Debbie & Design

Read about Debbie’s exciting discoveries — today’s stylemakers, iconic products for the home, and irresistible decorating tips and trends. Debbie gathers news of great design from around the world and shows you how easy it is to bring your favourite looks home.

House to Home appears weekly in newspapers across North America. Produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle, the column is syndicated by Torstar in Canada and King Features/Hearst in the United States.

Fabulous fireplace walls

There is no doubt that a fireplace creates a central focal point to any room that it is in. Fire is like a magnet and has an irresistible pull. However, when the weather turns warm the unlit fireplace shouldn’t look bleak or naked. Here are some options for creating a focal wall that is stunning all year round with or without crackling flames.


Kitchens 2020

Stepping into a new decade is exciting. There is a positive vibe of hope and adventure as we prepare to conquer new challenges on the world stage. This can also be intimidating. However, no matter where you live or what is the focus of your work world, home is your respite, the personal space to shape however you please. I see the kitchen as the hub of the home as most of us do,


Simply festive decoration

Dear Debbie;

I was not able to decorate and shop this year due to an accidental fall, which left me incapacitated for a few months. I discovered how little was needed to make my home feel festive. It is the season of overabundance, but a few candles and flowers and some bright ribbon is all it took.


Living the BOHO lifestyle

Like all printed matter, coffee table books are taking a hit in this digital age. The competition is fierce as inspiration for travel, food and interior décor is now just a click away, and free for internet users. However, books can live happily alongside digital devices. I like a stack of books on the coffee table or beside the bed at the ready to pique my curiosity,


Deck the walls

Dear Debbie;

We have repainted our living/dining space in a pale sage green. With all the Christmas decorations adorning the walls, the room is very inviting and festive. Have you any ideas for making the room more interesting when the holidays are over?
— Sam and Sue

Dear Sam and Sue;

It sounds like you are looking for some texture on the walls.


Herringbone exposed

Are you looking for a simple trick to update your rooms and add a personal touch? Take a standard pattern or colourway and tweak it. That might sound odd but hear me out. I came across a photo of a cheeky wall decoration where a particular style takes a few whimsical steps out of the norm. The vivid pattern on the wall shown here is commonly known as herringbone,


White box syndrome

If you are committed to white walls for whatever reason, be it renting and not allowed to paint, or it’s a safe, unobtrusive choice, or pure conservatism, take note of the newest design trend. White box syndrome has been around for a few decades now with the intense rise in the number of apartments and condos sprouting up overnight. Built for function and affordability,


The entertaining dining room

This is a favourite time of year for entertaining. The cooler weather has nudged us inside and seasonal holidays present many opportunities to gather around the table and celebrate with family and friends. Planning a party can be overwhelming for some, especially if you’re not prepared. Here are some tips for making the most of this busy season and guarantee that the host has as much fun as the company.


Embossed finishes


Dear Debbie;

My Great Room is painted dark chocolate brown, including the ceiling. (I am into the wow factor.) I want something special for underneath the chair rail that goes all around the room. I’m thinking Anaglypta painted in various shades of brown including caramel all swirled around. Many thanks,
— Lynda

Dear Lynda;


Set up an indoor garden


Dear Debbie;

I am interested in having some house plants to liven up my home. I don’t know much about how to display. I’m not looking for an indoor jungle, but more than one pot. Any ideas?
— Winnie

Dear Winnie;

Adding live greenery to your indoor space is a great decorating choice … it literally brings life to your rooms.