Can you tell which is the high and which is the low?
Can you tell which is the high and which is the low?
We designed a casual-chic dining area on two different budgets. Can you tell the rooms apart?
We designed a casual-chic dining room on budgets befitting a diner and a five-star restaurant. Can you tell the difference?
1 Canvas brushed brass 5-light Harlowe chandelier, Canadian Tire, $220.
2 Round mirror with gold-painted metal frame, HomeSense, $70.
3 Antique painted pine Windsor-style dining chair, Elle & Eve, $125.
4 Square lacquered plastic tray in Aqua, Bouclair, $20.
5 Vintage hickory dresser with cultured marble top, Carrocel, $2,195.
6 Polyamide Docksta dining table with painted fibreboard top, 41", IKEA, $269.
7 Lacquered rubberwood Lyla dining chair in Black, EQ3, $249.
8 Seagrass and polyester Sinnerlig rug with jute edging, 7' x 10', IKEA, $89.
9 Lacquered stained beech Norraryd dining chair, IKEA, $99.
10 Blown glass Monroe vases in White, Pottery Barn, $70 US ($40 US extra large, and $30 US medium).
1 Brass 6-light geometric frame chandelier with tapered arms, Union Lighting and Furnishings, $2,670.
2 Round mirror with picture-style polished stainless steel frame in Gold, Union Lighting and Furnishings, $1,650.
3 Black-painted pine and ash Windsor-style dining chair, Sharon O'Dowd, $545.
4 Square painted pine Zuma tray in Aqua Sky, Crate and Barrel, $47.
5 Antique walnut dresser with Carrara marble top, Carrocel, $4,500.
6 Round powder-coated aluminum Beauty dining table with marble top 48", Casalife, $2,198.
7 Oil-finished white oak Edwin dining chair in Black, Coolican & Company, $845.
8 Hand-woven jute Popcorn rug in Natural, 6' x 9', Pier 1 Imports, $260.
9 Stained beech Ironica dining chair in Black, Ton, $167.
10 Milk glass vases, Peaks & Rafters, $75 (large) and $50 (medium)
BOTH HIGH & LOW: Behr Marquee Quiet on the Set MQ3-04 wall paint, and Gulf Waters MQ4-52 accent wall & door paint, The Home Depot; Black bentwood dining chair, Design Within Reach; Plates (on dresser), Speck and Stone.
Our High and Low room sets have a uniform yet collected feel thanks to the mismatched monochromatic dining chairs. The true hero, however, is the table, a timeless Saarinen-inspired piece in unassuming white, which makes it easy to play with the seating combinations to create your preferred aesthetic. For instance, using a single style of chair in contrasting hues imparts a playful vibe, repeating one shape in one colour results in a formal look and picking diverse silhouettes in varied finishes lends an eclectic feel. The possibilities are endless!
Playful: Era armed bentwood beech in White, Red and Turquoise, Design Within Reach, $363 each.
Formal: Black-painted pine and ash Windsor-style, Sharon O’Dowd, $545 each.
Looking to beef up your dining room’s storage capacity? Forgo the typical hutch or sideboard and opt for a show-stopping antique dresser. Built in the louis XVI style, our high option, made of solid walnut, features a marble top and brass hardware. more than just a looker, the practical piece boasts deep wide drawers ideal for storing everything from platters and flatware to placemats and napkins.
Even the most casual dining space can use a little bit of sparkle, and our high and low brass-finished chandeliers deliver just that. Their linear silhouettes are quite popular, so the look is easy to achieve on any budget.
1 Brass 6-light geometric frame with tapered arms, Union Lighting and Furnishings, $2,670.
2 Kichler brass 8-light Erzo in Natural Brass, Wayfair.ca, $1,008.
3 Robert Abbey steel 8-light Delany in Antique Brass Finish, Universal Lamp, $965.
4 Canvas brushed brass 5-light Harlowe, Canadian Tire, $220.
For a graphic element, we colour-blocked the door by painting its trim and the wall directly above it teal, but just about any blue will suit this laid-back neutral space – so go ahead and experiment!
1 Bluenose P2116-03, Para Paints.
2 Baffin Island Grey 6161-52, Sico Paint.
3 Olympic Paints Crescendo D54-3, Lowe's.
Contemporary clean lines gives this bathroom its timeless look and spa-like feel.
Contemporary clean lines gives this bathroom its timeless look and spa-like feel.
