Meant to inspire - not intimidate
Those who have witnessed Janette Ewen’s approach to design from the good ol' days when she appeared regularly on CityLine, and more latterly as Ty Pennington’s co-host on Inside the Box, will know that she’s a free spirit, and has long been an advocate for personalized décor — even before it was chic. She’s all about finding your own look — rather than slavishly following others. But that doesn’t mean she can’t share her own favourite colours, designs and pieces, which she did recently by creating pop-up vignettes for the Canadian Home Furnishings Market. It’s just that she hopes they’ll inspire, rather than intimidate. (Don't get her started on what she refers to as dictatorial design dragon ladies, whom she berates from thinking they always know best and for not having sufficient confidence in the taste and creativity of the average homeowner. She had oodles of confidence in us.)
Here, then, for your edification and inspiration, pics and explanations below. Janette trusts you can take it from here?
BACK TO BLACK
Mysterious and slightly masculine, this look is rich, luxurious, well crafted and very dark. Think of a Jazz Age Park Avenue apartment, with a touch of rock ‘n roll. Not for the faint of heart!
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Inspired by the feathery looks floating across runways, this look is soft and youthful. Look for feather motifs in fabrics, wallpapers and area rugs, and for delicate ostrich plumes used as subtle, yet colourful accents.
Inspired by wanderlust, faded Chinoiserie brings together geometric lattice prints and organic elements (plants, flowers, butterflies, dragons) in muted pastels with a gentle patina. Add touches of crystal, gold and mercury glass for subtle sheen.
More can be more, if you love metallic sparkle and shine. Use it in lighting, tableware, ornate stools and side tables— think of Jean Harlow's wardrobe. Crisp white walls provide the perfect backdrop.
Taut, tone on tone, refined — but with a twitching frisson of wildness below the surface. Personified by Hitchcock’s ice-queen actresses, who exuded a kind of contrived perfection. Colour takes a back seat to textures and sophisticated finishes - wood grain, enamel, chrome, fur, quartz, tortoiseshell shimmer dimly - hinting to a life that might just hold a very dark secret.
It’s about pop art, Japanimation, citrus fruit and 1980's neon, this bohemian approach to bright is a fresh, modern take on colour. With a backdrop of crisp white, Hyper Real comes to life with the layering of bright and bold accessories, artwork and fabrics.
Revisit Carnaby Street with a modern London loft look (think Paul Smith or Jasper Conran). The Union Jack is a mainstay motif, while mid-century modern furnishings in leather, glass and Lucite lighten and soften more traditional British elements.
Bright, bold Moroccan looks are coming on strong, showing up in restaurants, boutique hotels, and nightclubs. It unleashes fuchsia, purple, emerald green, mixes it with gold and then layers on intricate patterns.
Juicy orange is the standout colour for 2012. Surprisingly neutral, orange works everywhere — in the kitchen, living room, dining room. Mixed with Scandinavian design, it slants toward mid-century modern, but retains a classic timelessness.
This looks back to a time when pioneers dared to go west and dream big, mixing rustic, reclaimed and dusty romance, and is defined by accessories and furniture that have a found or salvaged quality. Surprisingly, it works exceptionally well in an urban loft setting.
This one requires a good eye for pulling together pieces from various eras and styles, and for mixing patterns and colours. If it speaks to you and if there’s a bit of the curator in you, go for it.
WEST COAST RUSTIC GLAMOUR
Shabby-Chic went down to the beach and came back just a little more sophisticated. This look is slightly Parisian in that splashes of gold, and intricate carving and details. The colour palette is weathered whites, sand and sea-glass blue.