Style the perfect #shelfie.
We all have a slight obsession with decor, especially our own. Here is a list of how to know you're a little too obsessed.
The thing that has you the most excited about visiting NYC and South Florida is ABC Carpet & Home, of course. In Paris, it’s Clignancourt flea market! London is all about that visit to Conran Shop. But wait, isn’t that what every vacationer does? Nope. It isn’t.
Not only are blockbuster designer-meets-retailer collaborations on your radar, like Kate Spade Saturday with West Elm, and the pairing of the Novogratz husband-and-wife team with CB2, you eagerly await the obscure ones too, like NYC’s Fishs Eddy with West Elm.
What’s more, you think to yourself, “Doesn’t everyone instantly recognize an iconic George Nelson bubble lamp versus a less-expensive imitation?” Uh. No, the average human does not. Your intense scholarship has seriously paid off.
Although you already own a perfectly serviceable and stylish armchair, coffee table, dining table and sofa, you are always adding to a mental shopping list of what you want next, like this Saarinen Womb chair. Oh, and bonus marks for obsessiveness if you have an actual Pinterest Wish List board on the go.
Every now and again you actually lose sleep wondering whether you should paint your bedroom or kitchen or living room or the whole darn home in all white. And, naturally, that white is Benjamin Moore’s famously warm Cloud White CC-40 also known as OC-130. Duh.
Do you know what a chevron pattern is? Do you know what Ikat looks like? Can you identify toile and damask at merely a glance? Do you know trellis from lattice? If you can summon up a mental image at each of these patterns and you are not a stylist or designer then congrats, you officially indulge in way too much time in thinking about decor.
The whole reason you have Instagram installed is so you can salivate over interiors from all over the world. Oh, and here are 10 more designers worth following. What? You didn’t expect us to cure you from your design addiction, did you?
A friend/your mom/your neighbour is renovating and you’re wayyyy more excited about the renovation than they are. All of a sudden you’re picking out tile, hardwood flooring and helping them weigh whether they should install custom cabinetry or save money by jazzing up pre-made units. And the whole time you’re thinking, Oh man, this is the most fun I’ve had all year. Diagnosis: You’re a decor addict and your social network is enabling you.
Not only do you have a favourite decor store, the staff have begun to recognize you. And it’s a big-box store. Bonus marks if you have a favourite staffer. Double-bonus marks if she tells you when the next sale is happening. Triple-bonus marks if she knows your name.
You have a favourite historical paint colour by this esteemed English company, and a favourite wallpaper pattern too (even though it’s hard to have favourites with F&B). Too bad you’ve totally ran out of rooms to re-do, so you’re hoping a friend will invite you over to help decorate his new place.
The books on your bookshelves are arranged by the colour of their respective covers, not alphabetically. And the truly ugly ones are stored away and don’t make it onto your prized shelf. Why would you have it any other way?
Not only do you fluff up your down filled cushions on the regular, you can’t help giving them a little karate chop on the top too when you pass by.
Some people can’t bear to part with shoes, out-of-fashion coats and outfits they don’t wear anymore. You, on the other hand, have a stockpile of fabric swatches, random pieces of sample tiles and paint chips galore. Just in case you need them, even for reference. And in case of the zombie apocalypse. Hey, that’s ok. We do it, too.
Becoming an interior decorator or stylist is your dream job. Seeing as you’re daydreaming about design and your next decorating project most of the day anyway. While at your actual job.
A totally perfect evening of relaxing consists of you, your laptop, the sofa, a stylish throw blanket and all the free time in the world to check Pinterest, Houzz, Apartment Therapy and the rest of your virtual pantry of favourite design sites.
One resourceful designer creates a cozy space for her family.
One resourceful designer creates a cozy space for her family.Credits: Ashley Capp
A resourceful designer with a knack for all things DIY creates a cozy and contemporary space for her family of four.