A soothing palette gives this master bathroom its spa-like feel.
"Balance" was the operative word when Sophie Burke and Jennifer Millar created the master bathroom in this new-build Vancouver house. The homeowners wanted the space to emulate an airy retreat – something spa-like but not too fussy. So the designers injected the room with traditional character and contemporary clean lines – a timeless combination showcased throughout the home, which the duo designed as well. They also incorporated equal amounts of sleek and textural elements and functional and decorative features for an interesting yet well-balanced result.
The vanity’s open shelves and extra counter space provide spots to place decorative items and bath-time essentials.
The free-standing bathtub is a sculptural, contemporary element. “It’s large enough to relax and bathe in, but it’s not so big that it overwhelms the space,” says one of the homeowners. The simple linen café curtains offer privacy while keeping the tops of the windows uncovered, allowing for pretty treetop views.
Steel-framed mirrors and simple sconces, which are actually picture lights, inject a retro-industrial vibe.
In lieu of the usual two sinks, designers Sophie Burke and Jennifer Millar used one oversized basin with two wall-mounted faucets. “The sink is shallow enough so that the top drawers of the vanity actually open,” says one of the homeowners. Wainscotting, created out of ceramic subway tiles that continue from the shower, offers texture and character. “We used dark grout and added a chair rail detail throughout, which contribute to the space’s vintage look.”
Forgoing a curb in the glass-enclosed shower, made possible by sloping the floor toward the drain, creates a streamlined feel. “We were able to do that because the house is a new construction,” says Sophie. This application also lets the herringbone marble-tiled floor run right through without being interrupted. “It’s a really nice detail,” she adds.
Can you tell which country-chic console is the high and which is the low?
Can you tell which country-chic console is the high and which is the low?Credits: Michael Nangreaves; produced by Stacy Begg & Morgan Lindsay
We designed a country-chic living room console and styled it to match on budgets behooving both a cart horse and a thoroughbred. Can you tell the difference?
1 A-Street Prints Reclaimed White Washed Boards wallpaper in Cream, Brewster Home Fashions, $320 ($160 per double roll).
2 What Lies Ahead print on standard paper with White Premium Wood frame, 44" x 44", Minted, $468 US.
3 Acrylic and metal Column table lamp with cotton shade in Polished Nickel, West Elm, $239.
4 Hans Wegner oil-finished oak and hand-woven paper cord Wishbone side chair, Design Within Reach, $1,315.
6 Jute, leather and cotton Shiva rug, 5' x 8', Urban Barn, $249.
7 Trees in the Morning 2 artwork by Masood Omer (22" x 28"), Art Interiors, $700.
8 Vintage ceramic ginger jar, Cynthia Findlay Antiques, $1,200 (per pair).
9 Vintage ceramic bowl, Cynthia Findlay Antiques, $195.
10 Antique ceramic lidded jar, Cynthia Findlay Antiques, $195.
1 Whitewood eastern white pine click floor boards (10' x 6" x 1") The Home Depot, $174 ($10.20 Per board)
2 Framed horse print (40" x 40"), HomeSense, $299.
3 Canvas studded glass and brushed steel Sonia table lamp with polyester blend shade, Canadian Tire, $130.
4 Beech and paper cord Denmark side chair in Beige, Structube, $239.
6 Hand-loomed hemp and suede Overbrook rug in Natural (5' x 8'), EQ3, $150.
7 Kingston 14 artwork by Ian Varney (16" x 20"), Canvas Gallery, $550.
8 Vintage ceramic ginger jar, Cynthia Findlay Antiques, $595 (per pair).
9 Vintage ceramic bowl, Cynthia Findlay Antiques, $65.
10 Vintage ceramic lidded jar, Cynthia Findlay Antiques, $15.
Got an über-practical yet plain-Jane storage unit? Dress it up with a custom skirt. The stylish traditional element will add formal flair to the room while concealing the unit’s contents (we’ve stocked ours with liquors and glassware to create an ersatz bar, but you can stash just about anything in yours). A glass top will finish the look and protect the fabric. In addition to a centre pleated slit, the High console skirt features an elegant pleat at either corner for a fun decorative touch.
With sophisticated transparent bases and chic cream-toned fabric shades, these classic cylindrical table lamps will suit any room. All that’s left to match is your budget.
