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Decorating Finds

For some, the holiday season starts when the lilting tune of Jingle Bells rings through stores or Santa parades down their city's streets. For me, the Christmas calendar doesn't get underway until the doors open for the holiday edition of the Toronto One of a Kind Show. The show runs from November 28 to December 8th at the Direct Energy Centre and is full of fab finds. Here are some that caught my eye.

Ceramics that make you want clear your cupboards and start fresh.


Subtle details that make all the difference define the cups and containers turned out by Quebec ceramicist Marie-Claude Girard (below).

If the OOAKS was a Pixar movie, MGirard's butter dishes would be the adorable sidekicks to her gallant tea pot.

There's something very sweet and sophisticated about the collection.

Hugo Didier

I might buy a cottage on the sea just to trick it out with Montreal-based Hugo Didier's (seen below) nautical- and Canadian-themed kitchen wares.

This year's show had a strong Canadiana theme running through it, including poutine pots.

And patriotic mugs emblazoned with a map of Canada.

Atelier Make

There's a vintage feel to the scalloped plates and botanical illustrations in Atelier Make's sorbet-coloured collection.

Jaimie Robson and Maya Ersan (above), are the duo behind Montreal's Atelier Make.

In fact, I think New York's Magnolia bakery should start selling the pretty flour scoops alongside its queue-inducing cupcakes. Genius product tie-in!

Platters in sugared-almond shades are made prettier with floral textures, made by pressing fabric into porcelain.

Say "Merry" the old fashion way.

Flakes Paperie

You can't fill your mantel with e-cards. Flakes Paperie out of Cambridge, Ontario has lots of lovely screen-printed holiday cards to choose from.

Founder Ashley Coulson is adept at giving vintage-style graphics a sly, hip spin.

I especially like the ones with a home theme, natch.

But she offers a range of cards for any occasion (who wouldn't be thrilled to get this birthday card)?

Instagram isn't the only place to find great pictures.

Charlene Serdan Fine Art Photography

Breaking news: blank walls are boring.

Ontario photographer Charlene Serdan is offering her dreamy snapshots of landscapes, flowers and carnivals in prints that are pre-matted to fit a variety of standard-size frames.

For more great suggestions, stop by the House & Home booth to see style editor Stacey Smithers' favourites.

Photo credit:
1-18. Kimberley Brown


Kimberley Brown

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of walking through the Christmas assortment at The Hudson's Bay location downtown. I knew it was going to be a treat as my good friend, Arren Williams, the creative director of home fashions, was hosting with designer Brian Gluckstein (seen below).

They talked about the holiday collections this year, while reminiscing about our own family traditions (so funny, who knew we all wanted a train underneath our trees when we were younger?).

Traditional staples were well represented: the selection of wreaths for example, was varied.

I considered a few pieces, including these graphic candles (and believe you me, I do not need more candles or ornies) but I couldn't resist and bought a felt mushroom. I know it's random, but cute as a kids' room decoration year round. I also bought some Shiny Bright glass ornaments, which are lovely (see our story on Shiny Bright ornaments in the December 2013 issue).

The white tree above shows off this vintage selection really well (some pieces from Lord and Taylor's brand). Arren said he's been trying get a good matte white tree into the Bay's assortment for a couple of years and is really happy with this version.

The collections shown were so well done; the display department at the Bay has done an amazing job.

Another surprise was that Etsy had a small pop up within the holiday assortment. Three artists, ceramicist Alex Boisjoli, wood craftsman Jack Fouracre (Son Of A Woodcutter) and Silver Owl Studio featured very different handmade products for sale.

These ceramics are by Alexx Boisjoli of RCBoisjoli Studios have graphic impact.

These vintage style ornaments are from Silver Owl Studio, a mother-daughter team.

I love the mix of handmade product along with the gorgeous array of holiday offerings inside. I have to say... well done Hudson's Bay! You're keeping the tradition of the fun holiday windows out front the store alive (I had to check them out, and do every year with my own kids in tow).

Photo credits:
All photos by Morgan Michener


Morgan Michener

There's something wonderful about using a map as home decor: a reminder of heartfelt memories from faraway places and a promise of adventure yet to come. However, a map on the wall can sometimes read more college dorm than well-decorated home.

