Posted by Cobi on Monday November 25, 2013 at 07:00 AM
I am thrilled to participate again in Toronto’s Gardiner Museum’s 12 Trees of Christmas Charity Gala. The theme this year is “Things starting with the letter G” as the Gardiner is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. Assuming that Gold, Glitter, Giving and Grinch were all quickly spoken for, I decided to go with the visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, and chose Gumdrops and Lollipops as my theme.
The first step was to select an artificial tree. It was a stretch for me not to choose the most realistic green tree I could find, but I liked the idea of one appearing to be sugar-coated and so I looked for a flocked or glittery tree. Instead I found a pink one! I knew as soon as I saw it, it was perfect because it reminded me of candy floss!! A pink, flocked tree with pink lights ~ yum!
I lucked out with ornaments too - can you imagine my delight when I found these gumdrop garlands?
And over-sized lollipops?
I knew from past experience that it helps to have something large on the tree (to fill in space and give it oomph). I found wonderful felt stockings in the same candy-coloured palette and ordered 12.
Isn’t it amazing how realistic these foam cupcakes look?
And I love the scale of these big glittery gingerbread boys…
And girls! The chocolate colour is a nice addition to all the syrupy pink.
We filled in the spaces with lots of perfect candy picks…
And I couldn’t help but tie on a few real sweet treats in hopes of adding to the sugar-high of little ones viewing the tree over the holidays.
Gumdrops of course…
All done up in cellophane cones which I found online through an amazing Ontario company - Crystal Clear Bags Canada- a great find!
We topped the tree with lollipop fairy wings from the Party Market (apologies for the bad shot!).
And then skirted it with children’s books (sweet-themed of course) and cobistyle pillows in assorted silk-look colours of fuchsia, turquoise, lime and orange.
There’s no doubt this tree is suffering from sugar-overload and will crash after December 25th.
But I’m so happy to report that very kind donors have purchased the tree (thank you Frank Bowman and Aaron Milrad!) and it will be brightening up the Princess Margaret Hospital Cancer Centre over the holidays. What a sweet treat for us all to share indeed!
Posted by Cobi on Monday November 18, 2013 at 07:00 AM
• cobistyle products
I’ve neglected our living room for the past few months. No point listing excuses why, but we use this room very little in the good-weather months and I guess it’s just too easy to ignore.
Once the winter comes I want to make it cozy and welcoming again and so the first thing to do is reorganize the book cases.
As you can see, Bob and I love our books and obviously I never really figured out what to do with all of them after a piano arrived in the living room last year. What a mess!!
And so a few weeks ago I started to cull. I got rid of ones that were just too dated or redundant.
And I added some of my favourite blue and white pieces from cobistyle.
The repetition of the blue and white porcelain breaks up the books and adds a nicely unified decorative element.
Plus I find blue and white looks great any time of year - with reds and oranges in the fall and at Christmas or with summery yellows and greens in the fair-weather months.
The ginger jars are not just pretty, but make sturdy bookends.
And I fill planters with either real plants or fake - depending on what’s on hand.
It definitely looks better when the books have a little breathing room and something pretty to break up the monotony.
Plus, I now have a nice big new donation to make to Goodwill!
Posted by Cobi on Monday November 04, 2013 at 08:54 AM
If you’re into decorating, certain magazine pictures stay with you forever. One like that for me, was the House Beautiful feature of The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Gartner’s Manhattan apartment, with pumpkin orange velvet drapes (yes, I know I’ve mentioned them before ; ).
I also always loved this shot in Domino magazine with the massive emerald green drape in front of floor to ceiling bookcases - so dramatic!
There’s a luxury that comes with a huge swath of velvet fabric, whether in brilliant colour like turquoise or deep purple…
Or neutrals like soft olive, elegant oyster or butter cream…
When we developed the cobistyle drapery panels I knew I wanted to include velvet in the line. It’s such a great way to bring big colour into a room and Q Design fully agreed.
