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How To Travel Like A Designer: London

<p>Corinne Cécilia</p>
How To Travel Like A Designer: London
An interview with designer Mikaël Mourgue.

London is arguably the world's most eccentric fashion metropolis. And judging by the rising success of the London Design Festival, it has become the new hub for interior decorating, too. Launched in 2003, the event attracts professionals from all over the world, while revealing the talent of young British creators.

London was always home to a vibrant artistic community; thanks to prosperous dynasties, the arts and literature were able to flourish for centuries. The place of birth of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, the Swinging City remains for many the capital of Anglophone culture worldwide. From fashion runways to music, from theatre to cinema, London style is incomparable.

London also holds a special place in my heart. This is where I took my first trip abroad — visiting relatives, going on exchange programs... I was just a kid when I discovered the unique mix of antique decor and whimsical fashion — walking from charming Sloane Square, where my dear Aunt Esther lived, all the way to the punk stores on Kings Road, the then-centre of counterculture.

Many creative people embark on a London adventure. Artistic director and designer Mikaël Mourgue studied visual design and communications there. Based in Montreal since 2006, the son of famous French designer Olivier Mourgue has been very successful with Toytoy, a collection of cardboard furniture for kids that's playful, eco-friendly and affordable. Let's take a walk down memory lane with Mikaël, and rediscover London.

Corinne Cécilia: What motivated you to study at Ravensbourne College, in London?
Mikaël Mourgue: In the 1990s, London was already in multidisciplinary mode and at the forefront of digital technologies. Ravensbourne College is an incredible university, born out of the Bauhaus movement developed in 1930s Germany. That translates into an extraordinary architecture and campus. We had access to the most advanced professional equipment and training! Our professors were passionate, and very active in the business world and the creative scene; they were international trendsetters (Neville Brody, David Carson...)

CC: Looking back at your London experience, what does it represent for you?
MM: The best years of my life! Creativity, freedom, encounters, discoveries, passions... My first year, I was staying au pair with an artist family, with free board and lodging. Their workshop was near Aldgate East, on Brick Lane, an amazing neighbourhood! Indian culture, flea markets, the Whitechapel Gallery...

CC: When in London, where do you go to relax?
MM: Along the Thames, near Embankment, and to the Hampstead Heath Park.

CC: Where do you like to shop?
MM: At the Camden Market, the Brick Lane's flea market on Sundays, and Greenwich Market. Portobello is also amazing with its spring festival.

CC: Some of your favourite places?
MM: The Tate Gallery is an incredible place dedicated to modern art. Previously a power plant, the building has been entirely restored by Herzog & de Meuron architects. It's on Bankside, Southwark, on the right bank of the Thames.

CC: Do you have a favourite airline?
MM: Sir Richard Branson's new company, Virgin Galactic! Seriously now, British Airways is a great company with great in-flight services. And I always prefer to travel with an airline from the country that I'm visiting.

Corinne's travel tip: Thanks to Digital Theatre, you can now enjoy the finest of British theatre from the comfort of your Canadian home. Based in London, this truly unique organization records and distributes acclaimed shows produced in Great Britain, giving worldwide audiences direct access to talented British playwrights and actors. Tune in on September 18th for the launch of Ghosts, Richard Eyre's triple Olivier Award-winning adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's captivating family drama. Co-founder and creative director Robert Delamere is known for his multidisciplinary projects, such as Shotgun, a theatre workshop/gym/rehearsal he runs with Tom Hardy (the actor/producer has created a poignant documentary about poaching in southern Africa available online, Poaching Wars with Tom Hardy.)

Design in film: Rediscover the international impact of Olivier Mourgue thanks to the popular exhibit Stanley Kubrick to be held at Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox from October 31st, 2014 to January 25th, 2015. Known for his futuristic concepts — such as the Djinn chair that became famous through 2001 Space Odyssey — the French designer explored several art forms and reached worldwide audiences. Thanks to the exhibit, cinema and design lovers will discover how Kubrick used interior design in a movie to strengthen the narrative: he constantly used colour, design and space to reflect the moods of the characters. Enjoy!

Read more travel blog posts here.

Photo credits:
1. S.M. Tunli
2. Tom Hardy, included in Guinness World Records Ltd.
3, 6, 7. Visit Britain
4. Toytoy
5. Conran at the Design Museum, photography by Mark Hughes
8a. Clothing stall, Portobello Road Market, Visit Britain
8b. Greenwich Market London
8c. Camden market,, photography by Pawel Libera
9. The Tate Modern and the Millennium bridge,, photography by Pawel Libera
10. and Clay Center Observatory
11. Digital Theatre, photography by Hugo Glendinning
12. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., 2001: A Space Odyssey, directed by Stanley Kubrick (1965–68; GB/United States)


TIFF 2014: Designing The Red Carpet Suite

<p>Jenna Cadieux</p>
TIFF 2014: Designing The Red Carpet Suite
Jenna Cadieux reveals how the room came together.

