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.

Up style DIY

Dear Debbie;

We have some dressers and bookcases that we bought when first married. They were inexpensive and served their purpose at the time. We don’t want to throw them away and hope you have some ideas on how to change them up. Thank you.
— Bev and Ron

Dear Bev and Ron;


Feature fences

Spring cleaning doesn’t stop with sorting out the closets and washing down the windows. It is time to start looking outside again. Time to make a plan to rejuvenate your property on the other side of the door. What are your views from the back or front patio? Does your home’s exterior have an attractive and welcome sense of well-being?


Light and luxurious

Dear Debbie;

I’ve always wanted an all-white room but kids made it impractical. Now they have grown up it’s my turn. Have you any tips on how to make this special room work?
— Dianna

Dear Dianna;

Planning a monotone room is an adventure. There’s lots to think about and you should take your time selecting the major features.


Walls to write about

Dear Debbie;

We would like to put a writable surface on one of the walls in our child’s bedroom. We’ve heard about a laminate that works. Would that be better than the chalkboard paint? Thanks for your help.
— Miranda

Dear Miranda;

Children do love to be able to write on walls and if they understand that they can only write on the designated space that has a special writing surface it’s a fun way to go.


The future is here

There is nothing quite like the wild experience of a visit to Salone del Mobile in Milan.  If you relish in the latest in modern design, or decorating is your thing, or your home is the center of your life, then a trip to the Mecca of all things visually delicious is a bucket-list must. But beware — this trade show is not for the faint of heart. 


A Brush With Metal

Dear Debbie;

My partner and I like the look of metal and see that it is very popular lately. What about painting it on walls? Would it be too heavy? We’ve seen metallic wallpapers but would prefer to paint. What would you suggest? Thanks.
— Bernard

Dear Bernard;

This sounds like a truly creative project.


Inspired by the best

Decorating your home is a personal journey. For some people, the idea of choosing a paint colour or a piece of furniture, a bedspread pattern or a floor covering does not come easily. In fact, it can be a painful, even frightening, challenge.  But our home environment is so important to how we feel, how we relax, how we work,


Light fantastic


Dear Debbie;

My cousin has a very modern minimalist apartment, too sparse for me, but I really like her new lights – she says they are Edison style. I am more of a traditional decorator and I would like to update my chandelier in the dining room. Will a modern lighting choice clash with my floral wallpaper and carved wood buffet?


Salvaging history


More than ever, today’s consumers are conscious of the need to recycle. We think about the consequences of haphazardly tossing items large and small into the garbage. If we no longer find it useful, perhaps someone else will. Building materials such as wood and stone are precious natural resources that can and should outlast one lifetime. In their thought-provoking book,


Country vibes

Dear Debbie;

We are refinishing some furniture for our large, wrap-around porch. There are two tables, one for each end and wood and wicker chairs we found at a flea market to go with them. I want a real country vibe. Thanks for your fun ideas.
— Mackenzie

Dear Mackenzie;

How wonderful to be thinking about sitting outside again.