The January Newsstand

With January comes the broom and the urge to sweep, the compulsion to purge, to eject and jettison the unneeded and the unwanted. It's time to pare down, to whittle away, to siphon and sterilize. It's time to sort and organize, to label and...oh, you get the picture. But there are a few things I always welcome into my home each January, something I will not toss in the recycle bin: the first issues of the year of my favourite shelter magazines. These include Martha Stewart Living (duh), House & Home and Style at Home, the latter two being Canadian publications. I thought I'd peel open the crisp, clean covers of these slim volumes and show you what the editors have on offer:

January issues are typically thinner than the year's other monthly volumes - a suggestion, perhaps, of the waistlines we'd all like to aspire to in this resolution-drenched month. MARTHA STEWART LIVING: This article on closet organization is a welcome feature. This issue is filled with organizational and cleaning tips, typical of January's white cleansing motif.MARTHA STEWART LIVING: Flowers, flowers everywhere! A feature on flower arranging is the perfect antidote to those cold, gray days of winter. MARTHA STEWART LIVING: Fluffy, airy meringues are given artful guises in this feature about light but delicious desserts. MARTHA STEWART LIVING: Citrus is at its peak now. An article complete with recipes involving grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes and other citrus gems, will make your lips purse. MARTHA STEWART LIVING: Take a look inside the offices of some of the editors (including Ms. Martha herself) and catch a glimpse of the surprisingly bohemian Martha Stewart Living work environment.
HOUSE & HOME: In this Toronto house bright colours, solid textures and shimmering surfaces fight January's inherent bitterness.HOUSE & HOME: Nothing can do away with the warmth of traditional browns and earthy ocres this time of year. The freshness comes from blasts of red and pink.HOUSE & HOME: The clean and minimalist environment of a converted warehouse in Toronto manages to find welcoming warmth after two architects have their way with it.
HOUSE & HOME: Want to know what the trends are for house and home in 2009? I usually don't. But these trends are ones I can live with - and possibly even achieve on my miniscule budget!
STYLE AT HOME: Designer Sarah Richardson does up a gorgeous Toronto house in feminine hues.STYLE AT HOME: A fantastic kitchen gets remodeled and remade with all the conveniences and beauty of a modern space.


Alight at Night

Every December 10th, the National Capital Commission in Ottawa flips a switch and over a million little Christmas lights come on. Parliament Hill and all of the federal parks in the city are lit up at 5 p.m. every night until January 10th. It's quite a sight to behold.

Parliament Hill is lit up with thousands of Christmas lights. Snowflake patterns are shone onto the buildings and dance across the brick in slow rotation. The towers are illuminated with coloured spotlights.
Another lovely view of Parliament.

The inside of government house, too, is festooned with decorations.

Outside the Chateau Laurier hotel in Ottawa, and around the National War Monument, purple lights welcome visitors.In Confederation Park, outside the Lord Elgin Hotel, nearly every tree is lit up with lights.


A Touch of Brocade

The New York based Brocade Home is beyond alluring to designers and interior decorators. I wanted to showcase a few examples from the collection here. The furniture line was designed by Lisa Versacio, formerly of Williams Sonoma, where she launched the West Elm line. Brocade was launched by American furniture company Restoration Hardware with the aim of targeting a younger market. The pieces are relatively affordable, ranging between $40 for smaller accessories to $1,800 for sofas and larger pieces. Versacio's fresh, European take on furniture is a queer and masterful blend of traditional and modern. I love (and covet) all the pieces below! Visit brocadehome.com for more information.

Patterned bentwood chair in high-gloss white. Also comes in coffee: $199

Acrylic lace side table in white. A lace pattern on a clear acrylic surface. The inside is hollow, opening from the bottom, so you can put anything inside the space. In this photo, it's an old chandelier: $199.

Hourglass side table in high-gloss java: $299.

Silhouette cafe table in coffee. Also comes in white and black: $399.

Lattice flocked foil wallpaper in charcoal. Also comes in champagne. The reflective surface of this wallpaper gives the paper a mirrored, luminescent effect: $169 a roll.

Lace pattern bath cabinet: $129.

Shaped storage unit in high-gloss white. Also comes in coffee: $899.

Fleur cutout storage cabinet: $199.


Bergdorf Goodman Window Displays

Have a look at this year's seasonal window displays at Bergdorf Goodman, one of America's leading luxury goods retailers. Baroque, fanciful and to-die-for, they simply speak for themselves.