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 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 October 08, 2012 at 07:00 AM
Renovation isn’t all dust and divorce. There’s some fun thrown in, particularly in the way of shopping.
After all the work boots have stopped tramping up our stairs, I’m going to treat us a fun stair runner.
Something dynamic that makes a statement when you come in the door.
I do love traditional sisel and stripes.
Handsome, classic, colouring…
And of course, who isn’t a sucker for traditional casual French styling…
But something tells me this time, I need to be bold. I love the idea of colourful stripes, but my wallpaper is a tone-on-tone ticking stripe and so I fear they may compete.
I’m really starting to think something black and white might be the answer.
This is my absolute favourite and would mimic the glass I have on either side of my front door, but I know it’s too white to be practical in our house.
Same goes for this blue and white pattern - great looking - but for how long?
A solid colour could work but I’m thinking it’s best with white walls - isn’t this paint treatment a cool idea?
No, I’m thinking black and white is the way to go - check out this chevron pattern…
And this Greek key…
Or I could go really wild and try an animal print - that would hide the dirt.
So much to think about…and still so many steps still to climb on our stairway to heaven. I’ll let you know what we (I) choose.
Posted by Cobi on Monday August 13, 2012 at 06:59 AM
Ginger Jar: A Chinese porcelain jar with a wide mouth; domed lid and often a bulging, spherical body.
Although the Chinese traditionally used the jars to store a variety of goods, they acquired the name “ginger jars” because ginger was one of the most common spices exported to the West.
Today designers use ginger jars for display and decorating.
Of-the-moment American designer Ruthie Sommers chose this vignette for a recent portrait…gee, I wonder why? The mix of pretty blue and white porcelain, with powerful blue/black leather, is fresh and fun looking.
At this time of year, blue and white porcelain looks amazing outside, and it’s practical because it doesn’t rust or rot like metal and wood.
Of course it looks just as good inside loaded with blooms from the garden.
When buying a ginger jar, be sure to ask if it’s water tight so that you can remove the lid and use it as a vase.
What I love about blue and white porcelain is that it’s so quick to mingle. Look at it here in a rustic farmhouse setting…
And here in a contemporary, art-filled, classical home…
And here in a very traditional hallway….
Nothing phases blue and white - it’s like that friend who can mix equally well with royals and rebels alike.
Speaking of royals, Ralph Lauren has always used blue and white porcelain in his home line…
And I expect we will at cobistyle too. Here are just a few pieces in the current line:
Lots of pieces to mix and match…
Blue and white does love a party ~ it’s definitely at its best when grouped…
And with a classic decorating style like this, it looks like the Chinese will be exporting Ginger Jars for many years to come!
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 February 13, 2012 at 07:00 AM
How to liven up a room in your house instantly?
Add a piece of painted red furniture.
It could be something big.
Or it could be something small.
It could be an unusual find.
Or something from IKEA.
It could be a high-end score.
Or a chinatown score (with a bucket ‘o paint).
It could be the only red thing in the room.
Or there could be only red things in the room.
Whatever piece you choose…
Red is sure to command attention.
And so get out your handy paint brush…
Or if painting isn’t your thing, your handy staple gun…
Or if stapling isn’t your thing, your handy wallet - because of course I put a painted red cabinet into my cobistyle furniture line…
And in fact, we’re featuring red in the new cobistyle Lighting line due to arrive in stores later this Spring!
There’s no doubt, red is a welcome guest in our homes.
And puts a happy tune in our heart, far beyond Valentines.
Posted by Cobi on Monday January 30, 2012 at 07:00 AM
I hate to start a blog with the words “I told you so”, buuut…..it’s about this “Colour of the Year” business….
I mean, come on, orange you glad you saw it here first?
Now it’s everywhere - not only in fashion but in housewares too.
I’ve written about mixing Orange with turquoise but my favourite combo is to mix orange with fuchsia….can you tell by my website?
And by my cobistyle product line…here’s a taste of what’s new this Spring…
Some people think it’s “too much” to decorate a room with this combo but it’s great as an accent with neutrals…
Here’s some more cobistyle decor, I love pink and orange on chocolate brown…
Of course it’s great with black too…gorgeous!
And crisp white! This is an inspiration shot for my daughter’s coming soon, teenage room…
It’s a lively addition to a white bathroom too…
I’m so inspired by vibrant Indian sari’s.
Of course you don’t have to be Indian to pull the colours off…
It’s my favourite colour combination in the garden too…
Even when the blooms are made of sugar…
What fun colours to use in jewellery! I found this on Etsy…yum, looks like candy.
Or to decorate with at a wedding…
So many great ideas…
Stick with me kid, and you’ll be ahead of the trends without even knowing it.
And have a lot of fun in the mean time!
Posted by Cobi on Monday October 24, 2011 at 07:00 AM
More of a treat than a trick, a brightly coloured front door is an easy diy project that can really add character to your house.
