I attended a lovely luncheon some weeks ago with the people from Benjamin Moore. The occasion was the unveiling of the company's top colours for 2014. Well, it may be that the pale aqua Breath of Fresh Air is their colour of the year, but the one that won my heart is Fruit Shake, seen in the image above. There are no two ways about it. That is pink. It's not blush or buff, it's real deal pink; and I like it. This is new for me. Well, newish.
I first started thinking about pink a few years ago, right around the same time that UK architect, shopkeeper and blogger Ben Pentreath painted his former London flat in Farrow & Ball Pink Ground. How fantastic. There is so much going on in this space, and yet the wall colour, while seeming neutral, is definitely an active ingredient in the whole.
This living room by Stephen Sills shows another great way to use pink — linen slipcovers. The room looks relaxed, cottagey and welcoming — but not a bit precious.
Another of my favourites used pink for this wonderful bedroom. Peter Dunham, the ex-pat Brit in LA did this room for the House of Windsor Veranda show house in 2011. It has so much I love: a poster bed, all the various textiles and, yes, those pink walls. I think I'd wake up feeling beautiful if I lived in this room. Interestingly, the lady of this house is now Gwenyth Paltrow, who purchased the home once its life as a showhome was complete. No idea if the show house goods were part of the sale but who knows, maybe she's waking up feeling beautiful here.
Conversely, I also like the idea of using pink in a very understated room. In this case the colour makes the space. I have my husband on board with the decision to paint the guest room in our Tweed, Ont. house pink. It's not unlike this room — I'd like to do seagrass wall-to-wall carpet like this as well. We have mahogany antiques in the space, which I think will look great with the pink. I'll tone it all down with lots of white and natural linen textiles.
I could definitely love winter more if this sort of vista was part of my daily comings and goings. Alas, not so. This apparently is Warsaw, Poland. What a scene. I love the play between the falling snow, the curlicues of the lanterns and that magnificent rose-coloured building.
Since an overseas excursion isn't in the cards, I'd be happy to settle for this pair of Ray Ban specs, available through J.Crew. With these and some vitamin D I'd surely be in the pink!
Find more ways to decorate with pink inspiration in this gallery.
House & Home took over the stage at the Interior Design Show in Toronto on Sunday, January 26 with a panel of style experts that included Lynda Reeves, Suzanne Dimma and Sarah Richardson. To kick off the day, Lynda Reeves and Kelvin Browne, the executive director and CEO of the Gardiner Museum, discussed how to keep trad pieces looking fresh. To illustrate the point, Lynda displayed images from three of Kelvin's homes (shown below) that have been featured in the magazine, from a quaint country stone cottage, to a soaring modern structure that Kelvin designed, to a downsized city apartment. Lynda highlighted the furnishings and accessories that Kelvin used in different homes, then Kelvin shared his top 10 tips on freshening traditional style and finding pieces that will stay with you for decades.
1) Love the stuff you own. Kelvin's first tip was to make sure that you never buy for a "look" as it will never work. Instead, shop for things that you are actually drawn to and excited about.
2) Buy old things. "Some reproductions can cost more than the real thing," Kelvin says, suggesting antique stores, auctions and estate sales as great sources for antique bargains. "Older items will also have a great patina to add personality that you can't get with a brand new item, and antiques are particularly affordable now."
3) Never buy fancy. "Basically, you'll look desperate and no one will be comfortable if you try to decorate to impress."
4) Orderly is good but you should feel as though you can put your feet up. Comfort is key, you want to be able to use your whole house.
5) Personality isn't clutter. "A small number of meaningful items scattered throughout a home is fine, and should be done to create a sense of self in a home."
6) Don't pay for a patterned sofa. Kelvin explained that couches are a big budget item and should be kept neutral to last with changing styles and tastes. Because of their size, Kelvin likens a sofa to a "beached whale" that gobbles up space, and is too big of investment for a pattern you might tire of (on a side note, a well constructed sofa can easily last 20 years, so be prepared to switch up the upholstery to get the most mileage out of it).
7) Furniture doesn't need to be big to be comfortable. Small condos need small furniture. "Mid-century furniture tends to be more compact."
8) A theme pulls everything together. Everyone is mixing periods but editing is required to create a cohesive look.
9) Not everything is a bargain. "Sometimes you need to invest to get something that looks great and will last."
10) Leave time for evolution. "Never furnish a place immediately, see how the pieces you already have work in a new space, and then move things around."
From these tips, Lynda and Kelvin agreed that it is important that a home reflects you. Books, travel souvenirs, art, and family heirlooms all show your personality and should be on view rather than hidden away. Kelvin's final word: "Never be a stranger in your own home."
