IDS 2015 Highlights

Toronto's Interior Design Show took place this past weekend. Many of the exhibitors from last year were back, it was nice to see some familiar faces, and I was introduced to several new companies and brands. The absolute highlight for me this year was the impressive line up of speakers on Saturday – Jonathan Adler, Alexa Hampton and Thom Filicia gave talks that were inspiring and informative (and who knew they were all so funny!). They did a book signing between talks and I had the chance to meet each of them and have them sign my books. 

As for the exhibitors, here are the products and brands that caught my eye: 

The hand-blown glass Bell Tables with brass surface in a variety of jewel-toned colours by Sebastian Herkner are everything. I saw them featured in a magazine a few months ago and they caught my eye so I was happy to get a chance to see them up close at Avenue Road's booth. 

Living Lighting teamed up with a local graffiti artist to produce a series of edgy, street art-inspired light fixtures. Graffiti art has popped up on my radar three times in the last week and I'm sure it's no coincidence... Graffiti art is something I'd like to explore in further detail so I'll come back to this in a future post. 

I've been looking for a Canadian source of acrylic furniture for a while now and finally found one based in Toronto called Marion Collection. They mainly do custom orders but also have a few basic pieces that can be ordered as is. 

I LOVE Andrew Richard Designs' outdoor furniture. They had a great booth last year and I was wondering how they were going to out-do themselves this year. They did so by creating this heavenly garden oasis.

I think we're going to see a lot of live edge furniture trending this year, I saw it on display at a few booths and I've seen it appearing in a few blogger DIY projects lately. I love this look; sometimes what we might think of as an imperfection is actually perfectly natural and it's beautiful. This table is from Camilla House Imports.  

Okay, let's all be honest here - how many of us made a mad dash to IKEA's booth the moment we stepped off the escalator and entered IDS? I'll admit that I would have been one of those people if I hadn't missed my morning coffee that day and was instead lured over to the Miele booth where they were giving out free caffeine and showing off their awesome appliances, including a dishwasher that opened simply by tapping it, eliminating the need for hardware (if you're going for that sleek, lacquered, integrated look). If I had a place for a dishwasher in my kitchen I probably would have bought one of those bad boys right there at the show. But I digress, back to IKEA. Do you remember that floor to ceiling gold tiled bathroom they had on display last year that I'm sure was posted to social media several million times? Gorgeous. How to top that gorgeousness? By having two Canadian interiors magazine editors each design a kitchen using IKEA's new SEKTION kitchen products. Both entrances welcomed you with large, black lacquered doors with huge brass knobs: 

I preferred the French bistro-style kitchen from Style at Home magazine with its black, glass-fronted cabinetry filled with fresh bread, antique light fixture, brass towel rack running along the edge of the marble counter, and best of all, a bicycle hanging from the ceiling.  

Though I didn't love House and Home magazine's kitchen as a whole, I truly appreciated and loved individual moments throughout - the copper pots hanging from brass racks, a rolling ladder to access the cookbook shelf high above, the matte black faucet, and the stunning backsplash of painted tiles. This kitchen was a little bit too rustic for my liking, but I would definitely incorporate individual design elements separately.  

There were so many amazing booths at IDS this year, too many to cover all of them here, but I want to leave you with this bathroom designed by Meredith Heron for DXV (American Standard's high-end luxury line of bath and kitchen products). I hadn't seen the sign that indicated this bathroom was designed by Meredith, but as soon as the DXV rep mentioned it I recognized it as her style immediately. No wonder I loved it so much. 

Did you get a chance to check out IDS last weekend? What were your favourite exhibits?  

Trip to IKEA

IKEA isn't just for dorm rooms and first apartments anymore.  It's now common to see an inexpensive IKEA piece holding its own in a room with higher-end furniture. Their new Stockholm line was recently released and I went to check it out with a friend this week. I just love the IKEA experience - the maze-like layout, the room vignettes, the Swedish meatballs with lingonberry sauce. Here are some pics from my trip earlier this week.  

Greens were a very popular, lots of emerald green items in furniture and fabrics (no surprise there since it's Pantone's Colour of the Year for 2013), and lots of sea glass green accessories.  This new sofa from the Stockholm collection (left) was really comfortable.  The chair wasn't so comfortable, but I think it would have been if I were about 6" shorter.  The headrest is sewn in, and in order for it to fit comfortably behind my head/neck, I had to slouch down to the point where it was uncomfortable for my back.  My advice - only buy this chair if you are around 5'2"!

More green.  This product is marketed as a bed canopy for a kid's room, but how amazing would it be if used outdoors on a patio?!  It is just too cute!

These new chairs from the Stockholm collection (left) were stunning and stylish, but were shockingly uncomfortable.  This acrylic chair (or as I like to call it, IKEA's affordable re-imagining of the ghost chair) was surprisingly comfortable, except that it lacks the sophistication of a ghost chair.  

I love how IKEA doesn't just have a chair on display for the customer to sit in it and try it out before purchasing it - IKEA puts an entire apartment on display so that you can sit in the chair while seeing it as part of the bigger picture.

In the bedroom.  I love the rich colour in the new walnut veneer pieces - this 3-door dresser with full-length mirror was especially nice.  That's my friend waving in the mirror!
IKEA's new bedding is so soft and silky, especially this lilac set.  I love those little chandeliers!  Seeing them paired with these purple items is giving me an idea for my purple room that I'm turning into my home office...

Many of today's designers are using IKEA kitchens in their clients' homes, but where they save on cabinetry, they are able to splurge in other areas (like marble countertops, for example).  When done right, mixing high and low can result in a beautiful reno that doesn't break the bank.
I love the way this bathroom vanity floats above the floor - it gives the illusion of more space in a smaller bathroom.  And drawers are so much better than cupboards - you keep your most frequently used items in the top drawer so that you're bending down less when accessing them.

Don't let this picture fool you - it's a rug, not a tablecloth!  It's just draped over a table.  If anyone knows where I can get an 5x8' cowhide rug made up of squares sewn together in light grey, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.  IKEA's are really nice and affordable, but they only come in caramel colour and this really dark brown/black one pictured here.

I can't end this post without talking about IKEA food.  Their staple is my favourite dish - Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes with gravy and lingonberry sauce.  Would you believe that this entire dinner cost LESS than the cost of my lunch earlier that day?  And it's not as if I had a beer at lunch!

I was really hoping to get a look at and sit in the Stockholm swivel easy chair but I must have overlooked it and by the time I remembered it my friend and I were already at the checkout and the store was closing.  Oh well, it's a good excuse for us to go back again soon!