Stores We Love
Jul 2, 2008
Shopping in BC: 18 Karat Home Store
Stores We Love
Jul 2, 2008
Shopping in BC: 18 Karat Home Store
Click to download: 18 Karat Home Store
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.
A fresh seaside-chic lake house
This cozy lake house in Port Carling, Ont., boasts a fresh seaside-chic vibe while paying homage to old-school Muskoka.
Nestled on the south shore of Lake Rosseau in Port Carlin, Ont., this 6,800-square-foot six-bedroom house is decorated the way one would dress when visiting: in a crisp Polo Ralph Lauren Oxford shirt and comfortable, well-worn chinos paired with Sperry Top-Siders. It's a timeless look that's coastal, casual and effortlessly chic with a neutral palette at its core.
"The homeowners wanted to capture that warm, windswept lake house aesthetic but with a relaxed, cozy Muskoka feel for their young family of four," says Cory DeFrancisco of Mukoka Living Interiors, who designed and built the home from scratch, finishing in 2013.
Like a friendly smile and a firm handshake, the entryway makes a confident and inviting introduction to the home.
"A lot of old cottages have those tunnelling hallways in their guest cottage or service quarters, and this beadboard wall treatment references that," says builder and designer Cory DeFrancisco.
This small boathouse sunroom is literally right on Ontario's Lake Rosseau: On windy days, you can feel waves crashing up through the floorboards.
"We took up 90 percent of the wall with windows," says Cory of the gorgeous great room, where the ceiling's oak beams guide your eye directly to the view. "The overstuffed sofas are insanely comfortable," he adds. "They're slipcovered in high-quality Belgian linen that gets softer with each wash.
Though the spacious kitchen is crisp, white and polished, simple details, such as the grain of the reclaimed-oak floors and the texture of the brush strokes on the hand-painted cabinetry, keep it humble and homey. "It's a new take on a traditional cottage kitchen, with all the modern amenities," says Cory.
A big weathered farmhouse table paired with slipcovered seating and sophisticated lighting that doesn't block the view equals a dining room with easy elegance. But the best feature of this space is that, with the doors open, you really feel like you're eating alfresco.
Even though this home is grand, the family who lives here wanted an overall feeling of togetherness, so Cory kept it largely open concept.
The west-facing Muskoka room, with wall-to-wall windows, is so bright that it can pull off the charcoal walls. "The darkness acts as an anchor, while the light that shines in highlights the furnishings," explains Cory. The modular sectional is meant for the outdoors (so go ahead, get it wet) and can be reconfigured when company comes to create multiple sitting areas.
The whole master bedroom is very generous, but its sleeping area is quite small. In it, you'll find only an upholstered bed, two small side tables and a 180-degree view of the water.
The large window behidn the free-standing bathtub overlooks a garden and granite. "It's hard to make boulders sound nice," says Cory with a laugh, "but it's a beautiful view."
"All of those elements are, I think, what makes it feel authentic to Muskoka. There's nothing ornate in the whole place," says Cory. And just 35 feet away, in the boathouse, the look is much the same. The palette is almost all white and the dress code is bathing suits - after all, the lake's right there. Take one step out the door, and jump right in. The water's perfect.
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.
WANT TO WIN A THERMADOR DISHWASHER?
Click here for your chance to win Thermador's fully flush stainless steel panel Star-Sapphire dishwasher!
FULL CONTEST RULES & REGULATIONS
1. The « Style at Home Thermador Bosch Contest » contest is held by (Groupe TVA) Style at Home . Groupe TVA Style at home is collectively hereinafter named: the “contest organizers”. The contest runs on Styleathome.com, from August 22, 2016 to November 24, 2016 at 23h59 ET (hereinafter: the “contest period”).
2. This contest is open to all persons residing in Canada of at least 18 years old of age. The following persons are excluded; employees, agents and representatives of Québecor Média inc., of Groupe TVA inc., of Style at Home, and Thermador of their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, partners, suppliers of prizes, materials and services related to this contest, or any other party directly linked to the holding of this contest, or their brother, sister, children, mother, father, their legal or common-law spouse and individuals with whom such employees, agents and representatives are domiciled.
