We know, it’s September. We’ve barely recycled the rosé bottles and sent our swimsuits off to hibernation. But if there’s one thing that softens the blow of summer being over, it’s the fact that we have the holidays to look forward to. Anthropologie, for one, is already giving us festive finds to be excited about. The retailer just launched its ornament and trim collection, and it’s a real treat.
From capiz tree toppers to mini monogrammed mittens, the line ensures that this holiday season will be your most well decorated yet. Stockpile them now to have on hand for hostess gifts, too—you never know when you’ll need a bundled-up penguin trinket.
The real highlight, however, has to be the delightfully kitschy food ornaments. If you’re looking to go outside the box with this year’s decorations, we have a few ideas on where to start:
Youtuber and pro DIYer Alexandra Gater had a long list of affordable upgrades she wanted to make to her tiny Toronto kitchen: swap out the plastic-y counters for herringbone butcher block, add a farmhouse sink from IKEA, replace the grimy stovetop burners. Her landlord was on board as long as the new additions were neutral. So when it came time to tackle the “weird wood vinyl” backsplash, Gater planned to have her contractor install white ceramic subway tiles. “I figured it was the way to go. But I love color, especially pink,” she says. She came up with a better, still rental-friendly compromise: peel-and-stick tiles.
If Gater was going to go faux, she at least wanted it to look legit. “I was wary of tiles that felt like stickers or decals,” she shares. Having used Smart Tiles for her bathroom facelift, Gater knew the brand’s product could withstand moisture. She landed on the company’s millennial pink Metro Ava option. The adhesives have a gel-like finish, giving them an authentic shine. “I could have color without it being permanent, and that’s why they’re so great,” she says.
Catch the vlogger’s full kitchen reno tutorial below, then follow her three steps for this 20-minute (!!) backsplash hack.
Step 1: Measure Your Space
Before you put your order in, scope out how much surface area you want to camouflage. There’s no hard math involved; Gater used the calculator on Smart Tiles’s website to figure out how many sheets she would need. Buy more tiles than you think (they’ll come in handy later!).
Step 2: Prep the Walls
Clean the walls with mild soap and a damp rag beforehand to ensure a smooth finish. “These tiles will go on top of just about any material,” says Gater.
The strips that Gater used feature roughly eight tiles each, so you’ll get full coverage pretty fast. For precise edges, the DIYer recommends using a very sharp X-Acto knife and a ruler to cut off excess pieces. After you’ve trimmed your sticker and peeled off the backing, apply the strip at the bottom corner of the wall and work your way across, left to right, and up. If there’s a gap left over at the end that you need to fill, you’ll want it near the top where it’s less noticeable. While there are directions included in the box, interlinking the grout lines will feel fairly intuitive; simply layer the white seams on top of one another.
Step 4: Fill in the Gaps
Remember those extra tiles we told you to order? When Gater completed her backsplash, she had a few choices: Take the additional tiles around the corner so they covered the entire L-shaped kitchen, trim them into small strips to fill the one-inch gap at the top, or wrap them behind the refrigerator. She thought the latter would look the most realistic, so she left the second wall white and filled in the upper border with pink paint. “I didn’t think it was necessary to tile the whole kitchen, especially because I was going for such a bold color,” she says. “Sometimes an accent backsplash is all you need!” Especially when it’s commitment-free and your landlord will be none the wiser.
Paris is always a good idea, but there are two times a year when, for design-lovers, it’s extra-special. Maison Et Object, a trade fair held in the City of Lights in September and January, is where you can always expect to discover new, cutting-edge products, innovative brands, and endless interior inspiration. This week, our style editor, Elaina Sullivan, and style assistant, Julia Stevens, packed up their bags and jetted off to scope out all the freshest finds for your home.
The show was full of covetable items, from space-saving foldable bed frames to baseball-game fare in rug form (!). Paris, too, held its timeless allure. “While we found so many goodies along the rows of Maison et Objet, the city of Paris had just as many discoveries,” Julia says. “Between drinks at Frenchie Bar à Vins and dinners at Balagan, the shops of the Marais also blew us away.” Here are the Maison pieces that our team can’t stop talking about.
