A New Design Gem Opens in Leslieville

It’s not everyday that a new design boutique opens within steps of my front door and so I can’t help but get very excited, especially for something that is so fabulous that it reminds me of New York a little bit- which is really something to shout about don’t you think?   And what am I so giddy about?  The opening of Black Rooster Decor‘s first bricks and mortar store on Queen Street East, a few blocks east of Carlaw.  Until recently, most would agree that this side of Queen Street lacked luster until an influx of condos and a reno-boom improved everything.  Now, we Leslievillers get to enjoy the fruits of all the change: great stores are coming too.  Hallelujah.

Black Rooster Decor already has a very successful online business so the new store is a natural move.  Their strength is providing great design to clients who are looking for a well curated collection of items ranging from mid-century modern to European antiques.  While most of their business is currently across the border, they are dedicated to like-minded Canadian suppliers and designers.  They also have a personal shopping service which is fabulous for those who need a little inspiration.  See below for my interview with owner Nina Ber-Donkor.

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How would you describe the over-all style of the store? A mix of what we sell online with some local items thrown-in to make it special for our Toronto clients.

What makes you unique? We’re really lucky to have some local designers and clients in Toronto that have supported us, so we’re coming in with a perspective of what they like and want to see in-store.

Why Leslieville? It’s our favourite hood and close to home. 

What new products are you most excited about? Discovering new artisans that are making affordable and unique everyday home goods. It’s thrilling to offer something not found at the chain stores, something you won’t see in every home.

Where do you find your treasures? Are you off on buying trips all the
time? Not as often as I would like to… many of our purchases are made from visiting with our suppliers, seeing their new product lines, going to trade shows and sometimes blind trust in a product we’ve never seen but can tell will be awesome based on past experiences. 

What magazines are your go-to’s for inspiration? Domaine, Rue, Lonny. They’re killing it right now. And Instagram is a major source of inspiration. 

Why expand from a successful online business to bricks and mortar 
(when many retailers are doing the exact opposite at the moment)? It’s not an expansion but rather an extention of what we do. No one would question us opening a storage warehouse so a retail store is just as important for our business where customers can come in and chat and look and feel and get inspiration. And it’s really nice to actually talk to people and not sit behind a computer all day. 

Where can you be found? Instagram, Twitter, Website

So long Suzani, it’s all about Shibori.

We all need a little pattern in our lives and when the urge strikes we tend to reach out for textiles made in exotic places.  A hit of lovely embroidered fabric adds depth, character and a whiff of travel to a room that is full of life.  For years it’s been Ikat from Indonesia or Suzani from Persia and as stunning as they are, there is a new kid on the block called Shibori from Japan.  This traditional tie-dying technique is most often done with watery indigo blue dye on white fabric so that the play of light and dark works very well together.  Interestingly, there is a also a bit of an African influence here which I think is wonderful.  Both West Elm and Anthropologie have picked up the trend saving us all from home tie-dying disasters- ahem-I mean adventures.  Anyway, enjoy and let me know what you think!

HeartwareRemodelistaVenice BeachAnthropologieIndigo and Snow on EtsyWest ElmIFPhoto credits: 1. Heartwear photo by Marie Taillefer, 2. Pillows by Rebecca Atwood, 3. Anthropologie, 4. SF General Store in Venice Beach, Remodelista.com, 5. Indigo and Snow on Etsy,  6. West Elm, 7. Heartware at Merci in Paris, Trendtablet.com

 

Trend Spotting: Distressed Walls

In part three of my Trend Spotting series I’m looking at a type of wall treatment that I’ve seen pop up all over the place, from hip magazine like Living Etc to the showroom at ABC Carpet and Home in NYC.  Essentially, what I’m calling “distressed walls” are rough surfaces (brick, plaster) with chipped or layered paint that create a gorgeous patina.  Some walls even look like artwork themselves.  While wallpaper has had a major heyday in the last few years, things are shifting to a much less polished look- in some circles anyway.  Think New York loft…actually, make that Brooklyn loft.  Or a Parisian atelier touched by time but not by progress.  Imagine a big open space with drafty windows and a rickety freight elevator complete with metal cage that you have to pull down by hand.  Imagine cement floors and sparse bohemian furniture that could either cost a fortune (Anthropology) OR cost nothing (curb-side find).  And imagine stacks of books, frayed rugs, linen everything, and mismatched kitchen dishes.  Get the picture?  The beauty of this look is that furniture really pops.  Here are a few great pics to give you an idea:

Leslie Dilcock

Living EtcLeslie Dilcock 2Sofa Workshop 5
Sofa Workshop 3Tom Leighton 2Tom Leighton 3
IMG_2083IMG_2089Photo credits: 1. Leslie Dilcock; 2. Living Etc; 3. Leslie Dilcock; 4 and 5. Sofa Workshop; 6 and 7.Tom Leighton; 8 and 9. My own from the ABC Carpet and Home showroom.

 

Trend Spotting: Pendant Lights Go Low, Low Down

Modern

One of the most common things that I do on set is to hang lighting- which is always a bit of a challenge because I have to find the exact perfect height for each light to make the room look appealing and real.  There aren’t any steadfast rules so it’s a matter of using one’s eye and making an educated guess.  I won’t lie, it usually takes a few tries to get it right.  Fortunately, I never have to call an electrician since most of our fixtures are of the temporary”hang-it-off-a-long-pole” variety.  BUT for those of you who are seeking something new to do at home, a trend has shown up in a few places that I’ve visited recently: very low hanging pendants.  Where did I see it? Fashion and home decor mecca, Merci, in Paris; Toronto’s Interior Design Show and ABC Carpet and Home in NYC.   I guess I feel like I might be on to something when it pops up three un-synchronized times in three unbelievably trendy cities.    Of course, placing furniture under the pendants is key but you’ll see what I mean in the following images:

This first one is from IDS- it’s a concept space designed by Williams Craig.  For a low-slung lounge space the glass pendants worked really well.photo 1 photo 2 My next examples come from ABC carpet and home.  Please forgive the photography- I was a little too excited to slow down and frame up my shots properly.  Notice how low these are- the whole showroom was full of them.  It was raining fixtures!

IMG_2095IMG_2092IMG_2099IMG_2086Here are more cute example I found online:

Black and White Couch

Trend Spotting: Very Patterned Tiles


Since it’s almost spring and change is in the air, I thought I would start a 5 part series on new trends that I’ve spotted on my travels that I think are worth noting.  The first one I want to mention is the use of patterned tiles on floors, backsplashes, walls and even stairs.  This trend is fantastic- and not at all new- but a welcome change from the minimalist effects of subway tiles and simple marbles.  I can’t say for sure that I would have the guts to do a fireplace surround-wall, but I would love to use these in a bathroom or kitchen.  For me, this type of pattern brings a hint of an old world feel; a handmade quality that makes a room feel special.

Leslie Dilcok 2

Fireplace SurroundRosa PomarLeslie DilcockBack SplashEmma LeeBath Tiles

Looking for a source?

I was first inspired at the Interior Design Show in Toronto where I visited a booth by Mettro with fantastic examples of the exact tiles I am so inspired by.  I’m in love with the vintage series that you see here:

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I also loved a booth by Edgewater Studio that is a little softer in design and made of glass instead of porcelain.  The patterns are very beautiful:

Edgewater Studio

Photos: 1.Leslie Dilcok of Pearson Lyle; 2. unknown; 3. Rosa Pomar; 4. Leslie Dilcok of Pearson Lyle; 5. unknown; 6. Emma Lee of Pearson Lyle; 7.unknown; 8 and 9. myself.

Ding, Dong Decorating with Bell Jars

Sorry Sylvia, I’m decorating ….

