It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?? Apologies for the radio silence, will you forgive me? I hope so… because I have lots to fill you in on. This past year has been quite the eventful one. Exciting life and career changes, primarily my big move last fall to Toronto to become the new Associate Producer on CBC’s Steven and Chris (more on that in a minute), paired with an immense lack of time to update this little online space of mine, resulted in a longer-than-planned hiatus. Thank you however for still visiting, still sharing, and still emailing me your wonderful questions and feedback. I created Style By Mana as a resource for everything lifestyle: the best fashion tips, must-have home decor, my favourite beauty products etc…a playground for me to share what I love, while also imparting my advice. The time away has given me a chance to recharge, to get re-inspired and to plan a whole new series of content for you, which you will begin to see in the coming weeks!
A lot of the new content you’ll see will be inspired by my work on CBC’s Steven and Chris. As both a lifestyle producer and on-air fashion contributor this past season, I was given an amazing opportunity to be creative, working alongside an immensely talented team to produce segments that helped viewers improve their lives through their personal style, their homes and their health.
*The photo above was taken for my 2015 bridal trends segment, one of my favourites, catch it here.
While we wait for a new and exciting season of Steven and Chris, I will be continuing those conversations that started on-air, and provide you with similar content, but with Style By Mana twist of course.
I thank you for your continued readership and look forward to hearing what you think!
I have a confession to make…I am a huge sucker for home décor. Now don’t get me wrong, I adore fashion and beauty know-how, dedicating much of my professional career to uncovering the best in fashion in our city (which I still very much love doing), but late at night when I’m scouring Pinterest before bed, it’s “brass and glass” or “Hollywood regency” or “marble countertops” that seem to go into my search box more often. Decorating my home and injecting my personal taste throughout it these last few years have become real passion projects of mine, and after having lovely opportunities to share my home in Framework Magazine and on my friend Randa’s blog The Unprecedented (in addition to my own), many readers have emailed me asking where I source my items.
I take pride in the fact that many of my treasures are thrift. Although this gives new life to previously discarded items, it unfortunately doesn’t allow for many duplicates. So instead of going through where I sourced each and every item, I’ve complied a list of my top 5 favourite shops in Vancouver for you to check out (both new and thrift) so that you too can find you own special treasures.
1. Lofty Living – 610 Columbia Street, New Westminster
This gem in the heart of New West’s heritage downtown district is full of wonderfully chic and carefully curated accessories and furniture for the home. The aesthetic is glam but with touches of modern, seen in such items as mirrored bedside tables to ceramic stag heads. Lofty Living also has a great selection of customizable, made-to-order furniture pieces from headboards to couches. Did I mention it’s only a short minute walk from the skytrain? BONUS.
2. The Main Sellution – 3206 Main Street, Vancouver
Inside The Main Sellution.
The Main Sellution is a second-hand consignment furniture shop that specializes in antique, vintage or highly unique pieces. They have a really good selection, and often add to their inventory every few days, if not everyday. I find that for the most part, their prices are reasonable, and they do offer affordable delivery for larger items. They also recently started offering painting workshops, so you can now learn how to refurbish your antique find from them as well.
I first came across the new and upcycled furniture and accessories shop L’Atelier Home on a walk in Gastown when they were just opening. The paint was still drying, but owner Linda still made sure to introduce herself and chat about her passion for home décor and design. Since then, the shop has really made its mark in the neighbourhood, even expanding into a larger retail space next door. Moroccan poufs, French provincial settees, Voluspa candles and frame-worthy prints (including a selection from Randa’s I See Noise Prints) line the walls of L’Atelier Home. But it doesn’t end there. Linda also provides more selection to her customers through their online site.
I have been going to Value Village since my teenage years, but more recently I’ve stocked up on home goods just as much as funky belts and purses. The key with shopping for home décor at a thrift shop is to be open-minded. Going there with a specific shopping list will leave you disappointed, as it’s almost impossible to find exactly what you’re looking for since items are so varied and diverse. So it’s best just to be patient and allow yourself a lot of time to discover new treasures. A lot of people ask me which Lower Mainland location is my favourite, and that I can’t answer as I’ve found great things at all of them. Just don’t go on a weekend!
Homesense to me is like drugs to an addict (I don’t mean to be crude, I mean that in the most honest and sincere way!). I crave, obsess and fantasize about my visits, and when they do happen, it’s like a sick high when I find a Lucite tray for $29 rather than the $100 it costs at other retailers. Not joking. If there were Homesense Anonymous I would be their honourary member. “Hi, I’m Mana and I’m a Homesenseoholic”, here’s why: great deals, new stuff every week in all home departments (furniture, lighting, bed, bath, home accessories, kitchen, and garden), and it takes care of my need for treasure hunting. Because that’s what is key, Homesense, just like thrift shops, needs patience, time and a good eye. Don’t expect to find the perfect item each visit, but when you do BUY IT, because it won’t be there tomorrow…or in an hour. Did I mention I was at Homesense too? 😉
I have been a long-time fan of Randa Salloum’s chic line of hand-made prints, I See Noise, since I first discovered them through reading her fashion blog The Unprecedented. I fell in love with her use of gold and silver foil, and how she mixed the elegant with the edgy; images of perfume bottles and lipstick go side-by-side with skulls and stag heads. Ask anyone who knows my home decorating style, and you’ll find out how much I love anything metallic with anything animal…antler horns, faux fur throws, give it to me! When my office area needed a bit of sprucing up, I just had to collaborate with Randa, and use the I See Noise Prints I was coveting. She recently came over to my home and helped me frame and style my prints, which turned into an amazingly fun day that was all captured by talented Vancouver photographer Ainsley Rose. Many know Ainsley from her elegant wedding photography, but she’s also worked with some familiar Vancouver faces through her lifestyle photo-shoots. Ainsley made us feel completely comfortable and captured some wonderfully candid moments during our office styling session.
