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When I first spotted this home, designed by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, I felt it perfectly captured that easy summer vibe we all crave at this time of year. Cool white furnishings accented with oversized arrangements of foliage and classic summer textiles like linen and seagrass – it’s like a little sun-dappled picnic spot.

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But look a little closer and it turns out this space is the perfect year-round home. Take away the fresh green accents and you have a completely neutral, yet highly imaginative, interior that can be styled differently for every season. I love the use of classic black and white throughout this home – in just the right doses.

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White is used to blend in storage while black denotes key decorative pieces, feature surfaces, or this stunning kitchen island.

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This space has a mid-century feel tempered with antiques, such as the French glass bottles, contemporary and eco-inspired furnishings, like the kirei board cabinets below.

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It’s like a modern day treehouse! Perfect for a summer’s day – or a winter evening.

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All photos via Jessica Helgerson Interior Design. Her portfolio is a joy so do check it out.

I’m always inspired by the ingenuity of lighting fixture designs. A lamp or pendant light is like art and can make or break a space. But these Roofer lights by Benjamin Hubert for Fabbian are so cute and versatile that they’d work in both grand and modest spaces alike.

roofer light green

The green is great fun (imagine it with brass accents or against a fresh white interior). But I would probably go for the gray.

Roofer light black

The Armadillo light by LZF  is another shingled design. The shingles are arranged more irregularly, giving this light a quirkier feel. This cherry red is the perfect color for the style.

Armadillo light

Anyone spotted any other shingled designs I missed?

These rooms are all perfect for cocooning on a winter weekend. White and light and airy for some much-needed vitamin D, yet cozy and inviting for blustery days.

Modern living room sectional

I can’t get enough of this room. The genius combination of leather and felt on the sectional, paired with a kilim rug and marble table. Wow.

Modern living room shelves rug

Gorgeous ceiling, another kilim rug, bench seating and those shelves…

Modern living room sofa pillows

I’ve got to sort out the pillow situation in our family room. I have my new velvet pillows but this picture tells me I’m far from done…

Modern living room sofa pillows

Herringbone floors, brass accents and a bit of greenery – the perfect way to ease into spring.

All of these photos are via this wonderful Flickr photostream.

pink velvet pillows

I’ve totally fallen for these hand-dyed pink velvet pillows from Kirsten Hecktermann. I just bought two of them in Persian Green for our new family room (spotted on Remodelista). They look great – they have a vintage feel because of the variations in the dye. But now I want a whole array of them in these gorgeous berry and watermelon shades. Hmm, not sure the boys of the house would be too happy if I covered the place in pink cushions though…

Have you discovered the 1st Dibs Photo Archive yet? What an amazing resource. It’s a gallery of photos from some of the most accomplished interiors photographers in the world (including the likes of Tim Street-Porter and Paul Costello). But the best part is that you can click on any photo and ‘shop the look’ with a wide selection of pieces from 1st Dibs that are similar to those in the photo.

For example, remember this room in Domino (RIP) magazine?

Turquoise+bedroom+wallpaper+Domino

And here’s the accompanying 1st Dibs shopping list:

Because the photographers featured are world-class, you’ll recognize many of the photos from your favorite upscale shelter magazines. If, like me, you couldn’t get enough of Ellen Pompeo’s house in Elle Decor, for example, you’ll love this:

Here’s Pompeo’s living room, shot by Tim Street-Porter:

Ellen+pompeo+livingroom+elle+decor

And now the 1st Dibs version:

Ellen+pompeo+inspired+living+room

Of course, the catch is that all this 1st Dibs wondrousness obviously comes with a 1st Dibs price tag to match. So, even if you find everything you need to create your own celebrity living room, you still need to figure out how to pay for it! But, one step at a time, eh?

