Design & Decor Blog

painted pumpkins

When we moved into our new house back in May, the summer season was upon us. However, that didn’t stop me from anticipating all the fun I was going to have planning and decorating during the fall/winter holidays. I live for the holiday season, so this year I’m skipping the Halloween parties and am staying at home to hand out candy to the little kiddies. This, of course, meant I had to up my game with the decorating — sticking true to style, obviously!

My sister and I headed to a farm last weekend to grab a few gourds and I managed to find five simply perfect pumpkins — toting them around in a wagon definitely brought me back to my childhood!

pumpkins lauren painted pumpkins

Me and my wee red wagon

pumpkins lynds painted pumpkins

My sister, Lyndsey, searches for perfect little pumpkins for me to decorate

Once I got the pumpkins home, I decided to leave the 2 large ones as-is and to decorate the 3 small ones. That’s right — decorate. You see, I’m not a huge fan of carving, what with the mess and the accidents that are bound to happen with that knife, so I decided to decorate them. I went to my local Michaels store and stocked up on ribbon, rhinestone, spray paint and stickers, then set out to make the prettiest pumpkins this side of Martha’s house.

pumpkin boo painted pumpkins

A little spray paint, a Sharpie and some rhinestones can go a long way!

pumpkin ribbon painted pumpkins

Some spray paint, ribbon and double-sided tape was all it took to make this pumpkin stand out

What do you think? I love the way these two look against the simplicity of the large orange pumpkins. As for the third mini pumpkin, I sprayed it silver and have it sitting on the console in our foyer.

How will you be decorating your home for Halloween?



30,000 sq.ft. of homesense

What a way to start the weekend! I had the opportunity to sneak a peek at the new HomeSense in Toronto this morning and I have just one word: woah.

I salivate upon approaching the doors of any HomeSense, so when I walked into the newest and largest location in Canada, my nametag should have read “Pavlov’s dog”. The store at 957 Eglinton Ave. E. has over 30,000 square feet of the fab home wares that you’ve come to love about HomeSense, all perfectly organized and beautifully displayed. I, of course, went over my shopping budget, but how could I resist? Nestled in amongst the usual pretty accessories (my weakness), there was also a huge selection of holiday decor (my ultimate weakness).

The new location doesn’t officially open until October 26th, but I’ll share a few snaps of the store and of some of my fave finds.

homesense jars 30,000 sq.ft. of homesense

I love the simplicity and exotic look of these jars ($17 each)

homesense pillows 30,000 sq.ft. of homesense

Gorgeous throw pillows (from $35 each)

homesense mirror 30,000 sq.ft. of homesense

The mirror, whose shape I fell in love with but colour I did not -- stay tuned for pics after I spray it white! ($35)

homesense ornaments 30,000 sq.ft. of homesense

Loving all the silver, white and purple holiday ornaments!

homesense white 30,000 sq.ft. of homesense

Dreaming of a white Christmas...

homesense silver ball 30,000 sq.ft. of homesense

J'adore! ($5)

Pop over to the HomeSense Facebook page later on to see what my fave find of the day was (it’s obnoxiously affordable) — you’ll also see some from the other Style at Home editors. What’s your best find from HomeSense? Leave a comment below and let me know!



have you checked out the new indigo website?

indigo web3 have you checked out the new indigo website?
When the new Indigo website launched about two weeks ago, a handful of us over here at our offices spent a long time checking things out. (I won’t say how long, lest certain people get the idea that we weren’t working, but technically, it was all in the name of research.)

If you’ve checked out the website pre-launch, you’re sure to notice the difference immediately. The new design is simple but beautiful and it’s super-easy to navigate, making buying books for yourself or gifts for others a breeze. The folks from Indigo gave us a tour of the website this afternoon and these are some of the new elements I’m most excited about:

indigo web1 have you checked out the new indigo website?
The new design: The website features bigger, more beautiful images and is way more visually appealing than before. It’s inspiring – if you don’t know what you’re looking for, just spend a few minutes surfing around. You’re bound to find that perfect something.

Greater product selection: There’s way more stuff than just books. I love the GIFTS section.

Debit card shopping: Apparently they’ve offered this service for over a year, but I had no idea you could pay with your debit card. Cool!

Birthday reminder service: Enter in important birthdays to remember and you’ll be sent an email reminder and gift ideas via email.