The Out-of-This-World Light Fixture
“Modern meets vintage in this pendant from Hudson Valley Lighting’s Corbett line. I love the way they had a bunch hung at different heights in their showroom.” —Julia
The Condiment-Friendly Rug
“There were so many amazing children’s brands and this was definitely one of the highlights. We’ve seen their rockers at Kinder Modern, but the hot dog and ice cream cone rugs are our new favorites.” —Elaina
The French Take on the Murphy Bed
“This bed is one of the best and most affordable space-saving solutions we’ve seen on the market. It’s perfect for studio apartments when you need to maximize square footage.” —Elaina
The Cool Curtain
“This Zurich-based brand has it all: fun designs across several product categories, ethical production, and a super cool team. We love everything they do!” —Elaina
The All-in-One Nightstand
“There was a ton of modular furniture at the show, but this brand took it to another level. The same birchwood legs and powder-coated plates can create desks, shelves, lamps, coffee tables, and more. What they become is up to the owner—and the best part is no tools are necessary.” —Julia
The Inflatable Armchair
“These were a total showstopper—not to mention surprisingly comfortable! I love the natural wood base paired with the poppy neon plastic.” —Julia
The Metropolitan Coat Rack
“A coat rack that doubles as sculptural art. (It’s meant to mimic a turreted city.) Every arch has a purpose: throw scarves through the loops and umbrellas in the center.” —Julia
The Queen of baking might have left The Great British Bake Off tent, but when September rolls around we’re still day dreaming about Mary Berry complimenting our Victoria sponge or chocolate cake. Made from Mary Berry’s recipe of course.
However, recently a new fantasy has taken hold of us. Whipping up cream and fairy cakes in Mary Berry’s House, her kitchen to be exact. But unlike our old daydreaming this version doesn’t seem so far fetched.
Why? Because Mary Berry’s house in Buckinghamshire is currently on the market with Hamptons Estate Agents for an asking price of £2.5 million.
We didn’t expect anything better than chocolate box perfection from Mary Berry’s house. A lovely example of a traditional Georgian house in brick, this property is both elegant and cosy.
Image credit: Hamptons Estate Agents
Simple, yet charming. These are the key words that made us fall in love with Mary Berry’s baking, and it is once again causing us to fall for this neutral hallway.
Image credit: Hamptons Estate Agents
Mary Berry probably has to beat the neighbours constantly dropping around for tea and cake off with a wooden spoon. However, we imagine that the baking darling is probably too sweet to do such a thing, also she probably wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to show off her gorgeously airy living room.
Image credit: Hamptons Estate Agents
Now for the room you’ve all been waiting for – the Kitchen! Baby blue with black stone countertops, we love the kitchen’s country style and can imagine Mary Berry cooking up a storm in here.
Image credit: Hamptons Estate Agent
This rustic Aga has probably seen its fair share of birthday cakes and stands pride of place as the centre piece of the kitchen. However, we do think this space could benefit from a hefty wooden kitchen island for rolling out dough and dusting gingerbread houses – or our make-believe baking sessions with Mary.
Image credit: Hamptons Estate Agents
Or as we would like to refer to it: the cake consuming room. Gorgeous bay windows and a marble fireplace make this room the perfect place to gather around the table with a few friends for a slice of cake or two.
Image credit: Hamptons Estate Agents
This spacious bathroom has been kept simple with clean white walls and fittings. The only burst of colour comes in through the window from the garden outside.
Image credit: Hamptons Estate Agents
This is the sort of bedroom we usually only get treated to when we embark on a retreat to a country side hotel. Not only does it have glorious views across the garden, but also a personal fireplace. I wonder how Mary Berry feels about cake and tea in bed?
The future is looking bright—according to Pantone, anyway. The color forecasting company just released its spring/summer 2020 trend reportbased on New York Fashion Week. If the thought of winter’s cold, muted tones is causing an early-onset SAD flare-up, these fresh hues are the (literal) light at the end of the tunnel.
Pantone’s predictions range from the easily adaptable—think: cobalt blue and saffron yellow—to the straight-up funky. You’ll find bright aqua blues and greens, which we saw on Technicolor display in the collections of Mansur Gavriel and Staud, as well as Collina Strada’s pale yellows and electric blues. Similarly, the tomato red clothes at Prabal Gurung and Sies Marjan have sister crimson shades in the report. If you swear by your neutrals, don’t worry, there are plenty of those within the 16 forecasted colors, but it seems clear that next year will be all about going bold.
Here are three of our favorite colors from the palette—plus the decor pieces that bring them home:
Attention, neon haters: This is a more manageable way to dip your toe into Living Coral. In the form of a new set of dishes or a sculptural table lamp, the sweet shade is subtle enough to act as a neutral.
Just like the fabric it’s named after, we predict this blue-gray will be a classic. Warm it up by pitting your decor finds against a buttery yellow paint, or take it up another notch with a vibrant citrus—perhaps Pantone’s Orange Peel, which is fortuitously situated right next to Faded Denim in the trend report.
See? Gray winter days are no match for these energetic hues.
