spring Archive

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Outside In

It’s starting to feel a lot like spring but I know I’m still a few weeks away, if we are really, really lucky with the weather this year. So instead of trying to take the inside out this month  we’ll talk about bringing the outside in. Using organic materials inside a home has been a big trend for the last few years. We’ve painted tree stumps and set them next to a favorite chair or beside the bathtub to naturally hold our towels or a tray of exotic bath salts, we’ve set oversized balls made from driftwood next to the sofa and smaller ones ontop of the coffee table, we’ve hung mirrors adorned with petite sea shells in the foyer and have laid down organic wool area rugs that look as if they are made from tumbled pebbles and have filled our decorative vases with knarled boughs from the orchard but now we are taking the organic movement one step further by bringing the exterior building materials inside as well.

Looking through the pages of your favorite design porn, you’ll undoubtedly start to notice rock and natural stone being used more frequently on interior walls in addition to the exterior walls of a home. I love this look of rough natural textures as a back drop for sleek leather furniture, long sensual shags, faux fur rugs and glass and metal table tops. Wow, what a wall finish. I’ve been waiting to bring this look into my own home for a while and last weekend my husband finally had a little time to start covering the walls with my stone blocks. I ordered three different sizes of granite blocks to be made 13×13, 18×18 and 20×20. Not only was the stone cut in three different sizes but it was also cut with varying thickness-from half inch to three inches. Masonry wall art! This is something that I would have expected to see at a chic hotel or public building but these finishes are on their way home. From luxury villas to modest suburban homes look for designers and builders to start showing off fabulous stone feature walls.

Although I chose geometric patterned stone walls for my personal home, we are currently working on a show home that will feature a more natural round stone feature in the dining room. Brick cut, au natural round or geometric it’s all about the texture. As you know rock also comes in a variety of colours to work with any palette, I went for grey granite to work with my palette of concrete, rich espresso browns, white and blue but in the show home we are working with a travertine coloured stone to work with our palette of olive, black, grey and mushroom.

Can I do this work myself? Absolutely as long as you have a wet saw that is able to cut through the stone, although you can also consider using cultured stone. It’s also heavy work, I got a great work out last weekend carrying all the stone pieces to the wall. Besure to chat with your local concrete supplier and let them know the details of your project so that they can supply you with the right cement to hold the stone on the wall. Now that’s fabulous living!

THIS AND THAT
Wouldn’t you love to walk into a space and have the light turn on automatically? I love this idea and recently changed the light in our powder room to be motioned sensored. Its easy to do, all you need is a motion sensored light switch (the sensor is imbedded into the actual light switch which is available at you local do it center). A great idea for laundry rooms, powder rooms and even closet spaces.

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Spring Fling 2


The sun is shining, the snow is melted, the trees are budding and the early bloomers are blooming. Doesn’t the first tulip sighting and warmer air make you want to toss around some new throw cushions and add a little colour to a wall or two. Spring is in the air and so is a passion for refreshing and lightening up your rooms.

We always change our rooms with the season; this does not necessarily means a huge renovation or big changes but simple tweaks that bring your spaces out of the warm and cozy and into the fresh and rebirthing vive of the seasons. Just as we change up our wardrobes we change up the room’s outfit. Of course we all love to start with a thorough cleaning and nothing lets the sunshine in better than windows that sparkle so throw back the heavy drapes and pull out the vinegar and water. If you have thick heavy drapery panels on your windows take them down and live with just the sheer panels for the next six months, change the tie backs to white or silver silk corded ones and enjoy the sunshine. Roll up that wool carpet and let to floors go bare or put down a lighter area carpet (try sisal or a less coloured wool rug).

On the bed, the sofa and your favorite chair toss around some new summer inspired throw cushions. Add some fun colours and look for cushions made from summer classic textiles such as linen, cotton, raw silk. Fold away and store the heavy throws and replace them with lighter cotton ones or even pashmina scarves. Home textiles follow the same rules as your wardrobe does, stick to the guidelines.

