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[homework] top trends of 2011 – the new modern

December 21, 2010 2 comments

It’s the time of year when all the shelter magazines are making their annual predictions for the hot upcoming trends.  Will they be on point or totally out there?  I was particularly excited to peruse the January 2011 issue of Canadian House & Home, one of my favourite monthly mags. Their thoughts on next year’s hottest trends are summed up in five looks that I believe are very representative of what’s going on in interior design: (1) The New Modern – soft & layered, (2) The New Vintage – edgy & focused, (3) The New Country – sleek & artisanal, (4) The New Traditional – bold & exotic, (5) The New Global – subtle & tailored.

Over the next five weeks I am going to assign myself some homework and take a stab at designing a room using Canadian H&H’s definitions as my guideline.

This week I will start with The New Modern – soft & layered. Characteristics of the classic modern style with a softened cosy twist include: luxurious textiles like velvet, faux fur, leather, and sisal; collections of well-curated books, plants, and objects; timeless modern furniture; white walls; hand-thrown pottery; ample pillows; tufted upholstery; lots of wood; hits of silvery blue; warm earthy tones.

Here is my take on this look – –


(images: brad ford inc. via Canadian House & Home julian wass)

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[inspiration board] green & brown nursery

December 13, 2010 1 comment

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on my son’s new nursery.  I am taking inspiration for the room from a fun green/brown/gray foam play mat I purchased.  I want to keep things in a natural palette, working with the espresso crib and changer he already has. To do so, I am using soft greens, browns, and whites.  To warm things up, I’ll add some wicker and linen accessories. I have settled on the room colour and that will be Benjamin Moore’s ‘Nature Lover‘. I’d like this room to grow with him and not be too babyish, so I have chosen a few owl accents.  It’s not done yet but for now, here is a preview of my design board….

canadiana for your shelf

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

I first saw these Arctic bookends a few years ago in an issue of Toronto Life. Since that time, these oh-so-Canadian specimens have crossed my mind numerous times. At $180/pair I should really invest.

I would love to have such a unique pair gracing my shelves and keeping company with my mountain of books.

Created by Toronto-based designer Katherine Morley, the Arctic bookends are a throwback to the style of Lawren Harris’ icebergs. Her work will be on display at ‘Capacity‘ in January 2011.

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{Lawren Harris, best known as a member of The Group of Seven, who during the early 20th century pioneered a distinctly Canadian painting style and image of the Canadian landscape}

(images: 1-3 katherine morley, 4 collage by me)

what to do with a mustard sofa?

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment

In the interior decorating business, we’d all love to have clients with bottomless pockets. However, that isn’t reality and inevitably we will have to work with a client’s existing furniture. This is my current design dilemma.  I recently moved into a new space and to keep costs down I need to keep my existing sofa.  The big question is — why did I buy a mustard sofa in the first place? Completely dissatisfied with what I have to work with, I did a quick search for some inspiration….

So the good news is, there is hope! I need some neutral walls (done), a great rug (in the works), and some new throw cushions (time to go shopping) to tie it all together.

(images: ellen silverman photography, decorpad, larry laslo designs)

elements for the perfect white kitchen

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment

White kitchens – they get me every time.  My ideal kitchen would be a mix of contemporary and traditional elements to create a bright, airy, casual, and inviting atmosphere. To achieve this I would include a combination of: white cabinetry, carrera marble or white subway tile back splash, hardwood floors, large functional island with pull-up seating, and industrial or bare bulb pendants.

Here is a sampling of kitchens I am drawn to….

Love the contrasting espresso trim and height of the upper cabinetry. Beautiful glass pendants. However I find the chairs a little too matchy-matchy with the rest of the room. I’d like to see something a bit more casual, such as these ones below.

Crisp, clean, classic back splash. Amazing floors. Great mix of traditional, contemporary, and rustic.

Love the huge range cover with shelf.  But I am wondering about those chairs – do the homeowners have toothpicks for thighs?

Great industrial pendants. The dark counter tops add some weight to balance that huge centre island. Love all the natural wood.

Perhaps a bit too country for my taste, but I do like the ceiling and cabinetry.

Definitely a feminine kitchen. The soft wallpaper is a nice alternative to white walls.  I like the upper display cabinets.

More modern than the others but the carrera marble back splash adds texture and depth to the otherwise sleek look.  The bare bulb pendants add warmth and style.

Another great mix of styles – modern cabinets, rustic floors, traditional lighting, contemporary furniture.

And I just had to include this teeny tiny white kitchen. Apparently size doesn’t limit style and function!

(images: 1-6 decor pad, 7 the marion house book, 8 skonahem, 9 pure kitchen)