Thursday, November 29, 2018

How To Style Your Bookshelves Like A Pro - Tips & Tricks

Book shelf styling
Just bought a new bookshelf and stumped for ideas on how to decorate it? Or you have a bookshelf that you have been trying to style for a couple of months now and it’s still a hot mess. We got you covered! Here we will break down the styling process for you so you can completely blow your friends minds when they find out that it was you who did the styling! 

The principles of styling a bookshelf are pretty similar to styling your coffee table except with bookshelves you are styling it vertically whereas with a table you are styling it horizontally. Before you start putting anything on the shelf think about the backs of your bookcase. If the room lacks a point of interest and you feel it needs a pop of color then consider painting the backs of your case.
how to style your bookshelf
(Photo via Domino)
You might even want to consider wallpapering the back – today you can get 'peel & stick' options that are easy to install. We love Ikea Billy bookcases as the backs come apart and that makes wallpapering easier.
wallpaper on back of bookshelf
(Photo via Domino)

Alrighty then, you have your background sorted and we can start the fun part!

While bookshelves are for books, row upon row of only books on your shelves can look repetitive and uninteresting. The idea is to break up the visual by layering the books in with pretty objects, interesting finds or eclectic collections. But before we get to that step you will need to spread out the books on all your shelves. Have some of them standing vertically with their spines outward, and some horizontally in short stacks. 
styling your bookshelves
(Photo via The Glitter Guide)
If you are the kind of person who does not like too much color you can stand them with the spines inward - that will give you a monochromatic look. Some artsy kinds even choose to group them by color going for a rainbow look.
styling like a pro
(Photo via House and Home)
And others like to group them in a single color for that Harvard library look. Consider laying some of the books horizontally in graduating stacks  as that will give you the option to position a decorative object on top of them.

Use art to layer the backs of your shelves for that graphic look and to add large expanses of color in certain shelves. Look for art with simple frames that do not fight with the bookshelves and objects. Feel free to place smaller items in front of the art for that layered look.
layering on bookshelf
(Photo Via Carpendaughter)

With all the books and frames in place you will end up with a lot of lines visually. So breaking them up with sculptural items that have curves like a round vase, bowl or curvy wood carving with bring a softness to your display.
how to style my bookshelf
(Photo via The Every Girl)

Adding some greenery to your shelves will bring that organic feel and today you can some pretty ‘real’ looking faux plants that require no maintenance at all. We prefer to add creeping vines that hang off the shelves or plants with pretty leaves like the crispy wave to the mix. Make sure the pot it comes in is also something pretty and with color. Here is a great way to add a metallic touch by choosing pots in silver or gold color.
adding plants to shelves
(Photo via Decoratoo)

Once you have got the larger items in place it is time to have fun with your smaller decor accessories. Use them as bookends or place them over a stack of your books to give it focus. Try spreading them out on your shelves by interspersing them in and around the books and art. If your items are too small in size then try grouping them in odd numbers, or corralling them in a small tray or bowl to give them substance.
styling books on my shelves
(Photo via Pinterest)

Collect vintage cameras, show them off here. A wine drinker that collects corks of your favorite wines – toss them in a jar and display them for all to see. Don't forget the rule of odd numbers when grouping them. 
tips to styling your bookshelf

Sometimes we don’t want to display everything as they might be functional and not so pretty and that is where you add a few boxes or baskets on your shelves. Repetition is key and adding a trio of matching boxes on one shelf to store your smaller items is a smart way to hide those receipts or bills. Large baskets on the bottom shelves balance it out and they can used to store extra cushions and throws.
how to add style to my shelves
(Photo via Amber Interiors)

This is where you stand back and look at your shelves as a whole. You might notice that two adjacent shelves are book heavy and you might want to move the books to an alternative shelf. Or you might see that one shelf is too empty and you might want to add a plant or a case there. This is probably where I spend the most amount of time.....editing....stepping back and looking at the whole picture.
style like a pro
(Photo Via Emily Henderson)

And that concludes our lesson on Bookshelf styling. We hope you will attempt to restyle your shelves and share the pics with us via Facebook or Instagram. Let me know if you found this helpful, we welcome any and all feedback.

If you find yourself stuck on a particular shelf give us a shout and we can figure this out together. Enjoy your styling guys!

See our previous "How-To" on 10 Designer Ways to Style Your Coffee Table for more tips and tricks.

