My Interview with House & Home Editor, Suzanne Dimma
Trends 2011

Many, many, MANY years ago I hosted a TV show in Canada called Designer Superstar Challenge.   It was a competition show that pitted interior decorators and designers against each other through a series of design challenges.  The last designer left standing, won.

Most often that was the person who opted not to work with chintz.  The person who decided to work with chintz didn’t win the show.  They did however get their own series.  That’s what this crazy, madcap world of television is like.   I have no idea what happened to the winner.  They’re either heading their own design firm in NYC or mixing countless cans of Bar Harbor Beige at a Benjamin Moore store.  Dunno.

Suzanne Dimma

One of the judges on Designer Superstar Challenge was an up and coming magazine editor.  Suzanne Dimma was the home design editor for the new (and now defunct) Wish magazine.  She had zip that girl.  And spark.  And really white teeth.  Seriously.  If they were any whiter they’d have been clear.

That little editor with spunk grew up to be the Editor-in-Chief of Canada’s most popular design magazine, Canadian House & Home. I actually have no idea if they’re the most popular design magazine ’cause that would require some research on my part and I don’t feel like doing that but I can tell you they’re really, really popular and could, quite possibly be the most popular design magazine in Canada.

If you’re new to my blog get used to the fibbing.  I lie all the time.  The good news is, I usually tell you about it.

So I called up Ms. Dimma a few weeks ago and asked her what was in store for Spring/Summer trends.

That’s a lie.  I didn’t call her up.  I don’t even know her phone number.  I Twittered her up.  Then I direct messaged her up.  Then I emailed her up.

Being the Editor-in-Chief of a decorating magazine she was full of information and insights regarding the world of design.  I have no doubt if I’d asked her about time travel she wouldn’t have been able to help me at all.  As luck would have it … I asked her about design trends.

Before we get into it, I also wanted to let you know that the reason I spoke with Suzanne about design trends was only partially based on the fact that she’s the Editor-in-Chief of a decorating magazine.  The truth is she just has great taste.  Every room in her home is something I look at and think, WOW.  This is perfect.  It’s everything I think a room should be.

And you know why her rooms look so great?  Because they don’t look decorated.  Most shockingly, they look like she actually lives there.  They look like they’re full of stuff she loves and it all happens to go together perfectly even if it doesn’t.   Does that make any sense?  Anyhow, that’s why I picked her to talk to.


Photo Via House Hunting

Here’s what she said:   (my questions are in bold, her answers are below … you know, in case you lost your brain in some sort of lobotomy procedure)

My house is all white but I still like to add colour through accessories and general stuff.    What’s the hot colour for this season?

A deep exotic blue was the colour of the year when we put out House & Home’s annual trends issue back in January.  It’s still going strong for this season.  But I’m also seeing a lighter (but still bold) teal blue/green in accessories.  So it seems that various shades of blue and blue-green are still hot this spring.  Personally I’ve been itching to introduce a soft blush somewhere in my house.



(Well isn’t that just like an Editor-in-Chief to say what’s in style for the moment then declare she’d like to go with something completely different.  She probably accented with teal last year.)

I did a little spring cleaning during our last snow storm.  What do you recommend for freshening up the house for spring/summer?

I’m a bit of an organization junky so #1 on my list is purge and re-organize.  Clean out your closets, your drawers and bookcases.  Sell or give items away to charity and you’ll gain space.  Who doesn’t need extra space?!

#2 on the list is clean your windows.

#3 on the list is touch up your trim.

#4 on the list is send Karen presents.  This create’s good karma which in turn makes your house more welcoming.  Snicker. Suzanne didn’t really include #4 in her list, but I bet once she reads it she’ll think it’s a fantastic idea and will probably amend her original list. So let’s just go with it.

Last year ceramic Moroccan stools were HUGE.  What’s the big trending accessory for this season?  Is it actual Moroccans?  I bet it’s actual Moroccans.

Um, no.  Although Moroccan style tiles are big.  Like these from Ann Sacks:

Via Ann Sacks


In fact, a persistent general design trend is pattern for the floor, according to Suzanne.

Including Escher style floor tiles ….

Via Manolo for the Home

Herringbone floors …

Via Veneer Designs, by way of Convoy

Ilse Crawford Design Via Veneer Designs

… and subway tiles are here to stay but with an update by using dark grout.

Via Apartment Therapy

Finally, Suzanne, what can we go out and buy right now that won’t cost a fortune but will update our house in an instant?

There are so many!  It’s too hard to pick just one!  These are a few of my favourites:

Clear Glass lamps

I … Karen … personally LOVE these Gourd lamps Via West Elm

Modern Bambula baskets:











Via Swahili Wholesale

Gold Leaf accent tables

Regina Andrew Gold Leaf Beveled Glass Top Table contemporary side tables and accent tables

Via Houzz

In closing, I’d like to brag a little and say I have all of these trends in my house already.   Other than the African baskets.  And the subway tiles with black grout. And the herringbone floors, the Escher tiles and the Moroccan inspired tiles.  And the teal blue accessories.

Which leaves me with the clear glass lamps and the gold leaf accent table.

But it’s a start.  And that’s where it all starts with design, right?  It starts at the beginning.

That didn’t make any sense at all.  I’m tired and I’m sick of writing this post.  And THAT is not a lie.

Many thanks to Suzanne Dimma for putting up with my crap both in this post and over the 3 (4?) seasons of Designer Superstar Challenge on HGTV.





  1. Karen…
    Wow! What a fantastic website! Smart, sassy, bold, brassy. Hey, that rhymes. ;-) Great writing, engaging topics, cool point of view. I can honestly say I’ve never seen anyone build a chicken coop online before. Look for me to be a regular from now on. ;-)

  2. You should ask Miss Dimma how she got those shiney white teeth! I bet it wasn’t Crest White stripes, they don’t work that good! Maybe Laser whitening? She looks like she’d be a coffee drinker so she has a secret to share!!!

