A muted neutral palette can help create a dreamy retreat.

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A Vancouver condo where industrial meets girly glam

Author: Kim Christie

From New York to Atlanta to (hopefully) Paris this year, Peridot Decorative Homewear co-owner Leah Balderson spends tons of time searching out unique pieces for her store. And when she’s not scouting? She’s designing one-of-a-kind furniture for her clients. Because if there’s one thing Leah avoids at all costs, it’s having the same decor as everyone around her. After all, who likes showing up at a party in the same dress as someone else?

So when Leah moved to her 800-square-foot one-bedroom condo in Vancouver’s Fairview neighbourhood three years ago, she first set about customizing the bones. Though she loved its muted neutral palette and simple modern architecture, the condo was a typical new build. “To make it feel more special, I took off all the door casings, plastered the back wall of the kitchen for extra texture and tiled a feature wall in the living room, recessing the TV right in,” she says.

“Because I’m very social, I wanted a comfortable space with a lounge feel at the centre of my home,” she says. Built-in pieces like the concrete sofa base, display ledge and bed frame also optimize the limiting layout while asserting the cutting-edge style Leah sought.

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Condo tour: Edgy luxe design

Design must-haves

Homeowner Leah Balderson’s must-have design list for her home includes shimmery wall treatments, jewellery-like accents and industrial finishes.


Image by: Style at Home


By: Sara Cation


Source: Kim Christie

Condo tour: Edgy luxe design

Living room

For the living room coffee table, Leah found the teak and crackled resin blocks in New York City (“they weight like a million pounds,” she says) and had the Lucite tabletop custom made to offer surface space sans visual clutter. “It slides back and forth so people can slip through.”


Image by: Style at Home


By: Sara Cation


Source: Kim Christie

Condo tour: Edgy luxe design

Recessed feature wall

In the living room, the TV was recessed into the feature wall adorned with glass tiles that designer and homeowner Leah Balderson loves for their iridescent lustre. In lieu of a medi unit, Leah had a display ledge installed to mimic a fireplace hearth.


Image by: Style at Home


By: Sara Cation


Source: Kim Christie

Condo tour: Edgy luxe design

Bar cart displays

“Bar carts are a great way to display beautiful things in a small place where you don’t have many surfaces,” says Leah.


Image by: Style at Home


By: Sara Cation


Source: Kim Christie

Condo tour: Edgy luxe design

Bling and luxury

“The woman who designed the living room’s quartz-spiked side table is also a jewellery design,” says Leah. “I love her flair for bling and luxury.”


Image by: Style at Home


By: Sara Cation


Source: Kim Christie

Condo tour: Edgy luxe design

Bedroom decor

Leah chose a spiky brass chandelier for her bedroom to play off the living room side table while matching the raw feel of the concrete bed frame.


Image by: Style at Home


By: Sara Cation


Source: Kim Christie

Condo tour: Edgy luxe design

Entryway

In the teeny entryway, a sleek white floor lamp, an elegant wall hanging and a rustic womven stool establish the raw-luxe look carried throughout the space.


Image by: Style at Home


By: Sara Cation


Source: Kim Christie

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Homeowner Leah Balderson’s must-have design list for her home includes shimmery wall treatments, jewellery-like accents and industrial finishes.

For the living room coffee table, Leah found the teak and crackled resin blocks in New York City (“they weight like a million pounds,” she says) and had the Lucite tabletop custom made to offer surface space sans visual clutter. “It slides back and forth so people can slip through.”

In the living room, the TV was recessed into the feature wall adorned with glass tiles that designer and homeowner Leah Balderson loves for their iridescent lustre. In lieu of a medi unit, Leah had a display ledge installed to mimic a fireplace hearth.

“Bar carts are a great way to display beautiful things in a small place where you don’t have many surfaces,” says Leah.

“The woman who designed the living room’s quartz-spiked side table is also a jewellery design,” says Leah. “I love her flair for bling and luxury.”

Leah chose a spiky brass chandelier for her bedroom to play off the living room side table while matching the raw feel of the concrete bed frame.

In the teeny entryway, a sleek white floor lamp, an elegant wall hanging and a rustic womven stool establish the raw-luxe look carried throughout the space.

You’ll love this Hardy Boys hideout.

Author: Michael Graydon

Despite building a brand new four-bedroom house, homeowner Remy Lang creates a whimsical room with a nostalgic heart for her son, Max.