1. House & Home April 2013, Virginia Macdonald
2. House & Home August 2006, Virginia Macdonald
3. House & Home April 1997, Ted Yarwood
4. House & Home April 2013, Virginia Macdonald
5. House & Home April 2013, Virginia Macdonald
6.House & Home August 2006, Virginia Macdonald
7. House & Home April 2013, Virginia Macdonald
8. House & Home April 1997, Ted Yarwood
9. House & Home August 2006, Virginia Macdonald
10. House & Home April 2013, Virginia Macdonald
I think we can all agree that January is bananas. Everyone is doing everything with fresh resolve, from hitting the gym to fixing up our homes. The result is a sort of frantic optimism that usually simmers down to a sustainable productivity. (Or completely evaporates, but I'm still being optimistic!). Perhaps not coincidentally, the calendar is chockablock with events that aim to inspire design enthusiasts to update, upgrade and embrace change.
In Toronto, the Interior Design Show (IDS), Come Up to My Room, Capacity and Toronto Design Offsite all kick off this week. This year, IDS welcomes Moroso's Creative Director Patrizia Moroso as international guest of honour; the above sofa is by Marc Thorpe for the brand. In Paris, Maison & Objet takes place from January 24 to 28 and will reveal what's new and next from nearly 3,000 different brands. And NY Now will do the same on this side of the pond from February 1 to 6.
But don't let all of this attention on the latest and greatest obscure the biggest trend of 2014. Marketers already have a term for it: JOMO or The Joy of Missing Out. The decade came in on a wave of frantic connectivity that made us social voyeurs and left us constantly wondering, "Are we missing out?" A few years older and wiser, our collective answer is, "So what?"
Twice a month, Google is hosting silent "mindful lunches." App creators are giving us guided meditation sessions at our fingertips. And our homes are reflecting this desire to stop multitasking and live in the moment.
The trend doesn't manifest itself as a style so much as an attitude. As I hop from event to event deciding what's hot and what's not, I'll be asking myself: Is this of the moment? More than ever, the answer will have less to do with colour and finish, and everything to do with how we want to live in the here and now.
It's awards season and there seems to be little doubt that American Hustle will be gathering up statuettes from now until the March 2 Oscars. Opinion on the film is divided, but I enjoyed it, especially the costumes and sets. My favourite interior from the film is the Upper East Side apartment of Sydney (played by Amy Adams). I want to move in. That's the genius of great production design; it has to be appealing to our eye now yet still look right for the time of the story. Designer Judy Becker definitely pulled it off.
The set was built on a soundstage, but it looks like an apartment in any given North American metropolis. List the key pieces and you could just as easily be making up a trends list for 2014. Here are some of my favourites:
Who knew we'd ever love these old style parquet floors again, and yet we find our hearts warming to them. On the walls, grasscloth is the perfect way to lend dimension and interest to surfaces otherwise devoid of architectural character. This one is from Philip Jeffries.
The eating area and a bit of the kitchen are visible in the first and second images above. The seating includes two icons — Thonet bent-wood counter stools (check out Crate & Barrel's interpretation shown) and the Cesca S32 by Marcel Breuer.
Abstract art makes one of the few colour statements in the space. This piece from Anthropologie is in the same spirit.
The living area is all about white with pops of red.
If you painted the legs of the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Martin sofa and matching club chair white, you'd have virtual clones of the pieces on set. Who knows, maybe that's what the set dressers did.
There's plenty of shiny brass on set, including this table and a matching side table. It's a 1970s interpretation of Art Deco and you can buy it on 1stdibs.
The finishing touches for the living area include an oversized version of an Anglepoise lamp similar to the London at Structube, large potted plants like this palm from Ikea, a shag rug (of course!) like this one from CB2, and a tumble of cushions in deep red boho textiles. You can find these at Ikea now, though they aren't on the website since they are all one-of-a-kind. Etsy is also a great source for this style of pillow cover.
1. (set photo) via Birds of a Feather blog, (chair) Classic Design 24, (painting) Anthropologie
2. (set photo) via Thrifty Amos blog
3. (Parquet floor) no credit, (grasscloth) Philip Jeffries
4. (Thonet bent-wood counter stools) Crate & Barrel, (Cesca S32 chair) Classic Design 24
5. (table) West Elm, (pendant light) Gubi
6. (painting) Anthropologie
7. (set photo) via Birds of a Feather blog
8. (sofa) Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, (chair) Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
9. (table) 1stdibs
10. (lamp) Structube, (palm) Ikea
11.(carpet) CB2, (pillow) Etsy
I have so much fun watching fashion trends make their way into our decor, and polka dots are a perfect example. I love the look of a dotted wall — black and white ones are my favourite. I've rounded up a few rooms that I think wear their spots impeccably well.
