Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Furniture with patina at Abode

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue...Abode Reclaimed Furniture's product lines have all of the above. The Abode "Originals" line includes glass cabinets, kitchen islands, entertainment units and hutches. All these pieces are made from reclaimed wood components originally found in old houses in the USA. With a range of colours and the possibility to combine the wood with reclaimed decorative tin, you can create your own unique piece.

Abode's other product lines feature modern furniture with a rustic twist. Have a look at the sample pictures below. The store on Oak Street opened its doors in November 2010 and boasts one to two week delivery times for their pieces. 

Monday, 28 March 2011

Cottage-style wallpapers

If you want to change the look of a room but don’t know exactly how, take a look at wallpaper. Wallpaper provides texture, depth and adds interest. It also helps you determine the colour scheme of the room.
Wallpaper comes in many colours, patterns and styles. The following samples, for example, are excellent choices for a cottage-style home. The price range is $30 to $70 per single roll. I found them at Stradwick's.

This wallpaper would look good with beadboard or wainscotting in a soft grey. Add red accents and you have a winner! Crown Wallpaper + Fabrics.
Blue and white is a classic colour combination for cottage style. Complement the paper with blues in any shade, bright blue if you want a bit of a modern twist. White furniture will bring crispness to the room. Or throw in the odd chair in a cheery yellow for some fun! Crown Wallpaper + Fabrics.
This dramatic Arts and Crafts-inspired wallpaper would also work in a contemporary environment. You might choose to cover only one wall with the paper and make it into a feature wall. The pattern has a lot of black in it, so choose lighter colours for furniture and accessories. Red wooden chairs would look fantastic in a room with this wallpaper. Crown Wallpaper + Fabrics.
I envision both of the wallpapers above in a powder room or in a feminine bedroom. Checked upholstery would add to the cottage feel. Crown Wallpaper + Fabrics.
Yellow, orange, pink, green or white - take your pick! Any of these colours will work with this delicate small print. Pelican Small Prints.  

Friday, 25 March 2011

Five ways to make a small room seem bigger

Small is great when it comes to nurseries and dens. We want these rooms to feel cozy and intimate. But what about spaces that we want to seem larger? These five rules will do the trick: 
  1. Choose light colours for the walls and ceiling. Paint the doors and the trim the same colour as the walls. Think unity. Avoid breaking up the room into sections. 
  2. Choose furniture and accessories with reflective surfaces. Glossy doors on the media cabinet or a shiny side table will make the light bounce around in the room. Add a mirror or two on the walls.
  3. Use as few pieces of furniture as possible. Avoid intense colours and big patterns in the upholstery.  
  4. Keep the window treatments simple. If you want curtains with a pattern, make sure the background colour of the fabric matches the walls.
  5. Wall-to-wall carpeting will visually expand the room. Or use one big area rug.
And here is a bonus rule, which actually applies to everything in our homes: keep only what is either beautiful, functional or what you really love. Clutter control helps any space feel airy!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Spring barometer: A first check-up of our stores

Spring has sprung! At least that’s what our calendars say. But has spring arrived in our stores? I paid a visit to our big box retailers for an answer. Here is a selection of what I found:

These galvanized watering cans are lots of fun. $16.99 at the Home Depot.

We will soon be busy organizing our outdoor plants. These pots from the Home Depot will be a good start. $8.99 and $18.99 respectively.

I love bistro sets! They are perfect for that first cup of coffee in the early morning sun. 
$149 at the Home Depot.

Spring is all about cheery accessories. How about these from Canadian Tire? 

Contemporary-style bistro set at Canadian Tire.

Sectionals are a great choice for a relaxed outdoor space. This piece is from Canadian Tire.

There is a lot of brown, beige, muted green and grey outdoor furniture in our stores. The solution if you are craving for colour? Incorporate it through pillows, placemats, table runners and seat cushions! The red really stands out in this 9-piece resin wicker patio set, $599 at Walmart.

Light blue is beautiful with beige and brown. And bright orange is just right with any shade of grey. $7.97 at Walmart. 