Big hugs Lynda

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

10 Designer Ways To Style Your Coffee Table

Living Room Design by Wilde North Interiors

When you have guests over and they are sitting comfortably on your cozy sofa and armchair what is the one thing that is right in front of them – your coffee table! That’s right. Your coffee table gets the most eyeballs among all your other furniture. We recently styled our new/vintage coffee table on Instagram and received a lot of questions about it. Thought we would share those tips here to help you with your table styling. These are a few design tricks to achieving that collected look without breaking the bank.

The best place to start is to break up your table into grids or sections. So for example a square coffee table will be broken up into 4 sections. A round table is best broken in to three sections. And an oval or rectangular table can be broken into 2 or 3 sections depending on the length of the table. This makes it easy for you to decorate when you have to fill up sections as opposed to the whole table.

The best coffee tables have a great foundation and the easiest way to do that is with books. Large hardback coffee table books with graphic covers in complimentary colors can be used as the base layer. Look for books that have colors that go with the other colors in your room, nothing jarring or too graphic. The piled up books give you the option to create vignettes on top of them while adding different heights to the table. If you have a square table then create four piles of books in the four corners of the table. For a round or oval table go for one pile of books placed either to the left or right side of the table. Layering 2-3 books on top of each either in the same size or graduating sizes will look very appealing.

A cheap and affordable source for beautiful coffee table books is your local thrift store. You will be amazed at what people throw out. Other sources for well priced books are your local home decor stores or libraries that are selling their older collections.

Books are also a great conversation starter. It gives people an insight into your interests and if nothing else it makes you look very intelligent. Feel free to pile up books under your coffee table as well if your table allows it. (Secret - the more the books you have, the smarter you look!)

(Photo credit William McLure)

The next step is to layer smaller items on top of these books for interest. Let the objects tell a story about your passions and memories. These items can be anything from your marble collection, fresh flowers from your garden or something that shows off your hobby like a vintage camera if you are a photographer. 

Look for something with a bit of shine like brass, marble or silver. Or look for something natural like a piece of sea coral or over sized wooden beads. Anything vintage works well too like a worn out wooden shoe mold or rusted locks. The older the better.  Bring a playful aspect to the display by adding a vintage board game, deck of cards or dominoes to add a bit of whimsy to your space. Since we are going for an eclectic layered look go for something interesting rather than something pretty.

(Photo credit Home Goods)

Varying the height of your objects will always make for a more pleasing display than if everything was at the same height. Different shapes will also make for a dramatic display for example add something round or with curves to balance the straight lines of the books. Also mixing the sizes up will create interest, if everything is small it will end up looking cluttered so go for a mix of one large items paired with 2 smaller items. If everything is the same height or shape, your vignette will look a little ‘flat’ to the eye.
(Photo credit - Elisabeth Heier)

Trays and bowls are another nice layer to add to your vignettes. Larger trays could be used to corral smaller items and create groupings of similar accessories. Smaller trays could hold something personal  - we like to save the matches of hotels we visit or you may want to save the cork of those vintage wines. You want people to get a glimpse of your personality when they glance at your well styled coffee table.

We like to think of unusual ways to display our most prized possessions like using a vintage dough bowl to hold our favorite photographs or geode collection. If you have a lot of square objects on your table then contrasting that with an oval or round tray will soften some of those edges and make your vignette look more balanced. 

And finally group items in sets of threes as that is more pleasing to the eye. And don`t forget to ensure there is sufficient room for your friends and family to set down a cup or plate on the table surface.
(Photo credit - Pop Sugar)

Don’t have a coffee table, don’t fret. Use an ottoman or pouf as your coffee table. Since it is a soft surface it will make it hard to put a glass down on this but consider using a tray here for that practical aspect. Go with a tray that is in proportion to the size of your ottoman. Small trays on a large ottoman will look like a postage stamp. So consider a large tray for a large ottoman and vice versa for a small pouf. Or break up the surface with a smaller tray and adding some books on the other side to balance the effect.

(Photo credit - Amber Interiors)

A vase of fresh flowers, fake plant or succulents will bring that organic feel to the display. If you are not a green thumb then consider succulents as they very easy to take care of. Worse case is going for a faux plant as today they are making them look very realistic down to a fake dew drop on the petal.

Another trick used by designers is going out into your garden (or your neighbor`s garden), cutting branches off trees and sticking them in a clear vase for a pretty dramatic effect. The taller the better!

