Top 10 must-see rooms designers love most
This bedroom from the November 2012 issue has a personal resonance for Stephanie Vogler – it’s her own. “There’s a lot going on here, but it feels restful because of subtle pattern mixing and a soft, muted palette,” she says. “Though the room is neutral for most of the year, I added blush pink pillowcases and florals for the photo shoot, which made the space even more romantic and evocative of a good night’s sleep.” Star power “The fabric on the tufted headboard is washable (essential when you have young children) and super comfortable for reading or watching movies in bed.”
This ultra-hip kitchen, which appeared in the February 2014 issue, was the centrepiece of Ingrid Oomen’s redesign of the first floor of this historic home. “The kitchen has a fabulous tall ceiling and opens to the dining room on one side and the family room on the other,” she says. “We added two new windows to the side of the house to ensure the space gets light all day long.” Star power “The open shelves are a nice textural focal point, and I love the usability of them. They add a real restaurant feel when styled with plates for convenient access.”
When Carol Reed renovated the kitchen of this tudor-style home, featured in the February 2013 issue, she started by revamping the floor plan. “The newly opened-up room doubled the amount of daylight and storage, as well as the number of guests the family can entertain,” she explains. “Customized details elevate off-the-shelf cabinetry, while the black and white palette grounds the kitchen in classic character that blends with the century home.” Star power “The antique monk’s table is a standout feature. Its worn patina reflects a history of gathering and sharing, which is exactly what this kitchen was designed for.”
Simple is sublime, according to Samantha Sacks, who chose the bathroom of her family cottage, first featured in the August 2011 issue. “There’s nothing to this room: For me, that’s where its charm lies,” she explains. “The simplicity – even the plumbing is exposed – paired with a few luxury pieces, such as some super-thick towels and an intricately engraved silver tumbler from Egypt, gives the space a feeling of barefoot elegance.” Star power “The back of the clawfoot tub slopes beautifully, while the cast iron holds heat. Our cottage is quite rustic, so a hot bath feels like a divine indulgence.”
This handsome bedroom, featured in the October 2012 issue by Feasby & Bleeks Design, has grown with the little boy it was designed for – and that was precisely the goal. “We love trends as much as anyone, but we choose to inject them into our designs in ways that can be easily updated,” says Erin Feasby. “For this room, classic nautical was our jumping-off point, and that really helped with selections and decisions. It made our job very easy.” Adds Cindy Bleeks, “Years later, this space feels as fresh as the day it was completed.” Star power “The wallpaper is graphic yet timeless. It adds so much life to this wall, and you never tire of it – plus, it’s great for all ages.”
Michael Penney, owner of the Whitby, Ont., housewares store Penney & Co., decorated this century home in Ontario’s Prince Edward County featured in the June 2012 issue. “I’d say this living room works well because it has a balance of classic and quirky, neutral and punchy,” he explains. “The shell of the space is a soft putty colour, which sets up the foundation for the bold blue velvet sofa and zippy striped chairs. Finally, shelves allow for lots of books and personal treasures.” Star power “The solidly built vintage sofa is full of personality thanks to its sumptuous peacock blue colour.”
This old-meets-new living room from the June 2011 issue brings together custom-made and vintage pieces. “Although it’s a fairly traditional space, it doesn’t feel too formal,” says designer, Christine Hanlon. “I still love the graphic grey linen fabric on the sofa and the way the mix of finishes, from natural wood to gold leaf, add warmth and texture.” Star power “I have a soft spot for the bamboo coffee table I bought from my friend’s shop.”
Kelly Deck brought her signature West coast style to this expansive bedroom in a White Rock, B.C., home, featured in the first Designer Secrets Special issue back in 2011. “I still appreciate this room for its scale and timeless coastal colour scheme,” she says. “The headboard wall is over 18 feet wide, but the custom millwork and oversized nightstands fill the volume of the space to make what could otherwise be vacuous seem warm and enveloping.” Star power “I’m quite fond of the gold pig with wings that sits on the nightstand – it’s a cheeky accent in a sophisticated space.”
