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Adding Historic Charm To A New "Old" House

author: 
<p>Philip Mitchell</p>
Adding Historic Charm To A New "Old" House
Designer Philip Mitchell's secret "aging" tips.

Many people like the charm and character of older homes, but often they can be daunted by the amount of restoration they require, as well as the costs associated with maintaining them. Many of my clients at Philip Mitchell Design request "A New Old Home." Essentially a house that feels and looks authentic in style, design and finishing, but that functions more efficiently than a historic property, with minimal or no upkeep.

The suggestions below definitely conjure historical charm and character, whether you are restoring, renovating, building an addition, or constructing a new home from scratch.

1. Paint Colours

Using historic paint colours for both interiors and exteriors provides that depth and softness often associated with period buildings.

2. Plumbing Fixtures

By adding original or reproduction vintage style faucets, pedestals, tubs and water closets, you can recreate that classic heritage feeling from a bygone era.

3. Windows And Doors

Selecting a specific window and door style based on appropriate historical style, size, mullion profile and glass can add that character often found in older homes.

4. Hardware

Installing historically accurate reproduction or antique handles, knobs and latches in timeless finishes like natural un-lacquered brass, bronze and iron, can provide instant age to a project.

5. Roofing Materials

Choosing a composite cedar roofing product or standing metal seam roof (rendered in steel, aluminum or copper) can add that bit of history to a newly constructed home, while virtually remaining maintenance free for years.

6. Architectural Salvage

Introducing a unique salvaged architectural element, such as a vintage cabinet or an antique mantelpiece from a historic building, add character into a new space, and is eco friendly at the same time.

7. Lighting

Introducing a number of different types and sources (wall sconces, surface mount fixtures, pendants and picture lights) of antique-look lighting fixtures can add a charming ambiance to new space.

Browse a gallery of Philip's designs.

Photo sources:
1. Benjamin Moore
2. Spaces Design
3. Decorpad
4. Decorpad
5. Tim McGhie, via House & Home
6. Angus McRitchie, via House & Home
7. Remodelista
8. PMD Design Inspirations
9. James Dixon Architect PC
10. House & Home October 2010 issue
11. Steven Grambel, via House & Home
12. House & Home July 2010 issue. 

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Must-Sees In Chester, N.S.

author: 
<p><a href="http://houseandhome.com/blogs/author/763">Suzanne Dimma</a></p>
Must-Sees In Chester, N.S.
Suzanne's top spots in this pretty seaside town.

Photographing two homes for our July 2014 issue in Chester, N.S. last summer was a perfect combination of business and pleasure. Our Nova Scotia shoots are probably my favourite! 

Every time I visit Chester I take a short detour to The Finer Diner in Hackett's Cove. It's a quaint roadside building on enroute to Peggy's Cove.

I love their crab cakes with onion rings and paired with a glass of white wine, I am totally in heaven.

The first space we shot was designer Philip Mitchell's guesthouse at his new house (he completed the guest house before tackling the main building this year). Their property looks out to Chester's Front Harbour. I tweeted this picture of photographer, Janet Kimber, taking our first shot of the day before the sun came up.

I loved the rope railings on the neighbouring pier so I made Philip and his partner Mark Narsansky move their Muskoka chairs for their portrait.

That's their new house called 'the White Cottage' in the background and the guesthouse is tucked up to the left (their first house was featured in our October 2011 issue).

Everyone who visits Chester has to book a dinner at Nicki's Inn restaurant at the intersection of King and Pleasant Streets. It's Chester's finest restaurant — the food is fantastic, the decor is lovely and the owner Nicki is charming. She also has a few rooms that she rents out upstairs if you are looking for a place to stay for a few days.

Here I am at Nicki's celebrating the completion of the shoot with Philip (far right) and Mark (they are so handsome) and another east coast designer, Deb Nelson, (who has the most gorgeous hair) whose home we shot the following morning. We all look so happy!

Another place to stay is the historic Mecklenburg Inn which has this totally charming exterior. I have never been inside though!

Deb's shoot also started bright and early the next day. Here are a few of my fave moments at her place that didn't make it into the story in our July issue. Of course there was the white picket fence surrounding her backyard that affords this pretty view over her neighbour's yard to the Front Harbour.

The third floor of her house is like a lookout tower with paned glass windows on all sides. I could have stayed up there all day. While we were shooting up there a regatta was taking place and one sailboat actually sunk — it was high drama.

