For 2019, Behr has picked Blueprint, a color that it considers a great shade between denim and navy.Read More
The Design, Decor and DIY Blog
People often stick to one metal, rather than mixing metals in home decor. If you are truly a fan of chrome and that's what you love, then why not?
But mixing metals is a great way to add a bit of visual interest to your room. It's an old interior decorating myth to think that you can't put warm and cold metal tones in one room.
While most retailers have already moved on from Cottage Life themed decor and are trying to get us to think about autumn, I say relax. It's summer time. Mix yourself a G&T, kick back, and savor the warm weather while it lasts. To help you with this, enjoy this gorgeous summer home in the Laurentians that mixes rustic charm with small, but refining touches.Read More
It's no secret that I love beautiful interiors that showcase a mixed look. And to achieve that look, I don't mind spending time searching for those quirky, special pieces. I'll admit, I'm a pretty dedicated picker. I love a unique find and a good deal. OK, I really love a good deal. But it's not all Instagram shots of pretty finds and visits to quaint shops. No, some days it is decidedly the opposite, and this is the story of one of those days.
Steve was out of town, and I had seen an online posting about a large antiques shop having a 50% off sale on every item. Every item. Like a moth to a flame, I was dying to check it out. I won't name the shop, and the reason for this will become apparent shortly, but believe me when I tell you that this incident has in no way put me off a return visit. But maybe I'm a bit more single minded about these things than others.
The shop was fantastic. Three floors crammed with treasures, small and large - and at 50% off, I was less likely to grumble throughout about "prices for tourists" and the like. Despite the incredible volume of items, the staff had clearly taken time to arrange things thoughtfully, some even in beautiful little tableaus.
Between texting clients with a few images of items they might be interested in, and scoring a ridiculously over the top swag light for $10, I spotted it. A lovely, huge, green demi-john, sitting in a corner, strapped into what I can only describe as someone's seventh grade shop project. The wooden containment system was ridiculous, but the beautiful green, glass container was mine. All mine.
I lugged it down to the cash and giddily paid my money. (You know I'm happy with a find when I don't even haggle.) I first carried the light fixture out to the car and returned for the demi-john. The man from the store was holding it and seemed somewhat insistent that he would carry it to my car. As kind as that is, "IT'S MINE NOW GIVE IT TO ME." Um, I mean, "Don't trouble yourself, good sir, I can easily carry that." And with that, I took it out of his arms and headed happily to the car. Happily, that is, until I glanced down into the bottle and caught sight of what appeared to be a tiny, wizened skeleton.
"Oh crap. Dead mouse." I wavered for the briefest of moments before my brain reminded me that this was 50% off. "It's just one small, very dead mouse," I reasoned, "No biggie. Be cool. Just get it in the car Quickly. Ick. Now. Hurry hurry HURRY!" As I set it in the back of the car, my face hovered perilously close to the opening of the bottle. Oh God. Would I get the the plague? Ugh. Trying not to think about what was in the bottle and its potential implications on my health, I drove home. The weather forecast was calling for freezing rain that night and the next day, so I was going to need to take care of this issue today, unless I wanted the Plague Bottle in my house.
Normally, a hideous task such as cleaning up rodent skeletons falls to Steve. This is less because I don't want to do them, and more because I want to watch Steve do them. He has a weak constitution and strong gag reflex when it comes to such things, so it's great sport. We once hit a crow while driving on the highway (a strange incident where the crow was shoved out in front of our car by two other crows) and did not realize for about three hot summer days that it had landed neatly inside the fog light hole on the front of the car. You can probably guess what alerted us, after three hot summer days, to its presence in this cavity. The extraction of its incredibly rank remains nearly did Steve in. I, meanwhile, stood at the end of the driveway, hopping from foot to foot, making disgusted yelping noises and capturing the whole thing for posterity.
But I was on my own today, so I pulled on the gloves, got a very big bottle of bleach, and began. The first task was to remove the wooden containment system it was in and then determine how much of this problem could be shaken right out of the bottle. The bottle was so dirty that it was hard to see what was going on inside, but as I hefted it up and gave it a bit of a shake, I immediately realized that I had underestimated the scope of the carnage inside. There was clearly a second body. Ugh. I carried the bottle out to the yard and tried tipping it upside down and giving it a good shake. The loose contents flew straight for the opening and, rather appropriately, bottlenecked, refusing to fall out.
Defeated, I realized that I was going to have to get a stick of some sort and extract these bodies. I rooted around, found what I considered to be a reasonable tool, and then began enacting what would have been a ridiculous scene had anyone been around to witness it. A twenty litre bottle is pretty sizeable, especially if you want to tip it upside down with one hand, jam a stick in it with the other hand and forcibly evict what you thought were two carcasses from the bottle. I say this because, as I grunted and struggled and gagged a bit, the bodies just kept coming. One, two, three, four. Four dead mice. Three small, and one rather large.
