April 25th, 2017

It’s All in the Details

When you walk into a furniture store to look at couches, or shop online for them, do you ever wonder why there are so very many options? And what makes one differ from all the others? Are you overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices? Well don’t despair, because it’s all in the details friends. I’ll show you some little things to look for so the next time you go shopping you’ll be a detail spotting pro! You might even be able to pick one and take it home! Imagine how much time you’ll have to do other things, like shop for pillows or carpets or chairs.

The elderly generation (seasoned sofa purchasing experts) tell me stories of the days when you could walk into a furniture store and pick one frame and choose from four colours and voila your room was done. How quaint. Today’s options are far more exciting! Furniture is like fashion. New fabrics and leathers come out each season, there are trends, things get discontinued to make way for the new, and some things stay the same.

Let’s take a look today at six different details that define a sofa, and give it character and personality. Each of the sofas I have chosen here emulate their details with style and grace like any good model should.

Furniture should make you happy! Have fun with it!

 

Vintage Luxe

Nail Head Trim– One of my favourite details of all time. Nail heads are like jewelry for your sofa. I love the shiny silver ones, but there are frequently choices for the colour, depending on the manufacturer. Sizes of the actual nails may vary as well. The nails are applied to the finished frame one at a time, along the edge of the arms, the base or the back. I have also seen this done in unsuspecting areas like the outside of the arms and in unusual patterns. If this is not your thing, sometimes they can do piping instead. What is piping? Read on to find out!

Cre8tive Designs

Tufting– Ok, so I am a huge fan of tufting. In fact, my current sofa is tufted and has nail head trim. It’s a little glamorous. Sometimes the tufting has buttons and sometimes it does not. The buttons are usually the same material as the sofa. How can I make a tufted sofa more glamorous you ask? For an additional charge you might be able to order glass buttons. You will see sofas with a tufted back and the seats may or may not be tufted. Or the tufting can even be done to the outside of the arms and wrapped around the back (this is usually done without the buttons).

Domino

Wood Trim– Old school and traditional frames have ornate carved wood features, but today’s wood trim can be pretty straight and basic or a little curvy like the frame shown here. If the manufacturer offers colour options for the wood, this is a lovely way to make a statement. The combination of the sapphire blue with the white trim pictured here is dynamic and fresh.

Ethan Allen

Skirt– This is not something I see all the time, but the sofa with a skirt is a classic profile. The cream one pictured here is simple, elegant and classic. If you would prefer a skirt to an upholstered base, the manufacturer may offer this as an option not shown in the showroom. It is always worth asking.

Pinterest

Piping– Most of the time piping will be the same colour as the body fabric or leather on the couch. But every now and then you will see one with contrast piping that will pop! When done right, this is a beautifully tailored look. So elegant. You might wonder what I mean when I say ‘done right’ and I’ll explain. The colour combination needs to make sense. And you’ll know when its right because it will make you so happy and excited, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner.

Domino

Bench Seat– A typical sofa has three seats, which means three seat cushions paired with three back cushions. I see more and more two seat sofas (I have a two seat sofa), but there is also the bench cushion. One long seat cushion. It creates more of a linear effect with less lines. I love this look, but one draw back you might not readily think of is that you can’t rotate your seat cushions for even wear, but you can still flip it over, which is good too.

Now that you have a visual on a few common details, your next trip to the furniture store will be so much fun. I can just hear you now…’Look Oliver, that sofa has the nail head trim I’ve always wanted!’ The real magic happens in the combination of these details. Imagine a tufted sofa with nail head trim and a bench seat. Now we’re talking! What details do you love? Have I missed any you would like me to explain?

Happy furniture shopping!

XOXO

March 6th, 2017

Precious Plant Inspiration

The tail end of winter seemed to be an endless dance of chilling days, new storms and slushy streets. Cold puddles alternated with sunny skies. It was all over the place! Amidst all this I have busied myself with cultivating an inner garden in our home. We always had a plethora of house plants growing up and as I get older I find all my favourite people grow plants (Sara & Andrew to name a few). I love the little pop of green, the coziness and the simplistic element of life and growth a house plant offers.

Medinilla Magnifica

I have collected many favourites over the years and this last week or so I have added a few more beauties to my collection. I fill windowsills with plants, the window in my kitchen gets a perfect amount of light for most of the year. It gets a little too much sun in the summer though, so I must admit there have been a few casualties. Work with the light conditions in each room of your home, to choose the best possible plant.

Igorjosif

And of course there are the health benefits, the clean air, purified for breath and sleeping. The fact that they effortlessly remove toxins just by living is pretty amazing don’t you think? For a family that practices mindfulness, meditation and yoga knowing that our air is fresh and clean is a good thing.

So people are always telling me they kill their plants and asking me how I keep mine alive. Here are a few tips I use to keep my plants both healthy and happy.

The Shelby

Light– some plants need a ton of bright direct beams of light and others can live with partial shade. Knowing who needs what ahead of time is crucial. If your plant doesn’t come with a tag, look it up! If you are shopping at a greenhouse the staff can advise on proper placement.

