Design & Decor Blog

new york city’s perfect cup of coffee

* Note from the editor: I’m so excited to introduce you all to our new food blogger, Jennifer Bartoli. Jennifer is a food writer and photographer from Montreal, and — having studied at the French Culinary Institute in NYC — has developed her own delicious blog called Chocolate Shavings. A few times a month, Jennifer will be sharing some yummy recipes and fab foodie spots in Canada and abroad. For her first post, she shares a favourite haunt for delicious coffee in New York so you know exactly where to go for a cuppa on your next visit. — Lauren, web editor*

New York has a never-ending number of coffee shops – so much in fact that it can be difficult to pick which one to try. After living in the city for a little while and often making my way back to visit, I think I’ve finally found my favourite one.

Stumptown 11 new york citys perfect cup of coffee
Stumptown 2 new york citys perfect cup of coffee

Stumptown Coffee Roasters at the Ace Hotel
18 W 29th St.
New York, NY 10001

Stumptown Coffee Roasters in the Ace Hotel is the perfect place to sit down and enjoy a warm cup of coffee. Their cappuccino is by far the best I have ever had – without any hint of bitterness; it is just perfectly velvety and rich. Stumptown also carries a variety of snacks – my favourite being their pretzel-like sandwich filled with cheese, ham and mustard. The Ace Hotel is also worth a mention. Its decor is beautiful – with eclectic furniture, warm colours and a cozy vintage feel.

featured blog: maillardville manor

maillardville ashli featured blog: maillardville manor

Blog: Maillardville Manor

Blogger: Ashli Malinek

Location: British Columbia

What is your blog all about?
We strive to bring readers motivation and inspiration to live organized, simplified, green lives. I believe our homes can be simple and beautiful all while being eco-friendly and functional.

What do you do for a living?

I am a full time homemaker/ housewife/ domestic engineer! When we got married we made the decision to have one person working and one person at home, so for the last 5 years I’ve been a stay-at-home wife. I bake and clean and organize all day and I couldn’t imagine anything better for me. But, if I had to pick a dream job I would love to style closets for magazine photo shoots {not rooms, just closets}. I love the look of a well organized closet.

maillardville dining featured blog: maillardville manor

Dining space in Ashli's former townhouse, the original Maillardville Manor

If money were no object, what one item would you buy for your home?
I would buy the Paula Dean rectangle dining table with ladder-back side chairs and two big upholstered wing chairs at the head of the table — swoon!

Describe your home in 6 words or less
Simple, organized, easy peasy.

Where do you shop for items for your home?

HomeSense — I could probably furnish an entire house from that store. I love Ikea, but I have a rule: no more then two items in a room can be from Ikea. It’s too easy to do a one stop shop there and have a room that looks like an ad for the store. I also like second-hand stores and Target — so happy they are coming to Canada!

maillardville library featured blog: maillardville manor

The library nook in Ashli's new home

What has been your favourite post?
My tablecloth curtains or pebble boot tray, I can’t pick one — don’t make me choose!

What song, movie or soundtrack sums up your life?

Would saying Titanic be too dramatic? Just kidding! I would have to say the song that sums up my life, right now at least, would be Alright by Darius Rucker.

What has been your fave find under $50?

I found a church pew on Craigslist, painted it white and used it as a dining room bench for a few years. I loved it!

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

win tickets to the national home show!

home show win tickets to the national home show!
Are you a homeowner? Are you planning any renovations or projects on your home? Are you a fan of HGTV and its hosts like Colin & Justin and Brian Baeuemler? Well, then, the National Home Show is right up your alley. Taking place at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto from February 18th-27th, the show is a great place to scout out ideas for your home reno and get inspiration from HGTV stars, like the ones mentioned above (and not to mention fan fave Debbie Travis, who will be doing a book-signing on February 19th).

But here’s the best news – I’m giving away 10 pairs of tickets to the show! To enter to win, leave a comment below telling me about what projects or renos you have planned for your home in 2011. I’ll pick my 10 favourites and send the tickets your way!

Contest closes February 15th, 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.

Good luck!

3 fab accent tables

When it comes to shopping, everyone has their weaknesses. Like the shoe-a-holic who doesn’t need another pair of shoes, but spots a gorgeous new pair of pumps, falls head over heels and buys them anyways. At the top of my list of weaknesses are pretty accent tables. I just love how their pint-sized forms offer big impact in small spaces.

Check out the pair of glossy white tables that command attention in my cozy living room. I just love telling the story of how me and my tables found each other. In fact, I am forcing myself right now not to tell you the story!