With the corpses all assembled on the ground in front of me, I couldn't' resist the urge to poke them a bit and try to work out who died when. Were two or more ever alive together in the bottle? If so, what Donner Party nightmare did they live out? Did a third mouse land in the bottle and see two already emaciated bodies and immediately realize its folly? How quickly did this all happen? How long would the bottle have to sit there to fill up completely with dead mice? What sort of a discount could I have got if I pointed out the tiny mummified remains in my bottle?
And of course, I named them.
With the bodies removed, I brought the bottle back indoors and commenced bleaching and scrubbing it to within an inch of my life. And here it is today:
I await the next dinner party when I can casually mention that the big green bottle was once a crypt for rodents. And soon, I will head out on the road again, seeking beautiful finds with perhaps a touch less drama.
Chandeliers are a wonderful way to light up a room, but I have to admit that my heart really skips a beat for beautiful pendant lights - or even a set of them! Pendants are very much on trend for 2016, but frankly, I think it's hard to go wrong with them any time. To celebrate these lovely lighting systems, here are a few of our favourite statement pendants.
In terms of plastics, the FL/Y pendant is one of my favourites. It comes in a range of colors and is big enough to stand on its own, or make an eye catching display. Clustering pendants, or arranging them in a row, gives you an alternative to a traditional chandelier, while still offering as much or as little light as you require.
Tom Dixon's Melt/Copper is a stunning line of glass pendants that have the look of melting, hot blown glass.
Zenza sports a whole line of nickel plated brass pendants in a variety of shapes and sizes. The punched metal gives an amazing effect when lit.
Industrial style pendants come in a wide range of styles, colors and shapes. You can get replicas of these at most hardware stores, or you can go vintage hunting as we did. Steve and I picked up three vintage white industrial lights at an antiques market in Italy last spring. There was no shortage of sellers there with a drool-worthy supply of amazing lighting, from the very old to the recently old. It's always worth digging around a bit to see if you can find something locally to you as well - though they may require a touch up or a bit of rewiring. I love this mint shade from Barn Light Electric.
I know we tend to think of glass and metal when considering lighting, but concrete can be beautiful too, as these modern and pretty Finn pendants from Milk and Sugar show.
And finally, let's not forget the possibility of ceramic pendant lights. These fantastic ceramic shades are made in England by Lyngard Ceramics.
Just a few quick snaps from some recent work in a client's house. The bedroom is a great example of simple style that mixes a few elements for a lovely effect. Gold, white, and a pale grey-violet color mix to create a relaxing space. The simple Ikea nightstands work beautifully with lush little table lamps.
Trixie, the on site help. She's also handy with my measuring tape.
The room is a wonderful mix of styles, and really captures the idea that you don't have to spend a fortune to get a distinct look for your home. I'm off to start setting up a client's condo - a lovely downtown space with some great artwork. Pictures from that to come soon!
Mixing old with new can give you a gorgeous result in your home, but it can also be a bit of a daunting task to take on. Not to worry - we've got some great examples of mixing antique and modern together in rooms around the home.
Using key features such as light fixtures or large pieces of furniture, you can easily show off your mix of old and new. The spareness of some of the modern pieces contrasts beautifully with the more intricate look of the antiques.
Typically when mixing old and new, we see old buildings and rooms with newer furniture and fixtures. In the first kitchen below, we see a beautiful modern kitchen given some real interest with an antique cabinet.
The next two examples show modern fixtures in an older home.
An older table with modern chairs is a quick and fun way to mix things up.
In some cases, simply adding one or two modern items into an older space can do the trick. Below you see a modern light fixture and chairs doing the job.
In this room, the modern chairs add a contrast not only through their form, but stunning color as well.
Here the contrast is also in color and form, with black Ghost chairsand a modern pendant lamp contrasting beaituflly with the old white table.
First up we have a real stunner. The high walls and antique chandelier are juxtaposed with a sleek modern tub and some modern recessed lighting.
This bathroom contrasts a sleek, modern shower (heaven!) with a gorgeous claw foot soaker tub. The dark color of the walls allows the striking light fixture to really sing. A stunning room.
This bathroom is all sleek, white and modern with a splash of beautiful contrast in the antique cupboard. A great use of color, texture and style.
I'll admit to liking this porthole bar, but I if I brought it home, I think my ex-sailor husband might actually faint and then possibly even cook a meal for me in celebration of such a find. And he'd be justified in that reaction. Repurposed items, or those designed to appear repurposed, run a fine line between clever and "Dear God, enough with the wooden palettes already," and this one is definitely on the far side of clever and stylish.
Love it. Available at RH Modern.
Wallpaper is still going strong this year, bringing a bit of fun, drama or luxury into our rooms. Three trends that you can watch for are natural elements, metallics, and pastels. We've got some great examples of each, ranging from bold to subtle. NATURALS
A beautiful and graphic piece by Luke Edward Hall.
