A number of you have recently asked about the type of counter material you should select whether it’s for your kitchen or your bathroom. There is a wide selection of counter top materials available which can cause confusion and be overwhelming. The decision really depends on who will use the space, how often, your habits and of course your budget. The decision also depends on the style or look you have in your home or want to achieve. To assist you in your decision making process and/or support future reno decisions, I have summarized the pros and cons of each of the materials currently available.Read More
This week I share simple steps for creating a colour palette for the space or spaces you want to update that extends beyond the paint colour.Read More
I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2019 Interior Design Show in Toronto, Canada – this is one of the not to be missed shows for designers and decorators from around the world. A wide range of product companies descend on Toronto to showcase new products and discuss trends and new developments. While I strolled the trade floor and chatted with the company reps, I noticed a number of trends that will be informing design and decor in the coming months and years ahead. I want to share these trends to inspire you as you contemplate spring updates to your abode. Read on!Read More
Raise your hand if you have ever picked the perfect paint colour off a paint chip only to get the room completely done and realized it isn’t going to work. Yep! My hand is up! All that time, effort and money invested in the room, not to mention the ‘discussions’ with your significant other or the dog and you are soooo disappointed. Read on for 5 tips that will save you not only time, money and aggravation but result in a colour and ambience that you are much happier with.Read More
As with so many of us, pursuing her creative passion is an encore career for Mary. Read on to learn more and be sure to check out her website.Read More
Elizabeth Hesp of Elizabeth Hesp Fine Art, like many of us, is pursuing her passion after working in an unrelated career. And we are glad she is! Enjoy the interview with Elizabeth and I know you are going to be captivated by her work.Read More
This month’s guest blogger is a unique company that not only produces furniture and decor that are works of art but that bring a whole new meaning to ‘upcycle and repurpose’. Mike and Carolynn at Craviations, use repurposed helicopter parts to create designs that “reflect your love of aviation and showcase your sense of adventure.” (www.craviations.ca)Read More
Many people I talk to feel that hiring an Interior Designer is an indulgence they can ill afford. While it does add to the overall cost of a project, it’s not as expensive as you might think. When planning an update to your home, consider the following reasons for hiring an Interior Designer.Read More
In my interior design biz I have come across a number of fascinating, unique and interesting artists, ‘creatives’ and designers. These are folks who are pursuing their passions and sharing the results with a broader audience in a number of different ways.
They have caught my eye and attention as their creations align with my aesthetic that design and decor should be comfortable and livable, simple not complicated and include a touch of whimsy – a necessary element to any design.Read More
When refreshing the décor in our homes a new paint colour is one of the easiest and most economical but can also be one of the most challenging and confusing decisions to make. To pull a look together the right tone, shade and hue can make all the difference. I know you are already overwhelmed but read on!Read More
Over time we accumulate pictures, art work, mementos and decor items that we’d like to display and enjoy rather than leave tucked away in cupboards and drawers. This is often best achieved in the form of a gallery wall. The following steps will help you achieve a beautiful look without creating more work and effort.Read More
It is clear from what has been announced for 2018 that pale pastel colours are behind us and the trend is toward more intense, bold colour.Read More
I’m sure you have witnessed the trend to monochromatic rooms – those serene oasis of calm and sophistication that grace the pages of design and decor websites and magazines. Many of us shy away from a monochromatic look, afraid that it will look boring, flat and uninspired. But it doesn’t have to be so!Read More
If you are like most people when it comes to colour, you have your favs and always tend to gravitate towards them. But if you want to make a change and step outside your comfort zone, the colour wall at your local home improvement store makes you freeze like a deer in the headlights! Right? The choices are overwhelming! But believe me, there are 100’s of shades of the basic colours found on the colour wheel let alone all the other variations in between!
When refreshing the décor in our homes, colour is one of the easiest and economical but most complicated ones to make.Read More
Our current abode has lots of cabinets and the storage space is awesome. However, the cabinets throughout the house are clear oak (a bit dated for my taste!).
I recently updated the master bedroom and ensuite. The ensuite is perfectly fine in terms of layout and functionality but the cabinetry? Had to change!Read More
I seem to have developed an attraction to flying pigs, yes, flying pigs! Is it the meaning behind them, “when pigs fly”, or just that they’re cute? I think it’s both. “When pigs fly” keeps me pushing towards goals, setting even more challenging goals and working hard to achieve those goals I have set for myself be it personal or business.
