Design & Decor Blog

travel inspiration: italy {part 2}

I’ve arrived! After an 11 hour trip, I’ve finally made my way onto Italian soil {we had a 1.5 hour stopover in Paris which was torturous — imagine knowing you’re in Paris, but not being able to leave the airport. Sacrebleu!}.

Before I delve into my first day in Rome, let me fill you in on a quick secret of how to make the flight seem shorter. Aside from knocking back a couple of glasses of wine to help you relax, invest in an eReader. I brought my Kobo along with me {only $149 from Indigo} and it provided hours of reading; when I was tired of reading my fiction book, I would switch over to a juicy biography. I love that I can have a variety of books to choose from on my trip but not have to lug around print versions. Oh, and did I mention my great Jonathan Adler cover? It’s all about traveling in style!

italy kobo travel inspiration: italy {part 2}
Alright, back to beautiful Italia! I was exhausted after getting off the plane, so I slept for the short ride to the hotel. When I woke up, I was so excited to see some of the most stunning architecture I’ve ever laid eyes upon. Everything is so incredibly grand and historic — I instantly became jealous of the people that live here and get to look at this every day.

I also quickly began seeing the pro’s to traveling on a tour like this one with Trafalgar Tours. I was a Grumpy Gus when we got off the plane and it was so nice to have a big bus waiting for us, and also to have all of our luggage and transportation taken care of. After a quick nap in the beautiful hotel, I rejoined the group and we all went for dinner to a lovely Italian trattoria. The food was obviously delicious and I think the word ‘full’ doesn’t scratch the surface of how I felt after that meal. Might as well get used to it!

Below are a few pictures of the gorgeous Aleph Hotel and the sights I saw around Rome at night. Tomorrow is Vatican City so I will have incredibly lovely and inspiring images to share with you. Ciao!

IMG 2420 travel inspiration: italy {part 2}

The romantic balcony in my room at the Aleph Hotel

italy bathroom travel inspiration: italy {part 2}

The spacious bathroom in my hotel room {anyone who travels to Europe knows that 'spacious' and 'bathroom' are not usually two words said in the same sentence}

italy lobby travel inspiration: italy {part 2}

The lobby of the Aleph Hotel -- drama, drama, drama!

IMG 2439 travel inspiration: italy {part 2}

The breathtaking statue outside the Castle of Angels



travel inspiration: italy {part 1}

cinque terre travel inspiration: italy {part 1}
When I look at this picture of Cinque Terre, all I think is, “Sigh. So beautiful.” You can imagine how over-the-moon excited I am to be heading there this upcoming week!

That’s right, folks. On Sunday I’m jumping on a jet plane for a fabulous trip to Italy, stopping off in Rome, Florence and Tuscany. I’m spending the week on a whirlwind excursion with Trafalgar Tours, who are promoting their new ‘At Leisure’ tours for 2011.

I have to admit, I’ve always been wary of tours because I like to explore cities by myself, but I think I’ll love this one because the ‘At Leisure’ aspect shows tour guests all the amazing parts of the city as a group, yet allows them more time to go off by themselves, too. Plus, they organize special events that you may not experience otherwise {I’ll be eating dinner in the middle of an olive grove … how cool is that?!}.

tuscan villa travel inspiration: italy {part 1}
Whenever I travel, I’m always find myself inspired by my surroundings. When I went to Paris, all I wanted was to make my home look like a romantic French apartment, filled with beautiful antiques and Old World charm. When I visit Scotland, it’s all about tartan, all the time. So, I’m assuming the same will happen on my trip to Italy.

I’ll be posting throughout the week, bringing you beautiful Italian interiors, delicious food and other inspiring images. I’ve never been to these parts of the country, so let me know of any recommendations you have for fab bistros, great design stores or other hidden gems!



pistil flowers

I just arrived back at my desk after lunch to find this beauty patiently waiting for me. It’s a ‘Love Bomb’ from Pistil Flowers, a floral boutique located in Toronto’s First Canadian Place. The magenta carnations are stunning and are actually distracting me from my work because they’re so beautiful, I can’t stop looking at them. Now how’s that for making someone’s day? Send flowers out of the blue to someone special. Good idea. Trust me.
pistil pistil flowers
Love Bomb, $60,

the makeover continues

So, you may recall that I just recently finished making over my condo. Working with designer Lisa Canning, we transformed my home into a space that’s totally unrecognizable! Watch the video here if you want to see the before and after.

