Design: The Tolix Chair

The Tolix chair is a common addition to rooms that ooze “rustic elegance” or “industrial chic.” The form looks simple enough, but 100 manual operations are required to make a Tolix. This is a classic cafĂ© chair designed my metalworker Xavier Pauchard in 1934. Now, 80-plus years later, we’re still seeing this chair (and many reproductions of it) in cafĂ©s – and homes – around the world.

Tolix Marais A Chair, $233 (on sale), Design Within Reach

via Jacquelyn Clark

via Sheer Luxe

via Lushome

via HomeBunch

via

via Amazing House Design

via House of Bliss

via

via Kotivinkki

From the images above, you can see how versatile the chair is. It fits well at a dining room table as it does on an outdoor patio. It can be put to use as a side chair, desk chair, or dining chair. And, you can’t tell by these photos, but the Tolix (and its reproductions) comes in an assortment of colours making it an easy piece to incorporate in diverse interiors.

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Two for Tuesday: Basketweave Pattern

Last month, I bought these Cole Haan sneakers, and I’ve been wearing them almost daily (not in the rain!) since I bought them. They are so comfortable! These white ones are probably just as comfortable, and have their own distinct, classic Cole-Haan, basketweave pattern.

Cole Haan ZeroGrand Huarache Oxford

wicker hamper

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Event: Relais & Chateaux Congress at Langdon Hall

Please tell me you’re still enjoying all of my #WhiteCabanaGoestoLangdonHall news. I thoroughly enjoy my visits there. It’s a unique gem, and I’m happy to share stories about my experiences. The staff is so kind and welcoming, and I’m thrilled that I get to keep visiting. Some friends have asked me about my recent dinner there, so I thought I’d write a little something about it in case others were interested in learning, too.

Last week, Langdon Hall hosted the Congress of the North American Relais & Chateaux partners. Owners, general managers, and others from Relais & Chateaux properties came to Langdon Hall for a few days of learning and mingling. On the Sunday before the learning began, Langdon Hall hosted a reception for its guests – congress attendees and a few other friends, too. I was thrilled to have been invited to join in on the fun.

I arrived at Langdon Hall on a rainy evening, but the weather didn’t dampen anyone’s mood. As soon as I stepped inside the main house, I was handed a glass of champagne (rain? what rain?). While sipping on the bubbly, I chatted with a few of the guests. Everyone was in a happy mood, and everyone seemed to be amazed by the beauty of Langdon Hall. I know! I get it!

Wine tasting was happening in several of the rooms, and in addition to the Bergström and the Guado al Tasso wines, I was fascinated by the Coravin wine opener. A needle punctures through the cork, and the wine is poured. Through the power of magic (and engineering), after you take the opener off the bottle, the cork remains in place. The wine is protected, and it won’t spoil, since the cork remains as the seal.

While we were sipping on champagne and wine, plenty of hors d’oeuvres were passed around. Presentation was beautiful and we were treated with plenty of delicious treats!

A little while later, all guests were invited to make their way to the Firshade Room which is Langdon Hall’s newest event space (I wrote about it when it was set up for a wedding open house.). Here, Langdon Hall’s owner, Mr. Bill Bennett, welcomed all of his guests and introduced three performers from the Stratford Festival – Sean Arbuckle, Blyth Wilson, and Laura Burton on piano. They performed a few songs, and the songs from Guys and Dolls were especially entertaining. It seems like it’s a really fun show!

costumes from A Little Night Music

And then…we feasted.

Chef Jason Bangerter and his team worked wonders once again. Charcuterie, truffle risotto, beef and pork with turnip purée, oysters, and apple slices topped with cheese and marcona almonds? Oh, jeez, I was in food heaven! The meal was served buffet-style, and everything was plated in style. As is the Langdon Hall way!

And to end our meal? Pastry Chef Rachel Nicholson and her team created so many artistic treats. There was something for everyone. I opted for a creme brulĂ©e and a peanut butter and strawberry mousse. It was hard to resist at just two – let me tell you!

The evening was memorable, fun, interesting, and delicious. I had great conversations throughout the evening, and I learned more about several Relais & Chateaux properties.

Thanks again, Langdon Hall, for welcoming me in so warmly!

