Browsing Tag



Living in the Dark: Black, Grey and Brown Rooms

rugged chalet bedroom

It seems that black is back. So many black or charcoal grey wall caught my eye in UK home decor magazines over the last two months that it can not be a coincidence. Frankly, I felt in love with this amalgame of rustic, dramatic and character pieces.

If you examine them carefully, you could spot that these rooms share common design elements. For one thing, they all play on several shades of black. Browns, tans and beiges have a supporting role. Finally, they all mix lustre finishes with matte finishes. This is for the theory. Let’s have a look at successful black rooms.

Family Living Room in a Dutch Country House

Black panelling, whether it is applied vertically or horizontally, is popular. It looks right in this inviting country house. Have you noticed the double-sided sofa?

black and tan living room
photo credits: Renée Frinking for Living etc, December 2012

Rugged Chalet

This impressive one in the kind four-storey ski chalet in Val d’Isère is built from 100-year-old wood and reclaimed stone. But when you look at it, you don’t imagine that it is a new construction. The ski chalet is decorated in a simple, monochromatic scheme. The result is far from boring. It has a soothing effect that is comforting. And it must be gorgeous against the snow landscape.

rugged chalet dining room
photo credits: Wichmann + Bendtsen for Elle Decoration UK, December 2012

The white sofa brightens and brings contrast to the living room  but it doesn’t break the color palette.

rugged chalet kitchen and living room

rugged chalet bedroom

You can see that a lot of efforts have been put to decorate this house in a cohesive way. This is a case where uniformity was a good call.

Dining Room with Japanese Panelling

This dining room represents a mix of Scandinavian style with modern Japanese design. When we visited Japan in 2010, the Scandinavian influence was clear on furniture. I adored it then, and I still do.

japanese style panelling dining room
photo credits: House and Home, January 2013

Glamour Meets Industrial in a Dark Apartment

The next rooms are from the apartment of a guy. The floor plan has been reinvented to fit the owner’s lifestyle. The living room is impressive and make honour to the arched windows.

glamourous black living room
photo credits: Helenio Barbetta/Photofoyer for Elle Decoration UK, December 2012 

industrial chic black bedroom

As you can see there are many ways to invite the blacks, greys and browns into your decor. After seeing that it can be applied to any style, what do you think about these rooms? More importantly, would you dare to live in black?


Halloween Witch Party Decorations with a Touch of Gothic Glam

halloween witch party with a gothic touch

halloween witch party with a gothic touch
photos: Halloween Haven catalogue at Grandin Road – list of items is below.

Witches are a classic Halloween theme that can be interpreted in so many ways. Any witch party can feel more glamourous when it has a Gothic touch. To do it, start by turning your interior into an old mansion or castle.

I still find that the best online shop where to buy for Halloween props with a Gothic feel remains Grandin Road. Some of my suggestions for Halloween decorations that will help you set the tone of your witch party are:

witch party decorations
sourcing: Tattered Witch Hat $12 USD at | Set of Three Staked Halloween Witches $69 at Grandin Road

Greet your party guests with haunting trio of Staked Halloween Witches or put on a hallway a life-sized scary witch that speaks.

If you did not send your invitations already, it might be safer to opt for digital invites. There are plenty of choices.

wicked witch invitation
sourcing: Wicked Witch Party invitations at Pingg

One last thing, do not forget to tell your guests about your theme if you want them to wear costumes that fit with the concept of your soiree.


Karoto, the Vegetable Sharpener, Peeler and Curler

karoto sharpener and peeler

karoto sharpener and peeler
photo: Karoto for Monkey Business $15 USD

If you are looking for a small and unique hostess gift, have a look at Karoto. When Israeli-based designer Avichai Tadmor imagined Karoto for Monkey Business he started by enlarging the basic pencil sharpener. He then added a vegetable peeler to one end. The end result is a 3-in-1 kitchen gadget that lets you peel, sharp and create curly ribbons from vegetables.

