Design & Decor Blog

you be the designer: can you help me choose a lamp?

As many of you who have been following my blog know, I recently completed a makeover on my condo. I took it from drab and outdated to fresh, chic and modern. (For those of you who haven’t seen the transformation, you can watch the video of it here.) I love every piece that designer Lisa Canning chose for my space, to give it the feeling of liveable luxury that I craved.

Alas – I broke a lamp. Sssh … don’t tell Lisa! I knocked it over one night and broke the whole thing. And now I’m on the hunt for a replacement pair of table lamps. If you’ve seen the video of my condo makeover, you’ll have a sense of my style and of the rest of my space. So here are four lamps I love, all from Layla Grayce.

lamp you be the designer: can you help me choose a lamp? Here’s what’s what:
1 Arteriors Abram White Crackle Double Gourd Porcelain Table Lamp

2 Tole Lamp

3 Jamie Young Lighting Lamp Base Lucky White Casted Metal

4 Bungalow 5 Cadiz Table Lamp Hand Painted Porcelain

I love all four – so I need help choosing. Here’s what my living room looks like:

condo you be the designer: can you help me choose a lamp?
Which of the four lamps above would you choose for this space? Leave a comment below with your vote! Plus: Your vote automatically enters you into our contest to win a $100 gift card from Layla Grayce. Good luck!

Contest closes April 5 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.

Update: Congratulations to our winner Leah. And thanks to everyone for entering!

makeover monday: chair project

Last summer when I was at the family cottage, my Mum and I went to pick up some groceries in Cobourg. Right next to the grocery store was a little ol’ consignment store, so I popped in to see if they had any hidden gems. Well, did they ever!

I spied this chair for $50, but managed to talk the seller down to $30. I loved the shape of it, but the fabric is obviously tragic. I knew with a little love, the chair could be made over into a fab piece of furniture. chair makeover makeover monday: chair project
Now that I’m ready to take on this project, I’ve chosen Carrocel Restorations in Toronto to reupholster and refinish the chair (check out their before & after section — never fails to amaze me!). All that was left was to decide on a fabric, and I’ve been obsessed with the DwellStudio Gate pattern for ages. It’s pretty popular, so I’m lucky that Robert Allen had just the amount I needed.
chair makeover fabric makeover monday: chair project

What do you guys think? The best part is, the guys at Carrocel will be taking pics of the process so we can show you how to refinish a chair.


framing your front door

Any Friends fans out there? Admittedly, I was quite the fan (a.k.a. fanatic) of the hit TV sitcom and grew up gushing over Monica Geller’s chic Manhattan apartment. I adored the girlish mix of eclectic furnishings, pretty purple walls, yellow floral curtains and quirky accessories. Looking around my apartment at the melange of styles and colourful accents, I can’t help but think I subconsciously drew design inspiration from the infamous TV set.

My absolute fav detail in Monica’s apartment is the iconic “yellow frame” around her door peephole. I love the simple, yet stylish accent so much that I decided to make one myself. Now I am usually a self-proclaimed DIY-avoider, but this was a project even I felt confident tackling.

here’s the before:

Sun Frame before pic framing your front door

and here’s the after:

Sun Frame After pic02 framing your front door

Sun Frame After pic051 framing your front door

all you need is:

1 – frame (new or old – mine was an inexpensive thrift store find)

1 – tube of acrylic or craft paint (any shade)

1 – foam brush

1 – pack of picture hanging strips (I used Command 3M: Medium Picture Hanging Strips)

just two simple steps:

1. Using a clean foam brush, simply give your frame a few quick coats of paint (leaving the frame to dry for about a half hour between each coat).

2. Secure frame to door using removable picture hanging strips.

And that’s really all there is to it. Easy, “I know”! Oops sorry, you might say I “pulled a Monica”. So tell us, what’s your fav TV or movie set design?