For the design inclined, recognizing beautiful pieces is easy enough, but the real decorating challenge comes from knowing how to fit all the elements together in a harmonious way. Designer Sarah Walker has this down to a science. Last year, the reno expert transformed her Oakville, Ont., home’s uninspiring family room into a sophisticated space boasting symmetry and style. “I wanted a modern yet classic room that balances the masculine and feminine qualities of our family,” she says, referring to her husband, Graham, and two boys (Noah, 13, and Tate, 2). Having already installed the hardwood flooring and built-in wall unit with her husband five years prior, Sarah’s next order of business was the furniture layout. “I always pictured this space having a pair of sofas facing each other,” says the designer. “I love the conversational quality the set-up brings to a room.”
So she traded in her existing brown sectional for two handsome black velvet sofas and added a geometric-print rug to further delineate the sitting area. This design choice drew her toward a timeless marble herringbone tile treatment for the fireplace, which echoes the graphic quality of the rug but on a smaller scale (with budget top of mind, Sarah and Graham even installed the tile themselves). Other subtle additions to the fireplace like the contrasting white mantel and the curved screen enhance the unit’s bold and beautiful aesthetic. Next up was deciding what to make of an empty alcove set in the wall opposite the fireplace. In an act of creative daring, the deft DIYer transformed the space into a stylish office nook. Sarah began by making an elegant-meets-edgy pin board out of embossed reptile-patterned velvet fabric and then punctuated the look with antiqued brass nails before adding a floating desk and shelf. “The pin board blends in well with the room’s ikat wallpaper but still makes a visual statement that anchors the work area,” she says. After mastering the layout, the designer reinforced the room’s romantic and rustic feel with tasteful details like luxurious sheepskin pieces and natural wooden elements, ensuring each family member feels equally at home. “We spend just as much time here as we did before,” says Sarah, “but now we enjoy it 10 times as much.” That’s all the evidence we need that this master curator has done it again.
Since this family of four has a penchant for the outdoors, the designer incorporated nature-inspired finds, such as the large print depicting a foggy forest hanging above the fireplace. “The image reminds me of being in the woods and escaping the everyday,” says Sarah. She had the piece stretched onto canvas and then resined to deliver more of an ethereal effect.
Sarah and her husband upgraded their fireplace with a striking custom herringbone tile treatment.
The custom white oak coffee table lends an organic vibe to the family room and calls attention to the tall stack of logs tucked into the wall unit. “With a wood-burning fireplace, you want the logs to be close by so you’re not dragging bark everywhere,” says designer and homeowner Sarah Walker. “The display also has visual impact and adds warmth.”
For Sarah, a beautifully styled bookshelf relies on meaning just as much as placement and scale. “It’s important to tell your story through your space,” she says, referring to objects she added that were collected over time, from a sea urchin found in a quirky San Francisco shop to a sepia sketch purchased on the streets of Paris during her first trip there with her husband.
Playing with contrasting shapes, Sarah created a chic coffee table vignette using curved accents, including a vintage silver tray and a faceted black vase, to temper the sharp edges of the surface. “Bringing in round, soft elements is really important when you’re working with a room that has a lot of hard geometry,” says the designer.
Fashioning an inspiring and orderly work area came easily to Sarah thanks in part to location. “When a communal workspace is integrated into a kitchen, it winds up becoming a clutter collector,” she says. “But in the family room, it’s a bit more removed from that initial drop of mail and keys.”
We designed a Parisian-style kitchen to please any mixed metal lover. Can you tell which is the high and which is the low?
