toronto life - city homes

Back in December, the week before Christmas to be exact, I met with the editor-in-chief of the Toronto Life special interest publications, Maryam Sanati. Toronto Life, for those of you who don't live here, is a monthly magazine that covers everything that goes on in the city of Toronto from restaurants to real estate to shopping to current events. It also releases about six special interest publications a year. Maryam asked me if I would be interested in writing a couple of stories for them for their special City Homes edition of the magazine. Of course, I jumped at the chance. {By the way, do you recognize that house on the cover? It's none other than Jana and John's home from one of my Hello! Neighbor tours.)

My assignments were to find 15-20 unusual, off the beaten path decorating items for kid's bedrooms (divided into three schemes: the athletic child, the scholarly child and the artistic child) and to pull together five different tabletop settings. Today, I'll show you how the kid's room story turned out and next week I'll post about the dinnerware.

My direction was to think out of the box and come up with items that you might not normally put in a kid's room. The task was harder than it seemed! However, after driving all over the city I did come up with a few unusual treasures. For example, that soapbox car in the first image is an actual antique kid's race toy that I found at Smash. It's probably not practical for most urban sized bedrooms but if you had the space it sure would be great. Looking at the first photo you can also see how Henry's bedroom might have turned out if I had gone with moodboard number one. I think I was heavily influenced by my shopping sprees around the city for that scheme!

For the scholarly child, I love this vintage map from Post & Beam Reclamation. In fact, someone told me the other day that they saw a map like this installed as a window blind in a child's room which I thought was a smart idea.

For the artistic child, I found these great mobiles by local artist Dennis Lin. I'm very tempted to pick one of these up for the nursery as our other one was destroyed. And you can't help but love the Keith Haring rocker from The Drake General Store  - talk about a hip baby.

On a side note, the magazine also ran a few photos of our house.

It was a pleasure to have Michael Graydon come by and shoot our home. All around I'm thrilled with how the stories turned out. Thanks to everyone at Toronto Life for  making it happen. Those editors work tirelessly to bring these pages to you and they deserve a ton of credit!


henry's room - moodboard one

With time a-tickin',  I think I've narrowed down Henry's new room to two ideas. I'll show you the first moodboard today and the other one next week. I'm really not sure which way to go and would love your input - the good and the bad! Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unlikely of places and honestly who knows why one thought sticks in your head when another one doesn't. Since I started this project, this is the image that keeps popping up in my mind.

Commune Design, Hollywood California 2008

Okay, so not your typical little boy's room inspiration! What I'm drawn to here is the wood panelling, combined with the eye-catching rug, the swath of bright yellow curtain, the driftwood lamps and the simple, basic white linen covers. As you might remember, I'm thinking of treating the wall behind Henry's bed with some kind of vertical or horizontal wood panelling either in a white oak or black walnut. That's where the wood will come in. The other elements will be more like below.

The jumping off point for my colour scheme comes from this vivid flokati style rug with diamond accents in emerald green, charcoal grey, and persimmon. Amazingly, it works very well with two of the elements we already own (the white Ikea malm dresser and java Eames rocking chair) which will inevitably find their way into the room. The bed will most likely consist of an upholstered headboard and foodboard in either charcoal grey linen or felt. I'll add another shot of colour to the room with bold emerald green linen curtains. No room is complete without a dramatic chandelier and I think this Coral Pendant would be a good fit. For toy storage, I'll probably have a low bench made under which I will stash five of these West Elm woven baskets for toys. I might paint the area above the bench in charcoal grey chalkboard paint to create a small craft area.  For art, we'll try and find some vintage sporting posters like the ones pictured above. Then I'll place a driftwood lamp on one of the dressers or a bedside table.

This scheme really came together because of the colourful flokati rug I found. However, it is the one element I'm afraid I might grow tired of down the road. The good news is that once this rug is removed the room is actually quite neutral. Imagine there will be a wood panelled wall, a dark grey bed, white sheets, white dresser and a grey chair. The only touches of colour remaining will be the green curtains and the art which could also be switched out. If I'm really looking for longevity out of the room I could even choose a more neutral curtain to begin with ensuring me many options down the road.

What do you think? It's quite colourful? Does it suit a little boy?  (The next one is more subdued!)

henry's new room - inspiration

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, we are still a little ways off from starting Henry's new room but that doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about it. First off, I refuse to call this space, Henry's Big Boy Room. There's something about that phrase that really bothers me - it seems better suited to a circus or amusement park. Plus, my goal with this room is to give him something that will last beyond his toddler and elementary years. I'm hoping the design of this room will take him right into college! (Okay, that might be pushing it but you get where I'm going.) {Also, there is a small possibility that Henry will stay in his current room with a few tweaks and we will create a new nursery. It all depends on how the furniture fits and I haven't quite got to the space planning stage of this project yet}

Below are some images and ideas I've been thinking about.

I've been looking for some ways to add some interest to the walls of Henry's room. I'm particularly drawn to the idea of covering one or two walls in either horizontal or vertical wood cladding. This example with the built-in bench and bed is particularly charming and well suited to the architecture of the home.

And here is an example with what looks like rift cut white oak vertical panelling. You can see how easily this kid's room could grow with the child right into their college years.

One of the hardest things to find to date is a twin bedframe that I really like. I'm drawn to this solid wood timber bed frame by Mark Tuckey but wonder if it would be too much wood with the panelled wall.

A better solution (and more affordable) might just be an easy linen bedskirt. I would probably add an upholstered headboard, perhaps slipcovered, in the same fabric to the head of the bed and maybe even add a footboard.

One of the things we definitely need to address is the fact that there is no closet in the room. I think we could rig something up from Ikea to look like the photo on the left but I also like how multifunctional the chalkboard wall, storage bins, shelves, and hooks are on the right. Of course, there is the concern that Henry might end up at school everyday with chalk all over his clothes!

If my husband has his way we will also be adding a climbing wall to his room. I'm not so sure...

Finally, if by chance this new room actually becomes the nursery for our little girl I might go in the direction above. It's not typically my style but there is something about that green wallpaper, the simple red striped fabric and of course that fabulous retro yellow chandelier that I love. Again, I think it's a room a baby could grow into and would look good for years to come.

What do you think? Would you go with the wood panelled boys room or the more whimsical and homespun girls room?

Image credits:
1 - Leslie Williamson
2 - Francois Halard
3-4 - Rachel Castle's Home via The Design Files, Mark Tuckey's home - photos by Mikkel Vang
5 - Remodelista
6-7 - Inrichting-Huis , Bolig via Emmas Designblogg (photos Mikkel Adsbol)
8 -
9-10 - Skona Hem, Lynda Gardner's home on Design*Sponge