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The Friday Five: Goodies from Studio McGee

Yesterday, BlogPodium – the Canadian conference for design and lifestyle influencers – announced its keynote speakerMs. Shea McGee of the Studio McGee. If you’ve been online searching for design inspiration, I’m sure you’ve come across some of Studio McGee’s work. It’s just one beautiful design project after another. Studio McGee brings so many gorgeous rooms to my laptop screen, and I love all the design candy! Here are just five of the spaces that may have you drooling…

Mountainside Remodel

Los Altos Kitchen

Robin Road remodel

Modern Mountain Home

Haddonfield Project

Tickets for BlogPodium go on sale on Friday, May 12th. To see what’s happened in the past, check out my recaps of previous BlogPodium events.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Hotel to Home: Chateau de la Treyne, France

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I attended another memorable evening at Langdon Hall as part of the Congress of the North American Relais & Chateaux partners (#WhiteCabanaGoestoLangdonHall). One of the people that I met was Stephanie Gombert, owner of the gorgeous Chateau de la Treyne in France.

I lived in Bordeaux for a year as many of you may remember, so I definitely have a soft spot for everything French! The Chateau de la Treyne is a stunning property in the Dordogne region, and each room in the hotel has a unique style. The La Favorite suite’s gold freestanding tub drew me into the room, and so I thought it would make a great room for today’s Hotel to Home feature.

La Favorite – Chateau de la Treyne

Here’s my version:

tub, portrait, bed, chandelier, desk, lamp, flowers, night stand

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Travel: Things to Do in Collingwood, Ontario

As I mentioned on Monday, I recently enjoyed a relaxing time at the Scandinave Spa Blue Mountains in Collingwood, Ontario. The day was a full one, and I’d like to fill you in on a few other things I experienced during this mini-vacation.

As I mentioned, the drive from Waterloo to the Collingwood area is very easy and enjoyable. Driving the country roads is relaxing and beautiful. The route took us through the charming town of Erin, Ontario, and just as we entered the main part of town, we spotted a house painted black with cafĂ© on the sign – the Tin Roof CafĂ©. We grabbed homemade cookies and coffee (healthy way to start a spa day, right?) for our journey. I appreciated the design, and the coffee was well-made, too. I recommend it.

As we made it to Collingwood, we stopped to walk the main street. When we spotted a white bike in a shop window, I knew I had to explore. Turns out that the store – Leuk – was made for people like me. White, white, and more white! In fact, Leuk has three stores – a flower store, a cafĂ© and clothing store, and a furniture store – all on the main street (Hurontario St.) in Collingwood. I wanted to buy everything.

photo via Leuk

On the recommendation of a Leuk saleswoman, we stopped in at The Tremont for a delicious lunch in a design-y, French atmosphere. Marble tables get me. Every. Single. Time. I had a freshly made quiche and side salad, which I thought was an improvement from my morning cookie. The closer you get to a spa, the healthier you get? 🙂 I would definitely go back to The Tremont on a future visit.

photo via The Tremont Cafe

Not wanting to return home after five hours at the spa, we took the quick drive over to the Blue Mountain Village. This is the ski zone. There are shops, restaurants, and accommodations for all those people who love to ski. In the spring, though, the Village is a great place for a little walk. We were also hungry for dinner at this point in the day (worked up an appetite after all that relaxing!), and we walked around the sweet boardwalk to the Oliver & Bonacini CafĂ© Grill restaurant at the Westin Trillium House hotel. I had already known that the Westin was in the Village, but I didn’t know that Oliver & Bonacini was the in-hotel restaurant. The restaurant has a beautiful, modern, and welcoming interior, and the sun was shining brightly in the restaurant even though it must have been close to 7pm at this point in the day. Such a wonderful atmosphere! Here, I opted for a classic pizza margherita. Yum. I’d order it again. And one of these days, I’m going to stay at the Westin because it looks like my kind of place – regardless of season!

photo via Oliver & Bonacini

So, not only did I have an amazing time at the Scandinave Spa, but I also really enjoyed exploring a bit of Collingwood. I know the area has so much to offer, and while we generally hear about the winter activity options, I think now is also an ideal time to take explore the area.

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Travel: Scandinave Spa Blue Mountains, Ontario

This year is all about #Canada150. Our country’s notable birthday is encouraging me to explore what lives outside of my neighbourhood. I’m a traveler as you may have noticed, but traveling for extended periods of time is challenging given my schedule. That’s why I’m trying to travel closer to home for shorter periods of time.

I recently took a day trip to the Collingwood area of Ontario. The region is about a 2-hour drive from Waterloo, which makes it a great day trip destination. The main purpose of my trip was to relax at the Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain.

don’t be fooled – this is just a photo backdrop since cameras are not allowed in the baths area

the trees are absolutely beautiful – even if they don’t yet have their leaves

I brought along my Sea Bags tote, and it was perfect!

walk down memory lane – here I am two years ago in the same location

It has been a few years since I first went to Scandinave, so my trip was long overdue. Since my last trip, Scandinave has added an infrared sauna, relaxation solaria, and multiple indoor and outdoor loungers.

one of the best parts of Scandinave – the quiet

The idea at Scandinave is to alternate between hot, cold, and rest periods in a calm, quiet environment. We started with the infrared sauna since it was new, and we wanted to try it out. Thumbs up! We moved to a warm bath, then plunged into one of the cold baths (I could only go up to my thighs!). A rest outside turned into a short snooze, then the routine continued. And continued some more. For four more hours. Heavenly! Magical! Perfection!