(Photo credit - Studio McGee)


And lastly a bit of light with a small scented candle or a grouping of candles that brings an ambient glow to your table as well as a sweet aroma to the room. We love the Jo Malone range or the Olivia Blake candles that come in a variety of subtle scents. Look for candles that come in a pretty container as that will also make a statement on your table.

(Photo credit - Genevieve Gibeault)


One of the ugliest things on our coffee tables are the TV remotes and a great way to hide those is to keep a decorative box on one of piles of books. The box can be a coordinating color or print to your room decor and all the remotes can be quickly hidden in them when you are expecting guests, while still being an arms reach away.
(Photo credit - Hamptons Style)

I think I just created a new word there! Seasonalize! Lol...anyway what I am trying to say is rotate things on your table based on the season or holiday. Nothing says spring like a vase of fresh tulips. In Fall bring in branches of your maple leaves that have turned red. And Christmas........ahhh my favorite time of the year – you can go to town here. Pile up your Christmas ornaments in a bowl on the table. Bring out those tiny fairy lights and wrap them around fresh pine cones. Group all your candles on your table and light em up, seriously no one will stop you at Christmas time....coz its the most wonderful time of the year!

(Photo credit - Classy Glam staging + Little vintage nest)

Hope this was helpful to you! At the end of the day it is your home and you should have fun doing this. Move things around, bring things out of hiding, swap things around rooms, play around with your stuff!

Interested in seeing our latest Instagram tutorial  on our coffee table, then head over to our account and click on the `STYLING TIPS` highlights to see what we put together.

If you are still scratching your head and stuck with an odd sized table that is confusing the heck out of you, give us a shout and we can figure this out together. With our `Professional Styling` service we will find out your interests, source the items to match your design tastes and style the table just in time for that big party you have lined up.

If you found this helpful then subscribe to our website for more quick and easy styling tips HERE.

Good luck friends! Enjoy your home!

Big Hugs

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Project Tapestry Lane - Master washroom

It seems like we have been doing a lot of washrooms lately and here again we are very excited to share this project with you. We had completed the Design & Decor of the living, dining, kitchen and bedroom at this residence in New Market last year and went back in to remodel the Master Washroom and Powder room. Take a look at the Before/After of this space and let us know what you think!
before of master washroom shower stall

luxury master washroom in townhouse

before pic of the master washroom vanity

floating vanity and oval mirror

The original space had a larger curbed shower stall and toilet against the facing wall. The washroom was gutted to the studs and we redesigned the floor plan to accommodate a smaller 3 x 4ft shower stall, a freestanding bath tub, toilet and floating vanity. To achieve this the toilet was relocated from it's original location to a new place across the room. This allowed us to fit in a 4 pc. in what was originally a 3 pc. washroom.
master washroom at project tapestry lane

free standing bath tub

An oversized shampoo niche detail was included above the tub for architectural interest and to break up the expansive tiled wall. This was styled beautifully with a tray of bath bombs and a silk orchid.
bath salts in jar

tub faucet

lasvit chandelier in washroom
The stunning Lasvit chandelier in a glass and chrome finish was the perfect addition to the space bringing the right amount of glam and shine to the room.
faucet of free standing tub

shower stall

himalayan salt in jar

curbless shower stall

curb less shower stall
Large format 24 x 24 tiles were used throughout the project. Gloss tiles on the walls and coordinating matte tiles on the floor allowed us to maintain a cohesive look while ensuring safety for the homeowner.
hans grohe shower controll
A Hansgrohe thermostatic shower control gave us a rain shower head as well as a handheld shower.
shampoo niche
The niche fits perfectly between the upper and lower tiles. This ensured no unsightly cuts in the tiles.
shower door handle
sconces in chrome
This stunning black oval mirror brought a shot of black to the white floating vanity and the chrome sconces matched the chrome faucets and the associated hardware used throughout the space.
chrome faucet
luxury washroom in town house
And finally a shot of the man behind it all. He hates the camera and will probably scream when he sees this post but I just gotta share it with y'all. His attention to detail with the tiling design, his measurements, aligning all elements, obsessing over the minute the layman it just looks like it all works. But what goes on before the build.....the amount of prep work.....the countless  hours spent measuring...the nights spent where the true magic lies. The washrooms that Dhiraj builds for you will last  you a lifetime. Classic, Clean, Contemporary.
dhiraj dsouza

We have other projects to share with you from another cute powder room and two large bars. So stay in touch with us for daily updates on our INSTAGRAM or behind the scenes on our FACEBOOK.

