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Style the perfect #shelfie.
We all have a slight obsession with decor, especially our own. Here is a list of how to know you're a little too obsessed.
The thing that has you the most excited about visiting NYC and South Florida is ABC Carpet & Home, of course. In Paris, it’s Clignancourt flea market! London is all about that visit to Conran Shop. But wait, isn’t that what every vacationer does? Nope. It isn’t.
Not only are blockbuster designer-meets-retailer collaborations on your radar, like Kate Spade Saturday with West Elm, and the pairing of the Novogratz husband-and-wife team with CB2, you eagerly await the obscure ones too, like NYC’s Fishs Eddy with West Elm.
What’s more, you think to yourself, “Doesn’t everyone instantly recognize an iconic George Nelson bubble lamp versus a less-expensive imitation?” Uh. No, the average human does not. Your intense scholarship has seriously paid off.
Although you already own a perfectly serviceable and stylish armchair, coffee table, dining table and sofa, you are always adding to a mental shopping list of what you want next, like this Saarinen Womb chair. Oh, and bonus marks for obsessiveness if you have an actual Pinterest Wish List board on the go.
Every now and again you actually lose sleep wondering whether you should paint your bedroom or kitchen or living room or the whole darn home in all white. And, naturally, that white is Benjamin Moore’s famously warm Cloud White CC-40 also known as OC-130. Duh.
Do you know what a chevron pattern is? Do you know what Ikat looks like? Can you identify toile and damask at merely a glance? Do you know trellis from lattice? If you can summon up a mental image at each of these patterns and you are not a stylist or designer then congrats, you officially indulge in way too much time in thinking about decor.
The whole reason you have Instagram installed is so you can salivate over interiors from all over the world. Oh, and here are 10 more designers worth following. What? You didn’t expect us to cure you from your design addiction, did you?
A friend/your mom/your neighbour is renovating and you’re wayyyy more excited about the renovation than they are. All of a sudden you’re picking out tile, hardwood flooring and helping them weigh whether they should install custom cabinetry or save money by jazzing up pre-made units. And the whole time you’re thinking, Oh man, this is the most fun I’ve had all year. Diagnosis: You’re a decor addict and your social network is enabling you.
Not only do you have a favourite decor store, the staff have begun to recognize you. And it’s a big-box store. Bonus marks if you have a favourite staffer. Double-bonus marks if she tells you when the next sale is happening. Triple-bonus marks if she knows your name.
You have a favourite historical paint colour by this esteemed English company, and a favourite wallpaper pattern too (even though it’s hard to have favourites with F&B). Too bad you’ve totally ran out of rooms to re-do, so you’re hoping a friend will invite you over to help decorate his new place.
The books on your bookshelves are arranged by the colour of their respective covers, not alphabetically. And the truly ugly ones are stored away and don’t make it onto your prized shelf. Why would you have it any other way?
Not only do you fluff up your down filled cushions on the regular, you can’t help giving them a little karate chop on the top too when you pass by.
Some people can’t bear to part with shoes, out-of-fashion coats and outfits they don’t wear anymore. You, on the other hand, have a stockpile of fabric swatches, random pieces of sample tiles and paint chips galore. Just in case you need them, even for reference. And in case of the zombie apocalypse. Hey, that’s ok. We do it, too.
Becoming an interior decorator or stylist is your dream job. Seeing as you’re daydreaming about design and your next decorating project most of the day anyway. While at your actual job.
A totally perfect evening of relaxing consists of you, your laptop, the sofa, a stylish throw blanket and all the free time in the world to check Pinterest, Houzz, Apartment Therapy and the rest of your virtual pantry of favourite design sites.
Top these delicious waffles with raspberry coulis and creme fraiche with lavender honey. Image by: Maya Visnyei
Arrange your delicious waffles on a gorgeous breakfast board with fresh berries, jams and creme fraiche.
Mini chocolate & almond waffles
1 In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
2 In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, butter and almond extract.
3 Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
4 Using 3/4 cup for each waffle, pour the batter onto a hot non-stick waffle iron; close the lid and cook until the batter is crisp and golden and the steam stops, about 5 minutes.
5 Cut each waffle into four pieces; drizzle with the melted chocolate and sprinkle with the almonds.
Prep & cook time: 1 1/2 hours
1 In a blender, purée the raspberries, sugar and 1 tablespoon water.
2 Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan, pressing the solids with the back of a spoon and scraping the bottom of the sieve to extract the pulp.
3 Discard the solids. Stir the lemon juice into the raspberry mixture; stir over medium heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Whisk the cornstarch with the remaining 2 teaspoons water until smooth; stir into the raspberry mixture.
