GOING GREEN – Another Country Furniture – UK

bedroom furniture bed two

Daybed (mattress is made by Naturalmat-contains certified organic latex
and coconut fibre.  The lambs wool is locally sourced).

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Introducing a furniture line we regard fondly and think you will too once you see their beautifully handcrafted line of products.

Take a look at Another Country Furniture designs and you will recognize influences from Scandinavia with a twist of Japanese creativity.  The quality and design of these pieces evoke a reminder of the past.  At the same time the simplistic ‘lines’ provide a contemporary  ‘attitude’.   This marrying of time periods  contributes to the company’s philosophy.  They believe that their products should arrive to the client as “direct” as possible.  They promote handmade, quality designed pieces with straightforward pricing.  They also try to implement as many GREEN concepts as they can via wood sourcing, packaging and materials used in the mattresses  …. and even through some of the hand techniques used to construct the furniture.

They ship worldwide and their website is www.anothercountry.com


blue clothes horse a modern take on a dressing centre

Clotheshorse…a modern version. More like a piece of sculpture.

bench one back kitchen setting

Furniture looks beautiful in this kitchen setting.  Compliments the traditional and contemporary decor.

childrens table

For the children! Pretty and practical.

pottery designer Ian McIntyre

Pottery designed by Ian McIntyre for Another Country.  Promotes a sense of serenity.

white table with pitcher

Simple and effective.

sideboard two

Unpretentiously perfect.

sofa one blue red pillows

A favourite. Inviting but not overwhelming.

floor cushions

Classy and comfortable.

bar stool one another countr

Unassuming but handsome!





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In my (British) opinion there is nothing like settling down, on a Sunday evening at 9.00 p.m., to view an episode of Downton Abbey.

I love everything about it from the story line to the personality of the characters – both upstairs and downstairs.  Not only is it insightful to see how the upper and lower classes of England worked and lived together, it is also portrays a good understanding of the upkeep and maintenance of a home of this immense magnitude.

In addition to my weekly fix of this great series, I confess to being in awe of these aristocratic and historical interiors.  The intricacy of each room; the priceless art and antiques, married with splendid jewel tones fabrics and saturated wall colours leaves me both enthused and inspired.  Not only are the interiors exquisite, here are ten interesting facts you may not know about Downton Abbey:

Downton Abbey is infact called Highclere Castle.

It is about four times the size of Central Park. (Daily News.)

It is the home of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon.  (Geordie and Fiona to friends.)

There are approx. 200-300 rooms; at least 50-80 bedrooms. (Los Angeles Times.)

It is speculated the Castle may be worth in the region of 150 million pounds. (TIME business and money.)

Highclere Castle and it’s gardens and grounds are open to the public. Tickets can be purchased on-line.  It also offers a tea room and gift shop.

The Castle employs 60 to 80 staff.  The oldest being close to 90 years old.  (Los Angeles Times.)

It is situated on 1,000 acres in Hampshire, England, 70 miles west of London.

The Estate farms approx. 2,000 acres.

The Estate costs around one million dollars a year to run.  (Daily News.)



For more scoop on Downton visit www.highclerecastle.co.uk

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Images from www.highclerecastle.co.uk

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bath lady painting

Featured Image:  <http://www.coatshhomes.com>   




These floors are absolutely exquisite.  They are examples of how patterned flooring can uplift and bring playfulness to our interior spaces.  We often apply pattern through our fabrics and art work but maybe we should consider being somewhat adventurous with our floors. By adding pattern underfoot it establishes some charisma and individuality. Start small if this is your first patterned floor endeavour; an entrance way or bathroom would be the ideal floor surface to extend your creativity and create some magnetism in your home.  



bath blue tiles attic mag

www.atticmag.com. Playful.

bathroom graphic  chictip

www.chictip.com. (From Elle Decor originally.) Graphic.

porcelain floor tile  trendir

www.trendir.com. Porcelain tile!

tracery interiors white bathroom marble hexagon mosaic tiles flooring floor cococozy

www.cococozy.com. Marble hexagon mosaic.



herringbone kitchen

www.412love.wordpress.com. Herringbone.

honeycomb kitchen grey soft nate

www.nateberkus.com. Painted honeycomb pattern.

kitchen circles arkoop

www.arkoop.com. Circle pattern on tiles.


www.visualphotos.com. Patterned Linoleum.

hexagonal tiles italian  dezeen

www.dezeen.com. Hexagonal tiles creating a honeycomb ‘look’.

kitchen follor black cup emily henderson

www.stylebyemilyhenderson.com. Wow.

prism pattern mosaic kitchen

www.cococozy.com. Prism patterned mosaic.



dining black and white lacquer

www.lacquerandlinen.com. Painted.

herringbone undfinished can H&h

www.canadianhouseandhome.com. Unfinished herringbone wood…rustic.

painted stripes, nate

www.nateberkus.com. Painted stripes.

large sseams, white Nate suttle

www.nateberkus.com. Large pieces of flooring with seams…subtle.

patterned wood andrewbarnes

www.andrewbarneslifestyle.blogspot.com. Herringbone wood in warm wood tone.

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April 2010 193

Featured Image:  agiftwrappedlife.blogspot.com

All images: www.katespade.com


The name Kate Spade, conjures up handbags, (gorgeous), shoes, (wonderful), clothing, (tres chic), accessories (fabulous) and jewellery (amazing).



In 2004 Kate Spade launched her home line comprising china, glassware, dinnerware, tabletop items and home decor. So what makes this brand of home ware so successful?   We think it’s because it’s fun, vibrant and has a colourful vibe.  Take a peek and see the delightful products we adore, or, alternatively take more of an in depth look on www.katespade.com





Set of four coasters.


Mail plate.


Salt and pepper shakers.




Sugar bowl.





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FEATURED PRODUCT – LE CREUSET – Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

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Featured Image:   www.lecreuset.ca

www.citroenimportservices.com. Le Crueset’s Promotional Vehicle.




Almost 88 years ago Le Creuset Cookware was established.

Here is a little bit of it’s history.  In 1925 Le Creuset was formed by Armand Desaegher and Octave Aubecq; two genius’ that decided to create a Creuset foundary (a factory that produces metal castings).

From the initial launch until 1935 Le Creuset developed a variety of products which included charcoal stoves and hot plates.  It was the war changed their course of business as the factory was utilized for producing grenades.  It wasn’t until after World War II that the company started to concentrate on developing their cookware line.  They worked hard on making significant changes, both to their design and colour selections, and with this successful strategy the early 1950’s brought a demand not only locally but also abroad.




Their colour selection is wonderful with the constant adding of new schemes while consistently offering the already present shades. To this day it is still considered to be one of the best quality cookware lines in the global marketplace.  It can make a bold statement in a kitchen by being a stand out hue or blend into the surroundings with simplicity.  It is up to the cook of the household to decide the way in which they would like to integrate it into their spaces.  You can mix and match colour schemes or build on a particular enamel shade that ‘calls your name’.   If you don’t want to invest too much perhaps just buy yourself one piece to add some interest and history in your kitchen!
















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PEOPLE WITH TALENT – Majorie Labreque-Lepage





During a visit to the Toronto One-of-a-Kind show, Finn and I were instantly attracted to a display of playful and unique cushions.  We were intrigued with their colour, unique flavour and their whimsical charm ……. and we couldn’t help falling in love with their characters.  I even purchased a pug pillow for my daughter which is currently sitting on her bed like a member of our family.

Majorie Labreque-Lepage is the creator of Velvet Moustache which was established in 2007. Her first characters were made from recovered fabrics, old buttons and recycled sweaters; since then her successful business has grown and her collection of cushions are now available in stores around the world.

For more information, please click onto www.­velvetmoustache.­ca to enjoy Majorie’s wonderful cushion characters.

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monkey_stripe_low_large ourspolaire1_large Velvet moustache pug pink












I love your company name – Velvet Moustache – it is very unusual.  What is the idea behind it?

“Velvet Moustache stands for personality,  fun, and softness. The trademark is the half closed eyes that are so difficult to sew, but gives the little something that make them look alive.”

The character of your cushions really come through – are they based on your imagination or real life characters you know?

“They come from my imagination, I try to project and reflect the subconsciousness of my contemporaries. The best animal pillow friend ever! J”

How long does it take to make one cushion?

“For regular production, it is hard to tell. It takes many hands, time and energy to make it right. For custom orders it can be around  3 to 7 hours, but it depends on a lot!”

Where do you get your creative ideas from?

“I find creativity in constraint, restriction and recycling.”

What inspires you in life?

“Society, cultures and nature, and of course Popcorn!”


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doorways painted colours

Featured Image:  www.houseandhome.com

Colour:  “an object’s property of producing different

sensations on the eye as a result of the way it reflects

or gives out light.”

We are all drawn to certain colours.  It is true, there is merit to how a colour makes you feel.   Colours can be active or passive. They can make a room feel smaller or bigger and can calm or excite the mind.  How we are each individually affected by colour can come from many influences such as the climate/country we live/grew up in, our heritage, how our brain responds to colour,age and so forth.

Below are some rooms drenched in colour.  Take a peak.

If painting a wall or room seems too big a task why not add an oversized floor pillow in one of these hues, purchase a colourful ottoman or integrate some colour via a large coloured pot for a house plant.  You can gain inspiration from these colourful spaces in any way that suits your home.

For an incredible overview on colour Step 2 in Eileen’s “Dancing with Design” book is fantastic!


brown wall oragne sofa

www.houseofanais.onsugar.com Splash of orange against the deep brown. Very striking!

F&B purple walls light blue ceiling

www.styleathome.com. Having fun with colour.

bath green wals orange shelf nate

www.nateberkus.com. Simply and carefully chosen.

blue dining fired earth

www.firedearth.com. Peaceful.

orange room with photograph elle decor

www.elledecor.com. Gutsy.

jubilee_blue fired earth

www.fired.earth.com. High contrast.

race_yellow fired

www.firedearth.com. Bright & happy.

purpule canadian house and home

www.canadianhouseandhome.com. Varying hues of the same colour. Clever.


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Featured Image:  www.orlingandwu.com


This is the time of year we tend to “change things up!”   Many of us have had our friends over to chat by the fire instead of sitting in our gardens; so our sofas became a daily hangout to relax, unwind, and share time with loved ones.  Now that spring is in the air, we often feel like “changing-up” our interiors.

Pillows/toss cushions are accessories we can easily switch to create a new mood, bring new energy into a space or change the style of the room ……… so, we felt it would be a good idea to provide you with a few key ideas to help you in creating a new look for your sofa via some ‘pillow talk’.  Here are our thoughts:

The same colour tones can evoke a relaxing


Pattern can add fun and originality.

Sometimes less is more.

If using a lot of pattern, mix up the scale.

Let go of colour matching.

Don’t always buy into ‘the rules”.  HAVE FUN!


www.canadianhouseandhome.com. Tufted sofa is the highlight. Clever to put the monochromatic pillows at one end with the larger, soft contrasting pillows at the other.

www.freshhome.com. These two accent pillows bring personality to the room and tie in the colour scheme.

www.canadianhouseandhome. Patterned sofa allows for less is more attitude.

www.cococozy.com. Earthy and warm. Colours have same saturation value as couch and textured pillows are subtle which keeps the overall feel ‘quiet’.

www.housebeautiful.com. Vertically striped sofa with horizontally striped pillow. This works as the scale changes.

www.realsimple.com. The wall colour is allowing for the sofa and pillows to be paired back.

www.bhg.com. The colour variety creates a playful and cheerful room.

www.housebeautiful.com. Pattern central! The Ikat and florals create a ‘worldly or travelled’ look.










































































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FOGO ISLAND – off the shores of Newfoundland, Canada

outside with reflection

outside with stilts man scaling

We both share an incredible appreciation and fondness for the extraordinary when it comes to architecture.  This building and community not only has awe-inspiring beauty but also an incredible story of a woman’s dream to help rebuild and bring opportunity to the island she holds close to her heart.

Zita Cobb is native to Fogo Island; along with her siblings she created Shorefast Foundation and invested millions of her own capital toward the development of Fogo Island Inn and ultimately the community and its entirety.  It took some time to convince the locals that the Inn and concepts within the Inn would bring growth and needed sustainability, but eventually its relevance was accepted.

Designed by Todd Saunders; a native to Newfoundland, now residing in Norway.  The structure is an architectural and engineering achievement.  It was a challenging endeavour – from building on a granite rocky hillside to implementing all the environmental details (a rainwater collection system, a very large wood heating and hot water stove etc.) to placing the tall stilt-like structures ‘just so’(50ft high and 30ft deep into rocky ground) to support one end of the building. These ‘legs’ and the main structure are meant to depict a fishing stage* appearance.  The interior is cozy while maintaining a minimalist quality. There is careful consideration where texture is adorned and how colour is applied.  The standout feature in every room is the view through the window!

Over the three years it took to build Fogo Island Inn,  trades men from all over the world (Germany, Ireland and Japan to name a few) came to visit and work toward the creation of this artistic structure.  This sense of community stretching far and beyond the island itself is both refreshing and encouraging.

The Inn has provided many jobs…over seventy.  A lot of how the Inn functions benefits the environment and the community.  Other businesses on the island have been born from this new development. There is opportunity for filmmakers and artists to take up residency (for a period of time) in a heritage building and then work in one of the off the grid studios designed by Todd Saunders.  The Inn itself has a restaurant, bar, art gallery, library and cinema which are all available for the public to utilize as well as the Inn guests.


*a fishing stage is a traditional wooden building mostly used for cod fishing in Newfoundland.  They were built close to the shore with an elevated area using tall timbers to create a ‘stage’ over the waters edge.

dining room

hot tubs

room with yeloow bench

interior fireplace


www.cbc.ca. Make, one of the resident Newfoundland dogs.

fogo night (.ca)



Other images: www.plus.google.com

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GOING GREEN – Do-it-Yourself!



Featured Image:  www.the bolditalic.com

There is nothing more rewarding than a Do-it-Yourself project!  Especially, if you are able to use items that you were once thinking of throwing away.  Re-cycling or re-using is a great “green” approach and a good example for our children in which to learn by.

If all goes well (and sometimes it does not) we can enjoy a sense of achievement and a little bit of triumph for a “job well done”.  So, consider your options, find some time and GET THOSE CREATIVE JUICES FLOWING.

Here are some of our favourites.


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www.pinterest. The stones make for good drainage and add a ‘little something” to a otherwise boring boot/shoe tray.

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www.pinterest.com. Mixing bowls create cheerful and unique lighting pendants.

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www.pinterest.com. A clever way to remember your breaker panels. Nail polish or paint both works well

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www.pinterest.com. A clever alternative to shelving.

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www.pinterest.com. Cut-down cardboard tubes make creative storage spaces.

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www.pinterest.com. Jars secured to a piece of wood not only make interesting wall art, they are great herb holders.

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www.pinterest.com. Nothing like a splash of paint to create a wow factor and revitalize an old piece of furniture.

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wwwcasasugar.com. Washi tape turns the boring into the beautiful!

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www.marthastewart.com. Colour dip plain candles and turn them into a centre piece.

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www.buzzfeed.com. Wooden palettes make great bike storage stands.

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www.buzzfeed.com. What better than a shutter to store and organize your mail.

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www.buzzfeed.com. This really is a cork board. How fun!



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