    Love her house and the casual elegance it has. I liked when she was on city line to start.


  3. interior design services says:

    Love the photos and great tips. I really like the morrocan tiles and herringbone floor. I am a big fan of subway tiles but I don’t think I have hopped on the trend of dark grout.

  4. Pam'a says:

    ‘Loved this post, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why people like clear glass lamps. They just look like nothing, with a homely cord running down the center to me.

    I’m obviously missing something. Thus, I will never realize my (admittedly farfetched and cooked up just now) dream of running a design magazine. ::sigh::

  5. Bev says:

    Is everyone in Canada, slim, perfectly turned out, slim, blonde, slim, and lovely? (And slim). I am starting to feel deeply inferior and not very …slim… *grizzle*

    • Karen says:

      Bev – Actually … I for one haven’t eaten since 1972 and I’m pretty sure Suzanne stopped just after that. So … don’t feel bad. We’re both so muddleheaded from it we can barely think. Are we really blonde? ~ k!

  6. Angeline says:

    Ms. Dimma has some glowy glowy skin too.
    You’re so dern funny. In a good way. I’m still waiting for you to get out of the tub and show me how to make a firebox. (I kid…and lie.)
    Thanks for the chuckle -and the info to go with.

  7. Bill Grigg says:

    Imagine coming home a little tipsy to an Escher floor. A little bit of Hell on Earth.

    • Liz S. says:

      Opry Mills Mall in Nashville (well, until the flood last year) use to have a section of tile that looked similar to that but it was super shiny. I always felt like I was going to fall between how shiny and slick it seemed and the optical illusion that I was going to get sucked into the floor. I hope when the mall eventually reopens that section of the tile work is gone!

  8. wendy says:

    great interview Karen, i love your take on things –

  9. Michelle says:

    OMG – I Love, Love Love that side table, but $921?
    Please tell me that in a future post you’ll show us all how to make one for a lot cheaper – perhaps with items you’ve discovered in the aisles of Dollarama? :)

  10. Marti says:

    This is all very fine and dandy, but this post sucked me into reading the “My House in a Magazine” post, which got me to wonder, for the four billionth time, how to make an end table out of a chunk of tree trunk.

    Which that article mentioned is exactly what you did. Except I can’t find it. So I don’t believe you. Link, please?

    (See how cleverly I am goading you into linking it? I’m starting to pick up behavioral tips from you, Karen! I hope you’re proud.)

    • Karen says:

      Marti – Au contraire. What happened was, I got you hooked into the House & Home post, which prompted you to look at the “My House” post, which prompted you to ask … BEG … for another post. Thereby earning me another 3 cents from advertising. Actually closer to one cent. Regardless … here you go! The Tree Stump tutorial. . ~ karen!

      • Marti says:

        THREE CENTS? A CENT? Um, can you recommend a good developer? Mine needs a little help. (I’m new. I beg a lot. You’ll figure that out after I’ve been reading here awhile.)


        • Karen says:

          Marti – I’m not completely sure what you mean by developer. Someone to design your site? Lemme know! ‘Splain. ~ karen

  11. Danielle M. says:

    The number one thing I love about your blog is that I can count on the fact that I am going to laugh when I read your posts. Guaranteed.

    Thank you, for laughter is indeed a gift.

    The second thing I love is that one of my dearest friends and I are blog-stalking you together. Hooray you for being a community-building tool.

    • Danielle M. says:

      And no, I’m not calling you a “tool” in the negative sense. Although I sense that given your sarcastic wit, you might have fun with that comment…

  12. blake says:

    So…I have to giggle with joy a bit about the fact that I just did a house with white subway tile with dark grout…everyone including the installer rolled their eyes at me but looky here…It’s a trend for spring!

    *giggle giggle*

  13. Liz S. says:

    I am digging the clear glass lamps. Must find some affordable clear glass lamps with pretty shades for my living room.

  14. brenda says:

    Karen, if you had a show I’d watch it, religiously….and that’s no fib

  15. amy walters, aDESIGNdock says:

    Lovely interview Karen ;) I looooove the moroccan floor tiles. Me wants some of these for sure!

  16. Yeah. I don’t even have the lamps, but I do have a bit of turquiose which I figure I can use and update my status in design to ‘trendy’.

    A good and fun interview. How are the chickens?

  17. judy says:

    I snorted coffee out my nose this morning reading the last “In closing” paragraph of your blog. Whenever you start sounding all serious…I know something irreverent is close by. Thank you for my morning snort. Now I have to go clean coffee out of my keyboard. Any tips?

  18. gf says:

    So true – too many ‘homes’ displayed in design mags have no signs of life. I think “that’s pretty but I don’t want to live there”

    Cool post Karen

  19. SK Farm Girl says:

    A young mom, who is also a farm wife, with four – maybe five young children has a wonderful line of “nature’s offering” products. She calls her business Fresh Air Flavours and her main products are Pesto (made from hemp seeds rather than pine nuts with just the right amount of garlic and is super yummy), White Wine Lilac Jelly (which she and her yung’uns hand pick the lilac flowers), a Rhubard Relish that is to die for and her “piece de resistance” is Rose Hip Jam (she and again, her children, hand pick the rose hips and once you try it you’ll never use cranberry sauce with poulty). Her products come from the wild around the NE area of Saskatchewan and are all hand-picked and processed. Many chefs are using her products as they are simply amazing. She is being featured in the June issue of Canadian House and Home. Try her stuff – it’s amazing, and be sure to tell her Marla sent you! She was the sweetest little girl on my school bus – many moons ago!

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