Design & Decor Blog

st pancras renaissance hotel in london

I just returned home from a trip to London, where I stayed at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel. This incredible property, originally designed by English architect Sir George Gilbert Scott and opened in 1873, adjoins the St. Pancras train station. I adore seeing hotels around the world, taking in the design and finding inspiration in the most unexpected places. This gloriously Gothic hotel did not disappoint. It has undergone a massive restoration project and finally threw open its doors for a grand opening party this past Thursday. I was lucky enough to be there to partake in the festivities. Here’s a sneak peek into the hotel. I will be writing more about the room interiors, so stay tuned! For now, take a virtual tour through the halls of this 138-year-old property

st pancras exterior st pancras renaissance hotel in london The exterior of the building is imposing and impressive. It’s no surprise that scenes from the last Harry Potter movie were filmed here. It’s deliciously Gothic.

Chambers Suites Corridor st pancras renaissance hotel in london The corridors of the hotel are stunning. Every square inch of this hotel is meticulously designed and restored to reflect the original and authentic look and feel of when the hotel first opened 138 years ago.

Grand Staircase 11 st pancras renaissance hotel in london The Grand Staircase is the real showstopper at this hotel. Snaking up, up, up from both left and right, it’s a spectacular sight to behold.

1st Floor Corridor 1 st pancras renaissance hotel in london The first-floor corridor is delightfully romantic. The handpainted murals and ceiling artwork have been carefully restored to their original splendour.

Booking Office bar restaurant 1 st pancras renaissance hotel in london The train station’s booking office has been transformed into the Booking Office Bar & Restaurant. St. Pancras trains still pull up just outside the restaurant with a muffled rumble. There’s a lingering reminiscence for the days when train travel was glamorous – and the revitalization of this hotel has brought that glamour back.

shopping at homesense

Although I’m a sucker for the little boutique shops around Toronto, HomeSense is one of my favourite destinations — it never disappoints. They’re always bringing in updated decor that is right on trend, and fit in my budget. I stopped in at my local HomeSense and snapped some shots of their current collection.

Untitled 1 shopping at homesense

Their pillow section is bursting with amazing prints. My personal favourite is the top left, the green and white peacock feather, but sadly, there was only one looking for a home (I like to buy in pairs). At $30 each for the pillows, it’s hard to not find yourself stacking them into your cart.

Untitled 111 shopping at homesense

I was also really captivated by their current mirror section. They have in a lot of rustic/old world pieces that look perfectly aged (left mirror $40, right mirror $30). Next up, I loved this side table that reminded me of a line that a higher end store carries, but this one was a fraction of the cost ($350). They also have an awesome selection of baskets in store, something I always stock up on for toy organization now that my son Oscar is collecting more and more toys.

{Photos taken from the Laird and Eglinton location in Toronto}

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.

diy bunting flags

I have a little love affair with bunting flags. They are super sweet in children’s rooms and pretty darn cute for party decorations. Not having a sewing machine, I struggled with how to make some for my son Oscar’s nursery a year ago and came up with a paper version that cost me no money.)

134 diy bunting flags

But with Oscar’s first birthday around the corner I wanted to create a family keepsake that could be used year after year, and so I decided to tackle a new version of the bunting flag, something a little more permanent compared to my paper flag that hangs in his room.

No-Sew Bunting Flags

Step 1 I bought a stack of felt on Etsy seller ILoveFelt. I was able to pick the colours I wanted making it a great option for someone like me that is pretty particular about colours. Although I picked a rainbow of colour you could pick a series of blues and greens if that matched your decor. Buying online made it easy to find the widest selection of colours.

1 diy bunting flags

Step 2 I came up with a triangle template to maximize the amount of felt I used. I wanted to use as much of the felt as possible, but by fitting too many triangles onto one felt sheet, the flags were going to be too small and too hard to work with. So I decided to fit two triangles on the sheet, and saved the remnants for a future project with little Oscar.

