Category Archives: HOME TOUR

HOME TOUR: ALANNA CAVANAGH

I was recently hired to put the finishing touches on a little girl’s room in Forest Hill- and one of the client’s desires were some prints by Toronto illustrator Alanna Cavanagh. I have admired Alanna’s work ever since she did that fabulous installation at IDS a few years ago so I was so excited to get to meet her in person to pick up my client’s prints.

On a ridiculously cold Canadian evening in January, you can imagine how nice it felt to walk into this:20130207-151723.jpg And Alanna had fresh chicken soup on the burner the evening I visited so the place felt and smelled like a giant hug. Alanna’s downtown Toronto loft is full of saturated colour, and vibrant pattern. I recognized a Bev Hisey rug right away:20130207-151705.jpg It is also full of her beautiful hand illustrations and silk screened prints (of course styled in awesome vignettes): 20130207-151732.jpg20130207-151757.jpg20130207-151806.jpg I love this collection of pillows against her colourful work:20130207-151909.jpg And this little nook with her printing supplies and an assortment of small prints for sale is so lovely- love the chartreuse walls: 20130207-152001.jpg20130207-154232.jpg20130207-154300.jpg20130207-154325.jpg Alanna’s space is as vibrant as her warm personality. It’s always wonderful to meet the artist behind the work- and equally wonderful when the artist is as delightful to be around as Alanna. She has a new line of home products to be released at The Bay in the very near future- which like the limited edition tea towel she did in 2012- will fly of the shelves. Thanks Alanna for sharing your home and your talents with my clients and readers!

Photos by Alanna Cavanagh and Lisa Canning

HOME TOUR: FASHION ILLUSTRATOR JAMIE LEE REARDIN

As a very proud Ryerson Fashion Graduate, I love seeing where my fellow fashionistas have ended up. In school I was so lucky to connect with some lovely women who have since been at my wedding, have cuddled my kids and generally been lovely a support system as we all pursued our creative fields.

Please meet one of those ladies, Jamie Reardin, now an LA based fashion illustrator. Her work has garnered the attention of international fashion icons and recently Taylor Tomasi Hill and Lauren Santo Domingo hired Jamie to draw their top customers in their recent purchases.

Jamie was kind enough to share a few images of her space- I love how effortless it feels. And I know I’d like to live beachside right about now! I love her, her personal style and commitment to building her personal brand. I’ll let Jamie tell you how her style is also communicated in her space. Enjoy!

My beachside studio is in Hermosa Beach, CA. While my basic furniture was purchased from stores like Target and HomeGoods, it is my collection of books, magazines, and kooky knick knacks that truly reflect my personality.

I do my best to decorate my space with anything that inspires me, relying on bright colors, floral prints, and fresh flower arrangements to create an enchanting place where my imagination can roam wildly.

My oversized vision board is somewhat of a centerpiece in my studio. A place to pin down my inspiration and and bring me back to where my illustration style stemmed.20130124-201400.jpg20130124-201413.jpg20130124-201424.jpg20130124-201433.jpg

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Connect with my beautiful friend Jamie on twitter and Instagram @jamieleereardin. All images courtesy Jamie Lee Reardin

PROJECT PROFILE: FOR RENT- AMANDA

Around a year ago this time I had the pleasure of working as Production Designer on HGTV’s For Rent. I love working in television- I started my career in front of the camera, and working behind it is just as thrilling.

This is Amanda’s episode (watch this Season 5 episode here) located in Toronto. This was a typical bland, white box condo, with builder basic finishes. The first thing we did to add personality was vertical painted stripes in white and purple (Sherwin Williams Fashionable Gray SW6275). Using 3M tape to create the stripes was a lengthy process, but yielded beautiful (and inexpensive) results. For Rent was a show where very realistic budgets were used- and using paint to inject pattern or imitate wallpaper was a technique we utilized quite a bit.

We created a small office space in an otherwise impractical nook and used a clear chair so as to not take up visual weight.


This kitchen is a good lesson in working with what you have and making the best of it. It started out bland and basic and became a cute feminine jewel box by changing the knobs and adding a back splash.

This was one of many small spaces I enjoyed working on last year- one of my favourites. Special thanks to mdd Photography for the floral photography above the sofa. Enjoy!

Photos by Kelly Schnurr

PROJECT PROFILE: KING ST WEST LOFT

Last week I shared how we transformed a Beaches loft from really cheesy to masculine cool. This week I’m sharing a condo we completed in the hip neighbourhood of King Street West, an area in Toronto where the condo boom is thriving (and where many of my clients tend to live).

This is what I was presented with- a lumpy blue couch and some wooden (fruit?) crates as a coffee table- a refreshing change from the plastic milk crates that many of my bachelor clients have as furniture before I get to make some changes.

Here is what we did:

Goodbye lumpy couch and hello beautiful convertible dining table and Italian folding chairs. Also hello to some gorgeous pendant light fixtures, and a custom piece of artwork by Becky Simpson of RLS Studios.

