Design & Decor Blog

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 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.

inVU celebrates earth day with 15% off

Thinking of a little spring makeover for a tired piece of furniture in your home? Take it over to inVU Drapery Co. and get a sweet discount on earth-friendly fabrics and reupholstery services.
invu earth day inVU celebrates earth day with 15% off

In honour of Earth Day (April 22nd), inVU is offering a 15% discount on their eco-friendly fabrics. You can also get 15% off the reupholstery services if you bring in your own furniture and use an inVU fabric.
Just pop into either the Toronto store or 9,000 sq.ft. Mississauga location to browse the extensive selection of fabrics.

Will you be celebrating Earth Day?

royal wedding fever: have you got it?

I have to say: I haven’t exactly been gripped by royal wedding fever. But as the date of Kate and William’s wedding draws closer, I find myself reading more blogs about the upcoming nuptials, flipping through tabloids at the newsstand and wondering (gasp!) what Kate’s dress is going to look like.

So in honour of the big day, here are some things to put all of us in the mood:

royal wedding book royal wedding fever: have you got it? William and Kate: A Royal Love Story,, $19.79.

royal wedding tea royal wedding fever: have you got it? Fortnum & Mason Earl Grey Classic Tea, Williams-Sonoma, $14.95.

royal wedding teacups royal wedding fever: have you got it? Amelie Teacups,, $49.99.

royal wedding biscuits royal wedding fever: have you got it? And what goes better with the perfect cup o’ tea than delicious biscuits? Try this recipe for Lemon Spritz Cookies, developed by Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle et Vanille.

For more fun, check out these 15 royal wedding-inspired decor finds!

I don’t think I’m getting up at 3am to catch the pre-wedding festivities. Are you?

toronto shopping: midge

There are about a handful of stores that can completely draw me in just with their window displays, and Midge {a floral and gift shop here in Toronto} is one of them.

SYLEATHOME Midge toronto shopping: midge

Walking by the store last week, I smiled when I saw their window.  A collection of bath sponges in the shape of carrots were grouped together in a tall glass vase. What an easy centerpiece to re-create! One item grouped together in a simple way like this makes the ordinary seem pretty fantastic.

style toronto shopping: midge

Photos from my visit
Carrot shaped bath sponges, $4.95 each

2 & 3 A collection of potted orchids fill the store. I simply adore orchids and think that they look stunning in a house, instantly bringing to life a room. I sadly can’t keep mine alive, but when I do decide to try it again, I think I’ll be visiting Midge as the prices were quite reasonable.

If I’m going to a party or a dinner at a friends house, I usually skip the wine and bring an arrangement of flowers for the hostess. At Midge, their specialty is flowers, so take a peek at their fridge of ready-to-buy arrangements.


651 Mount Pleasant Rd, Toronto
(416) 488-0875

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.

sunflower coral planter

Fab find
Sunflower coral planter, $19.95; Crate and Barrel.
fabfind sunflower planter sunflower coral planter
Keep your spring blooms outside or bring them indoors with these glazed terra cotta planters. The charming colours and sunflower graphics balance the rustic freeform rim to make these the perfect pots for some fresh new florals.
What are your favourite flowers?

easter egg cookie pan

Fab find
Easter egg cookie pan, $14.95; Crate and Barrel.
fabfind eastereggpan easter egg cookie pan
Decorating eggs at Easter is like eating turkey at Thanksgiving, except you don’t eat the pretty little eggs. This year, why not decorate something delicious that you’ll actually eat? Crack the eggs for breakfast and, instead, bake some egg-shaped cookies! This non-stick pan bakes 12 cookies at a time, with six different Easter-themed designs for easy, edible treats you won’t want to hide.

What type of cookie would you bake in this pan?

ultimate kitchen accessories

I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. Whether it’s recipe testing, browsing through a new cookbook or organizing my ever-growing collection of bowls, plates and napkins, I always find a comforting aura to this part of my home.
I often get asked what kitchen accessories I couldn’t live without. For me, it’s often the small things that make cooking a smooth and fun process. I’ve compiled some of my favourites — all inexpensive items that make cooking and baking as easy as pie.
Collage1 ultimate kitchen accessories

1 Stainless steel knife rack
This is really the most efficient way to store knives. In a minute, knives are safely put away and readily accessible.

