Feb 27, 2015
Inside design: The Good Wife set decorator Beth Kushnick
Inside design: The Good Wife set decorator Beth Kushnick
Inside design: The Good Wife set decorator Beth Kushnick
Tour this lovely cottage on Lake Simcoe!
A designer lends her expertise to help a couple resolve a colourful debate over the scheme for their family cottage.
"He wanted dark tones and a woodsy Aspen vibe. I wanted everything white with clean lines." The “he” referred to is the husband, the “I” speaking is the wife, and in terms of their decor preferences for this new-build 4,900-square-foot cottage overlooking Lake Simcoe in Innisfil, Ont., they were clearly at odds. But the Toronto-based couple, who has a seven-year-old daughter, a five-year-old son and a Samoyed puppy, did agree on one thing: The design had to be practical. And after many reassurances on the wife’s part that her vision could be inviting and relaxing, she says, “My husband eventually gave me free rein. I wanted a gorgeous unfussy space that was easy to maintain.”
To get the look, she turned to Lidia van Zyl, a designer based in Barrie, Ont., who’s well known for decorating waterfront properties in the area. “When I was hired in 2014, the cottage was in its planning stage,” says Lidia. “This allowed us to pore over the plans and confirm almost every detail before the walls went up.” The walls themselves played a crucial role in setting the tone for the space. “Honouring the husband’s preference for a traditional look, I incorporated shiplap into the mix,” says Lidia. The wooden boards, which were most often used in the construction of homes, were applied horizontally in the kitchen, powder room, foyer and master bedroom. “Shiplap, even when painted white, provides a rustic contrast to drywall and has an informal feel that really adds to the casual cottage vibe,” says the designer.
While the scheme may be all white, it’s anything but stark. “The key to decorating with white is to use different shades of it,” says Lidia. “If you look closely, you’ll see the walls are a crisp white, while the beams are coated with a warmer shade.” Wide-plank pale hickory flooring completes the airy backdrop, which Lidia chose to punctuate with bold hits of black. “I love contrast, so I added black accessories to almost every room,” she says. Lidia extended this theme to the furniture as well and, with the kids and puppy in mind, paid specific attention to practicality. “The grey sofas in the living room are covered with indoor-outdoor fabric, so they’re stain resistant and easy to clean,” she says. “And some of the pieces, such as the living room coffee table and foyer console, are crafted from steel, so they’re pretty much damage-proof.” She also introduced a few well-placed antiques throughout the cottage to create interesting tension between old and new.
The 18-month process of building and decorating netted a year-round family retreat that Lidia describes as “refined but rustic.” And even though the wife had total control, she did make an effort to include her husband – sort of. She says: “He really wanted dark floors, but even he conceded the light ones looked better. So I let him think he helped with that decision in a roundabout way. Now we’re all happy!”
Accessories like the rope-hung mirrors and the lantern-style pendant lights make this practical space feel decorated. “I don’t like to take risks when decorating,” says one of the homeowners, “but I did want to mix things up in the kitchen so it didn’t read as plain.”
Designer Lidia van Zyl played the natural tones of wood and stone against sleek black accents to create character in the living room. The tall armoire holds things like games, books and blankets, while the bare floor, a practical option, is easy to clean. A trio of metal sculptures above the reclaimed wood mantel is a departure from the expected mirror or artwork.
In the foyer, the staircase’s natural wood handrail and treads were a purposeful choice. “If we had painted them black, it would have drawn the eye up the stairs as opposed to straight through the cottage to the lake,” says Lidia.
A mix of neutral tones creates subtle depth in the dining area. “The table and chairs appear white at first glance, but they’re actually a soft shade of grey,” says Lidia. the chandelier, painted white to downplay its ornate shape, illuminates everything from meals to crafts.
“This cottage always makes me smile,” says one of the homeowners. “It’s an amazing feeling to open the front door to beautiful surroundings.” the stone skirting – a concession to the aspen look the husband wanted – ties in nicely with the herringbone brick walkway.
The artful arrangement of dark-hued antiques in an all-white area of the living room makes a graphic statement. the antlers are a family heirloom.
“I love a white kitchen because I don’t like distractions when I’m cooking,” says one of the homeowners, “and I can also see what needs to be cleaned.” low-maintenance Caesarstone countertops and a glossy tiled backsplash on the range wall make cleanup even easier. the massive island is outfitted with cupboards that hold cottage necessities, such as candles, batteries and a tool kit.
While the silhouette of the chandelier in the master bedroom is traditional, its wooden beads give it an earthy appeal that suits a cottage. the wicker basket, sisal rug and rustic artwork (it’s made of wood and says “I Love Us”) echo that earthiness, which is tempered by the black furniture.
Hooks and baskets are enough to keep the mud room in order since the basement has ample storage. The built-in bench always comes in handy.
