This Toronto dwelling, with its book-laden walls and cozy corners, is a reader's dream.
Easygoing, trusting and super stylish: These homeowners were downright dream clients for designer Robyn Rider, whom they hired to revamp their newly purchased three-bedroom dwelling in downtown Toronto. The protege of the designer who’d transformed their previous house, Robyn was the prime candidate to deliver an updated look to these downsizing lawyers’ home.
“They have great taste and great pieces to work with,” says Robyn – plus, lots of books. Though the homeowners significantly reduced their large book collection, the remaining titles were more than substantial, including legal references, favourite reads, hardcover sets and prized heirlooms. It’s only fitting, then, that the only directive Robyn was given was to accommodate this veritable library, which ended up dictating much of the main floor’s design.
Robyn added floor-to-ceiling bookcases throughout the entire main level to achieve the perfect marriage of library and living space. This is especially evident in the dining room, which she designed as a place to not only eat meals and host dinner parties but also to lounge by the fire with a good book. To that effect, a cozy armchair by the fireplace is accompanied by a reading lamp and footstool, and the banquette at the round urn-based dining table is extra-deep and extra-comfy. “I wanted to create an intimate area that could accommodate guests, but where the homeowners wouldn’t feel ridiculous when it’s just the two of them,” says Robyn.
While the central kitchen marks a bit of a departure from the scholarly look, it still feels like a seamless part of the open-concept living area. “I used cabinets featuring the same profile and colour as the millwork in the adjacent dining and living rooms,” says Robyn. Integrated and panelled appliances as well as cabinetry with footed toe kicks lend the space a furnished feel, while oversized lantern-style pendant lights above the island are the kind you might find over a formal dining table, further blending the lines between the cooking zone and the rest of the home.
After all, the kitchen leads right into the living room, which returns to books. “I didn’t even try to organize or colour code them,” says Robyn of her approach to keeping the look cohesive. “It would have felt too contrived.” (Plus, the husband is pretty particular about organizing things by subject.) So, to temper the mismatched assortment, Robyn created a serene envelope of white millwork and cream walls, which she used throughout the main level. “We could afford to be quieter with the paint palette considering the books and the bold textiles,” she explains, noting examples like the traditional multi-hued heirloom needlepoint rug and contemporary zigzag-patterned armchairs. “The homeowners definitely didn’t need to be convinced to use colour,” says Robyn. “It actually took some convincing to leave the walls neutral!”
Once Robyn finessed the final details of the newly designed house, the homeowners unpacked and arranged their last tomes onto the shelves, ready to begin their new chapter.
French doors – which lead to a backyard oasis that borders a ravine – let a tremendous amount of light into the living room of this Toronto house designed by Robyn Rider. Because of the kitchen’s proximity to this space, it was decorated with statement pieces, such as oversized lantern-style pendant lights, to unify the areas.
Black soapstone counter- tops break up the white kitchen cabinetry that would have otherwise looked too clinical in this cozy space. Even though it’s quite high maintenance, soapstone adds warmth and lustre. “It’s an extra layer of luxury,” says Robyn.
The first space you see when you walk through the front door is the powder room. It sets the tone for the punchy greens and bold prints used throughout the rest of the house.
The library-inspired living room features clever design details, such as space-saving pull-out shelves in place of side tables. “I was channelling British townhouse style, in which everything has a purpose,” says Robyn.
Reminding Robyn (pictured right) of gardens in Provence, the table base, an oversized urn, was the jumping-off point for the dining room’s palette. “I love its intense green colour,” says the designer, “and I just went with it!” The homeowners also love the extra-deep banquette. Robyn used a bold botanical print on the Roman shades to blur the border between indoors and out, imparting a lively and verdant atmosphere.
A dining area and reading nook rolled into one, this room sees a lot of action. The bookcases, lined with selections and collections most meaningful to the homeowners, lend an old-world vibe that is punched up by the fresh armchair fabric.
A serene departure from the rest of the house, the main guest room is soft yet sophisticated. The antique settee is a family heirloom that Robyn had reupholstered with a contemporary centre stripe design. From there, Robyn layered in more powder blue and cream elements into the space but brought in dove grey to counter the femininity. “Powder blue on its own can border on prissy,” she explains.