Project Omah Boto (which means ‘Brick House’) was born out of a client’s request for “Indonesia vibes”. The build site is located near the Pari Temple and Sumur Temple, Sidoarjo, East Java, which opened up the idea of historical red brick architecture that stems from the Majapahit Kingdom era. The materials and manufacturing techniques are passed on to craftsmen in Trowulan Village, home of the red brick industry, to this day. Andyrahman Architect team invited craftsmen to partner with them during the architectural process, making their skillset and integral part of the design. Other Nusantara elements, including bamboo, wood, and rattan, were introduced into the design to form a marriage of true Indonesian character.
The red bricks in the Omah Boto (which means ‘Brick House’) became the main element, described by the designers as being like “a gene or cell of the building”. Brick pattern in Omah Boto is built using tectonic techniques, which require a high level of accuracy. These tectonic brick constructions combine design precision with craftsman ingenuity and understanding of the material’s character and quality. “Architect is the one who’s famous outside. While inside, the craftsmen emerges” explained Mr. Hasan, the brick project leader.
The 5x10x20cm brick dimension is used as the main measuring standard throughout all architectural aspects of Omah Boto, such as door or window width, sill height, and even room area.
The home exterior design and build as a whole is truly unique in its collaborative nature, being not only built but designed side by side with traditionally trained craftsmen.
Light and air permeable brickwork formations build the structure of the house and the outer walls of its grounds. Metal gates pull closed across a garage entryway, which is hidden behind wood louvre doors.
A motorcycle port is floored in beautiful green and yellow Indonesian tile, like a carpet of Batik motives.
Decorative red brickwork is accentuated under lights at the back of the port, highlighting every dip and extrusion. Some of the brick arrangements in the house are taken from Batik motives, like the Parang and Pucuk Rebung motif used for wall and floor brick tectonics, and the Kawung motif on bathroom ceramics. These patterns were experimented with, and developed by the design team, to hark back to the main reason of brick usage in Indonesia from ancient times. The results bring about an interesting rhythm, and characterful arrangements.
Once inside the home, the red brickwork is seen making stunning zigzag pattern across a TV wall. A blue and yellow striped media cabinet matches with a powder blue modern sofa and a blue accent chair. A round coffee table sits atop a gorgeous Indonesian rug design that defines the sitting area. Omah Boto adopts the traditional Javanese house concept, whereby there are three main parts to a house’s zoning: The Pendhapa (a public/ communal area in the front side of the house), Pringgitan (a transition area in the middle), and Dalem (a private area in the back).
Traditionally, Javanese house zoning is arranged horizontally but in Omah Boto it has been stacked in a vertical arrangement: The whole of the first floor is utilised as a communal room, the next floor up contains a living room, and the bedrooms take up the top story. Down in the communal room, a sociable dining spot sits behind the lounge area, equipped for six diners or tea drinkers.
Colourful canisters prick the kitchen diner with bright colour. Patterned tile adds energy to the backsplash of a basic wood and concrete kitchen design. Five rattan dining room pendant lights have been grouped above the simple wood dining set at different heights to add movement and interest.
Dark stained wood planks encase solid concrete treads and risers.
A black metal balustrade climbs one side of the staircase, whilst concrete planters congregate at the other.
Vertical planting brings added shade to the interior of the home.
The prayer room (or Musholla) in this house is characteristic of a Garbhagriha, through the brick construction of floor, walls, and ceiling. The sacred Hindu Garbhagrha (which translates from Sanskrit as ‘womb chamber’) is here to remind all who enters of their origin, and purpose of life in the world.
Impressive craftsmanship is seen in and around the front doors of the home too, where beautiful woodwork panels manipulate the penetrating sunlight.
More sunlight patterns push through the walls on each level of the home.
Rattan light shades echo the crosshatched brickwork formation.
A small lounge rests in the shade.
Tile pattern shines on bare bedroom floors.
A superb red brick headboard rises in impeccable undulating pattern. There is an air of Frank Lloyd Wright about this bedroom design, and its use of natural materials.
Fitted wooden wardrobes hug the corner of the room.
A shock of red tiles tower in the shower room.
The outer skin of the Musholla is designed to reduce glare from the sun, and to maximise airflow while maintaining the homeowner’s privacy in the sacred room.
Bricks appear to hang impossibly from the ceiling over the prayer room.
Kids’ beds are stacked to utilise the tall ceiling height, with storage chambers included in and around the bed design.
Happy Memorial Day weekend, y’all! I hope you had a sweet Saturday and Sunday! We are currently trying to not bake in today’s 93-degree weather by sitting in front of a box fan on our porch. It’s our favorite place “in” the whole house and a little (okay, a LOT of) humidity isn’t going to…
In May, I traveled to Portugal, to the Algarve region, and also Lisbon and Sintra. On our way north to Porto, my travel mate and I made a one night stop in Aveiro. I’d read about the town and the canals and glad we got a chance to see it, it was really sweet! Aveiro is less than an hour from Porto, so it could be done on a daytrip, but instead we chose to spend the night. Aveiro is charming and small, and totally walkable in an afternoon.
