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cobi’s home office - take 2

Posted by Cobi on Wednesday August 31, 2016 at 10:19 AM
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Some of you may remember the story I did about my home office back in 2009 when I was working out of our little studio in the backyard. Well we changed things up a few years ago and I’m now working inside the house in our kid’s former ‘playroom’ over the garage. It was a space that wasn’t being used much anymore and it’s simply more convenient for my business of product development and design which involves lots of schlepping. Have a look…

overall view of office towards window

Lots of shelving and nooks and crannies for all my crap - I mean stuff…

Cobi in her home office (window)

I like to leave things out so I enjoy and don’t forget them, so the open shelving is perfect for me. I call it organized chaos.

Cobi's home office jewellery sample

I’ve incorporated a lot of my favourite cobistyle products we’ve had over the years like this lamp and bulletin board…

Cobi's home office bulletin board and stationary

Tea is one of my favourite things and so there’s always a tray on the go.

Teatime in Cobi's home office

This old sofa (my grandmothers originally) is loaded up with cobistyle pillows and sometimes used for an afternoon siesta, I must admit.

Cobi's home office -sofa with pillows

This cobistyle chair from Silva Custom Furniture is a great spot to curl up with the many magazines I still purchase and tear inspirational pages from.

Blue chair and view to bedroom

The room has some original drawers that work well for office supplies. As you can see, I’ve never met a shelf or drawer I didn’t like!

Bulletin board and mags in Cobi's home office

I have the shelves labelled for different products and areas I collect images for, so that when it comes time to work on something, I always have a pile of visuals to get me started.

Cobi's home office product shelves

See how happy I look working in my home office? Haha…I actually am!

Cobi in her home office (desk)

I’m surrounded by some of my favourite things. I still dream of owning a shop some day, but this will have to do for now.

Cobi's home office samples

I’ve always been influenced by Chinatown and the beauty of the gems that are hidden there…

Cobi's home office chinese coin purses

There are a couple of closets in the room where I keep my special clothes for dressy events.

Cobi's home office Chinese jackets

I know I’m lucky to have this space to call my own.

Cobi's home office books

And I especially feel that way when I make myself a pot of afternoon tea. Thankfully this room had original plumbing and so it was easy to install a simple unit from IKEA that saves me from running down to the kitchen.

sink area in cobi's office

If you want to read more about my office, pick up the Special Organizing issue by Style at Home magazine.

Cobi's home office sink

It’s on newsstands now until mid-October.

Cobi's home office tea and cleaning trolley

I’m thinking it’s good motivation to keep my office organized so they don’t make a liar out of me!


dressing a dressing room

Posted by Cobi on Monday March 14, 2016 at 11:27 AM
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Recently I was offered the chance to dress a change room at a beautiful women’s fashion store in Ottawa called Shepherd’s.

Each year or so, Shepherd’s owner, Marlene Shepherd, asks different Canadian designers to transform a change room and turn it into something special. Of course each one is totally different providing lots of fun visual surprises for customers.

Shepherd's changeroom overall tall

I decided to go for my signature blue and white palette - something graphic and fun but also classic. Papering the entire room in a bold geometric patterned wallpaper would have been too much for the eyes when trying on clothing and so we tempered one wall of pattern with three walls of crisp white textured paper that mimics the wavy pattern.

Shepherd's changeroom horizontal

We called into service two cobistyle multi-purpose porcelain stools for handbags, jewellery, etc.

cobistyle garden stools

cobistyle blue and white garden stool

cobistyle basketweave garden stool

And some extra cobistyle geometric patterned white mirrors.

cobistyle mirror latticecobistyle mirror lattice 202

The blue and white ikat-patterned paper is from the Kelly Hoppen Style Collection by Graham & Brown wallpaper available through Lowes.

shepherd's changeroom blue+white wallpaper

And the white paper is Graham & Brown Superfresco Curvy Paintable wallpaper also from Lowes.

