Browsing Tag

inspirations

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Duo Colour Icing Kits

two tone cake icing with Lakeland Duo Colour Icing Kit

two tone cake icing with Lakeland Duo Colour Icing Kit
photo: Duo Colour Icing Kit £4.99 at Lakeland

Decorating your cakes and cupcakes with two tone icing is made easy with this kit. Double pastry bags are attached to a specially designed coupler to deliver a control flow of two tone icing. The set comes with 6 nozzles. When you are selecting your flavours, simply remember that both icings should have the same consistency. At first, I advice that you fill the bag by alternating between the two sides to get a feel of how much icing can go into each compartment.

reusable double pastry bag set
photo: Reusable double pastry bag set $14 USD at Bakedeco.com

This would be a great cake decorating tool to have around Halloween and Christmas. Since the Lakeland Duo Colour Icing Kit is only available in UK, I  found an option in the United States. You will only need to add more piping tips to the double pastry bag set at Kerekes Bakery & Restaurant Equipment in Brooklyn, which also operates bakedeco.com. Their set only comes with a star pastry tube.

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

Dream Closet for Men

custom closet for men

When I talk about my ultimate closet space, I usually share features that would be great for me. But what about the man in my life! He deserves a stunning space where he can neatly organize his clothes and fashion accessories.

custom closet for men
photo: Jean Longpré for Maison et Demeure, april 2012

It is hard to beat the functional side of this closet designed for a male couple living in the iconic Habitat 67 here in Montreal.

white modern kitchen at habitat 67
photo: Jean Longpré for Maison et Demeure, april 2012

I invite you to check the rest of their interior at Maison et Demeure (the French-speaking edition of House and Home) since their home is modernly stunning. Interior designer Maria Rosa Di Ioia of Idea Design rethought their blank canvas space. I like what she did with the space.

FAMILY KIDS rooms

Fun Boys and Girls Duvet Cover Sets

hiccups super hero bedding

hiccups super hero bedding

Young children usually ask for a themed bedroom decor. With the right dosage, you can give them what they want without looking like a kit. The key is to mix and match.

When I design a bedroom, I usually start by finding the main fabric. The duvet cover should be the star of any kids bedroom. The sheets play a supporting role. Go for a duvet cover pattern with several colours since it is easier to accessorize. I mix accessories from other brands or collections to create a unique look.

I discover Hiccups last week on a shopping trip to Simons in Montreal. The duvet covers by this Australian bedding makes it easy to decorate a bedroom because they are quite versatile. Their patterns feature the right dose of themed elements. I love what they do.

For a Little Boy’s Room

hiccups super hero bedding
I’m Super Bedding $95 CAD at Simons 

It was love at first sight when I saw the “I am Super” twin duvet cover. Every little boy dreams to have a super power or to be friend with a super hero. I like that the super hero characters move across a modern cityscape. There are so many colours in the fabric that you can put your twist on it.

For a Little Girl’s Room

Although Hiccups showcases these duvet covers with pink sheets, you are not limited to pink. Even if most little girls do, not every little girl dreams of a pink bedroom. These two patterns gives you options.

hiccups Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood bedding currently on sale at $69.95 CAD at Simons

For toddlers, I like the Little Red Riding Hood theme. Look for forest theme accessories to finish the look. You can go very natural if you prefer more subtle tones.

kas kids abbey magic elephants quilt cover set

From Kas Kids, another Australian bedding company, I love the Abbey Quilt Cover set. You can either go Indian style to enhance the magical elephants or highlight the modern geometric shapes.This means that you could keep the same duvet cover and simply update the accessories to get another look.

bicycle theme bedding

If you are looking for a bargain, this Bicycle in the City theme duvet set is on sale at $29.95 CAD at Simons.

ENTERTAINING EVERYDAY entertaining

Three Creative Uses of Washi Masking Tapes

washi tapes on flower vases

washi tape loot bags

Keeping a reserve of washi tapes can be a time-saver when you have to create last-minute party decorations. Washi tapes immediately transformed a basic bags or bottles into something with personality. I compiled a lit of amazing projects made by crafters and small shop owners on the blogosphere.

Loot Bags

If you are looking for a simple project, you can’t beat the kids loot bags made by Omiyage, a Canadian store. Their kids collection is composed of a range of animal and transportation themes. Recycle their loot bag idea for any occasion. You could even use it to gift wrap a present in a hurry.

The second project is by cu·te·ta·pe (pronounce: koo-teh-tah-pee), who also sells washi tapes online and other party/craft supplies.

washi paper bags

The creator of cu·te·ta·pe transformed the simple white lunch bag into a remarkable party favor bags with striped paper straws, washi tape and matchin twines.  You can write the recipient names on the tape. I love it! cu·te·ta·pe sells all the materials online except for the bags.

Playtime

washi doll house

I salute this first project from Japan. They used washi tapes to decorate a doll house. What a simple way to really put your stamp on the design scheme! See more stunning pictures about mt factory tour, a Japanese washi masking tape maker at Poppytalk.

washi drawing board

You can also apply washi tapes on a foam board to create your own city block mat or on a thick drawing paper to fuel your kids imagination. Even though my son is a little bit young for those activities, I love this idea so much that I bought the transport theme tapes from Omiyage. I imagine the hours of pleasure that he will have playing together or with his buddies.

Home Accents

washi tapes on flower vases

You can tailor plain bottles, jars or flower vases to your party theme or home decor by applying washi tapes around the containers. Look at how beautiful is this project by Leslie Shewring of A Creative Mint for decor8.

SOURCING:
+ Take A Ride Washi Tape Set $15 CAD for 3 rolls at Omiyage
+ Washi masking tapes from $3.50 USD a roll to $30 for a pack at cu·te·ta·pe
+ washi doll house photo: Ros Lee of Polkaros for Poppytalk

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

My Family-Friendly Decorating Tips in Canadian House & Home and Maison & Demeure

house and home photo gallery for family-friendly spaces

house and home photo gallery for family-friendly spaces

I was delighted when the talented team at Canadian House & Home and Maison & Demeure asked me if I would like to create a photo gallery about my favorite spaces. This top-notch home decorating magazine is always on my must-read list.

When they asked me what would be my angle, I immediately thought about decorating with kids in mind. Ever since I became a mom, I experienced the challenges of maintaining a stylish home with a young child. I featured inspiring family-friendly spaces and shared kid-friendly decorating tips that are fun and cool.

maison et demeure gallerie photo pour jeune familles

In fact, I have two photo galleries: one gallery for  Canadian House & Home and another one for Maison & Demeure, the French edition of Canadian House & Home. Each site has their own editorial staff. They handpicked the photos that spoke more to their audience. I love the look of both galleries.

Do not miss them and have a look right now.

SOURCING:
+ my photo gallery in Canadian House & Home
+ my photo gallery in Maison & Demeure

DESIGN and style LIVING

I Embrace Stylish Living and Friendly Luxury. Do You?

the loft project in london

the loft project in london

At Home with Kim Vallee reached its fifth anniversary when I went to the Toronto Interior Design Show. When I pressed the Publish button on January 27th, 2007, I didn’t know that I started a new chapter of my life. So much has happened in my personal life and my professional life. The fifth anniversary also coincides with the end of maternity leave.

For a while, I felt the need to update what At Home with Kim Vallee stands for. I blogged less over the last months because I needed time to absorb and enjoy motherhood. I also took the time to explore how I want to spend my time and to update my business plan. Attending Conversations in Design, the launch of Kimberly Seldom’s Business of design online courses, BlogPodium and the Canadian Design Bloggers meetup enabled me to be immersed in the design world again.

Authenticity, be true to yourself, great storytelling, innovation, and creativity have been a recurring themes at these events. When I came back from Toronto, I formulated my unique selling proposition. I put in words what distinguishes my blog from other design/lifestyle blogs.

Embracing stylish living and friendly luxury summarizes what readers can expect from At Home with Kim Vallee.  “Stylish living” has been my trademark for years and it will continue to the heart of what I do. I added “Embracing” to bring the sense that we are in it together.  I tell you in a minute why “friendly luxury” is so important to me. I owed that piece of the puzzle to Claus Sendlinger of Design Hotels that spoke at Conversations in Design.

Claus Sendlinger introduced me to the Luxury Matrix. Although I always talked of a certain type of luxury, I never include the actual word when I presented At Home with Kim Vallee. I was afraid that people would misinterpret it as flashy opulence. Hearing Sendlinger explained the 5 stages of luxury gave me a new perspective of the word.

What are the 5 stages of luxury?

Stage One: Acquisition and value (that is the flashy opulence)

  • At this stage luxury is used to demonstrate wealth, define social position and to visibly separate the buyer from the mass market. They show off what they are spending and wearing.

Stage Two: Discernment and worth

  • At Stage Two, the customer uses his or her wealth to buy brands, products and services that allow them to articulate higher levels of taste, discernment and discrimination. Tradition, values, heritage, craftsmanship, and true quality are key factors.

Stage Three: Emotion and experience

  • At this stage customers are less concerned with brand and value, and more with the uniqueness of the experience on offer and the emotional impact that this can deliver. Stage 3 luxurians desire a hushed and pared-down sense of luxury, and want to feel that this is shared by like-minded people.

Stage Four: Responsible and aware

  • Customers are concerned with a brand’s values as well as its financial or experiential value. Sustainability is a concern, while a dominant consideration is how resources need to be nurtured and controlled.
  • Luxurians at this stage seek brands that they can trust, with which they can have a dialogue, and develop and enjoy a relationship that is meaningful, intimate and increasingly altruistic.

Stage Five: Intellectual and poetic

  • This is a stage of passions, journeys, adventures and deep-rooted and meaningful experiences. It is not about brands, seldom about products, and less about service. It is about challenge, isolation, learning and the need to be changed spiritually and emotionally.

What Does it Means for my Blog?

I connect to the last 3 stages of luxury. Stages 3 to 5 lead to my Friendly luxury philosophy. Time is the ultimate limited resource. What you do with your free time can be seen as a luxury. From urban beehives, to city chicken, terrace vegetable gardening and the local food movement, these activities are all part of the new definitions of luxury. They are examples of unique experiences and values, just as staying at an eco-resort in the middle of the Rainforest.

As you can notice, friendly luxury was already a part of this blog. I simply put it into a statement. I will continue to inspire you with beautiful things and good design for your home and for entertaining at home. But you will read more often about what makes our life feels richer/fuller as individuals, parents and entrepreneurs. In short, I want At Home with Kim Vallee to be about what meaningfully makes us happy and stylish.

I’m still figuring out how to package the series. It will be in line with what I told you last October. I hope that you will follow me and embrace this updated direction.

SOURCING:
+ The Future Laboratory report on Luxury Leisure for Design Hotels
+ photo: The Loft Project

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Recipe: Cupcakes for Two

recipe 2 cupcakes brett bara

recipe 2 cupcakes brett bara

Trying to stick to your new year’s resolutions, but haven’t quite kicked your cupcake habit?

Author, blogger, crafter and designer Brett Bara shared the perfect solution to keep your sweet tooth in check: a small batch recipe that creates two – and only two – chocolate cupcakes, complete with homemade frosting. This idea is perfect for baking enthusiasts who live solo, as a mid-week dessert option for couples, or when you’re just craving something sweet after-hours.

Get the full recipe with step-by-step photo instructions on Brett’s blog, Manhattan Craft Room.

SOURCING:
+ Recipe for Two Chocolate Cupcakes by Brett Bara

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

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.

