HomeSense Finds


If you haven't been to HomeSense in a while (HomeGoods for my American friends) then you need to get there ASAP. There is lots of goodness happening right now. My favourite finds were the Ralph Lauren Glen Plaid crystal tumblers and low ball glasses so I made sure to snatch up 8 of each. 



Speaking of crystal, HomeSense's lighting game is so on point right now, especially their selection of crystal table lamps. 



This blue and white ginger jar lamp is a dream! I wish I had a place for it! Sadly I don't, so can someone please buy it so I can live vicariously through you? I may just go back and buy it and store it for a future home, that's how much I love it. Except that it's probably already gone, amazing HomeSense finds like this don't stick around for very long. 



I really wanted to buy this floor lamp with brass-like finish - it's the exact shape and colour I'm looking for but unfortunately it wasn't very sturdy and swayed a lot. Still pretty, though! 



I love this masculine, leather tufted wing chair with nailhead trim detail and matching footstool. It makes me want to design a mahogany-panelled study or office for someone. 

I love that my office is just around the corner from a HomeSense, it's sometimes nice to take an afternoon coffee break, head on over and wander around and see what's new.  



10 Must-Haves for the Home by the Time You're 30

Recently, designer Tommy Smythe was on the Marilyn Denis Show discussing the 10 must-have home decor items to own by the time you're 30. Using Tommy's list as a guide, I thought I'd share a shopping list of the items I would select from each category to add to your decor.  

1. Original Art/Photography

Invest in a good piece of original art or photography, it will add interest to your space. As Tommy says, it's time to get rid of those old concert posters. I like the colour-enhanced photos of abandoned homes and buildings in Havana by Werner Pawlok. So hauntingly beautiful.



2. Good Quality Sofa

Tommy advises that a good quality sofa will cost you $2,000 at minimum. This price gets you good fabric and good construction. It's worth the investment - after all, other than your bed, it's the piece of furniture you spend the most time on. Restoration Hardware has a wide selection of really comfortable sofas starting at $2,000; you can choose the fabric and colour you want. If you like to change your decor often, stick with a neutral colour and change your accessories with the seasons.




3. Good Quality Lighting

Please, can we all get rid of those "big box, female anatomy-looking light fixtures?" You know the ones Tommy is referring to. The addition of good quality lighting can be in any form, but I prefer to spend a bit more on ceiling or wall fixtures, since they're a little more permanent. If a candelabra-style chandelier is too formal/traditional for you, try something a little more contemporary like this one from Living Lighting:



4. Antique or Vintage Items

Tommy tells us that having at least one antique or vintage item in your home shows your guests that you have a level of taste and sophistication, and I completely agree. I grew up surrounded by antiques so I would even suggest having at least a few. Antique shops and markets are everywhere and you usually have to hunt to find that perfect piece, but it's well worth the effort once you do. Here's a lovely faux bamboo brass tray from Vintage Fine Objects that would add sophistication to any style of decor:




5. Plants or Pets

Plants and pets indicate to people who come into your home that you're able to care for another living thing. As Tommy says, "you should not be the only thing alive in your apartment." Start with plants if you can't commit to a pet. This photo from Pinterest illustrates how they can be worked into a decor scheme:

Original source unknown

6. Good Quality Bedding/Sheets

Tommy advises to have two sets and replace them every two years. Choose a 400-thread count and go with a simple white sheet set. Crane & Canopy has some high-quality, affordable bedding options available. The Linden set is one of my favourites and is on my wish list:



7. Kitchen 

Tommy talked about several kitchen items to invest in, and for this point I'm going to share the items he showed on the segment instead of showcasing my own suggestions.

Cookware - buy a matching set of pots and pans. If you can't afford to buy them all at once, buy them piece by piece and invest slowly over time. (Tommy featured a copper set by Williams Sonoma.)

Dinnerware - a set of 12 (or a baker's dozen since, let's face it, dishes will break) is ideal. Start with a good set of white plates that can act as a workhorse but that also look really nice. (Tommy recommends Sophie Conran dinnerware, available at HBC.)

Table Linens and Flatware - a set of 12 for each. How lovely is this Kate Spade pink gold flatware set?! 

Knife Set - get a beautiful knife block that can be left out on the counter. Even better - this version that has an integrated cookbook or tablet holder for easy recipe viewing. 

8. Matching Hangers

Disorganization in the closet is disorganization in life. Have an all matching set, whether it's all wood, all plastic, all velvet, etc. HomeSense (and therefore probably also HomeGoods) has inexpensive packs of 10-25 hangers. I recently bought a couple of packages for my own closet but regret to tell you that I haven't purged the old and invited the new in yet!!! So for now, I'd like to share this photo from my friend and fellow blogger Tiffany Leigh's walk-in closet makeover




9. Good Books

Having good books on display shows that you have a level of interest and scholarship in your life and in your home, says Tommy. Books are a symbol of hospitality, and guests are invited to pick them up and read. I've worked for a book company most all of my professional life, allowing me the opportunity to accumulate a vast amount of books in the last 15 years. I've since donated a lot of them and I wish I had a photo of the wall-to-wall bookshelves I used to have that housed over 800 tomes but that photo is trapped on a broken phone. Instead, here is a more recent picture of some of the books I just couldn't part with: 



10. Cleaning Person

When investing in great stuff, you've got to take care of it. Investing in hired help to keep your house clean is the best gift you can give yourself. It took me a long time to learn the value of this, but about a year and a half ago I hired someone to clean my house every other week and now that I've done that, I will never go back. Not only does Adora clean my house better than I ever could, she keeps my sanity in check by keeping my house in order. J'adore Adora. (P.S. If you live in Toronto and would like her number, please contact me. She is THE BEST.) 




Where I Shop: Angus & Company

I was going through all the photos on my iPhone recently and deleting some of them to free up space, when I realized that I have a ton of photos of products I snapped at various retailers around the city. It gave me the idea to create a new blog series about the places I shop for home decor accessories and furniture. I'd like to start with one of my favourite little antique boutiques, Angus & Company


Self-described as a design shop "with the feel of a general store and the ambiance of a cocktail party," Angus & Co. is full of carefully curated objects of desire and pieces of statement furniture that are difficult to resist opening your wallet for. Here are some of my favourite items from my most recent visit there:  


Be still my heart! There were two of these large ginger jar lamps for sale. If only I had a place for them in my home! 




A detail from the aforementioned lamp.  The chinoiserie-print linen napkins were also lovely. 



Continuing on the theme of blue and white...this little vase!!! 


More chinoiserie print, this time with pillows. But can we talk about this Mies van der Rohe cantilever chair? Just an example of the delicious goodies you can expect to find at this fine store. 




 A piece of coral. Crystal decanters. THIS CHANDELIER TABLE LAMP.  



I just might to back for these tuxedo-like lacquered boxes. 



I didn't buy anything on my most recent visit to the shop, but I'm still in love with the purchases I made last summer - my silver bar tray and grey calf hair coasters. 

Angus & Company is located at 647 Dupont Avenue (at Christie Street).