During Toronto International Film Festival season, the infectious buzz around the city could turn even the most modest moviegoer into a celeb-crazed fan. Our team at House & Home caught the TIFF bug early when we began designing the 2014 Red Carpet Suite this summer.

Situated in Roy Thomson Hall, this cocktail lounge is a place for VIP ticket holders and their guests to mingle before the gala screenings, and offers a front-row glimpse at celebrities as they walk the Red Carpet.

Lounges, particularly during TIFF, often bring glamour to mind. In lieu of traditional glamour, we chose a look that depicts the relaxed refinement look we’ve recently admired in our favourite homes and restaurants. Still polished and sophisticated, this “new glamour” is about rich textures like velvets and leather, a saturated colour palette, and strong silhouettes.

This living space by Boston-based designer Frank Roop was our inspiration for the suite. As is his signature, Roop masterfully created a space that is at once colourful and spontaneous, while still elegant and intimate. The success of this look is achieved in the mix, and we frequently referred to Roop’s design over the course of our planning.

By installing khaki-coloured tone-on-tone carpet tiles by Kraus, we easily mimicked the subtle texture Roop had achieved with parchment-coloured wallpaper.

Rather than overwhelming the suite with colour, we accented opposite ends of the room with deep colours – Galapagos Turquoise (2057-20) and Lichen Green (2150-20), both by Benjamin Moore. These bold tones instantly livened the room and made it more intimate.

During my sourcing trips around the city, I looked for furnishings that were low in height, substantial and impeccably tailored.

The Profile Sofa by Roche Bobois is upholstered in rich blue velvet, perfectly complementing the Galapagos Turquoise wall. The scale and craftsmanship of this sofa made it the ideal statement for our centre wall.

The large walls were calling for a gallery arrangement, and movie posters were an obvious choice. We chose vintage posters with strong graphics, and framed them in a variety of ways. It took several sketches to properly arrange the wall and decide how each piece would be framed.

This painterly geometric artwork, called Equation in Blue from Shelter Furniture, anchored the gallery wall.

The Gubi Adnet Mirror from Hollace Cluny is incredibly luxurious with its tan leather strap.

During my visit to the festival this week, it was exciting to see the suite in full-swing — candles burning (flameless, of course), cocktail in hand, anticipating who might walk the Red Carpet next. A night at the movies is still as glamorous as always, just a little more hip this time.

Love the look of relaxed refinement? Watch our Look of the Year video to see how Joel Bray and Stacey Smithers designed a space that brings this concept to life.

Red Carpet Suite Source Guide:
Blue velvet sofa and cream lounge chairs, Roche Bobois
Taupe upholstered sofa, chests and bookshelves, Decorium
Ceramic cocktail tables, Avenue Road
Marble cocktail table, grey lounge chair, velvet stools and blue art, Shelter Furniture
Walnut floor lamp and leather mirror, Hollace Cluny
Citrine high-back chair and mod beige armchairs, Pavilion Modern
Lightbox side tables, Style Garage
Table lamps, Absolutely Inc.
Frames and hurricane vases, Ikea
Custom picture framing, DeSerres
Throw pillows, Tonic Living
Accessories, HomeSense
Trees, Sheridan Nurseries
Carpet, Kraus
Wall colours: Grant Beige (HC-83), Galapagos Turquoise (2057-20), Lichen Green (2150-20), Benjamin Moore

The presenting sponsor of the 2014 TIFF Red Carpet Suite is Quintessentially Lifestyle

Photo credits:
1, 3, 6, 9. Jason Stickley
2. Frank Roop
4. Benjamin Moore
5. Archiproducts
7. Shelter Furniture
8. Gubi


Behind-The-Scenes At West Elm

<p>Kimberley Brown</p>
Behind-The-Scenes At West Elm
Kimberley Brown's report from Brooklyn, NY.

Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of going behind-the-scenes at West Elm's HQ in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Only days before, former president Bill Clinton had also visited the office. He was there to learn more about the brand's commitment to pay $35 million directly to artisans around the world who produce products for West Elm using handcrafted techniques — and the buzz of his visit still lingered, leaving everyone in high spirits.

