A playful and personalized family home
Blogger Brittany Robertson of Oh My Dear transforms her new build in Grande Prairie, Alta., into a playful and personalized family home.
“If your walls lack architectural detail, shelving and artwork are a great way to create interest,” says Brittany. She and her husband, Jade, made the coffee table for a fraction of the four-figure price tag of a similar one.
“When I dress shelves, I use a mix of items that look interesting together,” says homeowner Brittany Robertson. “I incorporate a living element like a potted plant or fresh flowers, a meaningful object like artwork and something white like a piece of coral to balance everything out. It’s a foolproof equation.”
Warm metallic accents are carried throughout the home, brightening the family's space and creating a place that feels stylish yet cozy.
Brittany accessorized her all-white kitchen with playful accents and a variety of metals. The island, outfitted with weathered-wood stools, is her daughters’ favourite spot for eating lunch and doing homework. “The stools add warmth and are a tonal complement to the island and the flooring,” she says.
“I didn’t want our dining room furniture to look like it was a set,” says Brittany. To break up all the wood, she placed upholstered chairs at opposite ends of the table. “We eat dinner here every night. The large window looks out to our backyard, and beyond that is the countryside.”
“I wanted the guest room to be multifunctional, which is why I chose a daybed,” says Brittany. She painted the original dark laminate panelling behind the bed a soft white, which inspired the blue and white scheme. DIY artwork complements the fresh palette.
To make the decor and design features stand out, Brittany chose light grey for the walls. “Neutral walls allow me to switch up the decor with ease, which is important, as I change my mind a lot!” she says.
“People often ask me how our mostly white house can be so cozy, and I tell them it’s because it’s decorated just for us,” she says. That means pretty pastels for Elizabeth and Paisley, sleek metallics for the grownups and an abundance of meaningful touches like accessories and artwork – much of which Brittany DIYed.
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Enjoy this refreshing sangria all summer long.
A refreshing white wine sangria that's super-easy to make.
1 In a large pitcher, combine the melon, wine and simple syrup.
2 Chill for 4 to 5 hours to allow the fruit to absorb the wine.
3 When ready to serve, add the soda water, gently stir and pour.
Makes 1 large pitcher.
Buying guide: The truth about thread count
Is there anything better than sliding into a bed laden with good quality sheets? At the end of the day, I can't wait to stretch out under my fresh, soft covers and nestle my face into a good cotton-covered pillow. We spend a third of our lives in bed so quality sheets are key, but how do you get quality for your money? There's no doubt that most consumers believe the higher the thread count, the better the quality, but this isn't entirely true. With the help and expertise of Joanna Goodman, owner of Au Lit Fine Linens, we expose the truth about thread count and what it takes to find quality bed sheets.
What is thread count, really?
Simply put, thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. This number is based on the threads woven horizontally ("weft") and vertically ("warp"). Extra threads can also be woven into the weft threads to increase the thread count. These added threads are called "picks" and are added in the overall count, which is how some sheets end up having thread counts in the thousands. This is why the idea that high counts equal better quality isn't really accurate. Consider this: Joanna says most weavers will say the maximum number of threads that can be woven into one square inch of fabric is 500 to 600. Though the number is arguable and, according to Joanna, "depends on the mill you deal with," it gives you an idea of where the line is between single-ply, unpicked weaves and ones that add threads here and there to bump up the count.
What to look for when buying sheets
Joanna lists three things to look for on the label: if it's Egyptian cotton, where it's woven and, lastly, the thread count. While thread count is a bit misunderstood, the buzz around Egyptian cotton is true. "The very best cotton in the world is grown in Egypt. So Egyptian cotton will be of a better quality," Joanna says. She also recommends pima cotton, which is grown in America, "though not quite as exceptional as Egyptian." When it comes to weaving, however, she swears by the Italians as being the "master weavers of the world" due to their "long tradition of weaving" and use of the best Egyptian cotton. Be sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton though, otherwise it may only contain a small percentage of the good stuff. As for the thread count, look for a minimum of 200. From there, it's all about preference!
What to avoid when buying sheets
Joanna's one key piece of advice is to watch out for extremely low priced, high thread count sheet sets. A complete sheet set with a high thread count for $100 or less is probably not the dream bargain you think it is. As Joanna believes, "you always get what you pay for." The price tag for bed linens will vary depending on the sheet size and what items you're buying, such as a duvet cover, sheet sets, or pillowcases. "A superior quality 200 thread count queen set (including flat, fitted, two pillowcases), made of Egyptian cotton and woven in Europe, could retail reasonably for about $150-$250," says Joanna.
What do you prefer?
After going through the quality checklist, go with what feels best for you. If you're looking for a durable linen, Joanna recommends any percale from thread count 200 to 800. Percale is any cotton woven with a 200 thread count or higher and will be more durable than a cotton satin of the same thread count. It's also less likely to pill than cotton satin because it has a denser weave. Love the feel of a cotton button down shirt? Joanna advises a crisp, dense 200 thread count percale. Prefer a silkier sheet? Go for a 300 to 600 cotton satin. If you want lighter sheets, Joanna says, a 400 thread count sheet can be soft and light, while an 800 percale would be soft and dense. The higher the thread count, the more likely multiple-ply thread is used or picks are added, making the fabric denser and heavier.
Now you know that quality is not just about the number, so don't let numbers rule your bed! Remember what to look for on the label and be wary of too-low prices for supposedly high quality items. Beyond that, go with what you prefer. Get a good feel of the sheets before buying. Whether you're unzipping the packaging or lying down on a display bed, make sure the fabric feels good against your skin and soon you'll be having sweet dreams!
Find out how to keep your new linens crisp and clean with our tips to whiter-than-white sheets.