Available in yellow or black, Karoto makes it easy to style carrots, zucchinis, cucumbers for a vegetable platter or a salad. And the best things is that everyone will be able to give you a hand with your food preparation.

You can watch this short video to see Karoto in action. At $15 a piece, you may want to stock a few for your small Christmas gifts.

+ via designboom


Umbra’s Little Black Dress Jewelry Storage

umbra little black dress jewelry storage

umbra little black dress jewelry storage

The concept behind the jewelry organizer designed by Matt Carr for Umbra is cute. You will not lack space to store your earrings, necklaces and bracelets with 39 clear vinyl pockets plus 24 hook and loop closures. Hang this double-sided canvas jewelry storage on a hook attached to the back of your closet door or on a clothing rod.

I almost bought the Little Black Dress but I went instead for the icelet jewelry hanger and a mirror storage box because my closet rods are pretty full. Time will tell if I made the right decision.

+ Umbra’s Little Black Dress Jewelry Storage $25 USD
+ Also available at The Container Store – currently backordered


Ceiling Mounted Ellipse Ethanol Fireplace by Decoflame

Decoflame ceiling mounted Ellipse fireplace

Decoflame ceiling mounted Ellipse fireplace

Ethanol biofuel fireplaces allow condo owners and urban homeowners to enjoy the warmth feeling of a fireplace in rooms where they cannot put a vent or a chimney.  And because of that, it provides more freedom and designers have taken full advantage to create stunning contemporary shapes.

ellipse fireplace floor model by decoflame

One impressive design is Ellipse by Decoflame.  I love the ceiling mounted fireplace. When it stands on foot, Ellipse almost feels like a fresh take on The Jetsons style.

A Ceiling Mounted Wood-Burning Fireplace

ovalie wood-fireplace by brisash

If you live in Europe and can install a wood-burning fireplace, have a look at Ovalie by Brisach. on top of that, it pivots a full 360°.

+ Decoflame – it is not yet on their Web site
+ Ovalie by Brisach
+ photos of Ellipse via Trendir

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

Fall Recipes and Remarkable Dark Tableware on Sweet Paul Magazine

fall winter soup on sweet paul magazine

fall winter soup on sweet paul magazine

The fall issue of Sweet Paul Magazine inspired to cook with their tasty mushroom recipes and seasonal soups. Thanksgiving is about comfort food and family-style dinner.  The fall 2010 issue reflects that concept in a styling but easy to do way.

Appetizers and Soups

chevre and honey open faced sandwich

The Chevre and Honey open-faced sandwich would make a great appetizer.

kale and bean soup on sweet paul mag

As you can see, the food stylists elevated simple recipes with nice food presentation. And for the most part, the plating is something that we can easily do at home with some skills and beautiful tableware. Have a look a the digital magazine, it may help you plan your Thanksgiving menu.

shepherd's pie in a black dishware :: sweet paul magazine

One last thing, the role is reversed. I usually tell you where to find the coolest things. This time, I hope you can tell me. I felt in love with the black dishes and bowls that are used through the magazine. But I found no clues on the magazine about who makes it. If you know the answer, I want to know.

By the way, the Holiday issue of Sweet Paul Magazine is scheduled to be out by November 15th.

+ Sweet Paul Magazine Fall 2010


Orange and Green Halloween Tabletops

green and black tabletop for Halloween

modern orange hues halloween tabletop ideas

My first idea was to create a mood board for modern black and orange Halloween table. To do so, I incorporated elements that are not typical Halloween decorations. I decided to play with orange shades to see if it will add a new dimension to the classic theme. Stacking a bunch of Asian bowls create a unique centerpiece. And the best part is that you will get to reuse the bowls the rest of year.