But flying pigs are cute; I have a couple incorporated into my décor. They’re fun, whimsical and add a touch of ‘quirk’ to my décor no matter what room or area of my home they are in. The one on my kitchen windowsill is a cute little one called Petunia that is a beautiful pale pink. As I do dishes or am moving around the kitchen cooking and baking, she reminds me to breath, see life as an endless journey of joy and laugher and reminds me of my goals, my future vision and that determination is the root of achievement.
The verdigris flying pig which is much larger has a delightful look of joy on his face. What a charming reminder that life should be lived, every action we undertake should fill us with joy, and that we should surround ourselves with people and things that make us happy.
As I decorate my home, I always use items that delight me, will always bring me joy and will always put a smile on my face every time I walk into that room. Despite the item’s colour, shape, texture or purpose, incorporating items that delight me make my space personal, whimsical, add a touch of the unexpected and make that space just a little bit swank.
What is in your décor that makes you smile, makes you happy and brings joy to your space?
Happy Friday all – hope you have a relaxing weekend planned! In chatting with family, friends and clients, I often get asked where I find my inspiration. Admittedly some days I don’t feel too inspired but, on the days I do, there are many sources of creativity. It comes from a wide range of places – hiking and observing, listening and sensing nature; magazines that illustrate many styles and approaches to design and décor; the colours and textures of natural elements; and, playing with and re-arranging accessories to find new looks and layouts for vignettes.
But there is one event that is a fantastic and almost overwhelming source of inspiration, motivation, enthusiasm and ideas that feed my décor and design passion. It is the annual Interior Design Show that takes place every January in Toronto (the fall show takes place in Vancouver). This is design and décor writ large and has participation and presentations from some of the biggest names in the biz as well as a number of brands whose booths showcase the latest products and designs.
IDS also showcases up and coming designers, artisans and craftsmen who challenge the status quo and present creations that are at once innovative, funky, practical and out of the box but will meets the emerging needs in our ever changing society.
This year, inspiration and motivation have come from these Canadian companies:
W Studio Decorative Carpets (www.wstudio.ca)
These decorative carpets are works of art, hand knotted with sustainable materials such as wool and silk. They are so unique and beautiful it’s almost a shame to walk on them! W Studio provides highly personalized service and has an extensive collection which ensures there is a perfect carpet for every décor style.
Junction Wood + Metal (www.junctionwoodandmetal.com)
The Junction Wood + Metal Company designs and creates stylish and unique furniture pieces. The pieces are crafted from sustainable woods around Ontario such as walnut, maple or white oak, or reclaimed century old douglas fir or pine. The metal bases of the tables are hand welded and frequently powder coated to maximize strength and durability. Tables are made to order in a variety of finishes, base colours and sizes ensuring you can find a piece perfect for your space and décor.
Dusil Design & Landscape Inc. (www.dusildesign.com)
Dusil Design is a one-of-a-kind design company that develops residential landscape designs to meet client’s needs. But what really caught my eye at IDS were Alica’s metal sculptures and privacy screens. This energetic and creative designer makes custom pieces that are available in natural rust or protective paint finishes. Many are designed as garden art to enliven outdoor spaces and provide some privacy but would be equally suited to interior décor. This makes for unique pieces that provide a focal point and conversation piece and the addition of lights adds yet another dimension.
Beauti-Tone is the only Canadian owned and manufactured retail paint brand produces a full range of paint products in water and solvent based formulas as well as the popular line of Natura products, all which are exclusive to Home Hardware. Their install at IDS was varied and unique and stood out among the paint companies featured at the show.
Canadian designer Simon Chang, in partnership with Beauti-tone, has developed a line of beautiful designer colours featured in a wall of stilettos. This unique feature was playful and attracted a lot of attention, although sadly none of the shoes were for sale!
The Beauti-tone 2017 Colour of the Year, You Look Mauve-lous (SC169-0), was featured in the home library install of the booth and featured books and objets d’art painted in the colour. This relaxing calm colour is perfect for accessories, accents and pairs well with many shades on the colour wheel.
Canadian Green Design (http://www.canadiangreendesign.com)
Canadian Green Design uses woods from around the world, including the bottom of lakes, to create one of a kind pieces for your home from tables and lighting to doors, shelving and wine racks. Each piece is polished to enhance and highlight the live edge and natural textures, patterns and colours of the wood. The woods are mixed with glass, metal and other materials resulting in unique artistic additions to any décor.
I always come back from IDS brimming with motivation, ideas and plans for new projects as well as enthusiasm for what is yet to come in the design and décor world. Can’t wait to share more with you so stay tuned! In the meantime have a fantastic weekend and remember to keep it swank!
Happy New Year! This time of year is always energizing as we head into a brand new year – a blank slate with so many exciting possibilities, projects and plans. This is also the time of year the décor magazines, websites and blogs are filled with ideas and opinions about what is ‘trendy’ for the coming year with respect to style, architecture and colour – are you inundated and overwhelmed yet?!
