Design & Decor Blog

my apartment makeover, part 1

I’m thrilled to introduce myself on the blog as part of my first official duties as a new design editor for Style at Home! My first chance to work with the magazine came long before this new job — way back in mid-winter, Erin McLaughlin and Margot Austin decided my rental apartment was worthy of a feature in the mag.

On shoot day, the hallway outside my tiny place was lined with photographer Stacey Brandford’s equipment overflow and buckets of magnificent spring blooms that Margot brought. Thus began a whirlwind day of propping, tweaking, lighting and um… eating. Between the fluffy meringues and macarons that Margot brought for the dining room shot and the greasy fish and chips I picked up for lunch, we were fighting our food comas by the afternoon.

Take a look at what the place looked like before my fiancé David and I moved in (it definitely wasn’t fit for photography) and what it looks like now. The landlord was kind enough to let me spec materials and finishes before updating the unit.

waks dining room before my apartment makeover, part 1

The wooden floor in the dining area was damaged yellow parquet and the exposed terrazzo windowsills and cracked walls made the space feel more institutional than homey. And need I even mention the wicker basket pendant shade?

waks dining room after my apartment makeover, part 1

Fresh coats of Benjamin Moore Cloud White paint, a polished dark stain on the floor and my mix of high and low furniture and accessories helped to brighten up the space.

waks kitchen before my apartment makeover, part 1

The original kitchen cabinetry was barely managing to stay hinged, and the ceramic blue knobs and peeling grey vinyl tile on the floor were less than appealing.

waks kitchen after my apartment makeover, part 1

The black-and-white retro feel of the kitchen works its way from the checkerboard floor tiles up to the white cabinetry and black laminate countertop, where it explodes in a frenzy of fun bowls, canisters and more.

waks bathroom before my apartment makeover, part 1

I don’t need to write much about the 'before' shot of the bathroom as it speaks for itself...eek!

Waks bathroom after my apartment makeover, part 1

A bold, striped shower curtain, subway tiled walls and a Greek key medicine cabinet that I painted are great examples of creating impact with a black-and-white colour scheme.

toronto shopping: chair table lamp

I popped over to Chair Table Lamp here in Toronto a few weeks ago (the store owned by Kevin, husband of Style at Home senior design editor Margot Austin), and as someone who has the Royal Wedding fever, a few fab royal-related items grabbed my eye.

097 toronto shopping: chair table lamp

This mirror just screams regal to me. LOVE.

3 toronto shopping: chair table lamp

French Empire Chair with a gorgeous Crown pillow

2 toronto shopping: chair table lamp

A crown, perfect for styling a bookshelf or table.

1 toronto shopping: chair table lamp

Isn’t that an awesome Union Jack doormat? And it’s only $25. (See Kevin’s post on the mat)

The store is filled floor to ceiling with awesome items that make it a decorator’s dream destination. I just happened to fall in love with all things royal while there!

Chair Table Lamp
1156 Yonge Street, Toronto
416-934-1021


Lindsay Stephenson is our guest blogger who has her eye on all things fabulous in Toronto. When not scouting out the coolest stores and the fabbest finds in the city, Lindsay runs a graphic design business (Penny People Designs) and blogs about her life and home decorating projects on Aubrey & Lindsay’s Little House Blog

easter brunch at the ritz-carlton, toronto

Typically, Easter is a big family affair at home – a home cooked meal around our large dining room table. But this year, we decided to try something different. This year, we opted to go out for Easter brunch.

But where to go? The city is filled with options, of course. There’s no shortage of restaurants in Toronto. But we wanted to try something new and someplace that would feel special for Easter. Good thing the Ritz-Carlton just opened downtown!

I never think about hotel restaurants when looking for a dining option but what a great idea. The newly opened Ritz-Carlton Toronto has two restaurants and a bar: Toca by Tom Brodi (where we had brunch), Toca Bar and Deq, an outdoor patio perfect for summer evenings.

The restaurant is stylish and intimate. There’s a modern rustic feeling – the wide-planked unfinished wood floors and glazed brick walls lend a welcoming feel to the space. The extensive wine cellar is in full view behind glass doors adjacent to a large private dining area. But the best part?

ritz carlton cheese easter brunch at the ritz carlton, toronto The glass-enclosed cheese cave is truly one of a kind. Here, a selection of cheeses are given time and privacy to age to perfection. At any given time, three cheeses that are ready to be devoured are selected and served to diners. The cheese cave is home to about $250,000 worth of cheese. There’s currently a block in there worth about $10,000!

The brunch menu was select but the options were wonderful. Here’s a sampling of what you missed:

ritz carlton cocktails easter brunch at the ritz carlton, toronto Brunch starts with a virgin Caesar shooter followed by two Bellinis in your choice of flavours: Peach, raspberry, mango or lychee.

ritz carlton frenchtoast2 easter brunch at the ritz carlton, toronto No surprise here: I opted for the French toast. It’s served with a fruit compote on the side and maple syrup. It’s got a cream cheese filling inside – an unexpected but yummy surprise!

ritz carlton oatmeal pancakes2 easter brunch at the ritz carlton, toronto My sister opted for the oatmeal pancake with rhubarb and vanilla.

ritz carlton eggs benny easter brunch at the ritz carlton, toronto My mom and brother-in-law sampled the signature item: Eggs Benny on Brioche. They’re served eight different ways so there are options for everyone.

ritz carlton avocado frites easter brunch at the ritz carlton, toronto Every order comes with a side of fries, greens or poutine. We had to try the avocado frites. Breaded, then fried, they were delish!

