These beautiful pieces of artwork will help decorate your baby's nursery perfectly.
These beautiful pieces of artwork will help decorate your baby's nursery perfectly.
Personalize your baby's first bedroom with one of these precious pieces of artwork.
Having a baby is such an exciting time but before your little one makes his debut, there’s lots to do to get ready. There are, of course, the essentials you need to prepare but decorating baby’s nursery is one of the most enjoyable experiences for many moms and moms-to-be. Hanging artwork is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to personalize baby’s space and provides you with the chance to surround your little one with photos, images and messages that will inspire them. Here are some of our favourites.
It’s said that dogs are a man’s best friend and sometimes, that special relationship starts in the cradle. We love this darling photo from Gooseberry Prints, depicting a doting dog standing guard over his precious friend. Looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship to us! Guardian Print, Gooseberry Prints, $25.
How do we love this print? Let us count the ways! We love the chic gold foil lettering on a crisp white background. Simple and stylish and suitable for any nursery. But more importantly, we adore the message that what makes you different is what makes you beautiful. Powerful words to teach a child confidence and self-love at a young age. What Makes You Different Gold Foil Print, The Penny Paper Co, $20
What is it about babies and animals that go together so perfectly? This absolutely adorable print featuring a baby monkey is just perfect for baby’s room. And … is it just us or does this mischievous little monkey look like he’s running from the scene of a crime? Whatever the case, we just want to put him in our pocket and take him home! Baby Monkey Print, The Animal Print Shop, starting at $25.
Just in case baby has any doubts about what he means to mom and dad, this sweet sentiment plaque from Pottery Barn Kids should clear things up! The featured text is digitally printed onto planked fir wood and adds a lovely, if somewhat rustic, touch to a nursery. Baby Sentiment Plaque, Pottery Barn Kids, $69.
This customizable piece of children’s artwork is not only a unique way to commemorate the day your bundle of joy came into the world but it’s a piece she’ll love to have for years and years to come. Choose your print size, frame, matting and glass for a fully custom piece of artwork that will become a family treasure. The Little Miss, Minted, starting at $24.
Nursery artwork needn’t be expensive nor gender-specific. These pretty printables, which can be found and downloaded on Etsy.com, are the perfect way to add a dose of cute to baby’s room without spending a bundle. Simply purchase, then download immediately. Print on thick card stock for best results. Et voila! Instant artwork! Printable Nursery Artwork, A Type of Inspiration on Etsy, $23.
It’s never too early to start inspiring your little one with positive words of love and encouragement. This handcrafted piece of wall art features high-gloss lithography mounted onto MDF. In bold, bright colours, it’s a visually vibrant piece to stimulate baby senses. The Kids Room Dream Big Kids Typography Wall Plaque, All Modern, $24.99.
This modern world map features gender neutral colours for a boy’s or girl’s room and is also an educational tool that one day, will help them better understand the world they live in. Bound to inspire a sense of adventure in your little one, this is a lovely piece of artwork that will grow with your child. To Live World Map Graphic Art, Wayfair, $73.99.
This Toronto dwelling, with its book-laden walls and cozy corners, is a reader's dream.
Easygoing, trusting and super stylish: These homeowners were downright dream clients for designer Robyn Rider, whom they hired to revamp their newly purchased three-bedroom dwelling in downtown Toronto. The protege of the designer who’d transformed their previous house, Robyn was the prime candidate to deliver an updated look to these downsizing lawyers’ home.
“They have great taste and great pieces to work with,” says Robyn – plus, lots of books. Though the homeowners significantly reduced their large book collection, the remaining titles were more than substantial, including legal references, favourite reads, hardcover sets and prized heirlooms. It’s only fitting, then, that the only directive Robyn was given was to accommodate this veritable library, which ended up dictating much of the main floor’s design.
Robyn added floor-to-ceiling bookcases throughout the entire main level to achieve the perfect marriage of library and living space. This is especially evident in the dining room, which she designed as a place to not only eat meals and host dinner parties but also to lounge by the fire with a good book. To that effect, a cozy armchair by the fireplace is accompanied by a reading lamp and footstool, and the banquette at the round urn-based dining table is extra-deep and extra-comfy. “I wanted to create an intimate area that could accommodate guests, but where the homeowners wouldn’t feel ridiculous when it’s just the two of them,” says Robyn.
While the central kitchen marks a bit of a departure from the scholarly look, it still feels like a seamless part of the open-concept living area. “I used cabinets featuring the same profile and colour as the millwork in the adjacent dining and living rooms,” says Robyn. Integrated and panelled appliances as well as cabinetry with footed toe kicks lend the space a furnished feel, while oversized lantern-style pendant lights above the island are the kind you might find over a formal dining table, further blending the lines between the cooking zone and the rest of the home.