I’ve always been a big fan of Indigo, both in-store and online and the new website is fantastic. I see myself getting a lot of my Christmas shopping done online at this year!

eva ricci photography

A few weeks ago, I connected with a lovely Montreal photographer named Eva Ricci through Facebook. I noticed she frequently posted on the Style at Home Facebook page and that her profile picture was a gorgeous photo of a peony in a teacup with a soft filter. After a bit of Googling (is this officially a word now?), I found her Flickr account and Etsy shop. I absolutely love the softness of the images and think these are the kind of shots that would make a home office or dressing area completely dreamy and romantic. Here are a few of my faves:

evaricci yellow eva ricci photographyevaricci boat eva ricci photographyevaricci peonies eva ricci photographyevaricci winter eva ricci photography
Don’t you love how she blends photography with a painted aesthetic? You can purchase any of the images in custom sizes on Eva’s Etsy page and can also get custom matting and framing done if you’d like.


makeover monday: the kitchen backsplash (in progress)

If you walked into my house right now, it would look like a bomb exploded. The kitchen is a total mess and all the contents of the countertop are on the dining table and the stove is in the centre of the room. Does any of this bother me, though? Nope! All because it’s signs that our kitchen backsplash is being installed.

I had fallen in love with a beautiful marble backsplash from The Home Depot but wasn’t sure how it would look with our granite countertops. After hemming and hawing and many trips to the store to gaze at the sample, I decided to go ahead with it. Luckily for me, Mick’s friend Gavin was visiting and I had two handy boys at my disposal this weekend.

backsplash install makeover monday: the kitchen backsplash (in progress)
The marble comes in sq.ft. pieces, but the men had to use a tile cutter to get around the edges of the outlets and to cut little pieces to make straight edges at the corners. It looked like a lot of hard work (I was banned from the work area or from making any technical suggestions), but they were able to get it up in 5 hours. They let it sit overnight as they had a few pints and relaxed before spending some time grouting the following day.

backsplash grout makeover monday: the kitchen backsplash (in progress)
Next up was the grouting, which was a bit of a pain because some of the marble pieces are rough and raised, so the grout would get stuck. We only got half of it finished because there was a busy day ahead of us (including a trip to West Elm to get our new dining table — but I’ll save that for next week!). Below is just a chunk of the finished backsplash. I love the way it turned out and can’t wait to show you the finished product soon.

backsplash overall makeover monday: the kitchen backsplash (in progress)
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised to see that The Home Depot carries this lovely marble. I thought that I’d have to get it from a specialty tile store in Toronto, but luckily for me, it was available two minutes up the street! It’s so beautiful and adds a nice luxe touch to the space. This is also proof that you can save a ton of cash if you or someone you know can install it, rather than hiring someone else to do it.



etsy find: pretty ceramics

Lurking around Etsy again, I stumbled upon Whitney Smith Pottery, a seller that specializes in handmade ceramics. I fell in love with the simplicity of the wee cupcake stand below and the beauty of the flower-inspired nesting bowls. Check out Whitney’s Etsy page for more vintage-y wares (she will also do custom sizes and colours).

cupcake dish etsy find: pretty ceramics

nesting bowls etsy find: pretty ceramics

ceramic jug etsy find: pretty ceramics



predictions by ppg pittsburgh paints

Picture 12 predictions by ppg pittsburgh paints

I know I work for a design magazine, but I’ll be the first to admit: I dread making paint decisions. It probably stems from university, when I painted the entrance of my first student apartment in what I thought was two gorgeous shades of sage green, but in fact turned out to be a snotty, neon green that all but personally offended any guest that visited.

Fast forward to present day. I’m about to move to a new apartment, and I have a clear mental picture of what I want: Southern French country shabby-chic, with distressed whites and greys with punches of 50s mint green and robin’s egg blue. I have every element of my room picked out right down to the hardware… except the paint.

With umpteen fan decks in hundreds – thousands! – of colours at my fingertips, where the paintchip do I begin?

According to PPG Pittsburgh Paints, with  a game!

Introducing the Voice of Color: Color Sense Game, a quiz that taps into your senses to determine your colour personality. The quiz is fun and visual and considers everything from your complexion to aspirations to favourite sights, smells, sounds and touches.

And the palette I was paired with? The “Al Fresco” array of serene blues, greens and creams: exactly what I had hoped!