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

behind the scenes at a video shoot

Today we were hard at work shooting a video on making the perfect bed. From finding the best sheets and duvet covers to styling your bed so that it looks as good on the outside as it feels on the inside, we dissected the process from beginning to end for you.

The video will be online soon but until then, here’s a sneak peek at the beautiful bed and the gorgeous linens from Au Lit Fine Linens.

beautiful bed1 behind the scenes at a video shoot Julie from Au Lit Fine Linens steams the sheets to get them perfectly wrinkle-free and camera-ready!

beautiful bed3 behind the scenes at a video shoot Joanna, owner of Au Lit Fine Linens is ready for her close-up. Here she’s talking about finding the perfect pillow for a perfect night’s sleep.

Stay tuned for the video demonstration that’ll help you make your bed as beautiful as this one.

What’s your favourite way to make your bedroom luxurious?

paisley print napkins

Fab find
Paisley print napkins, $12 for 4;
fab find napkins paisley print napkins
In honour of our fabulous new colour issue, we’ve chosen this fresh green set of paisley print napkins from West Elm as our latest fab find. They’re on sale right now for $12 for a set of four — what an affordable and easy way to bring some colour into your home for spring!
How do you bring colour back into your home for the spring season?

three drinks even st. patrick would love

When I think of St. Patrick’s Day I think of Guinness and Irish Cream. Irish Cream makes me think of coffee, so I figured why not do a little Irish mix n’ matching and see what delicious treats I can come up with. I ended up loving three creations using these ingredients… so here they are! Try them out and celebrate St. Patrick’s with a little caloric love!

SandCIrish2 three drinks even st. patrick would love

The Guinness beer float: Coffee ice cream and Guinness beer… what a combo!

SandCIrish1 three drinks even st. patrick would love

SandCIrish3 three drinks even st. patrick would love

Irish Cream, Coffee Milkshake: Add 2 cups of ice cream, 1/2 cup milk and 2 Tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream. Go green and really kick up the “Irishness” by adding in a few drops of green food coloring!

SandCIrish4 three drinks even st. patrick would love

SandCIrish5 three drinks even st. patrick would love

Add a side of cream and Irish Cream  for a simple, yet festive way to serve coffee on St. Patrick’s Day.

featured blog: the art of doing stuff

art of doing stuff karen featured blog: the art of doing stuff

Photography by Donna Griffith

Blog: The Art of Doing Stuff

Blogger: Karen Bertelsen

Location: Small town just outside Toronto


What’s your blog all about?

The blog really is all about how to do ‘stuff’. My philosophy is “It’ ain’t that hard. Any of it”.  Honestly, if I can do it, chances are you can do it.  I have no training in anything at all. Interior decorating, floral design, home improvement — the only reason I can do these things, while a lot of other people can’t, is because I try. Plus, I’m wildly curious and impatient. If some appliance or something breaks in the middle of the night I’d rather Google how to fix it and do it myself. I really just don’t have the patience to wait for a repairman to call me back.

What do you do for a living?
I’ve made my living for the past 15 years as a television host and writer in Canada. I’ve done a lot of pop culture commentary and celebrity interviews, plus have hosted a multitude of lifestyle type shows. And now I make 12 cents a day with my blog so… I guess add that to the list of how I make my living.

art of doing stuff hydrangea featured blog: the art of doing stuff

Karen's square hydrangea arrangement

If money were no object, what one item would you buy for your home?
3-ply toilet paper and a box of Maldon Salt.  Just kidding.

Where do you shop for items for your home?

Garage sales, the side of the road, HomeSense, IKEA, flea markets,  and inexpensive contemporary shops like Structube and EQ3.

What has been your fave find under $50?