“It felt vintage, almost ’70s, to me,” says Remy of the Cath Kidston sailboat wallpaper, the starting point for the decor in her son’s room. “I really loved it and had family bring it back from the U.K.” The retro-style pendant light and classic rib-knit pillowcase continue the nostalgic vibe, while the striped bedding and zigzag rug keep the look fresh and modern.
 

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Remy saved a lot of money by having her builder create a built-in bed frame out of plywood and trimming it with moulding. “I couldn’t find a bed in our price range, and this was a great solution – it only cost me $150,” she says.
 

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The canvas teepee, a gift from Max’s grandmother, provides him with ample fun. “It does double duty as storage for books and toys when he’s not playing in it,” says Remy. She also hung one utilitarian black sconce above the bed, skipping the need for a nightstand and table lamp.

Remy’s decorating advice
“Keep it simple – you can always add later. And as soon as your kids are old enough, involve them in a few of the design choices. It makes it more fun for everyone.”
 

This Toronto dwelling, with its book-laden walls and cozy corners, is a reader’s dream.

Easygoing, trusting and super stylish: These homeowners were downright dream clients for designer Robyn Rider, whom they hired to revamp their newly purchased three-bedroom dwelling in downtown Toronto. The protege of the designer who’d transformed their previous house, Robyn was the prime candidate to deliver an updated look to these downsizing lawyers’ home.

“They have great taste and great pieces to work with,” says Robyn – plus, lots of books. Though the homeowners significantly reduced their large book collection, the remaining titles were more than substantial, including legal references, favourite reads, hardcover sets and prized heirlooms. It’s only fitting, then, that the only directive Robyn was given was to accommodate this veritable library, which ended up dictating much of the main floor’s design.

Robyn added floor-to-ceiling bookcases throughout the entire main level to achieve the perfect marriage of library and living space. This is especially evident in the dining room, which she designed as a place to not only eat meals and host dinner parties but also to lounge by the fire with a good book. To that effect, a cozy armchair by the fireplace is accompanied by a reading lamp and footstool, and the banquette at the round urn-based dining table is extra-deep and extra-comfy. “I wanted to create an intimate area that could accommodate guests, but where the homeowners wouldn’t feel ridiculous when it’s just the two of them,” says Robyn.

While the central kitchen marks a bit of a departure from the scholarly look, it still feels like a seamless part of the open-concept living area. “I used cabinets featuring the same profile and colour as the millwork in the adjacent dining and living rooms,” says Robyn. Integrated and panelled appliances as well as cabinetry with footed toe kicks lend the space a furnished feel, while oversized lantern-style pendant lights above the island are the kind you might find over a formal dining table, further blending the lines between the cooking zone and the rest of the home.

After all, the kitchen leads right into the living room, which returns to books. “I didn’t even try to organize or colour code them,” says Robyn of her approach to keeping the look cohesive. “It would have felt too contrived.” (Plus, the husband is pretty particular about organizing things by subject.) So, to temper the mismatched assortment, Robyn created a serene envelope of white millwork and cream walls, which she used throughout the main level. “We could afford to be quieter with the paint palette considering the books and the bold textiles,” she explains, noting examples like the traditional multi-hued heirloom needlepoint rug and contemporary zigzag-patterned armchairs. “The homeowners definitely didn’t need to be convinced to use colour,” says Robyn. “It actually took some convincing to leave the walls neutral!”

Once Robyn finessed the final details of the newly designed house, the homeowners unpacked and arranged their last tomes onto the shelves, ready to begin their new chapter.

 

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French doors – which lead to a backyard oasis that borders a ravine – let a tremendous amount of light into the living room of this Toronto house designed by Robyn Rider. Because of the kitchen’s proximity to this space, it was decorated with statement pieces, such as oversized lantern-style pendant lights, to unify the areas. 

 

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Black soapstone counter- tops break up the white kitchen cabinetry that would have otherwise looked too clinical in this cozy space. Even though it’s quite high maintenance, soapstone adds warmth and lustre. “It’s an extra layer of luxury,” says Robyn.

 

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The first space you see when you walk through the front door is the powder room. It sets the tone for the punchy greens and bold prints used throughout the rest of the house. 

 

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The library-inspired living room features clever design details, such as space-saving pull-out shelves in place of side tables. “I was channelling British townhouse style, in which everything has a purpose,” says Robyn.