Anyway, here’s the thing about makeovers: It’s hard to stop! Now that my living room and parts of my kitchen have been given new life, everything else seems shabby by comparison. Let’s take a closer look at the kitchen. This is what it looked like before:

before kitchen1 the makeover continues
before kitchen2 the makeover continues
before kitchen3 the makeover continues
I know, right? Not so hot.

So, with nothing more than paint, we updated the kitchen. Simply painting the cabinets (thanks to Tim at Beresford Inc. who lacquered them beautifully) and painting the backsplash, the kitchen looks like new.

after kitchen11 the makeover continues
after kitchen2 the makeover continues
after kitchen3 the makeover continues
Well, the kitchen looks sort of like new. The problem is that now, my old appliances look outdated. Sure, they blend in to the white scheme better than they did before but now I can’t stop thinking about how fabulous some new stainless steel appliances would look. And the fact that my fridge just conked out on me (unbelievable!) makes the search for new appliances even more desperate.

So, I’m off to do some window shopping on the Whirlpool website to see what I can find. I’ll keep you posted!

featured blog: these roving eyes

Since the launch of our new blog, we at Style at Home have been so happy to be able to bring you updates on hot design trends and also give you a little behind-the-scenes look at our day-to-day lives working at the magazine. We also love being part of the blog community and interacting with other fabulous bloggers — the online design world is full of great treasures!

Since we follow so many wonderful blogs, we thought it would be great to celebrate some of our faves. So, we’re going to be featuring a fabulous blog each week, focusing on design, food, photography, etc.

For our first feature, I decided to start it all off with a blog that has a broad focus, but encapsulates what Style at Home is all about — beautiful spaces, beautiful food and beautiful life, all documented with inspiring photography.

jason hudson portrait featured blog: these roving eyes

Blog: These Roving Eyes

Blogger: Jason Hudson

Location: Toronto

What do you do for a living?
I manage a concert hall downtown Toronto, although I went to school for photography and do projects here and there.

What does your blog bring to readers?
The blog’s subtitle reads: The Clever, The Stylish, The Delicious: The Things We Long to Be (And Sometimes Are). In this Martha-fied world, it seems we’re always striving to be some better version of ourselves. It’s fun to show the highlights of our lives, but it can become a bit bragg-y or one-dimensional without pulling from the darker bits, too. I show the less-glossy parts in the interest of honesty and balance. I think it’s what makes people like reading.

What are you most passionate about?
Anyone who knows me can vouch for the fact that I get pretty darn passionate about a lot of things {including RuPaul’s Drag Race!}. I actually think the number one word people would use to describe me is ‘passionate’,  sometimes to a fault. I’ll try to keep a lid on it!

jason hudson shoes featured blog: these roving eyes
If you weren’t in your current profession, what else would you be doing?
In a perfect world I’d be shooting magazine spreads like the beauties in Style at Home!

Describe your home in six words or less.
Masculine, eclectic, rich, textured, inviting, well-lit.

Where do you shop for pieces for your home?
All over!  Flea markets, local shops, and Craigslist, Craigslist, Craigslist!

jason hudson condo featured blog: these roving eyes

Which is your favourite post?
I tend to like the personal stories, in the Biographically Speaking section of my blog. I can’t narrow it down any further than that.

What song, movie or soundtrack sums up your life?
Music is a big part of my life — I blog about it a lot! I find myself always going back to the Amelie soundtrack, though – remember that movie? Beautiful! It covers everything, from the happiest and jauntiest French accordion to somber strings. Perfection!

Who is your favourite person or favourite thing to photograph?
I love photographing my nieces and nephews – babies and kids are the only thing more swoon-worthy than food. But food doesn’t move or complain, so it’s a toss-up!

jason hudson breakfast featured blog: these roving eyes



P.S. Interested in having your blog featured? E-mail us at

cookbook giveaway!

cookbook giveaway cookbook giveaway!
Listen up, foodies. We have six incredible cookbooks that recently made their way into our office and we want to give them away — to you! With beautiful photography and mouthwatering recipes, these books aren’t just great for making dinner — they look great sitting on a coffee table, too.

  • Tartine Bread, by Chad Robertson
    A heartwarming cookbook filled with recipes for bread, sandwiches and leftovers

  • Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free, by Karen Morgan
    75 gluten-free recipes for yummy desserts and pastries

  • The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook, by John Barricelli
    Delicious baked goods from the host of “Everyday Baking from Everyday Food” {he’s also a chum of Martha’s}

  • The Food Stylist’s Handbook, by Denise Vivaldo
    Not so much a cookbook as it is an extensive guide on how to make food look magazine-ready

  • Bottega, by Michael Chiarello
    Delish Italian recipes from the renowned chef, from pasta to risotto

  • D.I.Y. Delicious, by Vanessa Barrington
    Great recipe ideas for simple food made from scratch

Are you drooling yet? On to the details! To enter, just leave a comment below telling me what your go-to appetizer is for the holiday season, whether it’s something savoury or sweet. I’ll pick a winner November 13th, 2010, the day after the contest closes.

Good luck!



This contest is now closed. The winner is Jessica Kostka from Calgary Alberta. Please check back for more great contest  opportunities!

Contest closes November 13th, 2010 at 12pm EST. Open to all residents of Canada, except those in Quebec. Not open to any Transcontinental Media employees, their families, or any other persons with whom they reside.

would you paint your ceiling periwinkle?

I just interviewed Toronto-based designer Laura Stein for our 20 Questions series and she shared some insight into her design inspiration and provided her thoughts on the easiest way to update a room and her current paint colour obsession. She also shared some photos of her work and this one caught my eye instantly.

laura stein dining room would you paint your ceiling periwinkle?I LOVE this room and it’s unusual use of colour. Taupe walls with the moldings and chair rails painted out and a periwinkle ceiling … It’s dramatic, it’s gorgeous and it’s totally unexpected. What do you think? Would you paint your ceiling a colour like this? Before seeing this photo, I would have said ‘no’. Now, I’m an emphatic ‘yes!’

makeover monday: paint projects

A lot of times when I head out shopping, it’s rare to find exactly what I’m looking for. I’ll fawn over a great duvet cover, but it’s only available in King. I’ll spot a fabulous chair but it has a big stain on the upholstery. More than often, I’ll find a fantastic patterned throw cushion, but it won’t be available in the colour I need. As you can imagine {since most experience the same frustration}, this can get tiring.

Lately though, I’ve embraced imperfections — it becomes an improvement project rather than just a pretty purchase. Below are two pieces I’ve bought because of their shape, but I’m not crazy about the colour. Both are HomeSense purchases (love, love, love) — the mirror was $35 and the table was $50. By default, I immediately thought to spray them white, but now I’m rethinking — should I paint them a bold hue to add a pop of colour to my place?

homesense mirror makeover monday: paint projectsbathroom table makeover monday: paint projects
So this is where I need your help — what colour should I paint them? Most of my walls are a light grey {‘Clamshell’ from the Style at Home Colour Collection} so use that as a starting point. I’m thinking maybe a plum for mirror and a deep navy for the table.

Let me know what you would do!