Deb had the cutest vintage hardboard doorstop of a fox terrier that I adored.

And her whitewashed painted floors were perfect for summertime living.

 

Going to Chester is like stepping back through time: the white picket fences, old cars, and clapboard or shingled houses and sidewalk less roads make it the one of the most charming towns I've seen in Canada.

Another restaurant that Deb and I usually check out is the Rope Loft for a wharfside dining experience. It's lovely to sit on the back deck and watch the boats come into the harbour. But apparently it's up for sale now.

We also had breakfast one morning at the Chester Golf Club — what a breathtaking view!

If you have time, take the ½ hour ferry ride to Tancook Island, for a very different experience. It is far more rugged and wild. Only a small number of people live there and it is like stepping away from civilization: which we all need now and then!

If you follow the dirt road to the right from the ferry you will eventually come to the Wishing Stones — an eclectic store where you can get a tea and check out the antiques. I fell in love with the landscape painting on the right and totally regret not buying it — a reminder that if you see a find that calls your name when you're in an out-of-the-way spot, buy it!!

They also had a display of ringed rocks where they ask you to take one, walk to the back bay and throw it in to make a wish. The wishing stones are marked by a "magical" white quartz ring that must be continuous with no breaks in order for the magic to work. The instructions read: stand by the water's edge, close your eyes and make a silent wish, and throw the stone as far as you can into the sea.

This summer I will be heading back to Chester once again to photograph architect Nicholas Spencer-Lewin's house, so keep an eye out for it on our pages in 2015!

For more Maritime style, browse a gallery of East Coast homes.

Photo sources:
(Except #8, via Mecklenburgh Inn) Suzanne Dimma

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10 Tips For A Great Garage Sale

author: 
<p>Mark Challen</p>
10 Tips For A Great Garage Sale
Mark Challen shares his hosting intel.

Last weekend, I held a garage sale at my parents' home in Ancaster, Ontario. Despite the fact that I had never hosted one before, the sale turned out to be a huge success. Here is some advice to follow if you're planning a sale of your own:

1. Spend on advertising

Garage sale enthusiasts scour their local newspapers for listings. If your sale is taking place on a Saturday morning, you should place ads in your local daily on both Friday and Saturday (I also booked a Thursday ad in a weekly village paper). Many newspapers gave you a bonus listing online; some also offer free posters. Be descriptive in your word choice — are you hosting a garage sale? A contents sale? List any key items that could attract specific buyers. Our family was offering antique furniture, vintage books, old tools and garden decor; we mentioned all of these things in our description. I spent about $85 in advertising.

2. Take the day off work the day before (if you can)

A successful garage sale is a well-organized garage sale, and preparation takes time. Start with a clear-cut plan of action. The day before our sale, I cleaned out our entire garage, which gave us a blank slate to work with. I also made room in our backyard shed and in our basement. Don't wait until the night before to do the grunt work, or you'll be working into the wee hours of the morning.

3. Expect people to arrive early

If your sale starts at 8 a.m., count on the first people to arrive an hour early. (Ours started at 8 a.m. with the first buyers pulling up in front of our house at 6:45 a.m. A few furniture dealers actually came to our house the day before. I was happy to sell a few pieces in advance.)

4. Enlist a team of helpers

Leading up to the sale, my brother and sister-in-law did an incredible job of organizing our sale items into batches: in each room of our house, they made neat piles of all the things we'd be selling and clearly labeled them "For Sale" or "NOT For Sale!" They arrived bright and early on the morning of the sale, along with my niece and my partner. With five people working the sale, we were well covered.

5. Don't bother with pricing

Determine the going price of your important pieces beforehand. Everything else can be negotiated on the spot. Even though we had five people working at our sale, we decided that one of us needed to play the role of Tough Cop if buyers made low-ball offers (and they did). I had no problem saying no to an offer of a single dime for a lovely vintage leather-bound book!*

6. Merchandising is everything

Even though hosting a garage sale was new to me, I am no stranger to flea markets and antique shows. Here's what I've learned: display as much as you can on tables, so people don't have to bend down, and place similar objects together. I organized my family's collection of rose glassware and wine goblets on one table, and placed our crystal decanters, vintage cutlery and silver trays on another. Kitsch all got grouped together! When items start to sell, it's a good idea to either replenish or consolidate — no one likes the look of a sparsely laid table.