I’ve been slightly obsessed with bell jars (also known as “cloche”) this week after searching high and low for the perfect ones for an upcoming project.  At this point, I can call myself an expert on where to find them in Toronto, where to get the best deals and what sizes are available.  While not new (glass cloches were first popular in Victorian decorating), bell jars are right at the cusp of being a major decorating trend and I predict that we will see them a lot more in the months to come.  I know a trend is coming when I see something being used as propping in a major high-end furniture store (Roche Bobois in Paris, par example), styled in the better decor magazines and turning up in the trendier stores with limited release.  They are a simple, cute decorating item that has unlimited potential for creating mini vignettes on bookshelves, mantles, consoles, dining tables etc etc etc.  So, in the spirit of DIY I decided to style two of my favorite finds in as many ways as I could think of to give you some ideas on incorporating bells into your home.  Of course with the holiday season on it’s way like a freight train, I couldn’t resist doing a few with a festive feel. The real goal here is to get creative and use bells to showcase some of your favourite things.

See below for sources and tips.

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DSC_7487Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Make sure you have at least one tall thing in each vignette because you want to fill the vertical space.  To add height, try layering something on the bottom like a small cake plate or a nice looking box.

2. Have a good variety of sizes and shapes in each vignette but stick to a theme to keep it all tied together.

3. Group bells of different sizes together for big impact.

4. Don’t be afraid to let the bell’s contents “spill” out on to the surface outside.  It’s nice to see one ornament on the table as an accessory.

5. Little plants and orchids DO thrive in bells and look fantastic.

Sources:

Small bell: Urban Outfitters $44, medium bell: Morba $99, large bell: wholesale (sorry).

I had many of the items around my house but I did buy the christmas decorations from:

Ornaments: Homesense, nutcracker: Hudson’s Bay, white houses: Urban Barn.

As an added treat, here is how West Elm is doing them (and FYI: you could totally do this yourself):

West Elm

Indigo Fall Preview

A big part of my job is to keep current and to know what trends are going to be hot before everyone else does. Luckily, most of my favorite retailers hold seasonal presentations of their newest  collections several months before they hit the stores.  It’s sort of like when fashion designers launch their collections by doing runway shows; in home decor they do “previews” in which artfully designed vignettes are styled in a showroom for guests to admire.  A ton of work goes into these presentations because the audience is full of key people who will help move the brand along.  For a stylist, it’s a great opportunity to stock up on ideas as well as a nice time to say hello to some long-lost friends who I haven’t seen for a while.  This morning’s event held by Indigo was a bit of both and I am super glad that I went.  Below you will find images of my favorite items that should be hitting stores in time for fall.  I find that Indigo always does a great job and that the products are of shockingly good quality for the pricepoint (and no, they did not pay me to say that).

Here is a gorgeous wall of mix and match dinnerware with smooth shapes, a rustic feel and dark, inky colours that are great for fall.

IMG_0768 I loved the new line of napkins that look as if they have been hand-dyed with natural pigments.  They are meant to look a bit rumpled so no ironing required!  I think I might snap up the lush purple ones for myself come fall.IMG_0769 Who wouldn’t want a mug that says something sweet every morning?IMG_0773Chic desk accessories can be hard to find, believe you me.  Poppin is a new line from New York that will be sold exclusively in Canada at Indigo.  I like the white the best but there are also tons of peppy hues.IMG_0777 A book after my own heart (and start in the theatre oh-so-many years ago).  IMG_0781 I loved how they table-scaped this coffee table with heavy, sexy books.  Oh and the luscious roses didn’t hurt either.  Take note all you bare table people!IMG_0784 Indigo is putting a push on integrating the world of books and words into it’s home decor category.  I think it’s a clever blending and makes the home products seem so…well… at home. Love these little framed sayings (which also come on toss pillows and will be top sellers).IMG_0785 And of course, the wall of scarves, jewelery and handbags.  I have made a bee line for this stuff several times this year when a last minute gift was required.  First stop, scarf and notebook; second stop gift wrap and cards; third stop, done!IMG_0759 Okay so now some time for personal shopping: these lavender pillows are going to look great on my sofa!!  
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I thought these glass decanters with gold tops were so simple and elegant.
IMG_0770 Last but not least, the wooden kitchen accessories are just a gorgeous as ever.  I love the cutting and cheese boards the best!IMG_0771Well that’s my tour for now…I’m sure that you will see all of these things on your own in the next few months but isn’t it nice to get a little sneak peak?