Posted by Cobi on Friday February 06, 2015 at 08:12 AM
Pattern makes plain things more interesting.
I like a room that has pattern either on the walls, furniture, accessories OR floor. In other words, ‘choose your weapon’.
Colourful, exotic carpets are a great way to add life and interest to an otherwise basic room design.
They immediately bring character, warmth and colour to the space.
They also bring age and authenticity to something a little ‘too brand new’.
I love the look of a carpet that appears to have a story to tell….
…one of exotic travels and a long journey from a faraway land.
Carpets from the Old World bring the look of age and wisdom with them, to the New World.
They also bring the warmth of those countries through their colours (usually on the warm side of the colour wheel).
The best part is you don’t have to worry about matching these carpets to anything.
Or getting the size exactly right. Consider them a “piece” just as you would a “piece” of art.
They can move from room to room, house to house, generation to generation…
Just as life does. The only thing constant is change, journey on my friend.
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 Sunday October 09, 2011 at 07:00 AM
If you’re hosting the turkey dinner tonight, have no fear - cute fall tabletop ideas are here!
This image is stunning. The orange paper lanterns look like giant pumpkins overhead and I love the idea of bringing tartan to the table through napkins and blankeys. We should all have a collection of old wool tartan blankets to pull out in the fall!
Here’s another cute idea - pull out old family photos to use instead of place cards. What a great way to get people to the table!
And enjoy memories of family no longer with us.
If you have a box of price tags from the dollar store - create instant place cards by slipping them over the stem of a pear.
If you don’t; a little piece of twine works well with any kind of tag and fruit…
No tags at all? How about metallic pen on an apple or pomegranate? See - no excuses not to tart up the table!
If you’re more of a ‘professional arrangement kinda gal’ just make sure it’s gorgeous and bountiful like this…
Or buy a bunch of mixed flowers at the grocery store and cut them really short to create your own arrangement…
I love this skinny table set with old and new pieces. Classic and lovely.
Here’s a fun little craft if you own carving tools - these gourd vase and bowl ideas are sweet…
If warm tones aren’t you, don’t despair - purple looks amazing with fall colours…
As does crimson! It’s fabulous and unexpected alongside yellows and golds…
Try using unexpected items on your table or convert things, like candle holders, into props and pedestals.
Head out to the garden for some branches - understated elegance in a glass vase.
Or just lay one beautiful branch at each place - Bittersweet is perfect…
No branches? How about a simple piece of raffia and a wooden bead? See … no excuses…
Fall foliage also looks amazing in a glass vase - no fuss, no muss, no cost.
And here’s a perfect kids table anyone can do with kraft paper, crayons, a few pears and pots…
If you aren’t hosting this year, don’t miss out - do up your mantle and light a crackling fire …
And then take a moment to give thanks for all of your many blessings…
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 October 11, 2010 at 07:00 AM
Here are 10 cute ideas for quick and easy fall decorating - even after Thanksgiving has passed.
1. Use seasonal treats to create colourful eye candy.
2. Who needs a florist when you have beauty literally falling on your doorstep?
3. If you aren’t an orange and gold girl, don’t let that stop you from decorating for fall.
4. Apples aren’t just for chomping, put them to work while they wait.
5. Roses come in fall colours too!
6. Think of pumpkins as instant sculpture.
6. Gourds are gorgeous when showcased selectively.
7. Take moment to be crafty today - your guests will be very impressed!
8. Do “the squirrel” and go hunting and gathering in the garden for your table.
9. Rather than just look pretty, put pumpkins to use at your front door.
10. Don’t wait for Halloween - start carving out your own ideas any time this month.
And here’s a bonus idea: Take a quiet moment before your guests arrive to count your blessings. If you’re like me, you don’t do it enough.
Posted by Cobi on Monday September 27, 2010 at 07:00 AM
Poor Mums - they get no respect.
Maybe it’s because they’re available year round - you can always find them at the supermarket.
They aren’t expensive, heck, they’re even penny-wise!
They’re basically always there for you - rain or shine - but whenever anybody imagines a Mum, they just think ‘same old, same old’…
But that’s not true!! You just have to take a little closer look to see that Mum’s are beautiful!!
They come in many shapes, sizes and colours….
And sometimes it’s just how you put them together that makes the difference…
Mum’s love weddings. And even if we don’t have a wedding in the plans, we can often steal ideas from them…
How cute is this, young and old, boys always love their Mums…
So when you’re doing your fall decorating, don’t forget to include Mum.
She’s easy to work with…
And ask any pumpkin, Mums are not pansies, they’re sure to look good for a long time.
Posted by Cobi on Monday October 26, 2009 at 07:00 AM
This Halloween decorating trick is a so easy, it’s scaaarry.
Have a boo….
