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 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 February 25, 2013 at 06:59 AM
• cobistyle products
In case you haven’t heard, cobistyle is back in the drapery business!
I wanted to scroll you through the patterns we chose for our debut collection - starting with this fabulous blue and white ikat print - so fresh!
For a little more subtle look, I love this faded paisley in denim blue and earthy red, printed on a natural, slubby linen.
Like something more crisp and colourful? We have a multi-coloured ikat that will work with many solid shades you may already have in your home.
I love this sunny stripe - yellow, orange, pink, purple and chocolate - it changes every time you look at it. So lively!
And this modern, stylized botanical, printed on a seafoam coloured chunky, woven cotton. Great for a family room or kitchen.
This vibrant plaid feels like silk taffeta but has the durability of polyester. It’s formal but fun at the same time.
And this large scale floral botanical has it all - colour, character, life - all printed on a chunky cream cotton weave.
If you like botanicals but a more contemporary colour palette - check out this wonderful Dijon yellow with a brown transfer pattern printed on top.
If geometric’s your thing - this charcoal grey circular pattern is contemporary but soft at the same time.
I love the Moroccan pattern on this unlined, crisp white fabric - such a great update to traditional sheers!
Here’s another fun sheer - the colour is somewhere between yellow and green - citrine! - with an embroidered fuchsia scribble pattern. So great on its own, or layered under a plain drape.
Speaking of layers - we did a beautiful linen-look white sheer. Such a classic and hard to find!
And because we loved the white so much, we also did it in natural linen-look as well. These are going in my boy’s room.
I’m a sucker for velvet and so we found four fabulous colours and lined them with a silk-lookalike for a reversible panel that is to die for.
This is the Aubergine - so regal!
And the Indigo - so rich!
And the Citrine is gorgeous…
And Mouse - a warm neutral for all the grey lovers out there…
We’re also selling all of these great drapery fabrics by-the-yard in case you want to match cushions, bedding or upholstered pieces to your drapery. So where to find it? We’re hoping to have a decor store in every major centre across Canada selling this drapery by Fall and in the mean time, you’re welcome to shop it on-line at www.qdesigncentre.com.
Designer drapery at a fraction of the cost of custom - a welcome addition to the market, don’t you think? Now I have to decide which pattern to leave up in my living room where these pictures were taken… please post your opinion!
Posted by Cobi on Monday February 11, 2013 at 01:40 PM
• cobistyle products
Gung hay fat choy Sweetheart! This past weekend I hosted my (now annual!) Chinese New Year party but this year I merged it with Valentines to give it an even rosier glow.
At first I thought it would be an odd combo…
…but it worked surprisingly well! Have a look…
First the invitations - I found Happy New Year cards (with pink envelops!) at T&T grocery store. They were only $1.49 each and quite beautiful. I wrote the invitation specifying “dress code: RED” and enclosed two traditional Chinese New Years envelopes with chocolate coins inside - so pretty! Walmart was even selling Chinese New Year treats in select stores this year. Bob handled the hand delivery for me.
Next up was putting together the loot bags (my favourite : ) Inside I put a little combo of things - cinnamon hearts and candle for Valentines - soap, lipstick holder and eye glass case for Chinese New Year.
It wasn’t hard to squeeze a little cobistyle into the theme!
I couldn’t resist the Valentine Chinese take-out boxes - sold both at Walmart and Dollarama this year. Perfect!
Then it was time to decorate the dining room. I pulled out all of my Valentine gear (not a lot) - then I pulled out my Chinese gear (a lot - because I’ve always loved it). It’s a wacky mix but sure beats the February blahs!
I set up a green tea bar on my narrow buffet (note the Johnnie Walker RED which the Globe wrote is good mixed in green tea after dinner - the guys sure liked it anyway!).
I hung big cobistyle paper lanterns from my regular hurricane lanterns…
And of course, filled my favourite dishes with candy…
And finally, I set the table… I had to use my cobistyle Geisha girl placecard holders even though I know they’re Japanese.
I used the cobistyle ceramic fortune cookies to stash a homemade fortune at each person’s place and tucked them inside the cobistyle mini fabric-covered boxes.
Very cute. Everyone took turns reading theirs aloud when we sat down to dinner.
