Thursday, 31 January 2013

Trend report 2013

Let's look at what's new, fun and trendy from the world of design! Click here to read my 2013 Trend Report from last week's Interior Design Show in Toronto.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Add some radiance

Yikes! Canada is in a cold spell and North Bay is no exception. Let's turn up the heat a bit with photos of inspiring, warm fireplaces. At the bottom of the post you'll find two fun, red-enameled stoves that I came across during a visit to the Home Hardware store on Algonquin Avenue some weeks ago.

Stay warm!

With kitchens being "the new living rooms",
a fireplace in this room makes complete sense.


Who doesn't like dinner next to the fireplace? 
It enhances the social atmosphere you want to
create and provides a focal point. Contemporary
Dining Room design by Denver Architect D&D
Interiors. Photo from Houzz.
It is popular to place the TV above the fireplace, but it's not always
ideal. Why? It often means that the TV is located too high considering
the ideal viewing height. It also detracts from the fireplace. If the
fireplace is low, like in this photo, it is less of a problem, but it's still
worthwhile spending some time thinking of alternative locations for your
TV. Contemporary Living Room design. Photo from Houzz.
In this photo the fireplace becomes part of the "artwork" of
the view outside.  Modern Family Room design by Los Angeles
Architect Griffin Enright Architects. Photo from Houzz.

A contemporary, wall-mounted fireplace. Design
by Boston Architect Siemasko + Verbridge.
Photo from Houzz.
 Red stoves from Home Hardware on Algonquin:

Friday, 18 January 2013

Turn homely into helpful

A structural post in the "wrong" location, can become a functional
and stylish feature in your space. Picture from Houzz: Modern
Basement design by Dc Metro Design-build Wentworth, Inc.

Some rooms can be tricky to "get right". Space may be tight, the existing flooring may dictate a certain traffic pattern, and there may be unsightly ductwork and structural posts to deal with. That was the situation at a consultation I was called to recently.

The homeowners wanted to use their basement as a TV room, but a column in the middle of the space made most furniture plans less than ideal. The solution? Using the "lost" area below the staircase to host the TV. This plan created more flexibility for TV watching and also minimized the importance of the structural post. Clever use of lighting, eye-catching wall art and inviting seating will further divert the attention from the less-than-beautiful column.
Let the space below a staircase "work" for you.

Had we had the space, we might have decided to let the column "work" for us instead of trying to camouflage it. Alternative solutions could include transforming it into a practical shelf to display treasures on, turning it into a slatted media unit, or using it to display art. Check out these pictures from Houzz for inspiration. Have you dealt with similar situations in your home? I'd be delighted to hear how you solved them!

Create a second post, add shelves and transform
the column into a practical bookcase or
display unit. Contemporary Basement design
by Calgary General Contractor Urban Abode
Photo from Houzz.

Put up your favourite artwork on the column.
Basement design by Chicago Interior Designer

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Say hello to Lemon Sorbet!

Lemon sorbet is Benjamin Moore's colour of the year 2013.
Yellow is a strong directional hue this year, according to
"When you're over it, just paint over it!" For Benjamin Moore designer Leigh-Ann Allaire-Perrault, trying new paint colours at home is as natural as having breakfast every morning.

At a seminar organized by Trout Lake Paint/Stewart's Decorating last November, she presented her company's "most inspiring colours for 2013" and encouraged us to experiment. "Paint is one of the easiest and cheapest tools you have in your toolkit", commented Leigh-Ann as she shared the latest from her world of design, and I agree.

Here are ten highlights from her talk:
1) Paint can update anything. And you can paint anything.
2) There is only one rule in design: If you love it and it looks right for you, then it's right!
3) Curate your home with objects that speak to you. (More about curating in another blog post).
4) We'll see more softer, lighter pastels in 2013.
5) Match ceilings to floors and you will achieve balance and harmony in your home. Leigh-Ann calls this "the mirrored balance" (see photo below). In general, the ceiling is the perfect place to add accent colour, according to Leigh-Ann.
6) Colours define a decade. Last decade was "greige" (greyish beige hues).
7) Take inspiration when possible, but don't be a copy cat.
8) Introduce pops of colours in unexpected places, such as the front hall closet.
9) Use cut-out stencils to paint a patterned backsplash.
10) When in doubt, try a new colour in a throw cushion.

Plenty of tips in one compact and inspiring seminar! And lots of material for future blog posts - stay tuned.

Did I come home with anything else from the seminar? Yes, a door prize (including a fancy cap) and an intense urge to try out "dusty mauve" at home. After all, I can always paint over it when I'm over it.

Benjamin Moore's Artisan collection includes "earthy tones and
rich, saturated colours". This is an example of the "mirrored
balance" that Leigh-Ann talked about.

The Urbanite collection includes "chic, crisp hues and unexpected
contrasts that convey a cool, cosmopolitan vibe".

The New Traditional hues offer "a fresh interpretation of classic
elegance, showcasing bold colours and patterns to create a warm,
inviting retreat". Here you see the "dusty mauve".

Costal is a "refreshing, nature-inspired palette, infused with a
contemporary sensibility that transcends the unexpected". The
colour of the year, Lemon sorbet, is part of this collection.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Make room for the new year

         Keep your clutter at bay with appropriate storage.
         Organize your items by colour, it makes it more
         restful for the eye. Storage cabinet from Crate and
"When in doubt, take it out!" How about that design mantra for 2013? Having too many things on our shelves, walls and on the floor drains energy. Better then to leave space for what is truly useful, beautiful and what we really love. The new year is a great time to edit our belongings. Look at it as a cleansing process that will free up space for new, positive experiences. Here are five tips on how to kick start your clutter control:

1) Go room by room and define the function of each room. Think about what you need for that specific room and get rid of everything else.

2) Old magazines and books can take up an incredible amount of shelf space. Weed out what no longer interests you. Tackle the rest a little at a time. File magazine clippings in binders organized by theme.

3) Dishes in your cupboards are like clothing in your wardrobe. If you haven't used them in the last year, you probably never will. To realize that some things simply aren't for you is quite OK. That also applies to items that were given to you. Pass them along to a thrift store. They will be somebody else's treasure.

4) Have an empty corner somewhere? Use it for extra storage. Clutter control requires a good organizational system and appropriate storage.

5) Make a promise to yourself to buy fewer things, but to buy better quality. If budget is an issue, put up a picture of the piece you are craving, and look at it regularly. It will be an incentive to save up for what you really love, and to avoid impulse purchases.

Do you agree with me that less is more when it comes to design?