4 Bring to a boil; cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
5 Remove from the heat; serve with waffles.
Prep & cook time: 15 minutes
Creme fraiche with lavender honey
1 In a small saucepan, combine the honey and lavender, stirring until the honey is warmed through.
2 Let stand until the mixture has cooled, about 20 minutes.
3 In a small bowl, combine the crème fraîche with 2 tablespoons of the honey mixture (reserve the rest for another use).
4 Sprinkle with extra lavender and serve with waffles.
Prep & cook time: 30 minutes
Makes: 1 cup
Learn the tips & tricks to make the most of your small space.
Make your small space work harder with smart solutions for making it look and feel larger than it actually is.
“Every room has eight corners. Don’t forget that.”
I first heard that from my mom when I was a kid. Whenever we moved, about every other year, I’d hear her mutter those words when she thought she was alone. Standing with hands on hips, she’d stare into the ceiling of our latest apartment, surrounded by boxes and wondering how we’d organize all the books and plants and knick-knacks this time around.
My mom had a point (and she made our space look cosy and organized and funky no matter the size), but she was no design expert. So I found two pros to provide some insight on how to make the most of tight spots in your home.
Meet the experts
Lynda Felton is stylist in Toronto who’s created living spaces for magazines and books.
Kyla Rozman, along with her business partner Pamela Ferrari, runs Vancouver-based In Order To Succeed Professional Organizing.
THE FUNDAMENTALS FOR ANY SMALL SPACE
1 Remember: A tiny room doesn’t have to hold only tiny furniture.
Sometimes with a small space, people avoid large furniture thinking it will dominate the room. Not true. A large sectional can often be better than a small sofa and chair. Lynda
2 Combine like objects and purge.
Don’t purchase any organizing supplies until you know precisely what needs to be stored. Kyla
3 Use mirrors and glass to create reflections and bounce light around.
Making a small space seem grand depends on maximizing light. You can do that with a glass coffee table, rather than a wood or opaque one. You can do it by tucking mirrors into corners, and by hanging art in glass frames, which create reflections. Lynda
4 Ensure that window coverings don’t cut off light when they’re open.
Hang curtains so that when they’re open, the entire pane is clear; open curtains should fall beside the window and not obscure any of it. Don’t hang curtains inside the window frame. Consider hanging curtains from the ceiling, rather than from the top of the window, which will add height (and some drama) to the space. Lynda
5 Think vertically.
Whether you’re hanging art or shelves, or placing furniture, don’t let vertical space go to waste. Using it is practical, providing a display space for art, for example, and it also draws the eye up, making a space feel more expansive than it actually is. LyndaROOM-BY-ROOM SPECIFICS
In the kitchen
6 Install to-the-ceiling cabinets.
Light-coloured cabinets, open shelves and glass-front doors will help to lighten a space. Too many cabinets, especially made of dark materials, will give the impression that the room is much smaller than it actually is. Lynda
7 Increase accessibility and capacity.
You can do this by adding pullout shelves, rotating inserts and tilt-out bins. Kyla
8 Use cork and magnetic boards.
If new or more cabinets aren’t in your future or your budget, remember that canisters on the counter take up valuable real estate. So cast your eye up to see where you can hang utensils, pots and pans on previously unused space. Lynda
9 Buy wire shelves.
They’re a must in a small space and in the kitchen they can almost double a cupboard’s capacity. Kyla
10 Use the inside of cupboard doors.
If covered with magnetic paint, they can accommodate papers and notes that might get knocked off a fridge in a small space. Lynda
11 Fill a cleaning caddy with supplies that can be stored in the kitchen, but transported around the house. This eliminates the need for cleaning supplies in multiple rooms, like the basement and bathroom, saving space in each. KylaIn the home office
12 Use a wall file system to organize documents.
This will get them off your work surface, but keep them visible and handy. Kyla
13 Consider redesigned wall bed/shelf/desk combinations.
The bed and desk fold into the wall leaving the room clear when you need the space. They also work well in a spare bedroom. Kyla
14 Move all CDs and DVDs into books with sleeves.
I love the faux leather ones at Staples. Then you can dispose of the space-consuming plastic jewel cases. Kyla
15 Don’t throw your coins in a jar.
Buy plastic coin holders that lay open and drop your coins into the appropriate sleeve. You’ll save hours because you’ll never have to sort again. Kyla
16 Get a paper shredder.
And in a small space, make it a habit to shred as soon as mail comes in. That way, there’s no backlog. KylaIn the living room
