C&J Blog Article


A white and black scheme with touches of taupe...

Yes we know. We know. Christmas is just around the corner, which means that, as you study today’s epistle, the 25th of December lies just 9 days away. This in mind, shouldn’t any current stories be laden with all manner of seasonally appropriate outpourings, creatively assembled to help restrain, sorry “guide” your forthcoming decorative journey? Worry not; we’ll be talking turkey (in a good way!) in our Toronto Sun columns, pre Christmas, with a compendium of ideas to keep you ahead of the stylish pack. 

In the meantime, take a look at this simple scheme; whilst admittedly short on seasonality it has, at its very root, a whiff of pre-Christmas pertinence. Allow us to extrapolate; cast your eye around your gaff and tell us (honestly) if it has enough storage. Most of us could do with a few more stash zones (especially as the gifting period looms ominously near), so why not problem solve before problems occur? 

Fact is, you’ll need somewhere to secrete all those Quality Street tins, right? And a holding bay for the cadeaux mountain you plan on re-gifting. The collection of Downton Abbey DVDs? And the steamy love books with which you’ll soon be deluged? Seems every author has penned a deliberately horny tale post-Fifty Shades. Aye, all that festive “matter” has to live somewhere.

Anyway, back to business. Our client Rob hoped for a dramatic reversion that would bring his dowdy living room alive. Turns out his parents had — generously — given him the house after deciding that the chills of Canada were simply too much to bear. Upping sticks to Florida, they left their son only one instruction: “Do with the house as you will but make sure it’s not so crazy that we’d be uncomfortable when we pop back.”

As we croaked on about the proposed new look (global, darlings, with just a hint of tribal), our client aired his main concern: the room’s benign lack of storage. Describing his frustrations that the pad boasted nowhere to put anything (booze, glasswares, stereo equipment, etc.), we agreed there was a problem. Here’s a blow-by-blow account of our efforts and visuals of the resultant victory which providing Rob, our paymaster, with a bachelor pad of which he’s justifiably proud.

Taupe marks

Taupe, as seen here, serves as the perfect wall tone and is a lovely foil to our dark floor finish and ebony toned chairs. Deeper and infinitely more sophisticated than ivory, taupe works well almost everywhere. Try “Silver Bells” 1458 from Benjamin Moore (

Black is the new black

Beech, oak and birch make attractive floor finishes but, in a dramatic room like this, we felt compelled to be a little more exotic in our specification. For budgetary reasons, to make installation easier and because we were able to find exactly what we needed — in terms of colour — we chose “Ebony Wood” by Amtico ( These guys manufacture a staggering range of flexible vinyl strip flooring. Imbued with similar esthetics to those you’d find in real lumber, it’s the ultimate problem solver. Long since a C&J default mechanism, the collection boasts low-profile construction, which means it can generally slide neatly below doors and directly up against skirting boards.


Cow hide rugs — these ones, a bi-product of the meat industry, are from Ikea ( — work well in modern application; they’re attractive, affordable and beset with a low nap that clings snugly to other flooring. Available in a huge variety of shades — black and white, brown and grey — they’re hard-wearing and, believe it or not, actually improve with age.

A lovely pair

As the room was large enough to cope with two units, our mirror image (and mirror fronted) cabinetry made perfect sense and provided a practical resolution to Rob's ongoing storage wars. As if this wasn’t enough, the terrific twins also created a symmetrical focal point, generously ticking the design box marked “aesthetics”. 

Double or quits

Pushing our symmetrical approach, we doubled up on lush plants and matching mirrored tables, either side, to reflect light and provide surfaces for vases and decorative items. If you have an assembly of smaller things which need organized, storage boxes are the perfect solution. Position on tables or arrange larger versions on shelves. Find similar side tables at HomeSense (

Chic to chic

Placing two chairs, side by side, is a nice alternative to a traditional chesterfield. For the record, we also provided a sofa (bear in mind that this is a single-elevation story that pertains to symmetry and storage as opposed to a whole room before and after). Our vignette’s formality is clean and contemporary and the concept (according to your own requirements) could serve as a useful division between different zones. Chairs from G.H. Johnston. 

Storage — and symmetry — addressed, we’re delighted to dispatch another home into the misty ether of design heaven. If your nest is more Nightmare Before Christmas than It’s A Wonderful Life, then a course in practicality might just be in order. Organization, you see, and of course glamour (for you and those around you), will, quite simply, make the holiday period eminently less stressful. So go on, you know you want to; take guidance from your favourite designer Elfs and plan a spot of home fashion alchemy before Santa comes crashing down your chimney. As we said, just 9 days to go . . .


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