Design & Decor Blog

colourful knife set

Fab find
Victorinox paring and steak knives, $6.90-$9 each; Swiss Army.

fabfind victorinox knives colourful knife set
Nothing says summer like bright colours and a good ol’ BBQ! Enjoy the beautiful weather with friends and family by firing up the grill, setting the table with vibrant colours, and digging in! The Victorinox knife set is the Swiss Army of knives (literally) and brings fantastic pops of yellow, pink, green, and orange to the table. With durable stainless steel blades, the paring and steak knives are perfect for enjoying delicious outdoor dining – on the patio, at the cottage or at a picnic.
What’s your favourite summer colour?

bathroom renovation: choosing accessories

I finally got the call today: The missing piece of marble for the ledge in my shower is being installed as we speak! It’s only been two weeks since my bathroom renovation began (though it feels longer) and once that final piece is in, the renovation itself will be complete. Which means … I get to start choosing accessories to dress up my space!

To start, I’ve chosen these stoneware accessories with silver-plated trim from Canadian Tire.

canadian tire cup bathroom renovation: choosing accessories Apothecary Tumbler, $12.99,

canadian tire soap dish bathroom renovation: choosing accessories Apothecary soap dish, $12.99,

There’s a full line of matching products from this pretty Paris-inspired line, including a waste basket, toothbrush holder and lotion pump. I love the vintage hotel-chic flavour of these pieces and love the price points!”

What do you think? Good start?

3 uses of an arc-style floor lamp

As a lover of all things vintage-mod, I’ve always had a soft spot for the arc-style floor lamp. There’s just something so simple, yet glamourous about the lamp’s sweeping curved form. It’s incredibly classic and instantly commands attention in a room.

Whether taking up post next to its’ typical companion – the sofa – or  put to less conventional, but equally fabulous, use illuminating a bed or dining table, the arc-style lamp is sure to heat up your decor!

Arc style Lamp at Bedroom 439x460 3 uses of an arc style floor lamp

Swap out all-too-expected bedside table lamps with one of these beauties, like I did in my Master Bedroom (shown above). Arc-style Floor Lamp, HomeSense – $129.99 CDN

West Elm Overarching Floor Lamp 3 uses of an arc style floor lamp A floor lamp arched over a petite table creates a cute n’ cozy breakfast nook worthy of the best Cup O’ Jo in town. Overarching Floor Lamp, West Elm, polished nickel base and arm, natural linen shade – $249.00 USD

Crate and Barrel Meryl Floor Lamp 3 uses of an arc style floor lamp Cut your art budget down by selecting a stylish arc-style lamp, which can double as sculpture! Meryl Floor Lamp, Crate and Barrel, grey marble and steel with satin nickel finish, cotton blend shade with diffuser – $349.95 CDN

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

bathroom renovation: the vessel sink

Well, I was hoping to have more of an update on the state of my bathroom renovation but alas, the missing piece of marble is holding things up. But, I have made a decision on the sink situation.

Despite advice from readers like you, I opted for the glass vessel sink.  And despite the fact that, as many of you pointed out, it’ll be trickier to keep this sink clean (versus the white porcelain option I’d been considering), I like it better and do hereby promise to keep it clean at all times!

bathroom renovation sink bathroom renovation: the vessel sink I like the simplicity of it and its trueness to the origin of the vessel sink, which dates centuries back to China, when basins like this were used before indoor plumbing. This 16-inch vessel sink from Home Depot was just $69 and fits perfectly on the vanity in my small space. I can’t wait to show you all the final photos but it all depends on the custom cut piece of marble that’s needed for the shower ledge.

Until the marble arrives, I’m going to busy myself with shopping for the decorative accents!

west elm hearts etsy

If you’ve ever been on, you must go now, but make sure you have a couple hours to spare because it’s easy to lose track of time on there. Etsy is a cyber flea market, offering a forum to buy and sell handmade goods across 150 countries. You’re pretty much guaranteed to find anything and everything you’re looking for – clothing, jewellery, stationery, beauty products, linens, bath products, furniture, and home décor.
West Elm invite west elm hearts etsy
For those who may be a little wary of online shopping or just love handmade goods, head to West Elm in Toronto’s Liberty Village this Saturday, June 4th, 2011 for the “WE Heart Handmade Art” event! Anabela Carneiro, owner of the Fieldguided Etsy shop and curator for this event, has gathered 14 other local Etsy designers for an afternoon of shopping, refreshments and tunes. This event celebrates Etsy’s mission to “buy, sell and live handmade art”, a credo West Elm has been supporting through these events, as well as their catalogue and website.

West Elm Anabela Carneiro west elm hearts etsy
Tote bags by Anabela Carneiro, owner of Fieldguided. Photography of white tote by Hannah Hayes.

The shopping starts at 1pm and goes until 6pm with drinks, snacks and a DJ to keep you energized. To RSVP, simply go to and click on “Events”. To check out all of West Elm’s favourite Etsy artists, go to

Event details:
West Elm at 109 Atlantic Avenue (Liberty Village), Toronto
1pm – 6pm

Do you have a favourite Etsy artist you’d like to see at the event?

bodacious botanicals

I am not normally drawn to chintz, but lately I have been unable to resist the bold appeal of a certain vibrant floral courtesy of Designer’s Guild.

designersguild bodacious botanicals

Orangerie’s painterly mélange of blooms including red tulips. pink and yellow roses, bold bits of blue wildflowers and even green grapes has me totally smitten for the retro print.

nick olsen DG chair bodacious botanicals

And it’s not only me who is fainting over the gorgeous motif. Orangerie was the pick of Nick Olsen when it came to interpreting his ideal Louis Chair for TRAD Home

flower mural room2d109 0511mld107109 xl bodacious botanicals

And even Martha got in on the action in a recent issue when the wallpaper version was used as a collective mat for a grouping of photographs.

