YDF’s Guide to Designing your Home, Holiday Style

Whether you’re hosting a holiday cocktail party, or having family set up in the guest room, tis the season to spice up your digs.  With only 4 weeks or less to go, here is Your Designer Friend’s survival guide countdown.

We’ll call this challenge: Operation, Spice up our digs holiday style!

4 weeks to go:  Still loads of time!

In the design world, tis the season for panicked client calls.  That idea they had 6 months ago to update a few things needs to now be done immediately!  Company is coming and we want our home looking its best.  There is still hope! 

Many suppliers offer a selection of furnishings on quick ship (1-2wks delivery).  Whether it’s a new sofa, table or dining chairs, you can order now and be company ready in under 4 weeks. 

 Try adding new dining chairs around your existing table, for a fast and high impact update.  Spot Home can custom finish and upholster a set of dining chairs tailored to the modernist, and traditionalist alike.  Try their Suzanne Chair in hide hair. Black and silver table décor will sparkle a little brighter with these ladies in the room. 

Holiday Tip:

Pull out your existing clear glass vases, all shapes and sizes.  Cluster them together down the centre of the table.  Fill each one with its own style and size of Holiday balls, all in shades of black, pewter and silver.  The safest way to style for the holidays is to pull from your everyday personal home style and colours.

Suzanne Chair, black lacquer with hide hair by Spot Home $675.00

3 weeks to go: Set the mood

Brighten it or dim it, lighting is key!  Replace a dated dining room fixture, update your washroom sconces, and have dimmers installed along with them.  An electrician can complete these simple jobs starting at $100. 

Aristocrat Lighting in Toronto will custom make a show stopping chandelier tailored to zany style and budget.  They stock stunning crystal pieces, and are my secret go to source for contemporary over shades and custom sized hand made lights. 

Budget tip: 

Change the bulbs!  Cheat a little and replace all your light bulbs with a low wattage option just before guests arrive.  If you can’t have a dimmer, pretend you do. 

Drop Chandelier, matte black shade with crystal tear drops by Aristocrat $425.00

Week 2:  Don’t panic, Stage it

All great party and event planners know, a few key details can transform any space. With two weeks to go, it’s time to focus on the little things.  Art, cushions, drapery and holiday accessories.

Try theming your home accessories for the season. Replace living room accessories with festive colours like a grass green throw and crisp white cushions.  Style your guest washroom with brick red hand towels and add a vase with a single holly branch.  

For a slick and modern facelift try new pewter drapery panels and an affordable art investment in the season’s hottest neutral, grey.

Don’t fret if the drapery is not hemmed to length for your party, let the panels pool on the floor!  Guests will be none the wiser and they’ll look luxurious!

Overpass, screen printed original painting by Blair Chivers $95.00/12”x 12”

Pleatta drapery panel, Umbra $52.50 / panel

One week to go: Dress it up

Take a deep breath, put on your comfy shoes and hit the mall.  It’s time to stop worrying about your space and focus on you.  For you ladies, go immediately to the local nail bar.  We love 10 Spot on Queen in Toronto.  Get a manicure and peruse the magazines; get inspired and refreshed. 

Your second task is to buy a sports coat or new cocktail dress.  If you’re pinching holiday pennies buy accessories for the hot little black number you already have.  I like to hit the bead stores on Queen West.  For $7.00 you can buy lengths of thick chain.  Buy a few, join them with a ribbon and layer several, chunky style.   Fellas, a classic bow tie can be picked up in Kensington market fo $3.00.  pop it on under a black v neck sweater wih a crisp white collared shirt.

ETA: Today!

Now, for your final task, I’m going to make it easy on you.  Buy a 2 or 3 packages of organic strawberries and a standard round fish bowl from the dollar store.  Dump the berries in the bowl, put it on the counter beside chilled Preseco and enjoy your guests.  It’s time to relax.

YDF Suppliers: Spot Home

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The sales component of designerfriend.ca will include a selection of products from several key suppliers that we use often.  Spot Home  has been making waves this year as owner David Craig continues to transition from a trade resource for custom upholstered and wood furniture, to a public store front. 

We will be carrying many of David’s collections including exclusive lines by The Design Agents and Core Architects as well as YDF signature pieces.

