concord-based Julien Armand really stood out. They produce classic furniture and accessories that seem timeless and current all at once.

If I had the space, I would add a classic coffee table like this to my living room.

AM Studio has several chandeliers worth checking out.

This was my favourite. The photo doesn't do it justice, but stop by their booth to really take it in.

Para Paints is displaying their new shades for 2011 as a runway on the floor of their booth — brilliant!

And Sarah Richardson's line of Para paints are on display for you to browse — bring your fabric samples!

PPG Pittsburgh Paints has their new shades categorized in easy-to-view themes.

Their New Bohemia collection boasts bold and earthy tones I'd like to try out.

So head down to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre this weekend to peruse all the great products, take in the talks and meet with design talent from all over Canada. It's definitely worth checking out! And come and say at the H&H booth (#922)!

Saturday, January 29: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Sunday January 30: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Photo credits:
Show photos: Gwen McAuley
Portraits:
Lynda Reeves, Brian Gluckstein, Suzanne Dimma, Tommy Smythe, courtesy of IDS
Mark Challen, photography by Leslie Williams
Joel Bray, photography by Michael Graydon
Michael Penney, Cameron MacNeil, photography by Sarah Hartill
Meg Crossley, photography by Michael Alberstat
Beth Hitchcock, photography by Gabor Jurina

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