Design & Decor Blog

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!



natalie french photography

I can spend hours trolling through Etsy, and last night I came upon a fabulous seller named Natalie French, who is a fine art photographer from the UK. I love the softness of the prints and ended up ordering the first two below for my home office (which will soon be my ultra-girly retreat in our house). I am beyond excited to finally get some artwork up on our walls and get a bit of character going on around here! natalie french books natalie french photography
natalie french chalk natalie french photography
natalie french book natalie french photography
The prints come in a variety of affordable sizes (you can get four 5″x5″ prints for $30 US) and ship for a low cost, considering they come from the UK.

Until the end of February, Natalie is offering Style at Home readers 15% off any print in her Etsy shop — just use the code STYLEATHOME15.



tips for embracing your small space

I live in a 585 square foot, 1 bedroom condo unit in an old building from 1912. To some this may seem cramped and claustrophobic, but I have always lived in a “small space” and am quite used to it. You might even say I enjoy it!

Today is my 8-month homeowner anniversary. That’s right, me and my condo have been together 8 months now. These past months have been some of the most challenging and most wonderful in my life. I have put a lot of sweat and hard work into my home (okay, maybe a few tears too), but I can honestly say its been worth it.

Living in a small space has its challenges (I never have enough storage space, the laundry room is two floors below me and I would kill for a dining table), but it also presents a lot of opportunities to be creative and unique. The best thing about living in a small space is that it’s easier to make decorating progress. Even though it’s been less than a year in my new home, I have already managed to whip my foyer, bedroom, living room and kitchen into shape. Only the bathroom remains untouched. My rooms will never be finished. They will always be a work in progress; and yet, the rooms are already a strong reflection of my personality and sense of style. I would never have been able to budget the time or money required to re-design all of these rooms if I was living in a larger space! My resources have taken me farther because I am working with a small space.

That’s just one example of many perks to living in a small space. So in honour of small spaces everywhere, here’s a few stylish ideas that are perfectly suited to small space living.

1. Who says small spaces must be stiff? There’s no reason why you can’t sit in comfort and style. The new Cedric Sofa from Urban Barn features one long seat cushion and narrow arms. Its comfy without being over-stuffed and will ensure a sweet landing spot for you and your friends. Bonus: The sofa’s shallow depth is hard to come by, but a must in a small space.  Urban Barn Cedric Sofa tips for embracing your small space

2. If you’re like me and live without a dining table, meals are usually eaten from the sofa. TV trays are a little “bachelor pad” for my taste, but a “C” shaped table like the Framed Side Table from West Elm pulls up perfectly and looks pretty too! West Elm Framed Side Table tips for embracing your small space

3. I love the versatility of the Stratton Daybed from Pottery Barn. It would be fab for a small guest bedroom that needs to work overtime as an office or den. Or use it as a sofa and bed in a small studio apartment. Open cubbies below allow for ample storage – always a welcome addition in a space (no matter what its size is). Pottery Barn Stratton Daybed tips for embracing your small space

4. Tight quarters shouldn’t keep you from displaying treasured objects. Book lovers will love the Herringbone Spine Bookcase from West Elm, which takes up minimal floor space, but stands tall enough to provide plenty of space to display your favourite reads. West Elm Herringbone Spine Bookcase tips for embracing your small space

5. The stackable Hugo Barstool from Ikea is great for entertaining in a small space. Stack a few and tuck them away in a closet. They’ll be ready to spring into service when those unexpected guests arrive. Its slim profile keeps the look light. Either way you look at it, this stool stacks up pretty good!

Ikea Hugo Bar Stool with backrest tips for embracing your small space What is your favourite small space living tip? 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.

entertaining products for valentine’s day

Here are a few of my favourite entertaining items for Valentine’s Day that will have your family or Valentine feeling loved!

heartpot entertaining products for valentines day

Le Creuset Pot from Amazon

This heart-shaped Le Creuset pot will add a “touch of love” to your homemade meal.

straws entertaining products for valentines day

Red paper straws from KikkerLand Shop

Garnish Valentine-themed cocktails and milkshakes with these adorable paper straws!

cakestand entertaining products for valentines day

Rosanna Inc cake stand

It’s not Valentine’s Day without some delicious treats! Display a Red Velvet cake on top of this fancy pink cake stand from Rosanna Inc.

cuttingboard entertaining products for valentines day

Heart-shaped cutting board from Modern Tribe

This heart-shaped cutting board can be used to serve cheese and crackers on as well.

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.

affordable woven baskets

Fab find
Handwoven Byholma basket in grey, $6;

fab find ikea basket affordable woven baskets Photography by Stacey Brandford

Organizing a space can not only be a daunting task, but an expensive one as well. I love these $6 baskets from IKEA because they’re so versatile. You can use them to display objets (like above) or bundle small items like matches, votive candles, clothespins, etc. I’m thinking about using these in our laundry room when it’s finished — attach blank gift tags to the fronts with ribbon to label the contents of each basket.

What do you use to organize the small items in your home?

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.

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