 

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Reminding Robyn (pictured right) of gardens in Provence, the table base, an oversized urn, was the jumping-off point for the dining room’s palette. “I love its intense green colour,” says the designer, “and I just went with it!” The homeowners also love the extra-deep banquette. Robyn used a bold botanical print on the Roman shades to blur the border between indoors and out, imparting a lively and verdant atmosphere. 

 

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A dining area and reading nook rolled into one, this room sees a lot of action. The bookcases, lined with selections and collections most meaningful to the homeowners, lend an old-world vibe that is punched up by the fresh armchair fabric. 

 

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A serene departure from the rest of the house, the main guest room is soft yet sophisticated. The antique settee is a family heirloom that Robyn had reupholstered with a contemporary centre stripe design. From there, Robyn layered in more powder blue and cream elements into the space but brought in dove grey to counter the femininity. “Powder blue on its own can border on prissy,” she explains.

 

Photography by Stacey Brandford 

Learn what to explore in this quaint yet colourful city.

Author: Emilie Simpson

Know the best spots to stay, eat and play in Iceland’s quaint yet colourful capital city.

Senior associate art director Dominique Patafio ventures to magical Iceland, spending some quality time in its quaint yet colourful capital city.
 

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Illustration by Emilie Simpson

 

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Where to stay: 101 Hotel
A convenient location and cool vibe make this modern hotel the place to stay. Have a cocktail in the lobby bar, then check out the local dining and shopping scene. Hverfisgata 10, 101hotel.is.

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Where to shop: Laugavegur
Head to Laugavegur, one of the oldest and best shopping streets in Reykjavik. Amid touristy stores are several small decor boutiques selling amazing Nordic-designed housewares. Laugavegur, visitrekjavik.is.

 

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Where to eat: Baejarins Beztu Pylsur
You must try this signature Icelandic dish (yes, it’s a hot dog!) with the works: fried and raw onions, ketchup, sweet mustard and remoulade. Tryggvagata 1, bbp.is/en.

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What to do: Blue Lagoon
A 40-minute drive from Reykjavik takes you to the Blue Lagoon. Named one of National Geographic’s wonders of the world, the spa’s warm geothermal sea water contains algae, silica and minerals boasting unique healing properties. 240 Grindavik, bluelagoon.com.

 

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Image courtesy of iStockphoto

Where to eat: Icelandic Fish and Chips
Fish and chips with a wholesome twist: The spelt-battered fish is fried in omega 3-rich rapeseed oil, and the chips are over-roasted to perfection. Tryggvagata 11, fishandchips.is.
 

Image by: Style at Home

Your bedroom is your sanctuary. Consider investing a little bit of time and money each season  – just a little bit, we promise! – to re-feather your nest.

Here are 99 ways to update your bedroom with ease.​

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1 Buy new bed linens.

2 Or as a cheat, just a new duvet cover or comforter.

3 Got a minimalist bed? Add ornamentation with an upholstered headboard.

4 Or create a faux headboard by placing a large piece of framed artwork on the wall.

5 Got a four-poster bed? Add opulent curtains for a romantic vibe.

6 Hang a mosquito-net canopy for a safari-chic or island vibe.

7 Go nuts with pillows and accent cushions for an over-the-top comfortable in-bed reading or lounging experience.

8 Repaint your bedroom. How about Radiant Orchid , a captivating fuchsia/ mauve that Pantone colour experts deem 2014’s Colour of the Year?

9 Or paint a feature wall. The wall at the head of the bed is the obvious choice.

10 Add drama by wallpapering the entire room, or, again: just a feature wall.

11 Raise the roof! Crown moulding has a room-expanding effect. It’s a one-day DIY project, or hire a big-box retailer to install it for you.

12 Texture the ceiling with anaglypta wallpaper, or, even better, coffer panels or faux-tin ceiling panels.

13 Hang inspiring artwork.

14 Declutter your bedside tables, dressers and dressing table.

15 Invest in a new set of curtain holdbacks or tiebacks.

16 Clear the air while adding life with a potted tree.

17 Or, for the ultimate luxury, invest in a beautiful vase and weekly fresh-cut bouquets.

18 Add a new throw blanket to the foot of your bed. Linen, cotton, or silk for spring/summer; faux-fur, angora or fine wool for fall/winter.

