Cori Halpern

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Design that brings your personal style to life.

Monthly Archives: June 2015

Totally inspired by this pillow in rose gold metallics by S. Harris with copper velvet on the reverse side. Screen shot from Little Design Co. IG.

Totally inspired by this pillow in rose gold metallics by S. Harris with copper velvet on the reverse side. Screen shot from Little Design Co. IG.

I never used to be a “pink gal”.  I’m still not really….but a couple of years ago, I came across this colour that I affectionately called “Dirty Ballet Pink”.  Sounds crazy, I know.  And then, I became completely obsessed with it….It is actually known as “Blush” – I still like Dirty Pink better…..

I am totally in love with this colour for many reasons.  It is not so pink that it is too girlie, or too Pepto Bismol, yet it is feminine enough that it is still pretty.  It looks fabulous with my other obsession – Rose Gold, as shown in the above photo that I screen shot from Little Design Co.’s IG account, and that I built an entire Living Room colour scheme around.  Blush pairs so well with grey, navy, black, blue-grey, lavender, green, olive, camel, cream, and even brown.  There is something so neutral about this colour that anything that you put with it, instantly looks sophisticated and well, pretty.  There are so many shades and variations on blush that the possibilities are endless…


Brainstorming fabric ideas for Cricket Club Living Room Project, Toronto ON.

So I guess you can call Blush/Dirty Pink a pastel.  Although so many people have bad ’80′s flashbacks when I say that, so I hesitate to use that word….but it is a pastel.  And as you can see, it looks amazing with other pastels.  This is an example of a brainstorming sessions for my Cricket Club Living Room decoration project in Toronto.  We are not using all, but we are using a lot of these fabrics, paired with a stunning navy sofa.  Pics to follow soon!

Artwork by Santa Fe artist Jim Rabby

Original artwork by Santa Fe artist, Jim Rabby.
Lovingly displayed in my client’s Toronto Living Room.

The above piece is one of my all time favourite paintings.  It is by Jim Rabby, and is a focal point in my client’s Living Room in their Toronto condo.  I stop and admire it every time that I walk by it. The colour is what gets me….that beautiful combination of blush, smoky purple, blue, magenta, cream, and green….it is so vibrant, it reminds me of a sunset, and all of the hidden colours that only an artist can see and capture on canvas.  These are not normally colours that I gravitate towards, but seeing them together in this painting is simply inspirational.  It is easy to see how an interior space could easily be designed using the colours in this painting as a jumping off point.  And easy to see how I have fallen completely in love with these Blush tones….


Flower arrangement courtesy of Flower Factory IG.

It seems that I am a “pink gal” after all….I adore this flower arrangement from Flower Factory!  All different shades of pink and blush.  If you think about it, you can use blush with any of the colours that you see it with in nature – that is always a great rule of thumb.  ”If it grows together, it goes together”….I often think of nature for colour inspiration.  Blush is the beauty in a dusky, purple and blue/grey sunset.  Or in a bridal bouquet, where there is just a hint of colour.  Or in the photo below, the blush colour tulips bring out the freshness of the green colours used in this kitchen.


Lytton Park Kitchen. Photo by Stephani Buchman.

This is a favourite shot of mine, by the very talented Stephani Buchman. I absolutely love how these tulips look in our Lytton Park kitchen. The Blush colour is so subtle, yet when it is paired with another more intense colour they bring out the best in each other…

I think that is what I love the most about this versatile colour.  It is somewhat of a chameleon – and there are so many versions of Blush.  It does not have to be super “pinky” sweet, but can still be feminine and lovely.  It can soften other more intense colours around it, and it can be incredibly neutral, too.

Blush is a colour that makes me happy, that makes me relaxed, that makes me dream of flowers and sunsets. So yes, I guess officially that makes me a “pink gal” now.


Artwork by Toronto Artist, Erin Loree.

Mondays…how to make them something to look forward to??  I have decided to create “Colour Me Mondays” and write a blog post on Mondays about colours that are giving me inspiration, thinking about, wishing for, or that I am working with or wanting to be working with…

Today it is Navy.  I am definitely feeling “In the Navy” these days….it is my newest neutral of choice.  Now, those that know me well will know that I am absolutely a “green girl”, and I have actually often found that most people are either “blue people” OR “green people”.  It is not often that people like both.  Kind of like “cat people” and “dog people”….Of course, there ARE people who like both colours – and I certainly fall into that category.  Navy is a true classic.  And of course, it looks great with green!  One of my favourite colour combinations of all time is navy and kelly green….LOVE!!  Like I said, navy is a real neutral and looks fabulous with most other colours.  In the stunning painting by Toronto artist, Erin Loree that I have featured above, she pairs pinks, greens and yellows with various shades of navy blue.  This piece makes me feel happy, energetic, and bold – all at the same time.  I think because navy can be all of those things, as well as a perfect grounding for more vibrant colours.

navy blue/white wallpaper by Thibaut

Wallpaper by Thibaut.

Another classic combination is navy and white.  Always timeless, always fashionable, always crisp.  And you can certainly add any number of other colours into your navy and white scheme….I adore these navy and white wallpapers from Thibault. How great would this be in a powder room?

Navy is also a great option if black is too harsh.  Some of the most beautiful shades of navy have a gorgeous blue-black shading to them.  It makes it so interesting and unexpected.  Nothing will ever replace black – navy is not the new black, but navy can be just as spectacular and dramatic.  I was recently in Ireland and the UK (more postings on that later!!) and walking in London, I spied this beautiful working class row house dating back to the 18th century.  Yes, the door and the shutters and trim could easily have been black and still been stunning, but it was the perfect shade of the blue-black that really caught my eye…

18th century row house, London

18th Century row house, London, England. Love the deep orange brick colour with the blue-black trim and door.