Shepherd's changeroom white wallpaper

The room was completed with a shell lighting fixture from Canfloyd (not cobistyle). I think this scheme would make for a punchy powder room, mudroom or dressing room at home too.

Canfloyd shell light fixture

I called the room paper and ink for its timeless quality. It’s crisp, classic and current, all at the same time. Have a look yourself if you’re in Ottawa this year - pop into Shepherd’s and ask for Cobi’s room when you try something on!


stitch in time

Posted by Cobi on Wednesday December 09, 2015 at 10:01 AM
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The first time I saw this Christmas tablecloth at our friend’s house, I was completely blown away.

full tablecloth from corner

Our friend Mark’s dear mom, Mary made it and when I saw it, I felt like the Grinch whose “heart grew three sizes that day”.

Mark pulled back

Every year at Christmas dinner, Mary would invite family to doodle on the tablecloth.

Santa pulled back

And then throughout the year she would embroider over the doodles in colourful thread. Mark gladly let me photograph it and we laughed about the years that she almost didn’t get her work done in time to lay it out on the table again.

pull back shot

Never have I seen so much love, talent, history, humour, sentiment, artistry and originality all wrapped up in one tactile family heirloom. She captured the years of her family’s Christmas’ in every stitch. What a treasure.

The marriages…

Deb and Mark

The babies…


The homecomings…


Special visitors…


Special family members…


other grandma

Family artists…


And budding family artists…

child drawing

Special talents…


And jokes…


What an heirloom. What a gift! What an incredible symbol of what Christmas is all about.

pull back

Dare any of us even try to duplicate the beauty in Mary’s creation?

kiss the cook

In my brave moments, I’d like to try. Is this the year to purchase a clean white linen cloth and a few bright bundles of embroidery thread? It doesn’t take any more than that and of course, a heart the size of Mary’s.

Mary Mom

Here’s to Family, Love and Inspiration and a Very Merry Christmas!


celebrate summer solstice

Posted by Cobi on Monday June 15, 2015 at 12:09 PM
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Why not make the Summer Solstice a reason to celebrate this weekend?

cobistyle lanterns by Cobi's pool {cobistyle lanterns (no longer available) in my backyard.}

The solstice heralds the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

cobistyle lanterns brighten the garden {cobistyle lanterns (no longer available) brighten the backyard.}

In 2015, the summer begins with the solstice on June 21 at 12:38 P.M. EDT.

Paper lantern's in Cobi's backyard create a party atmosphere {Paper lanterns create a party atmosphere any time of day.}

The timing of the solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator.

floating candles at Cobi Ladner's house {Floating candles ready for the pool in my backyard.}

Ever wonder why we recognize the seasons so late compared to the climate? Although the June solstice marks the first day of astronomical summer, it’s more common for people to use meteorological definitions of seasons, making the solstice midsummer or midwinter.

Cobi Ladner's pool shed {Our pool shed/sauna is the focal point of our backyard, day or night.}

On the June solstice, the midnight sun is visible (weather permitting) throughout the night, in all areas from just south of the Arctic Circle to the North Pole.

Cobi Ladner's backyard {Outdoor lighting makes a big difference to how much you use your space at night.}

On the other side of the planet, south of the Antarctic Circle there’s Polar Night, meaning no Sunlight at all, on the June Solstice.

paper lanterns on a string of lights {Try popping paper lanterns on top of a string of Christmas light bulbs.}

The June solstice dates vary. For example, it’s on June 21 in 2015, but on June 20 in 2016. A June 22 solstice will not occur until 2203. The last time there was a June 22 solstice was in 1971. The varying dates of the solstice are mainly due to the calendar system.

backyard solar paper lanterns {There are solar powered lanterns clothed in paper on the market now.}

One of the world’s oldest examples of evidence of the Summer Solstice’s importance in culture is Stonehenge in England, a megalithic structure which clearly marks the moment of the June Solstice.

