Monday, 26 March 2012

Trick your eyes with wallpaper

Do you have a room at home that feels small and narrow? Or does a space appear too big and impersonal? Wallpaper can help you camouflage these problems. Here's how:

Narrow room: A horizontally striped wallpaper will visually broaden the room. The horizontal line will also "bring down" a high ceiling.

Low ceiling: Pick a wallpaper with vertical lines to make the ceiling seem higher.

Oddly-shaped room: A patterned wallpaper, like a floral, will remove attention from strange angles and odd shapes in a room. It will also hide imperfect walls.

Small room: Classic design theories call for small patterns in small rooms. However, many designers today claim that big design motifs visually expand a room.

Make a narrow room seem 
wider with horizontal stripes.
Colours: A light-coloured wallpaper will make a small room seem bigger, and a darker wallpaper will make it seem smaller. If you like a dark shade but want to prevent the room from looking to sombre, pick a wallpaper with a nice sheen. It will reflect some light into the room.

Big, impersonal room: Try a wallpaper with a big pattern in a darker, warm colour and with a rough texture. This will visually make the walls "come closer" and create a more cozy feeling.

The sheen and vertical pattern of 
this wallpaper make it a good 
candidate for a smaller space
with a low ceiling.
A floral or any other patterned wallpaper
will camouflage imperfect and oddly-shaped

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Hello spring, hello wallpaper!

Speak about drama! This large damask pattern 
from Graham & Brown looks amazing coupled 
with coloured glass. 
Welcome spring into your home with cheery wallpaper! I've said it before and I'll say it again: one papered wall is all you need for a dramatic effect.

If you are still unsure if wallpaper is for you, try it in a small space or in a room that you don't use so often, like a hallway or your dining room. Don't go bold if you don't want to. Subtle is also fine. Believe me, there are papers out there for all tastes!

Next week I'll tell you how you can visually change the dimensions of a room with wallpaper. In the meantime, I hope these fresh, clean designs, as seen at Stradwick's and Stewart's in North Bay, will inspire you to take the leap!

This blue-and-white interior with a slightly cottagy feel 
just screams spring! Clarke & Clarke Viva Collection.
And here is the same paper in
warm citrus and grey.

Who says wallpapers are old fashioned? 
Big patterns, especially, have a decidedly 
modern vibe, like this black-and-beige 
floral from Clarke & Clarke's Showstoppers 
The same paper in lovely, spring-like colours.
Another blue-and-white paper with a pale 
summer look. Clarke & Clarke's Showstopper
And here's the same paper in a more contrasting
colour combination. 
For all lovers of pink...

This is a completely different kind of paper,
very graphic and stark. Clarke & Clarke 
Viva collection.
If you prefer a more subtle paper, this
beige on beige with lots of sheen is an
elegant alternative. The paper will be
more or less apparent depending on the
lighting conditions. Graham & Brown.
The same paper in a beautiful turquoise 
and beige combination.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Quilts to last generations

If you read my trend report, you already know that patchwork is in. We find it on textiles, rugs, and... of course our beloved quilts. No wonder; it’s a great way to introduce colour, softness and pattern to a room! With today's many modern, cheerful designs and colour combinations, quilts have a natural space in all kinds of environments. Yours too!

My friend, designer Marika Jonson, has been making contemporary quilts for many years. I chatted with her about her approach to the quilting process:

Q: Marika, where do you draw inspiration from and what determines what your quilts will look like?

A: The environment where the quilt is going is important and also who I am creating for. I always take my client’s preferences of size and colours into consideration, and the tactility in their home. While I sew, I spend hours thinking about the client and incorporating good-luck wishes throughout the project.

Q: You also strive to have the personality of the owner represented in the quilts. How do you achieve that?
A: I always ask the client for a pile of used fabric that has belonged to their family for a long time. I also dive into my own abundance of fabric. Sorting through the piles gives me clues to combinations and contrast that I think reflect the personality of the owner.
Q: What are the next steps?
A: Next, I create a sketch where I decide on format and complexity of the pattern, which in turn leads to arranging fabrics in piles ready to be ironed and cut. I need lots of floor space when I sew and the possibility to leave things as is. That way the inspiration stays with me, from start to finish. 

Q: What should we think about when we buy a quilt?

A: Quality! That's it, it should last for generations. The rest is up to your liking. Do you want an embellished one? Full of contrast or subtle? You decide. 

Speaking of embellished, a selection of Marika's quilts fills this posting, along with three local quilts (bottom) from Three Gables Studio in North Bay.  A feast in colour and creativity!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Big box Ottawa inspiration

Put fabrics on your walls! IKEA's fabulous, 
big-patterned textiles are ideal for that. Hang 
three different patterns next to each other for
a layered look. At less than $10 per meter you
can't go wrong. The effect? Bold, beautiful and
I love northern Ontario, but have to admit that I jump at any chance to go to the big city. And it's not the crowds and the commotion that attract me. It's the tons of ideas and inspiration I'm guaranteed to get during my urban ventures. Needless to say, when I had the opportunity to visit Ottawa last week, I didn't think twice.

I researched various design destinations, but as it turned out, it was IKEA's new flagship store - the largest in Canada - that became the highlight of this trip.

With their modern, no-fuss approach to design, IKEA continues to be a refreshing source for inspiration. Especially if you're looking for storage solutions and eye-catching design that will not break the bank. The company's well thought-out shopping experience also adds to the appeal. I was especially impressed by the new store's large, sit-down-and-relax area next to the huge restaurant, a mini-movie theatre for those in the family who don't like shopping, and of course the customary cheap and attractive food options and multiple kids' play areas.

In a separate posting, I'll give you ideas on how to repurpose and customize IKEA's product range. For now, I'll show you some of my IKEA favourites:
This transparent, chrome-plated chair
looks slick, and is a great option for 
any space where you want an airy 
This fun table has a removable tray.
Practical and stylish!
A great option for compact living. The chairs
embrace the table and don't take up any
unnecessary space. 
This glass table top with a floral pattern makes
office work something to look forward to.

More great fabrics for your walls:
Anything displayed in this funky, red bowl will look tasty and attractive:

Start a collection of colourful glass!
The reflective surface and happy 
green of this piece is sure to call 
for attention.

Does your couch feel oversized and stuffy? Balance it
with this simple, yet elegant chair for an overall lighter 
impression in your room. 

And for extra seating that you can easily stow away, 
why not go for a casual stool made from banana fibre? 
The natural material will give the room a warm, organic