The subtle or not so subtle message is that our current décor is no longer stylish or relevant and it’s time to refresh it all. The subtle message is that if we don’t implement the trending design elements, our décor will appear outdated and inappropriate. This drives me crazy!! I don’t know about you but my budget doesn’t allow me to start afresh every year. Think of the environmental nightmare were we to do just that and the absence of our personal style and flair?
So how do we avoid becoming ‘sheep’, yet continue to stay somewhat up-to-date and stylish and reflect our own décor style with flair?
First, start with a solid foundation. It is important that a room have good ‘bones’ and structure. Basic elements such as a sofa and chairs and side tables, should be classic and timeless and allow for small and subtle changes to be easily made around them. If these elements are neutral in terms of style, shape, colour and finish, it is easy to incorporate elements of trends such as colour, pattern and texture. Trendy styles quickly become dated and are costly and disruptive to update.
Every paint company selects a ‘colour of the year’. Again, this should be an inspiration and if it is too intense for your décor or taste, consider a slightly lighter or less intense shade. If you want to make some simple updates, consider where you could use the colour to maximize impact at minimal cost. Consider pillows, a throw, lampshades, candles, decorative accessories or table linens. A trending colour can also be used on an accent wall or in draperies if you are prepared to take on a larger project and update.
Trending fabrics and patterns can be reflected in pillows or draperies or your bed linens. I also love the randomness of contrasting patterns (having everything matching is predictable and uninspired). Think stripes or checks with floral, chevrons with polka dots or geometric patterns with stripes or polka dots. The continuity and cohesiveness of these contrasting patterns comes with ensuring the scale of the patterns is consistent in size, that the tone or hue of colour is compatible and that the size of the item - for example pillows - is the same.
New hardware on doors and cabinets is an easy and economical way to update the décor in your kitchens and bathrooms as trends change. If you are doing a major renovation or building a new home, basic cabinets are timeless and classic and easily adapted to décor trends.
Replacing a tired or worn out area rug with one in a trending colour and material is another quick and practical way to update your décor. These are easy to add to every room in the house and can be coordinated with linens, pillows, throws and décor items such as candles and decorative accessories for a rejuvenated and updated look.
Mix It Up
I love the unique decor that comes with mixing contrasting materials and styles. This is an effective way of mixing your current décor with the trending elements that you love. Again, continuity and cohesiveness can be achieved by selecting a limited number of materials (I’m referring here to wood, ceramic, granite, metal, concrete, glass, etc.). Too many together can result in a space that appears disjointed and chaotic. The same applies to patterns and colour; ensure the tone and hue of colour are consistent and patterns are of similar scale to create a relaxing, comfortable space.
Combining differing styles can be a unique and funky way to reflect your style preferences and personality, so have some fun! I have seen French country chic with a touch of industrial or coastal with overtones of Boho – it can work and result in stunning and sophisticated rooms!
These are just some of the many ways in which trending styles and colours can be integrated into your existing décor in a simple and stylish way. Refreshing the look of you home does not necessarily mean a big price tag; you can reflect your décor personality and flair in a unique way. And most importantly, have fun! Create your own look, reflect your own style and remember comfortable and elegant interiors can be achieved through simple updates.
As I write this I am looking out at a beautiful sunny fall day – my fav season of the year! Hope you’re having a sunny day too!
As the seasons change, I get energized and motivated to start the next home project or get the energy and incentive to finish my WIPs (works in progress). As many of you know, we have downsized twice in 4 years and are in a much smaller home that actually feels bigger than the last. The layout, number of windows, natural light and the fact that it’s a bungalow (full basement with lots of space and storage) make it feel very roomy. At this stage many of us are opting for smaller spaces but that does not mean sacrificing style and the opportunity to reflect our personality and flair in the design and décor.
This video outlines some of the general guidelines that can make small spaces ‘live large’ while keeping the rooms inviting, comfortable and functional. They are simple and can apply to any room in your home.
The guidelines are pretty straight forward, but if you’re like me, you’re visual and need to see them put into practice. The following slide show provides some beautiful photos of small living rooms that reflect a wide range of décor styles, colours and layouts. Lots of ideas here and I got excited and motivated when watching it.
These small bedroom designs would make it very hard for me to get out of bed in the morning! These are very livable rooms that are huge on style!
If you’re doing a smaller room and need ideas, let me know - I would love to work with you to create a fresh look! And if you have completed a project, be sure to share the pics – I would love to see your style and flair in action!
Have a great weekend and remember to make it swank!