Backyard oasis {You don’t have to have a cottage to enjoy a summer evening outside.}

I suggest starting your own tradition of inviting friends over for a backyard celebration (bring a sweater) and stay out until the sky is finally dark.

Backyard dinner {A good excuse to have some Summer fun.}

And if you feel like treating yourself (and your backyard) to a couple of fabulous lanterns, look no further!

cobistyle white metal lantern cobistyle white iron candle holder (8” high) $50.00

cobistyle mustard porcelain lantern cobistyle large (10” x 11”) porcelain lantern, $60.00

cobistyle white porcelain woven lantern cobistyle porcelain lattice lantern (14” high) $60.00

cobistyle white porcelain lantern cobistyle tall porcelain cut out lantern (18”high) $70.00

cobistyle turquoise porcelain lantern cobistyle turquoise porcelain lantern (15”high) $40.00

cobistyle morrocan-style lantern cobistyle Moroccan-style lantern (19” high) $35.00

cobistyle decorative accessories are available at the best boutiques across Canada. Let me know if are looking for something in particular and we will find a store near you!


colour of the year cobistyle

Posted by Cobi on Thursday January 08, 2015 at 12:11 PM
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As you may have already heard, “Marsala” has been declared by Pantone the “colour of the year”.

red wine

Pantone is the international agency of colour. By using the Pantone numerical colour system, people can look at the same colour (in a book or on the screen) regardless of where they are. It sure makes explaining a deep winey red with brown undertones, to someone across the pond, easier.

red grapes

Colour inspiration can come from anything.

chicken marsala

If you’re interested in colour, click here to watch a video of the design directors of Pantone discussing this year’s colour choice.


This year’s colour looks great in fashion and of course makeup.

marsala dressed stars

It’s a classic colour that suits many skin tones…

marsala outfit

In the home, I see it in carpets for sure…

carpet in blue kitchen

marsala coloured carpet

And as a fun accent or dramatic focal point in paint

red exterior door

At cobistyle we love many shades of red. Here are a few current pieces with a Marsala state of mind…

cobistyle red vase

This vase, lamp

cobistyle red lamp

and chopsticks are available at boutiques across Canada.

cobistyle chopsticks

This Trellis drapery pattern is right on trend and very affordable at

cobistyle trellis drapery at sears

The cobistyle red lantern is available in lighting stores across Canada and the US.

cobistyle red lantern

And so if you’ve always wanted to ‘do red’, this is your year! I mean come on - your home will look like a shoot from vogue magazine …

marsala drapery


laurie loves cobistyle

Posted by Cobi on Wednesday May 14, 2014 at 07:00 AM
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My friend Laurie is a multi-talented lady. She helped me to realize the cobistyle decorative accessory collection right from the beginning when it was nothing more than magazine clippings, a long wish-list and me blabbing in her ear. It gave me confidence that she actually ‘got it’!

She has now branched out on her own doing a number of things including writing her own blog called Laurie Loves and hosting events where she sells some of her favourite products, in her beautiful home in Oakville, Ont.

table with ranunculas

These are a few pictures from her last event that feature cobistyle products (some are no longer in stock but I thought it was fun to see them in action anyway).

on plate plus napkin ring

For example the ranunculus napkin rings - they were a huge hit for their blowsy, Springy feel and I still have people write to me looking for them.

charger plates

These porcelain bird vases look wonderful empty or filled with a few fresh flowers tucked in as Laurie has done here.

birds with read flowers

Laurie has a natural talent with flowers (both real and imposters) and I understand she comes by it honestly from her mom!

peonies in window

Notice how she cut the stems of these cobistyle peonies so the heads just hit the top of the vase? That way they look full and not floppy!

light pink peonies in glass

Who doesn’t like peonies? These look great all summer long and no arranging required as they come in a square white pot.

tea table with potted peony

Thank you for your constant support of cobistyle Laurie. We’ll be watching as your own Laurie Loves story takes flight.

flower market


blue + white and spring all over

Posted by Cobi on Thursday February 20, 2014 at 10:30 PM
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I was invited to do a ‘tablescape’ at the GTA Home Show this week.


