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.
Serve up this spooky Halloween treats at your party.
Serve up this spooky Halloween treats at your party.
Make these tasty and elegantly spooky Halloween treats at home.
This year, try making these Halloween-inspired desserts to celebrate the spookiest day of the year. These DIY ideas will help make the holiday that much more special and make sure your home is filled with the delicious smell of baked goods.
1 Halloween chocolate tarts
1 Let baked chocolate tarts cool completely before decorating.
2 Place one candy corn around the edges of each tart, in a neat circle.
Makes eight 4-inch tarts.
2 No-bake pumpkin cheesecake cookies
1 Add the softened cream cheese to a medium-size bowl. Using a stand or hand-held mixer, beat for 1 minute. Mix in sugar, pumpkin puree, vanilla and nutmeg. Fold in the food colouring if using.
2 Mix for another minute or until the mixture is homogeneous. Place to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or just until serving.
3 Right before serving, take the cheesecake batter out of the fridge. Using a spoon or small ice cream scoop add a couple tablespoons of batter at the center of half of the wafers. Top with the other half and gently press down to form a sandwich. Serve immediately.
Tip: Assemble the cookies at the last minute to prevent the wafer cookies from getting soggy.
Makes about 10 cookies.
Never burn the bottoms again! Learn how to bake better cookies with these pro tips.
3 Black and white truffles
1 Take truffles out of the fridge right before coating them with chocolate.
2 In two separate double-boilers, melt the dark and white chocolate. Quickly dip each truffle into either batter using a small flat spoon. Shake off excess and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
3 Place in the fridge to set for 10 minutes. Remove from the fridge a few minutes before serving.
Makes 50 truffles.
4 Pumpkin sugar cookies
1 In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and egg whites.
2 Mixing on low speed, add up to 1/2 cup water depending on the consistency you want your icing to be. Mix until the icing holds a ribbon-like trail.
3 Separate the icing into two bowls. Fold in the orange colouring in one, and green in the other.
4 Place the icing into two piping bags.
5 Decorate as you please.
5 Halloween candy platter
For a festive Halloween candy platter, arrange a selection of black licorice, candy corn, jujubes and orange and black jelly beans in different plates and bowls.
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.
Godmorgon/Braviken Two-Drawer Vanity in White
Transform your lacklustre lavatory into a restful retreat with these affordable (and stylish!) vanities.
This grey-finished cabinet is an updated take on a country classic. I love the shaker-style doors with the inlaid beadboard panels. The simple turned legs enhance its farmhouse style, while the gleaming chrome hardware adds a hint of modern flair. Ove Amber 30 Vanity, Costco, $499.99.
Sleek, stylish and small – that pretty much sums up all there is to love about this modern vanity. Its compact 19" x 10" size makes it an ideal addition for any compact bathroom, and with its clean lines and simple design, it’s especially fitting for a pretty powder room. Foremost Mackenzie Vanity, Lowe's, $254.
Appropriately named Lakewood, this whitewashed wall-hung vanity is not only a great space-saving solution, it’s also a stylish option that will lend a casual coastal look to your space. The whitewashed look is all the rage these days for flooring – so why not take that trend into the bathroom, too? Lakewood Wall-Hung Vanity in Fresca, Rona, $415.20 (sale price).
This unique vanity, with its two faucets and single elongated bowl, is just as sleek as it is functional. In other words: it’s a storage haven! With two extra-wide solid wood drawers, this unit maximizes space and makes it easy to organize and access all of your toiletries. Godmorgon/Braviken Two-Drawer Vanity in White, IKEA, $499.
Bring the outdoors in with this nature-inspired red oak vanity. Whether you’re looking to update your elegant country home or want to introduce a warm rustic vibe to your modern abode, this piece will adapt to any design aesthetic. Greenbank Vanity, The Home Depot, $319.
This miniature vanity (appropriately named “Bliss”) will let you mix-and-match colours with ease all thanks to its elegant black and white palette. If you’re drawn to softer hues, the piece is also available in white, grey and walnut. Its door also swings open so you conceal the essentials, from makeup products to toilet paper. The perfect solution when dealing with a small space. Bliss 18" Vanity in Black, The Vanity Store, $449.99.
Sometimes it makes sense to keep it classic. You can’t go wrong with this elegant white vanity, which offers an abundance of storage – not to mention the added bonus of extra counter space! Make the most of the additional room and style the counter with a cute glass soap pump and small vase of flowers. Lancaster 36-inch Vanity, The Home Depot, $395.
Calling all dark wood aficionados! If you’re tired of the all-white bathroom, make a bold statement with this two-drawer single faucet walnut vanity. This option would look even better if combined with trendy black hexagon floor tiles and a beautiful white soaker tub. Wall-Mounted Vanity, Bath Depot, $479.20 (sale price).