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Decorating with black and white is on designers radar these days. We’re taking our cue from the fashion industry where black and white has always been a way of life and not a passing trend. Just like the little black dress or black slacks paired with a crisp white shirt, black and white are time-honoured classics.
Recently on Cityline (above), I had fun with host Tracy Moore sharing my tips on decorating with black and white and how to get it right. To achieve an inviting – not jarring – black and white aesthetic, it’s all about creating a balance.
Above: If you want to create high drama in a space, a black wall (Benjamin Moore Black 2132-10) is the perfect backdrop to white furniture and accessories as shown above. Crisp, eye-popping contrast isn’t for everyone. Tone down the contrast by introducing charcoal in rugs, chairs, art or patterned wallpaper. Bring in pops of a favourite colour with cushions, rugs, florals or other accents to help balance the palette and give your eye a place to land in a monochromatic space. Alternately, the same applies to a white space. Black furniture accented with neutral accents – gold, pastels, beige, will warm up the look without sacrificing the dramatic look you want to achieve in a space with a striking black and white palette. Ikea
Tip: Stay true to the classic black and white aesthetic and maintain a simple and clean look by adding accents and colours in small doses. Balance is the key!
Above: An accent chair or toss cushions in these bold Kate Spade linen fabrics from Kravet through Jackie Glass Inc (trade only) is all you need to catch the eye in a black and white space.
Above: Timeless and of the moment, this monochromatic aesthetic delivers sophisticated style, drama and practicality to any room including the kitchen. Today’s spaces decorated in black and white will have a lasting impact for homeowners and will stand the test of time. Kitchen by Ikea
Tip: Accents in wood, gold metallic, stainless steel, soft black/charcoal and fresh or faux greenery are particularly helpful in banishing the starkness often attributed to a black and white space. Blue, yellow, fucshia hues will always look great in a black and white room and can instantly and inexpensively change to look.
Above: Introduce modern black and white patterns with wallpaper like these Kelly Wearstler beauties from Kravet through Jackie Glass Inc. (trade only) into an all-black or all-white kitchen, guest room or powder room.
Above: How fun are these Futura graphic enamelled porcelain tiles available in 5 designs and colours. Create your own unique floor or wall pattern by combining and configuring the tile patterns just the way you like them. From Ceragres through Jackie Glass Inc (trade only).
Tip: There are literally hundreds of blacks and whites to choose from. I’m always asked for my favourites. Below, you’ll find my go-to list that never lets me down. They range from warm to cool so there’s something for everyone. Save time and money and grab a sample pot or large paint chip of the colours you’re considering and test them out on your walls, in the space where you’ll be painting, at different times of the day to be sure you’re choosing the correct colour. Keep in mind that your light sources (natural and room lighting) will alter any colour so it’s a good idea to test before buying and painting to avoid disappointment and added expense. Always take tiles, flooring, fabrics, rugs etc into consideration when choosing colour.
Jackie’s 5 Fave Benjamin Moore Blacks
- Soot 2129-20
- Black 2132-10
- Carbon Copy 2117-10
- Universal Black 2118-10
- Black Satin 2131-10
Jackie’s 5 Fave Benjamin Moore Whites
- Chantilly Lace 2121-70
- White Dove OC-17
- Simply White OC-117
- Decorators White OC 152
- Super White OC117
Happy decorating! -Jackie
Above: I fell in love with this concrete-topped dining room table on a solid wood base. It’s the perfect addition to my dining room! Accents for Living
We take it for granted. Concrete is literally the foundation of our everyday life! We drive on it, we walk on it, we build our houses on it, we build skyscapers out of it and so much more. Today, this unassuming medium has taken the design industry by storm and is showing up in ways and places we never expected to see it. It’s a chic design and decor element that’s not surprisingly is being embraced by the design industry in looks that make us wonder why we didn’t see the extent of concrete’s design potential long before now!
I brought my Cityline viewers a small taste of how designers – local and around the world- have opened their eyes to the creative potential of concrete and are producing the most amazing home accents suitable for any style of home decor, inside and out!
Here are a few of my favourite concrete finds as featured on Cityline January 31, 2019. We sourced these fabulous concrete and concrete looks at HomeSense, Crate & Barrel, Elte Market, Ciot, Lalaya and BLANCO. Be sure to keep an eye out for a resurgence of new products and ideas in stores and through your designer, builder and contractor in the months and years to come.
Above: Crate & Barrel Norris concrete and burlap table lamp. This lamp will look wonderful in a modern rustic decor on a dining table, sofa table or front hall entrance.
Above: Elte Market Zenith console with concrete top and metal legs. Delicate yet durable, this unique console can be used as a serving table, sofa table or hall table.
Above: Ceragres offers concrete porcelain tiles for floors and walls.
Above: Mags Concrete Works creates custom countertops, shelving, fireplace surrounds, sinks and more. They ship thought Canada and the USA.
