Los Angeles

A month ago my design partner Kelly Lynn and I ventured to LA to work on a clients space. In our travels we discovered some fab shops, took in the California sun, and hobnobbed with LA's finest. It was a trip to remember, and we will tell the stories for years to come.....

Here are a few highlights from the weeks- I will let the photos do the talking. 

CLAD Home an eclectic mix of vintage pieces and custom furnishings- beware as you will want to buy everything!! 

Some of our fave finds at CLAD Home- off the beaten track- AMA-H- ZING decor shop

Bumped into Sam Smith at the excellent resto Terrine on Beverly BLVD- the food was fantastic, we ended up joining him at the famed ABBEY nightspot. We took in a drag show and later joined him at the Chateau Marmont for a night cap!

We went to the Ellen show with Kiesza and had the opportunity to hang with yours truly. Elton John performed- we were lucky enough to see two performances during our visit- pinch me!

Magic Carpet

I have a good feeling about 2016. I have been working hard to be healthy, hit the gym, be as proactive as possible with work matters, and making some changes around the house.

For the past 6 months or so I have been purging junk around the house. First it was my closet, then it was odds and ends, but this year I am hoping to make some larger changes such as this carpet that we picked up before the Christmas break. I found it on Rugs USA, one of my favourite resources for area rugs on a budget (this one appears to be sold out unfortunately). I had been wanting to change things up for the past several months, but wasn't exactly sure what direction I wanted to go for. When I showed this one to Kelly Lynn and she said "looks like something you might see at Club Monaco", I was instantly sold!!!! The power of a friend with taste I tell ya!!!! 

Anyhow, although it is printed, it is very subtle and really works with the rest of our decor. It also brings an element of sophistication that I have been looking to inject into the space, needless to say I am VERY happy!!

Here are a few pics, keep checking in, I have LOTS of upcoming projects I am excited to be sharing here with you, much more to come in 2016!

Eat, Draaank, and be SUPER Merry

Tis' the season to be jolly, falalalalalalalala.... and let's face it, when it comes to hosting joyous winter celebrations the key when setting the scene for guests is lighting a crackling fire, having tasty treats at the ready, accompanied by fabulous cocktails (plural) n'est ce pas?

Therefore in true holiday fashion, Ashley, Kelly Lynn and I put on our trusty Elf hats, and came up with some fun holiday twists on some of our favourite classic cocktail recipes. Guests will be impressed by how lovely these simple beverages look, and even more delighted after a few sips, so prepare for seconds!

First up- the THE MERRY MOSCOW MULE

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 ounces of pomegranate juice
  • 2 ounces (about 2 shots) Vodka
  • Juice from ½ a lime
  • 12 ounces Ginger Beer
  • Pomegranate arils for garnish
  • Candied ginger for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine all vodka, juices, and ginger beer and pour over ice. This makes two drinks.
  2. Garnish with Pomegranate arils and lime wedges if desired.
  3. Enjoy!

How gorgeous are those pomegranate seeds?

THE ORANGE OLD FASHIONED WITH ROSEMARY

INGREDIENTS

– 1 sugar cube

– 2 ounces of rye

– 3 dashes of orange bitters

– Splash of club soda

– Large orange slice for garnish

– Sprig of rosemary for garnish

– Large ice cubes

– Slice of orange

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine rye, soda and bitters and pour over sugar cube. This makes one drink.
  2. Add large ice cube and garnish with a slice of orange and rosemary.
  3. Enjoy!

Big shout out to Hello Midge Floral Studio for the gorgeous arrangement, absolutely beautiful work!

L.

Leopard Ottoman

“I’ve never met a leopard print I didn’t like” - Diana Vreeland

The saga of the leopard printed ottoman.

Several years ago I picked up this piece at a second hand shop. It had a simple toile print that had long been faded, and was looking like it needed a major facelift, but the lines are what attracted me. 

It lived all over the house, finally finding a place discreetly tucked under our console. Years went by and it became this forgotten piece, I had plans for it, but wasn't sure what fabric would be part of the transformation. I had always loved the parson chairs that Ally had recovered, so I decided to take the plunge, and I purchased 3 yards of the Braemore Jamil Natural leopard print fabric. The overall cost came in around $150 with border fees, I think a great deal, considering many other dealers sell for more $$. I found a great custom upholsterer in my neighbourhood called Re-Wrap, and after speaking to them on the phone, knew they would do a beautiful job.

Admittedly the fellow I spoke with did have some reservations about the print, in combination with the non traditional shape, he felt it might have been a little busy (he wasn't a huge animal print fan), but I decided to stick with my instincts. He also advised me to throw the top pillow and have the foam built on to the pice, which created a more streamline piece.