HOW TO ENTER
3. No purchase necessary. To participate in the contest, you simply have to enter the contest by visiting Styleathome.com. Go to the « Contest » section and click on the « Style at Home Thermador Bosch Contest » icon in order to register. After, you can fill in the electronic entry form.
i) Once you have accessed the electronic entry form make sure to indicate your exact personal information as follows: first name, last name, complete address with postal code and country. It is every participant’s responsibility to indicate a valid phone number where he can be reached between 9AM to 5PM during weekdays. Send your electronic entry form no later than November 24, 2016 at 23h59 ET. Upon reception of your registration’s confirmation message, you will be automatically entered in the contest. Cookies must be accepted in order to participate to the contest.
Entrants must respect the following limits, otherwise the contest organizers reserve the right to cancel one or several of their entries :
• One participation per person per day during the contest period;
• A person cannot register more than one e-mail address per person, in the case where a person has more than one;
• A person entering more than once a day or using multiple email addresses will be automatically removed from the ballot list;
5. The following prize is offered :
One (1) prize will be given: Thermador – Sapphire Dishwasher
The total prize value is : 3,079.00 $ CAN
The following conditions apply:
• The prize is not exchangeable and non-transferable; and
• The prize has to be accepted as it is; and
• The contest organizers will determine with the winner the date; and
• If the prize or a portion of it is not used, no compensation will be given.
6. On November 25, 2016 at 10:00 am, in Toronto, at the office of Groupe TVA inc., a random selection of entry form will be held among all eligible entry forms registered in conformity with section 3, in order to attribute the prize described above.
7. The odds of a participant’s entry form being randomly selected depend upon the number of eligible entry forms registered in conformity with the regulations and rules.
HOW TO CLAIM A PRIZE
8. In order to be declared a winner, each selected entrant must :
a) Have answered correctly the mathematical skill-testing question that appears on the entry form; and
b) Be contacted by phone and/or email by the contest organizers within three (3) days following the random selection; and
c) Sign the declaration and exemption form that will be given to him and return to the contest organizers within 5 days; and
d) Abide to all conditions related to the Prize;
After the declaration and exemption form is correctly filled out and signed, the contest organizers will contact the winner to determine how the Prize will be remitted (by mail or on hand delivery)
9. Failing to comply with one of the conditions stated in the section above or any of the conditions provided in these Contest Rules, the entry of the selected entrant will be cancelled without any liability to the contest organizers whatsoever, and a new draw for that prize will be held according to these Contest Rules until an entrant is selected and declared a winner.
10. Verification. Entry forms are subject to verification by the contest organizers, and contest entrants agree to cooperate fully with contest organizers in such respect. Any entry form which is, as the case may be, incomplete, fraudulent, sent late, that does not bear the correct answer to the mathematical skill-testing question will automatically be rejected and will not give right to a prize, and contest organizers shall have no liability in such respect, or in respect of lost, misdirected of garbled communication, printing, prizing or distributor errors.
11. Non-conforming entries. The contest organizers reserve the right to disqualify any person or cancel one or many entries of any person participating in this contest or trying to participate by means contrary to these Contest Rules or in a manner which is unfair to the other entrants (e.g.: entries exceeding the permitted limit, computer hacking, etc.). Such person may be referred to the appropriate judicial authorities.
12. Acceptance of prize. Any prize must be accepted as described in the present Contest Rules and cannot be transferred to another person, substituted for another prize nor exchanged in part or in whole for a sum of money, subject to what is stated in the following section. Prize is accepted “as is” without any warranty whatsoever.
13. Substitution of prize. In the event where, for reasons not related to the winners, the contest organizers cannot award a prize (or part of a prize) as described in these Contest Rules, they reserve the right to award a prize (or part of a prize) of the same nature and of equivalent value or, at their sole discretion, the cash value of the prize (or part of the prize) as mentioned in these Contest Rules.
14. Refusal to accept a prize. The refusal of a randomly selected person to accept a prize according to the terms and conditions of these Contest Rules releases the contest organizers of any obligation related to that prize towards that person.