Up until a couple of years ago everything in my house cost less than $50!  I often found stuff at the side of the road and it cost nothing.  Of course I had to scrape dead worms off of it, but still — it was free.  I didn’t keep much of that stuff, but I’m pretty fond of the mirror in my living room (and in the photo below, from the Style at Home shoot);  I got it at a garage sale for $5.  *Check out another fave find of Karen’s that is really a sight to see*

art of doing stuff mirror featured blog: the art of doing stuff

Karen's $5 mirror find (photography by Donna Griffith)

What’s your favourite movie interior?
I’m not sure if it really is my favourite, but the first thing that popped into my head was the kitchen in Something’s Gotta Give. And Grey Gardens. Love, love, love.

What song, movie or soundtrack sums up your life?

Green Acres
because I feel like I’m an exact cross between city and country.  I love them both.

Favourite post you’ve done?

The furry chair post is the one that “got me on the map”.  It’s the one that Design*Sponge picked up on and ended up being circulated from blog to blog to blog.  It was also the blog post that got Erin McLaughlin to notice me and my blog which led to a feature in Style at Home.

My favourite post is probably the post I did on my backyard makeover.  Not because it has the best pictures, or is written the best, but because it shows what one little girl can do if she puts her mind to it.

Oh!  And then there’s the frozen yogourt tampon post!  Also a fave…
Ugh, this  “pick your favourite post” thing is like asking a mother which child is her favourite.  You’re mean.

art of doing stuff thanksgiving featured blog: the art of doing stuff

Karen's Thanksgiving tabletop

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

a visit with Kate and Birdie Paper Co.

I recently had the opportunity to visit with Gloria Wall, Creative Director and founder of Kate & Birdie Paper Co.

about Kate & Birdie:   Founded in 2004 and based in Downtown Winnipeg’s trendy Exchange District, Kate & Birdie specializes in hand-illustrated note cards, invitations and stretched canvas prints. The designs are vintage inspired and are chalked full of colour and charm! Located on the top floor of an historic building, the K&B studio is bright and open; and, it boasts as much charm as the company’s note cards do! As I sat in the K&B studio looking out at Winnipeg’s landscape, I felt like I had been transported to a metropolitan city like New York or Chicago!

70 Arthur Street1 a visit with Kate and Birdie Paper Co.

Kate & Birdie Studio: 708-70 Arthur Street, Exchange District of Winnipeg

Gloria admits that most people are surprised to learn that K&B is based in Winnipeg. Having grown up in a small town outside of Winnipeg – loving art, food and design – Gloria had always aspired to live and work in a big city like New York. Of course, after marrying and having a child, New York was less of a priority, but that didn’t stop Gloria from launching a successful stationery design business.

Today, K&B products are available in 600 stores worldwide; and, in November 2010, Chapters / Indigo stores picked up the line. Last year the company launched a brand new collection, which included a line of wrapping paper featuring popular K&B designs. Creating designs that will have longevity is a primary goal of Gloria’s so she refrains from getting too caught up in trends. Instead, Gloria looks to old cinematography, local architecture and nature for inspiration. Here are two of Gloria’s favourite pieces (and mine too!):

KB YellowBunniesCard a visit with Kate and Birdie Paper Co.

Yellow Bunnies Card, Kate & Birdie Paper Co.

Kate & Birdie’s yellow baby bunny card is an original, hand-drawn illustration printed on recycled stock made with wind power using vegetable-based ink. Paired with a 100% recycled brown bag envelope and enclosed in biodegradable cello wrap. $4.50 / card.

KB ForestSquirrels a visit with Kate and Birdie Paper Co.

Forest Squirrels Note Card, Kate & Birdie Paper Co.

Kate & Birdie’s grey forest note card is an original, hand-drawn illustration printed on recycled stock made with wind power using vegetable-based ink. Paired with 100% recycled hand-dyed charcoal envelopes. $12.00 / box of 8

what’s in the works: In May of this year, Kate & Birdie’s website is scheduled for a new look. The revamped website will feature an online shopping component that will allow customers to stock up on their favourite products from the comfort of their own homes. Also in the works for Kate & Birdie is the release of a new wrapping paper collection. The new collection is scheduled to debut at the National Stationery Show in New York this May, but Gloria treated me to a sneak peek! I just love how this new wrapping paper design blends a modern pattern with a classic colour palette of charcoal and white. Take a look…

KB CharcoalPineWrap a visit with Kate and Birdie Paper Co.

