Best Decor Stores in Montreal

Going to Montreal and wondering where to shop?  Let me help you.  Typically, Montreal is very well known for trendy clothing boutiques and amazing restaurants but it is also chock-full of fabulous home decor destinations that are both inspiring and unique.  On a recent trip I scoured the city for the best-of-the-best in order to bring you this mini shopping guide to use on your next visit.  There is lots here so get ready to have a bit of fun, grab a bagel along the way and pick up a few words en francais.

Zone Maison

4246 rue St Denis  http://www.zonemaison.com/

Absolutely brimming with modern decor finds this store is the mothership of Montreal style. The accessories are fantastic, the furniture pieces affordable and the store itself is bright, airy and full of possibilities.  You will find a million things that you want to take home so for that reason, it’s a must see.

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Style Labo

5765 Boulevard Saint-Laurent  http://www.stylelabo.com

This store is a more of a concept-space than a livable environment BUT you will find cool pieces that add personality to your home.  It’s part antique market, part junk-shop, part  trendy downtown workshop.  I imagine adding any number of these things to a modern space to jack up the creative content and provoke conversation starters for dinner parties. LOVE the illuminated letters!

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SL3SL5Maison Corbeil

1215 Boulevard Cremazie Ouest http://www.maisoncorbeil.com

This is the biggest and most furniture-oriented store that I visited.  Maison Corbeil carries the big lines like Ligne Roset and Cattelan but also offers a variety of less-expensive choices that are fantastic.  It has a warm yet minimal feel and covers all the bases.

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V de V

5042 Boulevard Saint-Laurent http://www.vdevmaison.com/

This store is a cosy little boutique full of warm and friendly Quebecois things.  Or maybe that’s just because I visited in mid-November and they were all decorated for the holidays.  Either way, it’s a fun treat to visit and you’ll find lots to see.  Cabin-chic at it’s best.

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Lambert et Fils Luminaires

156 Rue Beaubien Est. http://www.lambertetfils.com/

I don’t know about you, but I can get very bored of seeing the same lighting fixtures over and over again.  Which is why I am soooooo excited about finding this amazing small custom shop that makes everything on-site.  The lights are modern, elegant, simple and (best of all) unique.  They aren’t cheap, but they aren’t break-the-bank crazy either.   Love, love, love this place.

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That’s all for my adventures and I’m sure there are many, many more.  Please write to me with other ideas and I will check them out on my next go-round.  What a fantastic, fantastic city.  Au revoir mes amis!

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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

Paris! A design-love story.

Doors GoodI had the amazing opportunity to go to Paris for a week and spent the whole time walking, looking, ooing, ahhing and most of all eating!  But that’s for another type of blog.  Here, I want to show you a few of my favorite moments that have an element of design.  As you can imagine, it’s very hard to narrow down the images but I will do my best.  As infamous street fashion photographer, Bill Cunningham says, “you go to Paris to re-educate the eye”, and that is really what it’s all about.  While some shopping is a fun thing, I think that the most valuable gift I get from travel is a shift in perspective.  I need to visit other places to see what other people are doing and wearing, to soak up art that I can’t see anywhere else, to find treasures big or small and to let myself open-up.  While I love Toronto, too much of the same thing can feel like a tight little box sometimes.  So!  Escape is essential and escape I did.

Word to the wise about traveling to Paris in August: the weather is sublime, the people are happy and there is an atmosphere of summertime fun everywhere BUT there are also lots of tourists and many (many, many) of the home-design shops are closed.  With September comes slightly cooler temps and the big Maison and Object design fair, so if I did it again I would opt for after labour day.

I’ll start with the first thing that I saw in Paris: the adorable flat that my friend and I rented in Montmartre.  It was a fifth floor walk-up (fun on the first day- not so much after day five) with a gorgeous view over the Parisian rooftops and a rustic/chic Parisian decor.  Things to note: herringbone floors, huge mirror above the mantle, industrial mixed with antiques and art everywhere.  Oh and the view of course!!DSC_7059 DSC_7063 DSC_7057The next noteworthy place would surely be my favorite fashion/design store, Merci. This multi-story boutique is a MUST for anyone interested in home decor trends and fresh ideas.  The style is laid-back and unpretentious and looks as though it has been thrown together over time.  There are mismatched chairs, signs of wear and tear and inventive chandeliers or pendants with everything.  While they certainly aren’t re-inventing the wheel, I was impressed by a varitety of chic finds like great table and chair options, big lush linen sofas (wrinkles be damned!), great table top and lots of hip lighting.  Here are a few faves:

IMG_0705IMG_0708IMG_0727IMG_0732 Next I will take you to one of Paris’ most famous flea markets, Clignancourt, where you can find everything from 1920s fashion magazines to oil paintings to antique daybeds to buttons and ribbon.  It’s a decorator’s dream come true and I found myself overflowing with joy many times.   While some vendors yelled “no photos!” and chased me away, I did manage to get a few shots.  There are things there that I have never, ever seen anywhere else and I couldn’t help but wish I could work in Paris! Oh the things I could do….

IMG_0701IMG_0681IMG_0695IMG_0683IMG_0696The other super inspiring store that I found was (gasp) one of the big department stores of Paris called Bon Marche.  What a well curated space!  The home floor was elegant with an incredible flow of movement from department to department and a large selection of the most important things like table linens, lighting and furniture.  I was very, very impressed with the quality being offered here and bolstered by the sophisticated tastes of the Parisian shopper!

IMG_0750IMG_0751IMG_0746IMG_0764I would be remiss if I didn’t include at least a few of the gorgeous ornamental details that I found at Versailles.  As much as I love the laid-back chic of the contemporary stores, and the slightly worn antiques from the flea market,  I also adore gold gilt and rococco details.  Who wouldn’t? Any well-rounded look at Paris includes both so feast your eyes!

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DSC_7355IMG_0635IMG_0331That’s all for my little tour.  There is just so much to see and do in Paris that I barely sat down for five minutes- unless it was to eat several croissants at a time over coffee in the morning or sip a glass of rose while admiring the view in the afternoon.  I’ll miss it and look forward to next time.  Thanks for joining me!

Let’s Go Antique Shopping: Video Project

I absolutely love a good antique hunt, big or small, because it feels like a chance to find one-of-a-kind treasures that might have slipped under the radar for years.  It’s also a fabulous opportunity to add personality to a space by layering in things that create meaning or add an unexpected touch.  My parents have always been big antique people so I’ve been surrounded by interesting stuff since I was a small child.  Now, I feel like any room WITHOUT something quirky can feel a bit drab or uninspired.  To celebrate my big love of antiques and share with you a few of my favorite tips, I made this little video at the Christie Antique Fair just outside of Toronto a few weeks ago.  I hope it inspires you to hit your local flea market or antique store to bring home something special.  Enjoy!!  And keep me posted on your fab finds!

Behind the Scenes at a Hudson’s Bay Photoshoot

One of my favorite types of projects is creating full rooms from top to bottom. To my extreme pleasure, that is exactly what I get to do with Hudson’s Bay!  Today I am going to bring you behind the scenes of a recent photoshoot that we did to showcase brand new linen collections for spring. As usual, shoots like these are HUGE productions with big crews, multiple photographers and lots and lots (and LOTS) of options.  What do I mean by options?  I mean that for every item that you see in the final shot, we probably brought 4 others to choose from.  And yes, that includes furniture.  Why do we need so many? Because I never know how things are going to look until I see them in the space, with lighting and bedding etc etc.  I would rather have an extra bedside table or two on hand and swap them in quickly than wish I had something different and get stuck.  Options are my best friend when I’m styling…unfortunately they can also be my assistant’s nightmare (thanks Biagio!).  On shoots for Hudson’s Bay I always, ALWAYS bring lots of flowers because there are bouquets in every shot and sometimes it can be a long process to get them exactly right.  We have to consider what looks good in the room, which blooms are seasonal/available (even though we are shooting months in advance), what speaks to the brand, what was done previously and what my clients prefer.  Luckily, flowers are my absolutely favorite thing to do.  See if you can spot our choices in the final images.

Anyway, without much further ado, I present to you images from the Spring Linens Book photoshoot.  Yes, we work really hard BUT we also have a lot of fun.  First is the cover image (you might recognize it from last week’s Globe and Mail insert):

hudsons bay may 17-30 2013 stephanie 1Setting up for the same shot.  Our locations was a super-hip furniture store in the West end.

IMG_0202On the other side of the camera: OPTIONS!!  And my makeshift desk is in there too somewhere.  Yes, it looks like chaos but I swear that we have a system.

