The Right White


There isn’t just one white that’s right for everything, but there’s a white that’s right for you,’ says Kimberley Seldon.

Kimberley used Ballet White OC-9 for this bookcase, but here are 5 other Benjamin Moore colours she loves:

Paper Mache AF-25
Cloud White OC-130
Chantilly Lace OC-65
Floral White OC-29
Ice Milk CSP-1025
Decorators White CC-20

Take 3: Coffee Table Time

Good looking and functional, let’s agree that no living space is really complete without a serviceable coffee table standing by. But decorating its surface is a tricky task. Dabble’s in-house design team offers three display worthy solutions.

Photography by Simon Burn

Photography by Simon Burn


Scale, Balance and Proportion
The centre of the room is a prime spot to display a grouping of favourite coffee table books to best advantage. Jazz up the scene by varying heights and colours and adding playful objects like the hand blown glass bowl for texture. The uniform, grid-like design keeps things tidy and adds whimsy to the formal space.

Dabble Savvy: Swap out books for a collection of old records or photo albums.

Photography by Simon Burn

Photography by Simon Burn


Go Big or Go Home
Give one large, fabulous item the attention it deserves. A matte finished copper bowl like this one complements the lime green surface of the coffee table.

Design Tip: In a family room, use a decorative bowl to house TV remotes in plain sight.

Photography by Simon Burn

Photography by Simon Burn


Tray Chic
Practical and stylish, the right tray gathers and grounds floating and unrelated items. When it’s party time, a tray is a fantastic tool for accommodating hors d’oeuvres or cocktails.

Dabble Savvy: Contrast is important—mix round objects with square ones and short with tall to create a dynamic tabletop arrangement.

Perfectly Organized Bookshelves


After sharing our take (well, 3 takes to be exact) on how to really organize those bookshelves, we went on the hunt for more inspiration. This post by guest blogger Amanda Burdge of AB Home Interiors Blog is just what we were looking for.

Perfectly Organized Bookshelves

I cannot tell you how many bookshelves I have styled over the years. Like candy coated pipe dreams, clients organize, shuffle and shove everything into less than Martha Stewart perfection.

So how on earth do we come up with our brilliant creations? It isn’t complete rocket science (well, maybe), but designers do look first at the shelf, the color, the style, and finally how those books relate to the whole. From there we start sorting like creative scientists gone mad! Expertly master-minding where and how each piece will fit into the puzzle.

Beautiful Matching Books

These suckers are hard to come by. Gone are the days of encyclopedias, thanks in big part to the information highway. But you can find beautiful sets of encyclopedias at vintage bookstores, and antique malls. Books that are the same size, and color are pleasing to the eye and create a resting point. Not to mention it grounds the shelves visually so the overall look is easy to read.

Add Accessories

To help break up the monotony of book after book, add accessories for visual interest. It is also a great place to display prized mementos to show off to your guests.


Colour Palette

Keep books and accessories with in a particular color palette, that matches your existing furnishings. By keeping everything in the same color palette the bookshelf makes sense.


Honour Thy Books

If you love books, and have more than you care to give away, devote an entire room that respects and honors your collection. If the shelves can’t be simplified, create a simplified room that is pleasant and easy. Get rid of all the clutter and allow the books to be the focal point.

Read the full post on : AB Home Interiors Blog

Masterful Mixing

  • In the living room, he transforms a formerly heavy, Indonesian coffee table by swapping its carved wood base for a new, sleek metal frame. The change lightens up the space and adds a contemporary accent to the more traditional furnishings.
  • LEFT Dave is the author of several books including Daytime Drama, Male Model and Summer Cruising.
  • One way to improve styling skills is to start by producing small vignettes. This table scape features framed pieces of photography, clear and pottery vases and coral. 
  • LEFT Fluted wood lamps from Target mix handsomely with woven console table and repurposed stools. RIGHT A cozy side chair, is layered with a kidney shaped sisal pillow, 18” x 18” block print pillow and Belgian ticking stripe runner. Dave painted the blue coral artworks to add punches of colour to the white walls.
  • In the living room, two ottomans tuck neatly beneath the large coffee table, taking up little floor space but providing extra seating when required.
  • Bookshelves line the walls, providing an artistic backdrop to the predominately blue and white design scheme as well as a creative canvas for displaying objets d’art and accessories.