Photography by Stacey Brandford
Buying guide: The truth about thread count
Is there anything better than sliding into a bed laden with good quality sheets? At the end of the day, I can't wait to stretch out under my fresh, soft covers and nestle my face into a good cotton-covered pillow. We spend a third of our lives in bed so quality sheets are key, but how do you get quality for your money? There's no doubt that most consumers believe the higher the thread count, the better the quality, but this isn't entirely true. With the help and expertise of Joanna Goodman, owner of Au Lit Fine Linens, we expose the truth about thread count and what it takes to find quality bed sheets.
What is thread count, really?
Simply put, thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. This number is based on the threads woven horizontally ("weft") and vertically ("warp"). Extra threads can also be woven into the weft threads to increase the thread count. These added threads are called "picks" and are added in the overall count, which is how some sheets end up having thread counts in the thousands. This is why the idea that high counts equal better quality isn't really accurate. Consider this: Joanna says most weavers will say the maximum number of threads that can be woven into one square inch of fabric is 500 to 600. Though the number is arguable and, according to Joanna, "depends on the mill you deal with," it gives you an idea of where the line is between single-ply, unpicked weaves and ones that add threads here and there to bump up the count.
What to look for when buying sheets
Joanna lists three things to look for on the label: if it's Egyptian cotton, where it's woven and, lastly, the thread count. While thread count is a bit misunderstood, the buzz around Egyptian cotton is true. "The very best cotton in the world is grown in Egypt. So Egyptian cotton will be of a better quality," Joanna says. She also recommends pima cotton, which is grown in America, "though not quite as exceptional as Egyptian." When it comes to weaving, however, she swears by the Italians as being the "master weavers of the world" due to their "long tradition of weaving" and use of the best Egyptian cotton. Be sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton though, otherwise it may only contain a small percentage of the good stuff. As for the thread count, look for a minimum of 200. From there, it's all about preference!
What to avoid when buying sheets
Joanna's one key piece of advice is to watch out for extremely low priced, high thread count sheet sets. A complete sheet set with a high thread count for $100 or less is probably not the dream bargain you think it is. As Joanna believes, "you always get what you pay for." The price tag for bed linens will vary depending on the sheet size and what items you're buying, such as a duvet cover, sheet sets, or pillowcases. "A superior quality 200 thread count queen set (including flat, fitted, two pillowcases), made of Egyptian cotton and woven in Europe, could retail reasonably for about $150-$250," says Joanna.
What do you prefer?
After going through the quality checklist, go with what feels best for you. If you're looking for a durable linen, Joanna recommends any percale from thread count 200 to 800. Percale is any cotton woven with a 200 thread count or higher and will be more durable than a cotton satin of the same thread count. It's also less likely to pill than cotton satin because it has a denser weave. Love the feel of a cotton button down shirt? Joanna advises a crisp, dense 200 thread count percale. Prefer a silkier sheet? Go for a 300 to 600 cotton satin. If you want lighter sheets, Joanna says, a 400 thread count sheet can be soft and light, while an 800 percale would be soft and dense. The higher the thread count, the more likely multiple-ply thread is used or picks are added, making the fabric denser and heavier.
Now you know that quality is not just about the number, so don't let numbers rule your bed! Remember what to look for on the label and be wary of too-low prices for supposedly high quality items. Beyond that, go with what you prefer. Get a good feel of the sheets before buying. Whether you're unzipping the packaging or lying down on a display bed, make sure the fabric feels good against your skin and soon you'll be having sweet dreams!
Find out how to keep your new linens crisp and clean with our tips to whiter-than-white sheets.
WANT TO WIN A THERMADOR DISHWASHER?
Click here for your chance to win Thermador's fully flush stainless steel panel Star-Sapphire dishwasher!
FULL CONTEST RULES & REGULATIONS
1. The « Style at Home Thermador Bosch Contest » contest is held by (Groupe TVA) Style at Home . Groupe TVA Style at home is collectively hereinafter named: the “contest organizers”. The contest runs on Styleathome.com, from August 22, 2016 to November 24, 2016 at 23h59 ET (hereinafter: the “contest period”).