Custom, large-scale map wallpaper by Wallpapered offers a modern, sophisticated take on the motif. The wallpaper is made by an in-house design team to meet the size specifications of any room in your home. I'd love to see one of these used as an accent wall in a bedroom or mudroom, or as an all-over statement in a powder room.

Francophiles will revel in this antique map of Paris.

Get in a New York state of mind with a view of Manhattan.

The London Underground Tube map has an abstract quality.

Would you venture into uncharted territory with your wallpaper or would you rather stick to a blank canvas?

Photo credits:
1-3. Wallpapered


Chloe Berge

Lately, I'm seeing wood in a whole new light — literally. Designers from Toronto to London to Horní Dubenky in the Czech Republic are making striking table and pendant lights that pair warm wood with shapely glass shades, colourful cords, glowing LED bulbs and all the clever details that make design fanatics smile.

Brokis was founded in Horní Dubenky by a group of lighting designers interested in making handmade contemporary fixtures. The Shadow collection of pendant lights is their updated take on classic French atelier lights. The wooden neck hides the LED light source and comes in natural or stained-black oak. Buyers can also choose the shade shape, cord colour (white, yellow, red, grey or black) and their preferred shade of glass: smokey grey, brown and black, opaque black and white.

And while I sometimes feel guilty buying a muffin for breakfast (it's cake! It sounds healthy, but it's really cake!), I'd happily enjoy Brokis' Muffins lamps every day. The waxed oak base can been combined with glass in a variety of tints, from warm amber to pretty purple, and cloth-covered cables in white, red, grey and black.

In Brooklyn, New York, Ryden Rizzo of Allied Maker handcrafts everything that comes out of his Sea Cliff studio. He chooses the wood he uses to make his lights by considering the grain, colour and sustainability of the timber, and packs everything for shipping in recycled and biodegradable materials. Nice. His no-frills Mini Lamp (left) is dimmable and ideal for small spaces. The hanging Wood Socket Lamp (right) dangles from a cotton cord and has a hand-turned flamed maple socket. Toronto-based Oliver Yaphe sells both lights. 

Also out of Toronto, world's cutest couple John and Arounna of Bookhou are showing these lights in the window of their delightful Dundas St. West shop. The lights are early prototypes, but more are in the works. John, who was inspired by the scientific look of items under bell jars spotted years ago in the British Museum, says he wants to make different sizes that can be stylishly grouped together or displayed on their own. The lights, which retail for $250, are actually a collaboration: while John made the turned the wood bases. "I bought a lathe and figured I had to do something with it," he says. The bell jars are blown by glass artist Nick Chase, who works out of Harbourfront Centre, and is featured in the October 2013 issue of House & Home.

Perhaps London, U.K.-based Vitamin was similarly inspired when it designed the Cloak Pendant Lamp. The light's wood sphere comes in walnut or oak and hides LED lights that emit a soft glow. With bright summer days on the wane, that sounds about perfect.

See more striking examples of Statement Lighting in our photo gallery.

Photo Credits:
1-3. Brokis
4-5. Allied Maker
6. Bookhou
7. Vitamin


Kimberley Brown

Scandinavian design influence really emerged in the 1950s with the modernist movement, and it was celebrated for its simplicity, minimalism and functionality. The beautiful, thoughtful, and functional objects that define this style are just as popular today. I recently came across a great St. John's, Newfoundland-based online shop called ScandiDesign that specializes in just that look. Here's a few of my fave finds.

These retro inspired, handle-less mugs look just as cool now as they may have in the 50s. I love the colour combo and stylized Nordic flower pattern.

I've always appreciated a good, solid cutting board for serving cheese and appetizers. This cheese board is great because it also comes with matching serving utensils.

The Dala Horse is pretty much a Swedish design icon. You can find this motif just about anywhere, but I've never seen a Dala-shaped dish before! I love this guy — he would make the perfect key drop on a front hall console table.

I love the simplicity of this cream Merino-wool throw. It's light enough to keep on your sofa in the summer months too because of its airy, eyelet design.

Photo credits:
1-4. ScandiDesign


Joel Bray

In my university years I was one of those oddities who looked forward to the fall semester starting in September — probably why I held the title of professional student for the majority of my twenties. I always savoured those first few weeks, walking around campus, crackly autumn leaves underfoot, cool sunlight and crisp air, new notebooks and coffee in hand.

Of course, one of my favourite parts of the new school year was the new clothes and stationery! I don't know which I liked more. I still consider myself a stationery aficionado, and luckily now have an office where I can put pretty paper, notepads and sticky notes to good use. (It was a sad couple of years in between school and my first office job.)