Brunch Therapy at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto, $49 per person; view full menu here. For more information, visit ritzcarlton.com or call (416) 585-2500.

berry blossom tea set

Fab find
Berry blossom tea set, $18; DavidsTea.
fabfind teaset berry blossom tea set
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I have my mom on my mind. She is a sweet, simple, well-poised woman who always has a tea on-the-boil. In honour of her, and all mothers alike, I think this tea set from DavidsTea is a perfect gift (and fantastic fab find) for the occasion. Made of porcelain, the teapot comes with an inner mesh strainer and a perfect-pour spout that won’t drip tea all over the table as you pour. It also comes complete with four teacups and saucers, accented with berry blossoms, making tea time simple and elegant – just like mom.


How are you planning on spending your Mother’s Day?

royal wedding countdown: jonathan adler candleholder

Countdown to the Royal Wedding — 4 days left!
royal wedding candlesticks royal wedding countdown: jonathan adler candleholder
Jonathan Adler King of Hearts candleholder/bud vase, $42 US, jonathanadler.com


Love, love, love this dual purpose candleholder from Jonathan Adler (it can act as a bud vase, too). Standing about 8″ high, the candleholder is made in Peru from brown stoneware, which you can see peeking through the white glaze. Plus, you can take your pick from the king on one side, or the queen on the back. So original, but would you expect anything less from Mr. Adler?


Stay tuned for TV Guide’s Royal Wedding Special Issue, edited by Style at Home’s Erin McLaughlin — available May 9th!

royal wedding countdown: processional map

Countdown to the Royal Wedding — 5 days left!

royal wedding map royal wedding countdown: processional map
Royal Wedding processional map, $65 US (pre-order); HouseThatLarsBuilt on etsy.com


I saw this sweet Royal Wedding processional map over on Sarah Gunn’s Wall Candy blog and thought it was an adorable collector’s item for the Royal Wedding. The route shows the ride that Wills and Kate will take from Buckingham Palace to Westminster. It’s actually a giclee and letterpressed print — you can see more of the detail at the seller’s Etsy store.
Where would you hang this?


Stay tuned for TV Guide’s Royal Wedding Special Issue, edited by Style at Home’s Erin McLaughlin — available May 9th!

royal wedding countdown: collector’s plate

Countdown to the Royal Wedding — 7 days left!
royal wedding plate royal wedding countdown: collectors plate


‘It Should Have Been Me’ bone china plate, $32; kkoutlet.com

Okay, so we all love Kate and she’s completely fabulous, but don’t we all secretly wish it had been us? This sassy, bone china plate from KK Outlet stands out amidst all of the other celebratory items that commemorate the Royal Wedding — it’s nice to have something with a little bite.


Stay tuned for TV Guide‘s Royal Wedding Special Issue, edited by Style at Home‘s Erin McLaughlin — available May 9th!

eco easter eggs

It’s time to get your Easter egg-dying skills on and these products below are perfect to assist in your dying process! I love the eco-egg kit, which allows you to create beautiful colors using non-toxic dye made from plants, fruit and vegetable extracts. How cool is that?! The adorable ceramic egg crate is a great way to show off your perfectly dyed Easter eggs. When Easter is over, you can reuse the crate to hold fresh eggs in the fridge! All of the items can be purchased at West Elm.

EcoEggs eco easter eggs

Eco-Eggs, West Elm, $8.00.

EggCart eco easter eggs

Ceramic Egg Crate, West Elm, $12.00.

back to school

Yesterday, I set aside my to-do list and the heaping mound of project work on my desk and went back to school.

I was thrilled (okay, maybe a bit terrified as well) to present about my career in the interior design industry at the 2nd Annual Oak Park High School Career Symposium. To be honest, I felt a little inadequate. I mean, what could  I possibly share that would capture the interest of high school students past roll call?

To get myself in the right frame of mind, I turned to Restoration Hardware’s Baby & Child Collection and fell in love with these lovely vintage style school house images!

Restoration Hardware Vintage Schoolhouse Play Table back to school

I am gushing over this play table. It’s so raw and industrial looking, yet it’s kid friendly too. Wrapped in sheet metal, this table top can take a lot of abuse! Vintage Schoolhouse Play Table, Restoration Hardware Baby and Child, $449 USD.


Restoration Hardware English Schoolroom Desk back to school

Restoration Hardware English Schoolroom Desk02 back to school

I love everything about this schoolroom desk. The Driftwood finish, silver accents and distressed details…what child could possibly fall asleep in an adorable desk like this? English Schoolroom Desk, Restoration Hardware Baby and Child, $599 USD.


Restoration Hardware Moon Desk Globe back to school

And finally, I was delighted when I came across this new globe, which is so stylish it can double as sculpture. I don’t know about you, but I would have definitely caught on to Geography quicker had I studied a gorgeous globe like this one!  Moon Desk Globe, Restoration Hardware Baby and Child, $59 USD.

Question: Why did schools ever lose their charm and character?

amy*

Amy Walters is a Winnipeg-based design enthusiast and blogger. For more design inspiration from Amy, check out her blog aDESIGNdock.

royal wedding countdown: stamp rug

Countdown to the Royal Wedding — 8 days left
royal wedding stamp rug royal wedding countdown: stamp rug
Stamp rug, £695; Rockett St George.

Put a royal stamp on your home with this graphic rug. I love the way it looks hung on the wall in the picture above, but it would also look great in a foyer or dressing room. Available in 120cm x 100cm, but the retailer can do custom sizes as well.

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