083302 095 b bodacious botanicals

A toss cushion would be the easiest way to inject the fabulous floral trend into your home, so if you want to try it out in your own space, try the Fringed Botanicals Pillow, $198 from Anthropologie, which has a similar feel with an added boho twist of tufted fringe and black and white illustrations added to the technicolour mix.

1212 pillow1 bodacious botanicals

You can also find Orangerie in the actual flesh courtesy of this Designers Guild cushion from 1212 on Yonge St in Toronto for $250.

win 2 interior design books

contest interiors books BLOG win 2 interior design books
When it comes to home decor, some may not think about beautiful books as decor accessories. Let the books speak for themselves by simply displaying them on a table. They say never judge a book by its cover, but I’m just a sucker for a beautifully designed book jacket – who can deny love at first sight? Having said that, though I’ve fallen in lust with these books, I’m excited to give them to someone who will appreciate them as I do.

To enter, simply comment below with your best design tip and I will choose the best one. The style-savvy winner gets both books!

Here’s what you’re winning:

Living Traditions: Interiors by Matthew Patrick Smyth (Random House, 2011, $60).
Get an up-close look at Matthew Patrick Smyth’s aesthetic in this collection of his interior design work. Throughout the generously sized pages of perfectly styled photos, Smyth also includes his own tips and rules, particularly for overcoming the challenges of uniquely shaped layouts. In just one book you’ll be introduced to a multitude of styles and spaces in over 200 pages. Uh, yes please!

Interior Visions (Random House, 2011. $60)
Mona Hajj is renowned for her distinctive, yet harmonious use of architecture, colour, lighting, and furnishings. Her work marries classical style with contemporary influences as the book takes you through her design across the United States and into Europe. This book is inspiration just waiting to happen.

*Contest closes June 30th, 2011 at 11:59pm 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 Susan. And thanks to everyone for entering!

store spotlight: nesters & chatelet

At 2207 Queen Street East, in Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood is a little store that is actually two little stores. Here you will find Nesters, and Chatelet, sharing a storefront. It was only recently pointed out to me, that this little store, is indeed two. Should you visit, you will see why I was surprised – both retail stores carry very complementary items to one another.

Nesters 1 store spotlight: nesters & chatelet
The store is filled with home decor items such as French antiques, lighting, as well as smaller gift items.
Nesters Start store spotlight: nesters & chatelet

On the “Nesters” side, I fell for the two pieces above. I’ve always been a fan of the French antique look and weathered wood mirrors.

Nesters second store spotlight: nesters & chatelet

Still on the Nesters side, I really loved the little vignettes you could shop from. I often come here to find little gifts for special occasions, as the price points for the gift items are quite reasonable.

Chalet store spotlight: nesters & chatelet

On the Chatelet side, my one-year-old son, Oscar, selected this sweet little box to give to his grandmother for Mother’s Day.

IMG 3601 store spotlight: nesters & chatelet
Outside as I was leaving, I fell for the hilarious hooks and door stops on Chatelet’s side. Not a fan of the metal look? As someone who has just discovered the joys of spray paint, I thought these would look awesome if sprayed in a bright colour, perfect for a cottage.
Nesters + Chatelet
Address: 2207 Queen Street East, Toronto Beach Neighbourhood
Phone: 416-698-2207

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.

bathroom renovation: day five

As one would expect of any renovation, there are sure to be hiccups along the way. My bathroom renovation is no different, but thankfully, the issues have been small and easy to fix. Today’s hold-up: The vessel sink.

When I selected the vanity for my bathroom, I didn’t realize that it had a pre-cut hole in the middle to accommodate a particular kind of sink. Aaaand – the sink that I chose doesn’t fit. Fortunately, Tony (the project manager overseeing my renovation) is a star and he went to Home Depot for me and snapped a photo of a suitable replacement. It’s an entirely different look but I like this sink, too! Number one is the sink I’d originally selected – square vessel lavatory; number two is the replacement – round clear glass vessel sink. What do you think?

sinks bathroom renovation: day five

bathroom renovation: day four

When I stopped by my condo to check on the progress of my bathroom renovation on Friday, I was very pleasantly surprised! Things are moving quickly and the work should be done soon. Unfortunately, the marble for the ledge in the shower is still a big ol’ question mark. I haven’t heard an update yet as to when they’ll be able to find the piece they need. I hope it’s not two weeks as I was originally told. I can’t go two weeks without a working shower!

So, here’s how things are looking:

bathroom renovation tiled ledge bathroom renovation: day four The ledge has been tiled and looks great! Now, just to find that piece of marble for the top. I wondered why we couldn’t just continue the subway tile along the top but once it was explained to me, it made perfect sense. If you tile and grout the top and water sits on that ledge, it will eat away at the grout. So a solid piece of marble to match the floor is a much better solution. Ah! Makes perfect sense.

bathroom renovation tub and floor bathroom renovation: day four At this point in the renovation, this is the picture that thrills me most! Here you can see the new tub, tile and polished marble flooring, all from Home Depot. My old bathroom had tile baseboards (ew!) but the new baseboards and painted walls look fantastic. Out of hundreds of paint colours to choose from, I settled on Elusive Blue (D51-1) from Olympic Paints and I’m thrilled with the results. It looks a bit bluer here than it does in person. It’s actually a bit lighter and really picks up on the grey in the floor tile.

Today, the toilet, vanity, medicine cabinet and mirror should be going into place. I’ll provide an update tomorrow!

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