Candice-Olson

Candice Olson’s Showroom

Today is the first day of the Fall Home Show (which sponsored this blog and our fall trends gallery), and there’s no better way to see what’s hot for autumn. Whether you want to turn your home into a sustainable space or incorporate the Urban Farmhouse look into your home decor, you’ll find innovative products and great design ideas from over 300 retailers and industry experts. I got to take a peek behind the scenes yesterday, and while many exhibitors were still setting up, it’s clear there will plenty of stylish ideas on display for every room in your home. (Scroll down to see images from opening day!)

Photo Candice Olson

I also had the good fortune to meet designer Candice Olson, star of W Network’s Divine Design (you can see her yourself today at noon). Candice is part of The Décor(k) Tour, a cross-country tour promoting cork flooring as a chic, stylish, and eco-friendly alternative to wood and tile. Candice gave myself and H&H editors Morgan Michener and Andrea Mills a personal tour of the six-room mobile showroom she designed to demonstrate how versatile cork is, and after seeing the space, I’m sold.

Photo Cork Harvesting

“No other product has all the combined benefits, from green performance to style, than cork,” says Candice. “A lot of wood is sustainable, but that means cutting down a tree, planting another tree, and having it grow. The outer bark of the cork tree is what is harvested, and that bark regenerates itself over the course of a nine-year span. The bark is continuously harvested to create the product over the life span of the tree — over 200 years to 300 years of nine-year cycles. It’s a truly sustainable product.”

Photo Living Room Cork Floor

Cork provides both thermal and sound insulation, as well as being waterproof, mould and mildew resistant, hypoallergenic and hard-wearing. “There isn’t a room in the house where you can’t use cork,” asserts Candice, who has used it everywhere from the bathroom to the basement and on walls as well as floors. One of my favourite spaces in the showroom at the Fall Home Show was the elegant sitting area. Both the floors and the stunning leather-like wall treatment are made from cork tiles!

Here are two more gorgeous examples of cork flooring:

Photo Dining Room Cork Floor

Photo Bedroom Cork Floor

*Update*

Here are some of my favourite finds from the Fall Home Show, running now until October 3, 2010, at the Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto. (Get discounts on tickets when you purchase them online!)

Photo Dog Bowl

This adorable dog bowl from L’Occhio Fino would look perfect in a French country kitchen.

Photo Living Room

This cosy booth by Homestars.com, featuring Urban Barn furniture, has our Condos, Lofts and Apartments issue on the coffee table!

Photo Elmira Cookstoves

The next time I bake, I’m going to imagine I’m using one of these gorgeous ovens from Elmira Stoveworks instead of my grungy apartment model that has clearly seen better days.

Photo Mural

Wouldn’t this be fun in a kid’s bedroom? The murals at MuralUnique are made from original pieces of Canadian art, and range from cute (like this one) to graphic and edgy. This one is called ‘Butterfly Garden,’ by artist Ruth Baker. You can see the original piece on the left of the image.

Photo Art Ivan Trotter

The vibrant colours of artist Ivan Trotter‘s work pulled me in from across the floor! Inspired by his visits to Provence, France and Tuscany, the original acrylics are as bright and sunny as a Mediterranean day. I love how he made the frame of this work part of the painting; the scrollwork adds extra texture and depth.

Photo Mantle

The Habitat ReStore Recycled Dwelling was an interesting feature, because everything in the space has been sourced from the Habitat For Humanity ReStore. Designed by Melissa Davis, the exhibit was a great testament to the fabulous, reclaimed home items you can find for next to nothing at the ReStore. For example, this mantle cost less than $200!

Photo Rug

I fell in love with the muted colours of this gorgeous rug from W Studio. While I was tempted to buy it on the spot, the prospect of getting it home on the streetcar, and then finding a place to store it until we buy a house, made me leave it for the next lucky shopper.

Photo Umbra Jewellery Holders

Along with their main booth, Umbra had delightful mini-booths scattered throughout the show floor. I loved these delicate glass necklace holders; each arm has birds sitting on it!

Photo Textile Table

These brightly coloured table runners (at right, hanging over the table) feature beautifully hand-embroidered flowers. Made of 100% silk, these are sure to cause a stir at the Thanksgiving table.

Some of the biggest names in design, including Colin McAllister & Justin Ryan and Income Property’s Scott McGillivray, will be on hand at the Fall Home Show to share their take on the latest decorating trends in interactive design seminars. Plus, cooking and home entertaining demonstrations will show you how to host holiday parties with style, so don’t miss it!

Get more seasonal decorating and entertaining inspiration in our gallery of fall home trends, plus the Urban Farmhouse and Fall Entertaining Trends blogs.

Photo credits:
1. Jennifer Murray
2-3. D
écor(k)
4-5. APCOR
6-14.
Jennifer Murray