Where to buy affordable fabrics online
There are a lot of people who are obsessed with shoes, artwork or the perfect lamp. And then there are those of us who can't get enough beautiful fabrics - whether they're patterned, printed, silk, cotton, linen or lace, we're all in for buying a yard here and a panel there, either for a project we have in mind or just to hoard away until the perfect opportunity to use it arises. In Canada, though, it's sometimes hard to fulfill this passion, as many of the beautiful materials you see in magazines are available only to designers, and ordering from international sites can include prohibitive shipping and customs charges. But there is help. In the past few years there has been a surge of online fabric shops opening up across the country, full of affordable, practical and whimsical delights. Here, we've chosen a few of our favourite sources to satisfy that textile craving.
Where to buy affordable fabrics online
Double Decker Fabric, doubledeckerfabric.com
Dorienne Fairbanks, the owner of calgary's Double Decker Fabric, credits her children with providing the motivation to start her online shop. "I had all these projects to create but couldn't find the fabrics I wanted," she says. Drawn to prints with both retro and modern whimsical appeal, this lover of textiles fittingly sells collections from Michael Miller Fabrics and Riley Blake Designs.
Fabric Spot, myfabricspot.com
"I'm an all or nothing kind of person," says Markham, Ont.'s Karen Chan, owner of Fabric Spot. Selecting whole collections from designers like MoMo and Heather Ross, Karen believes in giving customers the choice of colour- ways and coordinates to personalize their projects. Organic fabrics are a priority for Karen. "Fabric is what's against our skin," she says. "Given the option, how could I not choose to sell organic?"
Fridays Off Fabric Shop, fridaysoff.ca
"I call myself a fabric curator," says Toronto-based Alanna Banks, owner of the year-old Fridays Off Fabric Shop. "I don't buy full collections - only the prints that jump out at me first, even if they're outside my comfort zone." So far, so good for Alanna, whose inventory always includes stock from modern designer favourites like Lotta Jansdotter and Tula Pink, among others.
Tonic Living, tonicliving.com
Sometimes the fabric just finds you. For Janine Morrison, founder of Tonic Living, the light bulb moment came nearly 15 years ago, when she acquired a lot of vintage fabric for her home collectibles eBay store. Now Tonic Living is one of the heavy hitters in Toronto, with an amazing array of accessible geometrics, florals, solids and prints from the likes of Waverly and Dwellstudio for the decorating market.
Warp & Weft, warpandweft.ca
Owner and former designer Esmari Taylor approaches purchasing wares for Toronto's Warp & Weft the same way she buys new furniture or shops for shoes: "I look for things that are timeless and have integrity." she's succeeded with her inventory from lines as diverse as Cloud9 Fabrics, Design Team and the Victoria and Albert museum. A devoted sewer, Esmari also sells notions from Merchant & Mills and Sajou.
Pictured fabric prints (above)
1 Anna Maria Horner Field Study cotton Fine Feathered in Ghost, Fridays Off Fabric Shop, $9/metre.
2 Braemore linen Sakura in White Tea, Tonic Living, $30/yard.
3 Joel Dewberry Bungalow Cotton Hive in Pink, Warp & Weft, $11/metre.
4 Carina Gardner Evening Blooms cotton Evening Wallpaper in Gray, Double Decker Fabric, $14/yard.
5 Lotta Jansdotter Glimma cotton Flowers in Rosy, Warp & Weft, $12/metre.
6 Waverly Chinoise Chic cotton Peaceful Temple in Porcelain, Tonic Living, $20/yard.
7 Leah Duncan Tule cotton Natie Fringe in Celeste, Warp & Weft, $14/metre.
8 Charley Harper certified organic cotton Upside Downside, Fabric Spot, $17/yard.
9 Valori Wells Designs WIsh cotton Treasure in Patience, Fabric Spot, $11/yard.
10 Natalie Lymer Enchant cotton Birds in Green, Fridays Off Fabric Shop, $10/metre.
11 Michael Miller Fabrics Retro cotton Lunch Box in Red, Double Decker Fabric, $13/yard.
Toss cushion fabric patterns
1 Tula Pink Acacia cotton Raccoon in Sky, Fridays Off Fabric Shop, $9 per metre.
2 Carolyn Friedlander Botanics cotton 14258 in Charcoal, Warp & Weft, $15 per metre.
3 Patty Sloniger Les Amis cotton Socks the Fox in Dusk, Double Decker Fabric, $13 per yard.
4 Dwellstudio Vreeland cotton in Aquatint, Tonic Living, $23 per yard.
5 Leslie Shewring Palos Verdes II certified organic cotton voile in La Venta, Fabric Spot, $17 per yard.
DIY project: Paint chip wreath
Bright and colourful basement
Style at Home editor-in-chief Erin McLaughlin reimagines her dim and dysfunctional basement games room as a bright multi-purpose space with Scandi flair.
Dark. Dated. Dungeon-like.