Scandinave Blue has an infrared sauna, a traditional sauna, a eucalyptus steam room, three warm(er)(est) bath pools, and three cold(er)(est) bath pools. In addition to these, there are multiple indoor solaria with loungers and magazines for rest periods as well as plenty of outdoor spaces with Adirondack chairs, fire pits, moon loungers, and hammocks. The views in every direction are beautiful – even when there are no leaves on the trees. You can imagine the views as Scandinave is surrounded by 25 acres of forested land!

In between this challenging routine of hot-cold-rest, I had to have a massage. Ha! Right? Tough life! (Have I mentioned how grateful I am!?) I booked myself in for a massage because (a) I seem to be on in a self-care phase at the moment and (b) I’ve never had a massage.

I met with Cathy, a Registered Massage Therapist, who explained her approach and told me to relax. Done. I was already in full-relaxation mode because of the baths, but I relaxed to the extreme with the massage! Cathy was great and definitely made my first massage experience a positive one. I thought she was going to massage me karate-chop-style, but she didn’t. Apparently, I believe things I see in movies? Anyway, the massage was definitely a worthwhile experience, and you can be sure I’ll be having another one at some point in my life! If you book a massage, access to the baths is included. It’s best to book your massage months in advance as the website suggests.

The weather on the day I went was absolute perfection. It was sunny and cool, but warm enough to lounge outdoors on the moon loungers.

A day at Scandinave Blue is supposed to rejuvenate, revitalize, and relax you. I’d say it definitely did for me! Mission accomplished.

If you only plan to go to Scandinave for the baths experience, go. If you’re looking for more, try a massage. Bath access is $55 and a Swedish massage is $145. If you’d like to extend your visit, check out the packages as well as the getaway packages.

The Collingwood area is beautiful year-round, so anytime is a great time to go! And if you’re not able to get to Collingwood, there’s a Scandinave Spa in Whistler, Old Montreal, and Mont Tremblant.

Thanks to Mallory and Mylisa for arranging my visit. All opinions are my own.

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The Friday Five: Mother’s Day Gift Ideas from Urban Barn

With Mother’s Day around the corner – on Sunday, May 14th – it might be time to start thinking about how you’re going to spoil loved ones in your life. Mother’s Day for me usually means a trip to Toronto to spend time with my mom doing everyday sorts of things – a garage sale perhaps, a trip to the mall, or just lounging around at home reading magazines. Mom and I enjoy many of the same easy-going activities. Heck, I’m sure we’ve even spent the day doing DIYs together! Mother’s Day is also a day to celebrate other moms in my life – my sister (mom of 4 cuties!) and friends, and to reflect on relationships I’ve had with other strong women who are no longer with us like my aunt and grandmothers.

In terms of gifts, I think moms appreciate any token. A card, a phone call, an email, a text, or a material object lets your loved ones know that you’re thinking about them. I like to spoil my mom with flowers because I know she appreciates them so much!

If you’re looking for some Mother’s Day gift ideas (and if you’d like to spoil yourself at the same time), you might want to have a look at Urban Barn. This Canadian retailer offers up-to-date items for your home – from big furniture pieces to smaller accessories. I’ve been to the Cambridge location numerous times, and there’s always something in white that catches my eye.

Today, I’m sharing five items from Urban Barn’s current collection that would make great gifts for loved ones.

Here’s an affordable container for a new plant or bouquet of flowers.

murl planter large, $19

Another place for flowers…or sangria…or water…is this pretty little pitcher.

webster water pitcher, $19

Little bowls like this one are perfect for candies, jewelery, or keys.

belize oyster decor dish, $29

If your mom needs a bedroom makeover, this dresser looks like it would be a great piece to add.

parker dresser, $1499

This bench would be beautiful in a garden. There’s also a full patio set, too.

piazza folding bench, $399

Many thanks to Urban Barn for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

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Celebration: My Home is in Style at Home

I’ve been bouncing off walls for days now. My friends and family must be sick of me texting and emailing messages with an abundance of exclamation marks. People on the other end of phone calls hear my high-pitched squeals of excitement. Why you ask? Well, I know the title of this post gave it away, but…

I’m in Style at Home’s June issue!!!

