Image by: Scott Frances
Founder of DwellStudio, co-founder of Cloth & Company, author of Undecorate, former executive creative director of Wayfair and inimitable designer extraordinaire, Canadian Christiane Lemieux tells us about the two latest and greatest interior design trends and her new book, The Finer Things.
“There are two major trends I’m drawn to for 2017,” says Christiane. “One is this über-minimalism coming from Parisian designers like Pierre Yovanovitch and Joseph Dirand. The other is the exact opposite: pattern, saturated colour and statement chandeliers. Dimore Studio in Italy is doing lots of that, with plenty of Gio Ponti references. Both trends are at opposite ends of the spectrum, but they’re equally impacting interior design right now.”
Image by: Scott Frances
Of the trends designer Christiane thinks we’ll see in 2017, über-minimalism appeals to her the most. “My personal style is minimalist luxe,” says Christiane. “I like clean lines and high-quality materials. My rugs are solid, but made of silk. My upholstery is in varying shades of taupe, but I’ve used beautiful linens. All day long I look at, write about and design stuff, so I want my home to be a respite from that world.”
Image by: Scott Frances
Dark, sultry and striking, Christiane’s office is a departure from the muted, minimalist style she lives with, but it’s an excellent example of the luscious luxe trend she sees emerging.
Image by: Marc and Sunna Von Pragg | Design: Kelly Wearstler
The "luscious luxe" trend can easily be achieved with the right mix of bold prints, colours, silhouettes and a gallery wall—which, in the early 20th century, was known as a salon wall. Interesting side note: When conducting research for her book, The Finer Things, Christiane made a discovery: "The mother of the modern salon wall was Gertrude Stein, a writer! She had a salon in her house in Paris, which was visited by the likes of Picasso and Cézanne, who would thank her for hosting by giving her their works, which she displayed on a wall," says Christiane. "We think of the salon wall as a decorating trick, but it's really a moment in history."
When we asked Christiane what inspired her latest book, The Finer Things, her answer was simple, but the work she put into it was not. "I wanted to explore quality — what makes something good and beautiful — so I started talking to experts, people who've put 10,000 hours into their craft, such as professional wallpaper hangers. It was so fascinating that I went down all these rabbit holes of investigation," she says. "It started as a coffee table book, but eventually my editor said, 'Let's just make this an encyclopedia!'"
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You'll love this vintage airstreams retro look.
A vintage airstream trailer gets a luxurious makeover complete with wallpaper, linen drapes and a champagne gold faucet.
I’ve loved Airstream trailers for a long time,” says blogger Lynne Knowlton of Design the Life You Want to Live. “A few years ago, my husband, Michael, and I toured the Airstream factory in Ohio, and it fueled our dreams of owning one.” So last spring, when a friend spotted an Airstream for sale on a roadside not far from the couple’s Durham, Ont., home, their vision became a reality – albeit a less than glamorous one.
Parked beside a spring-fed pond on owners Lynne and Michael Knowlton’s 100-acre property, the trailer is positioned to capitalize on the view. “It’s a beautiful place to take in sunrises and sunsets and to gaze at the incredible night skies,” says Lynne.
“The interior was original 1976 vintage,” says Lynne. “The flooring was carpet and laminate tile and the kitchen cabinetry was an icky wood-look veneer.” In her mind, she was already restyling the 240-square-foot space as a retreat she could park on their 100-acre property to rent out (through lynneknowlton.com and Airbnb) when she and Michael weren’t enjoying it. “I wanted a bright and airy feel while still maintaining the trailer’s retro vibe,” says Lynne.
The compact kitchenette features the original four-burner gas range and an eat-in area with a built-in collapsible table. the dining chair, a yard sale find, brings a country element to the space, while artwork from a street market in Bali adds a whimsical accent.
Lynne determined which of the original design features were keepers: the blue chenille sofas, panelling, gas range and layout of the bedroom. Everything else was cleared out to let the decor reboot begin. White paint and wood-look flooring made from partially recycled vinyl spruce up the compact quarters and provide a neutral backdrop for the sofas to pop against. New custom lower kitchen cabinets were coated in the same white as the walls and then gussied up with brass hardware.