7. You can never have too many card tables

For a full-looking garage sale, plan on using 10-12 tables. Don't have enough? Ask your friends and neighbours if you can borrow theirs; offer them something free from the sale to say thanks! I set the tables out along the perimeter of our driveway, so that there was a nice flow of foot traffic.

8. Don't think it will sell? Think again

On the morning of our sale, my sister-in-law and partner emerged from our basement with a few dusty cardboard boxes filled with old copper pipe fittings, plumbing cast-offs and fishing tackle. They both thought we might be able to get good money for them. I was mortified. "No one will want that! Plus it doesn't look very nice!" I told them. Guess what things sold in no time flat?

9. People love to rummage

An addendum to #6 above: Even though attractive merchandising can make an everyday garage sale look more elegant, don't be afraid to include a few unorganized, haphazard boxes of "junk." People enjoy the thrill of the hunt! I was about to start organizing several boxes of old paperbacks and records onto shelves, until I saw how much people seemed to love the process of leafing though them.

10. A good back story goes a long way

I can't tell you how many times I closed a sale by offering up a fun anecdote about an object. "That glass demijohn you're looking at? My dad used to make wine in it every September!" "That framed print you're holding? It's in the style of Dutch Renaissance genre painting, and it hung above our fireplace for almost 30 years!" A little history goes a long way. Who doesn't want to bring home a fun story?

*Before you host your sale, it's a good idea to prearrange a pick-up of any items left unsold. We called a local charity and they were able to swing by after our sale. Gently used books and full sets of dishes are especially appreciated by charitable organizations.

Finally, I'll share with you list of what I found to be the most in-demand garage sale items. These were things that people either asked me for repeatedly, or pieces that we sold immediately, with no haggling whatsoever. If you have any of these items to sell, I'd suggest that you start thinking about hosting your own garage sale soon!

Our 5 Most Popular Items

  • Teak furniture (preferably from the 50s or 60s)
  • Vintage globes
  • Antique wristwatches and jewelry
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Vintage tools

See a gallery of our editors' refurbished salvaged finds and read more about top flea market finds here.

Photo sources
Mark Challen

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8 Ways to Bring Spring Home

author: 
<p><a href="http://www.jacquelynclark.com/">Jacquelyn Clark</a></p>
8 Ways to Bring Spring Home
Lark & Linen's warm-weather style tips.

Jacquelyn Clark of Lark & Linen and Style Me Pretty has been named one of Toronto Life’s top 6 most inspiring home decor bloggers. She's always full of good ideas, and has an eye for gorgeous images so we couldn't wait to ask her tips for ushering in the new season with style. 

After the dreadfully long winter we all experienced over the last few months, I'm beyond thrilled that Mother Nature has finally started to co-operate! Though every change of season tends to ignite that desire for a fresh start, this seems to ring particularly true when it comes to spring. And as the temperature increases, so too does my need to transform my home to prepare for the warm months ahead. Here are my personal favourite tips and tricks that truly help bring spring home:

Fresh Flowers
Spending a few dollars a week on fresh flowers (fresh tulips, a handful of gorgeous magnolia branches or a potted orchid) is incredibly effective. After a long, grey winter, it truly helps infuse a sense of life into your every day.

Deck Your Door
A little paint goes a long way! Greet your guests with a freshly painted, vibrant front door. Think poppy red, a bright shade of coral or a more subdued teal. Bonus: it increases curb appeal and is a welcome sight when you return home each evening.

Infuse New Scents
When it comes to your home, you need to consider all five senses. All too often the sense of smell falls by the wayside, but I stand by the fact that it's one of the most important! Save the masculine, woodsy scents for the cosy wintry months. Instead, consider lightly scented candles or incense like vanilla fig, Meyer lemon or cucumber.

Add Colour
Whether it's in the form of a new toss cushion, switching out some artwork (there are so many wonderful, inexpensive prints online) or a new coffee table book... Introducing a new hue into your decor regimen is a wonderful way to make a space feel fresh and new on a dime.

Think About Texture & Introduce Natural Materials
Tuck away those heavy fabrics for the cooler months ahead. We're talking heavy wool curtains, velvet toss cushions and that furry throw you love. Instead, introduce natural materials: cotton, linen and the like for a light, bright feel. Bonus: your winter decor will feel brand new when you bring it out again months down the line.