1 Delta Trinsic pull-down single-lever faucet in Champagne Bronze, Roman Bath Centre, $535. 2 Copper-plated stainless steel Russet measuring cups, Anthropologie, $28 US per 4-piece set. 3 Frosted mouth-blown glass Vanadin pendant lights, IKEA, $20 each. 4 Stainless steel-lined copper saucepan & frying pan, HomeSense, $40 each. 5 Powder-coated steel Karpalund table base (customized), IKEA, $80; custom cultured marble tabletop in Platinum Grey Agate, H&M Manufacturing, $450; supplies, The Home Depot, $132. 6 Cotton tea towel, HomeSense, $8 per 4-piece set. 7 Backless counter-height polished stainless steel Rochelle stool in Gold, Black Rooster Decor, $325. 8 Tarkett FiberFloor grey geo-metric vinyl sheet flooring, Lowe’s, $1.70 per sq. ft. 9 Raised foil-coated fibreboard Grimslöv cabinetry doors in Off-white,IKEA, $144. 10 Style Selections zinc arched pulls in Aged Brass, 4", Lowe’s, $5 each. 11 Stainless steel Catering Heritage kitchen scale in Black, Kitchen Stuff Plus, $40.
1 Waterstone contemporary pull-down single-lever 5400 faucet in Polished Brass, Roman Bath Centre, $1,859. 2 Copper-plated stainless steel measuring cups, Williams-Sonoma, $60 per 4-piece set. 3 Cut frosted glass Stamp pendant lights, EQ3, $200 each. 4 Signature Line stainless steel-lined brushed copper saucepan, 1.5 l, Falk, $255; frying pan, 1.7 l, Falk, $320. 5 Free-standing Carrara marble-topped hand-finished cast steel and aluminum French kitchen island, Crate and Barrel, $1,799. 6 Turkish cotton twill tea towel in Jojoba, Williams-Sonoma, $27 per 4-piece set. 7 Backless counter-height stainless steel Metallic stool in Polished Gold, Art Shoppe, $799. 8 White Oak marble Honeycomb Hexagon floor tiles, The Home Depot, $18 per sq. ft. 9 Bevelled lacquered fibreboard Bodbyn cabinetry doors in Off-white, IKEA, $311. 10 Contemporary 141 PULLS in Burnished Brass, 5", Richelieu Hardware, $46 each, through designers. 11 Vintage-style enamelled steel spring kitchen scale, Williams-Sonoma, $60.
Create extra storage with a stylish free-standing island! Find out how we created the budget-friendly customized version using an IKEA Karpalund table base here. LOW: Powder-coated steel Karpalund table base (customized), IKEA, $80; custom cultured marble tabletop in Platinum Grey Agate, H&M Manufacturing, $450; supplies, The Home Depot, $132. HIGH: Free-standing Carrara marble-topped hand-finished cast steel and aluminum French kitchen island, Crate and Barrel, $1,799.
Add some glitz and glamour to your kitchen with a stainless steel stool. LOW: Backless counter-height polished stainless steel Rochelle stool in Gold, Black Rooster Decor, $325. HIGH: Backless counter-height stainless steel Metallic stool in Polished Gold, Art Shoppe, $799.
Add pattern to your kitchen with two fabulous flooring options to suit any budget. LOW: Tarkett FiberFloor grey geo-metric vinyl sheet flooring, Lowe’s, $1.70 per sq. ft. HIGH: White Oak marble Honeycomb Hexagon floor tiles, The Home Depot, $18 per sq. ft.
Both of these pendant lights showcase classic understated elegance. From afar, the white glass shades are unassuming, lending interest with their sleek silhouettes, but up close, beautiful intricate textures are revealed. So what contributes to the lights’ tenfold price difference? While the Low pattern is imprinted on the surface in one fell swoop in a mould using the mouth-blowing method, each of the indents on the High is individually cut into the glass. LOW: Frosted mouth-blown glass Vanadin pendant lights, IKEA, $20. HIGH: Cut frosted glass Stamp pendant lights, EQ3, $200.
Glam up your kitchen with a warm metal faucet like one of these sleek single-lever goosenecks. LOW: Delta Trinsic pull-down single-lever faucet in Champagne Bronze, Roman Bath Centre, $535. HIGH: Waterstone contemporary pull-down single-lever 5400 faucet in Polished Brass, Roman Bath Centre, $1,859.