Bold black dots up the chic factor in this boudoir; I half expect to see Carolina Herrera herself come sweeping in for a touch up.
Tiny polka dot walls decals are a charming instant accent for plain walls in this simple bedroom, and are easy to remove.
I love how this designer livened up the whitewashed walls with a plucky polka dot duvet.
This entryway makes me long for spring with the crisp emerald runner and green accents. You really have to see the combination of bright hues and polka dots to believe how stunning the outcome can be, and here you have it.
This gorgeous nursery has a lovely neutral palette, which is made more lively with the addition of neon-dot walls.
Find out more spot-on inspiration in this blog.
Great windows are a practical way to take advantage of the scenery that surrounds your home. I like how a large window can frame a beautiful tree or field and instantly create a piece of art that changes with the season. At the moment I am fortunate enough to live in a home with bay windows. It sits quite a distance from the road, so the snow covered scenes I've been seeing lately look really spectacular.
I admire windows that stand on their own, without the clutter of drapes or blinds. This is not to say that I don't appreciate a beautifully dressed frame but there is something so clean and picturesque about a bare window.
Here are a few examples I came across to inspire your next window treatment... or not.
These arched windows have such an intricate design it would be a shame to obscure the graceful architecture, or trim for that matter. The designer has opted for an all-white palette, allowing the detail around the window to pop.
In this 2009 Princess Margaret Hospital Showhome designed by Lynda Reeves, a dark smoky paint on the window muntins really frames the view.
This bathroom window makes the tree outside resemble a lush landscape painting.
This church-turned-kitchen is exquisite. Architect Jonathan Tuckey took advantage of the tall gothic window, which seeps sunlight.
I can't imagine an iota of windowpane buried under heavy drapery. An organic background enhances the cool palette — throw open the French doors and breathe deeply.
1. Wave Avenue blog.
2. From House & Home March 2009 issue, design by Lynda Reeves, photography by Michael Graydon.
3. Mark D. Sikes Powerful blog.
4. Shadow House by Jonathan Tuckey, architect. Photo by Dirk Linder. via Remodelista.
5. Boxwood Clippings blog.
I've been noticing a softer decorating palette for the holidays: candy-cane hues of red, white and bright green are taking a back seat to pinks, orange, forest, mint and gold. Delicious! Stationery company Rifle Paper Co. nails the mix in their holiday card collection. Here are my two favourite takes. Hopefully they inspire you!
Pale pink takes the spotlight, dressed up with ribbons of gold and sage with coral accents.
I'd love to see this pretty combination on a tall statement tree.
Minty blue and greens ground sugary pops of pink, and persimmon orange.
A house strung with evergreen garlands and lush wreaths would look great updated in these colours. Happy holidays everyone!
1, 3. Kimberley Brown
2, 4. Justine Wong
Recently I've been seeing a lot of street style photos like this pop up on blogs and Pinterest. They got me thinking. I have a sweater like that, I must dig it out.
And here it is. My mother knit my Aran sweater more than 20 years ago. It's now back in regular wardrobe rotation. This sweater is a testament to superiority of natural materials (pure wool) and handmade construction. Aran knits take their name from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. The natural wicking, insulating qualities and water-repellency of the wool made these sweaters ideal protection for those spending their days fishing the fierce North Atlantic. The combinations of stitch patterns used were indicators of clan and livelihood. For example, moss stitch depicts the seaweed that was used to fertilize the fields; cable stitch represents fisherman's ropes. In fact, the distinctive patterns were often used to identify the bodies of fishermen whose bodies washed up on the shore following an accident at sea. Ah, bless the Irish and their grim tales! I'm pleased to report my sweater conjures much happier thoughts.
My newly rediscovered love of chunky, creamy cable knits has me wishing I could drape myself in them 24/7. Luckily, the trend has migrated over to home, so I have the option of doing just that.
I trace the rise of this trend to Christien Meindertsma. The Dutch-born artist's 2005 Flocks series and other knit creations are a whimsical overscale take on needle traditions and a commentary on sustainability. Hers is not your grandma's knitting basket!
This piece by Meindertsma is actually a rug knit from the wool of 18 merino sheep! I could never imagine walking on such a pretty thing. I'd use it as a wall-hanging like this. You can actually buy this through Thomas Eyck for about $10,600.
If you are nimble with the needles there are many great online sources for knitting patterns. My favourite is this one for a Christmas stocking. If you are more of a buy it than make it type, this throw from Rockett St. George is the perfect accompaniment to a mug of tea and a good book.