Water– a schedule is vital for me. If I don’t pick days for watering it simply does not get done. I water my plants every Monday, and if any of them need a second watering I will water on Thursday or Friday.

Moisture– some plants need to be misted as well as watered. Keep a small spray bottle on hand. Or you could even put a tropical plant in the bathroom which is naturally humid.

Gardening Gazebo

Fertilizer– I never do this! Yikes! I’ll start soon, I promise. For orchid beauties this is something that will help them bloom again and again. Most plants only need it a couple times of year, but I will get back to you on this one.

Relocation- Once your plants outgrow the pot they are in it is time to re-pot them. Some will happily stay in a small pot, like many succulents or my favourite right now ‘Haworthia’. But others will grow and grow and to encourage their thriving you need to give them a bigger pot to keep the roots happy.

Lobster and Swan

Whether greenery is your style or you prefer a stunning, blooming plant like the luscious one in the first picture, there are options for everyone. I almost always have a few aloe vera plants in my home. The soft creamy green of the fronds is very pretty and they are wonderfully low maintenance. A mixture of both is lovely and I love, love, love cut flowers too, so we usually have a little something here or there. Currently a couple of creamy barely blush roses, a sprig of genestra and hellebores. Check out my Instagram for a glimpse.

To get a list of my top ten favourite house plants enter your e-mail and I’ll send you a printable you can shop with!

February 6th, 2017

Bookshelves for Miles


Sometimes, some days when all these hectic moments accumulate in the depths of a wintry deep freeze, I dream of running off to a luxe little cabin in the woods. Obviously it would be lined with bookshelves for miles. Obviously! Imagine curating a shelf like the one pictured above from Of Iron and Oak with a whole winter to read? I might read a fair amount sometimes, but that might take several winters. Between work, the kids, planning a total rebranding of this blog (yes, its true) and going back to school (true as well) I don’t know where I find the time to read, but I make it!

The Art of Doing Stuff

So we would read. So we would walk in the woods. So we would cuddle up against the rattling winds. So we would hibernate like little bears… And don’t forget coffee, copious amounts of coffee!

The Decorogist

And maybe its because I am such a true romantic (or perhaps its the time of year) but I will always believe in the truest love. Love like ‘A Man Called Ove’ kind of love or a ‘The Light Between Oceans’ kind of love or a ‘Time Traveler’s Wife’ kind of love. And one day, maybe when I’m like a hundred, that love will find me. Until then I read about it, glimpse it out there in this pretty little world and hope not to spin so fast with this little heart of mine.

Life in Grace Blog

The way these shelves are styled within such put-together rooms really makes a difference. You are not just looking at stacks of books, nothing wrong with that approach either, but why not leave things just a little prettier whenever we can. That’s a personal motto I live by. I was about to get rid of the hutch in my kitchen a few months ago, but I restyled it in order to take pictures and I ended up falling in love with it again, and so it stays. It surprised me! But it just goes to show you with a fresh outlook and a little reshuffling you can breathe new life into something.

House and Home

It has been an interesting winter so far, with snaps of brittle cold and weeks of frosty ice fogs that left hoar frost in the trees. Life in a sparkly snow globe. Shaken and settled. So, wherever you are whether its cold or warm why not pull out your favourite books and style a shelf or two. Take some inspiration from these beauties or go wild with it like I did and remove everything to start fresh. Edit. And maybe you’ll find a little treasure you forgot to read or head out to the bookstore to add some new titles to the waiting list. For more book styling ideas check out @mylittlebooktique and @bluestockingbookshelf on Instagram, they each put together fun little vignettes! Happy styling everyone, cozy up and Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

XOXO

December 8th, 2016

Command Station Ideas

I’m going to be honest with you, I’m writing this post because I need a command station too! Look at this beautiful example pictured above from Iron and Twine. I mean what household could not use a system for organizing the in’s and out’s of day to day living. My hope is to simplify, to create some stillness and help the days start and finish with a smoothness we sometimes lack.

Whether its just you, or you have a whole brood to get out the door in the morning, a command center will keep you in top form (organizationally speaking). One of the things I struggle with is paper, my children are prolific artists and for a long time I kept every sketch and scribble organized in monthly folders. Once they started school I had to draw the line which meant editing the piles of paper and tossing much of what made it home. Yet still, so much of what we sift through has importance and needs to be corralled into some semblance of organization.

Pottery Barn

You might be wondering what is a command station and why do I need it? The idea here is to formulate a plan for running your household. Bills need to be paid, meals need to be cooked (maybe even planned), schedules need to be met, synced and often referenced and basically life needs to be lived and lived well.

I honestly believe that with a little vision anything is possible. If you’ve ever asked yourself any of the following questions, a command station big or small, might help you navigate and simplify your days. How can I make the morning go smoother? Will meal planning make a difference? Where am I going to put all this stuff?

AKA Design

What should you include?

