October Home Shows

October is another great month for home shows in Toronto! Unfortunately I didn't have time to make it to IIDEX last week, but hopefully some of you were able to. A few of my colleagues remarked it was a lot smaller than last year, and it didn't have any textile vendors, but I'm sure there were some great new ideas!

From October 1st to 4th, the National Home Show will be going on at the Direct Energy Centre (Exhibition Place). If you're an HGTV addict like me, you'll be excited about the number of "celebrity guests" they have! Colin and Justin, Emmanuel Belliveau and Janette Ewen are a few of the familiar faces that will be there. You can visit their website at www.nationalhomeshow.com!

Also, the International Home and Garden Show (www.home-show.com) will be on from October 9th to 12th at the International Centre. There will be a similar group of TV designers at this show, and lots of seminars to attend.

Before I go, one last thing! I mentioned that Janette Ewen (from CityLine) is going to be at the National Home Show, but I also recommend her website (www.janetteewen.com)! She's an interior stylist who loves do-it-yourself projects, and she has a few videos on her website on how to make accessories like lampshades and pillows. Her portfolio has some colourful ideas as well!


Cabin in the Woods

When I was little, I used to love playing The Game of LIFE. My friends and I would cheat so we could each fill two cars with kids (I have since rethought that idea) and I always made sure I was first to live in the log cabin. When I was eleven, I drew the “blueprints” to my dream log home, complete with paint finishes inspired by Debbie Travis. It was really just a large rectangle with a few dividers and a set of stairs, but now you have a clear picture of what a cool kid I was!

All these years later, especially when cool autumn weather begins to creep up on us, there seems to be nothing as warm and inviting as the image of a beautiful log cabin. Stone fireplaces, deep sofas in rich distressed leathers and reclaimed wood all provide that cozy, almost romantic, atmosphere. I love that log cabins are unpretentious and rustic in comparison to traditional homes.

"Rustic Redefined", as featured in Architectural Digest April 2009.

‘Rustic’ however, is probably the last word to describe Locati Architects’ custom residences. I first saw their work in April’s Architectural Digest, where an Ontario couple hired Jerry Locati’s team to design their 10,000 square foot dream home. Of course, this is no little shack in the woods. It is an incredible home that blends remarkably with its setting, and the decorating is a beautiful compliment to the architect’s vision. Did I mention I love this home?

Locati Architects website (www.locatiarchitects.com) is well worth a visit to see some of the other extravagant “cabins” they have built, primarily in the Montana and Colorado area. (I keep calling them cabins, but the more I write, the more this word seems like a ridiculous understatement.) I also recommend watching their video biography! Jerry’s family home is featured in the clip.

"Old River Farm", John Locati's residence.

"Cedarview Residence", Locati Architects.

"Beartrap Residence", Locati Architects.


Style At Home Contests

I may be getting a little sidetracked with this post, but I figure if it comes from Style At Home, it counts!

I recently discovered on their website (www.styleathome.com) some really great contests that you might be interested in! When you participate, you can also sign up for their newsletter with great ideas and updates. Who doesn’t want to go to Jasper in November? I’m hoping to win some money so I can buy a few Ankasa pillows before I’m 40; to each his own.

Here’s a peak at some of the contests they have going on right now! Good luck!


Ankasa Lifestyle

There is nothing more luxurious than a bed covered in large fluffy pillows to dive into at night. The finest blends of linens, silks and detailed embroidery covering a down-filled form add elegance and sophistication. Likewise, a simple cotton cover with an artistic print can provide enough colour to fill a room. The beauty of toss pillows are that you can update a room or follow a trend relatively inexpensively, and if you are a seamstress, even better!

Ankasa Lifestyle (www.ankasa.com/home) was formed by textile designers Sachin and Babi Ahluwalia in New York, in order to provide their Ankasa clothing clients with the same “couture” style for the home. Their pieces are like works of art that combine linen, leather, crystals and fine embroidery to create unique designs. Ankasa’s website also categorizes products by collections, from “Upper East Side” to “Punta Cana”. They’ve been featured in numerous magazines, like Elle Décor, House Beautiful and Miami Home & Décor (shown below). Hopefully my description has insinuated their swank prices, but it never hurts to look!



I thought I'd try to include some local events and contests on here, and it seems only appropriate to mention that IIDEX is taking place in Toronto this week! My pass is sitting here on my desk, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be able to make it down for a look at some of the exhibits! Based on their website, it looks like a large focus this year will be on environmental sustainability, in an effort to become Canada's first GREEN trade show. Not only should there be some great new products on display, it's also a great initiative to support....especially because it's free for students! You can register on their website or at the hall.


If you are a student, they're also creating a "passport" that can be completed and entered for a contest before you leave. The prize is a "Day with a Designer" to teach you all about the industry!

If I make it there, I'll definitely post pictures. Hope you can make it!



Growing up with parents who share a love of art, I've also grown to appreciate the impact that artist's and their work can have. They have always been admirers of The Group of Seven, and we have numerous prints of theirs in the house. To me, a room doesn't seem complete without art on the walls. It's like leaving the house without jewelry on.....or worse, make-up. Because art is so personal, I think it adds character and individuality.

So we can't all afford Picasso, but I have found an amazing online resource for gorgeous prints in all genres. It's called Soicher-Marin (www.soicher-marin.com). Soicher-Marin began 40 years ago and now has over 10,000 pieces. The great thing about their website is that you can find pieces easily, and then view them framed or unframed. That, and they're pretty affordable!

Hopefully this website comes in handy for you! I've picked a few of my favourites here!

Artist Paul Meadows

After blasting the heat in the car this morning, I'm no longer in denial that it's fall. Although it's my favourite season, the temperature change was a bit of a shock! But then, there's this to look forward to:

"Autumn In The Northland", Franklin Carmichael


To Your Taste

I'll admit, I'm not the most avid reader. I read 100 books in Kindergarten to get my prize, and then skimmed a little more to get through University, but it's far from my favourite hobby. However, I do love a good coffee table book, or finding a new issue of Veranda on the stands while waiting in line.

The beauty of this art form is that it can be captured so strikingly in photos, and sometimes one small and insignificant item in a picture can be enough to inspire an entire room. I've found that as my interest in design has changed from hobby to profession, I've started to study these "pretty pictures" like textbooks. I evaluate seating arrangements and fabric selections…and I always question the animal print.

I bought Celerie Kemble's book To Your Taste a little while ago, and I absolutely love it. True to character, I haven't finished reading it but I've looked at all the pictures! She has an eclectic and sophisticated style that I find warm and unfamiliar. None of the pieces from her work screams “out of a catalogue”. With bold patterns and colours in almost every space, she offers something both daring and livable. I particularly love that she has incorporated chartreuse green into so many spaces!

I also love that she originally set out for a career in film but made a switch in her early 20s. This gave me a boost of confidence!

If you're looking for a unique reference book from a highly successful designer, take a look at To Your Taste, even if it’s just for the pictures!


Let's Try This Again...

Okay, so it's less than 24 hours and I've already decided to change the name of this blog! Stay with me!

I've chosen the beautiful shelter instead of Design Chronicles because I was afraid I was setting myself up for a daily play-by-play by using the word "chronicles". That's a little daunting for a first time blogger.

So why the beautiful shelter? I think it best describes what I set out to do as a designer. My goal is to make the function and practicality of everyday living unique enough to suit the client. Essentially, we're all designing our homes for the same purpose, but there is so much variation in how we interpret it, and there are so many opportunities to make it beautiful. These ideas are what I hope to bring to this blog.



Welcome to Design Chronicles!

As a young aspiring interior designer, I am constantly scouting out new ideas and inspirations. Blogging is something very new to me, but hopefully this will become a place that I can share interior design and decorating ideas to others who are equally passionate about the field.

Beautiful spaces have intrigued me since I was a young girl, and although I set out for a career in marketing, I have recently decided to pursue my dream of becoming an interior designer. I love DIY projects, shopping, traveling and design magazines, and I hope that my findings from all of these interests will make decent blogging material!

Follow me as I chronicle my life working at an interior design studio and continuing on as an interior decorating student. I look forward to comments from readers with their ideas, opinions and favourites as well! See you next week!
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