Green for Halloween

green and black tabletop for Halloween

But not everyone wishes for the traditional orange and black tabletop. So, I started to experiment with green and black. The awesome mummy vases add a playful touch. They go so well with mummy wrapped cookies and “Mummy Veggie Dip” tray featured on Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate Halloween magazine.

mummy vegetable dip tray and mummy wrapped cookies for Halloween

In both cases, I suggest to put a spider web tablecloth on top of a solid tablecloth. I pair that with a modern style black and white dinnerware and black stemware. I would finish the look with white cotton or linen napkins.

+ Spiderweb Tablecloth Halloween $34.99 at [affiliate link]
+ Tradition Wine Glass Set $25 USD / $26.25 CAD for set of 6 at Potiron
+ Milano Dinnerware Set $65 USD / $68.25 CAD for 4 place settings
+ Wilt-Proof Centerpieces at Martha Stewart
+ Mummy Vases and Mommy Food from Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate Halloween – via Hostess with the Mostess


DIY Halloween Table Without Any Tricks

Halloween napkin rings

Halloween napkin rings

This simple table from The Thrifty Crafter is a great example of how you can have still have a little Halloween fun without going all out.

Halloween Napkin Ring with orange dyed napkins

Chances are you already have plain white dishes and black placemats. Add orange napkins (you can even dye them yourself using her tutorial) and use a black feather boa to make napkin rings that look like a black cat’s tail. Place a few orange and white mini pumpkins down the centre of the table and you’re done!

+ Hand Dyed Napkin Tutorial from The Thrifty Crafter
+ Feather Napkin Tutorial from The Thrifty Crafter


Yellow and Black Monster Truck Party for a Third Birthday

monster truck birthday party tabletop for a third birthday

monster truck birthday party tabletop for a third birthday

It’s no secret that little boys love monster trucks. When Jennifer Shields of Posh Tot Events received the mandate to plan a fabulous Monster Truck party for the third birthday of a little boy, she made sure the party would be memorable. She succeed! The small details are everywhere.

cupcake stands and lollipops for a monster truck party

Jennifer infused the spirit of the theme in many ways. I like the way she decorated the cake stand with a wheel. And who could resist those lovely monster truck cupcakes?

monster truck cupcakes

Even for a kids birthday party, it is important to set the table properly before the event. As people entered the room, the tabletop design sets the tone. I like how she decorated the back of the chairs with checked flags.

monster truck party labels and party favors

This was an outdoor party. They rented an inflatable play center with a big truck at the top. How cool is that for kids?

+ Monster Truck party at Posh Tot Events
+ Photos by Kristen Alexander Photographer


Salad Bowl + Servers by Joseph Joseph

joseph joseph's salad bowl and 2-piece server set

joseph joseph\'s salad bowl and 2-piece server set

I like the way this salad bowl integrate a resting place for the servers. The shape of the bowl is elegant. I imagine using one side as a handle. Morph designed this salad set made from easy to clean polypropylene. The set is available in vibrant green, black or white.

Joseph Jospeh was founded in UK by the twin brothers Richard and Antony Joseph in 2003. They are the one who made the Index chopping board set designed to reduce the likelihood of cross-contamination of different food types.

+ Joseph Joseph Salad Bowl and Servers $39.95 USD


My A to Z bookends on the cover of Canadian House and Home

cover of canadian house and house June 2009

Sometimes you look at a picture and it feels strangely familiar. This how I felt when I first laid my eyes on the cover of the June 2009 edition of Canadian House & Home. It took me a while to put the fingers on it because what is familiar is a small detail.

My best friend gave me for Christmas the year I moved to my first apartment the A to Z black ceramic bookends. These bookends followed me in every place I lived. Right now they rest on the top shelf of my bedroom bookcase.

The couple who lives on that nice stylish apartment are bargain hunter. I suspected they found the A to Z bookends at a flee market or a garage sale. As you can see by  taking a tour of their living room, H&H style editor Michael Penny and his wife created a beautiful home on a shoestring budget. My bookends are also a BILLY bookcase from IKEA. I did not add the thick trim; maybe I should. The magazine shows the rest of the apartment. The article is full of good saving tips.

+ Photo by Angus Fergusson for Canadian House & Home