Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Mommy-To-Be Friendly New Years Mocktail: Apple Ginger Sparkler

This year champagne is off limits, so here is an alternative from Miss Martha that has the same colouration and festive spirit, without the alcohol.

Apple-Ginger Sparklers

For Ginger Syrup:

  1. Place 2 cups of sugar, 1 six-inch piece of fresh ginger finely diced, and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook about 1 hour, until ginger flavor is quite strong. Let cool and strain before using.

For Mocktail:

  • 1/4 cup Ginger Syrup
  • 4 1/2 cups sparkling apple cider (make sure it is pasteurized)
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 pieces crystallized ginger
  1. Place 2 tablespoons ginger syrup in each of six glasses.
  2. Fill glasses with ice cubes, pour in cider, and stir to combine.
  3. Garnish with cinnamonsticks and fresh ginger, and serve.

(image via marthastewart.com)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Project Glam Kitchen: An Intro and Before Shots

photo (1)

If you were flipping through the workbook section of the January issue, you may have caught a sneak peek of my kitchen (or you may even have the February issue in your hands if you’re a subscriber! Early birds catch the worm!) After spending long arduous months on my home reno, I am so excited that I will get to share my kitchen and family room with you, and in anticipation of the big reveal, I’ll be taking you on a behind the scenes tour of the basic building blocks of how it all came together here and on the Style At Home blog.

intro- kitchen before

When we first toured the house, it was clear that the kitchen hadn’t been touched in decades. This wasn’t shocking considering the rest of the outdated plumbing, knob and tube wiring, presence of asbestos, lack of central air and all the other fun factors that make embarking on a gut job a necessity. But I was still in love with the house and knew it was brimming with potential. After a couple of months of driving by longingly and some negotiating, it was ours!

intro- banquettebefore

We knew our plans for our dream house would require not only a gut reno, but would also eventually require more square footage as well in order to have space for both informal living and formal entertaining. I am an old soul at heart who loves to host and I already had a few pieces of treasured formal furniture, so a proper living room and dining room were on my wish list, in addition to having a great casual space with an eat-in kitchen and family room.

open house

Having endured living through a major reno (remember the bunker?), I knew it was wise and more cost effective to do the addition and existing reno simultaneously. I also knew I only wanted to tackle a project of this proportion once, so the MO was to invest in a long-term design to fit our evolving family needs and do it in one fell swoop, instead of doing a smaller job now and then having to move out again in 5 years to do the addition when we really needed the space. (and that was well before we knew that twins were on the way- everything happens for a reason!)

And with that plan in mind, we set out to create a floorplan that would give us everything we needed.

Up next: open concept space planning

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Power Problems

As I’m sure you may have seen on the news or on social media (or if you were here living through it), Ontario and other parts of Canada were hit with a nasty ice storm last week. While the icy branches certainly look pretty, the wake of devastation they left behind is not. Some side streets still have major trees blocking lanes and some families only had power restored this weekend!


We sustained a lot of damage to our trees and bushes (thankfully nothing heavy hit our cars or house)  but it was not having power for over 66 hours that really sucked. While it was refreshing taking a break from technology, between taking measures to keep the pipes from freezing to the spoiled food to the shlepping back and forth to the next hot meal, it was not an easy few days for a preggo like me.

Here’s a hardy thank you to all the hydro crews that worked insane hours to get people back on the grid- especially over the holidays!

Friday, December 20, 2013

This Is Real

And it’s spectacular! I got all giggly inside when I saw this baby lounger (aka rocker) at ella + elliott on clearance from $355 to $255. I am familiar with the manufacturer Bloom, who make super modern (and super pricey) high chairs and other gear for babies, but until now had never seen something so glam available for the nursery set.