I was soon being led past beautiful rooms where product for Holiday 2014 was perfectly styled and presented, and into the busy design offices where shelves were messily piled with samples, walls were littered with pictures and palettes, and the seeds of new ideas were being planted and grown.

Jonathan Orr, West Elm's VP of design for textiles and decorative accessories, had recently returned with his team from Peru carrying armfuls of pottery, blankets, knits and photographs that were laid out on tables. Why Peru? Orr said something about it being "in the air" — you see a nod to it here, a hint of it there, and suddenly it's of the moment... or it will be next spring and fall, when the designers at West Elm turn their inspirations into the pieces we'll all be coveting in 2015.

Expect to see lots of fabulous fringe, shaggy textures, bright but earthy colours and beautifully woven textiles. I was surprised to discover that there's a mini loom right in the office, which is used to work out patterns and create the samples that are later put into production.

Indeed, a lot of design work, at least in the initial stages, is still done the old fashioned way — by hand. In an area removed from the main offices, down a hallway and tucked behind industrial shelves stuffed with stock, was what amounted to an art studio. Pots of paint, colour-stained brushes and clusters of mini bottles topped with eye droppers crowded a long desk. I also spotted delicate watercolour sketches that may one day be turned into patterns for bedding and textiles.

Images painted for spring and summer 2015 had already made the leap from paper to pillows.

I was particularly excited to see these two mood boards. Alexander Calder is one of my favourite artists, and while Scandinavian mid-century is hardly a new idea in 2014, never mind 2015, I found myself swooning over the tangerine, midnight blue and cream palette. Perhaps it's time for me to get my own hands dirty with a little paint.


While I was in New York, I spent the weekend at the new Ludlow Hotel on the Lower East Side. The hotel, which is owned by the same team behind The Marlton, opened its doors in early June and was still undergoing construction when I was there, but any resulting inconveniences were overshadowed by the serendipitous moments that came out of the dust. After a maintenance man visited my room to monitor the air conditioning, he kindly snuck me up to the unfinished rooftop to take in the incredible view and peer into the windows of the still-unfinished luxury suites. Once the hammers and the drills fall silent, I will be back.

This is the courtyard, where I enjoyed breakfast.

And here some professional pics of the rooms.

Photo credits:
1-10. Kimberley Brown
11-12. Ludlow Hotel


TIFF 2014: Red Carpet Suite

TIFF 2014: Red Carpet Suite
See inside the space designed by H&H.

House & Home magazine designed this year's TIFF Red Carpet Suite, and it's simply stunning! 

Want to see inside? Check out these photos:

Located inside Roy Thomson Hall, the lounge provides a space for festival sponsors and their special guests to retreat before gala screenings.

Update: Read H&H designer Jenna Cadieux's blog post to find out how she pulled the room together.

Jason Stickley

The presenting sponsor of the Toronto International Film Festival Red Carpet Suite is Quintessentially Lifestyle.


End-Of-Summer Ginspiration

<p>Eric Vellend</p>
End-Of-Summer Ginspiration
Eric Vellend's must-try gin cocktails.

In the land of five-month winters, I'm always surprised to hear everyone declare an end to summer on Labour Day. Not so fast, partner. According to my calendar there are a few weeks left, and in Toronto, it's often the finest stretch of the season.

While it's still nice out, I like to park myself on the front porch after work and sip a refreshing libation while my daughter affixes stickers to every available surface. At my house, a late summer cocktail means something cold and citrusy with a good slug of gin.

Good things happen when gin and citrus meet, and they meet often in classic cocktails. The beloved Tom Collins is essentially a spiked glass of sparkling lemonade. A Sloe Gin Fizz is similar to a Collins, but with the addition of sloe gin, an English liqueur made by infusing high proof gin with wild blackthorn plums then sweetening it with sugar and diluting it with water. It's cloying on its own, but magnificent in a fizz. For something stiffer, the South Side is a straight-up icy drink that is perfumed with mint and has the sweet-sour tension of a good margarita or daiquiri.

All three cocktails are unbelievably refreshing, and the lemon's bite primes the palate for the dinner bell. They have just enough gin to wash away the day's troubles, but won't knock you over the head like a martini. These drinks are dead easy to make, and make them you should, to savour the dying days of summer.

A note about the recipes:

Lemon juice for cocktails is always fresh squeezed, preferably passed through a fine strainer to remove pips and pulp. Simple syrup is equal volumes water and granulated sugar heated and stirred until the sugar dissolves. As for gin, I experimented with various brands and found both Beefeater and Plymouth consistently worked best in all three drinks. Do remember to chill your glasses before mixing, as it makes all the difference.