Here’s a look at the gorgeous photos, starting from the beginning of our styling session to the end result, followed by some of my tips for styling your prints in your home:
Use unconventional frames for the prints. If the print is black and white, use a gold or silver or even a bright coloured frame to make it pop. No need to always match the frame to what’s inside of it.
When styling your prints, use different levels for layering. Play with height and even depth for the objects you place behind or in front of the print.
Placing frames on the ground, leaning up to walls is a great way to add character to a space without ruining walls. Great tip if you’re a renter!
Visiting Janette Ewen’s favourite booths from the BC Home and Garden Show. Photo by Mitra Mansour.
Now that we are in March, this is the time of the year where “spring cleaning” takes on full force, but not necessarily in the traditional sense. After months of grey, dark winter weather, we long for more of a spring renewal than just a spring-clean of our homes. To add that extra bit of spring punch in our home décor, along with tips on how to incorporate the hottest design trends, I sat down with the talented Janette Ewen at the recent BC Home and Garden Show. You may know interior stylist and décor expert Janette from her work on television with some of our favourite home renovation shows, but she also is a working designer running her studio Parker Barrow with her business partner Jef Hancock.
Janette Ewen and I discuss Spring 2014 design trends at the BC Home and Garden Show’s Living Melodies Garden exhibit. Photo by Mitra Mansour.
Janette Ewen and I at the Living Melodies Garden Exhibit at the 2014 BC Home and Garden Show. On Mana: Prabal Gurung for Target sweatshirt, H&M skirt, Pour La Victoire suede booties and vintage costume jewelry. Photo by Mitra Mansour.
It was so fun spending the afternoon with Janette getting inspiration and ideas from the BC Home and Garden show, where her and Jef were presenting on the main stage. We visited some of her favourite booths that encapsulated some of the tips and trends she shared with me in our interview, while having some laughs along the way. Here are the highlights:
What are your top 3 interior design trends for 2014?
Janette: The first thing I would say is WELL TRAVELED. Almost like archaeological, fun things that you would find that kind of have a vintage look but look like they come from somewhere foreign and fabulous. Marrakesh is a big design inspiration. It’s about taking things back from those travels; think of the Nile, or Paris in the 1800’s.
Next, MODERN AND HOLLYWOOD GLAM MIXED. I know we’ve seen Hollywood Regency and mid-century modern but we’re seeing now a great combination of both. Very Palm Springs, designers like Jonathan Adler is leading the way…it kind of got over glam for a while, but it’s come back down now.
The Modern mixed with Hollywood Glam look. Design by Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent via Domino.
My next big one is BRASS IS BACK. Brass and navy are two of my big colour and material trends, think masculine, James Bond films/nautical. I think for a long time it was that 80’s/90’s brass and we just didn’t get it, but now the way it’s being repurposed is really amazing.
What’s the easiest way to transition your space for Spring?
Janette: First thing I would do is wallpaper your ceiling, especially if you are in a small space or high up, it gives you kind of an escape. And wallpaper comes off really easy now so it’s non-committal. All of sudden your eyes goes up, it feels more open. Then, swap out your throw pillows, bring in some bright shots of colour, I love chartreuse for spring it’s so beautiful and fresh. I would even look at swapping out your accessories, get rid of your heavy rugs; bring in an outdoor rug or a sisal rug instead. Switch out heavy, dark woody accessories for glass and a little bit of sparkle.
If someone wants to incorporate some of your tips on a budget, what advice can you share?
Janette: First one is DIY- something like sowing a pillow is just four seams, and even Jef can sow a pillow! Use bright fabric scraps from other projects, and one side can even be a flat colour. Second, make your own stuff! I made a light fixture at our studio in LA with tree branches we found and LED lights, which became an amazing hanging light fixture, and it has that very eclectic feel. Also, look at garden stores out of season, you can find those big sculptural looking pieces or pieces that have that well traveled look which are for the outdoors but with some spray paint you can transition them for inside. Shop salvation army, Jef is really into going to scrap yards to find treasures. It just takes a little more digging and a little more elbow grease but I really think there’s nothing you can’t do, plus you’ll love it more because you’re not just looking for the trend, you’re making your trend.
One of my favourite features of my home is my fireplace. It’s the focal point for the living room, while also being functional at keeping my condo warm and cozy during winter months. That’s why it was important to me to style the mantel in a way that made an impact without looking cluttered. After experimenting with different combinations and heights of objects, I can say that I love the way it looks now.
Taking from what I learned, here are 3 simple tips to styling your mantel:
Play with different heights with your objects. Having everything on your mantel the same height (frames, accessories, vases etc.), doesn’t allow for the eye to go beyond that point. If you have high ceilings, but a small space, drawing the eye up can make your space look bigger.
Try to layer with your styling. I found that this worked really well on my mantel because the width of the mantel is shorter than traditional fireplaces found in larger homes, but the depth is standard size. Layering also creates richness in your space.
Always include a few personal mementoes or photos in your styling. This doesn’t mean fill the entire mantel with your family album, but a couple pieces can be great conversation starters, while making the space your own.
If you need a bit more inspiration to get started on your mantel, here are some of my favourite mantels from other designers: