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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.

I’m spotting gorgeous white rooms everywhere I look these days. Maybe it’s a January thing – fresh new beginnings and all that. But these snowy palettes are definitely speaking to me. Here are three of the very best – each of them illustrates perfectly how to keep a whiter-than-white space from looking like the inside of a refrigerator.

Wood tones and textures

A live edge coffee table, squashy leather chair and patterned rug (is that hide patchwork?) signal lived-in comfort against that white backdrop. By designer Kelly Behun via Desire to Inspire.

Glamorous gold

Gold is a great way to warm up white – yet it still reads as a neutral. More to the point, though, an utterly glamorous ceiling takes any chill out of the white. Ornate crown molding, wallpaper or a darker shade of paint on the ceiling would achieve a similar, if less dramatic, effect. Via Residence Magazine.

Brick and stone

Raw brick and polished concrete are all this black and white kitchen need to feel characterful. Of course, it’s not an easy to replicate if your place doesn’t already have these features. But a stone tiled floor or even wall with lots of texture can achieve the same effect. The lighting in the recess above the stove helps too – pools of light seem so much more inviting that a completely even glow. By photographer Stuart McIntyre.

Three gorgeous spaces – I’d live in any of them.

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?

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.

With their intricate tilework, scalloped arches, hammered silver lanterns and cool courtyards, Moroccan riads are a decorator’s idea of pure escapism. Not many urban homes can get away with these features, but that doesn’t mean we can’t admire them and draw inspiration. I particularly like these more muted black and white riads, not only because they exude calm, but also because they allow the details to really stand out.

black+white+moroccan+riad+design

black+white+moroccan+design

black+white+orange+moroccan+riad+design

What do you think? How would you incorporate Moroccan style into a home?

1. Hotel Dixneuf La Ksour

2. Via Simply Home Designs

3. Via The Style Files

4. Via Design Crisis

I’m on a quest for the perfect paint color for our dining room. It will be redecorated after the kitchen renovation and I’m planning a neutral scheme, enlivened with plenty of pattern. The big challenge is finding the perfect taupe. I want to go with darker walls for a bit more drama, and have decided charcoal will be too gray but don’t want to veer too much toward brown. I’ve found some good sources of inspiration though.

dark+taupe+walls

Via LiveBreathDecor.

dark+taupe+wall+wainscotting

Via The Marion House Book

dark+taupe+wall+bedroom

Via This is Glamorous.

If anyone can recommend the perfect shade for me, I will be indebted to them!

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