Glam up your kitchen with a warm metal faucet like one of these sleek single-lever goosenecks. Go for brass (polished, antiqued or matte), bronze or rose gold. 1 Waterworks Henry one-hole in Unlacquered Brass, Ginger’s, $3,365. 2 Waterstone pull-down 5400 in Polished Brass, Roman Bath Centre, $1,859. 3 LaSalle 8DLAL in Matt Antique Brass, The Rubinet Faucet Company, $699. 4 Delta Trinsic pull-down in Champagne Bronze, Roman Bath Centre, $535. 5 Pull-down Spaghetti in Rose Gold, Aquabrass, $650.
Before you update your kitchen cabinets make sure the design reflects the simplicity or complexity of your kitchen and go from there. LOW: Raised foil-coated fibreboard Grimslöv cabinetry doors in Off-white, IKEA, $144. HIGH: Bevelled lacquered fibreboard Bodbyn cabinetry doors in Off-white, IKEA, $311.
While seemingly a small accessory on the counter, this scale is a useful gadget for many cooking endeavours. LOW: Stainless steel Catering Heritage kitchen scale in Black, Kitchen Stuff Plus, $40. HIGH: Vintage-style enamelled steel spring kitchen scale, Williams-Sonoma, $60.
Searching for a stylish pot rail? Look no further than the curtain aisle: Drapery rods make apt stand-ins. Use clip rings for lighter items and S-hooks for heavier pieces.
Copper cookware is a hot commodity – and for good reason. In addition to its pretty shade, the metal delivers superior even results thanks to its high conductivity. However, not all copper cookware is created equal. Unless you’re buying a specialty item, such as a sugar pan, opt for pieces lined with a stable metal like stainless steel (copper can react with acidic and alkaline foods in a potentially harmful way). Look for hefty cookware, as thickness affects conductivity, with sturdy metal handles. LOW: Stainless steel-lined copper saucepan & frying pan, HomeSense, $40 each. HIGH: Signature Line stainless steel-lined brushed copper saucepan, 1.5 l, Falk, $255; frying pan, 1.7 l, Falk, $320.
An essential kitchen item doesn't need to be boring, or hidden! Find a metal or colourful version to fit your decor and put it on display. What a perfect way to show off your skills and keep your drawers a little more clutter-free. LOW: Copper-plated stainless steel Russet measuring cups, Anthropologie, $28 US per 4-piece set. HIGH: Copper-plated stainless steel measuring cups, Williams-Sonoma, $60 per 4-piece set.
Don't forget about your hardware! With so many styles to choose from you're sure to find something that fits your budget. LOW: Style Selections zinc arched pulls in Aged Brass, 4", Lowe’s, $5 each. HIGH: Contemporary 141 pulls in Burnished Brass, 5", Richelieu Hardware, $46 each, through designers.
Garlic, rapini and roasted squash pasta
Garlic, rapini and squash combine deliciously in this heart-healthy recipe.
Casarecce is a sort of twisted, scroll-shaped pasta. It and gemelli, which consists of short, intertwined strands of pasta, are perfect for thick dishes like this. Their nooks and crannies grab and hold sauce to give you more flavour in every bite.
1 Preheat the oven to 375°F. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chili and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture is fragrant and the garlic is lightly golden. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2 Place the squash on a baking sheet and cover with 1 tablespoon of the garlic-chili oil, tossing to coat. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the squash is tender and beginning to brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, cover with foil to keep warm and set aside.
3 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for 10 to 12 minutes or according to the package directions. During the last 2 minutes of cooking time, add the chopped rapini to the pot and cook along with the pasta. Drain the pasta and rapini together in a large colander and return both to the pot.
4 Stir the remaining garlic-chili oil, reserved roasted butternut squash and lime zest into the pasta. Break up the ricotta into chunks and carefully stir through the pasta mixture. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper and serve immediately.
Prep and cook time: 1 hour