Zellers patio section is in full swing. This 4-piece resin wicker conversation set feels summery and fresh. $599.99. 

Nothing says spring and summer more than a nautical blue-and-white colour scheme. The cool blue hues will make your space feel fresh on warm summer days. Director Chair, Zellers $49.99.  

Monday, 21 March 2011

Let fabrics be your colour guide

Having a hard time knowing how to combine colours? A visit to the fabric store will solve that problem. Look for fabrics that catch your eye. For example, you might look for something blue. Pull out fabric rolls where blue is represented together with other colours. On the edge of the roll you will find a chart of all the colours that have been used. This is your guide to successful colour combinations! Buy a small sample of the fabric of your choice, pick the colours you want to use and let your paint store match them. Easy, peasy! And the best of all: you don’t even have to use the fabric! You are just using the colours that a professional textile designer has selected.

Check out these fabulous fabrics that I pulled out from the shelves:

This wonderful fabric has everything going for it: a happy pattern, vibrant colours, incredible $8 per meter (on sale at Fabricland) and the quality (90% linen 10% cotton - yes, I love natural fibres). The background colour is actually white, even though it looks greenish on this image. For anybody looking for a pop of colour in an otherwise white colour scheme, look no further! Think upholstered ottoman, or one statement armchair, maybe a set of curtains. Then pick one or two colours from the pattern for accessories. Wow! If you merely want to use the fabric as inspiration for a complete palette, I would probably choose two, or maybe three, of the vibrant hues and combine them with neutrals. 
The colour scheme of this stylish pattern is more limited, and maybe easier to work with, than the previous fabric. All these colours work beautifully together. $24 per meter at Fabricland.

Red and beige go very well together. But exactly which reds? This elegant fabric in 100% cotton gives you a range of shades to work with. $32 per meter at Fabricland.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Design: Get it right from the start!

How do you create rooms that you will love for a long time? Well, first you have to ask yourself a lot of questions. Check out my top five suggestions here below:

1. Determine how you want to use the room. What activities will take place here? Will it be a place for play, entertainment or relaxation? Be realistic and honest to yourself, your lifestyle and your budget. 

2. Take a close look at the room from various angles and determine what you have to work with. Certain features of the room are hard to change. Think about how you will incorporate these features into your design.

3. Pin down what you like and dislike about the space. How can you accentuate the positive, and eliminate or camouflage the negative? Also decide what of the old is staying and what is going. 
4. Visualize what you want the room to look like when you are finished. Should it be casual or formal? Modern or traditional? Create an image in your mind that you hold on to during the whole process. Browse design magazines for images that reflect what you want to achieve. 
5. Determine if there is a natural focal point in the room. Explore different ways to highlight it. If there is no natural focal point you will have to create one. More about that in a future blog!

Happy designing!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Something green for your home

St.Patrick’s Day is around the corner and those of us who remember will put on something green. But what about green for our homes? I decided to go to the Green Store to see what is available in terms of green home decoration. Here is what I found:

Different shades of green on these Muskoka chairs made from recycled plastic. $299 each.

Baskets add a warm, natural touch to our homes. I like this in green and white. $18.99. 
This multicoloured basket is a lot of fun. $14.99.

Green goes well with aubergine as seen in this cozy throw. $69.99.

This rag rug feels fresh and summery. $29.99.

I love the yellowish green shade of this cotton runner. It will be a beautiful contrast on a dark-stained dining table and goes very well with silver. $29.99.  

Oh, the Green Store decorators have already figured that out.

Napkins and placemats in different shades of green...
This quilt puts me in a beach mood with its cheerful applications. $69.99.

Flowerpots for lovers of greenery. The light-green shade feels happy and summery. $6.99 and $21.99 respectively.
Isn’t this a fun set of breakfast bowl and plate? $7.99 each. 
The pale pink flower really plays up the beauty of the bluish green shade on this mug. $9.95.
It looks as if this little guy needs a friend. $22.99.