Collage wallpaper by Rosemary Milner.
Techinically, this one is a wall mural, but as you can stick it up and it's gorgeous we're including it.
We start with a bold and colorful metallic. If you're not courageous enough to coat a large room with this, think about a hall, entry or powder room - or even a single accent wall.
Beautiful Boho Diamond from Michele Varian.
And old favourite from Farrow and Ball highlights metallics and pastels in a wonderfully subtle pattern.
A beautiful mix of quiet color and a bit of metal. Perfect in this powder room.
Pastels are a big trend this year, and wallpaper is a great way to highlight this without having to change out your main furnishings.
Dreamy and pretty, they are often thought of for the bedroom, but considering expanding them into other spaces, such as this bar below.
Even this more traditional pattern can be juxtaposed against modern furnishings and fittings to create a beautiful result.
Tiles aren't just for floors these days, though there's nothing wrong with that idea. The current trend for bold tiles, in color and pattern means there are plenty of options for you to choose from that look nothing like the neutral, quiet tiles that sit under rugs and go unnoticed. Using a bold tile or tile pattern offers a focal point or area of interest, while also giving you a durable and functional surface. Tiles are a great option for your kitchen backsplash, and you are limited only by your creativity.
The classic black and white tiled bathroom floor always creates a wonderful backdrop on which many colors or styles can be played out.
But tile is also a great way to direct the color scheme of your space, either through a main color...
....or by adding highlights with splashes of color.
Small spaces are a great place to play with bolder colors or patterns that you may be uncomfortable putting on a larger area. Think of powder rooms or bar kitchens...
But if you love color, you can always commit to it. A stunning floor like this is given all the attention by keeping the rest of the space white and muted.
One of the hottest trends this year continues to be warm metallics. While copper was big last year, we've now turned to the more classic look of gold and brass. This is good news, as a classic look tends to hold better over time than trends that burn hot for a short period. Metals are also a great way to add sophistication, or even glamor, to your rooms. From lamps to planters and accessories, we've got some simple ways that you can incorporate this look in to your decor without breaking the bank or having to re-do an entire space.
Lighting is one of the most over looked areas when people are decorating, both in terms of budget and style. Taking a bit of time to find a few fixtures with real distinction can make a huge difference in the look of your space. Here we've got two examples that show a wonderful warm metal tone in two contrasting styles.I'd be happy to put both of these in the same space. Don't be overly worried that everything you have is from a matched set, or even represents the same style. If you have decided on an overall look for your space that is a bit eclectic or mixed, lighting is a great way to show a bit of contrast.
Quick and easy, dropping in a few gold or brass accessories around your room is a fast way to bring in some metals. Everything from trays, to candle holders, book ends, vases and small statues can help define the look of your space. And pineapples, you say? There a classic and I kind of love them.
Tables and Stands
Changing a major piece like a coffee table is a great way to bring new life into a space. But smaller pieces like plant stands are also an option if you don't want to commit to something big. I recently found some glass and brass nesting tables at a vintage shop and immediately threw them in my living room for a bit of shine and style. Quick, easy and I can move them around for different looks.
Everyone knows that mirrors are a great way to add a bit of light to your space, but they are also fantastic decor elements if chosen well. If your taste runs to the simple, go for a plain rectangle with a gilt frame. But if you are looking for a bit of a statement on your wall, think of something like the pentagonal mirror here. It serves the multi-purpose of adding light and creating a pointo f interest in the room.
A gorgeous palette for bold choices. Dark, inky blues, subtle greys, tobacco hued leather and even a kick of red. A super choice for a living room, study, or den. The dark walls create a mood and invite you to settle in for a cozy read.
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you wanted to conjure up a more English name than Rothschild & Bickers, I'm not sure you could. The UK based makers of beautiful glass lighting are keeping alive the craft of glass blowing, and are doing it with amazing style.
If you told me this morning that I'd be deeply in love with a pendant light that had tassels on it, I might have said you were crazy. I love them all. Note to self: add this studio to the list for my next visit to England. See them online here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
The English country house of Paolo Moschino is a case study in decorating that looks effortless and yet is incredibly impressive at the same time. Of course, he has the time, funds and talent to pull of such a beautiful (and personal) project, but there is a lot we can learn form this to apply to our own projects. He offers a lot of useful decorating tips, but I think one of the best pieces of advice he gives is this: "Don't let rooms look overtly decorated. The key is to relax; you need books, you need magazines, you even need dust!"
This is a comment close to my heart. You don't live in a hotel, so why should your home look like one? It should reflect you and the things and people you love.