Here I go again – raving about the wonders of all-neutral interiors. But, seriously, this house (by Neuhaus Architecture and JP Warren Interiors) would persuade even the most vocal of the anti-beige crowd that pale is, indeed, interesting. The house, which was apparently decorated by the owner – the Jessica in JP Warren – was covered by Desire to Inspire back in June but it’s so beautiful I had to revisit it again here.

The architectural details of this house are extraordinary. All that molding, the fireplace, the pilasters. In my opinion, a brighter color scheme would be overwhelming. Instead, the muted palette just emphasizes all this lovely detail.

The floor is particularly attention-grabbing. I’ve no idea if this is original marquetry or whether it was installed, but it emphasizes and defines the shape of the space beautifully.

This is evidence that neutral interiors work best when there are unusual natural textures and materials. The combination of the vintage metal sinks with the stone wall is spectacular.

Then there’s this much more feminine bathroom. I can’t really say enough good things about this bathroom. I usually like my bathrooms to be more, well, bathroom-y. But, with its custom wallpaper and elegant furniture, this room might persuade me to change my opinion.

This is a less formal library space. The shelves cleverly fill an alcove and the diagonal furniture arrangement is a good way to fill such an enormous room without over-cluttering.

More natural stone at work here. Waterfall countertops really elevate the design of a kitchen and this is no exception. It is an usual space for a kitchen. With the bay window, it looks more like a living room. The designer has addressed this by keeping the cabinetry very simple and more like furniture.

This is my favorite view of the whole house. A simple cube-shaped set of shelves (but obviously completely custom) with an artfully arranged collection of white ceramics. Very pleasing to the eye.

What I like most about this home overall, is that each room has its unique personality, and yet the whole scheme is cohesive. Do you have a favorite room?

Photo credit: Peter Margonelli

My first Ideabook for Houzz appeared recently on the site’s home page. It’s a round-up of accessories to create a curated look for your home. I think the current trend for curated spaces is one that will be around for a while. It’s a more personal, easy-going way of decorating. Curated rooms are filled with well-made, meaningful treasures, which have been carefully edited. This takes time and so these spaces have more long-lasting appeal. In fact, this trend is so entrenched that entire business models have been built around it: online retailers are all launching sub-brands that sell ‘one-of-a-kind’ pieces and jumping on the daily deal bandwagon but with collections curated by tastemakers.

I’m a big fan of the curated look. But even though it looks effortless, achieving the effect is quite an art. Here are five beautifully curated houses that I believe have got it right.

Curated mantelpiece

The first two are from Emma Reddington’s picks on House and Home. This first, although just a glimpse of the mantelpiece, indicates an artfully composed space that still retains a homey, informal feel. The key here is contrasting styles: a simple modern fireplace, gilt mirror, Moroccan rug and carefully-selected prints all balance each other out making the space accessible. The symmetrical lamps help pull the whole look together.

Curated living room

This upscale living room is at the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s far from homey, in large part because of the size, grand architectural details and multiple seating areas. But the decor is a major contributor to this space’s high-end curated feel. Every piece seems so unexpected.

Eclectic global living room

This room, via Elle Decor, is somewhere in between. I just love this space. It actually has very few pieces in it, but each is so well chosen that I still class it as curated. The armoire with baskets on top is a big factor in defining this room’s character, as is the live edge coffee table. The trick here seems to be to use fewer, large-scale pieces and then used relaxed fabrics to prevent the space from feeling sparse.

Eclectic living room

The rich red in this room is mouthwatering! Also via Elle Decor, this room is much more feminine and traditional. But the coffee tables add some edginess. This is an example of a room that has a curated feel using only furniture, rather than accessories and art. There are two notable accessories – the coral and quartz pieces – but the impact comes from the rug, chairs, sofa and coffee tables, all of which look like they have been collected carefully over the years.

Modern wood living room

Yet another different curated space – this time using organic textures to unify a room that is packed with treasures. This one has such a cozy, eclectic vibe – and of course killer views. It just proves that curated interiors don’t have to feel like art galleries. Via Living Etc.

