Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Sudbury design treasures

A visit to Bouclair Home, Homesense and Pier1 Imports is mandatory whenever I go to Sudbury. These stores have an easy, contemporary approach to design which I like. They are especially good places to visit if you are looking for accessories, dinnerware, towels and linen. Here you often also find interesting and well-priced accent chairs, occasional tables and rugs. Below are a few highlights from my latest trip to our neighbouring city. The next time I go, I'd love to include some smaller stores with unique furniture and design. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

I like the colour combination and simple motif
of this pillow from Bouclair.
A shell ceiling fixture makes a room
sparkle. Bouclair.
Another nice ceiling fixture from Bouclair.
Glass tables in various sizes from Bouclair. 
Transparent tables are great for tight spaces. 
These nestle tables have a contemporary, 
cascading design.
      A bench with built-in storage is a clever choice for an
      entrance. Bouclair.  
               Occasional chairs are a great way to add life 
               and interest to a living room that feels too 
               "matchy". They are your chance to introduce 
               pattern, colour and have some fun. This piece 
               is from Homesense.
White-painted and subtly adorned, this table has a 
Scandinavian, Gustavian vibe. Add a mirror and a 
pair of wall sconces above it, and it'll be perfect 
for an entrance or a dining room. Homesense.
Nice curves on this table from Homesense.
This pedestal table doesn't take
up much room and can serve
as an extra surface for your
guests to place their drinks or
snacks on.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Great summer fabrics

Why not take on an indoor project while you're waiting for sunnier skies? I found some great outdoor fabrics from Fabricland that could be used to make pillow cases and table cloths for you patio furniture. An easy way to inject colour and raise the summer spirit! And the price tag is right: just $8 per meter. 

Beautiful ikat print in blue, beige and white, the
ultimate summer colour combination.
A big print with a botanical motif that would work
well as a table cloth or a big cushion. Big prints
are best suited for bigger surfaces, where the
pattern can be fully appreciated.
This colour combination is also a summer classic.
I love this kind of graphic, two-colour print. 

Colourful patterns on a white background
always feel crisp and clean. This fabric 
can be combined with a range of solids. 
Just look at the colours represented in the
print and pick your favourite. 
You can never go wrong with stripes! 
And here is the ultimate vinyl summer cloth!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

The beauty of a hidden TV

In my book, the perfect place for a TV is behind sliding doors.

Happy Farther’s Day! This blog is about TVs and their role in interior design. Why do I write about this on Father’s Day? Well, TVs are very important in many people’s lives, and especially so for our male friends on hockey nights. The question then is: just because it is a cherished object, should it have prime location in a room? My simple answer is: no! TVs, when turned off, are like a big (often huge) black hole in the wall. From a design perspective, that’s not so stylish. 
Here are three tips on how to avoid making the TV the centrepiece of a room:

1) Find an alternative location for it, either in the same room or elsewhere.
2) Camouflage it. Place a big painting or other big objects close to the TV.
3) Hide it. Many media cabinets can host TVs behind closed doors. Shelving hidden by sliding doors is also a good option. 

Without a TV dominating the space, your room will feel so much lighter. It will also give the other objects a chance to shine!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Art and fashion at The Farm

Peek through the windows of the FARM in downtown North Bay and you know you've found something unique. Inside, the place is buzzing with creativity. That's what happens when you combine a retail boutique with an onsite workshop. The artists of this fashion and art collective are right here, working on their creations, and their energy is contagious. 

The idea of the FARM's retail store is to provide products that are handmade, locally made, Canadian made or eco conscious. Perfect for us who appreciate something out of the ordinary! If you are shopping for one-of-a-kind artwork and accessories for yourself and your home, this is definitely a place to visit. 

