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What to Do on Valentine’s Day: Take a clue from this scene

mister T by French designer antoine lesur

mister T by French designer antoine lesur

When I started dating my husband, we used to go to a nice restaurant at Valentine’s Day. Then, one year I suggested that we had a romantic dinner at home. It has been our tradition ever since.  Maybe, we will establish a new tradition this year since we are new parents.We did not discuss it yet. But I know is that I would like to start my day where my husband and I chat around a coffee with a warm French croissant and jam. Since our baby wakes up at 11 AM, we would have the time to do it.

When I saw this picture, I was immediately inspired by the set up that reminds me our trip to Japan. I came empty-handed trying to find a store where I could buy Mister T by French designer Antoine Lesur. I simply learned that Mister T is edited by Oxyofor Made in Design. On the bright side, Mister T is an occasional furniture composed of a basket, a tray and two cushions. Therefore, it should easy to recreate the concept at home with cushions that are comfy to sit on, a low table and a tray. We could even sit side by side to be closer to each other.

If you prefer to wait later in the day to start celebrating Valentine’s Day, you can always use the same idea to sip a cocktail.

Mister T designed by Antoine Lesur


Etsy Finds: Mini Planters

etsy mini thimble planter diy

etsy mini thimble planter diy

Though they may just be removed for styling purposes, we’ve noticed that many homes featured in shelter magazines and on design blogs rarely include plant life, except for a bouquet or two of cut flowers. Not only do houseplants bring life to an indoors pace, they help detoxify the air in your home and they’ve even been shown to increase productivity in the workplace.

Thumbs not so green? Winter may not be the best time of year to dig in, but starting small – make that mini! – can be a fun way to test the soils.

etsy mini garden cork magnet terrarium

Last week Etsy’s weekly How-Tuesday blog column featured practical tips on creating wee gardens and low-maintenance terrariums using unexpected household containers, like thimbles, wine corks, teacups and shot glasses.

All it takes is a small cutting from a hardy houseplant (ask your gardening guru friend) and a creative container to get started. Once you’ve mastered the mini garden, you’ll be on to greener pastures in no time.

Still not so sure? Check out the Etsy Sellers below for adorable, affordable options.

+ How Houseplants Keep You Healthy from Canadian Gardening Magazine
+ Micro-Planter and Terrarium How-To on the Etsy Blog
+ Set of 3 Tiny Terrariums by TortoiseLovesDonkey
+ Succulent Cork Magnets by AlissaRose
+Vintage Thimble Planters by DoodleBirdie


IDS 12 Preview: What I Plan to See/Do?

ids 12 conversations in design

ids 12 conversations in design

We are just a few days before the opening of IDS 12 and I can’t wait for my annual visit. I will fly the night before to be right on time for Conversations in Design. I hope to grab new ideas from the 12 internationally renowned speakers that will talk at Conversations in Design. It should be a good introduction before heading to the exhibit floor since the Conversations in Design’s theme is Trailblazers and Trendspotters.

I will start the next day with a blog and traditional media panel conversation hosted by BlogPodium. Then, it will be time to explore what is at the trade show. One exhibit that I will not miss is Studio North and Prototype, that will celebrate the 10th anniversary at IDS.

I will stay Saturday in order to attend a second design blogger event: the Canadian Design Bloggers Meetup that will be held at Brassaii. Between meeting some friends, bloggers, and business partners, I would need to find the time to shop at the first CB2 store in Canada (@CB2queenwest). I’m so sorry that I couldn’t attend their opening party. It is a short drive (5 minutes by car, 25 minutes by foot) from the IDS since CB2 is located at 651 Queen Street West. Do not be surprised if you see at the airport a girl with CB2 bags.

I look forward to this short design trip. If you see me in Toronto, come to say hello. I would love to chat design and blogging with you.


Budget-Friendly Wallpaper Ideas

wallpaper diy project door panel stair riser

lilesadi wallpaper dimensions

Have you been bitten by the wallpaper bug yet? When it made its decor comeback a few years ago, wallpaper ushered in a new era of print, pattern, colour and design, and this time it seems here to stay.

