I now live less than 10 minutes from an Ikea. This is highly convenient for work scouting after enjoying the famous $1 breakfast accompanied by at least two cups of Ikea coffee, which I adore. I hit up the store today and was wowed by so many new things. Here are some of my faves:
Who doesn't love a demilune table? The Arkelstorp ($129) comes with a green, white or black-painted base. I prefer the black. I'd probably paint the top black, too — doing so would make it slightly less country and more versatile. I'd get two to flank a fireplace or use one as an entry table.
This famous Frosta stool ($20) is back. Those bent ply legs are iconic. Perf as a bedside table in a kid's room or cottage, a drinks table, or even just, you know, as a stool! I have mixed feelings about the almost-neon coloured top. I sort of wish it was also natural birch. I might be inclined to paint the top white.
This sexy injection-moulded polypropylene number, called Janinge, could easily be mistaken for a Italian version that would cost 10 times more than its $69 price tag. It's stackable, comfy and (praise be!) requires NO assembly! I want three for my office at work. (It doesn't seem to be on the website, so run to your local Ikea to check stock in case it's been discontinued!)
Most of the hoopla at Ikea these days is about the new Sektion kitchen system. All the kitchens at the stores are newly installed and feature the new system plus a huge array of new countertops. I picked up all the planning booklets and will be studying them over the weekend. Partly because I'm a nerd like that, but partly because I'm in the midst of planning storage solutions for my new laundry room and mudroom at our country house in Tweed, Ont., and for our bedroom at our city condo. Above are my three favourite door styles. I can't say that I've ever felt drawn to dark wood cabinets before, but the warm chocolatey tone and thin raised edge detail of Ekestad won me over. The one in the centre is called Björket and is a perfect crisp Shaker profile. You could paint them out, but I do like this blond wood tone — very Vincent Van Duysen! And lastly, the perfection of this last white door, called the Råsdal, is hard to capture via an iPhone shot. The finish is like a whitewash over white ash so you see the wood grain through the paint. It's so lovely. There are so many more door styles — seems like more than ever before.
The new kitchen system includes tons of organizers and bells and whistles to customize your storage. These two handy items are standouts. On the left is the LED under-cabinet lighting system called the Utrusta. It's so sleek and narrow that you don't even really need a valance piece to conceal it. I'm actually thinking of switching to this system. On the right is the Ansluta remote ($15), which allows you to dim your kitchen lighting. I definitely want this because under-cabinet lighting needs to be bright when you're working away, but it's nice to dim it in the evenings when you're entertaining or just popping in and out for a snack.
This oversized cabinet hardware made me smile and I'd love to use them somewhere! The knobs on the left are called Norrbyn ($3.49) and are almost 3" in diameter. Fun colours! The 7-1/2"-long demilune pulls on the right are called Tosterup, and also come in white and red. They would look great on two-door cabinets because they'd look like a giant polkadot when then doors are closed.
Okay, this is unglamorous but very useful for those of you with wall-mounted TVs who either can't or haven't hidden your cords behind the wall. Nestle them in the $5 Uppleva channel and then paint the thing the same colour as your wall. Not as good as behind the wall but a gajillion times better than unsightly cords.
The Backvial bedspread is coming home with me for sure. And I need two more for a cottage I'm decorating. It's pure cotton and comes in two sizes. The largest is only $40. I just know this will get better after softening up in the laundry, too.
These pieces are both called Bittergurka. They are from the garden section, but I'd use the planter ($15) in my kitchen to stash oil and vinegar cruets, salt and pepper grinders and a head of garlic right by the cooktop. The jug ($16) is a watering can. It's so great-looking that I would leave it out and then maybe my fiddle leaf fig might get water and have a fighting chance.
The Enigt side plate ($3.50) would add a little dose of spring to my plain white dinnerware and is just waiting for a pretty salad to top it off.
See more great ideas from Ikea in the H&H-designed kitchen at this year's Interior Design Show.