Put Up A Bird Feeder
We can't forget about our fellow feathered friends! Invite them to stay a while by hanging a simple bird feeder on your balcony or in your yard. Instant spring, I swear! 

Start an Indoor Herb Garden
Not only does it smell amazing, much like the addition of fresh flowers, it instills a sense of life into your home. Bonus: it's crazy satisfying to be able to whip up a meal with the help of some of your home grown friends.

Dress Your Bed
Flannel bed sheets be gone! Switching them out for a cotton set may be a no-brainer, but it's something I look forward to all year. In addition, opting for a light quilt in lieu of your feathered duvet is intrinsically satisfying.

When it comes down to it, small details and simple touches are key. It's amazing how these simple changes can make your entire home feel brand new without having to spend a ton.

Photo credits:
1. Potted Orchid, Lark & Linen
2. Charleston Front Door, Elisa Brickler for Hearth Magazine
3. Tulips, Bess Friday (photography) and Caitlin Flemming (design)

4. Living room photographed by Brittany Ambridge for Domino Magazine, via Style Me Pretty Living
5. Prue Roscoe photographed room, Design Sponge
6. Herb Garden photography by Ruth Eileen, via SMP Living

See a gallery of garden ideas from the blogger behind You Grow Girl, Gayla Trails.

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The Rise Of The Shelfie

The Rise Of The Shelfie
Kimberley Brown on the selfie's decor equivalent.

Both The Wall Street Journal and The Huffington Post U.K. recently ran stories on the rise of the 'shelfie' – a buzzy word for the trend on social media of sharing photographs of artfully arranged items.

 

The habit is hardly news to design fans: we've been posting pics like these since the dawn of Instagram, when such shots were quaintly known as 'vignettes' or 'tableaux vivants'.

These photos help us define our style, get inspiration and see the beauty in the everyday – that is, until they become cliché. I couldn't help but laugh – and wince a little – at the five repetitive shelfie motifs identified by WSJ. I'm guilty of at least two. Do you see yourself on the list?

1) The Stunning Espresso

2) The Haunting Glass Cloche

3) The Casual Magazine Tableau

4) The Evocative Pair of Spectacles

5) The Strangely Popular in Norway Wooden Hand

See designers' tricks for styling bedside tables.

Photo sources:
1. Photography by Ashley Capp

2. May 2009 House & Home, photo by Heather Ross
3. Latte via Pinterest
4. Cloche via Pinterest, photography by Renee Arns
5. Magazine via Live The Fancy Life Blog 
6. Eye glasses via Real Simple
7. Wooden hand via Pinterest

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To Paint (Trim), Or Not To Paint

author: 
<p><a href="http://houseandhome.com/blogs/author/10462376">Wendy Jacob </a></p>
To Paint (Trim), Or Not To Paint
Photo evidence of this dilemma.

We have almost completed our Belgian-Inspired Budget Basement reno that followed the flood this winter. I just wanted to put up a quick post about something that's made the most dramatic change for our basement. I know painting out wood trim is a popular – and controversial – question from our readers. Lynda and Suzanne get asked about it all the time; painting wood is relatively easy but if you have regrets, stripping and refinishing is a nasty job (Suzanne weighs in on this topic in this video).

 

For those of you who agonize over painting, I humbly offer this evidence. The left half of the room is painted out in Benjamin Moore's Edgecomb Gray, and the other side is the original knotty pine wainscotting I am guessing dates back to when Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears wore matching acid-wash denim.

In this case, the inexpensive pine panelling looked cheap, busy and dated. H&H design editors have always firmly fall into the camp of painting wood, unless it is special or exotic (ie. mahogany, rosewood).

As soon as we painted the trim, the wainscotting immediately looked crisper, more substantial and distinctive.

I never liked the flimsy louvered doors, but now they almost seem to disappear, and all it took was an afternoon of spray painting and a new pull from Anthropologie.

Can't wait to show you the final reveal, stay tuned!

See a gallery of our design editors' basement renos, and watch a video of Suzanne Dimma's basement renovation.

Photo sources:
Wendy Jacob

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Serene Spaces

Serene Spaces
A look at natural, relaxed spaces.

Every home needs a space dedicated to unwinding. No TV or computer screens, no work — just a simple retreat for relaxing.

Whether they’re indoors or out, my favourite serene spaces incorporate lots of natural elements — think neutral colours, textured accents and plenty of sunlight.