2 diy bunting flags

Step 3 I used my paper cutter to slice the felt, but you can also use scissors.

3 diy bunting flags

Step 4 Get a hole punch, scissors and string. I had a smaller whole punch that you can get from a crafting store like DeSerres.

4 diy bunting flags

Step 5 Punch a hole in each side of the flag.

5 diy bunting flags

Step 6 String them together, cutting off the excess string after you have tied each flag to one another.

6 diy bunting flags
014 diy bunting flags

Ta-da! No sew bunting flags! Perfect for a nursery that you are designing or, like us, for an upcoming birthday. The countdown is on for Oscar’s birthday where the house will be filled with many more of these easy-to-make flags.

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

modern classics at EQ3

EQ3 is the go-to “design-house” for shoppers seeking affordable modern furnishings, textiles and accessories. Proud of their Canadian roots, EQ3 manufactures the majority of their products right here in Canada. This offers the consumer plenty of options for customizing furniture; and, lower carbon emissions means the environment benefits too.

This past March, I was delighted to meet with Mr. Peter Tielmann, CEO of EQ3 Ltd., at the company’s Head Office in Winnipeg. This was a surreal experience for me…a girlish dream come true you might say. As a young girl, obsessed with the design industry, I would often drag my family into the EQ3 store to explore the beautiful room vignettes on display. Now, many years later (more years than I would like to admit), I still get giddy over the company’s gorgeous designs.

If I thought that EQ3 couldn’t impress me anymore, I was wrong. In November 2010, EQ3 launched EQ3+, a line of modern classic furnishings and accessories from iconic design companies like Herman Miller, Alessi, Stelton, Design Stockholm, Pablo and Vitra.

3350 600 13 Eames Lounge C O Walnut Black Leather2 H modern classics at EQ3

One of CEO Peter Tielmann’s fav’s from the EQ3+ line; and, of course, mine too! Herman Miller – Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, Walnut / Black Leather (Sku #3350-600-13),   $3,977

3350 300 6 Eames Molded Plastic Armchair w rocker base red modern classics at EQ3This perfectly, punchy classic is at the top of my wish list. Herman Miller – Eames Molded Plastic Armchair w/ Rocker Base, Red (Sku #3350-300-3),   $489

3380 203 7 Tube Top floor Lamp charcoal 187x460 modern classics at EQ3 Love the smokey tone of this mod lamp! Pablo – Tube Top Floor Lamp, Charcoal (Sku #3380-203-7),   $549
PSJA Juicy Salif citrus squeezer 235x460 modern classics at EQ3 No kitchen’s complete without this pretty piece!
Alessi – Juicy Salif, Aluminum (Sku #PSJS),   $119
OL 605 6 262x460 modern classics at EQ3
Whoever says bottled water is boring, clearly hasn’t seen this! Stelton – My Water Bottle, Red (Sku #3310-900-2),   $ N/A

Modern classics, like the ones offered in the new line, have been loved and used for 50 to 100 years. Peter Tielmann says they’re proof that modern design is not a trend. It’s timeless and here to stay! The line will soon be expanding to include more classics so be sure to stop by your local EQ3 store soon to see these new additions.

Don’t have an EQ3 store nearby? Or just don’t feel like leaving the house? No problem! EQ3 will soon be launching an online shopping component to their website. Finally customers will be able to order their favourite products with the click of a button.

With 10 years of business under their belts, EQ3 hopes to continue to solidify their position in Canada’s design industry and present EQ3 as a life-style, not just a furniture design company. With classic designs like these, I have no doubt that they’ll do just that!

EQ3 Ltd.   t: 1.888.988.2014 *check EQ3′s website for more great products and to find the store nearest you!