The overall experience was great, and I would highly recommend their services, they were professional and knowledgeable, and I couldn't be happier with the final product. It is a beautiful unique piece, that can transition with us through the years! 

Now for the fun stuff, so as I told you earlier I picked up the piece second hand, it wasn't in the greatest condition, but that being said it was a solid piece, that we used as additional seating for guests over the past few years, and it was quite sturdy. 

When the upholsterers dismantled the piece, they discovered the structure was built out of worn out MDF- so it literally crumbled before their eyes. They completely freaked, but luckily had images and dimensions of the original piece, so COMPLETELY rebuilt it. So this piece technically (not at all I suppose) vintage anymore, but based on an old piece.... it is brand new!!! Can you believe it, they built it from scratch. Here are the before and after pics! Scroll to see 

Bamboo-zled

I came across the most precious little side table the other day and had to bring it home. We don't have any space for it sadly, so I will be parting ways with it.... BUT that didn't keep me from styling it up so that it could have it's moment of glory.

Tis' not the end for this little table, big things are going to happen in it's future, it is heading to a beautiful space where faux bamboo and brass are celebrated.... Preach! 

Beachy Keen

As you may already know, this month's cover of Style at Home Magazine (June 2015) features a client space that I worked on. It came as a complete surprise when Valerie Wilcox the photographer from the shoot contacted me the day before the magazine hit newsstands saying "I think we made the cover", I was excited.... Actually I was screaming in the middle of Dundas Square after my workout looking like a crazy person. Very glam, hahah, I will not forget that moment. Seconds later I was scanning the hashtag #styleathome  to get some stone cold evidence- huzzah after searching for a moment I found a pic. Eureka! 

About the story, we shot it last April with the amazing Christine Hanlon producing and Valerie shooting. Christine is awesome and helped produce the other shoot I did with SAH last year, and so it was lots of fun to join forces again. Of course because I am always flying by the seat of my pants, it was a very run and gun style shoot. Here is what I went down.... After we did the initial shoot in January, we discussed working on another client space in the future. After a couple months of writing back and forth with Christine, SAH wanted to see if we were able to shoot another space. That all sounds fine and dandy, but as the world has a fantastic sense of humour, in those few short months, my client decided to move to NYC. My client, aka my sister Jennifer, was totally on board to do the shoot, but there was one stipulation, she was moving in 3 days (this includes prep time and shoot time). 

I contacted Christine full panic, but being the pro she is, she was cool as a cucumber, pulled a team together and there we were days later making it happen! The night earlier I went over and did a cleaning blitz, and kindly asked her to not move a thing till the next day, hahaha, arriving very early the next morning I pulled together my styling props, and added to our pre existing decor. Ran to the store, bought Pellegrino naturally, no shoot is ready without, and had Blayre hit the caterers for nibbles. Needless to say, it all came together beautifully and as you now know- it made the cover. 

Literally the next day 90% of what you see was dismantled and sold. I now house the bar cart and a bit of the art, other items like the waterfall coffee table were sold and gone within hours of the shoot.

How's that for behind the scenes!!! 

A big thank you to talented Christine, Valerie, Helen Racanelli (the writer) and of course Erin McLaughlin for making it happen, it is truly a dream come true!! 

Pics and article below!!


Shop Your Home

When I feel like I am in a style rut, I pull everything out of my closet and I asses what is still relevant to my life and make the decision to part ways with the items that I have been hanging on to. Much life my closet, I approach my home in the same way. Once ever couple of months, when I am feeling my surroundings getting a little stale, I remove every book, candle and decorative piece from its current surface, place it on my dinning table so I can evaluate it properly, and I start over. 

It is an interesting experiment as all of the objects naturally end up in a new place. Some go into storage, but most find new places to shine. It is a simple fun process and always leaves me feeling refreshed. Here are some slide shows to demonstrate what it looks like. There is no rhyme or reason to the way I style things the way I do, I just place things to together that make me feel happy, or have harmony together!! 

Life Lately

One month short of my 29th birthday, and life is looking pretty great lately. We kicked off 2015 with a big win at the CWIA Canadian Wedding Awards, by winning Best Cinematography team in Ontario. Elle and Be has bee such a labour of our love, and it was really amazing to have that acknowledged by our peers. We are so grateful to have such incredible clients, the couples we work with are all so unique and it is such an honour to be included on a day of such significance. It has been with great pride that we share each film we work on, and to have such an amazing opportunity to celebrate it was beyond exciting.

Over the weekend an even more surreal moment took place as Blayre was awarded a Juno for his work on the Hideaway video shot last year. It was such an epic moment for me as the partner to watch him be celebrated, but it was also a great reminder of all of the countless hours that are dedicated to the passion of storytelling, which in his case is in the form of film making. I was so incredibly proud. This year also marks our 8 year anniversary together, so to see him mounting the stage to collect his award was remarkable!! 