2. This contest is open to all persons residing in Canada of at least 18 years old of age. The following persons are excluded; employees, agents and representatives of Québecor Média inc., of Groupe TVA inc., of Style at Home, and Thermador of their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, partners, suppliers of prizes, materials and services related to this contest, or any other party directly linked to the holding of this contest, or their brother, sister, children, mother, father, their legal or common-law spouse and individuals with whom such employees, agents and representatives are domiciled.
HOW TO ENTER
3. No purchase necessary. To participate in the contest, you simply have to enter the contest by visiting Styleathome.com. Go to the « Contest » section and click on the « Style at Home Thermador Bosch Contest » icon in order to register. After, you can fill in the electronic entry form.
i) Once you have accessed the electronic entry form make sure to indicate your exact personal information as follows: first name, last name, complete address with postal code and country. It is every participant’s responsibility to indicate a valid phone number where he can be reached between 9AM to 5PM during weekdays. Send your electronic entry form no later than November 24, 2016 at 23h59 ET. Upon reception of your registration’s confirmation message, you will be automatically entered in the contest. Cookies must be accepted in order to participate to the contest.
Entrants must respect the following limits, otherwise the contest organizers reserve the right to cancel one or several of their entries :
• One participation per person per day during the contest period;
• A person cannot register more than one e-mail address per person, in the case where a person has more than one;
• A person entering more than once a day or using multiple email addresses will be automatically removed from the ballot list;
5. The following prize is offered :
One (1) prize will be given: Thermador – Sapphire Dishwasher
The total prize value is : 3,079.00 $ CAN
The following conditions apply:
• The prize is not exchangeable and non-transferable; and
• The prize has to be accepted as it is; and
• The contest organizers will determine with the winner the date; and
• If the prize or a portion of it is not used, no compensation will be given.
6. On November 25, 2016 at 10:00 am, in Toronto, at the office of Groupe TVA inc., a random selection of entry form will be held among all eligible entry forms registered in conformity with section 3, in order to attribute the prize described above.
7. The odds of a participant’s entry form being randomly selected depend upon the number of eligible entry forms registered in conformity with the regulations and rules.
HOW TO CLAIM A PRIZE
8. In order to be declared a winner, each selected entrant must :
a) Have answered correctly the mathematical skill-testing question that appears on the release form; and
b) Be contacted by phone and/or email by the contest organizers within three (3) days following the random selection; and
c) Sign the declaration and exemption form that will be given to him and return to the contest organizers within 5 days; and
d) Abide to all conditions related to the Prize;
After the declaration and exemption form is correctly filled out and signed, the contest organizers will contact the winner to determine how the Prize will be remitted (by mail or on hand delivery)
9. Failing to comply with one of the conditions stated in the section above or any of the conditions provided in these Contest Rules, the entry of the selected entrant will be cancelled without any liability to the contest organizers whatsoever, and a new draw for that prize will be held according to these Contest Rules until an entrant is selected and declared a winner.
10. Verification. Entry forms are subject to verification by the contest organizers, and contest entrants agree to cooperate fully with contest organizers in such respect. Any entry form which is, as the case may be, incomplete, fraudulent, sent late, that does not bear the correct answer to the mathematical skill-testing question will automatically be rejected and will not give right to a prize, and contest organizers shall have no liability in such respect, or in respect of lost, misdirected of garbled communication, printing, prizing or distributor errors.
11. Non-conforming entries. The contest organizers reserve the right to disqualify any person or cancel one or many entries of any person participating in this contest or trying to participate by means contrary to these Contest Rules or in a manner which is unfair to the other entrants (e.g.: entries exceeding the permitted limit, computer hacking, etc.). Such person may be referred to the appropriate judicial authorities.
12. Acceptance of prize. Any prize must be accepted as described in the present Contest Rules and cannot be transferred to another person, substituted for another prize nor exchanged in part or in whole for a sum of money, subject to what is stated in the following section. Prize is accepted “as is” without any warranty whatsoever.
13. Substitution of prize. In the event where, for reasons not related to the winners, the contest organizers cannot award a prize (or part of a prize) as described in these Contest Rules, they reserve the right to award a prize (or part of a prize) of the same nature and of equivalent value or, at their sole discretion, the cash value of the prize (or part of the prize) as mentioned in these Contest Rules.
