Monday, 30 May 2011

Let your couch slip into something comfortable

Does your couch need a facelift? One effective way to inject new life to a piece is to have it slipcovered. Contact our local upholstery places for a quote. Or, if you happen to have a couch, armchair, chaise or stool from IKEA, it’s even easier. Simply browse the many slipcover alternatives at Bemz, order samples, and buy the slipcover online. For a flat $20 shipping fee, it will be delivered right to your doorstep. With over 180 different colors and patterns, you’ll be sure to find something that meets your fancy. Just have a look at these inspiring options. They are all from Bemz:
Introduce colour to your home with these beautiful 
covers from Bemz’ Designers Guild collection.
Finnish design house Marimekko is respresented 
with a number of fabulous slipcovers. 
Another colourful slipcover from Bemz' 
Marimekko collection. Note the white 
walls in the background; upholstered 
pieces with strong patterns and colours 
need a calm, solid backdrop. 
Stool dressed in the legendary 
Unikko pattern from Marimekko.
If you are dreaming of having some Designers 
Guild fabrics in your home, this is your chance.
A modern floral from Bemz' Lisa 
Bengtsson slipcovers.
Another Designers Guild slipcover, this time on a chaise.
Bemz also offers many solid colours, 
and a loose-fit, contry-style collection. 
Loose-fit dining chair slipcovers.
Be bold and have fun! Who says all chairs 
around a dining table have to be the same?

Which slipcover is your favourite?

Friday, 27 May 2011

Curtain tips that do the trick

Change the visual proportions of a room with these easy tips:

- Make a small window look bigger by locating the curtain rod higher than the window (seven inches as a minimum if your ceiling height allows for it). The window will also look wider if the rod extends beyond the window (twenty inches or so). This will make the curtains surround the window without covering it.

- A curtain with vertical stripes will make the ceiling look higher. If you want the opposite effect, go with a horizontally-striped pattern.

- A large room can handle large patterns, so think big. For small rooms, a smaller print is a safer bet. Having said that, some designers believe that you can make a small room look bigger with big patterns... (Your best option is to buy a small sample of the fabric and try it in the space.)

- Choose a solid curtain, preferably in a light colour, if the view is beautiful. On the contrary, if you want to detract from a not-so-nice view, go with a colourful, patterned fabric.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Divine design at the Great Room

If you're a fan of the design shows on TV, then you'll also like this store on Oak Street in North Bay. The Great Room opened five years ago and has been bringing in fresh, contemporary design ever since. Stylish couches, chairs, beautiful table lamps, coffee tables, artwork... The Great Room is jam-packed with inspiration! In addition to what's on the floor, you should also make sure to browse through the store's many product catalogues and fabric samples. Start imagining that special piece that will make your home shine...

Coffee table in limed wood. This wood finish
gives the piece a slightly worn, weathered
look, that goes well with other natural materials.
Combine it with a linen or cotton-upholstered
couch or armchair, rustic pottery and glass. $770.
Console table in the same limed wood finish. 
This would be a great piece for an entrance
(practical with the drawers), or a living room 
Pottery is great if you want to introduce some
movement and flow, especially if your room
feels too square and symmetrical. This piece
has a beautiful shape. $131.
Armless chairs are ideal when space is tight. 
By foregoing the armrests, the chairs look
lighter. This might be desirable if you already 
have a lot of chunky, large furniture in the
room. $825 each.
A classic Bergère chair. This piece has
a pale, striped upholstery which gives it
a fairly casual appearance. I love the mix
of classic (the chair, which dates back to
the 1700s) and modern (the understated
upholstery. An oversized floral pattern
would also have an interesting effect).
$1140 for chair and ottoman.
Look twice! There is actually a chair
behind the pillow, and it's very similar 
to the iconic Ghost Chair. This version
is called Casper and costs $310.
Ottomans are a good alternative to coffee tables.
They can easily double as extra seating if you are
hosting a large crowd. They can also add some 
colour and pattern to a room. I love the graphic 
print of this piece. $807.
Simple, clean and effective! 
Pillows $62 each.
Interesting base on this table fixture.
If you have other circle motives in your
room, this is your lamp (or even if
you just like the shape of it). $125.
The shiny surface of this lamp will
make the light in the room bounce 
around. That's especially desirable in 
a darker, smaller space. $224.
I love the shape of this table lamp.
This sculptural pedestal table would 
look fabulous in a big entrance. Just 
add a bouquet of fresh flowers on top.
You'll be smiling every time you come
home. $180.
Summer is almost here and it's time to say 
"hello" to bright, happy colours. Changing
throws and pillows according to the season
is a good way to always keep your home
feeling fresh and up-to-date. $55.
Every gorgeous home needs a beautiful 
mirror. $350.

The Great Room has some great 
fabrics. Check out these for example:

This Parson-inspired chair has timeless
style. "Pedro" dining chair in leather. 

Friday, 20 May 2011

Creating rooms within a room

My recently purchased lilac bushes are finally in the ground! As I step back to look at the result, I'm amazed at how they have changed this corner of the yard. Previously, it was an open area without defined boundaries. The space seemed to lack a soul.
Now the feeling is different. The lilac bushes form a comforting, green wall around the garden furniture. A small room has been created, one that I look forward to spending some time in. That was easy!
The same approach works inside the house; add some “structure” to a space, define it with area rugs, screens, plants or lighting, all according to what activity is going to take place there. Make it a space to long for, a destination. Just like my lilac-wrapped corner in the yard. I can't wait until the light mauve flowers open up and start filling the air with the scent of summer! Have a nice long weekend!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Entering Cleopatra's world

“Walking through the doors of Cleopatra is like entering another world....” The phrase is taken from Cleopatra Elegant Interiors' website, and I cannot other than concur. There is a sense of peace and tranquility here which reminds me of the lobby of a high-end resort someplace warm. I can almost hear birds singing! 