2 Kuhn knives
Paring knifes are one of the most useful tools to perform small tasks in the kitchen. I love the range of colours Kuhn offers. They are also made with a carbon steel blade which helps keep them sharp.

3 Apple tea towel
The designs at Ferm Living are absolutely stunning. I love their organic cotton kitchen towels — they have the perfect pop of colour for any kitchen space.
4 Silicone tongs
Most chefs do not use tongs in professional kitchens but I find them to be one of the most useful tools in a home kitchen. The silicone ensures you won’t scratch the surface of your pans.

5 Garlic press
This incredibly inexpensive tool is ideal for mincing garlic in seconds.

6 Mixing bowls
I use mixing bowls for seasonings, marinades and garnishes. I love these bowls from Anthropologie. Stacked on a shelf in different colours, they are beautifully functional.

7 Silicone baking mat
This silicone mat does not need to be greased and is completely non-stick. It’s perfect for making any type of cookie and replaces parchment paper.

8 Microplane
This is my absolute favourite! You can use it to grate zests, chocolate and parmesan cheese.

9 White silicone cookie spatula
This silicone spatula is slanted to make it easy to move cookies from a baking mat to a cooling rack. It’s also a practical tool for other tasks in the kitchen.

Jennifer Bartoli is a Montreal-based food writer, photographer and recipe developer who grew up in Paris. Her longstanding passion for food took her to New York City, where she studied at the French Culinary Institute. For more delicious recipes and more, check out Jennifer’s blog, Chocolate Shavings.

makeover monday: chair before & after

It’s finished. My ugly, orange-y pink chair has been given new life and has made its way home to me.

On Thursday, I made my way to Carrocel Restorations to pick up the chair and when they brought it out, I was floored. It was just perfect. Not only did they reupholster it in the DwellStudio fabric I chose from Robert Allen, but they also took the entire thing apart and rebuilt it with new foam and added some piping and nailhead details. Carrocel also sprayed the wood in a Benjamin Moore white as a finishing touch.

I am so beyond pleased with the work that Carrocel did and would highly recommend them to anyone looking to get a piece refinished (check out their fascinating videos on furniture restoration). The quality and attention to detail is remarkable, and they kept me updated on the chair throughout the whole process.

And now, without further ado, here is my fabulous new chair!

chair final before makeover monday: chair before & after

The 'before' shot {Purchased for only $30, the chair had a great shape but the fabric was hideous and the construction was a little worse for the wear.}

chair table makeover monday: chair before & after

Here is the chair at Carrocel Restorations in its most deconstructed state.

chair final makeover monday: chair before & after

Taa daa! The finished chair, sitting in my living room.

chair final side makeover monday: chair before & after

Thanks so much to Robert Allen for bringing the DwellStudio fabrics to Canada, and thanks a million to Carrocel for the immaculate job you did with the refinishing.

Carrocel was awesome in taking a ton of photos during the process, so stay tuned for when we show you a step-by-step of how they refinished my haggard ol’ chair. PLUS, you’ll get to see what was stuffed inside!
So what do you think of the final product?



colourful kitchen accessories from west elm

Spring is here at last! The warm weather has finally arrived and I’ve started my usual spring clean up and purge. It’s also got me itching to give my bland, white kitchen a much-needed boost of colour and life. I began my hunt for accent pieces this weekend and found the perfect stuff at West Elm. These vibrant accessories are such an easy and inexpensive way to infuse some colour into a neutral space.

measuringbowels colourful kitchen accessories from west elm

Pop Colour measuring cups, $19 per set of four

ricebowls colourful kitchen accessories from west elm

Rice bowls, $12 per set of four

towels colourful kitchen accessories from west elm

Tea towels, $9 each

salt+pepper colourful kitchen accessories from west elm

Pop Colour salt & pepper shakers, $12 per pair

I love the unique shapes and fruity colours. Next up—cook something fabulous and show them off!

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