I used all the red linens I have, plain white square plates and pink paper napkins. It turned out bright and pretty with all the little bits and pieces coming together to make a fun table.
Then on to food! I had a dozen of these adorable little cups that needed a purpose and so I made an easy strawberry sauce for dessert and put one on each plate.
I also put together two plates of cookies from T&T (the green tea ones are terrific!) and some chocolate covered cranberries for colour.
Then I put together a bar tray to get things started, featuring Chinese beer and my ‘signature drink’ - a Tall REDhead of course!
It’s 1 oz Vodka, 1oz Pom juice, ice, pomegranate seeds all mixed with some lemon lime pop - anyone know how to say Cheers in Chinese?
It was a ton of fun and all that RED was a great remedy to a GREY month.
Happy New Year Sweetheart!
Posted by Cobi on Monday January 28, 2013 at 07:00 AM
• cobistyle products
As you may have seen before, I have a corner banquet in my kitchen for family meals.
The shot above was done for H&H magazine in 2005 and you can see by the number of pillows, it was styled more for the camera than family dinners. After a few years of use, and more spilled milk than we’d care to remember, the fabric on the seat cushion was looking a little worse for wear. No, I will not subject you to a ketchup-stained “before shot”….but I will show you the latest “after” as we’ve recovered the seat cushion and toss pillows with fabric from the cobistyle Sunbrella fabric book. Forgive my poor photography skills.
People think of Sunbrella fabric as outdoor canvas - which it is. But now, because of new technologies, it’s also soft chenille (as is my green pillow), dreamy sheer, interesting textures and lots more.
That’s why Sunbrella is trying to change the perception of their fabric to be as much about its performance inside the house, as on the deck, dock, boat, etc.
The wear and tear of a family home can be as damaging to fabric as wind and weather. Sunbrella upholstery fabrics are softer and more comfortable than their outdoor cousins, yet with the same qualities of fade resistance, durability and easy-clean (even with bleach).
I like the idea of Sunbrella fabrics in high traffic areas of the home (family, kitchen, dining, mudrooms and kids rooms) because the website features very thorough care and cleaning instructions as well as an amazing stain chart. I’m sure I’ll be using these for our kitchen sooner rather than later.
To find out more about the cobistyle selection of fabrics designed for Sunbrella, check out your local upholstery shop, furniture store or designer showroom. If you have any trouble, contact Joanne Fabrics for more information.
Posted by Cobi on Monday November 19, 2012 at 07:00 AM
• cobistyle products
How do you make the best exotic merry Christmas tree?
Well, you start with one average tree.
Hire two cute elves.
Add a thousand lights (must be multi-coloured to be considered exotic).
Take a tea break.
Add a hundred colourful ornaments.
Including bundles of gold beaded bracelets from little India.
Little beaded books (party favours really) and beautiful embellished ornaments from cobistyle.
Oh, and encrusted purse mirrors from cobistyle too, to add some bling.
Top with one turban.
You’re getting there…
Skirt the bottom with three sparkly sari’s.
And finally, stack up forty gold leaf boxes (that come with the cobistyle ornaments).
That’s what I did, anyway, when I participated in the Gardiner Museum’s 12 Trees of Christmas charity event. The theme this year was Christmas around the world. Each designer chose a country and I took India! I find the colours so rich and gorgeous - they lend themselves beautifully to a holiday tree. It was tons of fun and a great way to raise funds for charity. The trees are on display at the Gardiner until December 9th - go check them out!
Posted by Cobi on Monday October 22, 2012 at 07:00 AM
Like most people, I have a love/hate relationship with luxury brands.
One point for the “love” side, is the packaging.
The colour and quality has such substance - a shock in our throw-away society.
Just as the Tiffany blue box has become an icon, so has the Hermes Orange box.
Designer-types are famous for reusing their orange boxes in their offices - to store things but also show off the number of purchases they’ve made at the famous store.
I have a few such boxes but prefer to keep them more hidden.
No, these are not my boxes (big sigh).
Mine are filled with ephemera….old birthday cards, paper souvenirs from weddings and funerals, special photos. Imagine 100 years from now, a great-grandchild will be going through the box, filled with this and that…
I also love the colour.
It’s an inspiration in decorating.