My friend, Maureen found a great little gadget at Homesense called a Candle Carver. Since it isn’t always easy to find seasonal things there, we also sourced it on-line at The Great Canadian Gift Company. At $14.99, it isn’t cheap but it’s Made in Canada of stainless steel so it isn’t going to break after one use which makes it worth it to me.
I think there are lots of holidays I would use this little sucker ~ not just halloween ~ imagine a row of Asian pears at Christmas…lemons and limes in the summer….
Another idea it’s got me dreaming of is individual desserts. I haven’t tried this but I think it would be yummy: Make holes in enough apples for each guest to have one and fill with warm butterscotch sauce. Serve on a pretty dessert plate or saucer with more apple wedges for dipping. Does anyone have time to try this and let us know how it goes? mmmm…..
The other good thing about this little carver is that it’s a small item to keep in a drawer with your votives between parties. The rest of the centrepiece can be eaten or composted after use.
Have a Wicked Halloween!
ps/ If you want to do this without the carver, try stamping the pumpkin with an empty aluminum holder from a votive candle (like using a cookie cutter) then use a paring knife to cut out the hole. Might not be as neat but it will work too. Be sure to use a vegetable with a flat bottom! We don’t want any rolling pumpkins….
Posted by Cobi on Monday October 12, 2009 at 07:00 AM
I wanted to show you my dishes this week because they work so well for the Thanksgiving table, they always make me happy.
They’re called “Woodland” by Spode.
Each plate has a different duck or bird in the centre which makes them fun to collect and keeps my daughter Charlotte amused when setting the table . I think she’ll have memories of family dinners with them and since I plan to give them to her one day I think of them as ‘future heirlooms’.
There’s something about the brown transfer pattern and scene in the middle that’s elegant and earthy at the same time. They’ve been a joy to add to my other patterns and work so well with hearty fall and winter fare. It’s also great that they’re dishwasher and microwave proof.
Charlotte and I always collect leaves for place cards (just use permanent marker), impromptu coasters and general scattering about on tables and mantles. So pretty and easy to do while the turkey’s cooking.
Here’s a nice picture of some pieces in the Horchow mailorder catalogue in the states…
Spode is available at lots of independant china and dinnerware stores across Canada including Ashley’s in Toronto.
Anyway, must run and join the fun ~ Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Posted by Cobi on Monday October 05, 2009 at 10:24 AM
Sometimes we all feel like we have to advocate for something that we think is being overlooked or snubbed because of an old idea or incorrect perception. Today I am advocating for Electric Fireplaces.
Yup, it’s true, the old lightbulb and orange paper trick is something I think deserves more credit! No special wiring, no special venting, no different than buying a lamp, it’s quite a decorating find!
We put one into our screened in porch a couple of years ago. I am not going to suggest you do the same because they really aren’t meant for outdoors and can’t be guaranteed against the elements, but that’s not my point - I already have 2 working fireplaces inside our house but if I didn’t I would definitely consider one of these.
The point is, that I still marvel at how smart it is and how few people have them.
Here are the top 4 reasons why I love them:
Installation - like I said, it’s no different than buying a lamp. Seriously. All you need is a wall plug on the wall where you are placing it. If you have that, you simply go pick a style, it gets delivered, the guy plugs it in, pushes it against the wall and that’s it. Did you hear that ladies - no husband, brother or handyman needed!!
Profile - it’s very narrow. If you’ve tried to retrofit your home for a gas fireplace, you’ll know that there is a significant depth required for safety reasons and it can get complicated to set the box into the wall, etc. (read: construction, mess, expense). These suckers are only about 16” deep and don’t take up too much space in your room, yet have enough of a mantel to decorate (love that).
Look - There’s a large assortment of surround styles available, but what I was more concerned with was the look of the flame. No it’s not real but the new technology of using lights and mirrors is quite convincing! You would definitely think it’s real on first glance. Also, even though gas flames are real, I often find the logs to be fake looking and so really, what’s the difference - a fake fire is a fake fire.
Heat - it throws a nice amount of heat for a regular size room. Sometimes our gas fireplace will sweat us right out of our basement. This little guy doesn’t throw too much but just enough to be comfortable sitting near by. Of course, you can set the remote to ‘no heat’ and just have the look if you like.
Anyway, for the ease and cost (ours was about $2,000 for the unit, no labour cost) I think they are definitely worth considering if you are looking to cozy up a room and create a focal point.
If you want to check out the looks available, a few of the big brand names are Dimplex, Burley and Classic Flame. If you are in Ontario, I would also recommend going to the store we bought from, The Electric Fireplace Shop. Two women own the business and completely focus on electric (obvious by the name!) and really know their stuff.
Let me know if I’ve convinced you ~ or if you already agree!