Big hugs

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Boldt Castle - A Thousand Reasons to Visit

Image result for boldt castle
We have come to the end of the summer holidays. Not Summer!! Let me reiterate that. Summer is over when you can no longer go out in a pair of chappals, chanclas or whateveryour colloquial is for a pair of sandals.

End of Summer Holidays  ✔️
Small Espcape  ✔️

With our plans for a two day excursion to see Cleveland and the Cuyahoga Valley scuppered two weeks ago on account of a bum bum, (don't skip your stretches folks) we were hankering for a quick day trip to soothe our travel hungry souls. The elder child now works and we are subject to her work schedule. Funny how nature do that.

We did a little bit of research on places with 1) Architectural Interest and 2) a bit of shopping to appease the ladies. We settled on the Boldt Castle nestled in the Thousand Islands.

While this trip should have called for an overnight stay at a minimum, the elder one's work schedule demanded that we return the very same day. We are a determined lot and intended to make the most of it.

We travel with dog. We've tried the dog sitter thing once, and while it did sort of work out, we have since opted to travel with him and keep him in a kennel close to where we are so that we can collect him soon after we are done with our visits/ shopping and have him with us. We are his pack. We have peace of mind. It works.

Boldt Castle is on Heart Island. Straight across from Alexandria Bay, NY or Rockport ON. You can get to Boldt Castle from either side via a quick cruise, but bear in mind that you will need your passport and for those countries that need it, a valid US visa. An Immigration office is on the island itself and you could visit it on your personal craft if you are one of the well heeled set. We are not. Our car don't float. Cruise it is.

We live in Brampton Ontario and took the 401 to the Thousand Island Bridge crossing. We targeted to leave at 6 and were on the road at 6.30. After an uneventful and pleasant drive, we saw warning signs that the 401 was closed due to a fatal collision. We quickly got off at Napanee, took a diversion via Odessa and rejoined a very empty 401 to the Thousand Islands Bridge. Our first time through this crossing and we were delighted with it’s small size and quaint look. The border crossing itself is on an island. The elder one took a fancy to the young Immigration Officer. The Immigration Officer took a fancy to the dog. Welcome to The United States, have a nice day folks.

The Thousand Islands Bridge Highway AKA the I 81 enters mainland USA at Collins Landing and travels onwards to Watertown. Left on Highway 12 takes you Alexandria Bay, NY and the Boldt Castle. Right takes you to Clayton, NY and Webfoot Outdoors, the kennel that would play host to Coach for the duration of our visit to Boldt Castle.

Webfoot Outdoors is a kennel that trains purebred, pedigreed and award winning hunting dogs. Coach, our 9 year old Pug/Jack Russel Mix, is... well... mixed, from a farm in Stratford, ON whose parents might have been cousins. Mark from Webfoot Outdoors was a most gracious host. We handed over Coach who seems to have caught on to the whole ‘they’re leaving me with strangers again’ thing and was reluctant to go easily.

We had to go though. The detour on the 401 had cost us an hour, and we had to hasten to Alexandria Bay to get the shuttle to Boldt Castle. ‘Uncle Sam Boat Tours’ is the local tour operator that runs the various tours of the Thousand Islands and well as the shuttle to Heart Island. We were directed to the parking lot at the rear. Now. This is where getting up at 5 to be on the road at 6 starts making sense. Local parking, smaller crowds and emptier shuttles. More on this later. Tickets for the Shuttle to the island are $10.00 and leave every half an hour starting at 10 AM. The shuttle is around 10 minutes and offers great views of the castle and grounds as you approach Heart Island. We were trigger happy and got a few good shots.
Tickets to the Boldt Castle are 12.50 per adult which included entry to the Yacht House as well. Once in, the sheer magnitude of the grounds and the building are overwhelming. The Castle itself was mostly shrouded from view as we approached by boat and seeing a castle in North America that was historically devoid of any sort of Monarchy is nothing short of breathtaking.
But Boldt Castle was never completed nor inhabited by the people that set out to create for themselves a Masterpiece on an Island in the St. Lawrence River. The story is interesting and there is a lot of information out there. Let me try to summarize. George Boldt. Born in Prussia. Very poor. Very smart. Emigrated to the United States. Worked in a Kitchen. Managed a restaurant for his to be Father In Law. Managed very successfully The Waldorf, The Astoria and the Bellevue. Very rich. Buys an Island. Decides to build Castle for wife. Wife dies. Work stops. Island deserted and falls into ruins. Island becomes haven for teenagers to party in summer, vandalize and cover in graffiti. The Island is then sold to the Thousand Island Bridge Authority who have since worked to restore the castle to what was George Boldt’s original vision. They’ve done and continue to do an amazing job. The exterior, first and second floor of the castle are completely restored. The third floor however is kept as is, showing the various stages of building the island and the castle as well as the vandalism that the building was subjected to while uninhabited. A balcony on the third level offers a view of the st. Lawrence river and the small town of Alexandria Bay.