My friend and colleague, Cameron MacNeil, once did a story for House & Home magazines on matching paint colours to prestige packaging - he chose Fiesta Orange (27/701) from CIL to match the famous Hermes orange. I always thought a dressing or powder room would be amazing in it ~So daring, dahling!~
Martha Stewart did it in a hallway…
I love this more contemporary version…
As my own ode to the famous Hermes Orange, we did some wonderful leather-like accessories in cobistyle. A magazine or wastepaper bucket…
Tray (and coasters not shown)…
Perhaps Santa will bring you something in an Orange box this Christmas…or even better - some cobistyle!
Posted by Cobi on Monday September 24, 2012 at 07:00 AM
September is a great month to get organized!
It’s also a time when we’re inundated with invitations, schedules, school papers, etc.
This is one of my favourite home office pictures and it’s the bulletin board that really makes it:
I love this one too:
It’s great to get all of those little pieces of paper and ephemera off the desk or counter and up on the wall.
I love the idea of making the bulletin board itself into a design statement.
Here’s an artsy version - I think it would be perfect in a teenage girl’s room - when she’s hanging up her clothes she can also hang up the papers!!!
Ribbon boards are my favourite though. These are new to cobistyle this fall. We did them in a blue and black caning design (24” x 29”):
I’m going to run them in a line in my new home office - pictures to come as soon as the plaster dust settles!
Posted by Cobi on Monday July 16, 2012 at 07:00 AM
I don’t know why I love paper lanterns so much.
I’ve shown how I’ve used them at a Summer party in the backyard…
And at a Chinese New Year party to liven up the bland Winter…
I’ve added them to the cobistyle accessory line in two sizes - small….
And in great colours…
Paper lanterns just seem to have a way of instantly creating a happy, party feeling whether they’re hung from the ceiling of a dramatic ballroom…
Or from a simple centrepiece…
Or from the backs of party chairs…
Even from the ceiling at a cottage…
Or from an umbrella in the backyard…
Paper lanterns have a lighthearted, child-like quality of total impracticality.
And I love that. Whether it’s at a goofy home party just to celebrate everyday life…
Or the most important day of your life…
Maybe that’s why I love them. They’re nothing more than paper and air and yet they always bring a smile.
Posted by Cobi on Monday June 18, 2012 at 07:07 AM
What I like about the female brain is that it works laterally. Men would never get the idea of ‘Table Scarves’. But women do! We introduced Table Scarves into the cobistyle line this Spring and they’re a hit! Have a look:
Plus we all know women will shop anywhere for anything - home in a fashion store - fashion in a home store - who cares?
If it’s pretty - lay it on me - literally!
Of course we’re suggesting you use these gorgeous scarves on your table…
Or at parties…
They also look great over a chair…
But when the mood suits - make your table share! And wear it like you’re a 9’ model!
And like celebrity ‘it girl’ Sofia Vergara…
I love this pink/red combo from an American dept. store…
Our scarves tie great and are a generous size (bigger than this)…
They bring pop and pizazz to a plain outfit…
So what’s my home wearing this spring? Just let me check my closet…
And what am I wearing? Let me check my table. I knew you’d get it.
Posted by Cobi on Monday June 04, 2012 at 06:59 AM
• cobistyle products
My friend and colleague, Michael Penny inspired me a few months ago on his blog. He was writing about out setting up his office at home (since then he’s opened a fabulous shop in Whitby, Ont. which you should definitely check out). Anyway, he posted a picture of his pencil crayons and markers in containers :
It got the old wheels churning about how satisfying it is to make something visually pretty, out of things we already have around the house.
It reminded me of when Martha Stewart magazine did a beautiful story on jewellery storage and suggested using old teacups…
Although not always that elaborate, I do this kind of thing around the house all the time. For example, I had a cute unused honey pot and creamer filling space on the counter…
And one day thought - why don’t I get rid of those ugly plastic vitamin bottles in the cupboard and hide them in here…
I did the same with my rings (I have a thing for big rings)…I put them in a vintage bowl and now I wear them more…
Back in 2009 I blogged about using glass vases to hold bangles and I still use these…
I love it when people treat bulletin boards artistically to turn them into personal art pieces…
Part of the beauty of makin’ somethin’ outa nothin’ is that it doesn’t cost any money!