“The original chenille upholstery is still in beautiful shape – how cool is that?” asks Lynne. The blue sofa, which opens into a double bed, is reflected on the range, making its white door appear a watery hue.
She carried the warm metallic through to the faucet, wallpaper and even the gas range. “It was trimmed in stainless steel, which I covered with gold using a permanent marker,” says Lynne. A finishing touch of soft linen drapery makes the space unexpectedly luxurious and serene. And the serenity seems to be catching on. “Our guests love the comfort here. Most don’t want to leave, but when they do, they’re well rested.” Happy campers indeed.
“I considered a queen bed, but the two twins with a nightstand in between them maintain the vintage feel,” says Lynne. She accessorized the pale bedroom with cheery yellow toss cushions and a patterned rug. A rope of twinkling LED lights casts a warm glow at night.
Learn to get this retro glam look in your own space.
Cole & Son Banbury Stone Trellis wallpaper in 3012, through designers, Lee Jofa, $226 per double roll.
Linen Niels wingback chair in Regal Blue, West Elm, $979.
Anne of Green Gables book by L.M. Montgomery with cover illustration by Anna Bond, Indigo, $18.
Smeg 2-slice toaster in cream, Hudson’s Bay, $230.
Zia Birch toss cushion cover in Soft Butter, Tonic Living, $34.
A kitchen with subtle contrasts and country character.
Designer Ali Budd gives a Toronto couple the best of both worlds: a family- (and dog-) friendly home that boasts modern sensibility as well as country flair.
When the couple enlisted Ali Budd, the designer asked Michele to provide photos of what she loved and didn’t like. A binder full of clippings verified that Michele prefers clean lines and all things cottage. “The challenge was giving them something that feels fresh and contemporary and appropriate for the city but at the same time has that cottagey country vibe,” says Ali.
An addition on the back of the house allowed homeowners Michele Foster and Aaron Harlang to expand the small kitchen, which now features an eat-in area with a child-friendly faux-leather-upholstered banquette. To enhance the room’s visual flow, the table was made from the same quartz as the countertops. The lantern-style pendant light complements the kitchen’s modern-country aesthetic. “To me, a lantern is quintessentially country, but this one is done in a more contemporary style,” says designer Ali Budd.
Painting the island pale grey gives the all-white kitchen a distinctive touch. The black metal pendant lights and farmhouse-style stools lend contrast and country character.
The inset marble mosaic backsplash tiles surrounded by decorative tile trim create a pretty focal point above the range in the kitchen. “I used the same marble as the subway tiles so it wouldn’t look too busy,” says Ali. Glass-fronted doors add airiness and break up the expanse of white cabinetry.
Opening up the main floor was the first step in creating an airy, functional space for the young family. And an 800-square-foot three-storey addition provided ample room to expand the small, outdated kitchen. “I would periodically use our oven for storage before,” says Michele. “We also had a little table that only sat two people.” Now the kitchen boasts a large eat-in area defined by a built-in banquette, which seats about five people and offers plenty of drawer space.
The kitchen’s eat-in area was the perfect spot to subtly inject a bit of red. “Michele wanted to add it somewhere but was afraid of committing to it,” says Ali. “So I thought that was a great place to put in a little pop because it’s not front and centre.”
Durable indoor-outdoor striped fabric covering the family room’s armchairs adds a bit of whimsy and fun. The custom-made barnboard coffee table is both rustic and polished.
That same rustic-meets-clean-lined aesthetic is carried throughout the main floor. In the dining room, a polished live-edge black walnut dining table is paired with classic linen-upholstered chairs. The family room is designed for lounging, with a sleek sectional and barnboard coffee table. All textiles, including the striped armchair fabric, pass the pug-hair test. “I tested about 20 fabric samples on one of my own pugs to see which showed the least amount of hair,” says Ali.
A bench and rug define the entryway, which is open to the rest of the main floor. Wainscotting along the staircase adds architectural character. “Michele wanted it somewhere, and because there’s not a lot of wall space on the main level, we installed it up the stairs,” says Ali.