Here are some pictures I took during set up…not the greatest setting and lighting but you’ll get the idea…

paper lanterns

It was fun to see all of that cobistyle together in one spot!

vertical bench to balloons

The only thing that wasn’t cobistyle was the table and chairs which was kindly donated from Alta Moda Furniture.

chinese stool and lanterns

We draped the table in cobistyle bedding from Sears. First we laid out two white Willow quilts and then on top, a Willow duvet cover which has a nice blue flange edge. The size of the king duvet cover was perfect for the table and it’s so fun to see all the blue and white porcelain mix with it.

bedding at end

We decided to break all of the blue and white with lots of green in the flowers and a few accessories.

flowers and table

Instead of place mats we used a lacquer tray at each place setting.

horizontal tabletop

They come in two colours of blue and so we alternated them which brings more interest than if they were all the same.

place setting

Little natural touches like the raffia wrapped glasses, bamboo chopsticks and decorative twig balls also give the colour a rest.

close up on table

I love seeing the jumbled mass of pattern - a kind of visual chaos that’s tamed by the limited colour palette.

bowl of balls

I also love seeing the white porcelain birds chirping around the table.

close up with bird

If you get a chance, check out the table for real this weekend! And surely we’ll soon hear the birds for real too!

end including sign

Dare I say, happy Spring decorating?


family art wall

Posted by Cobi on Wednesday January 08, 2014 at 03:22 PM
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I’ve always been inspired by family photo and art walls.

pink pagoda wall cropped

The sense of a collage is more visually exciting to the eye than the usual placement of one or two pictures.

bedroom art wall

These are some of my favourites.

tumbler wall

photos up stairs

heidi wall

art wall

When we redecorated our master bedroom last year, I had a large blank wall to fill between our two windows and decided it would be a great place to showcase some of my favourite family photos and art.

photowall 42

photowall 45

Rather than deal with the commitment of hanging things directly on the wall, I splurged on 3 IKEA pictures rails ($16.99 ea.) and hung them staggered on the wall.

photo wall 36

photo wall

Then I went to work framing some pictures and pieces that were lingering around our house.

photowall 46

I thought I’d want all matching frames originally but quickly realized the variety creates interest.

picture wall

I’m really happy with the result and the fact that as the kids change I can add new shots.

photo wall 49

Now I just wish I had more room!


postcard from PEI

Posted by Cobi on Monday July 08, 2013 at 07:00 AM
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Part of the fun of owning our cottage on Prince Edward Island is that we get to share it with others through renting for a few weeks each year. We leave a book out for our guests to sign and encourage them to write notes on their finds around the island; recommendations; warnings, etc.

This year I was lucky enough to be given a series of pictures taken by one of our (talented!) guests, Annette Snowdon of Kitchener, Ontario, as she explored our favourite little island on her visit. Many of the snaps are of sites I see each trip, and I’m so glad to now have them recorded as lovely photographs! Please enjoy…

carriage house lounge, PEI

Pam Price fence, PEI

abandoned diner, PEI

perfect fishing hut, PEI

2 fishing roofs, PEI

hut with tuna tales, PEI

Boyes on Swans shed, PEI

cl up of traps beside hut, PEI

3 fishing huts, PEI

Thank you Annette - what a treat! Don’t you just love it that everything is kind of crooked? The simplicity and charm of Maritime life, never loses its appeal to me.

I’m enjoying the island right now for our annual family holiday. I hope you’re having a great summer too!


right on target

Posted by Cobi on Monday June 03, 2013 at 07:05 AM
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The other day I was on an airplane and therefore had magazines in hand. When I opened the new issue of InStyle and turned to the advertisement for Target, I almost fell out of my seat (well, not really as I was strapped in, but you know what I mean).