The grounds of the castle are as impressive, if not more impressive than the castle itself. The lawns are well manicured and the trees and shrubbery are well maintained. While the castle itself was fairly crowded, (go on a weekday. Thank me later) the grounds were fairly empty.

We started with Alster Tower AKA the children’s playhouse. The exterior of the tower was restored to arrest any further erosion by the St. Lawrence River. The interior of the tower itself is unrestored and offers a glimpse into what might have been a pretty kick ass playhouse for small and big kids alike. There is even a subterranean bowling alley. How cool is that. Plans are in place to restore this place completely, but I prefered the unrestored look.

The entry arch was next in line and is a large archway that you can walk through. The arch is topped with a trio of stags. The stags allude to the original owners of the island, the Harts. Hart is an archaic work for stag and George Boldt adopted this as his emblem and if you look closely, the stags are scattered throughout the island.

Wandering through the gardens, there is a small gazebo and a very nice italianesque fountain. Small interesting moments in an otherwise overwhelming landscape.

The Power House or Generator House was by far one of the more interesting buildings on the island. This is the first thing that is visible as you approach via the shuttle. It sits on a smaller island just off the main island and is connected via a small bridge. Wholly unnecessary, but I imagine George Boldt going ‘Why the Hell not???. The Power House is a sort of museum to what would have been if the Castle would’ve been completed.

As you circle back to the dock, and walk upwards again, we came across the large courtyard featuring the Italian gardens and a dove cote. The Italian gardens were completely restored and feature a fountain ringed by marble statuary. The elevation offers a very nice view of the power house as well as the Niagara River.

The Dove cote was built for the sole purpose of housing game fowl and doves. The Dove cote is an empty hall right now with access to the upper levels removed. It would’ve been nice to go all the way up.

The Dove cote was built for the sole purpose of housing game fowl and doves. The Dove cote is an empty hall right now with access to the upper levels removed. It would’ve been nice to go all the way up.

By this time we had spent over two hours on the Island and I was waiting to get to the Yacht House. Access to the Yacht House is via a short (free) shuttle ride. Once in, we get to see two of George Boldt’s personal boats and others that were donated/loaned by the Antique Boat Museum in nearby Clayton. I’m partial to all things marine as I spent many years working in a ship repair company and collected a whole deal of marine memorabilia. The Yacht House is an impressive building and filled with Nautical memorabilia. Also available to view are the Captain’s chambers attached to the Yacht House. George Boldt, it seems, thought of everything.

By this time, we were tired, hot and ready to go. We hopped on the shuttle and reached the castle where we found that the crowds had swelled to a size that the regular shuttle to the island was unable to accomodate. A half hour wait and a triple decker was sent to take to the mainland. Once back, we were amazed at the crowds waiting for the shuttle to the island. Going at this time would’ve been futile and frustrating as we don’t do so well in crowded areas. So. Tip. Go early, and you’ll get better pictures and be able to enjoy the castle at leisure. Go on a weekday and you’ll really thank yourself. Boldt Castle is seasonal though, so check the website for updates.

After that it was time to get Coach, who was extremely happy to see us and a short drive to watertown where the ladies and I did a bit of shopping. Most shops were open late and we took advantage of that to stay there till 10.30 after which we headed back to an empty border crossing and back to Canada. We reached home at 2.30 AM. The drive was pleasant and there are plenty of Rest stops on the way to refuel and get a bite if hungry. Would we go again??? Yes. It will be nice to see the ongoing improvements to the Boldt Castle. Next time however, we will stay for a few days and take in nearby Cape Vincent, Clayton and spend some time in Alexandria Bay itself.

Dhiraj D'Souza
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