White tables1 3 fab accent tables

I recently came across new takes from West Elm on these pretty and practical side tables. Since I cannot purchase every table I fall in love with, I thought I would play matchmaker (it is almost Valentine’s Day after all) and share my favourites with you. I hope you love them as much as I do. Take a look…

West Elm Aluminum Hexagon Side Table 3 fab accent tables Aluminum Hexagon Side Table, West Elm

West Elm Bubbles Ceramic Side Table 3 fab accent tables Bubbles Ceramic Side Table, West Elm

West Elm Pebble Side Table 3 fab accent tables Pebble Side Table, West Elm

So tell me, which table is your type? Leave a comment and let us know!


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

handmade wine charms

I recently hosted a small dinner party at my house and I realized I didn’t have any wine charms. So on a whim, I decided to create my own and personalize them with the first letter of each of my guest’s names. Luckily they were all different. They mentioned how special they felt when they saw the cute, little charms handmade for them, already on their glass. Also, having the charms really kept the confusion down as the night went on! I definitely realized the importance of the wine charms that night and I’m forever a fan! Below are three easy ways to create your own charms for your next intimate gathering with friends.

IMG 4113 web handmade wine charms

Cut a cork into five round circles and stamp each with the first letter of the name of everyone who will be attending. At the top of the cork, poke a hole big enough to string some twine through. I actually used a bobbie pin to make the hole, since it’s all I had laying around. String some twine or ribbon through the hole and tie to the stem of each glass.

IMG 4124 web1 handmade wine charms

If you don’t have unlucky enough to get a rubber cork with your wine, you can use paper and a circle puncher to get the same look.

IMG 4117 web1 handmade wine charms

Chalkboard wine charms are super easy to make and you can reuse them! Just buy little wooden cutouts (whatever shape you like!) at your local craft store and some chalkboard spray paint. Paint each side of the wooden piece and let them dry completely. Hot-glue some twine on the back and tie to the stems.

IMG 4127 web handmade wine charms

And just for fun here’s a little tip on how many bottles of wine you should have on hand depending on your guest-count.

Six Guests: 4 Bottles

Twelve Guests: 8 Bottles

Twenty-Four Guests: 12-16 Bottles

Eden Passante is the owner of Sugar and Charm, a boutique event design and planning company, focusing on creating the most charming, unique and sweet events.

Photography by Zan Passante

porcelain salt and pepper shakers

Fab find
Porcelain salt and pepper shakers, $8 per pair;

west elm salt pepper1 porcelain salt and pepper shakers

I don’t know what it is about these quirky little salt and pepper shakers, but I am in love. Little fruit tins have been recast in porcelain to add a nostalgic look to your tabletop. And at only $8 for the pair, how can you pass them up?

the abc’s of decorating

On a visit to Vancouver last summer I came across “We”, a public art installation by Jaume Plensa on English Bay Beach. The all-white, human-shaped metal structure, with its alphabet cutouts from a melange of languages, is stunning to say the least.

We Art Install the abcs of decorating

The exhibit’s graphic appeal proves that the alphabet isn’t just for kids anymore. A scan through home decor catalogues suggests that stores and studios are also singing the alphabet…and each to their own tune. Their fab products are taking the alphabet from childish to oh so chic!

PB Teen Wire Wall Letters the abcs of decorating

Wired Wall Letters from PB Teen are a fun way to personalize a space. These letters would work equally well in a kitchen or front hall, as they would in a home office!

West Elm Alpha Beasties the abcs of decorating

Alphabet Beastie Cards by West Elm would look fab framed and matted. Line them up in alphabetical order or mix them up to form fun words and phrases. Perfect for the mod playroom or nursery.

Six Under a Tree Soup of Letters Wall Vinyl Decals the abcs of decorating

Vinyl wall decals, like the Soup of Letters Vinyl Decal from Six Under a Tree (through Etsy), are an instant way to add some pizazz to a space. Plus, they’re easy to move from room to room as inspiration hits!

Ikea Gyllen Wall Lamp the abcs of decorating

Ikea’s Gyllen Wall Lamp sheds new light on the typical eye exam chart! Isn’t this version way easier on the eyes?

So what do you think?  Are you still up for practicing your ABC’s? Or does the idea make you want to get some Zzzz’s instead? Leave a comment and let us know!

amy *

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

paint trend: colour zoning

According to the colour experts over at Sico, colour-zoning is going to be a big trend in 2011. Done in moderation or in a tasteful palette of muted tones, I’m a fan. Plus, it can help solve your dilemma when you just can’t choose between two or three shades for a particular room. Why choose? Use ‘em all! But super-dramatic is not for me. For instance, the colours in the living room below work well together.

colour block2 paint trend: colour zoning Featured colours: Sico Call of the Loon (6183-41) grey and Egyptian Rose (6080-31) pink.