Take the quiz here and tell us – what’s your colour personality?

lg kompressor: my new favourite toy

Okay, I realize most people may not think of a vacuum as a ‘toy’, or even associate it with fun, but trust me — the new LG Kompressor makes cleaning enjoyable.

In my new house, we have white carpet in place until we get hardwood. We also have a cute little beagle named Wendel who sheds like it’s going out of style. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a recipe for disaster. Our old vacuum worked great in our previous parquet-tiled apartment, but it was no match for wee Wendel’s falling hair, mucky feet and peanut-butter filled toy that he totes around in the new house. So, now when I say that the LG Kompressor vacuum is my new favourite toy, you may understand the joy that it brings to me.

51Kj3+awnvL 460x460 lg kompressor: my new favourite toy
What I love about LG is that they consistently get it right the first time. This is their first entry into the vacuum market and I have no complaints! I got to chat with Frank Lee from LG — who gets just as excited about new products as I do — and he filled me in on what makes this vac stand out from the rest.

  • It fluffs up the carpet while cleaning. Trust me, this makes a world of difference — it actually made my carpets look brand new. Frank says it’s because the vacuum has an individual motor just for the powerhead, which lifts the carpet fibers.
  • It’s certified asthma- and allergy-friendly. Gathering 99.7% of dust mites, pollen, allergens and pet dander, it’s great for my boyfriend, who is allergic to Wendel’s fur.
  • You can control the settings from the wand. Not only that, but the wand detaches to give you 15 feet of reach. Frank also pointed out that the hose doesn’t have metal springs in it, so there’s no constant fight to stretch further.
  • It features a 40 foot cord — the longest on the market. I can pretty much vacuum my entire house without having to switch outlets.
  • It’s bagless and minimizes the mess. Probably my favourite feature is the blade in the bin that compresses the dust and clumps it together for easy disposal. And since this vac picks up three times the amount of dust that a standard vacuum does, it means you won’t be enveloped in a cloud of dust when emptying the bin.

I’m sure those of you with carpet in your home are now drooling over the Kompressor — I definitely did the first time I used it! It comes in the higher price range at $500 a pop, but you will not be disappointed with the quality, design and cool features it offers.



jenna rose at pistachio

Hamilton-based designer Jenna Greenberg brings a fun and fresh approach to the items she designs and I’ve just had a look at some of the great stuff in her fall collection. Jenna illustrates her designs by hand, then screen-prints them onto cushions, hampers, table linens and bags. Using non-toxic, water-based pigments and remaining a friend of the environment by using natural and organic materials, Jenna creates designs that’ll add a dash of rustic charm to your home. The patterns, mostly nature inspired, are simple and so sweet. Want to see for yourself? You can view Jenna’s work at the upcoming One of a Kind Show (Toronto, November 25 to December 5) or visit Pistachio. For more information, visit In the meantime, check out some of my favourites from her new collection:

jenna rose1 jenna rose at pistachio
jenna rose2 jenna rose at pistachio
jenna rose3 jenna rose at pistachio
jenna rose4 jenna rose at pistachio
jenna rose5 jenna rose at pistachio

thanksgiving with williams-sonoma: part 3 of 3

Happy Thanksgiving! In the past week, I’ve shared how to cook the perfect turkey and prepare yummy side dishes à la Williams-Sonoma. Now, it’s time for a few tips on baking delicious desserts.

Tips for pumpkin pie:

  • When it comes to organizing your meal, pumpkin pie is one of the items you can make the day before; just keep refrigerated.
  • Making a flaky crust works best when you handle the ingredients as little as possible. Avoid overblending the butter for the crust, because it’s actually the ice water that holds all the ingredients together.
  • For an easy and delicious filling, try Williams-Sonoma’s Pecan Pumpkin Butter, that just has to be mixed with eggs and cream. I can’t get enough of it!

ws pumpkinpie thanksgiving with williams sonoma: part 3 of 3
Tips for pumpkin bread:

  • Instead of using a bread pan, try an autumn-inspired cake mold or even muffin pans, perfect for making individual portions.
  • Try Williams-Sonoma’s Spiced Pecan Pumpkin Quick Bread — just add butter, eggs and water!
  • Serve with drizzled orange glaze, jam or sprinkled confectioner’s sugar.

Enjoy your feast!



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