1-10. Margot Austin
Looking to add some warmth and personality to your home for the winter? Wallpapering a room — or even one wall — does both and is an easy way to introduce pattern. These 2014 prints from Farrow & Ball are small enough for tiny powder rooms, but would make an impact on a large bedroom wall, too. Here are my picks:
Browse our Wallpapered Rooms gallery for more inspiration.
1-4. Farrow & Ball
Whether you’re a suburban homeowner or a condo-dweller, we all have to tackle this project: choosing the best window treatment for a room. Having numerous, awkwardly shaped or floor-to-ceiling windows can seem intimidating, but there are coverings available no matter your window type.
HunterDouglas offers a variety of smartly designed, custom products available in many fabrics and colours to go with your decor. Here we highlight three common window treatment problems and how you can solve them. (This blog post is sponsored by HunterDouglas.)
Problem: “I like natural lighting, but the sunlight coming in is too harsh.”
Solution: Alustra Silhouette window shadings diffuse sunlight for a softer source of light. This clean-finished window treatment doesn’t have cords, and when you want a completely clear view to the outdoors, the shades disappear into the headrail.
Problem: “I want to see outside during the day but want privacy at night.”
Solution: Pirouette window shadings provide a clear view when the vanes are open (shown above), and offer privacy when closed. The cord-free finish keeps the look streamlined. Bonus: To protect your home’s furnishings from fading, these window shades block up to 81% of UV rays when the vanes are open, and 99% when the vanes are closed.
Problem: “My windows let too much hot/cold air in and out of the house.”
Solution: Duette Architella honeycomb shades keep rooms cool in the summer and warm in the winter for the ultimate energy efficiency. Architella has a double-layered honeycomb-shaped design which helps to block your cooled or hot air from escaping through your window. The honeycomb fabrics all have GreenGuard Indoor Air Quality certification, too.
For more on these window coverings and other window covering options, visit HunterDouglas.ca.
1. Alustra Silhouette window shadings in Soft White, French Linen, HunterDouglas.
2. Pirouette window shadings in Glacier, Satin Metallic, HunterDouglas.
3. Duette Architella honeycomb shades, HunterDouglas.
Sometimes when decorating a room you need something more than just paint to update the walls. Patterned wallpaper adds interest to any space, but isn't the only solution for wall decor. Grasscloth wallpaper, made of woven grasses and reeds backed with paper, offers the perfect middle-ground between paint and patterned wallpaper. It brings colour, warmth and texture to a space without requiring you to commit to a wallpaper pattern.
WallsRepublic.com, an online store that serves customers in Canada and the U.S., features numerous grasscloth wall coverings that you can apply yourself. (This blog post is brought to you by Walls Republic.)
You might be more familiar with grasscloth wallpaper in neutral colours like the three above. Walls Republic's grasscloth wallpapers are made from natural, sustainable materials. Raw Charcoal Grass Cloth R 2016, Duo Sisal Coffee Grass Cloth R 1994, Duo Sisal Amber Grass Cloth R 1971.
My personal favourites include blue- and green-coloured grasscloth papers. To get the look of grasscloth wallpaper without committing to it from floor-to-ceiling, apply it only above a chair rail and paint below. Sisal Lavender Grass Cloth R 1993, Sisal Blue Grass Cloth R 1991, Sisal Baby Blue Grass Cloth R 2005, Sisal Army Green Grass Cloth R 1964.
You can also line the back of bookshelves with grasscloth wallpaper to give it a new, custom look and make your books and decorations stand out. Warm, bright tones like these yellows, oranges and yellow-greens are also available, and depending on the paper you choose, showcase more or less of the natural woven look. Rush Regular Orange Grass Cloth R 2001, Reed Yellow Grass Cloth R 1973, Sisal Tangelo Grass Cloth R 1975, Rush Grass Green Grass Cloth R 2003.
Check out wallsrepublic.com today to see the numerous grasscloth wallpaper choices available and other wall coverings. Walls Republic offers free samples and $10 shipping for all orders in Canada and the U.S.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1-18. 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).
All photos by 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.