It’s not every day that we have the need to set an impressive formal table for our family and guests but it’s Christmas and the one time of year that calls for pulling out all the stops and enjoying a delicious holiday feast at a perfectly set table.
Knowing where everything goes simplifies serving and makes dining easier for guests who will have everything they need. The rules of setting a table exist to make everyone confident in knowing what utensil to use at the appropriate time.
Here’s a cheat sheet that will remind you how to set a formal dining table to impress your guests and help make the dining experience at your house a memorable event this Christmas.
Curate this guide based on what you’re serving your dinner guests. Avoid cluttering up the table with unnecessary pieces. I keep a copy handy in my silver cutlery drawer so that whoever is setting the table for formal occasions can quickly refer to it!
What goes where?
Utensils are always placed in the order of use from outside in towards the dinner plate— what is to be used first is placed farthest from the plate. Always start from the “outside” and work “in”.
The most common table etiquette faux pas is using the wrong bread and butter plate. Your bread and butter plate is always on your left beside your forks.
Glassware or drinking vessels sit at the tip of the knife on the right hand side. The water glass or goblet is always the closest to the knife as it remains on the table throughout the entire meal. Additional glasses stand to the right of the water glass in order of use if multiple wines are to be served.
Know your wine glasses.
Have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy dining in style with your family & friends this holiday season!
When I celebrated Christmas for the first time in my new home, we had just moved in a few days before Christmas and I didn’t have time to think about a specific holiday style or colour scheme. I wanted to live in my new spaces for a while before spending money on creating a fresh new holiday décor style.
Before leaving my previous home (see below), a remodeled century home with a Hampton-style décor, my Christmas décor was more traditional and colourful. Although lovely, it wasn’t a look I had in mind for my shiny new mid-century modern home.
I decided I’d try to reuse what I could from my previous collection of Christmas decorations, which basically came down to my white flocked Christmas tree and a few clear glass bobbles and vases. Not having a specific accent colour in mind for my new home, I opted for a beautiful blingy gray, black, silver and white palette. I was quite pleased with how simple and elegant it looked when it was all done. Everything gleamed sparked b the rays of natural sunlight streaming through my floor-to-ceiling windows. It was magical!
Here’s how I played with a chic, classic colour palette of black and white to create a modern holiday look for my first Christmas in my new modern home.
Above: Sculptural black, gray, white and clear Christmas balls sparkled on the tree and made a lovely accent for the coffee table arranged in a glass vase. What’s lovely about a neutral black, gray and white theme, any time of year, is the practicality. Add any colour you like to accent this grounding palette and you have a winner! Choose a different colour every year and greenery, fresh or faux, always looks amazing with black, charcoal or white.
Above: I adore how my flocked tree looks like I plucked it from the snow-covered woodlands just outside my living room windows. Trimmed only in the new gray, black, silver and white balls I love how well the tree transitioned beautifully from a traditional home to a muted modern space.
Above: With the tree trimmed, it’s time to start wrapping gifts using papers and ribbons in coordinating colours. I tuck in a fresh sprig of evergreen to add a hint of colour and when using a faux tree, it’s a great way to add the intoxicating fragrance of Christmas!
Above: Everyone loves to gather around the tree over the holidays so I park my bar cart next to the tree where guests can help themselves to a little Christmas cheer without leaving the party!
Above: I created separate seating areas in my living room. Two facing comfy chairs from Gresham House Furniture offer the perfect quiet spot to relax, have a private chat or read a good book by the fire. An electric fireplace, this one is an Amantii electric fireplace from Vaughan Electric, simply makes good sense in any room. You have the option of turning it on with or without the heater fan and changing the temperature and colour of the embers. I love how my fireplace looks just as pretty turned off, reflecting the wintery scenery in the glass.
Above: Silver glass trees that light up sit in an acrylic tray on the kitchen island. They look amazing in the evening giving the kitchen a warm holiday ambiance.
Above: I set the tone of my holiday décor in the foyer by using the colour palette inspired by my tree décor. Carry your holiday style and colour palette throughout the house to create an harmonious flow. The large white blooms of amaryllis look so festive with holiday greens including magnolia leaves and cedar boughs.
Happy Holidays! xoJ
Every holiday season I look forward to creating and buying fragrant seasonal florals and plants for myself and my clients. Whether it’s a simple hydrangea in a glass vase with a sprig of cedar or an over-the-top, nature-inspired arrangement composed of fresh cut evergreens and roses, I love to have fragrant florals and greenery throughout the house over the Christmas holidays.
This season, I decided to experiment a little and incorporate fabulous faux florals into my holiday décor. Today’s faux florals are truly beautiful and so realistic that they’ve earned a place in home décor. In fact, I’m finding that I’m quite happy to accent with faux plants in areas of the house that aren’t used on a regular basis – guest rooms, basements, out of reach spaces such as the tops of cabinets and bookshelves and spaces that don’t get a lot of light. It’s one less thing I have to worry about! I typically stick with using fresh in the living room, entrance hall and master bedroom where I can enjoy them most.
