Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Elegant DIY tray

This is a stylish tray that I came across on my recent explorations in Toronto. It's made from an old window and a pair of fancy handles. Unlike many other DIY projects, this should be a fast and easy one to put together. Your favourite thrift store will be a good source for the window. Look for one where the glass is in a good condition, and make sure that the window frame and the glass are strong enough to stand up to the task. Don't worry if there are a few scratches on the frame. A little patina just adds to the charm. The next thing is to find the right handles. Visit one of our local hardware stores, or try Lee Valley Tools. An adorned glass and brass handle gives the simple frame some needed bling and contrast. Just attach the handles to the frame and... voilĂ !

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Hot fall colours

Spice up your home with deep purple and mustard this fall! During a recent trip to Toronto, I saw these rich hues everywhere. They feel so right for the season! Introduce them in your home through bowls, napkins or  accent pillows. Combine them with muted shades of green and orange. Or mix them together for a sparkling combination!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Shedding light on lighting

What a treat today with all that sunshine and warmth! But the days are inevitably getting shorter and now is a good time to review your lighting needs at home. Here are three tips on how to get it right:

1) You will need task lighting for areas where you will perform specific activities, such as reading, playing cards, etc. You will also need sufficient overall illumination in the entire room. This is often achieved through ceiling fixtures or potlights. Lastly, you might want to add some mood lighting to draw attention to certain areas or objects in the room. Don't rely on one bright ceiling fixture for all your lighting needs! That's not a recipe for an inviting space.

2) A successful lighting schedule is based on variety. Plan to have illumination flow in different directions - let some lamps project downward, some upward and some in all directions. Also, place lighting fixtures at different heights in the room to create a more dynamic light flow. Finally, vary the intensity of the illumination. Dimmers are a great tool for that.

3) Make sure that the light fixtures are suitable in style and size to the rest of the furniture in the room. A super modern lamp will most often not look good in a traditional space.

Electrical lights are good, but when it comes to
creating a cozy environment, nothing beats candles!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Custom furniture is the cat's meow

Sometimes the stores just don't have what we're looking for. It can be that last piece that is missing from an otherwise perfect furniture set. Or a unique bookshelf that you’ve only seen in a foreign magazine. In those situations, custom is the way to go, and Beagle House Woodwork is one company to turn to. This downtown North Bay business takes pride in making built-ins and solid wood furniture intended to be handed down from one generation to the next. Their customer's specific needs and tastes are reflected in the design, colour, finish and hardware of the pieces Beagle House creates. 

And don't forget to bring a dog treat as you go with your request. Custom furniture may be the cat's meow, but at this woodworking operation it's the two beagles Soleau and Zoro that will welcome you at the door. 
The customer of this piece wanted a 
bookshelf carousel but could not 
find one in Canada.

This 42"-square pine table was treated
to special walnut stain and four coats 
of varnish. The table is paired with four 

Streamlined modular bookcase.

Practical storage for your CDs.

Children's table set in solid wood, the perfect 
setting for a lively pretend tea party!

Stylish bench and chair for your outdoor deck.

Beagle House also make cabinets, islands and
other pieces for your kitchen. And a practical
jardiniere to show off your plants!


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Instant bathroom update

Tired of your bathroom but not ready to renovate it yet? Give your old bathroom a second life with a new set of towels, mat and shower curtain. It's a minor investment that can make a huge difference. Try a colour that you haven't used before and don't shy away from bold patterns. Here are a few funky shower curtains that I found at Discount Cash and Carry in North Bay:

Friday, 9 September 2011

Home organizing essentials

It’s back to school for the kids, and the need to keep things at home organized has never been greater. To stay ahead of the game, I’ve asked the De-Clutter Coach Moreen Torpy to share some easy organizing tips. This is what she has to say:
September can be the beginning of a new year, along with January, for very different reasons. In January, we make resolutions to improve our interior lives, while in September, we tend to think more about our external lives and how to make them easier. Here are three simple ways you can do this without investing your entire RRSP in the project:
Your children will soon start bringing these home from school or their extra-curricular activities so…
- Set up a file or box for each child and keep in a convenient place so your child can access it and add papers to it himself or herself. 
- Check that file or box daily to deal with anything new that has arrived. There may be forms and requests that must be dealt with in a short time frame. 
- Ensure your child takes back the necessary forms by the deadline with whatever needs to go with it.
Technology—small stuff:
Charge your cell phone, Blackberry, etc. and keep your countertops clear of charging cords by setting up a Technology Garage. Create one with a pretty box or covered basket with holes cut in the back to thread the cords through. The phones etc. can be placed in the box and plugged in without creating clutter. Plug in your devices every night so that they will always be charged and ready when you need them.

- Drop into your recycle bin anything you won’t need when you pick up your mail. Shred anything with your name on it to protect your identity. 
- Place mail needing your attention into a dedicated box or basket in a convenient place so you can deal with it at a specified time. For example, if you normally pay your bills at the beginning or middle of the month, that would be your guideline. Setting up this kind of schedule will prevent having piles of miscellaneous incoming mail strewn about, yet what you need will always be organized for your attention.
By implementing these three tips, you will create a more peaceful environment in a sometimes chaotic life. And that’s certainly something to aspire to! Happy organizing!
Moreen Torpy is the De-Clutter Coach, a Trained Professional Organizer and Author. Let’s Get Organized: 172 tiplets to simplify life is her first published work. See to subscribe to Let’s Get Organized, her monthly e-zine and purchase the booklet. Watch for her new book Moving Forward: Downsizing, Moving and Settling In that will be available soon.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Fabulous fall fabrics

Dwell Studio fabrics for the modern home. 
Be inspired by fabrics this fall! They are ideal as jumping-off points for a complete colour scheme. Or they can serve as a bold statement in an otherwise neutral environment. My hunt for inspiring fall fabrics took me to Stewart's Decorating Centre in North Bay. When browsing through their recently arrived product line from Dwell Studio, I knew I had to look no further. These fabrics make me happy! Dwell Studio has teamed up with Robert Allen on a line of modern and elegant fabrics that will breathe new life into any space. Just have a look at the beauties below. You can buy them by the yard (minimum half a yard) at Stewart's. And yes, there’s a lot of mustard this season.

This graphic print almost looks three
dimensional.. Check out the pillow below.
The print comes in a range of colours.

Botanical print in muted colours.
Another fantastic print from Dwell,
available at Stewart's.
Why not frame a piece of this big
print and use it as artwork?

Depending on what you combine this
print with, it can read as either traditional
or modern.

Black and white prints make a strong, modern statement. How do you like these?
Dwell Studio for Robert Allen. Also
available in grey.
Robert Allen Home.
Dwell Studio for Robert Allen.
A rich violet velvet gives a cozy, warm
feeling. Perfect for the fall! Robert Allen
Lush velvet in grey from Dwell Studio's 
Striped fabrics works for every season. 
They lend a slightly casual feel and are 
clean and elegant at the same time. Nautica 
collection from Robert Allen Home.

Trellis prints are another beautiful classic. This
one comes in a range of colour options. Robert
Allen Home.