Tom Collins

Ice cubes
2 oz. gin
1 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup
Soda water, chilled
Orange slice and cherry, for garnish (optional)

Step 1: Chill a 12-oz. highball glass. Fill with ice.

Step 2: Pour gin, lemon juice and syrup into a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice. Shake. Strain into prepared glass. Top with soda. Give a light stir. Garnish with orange and cherry, if desired. Serves 1.

Sloe Gin Fizz

Ice cubes
1 oz. sloe gin
1 oz. gin
3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 oz. simple syrup
Soda water, chilled
Lemon slice, for garnish (optional)

Step 1: Chill a 12-oz. highball glass. Fill with ice.

Step 2: Pour sloe gin, gin, lemon juice and syrup into cocktail shaker. Fill with ice. Shake. Strain into prepared glass. Top with soda. Give a light stir. Garnish with lemon, if desired. Serves 1.

South Side

5 mint leaves
1/2 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. gin
3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
Ice cubes
1 small mint leaf, for garnish

Step 1: Chill a coupe or martini glass.

Step 2: In cocktail shaker, muddle mint and simple syrup. Add gin, lemon juice and ice. Shake. Fine strain into glass. Garnish with mint leaf. Serves 1.

Photo credits:
1-3. Eric Vellend


5 Ways To Declutter Your Home

<p>Seema Persaud</p>
5 Ways To Declutter Your Home
Brought to you by Just Junk.

If there’s one thing you’ll notice about the homes we feature in House & Home, everything has its place. From what’s on the table to what’s on the nightstand, everything stands out because it has the space to do so.

Even when they’re not “minimalist,” our featured homeowners let their furniture and accessories shine by avoiding clutter. So here are a few places you can pare back in your home this fall. (This blog post is brought to you by Just Junk.)

1. The Never-Used Gadget, The Multiple Mugs

The drawer with several melon-ballers. The cupboard of ‘I Love NY’ coffee mugs. As hard as it may seem, getting rid of these kitchen squatters helps in two ways. It not only saves space in your drawers and cupboards, it opens up the possibility of displaying the things you DO use with open shelving.

2. Keep, Donate, Dispose

It’s hard to do, but get two huge bags and step in front of your bedroom closet. It’s time to get rid of clothes. Basic rule of thumb: If you haven’t worn it in a year, it’s got to go. One of the bags is for donating, so anything in good condition can be given away. The other bag is for disposal, i.e. for that ripped shirt too far beyond repair.

3. Old Linens, Older Makeup

That red towel that’s starting to fade into a light pink? Time to throw it out. Old, fraying and even unused bathroom towels take up a lot of space. And while you’re in that closet, remember that makeup has an expiry, too. It’s better to get rid of that lipstick you ‘borrowed’ from a friend years ago, rather than give it back.

4. It’s An Office, Not A Repository

Even the most obscure appliance has an online manual, so there’s no need to keep a physical one. Also, as impeccable as your university notes are, they’re just taking up space! Think about it like your clothes: If you haven’t read a piece of paper in more than a year, you can probably get rid of it. Also, recycle those old cameras and obsolete chargers. You’ll find a cleaner office is a more efficient one.

5. Re-tooling

Finally, the rooms that hear “I’ll just put this here for now” the most are the garage and the shed. From broken lawnmowers to bent screwdrivers, these spaces beg for a good cleanup. You’ll not only realize what tools actually work (to fix up other parts of your home), you’ll see creative new uses for the space, beyond the storage of old boxes.

When decluttering, professional junk removal companies like JUSTJUNK® can help you out. Just Junk’s team will come to your home and take away all your clutter, and recycle, donate and dispose everything from appliances to furniture. You simply pay based on how much you want to get rid of. Visit today to see how they can help you get a clean, organized home. Just Junk serves cities across Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Alberta.  

Photo credits:
1. House & Home March 2013, photography by Donna Griffith
2. House & Home February 2014, photography by Michael Graydon
3. House & Home June 2012 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
4. House & Home Makeovers 2013, photography by Donna Griffith
5. House & Home July 2012 issue, photography by Michael Graydon


Condo Kitchen Makeover: Part 2

<p>Margot Austin</p>
Condo Kitchen Makeover: Part 2
More on galley kitchens from Margot Austin.

More than a month since my Part 1 post, and you’d think my tiny galley kitchen would be complete with a set of pretty after photos. Not so. The kitchen at our new place, which I have dubbed #Austinsuite on Twitter and Instagram, is at a plateau. Let me bring you up to speed on our progress.