Next lighten up on the accessories- bring in lots of freshly cut flowers our favorites are hydrangeas, colourful tropical plants or even simple budding tree stems set into a glass bowl or vase. Replace dark candles and candle holders with linen or white coloured candles and silver or glass bases. Remember, less is more so don’t overload the surfaces, you can bring back all your treasures in September.  I even change up my coffee table books to ‘summer inspired reads’ like books on my favourite beach destinations or gardening books. Have fun when you accessorize and let your sense of humor guide you. Its time to put that collection of sea shells or even a single piece of coral on display. We have some six inch ants marching across the dining table amongst the chrome pots of succulents and on the coffee table I change the photo frames to hold pictures of the family in the sand or sailing on the lake – again the theme is summer so really ‘work it’. You may even go as far as changing some of your wall art- a fabulous painting of birch trees in winter hung above the fireplace looks great six month a year but not these sunny six months so take it down and replace it with a summer inspired piece of art or a framed mirror (mirrors reflect more light into the room). I have clients that bring me in each season to give the place a more seasonable appropriate feel and one of the pieces that I often change are the table lamps and if not the lamp itself, then I may change up the shade, replacing the dark grey one with a white or linen colored shade. Remember as well that great design appeals to all the senses so change your playlist to a spring summer selection and your room’s signature scent to something more fruity or ‘summery’.

Now take a look around and enjoy spring summer fashion at home- that’s living fabulous!

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The Power of a Rose

The Power of a RoseLove is in the air and at home as we decorate for February. You know me, I’m a hopeless romantic and so with February here I’m all about celebrating this month of love and it has me thinking about roses. Honestly the rose is not my favorite of flowers with respect to scent, I actually prefer lilacs but who can beat the visual beauty of a rose, true aesthetic perfection. So let’s chat about designing with roses.

Everyday, any day is a good day to bring home fresh flowers. Fresh flowers are like a new manicure, they just make space, as do perfect nails, make us look and feel perfectly groomed-perfection. Just because we are all on tighter budgets these days doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the aroma, the luxury or the visual pleasure from fresh flowers, especially when it comes to roses. With a rose one can be just as effective cut and floating in a beautiful vase or rose bowl as a dozen can be. One rose a week for twelve weeks costs the same as a dozen roses that will only last a week (if we are lucky). I’m going for a single white rose on my nightstand everyday, this is my treat to me. Fresh roses are the obvious way to design with roses but let’s go for the not so obvious.

The rose motif is a classic, remember the cabbage patch rose patterned chintz fabrics that were the design rave in the eighties, oh ya, I remember, that fabric was everywhere literally- definitely too much of a good thing. But let’s trim it back way back and have fun with the pattern. Consider recovering your office chair or a single bedroom chair in a big bright bold rose inspired floral fabric. Yummy right, now if the chair has a frame have the frame painted a glossy black or even a fusia. Now that’s a chair to love. Imagine it in an otherwise neutral bedroom or amongst all the black and sleek fixings of your office décor.

Remember that if any of these brilliant design ideas grab you and say ‘take me home tonight baby’ you can only leave with one. Gluttony is never in good taste and more than one ‘rosy idea’ in any single space is most likely too much. You know that Sam and I love to paint on walls- there is a graffiti artist in there just dying to get out so we often paint our walls and ceiling at home. Sam once had a bedroom where we hand painted giant rose shaped outlines on her ceiling, try painting roses on the ceiling of a powder room and even bring a few down into one corner of the room, right onto the striped wallpaper or how about hand painting modern roses on a otherwise boring, semi typical bureau or night stand? You can even paint roses onto fabric- try toss pillows, sheer or solid colored drapery panels.

In the kitchen bring home a set of rose patterned side plates to layer onto your everyday white ware or find a great piece of rose fabric and make a table cloth or napkins. On the buffet set two potted miniature rose bushes.
Now this week take the time to stop and smell the roses or at least the scent of fabulous living and get inspired by a rose.

DESIGNER SECRETS
Gung Hay Fat Choy or Happy Chinese New Year this is the year of the rabbit.  Who can argue with five thousand years of tradition so I love to work a little feng shui magic into my designs. To enhance your love life place a rose in water in the southeast corner of your home, now watch love bloom.