Form and function plus a touch of luxe is Tara Fingold’s recipe for success in this glam master suite from the September 2014 issue. The dressing room area boasts a built-in makeup desk and bank of drawers, which serves as both a dresser and a window seat. “We included a ton of hidden storage to keep the room neat and tidy,” says Tara. “All the surfaces look precious but are quite practical and easy to clean.” Star power “The bird chandelier is so whimsical and evokes a peaceful, happy feeling when you walk into the room.”
Layers and colour are what make this white-walled living room, featured in the February 2015 issue by Shirley Meisels, stand out from the crowd. “The comfy sofa with loose cushions is inviting and a good neutral against the pops of colour in the rug, sidechairs and artwork, which acts as the focal point in the room,” says Shirley. “I like how the space is masculine with surprising feminine touches that negate the ‘man cave’ vibe.” Star power “The artwork is a finishing touch that adds personality and really makes the room come to life.”
How to wash your pillows to keep them fresh and clean
Essential cleaning tips for keeping your pillows perfectly fresh and stain-free.
Cover them as you may, but pillows still develop odours and stains. Keep them fresh by washing them every three to six months. Our resourceful research editor, Mary Levitski, tells you how.
1 Start by checking the label for laundering instructions. Most newer pillows can be tossed in the washing machine, but some are dry clean only. Also, some fill materials, such as foam, can’t go in the dryer.
2 Use a front-loading washer (a top-loader isn’t suited for fully submerging a pillow). Select the warm water and gentle cycle settings. Add a bit of mild liquid laundry detergent (the powdered kind is harder to wash off). Insert pillows, ensuring they are not packed in tightly. To completely wash off the detergent, repeat the rinse cycle. Do not use the spin cycle unless your pillows are down.
3 To dry, squeeze out any excess water by hand. Put the pillows through a tumble dry cycle set to low heat. Repeat as necessary until completely dry. Pillows that can’t go in the dryer should be hung on a clothesline or rack.
Make a hotel-worthy bed by washing your linens regularly and ironing them with a scented mist like K. Hall Designs Washed Cotton Linen Water (Au Lit Fine Linens, $25). Trust us, you’ll be dreaming of a late checkout.
To extend the life of your pillows, dress them in protective pillow covers before putting on their cases.
Eco-friendly products to keep your pillows plump
On top of being greener and more cost-effective than dryer sheets, reusable balls also prevent pillows from getting lumpy in the dryer.
Scent your laundry with this Canadian brand’s delectable aromas like Apple Pie and Banana Bread. Tumbler tarts fair trade wool dryer balls, The Laundry Tarts, $30 per pack of 3; Re-scenting kit in Apple Pie, The Laundry Tarts, $13.
The prongs of these cute little rubber balls are great for keeping pillows soft and fluffy. Thermoplastic rubber hedgehog dryer balls, West Elm Market, $9 per pair.
These bright all-natural wool balls soften laundry and cut drying time. Wool Deluxe starter dryer balls, LooHoo, $28 US per pack of 3.
25 ways to decorate with paint
These tips and tricks on how to decorate with paint will breathe new life into a dull, tired home.
Update your home's interior and exterior using a fresh coat of paint to decorate. Bring energy and optimism, create a calming, relaxed atmosphere and renew old furniture using paint colours, finishes and accents .
1 Establish a more intimate space by painting the ceiling a darker colour, creating the illusion of a lower ceiling.
2 Soften an awkwardly angled wall or room by painting it one solid colour.
3 For a modern effect try painting the walls and trim the same colour. Use a flat paint for the walls and a semi-gloss for the trim.
4 Make a tight space seem larger and airier by painting the ceiling a lighter version of the hue painted on the room’s walls or white.
5 Paint your front door a statement colour that stands out from the rest of the house. Try a gorgeous historical blue or a radiant ruby red - not something you see every day.
6 A home's exterior plays a large part in how the world, or at least neighbours and visitors, see you. Revitalize your home with a fresh coat of paint every three to six years.
7 If you want to invigorate your home's exterior without painting the entire exterior, freshen up the trim. White or rich neutrals, depending on the house's exterior colour, can easily update the look of your house.
8 Shutters and porch gables are the perfect place to express a love for colour and decorate with paint.
9 If you really want to set a mood in a room, then use different paint hues to create an energetic or relaxed atmosphere or to warm up or cool down a space.
10 Ash purples, bronzed greens and lacquer reds reflect a feminine classicism, inspired by needlework, appliqués and period furniture, that is back in style.
11 Conjure up images of rural life with wonderfully rustic plum, teal and red clay tones.
12 If you have a lot of dark wood furniture add an exotic, Middle Eastern influence by painting the walls a deep, rich purple or blue.
13 Expressing your individuality in your paint colour choices can result in more unexpected pairings of colour, pattern and design styles.
14 If you’re colour shy, go with all-white walls. The absence of colour is as effective as the presence of colour.
15 Use a variety of neutral shades and have fun mixing several textures in your rooms to keep things interesting.
16 When choosing a bold colour be sure to tie it into the whole scheme of the room.
17 Contemporary paint effects like stencils and colour washes create interest and surprise. Think of these effects as unframed artwork adorning your walls.
18 Use lightly washed stripes to create a sophisticated French country look (especially if you use blue, yellow or white hues). This is a subtle technique that adds texture and sheen to a room.
19 Create a fun mural, like clouds or the night sky, on the ceiling. This is a great way to decorate with paint in a child's room, nursery or family room.
20 Fresco is a wonderful painting technique that can help hide surface imperfections. It gives a soft, mottled look that adds depth and interest to your walls.
21 Add a splash of colour to neutral walls by selecting zones on a wall or ceiling and painting them a different, often contrasting, colour from the main wall. This technique is known as colour blocking.
Accents & accessories
22 Feature a wall at one end of a hallway by painting it a contrasting, dramatic colour; that will serve to visually bring it forward.
23 Give chairs, dressers, drawers, tables and desks a new lease on life with a new colour or coat of paint. You’ll be surprised how quickly that old, ugly chair becomes your new favorite accent piece.
24 Get in touch with you inner Pollock by applying dripped and splattered paint to an article of furniture. Make sure the piece is painted a solid colour (preferably white or black) before you start throwing different paint shade onto it.
25 Make the kitchen pop by bringing in a bold colour. Paint the backsplash or the cabinetry a bright colour that you love (and can live with).
How to: Clean your gas range
Keep your gas range looking spotless with these helpful cleaning tips and tricks.
As far as stovetops go, a commercial-style gas range is the first choice for many serious home cooks. In addition to keeping it looking sleek, proper cleaning is key to maintaining its functionality.
Problem: Grimy gas range
1 Remove the grates and any griddles, as well as the burner heads and caps. Using a non-abrasive sponge, wash them well with dish soap and warm water. If the dirt buildup is particularly bad (when was the last time you cleaned these things?), leave them to soak for 20 to 30 minutes. (Do not replace yet.)
2 To loosen the dirt buildup from spills and splatters on the stovetop, cover the spots with a cloth dampened in hot water for several minutes. Using a rubber scraper, remove the debris. With a dampened sponge (not soaked – water can harm the igniter), wipe the whole stovetop. Wipe dry using a microfibre cloth.
3 Rinse and thoroughly dry all the components you removed before replacing them.
4 For a beautifully clean finish, carefully remove all the knobs and wash using the same method as step 1.
For keeping splatters at bay, we love Trudeau’s Flex pot clip (trudeau.ca, $9). Clip it onto your pot or pan for an instant spoon rest. It accommodates both regular cutlery and larger cooking utensils and is a great alternative to its countertop counterpart, which is likely to be dirty or MIA in the dishwasher.Get a leg up on grease in between kitchen cleanup with these easy-to-use cleaning sprays.
Illustration courtesy of Joanna Kam
Tailor-made for gas range surfaces. Weiman Heavy-Duty Gas Range cleaner & degreaser, Canadian Tire, $6.
2 Zero waste
Minimize your carbon footprint: Just pop this little sachet into the reusable bottle and dilute with water. Bio Green Crystals Natural degreaser, Well.ca, $8. Reusable spray bottle, Well.ca, $3.
A Canadian-made, plant-based product. Eco Mist degreaser, Well.ca, $7.
Tip: don’t use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads.