Guest Post: The Leslieville Flea on Wonderful Walls

With the weather we have been having in Toronto lately most people have been stuck indoors staring at their four walls…. so why not make those walls look fantastic?

When you love vintage and antiques you tend to amass quite the collection of things. Showcasing all of the treasures you have collected over the years can be tricky without your home looking cluttered and messy. 

There are some simple tricks of the trade that designers and stylists use to display objects so they will stand out in your home and look beautifully arranged. We’d like to share some of them with you here.

The biggest problem with collecting so many different items is that the great pieces get lost in the mix of it all.  To organize your items try grouping objects in groups (like a gallery) by colour, style, texture etc. Use items of different sizes and shapes in your collections. The contrasting shapes and sizes will keep it interesting, but find a common element between the items and that will tie them together. For example, when hanging a collection of pictures, photos, art etc tie them together by using same colour frame. They can be different in size and shape but the similar colour will hold grouping together. While on the subject of hanging frames, don’t make the common mistake of hanging them too high. Mount pics at eye level. The center of the artwork should be around 5 feet from the floor...if hanging a grouping of pics or art, the center of the grouping should fall at this level.

When displaying objects, use odd numbers of items…. objects stacked or grouped together can count as 1 item. Odd numbered groupings are generally more pleasing to the eye. Having objects of different height will make your eye travel around the collection and keep it dynamic. In contrast, repetition of similar size and shape objects when grouped en masse can be very effective—forming a strong collection.

Often the use of black in interiors is overlooked. It can make a powerful statement and also serve as a grounding point in the room. Use sparingly, but always make sure you have something in a shade of black in the room for drama. The rule of thumb is to have about 10% of black in the room to keep it balanced and interesting…. one large piece or a number of smaller items in this shade will ground your space. A chalkboard is a great and functional way to bring black into a room!

Sometimes you need to exercise restraint with your collectibles. Often Less really is more so make sure you are only showcasing those things you absolutely love... curate your objects carefully and it will show. If you have several smaller items you can group these together in a bowl, shadow box or other container to keep them organized while on display.

[Images courtesy of Lauren & Taylor from Bragg & Bee]

Of course rules are meant to be broken and you just really need to trust your instincts sometimes.  It’s your home after all; as long as the pieces in it are treasured and have meaning to you they will look great in your space and reflect your individuality as a collector.

If you are always searching to add to your collection of treasures, stop by The Leslieville Flea this Sunday February 23, in the Distillery District’s Fermenting Cellar, from 10am to 5pm!

We here at Covet Garden are lucky to have Chris Roberts and Brigid Elmy, founders of the Leslieville Flea, as guest bloggers. Visit their blog for regular news and style ideas. And and keep checking this space for more of their insights on incorporating vintage and handmade finds into your decor.


Diane von Furstenberg Journey of a Dress Exhibit

Our Jessica is a big fan of designer Diane Von Furstenberg. Not only does she own a couple DVF's iconic wrap dresses (and she looks fabulous in them to boot), she was happy to discover that a recent visit to Los Angeles coincided with a special exhibition celebrating the 40th anniversary of the classic garment called The Journey of A Dress.

The show, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art until April 1, is fascinating because — lets be honest here — it is filled with pretty prints and delightful dresses. One of the reasons that the wrap dress has remained relevant after 40 years is that it's simple shape is flattering on so many figures. The show features a mix of vintage and contemporary versions of the frock but we'd be hard pressed to tell you which of the following is old and which is new.

The exhibit also tells the story of Von Furstenburg's journey. Which makes perfect sense as she starred in her own ad campaign but later transcended being seen as a celebrity who dabbled in design, to becoming a respected artist and business woman. One of the highlights of the show is a gallery of images of DVF and the dress through the decades.

When Von Furstenberg introduced the wrap in 1974, she was best known as a jet setter who was married to a prince and who partied at Studio 54. But her inspiration was the little wrap sweaters that ballerinas wear during long rehearsals. She adapted the look to create something that was comfortable and feminine. Made from a light jersey fabric, the frock was an instant hit with working women because it conveyed a sense of being smart and sexy at the same time — Cybill Shepherd's reporter charcter wore one in the 1976 classic Taxi Driver. Four decades later, the warap was cinematic short-hand for Amy Adams' character in American Hustle onscreen transformation from small town gal to empowered lady.

The show's curators recognized that von Furstenberg's glamour is intertwined with the enduring appeal of the dress. The show, housed in a former department store, features 200 mannequins each modelled with DVF's facial features. The space is also dressed with blown up versions of her signature bold and graphic prints. The designer has said that each year she starts each collection by creating new prints and builds from there.

[images by Jessica Reid]


The Best of Etsy: Valentine's Gifts and Contest!

[Heart Factory by Pearson Maron]

At Covet Garden, we like to celebrate love 365 days a year, but we do get extra sentimental around Valentine’s Day.

Our fondest V-Day memories centre around heartfelt and homemade gifts—cards and treasures that are unique and personal. So this month, we've poked around Etsy for our favourite hearfelt notions.

[Fennec fox pillow by Laura Frisk]

[Olivetti Valentine Art Print by Rumore Bianco]

[Vintage Kaj Franck enamelware bowl from FireLake]

And to show you how much we love you, we'd like to offer one of our readers a $50 Etsy gift card. To enter our "Say I Love You With Etsy" contest, tell us about the best handmade Valentine you ever recieved in the comments below. We'll randomly choose one entry on Feb. 14.

In the meantime, visit our "Be Mine" treasury on Etsy here!


Issue 42 is Now Live

[Cover photo by Naomi Finlay]

February may be a short month, but it is an action packed one here at Covet Garden.

First of all, we bring you the awesome and inspiring apartment of Jonathan and Eric. This spacious industrial conversion in Toronto's Little Portugal has all the things we love: Cool collections, warm and welcoming decor, inventive objects and fascinating inhabitants. Jonathan and Eric are one of those couples that literally finish each others' sentences and we can't think of a better Valentine for our readers than to share their space and story.

In other Covet Garden news, our special print edition, Covet Garden Home, will be available in select shops this March, so keep watching this space for stockists and launch events.

We're also partnering up with the beautiful online shop Brika for a series of guest posts. Our goal is to help talk about emerging trends and to connect readers with the talented and creative makers who are at the forefront of design. Our first post also goes live today. And check out Brika's ad in our new issue to see how you can savemoney on your next Brika purchase!



Roots of Inspiration: Black and White All Over

[image of Jodi York's kitchen via the Design Files]

If you follow Covet Garden on Instagram, you'll know that we've been on a bit of a tile kick of late. Especially squares of the black and white variety. We are particularly enamoured of the backsplash pictured above. The monotone palette goes with any finish and the graphic shapes add energy to the clean steel and wood surfaces. Of course all these noirish tiles led us to discover the great objects pictured below.

[1. Ferm Living tray in white and black 2. Bemz slipcover for the Ikea PS chair in Grey Triangular by Viola Gråsten 3. West Elm Kasbah rug in steel 4. Bookhou small storage box in Bure 5. Tilissimo Bear Hug ceramic coaster (set of 4) 6. Hygge & West wallpaper in Triangles white/black by Lisa Congdon.