Take a peek inside this renovated schoolhouse.
What better place to spend the winter than in an old schoolhouse in an idyllic rural setting?
Growing up in Toronto and then living in Vancouver for 21 years, Janet Appleton, owner of The Dog Tack Shop, was a devoted city girl with a low-maintenance condo as her dwelling of choice. Then one fateful date, she happened upon a real-estate listing for a converted heritage schoolhouse on eight acres in Schomberg, Ont. "I saw it online and fell completely in love," she confesses. "It was all purple inside with shag carpeting everywhere. Everyone tried to talk me out of it, but I had a vision."
Moving back to Ontario meant being closer to family and many of the craftspeople she works with for her business. So in a lifestyle-changing move, she bought the place, taking possession of the property more than three years ago with her two boxers, Marco and Benny, in tow.
Nestled into eight acres of bucolic countryside, the Old Deacon Schoolhouse is a well-preserved example of a typical rural Ontario schoolhouse.
Although the schoolhouse isn't designated a heritage building, Janet was determined to design the interior with an environmentally aware decor approach that respected its history.
Janet with her two boxers, Marco and Benny, on the steps of the schoolhouse. Many bricks on the home's exterior have children's initials etched into them.
A few boughs of natural greenery adorn the entryway door. Homeowner Janet Appleton has no idea what the numbers at the entrance might have meant but she and her guests love to speculate.
An iron staircase salvaged from Toronto's first telegram building leads to the loft. Janet ripped shag carpeting off its treads to reveal the maker's mark from St.Lawrence Foundry.
Antique books include her great-grandfather's bible and her great-grandmother's hymnal. The bench, marked 1954, was a gift from her grandfather to her mother.
In the main living room, the doors flanking the fireplace mantel are the original boys' and girls' entrances to the school. Stained-glass windows were added in a previous renovation. Janet's mother, Judith, lovingly helped source many of the home's furnishings, including the dark grey Louis-style armchair.
The harvest table in the dining area was one of the many pieces left behind by the previous owners that Janet was able to incorporate into the new design. Huge barn beams were left intact and exposed to lend warmth to the predominantly white interior.
During the winter, Janet decorates with a light touch, utilizing the natural materials found in abundance on her property.
Give this healthy soup full of delicious greens a try.
A simple and delicious soup recipe that combines good-for-you greens and grains.
This soup is open to all kinds of experimentation. Try adding 2 cups or one 14- to 15-oz can beans, such as cannellini beans, chickpeas or romano beans, with the cooked grains. Or drop a Parmesan rind into the broth while the greens simmer and garnish with more freshly grated cheese. You can also use chopped onion, chopped celery and chopped carrot with or in place of the greens’ stems.
1 Place the grains and salt in a medium pot and cover generously with water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the grains are tender to the bite (from 15 minutes for quinoa to up to 60 minutes for rye kernels). Drain and set aside.
2 If using greens with thick stems like chard or kale cut the stems from the leaves. Trim the stems and finely chop them, then cut the leaves into thin ribbons; keep the stems and leaves separate. If using greens without thick stems, chop the leaves into ribbons or bite-sized pieces.
3 Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the stems (if using) and cook, stirring frequently, until they’re soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the chicken broth and cooked grains and bring just to a boil.
4 Add the greens, stir to combine and cook until wilted and tender, just 1 to 2 minutes for spinach, 5 minutes for chard and up to 10 minutes for kale. Season with salt and serve warm with a grind or two of pepper.
Serves: 4 to 5
Image by: Stacey Brandford | Styling: Morgan Lindsay & Stacy Begg
A PR maven updates her Toronto kitchen to create a chic space with staying power.
Christine Faulhaber is no stranger to trends. “It’s my job to be on the pulse of what’s new and now,” says the head of Faulhaber Communications, a PR and marketing firm in Toronto. When this in-the-know gal’s kitchen got an update last year, it was destined to have a covetable current look. But first, the 420-square-foot space – which hadn’t seen more than a coat of paint since the ’80s — needed to be brought into this decade.
Seeking help to gut the room and start over, the well-connected homeowner pulled out her loaded Rolodex and called in designer Amy Dillon of AyA Kitchens and Baths. “For the most part, we kept the layout pretty similar,” says Amy. “But we tweaked things to improve usability.” The upgrades included replacing cabinets with space-saving pullouts, swapping bulky appliances for sleek, well-integrated options and supplanting the old island with a longer narrower one that accommodates seating without impeding flow.
With function taken care of, Amy focused on the finishes, opting for elements befitting this fashion-forward professional. She cites the sleek two-tone cabinetry, open storage and a feature wall sans uppers as examples. “Trends can date themselves down the line,” says Amy, “so I incorporated them in a subtle way, using a neutral palette.” The über-popular encaustic-look backsplash tiles are case in point. “The slew of prints is a bit aggressive,” admits Christine. “But they’re monotone, so it’s a safe choice.” Time-tested additions, such as Mid-Century Modern-style seating, grasscloth accent wallpaper and copper accessories round out the room, cementing its staying power.