Indigo always has a fabulous selection of stationery and their new line, Poppin, is no exception. Indigo is the first international retailer for the New York-based brand. The line includes writing and desktop accessories, as well as furniture. A glossy lacquered finish and 10 different vibrant colours to choose from makes the items fun and functional. The line is available online and in stores now, just in time for back-to-school shopping.

Lets have a look at a few of my favourites.

A lime green chair and filing cabinet would brighten up any work space. Add white and blue accessories for an extra punch!

Classic all-white looks chic and the glossy lacquered finish gives the accessories a modern look. Although I love the colourful options, I would probably opt for white in my own office.

This bright pink and green combo reminds me of summer fruit or candy — perfect for the season.

I love the idea of using a pen cup to hold a small plant. Every office should have a bit of greenery.

Stackable trays keep papers and schedules organized.

What colour combination would you choose for your home office?

See our Home Office Design & Decorating guide for more great ideas.

Photo credits:
1-5. Indigo


Chloe Berge

Here are five items I'm coveting this week:

1. Nerd chair

This shapely chair by David Geckeler for Muuto is a real catch. It's good looking, has great personality and adds colour wherever it goes. Plus, I love the name. It definitely doesn't take itself too seriously. (Ahem, Saarinen Executive, I'm looking at you.) I don't normally go for overtly pretty designs, but lately I've been all over rosy pink and this shade is perfect. My rule is, if you go pink, go modern. I'm definitely inviting this Nerd back to my place.

2. Lampe Gras lights

I'm following Le Corbusier, Eileen Gray and Georges Braque in my fanatical devotion to these beauties. I prefer the version with a more angular shade and have decided to save up to buy a sconce for my currently all-white bedroom — maybe the white and silver finish with red accents. Or all black. Hmm... deciding might be trickier than I thought.

3. Green

I blame H&H art director Mandy Milks for the gravitational pull I'm feeling towards green. My closet is filled with all manner of things green — from shoes to shirts to sweaters — but my rooms are all about blue, grey and black. Then Mandy painted her kitchen cabinets Dark Olive (2140-30) by Benjamin Moore and brushed Calke Green (34) by Farrow & Ball on the pocket door to her bathroom, and now I'm looking at my glossy black front door and thinking I might freshen it up this fall with fresh, natural, inviting green. Not flashy emerald, but a nice dark leafy green.

4. Tati tables

Nesting tables are genius for small spaces like mine. I first spotted these ones from Asplund at Toronto store Mjölk and became giddy at the sight of their slim proportions. At 13" and 12" wide, the two side tables could actually work as a coffee table in my super skinny living room. Plus, the lacquer frames come in several colours and I can opt for a tabletop of wood, leather, metal, Carrara marble or slate. Another selling point: how the overlapping legs create a rounded, graphic shape. I'm a sucker for details.

5. Tiny Tech

Most companies show the media their new products for fall and holiday in the summer. We call it Christmas in July, and products start rolling out around now. At the recent LG preview, I fell in love with this little pocket printer that's only 3" wide by 4-3/4" long. It connects to your phone wirelessly and prints wallet-sized photos reminiscent of ye old Polaroids. (The companion app lets you edit photos before printing.) That you can stash it away in a drawer makes it all the more sweet.

What are you currently obsessed with?

See our Top Trends of 2013 photo gallery for more great finds.

Photo credits:
1-2. Muuto
3. Lampe Gras
4a. Makeovers 2013 special issue, photography by Michael Graydon
4b. March 2013 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
5. Asplund Tati tables, Huset
6. LG


Kimberley Brown

This past March, I was lucky enough to visit the Ikea headquarters in Älmhult, Sweden to get a sneak peek at the new Stockholm collection. In fact, I even had a chance to sit down with the lead designer Ola Wihlborg and chat about the collection (check out the September 2013 issue of H&H for all the details).

I love this new round nightstand.

Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you — that's velvet. Green velvet. Delightful! $1,099.

These nesting coffee tables have a gorgeous walnut finish. $299.

This cheerful flatweave rug would add a fun pop of colour to a dining room, living room or bedroom. $199 for 5-1/2' x 8'.

And my favourite of all the new pieces, this classic dining chair, also available in green. $149.