Everything about it screams me – I mean it’s black plexi and gold leatherette -  but I held myself back as I have to remember that matching my baby gear to my home decor is probably not the priority here. Besides the gold may just be too fabulous for such little baby boys to handle anyways… if I was having girls though, they’d probably be goldmembers like me!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ice Ice Baby

Christmas cookie baking for holiday gifts is an annual tradition in my mother’s kitchen and hopefully next year will be in mine too. But for now, being 7.5 month pregnant with twins tends to get in the way of those types of standing-required activities, so I was content to be doing the sitting-friendly tasks this time around on her behalf, such as icing and cutting out shapes from her pre-rolled dough.

photo (40)

Having taken the pastry courses at George Brown, my mom just LOVES her culinary gear and I laughed at her when she first wheeled in a commercial rack into the kitchen for her baking exploits. The joke’s on me though as it totally does come in super handy when baking and icing for a crowd.

photo (39)

Having a plethora of both sugar and gingerbread cookies already baked up from a previous kitchen session, I organized my tools for the icing and decorating so I could move quickly between designs without letting the royal icing get too stiff.

photo (37)

I had the most fun with the gingerbread snowflakes but  went a little crazy on the sanding sugar for the sugar cookie versions due to my insistence that it looks like real snow (well it does!)

photo (38)

I also made some mittens (not of the kitten variety) using crushed peppermint candy shards for the cuffs- cute and minty fresh!

What’s your favourite holiday cookie recipe?

Monday, December 16, 2013

What Would Be Under My Christmas Tree (if I had a tree…)

Do you still have some holiday shopping to do? Well there’s just about a week left to snap up your gifts so here are some of my own picks that I’ve seen in stores over the past few days for some inspiration to get you going…


I love gold. I love stripes. I love soft boiled eggs (even though I can’t have anything undercooked right now- boo), so it’s not shocking that I have a crush on these adorable egg cups at Putti. At $15 a piece, they’d make any old egg and toast breakfast a more classy affair.


This luxe cashmere and wool blend throw by Yves Delorme at ELTE is so luxuriously soft and not totally out of control price-wise for a special gift at $225. I’m partial to it because this pinky-lavender hue appears a couple of times in my new digs, not to mention that it’s pretty much the exact shade that Pantone has selected as the colour of the year for 2014. The folks at Pantone call it radiant orchid- I’ll stick with  “warm lavender” as what the hell does radiant orchid even mean?


I know we’ve already covered the fact that I love gold, but did I mention in the past five minutes that I am a cheese freak? (Thankfully all cheese by law needs to be pasteurized in Canada so that hasn’t been off limits!) I love these cheese knives from West Elm because they’re a nice scale and add a touch of glamour to my favourite rustic cheese board.


I fell for this beautiful box set of assorted gourmet salts at the HomeSense holiday preview in the summer and was pleased to see a couple at the eglinton and laird location this week. Considering it’s cool to put sea salt on everything these days whether it be sweet or savoury, at $120, it’s a great gift for your favourite gourmand to savour.


Most creative types have some form of inspiration board in their offices and I’m no exception, so I think these gold (shock!) bow push pins by Kate Spade New York are just too cute for words! At $24 at Indigo, they won’t break the bank either.

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Picking Up Where We Left Off…

It’s been a few months but I swear I have a good reason for ditching: we moved into the house in late June the same week Dave and I discovered we were expecting- double whammy!


Instead of unpacking and getting back into blogging, I proceeded to sleep more in 12 weeks than I think I have ever the past 3 years combined. Extreme fatigue, horrible chronic headaches and general ickiness took over my life, but little did we know then that it was because there is not just one, but in fact two babies hanging out in my belly!

Once we recovered from the shock of finding out that twins were on the way (identical boys no less), I finally got a bit of my energy back and was able to get my act together and get the house ready for the shoot for the magazine in mid-October.


Now here we are in December and I’ve said a sad bye bye to my daily desk duties at Style At Home so I can concentrate on growing my babes safely until they make their debut in the new year.

The bright side is being at home has given me some time to prepare a whole series of posts that you’ll see on the Style At Home Blog (as well as here) about the reno, specifically on the kitchen and family room which will be published in the February issue.

Stay tuned for an in-depth look at my reno, and be sure to check out what my colleagues have been up to on the SAH Blog as well.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cottage Spread Is Here!

The July issue of Style At Home has finally arrived to subscribers, and with it the photo shoot from the cottage project I slaved away on last year!


