Friday, 30 August 2013

Easing out of summer

Summer is not quite over, but with school starting next week, many of us are already in a fall mindset. But don't go too fast - there is still time to get your home ready for cooler temperatures. What we can do already now, though, is to start making plans and getting inspiration.

I subscribe to a variety of design newsletters, and one such publication is from Designers Guild. The company's relaxed, beautiful interiors and lush colour combinations always put me in a good mood. 

Here are some selected highlights from their Fall 2013 catalogue. I hope they will inspire you too! Enjoy the long weekend!  


Saturday, 24 August 2013

Customizing IKEA

Superfront's products include marble, limestone
and lacquered tops, to be combined with nine 
differently patterned fronts, eight handle and
leg options in twelve different colours, for IKEA's
Faktum, Bestå and Pax cabinets and wardrobes.
The new IKEA catalogue is out, and as always it's filled with inspiring interiors and smart design.

I avoid decorating a room entirely with pieces from a big box store, but I think it's perfectly fine to throw them in here and there, according to the "save and splurge" philosophy.

What I really like though, is when a big box store find is tweaked and renewed with the help of a few new components, creating unique and highly personalized pieces. 

That's the business idea of the brand new Swedish company Superfront. The firm offers a wide range of fronts, handles, tops, legs and sides for existing IKEA cabinet bases. I visited their Stockholm showroom this summer and was very impressed by their versatile pieces, and how a basic IKEA product can look so exclusive and stylish while still maintaining a sensible price.

Let's hope we can buy Superfront's pieces here in Canada soon!  

Untreated brass and copper, leather and lacquered steel are
some of the materials used in the company's door knobs.


Saturday, 17 August 2013

Crystal clear design

An absolutely gorgeous - and huge! -
glass fixture, as seen at last year's
Interior Design Show in Toronto. The
glass top prevents the table from
feeling overly big.  
Do you recognize any of these situations in your home environment?

1) Big and bulky furniture.
2) Space is tight.
3) Dark colour scheme or limited natural light. 
4) Many flat finishes and materials.
5) Mix of design styles.

Then you should consider introducing a transparent piece of furniture into your space. By being "barely there", it fills a function without taking up visual space. It also helps bounce light around, and can be a unifying element that brings different furniture styles together.

Choose between glass or acrylic materials, and try to protect the piece from scratches.

Here's some inspiration to give you a crystal clear idea of transparent pieces' functionality and beauty:

A glass wall in a realtor's office in Stockholm cuts out
sound and maintains the space bright and airy. Curtains
suspended from ceiling tracks offer visual privacy
when needed. 

This Murano glass fixture
feels light and unobtrusive. 

Another version of Philippe Starck's Ghost
Chair. This piece is called Casper and is
from the Great Room in North Bay.

I specified this Richelieu Swarovski crystal knob for 
a client's cabinetry, to introduce some reflection and
a glamorous touch. She loves the result!

Smart stool solution for a shower; it can
handle water and is visually light.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Great rooms for kids

A happy and relaxed room is a good foundation for a happy and relaxed little one. And, as parents, that's what we want!

Here are five key components that go into a great space for a young child:

1) Soft colours for a good night's sleep
Yes, I know, many kids love strong colours. But if the room is for sleeping in, you're better off choosing a mellow colour scheme that will keep your darling calm. A red bedroom is not a good idea. This toddler's bedroom was originally blue, which felt moody and dark. I picked a light yellow colour and paired it with soft greys, beiges and the odd hint of orange. The result is sunny and happy. 

2) Be creative when it comes to art
Who needs "real" art when children's paintings are so colourful and dynamic? I used a mix of frames, added a few bought pieces and achieved a whimsical and highly personal focal wall.

3) Make it playful - use pattern
Quilts are ideal for kids' rooms. They can be your guide for a complete, harmonious colour scheme. That's what happened here; most of the colours in the quilt are repeated elsewhere in the room. Keep your eyes open for fabulous quilts in our local stores!

4) Bring in movement through a mobile
Movement is life, and few things provide it so subtly as mobiles. Attached to the ceiling in one corner of the room, this paper mobile quietly calls for attention.

5) Storage boxes: your life saviour
This is probably the most important component. You want to be able to tuck away all these adorable soft toys, books, lego pieces, and other kid essentials. Shelves, baskets, containers and boxes are your best friends. Don't forget the storage space under the bed!

Do you have other good ideas for kids' roooms?

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Gorgeous rooms for rainy days

Sarah Richardson's cottage living room.
Summer is not all sunshine, we've seen signs of that in recent days. And even though sunny weather is preferable, rainy days can also be beautiful in their own special way. I'm thinking of the dramatic colours, the freshness in the air after a downpour, the look of stone and other materials when they are wet...

Nothing beats watching a storm roll in from the vantage point of a cozy, comfortable room. 

Here are some of my favourite rooms for rainy days. Have a wonderful, long weekend - rain or shine!

Photo: Houzz.