We’ve all got baskets and bowls and cluttering up the closets anyway. Just put 2 things together!
I had these french jam jars in the cupboard and use them for toothbrushes and eye glass holders…
When I entertain, I like to put pretzel sticks in milk glass tumblers or old jelly jars I’ve collected…
When I was working on cobistyle I was sure to put a couple of items in the accessory line that I knew would double duty like this drinking glass with a woven sleeve…
And these cute blue and white ceramic Chinese teacups…
Now I can admire them on my desk everyday whether I get my suggested servings of water and green tea or not!
Posted by Cobi on Monday May 21, 2012 at 07:00 AM
It’s hard to know where an idea comes from. I’ve always remembered a glass bauble necklace on a woman at an evening event I attended…
And I’ve admired glass and lucite lamps for years now and wondered if I should splurge…
I’ve noticed the trend to funky retro light fixtures in brass and glass orbs - sometimes all bunched up…
Sometimes cascading like a waterfall…
I like them but they just aren’t me.
Nice in a picture, but they wouldn’t suit my home and many like it.
So when I started work on my new lighting collection, I got the idea of doing a more traditional chandelier shape but for a new look, featuring uncut glass balls rather than the typical cut crystals…
I’m really happy with the result and hope it catches your eye too. It definitely satisfies my desire for a glass-ball light fixture but I keep thinking about that darned necklace. Or this one…
And how about these earrings…So lovely!
But back to lighting fixtures… I found this picture in a magazine file from a number of years ago. I believe the fixture is pink.
And it’s remarkably like the open lantern in my new line! I guess it sat somewhere in my subconscious all those years…
I have black and bronze lanterns in a few places in my home - some with glass, some without - but I love the idea of red…
Red lanterns are hard to find and yet we see them in designer rooms all the time…
They bring a bit of whimsy to a room and yet feel classic at the same time…
We incorporated a brick-red lantern into the cobistyle line and I love it. It’s just different enough to be special.
Keep your eyes open for more glimmering ideas in Lighting stores this Spring!
Posted by Cobi on Monday December 05, 2011 at 06:58 AM
• cobistyle products
If you haven’t seen this issue of Reno & Decor magazine, I thought I’d show you the images from my recent cover story. We photographed the story in my own dining room back in September. With years of magazine experience under my belt, it brought back many fond memories to be dressing a room for Christmas on a warm, sunny day with the windows open.
What I’m not used to, however, is seeing my own product-line in a story (and in my house!). What fun it was to have fuchsia pink cobistyle chairs delivered from Decor-Rest. Open boxes of cobistyle throws, pillows, Christmas decorations, trays and accessories from Canfloyd. And hang beautiful chintz drapery named after my own daughter, Charlotte, from inVU.
It was really fun to integrate items that I’d conceived of for my line - like this lacquer box and Xmas balls - with my own personal decorations I use year after year.
And the colourful cobistyle table-decor with my own white dinnerware, linens and milk glass collection.
The brocade-covered Chinese take-out boxes are something of which I’m particularly proud. The idea is to use them for party favours or small gifts and the colours are so pretty - they come 4 colours to a box - and brighten up anywhere they’re displayed.
I guess I have a thing for multi-colours - these cobistyle napkin rings come 6 colours to a box. The jewel-like tones look great with crisp white linens.
I love my little Geisha girl place-card holders - are they not adorable? They also work as tree ornaments.
I know the colours are not traditional for Christmas but they look festive and bright just the same, especially when mixed with each other. The advantage too is that you don’t have to take everything down the minute Christmas is over. They look great for New Years and parties throughout the winter.
This shot doesn’t feature any cobistyle products but it does express my favourite sentiment for the season and so I guess in a way it’s still ‘Cobi-style’…
Posted by Cobi on Wednesday September 07, 2011 at 12:00 PM
As you know, I’m not big on trends in the home. Or to clarify; I don’t think trends should drive a home. And so for that reason, I hesitate to cover the topic of suzani as they’ve been so hot with home-fashionistas over the past few years. But that’s silly. The truth is, the suzani has been a part of women’s artistic expression in Central Asia for hundreds of years. Traditionally, when a girl was born, her mother would start embroidering the suzani for her. As the daughter grew older, she would join in the process. The suzani would eventually become a part of her dowry and be used to decorate her home. There’s nothing trendy about that.