Yes! You read that correctly!

I’m in Style at Home’s June issue!!!

This has me excited for all sorts of reasons!

Buying my house was one of my proudest life moments. I have been a student for all of my adult life, but all the while, I was trying to save money for my future home. Four years ago, I had just finished my PhD, moved to a new city, and bought my first house. My house. My own house. With a garage. With my money. That I earned. I was ecstatic then, and my home still brings me so much joy now.

The “before” of my house was interesting. Some of you may remember that my house came not only with furniture, but with people. Yes, people. I sold just about every piece of furniture. And I kicked out the tenants once their leases ended a month or so after closing. Yes. A house with furniture and people. Who buys such a house?

Me.

My house is in a perfect-for-me location. I walk and ride my bike everywhere. My quality of life is top-notch, and I think much of this is because of the location, size, and design of my house. Honestly. I love my house! And I’m so very grateful for all that I do and all that I have.

My house was certainly not in perfect condition (and up to my design standards) when I bought it. Little by little, I made each space in my home happy. It was a lot of work, but it was fun and rewarding work. I wanted to do as much of the work on my own, and my family lent a hand along the way – as you’ve seen with various posts over the years. Not only did I learn how to tile and how to paint an air conditioning unit (still one of my most popular posts!), but I also practiced my design skills. I created a dramatic ink-blot art wall in my main bath to detract from the grey, 80s jacuzzi tub. I curated a massive gallery wall in my office to showcase all of my art treasures. And I found and bought the perfect couch. I know people make fun of me because I can talk about my couch so much, but it’s true. It’s perfect.

Throughout this reno journey, I’ve shared a lot on White Cabana, and I’ve connected with so many people in the design blogging community. I feel so darn lucky!

As if this wasn’t enough, this happened…

Style at Home Came Over!!!

Morgan Lindsay, Stacy Begg, and Donna Griffith came over bright and early one day last spring for a photoshoot. It was unreal. They worked their magic while I tried to contain my excitement. (It’s a recurring theme, can you tell?) We moved things around, and we moved them back. Stacy and Morgan organized my books beautifully, brought in a few additional accessories, and made sure each space was looking its best! Donna and her assistant set up all of their cool photography equipment throughout the house and worked quickly and efficiently to take photos of every room. This team was fun, professional, curious, and interesting!

Several months later, Bethany Little called me up for an interview. That was fun, too, because I’m usually the person asking the questions (I do a lot of teaching and researching in my day job as  an academic!). While I was trying to squeeze in a question or two about Bethany’s approach to interviewing and writing, she was trying to keep the conversation on my house. Naturally! 🙂

Fast-forward a couple of more months, and then this happened…

I’m in Style at Home’s June issue!!!

Unreal. Unbelievable. And the thing is…it’s real, and it’s believable!

I have been reading Style at Home for forever. It’s a Canadian design magazine that I’ve always been drawn to because it features design spaces and ideas that are manageable, approachable, and doable. The magazine shines the spotlight on happy and inviting homes, and it gives readers plenty of ideas to incorporate into their own homes. And the team does the high-low feature like noone else! Am I right? I certainly look forward to reading it when it arrives in my mail each month! I hope you do, too!

But the June issue is certainly my all-time favourite issue. I definitely recommend you flip straight to page 44 to start reading about me and my home (no modesty here)!

If you’re a subscriber, you’ve already received your copy. If not, you should see the June issue in stores soon (it has a pink cover).

If you’d like to share your thoughts or have any questions, leave a comment here or tag me @WhiteCabana or use #WhiteCabanaXStyleAtHome on Twitter or Instagram. I’d love to know what grabbed your attention!

Finally, I must take a moment to publicly extend some official notes of thanks:

  • Many thanks to Morgan and Stacy for making my home look as pretty as possible. You took great care of my space, and you were professional and friendly in your approach. And funny, too!
  • Thanks to Donna for being an enthusiastic and positive photographer. Your photos are absolutely memorable, and I’m glad our paths have crossed both online and offline.
  • Thanks to Bethany for taking the time to speak with me. Your writing is inviting. You’ve written my home’s story and my approach to design with accuracy and care.
  • A large thanks goes out to Erin McLaughlin, Style at Home Editor, for giving the final stamp of approval. If you’re in KW, come on over! My small foyer wasn’t photographed, but it’s a tiling project that makes me very proud (marble laid in herringbone pattern).
  • Many thanks to other staff on the Style at Home team who have made this feature possible. I appreciate the effort that goes into fact checking!
  • A super generous thanks to Tim for your encouragement and excitement throughout this process.

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