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.

Brian Gluckstein takes us home

For more than 20 years Brian Gluckstein has entertained, enlightened and delighted us all with his personal take on interior design. Although most of us will never live in the mansions, chalets and sprawling country homes that Gluckstein has designed and decorated, his appeal is universal; his vast knowledge of decorative elements and fresh ideas can be transformed in part to any space that you love.


Electric visions

Dear Debbie;

We have decided to put on an addition to our bungalow so that we can have a separate area for when grandparents come to visit. I envision a bed/sitting room and a fully accessible bathroom. I hear that electric fireplaces don’t need a chimney but will heat. Any suggestions?
— Lou

Dear Lou;


Invent your own backsplash

If originality can be a trend, it’s happening now. More than ever our homes are taking on the personalities of those who live there. Cookie-cutter designs, matching furniture suites, bland colour palettes are a thing of the past. The kitchen, long touted as the heart of the home, continues to lead the pack when it comes to change, big change.


Pathways to success

Dear Debbie;

We live on the fifth floor of a condo and have been receiving complaints from our neighbours below us that they hear “every step we take”. Our suite has beautiful hardwood floors that were here when we bought and we don’t want to cover them up. What would you do?
— Henri

Dear Henri;


Living Large in Small Spaces

The most frequent emails I receive regarding home design and decorating come from people who are looking for ideas that fit their budget restraints. The other challenge is how to decorate when you are a renter. These situations are familiar to everyone and I have had lots of fun coming up with successful solutions that fit any budget, and also those that can be utilized in rented spaces where rules about making changes are strict.


On fire Design

Dear Debbie;

We have been debating fireplace types for our home renovation. We have always had a log burning fire but think maybe it’s time to switch to easier maintenance gas. Will we regret this decision? Our style is traditional with some Victorian furniture pieces. Thank you for your advice.
— Martha

Dear Martha;


Botanical Blast

We share a universal desire to connect with all that’s green. We strive to be surrounded with the beauty and invigorating essence of fresh air, clear running water and lush botanicals. It’s no surprise that the riot of colours and intricate patterns viewed in our natural environment are copied in all the decorative arts. Bringing the outdoors in has always been a source of pleasure that repeats over generations.


Lamp Light

Dear Debbie;

I have been searching for the best lighting for our living room and cannot decide between table lamps and floor lamps. Do you have any suggestions? Our style is bright and comfy. Thank you.
— Jane

Dear Jane;

You are not alone. Choosing lighting for your home can be quite the challenge.


Design your quiet place

A few months ago, I was facing an exciting five-week book tour. It was cram-packed with travel and speaking engagements. Launching my new book, Design Your Next Chapter: How to Realize Your Dreams and Reinvent Your Life, would require all my energy and I was already feeling tired after a busy summer schedule.  I knew what I had to do and I appreciate how lucky I am to be able to do this.


Bright bedrooms

Dear Debbie;

I’ve heard that bright colours shouldn’t be used in a bedroom, especially a child’s room, as the saturated shades are not conducive to a restful sleep. Not sure how to proceed with decorating. I prefer a happy space and like a range of colours and painted furniture. Help please.
— Joanna

Dear Joanna;