Right after cabinet demo, this tile ugliness had to go. This mottled pinkish, greyish, bluish, texture tile covered the kitchen and entry floor. Ew. The result was a meeting of several disharmonious flooring materials as you entered our suite (right). Granted, the bathroom door (visible on the left in the photo on the right) would usually be closed (a pact I made with my husband, since when it’s open, the view is straight to the toilet — horror!). Alas, flooring disharmony is a personal design pet peeve of mine, especially in small spaces. The tile was ripped up and down went old school parquet in the kitchen and entry to match the rest of the suite. 

Then I painted it all white. Here’s the view from the bathroom, across the entry to the kitchen after one coat of floor primer. Better already. More on the painted floors in a future blog post.


Way back in mid June, Ikea installed our Applåd cabinets in a single day. They were in place and ready so that when we moved in, I could unpack right into them — no delays. Perfect. There was only one minor hiccup. Here’s what happened. 

You may recall that my plans called for a paneled fridge (as in the photo at left) and that I had some bulkheads to contend with (right). I wanted the fridge gable to be notched out around the bulkhead and continue right to the ceiling. When I met on site with the installer to discuss this, he talked me out of it. He was sure the bulkhead surface would be uneven, making the end-panel cut look sloppy. And he though that end of the kitchen would feel too crowded. He had a point so I took his advice.


This was the result. I knew right away it was wrong. Bummer. When stuff like this happens, you have to sit with it for a bit: Am I being too picky to want it changed? I decided to wait until the fridge was on site before my final decision. The fridge did not change my opinion. It still looked off-kilter and I knew it would drive me nuts. 

Et voila! Fixed and so much better, don’t you think? Honestly I can feel the difference physically — it’s like I breathe easier. Note also the large fluorescent ceiling fixture from the previous photo had also been banished in favour of a sleek mod Ikea Bave LED ceiling track and LED under-cabinet strip lights. Note also the makeshift cabinet pulls fashioned from painter’s tape. That’s how it looks to this day as I remain undecided on hardware and won’t settle for just anything. (Perhaps you feel my husband’s pain in dealing with my uncompromising nature?)


And speaking of my uncompromising nature, may I present the hole where our range will one day be, God and Bosch willing. You see, being a member of the press, I was privy to a sneak peek of a brand new slide-in induction range made by Bosch (makers of the existing laundry appliances I already loved in the space). When you go to a press event, the people hosting hope you will write about their products. They don’t expect you to say “I love it. I want to buy one. How soon can I get it?” Their answer was “great” and "end of June." The current projected range delivery date is set for this month. I love induction cooking. I already had to compromise on my original plan for a wall oven with induction cooktop above due to the electrical wiring limitations of our suite. An induction slide-in range is the next best plan and they are very rare birds in Canada. 

I am convinced this Bosch beauty will be worth the wait. But just so you feel the full effect of my decision, no range means the counter can’t be templated: no kitchen sink and faucet, no dishwasher. Also, since my laundry is in this area and the water is turned off, no laundry. It’s summer. No laundry is killing me. My husband and I have a hot date at a local laundromat tonight. Perhaps you feel his pain even more now?

In other appliance news, here’s my cute fridge. It’s by Blomberg. I got it at Caplan’s in Toronto and it’s a slim 22in wide. It sits here totally naked waiting for a skilled carpenter to make it some custom panels since my cabinet installers reneged on their original agreement to make this part of the cabinet install. I have placed a call to another guy who was recommended by a colleague. No call back. Here’s where I insert my plug for hiring a designer to handle your kitchen reno. 

You see, finding skilled pros and managing them is a full-time job. I have a full-time job already; it’s hard to get this stuff sorted when you are busy at work. In other disappointing fridge news, it’s not working particularly well. I have reset the temps. No luck. Blurgh. Call is in to Caplan’s. My fridge is like a lazy supermodel — it’s tall, skinny and naked and doesn’t work much.

My Bosch custom panel dishwasher is sitting in my dining room minding its own business waiting for the range/counter/water to be turned on/elusive custom panel maker. Bless my Bosch dishwasher. 

So, like I was saying, it’s a plateau….

Photo credits:
All photos by Margot Austin except:

4. F. Berreteaga via The Style Files 
9. Bosch


How To Travel Like A Designer: Tokyo

<p>Corinne Cécilia</p>
How To Travel Like A Designer: Tokyo
Woodworking artist Loïc Bard tours Tokyo.

While Japanese design has often been associated with the country’s post-war intense industrialization, decorative arts have been around for much longer. Back in prehistoric times, J?mon hunters and gatherers were among the first nations in the world to create pottery. The first elaborate ceramic decoration can be traced back to 8,000 B.C.