For more inspiration from Ikea, view our 2011 Ikea Kitchen Makeover and 2012 Ikea Kitchen Makeover videos.

Photo credits:
1-6. Stacey Smithers


Stacey Smithers

The countdown is on to my vacay on Prince Edward Island. Last time we visited, the journey took us on a mini road trip to and from our flights from Halifax. On the return journey we took a detour thanks to a tip from our Charlottetown friends Christopher and Craig. (Check out their blog The Ottoman Empire.) They advised us to take a turn off the Trans-Canada highway for a visit to Great Village, N.S. It's definitely our kind of town.

This is the kind of vintage vignette you'll see all over the many shops in Great Village: nautical antiques mixed with simple painted country furniture — just beautiful and so me. The main street is lined with antiques shops as well as a multi-dealer co-op. When we visited we were on our way to catch a plane so we couldn't really take the plunge on purchasing. But we treated it as a reconnaissance mission, scouting what might be available when we return with a larger vehicle. That time may come in a week or so if our vacay offers up a suitable rainy day for a road trip. Here are some of my favourites spotted last time.

As a stylist, I'm naturally drawn to baskets. They have so many uses in any room of the house and bring a warm, earthy texture to interiors. I usually prefer vintage ones because of their patina and workmanship. Many of the baskets on the left are examples of Mi'kmaq basket weaving. The indigenous peoples of our East Coast have been making these for centuries. I'm thinking of starting a collection. To the right are fishing creels and a large picnic basket chest. I also love the natural aged grey tone of that shelf and the oars. Big furniture companies all over the world are trying to replicate that look these days. Nothing beats authenticity.

I love this fine example of coloured glass. I'm seriously hoping this one is still there when we go back. Must have.

Mint condition and ready for a Royal wedding or an excellent dress up party, this top hat was very tempting! I like the idea of elevating something like this to art status by mounting it on a base or displaying it in a Lucite box.

Wedding gifts and souvenirs from so many trips to Ireland, vintage damask linen is always available on the antiquing trail. Most of these were less than $40.

It's a bit covered up, but try to get a good look at that simple green work table. The colour is total perfection. I could see this piece loaded up with all the supplies for a cottage bar or used as a desk paired with an ultra mod chair.

What's not to love about a solid workhorse of a table made of gloriously beat up old reclaimed wood? This one was a great size and a steal at $395. Compare that price to a new piece made of particleboard and laminate.

You're bound to run into Lucy Maud Montgomery's ginger heroine at any East Coast antiques shop. I thought these volumes were remarkable for their dust jacket design and colours. To the right was my sole purchase of the visit — for the sum of $3. It's a compendium of the most bizarre and politically incorrect toasts from 1918. I think it will be lots of fun to have around the cottage as a conversation piece.

For more East Coast gems, read Sally Armstrong's blog post about antiquing in Maine.

Photo credits:
1-8. Margot Austin


Margot Austin

Most girls love shoes, I love chairs. Okay, I love shoes, too, but I really, really love chairs. While browsing furniture shops I find I'm constantly being pulled in the direction of interesting seating. Peculiar stools, beautiful sofas and rustic benches will stop me dead in my tracks and within an instant I have a place for it — in my imagination, anyway. I frequently walk away grumbling about not having enough space, or money, for that matter. (Think $900 for a set of antique courting chairs I had to forgo recently. It was a sad day.) Lucky for me, I'm all for second, third and even fourth hand furniture so I'm just as happy buying a castoff.

Here are a few of my favourite styles:

Bright red metal stools look great with a neutral palette.

George Nelson's quirky Pretzel chair will add instant charm if you can get your hands on one.

My favourite, the Ghost chair. I love its versatility — it looks right at home in both modern and traditional spaces.

Wedding planning has got me seriously considering swapping out all the horrid slipcovered chairs in our venue for these sweet Chiavari chairs — budget permitting.

Another favourite, the Windsor chair comes in so many forms these days that they fit both country and modern styles.

Steel French bistro chairs can double as outdoor seating and therefore make a great investment.

If I win the lottery, I'll buy every chair Mjölk has to offer. This beauty, at a scanty $2,275, would be my first.

Photo credits:
1. The Pie Tin via Pretty Pretty Yum Yum blog
2. George Nelson Foundation
3. Homevialaura blog
4. Meredith Perdue via Sincerely Sara blog
6. Pottery Barn
7. Mjölk


Floriana Paonessa

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