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. There, on a very expensive double-page-spread, was an ad for cobistyle but with the name ‘Threshold’ on it and a red bull’s eye in the corner. (Threshold is Target’s in-house ‘home’ line of products)

target living room ad

Is that me dozing on the sofa under the crab apple tree in my white living room? Visions of cobistyle dancing in my head? NO! It’s some other redhead (!) living my dream. I mean seriously - she stole all my stuff! Check out the photo of the ad closer…

threshold living room cropped

…and then a smattering of current cobistyle products below…

2370 sofa

turquoise morrocan table

apple blossom branches

red poof

gold table

2 jars

apple blossom painting

bird pillow with no backing

turquoise pillow

yellow jar

gold starburst with turquoise stones

white lamp

lving room cropped

See what I mean? It’s crazy! I guess I should be flattered that a major American chain is basing their home-decor look on something I’ve been building for five years.

There are other ads running for Threshold and although I could also be living in this kitchen for example, I don’t have the right hair colour and haven’t got a cobistyle kitchen line of products (yet).

target kitchen ad

I would be very happy in this house, no doubt…hmmm…I better keep working on cobistyle and maybe this dream will come to life too!

target outdoor ad


my style icons

Posted by Cobi on Monday May 06, 2013 at 11:50 AM
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We all admire other women’s style - especially the glamorous ones. Here are four women that I hold high upon the style pedestal: (should we Canadian ladies worry that they’re all American?)

Charlotte Moss - Interior Designer Extraordinaire

Char Moss in white

I love the Fabricut advertising campaign that they did with Charlotte…

Char Moss adv.

The fabric collection is wonderful too…

Char Moss fabrics

I love her because she does gutsy interiors with tons of personality…

Char Moss room

Plus it’s always fun to watch someone completely secure in their own style who isn’t afraid to show it off.

Char Moss in HB

She has a great website if you want to read more - and she writes a fun blog.

A Lady of Ladies - what did we do before Kate Spade?

Kate spade w mirror

How can’t we admire Kate Spade?

Kate spade store

Even if you don’t love her style, you have to respect the clarity of vision she embodies in her name-sake brand (or at least I do).

kate spade on chair Kate spade in yellow

I love it that there’s an alternative to the disposable fashion we see so often nowadays.

kate spade ad

I don’t like the word “classy” but Kate has it in spades.

kate spade table

It’s interesting that it’s so difficult to find good photos of Kate (the person) - perhaps the pressure of always appearing lady-like is too much?

kate spade spring is a great site but since Kate doesn’t own Kate Spade anymore, she’s no-where to be seen. There’s a fun blog - but it’s not personal in any way.

Instant Empire Builder (or at least it seems like it), Tory Burch

tory b close up

Well it sure wasn’t hard to find pictures of Tory.

t burch in apt.

She has beautiful pictures all over the place - there’s no question, the girl knows how to market her brand.

t burch in yellow room

And she makes for great people-watching with a glamorous NY/Hamptons lifestyle with three young sons in tow, to boot.

t burch in store

I’m envious of someone who can build a gazillion-dollar empire on tunics and flats (two of my favourite things ; )

t burch flats

(And few handbags thrown in for good measure.)

t burch tunic

She makes fashion-world domination look effortless - what a hoot.

t burch tunics but the best part is her personal blog.

New Kid on the Block and the only West Coast Gal, Trina Turk

trina in bedroom

Here’s another fun lady to watch…

trina turk in hat

She’s a fabric-design Queen with a whole California-vibe going on.

trina bed linens

She also loves tunics - I think that has to be the next category of products for the cobistyle empire!

tturk tunic

I love the upbeat energy Trina exudes, both personally, and through her products.

tturk pillows lifestyle

Nothing has ever drawn me to travel to LA but if I do, I’ll be sure to look up her stores.

tturk store, she also blogs about livin’ the good life in Californ-i-a .

tturk pillows

So those are my 4 ladies of style for today anyway…write a note and tell us yours.


rainbow connection

Posted by Cobi on Monday April 22, 2013 at 11:54 AM
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Right from the time we’re little kids, we’re exposed to colour.

crayon box

It brightens our world and excites our senses.

spring flowers

That’s why we continue to have fun with colour as adults.

cake slice

We enjoy it in all kinds of unexpected ways.