So yes, now that I am currently obsessed with navy, I tend to see it everywhere!  I think that it is also because navy is such a classic, we also tend to see it in fashion as well as decor.  It never goes out of style.  In fact, what keeps navy current and “modern” is the other colours that we pair with it.  Navy and white goes without saying, is always a good idea, but now we are seeing more navy and brown, navy and oxblood, navy and green (also always a classic!), and navy and blush.  We are even seeing navy with other blue tones.

design by Todd Romano, Elle Decor IG

Stunning design by Todd Romano, taken from Elle Decor IG. Navy Library in a NYC apartment.

And I HAD to grab this screen shot from Elle Decor’s IG account, showing how amazing navy on navy on navy can work.  I am completely IN LOVE with this room, and I especially love the contrast of the tan leather chairs.

So you can see, navy does not need to be dark or gloomy or boring.  Navy is smart, exciting, versatile, chic, classic, sophisticated, sexy, dramatic, modern, traditional…..I could go on and on.  Navy can be everything.  So I am beyond happy to actually be using navy on my current Cricket Club Living Room Decor Project!! Navy is my current “Colour Me Mondays” colour obsession.


Cormac’s Chapel at the Rock of Cashel, Tipperary, Ireland. Pre-12th Century.

I absolutely love to travel.  I love everything about it.  In addition to being a Designer, I am also a huge history/architecture buff.  I have always been fascinated with stories from the past, so give me a foreign country and some ancient architecture with a good story attached, and I am in!!  Love it!  I am completely amazed at how these beautiful and magnificent structures could not only be designed and built, but how it could all be done BY HAND!  And how most of these buildings have stood the test of time, sometimes hundreds of years later, only for me to travel thousands of miles to admire them.

Here is the thing though….although it may seem normal for people who travel to take photos, I tend to take A LOT of photos.  And photos of unusual things.  I see beauty in some unusual things, that most people would just walk by….


Library, Long Room, at Trinity College. Dublin, Ireland.


Floor to ceiling jam-packed with hats! All sizes, all colours! Dublin, Ireland.

To me, there is a similarity in the beauty of these two photos….above, the tens of thousands of books stacked row upon row in the magnificent Long Room, at the Library at Trinity College.  And then, I walked across the street and into this little shop, Kevin & Howlin, and saw hundreds of hats, of all shapes and sizes and colours, and bolts of Irish tweed fabric – also stacked row upon row…

I also tend to take tons of photos of architectural detailing that I find unique and interesting.

wrought iron detailing, London, England

Wrought iron detailing, London, England.

I have dozens of photos of wrought iron, from all across England!  Of course, as you can imagine, my obsessive need to capture all of these beautiful and special moments tends to slow down the journey for everyone around me!  I am constantly catching up with my traveling companions, and they are constantly waiting for me! #DesignerProblems
I think as a Designer, my eyes see things or parts of things, that other people may not notice.  I do see the big picture, but I also tend to see all of the little bits that make up that big picture.  I marvel in the details.  I ask A TON of questions! I get fixated on the fact that most of what I am looking at was not created by a machine, but by someone’s own hands.  In Europe, everything is so well documented, that it is easy to find out about their famous architects.  I learned a lot about Charles Barry and Christopher Wren, while I was in England…


Ceiling detail of the Divinity School at Oxford University, England. Construction began here in 1423.

I mean WOW!  No words to describe the intricate detailing of this space…

So as you can imagine, I am constantly looking up, and around, and not particularly looking where I am going….#DesignerProblems

I am also ALWAYS the one to stop (and make everyone else stop) and hang out of the window to get a shot.  Yes, I am that crazy person by the side of the road – always.

One of the biggest issues that  people have traveling with me though, is my need to photograph every cool and interesting bathroom.  Yup!  I love a well-designed bathroom! I did manage to stop myself at a very posh restaurant in Edinburgh called The Secret Garden, at the Witchery. Very fancy (I was completely under dressed!) and stunningly beautiful, while I stealthily took discreet pics of the historic dining space, I did restrain myself and did not bring my camera into the bathroom.  Which I totally regret, because it was so gorgeous!!!

ceiling detail at the Secret Garden Dining Room, The Witchery, Edinburgh

The Secret Garden Dining Room at The Witchery, Edinburgh, Scotland. Ceiling detail is painted in the traditional Scots vernacular style based on the famous Rossend Castle.

The above shot was taken in the Secret Garden Dining Room…..yet again, I am looking up.  You just cannot take me anywhere!!  Thankfully my darling hubby is used to my antics and nothing fazes him.  So if the Dining Room is this gorgeous – you can imagine how nice the bathroom was!!

Suffice it to say that when I travel, I am like a little kid on Christmas – I just do not know where to look first.  So I look at everything.  I not only photograph every tiny little detail that I see, I also snap the bigger image, too.  And I take my time.  Time to enjoy, to savour, and to truly SEE and absorb what the big world has to show me.

It may not be easy to travel with me, I need to stop often, to ask questions often, and to be totally aware and thankful for my surroundings.  I need to joyfully memorize each moment and every detail.  It is all a part of my full experience. Is this high maintenance?  Maybe, but I am totally okay with that.  #DesignerProblems