How to: Prepare your home for winter
How to create an haute Hallows Eve
Less is more when setting a frightilicious scene for guests. Just pick a theme (here, it’s ravens) and avoid the usual (namely orange!). Chartreuse velvet fabric inspired the colour palette, while the outdoors was tied in with decorative elements like ornamental grasses and black feathers.
Don’t hesitate to embellish the place settings – it’s Halloween, after all – but just stick with the colour palette and keep it simple. Here, a ribbon of textured black raffia makes an effortless napkin ring.
Silver accents provide just the right amount of glam. The chargers, which are used with the dinner plates, double as trays to hold the jars of candy.
Create a beautiful dried seasonal arrangement that you can use anywhere. A wooden bowl and trug hold a selection of gourds, moss balls and dried white button mums. Vintage leather-bound books set atop a black cobweb (which pops against a mauve swath of fabric) promise to hold a magic spell or two within!
Cupcakes (dark chocolate, of course) are iced in a witchy green and topped with towering purple candles.
Real gourds (artificial will work too) coated with black paint pop against the chartreuse tablecloth. Spanish moss (available at craft stores) scattered about is a refreshing organic touch compared to the season’s traditional hay.
Commercial Halloween decorations are more stylish when used sparingly. A skeleton makes an upscale spooky impression against a natural raffia wreath. A few simple flourishes – black and amethyst ribbons, and ravens – offer guests a hint of what they’ll experience.
Make your own favours – homemade is always original! In a nod to the fall season, we filled fibre pots with mini pine cones, but you could use something more festive like black jelly beans. Insert an enchanting black feather and hold it upright with a clothespin painted green.
A Halloween spread is not complete without a candy buffet. A collection of grown-up candy in shades from the colour palette is displayed in clear Mason jars: black licorice and jelly beans, purple lollipops, and green chocolate mint balls, which mimic eyeballs.
Refined eclectic condo design
Designer Olivia Hnatyshin has a case of the blues... but in the best way possible.
The living room's custom sofa was one of Olivia's first investment pieces. “It fits four or five people comfortably,” she says, “so it’s perfect on movie nights.” Whether it’s a cocktail party or a casual get-together, the young designer loves to host.
Another enterprising effort was accommodating her childhood piano – which Olivia’s parents threatened to give away if she didn’t take. “It’s just one big, non-functional piece of furniture,” she says. “Creating a vignette around it with a tufted bench and pretty artwork helped distract from the fact that I have a huge, clunky black piano in my hall.” And she’s glad it’s there: The stylish setting encourages her to play it whenever there’s a spare moment in her busy life.
“Sometimes if you go literal with a certain theme, it works,” says Olivia, who typically mixes styles and eras, but in her entryway stuck to a strong Chinese influence, from the Foo dogs to the faux bamboo mirror and console. The leopard-print stool is actually Olivia’s old piano bench updated with fresh fabric.
The pagoda chair Olivia’s sitting in is one of her favourite pieces in the home. “It’s like my spirit animal,” she says. It was a steal at $90 and already upholstered in a fabric she loves.
Olivia didn’t change much about the builder-grade white kitchen, apart from adding a portable island as extra counter space for cooking and entertaining. “Where do I draw the line when I know this isn’t my forever space?” Olivia asked herself. For her, it proved to be the kitchen.
“Turquoise has been my favourite colour since I was little,” says Olivia. “I’m always drawn to it.” This is evidenced in the array of toss cushions on display on the living room sofa.
“Bedrooms should be a little more moody,” says Olivia of the reason hers is imbued with deeper blues than the rest of the condo. The room’s starting point was the Schumacher fabric on the lumbar cushion – the wallpaper and bedding fell easily into place after that. Above the bed, the gallery of small plates provides an unexpected spin on the traditional. Some are extras from Olivia’s own dish set, others are from her mom and the light blue one in the centre is a hand-me-down from Olivia’s paternal grandmother.
The armoire in the living room was a $300 antiques store score and acts as Olivia's media unit, where she tucks the TV out of sight when not in use. The artwork flanking it is also a creative moneysaver: framed coaster souvenirs from a trip to New York City. She also incorporated refinished vintage furniture, such as the sidechairs flanking the living room armoire.
The living room is awash in watery blues that are amplified in glass details for an airy, ethereal effect.
Black and white contrast create a classy and cosmopolitan look
Fresh, modern and fun, a revamped heritage home is the perfect place for one Montreal family.
Like the rest of the living room, the fireplace is striking in its lack of embellishment. “I wanted the whole space to be sleek,” says designer Sylvie Masse.
Sleek and modern as it may look, the kitchen is hard-working. Ample surface space makes prepping and cooking a cinch, and corralling clutter is easy thanks to the extra storage from the overhead and under-counter cabinetry. A TV integrated into the glass backsplash offers entertainment for cooks or those eating at the island. Visual interest is added through simple details like the pottery that appears to float on the ethereal glass shelving in front of the window in lieu of a blind.
A catch-all for cookbooks and culinary miscellany, the built-in oak unit along the kitchen’s back wall offers lots of extra storage and adds warm texture to the otherwise stark and minimalistic room.
High contrast black and white looks classy and cosmopolitan in the living room. Sylvie eschewed drapery for a barely-there roller shade to let the industrial-style window shine.
“With its bold black runner, the original white-painted staircase looks very old New York City,” says Sylvie.
Modern classics reign in the master bedroom, from the Eames rocker to the plush low-profile bed frame.
The clean-lined everything-in-its-place aesthetic took careful planning. By setting the wardrobe system within the wall and adding a lacquered MDF strip along the bottom, the contractor made the individual units appear built-in for a more refined look.