After all, the kitchen leads right into the living room, which returns to books. “I didn’t even try to organize or colour code them,” says Robyn of her approach to keeping the look cohesive. “It would have felt too contrived.” (Plus, the husband is pretty particular about organizing things by subject.) So, to temper the mismatched assortment, Robyn created a serene envelope of white millwork and cream walls, which she used throughout the main level. “We could afford to be quieter with the paint palette considering the books and the bold textiles,” she explains, noting examples like the traditional multi-hued heirloom needlepoint rug and contemporary zigzag-patterned armchairs. “The homeowners definitely didn’t need to be convinced to use colour,” says Robyn. “It actually took some convincing to leave the walls neutral!”
Once Robyn finessed the final details of the newly designed house, the homeowners unpacked and arranged their last tomes onto the shelves, ready to begin their new chapter.
French doors – which lead to a backyard oasis that borders a ravine – let a tremendous amount of light into the living room of this Toronto house designed by Robyn Rider. Because of the kitchen’s proximity to this space, it was decorated with statement pieces, such as oversized lantern-style pendant lights, to unify the areas.
Black soapstone counter- tops break up the white kitchen cabinetry that would have otherwise looked too clinical in this cozy space. Even though it’s quite high maintenance, soapstone adds warmth and lustre. “It’s an extra layer of luxury,” says Robyn.
The first space you see when you walk through the front door is the powder room. It sets the tone for the punchy greens and bold prints used throughout the rest of the house.
The library-inspired living room features clever design details, such as space-saving pull-out shelves in place of side tables. “I was channelling British townhouse style, in which everything has a purpose,” says Robyn.
Reminding Robyn (pictured right) of gardens in Provence, the table base, an oversized urn, was the jumping-off point for the dining room’s palette. “I love its intense green colour,” says the designer, “and I just went with it!” The homeowners also love the extra-deep banquette. Robyn used a bold botanical print on the Roman shades to blur the border between indoors and out, imparting a lively and verdant atmosphere.
A dining area and reading nook rolled into one, this room sees a lot of action. The bookcases, lined with selections and collections most meaningful to the homeowners, lend an old-world vibe that is punched up by the fresh armchair fabric.
A serene departure from the rest of the house, the main guest room is soft yet sophisticated. The antique settee is a family heirloom that Robyn had reupholstered with a contemporary centre stripe design. From there, Robyn layered in more powder blue and cream elements into the space but brought in dove grey to counter the femininity. “Powder blue on its own can border on prissy,” she explains.
Photography by Stacey Brandford
Narrow kitchen renovation gets a sleek and spacious makeover
A confined and outdated kitchen is converted into a character-filled cooking space fit for a family of five.
Live in a house for more than a decade and you’ll grow close to all of its idiosyncrasies – every cramped corner, every tarnished knob and every cleverly disguised wine stain. What’s harder to detect is its potential. For Christine and John Stergiu, who live in Whitby, Ont., with their three children (ages 14 to 20), it was designer and friend Orsi Panos who saw the promise in their 37-year-old home. “They were contemplating moving,” says Orsi. “So I went over there for a consultation and said, ‘You know what? I can make this the house of your dreams.’” Then in 2014 came the five-month two-level renovation, which involved gutting the narrow and outdated kitchen to make way for a functional open-concept cooking space. Here’s how they made it happen.
THEN The family prepared meals at a tiny butcher-block island.
NOW The hard-working quartz-topped island, which doubles as a dining space, has a microwave and bank of drawers tucked underneath to enhance its ease of use. “We used to run downstairs to the storage room for extra pots and pans,” says homeowner Christine Stergiu. “Now we have everything at our fingertips.”
Using blank wall space allowed the family to store items and avoid clutter on the countertops.
The industrial-style pendant lights add old-world charm and keep sightlines clear. “I wanted the herringbone backsplash and rustic floating shelves to be the focal point of the kitchen,” says designer Orsi Panos.
A wall of cabinetry, including two pullout pantry units, offers ample storage. The recess-panelled cabinets, which were updated with brass hardware and crown moulding, masterfully mingle with the cream-toned quartz countertops and vintage-inspired accents throughout. “I wanted to create a space that looks like it’s been here forever,” says Orsi. It’s the reason she dismissed white cabinets in favour of grey and added country-style open shelves – a design choice inspired by the couple’s affection for Sonoma County in California. “The shelves represent that rustic winery feel,” she says.
In order for the kitchen to meet the family’s needs, high-end appliances were a necessity – especially for homeowner John Stergiu, who is considered the chef of the household. “We cook together five days a week and entertain at least twice a month,” says Christine. In addition to the space’s sleek stainless steel refrigerator and six-burner gas range, the self-proclaimed foodies opted for a wine fridge, which stores everything from vintages to water bottles. “We’re constantly in the kitchen,” she says. “The room completely represents our lifestyle.”
With its awkward angles and hard-to-reach cabinets, the original kitchen made meal prep a constant challenge. To remedy the flawed set-up, Orsi had the wall between the kitchen and adjacent dining room knocked down so the two areas could become one. “We ended up with a beautiful open space filled with natural light,” says Orsi, referring to the west-facing window that was once part of the dining room. After one kitchen entrance was closed off, the remaining doorway was expanded to create a more spacious feel and offer a view of the dreamy new dining room down the hall.
