art Archive


Get Your Reno On

, Get Your Reno On

All summer you’ve been dreaming of a new kitchen or restyling your master bedroom and now it’s time to get your reno on! As exciting as it sounds, often getting started is the hardest step to take and if you don’t have the right team and a solid plan in place that dream makeover can become your worst nightmare.

Cheryll Gillespie, Get Your Reno OnStart with a solid vision and doable plan. Collect pictures, create a wish list, visit supply houses such as plumbing, heating, and electrical showrooms to scout available products and gather information. If the scope of the project is over your head (if you are not qualified trades people) hire the right team of professionals to help you with your project. Honestly, the finished product (your room) will not only look better but you’ll complete the renovation in a more timely fashion and you will save your self aggravation and potentially lots of money, as the cost of doing something twice because it was done incorrectly the first time has to be factored in. I strongly feel that home makeover and renovation television shows have given us a false sense of security with respect to renovations. It looks so easy and it only takes an hour.

At the very least, pay for a professional opinion at the onset of your project. If you don’t want to hire a designer to work with you on the project, then at least hire a really talented one for an hour or two to review your plan with you. Designers (yes this is a shameless plug) have seen numerous completed projects, been told the costs spent and have thought to ourselves “it’s too bad they didn’t hire us as we sure could have given them more bang for their buck”. Not only have we spent two to six years at school studying the science of design but we’ve got years of experience under our belts that we love to share with you, not to mention all the creativity and secret resources that we have up our designer sleeves.

With a rock solid plan in place, it’s time to start selecting your materials- don’t start with the paint in fact paint is one of the last finishes we select. A basic guide line is to start with the flooring and work your way up from there.

Have fun with the project, you’ll live with these new rooms for the next ten to fifteen years, so select the expensive and difficult finishes with care as you can’t change these easily. Throw caution to the wind and be creative and daring with accessories, art, wallpapers and even paint. It’s that touch of whimsy and a well-planned risk that will give your space its creativity and personality. Live fabulously and get your Reno on!

Creatively Yours,



Cheryll Gillespie, pedestals

You know I have a strong passion for art and we’ve chatted often about how to hang art on your walls but what about sculptural freestanding pieces? I love all the options available today for pedestals where my sculptural pieces can sit proudly.

At home, I have at least half a dozen different pedestals holding art that I’ve collected as I’ve travelled. On a pair of oversized wooden silver-leafed pedestals sitting in my living room, I have a bronze bust that I brought home with me from Thailand and on the other pedestal, a large wooden gear that I bought in Argentina. In my sitting area I have a clay Medusa head that sits on a fabulous metal pedestal whose base and top is wrapped in an embossed leather and then the sides are dripping in teardrop chandelier crystals. In the dining room, I have three rustic angular iron pedestals that are waiting patiently for the perfect piece of sculpture. In client projects, we have often employed plaster pedestals, pedestals made from mirror and also acrylic pedestals that look amazing lit up with internal LEDs. We have even used tall logs or bundles of logs strapped together as pedestals for our artwork. Be creative and look for unconventional pillars to display your favorite items.

Where’s the perfect spot for a pedestal in your home? A pedestal and an interesting piece of sculpture can fill a void corner in a room, give a space a sense of height, block a bad view when placed in front of a window or an imperfect wall, create a vignette at the end of a hallway or become center focus against a back drop of a blank wall space. If at all possible, try to light your sculpture from above, as to cast the most beautiful shadows.

What constitutes an interesting piece of art to place on top of the pedestal? Of course, a wonderful bronze or metal sculpture, a wood or stone carving, an antique urn, a piece of pottery, a clay sculpture, a vase filled with organic branches, or even a gorgeous plant can all be considered art. If it has an interesting and visually pleasing shape, then it deserves to be put on a pedestal and admired. In art school, they always taught us that with sculpture, the piece had to be pleasing from 360 degrees. So I implement this when choosing art for my pedestals. You could even fill the top of a pedestal with candles as art. Take it one step further and age it by pouring melted wax between all the candles and let it run down the sides of your pedestal for a romantic, old world look.

Pedestals are yet another fabulous idea for embracing and cherishing art in your home while adding another dimension of design. Remember, it is all about the layers of texture, height and creativity that takes a room to ‘brilliant’.

Creatively Yours,


Designer Gift Ideas

Cheryll Gillespie, Designer Gift Ideas

As much as I love Christmas, the spirit of the season, the glitz, the sparkle, the cheer and the festivities, the one element that I’m not fond of is all the shopping. I’m sure you’re like me, I love to give presents and do so constantly throughout the year, when I see something that is perfect for someone special, I buy it and give generously, but if I’m forced to buy and don’t have any ideas what to get them, then I’m not fond of just buying something for the sake of having a gift to give.