Air Wick is embracing all things natural with their line of scented oil, including the new Lavender and Chamomile scent. Known individually for their relaxing properties, these scents combine for an easy way to bring serenity to an indoor space such as a bedroom, bathroom or living room. (This blog is sponsored by Air Wick.) Using natural essential oils, these scented oil plug-ins fill the room with a gentle, relaxing scent to help you unwind.

Here are a few of my favourite natural spaces dedicated to all things calm and cool:



The white-washed walls of this beach-inspired bedroom create a serene envelope for natural, textured accents to take centre stage. A neutral colour palette of white and straw keeps everything restful and gives the feel of a tranquil getaway.



This little desk is nestled between built-in cabinets and has natural sunlight flooding in — perfect for reading, writing or simply contemplating the day. Natural, bare floors and strong, open sightlines enhance this tranquil space.



In the spring and summer months, carry your decorating outside with these easy ideas. A small backyard at home or the cottage can be easily transformed into a vacation-like spot with a few simple ideas. A white tarpaulin is hung to create a cabana-like sitting area with an assortment of rattan furniture, Moroccan-inspired lanterns and a salvaged-wood coffee table. The best part? Everything is set on humble pea gravel, making this a simple and affordable getaway to create.



If you’ve got the budget to hire a landscape architect, a well-designed backyard oasis can help make the most of an afternoon in the shade. All-weather wicker, neutral cushions with a pop of green combine to create this calming backyard getaway.


No matter how busy you are, be sure to take some time to yourself to relax in your own nature-inspired getaway. Learn more about Air Wick on their website, and click here to try it for free. Plus, enter our Spring Entertaining Contest for a chance to win $500 plus a basket of Air Wick products!

 

Photo sources:

1. House & Home July 2007 issue, photography by Stacey Brandford
2. House & Home October 2010 issue, photography by Virginia Macdonald
3. House & Home June 2010 issue, photography by Angus Fergusson
4. Maison et Demeure October 2010 issue, photography by Jean Longpré
5. Air Wick
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Summer Bedding Ideas

author: 
<p><a href="http://houseandhome.com/blogs/author/10453231">Joel Bray </a></p>
Summer Bedding Ideas
Joel Bray's picks for a fresh look.

Although it doesn't quite feel like spring outside, it's never too early to start lightening up our homes for the warmer months. It's this time of year that I often pare back on all the wooly throws, and switch out an area rug or two for a summer-appropriate sisal.

I also like to change up my bedding for spring. Heavy duvet covers, blankets, and extra accent pillows just seem in the way on humid summer night, so getting back to simple essentials is a must. Here are a few great spring and summer bedding items that I have my eye on.

I love the vintage look of this duvet cover through Jayson Home. It has enough pattern to add interest, but it's subtle enough to be layered with other colours and textures. This duvet cover would look great folded back at the bottom of a bed.

 

I love the rich navy blue colour and the subtle stitch detail of Serena & Lily's matelassé coverlet. It would look amazing covering the majority of the bed.

Linen shams and sheets are summer essentials. Their lightweight feel and causal rumpled look pairs well with the laissez-faire attitude of summer bed making.

There's something about an artisanal block print that just screams summer to me, and this Kabora pillow by John Robshaw is pretty much perfect. Navy and orange are a hot and very summer-appropriate colour combo, add a hit to update your neutral linens. 

Get more inspiration in this gallery of summer decorating tips.

Photo sources:
1) John Robshaw

2) Jayson Home
3) Serena & Lily
4) Restoration Hardware
5 & 6) John Robshaw

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Match The Scarf To The Celeb

author: 
<p><a href="http://houseandhome.com/blogs/author/10462376">Wendy Jacob</a></p>
Match The Scarf To The Celeb
A fundraiser of star-studded accessories.

A roster of celebrities, from homegrown hockey greats and authors to Hollywood sirens, have donated ties and scarves to help Homes First's second annual fundraiser, Tie One On. Hosted by the CBC's Mary Wiens on May 7, 2014, the auction raises funds to help house 5,000 homeless people living on Toronto streets. 

We know a home is a reflection of personal style, but we thought we'd play a little guessing game to see if you can match the scarf to the stars (and if you really like it, you might want to buy a $50 ticket and make a bid). Scroll down to see the answers at the bottom.

