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.
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
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 have a confession to make: last year I didn't decorate much for the holidays at all. Sometimes the weeks just slip away from me, and since my husband and I are more likely to travel than host, it seems silly to go crazy decking the halls. Add to that the fact that our Toronto home is quite tiny — it can be a challenge to add even more decorating on top of what's there. But I've been looking around for inspiration and I think I've come up with some plans for this year. I will keep it simple and focus on the natural. Here are some ideas I'm considering.
There just isn't enough floor space at our place for a tree (plus our wee dog has failing vision, so I fear a tree might be a danger to her). In the past I have done tabletop trees, but this year I am thinking of placing branches in large glass demijohns. I'll put three on the console in our front window and add tiny white lights on a timer since I love to see them twinkling inside when I come home from work.
I used some white feather cone trees for the vintage Christmas decorating story I styled for the December 2013 issue of the magazine (see Merry & Bright). I liked the effect and plan to make up a few of these faux fur versions and mix them in with flocked bottlebrush trees to decorate my mantel.
My neighbour Lindsay Stephenson recently posted holiday wrapping ideas on her site The Penny Paper Co. and it's like she read my mind. Her ideas are a wonderful mix of earthy with a touch of sparkly embellishment (think glitter washi tape and sparkly brooches).
And best of all, she sells everything you need for the look on her site. Order soon to make sure you get all your supplies in time for your wrapping.
Another confession: I'm not a fabulous cook. So when I am cooking I need to concentrate on the recipes and keep the table decor as simple as possible. I love using fruit for a centrepiece or sideboard. After the sweets course, I encourage guests to help themselves to some of the arrangement! I'll tuck bay leaves or rosemary sprigs amongst the fruit for a wonderful colour contrast and scent.
Red ilex berries say holiday loud and clear. Find them at flower markets and farmers' markets in December. The key to making an arrangement look great? Strip the stems of any berries or side branches from the top of the vase to the base. Then prune the branches so they form an even fan shape, just like this display by celeb NYC floral designer Michael George.
A length of garland, a lush wreath and a new plain coir welcome mat are all you need to spruce up an entryway for the season. Too bad it's already a bit too cold for me to repaint my front door this colour. Adding that to my spring to-do list.
I spotted this idea at the Club Monaco store on Bloor St. in Toronto and I think I'll do a scaled-down version in front of my house. The mix of evergreen varieties in different heights and planters is so casual and so pretty. Proof that nature truly needs no embellishment! Ok, fine, maybe some tiny white lights...
1. via Enjoy Your Home blog.
2-3. Project by My Sister's Suitcase via Tatertots & Jello blog.
4-5. Lindsay Stephenson, The Penny Paper Co.
6. Lissa at Keep It Simple Keep it Fresh blog.
7. via Michael George Flowers.
8. A Country Farmhouse blog.
9. Margot Austin
A little while back I did a segment on an episode of The Marilyn Denis Show on one of my favourite DIY projects, inkjet transfers.
I like a DIY project that's fast, inexpensive, doesn't require tons of special skills or equipment and that delivers high-impact finished results. Pretty stringent criteria, but this project meets every one. I experimented with the technique again recently and thought I might share the step-by-step instructions. The coming holiday season might be just the time for you to try this method to create some pretty and affordable gifts.
The main supplies you'll need are Avery 03276 Clear Decals for Ink Jet printers (a pack of 6 sheets is about $11). I found them at a Staples store, but you can also find them online here. You will also need an inkjet printer. I didn't have one on hand, so I borrowed one from Brother Canada. They sent me the Brother Business Smart Series MFC-J4510DW. I like to consider myself fairly tech savvy, but I was a bit intimidated at first. I had never set up a printer before without the aid of an IT pro. But I'm quite proud to say I got this one up and running in minutes, all on my own. It packs a lot of functionality in a compact and handsome package. The materials you'll need are: transfer sheets, a printer, and something to transfer onto. I chose ceramic and glass vessels, since the decal sheets work best on these smooth surfaces.
Step 1: Find Images
You can use any digital file for this project, such as your own photos, text, monograms, a scanned fabric or book image. I went to Vintage Printable to search for images. The site has hundreds of images to choose from and you can search by browsing galleries or entering a keyword.
Step 2: Print
Test print your selected image on plain paper and experiment with the print size. When you are ready to print the final transfer, load the decal sheet into the manual feed tray one piece at a time to print. Follow the instructions enclosed with the decal sheets to ensure you print the image on the correct side.
Step 3: Cut out the transfer
Use scissors to cut as close to the edge of the printed design as possible.
Step 4: Apply, protect
Peel the backing off the cut out design and apply to the surface of the vessel. Try not to rub the surface of the transfer as the ink may smudge if not yet dry. Protect the finished project by spraying with Krylon Crystal Clear spray sealant, which will help prevent the ink from smudging.
I like the effect of these black-and-white transfers. The grey tones look as if the designs on the pitchers have faded over time.
On glass the colours become translucent for an ethereal effect. I'm thinking of covering several clear glass bottles with holly leaf transfers and using the bottles as candleholders for the Holidays. Also, one last note about this project — the transfers peel off easily and leave no residue so you needn't worry about damaging your vessels.
I’ve been out on the market scouting lately and the travels have left me with three words top of mind: green. velvet. sofa. And they are all just so pretty, each one lovelier than the one before. I can’t quite decide on a favourite. You?
In a room that’s a monochromatic celebration of greens, this chesterfield-style model is right up my style alley.
This is a fresher more apple-green take on the classic, but I think it has a few dozen too many tufts for my liking.
This one is exquisite and formal with its gilt frame, camel back and deep emerald colour. This one is made for perching (preferably in a fabulous gown and with a glass of champagne in hand).
Ikea has joined in the fun with this special edition Stockholm sofa in the most perfect shade of green on earth. I quite love it.
And in case you worry it’s too daring a colour choice for a big ticket item. Don’t. Green is nature’s neutral — name a colour that doesn’t look gorgeous next to a green field or tree in full leaf. You can’t. Green goes with everything!
Learn about more luxurious winter fabrics here.