We chose four saturated, yet very liveable colours…
The other very special quality about our velvet drapery is that it’s fully reversible. Each drape is lined with a colour- matched sateen that looks elegant from outside the home if used on the back and just as beautiful inside when turned to the front:
Velvet drapes are just bloody gorgeous - there’s no other way to say it. And if we have to put up with winter in Canada we might as well do it in style!
If you feel like treating yourself, here’s a list of wonderful retailers who are currently carrying the cobistyle drapery collection: click here to see where to buy and if there’s no one in your area contact Q Design directly.
Posted by Cobi on Friday September 13, 2013 at 08:00 AM
I promise to stop talking about this some day, but TODAY is the first official day that cobistyle premiers at SEARS CANADA. HOORAY!
Many of you have written to tell me you’ve already seen it in your local store ~ everywhere from Truro, NS; to Hamilton, Barrie and Toronto, Ontario; to Victoria, BC! How exciting is that?!!
90 sstores across this great country of ours and all are getting a little bit a’ cobistyle to kick it up a notch! You’ll also see cobistyle in your upcoming SEARS CATALOGUE and always on SEARS.CA.
I want to do a major shout out to my friends at Springs Canada as well. Behind every great line of products is a great manufacturer and we definitely have that with Springs Canada. The team there ~ Jill, Catherine, Shari, JP, Michelle - lead by the fabulous George, has been hugely supportive of cobistyle since the day I walked in the door carrying my pink bags, and I can’t thank them enough.
We can all thank Springs Canada for bringing us such beautiful quality goods that I’m so proud to now call cobistyle!
It’s also been great getting to know the amazing team at SEARS ~ Bruce, Ketty, Colby, Irene, Blaise, Cindy, Carrie; the wonderful buyers, and so on…
As the saying goes, “it takes a village” to launch a brand at a major department store and I feel blessed to have such great people in mine!
Thanks to everyone who’s worked on this project to date and now we hand it to you - the Canadian consumer. We hope you like it - no - we hope you love it, gall darn it! (But even if you don’t let me know.) And if you do - let your friends, mothers, sisters, aunts and distant cousins know! I hope to see you shopping at your local SEARS store soon! (I’ll be the strange lady lurking behind the racks watching what towel colours you buy ; )
Click here to shop cobistyle at SEARS!
Posted by Cobi on Monday August 19, 2013 at 06:59 AM
I’m thrilled to announce that cobistyle has a new Boutique Collection of upholstered furniture!
The enduring Violet
The handsome Marigold
The multi-tasking Petunia
The gracious Dahlia
The flirty Daisy
The adorable Poppy
The luxurious Flox
The practical Lily
The cosy Cosmo
And the generous Jasmine
10 Easy Pieces available in 20 Beautiful Colours.
The velvet we’ve chosen is not only easy on the eyes but also hard-wearing and passed the wipe-ability tests we gave it at home. The styles are classic, comfortable and filled with character.
The cobistyle Boutique Collection is making its way into lovely decor stores across this great country - hopefully one near you! It’s proudly made in Ontario by our friends at the highly-respected furniture maker, Silva. You can check out this list of stores that carry Silva Upholstery (and hopefully soon cobistyle) and www.silva4home.com for more information on the cobistyle Collection.
Posted by Cobi on Monday July 22, 2013 at 06:59 AM
• cobistyle products
Almost exactly one year ago, we arrived home from our annual summer holiday in the Maritimes, and is what my son Aidan’s room looked like:
And this is what my daughter Charlotte’s room looked like:
We were launching into a major renovation of our second floor and decided to get some of the loud, messy demolition done while we were out of the house.
If I’m to give full disclosure, you must see what our dining room looked like for 6 months. It acted as both kids closet and storage area:
No dinner parties here last fall!
The reno took a number of nasty turns that I am choosing to forget, but I’ll always remember that it was late fall (around the time of the torrential rain storms you may remember?) …
…when we finally had two holes cut in our roof for the dormers that were being added to each of the kids rooms:
Funny I never noticed how lovely the leaves were last fall. I must have been distracted by the flapping of tarps in the hurricane.