1) No surprise that the Canadian maple leaf is front and centre on this team captain's neckwear. She represented Canada at two Olympic games, and brought home the gold both times.

2) The statuesque blonde who owns this scarf isn't just a pretty face, she won an Oscar for a gripping real life portrayal, and steps into comedic roles just as easily on Arrested Development.

3) The tie pretty much gives away which sport the owner is passionate about, but we love how he rose to the occasion in the "series of the century."

4) This classic, conservative print belongs to a high-powered Ontario politician, but it should probably be red to toe the party line.

5) This appropriately low-key tie neckwear is from a guy who is all about putting the focus on his guests, and making them open up on his nightly Canadian talk show.

6) We love the polished style of this busy actress and producer, who is launching a new lifestyle brand in the footsteps of fellow blonde Gwyneth Paltrow. And who knew she could sing?

7) A tie that's quirky and fun: we wouldn't expect anything less from a master storyteller who delivers the latest dispatches from the Vinyl Café.

8) This blue scarab print scarf must have made the fiery locks of its former owner really pop. It was donated by one of Hollywood's most famous redheads, a multiple-award winning actress who always stuns on the red carpet (and on film, especially when dressed by Tom Ford)

9) This tie is a pretty safe sartorial choice for a Canadian high flyer who spends time orbiting the earth, occasionally while strumming a guitar.

Answers:

1) Cassie Campbell-Pascall
2) Charlize Theron
3) Paul Henderson
4) Kathleen Wynne
5) George Stroumboulopoulos
6) Reese Witherspoon
7) Stuart McLean
8) Julianne Moore
9) Chris Hadfield

Photo sources:
All courtesy of Tie One On, Charlize Theron via Thunderbird 37

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5 Favourite Coffee Tables

author: 
<p>Margot Austin</p>
5 Favourite Coffee Tables
See what made the cut for Margot Austin.

 

It's on. The hunt for the perfect coffee table for our new condominium has commenced. I'm also searching for one for a friend, and just yesterday I had two conversations about coffee tables with H&H colleagues who are also in the market. What is it with coffee tables? There are so many available, and yet when you search for one you can never seem to find exactly the right one. I'm happy to report that this time I'm finding lots to love. In case you are hunting for one too, here are my current faves.

1. Florence Knoll Coffee Table

First up is this classic from 1961, designed by Florence Knoll (shown here and also in the room above). This embodies my idea of great design – it's just enough and not too much. The real McCoy comes in many different sizes and with options for glass, marble, wood or granite top. The base is satin chrome. It starts at about $1,000, which to me seems a fair price for design genius. That said, there are interpretations of this at many different price points. I'm thinking up a custom version with an antiqued brass base and a top in a marble with warm veining like Calacatta. Starting at $1,000, Florence Knoll.

2. Bel-Air

This lovely thing has some obvious mid-century leanings and is of a genre I call the surfboard coffee table, for obvious reasons. I visited this recently in store and really fell for the beautifully grained shesham wood top. And it may be hard to tell from this photo, but the base is actually antiqued brass. Quite fantastic. I love an oval for the ease of traffic flow around it. $899, Crate & Barrel.

3. Burnt Brass

And speaking of brass, this monolith has a touch more glint than the base of the Bel-Air but still has a wonderful aged look. This table is so sexy — I think you need a DVF wrap dress or a Halston dress and strappy sandals to go with. $1,622, Black Rooster Décor.

4. Faux Shagreen Waterfall

This piece calls to mind the designs of the great Jean-Michel Frank, who is known for simple table shapes wrapped in luxurious materials like goatskin, parchment and shagreen. This version features faux shagreen mixed with honey oak trim. To be honest, I'm not nuts about the honey oak, but I wouldn't hesitate for a second to tape off the shagreen parts and cover the oak with a high gloss paint in a colour to match the shagreen or even gold or silver leaf. Boom! $965, Black Rooster Décor. 

5. Lack

I'm a big fan of this table. I think it's perfectly excellent and simple and super affordable just the way it is. However, if you are so inclined, it is also the perfect blank canvas for your creative energies. Just Google "Ikea Lack coffee table hack" and you'll find links to a million methods of reinvention. On my to do list is to cover one in faux shagreen wallpaper. From $25, Ikea.

Photo sources:
1. via Gotham

2. via Purse Blog
3. Crate & Barrel
4. Black Rooster Décor
5 (a and b). Black Rooster Décor
6. Ikea 

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