P&L 507 Queen Street West Toronto, ONWill you try a P&L burger?
P&L 507 Queen Street West Toronto, ONWill you try a P&L burger?
Take a peek inside this renovated schoolhouse.
What better place to spend the winter than in an old schoolhouse in an idyllic rural setting?
Growing up in Toronto and then living in Vancouver for 21 years, Janet Appleton, owner of The Dog Tack Shop, was a devoted city girl with a low-maintenance condo as her dwelling of choice. Then one fateful date, she happened upon a real-estate listing for a converted heritage schoolhouse on eight acres in Schomberg, Ont. "I saw it online and fell completely in love," she confesses. "It was all purple inside with shag carpeting everywhere. Everyone tried to talk me out of it, but I had a vision."
Moving back to Ontario meant being closer to family and many of the craftspeople she works with for her business. So in a lifestyle-changing move, she bought the place, taking possession of the property more than three years ago with her two boxers, Marco and Benny, in tow.
Nestled into eight acres of bucolic countryside, the Old Deacon Schoolhouse is a well-preserved example of a typical rural Ontario schoolhouse.
Although the schoolhouse isn't designated a heritage building, Janet was determined to design the interior with an environmentally aware decor approach that respected its history.
Janet with her two boxers, Marco and Benny, on the steps of the schoolhouse. Many bricks on the home's exterior have children's initials etched into them.
A few boughs of natural greenery adorn the entryway door. Homeowner Janet Appleton has no idea what the numbers at the entrance might have meant but she and her guests love to speculate.
An iron staircase salvaged from Toronto's first telegram building leads to the loft. Janet ripped shag carpeting off its treads to reveal the maker's mark from St.Lawrence Foundry.
Antique books include her great-grandfather's bible and her great-grandmother's hymnal. The bench, marked 1954, was a gift from her grandfather to her mother.
In the main living room, the doors flanking the fireplace mantel are the original boys' and girls' entrances to the school. Stained-glass windows were added in a previous renovation. Janet's mother, Judith, lovingly helped source many of the home's furnishings, including the dark grey Louis-style armchair.
The harvest table in the dining area was one of the many pieces left behind by the previous owners that Janet was able to incorporate into the new design. Huge barn beams were left intact and exposed to lend warmth to the predominantly white interior.
During the winter, Janet decorates with a light touch, utilizing the natural materials found in abundance on her property.
Image: Stacey Brandford / Styling: Christine Hanlon
Nest maker, know thyself. Here’s how one designer used self-reflection and simplicity to do up her Toronto Victorian.
“There are thousands of inspiring ideas out there,” says designer Melanie Hay, referring to the wellspring of online home decor images, blogs and shops. “You can literally research for months. But in the end, the best design is born of self-discovery. The more you understand who you are and how you live, the better the odds that the rooms you create will be rooms that you love.”
Melanie should know. When she and her husband, Andrew, an entrepreneur, purchased a tall, narrow Victorian in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood about four years ago, they were two people without a plan – but with about 3,000 square feet of empty space. Needless to say, to a designer like Melanie, this blank canvas meant instant inspiration overload. “My mind was swimming with decorating schemes,” she recalls. “Deep down, though, I knew Andrew and I are nesters, and when we walked in the door, we would want to come home to a space that echoes our life stories.” This is where her approach to decorating the house started.
But it was not as easy as it sounds. “From the beginning, I had to acknowledge that Andrew and I don’t share the same taste,” she says. Melanie loves white; Andrew prefers dark wood. Something had to give. The house already had the towering black doors and high-gloss black banister they both liked, so the couple let these details inspire the look. “Plus, we already owned a black and white rug, a round table with a dark top and a black leather Eames chair, so why not use them?” adds Melanie. Red- and peach-painted walls were redone in shades of light and shadow. Such was the start of what is now the home’s signature black and white colour scheme.
And a little self-reflection went a long way when it came to deciding what to hang on the walls. “Although we appreciate fine art, personal mementoes that connect us to our families matter more,” says Melanie. This realization became the inspiration for the dining room gallery wall. Gathering a few favourite prints, posters and paintings, the designer created a dynamic visual mash-up. The result is a sophisticated yet personal design element. One added bonus? It was totally budget-friendly. “I paired gold-framed heirloom pieces with newer prints in inexpensive white frames to unite the random collection,” explains Melanie. And since not many are forever pieces, she adds or subtracts on a whim. “There are a lot of nail holes in that wall!” she says with a laugh.
In many ways, this ever-evolving approach is a reflection of Melanie’s creativity. “Unlike the homes I design for clients, which are done in one sweep, my house changes constantly. I’ve become incredibly good at moving furniture, which must drive Andrew crazy. This house will never be truly finished,” she says. “And if it ever is, I’ll probably just start over!”
Homeowner and designer Melanie Hay paired her husband’s steel-topped dining table with chairs she bought on Craigslist. “I’ve reupholstered the seats two times already,” she says. Right now, they bear a sophisticated charcoal linen that accentuates the dark walls and striped rug.
“It’s been a bedside table, an end table and a catch- all,” says Melanie of the bar cart she purchased years ago. “Finally, it’s a bar!” The cart is low, however, and the home’s ceilings are very high. To draw the eye upward, she added a painting and a wall-mounted metal stag bust above it.