17 Watch your furniture scale.
You can make a compact room feel much bigger by choosing a few large, bold pieces rather than several smaller ones. And keep the main furnishings in proportion to each other. Lynda
18 Avoid bold patterns or overstuffed furniture with thick arms.
Streamlined pieces, such as armless Parson chairs, are beautiful space savers. Lynda
19 Hang your flat screen TV on a flexible arm.
This eliminates the need for a TV stand or entertainment unit. KylaIn the bathroom
20 Get rid of any visual obstructions.
Trade a frosted-glass bath or shower door for a clear glass one. Better yet, eliminate the door altogether and hang a shower curtain that can be pushed to one side when not in use. Lynda
21 Use pullout drawers in the cupboard below your sink.
These ones from Lee Valley are designed to accommodate plumbing. Kyla
22 Hang shelves above the toilet.
Use decorative boxes on the shelves to contain/hide the clutter. Label the boxes so that everything is easy to find, or so that everyone in the household can have their own box. Kyla
In the hallway and closet
23 Wallpaper isn’t just on-trend. It’s practical, too.
In narrow hallways, wallpaper can draw the eye away from the length of the space and create the illusion of width. Just remember: a small space isn't a place for high-contrast colour or patterns. Go for tone-on-tone papers. Lynda
24 Work the lateral space.
By adding a second rod inside a closet, you can double your hanging space. Hanging cubby shelves attached to the rod can add space for sweaters, shoes and hats. Lynda
25 Go custom.
Made-to-measure closet systems can be affordable. And systems from Storables or the Container Store can be dismantled if you want to take them with you when you move. Kyla
Decorated in shades of silver and gold, this shimmering tree makes a statement. Image by: Donna Griffith
What’s better than chic, sophisticated holiday style? The ability to achieve it with ease. Here are 10 tips to simplify your next festive soiree.
Last year, when homeowners Pamela Schott and Sheldon Pollack moved into this 7,500-square-foot five-bedroom century home in Toronto’s Forest Hill neighbourhood, they merged more than just their families (he has three 30-somethings; she has two kids; and four of the five live at the house part-time). The couple, who will wed next year, also blended their approaches to the holidays. To that end, their seasonal decor is sophisticated and minimalist, glamorous and uncluttered, neither too gimmicky nor too theme-y. For Pamela and Sheldon, it’s all about simplicity. Though they enjoy entertaining – the couple loves to host a holiday drop-in – they always keep it effortless. “A party is about the friends, family, wine, appetizers and conversation,” says Pamela, who makes creating a relaxed atmosphere her priority. “It’s about the event, not the planning.” Here, we highlight 10 ways Pamela and Sheldon execute their elegant holiday style with ease.
1 Choose function: A petite potted rosemary tree gives the kitchen counter holiday flair with purpose. Well into the new year, it will serve as a source of fresh decoration for place settings and garnish for themed cocktails.
2 Make strategic splurges: Don’t stress about baking in the days leading up to your party. If you lack the time and the piping skills, splurge on artfully adorned cookies iced in your home’s colour scheme for a scrumptious statement.
3 Stay simple: A bouquet of white amaryllis is an understated accent that’s synonymous with winter but doesn’t scream “holidays.” Buy the blooms a few days before your event so they’re at their prime when guests arrive.
4 Lay it down: Getting festive garlands to swag just right can take a lot of fussing. So if you want to gussy up your windows in a flash, layer cuttings of greenery on your windowsills instead. Here, Douglas fir and magnolia leaves add a luxe touch.
5 Accent the architecture: Draw attention to eye-catching structural features like leaded glass windows with beautiful holiday wreaths that accentuate the details but don’t steal the show.
6 Make room for more: Use a bowl to hold gorgeous Christmas ornaments that didn’t make it onto the tree for a simple centrepiece or coffee table accent.
7 Wrap it up: No pot? No problem! Use a swath of grey linen fabric secured with decorative ribbon to dress up the base of a tabletop tree. This unconventional feature lends a festive touch to an otherwise unadorned space.
8 Come out from under the tree: Take your gift wrapping to the next level with finishing details like sculptural toppers and layered ribbons. Don’t just place presents under the tree: Artfully arrange them on various nearby surfaces for vignettes that suit the season.
9 Mix metallics: Sticking to a gold and silver palette makes decorating the tree almost effortless. Look for a mix of shimmering materials, from beading to mercury glass to metallic fabrics, so you don’t have to think too hard about even distribution.
10 Make it a team effort: Whether it’s decorating the tree, hanging wreaths or wrapping presents, holiday tasks are more easily executed as a team. Get your tools out ahead of time, gather the family and put on your favourite holiday tunes to set the mood – you’ll be done before you can say “cool yule!”