Friday, 29 April 2011

A little “wow” goes a long way

In this display, the mirror and the 
downlights enhance the main piece 
of the room, the couch, which acts
as the focal point.

Every room needs a highlight that the eye is drawn to, a focal point. Some rooms have one naturally. It can be an impressive fireplace, a beautiful view, or an architectural detail. 
Other rooms lack a natural focus and need help. They need something that attracts attention. It doesn’t have to be complex or expensive, just something that creates interest.
Adding a spectacular plant, a gallery of photos or an oversized mirror over the main piece of furniture, are examples of relatively simple ways to "up" the “wow" factor. More ambitious plans include covering the walls in wainscotting or wallpaper (check out previous postings), improving the illumination through downlights, or painting one wall a different colour. 
If you are lucky enough to have a room with a natural focus-of-attention, make sure that it sets the tone for the rest of the room. Accentuate it! Choose colours, furniture and accessories that mix well, and don’t compete, with this special feature. Arrange your furniture in such a way that it enhances the attraction. 
In a future blog, I’ll talk about how you can create focal points in different rooms. In the meantime, I'd love to hear your "focal-point stories". How are you enhancing the beauty of your rooms?

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

One-of-a-kind at Art on Main

Bruce Cull is one of the artists
represented at Art on Main.

There is a special satisfaction in buying "one-of-a-kind": nobody else will have the same thing. In addition, if you know that the piece you just brought home is made by a local artist, the sense of pride and contentment is double. What a great starting point for creating a personalized and unique space! 

Art on Main in downtown North Bay boasts a wide range of original objects. The artists' collective has paintings, sculptures, photography, pottery, wood, weaving, basketry and more. I am amazed at how the gallery always seems to offer something for every taste. Here you find contemporary art alongside traditional images of northern Ontario. And inventive jewellry shares the shelves with functional pottery. Eclectic! 

These are some of the items that caught my eye during my most recent visit:

                          Sergio Golod's colourful glass plates are absolutely stunning.
I love the combination of objects in this cheery wall tapestry by multi-media artist Rachel Robitaille.  "Bollywood Salsa".
Another decorative wall tapestry by Rachel Robitaille. "Sapphire Adventure".
Rachel Robitaille also creates beautiful jewellry, like this necklace made of green stones.
One-of-a-kind wooden bowl by Michael Mathieu. The wood is taken from locally harvested trees.
This pottery set is so different and fun! Rosemary Thomas.
Pat Stamp's pottery (above and below) is genuine with a hint of whimsical.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Easter colours

Yellow and purple... complementary colours, opposite each other on the colour wheel, warm and cool, and beautiful together! Fill your home with yellow and purple this weekend. Happy Easter and see you on Wednesday!

PS. The photo was taken earlier this week at the Waterfront, before the snowfall. At that time the crocus flowers were standing proudly, not knowing what was in store for them.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Vested Interest: The world at your doorstep

Whenever you feel like going somewhere exotic, save your plane ticket and visit Vested Interest Trading instead. Stepping into this store is like taking a trip around Asia and back to northern Ontario again. Inspiring and educational! I like how the wide product range appeals to all senses: scented placemats, interestingly shaped wooden objects, soft textiles and locally produced specialty food... An extra bonus is the dedication to Fair Trade. 
The store's furniture sale has been extended until the end of April, so I decided to check out a few favourites. Some unique accessories also made it to my list. Have a look at this: 
The different shades of blue make this bowl shimmer. $34.99.
This mat made of softly rounded stones is incredibly cool and probably very comfortable for bare feet. $79.99.
Chill out in this fun, all-weather bean bag chair this summer. It comes in a variety of colours – orange, lime green, red, burgundy, black, grey, brown, bright blue. Great on the deck, on the dock, in the tv room – just about anywhere! The all-weather lounger is the store's summer special at $99 (regular price $150). 
Book end or stand-alone sculpture. This expressive stone figure will add interest to your bookshelf. $34.99.
Shabby chic bench, which could also work as a casual coffee table. Various sizes, $179.99 to $199.99.
Cabinet with double diamond doors and carved flowers. $1,200.
I like slatted furniture, including this chair. $839.99 for a pair.
Nautical-looking frames in cool hues, $8.99 to $17.99.
Is it a table or a bowl? It can be both! $149.99. 
One example of Vested Interest's many root benches. $475.
Hang up a number of these beehive-shaped candle holders. Several colours available. $24.99.
I always find interesting things in the discount corner, like this textured blind. 35" wide, $39.99.
Elegant rattan chair gives warmth and texture to a dining room. $249.99.
Teak wood dining table. $1,499.99.
Wood pieces reclaimed from old Asian boats have cleverly been transformed into decorative wall art. $399.99.  

Monday, 18 April 2011

Papers with punch

My heart skipped a beat and I felt completely exhilarated when I stumbled upon Amy Butler’s inspiring wallpapers at Stewart’s Decorating. How contemporary, lighthearted and fun! Yes, they are bold (too bold some of you might say). But sometimes bold is exactly what a room needs. Put it in the front hallway for a cheery welcome to visiting friends. Or use it to add drama in an otherwise neutral space. Since the patterns are big and colourful, one wall with any of these papers is often enough. Keep the rest of the d├ęcor simple and clean, without any competing patterns. Match the papers with white or any of the colours represented in the patterns. I feel happy just thinking about it. How about you?

Look for this wallpaper book at Stewart's Decorating. It contains a happy treasure. Read more about Amy Butler at and see her complete wallpaper collection at

Friday, 15 April 2011

Top three home staging tips

Are you planning to sell your home this spring? Follow these home staging tips from Cheryl Ward of Ivy Home Staging for a successful result:
1. Brighten & Lighten: Open the drapes and turn on the lights. You want your potential buyers to be able to see your home. It makes a room more inviting and your buyers won’t be fumbling for the light switch.

2.De-Clutter: Visual clutter is a real turnoff for potential buyers and they cannot see past the clutter. Pick up and hide the clutter. A good place to start is the refrigerator door; remove all magnets, pictures and take-out menus.

3. De-personalize: If there are too many personal items on display a buyer will not be able to picture themselves living in your home. Help buyers make that visualization by taking down family photos, diplomas and certificates, and sell your home!

Great advice for a faster sale! 

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Classic wood furniture made to order

Are you drooling over magazine pictures of beautifully crafted wood furniture? Do you wonder where to find such furniture "in real life"? You will be pleased to know that it can be custom made for you right here in our community. Take your picture, along with overall measurements, to Classic Fine Furniture in Corbeil. Or if you'd rather, choose from Classic Fine Furniture's established collection. It includes solid wood furniture for living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms, in your choice of wood. Kitchen and bathroom cabinets are also part of the selection. Whether you go custom or buy from the established collection, in four to eight weeks that dream piece could be standing in your home.