19 Hang an eye-catching statement pendant or chandelier light.

20 Invest in wall-mounted reading lights.

21 Invest in a nice set of table lamps.

22 Clean both the interior and exterior sides of your windows. You’ll be amazed at how much brighter your space becomes!

23 Update your olfactory experience. Introduce seasonal, scented candles and a fresh pillow/linen spray. Choose natural products to reduce the amount of chemicals in your home.

24 If you’re like us, you love the pop of colour provided by a peppy purse or blazer lining. Get the same pick-me-up by lining your dresser drawers in a vibrant paper. TIP: If you can’t find a suitable drawer liner, use wallpaper or a heavyweight gift-wrap.
 
25 Wallpaper the interior of your walk-in closet for the same reason.

26 Switch out your lampshades. Consider making your own for DIY cred.

27 Using the same clock radio since your university days? Invest in a chic, designer alarm clock instead.

28 Buy a new mirror.

29 Make over your dresser with a fresh coat of paint and new drawer pulls or knobs.

30 Upgrade your nightstands. Repaint the existing ones or replace them with small side tables for a more contemporary-eclectic look.

31 Does Kitty or Fido bunk with you? Treat them to a stylish new pet bed.

32 Add wall-to-wall broadloom.

34 …or an area rug.

35 Add a few coffee table books. They’re not just for the living room. They can enhance the look of your bedroom, while providing nighttime reading material.

36 Introduce more colour into your bedroom. From a feature wall to bed linen, window coverings, even small accessories like accent pillows and alarm clocks add some pop.

37 Reconfigure your bedroom’s layout. Angle the bed in the corner, or push it to another wall.

38 Refresh your closet doors. Upgrade sliding panel doors to sleek French doors, or update the handles on existing doors.

39 Switch out your window coverings.

40 Or reconsider their configuration entirely. What about sleek blinds, shades or no-fuss California shutters? Or, opulent drapery if minimalism is normally your thing? Change is good!

41 Add some shine. Introduce a polished metal element to the room via dresser-top accessories, picture or mirror frames, or lighting.

42 Are you guilty of using your bedroom as a home office? Hide your workspace by tucking it into a closet, or through a hideaway desk.

43 Add character to a builder’s-basic room by installing extra-high baseboards and/or wall panels.

44 Turn storage into decor by investing in a beautiful jewelry box.

45 Hide distracting packaging design. Tuck your Kleenex box under a cover.

46 Stencil a wall with an inspirational mantra.

47 Got bookcases? Use molding to give it a built-in look.

48 Reupholster that old armchair or seat.

49 Install a ceiling fan.

50 Refinish and restain your hardwood floors. Or paint them out with an opaque colour for a cottage vibe.

51 Add an on-trend Etsy vibe to your existing off-the-shelf soft furnishings and accessories. Just break out the rickrack trim or fabric ribbon, or even a rubber stamp and fabric ink, and customize your pillowcases, sheets, curtains and lampshades.

52 Introduce a bench or settee to the foot of the bed.

53 Add a fun pop of colour with easy-on/easy-off wall decals.

54 Install a wall-mount, vent-free gas fireplace. A slim, modern design requires close to zero clearance and installs in a flash. (Be sure to check local fire codes for safety.) 

55 Open up the space. If floor space or breathing room is at a premium, move non-essential furniture to another room.

56 Put your lights onto dimmer switches for mood lighting in a flash.

57 Hide electronic clutter. Use a combination storage box/tray and charger so phone cords don’t snake all over your bedside tables or dresser.

58 Create a photo gallery. Hang dozens of treasured photos or lean them on floating shelves on a feature wall. Enhance the gallery vibe by choosing a uniform frame colour and finish.

59 Enhance the room’s soundscape. Cancel out street noise with a white noise machine or play soothing nature sounds.

60 Keep the room clean with a strict ‘dishes in-dishes out’ policy. Sure, enjoy the Sunday paper in bed with coffee and toast. Just take the dishes out when you’re done so it doesn’t sit around for days at a time!

61 Build a DIY bed canopy. Check online for inspiration: you can get as fancy or as basic as you please!

62 Add pattern. Delight the eye with some graphic punch. Look for boldly patterned bed linen or accent pillows, or introduce the theme on the walls via artwork or wallpaper.

63 Mix things up with a few mod, high-gloss finishes. Dress up your dresser in a coat of vibrant, look-at-me high-gloss paint, (Buttercup yellow works for us! Especially on a more traditional piece.) Or paint the ceiling in a high-gloss hue that’s in stark contrast to semi-matte walls.