And while I like the idea represented here, personally I’d opt for softer colours.

colour block1 paint trend: colour zoning Featured colours: Sico Impatiens (6033-63) pink, Ming Red (6052-65) and Dynastic Orange (6065-64).

If you love the idea, here are some colour blocking tips to help you get the look.

So, what do you think? To colour zone or not to colour zone? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

ids round-up: 7 favourite booths

I’m still spinning after all the craziness of IDS, so I took some time to sit back and review all the amazing stuff I saw. From neon-coloured toilet paper to fireplaces with Swarovski crystals, there was something for everyone at the show.

I already mentioned how much I simply adored the colourful Style at Home booth this year, but there were a few others that took my breath away as well.

1 UpCountry

I actually gasped when I spotted this booth. With Union Jack’s everywhere (storage trunks, a sofa, wallcovering), UpCountry showed how to do Britannia right by showcasing their new collection by Timothy Oulton. Ab fab, if you ask me!

ids11 upcountry1 ids round up: 7 favourite booths
ids11 upcountry2 ids round up: 7 favourite booths
The IKEA peeps took a bold step outside the box this year by showcasing a black kitchen. Although I’m a huge fan of the classic white kitchen, I like how IKEA gave the space depth with a metallic backsplash and an abundance of white paper pendants.

ids11 ikea ids round up: 7 favourite booths
3 Nicole Tarasick
Over in the Studio North section of the show (where artisans across Canaada feature their forward-thinking designs), Nicole Tarasick had set up her booth showcasing her fabulous cushions. I love how she celebrates Canadiana in a fresh, modern way.

ids11 yyz ids round up: 7 favourite booths
4 John Paul & Co
As I was finishing up my tour of the show, I fell upon a booth of stunning designer dishware and saw that Style at Home managing editor Tamara Robbins Griffith had done the same! Here she is chatting to the owner of John Paul & Co. about hanging the dishes on the wall to display their gorgeous bottom sides.

ids11 johnpaul ids round up: 7 favourite booths
5 Sibling Revelry (Sarah and Theo Richardson’s space)
I know everyone has already gone bananas over the space that Sarah Richardson designed with her brother Theo, but I need to jump on the bandwagon of love. It seems like everything Sarah touches turns to gold, and this is no different — how fabulous is that photo of Summerhill station? I was able to snap a photo of Sarah and her sidekick Tommy outside the space, as well.

ids11 sarah summerhill ids round up: 7 favourite booths
ids11 sarah seatee ids round up: 7 favourite booths
ids11 tommysarah1 ids round up: 7 favourite booths

6 Andrew Richard Designs
During TIFF, I had the pleasure of shadowing Andrew Bockner of Andrew Richard Designs as he set up a party space, and I’ve been a huge fan since. Their booth this year at IDS was a dreamy outdoor oasis with a water feature on the wall, a cabana, and their new line of gorgeous outdoor furniture.

ids11 ard ids round up: 7 favourite booths
Canadiana seemed to be all the rage this year at IDS and I, for one, am loving it. STYLEGARAGE has long been a favourite Toronto haunt of mine for great furniture finds and I loved seeing the way they set up their booth. They accessorized the space with Canadian chic, from Nicole Tarasick’s cushions to a wall map of Canada (think back to your grade 3 classroom).

ids11 stylegarage ids round up: 7 favourite booths

It’s safe to say this has been my favourite IDS to date! What were some of your favourite parts of the show?



win a winter warm-up package from indigo

Is this winter never going to end? In my neck of the woods, we’re bracing for the snowstorm of the year. Meteorologists are promising us a good walloping over the next two days. Great. Fantastic. Wunderbar. As we prepare to hunker down for the next little while, I thought you could all use a little pick-me-up. And what better way to while away the days while winter rages outside, than inside wrapped up in a warm blanket with a hot cup of tea and an un-put-downable book? I don’t know about you but that’s my favourite way to snub winter’s fury. Take that, snow!

So here’s what’s up for grabs, all courtesy of Indigo:

indigo newsletter 460x274 win a winter warm up package from indigo

Secret Daughter ($19.99)
Light Grey Library Throw ($10)
Get Happy Tea ($13.99)
The Paris Wife ($29.95)

Simply leave a comment below sharing your best tip for making your home happy during the cold winter months and I’ll choose the winning response.

Contest closes February 28, 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.

Good luck!

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

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