Next up we are kicking off the wedding season by heading to Sarasota to shoot an engagement, followed by a trip to Paris, that we have been counting down the days for, for about 2 years. My mom sent me a note this morning that said "Until further notice, celebrate everything".... Good advice I think!! 

Istanbul

In less than a month I am setting off to Istanbul with my sis and our parents. We will be cruising around the Mediterranean and ending off in Rome. This will be my first time in Turkey and Greece, I can't wait to discover these countries I have dreamt so much about. 

I have heard so much about the Grand Bazaar. Bargaining is an art I have been learning over the past few years, it will be interesting to see the vendors practicing said art, and how well I will do in a country I am foreign to. Don't go too low, so as to not insult, don't go too high or you will have been played!!! We are going to have a guide who is Turkish so perhaps I will just sit back and observe before having a go at it. 

The food is so fresh and beautiful. The flavours used in the ever so simple dishes are so vibrant and complex. In college, my best friend used to treat me when I would come over by whipping up the most flavourful salads, followed by baklava and traditional mint tea. I can't wait to be in the country in which all of these delicious foods originate!!

Image Via

If you have any suggestions of where to eat, where to shop, or where to go, I would love to hear from you!!

lauracollinsdesign@gmail.com

 

Herb Garden

Anyone who knows me, knows I love a good DIY project! When my girlfriendShira sent me this charming repurposed dresser she worked on, I couldn’t help but share! For under $200 she was able to create a fabulous outdoorvignette that houses all of her favourite summer herbs, while adding flare to her outdoor space! Here’s what you will need to recreate this look…

What you will need:

- Find a second hand dresser at a yard sale (as Shira did) or vintage shop, and paint it out to match decor.

- Paint- this is a piece that you might want to transition into your interior decor scheme after the summer season, choose something accordingly, or don’t and create something playful and fun!!

- Customize the piece by using unique knobs!

- Go to your local thrift shop and purchase a variety of teacups and plant pots. Stick to a similar colour palette for cohesion! For an eclectic vibe, mix and match an assortment of colours and prints!

- Fill the drawers with all of your favourite herbs, choose different textures and heights to add texture!

- Enjoy in summer salads, beverages, while taking in the fantastic aroma!!

How do you like to display your summer herbs?

Image Shira Ben

Lucite

Lucite has been trending for the past few years. Since the resurgence of mod mid century design spurred on by the popularity of Mad Men, we have seen this versatile material utilized as a home staple.

The genius of lucite is that the transparency allows it to blend seamlessly into its surroundings. While it provides surface area to display items etc., it doesn't impose on the rest of the space. A perfect solution for a small space, the contemporary translucent appearance is ideal to create the illusion of more storage/surface, without interrupting the room flow. It is perfectly balanced with pieces of more substance, try tucking a pouf under a coffee table, displaying a piece of art behind an entry console, or adding a sheepskin throw to a desk chair for comfort! This multifaceted material is fun and easy to incorporate into any design scheme. Are you a lucite lover? If so, how have you integrated it into your space?

Fab Wedding Gift

Summer is a time to relax, enjoy the heat and of course attend weddings! I often find myself down to the wire, days to go till the wedding, frantically shopping (nothing left on the gift registry) in the attempts to find the perfect addition to your friends home (without abandoning all creativity and handing over an envelope full of cash…..) The question that continues to surface each time is “what do you get for the couple that already has it all”?  Today I came across the most unusual and gorgeous bowls from the Drake General Store. Created by Areaware, the same studio that brought us the famed Piggy Bank found in stylish homes across the globe, these marble and resin dishes are cast to replicate a classic rope design, that would bring a bit of flair to any space.  They come in a variety of finishes, prices range from $115-$185 CND.

Contemporary Canadiana

Cottage season is here, and with that comes reinvention, refreshing, and sometimes revitalizing old digs. The classic cottage that we all know and love has wood panelling, rustic finishings, and of course the beloved Bay blanket on display. This year why not try light wood throughout, softer hues, and modern decor? Here are some of my picks for a new twist on an old favourite.

5 Tips for Creating a Modern Cottage Vibe:

1. Use light textiles throughout to brighten up the space. Try incorporating a turkish rug for a dash of feminine glam. 

2. Forego traditional paintings and try decorating with fun cottage themed photography and graphic art. 

3. Switch up the traditional lighting for something modern and unexpected.

4. Paint all of that dark wood panelling white and channel Swedish design. 

5. Let the outside in with floor to celling windows!!! 

What was your favourite cottage trend?