At unexpected times.

wedding party

And unexpected places.

rainbow umbrella

Colour inspires us.


And turns everyday things into art.


And so, naturally we love to decorate with it.


Colour makes our homes unique.

books by colour

More exciting.

carpet runner

More beautiful.

coloured kitchen

And more fun.

rainbow shelves

I suppose that’s why I like to use a rainbow of colour in cobistyle.

napkin rings 405

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.


the last hooray!

Posted by Cobi on Monday August 27, 2012 at 07:00 AM
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Summer decorating is special.

pretty porch

There’s a simple ease about it that makes us all say “ahhhh”….

beach hats in hall

I tend to think ‘country’ when I think summer…

summer picked flowers

But not everyone does. Some think ‘exotic’…

summer terrace

And far off places…

summer patio

Even if they live in a downtown apartment.

pink fabric in apt.

But that’s the beauty of summer.

summer pots in garden

It is what you make it.

And hey - there’s still enough time to make this - one of the cutest, cheapest ideas I’ve seen in a long time!

bandana table runner

Enjoy the last unofficial week of summer 2012!


the root of beauty

Posted by Cobi on Monday July 30, 2012 at 07:00 AM
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Sometimes we take things for granted that are cheap and plentiful.

bunch of radishes

And to be honest I didn’t start out writing this blog about radishes - but then I found this image…

radishes on fabric

And I was amazed at their beauty!

radish at place setting

And how creative people are with them!

radish 2

Even Martha has taken a stab at radishes…

radish mice

So cute! As are these ~

radish mushrooms

They make me want to grow radishes again like when I was a kid.

radishes in garden

Although I must admit, mine never looked like this…

handful of radishes

But whether we grow them or just buy them, we don’t have to do much to create this beauty in our kitchen…

gorgeous radishes

Maybe a little more effort to do this…

pickled radishes

But we could all do this…

radish salad

Or this…

radish and ricotta

So reconsider the humble radish on your way to the arugula ~ who knows how they’ll inspire you?

painting of radishes


{inside story}

Posted by Cobi on Monday March 12, 2012 at 06:59 AM
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I was given a pretty pair of earrings the other day that look much like this:

moroccan earrings

I just love them! While wearing them, I popped into Staples and saw Martha’s new line of stationary supplies and bought some post-it notes like this:

Martha post-it notes

I then picked up a magazine and saw a picture of this great white dinnerware at Sears called Ecoware:

sears ecoware

So what’s the deal? Why are all of my favourite designs lately punctuated with {parentheses} ?

I suppose the centuries-old Moroccan patterns we’ve enjoyed so much over the past few years, have not only affected textile trends, like this flat weave rug…

blue and white rug

And fabrics, like on this pretty pillow…

blue + white pillow

And hard surfaces, like these great white tiles…

moroccan tiles

Or decorative pieces like this beautiful mirror…

gold mirror

But now they’ve trickled down ever further to influence smaller goods like note cards…


and gift tags……

yellow post its

Isn’t it amazing that we live in a world where something (that for some strange reason pleases the eye) can wind its way over time and oceans …

moroccan tiles

…and end up as a cute little sticky note, sitting on my desk.

pink post it


Special Note: If you haven’t joined clubcobi, now’s the time. Each monthly newsletter now has a great giveaway from the cobistyle product line. Congratulations to Jennifer Brown from Surrey, BC who was the February winner of an adorable everlasting potted orchid!

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