Through the ages, and in spite of foreign influences, the Land of the Rising Sun has been able to preserve incomparable aesthetics anchored in traditional culture, while opening up to modernity. And even though high-tech products made in Japan became a huge export success since the 1960s, it is ancient know-how that attracts creative minds nowadays, whether they search for meaning or authenticity.

Woodworking artist Loïc Bard seems to have a natural affinity for Nippon style: pure lines, simple concepts, sensorial material or an overall sense of harmony. He designs lamps, furniture and other items inspired by “organic forms,” which he discovered while visiting Japan. When we featured Loïc’s portrait for the October 2013 issue of M&D magazine, I was moved by the poetry of his creations and inspired to learn more about Japan.

Loïc takes us on a tour of his Tokyo…

Corinne Cécilia: Where do you normally stay?
Loïc Bard: In a youth hostel or with locals: Japanese people are very welcoming. And I spend at least one night in one of the rooms furnished by Japanese designers at the Claska hotel.

CC: Where do you like to dine?
LB: There is a wide array of restaurants to choose from in Tokyo. It’s good to get acquainted with a Tokyoite who can then help you discover one of the hidden gems tucked behind a building, such as the Shirubei restaurant in the Shibuya district.

CC: Where do you go for drinks?
LB: The bar in Claska hotel is a good place for a break when touring the best interior design shops in the Meguro-ku district. The hotel also has a showroom with Japanese design objects.

CC: Where do you like to shop?
LB: At Tokyu Hand. It’s a large store selling materials and tools for artisans (pretty much a heaven for woodworkers because Japanese tools are truly the best), as well as furniture, design objects and more. You could easily spend the whole day there. On Sundays, you can find incredible objects in little flea markets in certain neighbourhoods.

CC: Where do you go to relax?
LB: I like strolling in the gardens — the Kiyosumi garden especially — and the Shibuya district because of the shopping.

CC: What are some of your favourite places?
LB: My three favourite museums and galleries are located in Roppongi, the entertainment district: the National Art Center, Tokyo, the Mori Art Museum and the 21_21 Design Sight gallery space, with its stunning architecture.

CC: Do you have a favourite airline?
LB: Japan Airlines.

Loïc Bard's best address for interior design in Tokyo: In the Meguro-ku district, Meguro-dori Avenue hosts a great many Japanese furniture stores.

Corinne's travel tip: Creative industries typically have a fascination for Japanese designers, and special exhibitions are often dedicated to them. If you live in Europe, immerse yourself in the world of Takumi Nariyoshi, one of the nominees for the Rado Star Prize, an award celebrating 80 emerging designers from all over the world. Takumi’s projects will be showcased at now! le Off, at the Docks — Cité de la Mode et du Design, during the Paris Design Week, from September 6 to 13, 2014. 

Plafonnier Shensi, by Takumi Nariyoshi 

Closer to home, don’t miss the exhibition L’objet japonaisPanorama du design contemporain au Japon, which will be presented at Centre de design de l'UQAM from November 20, 2014 to January 18, 2015.

Read more travel blog posts here.

Photo credits:?
1-2. Tokyo National Museum collection, via Pointe-à-Callière?

3. Alexandre Gergely?
4. Andy Long Hoang
5, 7.  Claska?
6. Shibuya Daikanyama, via JNTO?
8. Meguro – Nakameguro 3, via JNTO?
9. Kiyosumi Garden via Japan National Tourism Organization (Canada)?
10-11.  National Art Center, Tokyo, via Japan National Tourism Organization (Canada)?
12. Mori Art Museum
13. 21_21 Design Sight, via Masaya Yoshimura/Nacása & Partners Inc.

14. Meguro – Nakameguro 4, via JNTO?
15-16. Ceiling lamp Shensi, by Takumi Nariyoshi © Takumi Nariyoshi


Stylish Grasscloth Wallpaper

<p>Seema Persaud</p>
Stylish Grasscloth Wallpaper
Brought to you by Walls Republic.

Sometimes when decorating a room you need something more than just paint to update the walls. Patterned wallpaper adds interest to any space, but isn't the only solution for wall decor. Grasscloth wallpaper, made of woven grasses and reeds backed with paper, offers the perfect middle-ground between paint and patterned wallpaper. It brings colour, warmth and texture to a space without requiring you to commit to a wallpaper pattern., an online store that serves customers in Canada and the U.S., features numerous grasscloth wall coverings that you can apply yourself. (This blog post is brought to you by Walls Republic.)