Studio Lilesadi, a Netherlands-based label created by sisters Dinah and Sarah Smutny in February 2011, are a perfect example of the fresh approach to wallpaper design we’ve seen in recent years. We love the fresh, striking color combinations found in their new collection, inspired by the light and patterns found in church windows. They also create a coordinating collection of cushions and home accessories sold through their Etsy shop.

Lilesadi wallpaper collection stellar blooming

Not quite ready to commit to an entire room? Or don’t have the budget to use multiple rolls of a wallpaper you really love? Here are three modern ways to use wallpaper to make an impact in a room – without impacting your wallet.

On The Ceiling

Why should walls have all the fun? Using a wallpaper with a light-coloured background (such as those designed by Studio Lilesadi) on the ceiling can help make a room feel larger and draw the eye up. Or make a statement with a bold jewel-toned shade. A word to the wallpaper-wise: use the money you save on fewer rolls of paper to pay for professional installation.

On Panelled Doors

wallpaper diy project door panel stair riser

To add a punch of pattern or colour, dress up a panelled door. Since you’ll need less than one roll for this project, you can opt for a pricier paper with metallic or foil finishes. It’s also

On The Stairs

Entryways and halls are often last to be decorated. We love how just a few pieces of a graphic, contemporary wallpaper transforms this traditional staircase. Depending on the width and quantity of your stairs, this project can take less than one roll.

These projects are also a great way to use wallpaper remnants from other areas of your home to create a cohesive design sensibility.

Have you added wallpaper to your home? How have you used wallpaper in other DIY projects?


+ Lilesadi Wallpaper and Decor
+ Wallpapered Door Panel Project, Martha Stewart
+ Wallpapered Stair Riser Project, Sunset Magazine


Chickadee Smoke Detector

chickadee smoke detector alarm safety design

Yesterday we shared a super-stylish alternative to a utilitarian object (the humidifier) – and here’s another we couldn’t help but chirp about.

Smoke detectors are a necessity for living safely in your home, which makes it all the more surprising that designers haven’t leant their creative eye to this uninspired essential.

The Chickadee Smoke Detector, designed by Louise van de Vald, won a fire prevention solution design competition held by the Dutch Association of Insurers back in 2006. Inspired by birds known ability to warn each other of danger, the smoke detector is easily moved to various areas of the home and features a lifelike chickadee chirp when smoke is detected.

It’s unclear whether this version meets Canadian smoke alarm standards, but we’d like to see other designers and brands spread their wings to take on this design challenge.

+ Chickadee Smoke Detector, €50, Charles & Marie


Breathe Easy: Middle Colors Humidifier

Middle colors humidifier green living room

Middle colors humidifier green living room

Ah, January. That less-than-loveable month where frosty temps, post-holiday fatigue, cold and flu bugs, and dry indoor air (due to always-on heat) combine to create a cesspool of breathing challenges.

While a humidifier can be the answer to breathing easier during winter months, their typically bulky and boring design can leave your style sense congested.

Enter the Middle Colors Humidifier series from Japanese designer Takashi Hiroshi Tsuboi. Available in two sizes and a range of bright and bold colors, the humidifers are perfect for overnight use offering 8 – 10 hours of continuous use.

Middle Colors Humidifier colours

The larger model also features an aromatherapy function: just add a few drops of a scented oil to an aroma pad, and mist the room with your favourite scent. Try lavender to not just breathe but sleep easier.


+ Middle Colors Humidifier, $119.99 (small) / $169.99 (large) USD



Cool Tools: Olioboard Helps You Decorate Your Home

olioboard living room design inspiration board zemandesigns

olioboard living room design inspiration board zemandesigns

Attention interior design enthusiasts: your days of tearing pages from magazines and trying to remember where you saw the perfect lamp for your living room are over.

Olioboard is a digital tool that allows you to create, save and share interior design moodboards and palettes to build your perfect room. If you’ve ever used Polyvore to create stylish outfits, or Pinterest to collect decorating ideas and products, you’ll love Olioboard’s drag and drop functionality. Save your room and add furniture pieces, paint colours and drapes as you find must-have items.

olioboard living room design inspiration board

Olioboard also has a strong community aspect. Found the perfect purple pillow on someone else’s board? Grab it for your own! You can also get feedback on your creations from other users, or share your board to your social networks.

olioboard living room design inspiration board poulkat

If re-decorating or renovations are part of your list of 2012 resolutions (and even if they aren’t!) check out Olioboard to put your plans into action.


