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.
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 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 January 14, 2013 at 07:00 AM
One of the privileges of being a magazine editor (as I was for many years) is that the odd time, you get to feature something of your own personal experience.
This home sits around the corner from my own and I have always admired it - as most people in our neighbourhood do.
A few winters ago we captured it on film for Gardening Life magazine.
The use of red against the winter snow is fantastic and looks great well beyond the holidays.
Our neighbours make the most of their little cottage in the city and really know how to create charm without fuss.
Even the big city blogs agree as it was featured in Habitually Chic this past December. Who says the suburbs aren’t chic?
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 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 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 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 May 07, 2012 at 07:00 AM
My daughter became a teenager over the weekend. She loves anything to do with the arts but particularly music. Her main birthday gift is a piano (her little keyboard just ain’t cuttin’ it any more).
As I’ve been trying to figure out where to fit a piano into our home - I started to look online for inspiration. Of course the best inspiration comes from a grand…
And although our living room housed a ‘grand’ when we purchased the house.
I managed to fill up the room with furnishings so that the only realistic option is an upright upright (for the pocketbook too).
I expected most pianos to be black…
Or dark wood…
But on a quick search, I found every colour of the rainbow.
So many ideas, my ears are ringing. I will post a picture of our purchase once we have it and hope that you will all say, “Bravo!”
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 November 21, 2011 at 07:00 AM
After spending my career editing magazines, I’ve been very interested to see the online magazine industry unfold over the past couple years. But personally speaking, when asked if I like reading online magazines - my answer to date, is no. Never say never, but so far, they just aren’t doin’ it for me. It isn’t the content - they often carry wonderful stories and beautiful visuals. And it sure isn’t the price - they’re free! But for some reason it feels like monotonous work to turn the electronic pages and they usually lose my attention after a few short clicks. And so unfortunately I have yet to lose myself in a story, the way I do with print mags. I know electronic images don’t fade, yellow or stack up and collect dust like paper, but I also can’t tear a page out and put it in my “some-sweet-day file”.
Have a look at the online decor magazines I’ve been flipping through and let me know what you think! Maybe you can change my mind.
Lonny was launched in October 2009 and is definitely the top dog, at least on this side of the pond. It’s a bimonthly, online home decor and lifestyle magazine that highlights “extraordinary interiors, innovative bloggers, and the latest market trends”. The magazine’s name was formed by combining London and New York - the hometowns of its two founders.
To date, Lonny has published 14 issues.
click here to check out Lonny
Trad Home is collaboration between Traditional Home magazine (print) and Lonny magazine (online). Trad Home was created to ‘capture a new “evolved traditional” design aesthetic’. I think that means - people who like traditional looks but still want to be current. To date, Trad home has published 1 issue and I read somewhere that there was suppose to be a second issue out last month but it didn’t happen, so now I’m confused.
click here to check out Trad Home
Rue magazine covers homes, entertaining, recipes, trends and products. It’s put together by two well known American bloggers based in San Francisco and has an eclectic, global feeling. It comes out bi-monthly and so far there are 6 issues of Rue.
click here to check out Rue
I didn’t realize until I wrote this blog that High Gloss magazine - which used to feature “inspiring interior design, fabulous fashion, fresh entertaining ideas and swoon-worthy travel destinations” - no longer exists.
There were 3 issues created of High Gloss before its demise last summer. It sounds like things went south between the bloggers who created if if you read this entry by one of the editors from Elements of Style and this one from La Dolce Vita. Anyway, there are three issues to breeze through if you’re interested and who knows, maybe someone will recreate it. It all seems very ‘easy come, easy go’, in the online business.
check out High Gloss magazine
Dabble is Canada’s only online magazine covering design, travel and food. At the helm is designer Kimberley Seldon whom many of you will know from HGTV, Cityline, Chatelaine, etc. To date there has been 1 issue of Dabble but it looks like there will be another one soon. Good luck Kimberley!
click here to check out Dabble
Adore Home magazine is Australia’s first online-only home and lifestyle magazine. It covers “shops, hotels, homes and food. Adore Home invites you into inspirational homes, looks at the latest products on the market and whisks you away to gorgeous holiday destinations. Adore Home’s mission is to bring you beautiful homes from across the globe, tips and design advice from interior experts, as well as easy online access to the latest home treasures.” The Aussies sure know how to make a decorating magazine in print and so lets hope things go the same online.
Adore has published 6 issues to date.
click here to check out Adore Home
Ivy and Piper magazine covers “homewares, fabrics, home decor and design accessories”. It’s an online Interiors magazine from Brisbane, Australia. “Welcome to our design journal where we share and inspire our clients to embrace colour, pattern and beautiful home decor, which is what Ivy & Piper is all about!”
So far there are 6 issues of Ivy & Piper.
click here to check out Ivy and Piper magazine
After having a look, perhaps you feel differently from me and enjoy reading online magazines? If so - please comment and tell us why. Or tell us about another online magazine that I’ve missed! It’s a big internet out there…