64 If you’re short on space in a teensy Victorian or condo bedroom, consider going double-duty on storage and display. A trio of old hard-body suitcases can be stacked to create a bedside table; tuck out-of-season or other less-used items within.

65 Add a throw rug by the side of your bed. A tiny shag, flokati rug, lambskin or cotton rag rug all feel great underfoot. Bonus points for colour!

66 Replace your room’s light switch plates and outlet covers to ones that complement your room decor. Wood, metal and stone are three designer options, in addition to plastic. Choose a clear one that can be customized with wallpaper, if that’s your preference.

67 Tuck away some of your tonal accessories in favour of new ones that introduce stark contrast to your room. For example, got a classic white-on-white palette? Introduce graphic black or navy via duvet cover, pillows, and a high-contrast patterned rug and lightshades.

68 Got a TV in the bedroom? Tuck it inside a cabinet for a more seamless appearance when it’s not in use.

69 ….or invest in an automated, track-mounted panel that slides vertically or horizontally over your TV. Customize the panel with easy-to-replace artwork for regular updates.

70 Add a cool coastal-cottage vibe to the bedroom with lanterns and a string of twinkly lights strung over the headboard or along a wall.

71 Get new windows installed. Framing a killer view with upgraded double-hung or casement windows is a surefire way to revitalize your bedroom.

72 Stuck in a rental unit with ugly flooring? Install a floor you can take with you when you move. Consider a floating laminate floor, or pop in carpet tiles.

73 Rehang your curtains from an eye-catching new rod.

74 Trade same-old, same-old pillow shams for quirky-eclectic finds from Etsy, or Anthropologie, or vintage pieces from the flea market.

75 Turn fashion accessories into decor accessories. Hang your favourite hats and necklaces in plain view, from hooks or off the corner of a picture or mirror.

76 Likewise, artful perfume bottles or flasks: showcase them on a dresser surface. (But limit your display to special pieces, not everything you own!)

77 Create a museum vibe by displaying vacation souvenirs in shadow boxes.

78 Bring in a living element with an easy-to-care-for succulent tray or terrarium.

79 Stay hydrated and spiff up your nightstand with a chic water carafe.

80 Decorate with books. Avoid clutter by limiting them to one floating shelf of your faves – or the best looking.

81 Give an existing chandelier a mod new look by spray-painting it a high-gloss bright. From romantic to edgy for under $10!

82 Got a window without a view? Ditch the curtains and frost the glass, or slick on a sheet of Japanese-paper-style window film.

83 Paint a canvas and hang it on your wall.

84 Or several and mount them in a group.

85 Organize essentials in drawers, baskets and boxes for a neater, fresher-looking bedroom.

86 Invest in a piece of statement furniture like an antique armoire.

87 Beat the sleep deficit by giving your bedroom a total PM blackout effect via blackout blinds and curtains. You’ll wake up so refreshed your bedroom will feel like a brand new place!

88 Charge your smart phone somewhere else. In fact, keep all your electronics out of your cocoon. There: so much more restful!

89 Add a mantel. It adds instant character to any bedroom. You can find a vintage or antique mantel at a flea market, a reproduction at a furniture shop or even a big box retailer, or create a modern-minimalist version with floating shelves, candles and a few cool tchotchkes.

90 Paint a feature wall in chalkboard paint (any colour), then draw your own bedroom tableaux as often as you wish.

91 Display your happiness icons. Frame and display that favourite wedding photo or very first Valentine’s Day card.

92 Consider a dramatic wall hanging, such as a small rug, fibre art, Bamileke feather headdress, or carved wood sculpture.

93 Add additional conversation seating like a chaise longue or cozy slipper chair.

94 Make your room feel bigger by painting it an expansive, light-bouncing white. Streamline into a white-on-white palette with occasional pops of colour for contrast.

95 Make your room feel cozier by painting and redecorating in a warm neutral palette.

96 Or energize the space with brights and eye-catching pattern.

97 Get a hammer and chisel and expose the brick behind an exterior-fronting wall.

98 Make some room by moving a freestanding closet into the spare bedroom. What you lose in in-room storage, you’ll gain in square-footage.

99 Change bedrooms. Caveat: Obviously, you won’t want to if you’ve got the master suite, but if your bedroom is the same size as other bedrooms in your apartment, condo or house, consider trading. Your existing furnishings will look different in a space with different dimensions and natural light. This in turn will inspire some creative inspiration, we’re sure!

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