Just a few of the adjectives that come to mind when looking at the shocking “before” photo of Style at Home editor-in-chief Erin McLaughlin’s now-admirable Toronto basement. Low ceilings and black-stained hardwood flooring made the 600-square-foot space feel oppressive – and the hefty pool table, oversized oil paintings and orange-painted millwork didn’t help. “It screamed ’80s pool hall, but worse yet, it was pretty much unusable,” she says. “It needed a total overhaul.”
To the untrained eye, making something of the narrow, windowless space would have seemed like a wasted effort. But as the proud owner of a century home, Erin is no reno rookie and had a clear vision of an airy, functional family room.
Erin's basement before its bright and inviting renovation.
At the far end of the family room, blend-into-the-wall white storage cabinets offer function without adding visual weight for a bright, airy space. Classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s grace the TV screen on frequent family movie nights.
An existing large alcove was the natural choice for the dining nook. Grey paint defines it and balances out the stone-clad fireplace across the room.
The next big thing to windows that open to the outside? A pair of radiant nature photographs paired with newly installed pot lights. The wall treatment of white-painted wood boards lends the room a Scandi-chic vibe.
To sustain the airness of the space, Erin chose a palette of soft greys and taupes with mauve accents.
Erin opted for a touch-latch mechanism in place of door pulls on the high-gloss flat-panelled storage unit (made from prefab IKEA cabinetry) for a totally streamlined look.
A light push in the right spot on the white storage units reveals the family’s extended collection of classic flicks and literature.
Seating options abound in the new family-friendly space. Even Cloudy, homeowner Style at Home editor-in-chief Erin McLaughlin’s Siamese cat, gets a stylish perch of his very own in an unused corner. The inconspicuous wall-hung radiator was a practical addition in the circa-1920s room.
Whitewashed living room features a charming mix of furniture styles.
A DIY-inclined couple turns an 800-square-foot two-bedroom bungalow into the perfect home for their young family.
Homeowner Amanda Robinson transformed the secondhand piano by covering it in grey paint, casually accessorizing it like the rest of the living room and softening its bench with a faux-sheepskin throw.
The whitewashed living room features a charming mix of furniture styles. “I brought softness into the space with the upholstered pieces, while keeping a farmhouse vibe with the antique rocking chairs,” says Amanda.
Homeowners Jason and Amanda Robinson hang out in the bright living room with their sons, Ethan (left) and Aidan.
While blue hues rock this farmhouse, Amanda also popped in some pink tones as contrast.
A fun DIY project or easily picked up at a gardening centre, terrariums are a great way to keep your home green in small ways.
Durable slate tiles define the entryway in this open-concept space. Practical items in natural tones like the bench, mirror and coat rack are artfully arranged so everything looks pulled together.
The kitchen epitomizes Amanda’s love of pale backdrops punctuated with colour and natural tones. “I made the shelves out of wooden boards from our barn and left them unpainted to contrast all the white and to complement the butcher block counters,” she says. Mismatched hardware picks up on the hits of blue throughout the home.
With their young sons and pets (Weimaraner Tessie and cat Nimble) in mind, Amanda chose tongue-and-groove pine planks for the floors, ceilings and walls. “I didn’t want new drywall with two little boys and pets running around,” she says. “It was the best design decision I ever made.”
Amanda knew she wanted a light and bright space and conceived the decor with colour in mind. “This is still a really small house, so I stuck to a neutral palette for the base: white and cream with natural wood tones throughout,” she says.
Amanda and Jason knocked down walls to create an eat-in area that features a free-standing stove surrounded by stone-veneered walls and a thrift-store dining table and chairs proudly bearing a mismatched paint job. “I painted everything grey and then decided to paint all the chairs blue but got sidetracked after one,” says Amanda. “It’s fun and quirky as is, and the boys take turns sitting in the blue chair at dinnertime.”
“The walls in Aidan’s bedroom were in good shape, so we painted them and added pine planks to the ceiling,” says Amanda. “I like the masculine look of the unpainted wood.” The new blue dressers share the space with a thrift-store wicker chair, a yellow-painted hand-me-down stool and rope-hung shelves Amanda crafted from barnboard.
“Ethan wanted everything in his room swimming pool turquoise.” They settled on a seafoam blue that’s more soothing for a bedroom and then incorporated coordinating accents in every room – even on the front door. “If you keep the big things neutral and then add accents in a single shade, it makes everything seem effortlessly connected,” says Amanda.
A bright screen door frame hints at the pops of blue to be found inside the house. Amanda refinished a hand-me-down pine table in grey paint and repurposed it as an easy-to-access storage unit for firewood. Antique Canadian Pacific Railway lanterns found in the barn and on Kijiji layer in more colour and reference the surrounding rustic landscape.
After a fresh coat of paint and some carefully placed furniture, the Robinsons are set to make this newly decorated farmhouse their home.
Homeowner Amanda Robinson used blue paint throughout her home to liven up the soothing neutral palette and provide a link from room to room. Here are her three favourite shades.