With a lot of faith, hope and even more patience and rope, eventually, this…
turned into this…
turned into this…
And inside - Aidan’s room turned into this…
And Charlotte’s into this…
Both kids enjoy their private spaces and bird’s eye view of the world…
We talked about adding those damned dormers for almost 10 years. They do everything I knew they would - add character, light and space to rooms that felt dark and isolated, but I’m not the type of person to say I told you so.
The neighbours seems thrilled with our renovation as it stands out against all the new-builds in our area. The guys get a good chuckle out of complimenting me on my “great dormers” and the women make it all feel worthwhile when when they tell me it looks like they were always there. That’s exactly what we’d hoped - a new lease on life for a lovely older home - she’s got a few good years left in her yet.
Paint colours for anyone interested:
Boy’s room: Benjamin Moore Navajo White OC-95
Girl’s room: Benjamin Moore Cloud White OC-40 and Baby Boy Blue 2056-50
Posted by Cobi on Monday July 08, 2013 at 07:00 AM
Part of the fun of owning our cottage on Prince Edward Island is that we get to share it with others through renting for a few weeks each year. We leave a book out for our guests to sign and encourage them to write notes on their finds around the island; recommendations; warnings, etc.
This year I was lucky enough to be given a series of pictures taken by one of our (talented!) guests, Annette Snowdon of Kitchener, Ontario, as she explored our favourite little island on her visit. Many of the snaps are of sites I see each trip, and I’m so glad to now have them recorded as lovely photographs! Please enjoy…
Thank you Annette - what a treat! Don’t you just love it that everything is kind of crooked? The simplicity and charm of Maritime life, never loses its appeal to me.
I’m enjoying the island right now for our annual family holiday. I hope you’re having a great summer too!
Posted by Cobi on Monday June 24, 2013 at 06:58 AM
• cobistyle products
Earlier this year we potographed the new cobistyle drapery line at my house.
My personal stock of cobistyle everlasting flowers came in very handy …
The living room had seen better days (kind of reminded me of after the presents have been opened on Christmas morning) …
There are 17 choices of fabrics and patterns …
We shot the straight-on panel shots in my bedroom …
And needed to make the windows opaque …
You’d never know the chaos surrounding one simple shot …
Back in the livingroom another set up was happening …
Hardware needed to be installed (who needs a man?) …
It would have been nice to have a guy do the ironing though …
Photographer Michelle Peek did a wonderful job of getting the light just right - crisp and bright - on a dull day.
Amazing what you can do in two days with five strong women (one with a little helper in her tummy); one patient husband; and a fair bit of pizza.
Visit Qdesigncentre.com if you’re interested in more information on cobistyle drapery. We’re now selling in 9 great stores across Canada and the list is growing. plus Q Design will gladly send samples out to anyone who doesn’t have a retailer nearby.
Posted by Cobi on Monday June 03, 2013 at 07:05 AM
The other day I was on an airplane and therefore had magazines in hand. When I opened the new issue of InStyle and turned to the advertisement for Target, I almost fell out of my seat (well, not really as I was strapped in, but you know what I mean).
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. There, on a very expensive double-page-spread, was an ad for cobistyle but with the name ‘Threshold’ on it and a red bull’s eye in the corner. (Threshold is Target’s in-house ‘home’ line of products)
Is that me dozing on the sofa under the crab apple tree in my white living room? Visions of cobistyle dancing in my head? NO! It’s some other redhead (!) living my dream. I mean seriously - she stole all my stuff! Check out the photo of the ad closer…
…and then a smattering of current cobistyle products below…
See what I mean? It’s crazy! I guess I should be flattered that a major American chain is basing their home-decor look on something I’ve been building for five years.
There are other ads running for Threshold and although I could also be living in this kitchen for example, I don’t have the right hair colour and haven’t got a cobistyle kitchen line of products (yet).
I would be very happy in this house, no doubt…hmmm…I better keep working on cobistyle and maybe this dream will come to life too!
I’ve been to Ottawa a number of times in my life but never in the Spring.
I was so happy when a cobistyle store-event raised itself for a trip to our beautiful nation’s capital in May!
I’d read about the Tulip Festival and the well-known story of the Netherlands gifting us with thousands of bulbs as a thank you for safe harbouring the Dutch Royal Family during the Second World War.
But of course, like most things in life, the pictures only tell half the story - the city was alive! Not only with tulips but also crab-apple trees in bloom, live music in the parks, the beloved Senators winning…every Canadian should try to visit Ottawa in the Spring.
It was an uplifting experience, especially when I saw the cobistyle coloured tulip bed - I could have sworn they planted it just for me!
The trip followed just a few days after we had hosted a birthday party for my sister-in-law in our backyard.
Although the weather was glorious, it’s iffy to plant flowers in early May in Toronto.
And truth be told, we’d already blown the budget on the bar and food!
Rather than dole out more money on fresh-cut flowers, I decided to cull as much cobistyle from my supplies, as I could, and brighten the party up with bit of ‘everlasting beauty’.
The party was loosely themed ‘Mexican’ and so the bright colours worked perfectly.
I strategically placed containers full of cobistyle blooms and many guests commented on them, assuming they were real.
Of course they would have been spectacular if they were real but so would my visa bill.
They did the trick for the party and I’m still enjoying them two weeks later! Cha Cha Cha….
Wherever you are in Canada, I hope your Spring is blooming in a very real way.
Posted by Cobi on Monday May 06, 2013 at 11:50 AM
We all admire other women’s style - especially the glamorous ones.
Here are four women that I hold high upon the style pedestal: (should we Canadian ladies worry that they’re all American?)
Charlotte Moss - Interior Designer Extraordinaire
I love the Fabricut advertising campaign that they did with Charlotte…
The fabric collection is wonderful too…
I love her because she does gutsy interiors with tons of personality…
Plus it’s always fun to watch someone completely secure in their own style who isn’t afraid to show it off.
She has a great website if you want to read more - CharlotteMoss.com and she writes a fun blog.
A Lady of Ladies - what did we do before Kate Spade?
How can’t we admire Kate Spade?
Even if you don’t love her style, you have to respect the clarity of vision she embodies in her name-sake brand (or at least I do).
I love it that there’s an alternative to the disposable fashion we see so often nowadays.
I don’t like the word “classy” but Kate has it in spades.
It’s interesting that it’s so difficult to find good photos of Kate (the person) - perhaps the pressure of always appearing lady-like is too much?
katespade.com is a great site but since Kate doesn’t own Kate Spade anymore, she’s no-where to be seen. There’s a fun blog - but it’s not personal in any way.
Instant Empire Builder (or at least it seems like it), Tory Burch
Well it sure wasn’t hard to find pictures of Tory.
She has beautiful pictures all over the place - there’s no question, the girl knows how to market her brand.
And she makes for great people-watching with a glamorous NY/Hamptons lifestyle with three young sons in tow, to boot.
I’m envious of someone who can build a gazillion-dollar empire on tunics and flats (two of my favourite things ; )
(And few handbags thrown in for good measure.)
She makes fashion-world domination look effortless - what a hoot.
toryburch.com but the best part is her personal blog.
New Kid on the Block and the only West Coast Gal, Trina Turk
Here’s another fun lady to watch…
She’s a fabric-design Queen with a whole California-vibe going on.
She also loves tunics - I think that has to be the next category of products for the cobistyle empire!
I love the upbeat energy Trina exudes, both personally, and through her products.
Nothing has ever drawn me to travel to LA but if I do, I’ll be sure to look up her stores.
trinaturk.com, she also blogs about livin’ the good life in Californ-i-a .
So those are my 4 ladies of style for today anyway…write a note and tell us yours.
Posted by Cobi on Monday April 22, 2013 at 11:54 AM
Right from the time we’re little kids, we’re exposed to colour.