+Photo: “I’m All Ears” by ZemanDesigns on Olioboard
+ Photo: “Purple Haze” by DennisCid on Olioboard
+ Photo: “Living Room” by Poulkat on Olioboard


My Place: Sonos Play:3 Fills My Home with Wireless Music

sonos play:3

sonos play:3

Today, I want to share my new music set up. For months, I lived almost without music and it was getting boring in my house. It all changed when the PR agency of SONOS sent me a free Play:3 Hi-Fi speaker system with a bridge. I got rid of my updated sound system one year ago because I found that the components took too much space. I do not use CDs anymore and I rarely listen to commercial radios. Therefore, I did not see the point of keeping a full sound system in my living room. I had to listen to music on my laptop or from the TV; none of which was ideal. Now, I have a wireless music system that truly fits my lifestyle.

Where should I start on all the positive things that I can say about the SONOS wireless music system? As a mom, what I need is to be able to control the system from anywhere in the house. SONOS uses my iPad or my iPhone as a controller. It also works on Android. We even installed the easy to use SONOS app on the iPhone of our babysitter. When she takes care of my son, she can access our iTunes music library or stream music from local radio stations or from the music services that we subscribe to. She loves it!  SONOS is simple to setup and to operate. It delivers good quality sound and gives me access to the music I like when and where I want it.

The true power of SONOS comes from its multi-room capability. For that to work, you would need multiple speakers and the bridge. In return, you can play the same music in multiple rooms or your family can enjoy different tracks in every room. You decide how to group the rooms on the spot. Their sync function is awesome. You can add or drop rooms from your room grouping and still be in sync. I can use my iPhone to start playing and my husband can use his iPad to shut it down.

sonos app playlist management

You can save your own playlists and build listening queue as you go. I like that I can replace the queue with one button. Playlists can be assign to room or room groups. A cool thing is that you can save playlists that mix your own music with tunes from music services. Another thing that I like is that you control the sound level per room or you adjust it for the room group.

sonos app interface

The Play:3 speakers are powerful enough for an urban dwelling and regular size rooms. If you need more power, you can opt for the Play:5. I can hear the Play:3 speaker located in the living room when I am cooking. But I felt that adding a second speaker in our open kitchen/dining room would deliver a better sound experience. And it did! My husband listens to my wish and bought me one Play:3 for Christmas for our kitchen/dining area. You can say that SONOS really simplifies his Christmas shopping by sending me a sample. If we had two more speakers — one for the master bedroom and another for my son’s bedroom — I could claim that I have the ultimate wireless music system.

+ Play:3 speaker system by SONOS $299 USD at Sonos
+ Sonos Play:3 in white $329 CAD at Future Shop


Kyle Bunting’s Stylish Cowhide Rugs

alhambra rug

alhambra rug

These luxurious rugs from Kyle Bunting freshen up the rustic of cowhide rugs. The modern and geometric design brings a modern feel that I appreciate. His creations will look great in a modern or a contemporary interior.

glamorous carpet

You can specify any design, color, and size for rug, wall covering and upholstery applications. The dye catalogue is huge and includes bold colors. I love it!

jet stream hide rug

+ Alhambra and other cowhide rugs by Kyle Bunting


La Chaise Étiquette: a foldable chair inspired by a shipping tag

label chair :: chaise etiquette

label chair :: chaise etiquette

Félix Guyon for Montreal-based La Firme designed a foldable chair that you would not mind to hand on your wall. When the chair is folded, nobody will suspect that it is a chair. Even if some of the customized graphic design elements may be lost when the chair is open, I admire the concept of the Chaise Étiquette (meaning Label or Tag chair).

playful kid storage furniture

La Firme seems to enjoy designing furniture with unusual shapes. This kid storage unit provides surfaces to play and space to store toys. It was a special order.

+ Chaise Étiquette by La Firme
+ Mobilier Puel
+ via MoCo Loco