1 Aerin crystal Lineham with linen shade in Polished Nickel, Cocoon Furnishings, $1,088.
2 Glass and aluminum French Column with linen shade in Polished Nickel, Restoration Hardware, $375 US.
3 L2 Lighting glass and chrome-plated steel Chloe with linen shade, Lowe's, $245.
4 Canvas studded glass and brushed steel Sonia with polyester blend shade, Canadian Tire, $130.
Blue and white ginger jars have held their position among decor royalty for centuries – impressive, considering their blue-collar roots. So named for their function of housing ginger and other spices in ancient China, the vessels have transcended utilitarianism and – more often than not – get to, well, sit there and look pretty. We love the casual look created by mixing the jars with an array of matching two-tone chinoiserie ceramics, such as an antique lidded jar, a vintage bowl and more recently produced plates and teacups (these are by time-honoured manufacturer Royal Copenhagen).
Get ready to be floored: While our High tongue-and-groove wall treatment is fully faux (we bet the wood panel-look wallpaper had you fooled), the Low wall is clad in white-painted floorboards. Both options are simple DIYs that bear the country-chic aesthetic of shiplap panelling. Floorboards are easy to install on a wall, as long as you know how to handle a hand drill and have some help balancing on a ladder.
Not every piece that suits our High or Low room sets makes the cut. This month, stylists Morgan Lindsay and Stacy Begg came across this sleek hurricane candle sconce just a little too late. “The product’s brass finish would have glammed up the rustic, time-worn look a bit,” says Morgan.
10 things that are making your home ugly and how to fix them
We've gathered 10 great tips to elevate your space from dowdy to dreamy.
When it comes to our personal appearance, we usually know what’s making us – we won’t say ugly – a little less confident than usual, and we know the fix. A ragged nail means it’s time to dig out the file and clippers. Chipped polish means it’s time to freshen up that manicure. Unruly hair calls for a visit to the hairstylist or barbershop. And so it goes.
But in our homes we can sometimes forget the little things that make a big, stylish impression. Ironically, it’s quite often small, changeable things that can make a big impact and elevate a room from dowdy to dreamy.
We’ve seen dated (and we mean seriously dated) apartment rentals go glam with the addition of the right paint, sofa and accessories. We’ve seen boring boxy bedrooms come to life with a beautiful DIY headboard and fresh new bedding. We’ve seen entrances go from messy to marvellous. It can be done, but you’ve got to be ruthless in tackling the ugly with elbow grease and a little ingenuity to make way for fresh, clean style.
Shoes all over the floor, torn-open mail (utility bills, of course) strewn about, keys and random bits and bobs like lost buttons, and empty gadget boxes on your entryway console are just plain ugly. The fix: The entryway is supposed to be a welcome and tidy place, which is good news. All you really need to do above all else is tidy things up, which doesn’t take that long. It also doesn’t cost anything to neatly line up shoes, recycle boxes and envelopes, and give a console and entryway a dusting. A clean entryway with everything in its place is a must.
Chances are your bedroom walls are in pretty good nick, they are typically low-traffic areas and the paint can stay impeccable for years. But in the living room and dining room and particularly the kitchen, that is not usually the case. If you think walls with dirty streaks or scratches from chairs don’t look that bad, think again. They’re really taking your home’s looks down a notch. Walls also include light switch covers, and nothing is uglier than visible dirt around them. The fix: For a little bit of dirt or grime or even oil, sometimes a good cleaning is all that’s needed. Many paints can stand up to being washed with cleaners, but you can check with a paint store or you can spot test before you try cleaning it up. If the dirt, marks and gouges are everywhere, there’s no getting around it, it’s time for a paint job. Fresh paint makes a vintage-inspired home look fresh and new.
Isn’t it funny how just about anything you bake or roast smells great, from cakes to vegetables, whereas anything you fry, even if it’s as yummy as donuts, smells pretty terrible? And let’s not even get into pet odours. Unwanted smells get into your upholstery, from drapes to sofas to rugs, and the worst part is sometimes you get used to them so you can’t even detect them. Ask a family member or a very honest friend to give you his or her unvarnished opinion on what they smell at your home. The fix: If you’ve got lingering food, pet or just stale smells going on in your home, you’ve got a few fixes available. More often than not, food smells need to be rectified by investing in a good, outdoor-venting fan over the cooktop. Of course, that’s not always possible in which case you’ll have to be diligent in airing out the kitchen by opening windows after you’ve been cooking. Need a quick cover up for a cocktail party? Try a home fragrance solution.