You might be more familiar with grasscloth wallpaper in neutral colours like the three above. Walls Republic's grasscloth wallpapers are made from natural, sustainable materials. Raw Charcoal Grass Cloth R 2016, Duo Sisal Coffee Grass Cloth R 1994, Duo Sisal Amber Grass Cloth R 1971.

My personal favourites include blue- and green-coloured grasscloth papers. To get the look of grasscloth wallpaper without committing to it from floor-to-ceiling, apply it only above a chair rail and paint below. Sisal Lavender Grass Cloth R 1993, Sisal Blue Grass Cloth R 1991, Sisal Baby Blue Grass Cloth R 2005, Sisal Army Green Grass Cloth R 1964.

You can also line the back of bookshelves with grasscloth wallpaper to give it a new, custom look and make your books and decorations stand out. Warm, bright tones like these yellows, oranges and yellow-greens are also available, and depending on the paper you choose, showcase more or less of the natural woven look. Rush Regular Orange Grass Cloth R 2001, Reed Yellow Grass Cloth R 1973, Sisal Tangelo Grass Cloth R 1975, Rush Grass Green Grass Cloth R 2003.

Check out today to see the numerous grasscloth wallpaper choices available and other wall coverings. Walls Republic offers free samples and $10 shipping for all orders in Canada and the U.S.

Photo credits:


Home Makeover On A Budget

<p>Jenna Cadieux</p>
Home Makeover On A Budget
Jenna Cadieux shares her budget breakdown.

It’s a well-worn cliché that a fresh coat of paint can work wonders for a space. After our first site visit to the townhome featured in our September 2014 issue, it was clear that paint would be the first step in this dramatic makeover.

To keep the painters on time and budget, I chose to paint the walls, ceilings and trim in the same creamy white — Behr Swiss Coffee. This instantly lightened the interior and gave us a blank slate to work with.

Since the home was void of architectural interest, I selectively used black paint to create the missing drama. We painted the front door, stair railing and interior doors in Behr Beluga (one of my favourite shades of black for its plum undertones). Adding black was a great way to modernize the entry while staying true to the age and style of the home.

The key to using black paint is to thoughtfully select what you’d like to highlight. The foyer, for example, was too small for a hall table, so the black doors and railing add interest and contrast while keeping it open. Similarly, the bathroom was too small to add an interesting piece of furniture, like a stool or runner, so I painted the window trim in the same Beluga black, which framed the window and made it feel larger.


Throughout the home, I used a variety of drapery tricks to give the look of full, custom draperies without the made-to-order price tag.

The living room window was already outfitted with classic white shutters, so non-functioning panels were the perfect solution (they cannot be closed for privacy).

This beautiful cotton print from Tonic Living is graphic and bold.

Lining the drapes with cotton and interlining gives them the fullness of a functioning drape.

Mia’s bedroom window was completely bare, so we needed a solution that offered privacy and softness.

Using the same concept from the living room, we lined an inexpensive cotton print to create non-functioning drapery panels.

We then made the window look larger by hanging the drapery rod as close to the ceiling as possible, allowing the rod to run the length of the wall. For privacy, the perfect solution was Lowes’ white faux wood blinds, which are cut to size in store. 

The family room features a window and patio door, and I wanted to create the illusion of one continuous window.

West Elm’s stocked drapery panels were the perfect shade of ivory with our Swiss Coffee wall colour, and a steal at only $89 per panel. I try to avoid extending drapery rods, as they often look cheap and flimsy. For a small upgrade, we ordered custom hardware that fills the wall and feels much more substantial.


Mia was interested in updating her small main bath, but it wasn’t until our site visit that I realized how tired and dated this room really was. With only a month until move-in, we transformed this bathroom using a few budget-friendly tricks:

Note what needs to go: Virtually every fixture in this bathroom made the list, but the existing layout worked. By keeping all of the fixtures exactly where they were, we saved thousands of dollars.

Choose the best fixtures you can afford: The bathroom’s small size meant that there was little space for extras, like a decorative stool or shelf. So the vanity, toilet and faucets all needed to offer great quality and function, as well as style. We chose pieces from the DXV Collection by American Standard — the designs are classic and timeless, making them a worthy investment. Toilet shopping has never felt so glamorous!

Look for ceramic tile: Despite this bathroom’s small square footage, I avoided costly marble and stone mosaics and opted for ceramic. We saved hundreds by using a spiral black and white mosaic on the floor, and classic white subway tile inside the shower.

Pick up the September issue of House & Home to see the transformed bathroom and more! Plus, watch our makeover videos.