14. Refusal to accept a prize. The refusal of a randomly selected person to accept a prize according to the terms and conditions of these Contest Rules releases the contest organizers of any obligation related to that prize towards that person.
15. Liability – prize’s supplier. Each participant who is selected for a prize recognizes that upon reception of the confirmation of his status as the winner of the prize, the execution of the services in respect to the prize is the sole responsibility of the supplier of the prize, in this case, (Groupe TVA inc.) Style at Home. A declaration to this effect may be included in the declaration and exemption form.
16. Liability limit – use of prize. Any selected person releases Québecor Média inc., (Groupe TVA inc.), Style at Home, Thermador and their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, their employees, agents and representatives from any and all liability for any and all damages he/she may suffer from the acceptance or use of his/her prize. In order to be declared a winner, any selected person agrees, if required, prior to obtaining his/her prize, to sign a Declaration Form to such effect.Erreur ! Signet non défini.
17. Liability limit – running of the contest. Québecor Média inc., Groupe TVA inc., and (Groupe TVA inc.), Style at Home, Thermador and their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, their employees, agents and representatives are not liable for faulty computer components, software, or communication lines, relating to any transmission that is faulty, incomplete, incomprehensible or erased by any computer or network that could limit the possibility or prevent any person from participating in this contest. Québecor Média inc., (Groupe TVA inc.), Style at Home, Thermador and their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, their employees, agents and representatives also will not be held liable for any damages or loss that could arise, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from downloading any Internet page, any software or any form and by the transmission of any data regarding the participation in this contest.
18. Modification. The contest organizers reserve the right, at their sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend this contest, in whole or in part, in the case of the occurrence of an event, an error or any human intervention that could corrupt or affect the administration, safety, impartiality or the running of the contest as foreseen in these Contest Rules, subject to the approval of the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Québec, if required. In any case, the contest organizers, their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, the suppliers of products or services related to this contest as well as their employees, agents and representatives cannot be held liable to award more prizes than those indicated in these Contest Rules or to award prizes otherwise than in compliance with these Contest Rules.
19. Impossibility to act – including labour dispute Québecor Média inc., (Groupe TVA inc.), Style at Home, Thermador and their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, their employees, agents and representatives will not assume any liability whatsoever in any case where their incapacity to act would result from a fact or a situation beyond their control or a strike, lock-out or any other labour dispute in their establishment or in establishments of organizations or enterprises which services are used for holding this contest.
20. Liability limit– participation. Any person who participates or tries to participate in this contest releases the contest organizers, their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and/or promotional agencies, their employees, agents and representatives, from any and all liability for damages which he/she could suffer from participating or trying to participate in this contest.
21. Authorization. By entering this contest, any winner authorizes the contest organizers, their partners and their representatives to use, if required, his/her name, photograph, likeness, declaration related to the prize, place of residence and/or voice without remuneration whatsoever and that, at their discretion and without limit as for the period of use, in any media and on a worldwide scale, for publicity purposes or for any purpose that will or may be pertinent.
22. Communication with entrants. No communication or correspondence will be exchanged with entrants in the context of this contest except with those selected for a prize.
23. Decisions of the contest organizers. All decisions of the contest organizers or those of their representatives regarding this contest are final and binding, subject to any decision by the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Québec in relation to matters under its jurisdiction.
24. Litigation. Any litigation respecting the conduct or organisation of a publicity contest may be submitted to the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux for a ruling. Any litigation respecting the awarding of a prize may be submitted to the Régie for the purpose of helping the parties reach a settlement.
25. Identification of the entrant. For the purposes of these Contest Rules, the entrant is the person whose name appears on the entry form and it is to this person to whom the prize will be awarded if he/she is selected and declared a winner.
26. Precedence: If an article in this regulation were to be declared or deemed illegal, unenforceable or invalid by a competent authority, then this article would be considered null and non-written, but all other items would not be affected and would find application in limits and authorized by law
27. Rules contest. This is the official regulations and rules for the contest « Style at Home Thermador Bosch Contest ».
28. Personal information. The personal information collected on the participants of this contest are used only for the administration of the contest. No commercial communication or other, not linked to the contest, will be sent to the participants by the contest organizers except if the participants have authorized the contest organizers, and in the case of Style at Home, Thermador it’s affiliates, to send such communication by checking the opt-in on the electronic entry form.
