Sunday, 30 October 2011

What's hot in hardwood floors?

   For a classic, elegant look, choose a mid-tone 
   wood floor, which will never go out of style.
   Photo: Floor Muffler.
Dark, dark shades, wide planks and matt finishes. According to retailers in town, that’s what most buyers of hardwood floors ask for these days. On the other end of the spectrum is natural maple, which also continues to be a popular choice. So it’s either very dark, or very light. A mid tone colour is a safer choice though, if you're thinking of the resale value of your home. 

Another trend is the increased interest in floating floors with interlocking edges that snap together. This “click-in-place” product needs no glue or nails, which makes it a great choice for apartments. A floor muffler underneath the boards reduces noise traveling through, promoting good neighbourly relations.
How about an animal-print floor like the middle one,
which I saw at the IDS show in Toronto in January? 
You'd better love it! It's extravagant and quite a

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Drum up some drama!

This huge wall clock from Winners in
North Bay is sure to make a statement. 
It reminds me of the big clock Sarah 
Richardson added to the wall of a big 
box kitchen in one of her shows (see 

"All large rooms need something tall", says a designer in my latest House Beautiful magazine. Similarly, big spaces also need one or two very large pieces. If everything is moderately sized in a big room, it will feel too broken up and lacking a "wow" factor. An oversized piece on the other hand, whether it's a large mirror, a huge painting or a big armoire, will anchor and add interest to the space. And it will provide some drama!

Oversized pieces can also work in smaller spaces, but make sure the rest of the furniture or accessories in the room are kept to a minimum. Let the big piece do all the dramatic talking and be the focal point of the room.

Do you have a favourite, oversized piece, that you already own or have on your wish list?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Six and the city

Are you a slave to design trends? I'm guessing not, unless you have limitless resources and storage space. But you have to agree that trends are fun and inspirational! During a visit to some of Toronto's fanciest design stores a few weeks ago, I saw a number of design solutions repeated over and over again... Here are my favourite six trends:

1) Forget dining sets with identical chairs; mixing and matching is the name of the game. Combine wooden benches with upholstered, high-backed chairs or banquettes. This "casual-meets-elegant" mix is a winner!

2) Weathered wood with a distressed look continues to be hot, especially when combined with shiny chrome or leather.

3) Upholstered ottomans are a practical substitution for a coffee table. Simply put a beautiful tray on the ottoman whenever you need a flat surface. If you are re-upholstering an old ottoman, think outside the traditional fabric option; thin rugs, such as kelims or dhurries, can be used as upholstery material.

4) Oversized light fixtures create drama and draws attention to the focal point in a room, whether it is the couch and seating area of a living room, the table in a dining room or the bed in a bedroom.

5) Big headboards enhance the beauty of a bed. Be creative when it comes to headboards. Screens and fabrics can act as headboards. You can also paint the wall at the head of the bed in a different colour, or make it stand out in any other way, like the brick wall in the photo.

6) Zig-zag patterns are in...on rugs, drapes or pillow cases. They make quite a graphic statement in any room.

What do you think. are any of these trends for you?

Monday, 10 October 2011

Thanksgiving dinner for the senses

I hope you're enjoying this warm and sunny Thanksgiving weekend! I had the luxury of celebrating my holiday dinner at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville yesterday. Feasting on all the wonderful goodies, it struck me that food presentation and design have a great deal in common. More than anything, it's about achieving an interesting mix of colours, textures and shapes. Throw in some intriguing scents, sounds and flavours and you have a feast for the senses, a winning combination. As with the perfect recipe, it takes some trial-and-error to get it right. But thankfully, the journey is often as pleasant as the result. Happy Thanksgiving and keep experimenting!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Creating happy rooms for kids

Make your kids' room a happy place, one they will want to spend a lot of time in. Focus on soft, light wall colours, lots of baskets and storage for all their projects and toys, and a desk for school work. Try wallpaper or a mural on one accent wall for a splash of colour. These cheery motifs are from the company 4walls' kids' portfolio, carried by Stewart's in North Bay. They are sure to trigger the imagination and up the fun factor for young family members!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

More bright lighting ideas

Did you know this about lighting?
  • Lighting is the ultimate space enlarger. A narrow hallway or small nook will feel more spacious and inviting with the right lighting.
  • If a room is poorly lit, it will never look as good as it will under proper lighting, no matter how beautiful your materials and colours are.
  • Strive for three points of light in every room, and actually turn them on. Dimmers help you regulate the intensity of each light, and and are a great tool to achieve a balance between the different light sources.
Below are some good-looking fixtures that I’ve come across in North Bay: 

The mix of clear and frosted glass
makes this cone-shaped pendant
a stylish choice for your kitchen
island. Hang it in groups of three
for more impact. Discount Cash 
and Carry, North Bay.
This is a modern take on the classic chandelier.
Chandeliers have become increasingly popular
and are no longer reserved for the traditional 
Round ceiling fixture with lots of pizazz. 
Howe's Lighting and Fan Co.

Retro-style ceiling fixture. Dicount Cash and Carry.

Clean and simple lines on this ceiling fixture with
frosted glass. Howe's Lighting and Fan Co.
Lots of bling and a gorgeous light is reflected off
this show stopper from Discount Cash and Carry.

If you're looking for affordable, stylish table fixtures,
the ones below from Walmart are worth having
a look at. They are all below $20: