Thursday, 30 August 2012

Positively pattern

Cobistyle has a nice selection of 
vibrant and playful fabrics. They  
can make the dullest of corners 
For some of us, pattered fabric is a source of inspiration and pure joy. Others just can't stand it. Whatever your preference, patterned fabric can give any design project a direction, especially when it comes to colour. Look at any patterned fabric that pleases your eye and see what colours have been used. You can safely copy the same colour combinations in your own space without actually using the fabric. Let it be your design guide.

At a recent client visit, a patterned fabric caused both my client and me to smile. It had such a friendly, cheery disposition that was contagious. Covering two gorgeous Steven and Chris chairs, it will greet the homeowners every time they enter the room. It will spread happiness, and that is what I love about carefully designed and decorated spaces; they positively affect how we feel.

And here's the good old advice for anybody who is afraid of the commitment of pattern, and who thinks they will easily get tired: try it on some toss pillows! They will make your room rock and can easily be changed.

Toss cushions in Cobistyle fabrics. Stay tuned for a
future blog on how to mix different patterns.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Summer sauna, part II

Remember this sketch? After many,many hours of work and some tweaking of the plans, our summer sauna is now up and running. With its grey-brown exterior and limited footprint, it is barely noticeable between the cedar trees. White aspen panelling covers the interior walls and makes the space bright and inviting. Not to mention the wonderful scent it gives off!

The project is not completed yet, but so far it's been a truly local affair; kiln-dried white aspen from Quality Hardwoods in Powassan, with North Bay's Thibault & Son Lumber Mill Wood Workshop creating the custom tongue-and-groove profile for the boards, and Fenno Manufacturing in Markham supplying the stove. Next is to finish the change room, complete the exterior and create a green roof. Stay tuned for part III!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Metals: mixing or matching?

Do you think all metals in a space have to match?
To change hardware is one of the easiest ways to update a space. Contemporary handles will instantly improve the appearance of a tired kitchen. And a new faucet in the bathroom will at least temporarily remove the attention from dated tiles. But what if you like chrome and the rest of the hardware is brass? Can you mix the two? What are the rules?

Well, a few years ago the most common advice would have been: no mixing! But with today's more relaxed attitude towards design, there is no right or wrong. What is more important is that you really love the item. Instead of obsessing over finish, think about how all the pieces in a space work together in style, scale and shape.

One way to bring different metals together is to look for an item that includes different finishes. A mirror with a golden edge on a silver frame is one example. By featuring more than one metal, it gives you flexibility and is the unifying glue that holds the space together.

If you're still unsure, stick to metals in the same "colour family", either gold/brass/copper, or silver/steel/chrome/aluminum.

What do you think? Are you a "mixer" or a "matcher"?

Or is it OK to mix different metals in the same room?

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Practical, personalized placemats

Make your own decorative and kid-friendly placemats! All you need is some end-of-the-roll wallpaper and access to a laminator; stationary and printing stores normally offer laminating services.

And while you're at it, why not make the laminated placemats two sided? Each side could be distinctly different from the other, so that you can alternate according to the season. For example, use a patterned wallpaper in happy greens for the summer, and a wallpaper in deep burgundy for the winter. Or make one side graphic with black-and-white, while the other side is soft and floral.

Where to get the wallpaper? Check end-of-the-roll supplies at decorating stores, or see what you find at our local thrift stores. Big-box chains and many paint stores also sell wallpaper by the roll. 17" x 14" is a good size for the final placemat. Why not give it a try?

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Design hunt in Huntsville

Fortunately, I didn't see any real bears on my day trip to Huntsville last week. But I did see a lot of really neat design. Home decor and furniture stores lie practically shoulder to shoulder on Main Street in this cute little Muskoka town. So park your car and explore for a few hours! Maybe you'll come to the same conclusion as I did during my visit; that "cottage style" in reality is a very broad design concept. It can include rustic and primitive elements, French country-inspired pieces, breezy coastal vibes and modern, rough-hewn lines. The laid-back attitude and charming presentation are what set this style apart. See some of my favourites from the trip:
A bright red cupboard will
get you in the right, cottagy
mood. Put some light blue 
objects inside, and you'll have
a vibrant, attention-grabbing
piece. Veranda, Huntsville.
Here's an example of beachy, coastal
cottage style, with a stunning, silver-
coloured mirror and blue-and-white
striped upholstery. Summer fresh and 
gorgeous! Veranda.
Continuing the maritime theme...
A Steven and Chris  boat decoration
at Veranda.
Fun dresser/sideboard with lots of style. Veranda.
Interesting shape on this wooden table
base with glass top. Veranda.
Hides are definitely in! We mostly see them as
irregularly-shaped area rugs. Here, at Veranda,
as ottomans.
A beautiful, old church off Main Street 
in Huntsville is now home to the store
and design firm Urban Rustic Living. As 
the name suggests, rustic with an urban
spin is the name of the game here. 
Eye-catching antler chandelier. Urban Rustic Living.
Stunning chandelier with wooden
beads. Different! Urban Rustic Living.
Saturday Afternoons is a relatively new home store 
on Main Street in Huntsville, filled with elegant, light 
and breezy pieces. The beauty of these boat paintings 
is in their simplicity. 
I like the curved shapes of this antique chandelier
Can it get more natural than this?
Timber side table; my design magazines 
are full of them. Haliburton Forest & Wild