Nov 18, 2008
Fresh and refined white and lilac living room.
Take a tour of this cozy family-friendly retreat bursting with farmhouse chic.
The pink front door complements the pretty scheme inside and makes the residence stand out.
Elements like the curvaceous loveseats, Scandi-style brass armchairs and salvaged wood coffee table lend the living room a casual yet refined aesthetic. A built-in bench gives a bay window purpose.
The second bay window, which looks out onto the lush front garden, creates an intimate sitting area in the living room. Chairs from the homeowners’ previous house were recovered in a sophisticated floral fabric.
The living room’s wall colour – white with a lilac undertone – was the jumping-off point for the home’s feminine scheme. “This white makes everything feel so fresh,” says designer Margie Doyle White.
For Margie, formerly a designer on W Network’s Take This House and Sell It, the tricks to injecting the space with character were keeping the layout intact and adding or updating architectural details; replacing the tired, dark kitchen with something timeless and white; and incorporating key elements to create an urban English farmhouse aesthetic.
A reclaimed wood trestle table surrounded by linen-covered chairs gives the dining room a laid-back vibe. A large-scale drum pendant light on a pulley anchors the table.
The built-in shelving unit lined with lilac grasscloth wallpaper provides character.
The kitchen’s high ceilings allowed for chunky crown moulding, and glass-fronted upper cabinets with an “X” detail add even more architectural interest. A backsplash of greyish taupe ceramic subway tiles offers a soft hit of colour in the all-white space.
In the kitchen, see-through elements like the stools keep the look bright and airy.
Homeowner Raewyn Fahlenbock with two-year-old daughter Olive.
The former garage, which was basically a windowless stucco box, was supplanted by a coach house-style structure. Its board-and-batten siding, shingled roof and shuttered windows now give the backyard a good dose of character. It also serves as a charming backdrop for the alfresco dining area.
A cedar deck and pergola define the outdoor sitting area and provide a shady spot to lounge in the backyard.
The lilac and pink plants throughout the backyard tie in with the home’s interior palette.
Create your dream bathroom with these simple design solutions.
Powder rooms, basement bathrooms, outdated ensuites... With design trends ever-changing, it can be difficult to find a home with your dream space. But breathe, there is still hope! With a few savvy design solutions, you can make your bath the sparkling haven you dream of.
Photography by Ashley Capp
1 Problem: My basement bathroom can get quite damp and I’m scared of water damage on the walls.
If you’re without a window in your below-ground bathroom, keep water damage at bay by installing a fan and tiling the walls from floor to ceiling.
Photography by Stacey Brandford
2 Problem: Our main floor powder room is teeny tiny and feels more like a closet.
Make that small space shine like a diamond with a few glam updates. Paper the walls in a fun pattern, go bold with artwork and add some shine with brass scones. It will feel less like a closet and more like stepping inside a jewelry box!
Photography by Donna Griffith
3 Problem: The faucets in our bathroom send out water full force, making my environmentally-conscious blood boil.
Put that water pressure on hold by changing out your current sink faucet with a spout faucet and trading in the showerhead for a spa-like rain shower.
Photography by Barry Calhoun
4 Problem: The master bathroom is pretty bare bones – as my haven at the end of a long day, it’s not very inspiring.
Give that master bath some love with a few touches of old Hollywood glam. Centre the room with a sparkly chandelier, pair a white ruffled shower curtain with vintage glass hooks and trade in your vanity mirror for a gold framed stunner.
Photography by Angus Fergusson
5 Problem: A soaker tub is an absolute must for me but my husband is more of a shower man – we just don’t have space for both!
Who says you can’t combine the best of both worlds? Enclose the soaker tub in a tiled space with a rain showerhead for a European style wet room.
Photography by Donna Griffith
6 Problem: There’s not a lot of surface space on the bathroom vanity – my skin and beauty products just make it seem cluttered.
Corral your favourite creams and beautiful perfume bottles on a vintage silver vanity tray and tuck the rest beneath the sink in organized baskets or clear containers.
Photography by Donna Griffith
7 Problem: I love the rich look of marble in the bathroom but need something to fit my budget.
You can still get the look of marble without the hefty price tag. For a magazine-worthy bathroom, cover your shower walls with porcelain marble-look tiles, a more affordable option available in slabs or subway tile.
Photography by Michael Graydon
8 Problem: My shower window looks directly into our neighbour’s house.
To keep your bathroom aglow with natural lighting whilst also maintaining privacy, frost the windows or change the panes out for textured glass.
Photography by Stacey Brandford
9 Problem: Our bathroom has entirely open shelving, but I don’t like to keep things like toilet paper and other toiletries on display.
Tuck the toilet paper and toiletries away in baskets, clearly labeling them so guests don’t need to go hunting for anything that needs replenishing.
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.
Enrich your space with this season's hottest colour trend for a beautiful, cozy fall home.
Embrace the best of fall decorating with this season’s hottest colour trend: caramel! It’s time to steer away from the typical rich reds and burnt oranges of autumn and indulge in this new neutral. While it still offers that deep, rich colour to warm up your space, it’s easier to incorporate into your current decor thanks to its neutral hue. So once summer fades, try layering your home with our favourite caramel picks of the season.
A soft, full-grain leather sofa from Ikea's classic Stockholm collection. Stockholm sofa in Seglora natural, ikea.ca, $2,199.
Credits: West Elm
Take your workspace to a whole new level of sophistication with a top-grain leather swivel chair. Slope Leather Office Chair, westelm.com, $399.
This mid-century inspired bench is beautifully crafted to work anywhere in your home, whether in your entryway, dining room, or at the foot of your bed. Reverie bench in Coachella Cognac, eq3.com, $949.
Credits: Design Within Reach
Designed by mid-century French modernist icon Jacques Adnet, this mininalist mirror is thoughtful in design, beautifully constructed with a hand-stitched full-grain aniline leather strap and outfitted in brass details. Adnet Round Mirror, dwr.com, $1,099 – $1,399.
Create instant impact with ease thanks to these rich, saddle brown leather fringe pillows. Leather Fringe Saddle Pillow (18”x12”), cb2.com, $199.
If fringe isn’t your style, try this decorative stitched pillow. Catmando Decorative Pillow (18”x18”), bouclair.com, $34.99