Like the rest of the cottage, the powder room is energized with hits of black. “I love the graphic mosaic-look floor here,” says Lidia. “It’s actually 24-by-24-inch tiles, and they have just the right amount of pattern for a small space.” Vintage racquets used as informal artwork perfectly fit the laid- back vibe of this family retreat.
Take your bathroom from drab to fab with these easy decorating ideas!
Bathroom and kitchen renovations are known to give homeowners the biggest returns on their investment when they sell. But whether you’re doing a big renovation or just looking for ways to update your current bathroom and whether you intend to sell or not, these ideas for beautifying your bathroom will pay big returns in your overall satisfaction with your home. And you don’t have to have a $50,000 budget to do it. These affordable upgrades will add some serious style to your home without breaking the bank!
Renewal Divinity Small Mirror
What a difference something as simple as a mirror can make. The right one can transform the look of your bathroom and give it an updated, more stylish feel in an instant. The frame is made from hammered aluminum combined with beveled glass and can be hung vertically or horizontally, depending on your preference and the shape of the space you’re working in. Renewal Divinity Small Mirror, Wayfair, $380.46.
Flush Mount Bathroom Lighting Fixture
When renovating, it’s important to consider your lighting options for the type of space you have. So before you head to the lighting store, figure out whether it’d be best to go with flush mount, track lighting or sconces. No matter what you choose, illuminate your bathroom with a stunning light fixture that ties your bathroom’s whole look together and adds an appealing amount of sparkle and shine! Boasting a shiny chrome finish and a laser-cut inspired design on the lamp shade, this flush mounted lighting fixture will bring effortless elegance to your bathroom and is a simple way to take the look of the entire space from drab to fab! Flush Mount Bathroom Lighting Fixture, Multi Luminaire, $349.
Aroura Tile White and Gold Wallpaper
If you’ve always loved the look of wallpaper but have shied away from using it in the bathroom, it’s time to reconsider. Wallpaper has come a long way and today, there are lots of options on the market, many of which are suitable for moisture-rich environments. This gorgeous wallpaper has a mosaic pattern that mimics the look of tile and has a washable finish for easy clean-up. Aroura Tile White and Gold Wallpaper, Graham & Brown, $50/roll.
Metro Basket Weave White and Cobalt Porcelain Mosaic Tile
Flip through the pages of your favourite design magazine and you’re sure to see plenty of bathrooms boasting this contrasting basket weave tile to dramatic effect. Get the look for yourself with these tiles – but may we suggest opting for the white and cobalt colour combo as a subtle alternative to black and white? The rich cobalt will add a decidedly chic and unexpected look to your bathroom. Metro Basket Weave White and Cobalt Porcelain Mosaic Tile, Home Depot, $7.98 each.
Gleaming Brass Bath Collection
Upping the style quotient in your bathroom doesn’t get any easier than this! Swap out your existing vanity vessels for these truly chic options. The full set includes a soap dispenser, tumbler and tray, all in a beautiful brass finish. Gleaming Brass Bath Collection, Anthropologie, $22-$36.
Dot Medallion Shower Curtain
Looking for a quick and easy bathroom update that won’t break the bank? How about a new shower curtain? This 100% cotton curtain is made in India and features a modern medallion motif in a soothing colour palette of watercolour inspired shades of blue and grey. With this one simple addition to your bathroom, you’ll add an air of tranquility that will turn your bathroom into the oasis you always dreamed of. Dot Medallion Shower Curtain, West Elm, $29.99.
Easy tips for findingi the perfect rug for your home
Style at Home design editor Stacy Begg explains how to track down the perfect rug.
Finding the right rug can be overwhelming. To help, Style at Home design editor Stacy Begg provides some key information for narrowing down your search and scoring the perfect one.
Rug benefits 1 Defines a space 2 Enhances your decor by introducing colour, pattern and texture that coordinate with the rest of the furnishings 3 Softens hard surfaces and provides warmth underfoot Best for high-traffic areas: Wool, cotton, grasses, synthetics Best for low-traffice areas: Silk, chenille Tip: A flat-woven natural-fibre rug is the perfect base to layer a slightly smaller patterned or textured rug on top.
Consider your space's use and traffic level to determine the optimal rug material. Here are some options. Wool Pros: Durable; soft; repels water and stains Cons: Fades; absorbs humidity; sheds for a period of time Best for: Living rooms, dining rooms Silk Pros: Luxurious surface; offers subtle sheen Cons: Expensive; sensitive to moisture; less sturdy than wool Best for: Bedrooms Cotton Pros: Strong; easy to clean; affordable; versatile Cons: Doesn’t wear well over long periods Best for: Kitchens, kids’ rooms, casual spaces Grasses Pros: Very strong; affordable; neutral Cons: Can be coarse to the touch; difficult to clean Best for: Living rooms, hallways, sunrooms Animal skins Pros: Long lasting; soft; available in many designs Cons: Not good for damp or humid areas Best for: Living rooms, offices, dens How is cost determined? "Simply put, labour (time) + materials + experience (who made it) determines quality and, ultimately, the price of a rug." -Jamie Metrick, rug buyer, Elte
Some designers like to have all the furniture sitting within the outer perimeter of the rug, while others place only the front legs on the rug – it’s really a matter of preference.