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Oh there it is! Among the flowers…on the most adorable Bay garden table.  Hey! It matches my phone!  And I always keep my receipts in a chic glass vase. Don’t you?

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Biagio and I are in constant contact…and we bring our own phones.

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We shot an alternative angle for the Esprit bedding and it included me (in a pink dress!) walking up and down the staircase in the background.  The image was meant to be blurred….LOL!

IMG_0227The last time you might ever see me in a dress this pink:

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This is the final shot of new Distinctly Home bedding.  We were going for a uptown Kate Spade style.  I am in love with the gladiolas and the fabulous painted pipe wall! Amazing!  Oh and here’s a tip: garden stools as bedside tables. Why not?

hudsons bay may 17-30 2013 stephanie 2An alternative bike option for the above shot.  Super-chic no?

IMG_0215Here’s amazing off-figure stylist Rodney Smith (with photographer Paul Chmielowiec) creating those fantastic towel insert shots.

IMG_0218A better shot of Paul (the master behind all of the off figure shots in the book):

IMG_0219And who shot all the big room shots you ask?  Michael Graydon of course!  Here he is with our incredible Art Director Rebecca Watson.  Go Team!

IMG_0211All right now a few other random but fun shots. It’s raining chairs! Hallelujah!

IMG_0221Biagio, looking handsome, with “options”:

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I love a pretty vignette:
IMG_0198Photo assistant Rudo working on his tan:

IMG_0220The communal inspiration desk:

IMG_0214Oh and here’s me (in my regular clothes) trying to get a handle on things.

IMG_0208What a fun shoot!!  Thanks very much to all involved especially those at Fuel Advertising and Hudson’s Bay.  A very special thank you to our tireless clients Arren Williams and Jen Radway.  Can’t wait to see you all again very soon.

PS: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention bed-stylist Charlene Walton and producer Rosanna Tanti.  Nice work ladies!!!

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?

Marcel Wanders: Design Poet

I had the incredible honour of meeting international design superstar Marcel Wanders last week at an event held at Klaus in Toronto.  The party was fantastic, but more importantly I got inspired to find out more about what makes him tick and dive into as many images as Google will provide (countless, it turns out).  While I already knew about his work with Mooi and loved his imaginative style, there is so much more to admire than I ever knew.  photo

Wanders places a great emphasis on communicating whimsy, magic, daydreams and wonder (in fact, his twitter handle is @wanderswonders).  His designs are like Alice in Wonderland does Elle Decor with exagerated propotrion, pop-out textures and enchanted  motifs.   He creates everything from high-end hotels to private residences to table-top to furniture and accessories.

Here are my top 10 stunning images of Wanders’ interior design work.

The first one is from the glittering lobby of the Andaz Hotel in Amsterdam; a magical constellation that connects travelers to the heavens above.

Skylight with Bells

The bell theme continues in the Mondrian Hotel in South Beach.  Wanders thinks of bells as the original vehicle for mass-communiction.

Mondrian Dining

Also from the Mondrian, this gorgeous poolside is incredible:

Monrian outdoor

Wanders designed this private Mallorca residence in mostly circular lines, including this sofa (by Poliform). This was his first full residential project and he calls it “unavoidably exuberant and unabashedly outrageous”.  There is a real tension between the modern elements and classic hits like the little black table with antique-style legs.

Red Couch

This is the outdoor courtyard at the Kameha Grand Bonn hotel.  The giant gold pots and cross-word puzzle looking tile pattern visually fill the wide space without restricting it.

Lobby

Also from the Kameha Grand, this lobby shot is to die for.  Again, the bell theme comes back but this time we get disco balls, a killer black ceiling and oversized decorated pillars.

Hotel Lobby

A bathroom shot from the same hotel.  I love how the gold tile wraps down on to the floor:Bathroom

Shifting to another private residence In Amsterdam, this not-so-huge space required a dedication to organization that is typical of Netherland style.  Despite the desire for streamlined minimalism, every inch of it still sings a wild tune.  Note the decorative ceiling, wallpaper, floor, furniture, partition…etc etc. This works well because amongst all the texture there are also simple surfaces (couch, table, pendant) to give the eye a break.

Room 1

This powder-room has a glass door. I’m not sure I would want to hide that tile either….

Room 4

A door detail with Wanders’ signature logo.

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For more inspiration watch this little video: