DIY project: Stylish storage cabinet
Turn a large landscape print into a pleasing collection of smaller prints.
Style at Home managing editor and resident crafter Catherine Therrien shows you how to create an easy yet stylish gallery wall.
• Landscape print
• Picture frames
• Spray paint
• Cutting mat
• X-acto knife
• Masking tape
• Picture-hanging hardware
1 Find an oversized print of a landscape scene in a monochromatic colour scheme.
2 Collect frames of different sizes (for a 58" x 38" print, I used 10 frames).
3 Prep the frames by removing any existing artwork, glass, staples, wiring, etc. Spray-paint the frames in a single colour that complements the print. Let completely dry.
4 Place the print on a flat surface and lay the frames over it. Play around with the placement of the frames, making sure to capture the most important segments of the print.
5 Once you’re pleased with the arrangement, take a pencil and trace around the inside of each frame. Remove the frames.
6 Slide a cutting mat under one of the traced segments. Using a ruler and an X-acto knife, cut out the image. Repeat.
7 Take each cut-out image and place it in its corresponding frame. Secure all four edges of each print to the frame using masking tape.
8 Attach picture-hanging hardware to the top of each frame.
9 Anchor the frames to the wall in roughly the same sequence as the original print. Start with the centre frames and then slowly work the other pieces around them.
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.”
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.