The table and chairs should all rest on the rug, with about 24 inches extending beyond the table so there’s plenty of space to accommodate chairs when they’re pushed back.
It’s most common to have the rug cover the bottom two-thirds of the bed; you want to ensure you’re stepping onto the rug when you’re getting up in the morning.
IKEA’s neutral jute rug goes with just about any setting, making it a go-to for designers and decor enthusiasts alike. Its renewable natural material, beautiful knotty texture and earthy warm tones make it a durable, low-maintenance option that also feels great underfoot. But the best part about this rug is that it’s extremely affordable. Tip: If a standard-sized rug isn't working for the dimensions of your space, have one custom made.
1 Dream collection bamboo silk DRm7B rug in light Grey & Dark Grey, Imperial Carpet & Home, from $2,399. 2 Antique Finish collection silk amal-6 rug, 9' x 12', Elte, $12,695. 3 Wool anadol Vintage rug, 4' x 9', eCarpetGallery, $320. 4 Jute ticking rug in Indigo, Dash & Albert Rug Company, from $105 US. 5 Viscose and chenille calvin rug, 5' x 7', Urban Barn, $329. 6 Wool and cotton Reverb rug in Blue-green, CB2, from $349. 7 Wool anja rug, Pottery Barn, from $249 US.
Decorate for Halloween with these stylishly spooky decor accessories.
Boo! It’s that time of year again! Halloween is lurking just around the corner and if you love this haunted holiday, now’s the time to get some inspiration for adding a spooky look to your home. But forget tired and tacky … we’ve rounded up Halloween decorating ideas that are chic and stylish. Each one will help you add the spirit of the season to your home in an effortlessly elegant way.
1 Pumpkin and Ornament Garland
Garlands are traditionally a Christmas decoration but this Halloween-inspired garland is an easy and elegant way to bring the spirit of the season into your home. The jet-black garland is accented with shiny glass balls, faux orange pumpkins and shimmery curls of ribbon that come together to make a dramatic decorative statement! Pumpkin and Ornament Garland, Pier 1, $39.96.
2 Black Glitter Light-Up Tree
Another twist on a classic Christmas decoration, this bare tree features black glitter and safety candles that twinkle in the night and will add a spooky atmosphere to any room in your home. Cluster two or three trees together for a more dramatic effect and consider using them as a centerpiece on your table when you have guests visiting throughout the month of October. Black Glitter Light-Up Tree, Pottery Barn Kids, $47.
3 Matte Black Pumpkin
Pumpkins are a sure sign of Halloween, but in this beautiful black painted finish and with their gold foil stems, they take on an eerie effect that’s quite striking. Made from Styrofoam and plastic, they’re light and easy to move from indoors to outdoors and make a great addition to your seasonal decor. Matte Black Pumpkin, Pottery Barn, $39.50.
4 Creepy Crawly Polyester Window Treatment Collection
This fine-gauge lace window treatment adds the appearance of a large spider’s web to your window, adding just a hint of a haunted Halloween to your house! Easy to hang and subtle in its style, this is the perfect Halloween decoration for anyone who prefers to keep things a little more subtle. Creepy Crawly Polyester Window Treatment Collection, Wayfair, $39.99.
5 Falling Leaves Small Pumpkin
What’s black and white and chic all over? These gorgeous embellished pumpkins, that’s what! Made by Mackenzie-Childs, designers who revel in creating decorative items that feature traditions with a twist, these painted resin pumpkins will be the star of your Halloween décor, year after year. Fall Leaves Small Pumpkin, Horchow, $54.
6 BOO Outdoor LED Sign
Let trick or treaters know you mean business the moment they approach your front door. This pre-lit orange LED sign comes with hanging hooks and a removable kickstand to help make set up simple. Perfect for indoor or outdoor use, this sign will add a playful touch to your Halloween home. BOO Outdoor LED Sign, Balsam Hill, $49.
7 Black Branch Wreath
Gnarled bare black branches twist together to create this exceedingly creepy Halloween wreath, perfect for your front door or hung over a mantel. Black Branch Wreath, Crate & Barrel, $69.95.
8 Mr. Skeleton Figure
Granted, this skeleton is pretty creepy, especially if encountered in the dark. But it can also be a hilarious homage to Halloween when placed in amusing positions around the house. If your style is more funny than frightful, this might be the perfect decoration to add to your Halloween repertoire! Mr. Skeleton Figure, Urban Outfitters, $60.
lead image by Pier 1 imports