These products will help you stay warm and cozy all season long.
These products will help you stay warm and cozy all season long.
Seasonally perfect products for staying warm and cozy indoors all season long.
As the mercury drops this fall, don’t despair about the cold, dark evenings that have you heading indoors to seek refuge. With the right at-home accessories, you can enjoy your coziest fall at home ever! You’ll be so comfy cozy indoors that you’ll be perfectly happy to settle in and enjoy the season from the comfort of your couch!
1 Cable Knit Throws
There are blankets and then there are blankets (like the one that everyone in the family fights over when it’s time to curl up with a movie on a crisp fall evening). These gorgeous throws from Boll & Branch are truly luxe. They're certified organic and made with eco-friendly, non-toxic dyes. Best of all, a portion of every sale is donated to Not For Sale, an organization dedicated to helping end forced labour and human trafficking. Cable Knit Throws, Boll & Branch, $125 each.
2 Philosophy Living Grace Shampoo, Bath & Shower Gel
When the wind is whirling outside and the leaves on the ground are swirling, seek solace in your own personal at-home sanctuary. Run a hot bath and top it off with Philosophy’s Living Grace Bath Gel. The luxurious formula will cleanse, condition and soften dry, tired skin, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Philosophy Living Grace Shampoo, Bath & Shower Gel, Sephora, $31.
3 Mahabis Classic Slippers
Chilly fall nights mean chilly floors. Keep your tootsies comfy and cozy with these stylish slippers that look as good as they feel. With their distinct focus on design (they have a Scandinavian aesthetic and boast European craftsmanship), these aren’t any slippers you’re used to. With Mahabis, the simple slipper gets a luxe makeover: Lightweight and breathable with a wool lining, they also come with detachable wool soles so you can wear them outside, too. Mahabis Classic Slippers in Larvik Dark Grey, Mahabis, $138.
4 No. 35 The Earl Grey Tea
Nothing warms up a cold night like a hot cuppa tea. But this fall, take your tea to the next level with something a little more special than the tea you normally buy at your local grocery store. This classic blend Earl Grey tea is made from organic full-leaf Ceylon black tea and is scented with Sicilian bergamot. The rich taste combined with the intoxicating aroma will make you forget how cold it is outside and relish every moment indoors this season. No. 35 The Earl Grey Tea, Bellocq Tea Atelier, $15.
5 Blanket Wrap
You’ll never feel fall’s chill when you’re swathed in this handsome wrap that’s part blanket, part sweater. It’s interchangeable, offering two colour options and can be converted to two different lengths. Plus, it’s 70% wool and 30% cashmere, making it totally luxurious. You’ll look chic wearing it but feel like you’re still in bed. Win, win! Blanket Wrap in Teak/Ebony, Kit & Ace, $428.
6 The Couple Next Door
There’s nothing like a gripping thriller to get you through those long dark evenings. Once you’re completely sucked into this novel's suspenseful storyline, you’ll forget all about the wicked weather outside. A New York Times Bestseller, The Couple Next Door is quickly gaining acclaim from readers and thriller authors alike and is poised to be the book of the season! The Couple Next Door, Amazon.ca, $15.36.
7 Staghorn Cable Reading Socks
Speaking of books … when you’re curled up on the couch with your latest can’t-put-down read, you’ll adore the coziness of these cable knit reading socks. Super soft, warm and soothing to cold, tired feet, they’re just what you’ll long for at the end of a long day. Staghorn Cable Reading Socks in Grey, Indigo, $20.
8 Byredo Bibliotheque Candle
There’s something about the rich fragrance of a luxe candle that fills a home with a sense of place. An aroma you love can quickly become strongly associated with positive memories and the gentle glow of candlelight is no doubt relaxing and romantic. Which means that adding candles to your home is always a good idea (just don’t forget to keep an eye on them and don’t leave them lit and unattended!). We love this candle from Byredo Parfums. Handmade in France, it has notes of peach and plum, violet, leather and vanilla. Byredo Bibliotheque Candle, Holt Renfrew, $108.