P.S. You’ll notice there are two random pink tiles in our bathroom. They have been there since we moved in and they are the bane of my existence.

crate and barrel opens in mississauga

Crate and Barrel threw open the doors of its third Canadian location to the public today, just in time for the holidays. I attended a preview of the new store last night and it’s everything you’d expect from the furniture and housewares retailer. The store is huge! It’s 24,000 square feet and it’s located just across the street from Square One in Mississauga. (Did you know that Crate and Barrel opened its first store in Chicago in 1962? I had no idea!) It’s wall-to-wall style in there – from accessories, kitchen gadgets, tableware and Christmas decorations to furniture, dishware, rugs and lamps. Check out some of my favourite finds:

crate and barrel1 crate and barrel opens in mississaugaThese jewel tone ornaments are gorgeous for the holidays. The brightly coloured cushions are a great way to add colour to your home throughout the year.

crate and barrel2 crate and barrel opens in mississaugaLots of lighting!

crate and barrel4 crate and barrel opens in mississaugaRustic dishes and these green tartan plates are the perfect addition to a traditional Christmas table.

crate and barrel5 crate and barrel opens in mississaugaHoliday decor goes glam with silver and white decorations. Love these ivory linen and silk stockings!

For more information:
Crate and Barrel, Square One Shopping Centre
95 Square One Drive, Mississauga

daytripping to gananoque

A few weekends ago, a friend and I went for a weekend away in Gananoque. The fall weather was beautiful and it was a great getaway, even after things had slowed down since the busy summer months. We stayed at the beautiful Victoria Rose Inn, discovered some amazing shopping gems, and dined at the breathtaking waterfront restaurant, The Ivy. Here’s a run-down on where to stay, shop and eat when visiting Gananoque.

1) Sleep at the Victoria Rose Inn

Driving up to this beautifully restored Victorian house is a sight in itself, with the pretty wraparound porch, full garden and incredible architecture. We walked through the doors into a spacious foyer with a sparkling chandelier overhead. As for our room? Complete with a four poster bed, marble-mantel fireplace and decorated with an abundance of whites and creams. The innkeepers, Susanne and Bernie, were wonderful and made us feel like their own visitors, rather than just guests of the inn.
gananoque victoria rose inn daytripping to gananoque
2 Grab a coffee at The Socialist Pig
Don’t think too much about the name — instead, turn your focus to the quirky design of the space and the unique beverage flavours (you must try the harvest apple pie tea latte!). Located in a beautiful old building on Gananoque’s main strip, the shop is a community hangout area with WiFi and a smiling team of baristas behind the counter. We settled down with some tea on a windy fall day and fell in love with the counter space made from stacked books and the patron tables topped with old plastic Samsonite suitcases. They don’t have a website yet, but you can follow them on Facebook.
gananoque socialist pig daytripping to gananoque
3 Dine at The Ivy

About a 15 minute drive from Gananoque’s downtown is The Ivy, a breathtaking restaurant on the waterfront property of the Ivy Lea Club. Recently having undergone an extensive renovation, the restaurant is grand, yet cosy — we loved the large stone fireplaces, beamed ceilings and enormous wrought iron chandeliers. Oh, and don’t let me forget the food! The meal was delicious, from the warm bread  and butter rolled in poppyseeds to the flavourful salmon atop a bed of lentils. Yum!
gananoque ivy daytripping to gananoque
4 Shop for locally made home accessories at Willow Soul
I love stumbling upon little boutiques, and Willow Soul was such a great treasure to find. The owner, Lisa, really takes the time to showcase items from local artists, whether from the 1000 Islands region or Kingston (where she has another Willow Soul location). You can find great gift items (soaps, handmade napkins, customized Moleskine journals) or perfect accessories and artwork to pull your home together. And don’t get me started on the jewelry — oh, that beautiful, beautiful jewelry. But the best part of Willow Soul? Everything is wonderfully affordable.
gananoque willow soul daytripping to gananoque
5 Spend hours shopping for architectural salvage at Balleycanoe
If you drive for abut 20 minutes outside of Gananoque, you’ll stumble upon the most precious of hidden gems called Balleycanoe – maybe. Hidden down windy farm roads is a barn that houses an overwhelming amount of architectural salvage — hardware, newel posts, stained glass windows and some 1500 doors just to name a few. Balleycanoe is its name, and John Sorenson is the man behind this jawdroppingly incredible space. The great thing is, any store you pop your head in to in Gananoque will have a piece from Balleycanoe used to display clothes or add some artistic appeal. As for me, I picked up two old crates for just $50 a pair and am planning some great things for them for the holiday season.
gananoque balleycanoe daytripping to gananoque



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