the friday files

I don't care how old you are, the beginning of September always feels like the start of a new year. It's hard to shake that back-to-school feeling. I actually found myself looking back over my old notes this week. Starting today, I'm going to be contributing a few posts a month to the HGTV blog, Style Sheet. My first assignment was my Top Five Design Rules. Trouble is, I don't believe in design rules. Sure, your carpet should extend under your sofa and your curtains will look best if they skim or pool a bit on the floor but the moment you put these things into words someone somewhere will post a photo showing the exact opposite and it will look brilliant. So goes the fickle world of design.

However, I do think there are a few guidelines you can follow to achieve a cohesive look. To see my Top Five Style Guides, head over to HGTV.

Below are some of my favourite interiors from photographer Jean-Marc Palisse's portfolio. Clearly, homes to get schooled by.

Image credits:
Jean-Marc Palisse

hello! neighbor on the ipad

As I alluded to on Friday, I have some exciting news to reveal! A little while ago, I was approached by a great magazine called 2 for Couples about my Hello! Neighbor posts. They were looking for some design content for their new ipad app and thought my house tours of Toronto homes would be a great fit.

Well, hello! Yes, I would be interested! I've always been absolutely fascinated (some might say obsessed) with the magazine industry and to finally be a part of it was in essence a dream come true. The thought of having my own monthly column (so to speak) is beyond exciting for me. You know that saying, "if you build it, they will come" well it's true. I think so many of us have a hidden talent or dream and for whatever reason we drag our feet or make excuses and don't do it but I think if you just do it and absolutely pour your heart and soul into it the results will follow. (Sorry, that's a bit sappy but it's true!)

If you happen to own an ipad (sadly, I don't but that might have to change!) you can download the first issue of the app here for free!  You'll notice that we've added a few extra touches; a photo of the couple, an extended interview, and a "how to get the look" page. I'm really happy with the way it has turned out. Of course, none of this would have happened if Kristin hadn't been aboard. Her photos are what make these Hello! Neighbor stories so great. She has a knack for bringing rooms to life. Thank you, Kristin!

Each month, 2 for Couples will run a new Hello! Neighbor story on the ipad with the same extended content. Thanks to everyone over at 2 for Couples but especially Diane and Kelly for getting this thing off the ground. And hey, if you're getting married sometime soon (101 bridal gowns app - need I say more!) or you're planning on doing some entertaining check out some of 2's other ipad apps. So much great content!

So, that's a little taste of it ....what do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts!

homework - evaluation time

To bring you up to speed, a couple of weeks ago I read this amazing blog post which got me thinking about all the little things in my house that don't work. I agree that sticking to a style demands focus and discipline and that if you waiver the whole vision can fall apart. I thought it was time to do a little homework on my house to evaluate what it is I like and what needs changing. I started off last week, by putting into words exactly what my personal style is. I came up with this description: a laid-back and neutral space with organic and historical elements and a touch of bohemian yet spare and modern. It's a bit of a mouthful but it's me. With this thought in mind, I turned the camera on my own house and started evaluating. By the way, have you ever done this - taken out your camera and photographed your own house? I think it is one of the most useful tools when it comes to judging your own home. There is something about seeing a room in a photograph that makes everything much clearer. Below are my notes room by room.

I feel like I have a roadmap now of what to tackle next and where to direct my money and energy. Obviously, many of these things I won't do for a very long time. Still, I think it is good to have a plan. Doing an exercise like this also really helps focus your mind. The next time I'm out shopping I can rifle through these images in my head and ask, "will this work - does it fit with my style?" Hopefully, I'll come home with less mistakes and more winners!