Photographed by the amazing Donna Griffith, it is a lovely way to immortalize my intense months of craziness transforming this summer home into a Hamptons-worthy getaway in Simcoe.


You need to pick up the July issue when it hits stands this week to see the full spread, but stay tuned for some great before and after posts here and on the Style At Home blog to get some summer decorating inspiration of your own and for all the sources and vendors I worked with to create this .

(images by Donna Griffith via Style At Home)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Weekend Cocktail #37: Chambly Collins

I always look forward to browsing the LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine for their tasty recipes entertaining ideas, and especially loved the latest issue’s beer-based cocktail story from Bier Markt’s - perfect for this May 24 long weekend!

Chambly Collins

Here is one bursting with summer freshness that uses one of my fave brews Blanche de Chambly :


  • 1/2 tangerine, cubed
  • 4 fresh raspberries
  • 1 oz *Hibiscus Pink Peppercorn syrup
  • 1/2 oz Tanqueray Dry Gin
  • 4 oz Blanche de Chambly
  1. Muddle fresh tangerine and raspberries in a Collins glass.
  2. Fill with ice, then add Hibiscus Pink Peppercorn syrup and gin.
  3. Top with Blanche de Chambly, stir well and garnish with fresh tangerine.

* For Hibiscus Pink Peppercorn Syrup, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 hibiscus tea bag (Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger or Yellow Zinger) with 1 cup hot water and 2 tsp. pink peppercorns. Stir to dissolve sugar and steep the tea. Remove the bag. Chill & store

(image and recipe via LCBO Food and Drink)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Linen Throw Love

Everyone loves cozying up with a throw blanket, but when warmer temps arrive, the polar fleece and faux-fur options can get too heavy. Enter linen, which is not only a lighter and more breathable fabric, but it also drapes beautifully over your sofa or chair.

Designers Guild

The saraille magenta shaded linen throw from Designer’s Guild makes the most of the ombre trend in a juicy colour palette that pairs beautifully with white upholstery.


In a more masculine direction, the washed linen indigo throw from Restoration Hardware is a solid hit of denim blue that adds some nubby texture to your space.


If you want to keep it natural and a little more rustic, you can’t go wrong with the subtle striped Alpine Lodge Linen Blanket by Ralph Lauren.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tea To Go

You can’t go wrong with blue and white, which is excitedly the theme for the upcoming July issue of Style At Home, so it’s no wonder I was drawn to these stunning tumblers at Teavana on the weekend.


The porcelain finish and patterns remind me of an antique lamp I grew up with in my childhood bedroom. Such a stylish way to sip!


PS- how cute are the solid coloured tins from David’s Tea? What a great way to organize your tea collection and add colour to your countertop!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


This new Vanitas by Paul Béliveau at Gallerie De Bellefeuille is totally killing me right now. The Coralie Bickford-Smith cover, the Monet water lilies, the Warhol flowers, and that mauve color in the corner…too much!

I am actually using that lillac colour in not one but two different rooms in my house, so I guess it’s not a surprise that I’m salivating over this guy too, which also features the pretty pale purple shade as an accent:

Is this cabinet I spotted at Of Things Past on the weekend not totally ridic? It’s like Kelly Wearstler pastels got mixed in with my grandmother’s chinoiserie all together in one over-the-top piece. The fact that it is sitting on a greek key brass base just pushes it over the edge. Not to mention the pattern and colours totally resemble one of my fabric obsessions that I am incorporating into my den: Manuel Canovas’ Dara from Primavera (you’ll hear more about this gem later on)
Let’s see a close up of this brass greek key base to appreciate how divine this piece is. If no one else buys it and it goes down in price, I may have to cave and buy it- it’s just too crazy not to covet.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Weekend Cocktail #36: Swedish Mule

In honour of my impending inaugural visit to Sweden for an IKEA adventure (more on that later), I am reviving the weekend cocktail with a Swedish Mule from Karlsson’s Gold vodka:

photo (1)

Swedish Mule

  • 2 oz Karlsson’s Gold Vodka
  • 4 oz Ginger beer
  • 1 oz Fresh lime juice
  • 0.5 oz Simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)

Add all ingredients to a Collins glass filled with ice and stir to combine.

(image via liquor.com)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Abstracts At The Artist Project

When perusing portfolios, pinterest and other mags, it’s the tension between modern and traditional styles in an interior that most often catches my eye. It’s what keeps me guessing and wanting to see more, and one of my favourite ways to achieve that tension is by pairing a bold abstract piece of art with a more classical interior.

The art could be by a more established artist or by someone local, it doesn’t matter the provenance of the piece so much as it’s  the basic idea of hanging something that is seemingly so haphazard in a setting that’s so calculated. (Like in the Suzanne Kasler-designed space above)
Here is a sampling of some of my favourite abstracts from the Artist Project, a great spot to start when looking for your own piece, which just wrapped up here in Toronto:
The black ground and large scale of this canvas from Mitchell Clark Meller is intriguing. I love how the black just sucks you in for a closer look. It would be unreal paired with my black and white striped setee.
These little guys from David Brown were small in scale and price at just $75 a pop but were big on style! I love displaying small pieces on easels and placing them on a console or chest-  this one would be amazing sitting on an elaborately detailed mahogany chest of drawers.
Copyright © 2013 Anna Bateman. All rights reserved.
Anna Bateman’s “Floral Zest” has a traditional starting point of a vase filled with flowers but then goes a little haywire with bursts of messy colours. I’m drawn to the blues and pinks, a colour combo I am feeling right now, that would look beautiful with the navy sectional I am designing.
The collegiate-looking A is a fun surprise on this piece by Neil Young which is coloured like a miami sunset but given a more modern edge with its resin finish. It would be amazing in a neutral living room.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sour Grapes

I’m a pseudo-old biddy under my youthful twenty-something exterior, so it’s not totally shocking then to learn that I love fruit made out of semi-precious stones, most notably grapes. Made of onyx, amethyst, rose quartz, jade - I love ‘em all!


You may ask yourself, what does one do with a set of stone fruit? The answer is the same as with any other pretty tchotchkes- you stare at them and enjoy!

I have seen the prices range wildly for these beauties so you can imagine my delight when I found a whole lot of them at The Elegant Garage Sale for under $50!


I put them in my pretty wedgwood jasperware footed bowl that sits on my dining table and I just love how their pale luminous colours are set off by the matte black vessel. They add permanent colour to my tabletop and bring a sense of old world elegance to the space. (emphasis on old)


Considering I spotted a single cluster priced $225 at Bergdorf Goodman on my last trip to the famed 7th floor, I was pretty pleased with my local discovery. Not so pleased was the woman behind me at the cash muttering things under her breath when she caught sight of my fruity treasure and realized what she missed out on. (know you know why my blog title was an appropriate choice- zing!)

If you find yourself with an appetite for some fruité objét of your own, Cynthia had these pretties on a recent visit:


(top image: live auctioneers)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Brass is Back and So Am I!


But unlike my pinterest quote that you can find along with lot’s of other bits and bobs of wisdom from my fellow editors on the Style At Home Pinterest board, I did really leave this blog - my bad!


You see life as a design editor at the mag is a lot of fun between all the propping, writing, events and TV appearances (like the shot above from my last Marilyn Show with Jillian Harris and my fab producer Wendy Russell), but more so a lot of work; and as the producer of Style News it has been a challenge trying to update the blog while not stealing the thunder of what may appear on the pages of Style At Home.


So why the change of heart? Well there is more than enough design love to go around and as personal projects get published, I’ll be able to post both here and on the Style At Home blog more about my design adventures behind the scenes…because who doesn’t love knowing the bajillion steps it took to arrive at the final product? Rome (or the cottage, or my own house g-d knows) wasn’t built in a day and for every thing I have decided on, I have gone through a handful of other scenarios first that have been debated, contemplated and then rehashed over and over before making up my mind. Just ask my fellow design department gals about how many different powder room schemes I have gone through! (the answer is too many)

Hopefully you’ll check back occasionally here and on the SAH blog to see what I’ve been up to and hopefully get some inspiration of your own!