Melanie scoured big-box stores for large-scale artwork to act as stand-ins for the forever pieces that will eventually accent her living room. That way, she doesn’t have to live with blank walls while she searches for the perfect investments.
The house was built in the early 1900s, but its contemporary fireplace mantel and furnishings achieve an eclectic mix that feels right at home in the space. “If you can’t afford to do a house all at once,” advises Melanie, “then do one room at a time. That way you can afford to invest in key pieces.”
“Decorating one room completely and then carrying that look to the next allows you to really establish a cohesive aesthetic throughout the house,” says Melanie, who started with the living room and finished with the master bedroom, which echoes the rest of the home’s light-meets-dark and modern-meets-traditional themes.
Hosting a New Year's Eve party is easy when you have these essentials! Image by: West Elm
If you’re playing host this New Year’s Eve, add a fun and festive touch to your party with these essentials.
It’s always hard to believe when a new year rolls around; does time fly or what? As we prepare to kiss 2016 goodbye and look forward to 2017, gather friends and family close to reminisce about the good times you’ve had and to welcome all that the coming year will bring. If you're planning to host this year's New Year's Eve party, we've put together some fun and festive essentials that will help make your celebration a success!
1 Gold Letter Party Balloons: No party is complete without balloons but these gold letter party balloons are a bit more grown up than the balloons of children’s parties! Use them to spell out ‘Happy New Year’ to add a dash of flair to your smashing soiree. Gold Letter Party Balloons, Urban Outfitters, $6.
2 Terrace Bar Cart: Fitted with four wheels, this bar cart is ready to move where the party goes! Featuring clean, simple lines, it’s the perfect portable cocktail station. Set it up with your favourite wines, spirits and glassware and your bar cart will turn out to be the star of the party! Terrace Bar Cart, West Elm, $349.
3 DIY New Year’s Party Hats: We love party hats but let’s be honest: Many of the ones you find at party stores are pretty tacky. So why not make your own? Amy Kim of the blog Homey Oh My provides the instructions for making these adorable, oh-so-chic New Year’s Eve hats that are bound to put you into the party spirit! Find instructions for these DIY New Year’s party hats here.
4 Harrison Cocktail Shaker: Look like a real professional when you mix drinks using this elegant cocktail shaker. It’s got a tight-fitting lid and a narrow base to make it easy and comfortable to use. And because of its ergonomics, it’s virtually spill-proof so you can toss and shake worry-free! Harrison Cocktail Shaker, Pottery Barn, $31.50.
5 Verve Martini Glass: Traditional martini glasses, while beautiful, often feel very delicate with those long, slender stems. This modern take on the classic glass shape adds a solid weight to the glass, making it easier to handle. The stem features bubbles in the glass, which add a playful touch. Verve Martini Glass, Crate and Barrel, $12.95.
6 B&O BeoPlay Portable Bluetooth Speaker: To keep the party alive, you’ll need to pump some good tunes and if all your music is stored on your phone, you’ll need a good speaker, too. This Bang & Olufsen speaker delivers not only superior sound quality, but a gorgeously designed device that’s as much for display as it is for practical use. B&O BeoPlay Portable Bluetooth Speaker, Apple, $499.95.
7 Square Appetizer Plates: These square appetizer plates are a stylish addition to your party. Perfect for all those finger foods you’re serving! Plus, in white and gold, they easily complement any decor or tabletop theme. Square Appetizer Plates, Pier 1, $3.96.
8 Pink, Blush and Gold Tassel Garland: Add a really festive touch to your New Year’s celebration with this tassel garland. Handmade with tissue paper, this garland measures five feet and has 17 tassels. It’s an easy way to add a touch of glamour to your party decor! Pink, Blush and Gold Tassel Garland, Blush Bazaar on Etsy, $20.
Give this healthy soup full of delicious greens a try.
A simple and delicious soup recipe that combines good-for-you greens and grains.
This soup is open to all kinds of experimentation. Try adding 2 cups or one 14- to 15-oz can beans, such as cannellini beans, chickpeas or romano beans, with the cooked grains. Or drop a Parmesan rind into the broth while the greens simmer and garnish with more freshly grated cheese. You can also use chopped onion, chopped celery and chopped carrot with or in place of the greens’ stems.
1 Place the grains and salt in a medium pot and cover generously with water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the grains are tender to the bite (from 15 minutes for quinoa to up to 60 minutes for rye kernels). Drain and set aside.
2 If using greens with thick stems like chard or kale cut the stems from the leaves. Trim the stems and finely chop them, then cut the leaves into thin ribbons; keep the stems and leaves separate. If using greens without thick stems, chop the leaves into ribbons or bite-sized pieces.
3 Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the stems (if using) and cook, stirring frequently, until they’re soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the chicken broth and cooked grains and bring just to a boil.
4 Add the greens, stir to combine and cook until wilted and tender, just 1 to 2 minutes for spinach, 5 minutes for chard and up to 10 minutes for kale. Season with salt and serve warm with a grind or two of pepper.
Serves: 4 to 5