My love of Aran knits, however, is not boundless, and doesn't extend to slipcovered chairs and sweatered trophy heads!
Browse a gallery of more cosy winter-inspired winter decorating ideas.
1. Irina Lakicevic via A Portable Package blog
2. Margot Austin
3. Le Souk via The Style Files
4. via Les Carnets du Design
5. VT Wonen Inspiration House lifestyle fair via The Style Files
7. Land of Nod
9. Rockett St. George
10. Biscuit Scout via Etsy
11. Rachel Deny via Afflante
I only buy one or two special ornaments a year to tell a story or represent a memory. As the holidays approach I look for ways to accent them, rather than buying new ones en masse. This year I decided to set aside my dependable metal hooks and string my ornaments with ribbon for a fresh look. But pretty ribbons can be used for more than hanging decorations on the tree: it's relatively inexpensive, versatile and comes in a variety of hues so you can personalize a colour scheme. Here are some inspiration shots I would love to implement in my own home.
These vintage tin birds, strung on black and white striped grosgrain ribbon, add a touch of whimsy to a bare branch with lichen.
I was inspired by a stunning home we featured in our November 2013 issue to add some fuchsia to my wreaths this year so I had to share this pretty-in-pink advent calendar made from mini stockings. Note: hanging stockings on a beautiful strip of ribbon is a great alternative for homes without a mantle.
Tying flatware with a piece of velvet ribbon adds that extra touch of luxe to a simple table setting. Knot a piece of rolled linen and voilà: an inexpensive napkin ring.
I love this shot because it evokes memories of baking ornaments with my mom. She is rather thrifty so I'm pretty sure we strung the cinnamon cookies with scraps of yarn rather than elegant strips of ribbon, but they were lovely all the same.
Baker's twine in an array of colours is all the rage these days but I still love the look of simple brown string layered over Swiss dot lace. How do you use ribbon in your holiday trimmings?
As readers of H&H know, wallpaper and murals are no longer just a passing trend. They’re a great way to cover your walls with dramatic impact, and they’re here to stay.
What I find intriguing about the new generation of wallpaper patterns from Walls Republic is not only their range of style (there really is a pattern for every person or home), but also how they so beautifully echo various other wall applications like faux finishes or art installations. (This blog is sponsored by Walls Republic.)
Introducing wallpaper into a space is a great way to achieve maximum impact with a minimal budget. Thanks to their innovative non-woven backing, these wallpapers and murals are also incredibly easy to install and take down, making for a quick and affordable DIY project.
I’ve compiled some of my favourite examples of how wallpaper can totally transform the look and feel of a room. It can be used on a feature wall or to cover an entire room, so whether you prefer a subtle pattern or a high-impact print, don’t be afraid to inject a little bit (or a lot!) of personality into your space.
Here are some styles that are catching my eye:
Modern Rustic Style
With the modern farmhouse trend that’s so popular now, many people are considering putting up wood beams on their ceiling and adding cabin-like details throughout their home. Wallpaper can help you achieve this look. I love how this textured wallpaper, above, combines the feel of pieced-together wood with modern geometric lines.
Damask and Deco-inspired patterns have been all the rage recently, especially on fabrics, like drapes and upholstery. The only problem is, they can be hard to track down — not to mention pricey. A convenient and easy solution for walls is this style of paper, which replicates the delicate texture of an aged fabric.
Use it to inject old world charm to a feminine sitting room, above.
For a pattern that whispers rather than shouts, this monochromatic stylized floral is on-trend and fashion-forward with just the right amount of visual punch. The pattern itself is formed with glass beads, adding a glamorous and feminine feel while still maintaining an element of neutrality with its tone-on-tone colour scheme.
This one feels like a high-end installation screen circa a 1960s Palm Springs bungalo. This pattern, above, has just the right combination of whimsy and sharp minimalist sense — perfect for lovers of graphic art.
We’re seeing murals move from grand houses and estates to smaller, more humble spaces like single family homes (and my apartment!), where wallpaper is used on one wall to create a dramatic focal point. This one looks as though it could be a photograph from a high-end gallery which, blown out in large scale, adds playful dimension to a space. I’d love to someday implement a striking feature wall like this, above, in a small breakfast nook.
For people looking to cover larger walls — like a loft, for instance — a dramatic abstract mural like this cold provide inspiration.
I hope these examples have inspired you to look at wallpaper in a new light. I can’t wait to take on a wallpaper project in my own home!
For more information and to see the full selection of wallpapers available, visit Walls Republic’s website.