It’s reveal day! Woohoo! I’ve been wanting to give my favourite corner a refresh for what feels like forever, and Saturday I finally rolled up my sleeves and got started. I stripped the living room wallpaper, gave the walls a fresh coat of paint, and brought in some colourful accessories my friends at Thimblepress sent from their HQ in Jackson, Mississippi. I’ve loved their cheery art prints and greeting cards and confetti push-pops and pretty much everything they do for a few years now, and here I’ve incorporated some of my new and old favourites to give the space a happy vibe. (The new goodies were free of charge in exchange for this post.)
Now some of you may say plants never go out of style, but in the past couple of years their popularity in home decor and design has grown in a huge way (pun absolutely intended). Wonder Plants: Your Urban Jungle Interior by Irene Schampaert and Judith Baehner, is a tribute to some of of the most marvellous and magical renderings of botanical style and a primer in plant care for readers looking to enliven their spaces with the same greenery at home.
This Christmas my wish list is all about feathering our nest. I’d love a Scandinavian-inspired mirror for the entry, a swoony diffuser for the living room, some kind of lighting situation for the dining room (I finally painted it white but it’s still so dim), and a big screen TV to curl up with and watch all the holiday Netflix in bed. (Santa, I’ve been really good this year!) All of which was heavily inspired by Domino: Your Guide to a Stylish Home, the much-anticipated new release from Domino magazine editors Jessica Romm Perez and Shani Silver. It’s a follow-up to the 2008 release, Domino: The Book of Decorating. While the first book was all about demystifying interior design, this second one promises a deep dive into the nitty gritty of home decorating — how to use key elements from lighting to collections and everything in between to make your space your own. “Your home isn’t simply the things in it — it is more about crafting a space to share with the people you love,” the authors write. “It doesn’t need to be perfect — it just needs to be perfect for you.”
I’ve been following Rachel Denbow’s weaving series on A Beautiful Mess for a couple of years now, so I was so excited when I saw she’d come out with a book, DIY Woven Art: Inspiration and Instruction for Handmade Wall Hangings, Rugs, Pillows, and More! (released this past August). Written for beginners and more experienced weavers looking for fresh inspiration, there’s fruit of the loom for a variety of skill sets and tastes. Step-by-step instructions (and three DIY looms!) take you through 15 projects and several different techniques. Make a loom from a scrap of cardboard and some thrift-store yarn and try a simple wall hanging in candy-coloured stripes or use your trusty frame loom and that special wool roving you’ve been saving to make a more complex statement piece.
Last night we said farewell to summer by drawing our names in the dark with the last of the sparklers, and today we’re welcoming fall with a return to the books. And with my guys back to school, I’m counting on more time to read and share a dozen new titles with you, starting with a fresh and budget-friendly approach to party planning that comes just as the shorter days and cooler nights beckon us to gather inside with family and friends. It’s Decorate for a Party: Stylish and Simple Ideas for Meaningful Gatherings by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring, and it’s full of all kinds of wonderful ideas and easy DIYs to add a warm and personal touch to any gathering, make your guests feel extra welcome, and relieve the pressure to be perfect so you can have fun in the process. I like to think of it as decor within reach — aspirational and inspirational, yes, but most importantly: totally doable. Splashy parties with grand gestures and even grander budgets have their time and place but that’s not here: Decorate for a Party is a party where everyone is welcome.
When a three-year, $360-million project finally wraps up, naturally you celebrate with champagne — and lots of it! Such was the case at last night’s preview of the Rideau Centre‘s *ah-mazing* new four-storey expansion (only the bubbly was blue). I went with my favourite shopping buddy, Carolyn from The Fashion Fix, and enjoyed pretty nibblies while we shopped some of the 21 new stores. Simons. H&M. Anthropologie. Massimo Dutti. A new Zara. All gorgeous spaces with merch that is be-yond and more that we didn’t get to because heels and concrete floors. Here’s some of the highlights.
We’ve still got one more sleep before it’s open for shopping, but in this special edition of five things I’m sharing five sneak peeks at Ottawa’s new two-storey, 100,000-square-foot Simons store. It’s the anchor of the Rideau Centre‘s 230,000-square-foot expansion and the thirteenth store for the Quebec retailer. Simons CEO, Peter Simons, hosted a media preview last night in advance of the grand opening. Let’s take a look!
Summer entertaining should be as easy as the day is long with little time in the kitchen and lots of time in the pool. Especially when you’ve got a pretty flamingo floatie like this fella to play with. I paired up with my friend Emily from The Best of This Life for a pool party earlier this week and really, the hardest part was choosing which recipes to make. Our inspiration: Lick Your Plate, the fun and colourful new cookbook with 160 family-friendly meals from Canadian sisters Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat of Bite Me More. It’s designed for busy bodies who want fresh and healthy (and sometimes healthy-adjacent) meals and desserts they can prepare in a flash. There’s everything under the sun from appetizers you can eat with your hands to quick and satisfying pasta, rice and grains and more salads and veggie dishes than you can shake a carrot stick at (‘tho I’m not sure why you’d do that). Julie and Lisa share tips for saving time, swapping ingredients and using leftovers and they’re funny too. (Funny ha-ha, not funny strange.) Today Emily and I are sharing two of Julie and Lisa’s recipes and a little decor inspo from the book. Let’s take the flamingo a go-go and get to it! Bonus: you won’t have to lift a finger, except maybe to scroll.
In his second book, Bright.Bazaar’s Dream Decor: Styling a Cool, Creative and Comfortable Home, Wherever You Live, British designer, stylist and globetrotter Will Taylor pairs design fundamentals with decor inspiration for an educational and entertaining guide to help readers determine not only what they like, but how to put it together. A lesson in “dream elements” (colour, pattern, texture, furniture and lighting, storage and display) makes up the first part of the book, followed by a look at 11 “dream styles” (e.g. Coastal Retreat, Hollywood Chic, Italian Rustic, etc.), each with practical tips on how to mix and match components to create your own dream space. “Try not to let the physicality of your current home deter you,” Will writes. “So you love the tall iron cabinet from Industrial Loft but lack space? Introduce the look via a small side table, or a lamp instead. Or maybe you long for an all-white floor in the living room but are unable to make such a major change. Easy: invest in a large-scale area rug instead. A savvy approach to a decorating project will lead to dream schemes.” These are dreams made do-able with how-to’s, decor recipes and page after page of inspiring photos from stunning locales around the world.