And orange is a colour that’s often overlooked.
This woman went for a sunny tangerine and it totally livens up the front of her house.
But not just the exterior - look at the amazing affect the colour has when opened into the front hall…
Of course, an orange front door looks amazing at Halloween (and you still have a week to do it!).
But it works beautifully in the winter too…
Even in the summer…
Orange works particularly well with colours that can use a little warming up, like soft greys…
Charcoal (wow - beautiful!)…
Orange can open up a ton of possibilities.
If you think an orange door would work at your house - I’ve chosen a few shades to consider. They’re all Benjamin Moore and the best part is, one small can will do it!
For a sunny tangerine shade, I would try TANGELO 2017-30
For an earthier terra-cotta orange, try PRAIRIE LILY CC-98
For a beautiful burnt orange, I like ABANDON R-9916
And for a deep, true orange, I would go for RUMBA ORANGE 2014-20
Have fun and don’t forget to welcome guests with…”orange you glad I painted the front door?”
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 May 09, 2011 at 06:59 AM
On Wednesday of this week (May 11/11) I’ll be appearing on MARILYN (CTV).
To show how colourful accessories can transform a room from drab to fab, we made-over the living room of one of the show’s producers.
The room itself is very pretty with lots of character and warm wood floors and trim.
I won’t sound snobby if I use the homeowner’s own descriptive for her existing furniture - ‘frat-house style’. The paint was in good shape but the yellowy colour looked drab against the wood trim.
Step #1 was to empty the room and that meant moving the sofa ‘directly to curb’ (where it was picked up by 2 very happy guys in a van in about an hour).
Step #2 was to give the room a coat of fresh white paint - you can’t go wrong with Benjamin Moore 967, and then we added a punch of colour to the area above the fireplace. I chose Ben. Moore Pear Green 2028-40 which is crisp and clean and serves to draw the eye even more quickly to the room’s best features. We also took the old screens off the stained glass windows so they could actually be seen - so pretty!
Step#3 colourful cobistyle accessories to the rescue. Once again I found myself loading the family van with flowers, pillows and props - I think my next business should be called: ‘decorating by the vanload’.
Actually, this shoot took two vans plus a furniture truck.
Then we had to bring in the camera and lights and tv people - of course it was dark, rainy day that only added to the drama.
Decor-Rest very kindly supplied us with the big pieces of furniture for the day. The sofas and bar are from the Steven & Chris line and the ottoman is from the cobistyle line.
The oval shaped ottoman is great for traffic flow and I love the black and white geometric for adding interest while acting as a perfect foil for other colours.
Next we hung the art and I love these two pieces from Canvas in Toronto (I’m sorry I didn’t record the artist’s names but both are Canadian).
Love the colour and impact they bring to the white walls!
Next we hung the drapery - our top selling cobistyle pattern, Caliente, looked amazing! inVU Drapery comes at a standard length of 96” and so the ready-to-wear panels went up in a snap and totally softened the frame of the window while adding welcome pattern to the room.
Next came a mix of pillows and throws in different patterns and colours that easily played off each other on the neutral sofas.
I filled the fireplace hole with cobistyle Chinese lanterns (one of my favourite accessories in the line) and they added a ton of fun to a blank space. They’ll look great at night too when lit with a tealight making the coloured fabrics glow.
I know I’ve said it a lot, but blue and white Chinese porcelain looks good with everything - such a decor classic.
And look at these little cobistyle bird bud vases, chirping on the windowsill - so cute!
The homeowner mentioned that she likes the idea of a bar in her living room and I agree. A bar is handy if you’re entertaining and even if you aren’t a big party person, it’s a great place to arrange accessories and create another focal point in the room.
Flowers add lively colour wherever you put them. I lined up my everlasting peony-in-a-glass and love the simple look of repetition.
The cobistyle white wood architectural grids look great against the green paint and add even more character to the room.
We used a purple(!) rug from IKEA to soften the seating area and as I’d hoped, the purple was very easy to live with - not too crazy at all.
I just have to show you the Before one more time for effect….
The transformation was pretty cool - it was like the room popped a couple happy pills!
Here I am shiny-faced from packing and unpacking boxes between scenes…such is the glamorous life of ‘decorator by the vanload’.
Posted by Cobi on Monday April 11, 2011 at 06:58 AM
People often ask me where I get my inspiration…well it isn’t hard when I see things like this…
These shots are taken of northern Netherlands in the middle of tulip season.
The Dutch landscape in May is a kaleidoscope of color as the tulips burst into life.
More than three billion tulips are grown each year.
Their dazzling colors are thanks to the years in the 17th century when tulip mania swept the globe and the most eye-catching specimens changed hands for a small fortune.
But like a Rainbow, this colorful landscape is a short-lived phenomenon.
When the flowers are gone, the land is cultivated for less exciting but ever important vegetables.
Take note hubby, a spring trip to Netherlands is on the bucket list, right alongside the south of France in lavender season.