27 November 2010


Though I don't remember it myself, movies from my childhood home in Montreal reveal how much my parents relished creating a magical atmosphere for my brother and me at Christmas. My mother made handmade presents and wrapped them with care, while my father cut out footprints from black card stock and arranged them in parallel lines between the tree and our fireplace. There were always piles of snow outside and warm beverages to be sipped indoors. 

With the early fading of daylight and a marked drop in the temperature, December is a time when we want home to feel even more embracing than the rest of the year. My Christmas decorating scheme changes yearly--one year a large bare branch with a handful of ornaments, another year twinkle lights and ornaments in every room of the house. But I always make room for some of the traditions that developed over my youth. My great-grandmother on my mother's side handmade ornaments for each of us that have become a considerable collection--angels and toy soldiers, Santas and reindeer. This is the first Christmas that there will be no new ornament with her stitched signature arriving in the mail. From my father's parents, a sweet little creche with Provencal figurines--a woman carrying a tied bunch of lavender and a shepherd with a lamb across his shoulders--always holds a place of prominence. Though my tastes alternate from minimalist to all-out celebration, a few meaningful family heirlooms always find their way into the mix.

Images: Fresh Home magazine, Fall 2010 issue. Country Living magazine, December/January 2011. Marie Claire Idees magazine, December 2008 issue and December 2009 issue. Canadian House & Home magazine, November 2010 issue. Unknown.

20 November 2010

Reading Nooks

Some reading nooks are created to make use of dead space--in a bay window, a large foyer or on the landing of a staircase. Others are carved deliberately into the corner of a room. A comfortable chair and good natural or mood lighting are essential. Some folks like to have their books surrounding them, always an arm's length away. Others prefer little embellishment around them. The better to be submerged into the world of their novel. A blanket, candles, flowers or plant life are small additions that raise these small spaces from serving a purpose to inviting us for an extended visit. Some think an afternoon spent reading is a waste of time. My feeling is that time spent reading makes the rest of the day better spent.

Images: House Beautiful magazine, July/August 2010 issue. Marie Claire Idees magazine, January 2010 issue. Period Living magazine, October 2010 issue. Red magazine, November 2010 issue. She Moves the Furniture.

12 November 2010


I've always had a bit of a thing for daybeds. Maybe it's the idea of being able to deposit a bed in any room of the house--I had one in my kitchen once and I could have lived in that room alone. Or maybe it's because they present a good excuse to pile on tons of throw pillows. Whatever my reasons, I know I'm not alone in loving these diverse pieces of furniture. I see a lot of twin beds at auctions and I'm often tempted to buy a pair and combine the headboards to make a daybed. Sometimes all a piece needs is a bit of wax to fill in scratches and water spots. Other times, an ugly finish can be covered up with a coat of paint and the whole look of the piece is transformed. Twin beds are rarely in demand anymore, but a daybed is as modern as it is a classic.

Images: Inside Out magazine, Christmas issue, vol.1, no.1. Campagne Decoration magazine, May/June 2010 issue. Easy Living magazine, November 2010 issue. Living etc magazine, May 2010 issue. Country Living, British Edition, October 2010 issue. Fresh Home magazine, Summer 2010 issue. Recycled Home by Mark & Sally Bailey, with photography by Debi Treloar, published by Ryland, Peters & Small 2009. Period Living magazine, October 2010 issue.

07 November 2010

Photography: Legs and Antlers

Sometimes you just need a good laugh. These auction photos gone awry--usually involving mirrors being shot head on--put a smile on my face. 

Images: Auctionzip.

04 November 2010

Shop: Fishs Eddy

When in NYC, a great stop for fun and unusual kitchen finds is the always chock-full Fishs Eddy. A chance encounter twenty five years ago with a barn full of vintage restaurant dishware led to the opening of this quirky shop and it's still going strong with its original lines of dishes and gifts. It now has an extensive online shop for those who can't visit in person. A few of the highlights: floorplan dish sets, toile serving dishes, diner-style platters, handpressed glass pitchers, alphabet mugs and canvas totes. Displayed in vintage cupboards and fixtures, barrels and fruit-picking baskets that nearly spill over with inventory, the only shortage here is in aisle space.

Images: Fishs Eddy.
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