And so, a quick primer: suzani is a type of embroidered and decorative tribal textile made in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries. The term suzani means “needlework”.
Recognizable for the starburst, suzani designs were commonly used as coverlets for the bridal bed, but these gorgeous textiles bring color and texture to any space. Suzani make beautiful wall hangings, bedspreads, furniture throws, pillows, tablecloths or even upholstery.
Whether your bed is ‘bridal’ or ‘beyond’…a layer of suzani can really spice things up this fall…
Or you may want to upholster a bench in a suzani for the bottom of the bed?
Suzani patterns look great on arm chairs and ottomans. Don’t worry about matching the other fabrics in the room, a suzani stands on it’s own like a piece of art.
But if that’s too much of a commitment, buy a suzani (or look-a-like fabric) and layer it over your neutral sofa for some earthy warmth this winter.
Or over a club chair to cozy things up.
Toss one over a table to give texture to the terrace or dining room.
A suzani-style rug is a great investment and will travel from room to room.
If you invest in the real thing, consider hanging it on the wall for a dramatic focal point.
Fabric houses often print in the pattern of suzani…here’s a gorgeous version in two colour-ways from Donghia.
A few precious yards were framed dramatically (in the talented Emily Walker’s home) and featured on the cover of House & Home in 2009.
We chose this warm and sunny fabric for the cobistyle drapery line and called it Heirloom.
The flower-like pattern is easily integrated into rooms, and the same goes for wardrobes!
Look at these gorgeous ribbons…
We used suzani as wall art inspiration in the cobistyle accessory line…
If you’re interested in bringing some suzani into your home this fall, the easiest thing to do is buy a pillow.
I guarantee it will layer in nicely with your existing pillows.
And add some cheerful character to your room, especially in the fall and winter months.
I’m sure that’s why the suzani-style pillow we did for cobistyle this season is our top seller. Not because it’s trendy, but because it’s a classic - easy to enjoy - happy and bright, like a sunny fall day.
Posted by Cobi on Monday July 04, 2011 at 06:59 AM
We spent a day in my friend, Laurie’s backyard playing with some of my favourite cobistyle accessories…have a look!
I’ve decided these fabric lanterns are my ‘signature’ piece. Although they aren’t weather-proof, they’ve got such great character - and look as good on the patio as they do on the dining table. Look at how they turn a plain-jane ledge into a thing of beauty. They’ll look even prettier lit in the evening.
The smaller size lantern is perfect to hang on those garden shepard hooks many of us have for flowers or solar lights. They’ll mark your walk, day or night…
You know I’m devoted to the colour combo, blue and white (I’ve preached about it’s classic quality forever). The beauty is that it looks great anytime, anyplace, including the garden!
And look at it here with the addition of a few hits of orange… gorgeous!
And what would summer be without our favourite tastes from the garden? You simply can’t get a better appetizer than Tiny Tim tomotoes and basil from the garden with a little bocconcini cheese. Our bamboo skewers are perfect for party bites and reusable if you like. 50 skewers come in a clear branded box making them a great little hostess gift along with your contribution to the buffet table. (The bowls and tray are cobistyle too)
The cobistyle multi-coloured cotton napkins are a natural to brighten up classic white plates at a garden party. Guests will enjoy getting their favourite colour and won’t even notice if your flower bed isn’t blooming.
Setting up a summer table is so much fun and such a great excuse to play with colour. Who wouldn’t be happy to sit down to this table?
Or move things around to colour-block the place settings using a throw, lantern, napkin and chopsticks of similar colours…
The little cobistyle mini white ceramic bird vases are just right for holding sprigs from the garden (no need to spend money on flowers!).
I love the idea of throws ready in the garden for when the cool of evening comes. The juicy colours of our super-soft throws (and their washability) make them them perfect for the job. (I wish I could say this garden stool was mine too but it isn’t unfortunately.)
There’s just something about the idea of putting out lanterns and throws for an evening party in the summer - it’s so romantic…or, as my friends are now starting to tease me, so… cobistyle! ; )