Throughout this house we see light, neutral walls and colors that allow prominent pieces jump out. The first thing you notice in this space is the urns, but then your eye moves around and takes in the beautiful hutch, the barrel, the dining set. None of these pieces looks like it arrived fresh from Crate & Barrel. There's a lot to be said for decorating with older pieces that you love.
A collection of Catholic statuary may not be your thing, but whatever your thing is, considering bringing your collection together and showing it off. Creating small, focal displays of things that interest you is a great way to bring your personality into a space.
Again we see light walls being used to allow the coloured objects in the room really stand out, particularly the art, which is also framed and matted in white for effect. The floor and larger pieces of furniture are also quite neutral, letting the smaller pieces like the lamp, stools and flowers grab your attention.
To get more tips from a master, and see more of this gorgeous home, check out this article in House & Garden.
Beige or putty coloured walls are a fairly common way for people to add "colour" to a space without really committing to colour. Full disclaimer: beige neutrals are not a favourite of mine and I would offer other suggestions to clients who don't want bright colours. Keeping a space relatively neutral doesn't mean shades of tan - it can be as simple as a little black and white. This example of a mudroom that went from, well, muddy walls to bright and cheery, shows how easy it can be to stay neutral while still offering a a bright, contrasting look.
The before and after is stunningly simple. Painting the doors black seems like a bold choice, but it really is a small commitment in terms of space covered by this color. In doing this, they add a fantastic and simple punch that is grounded by the dark floors and creates wonderful contrast to the white walls and hanging cupboard. the use of a dark color at the end of a space also tricks the eye into thinking the space is longer than it really is. The red sign and red in the simple rug on the floor bring a spot of color - no bright paint on the walls required!
Using a light fixture with clear glass ensures you get maximum brightness in the space, and adding some simple decor gives the area personality.
The space looks clean, fresh and larger than before. A simple and very effective transformation. See more at Pretty Practical Home.
Here's a peek at a dressing room recently completed for a client. The space was formerly a small nursery, with dark blue walls that made the space feel crowded and the light stark. We designed a simple organizing system that allowed them to retain space for ironing and dressing.
The walls were lightened to a pale grey, gauzy drapes and a glamorous light fixture were added, and it was ready to go - but yes there is a cellular shade as well for privacy!
Using the corner is always an issue in a closet, as clothes closest to the wall often end up half hidden behind a cupboard wall. Keeping the walls of the unit shallow and allowing a bit of separating between the two hanging spaces means the clothes in the corner are still easily accessible.
The beautiful, extra large mirror with gorgeous bevelled edges serves two functions: its obvious reflective function for dressing and maximizing light in the small space.
While we don't all have the space to create a luxe dressing room with centre cabinets and walls of shoe racks, it is possible to take a small space like this and make it very functional. Who needs another guest room when you can have a spot that you will use daily and makes your life a bit easier?
It's another before and after for you - today's edition is the dining room of a home we've been working on recently. It's the same home we feature in the Living Room Before and After last week. An older home that had some patchy work done before being sold to our clients, the dining room was a drab putty tone and the light fixture was a bit dated. There was little to make this room stand out as the entertaining space our clients wanted. BEFORE:
The dining room was painted the same calm grey as the living room, and a subdued but still dramatic wall paper was added to one wall. The clients wanted a to make this room a feature while still looking clean and smart and it was decided that a chandelier would take it past that point. A simple, modern light fixture on a dimmer switch was chosen to contrast the pattern and color of the wall paper, while still offering sufficient light for dining and socializing.
The table is a vintage find, which is often a great way to mix up the look in a dining room and stay on budget. The moulded chairs provide a contrast, both against the wood of the table and floor, and the color of the wallpaper. They also tie in nicely with the white light fixture.
The dining room is a fairly small space, and a hutch or large bar would have eaten up the room and made it feel a bit crowded. A small, portable bar fits nicely in the corner, and can be wheeled out to the living room for a bit of smart cocktail entertaining.
You don't need a lot of stemware on show in your dining room if you don't have a large hutch or case for it. Pick a few of your favourite things to display, along with a few bottles of the things you love best.
The dining table has a leaf, and extra chairs are simply placed in two corners of the room, ready for use either in here, as as extra seating in the living room when entertaining.
Clients often shy away from the idea of darker walls, as they have been taught that they make small spaces feel smaller, and rob the space of light, but that's so often really not the case. Our clients were wary of the dark wall, but trusted us to make a decision that was aligned with their vision for the room. Making the far wall darker not only gives you a focal point, but it can make the wall appear further away, tricking the eye into seeing more space. This room also has a large patio door, and a wide opening in to the living room, which has a huge window. Having both of these sources of natural light meant that I would have been confident to paint this entire space dark and know that the natural light would keep it from being claustrophobic. In the end, the wallpaper provided just the right touch of drama to the room, while never overwhelming it.
A final bonus is the view of this beautiful wall from the living room or kitchen, which simply makes you want to enter the space and take a look.