Design & Decor Blog

easy summer style essentials

Summer officially starts this weekend, so let’s talk about warm weather style.

SummerStyle CasualBackyard easy summer style essentials

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win: a farrow and ball paint diy book

When it comes to the cheapest and easiest way to perk up your home decor, paint always wins the argument. It was true years ago and certainly held true during our Decorating on a Budget live Twitter chat last week!

From your walls to flea market finds, a fresh coat of paint can create a world of difference. And Farrow & Ball took this to the next level. In a new book, they showcase 21 DIY projects that prove that paint is not only an affordable way to update  your decor, but can also make a standout customized statement piece. Been craving getting crafty? You’re in luck because we’re giving away this book to one lucky reader! Read on to see how you can win.

farrow ball contest banner 460 win: a farrow and ball paint diy book

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mix tapes: 3 playlists to listen to this weekend

So, have you found your Summer Song yet? That song that seems to be on repeat, and when you hear it, you open the sunroof, turn the volume up, throw your hands in the air and just sing along? The one that accompanies your barbeques, pool parties, beach days and every long drive? I’ve got a lot of contenders, but haven’t yet decided on the finalist. THE Song.

But in an effort to help everyone discover their Summer Song, here are some playlists to accompany your activities this weekend.


Garden State Screen Cap mix tapes: 3 playlists to listen to this weekend

Screen cap from one of my favourite moments in Garden State


1. What I’ll be doing: Enjoying an afternoon in the garden (hopefully getting some gardening done)
What I’ll be playing: A Garden State of Mind
Featured artists: All the best crooners: Joshua Radin, Paul Simon, Sufjan Stevens, Death Cab for Cutie The Shins and Zero 7.
Why it’s perfect: Inspired by Zach Braff’s movie Garden State, the playlist is soothing and relaxing, mixing folk and soothing electro. It pairs perfectly with a quiet day in the yard, sun shining, birds chirping and a refreshing glass or rosemary-cucumber water in hand.



Viceroy Skyler Greene Photography mix tapes: 3 playlists to listen to this weekend

Viceroy, Skyler Greene Photography


2. What I’ll be doing: Sunning on the beach at Toronto Island
What I’ll be playing: Viceroy’s Remixes
Featured artists: Sing-along-worthy remixes of songs by artists you know and love: Maroon 5, Passion Pit, Montell Jordan, Two Door Cinema Club, Lady Gaga and Mark Morrisson.
Why it’s perfect: Viceroy’s motto is “summertime all the time” and his synth-pop sound featuring steel drums and peppy make-you-dance beats has easily become my soundtrack to summer.



Mike Bloomberg mix tapes: 3 playlists to listen to this weekend

Image from


3. What I’ll be doing: Hosting a summer barbeque
What I’ll be playing: Gracie Mansion Backyard BBQ
Featured artists: A great mix of hits from Blues Traveller, Smokey Robinson, Jackie Wilson, Jason Mraz, Hootie and the Blowfith and Gotye.
Why it’s perfect: Curated by Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York City from 2002-2013, as the soundtrack to summer at Gracie Mansion (the official residence of the New York mayor), this mix tape is chock-full of upbeat crowd-pleasers guaranteed to have guests tapping their feet and singing along.

decor vs. fashion: blue and white rug or shirt?

We’re officially obsessed with two things this season. First, Pantone’s Colour of Spring 2014: Dazzling Blue. And second, super cool geometric patterns. This summer, bring the two together with Sears’ stylish outdoor rug and Tory Burch’s lace polo shirt. Either way, each piece will have your neighbours begging the question, “Where did you get that?”

If you had an extra $250 to spend, which item would you choose–the blue and white rug or shirt?
decor fashion geo print rug shirt decor vs. fashion: blue and white rug or shirt?
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fab find: stripe duvet cover

While out sourcing for some upcoming photo shoots yesterday, I popped into West Elm and fell in love with some bedding. I’m currently designing a farmhouse bedroom, and am somewhat regretting this bedding wasn’t available a few months ago! I love the mixture of blue tones and different thicknesses of stripes. There is also a great stitch detailing halfway up the duvet cover that adds that extra hit of texture.

Bed fab find: stripe duvet cover

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editor’s picks: mara hoffman for anthropologie

Anthropologie now carries an exclusive collection of home goods from New York-based Mara Hoffman, one of my favourite clothing designers. Mara’s statement-making graphic boho prints and vibrant colours are signature to her aesthetic. Although her pieces are a bit of a splurge, they are clothes that are always the centre of attention – they make you feel both confident and pretty. I imagine that the bedding, toss cushions, rug, drapery and chair she designed for Anthropologie will have the same effect on your home.

MaraHoffman Bedding editors picks: mara hoffman for anthropologie

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places to go, people to see: kleinfeld

If you’re a soon-to-be Mrs., you have to hit up the first Canadian location of Kleinfeld. The New York-based boutique of Say Yes to the Dress fame has opened up its doors in Toronto. Sprawling over 2,000 sq. ft. on the seventh floor of the historic Hudson’s Bay building at the corner of Queen and Yonge streets, the shop is nothing short of spectacular. Complete with glittery lights and walls of stunning dresses, the open-concept showroom features a few choice luxe furnishings to glam it up. It’s the sort of space that makes your heart skip a beat and your stomach flutter a bit, the kind of realm where dreams come true. At least that’s the impression I got at the launch party several weeks ago, when fellow nearly newlywed associate editor Amanda Etty and I stood sipping bubbly, rubbing shoulders with the likes of dressmaker extraordinaire Pnina Tornai. Here’s a taste of what we saw.

Kleinfelds1 places to go, people to see: kleinfeld

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places to go, people to see: through the garden gate

What are your plans for Father’s Day weekend? If you live in or are visiting Toronto, check out Through the Garden Gate. This annual tour is put on by the Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG) and showcases of some of the city’s most beautiful private gardens. Don’t you love the idea of peeking into strangers’ backyards and taking inspiration for your own garden? I’m definitely into it, since I live in a downtown condo with minimal outdoor space (unless you count my balcony, which is currently housing my collection of potted plants).

ThroughTheGardenGate Hydrangea places to go, people to see: through the garden gate

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a crafter’s dream: scotch expressions tape

I’m a self proclaimed amateur crafter (I’m slowly getting better, one DIY at a time!), but I enjoy it…and that’s all the really matters! My favourite thing to do is to make cards. From birthdays, to engagements, to sending friendly hello’s – I like to make simple DIY cards that give that extra personal touch. Previously, I have worked with glitter (artwork seen here, wrapping seen here)…but these days I’m on a tape kick. I was thrilled to learn that Scotch has come out with a new Expressions line that has Washi, Masking and Shipping tapes in a ton of fun colours! Read on to check out some of the collection and a few simple quick crafts I did..I just couldn’t help myself!

Card Cross a crafters dream: scotch expressions tape Read the rest of this entry »

new-use tuesdays: rubber band

When you need a secure hold in a snap, you turn to the good old rubber band. It’s reliable, resilient and certainly affordable. For this week’s new-use spotlight, check out a few more uses for this household staple.

Rubber bands Bill Ebbesen new use tuesdays: rubber band

Photograph by Bill Ebbesen

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