When Cityline asked to shoot my dining room for their upcoming Christmas decorating shows I wanted to create something special. I contacted floral artist Catherine Oxley, owner of Bouq Paper Flowers to create a paper flower holiday-inspired installation for my modern dining room chandelier. The results were stunning as you can see! Because my bulbs are LED they don’t emit a lot of heat, the blush paper roses and gray/green seeded eucalyptus stems made of European crepe paper, were safe to use. Fresh flowers and greenery would have left sap on the intersecting arms of the light fixture making the paper option a practical choice. Crafted in individual pieces, the arrangement can be dismantled and reused for other special occasions throughout the year. A matching place setting gift is a wonderful way to say, “Thank you for coming!” to my dinner guests.
When I built my house, I designed my foyer to accommodate multiple guests when I entertain. During holiday season, I greet my guests with a welcome glass of bubbly or a signature cocktail and invite them to carry on through to join the party in the living room. It’s a lovely way to get the party started while I greet my guests at the door. This year, I simply set up my foyer table as a mini bar complete with a fresh cut fragrant rose and evergreen arrangement by Andrea Ireland of True Flowers to set the festive tone for the evening and a bucket of chilled rosé bubbly from one of my favourite local wineries, Trius Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It’s always a big hit with guests and helps break the ice among partiers until everyone has arrived.
Here are three quick tips to keep in mind when creating your own floral arrangements this holiday season and throughout the rest of the year.
- Create natural movement.Sprawling arrangements that are styled organically in a vase – on a chandelier – create texture and visual interest. For dining tables, use low arrangements to keep sightlines clear during dinner.
- Include contrasting elements.Mix light and dark florals in soft tones and pair intricate flowers such as roses with simple stems like eucalyptus or hypericum berries. This balance will give your arrangement an effortless, natural look.
- Add unexpected details.It’s always fun to add an unexpected touch to your arrangements. This year I mixed blush pink roses in with my seeded eucalyptus and evergreens in both my fresh and faux designs. Sculptural branches will instantly elevate any classic holiday arrangement.
Merry Christmas! xoJ
Photos by Karen Kirk
With the holiday season in full swing, our days are packed with festive parties and our thoughts filled with creative gift giving ideas. My favourite gifts to get and give over the holiday season – next to wine – are fresh florals and seasonal greenery. This year I’ve discovered the waxed amaryllis bulb from Holland available in local nurseries, big box stores and gift shops. Because they don’t require any maintenance – no planting or watering – and come in a variety of colours, they’re the perfect holiday gift for anyone on your list.
When gifting them, add an extra-festive look and let the winter landscape inspire your designs whether ordering them from a local florist designers or creating them yourself. There’s so much to choose from – from the rich, colorful blooms of cyclamen and poinsettias to the fragrance and textures of fresh cut greens and berry branches.
Here are some simple yet impressive ways, spotted on my favourite online shopping sites, to present and use waxed amaryllis bulbs that I hope will inspire you too!
WAXED AMARYLLIS MANTLESCAPE
The waxed bulb holds all the stored energy and water it needs to grow and bloom so there’s no need to worry about water and soil damaging your surfaces. Some waxed bulbs like this one from Jackson & Perkins include a coiled wire embedded at the base to make it freestanding: simply place it on any flat surface, set it in a clear vase, or nestle it among other holiday decorations, and wait for blooms to emerge in four to six weeks. You can expect one or two flower stalks, each with up to four blooms. Because the plant only grows to approx. 18”- 24” tall there’s no need for staking. Amazon.com
WAXED AMARYLLIS ARRANGEMENT
Planted up in a cube container filled with a mixture of fresh or faux greens for texture and color, the amaryllis will eventually burst open into a cluster of stunning blooms for an eye-popping holiday arrangement. Terrain.com
WAXED AMARYLLIS WITH TWINKLE
A waxed amaryllis bulb wrapped in Stargazers wire mini led lights is nestled on a bed of sheet moss and lichen-covered twigs in a shallow dish. Keep the moss fresh with a mister every couple days. It’s the perfect little festive touch for place setting gifts, an office desk, teacher’s gift or hostess gift. Terrain.com
TIP: Waxed amaryllis (3.5” dia.) prefer direct sunlight and consistent room temperature; avoid drafts. To slow growth if desired, store in a cool, darkened location.
I love to have several types of amaryllis in my house over the holidays. Here are some general amaryllis care tips from Sheridan Nurseriesso you can enjoy your amaryllis all season long.
Happy Holidays! xoJ
While I renovated my new home, I purchased a new tailer home to live in over the summer during renovations and parked it on site so I could stay on top of the project on a daily basis. I renovated the interior for a fresh, modern look and created a fun patio with the help of Ikea furnishings and accessories. It was well worth it! My home is finished and my trailer, loaded with extras, is for sale! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Talking Deck & Patio material with Tracy Moore on Cityline.
Having a little fun on Cityline with my funny friends, Kimberley Seldon and Tiffany Pratt. Talking Bidets!