It brightens our world and excites our senses.
That’s why we continue to have fun with colour as adults.
We enjoy it in all kinds of unexpected ways.
At unexpected times.
And unexpected places.
Colour inspires us.
And turns everyday things into art.
And so, naturally we love to decorate with it.
Colour makes our homes unique.
And more fun.
I suppose that’s why I like to use a rainbow of colour in cobistyle.
It reminds me of when I was a kid.
And choosing our favourite colour was an empowering thing.
It told the world something about us.
Colours have personality. And multiple colours suggests options.
It’s like getting a box of Smarties and choosing to eat the red ones first.
Why are there so many songs about rainbows
and what’s on the other side?
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.
Posted by Cobi on Monday April 08, 2013 at 07:00 AM
Decorating can be daunting - decisions that are costly - not only financially but also in time. Sometimes it’s easier to just make-do with boring stuff and forget about it.
Well here are two products that will get the decorating buds going again. Neither is expensive. Both are easy to install yourself and best of all, both will bring more character to your rooms.
1) Chasing Paper - “stylish, removable wallpaper for the urban home”.
I haven’t personally used this product but here’s what the website says: “Peel it, stick it, love it. It’s beautiful, well-designed paper that will stick to nearly any surface. Go ahead and get creative! It was created from conversations with serial movers, DIYers, and, of course, commitment-phobes. It makes small projects affordable and big jobs a breeze.”
I did check and although this is a New York on-line company, they ship to Canada (or any country). The pieces of re-stickable paper are generally 2’ x 4’ and $25.00.
I love the idea of covering a plain (boring) painted back-splash…
… or the back of a wall shelf.
It looks best if the area is contained with a clearly defined start/stop.
My only complaint is that there aren’t a lot of colour choices per design.
2) FLOR carpet design squares - brilliant!
I noticed advertisements for FLOR carpet tiles, long before I saw the real thing.
“FLOR is an innovative system of carpet squares that you assemble to create custom rugs, runners, or wall-to-wall designs of any style or shape.”
You put FLOR tiles together yourself using ‘FLORdot adhesives’ that connect squares together (not to your floor). It stands up to kids, pets and spills and if an accident happens, I love it that you can change one square!
I also love it that the company cares about sustainability using some renewable and recycled content in the carpet and offering recycling for used squares.
FLOR is a US company that sells both online and in stores. They just opened their first Canadian store on Cumberland St. in Toronto’s Yorkville. Squares range in price but average around $16.00 for 50cm x 50 cm.
So there you have it. Two peel n’ stick ways to brighten your world this Spring. That doesn’t seem daunting!
Posted by Cobi on Monday March 25, 2013 at 12:59 PM
• cobistyle products
You don’t need me to tell you black and white is huge in fashion this Spring.
I suppose it’s always ‘in’.
But I find black and white at home can be harsh, even cold, if it isn’t used with a splash of colour….
Or perfectly-imperfect naturals…
I like to use it outdoors for the same reasons - the sharpness works great against the organic look of nature and it’s elements…
I also love to soften a black and white scheme with warm paint colours. I used a cream in our porch and it softly glows when the sun is out or candles are lit.
Recently we installed a new stair-runner and I just realized how similar the colourings of our hall are to our porch! I guess I really do like a warm, creamy space accented with crisp black and white.
The runner is made from Missoni broadloom by the way, which I found at Elte in Toronto.
Just as the warmth of skin colour, and softness of hair, act as a foil against black and white fashion…
So too does wood…
…and natural materials, like straw and linen, in home decor…
Even the books in this black and white room, make it more liveable and textured…
Here’s how we’re mixing black and white cobistyle accessory pieces this spring…
And it looks like IKEA agrees - check out the way they styled this cute new little trolley in their Spring collection…
Have fun serving up a bit of black and white fashion in your house this Spring!
Posted by Cobi on Monday March 11, 2013 at 07:00 AM
When we renovated our house last year, I decided to throw in a little tune up to our laundry room.