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

my favorite mother’s day gift this year

This mini book from Paper Source is my favorite Mother’s Day gift this year! A small journal filled with questions for mom to answer about her life. It’s a perfect way to get to know your mom better and a great keepsake for your own children or family members. I actually bought one for my mother-in-law for her birthday last year. I sent it to her and about two weeks later I received it back, completely filled with memories. It was so fun to look through and read more about her life and all of her stories… I really did learn more about her! It truly is a wonderful gift. Oh, and they have one for dad too!

MomBook my favorite mothers day gift this year

Paper Source, Mom Journal, $9.00

easy table centrepiece

chocolate shavings centrepiece easy table centrepiece
As spring and warmer temperatures are settling in, an abundance of colourful flowers have made their way to most local markets. I like to gather a few different vases and fill them with a beautiful array of flowers that I then spread out on my dining table — simple and sweet centrepieces. This vase is from a quaint home décor store in Montreal called Buk & Nola — I like how the blue hue brings a hit of brightness to the table.

Jennifer Bartoli is a Toronto-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 delicious recipes and more, check out Jennifer’s blog, Chocolate Shavings.

win a kitchenaid food processor!

kitchenaid blog win a kitchenaid food processor!

When I first ventured into baking (and I can sadly say I’m still venturing), I thought a blender and a food processor essentially did the same thing. Whenever a recipe called for a food processor, I didn’t have one, so I just thought, “Meh, this blender will give the same effect.” Wrong, Lauren. So very wrong.

And that, my friends, is why I’m thrilled to be giving away this top-of-the-line food processor from KitchenAid. Their Architect Series is made up of professional quality small appliances (think of the classic KichenAid stand mixer), and this 12-cup processor is no different.

To enter, leave a comment below sharing your favourite summer food (or drink!).

*Contest closes May 25th, 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.

and the winner is …

I recently asked all of you readers to be the designer and help me choose a lamp for my living room. You have spoken! We have tallied all the answers and the winner is the Arteriors Abram White Crackle Double Gourd Porcelain Table Lamp.

winning lamp and the winner is ...

Thanks to everyone who voted and congratulations to our randomly-selected winner, Leah, who won the $100 gift card to Layla Grayce!

jonathan adler patterned cards

Fab find
Jonathan Adler Patterned Cards, $10 per pack of 10; Horchow.
fabfind cards1 jonathan adler patterned cards
From here on out, I’m going to be positive and believe spring is here to stay. As soon as the weather starts to warm up I’m instantly drawn to bright, happy colours so it’s no wonder I’ve fallen in love with these correspondence cards from Jonathan Adler. With four different designs, boasting a multitude of colours, you can use these cards for party invites or to catch up with an old friend. From the cards to the matching envelopes, I guarantee this stationery will brighten anyone’s day – and mailbox!
Do you still send letters and cards? What are your favourite stationery stores?

window shopping at These Four Walls

The weather’s been gorgeous out here in Winnipeg. With rumours of snow in the forecast for this weekend (yuck!), I’ve been soaking up as much of the outdoors as possible. Tonight, I went for a little stroll through my neighbourhood, which boasts lots of pretty shops and historic homes.  The sun was casting playful shadows on the old buildings as I walked and the air smelled of fresh grass and bbq smoke. Aaaahhh…
These Four Walls window shopping at These Four Walls

The best part of my little adventure, though, was that I passed by These Four Walls - one of my favourite home decor shops in Winnipeg. The shop was closed  :(  so I couldn’t check out their latest stash of goodies, but I couldn’t resist snapping a few shots of the store’s stunning window display.

These Four Walls03 window shopping at These Four Walls

These Four Walls02 window shopping at These Four Walls

I just love these clear hanging planters. Aren’t they fab?! I’m already envisioning a set of three of these suspended in front of the bay window in my living room. I must go back for another “look see”; and, of course, a quick – or not so quick – sweep through store wouldn’t hurt either!

These Four Walls, 167 Stafford Street, Winnipeg, MB   R3M 2W9   t: 204.452.5786

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

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