15. Liability – prize’s supplier. Each participant who is selected for a prize recognizes that upon reception of the confirmation of his status as the winner of the prize, the execution of the services in respect to the prize is the sole responsibility of the supplier of the prize, in this case, (Groupe TVA inc.) Style at Home. A declaration to this effect may be included in the declaration and exemption form.
16. Liability limit – use of prize. Any selected person releases Québecor Média inc., (Groupe TVA inc.), Style at Home, Thermador and their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, their employees, agents and representatives from any and all liability for any and all damages he/she may suffer from the acceptance or use of his/her prize. In order to be declared a winner, any selected person agrees, if required, prior to obtaining his/her prize, to sign a Declaration Form to such effect.Erreur ! Signet non défini.
17. Liability limit – running of the contest. Québecor Média inc., Groupe TVA inc., and (Groupe TVA inc.), Style at Home, Thermador and their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, their employees, agents and representatives are not liable for faulty computer components, software, or communication lines, relating to any transmission that is faulty, incomplete, incomprehensible or erased by any computer or network that could limit the possibility or prevent any person from participating in this contest. Québecor Média inc., (Groupe TVA inc.), Style at Home, Thermador and their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, their employees, agents and representatives also will not be held liable for any damages or loss that could arise, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from downloading any Internet page, any software or any form and by the transmission of any data regarding the participation in this contest.
18. Modification. The contest organizers reserve the right, at their sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend this contest, in whole or in part, in the case of the occurrence of an event, an error or any human intervention that could corrupt or affect the administration, safety, impartiality or the running of the contest as foreseen in these Contest Rules, subject to the approval of the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Québec, if required. In any case, the contest organizers, their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, the suppliers of products or services related to this contest as well as their employees, agents and representatives cannot be held liable to award more prizes than those indicated in these Contest Rules or to award prizes otherwise than in compliance with these Contest Rules.
19. Impossibility to act – including labour dispute Québecor Média inc., (Groupe TVA inc.), Style at Home, Thermador and their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, their employees, agents and representatives will not assume any liability whatsoever in any case where their incapacity to act would result from a fact or a situation beyond their control or a strike, lock-out or any other labour dispute in their establishment or in establishments of organizations or enterprises which services are used for holding this contest.
20. Liability limit– participation. Any person who participates or tries to participate in this contest releases the contest organizers, their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and/or promotional agencies, their employees, agents and representatives, from any and all liability for damages which he/she could suffer from participating or trying to participate in this contest.
21. Authorization. By entering this contest, any winner authorizes the contest organizers, their partners and their representatives to use, if required, his/her name, photograph, likeness, declaration related to the prize, place of residence and/or voice without remuneration whatsoever and that, at their discretion and without limit as for the period of use, in any media and on a worldwide scale, for publicity purposes or for any purpose that will or may be pertinent.
22. Communication with entrants. No communication or correspondence will be exchanged with entrants in the context of this contest except with those selected for a prize.
23. Decisions of the contest organizers. All decisions of the contest organizers or those of their representatives regarding this contest are final and binding, subject to any decision by the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Québec in relation to matters under its jurisdiction.
24. Litigation. Any litigation respecting the conduct or organisation of a publicity contest may be submitted to the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux for a ruling. Any litigation respecting the awarding of a prize may be submitted to the Régie for the purpose of helping the parties reach a settlement.
25. Identification of the entrant. For the purposes of these Contest Rules, the entrant is the person whose name appears on the entry form and it is to this person to whom the prize will be awarded if he/she is selected and declared a winner.
26. Precedence: If an article in this regulation were to be declared or deemed illegal, unenforceable or invalid by a competent authority, then this article would be considered null and non-written, but all other items would not be affected and would find application in limits and authorized by law
27. Rules contest. This is the official regulations and rules for the contest « Style at Home Thermador Bosch Contest ».
28. Personal information. The personal information collected on the participants of this contest are used only for the administration of the contest. No commercial communication or other, not linked to the contest, will be sent to the participants by the contest organizers except if the participants have authorized the contest organizers, and in the case of Style at Home, Thermador it’s affiliates, to send such communication by checking the opt-in on the electronic entry form.