We’re in an older home with a devoted laundry room in the basement and there was no way I could justify the cost of moving it upstairs (or find the space) but I had no trouble justifying the cost of some new tile, paint and decorative doodads to make me feel better when I’m doing the deadly deed.
God knows it needed it…
So - how to spruce up a yucky laundry room without a lot ‘a moula?
I started with the floor because it looked so sad and I wanted a more permanent solution than a new coat of paint. Tiles are cheap (if you stick to standard sizes and finishes) and they come in great colours. I knew I wanted to paint the room white (for brightness) so why not have some fun with colour on the floor? I went hunting and found this 8” x 8” tile for $2.36 each and remarkably it’s called the Monocottura “Happy Series” at first I thought I would just choose one colour. But when I told my daughter I liked both the Sky Blue and Apple Green, she gave me the obvious answer - “use both!”. So I bought half of what I needed in each colour, brought them home and laid them loosely out in a few different patterns until I came up with this enlarged checkerboard (less busy than a regular checkerboard) and told my contractor to lay them on the diagonal.
Once the floor was down it was easy to choose paint colours. I wanted a fresh, crisp white on the walls - whiter than the warm ones I like in living spaces. I went with Benjamin Moore’s Simply White #2143-70 in the Aura Bath + Spa formula and love it. The whole room was painted in oil originally and we found that Aura paint covers it really well. I’ve now used Simply White in our basement bathroom as well and find it works anywhere you want a really pure white with no undertone. I decided to paint the existing peg board and upper shelves in the same white.
Where I had some fun was on the lower built-in cabinet and sewing cabinet. I chose a lime green to match my tiles - Benjamin Moore’s Hibiscus #2025-50 - some might find it too bright and I likely wouldn’t use such a vibrant colour in other places in my home, but it’s clean and fun and I love it here - why not have a bit of fun in a room that only I ever seem to use? (grrrr…)
I like to hang clothes to dry whenever possible and so I installed 3 helpers…first this great drying rack made of hardwood, powder-coated metal and a rope pully system. It can move up and down if you have high ceilings (which I don’t) but it stays stationary just fine too. It’s from a website called www.urbanclotheslines.com
I also purchased an aluminum wall mounted extension drying rack to hang over my laundry tubs - really great for wet rags or anything dripping - at www.leevalley.com. I love it that it’s made in Spain!
And lastly, I had my painter mount and paint a standard pegboard sold at Home Hardware for ironed shirts and the like.
I wanted to replace the puny little shelf that was on the wall when we bought the house because I’ve always loved the idea of a mending area. Somehow it makes the whole idea of mending more probable. My hope was to find a cute old shelf and paint it up with my same pint of Hibiscus but after a summer of searching antique stores (there’s lots of forlorn spice shelves out there by the way, but they were too narrow for my needs) I caved in when I found this perfectly-sized craft shelf on sale at Michael’s craft store. It’s not fancy but it does the trick and thankfully it took the paint too!
Did you notice I have a little bank on the shelf? - very handy in a laundryroom for pocket change and one day I’ll crack it open and drive the kids at Starbucks crazy with my pennies.
I also bought this great little sewing machine for quick fixes - what a steal for $69.00 at Canadian Tire - another good reason to repair - not despair!
I colour-copied two pages off the internet (quick google search) - one defines laundry symbols and the other is from dear Martha telling me how to get out stains. They fit into no-money IKEA frames in exactly my blue tile colour (score!) and act as functional art on either side of the shelf.
Oh - and here’s a little trick. I would have liked to resurface the top of the shelf unit but I just couldn’t justify it. Still, the chipped Arborite did not say ‘happy’. As a compromise, I asked my contractor to skirt the existing top in a decorative wood trim (took him no time) and once it was painted, it added a much more finished look to the counter.
And so there you have it. Nothing revolutionary. Nothing hi-tech. But a happy little laundry room to call my own, even if I’m enjoying it alone (grrrr…)
…with my cobistyle fishies and lost socks.