Whether it’s souvenirs, memorabilia, or just random stuff you’ve collected over the years, your collection of objects might be too much, and it might be making your shelves, bookcases and mantel ugly. The fix: Editing is easier said than done, so try boxing up the items on your busy shelf or mantel and live with it for a week. Then decide what you truly miss and what just needs to be put in storage or given away. The living room shelf in Ann Marie Favot’s home is strikingly simple in all-white.
You know when your bathroom is dingy and needs renovating, and is just plain ugly – we don’t need to give you a blow-by-blow account here. But don’t worry, we’re also not going to tell you to renovate your bathroom. Truth is, we’ve seen bathrooms in rental apartments go from grungy to glam, all with the help of a deep clean and carefully chosen accessories. The fix: Clean, clean and clean some more. That means grout, fixtures, floors and walls. Once that’s done, really step back and assess what’s making everything dingy. If it’s a dark space, think about getting a fresh white shower curtain and towels and even a white orchid to enliven the room. Hide all unnecessary bottles and toothpaste containers and everything else while you’re at it and you’ll see how much better the space looks. Your bathroom might never be as glamazonian as this one, but you can help it along by keeping it tidy and choosing crisp white towels.
If you watch home renovation TV shows, you’ll know that outdated kitchens are always high on an owner’s must-destroy list. And yes, they can be really ugly and detract from a home. But a renovation isn’t always in the cards or budget, in which case, you’ll have to figure out how to live with cabinetry and surfaces that have seen better days. The fix: Embrace the kitchen for what it is: you’re not going to make a super-modern kitchen out of a 1960s-era setup. So if it’s vintage-y or cottage-y right now, find a way to enhance that charm. Paint ugly wood cabinetry. Make the best of an old countertop by making it sparkling clean. Add some bright and coordinated accessories, et voila. Painted cabinetry adds immense charm to a cottage kitchen.
A bedroom, especially in new-build homes, tends to be a basic, bland white box. The reasons for this are often practical – a plain box of a room will be easy to place a bed in (no weird angles) with plenty of room left over for side tables and a dresser or drawers. But yes, it can be rather blah and lackluster. The fix: If the walls are white you don’t even have to paint them, you can work with this most versatile of shades. The secret is texture. A tufted headboard, patterned bedspread and layered textiles will bring the beauty to a bedroom. Textures and layers contribute to a stylish, fresh and airy bedroom.
There is a certain aesthetic that makes bare walls the best choice, but for many other homes, it just makes it look like you’ve never really moved in. And looking like you are about to flee the premises is never an attractive quality in a home. The fix: You can’t go wrong in terms of satisfaction if you stick to displaying art and photography that means something to you. How to do it artfully is another matter. When in doubt, stick to frames of the same colour and type (the size can differ), but if you’re more adventurous (and your decor is too) create a display wall of mismatched frames. A collection of antique maps was deliberately framed and matted differently in this gallery.
Has your dining room become a catch-all for everything in your home? Gifts piled up for weeks waiting to be wrapped. Your desktop computer and work papers setting up residence. If making your home beautiful is high on your priority list, it’s time to rethink this strategy. There’s a reason you don’t see dining rooms in the pages of decor magazines all covered with half-empty shopping bags, bills, car keys and stray electronic chargers. It’s because it’s ugly. The fix: You need to make some hard decisions, but they’re not necessarily expensive or tough-to-execute ones. Firstly, you’ll want to move that desktop computer off your dining table – which might mean putting it in the kitchen or bedroom, or trading it for a laptop. Think about why junk is accumulating on your dining room table and fix the underlying causes. It’s as simple as that. A dedicated dining room table is an inviting and relaxing space.
A backyard is a place to have some fun and get comfortable, so if yours is too basic and boring, it’s doing your entire home a disservice. If you have rickety aluminum folding chairs that are always ready to snap shut while you’re sitting on them, or worse, cheap white plastic ones that are suitable for your first post-college apartment, it’s time to step up your game. The fix: Mostly any backyard, even the smallest, can accommodate a stylish pair of outdoor chairs and a stool that can take a turn as a side table. If budget is an issue, midsummer is usually a great time to sweep up steep deals on outdoor furnishings. This beautiful Toronto backyard also serves as an outdoor living room.