Here's a full breakdown of our makeover purchases:


Sofa, $720, HomeSense; Sweep armchair, 2 at $779 each, West Elm; Souk wool rug, $899, West Elm; Vittsjo bookshelp, $50 each, Ikea; Origami coffee table, $479, West Elm; side table $130, HomeSense; rattan stool, $145, Bacon Basketware; brass sconces, $495, Black Rooster Décor; console table, $995, RH Restoration Hardware; drapery fabric, 9 yards at $14.95 each, Tonic Living; sewing and installation, $1,030; toss pillows, $917, ELTE, West Elm and Indigo; accessories, $725, ELTE, HomeSense and Indigo; throw, $49.50, Indigo.


Table, $1,469, BLVD Interiors; throw pillows, 4 at $45 each, Indigo; pendant, $249, CB2; floor lamp, $599, Mobilia; bar cart, $249.99, HomeSense; tray, $245, ELTE; dining chairs, $680, Frontier Sales; chair fabric, 5.5 yards at $22.95, Tonic Living; chair, painting and reupholstery, $943. 


Stools, 3 at $99 each, RH Restoration Hardware; pendant light, $119, West Elm; accessories, $80, HomeSense.


Sectional, $1,710, Crate and Barrel; sheepskin, $39.99, Ikea; Parsons Square coffee table, $699, Crate and Barrel; Morgan Black sconce, 2 at $199 each, Crate and Barrel; bookshelf, $299, HomeSense; area rug, $189, Ikea; side table, $59.99, HomeSense; fram, $149.99, Pottery Barn; drapery panels, 4 at $69 each, West Elm; drapery hardware and installation, $340; Andanza green allpaper, 2 rolls at $125 each, Hygge & West; pillows, $270, Pehr and HomeSense; rattan lounge chair, $299, Bacon Basketware; tree, $149, Valleyview Gardens; plant basket, $40, HomeSense; wallpaper installation, $160; accessories, $460, HomeSense.


Headboard, $350, HomeSense; bedside lamps, 2 at $129.99 each, HomeSense; Leksvik desk, $149, Ikea; pillow, $58, Crate and Barrel; side table, $416, RH Restoration Hardware; retro chair, $289, Bacon Basketware; rug, $315, eCarpet Gallery; drapery fabric, 10 yards at $23.95, Tonic Living; sewing and installation, $920; wallpaper, 7 double rolls at $160 each, Walls Republic; wallpaper installation, $600; throw, $255, ELTE; custom-cut white blinds, $110, Lowes.


Rug, $189, eCarpet Gallery; You Make It Chandelier, $145 US,; closet system, $900, Ikea; bench, $99.99, Target; mirror, $70, Ikea; drapery panels, 2 at $63.20 each, West Elm; drapery hardware, $39.97, Home Depot; closet installation and electrical services, $450.


Bed, $549, Restoration Hardware Baby and Child; Vintage Locker desk, $699, Restoration Hardware Baby and Child; Vintage Schoolhouse desk chair, $199, Restoration Hardware Baby and Child; Academy Task table lamp, $129, Restoration Hardware Baby and Child; bedding, $858, Restoration Hardware Baby and Child; Reef Jute Rug, $500, West Elm; custom posters framed, $800, and Pottery Barn Kids, Custom Framing by Deserres; drapery panels, $39.99, Ikea; drapery hardware, $99, West Elm.


Princeton Bathtub, $641, DXV American Standard; Wyatt Pedestal Lavatory, $495, DXV American Standard; Percy Widespread Faucet, $655, DXV American Standard; Wyatt Toilet, $910, DXV American Standard; Percy Multifunction Showerhead, $255, DXV American Standard; Percy Pressure Balance Tub and Shower Trim, $282, DXV American Standard; Percy Wall Tub Spout, $185, DXV American Standard;roller blind, $17, Home Depot; ceramic floor tile, $200, The Tile Shoppe; shower curtain, $49, West Elm; accessories, $170, Ginger’s; mirror, $59.99, Ikea; toilet paper holder, $14.99, Ikea; light, $218, Home Depot; labour and electrical, $3,150.


Dresser, $395, Vintage Fine Objects; vintage chair, $550, Tonic Living; artwork, $230, HomeSense; Ranarp floor lamp, $50, Ikea; table lamp, $60, HomeSense; bedding, $260, HomeSense; mirror, $279, Crate and Barrel; area rug, $189, Ikea; sheepskin, $39.99, Ikea; custom pillows, $583, Tonic Living; accessories, $50, Target.

Prices may vary.



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