We wanted this space to feel masculine and simple (cue the black glass table top, walnut wood and grey upholstery). Keeping the grey vibe alive the coloured E27 pendants were a perfect choice for this open concept loft. The art is a photo that my client took of a childhood travel spot that we had enlarged and painted using a custom encaustic technique (side note, you can read more about using art to customize a space in New Condo Guide).


Here’s a tight shot of some custom floating shelving we designed to feature some of my client’s eclectic accessories and travel memorabilia.

On to the bedroom- built in shelving around a bed is a great way to maximize space in a small space. We dressed the niches with simple graphic elements in keeping with the simple graphic bed spread. A simple modern pendant light illuminates another gorgeous piece of art we picked for the client by Ian Busher.

In my 5 years of business I’ve worked with many bachelor clients- busy urban professionals who care about design, but don’t have the time, patience, or sometimes interest to decorate their space. I’ve helped many men go from milk crate to absolutely great and this project was a great one to work on.

In other news, I am still pregnant, counting down the days (less than 10!) and wrapping up another bachelor project that I honestly cannot wait to share. Dramatic custom bed, custom linens, midnight blue paint… so good. Stay tuned for news on both fronts!

Photos by Tanja Tiziana-Burdi.

ROOMS TO GROW: MODERN KIDS DECOR

Special thanks to Global News for popping in last week to see my daughter Evelyn‘s room. Click below to watch the spot!

Creating this space was long overdue for my daughter Evelyn- for almost 17 months she went without drapes, without paint and without any design direction. But on one hand I love that I waited this long to make her space her own as now I have a sense of her engaging and joyful personality- and I hope that comes across in the room design. It was a joy to paint, sew window treatments, make art and assemble a mix of high and low pieces- as in the end, the delighted look on her face when she entered her new “big girl” room was so worth all the work.

To learn how how we did it all (in 48 hours no less) click on over here!

Source guide:

Oeuf crib- Ella and Elliot
Modern Sparrow Glider in Baldwin Mist- Ella and Elliot
Lampson Graphite rug- Korhani Home
Nyvoll 3 drawer dresser- IKEA
Crib blanket- You Name It Baby
Assorted pillows- Home Sense
Cubino chair (personalized)- You Name It Baby
Bird houses- Urban Barn
Decorative wooden birds- Michael’s
Canvases in Frames- DeSerres
White side table- HomeSense
House tissue box cover- Urban Barn
Knobs with letters- Michael’s
Pink toy storage box- HomeSense
Drapery (customized with purple ribbon)- IKEA

Photos by Larry Arnal.

A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR MY “BIG” GIRL

Something about being 7 months pregnant makes me want to redecorate. We did it the last time I was very pregnant with Evelyn when the Style At Home website wanted to do a feature on our house, and this time I am again a pregotron changing things up again.

We did a 48 hour makeover in Evelyn’s room in time for a media deadline- and I am so thankful for the push to make it happen. For 17 months she was in a curtain less, paint-less, design-less space and now she has a room that is as joyful, vibrant and cute as my little lass.

I’ll be sharing the professional photos in time but here are a few tight shots for now 🙂

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CREATING GORGEOUS FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS

A large part of styling a finished room is great floral arrangements as they provide a pop of colour and sophistication to any space. I have spent $20 and $200 on floral arrangements for various uses and have learned you do get what you pay for. Here are a few of my tips on creating great floral arrangements and how to use them effectively in a space.

The classic orchid. This particular orchid sits in the office of a recent commercial client IA:MM Showroom (can’t wait to share images from this fashion showroom when it’s finished- note the wallpaper, so glam). It was picked up by one of the staff for $20 from Costco and they are going strong 3 weeks in. Be warned- orchids are high maintenance. They require just the right amount of light, water and food but when taken care of properly (not my area of expertise) their delicate silhouette can provide an elegant accent in a space. Orchids are often my go-to flower when I feel a space is missing that little touch of something feminine.

When in doubt go green and white. If a room is full of colour but you still desire that breath of life flowers provide, go green and white. In this arrangement I used for my Interior Design Show project, I went to professional florist and paid over $100 for this bad boy. My local florist has been in business in the community for over 50 years, so I trust him when he tells me what flowers will last under the heat of showroom lights and will be hearty enough to travel. This mix of hypericum berries, alstromeria, hydrangea, and chrysanthemum lasted (I kid you not) 2 weeks, in pretty much original condition. I had the florist wrap the stems in a large green for a more sophisticated look.

How to extend the life of a floral arrangement: The arrangements above (used for a birthday party I threw for my dad last week) are the remainders from my IDS exhibit arrangements shown above (I was serious when I said they lasted 2 weeks!). But to extend their life, I swapped out some of the flowers that were starting to wilt with $7.99 roses from the grocery store. The roses filled the center arrangements enough that I was able to clip a few to make smaller side arrangements. I love how they provided another element of detail against the Marimekko wallpaper remnant I used as a table runner (this was a total last minute decision when I could not find my Chilewich place mats in the disaster that can sometimes be my house). Resourcefulness can yield beautiful results.

