Prepping Powder Rooms For Guests
With the holiday season just around the corner and festive invitations in full swing, it's the perfect time to spruce-up the one room everyone, from your mother-in-law to your well-meaning neighbour, is sure to pay a visit: the powder room. A few pretty-yet-practical fix-ups will have your guests feeling right at home.
1. Put away the personal stuff. Your guests don't need to see your sensitive toothpaste or discover your penchant for eye creams. When you're expecting company, swap out your personal hygiene products in favour of a small vase of fresh flowers or a seasonally-scented candle, like Fraser Fir.
2. Have spare supplies handy. While you're in the kitchen plating dinner or pouring the bubbly, the last thing guests want to do is bug you about that empty roll of toilet paper. Rather than having to check-in on your powder room's supply levels, keep fresh hand towels in a visible location and tuck spare toilet paper in a place that's obvious, but not too out in the open.
3. Consider a tray on your bathroom counter. Hand lotion, tissue and other toiletries are all items that guests may need during a party. If you want to take this a step further, including a small container of packaged mints will give guests the impression that you've thought of everything, including their needs.
House & Home October 2012 issue
Playing With Pattern
If you're looking to make a bold statement, there's an easier way to do it than mixing patterns. While solid colour combinations are always a sensible choice (and a lot easier to get right), a few key tips can help you achieve the patterned space of your dreams.
1. Experiment with scale. To achieve a well-thought-out look, pick patterns of different sizes. Using small and large scale patterns adds variety and helps ensure your overall look feels curated, not cookie-cutter.
2. Don't be afraid to mix styles. Just make sure they relate to the space. Each pattern should have a colourway that works with the other elements in the room. In this example, the tones and styles all have a 1920s English vibe, giving the room an aura of grandeur.
3. Begin with the biggest element. To be sure you get the right mix, start with the largest element in the space and choose your first fabric pattern there. From there, layer in patterns on smaller, less dominant pieces. In this living room, choosing the patterned rug first would be a good starting point.
Maison & Demeure September 2013 issue
When it comes to home decor, it can be tough to know which trends are fleeting and which have staying power, but there's one we know is well worth the investment: statement lighting. Replacing your existing fixtures with standout pendants can provide a lot of bang for your decor bucks, and though they come in all shapes and sizes, we think the bigger the better. If you're still on the fence about supersizing your lighting, here's why we're totally on board with the trend.
1. They instantly modernize a space. Whether your style is cool contemporary or classic and traditional, adding oversized pendants is an easy way to push the boundaries. And they come in a range of styles, so you can add some fresh tension without compromising your aesthetic. Just think of it as clicking the refresh button.
2. They're a high-impact focal point. Every room should make a statement, and what better way to set the tone than with lighting? Oversized pendant lights provide visual weight to anchor a space, while adding a healthy dose of drama.
3. They work in a variety of rooms. Here, a pair of matching pendants finishes off a dining area, but oversized pendants would also work above a kitchen island (though if you have a smaller island, opt for a single pendant.) They can also find a happy home over a bed, or in a living room with a central floor plan.
Bright idea: Installing a dimmer switch gives large pendants a soft glow and allows you to adjust the lighting depending on the mood or occasion.
House & Home January 2014 issue
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