Designer Amy Dillon grounded the white cabinetry with dark grey accents — but only a few. “I wanted the space to age gracefully, not look like that typical two-tone kitchen you see so much,” she says. Marble-look Caesarstone countertops, which flow into a waterfall edge on the island, help achieve that goal.
For the dining area, Christine went with one of the hottest trends — Mid-Century Modern furniture — and chose chairs in a punchy shade of blue.
Though Amy chose minimal modern flat-panelled cabinetry, she varied the look by incorporating some open storage. “Display space is important to me,” says Christine, who showcases cookbooks and collectibles, such as her grandmother’s porcelain teacups. “These types of pieces give the space character and make it feel more like the rest of the rooms in the house.”
Christine fell for the bold encaustic-look backsplash tiles immediately. “The prints — there are 33 in total — are mostly traditional, so they have long legs,” she says. For a slightly more current effect, she had her contractor double up on the watery pattern, the only contemporary motif in the bunch. “The backsplash is a safe place to try a trend,” she advises. “Worst-case scenario, I tire of it in 10 years. I’d probably want to change my kitchen by then anyway!”
Christine incorporated touches of copper, the metal du jour, starting with a Tom Dixon pendant light in the eat-in area. The zone received the same space-smart treatment as the rest of the kitchen with dual-tone built-ins.
The whimsical artwork printed on Plexiglas is actually an image from a photo shoot Christine produced five years ago to mark the 10th anniversary of her PR and marketing agency, Faulhaber Communications. She used classic grass-cloth wallpaper as a backdrop to amplify the piece.
Hosting a New Year's Eve party is easy when you have these essentials! Image by: West Elm
If you’re playing host this New Year’s Eve, add a fun and festive touch to your party with these essentials.
It’s always hard to believe when a new year rolls around; does time fly or what? As we prepare to kiss 2016 goodbye and look forward to 2017, gather friends and family close to reminisce about the good times you’ve had and to welcome all that the coming year will bring. If you're planning to host this year's New Year's Eve party, we've put together some fun and festive essentials that will help make your celebration a success!
1 Gold Letter Party Balloons: No party is complete without balloons but these gold letter party balloons are a bit more grown up than the balloons of children’s parties! Use them to spell out ‘Happy New Year’ to add a dash of flair to your smashing soiree. Gold Letter Party Balloons, Urban Outfitters, $6.
2 Terrace Bar Cart: Fitted with four wheels, this bar cart is ready to move where the party goes! Featuring clean, simple lines, it’s the perfect portable cocktail station. Set it up with your favourite wines, spirits and glassware and your bar cart will turn out to be the star of the party! Terrace Bar Cart, West Elm, $349.
3 DIY New Year’s Party Hats: We love party hats but let’s be honest: Many of the ones you find at party stores are pretty tacky. So why not make your own? Amy Kim of the blog Homey Oh My provides the instructions for making these adorable, oh-so-chic New Year’s Eve hats that are bound to put you into the party spirit! Find instructions for these DIY New Year’s party hats here.
4 Harrison Cocktail Shaker: Look like a real professional when you mix drinks using this elegant cocktail shaker. It’s got a tight-fitting lid and a narrow base to make it easy and comfortable to use. And because of its ergonomics, it’s virtually spill-proof so you can toss and shake worry-free! Harrison Cocktail Shaker, Pottery Barn, $31.50.
5 Verve Martini Glass: Traditional martini glasses, while beautiful, often feel very delicate with those long, slender stems. This modern take on the classic glass shape adds a solid weight to the glass, making it easier to handle. The stem features bubbles in the glass, which add a playful touch. Verve Martini Glass, Crate and Barrel, $12.95.
6 B&O BeoPlay Portable Bluetooth Speaker: To keep the party alive, you’ll need to pump some good tunes and if all your music is stored on your phone, you’ll need a good speaker, too. This Bang & Olufsen speaker delivers not only superior sound quality, but a gorgeously designed device that’s as much for display as it is for practical use. B&O BeoPlay Portable Bluetooth Speaker, Apple, $499.95.
7 Square Appetizer Plates: These square appetizer plates are a stylish addition to your party. Perfect for all those finger foods you’re serving! Plus, in white and gold, they easily complement any decor or tabletop theme. Square Appetizer Plates, Pier 1, $3.96.
8 Pink, Blush and Gold Tassel Garland: Add a really festive touch to your New Year’s celebration with this tassel garland. Handmade with tissue paper, this garland measures five feet and has 17 tassels. It’s an easy way to add a touch of glamour to your party decor! Pink, Blush and Gold Tassel Garland, Blush Bazaar on Etsy, $20.