Monday, 30 April 2012

A flexible approach to art

As seen at the upscale Toronto 
store Elte's display at the Interior 
Design Show earlier this year: At 
a first glance, this piece of art
looks like a graphic, small-print 
drawing ...
Almost anything can be turned into art; old record covers, a colourful scarf, your children's drawings, vintage postcards, or even tear sheets from a magazine. Give the piece importance by framing it with a white, wide matting and group it with other personal objects. Look for used frames at thrift stores if your budget is tight. If you are a musical family, why not frame your favourite piece of music?

You want your walls to tell a story, of who you are, of how you live, and maybe even of what music you like to listen to...

Do you have any other decorative tips for walls?

...get closer and you'll see that it's actually
framed music. Take out your clarinet and
give it a try!

If music is not your forte, you 
might want to frame some math
and chemistry posters instead.

Your imagination is the limit when deciding 
what you can turn into art!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Choosing the right blinds

Cellular, pleated, roman, rollers... So many choices, so many decisions! Selecting the right blinds for your windows can feel overwhelming. Here are three considerations to get you started:
Vertical blinds in a contemporary space. Think about how you
want the blinds to stack; to the right, to the left, or even in the 
centre in some cases. Photo: Levolor.
1) Determine a budget for your blinds. Prices range from under $100 to around $600 per window, depending on size and materials.

2) Be clear about the purpose of the blinds. Are they primarily for privacy, for light control, or for that last decorative detail that will make your room shine? Maybe your are more concerned about reducing energy costs, or about blocking damaging UV rays from your furniture?

3) Horizontal or vertical? Consider the size and shape of the windows and the room that the blinds are going in. Horizontal blinds will visually broaden narrow windows and rooms. Vertical blinds will be a welcome break if your room already has many horizontal surfaces, such as long shelves, or if the ceiling is low.

Input from: Factory Blind Outlet in North Bay.
Vienna Sheer Horizontal Shade from Elite Window
Fashions. Consider remote control options or cordless
shades when child safety is a concern. 

A patterned roman shade looks clean and
fresh in this contemporary kitchen. Photo: 

Top down/bottom up blinds allow you 
to adjust the top independently from
the bottom, letting sunlight in while
maintaining privacy. Photo: Levolor.
Natural woven shades provide warmth in this
cottage kitchen. Photo: Levolor
Panels like these from Elite Window
Fashions are a stylish window treatment 

...they can also work as a room divider.
Photo: Levolor.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Smart furniture favourites

Use console tables for vignettes (see
Some pieces of furniture are just ingenious! I'm thinking of furniture that does double duty and that can easily be moved around in a room. Console tables, pouffes and nesting tables all fall into this category. I saw some good examples of these versatile pieces at the Great Room in North Bay last week. Here are tips on how to use them:

Console tables: The typical console table is narrow, long and somewhat higher than ordinary tables. Their often slender profile makes them ideal for displaying beautiful objects on. They can also be used as a bar, an extra table for food when you have big gatherings, or as a "catch-all" surface in a hallway. 

The same console table reflected in
a stylish, round mirror.
I love how the candleholders pick up
the blue from the table.
Nesting tables: You can never have enough small tables it seems, especially when you are entertaining. Nesting tables can be neatly tucked away when you don't need them; clutter control 101.
I know, this is not a nesting table. 
But I just had to show this cool,
sculpted stool/table from the Great 
Nesting tables with a slightly distressed 
look. They work beautifully with the 
console table above.

Pouffes: The casual cousin of ottomans. Can be stored under your console table! Pull them out whenever extra seating is needed. They add texture and warmth to a room.
From Wikipedia: "Tuffetpouffe or hassock are all terms for a piece of furniture used as a footstool or low seat.[1] It is distinguished from a stool by being completely covered in fabric so that no legs are visible. It is essentially a large hard cushion that may have an internal wooden frame to give it more rigidity. Wooden feet may be added to the base to give it stability, at which point said item becomes a stool or a footstool. If the piece is larger, so that storage can take place inside it, then it is generally known as an ottoman."

How do you like the idea of some pouffes in your space? Too casual? Just right? 

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Purple Easter inspiration

Lavender, mauve, fuchsia, purple, aubergine, plum; different shades and intensities of blue and red mixed together. This colour family was popular last fall and continues to feel right for the spring, in clothing, accessories and at home. (At Stix and Stones fashion show last week, I saw absolutely stunning knitted pieces in bright purple!).

Introduce a wow factor in your traditional home with a shiny, purple area rug (inspiration: Marilyn Denis's dining room, House and Home). The colour looks fantastic with gold and brass, and combines well with sophisticated greys.

Or why not try a pale lavender slipcover in your cottage? Or some funky purple/mauve/plum glass bottles as accessories if you have a more contemporary space?

And for all of you who want to play it safe: the odd accent pillow will also do the trick. Have a lovely, purple Easter!

Photos: Bemz and Designer Fabrics.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

So your style is...

Thank you to all of you who visited me at the North Bay Home and Garden Show this weekend. I enjoyed meeting everyone and chatting about your home design projects.

At the show, I asked visitors to vote for their design style. "Traditional" turned out to be the frontrunner, followed by "Cottage", "Contemporary" and "Eclectic". Check out Houzz to learn more about these and other styles. And congratulations to Lynne L. who won the draw for a design book and a design consultation!

Remember that whatever your preferred style is, the most important thing is that your home feels right for you and the life you lead. Starting this week, I will be at Breault Painting in North Bay on Wednesdays between 3 and 5 p.m. to answer your design questions. I look forward to seeing you there!

Most of you voted for the traditional
style. Photo: House Beautiful.