Hello sophisticated. While I love a good DIY, going to a pro is pretty amazing. This floral arrangement was a gift to a client and it is breathtaking. The skillful layering of colour and shape creates so much visual interest- and I love how the large green leaves have been folded into architectural beauties all their own. When you want something truly unique, go to a floral designer and trust their green (and glamorous) thumbs.

All images by Lisa Canning Interiors & Arnal Photography.

DABBLE IN SOME HOLIDAY CHEER

As my mailbox fills with holiday party events I am reminded just how quickly the holidays come- and how each year I vow to savour them and not stress about a thing. The current issue of Dabble Magazine is a great resource for stress free holiday shopping, decorating and entertaining and I am so happy to be a part of it.

In my role as Market Editor I get to comb the marketplace bringing readers great home, travel and food products from around the globe. Check out my favourite selections for this holiday season by clicking on the images below- I am hoping to find the Chilewich place mats under my tree and that sumptuous HBC cashmere travel set wrapped up from Santa:

And in this issue we had the fun opportunity of having our house featured in the issue. So since this was shot long before thoughts of sugar plums entered my head, I am one step closer to a stress free holiday. Special thanks to Elte and Indigo for helping me glitterize my living room, and to photographer Simon Burn for managing to direct my kids in the shoot. Enjoy!

Hi y’all!

To my lovely blog readers:

Bad blogger award of the year goes to this busy designer (AGAIN)- but now that my amazing and crazy month working in Atlanta on HGTV’s For Rent is over, I can get back to normal and (cross our fingers) upon my return to Toronto this week more informative and design packed regular posts.

I fly home tomorrow- but here’s a quick teaser of my incredible time down south. I totally love it here- Atlanta is full of design goodness!

Gorgeous club room I used as my office in Atlanta.

Visited this place too many times for my health- dining old school diner styles at The Varsity.

An inspiring shot from the Georgia Aquarium.And this was me pretty much every day- Atlanta, I love you.

MY HOME OFFICE IS FINISHED- AND NO LONGER FULL OF CRAP!

As part of a web series that the lovely mag Style At Home did on my home (you can watch the fun video here) I featured the transformation of my home office. Working from home with two kids under two is no easy feat. Especially when my former office looked like this:

The ugliness is almost too much to handle. Beginning with a) the blush pink walls b) the doily like drapes and c) the lack of an actual work surface because of all of my CRAP!!! I still can’t believe I shared this on the Style At Home site with over 200,000 unique visitors monthly. My bad habits immortalized on video. Yikes. How designers really live- could be a new reality show.

The room that was my office became my son’s new room. And my office is now next door and it is a significant improvement (hard not to be considering my former office was where furniture went to die). Now for the pretty:

The room started out with a dramatic change in paint colour. If you watched the video, you know that my husband and I did not see eye to eye on the colour (understatement). So glad that we went with this: Banker’s Suit, P5005-85 by Para Paint. It’s dramatic, and cozy and very invigorating to me.  Major thanks to my painter James from Paint It Green who helped me complete the room.

I grounded the room in this fantastic Maison Turkish rug from Urban Barn. It’s incredibly high quality for its price point, and I love how it looks against my vintage office chair and white desk (which was a gift from a previous client since it no longer worked in the design of his new space). I also love how dynamic it feels layered with my linen zebra drapers from InVu Drapery Co. This set of stationary items has done the magazine / blog circuit but I don’t think I’ll ever tire of their simple forms. And I definitely won’t ever tire of my Girgit lamp by Tahir Mahmood. I found Tahir at IDS:10 and have been pretty much stalking his work ever since. His new collection of lamps is pretty gorgeous and my next purchase of his will be a mortar and pestle and rolling pin for my kitchen.  You have no idea how disorganized my stash of fabrics was before. Thanks to Meredith Heron I sold a TON of it at her sample sale. The rest is neatly folded on shelving, ready to be used in a new home.

Finding modern looking lighting that didn’t leave me bankrupt proved to be a small-ish challenge (remember, I completely changed 3 rooms in 3 weeks with 2 kids under 2 in tow. Crazy lady.) I was thrilled when I found this puppy for $79 at The Home Depot. I have blogged about my Groove chair from Urban Barn before, and the love affair continues. Much like fashion, when you pay a little extra for quality, you get a return on your investment. My favourite thing about this chair is the construction. The seat cushion has high quality filling (I know it won’t sag over time) and the piping detail and upholstery is impeccable. And the fact it is home grown and didn’t take 12 weeks to arrive is a big bonus. I love the colour against the rug and drapes.And this is me extremely happy that I get to work in a clean, organized space that doesn’t make me want to call Hoarders for an intervention. I hope you enjoyed the tour. Photos by Tanja Tiziana.