Mixing Trad & Modern
Keeping the character of an older home is a classic way to decorate a space, but you may be craving a hit of modern amongst all the traditional bones. Here are some surefire ways to introduce modern touches without permanently altering classic architectural details:
1. Take your trim to the dark side. Painting trim black is a high-impact update to any space — especially one with traditional lines. Try this bold move on baseboards and window trim, doors, or stair railings that need a refresher. For a colourful, less harsh option, opt for navy or dark forest green.
2. Add a hit of primary colour. A chair or accent table in a modern shape and bold colour can add graphic playfulness to a traditional space and create a lovely vignette. If you don't have enough space for a piece of furniture, try a bold piece of art, or even a print with a coloured frame.
3. Pick a new pendant. Another easy move is to update light fixtures, or just the key focal one. Adding an edgy, modern pendant to a largely traditional space will instantly give it a fresh, updated feel.
For a cohesive look, try all three of these moves!
Table, FR 66.
House & Home January 2014 issue
Organizing Home Offices
The new year can bring about a fresh start of sorts — new plans, aspirations and of course, resolutions. If a little organization is overdue in your life, an effective place to start is with your home office. Whether it be a small cubby in the kitchen or a whole room, a few tips can help you feel organized and ready to take on all you aspire to accomplish in the coming year.
1. Designate an inbox. If you can sort all of your mail and paperwork right away, that's great — but that may not be realistic. An inbox or in-tray can be a functional place for things that you can't get to right away, that way you know where to find everything when you're ready to go through it.
2. Keep it simple. Instead of getting decorative storage boxes with pretty designs on them (we know they're tempting), a simple palette helps silence visual noise and clutter. White works well as a nice clean colour for these utilitarian bins. The key is to have a place for things when you aren't using them and to know where to find them when you need them, so also be sure to label.
3. Pick a pin board. A pin board is a great alternative to display all of the mementos, photos, cards and clippings that can sometimes clutter-up the surface of a fridge. If you don't have a large space for this try a small pin board that you can lean in a niche or on the shelf of a bookcase.
Shelving units, Ikea.
House & Home March 2011 issue
Amping Up Windows
Adding a little oomph to window frames is an easy and effective way to create the illusion of architectural grandeur. In H&H's February 2013 issue, design editor Joel Bray created a DIY trompe l'oeil sill that gives strong presence to a plain window using only a stencil, foam core and paint (no trim required). Here's how he did it:
Step 1: Pick your profile. Search online for a style and profile that suits your windows and the rest of your space. Expand the image to the appropriate size and print it.
Step 2: Make a stencil. Trace the printout of your profile onto a piece of foam core and cut it out carefully using a utility knife.
Step 3: Position & paint. Place your foam core stencil under your window and outline the shape onto the wall with a pencil. Then, paint inside the lines to create your beefed-up window frame.
Window, The Door Store; chair, Kanterlbergo + Co.; table, throw pillow, Elte; lamp, Design Within Reach; red vase, Hollace Cluny; artwork, Cynthia Findlay Antiques; baseboard, The Home Depot; wall colour, Chappell Green (83), trim colour, French Gray (18), Farrow & Ball.
House & Home February 2013 issue
Pretty Party Favours
During the holiday party season there is undoubtedly lots to think about, but when it comes to party favours, a little something is just enough. Prepping a sweet treat or small memento for your guests to take home is the ultimate way to thank them for their presence, plus it's one of the last things they'll remember from the end of the night. In H&H's December 2013 issue, senior design editor Margot Austin shared the idea of wrapping loose candy in pretty paper cones. Here's how to pull off this sweet idea:
1. Buy in bulk. Instead of buying a pre-packaged treat (which can be a bit pricier), try buying bulk candy and making your own custom party mix, or stick to a signature candy — like Margot did with colourful gumdrops.
2. Reach for wrapping remnants. Leftover wrapping paper scraps can be a tidy size for this kind of project. Wallpaper remnants are another excellent choice (not to mention a bit sturdier). Line the cones with parchment or wax paper to keep the candy from bleeding through and seal with a pretty sticker.
3. Display in a tray. When it comes time to bid your guests farewell, have a tray handy holding your party favours. Here, a tarnished tray adds a warm patina to the display. Having it by the front door also ensures your treats aren't forgotten.
House & Home December 2013 issue
Dressing A Holiday Table
When holiday tables are set to the nines, the overall look can seem a bit uptight. Hosting your own seasonal soirée doesn't have to be a grand affair to leave a good impression on guests. Here are a few simple ways to keep the fa la las flowing and your festive decor from feeling too stiff.
1. Layer your linens. If your runner isn't long enough for the expanded table or you just want to add more texture and pattern, layering your table linens adds charm and makes use of linens you may not have thought to use for the holidays. Play with colour and pattern to give your table some life — stark white can feel too formal for the holidays unless accompanied by colourful accessories.
2. Mix-up your dinnerware and glassware. Try different water goblets, wine glasses, starter plates and entrée plates. For servingware, choose colours that contrast with the rest of your china and dare to venture beyond the traditional red and green scheme. Settling on a few main colours helps to keep this look cohesive.
3. Loosen up. Middle of the table centerpieces have definitely had their moment, so this season switch out a singular arrangement for a looser assortment of varied candlesticks. They're narrow enough to stagger between servingware and they break away from the middle-of-the-table mold. Spreading multiple mini-vessels with cut flowers or stemmed foliage around the table works well, too.
Plate, West Elm; flatware, Oneida; salt and pepper shakers, Cynthia Findlay Antiques; wineglass, Ethel 20th Century Living; tablecloth fabric, Lee Jofa; green fabric, Designer Fabrics; napkin, Crate & Barrel.
House & Home December 2011 issue