The store is adorned with Montreal artist Andre Despalteau's one-of-a-kind creations; oversized columns, arches, flower arrangements and counters. 

Canadian-made furniture shares the floor with home accents and gift items. Here are some of the things that caught my eye:

This is a large, interesting mirror.
Doesn't it look stunning with the brick
wall in the background?
Another gorgeous mirror, this one
with a tin frame.
A Canadian-made Brentwood Classic
chair with elegant lines. Make sure to 
check out the upholstery options. $759.
Parsons-style leather chair in
dark brown.
These wicker boxes have an Oriental
feel to them.
Contemporary table fixture with a
rectangular shade. Nice! $95. The
lamps below also have a modern 
vibe to them.

An elaborate pattern enhances the
beauty of this decoration. $130.
Accent pillow with golden tones. $41.
I like the slender shape of
this turquoise vase. $45.

Multi-coloured, fun umbrella stand.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Cool, all-white bathroom

A well-chosen shower curtain
can transform an all-white 
bathroom. This curtain is from 
Canadian Tire's Debbie Travis 

Happy Monday! Here is a question from a reader: 

“We are in the middle of a bathroom reno. We have chosen to go with simple white tiles. Now I am looking for a shower curtain, bath mat and accessories. Do you have any colour suggestions? The colour scheme for the rest of the house is green.”
And here is my answer: I suggest you introduce some pattern and texture in your all-white bathroom. Start with the shower curtain. A patterned curtain in a “watery" hue such as light blue, turquoise or light green would look good. Let your bathroom mat pick up a colour from the pattern, and do the same for the towels. 

A black-and-white colour scheme is another option if you want a crisp, contemporary look

Soap dispenser, hangers and the likes would look sharp in a shiny metal finish. But take into account the finish on door handles, knobs and so on. You don't want to mix too many metals.

Another suggestion for adding interest in an all-white bathroom is to paint the ceiling a light, subtle colour. Repeat the colour, but in a darker shade, in towels and bath mat. Let the rest of the room remain white. It will look clean and cool - perfect for a bathroom!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Make room for summer

Simplify your life - get time to live.

Summer is around the corner, and you want to have time to enjoy it. How do you achieve that? By simplifying your life.

If you look at your things at home, I'm sure you will find many items that you don’t use or even like. Now is a good time to get rid of them.

Follow the golden rule: keep only what is either beautiful, functional, or what you truly love.

Also, make sure everything in your home has its own place. Baskets, boxes, and folders will be your best friends for that. Free up room, and experience how light and spacious your home feels. That's exactly what you need to get in the mood for summer!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Ten slick sofas (plus an armchair)

Hunting for a couch can be challenging. Not only does it have to look stylish, it also has to be comfortable and practical. And, the price tag must be right.

Here are a few tips to make your next sofa purchase a lot easier:

- Know in advance where the couch is going. Take measurements and determine the maximum width and height of your future sofa.

- Be specific about your functional requirements. How many should the couch seat? Should it stand rough treatment from little ones? Pets?

- Think about what style of couch would look good. Does your room call for an ornate couch with rounded arms and back, or should the sofa have simpler lines?

- Determine if you want a solid-coloured couch or a patterned. If there is already a lot of pattern in the room, on curtains, rug, etc, it will look better with a solid colour. When visiting stores, ask for samples of different upholstery options to try at home.

- Shop around. Take photos, write down measurements and price. Then go home and look at the photos, try the upholstery options and make a decision.

Here are 10 slick sofas (plus an armchair) from North Bay stores:

I'm a big fan of "condo-sized" couches. They have
a much more "human" scale than the typical over-
sized sofa. The proportions are also slicker. This
couch is from the Great Room and costs $1620.
Look how great it is with orange and red!
This Canada-made couch is "a designer favourite" 
at Alger Furniture & Appliances. It costs $1499,
has clean lines and a variety of upholstery options.
Imagine how beautiful it would look in these fabrics:

Leather is practical if you have kids and pets
(watch out for sharp claws though!). This leather
sofa is from Sears. $2249.
Elegant lines on this sofa with nailhead details. 
And the upholstery options are almost endless! 
It is part of Leon's Cobistyle selection. You should
check it out! $1299.
I like the curved arm and nailheads on this couch. 
Below are some of my upholstery favourites:

A three-seater with rounded arms from Sears.
A sectional couch is a good choice if you have the
space and need a lot of seating, like in a family 
room. Different modular pieces are often joined 
together to create a sectional. This gives a lot of
flexibility, since you can move the pieces around 
and try various configurations. This piece is from
the Great Room and costs $4486.
This sectional is from North Bay Home Furniture.
With two seat cushions and one single piece as back
rest, the look of this sofa bed is clean and stylish.
$1099 at Sears.
A Brentwood Classic, now 40% off at Cleopatra
(originally $2400). Instead of the tray which is
seen in this photo, you have the option to include
a third seat cushion and back support. The couch
comes with beautiful upholstery options. See two
examples below:

If you have a tighter budget, you might be 
interested in this contemporary, faux-leather 
couch from the Brick. $399. And why not add
a fun chair to go with it, like the zebra print 
below. Also at the Brick. $179.

Which couch is your favourite?