  • A calender: one you can write on
  • A clock
  • A mirror: lipstick check!
  • Lists: shopping, chores and to-do’s
  • Recipes and a corresponding meal schedule
  • A hanging coat rack for backpacks, purses, bags, sweaters, umbrella, etc.
  • Storage area for each person in your family (this could even be a simple basket for holding envelopes or keys)
  • Hanging storage displays like the envelope style ones pictured here
  • A vision board: even just a few happy family photos
  • A little inspiration: a quote that resonates with you

One Creative Housewife

Alright, now that you’re feeling inspired the first thing to do is figure out where the command station will be? As pictured here today you can see it doesn’t have to be a large area, in fact the smaller the better. The point is to keep things tidy and organized, a space for everything, right? I like the idea of using the side of the fridge if it is exposed. Or right in the entryway is another viable spot. If the space will be accessible to little ones be sure to hang their items at a height they can reach and build up from there. Keep that inspirational quote at eye level! You may need a reminder some days (I know I do)!

One more thing…a plant! Add some life to your command station by adding something lively and green. It will cheer up all that paperwork and add some pretty. And speaking of pretty, maybe you can shop for some cute glass magnets. Also, there are a ton of free printables online if you need some templates to create a polished look for your recipes, schedules or meal plans. The happier and more inviting you make the command station, the more excited you will be and remember excitement is contagious! If you are excited to implement this, you’re family will be too! Happy decorating! XOXO

October 26th, 2016

That Green & that Dilemma

I read so much this summer and was fortunate enough to have devoured title after title that not only resonated with me, but blew my mind. And then autumn hits and I find myself halfheartedly reading three different books that are not doing it for me. And it has been so cozy inside. And it has even snowed a few times. Can you believe it? I need to be drawn in. I need to be consumed with the story. Captivation please! Wait, let me gush a little over luscious green hued furniture and home decor and then we can talk books. Let us focus.

Sheer Luxe

You know that green, that beautiful shimmering emerald green? The one you have a crush on? Yes, that one! I love it too. Its bold, its brilliant, like a precious jewel, but for your living space. Maybe you want to experiment with it? I know I do. Each of these exquisite rooms unabashedly goes for it. A bench at the end of the bed, a full sofa (this one has some teal tendencies), a sidebar, curtains and a voluptuous chair– each of these ideas make it simple to incorporate this luscious hue.

Most of these ideas involve some commitment, but if you wanted to dabble in that green for a season or two, pillows and throws are an alternative that is both cost and commitment effective. Or why not paint a vintage end table, or a bring in a new piece of art? So many options to play with this colour.

Est Living

Alright back to the books! So there’s two books I’ve wanted to read for a while now—Girl on a Train and The Light Between Oceans, both of which are currently in theatres. This sparks that dilemma again. The book or the movie? And if both, which one first? Normally I would say book, but there have been a few times when the film was better.

Pinterest

Like Suite Francaise, for instance. I saw this film before I read the book. The book was good, but the movie was spectacular! And interestingly the movie was based on a portion of the book, but it was enacted so beautifully, I will always remember it. Michelle Williams and Matthias Schoenaerts were breathtaking, and the whole film was stunning. The origins of this book are fascinating, check out this article from the New York Times book review, for the full story. So in this particular case I indulged in both, but loved one. After discussing this dilemma on more than one occasion, I have decided to watch Girl on a Train and read The Light Between Oceans. And then? Then, I will watch The Light Between Oceans and decide about Girl on a Train…

About Home

Once you’ve brought that green home and jazzed up a room or two I strongly suggest you watch and read Suite Francaise if you haven’t yet, ’tis the season to be cozy. Happy decorating, and happy reading!

XOXO

October 3rd, 2016

White Pumpkin Decor

I can handle orange in small doses, but if you asked me to pick a colour for basically anything, orange would be my last pick. When it comes to autumn decor in a house layered with sea foam, teals and blues, (pictured above) the only realistic thing to do is to paint those orange pumpkins white. And how beautiful they look with white chalk paint. Of course a proper vignette must always include a little sparkle. So a glittery pumpkin found his way into the mix and a few other items from around the house. For now they are inside, but I will be moving them back outside on the front steps.

Style Caster

As far as holidays go, Thanksgiving is my favourite. A whole holiday based on gratitude and thankfulness! Such an inspiration and a reminder to be mindful and pay attention to all the good, because there really is so much good. Plus, an amazing meal without all the gift giving frenzy of Christmas, what’s not to love?

A Blissful Nest

I painted my pumpkins with white chalk paint (the spray paint variation made quick work of it) just make sure to tape the stems so they retain their natural colour. I love the results, incidentally so did the pizza guy, but now its time to decorate them. You can do this in phases, like I did, if you like to keep updating and changing the look of things. A little ribbon, some silver thumbtacks and some glitz in the form of a single upholstery bauble, and voila, glamorous pumpkins. You could also experiment with glitter, sequins or gold and silver pens or a black cat for alternate looks as shown.

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

As this beautiful season progresses and we cozy up to one another, take time to appreciate each and every beautiful moment of it. And bring some of the outside in while you still can, before the winter sets in. Pumpkins, branches, even that fresh crisp morning air. Get chilly, wear sweaters and love, just love, the moment, the people in it, your home… XOXO