January 6, 2012

Our Favourite Things


Home decorating trends — much like fashion crazes — are fluid things. What was the must-have pendant light of the 1980s no doubt quietly disappeared from retail show rooms when the Nineties arrived. The to-go-for look in wallpaper may have been hung in living rooms continentwide 50 years ago, only to be stripped away a decade later.

Of course, some hot home items — furnishings, window-coverings, appliances — will become lukewarm, only to become hot again later. The beanbag chair was a phenom back in the Seventies, but now we’re flopping into it again — or, at least, kids are; as we told you this year in At Home. The same goes for kitchen ware, with retailers showcasing refrigerators, toasters and dishes that have that much-loved retro look.

Next week, we’re going to give you a peek at what are predicted to be some of the hottest trends, colours and decorating items of the year ahead. Today, however, we’re going to take a bit of a look back at some of our favourite looks of 2011.

Living little

Condo-dwelling requires all of us to do more with less. That means that the items in our spaces often need to do double duty, or to be stowed away when not in use. Case in point — the Flexy table from Home Delight Furnishings, which can be unfolded to accommodate as many as six people.

We were also taken with the compact L41 home showcased at last fall’s IDSWest show in Vancouver. The 220-square-foot modular L41 — a riff on “all for one” — may be tiny, but it still accommodates a stylish kitchen, a built-in work station and a sleeping area, not to mention an abundance of ‘green’ features.

Bodacious basements

No longer seen only as the dank spot to stow boxes of junk, the lower level is increasingly being remade as a place with serious style. Think of the basement as a dungeon; think of it as the perfect home for a media room, wine cellar or exercise area. Ditto with the garage. Think it ought to be where to park only the car? Think again. Some folks are looking to the garage as a place with plenty of ‘man cave’ potential, complete with funky furnishings, neon signs and eye-catching colour.

Old and new

Among the furnishings that grabbed our attention this year: Those with edgy new-age pop, and those with time-worn appeal. Take the offerings on South Granville. We loved the old-time look of the cabinet with leaded glass doors we spotted at Farmhouse as much as we loved the mod curves of the James rocking chair we discovered at EQ3 (as shown on cover).

Speaking of style

Call it the ‘dad chair’ — at least, we did. In many homes, there’s traditionally been a chair that’s the exclusive spot for the father in the family, off-limits to everyone else. But the dad’s chair, as we discovered, has come a long way since the days of Archie Bunker and his less-than-lovely lumpy recliner. Take the offerings we found at La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries and Jordans Interiors. They were as big on style as they are on comfort, and sure to be magnets for all members of the household.


When it comes to creating a welcoming study space, be it for the home or the dorm, many retailers are starting to think outside the box — or at least, beyond the dining room table. Catching our attention in 2011 were the work stations and accessories on offer by places such as nood, Ikea and PBteen.

Thinking outside the beige

As colourist Kora Sevier noted this year, a room that includes lighter-toned furnishings, trims or glowing lamps can be warm and welcoming when it’s coated with rich, deep colours. Consider this dining and living space, which was painted in Pratt and Lambert’s Cafe Gray.

It’s about time

A clock, let’s face it, is as much about fashion as function. No matter what the style preference, there’s something to suit your taste. We checked out what’s ticking, and found an abundance of trendy timekeepers, including this Grand Hotel clock from Pottery Barn.

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