Nothing matches but it all goes together.

You’d expect Dave Benbow to have a well-designed life. After all, he’s a manager and buyer for one of LA’s hottest La Cienega design shops, Mecox Gardens. Naturally, his passion for work translates seamlessly into stylish living quarters.

Dabble jumped at an invitation to visit the Runyon Canyon condo and see firsthand how this “master of mixing” brings it all together.

Never ask a designer for an opinion….that is, unless you want one. Dave Benbow, like other successful decorators, says his personal design philosophy works for anyone, “Rooms should look collected, not purchased.”

But Dave is not one of those ‘anything goes’ designer types, insisting instead, “There has to be a cohesive vision.”

Certainly, quality is part of Dave’s vision. Some of the items in his home—the William Birch armchairs and down-filled sofa—are investment pieces he’s had for years. When it’s time to revitalize rooms, instead of starting from scratch, he recovers and repurposes, getting lasting value from his purchases.

According to the industry veteran, mixing price points is also part of his philosophy. “It keeps everyone guessing,” says Dave, and it’s one of his favourite ways to stretch a budget. Case in point, he pairs a high-end woven console table with well-priced lamps from Target in the dining room (see page 36).

Despite a philosophy that espouses mixing and matching, Dave is serious about starting every design project with the right floor plan. Function is first, then decorating. He relies on casual furniture (and it must be comfortable) to set the tone, typically upholstering major pieces in neutrals, then accenting with colour.


The Georgia native says he’s naturally drawn to colours that work well in his adopted LA homeland; tones that mimic sand, sea and sky. “Khaki,” he jokes, “may not be from the earth, but I live in it,” so that’s another favourite choice. A former Ralph Lauren Home employee, Dave says he appreciates the brand’s tailored colour palette and chose Ralph Lauren’s Cove Point (WW29) for walls throughout the spacious condo. Painting the cabinet backs in Shale Blue (VM124) brings white and off-white accessories into sharper focus.

“Be true to yourself. If you like it, that’s what matters.”


A collection of organic-shaped vases in shades of oyster and white, stacks of books and personal photos fill the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. The artful display features a wide range of price points and changes frequently according to the designer.

Like most professional decorators, Dave doesn’t redecorate often, preferring to work with classic pieces that age well.

In the dining room, Dave searched for a fabric as comfortable as his favourite khakis. Turns out, a fashion fabric supplier had the real thing. Perfect.

“I know from experience that people keep things they don’t like because they cost a lot,” says Dave. “My advice then, is don’t spend a fortune unless you absolutely love the piece or can afford to change it down the road.”

Custom Millwork


Reality Check

Dabble design contributor Nyla Free takes you step-by-step through the pricey but ultimately satisfying process (hey, you end up with shelves that perfectly fit all your reading materials and extras, like lighting and photos) of building custom cabinetry.


Designer Nyla Free knows exactly where to find the book she’s looking for in her perfectly organized built-in cabinetry. ‘The key to getting started on this project,’ says Nyla, ‘is deciding what needs to be stored.’


‘Take the plunge by measuring the space,’ Nyla advises. ‘Then sketch your ideas on paper so you can visualize before you build.’

Another superb suggestion from Nyla: Consider adding lighting to the top or even front face of the bookshelves as a decorative detail.

To read Nyla’s full step-by-step article on millwork, check out Reality Check: Custom Millwork, Issue 3 July/Aug 2011.

Books and Beer in Prague

Prague 25

A short walk from Schwartzenberg Palace is the Strahov Monastery. While it’s still an operating basilica, the real attractions here are more earthly—books and beer. The gawk-worthy Theological Library dates from the 17th century and contains more than 200,000 volumes housed in an elaborately stuccoed and ceilinged room.

Check opening times—like many Prague Castle attractions, the Theological Library is closed from 11:45am–1pm.


Strahov Monastic Brewery serves simple Czech fare and, according to beer snobs, a heavenly brew. Take a seat on the patio or in the newly renovated restaurant.


The Library gift shop has lovely crystal paperweights and fine stationery to take home.