Tour this lovely cottage on Lake Simcoe!
A designer lends her expertise to help a couple resolve a colourful debate over the scheme for their family cottage.
"He wanted dark tones and a woodsy Aspen vibe. I wanted everything white with clean lines." The “he” referred to is the husband, the “I” speaking is the wife, and in terms of their decor preferences for this new-build 4,900-square-foot cottage overlooking Lake Simcoe in Innisfil, Ont., they were clearly at odds. But the Toronto-based couple, who has a seven-year-old daughter, a five-year-old son and a Samoyed puppy, did agree on one thing: The design had to be practical. And after many reassurances on the wife’s part that her vision could be inviting and relaxing, she says, “My husband eventually gave me free rein. I wanted a gorgeous unfussy space that was easy to maintain.”
To get the look, she turned to Lidia van Zyl, a designer based in Barrie, Ont., who’s well known for decorating waterfront properties in the area. “When I was hired in 2014, the cottage was in its planning stage,” says Lidia. “This allowed us to pore over the plans and confirm almost every detail before the walls went up.” The walls themselves played a crucial role in setting the tone for the space. “Honouring the husband’s preference for a traditional look, I incorporated shiplap into the mix,” says Lidia. The wooden boards, which were most often used in the construction of homes, were applied horizontally in the kitchen, powder room, foyer and master bedroom. “Shiplap, even when painted white, provides a rustic contrast to drywall and has an informal feel that really adds to the casual cottage vibe,” says the designer.
While the scheme may be all white, it’s anything but stark. “The key to decorating with white is to use different shades of it,” says Lidia. “If you look closely, you’ll see the walls are a crisp white, while the beams are coated with a warmer shade.” Wide-plank pale hickory flooring completes the airy backdrop, which Lidia chose to punctuate with bold hits of black. “I love contrast, so I added black accessories to almost every room,” she says. Lidia extended this theme to the furniture as well and, with the kids and puppy in mind, paid specific attention to practicality. “The grey sofas in the living room are covered with indoor-outdoor fabric, so they’re stain resistant and easy to clean,” she says. “And some of the pieces, such as the living room coffee table and foyer console, are crafted from steel, so they’re pretty much damage-proof.” She also introduced a few well-placed antiques throughout the cottage to create interesting tension between old and new.
The 18-month process of building and decorating netted a year-round family retreat that Lidia describes as “refined but rustic.” And even though the wife had total control, she did make an effort to include her husband – sort of. She says: “He really wanted dark floors, but even he conceded the light ones looked better. So I let him think he helped with that decision in a roundabout way. Now we’re all happy!”
Accessories like the rope-hung mirrors and the lantern-style pendant lights make this practical space feel decorated. “I don’t like to take risks when decorating,” says one of the homeowners, “but I did want to mix things up in the kitchen so it didn’t read as plain.”
Designer Lidia van Zyl played the natural tones of wood and stone against sleek black accents to create character in the living room. The tall armoire holds things like games, books and blankets, while the bare floor, a practical option, is easy to clean. A trio of metal sculptures above the reclaimed wood mantel is a departure from the expected mirror or artwork.
In the foyer, the staircase’s natural wood handrail and treads were a purposeful choice. “If we had painted them black, it would have drawn the eye up the stairs as opposed to straight through the cottage to the lake,” says Lidia.
A mix of neutral tones creates subtle depth in the dining area. “The table and chairs appear white at first glance, but they’re actually a soft shade of grey,” says Lidia. the chandelier, painted white to downplay its ornate shape, illuminates everything from meals to crafts.
“This cottage always makes me smile,” says one of the homeowners. “It’s an amazing feeling to open the front door to beautiful surroundings.” the stone skirting – a concession to the aspen look the husband wanted – ties in nicely with the herringbone brick walkway.
The artful arrangement of dark-hued antiques in an all-white area of the living room makes a graphic statement. the antlers are a family heirloom.
“I love a white kitchen because I don’t like distractions when I’m cooking,” says one of the homeowners, “and I can also see what needs to be cleaned.” low-maintenance Caesarstone countertops and a glossy tiled backsplash on the range wall make cleanup even easier. the massive island is outfitted with cupboards that hold cottage necessities, such as candles, batteries and a tool kit.
While the silhouette of the chandelier in the master bedroom is traditional, its wooden beads give it an earthy appeal that suits a cottage. the wicker basket, sisal rug and rustic artwork (it’s made of wood and says “I Love Us”) echo that earthiness, which is tempered by the black furniture.
Hooks and baskets are enough to keep the mud room in order since the basement has ample storage. The built-in bench always comes in handy.
Like the rest of the cottage, the powder room is energized with hits of black. “I love the graphic mosaic-look floor here,” says Lidia. “It’s actually 24-by-24-inch tiles, and they have just the right amount of pattern for a small space.” Vintage racquets used as informal artwork perfectly fit the laid- back vibe of this family retreat.