So what defines a curated space for you?

It’s at this time of year I start thinking about ski chalets. Not your typical A-frame alpine cabins, mind. I mean expansive wood structures with soaring ceilings, incredible views, and open fireplaces. So I was happy to discover that this month’s Architectural Digest has just such a home on its cover. Now this is my idea of a ski chalet!

Aspen ski home

Aspen ski home

Aspen ski home

Aspen ski home

Aspen ski home

What a great juxtaposition of mid-century and contemporary with traditional craftsmanship. The architect somehow manages to incorporate those solid wood beams while keeping the overall effect light and airy. It’s a great color palette too. It reminds me of that other great ski chalet from last year’s Elle Decor. Who could forget this?

modern ski chalet

And this month’s Elle Decor has a Montana ski lodge with a similar palette, dark fire surround and beamed ceilings.

Montana ski lodge

This modern interpretation of a ski lodge, from Living Etc, also has my vote:

Ski chalet

Ski chalet

Looks like it’s time to dust off those skis!

3rd Uncle Design is a small Toronto-based design firm that has been gathering considerable recognition in recent years. And for good reason. Founded by a trio of designers, the firm has a truly refreshing portfolio. I came across its work recently when looking for inspiration for our renovation, and was attracted to its calm spaces and clean, contemporary lines. But, on digging deeper, I realized that, while many of these homes fall into the dream residence category, some also show just what can be achieved in a smaller space.

neutral kitchen by 3rd Uncle design

This kitchen is my idea of perfection. If I lived in a more contemporary home, this would be my blueprint.

neutral modern living room

Now, while the space, light and gorgeous view definitely help this space, there’s something to be learned from the low shelving and quiet seating area.

blue patterned tile wood bath bathroom

This bathroom is a wonderful combination of contemporary styling and traditional materials. Who would have thought to mix Moroccan-style tiles with a rectangular wood tub?

modern living room

This diminutive TV area (albeit within a much larger open floorplan) uses furniture with exposed legs and a striped rug to create a more spacious feeling.

modern interior design by 3rd Uncle Design

Ok, space is definitely not an issue here. But check out the collection of Moooi Random lights – they look positively ethereal suspended above the living room.

shelves by 3rd Uncle design

This ingenious shelving system is like a work of art – it also reflects the size and shape of the window frame so that it all blends seamlessly.

bathroom

Another bathroom combines traditional and modern fixtures. I like the way this portfolio contains such a range of styles – indicating the designers’ ability to reflect their clients’ own personalities – while maintaining the same sense of calm as a common thread throughout.

Enjoy more of 3rd UNCLE Design’s portfolio here.

As part of our kitchen renovation, we are redoing a powder room. It’s a tiny space, so I’m keeping it neutral and simple, with a little Indian-inspired detailing. Here’s a sneak preview…

White+gray+bathroom+decorating

My starting point was the Rajapur wallpaper from Cole and Son. I’ve been dying to use this somewhere and decided this was just the space. Tiny rooms always seem larger with wallpaper, and this is subtle enough that we won’t tire of it.

The perfect mirror with this wallpaper is a white pearl inlay design. This particular one is from Serena and Lily, but it may be a little large for the space so I am still on the hunt for something similar. With all this pattern, I wanted simple white glass tiles, white paint and modern fixtures.

Here’s hoping we get started on the work soon so I don’t change my mind again…

1. Wisp White paint, Benjamin Moore; 2. Orbit lamp; 3. Mirror by Serena and Lily; 4. Dish (for soap) by John Robshaw; 5. Vessel sink by Porcelanosa; 6. Cabinet door pull in nickel; 7. Floating walnut vanity; 8. Kohler wall-mounted faucet; 9. White glass tile backsplash; 10. Flint floor tile; 11. Rajapur wallpaper by Cole and Son.

The design discoveries and dilemmas of a Brit in San Francisco as she turns a house into a home.
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