Showing Off Your Art
Everyone loves a gallery wall, and for good reason: they show off favourite paintings, drawings and prints, adding a hit of personality to otherwise boring walls. Take inspiration from this pretty example in H&H editor-in-chief Suzanne Dimma's Toronto home, where she and her husband, Arriz Hassam, expertly mixed metallic and wooden frames for a sophisticated yet eclectic look. Don't be intimidated by your own assortment of images — a mix of styles looks great, as long as you follow a few simple rules to keep it all tied together.
1. Match shapes, not sizes. A mixed grid of different-sized artworks doesn't have to look messy; in fact, symmetry can detract from your collection's individuality. For a stylish and unique look, choose art of various styles and sizes, but keep the shape of the frames consistent, such as the rectangles shown above.
2. Stagger your frames. You don't need to re-frame each piece of art for a uniform finish. As long as you choose frames in complementary tones and materials, your collection will still feel cohesive. If you do need to buy new frames, go for two or three different styles or colours and stagger them in a subtle pattern across the wall.
3. Watch your spacing. You don't have to measure the exact spacing between artworks as long as the overall look is consistent. Test your spacing by stepping away from the wall to view the gallery as a whole. Two pieces should never hang far enough apart that they look like parts of separate collections; nor should they almost touch. As a general rule of thumb, a space of two to four inches between each frame looks clean and professional.
House & Home November 2010 issue
Refresh Your Kitchen
It doesn't matter how large the party gets, eventually, everyone always winds up in the kitchen — and who can blame them? It's hard to stay away when mouth-watering smells start wafting from the oven! Of course, kitchens aren't just where you go to sample what's cooking; they're hard-working spaces, too, and they tend to show it. Luckily, a few easy pick-me-ups will make your kitchen so pretty, your guests won't even notice the dirty dishes.
1. Repaint your cabinets. Shelves and storage take up major wall space in most kitchens and dated cabinets can set the tone for the whole room. But that doesn't mean you have to pull them out and start again! In fact, a fresh coat of paint is all it takes to create a dramatically different look. It's finicky work, but goes a long way to freshen up your space.
2. Choose new hardware. Swapping old knobs and pulls for newer styles takes no time at all and you'd be surprised by its impact on the room. There are plenty of chic, affordable options to choose from and, if you do plan to repaint your storage, you'll probably want new hardware to match.
3. Update your light fixtures. Lighting makes all the difference when it comes to creating a cosy interior, but kitchens are often outfitted with fluorescent or other harsh lights that feel far from welcoming. While high visibility is a must for cooking, a couple of added sconces can provide softer light for when the precision work is over. Or, choose a light fixture with a dimmer, which lets you transition from workspace to lounge atmosphere.
Mazen El-Abdallah & Mandy Milks
Marble countertops, Beyond Tile & Stone; flooring, Value Wood Floors; swing-arm sconce, Rejuvenation; round pewter plate, ice bucket, Vintage Fine Objects; cabinets, Home Hardware; cabinet colour, Dark Olive (2140-30), wall colour, Oxford White (CC-30), Benjamin Moore; hardware, Restoration Hardware; runner, Ecarpetgallery; sink, Ginger’s; faucet, Kohler; backsplash tile, CeraGres.
House & Home Makeovers 2013 special issue
Organizing Kids' Rooms
Give kids an inch... and they'll fill it with toys, crafts and clutter! Their youthful enthusiasm and carefree attitudes are endearing, but you probably wish they were a little more concerned with tidying — which is why careful organization is a must. Don't worry. With the help of these three tips, cleaning up won't feel so much like a chore (and your kids may even want to help!).
1. Repurpose picture ledges. Thin ledges, usually intended for holding art, are a great way to display (and store) your child's collection of picture books or other small toys. They take up very little room and give children the chance to show-off their favourite stories or trinkets. In fact, let the kids take ownership of the "picture wall" and they'll happily reorganize it on their own!
2. Choose a bed with storage. Most major furniture retailers now offer kid-sized beds with built-in drawers, like this one from Ikea. It's one of the simplest ways to hide the clutter of play-time and doesn't require any extra room. Plus, the sliding drawers are easy to access and low enough for tiny children to help put their toys away.
3. Get creative with the nightstand. By tipping a wooden box on its side, you'll get a bedside table and storage in one — not to mention a playful prop! The reclaimed-wood table adds a rustic note to this sweet space, and it'll appeal to any kid who likes a bit of adventure or outdoor play (just don't tell her it's the tidier option, too).
Crate, bunting, pushpins, La Merceria; sheet set, gingham pillow, pillowcases, Pottery Barn; wall colours, Daiquiri Ice (2034-70), Pewter (2121-30), Benjamin Moore; lamp, Queen West Antiques Centre; bed, Ikea.
House & Home May 2013 issue
Creating Cosy Outdoor Spaces
Fall's gorgeous colours are more than enough motivation to brave the cooler weather — especially for those of us with outdoor spaces where we can enjoy them! It's easy to get your patio autumn-ready with just a few smart additions; here are our three favourite ways to extend outdoor entertaining season long after summer's beers and barbecues have been put away.
1. Provide plenty of warm cover-ups. The quickest and easiest way to overcome the rapidly cooling temperature is, of course, a blanket (or two or three). If you're hosting an outdoor party, give your guests a choice of luxurious wraps, such as wool blankets, fleece shawls or gorgeous faux fur throws. Bundled up against the crisp air, they'll feel like they're on holiday in the Swiss Alps.
2. Add some extra heat. A beautiful outdoor fireplace, like the one pictured here, is ideal, but there are plenty of affordable alternatives, too. Standing heat lamps are a great way to warm up your patio and with many finishes and styles to choose from, they're an attractive option as well. Or, if you're looking for something unobtrusive, a small electric heater or tabletop lantern could be a better choice. Even large candles will provide a bit of heat.
3. Take your rug outside. Wearing slippers or socks outdoors feels like a special treat, especially in the dramatic autumn weather, but stone or concrete floors can be freezing underfoot — and it can make for a lot of extra laundry! Lay down a thick rug for an extra layer of insulation. You can even borrow one from inside, as long as there's no sign of rain.
House & Home May 2014 issue
When decorating for the holidays or hosting Thanksgiving dinner, it's easy to look around and feel a bit bored by your dining room decor. Sure, seasonal table settings can go a long way to liven up the room, but it's the furniture that provides the foundation of your look, and what better place to start than with your chairs? Whether you're looking for a five-minute fix or a major overhaul, we've got you covered with three simple ways to change up the seating at your holiday table.
1. Choose unique end chairs. The heads of the table are usually reserved for people of honour, whether that means grandparents, special guests or the chef. For the quickest pick-me-up around, try swapping your two end seats with chairs from other rooms in the house — the grander, the better! They'll add character to your dining room and make your guests feel extra special.
2. Add hardware for a bit of shine. Metallic details look chic year-round, but it's hard to deny that a bit of sparkle adds festive charm as well. If you own upholstered chairs, add metal studs along the edges or to the backing and cushions, at intervals, for a classic, quilted look. A single weekend is all you need for this great trick.
3. Bite the bullet and reupholster. It's a little more labour-intensive, but fresh upholstery can completely change the feel of your dining room. Go bold and choose fabrics in contrasting colours for the front and back of each chair; the idea may seem intimidating, but chairs with a colourful front and neutral back look surprisingly subtle, especially when in use, since seated guests hide some of the colour!
House & Home October 2013 issue