Here are a few shots from the store:

The open-space environment where the FARM is located
is worth a visit in itself. Wooden floors, textured brick
and white, illuminated walls are a nice backdrop for
fashion and art. 
Fresh and expressive pieces by Gillian McLaren
and Jaymie Lathem
Photography with a local connection by Liz Lott.
Lis is one of the FARM's member artists. She owns
Hibou Boutique, northern Ontario's first
bring-your-own-bag shop, which shares the space
with the FARM!
Interesting, large photography on vinyl by 
Louise Goulet. 
Canadiana pillows by graphic designer 
and screenprinter Nicole Tarasick. 
Danielle Fraser's decorations in mixed media.
When did you last see a beautiful mosaic detail on 
a floor in downtown North Bay?
Well, that's a way to add a splash of colour!
A painted chandelier with paint chips in my 
favourite colour.
And if there was any doubt, the FARM = Fashion 
Art Retail Market and not pick your own produce;-)

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Summer essentials from Winners

Pink, orange, yellow, turquoise... When it comes to summer accessories and seasonal furniture, it's all about colour. And colour was precisely what I found during my latest visit to Winners. I just can't get enough of summer lanterns for the patio, bright and happy pillows for the hammock, and multicoloured baskets. Or is it that I just can't get enough of summer? Have a look at some of my finds. They are all from Winners in North Bay:

"Boho chic" pillow in summery colours. $29.99 for
a set of two.
This 4' x 6' cotton area rug is a bargain for $19.99.
Baskets are your best friends when it comes to
keeping your home organized and tidy. These 
pretty pieces come in three sizes and the price
range is $14.99 to $29.99. 
Hopefully, we'll get lots of use of a pair of beach
chairs this year!
More fun lanterns and a cool vase, that could also
double as a candle holder. $12.99 and $19.99 
Three-piece patio set for $129.99 The mosaic 
decoration gives the table and chairs a fresh, 
oriental touch.
Use it as a stool or a side table, but
treat it with care. It's pottery! $39.99.

Serve your cool drinks on this stylish
rainbow-coloured tray. $9.99.

An interesting way to display your potted 
plants is to group them in a miniature 
That idea is implemented here, in a similar
greenhouse. What do you think?

Monday, 6 June 2011

Getting the hang of art

Two rows of three pieces of art is a classic grouping. 
Leave the same space between the frames for an 
organized look. 
It’s Monday and time for a question from a reader: "I have no idea what to put on my walls. They are completely empty now. Do you have any budget-friendly tips?"
Answer: Here is an easy tip: Frame several items and create your own mini art gallery! Hung together in a group, the pieces make a visual statement that is often more interesting than just one or two large pieces of art. Use black-and-white photos, pictures from a magazine, beach finds, or anything else that you like the look of and want to showcase. To make the pieces work together, link them by colour palette or by theme. If there isn't any such common element, use identical frames to display your treasures... Wide mats will make them look even more impressive. 

The most unexpected things can be art. Just 
use your imagination and have an open mind. 
This solar panel, for example, caught my eye 
at the North Bay Home and Garden Expo. Its 
simple, black-and-white pattern is graphic and 
effective. I would love to use it as solar panel...
but would be equally happy to put it up on my
Do you have any other budget-friendly tips?

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Craftsmanship along Powassan backroads

Last weekend I was a tourist in my own community. Instead of continuing home on the highway, I took the scenic route, along backroads that I previously hadn't travelled. On my way, I stopped at two local furniture operations; Jay's Furniture and Follow Your Heart Woodworking.

Jay's Furniture has a brand-new showroom close to Powassan. His range of wood furniture is quite large and is handcrafted by Mennonites in southern Ontario. I like his mix of traditional and more contemporary pieces.

Not far from Jay's Furniture, I found Follow Your Heart Woodworking. This operation is run by Julie Rose. She is a passionate woodworker who designs and builds a range of solid wood furniture and accessories. I especially like her signs and rustic pieces with a distressed look, often in bright colours.

Here are some of the highlights from my backroad adventure:
This hutch buffet would fit well
in a modern rustic environment.
$1170. Jay's Furniture.

Buffet from the same collection. $895.

Clean lines on this dining set with Parson-style
chairs. $2280. Jay's Furniture.

This double pedestal table and chairs come in
your choice of wood and stain colour. This set
is in cherry and costs $3365. Jay's Furniture.
Colourful display of fun signs. The 
one that says Trout Lake came home
with me. Follow Your Heart Woodworking.
Wooden boxes, perfect for sorting 
papers (it is more fun when the
boxes are nice, like these!). Follow 
Your Heart Woodworking.
"Harvest-style" coffee table. I like the intense
blue on this piece. Follow Your Heart Woodworking.
Hutch in the same intense blue. 
Follow Your Heart Woodworking.
White desk in a distressed finish. Follow Your
Heart Woodworking.