Evergreen Wrapping Paper, Kate & Birdie Paper Co.

Kate & Birdie’s hand-illustrated evergreen and pinecone design is now available in charcoal and white wrapping paper. Printed on FSC certified 100% pcw recycled paper with vegetable-based ink and processed chlorine-free. $3.50 / flat sheet or $7.00 / roll of two sheets.

at home with Gloria: Gloria has a passion for interior decor and hopes to one day expand her home goods collection of stretched canvas prints to include a line of textiles, bedding, wallpaper and area rugs. Gloria believes a home should be an expression of the owner’s personality. What could be more perfect for personalizing a home than K&B’s playful patterns and colourful compositions? Looking forward to it Gloria!

Kate & Birdie Paper Co., 708-70 Arthur Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada   R3B 1G7   t: 204.943.6827   f: 204.943.6827   e: (all photos provided by Kate & Birdie Paper Co.)


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

clean your home with cesar millan + win a swiffer prize pack

Dog hair — it has taken over my home. Unfortunately, I can’t get mad because it belongs to my adorable puppy, Wendel, who melts my heart with a single bat of his eyelashes. I brush him and I bathe him, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference — Wendel is a shedding machine.

So, you can imagine how excited I was to get a call asking if Wendel and I wanted to meet Cesar Millan to talk about achieving a clean and harmonious home with pets. Cesar has recently teamed up with Swiffer to talk about quick clean-up products and his unique approach to making pets comfortable around cleaning tools {Wendel has peed on the carpet twice when I’ve startled him with the vacuum}.

cesar milan wendel clean your home with cesar millan + win a swiffer prize pack

My dad, Cesar, myself, and the little furbaby

I had 20 minutes of one-on-one time with Cesar, which was just enough time for him to teach me the basics of making your pet comfortable while cleaning your home. Here are a few of his quick tips:

  1. Before using a new cleaning tool, leave it around for your pooch to smell and become familiar with.
  2. Stay calm while cleaning — dogs can sense frustration and will associate it with the cleaning process.
  3. Recognize that your pet is in the vicinity before reaching for your cleaning tool and face your dog while picking it up. This will reflect assertiveness on your part.

I left the meeting with a new outlook on cleaning up around a dog, and snagged a new Swiffer SweeperVac, too {it’s a-ma-zing; lightweight, quiet, and picks up all the pet hair and food crumbs}.

But here’s the best part – I’m giving away two Swiffer prize packs, which include a classic Swiffer broom, a Wet Jet and the new SweeperVac. To enter, just leave a comment below letting me know your best cleaning tip and I’ll pick my two favourites on March 18th.

Good luck and happy cleaning!

Contest closes March 18th, 2011 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.

makeover monday: bathroom table before & after

A little while ago I blogged about two paint projects that I was planning to take on and with the dawn of a long weekend, I was finally able to complete one of them. To refresh your memories, I purchased the table below from HomeSense for a clearance price of $50. I loved the shape of it, but wasn’t too fond of the colour.

bathroom table makeover monday: bathroom table before & after
Anyone who knows me is familiar with my love for neutrals, and I tend to shy away from colour. So, I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to inject some colour into my home without painting the walls a bold hue. I opted for a sexy, deep navy by Farrow & Ball called Hague Blue. The folks at F&B recommended a high gloss for the table and I’m so glad they did! With a couple of coats of paint and a new knob from Anthropologie {on sale for only $4}, the side table is now a seriously hot piece of furniture.
DSC05206 makeover monday: bathroom table before & after
side table makeover top makeover monday: bathroom table before & after
I think my favourite part of the makeover is that the whole thing cost around $80 — totally affordable! What do you guys think of the new look? Let me know in the comments below!



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