SOURCING:

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

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY decorations

Spruce Outdoor Centerpiece

spruce outdoor centerpiece bhg

spruce outdoor centerpiece bhg

Delightful outdoor decorations greet your guests with style and character. I got tired of the big lit house decorations. It might be because we pass the Holiday at the cottage that I am more inspired by this birdbath evergreen tree centerpiece. The idea behind this project is to set up a welcoming woodsy vignette at the bottom of your stairs or next to the walkway.

spruce outdoor centerpiece details

I suggest that you use LED outdoor lights that are battery-operated. Look for snowflake lights of 5 to 6 inches. We want to see them from a distance.

SOURCING:
+ project: Better Homes and Gardens
+ Set of 2 Blue/White LED 6″ Snowflake Outdoor Ornaments $19.99 USD on sale at Mr. Light

LIVING URBAN Living

Urban Living: How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths

cycle path in the Netherlands

cycle path in the Netherlands

This video starts with: The Netherlands has the world’s largest number of cyclists, but it is also the safest place to cycling. It says a lot about what is possible when you want to. Even if it is just to see how another nation solved an universal problem, I invite you to watch the video (below).

The suburban lifestyle is not for me. I like too much the proximity to great shops, restaurants, and museums and the creative energy  that you get in the city to settle for less. But as a new mom, I also want to live in a safe environment for my kid. I sometimes wonder how we can raise a child in the city. I was raised in a small town. Riding a bike is part of my childhood memories. I know that my son won’t be able to enjoy the same freedom than I did. Still, most North American and Canadian cities could be more family friendly.

This short documentary called “How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths?” is the perfect example that we can make our cities more pedestrian and cyclist friendly with will, proper government support and imaginative city planners. Amongst the main reasons that triggered the huge city planning change in the Netherlands was a public outrage caused by the high number of kids under 14 who died due to a bicycle accident. The protesters wanted to stop the killing of those children. And they did!

It takes a lot of courage to limit the number of parking spaces available in a city centre or to restrict the car lanes on our road. But it can be done successfully. The transition, like any transition, would be hard and painful for some. But if the people have the gut to give it a chance, they could see that new habits will take shape. In the end, I believe that it would benefit the majority. In the Netherlands, only 14 kids died from a bicycle accident in 2010. This is the best reason to change the way we design our roads. I would welcome a system that prioritizes even more the pedestrians and cyclists over cars.

SOURCING:
+ How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths video

 

ENTERTAINING EVERYDAY entertaining

5-Minute Martha: Greet Your Guests with Tasty Grazing Boards

grazing board pate de foie

grazing board pate de foie

There is no need to rush or to prepare several types of appetizers when you are having guests over at the cocktail hour or for dinner. Instead go with a crowd-pleaser and put on your coffee table a grazing board. Since you are certain to find all the ingredients that you need at a good delicatessen near you, you can pull it off even at the last minute. You save more time since no individual bite assembly is required. When you shop, assume that one board will feed 4 to 6 persons as appetizers.

Chantelle Grady of the blog Little Things proposed in the Montreal issue of Relish three killer compositions. Relish is her food digital magazine.

The first option is a classic. You can serve pâté de foie with caramelized onions and toasted bread. For a non-fuss version, check out the caramelized onions recipe by Chuck Hughes that he puts in his grilled cheese sandwich.

grazing board baked camembert

You can’t go wrong with serving baked Camembert or Brie. It is so good that I suggest that you keep one ready to bake in your freezer all the time. Jamie Oliver bakes his directly on the wooden cheese box. Other chefs line a baking dish with parchment paper. I use a Brie baker because it is easier to serve the warm wheel of Camembert or Brie in a dish. Chantelle served her version with Serrano ham and toasted bread.

grazing board pork terrine

The third board displays pork terrine, mustard (you can serve a few), gherkins again on toasted bread. You can go a step further by offering a mustard selection. For the cornichons, I adore the Maille Tarragon & Vinegar gherkins. If you prefer sweet cornichons to the sour ones, try Maille Mini & Crunchy gherkins.

SOURCING:
+ Montreal issue of Relish produced and photographed by Chantelle Grady from the blog Little Things
+ Beautiful baked Camembert recipe by Jamie Oliver
+ Baked Camembert and Herb Oil by Roger Mooking