To help with your hard-to-buy-for someone’s, here are a few of my designer ideas that could solve the problem of that difficult to give to person or the person who has it all. For me, gifts are about those extras, those luxury pieces that we wouldn’t buy for ourselves so with that in mind here are a few holiday gift-giving suggestions.

I’m in love with these little festive bird houses and all my girlfriends love them almost as much as the feathered friends do.

Cheryll Gillespie, Designer Gift IdeasA beautiful coffee table book on art, design, architecture, fashion or photography is an always welcomed gift. Consider the persons room colour palette and buy a book that will work with the colour palette in the space. Just a designer note, when you are giving any gift for the home, always purchase with the home owner’s colour palette and style in mind, even for gifts as simple as a bunch of flowers. My friends know that I prefer all white while some of my girlfriends prefer pink or oranges.

Both my daughter and I, are ring-loving girls and we adore a big sparkly hunk of fabulous on our fingers. Give a wonderful piece of custom jewelry to the girl who almost has it all. An over the top glamourous clutch for those special evenings is another you-cant-go-wrong gift. Think loads of sparkle, pearls and a little rock and roll edge.

Especially this time of year, we all need an amazing ice bucket to keep that bottle of champagne chilled as we entertain for the evening. Look for buckets covered in faux croc leather or handles adorned with semi-precious crystals.

Have custom table linens made. It can be as simple as taking ready-made napkins and a table cloth into your local embroidery shop and having the home owner’s initials monogrammed onto the pieces. Speaking of monogrammed items, there is still time to give beautiful monogramed or custom stemware or stationary as a gift.

A collection of wonderful ornate ornaments that suite the receivers personal style is also a fun and unique gift that will truly be something cherished for generations to come. It’s not the price tag that makes a gift special, it’s the time and thoughtfulness it took to choose the perfect gift that’s has been memorably acquired for those special people in your world. Now that’s gifting,and living, fabulously.


Well Hung

Cheryll Gillespie, Well Hung

One of the questions we get asked most often is how to properly hang art work. All too often, following a renovation or as you move into a beautiful new home with all those virgin walls, homes owners are terrified to drive the first nail into wall. While no one wants to make swiss cheese of their perfect walls, we do all want to hang art in our homes and it shouldn’t be hit and miss.

Art is personal and always brings an emotional response to its viewer, so a room needs meaningful, fun, humorous and/or beautiful art to give it soul.  Remember that art does not have to ‘match’ your décor- hang what you love, what you are drawn to and what has meaning to you. Just hang it correctly and hang where it is well suited and proportioned to. c is also rotational, don’t be afraid to move art around the house and to hang alternative pieces in different seasons.

So let’s review my guidelines to the perfect hanging. Start every project with the right tools, ensure you have a hammer and proper picture hanging hooks, nail, anchors for larger heavy pieces, pencil and a tape measure.

Over a mantel, hang art or a mirror two to five inches from the top of the mantel to the bottom of the frame. Behind a sofa, art is hung between three and five inches from the bottom of the frame and the top of the sofa. With respect to the size of the art, a good guideline is to ensure that the art is two thirds the width of the sofa or mantel to ensure good balanced proportions.

When we hang a piece of art on a wall, we hang it so that the center of the art is sixty inches from the floor. Regardless of how height the ceilings are or how tall you are sixty is the right height. If you are hanging a pair of art pieces or a grouping the center of the grouping is at sixty inches.

When we are hanging multiple pieces of art as a collection, we allow no more than two to three inches between pieces in all directions to ensure cohesiveness between frames. The secret to hanging a well viewed collection is to understand from the first nail that the collection is and should be viewed as a group not individual pieces. Art needs to be lit so it’s imperative that you design a lighting plan around your art work. Directional pots, track lighting and picture lights are all good solutions. Art for good viewing and preservation needs to kept out of direct sunlight.

Living well with fabulous art is part of the art of living fabulously!


Gambling on Good Looks

Cheryll Gillespie Media Group, Gambling on Good Looks

Photo Credits: Sam Shakura, Rock House of Design

Great rooms don’t happen because you got lucky, they are carefully planned and curated installations of fabulous furniture pieces, art, accessories, lighting and odds and sods. It takes a creative eye and some courage to pull together an eclectic mix of interesting pieces and then the conviction to push a look to its limit, creating rooms that exude passion, personality and stylish flair. It is a bit of a gamble but the payoff is huge. Great designers know that you have to be good at both math and art to create a fabulous space, yes you need to employ both the right and the left brain and you need to know where to go, or rather where your best sources are for both inspiration and acquisitions.

Cheryll Gillespie Media Group, Gambling on Good LooksLast week we did get lucky, lucky enough to attend the Las Vegas Furniture and Gift Show to check out the hottest trends in the home fashion industry and to update our designer resources. Overwhelmingly, the show was all about reclaimed, repurposed, distressed and industrial looks. This look is huge and for good reason: it looks great, it’s comfortable and it’s very easy to live with. Tables, whose tops are made from reclaimed wood, cabinets that are styled to look worn and perfectly weathered. Chairs that look like you found them in Grandmas attic, assuming that your grandma had impeccable taste. We love this look and use reclaimed pieces often in our Rock House spaces but we are also Magpies and enjoy a little bling so we like to mix it up with a touch of glamour, too much of any one thing is always too much and great designers also know how to edit their pieces.

Textile of the show was definitely denim, just as denim is making news and resurgence on the runway it’s looking fabulous on the floor of home fashion design showrooms: denim furniture, toss cushions and occasional pieces such as bar stools and ottomans. Distressed, adorned with copper, stainless and iron details, baseball stitching, patches and pockets, and of course a little bit of British flair. This season you’ll update your rooms with a casual favorite that won’t leave you feeling blue.Cheryll Gillespie Media Group, Gambling on Good Looks

Just as denim was the textile sweetheart of the show, the muse for many of the best designers was organic. Driftwood tables, burled side boards, amazing preserved wood floral art. Other standouts were the use of organic materials to create wall art and sculptural pieces. Twelve by twelve panels of roughed sawed wood, twigs, oxidized metals to be used as wall art, headboards, floor inlays or table tops, imagine the possibilities? There were lots of great tables, vases, bureaus and chairs woven from water hyacinth and hemp fibers and vases with a raku ware look or a vintage glass feel.

Cheryll Gillespie Media Group, Gambling on Good LooksThere was no shortage of creativity at this show, we ouhhhhed and ahhed over fabulous buffets adorned with bottle caps and armoires made from old drawers or window shutters. This years show generously displayed a plethora of great pieces that we can all comfortably and stylishly bring home, we have to break the rules here because with a show that looks this good there is no way we can maintain the creed “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. We need to tell and show everyone what we saw in Vegas to help us create amazing rooms and to live fabulously! Viva Las Vegas baby.

Don’t throw away those jeans with the worn out knees or the hole in the bottom up cycle them and create an on trend toss cushion for the sofa or reupholster the set of your desk chair.


Hued Perfection

Hued Perfection Image 1

We are tired of our beige, grey and taupe filled rooms and should be exuberant over the 2012 trend that forecasts bold colour coming home. Exotic jewel tones such as peacock, empress red, daffodil yellows, mandarin orange, lavender and sea bearing blues are all finding there way into chic and stylish spaces and if I do say so myself, it’s about time.
I love colour and personally have missed its presence over the last few years and am thrilled to see it back in style. For a colour girl it’s hard to contain my excitement over the opportunity to bring colour back into our rooms and when I say colour I’m not just talking about any old hue… I’m talking sexy, exotic and well researched hues that are original and off the beaten palette.

Lets start with where to put colour and then we’ll move onto how to choose the perfect hue. As you flip through the pages of your design porn magazines or read blogs on the internet, you’ll undoubtedly be seduced by the hues used in these brilliant spaces and you’ll notice two trends, the first is more cautious and conservative. A small dose of colour brought into the room with pillows, art, throws and area rugs; the second a more committed approach that sees entire spaces painted with bright hues. Where are the best spaces to use colour? My gut reaction answer is honestly anywhere-just choose a space where you want to make a statement and fertilize wow power. Imagine coming home through a foyer that has been painted a peacock blue, grounded with dark hardwood floors, a marble top table and a gorgeous gilded mirror or entertaining in your dining room enveloped by yellow walls, anchored by a black and white geometric area rug, all white dining set and an amazing crystal chandelier -delicious!! If you want to keep your palettes private consider painting your bedroom walls a sexy smoky blue, lay down white sheep skin carpets on top of your taupe wall to wall carpets, add white quartz tops to your case goods and dress the bed with taupe, chocolate and highlight with a few pure white throw cushions-dreamy!!

This is not the time to develop any colour phobias so put on your confidence hat and start your research. No hue is out of the questions – given time, your local paint dealer can create just about any shade for you, just bring along your piece of inspiration. Looking to be inspired? Grab the September Vogue and be inspired from the runway, or grab a feather from a vase filled of peacock feathers, tear a page from a book on orchids or exotic butterflies of the world – think outside the paint palette and fill your colour boots with possibilities. This fall bring colour home, now that’s fabulous living!

Protect your table tops and precious linens from drippy glasses stylishly by keeping coasters close at hand. Order monogrammed faux croc coasters from Saks or buy a dozen 4×4 tiles and add small rubber buttons (to prevent scratching) to the bottom of the tiles or shop for coasters when you travel abroad, of course you can simply travel to your local design shop and make a coaster purchase. Coasters are a stylish and functional addition to your living spaces.