 

Salted Caramel Pear Crisp

Pear is one of my favourite summer flavours. Last night I whipped up this beyond yummy salted caramel pear crisp, a match made in heaven combination and added twist to this classic dessert.  This simple recipe is the perfect addition to your next summer get- together, it is light and delicious,enjoy!

I used this recipe, but subbed out the flour and opted instead to use this gluten free cereal mix. I love this as it has almonds, coconut, and raisins added to the mix, it has amazing crunch, and the raisins really pop after baking. I also used some of the juice from the canned pears to hold the crust together, and add more flavour. Before baking coat the surface of the dessert with caramel (I used store bought) as well as a generous amount of kosher salt for added texture.

 

Not to be wasteful, I paired this dessert with the remaining nectar from the can and made pear margaritas

Serve with a side of freshly made whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

What is your favourite summer dessert

Art Walk

With the summer season right around the corner,(cross your fingers) I have been craving bright, cheerful colour in my surroundings. I have always been fond of gallery style white walls decorated in colourful artwork. At the moment I think there is a draw towards pieces that are casual and uncomplicated, the juxtaposition of high end art, accompanied by something created in arts & crafts has become a growing trend… I love it. Here are a few of my top pics from around the web, the price points all vary, but together they work harmoniously. Casual, fab, and of course ever so vibrant.

Images

1/2/3/4/5

Anchor's Away

Nautically inspired decor continues to be one of those trends that keeps resurfacing season after season. It has come a long way since the “ship in a bottle” decor that used to adorn every captains chambers and has become the staple of every cottage from the Hamptons to the Muskokas. Blue and white stripes will always be  synonymous with sailing and ocean culture, recently fresh interpretations such as rustic rope decorated mirrors and youthfully designed matchboxes for your interior will have you saying “Ahoy Matey”…..

 

LampMirrorPrintTurkish Towel/BeltMatches

5 Tips to achieve a nautical look:

1. Throw down a seagrass rug to lighten up your space while adding a hint of sophistication.

2. Begin a collection of shells and mount them in a tasteful pattern in a shadow box.

3. Spend a day at the beach snapping shots of tide, develop and frame, a la Christian Chaize.

4. Create a vignette of similarly colored blue decorative objects.

5. Choose a white sofa and layer with nautically themed throw pillows & blankets.

What is your favourite nautical trend?

A look around my home, and some of my vintage finds:

 

Terrace

Over the weekend I worked on the balcony a lil' bit!  We purchased a new patio set from Walmart very spontaneously, I actually love it, it is comfy and it was inexpensive. They have a rocking line of patio textiles at the moment, lots of botanical prints, ikat, and blue and white geometrical patterns. I picked up these fabulous seat cushions that were incredibly well priced and go the aesthetic of the rest of our home. 

I also picked up some plants, I wanted leafiness and greenery so I went with Palms, Ferns, and Ivy, I am thinking of adding Boxwoods, perhaps blue Hydrangeas for an element of fun/pop of colour. I also picked up these pots and plant stand, whilst at Target, love the height and the neutral colour. 

We are not finished yet, we still need to add a bbq, and a small firepit, something with propane I think, not fire wood- that would be too intense for our spall patio.... haha!!! I love this one from Target, I just don't think it will work because of little Bruce.

I am looking forward to many meals out on the patio- now bring on the warm weather!! 

P.S. Check out these awesome Copper Solar lights for $3 each.... AMAH-ZING!!!! 

Slim Aarons

As a decorator I am always trying to inject my clients personality into each project I work on as well as my own. The best way to do this is through art.Art is an expression on ones inward feelings, it is objective and often without explanation. We are drawn to, what we are drawn to, sometimes without rhyme or reason, and that is the beauty or art, it takes a blank canvas an voila! Unique, beautiful, personal

I am quite open minded when it comes to art, I love photography, paintings, graphic work- you name it. I am especially drawn to pieces inspired by the ocean, travel and youth. Over the weekend we purchased out first “investment” piece, it is a favourite Slim Aarons and I have had my eye on it for some time. The piece is fun, and a definite conversation starter. Slim Aarons ran in a very interesting circle, and this was his mean of documenting it!

It completes the space, and creates a fluidity that wasn’t there before. There is a rich playfulness to the colorful piece, that makes me smile each time I see it! When buying art no matter the price point, I would recommend the following:

- If you see and piece and can’t live without it- BUY IT!!!

- Carefully consider the piece you are going to buy if it is an investment, research the artist, uniqueness etc

- Buy pieces that have significance to you, that you can see growing with you in the future

- Reproductions are great ways to introduce art into your life, unique one of a kinds will be even more memorable conversation pieces

We are now addicted- already hunting for what will be the next piece we purchase. It is truly the gift that keeps on giving, every time I look at it I notice something I hadn’t the time before. It is “Slim”ply perfect!

Have you purchased any art you are crazy about lately?