I woke up early to blue skies, and after a quick breakfast at our hotel we stepped out to see the town. My travel mate and I meandered through the streets at a slow pace, people watching and listening to the rhythm of the town: the shop owner sweeping up in front of their store, the clinking of glasses the waiters gather after patrons leave a bistro, the music drifting out of an apartment window above a cafe.
I kept my camera ready at all times. Vignettes appear out of nowhere, which is the appeal of strolling on foot. I squinted in the sun at all the buildings awash with bright colors and azulejos tiles in shades of blue, green, and brown.
Aveiro is famous for its Moliceiro boat rides through the canals, easy to find since they’re right on the riverfront. It’s touristy and not the most thrilling excursion, but you will get some views of the cute town as you ride through the canals.
One additional sight Aveiro is famous for includes the candy striped beach houses facing the river on the Praia de Costa Nova. I never made it there, but it’s a reason to return, and one more stop to consider if you visit!
As evening sets in Aveiro, the colors change, they become more muted, just like the sky. The setting sun was a signal that it was time to pick a place to eat.
For dinner, we chose Obairro in the middle of town where the waiter entertained us with stories to accompany the recommended local dishes. Under the influence of the wine from the Duoro Valley, it was here I considered perhaps I need more blue and white plates in my life. 🙂
So many travelers I meet have just been or are about to go to Portugal, as you can see, Aveiro is another reason why! 🙂
Even if you don’t consider yourself a nitpicky person, it’s easy to turn into a perfectionist when you start painting a wall. Every stroke must be smooth! Don’t go past the blue tape! At least two coats! Suddenly, something that should be as fun as creating a work of art becomes a lengthy list of dos and don’ts. So what if mistakes didn’t exist? What if you didn’t need a game plan? More and more DIY’ers are painting their walls freestyle, and it’s convinced us to be more carefree and tap into our inner artist.
Chelci Lindsay, the blogger and shop owner behind White Grove Decor, recently made over her bedroom and decided to let loose with abstract brush strokes. “I didn’t want a ‘perfect’ or even look, so I mixed up the length of each movement and also the amount of paint on the brush,” she says. Even if Lindsay “messed up,” you’d never know. Every line was meant to be fluid. “You can always paint over it if you don’t love it!” she adds. Make up your own design as you go, or try one of the seven freeform ideas below. Spontaneity is on your side.
Go with a Gradient
Mandi Gubler, the DIY’er and blogger behind Vintage Revivals, turned a plain white space into a whimsical nursery for the One Room Challenge with a series of ombre arches. Using various combinations of Sherwin-Williams Softened Green and her own mix of white paints (peep her secret formula), Gubler created six different shades. From there, she began with the lightest hue on the outer layer and slowly worked her way in.
Stick to Basic Shapes
While Jodi Bond of House on a Sugar Hill didn’t go completely freehand on this design (she sketched the large-scale shapes on the wall before filling them in with pinks, beiges, and black), the blogger didn’t overthink the placement. In fact, she drew the whole thing in three minutes flat. “In actual terrazzo, the chips fall where they may, quite literally,” the blogger explains in her tutorial. In order for the wall to look authentic, she had to embrace imperfections.
“In actual terrazzo, the chips fall where they may, quite literally.” — Bond
Start on the Ceiling
Designer Jeff Schlarb recruited pro decorative painter and wallpaper fabricator Elan Evans for this colorful job, but anyone can re-create the vibe by layering a handful of brightly colored streaks on top of one another.
Channel Familiar Shapes
There’s no better place to be playful than a newborn’s room. Using a darker shade of gray than the walls, Tali Roth surrounded her son Romeo’s crib with simple silhouettes of airplanes, birds, and trees.
“You can always paint over it if you don’t love it!” — Lindsay
Smooth Out the Edges Afterward
Another tactic: Let the kids do the dirty work for you. Angela Chrusciaki Blehm tasked two of her children with graffitiing the family playroom wall. When they were finished, she went back over it with white spray paint to define the shapes.
Ask a Creative Friend for a Hand
If you’re low on ideas, bring in someone who’s full of them. Dusen Dusen founder Ellen Van Dusen called upon a friend, artist Lorien Stern, to transform her ordinary powder room into an homage to her favorite animals and characters. Her dog, Snips, even makes an appearance on the wall.
Treat Your Wall Like a Giant Doodle
Domino’s creative director, Kate Berry, gave her daughter, Quinn, free decorative rein over her bedroom. And what do kids love more than scribbling? For Quinn, this wall is a never-ending outlet for her imagination. For everyone else, it’s a spunky work of art.