David’s furnishings can be seen throughout the city in bars, restaurants and exclusive private clubs including the W Hotel, Cheval, and Cosmopolitan Hotel.   He has become the go to source for custom, modern furniture at affordable prices.


hide hair classic chair

Yorkville Chair

yorkville chair

shop images 008

core media unit

Army Table

army tables

Hot peppers, pineapple, green olives, tomato and extra sauce.


I like my pizza and my furniture made to order with my specs, my way…..

Hudson my coworker (baby) and I just returned from a morning at Spot Home. I had a meeting with David Craig the owner, and my Balmoral clients. It was quite a scene, my 10 month old, David’s 18 month old, his wife trying to keep them entertained and my lovely and accommodating clients grinning as I update their plan in CAD with one hand and remove Hudson’s hand from the power cord with the other. There were bumped heads and little pools of unknown spit up (not all from the kids) – but we emerged after 2 1/2 hours with 3 pieces of furniture and the entire house full of window coverings decided.  Saturday meetings sometimes call for a bit of  “special” coordination.

We’re having two sofas and a headboard made by David and we all met to decide on sizes, arm heights, leg styles, fabrics etc. I use David allot. I may see a sofa or table somewhere but wish it was a bit smaller, or had better fabric options. David has a large manufacturing facility on site, so all I need do is tell him exactly what I want, and he makes it for me.

In this case, the client saw a B&B Italia sectional they love, but the proportions were uncomfortable and the sizes weren’t perfect for the house. We’ve used that sofa as the starting point and David is making us an 8′ sofa with ottoman 36×30 which will pull up tight to one end creating the sectional comfort without committing to its footprint. He has dozens of fabrics to choose from or we can always spec our own. We found the perfect taupe microfiber from his standard options.

He’s also making a headboard for us. The headboard will be 139″ long x 48″ high and will be upholstered in grey ghost hide. For the bed we’re just making a super simple wood platform with a 4″ overhang on three sides. I’m thinking a pair of Saarinen tulip based white tables will sit beautifully in front of the headboard on either end. I measured the bedroom and put together some basic plans and elevations of the headboard and David is able to custom make the bed for us and install it on site in about 3 weeks.

The other sofa is inspired by a Crate and Barrel model. The quality and fabics are not up to snuff on the actual sofa, so we are having David manufacture something very similar in a beautiful cream fabric for the living room.

If you are in need of a piece of furniture and wish you had the ability to tailor it to your needs, the custom route is the way to go. The prices are affordable and compete with main stream retailers. Send us an email if you have any questions or needs in this department! melissa@designerfriend.ca

Happy Weekend, YDF’s Melissa and Hudson

Find a nice Spot and stay there

spot home 2

I’ve been working with a fella for many many years.  He in the past has focused on custom furniture manufacturing and supplying for other retailers.  He was one of the now defunct Caban’s sources along with doing custom work for many design and architecture firms.   Over the years I’ve watched his business grown and evolve and I can honestly say that it now seems to have become a labour of love for him.

He has incredible design sensibilities, a quality that’s invaluable to us desingers when trying to explain the vision.  He travels allot and is really tapped into what is current and cool.  Most of Toronto’s top clubs are owned or operated by one group and he is their go-to guy for custom furniture, banquettes, and classic contemporary furniture.  We’ve done a few clubs together and he just gets it.

Shortly after I started putting together my supplier list I gave David Craig a call to chat about carrying his current lines and designing a few of my own.  It was incredibly timely and still makes me a bit goose bumpy at just how much potential we have working together, and what that all means for my YDF clients.

So today I’ll show you a bit of what Spot Home has in their current collection, but it’s really only a taste of what is to come.  David has designs from me for several items that I found to be missing from my other retail options.  On the commercial side he will be making for me several standard and affordable reception desks.  contemporary designs that at the firm I was asked to do over and over……i digress, I can’t tell you about the YDF exclusives just yet  – that’s another blog!

Spot Home will also be manufacturing and supplying YDF with 3 new designer lines.  Designed by well know interior design and architecture firms.  They are exclusive, brand new and when released I will blog in all caps to tell you about them.  I’m so excited to be the only online retailer for these yet to be divulged collections to come….. ;) 

so, on to the show and tell of Spot Home’s current offerings.  This is just a sample, check out his site for more – but remember even their site only shows a small collection of their peices. 

spot home

spot home 3



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