Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Kitchen backsplash: bold or bland?

This patterned backsplash at Kitchen Gallery becomes
very "livable" thanks to the otherwise monochromatic
colour scheme, and streamlined cabinetry.
Should a kitchen backsplash make a statement, or is it better to play it safe? At Kitchen Gallery in North Bay, the trend is definitely in favour of statement backsplashes. "We are seeing more pattern and boldness", says Kristin Lowe, the Kitchen Gallery's owner and designer. She credits that fact to the vast selection of materials that's available now.

The offer in Kristin's store includes lots of natural stone such as marble, travertine and slate; blends of materials like glass/marble; and backsplashes featuring metals and other reflective materials.

Whether to go bold or not on the backsplash depends largely on the style of the surrounding cabinetry and the overall colour scheme in the room, explains Kristin. "It's a way to inject pattern and texture in a monochromatic space. What makes it successful is the natural beauty of the stone."

White kitchen by Kitchen Gallery's Aimée Cazabon.
For those homeowners who still want to play it safe, a white subway tile and long, narrow, all-stone tiles are good alternatives. They are also best-sellers in Kristin's Fisher Street store.

What's your backsplash preference, bold or bland?





Saturday, 18 January 2014

Trend predictions for 2014

Brass pendants warm up this grey-and-white
kitchen, and mix well with the stainless steel
2014 is here and it's covered in gold, at least as far as design goes. Brass and gold are definitely hot-hot-hot. They are used in faucets, lighting and accessories, and are often mixed with other metals.

At the upcoming IDS show in Toronto next week, I expect to see lots of warm, golden metals, along with... 

... abundant shades of rich and deep blues, especially navy blue, and...
Kitchen from Kelly Deck Design.

Blue-and-white dishware, like this from Crate&Barrel,
is making a comeback.

Jonathan Adler Ipanema Multi-bloom pendant.

... many interesting displays of big, sculptural light fixtures, plus...

... numerous geometric patterns.
Pillow from West Elm.


Check out my trend report after the show to see if I'm right!

At the same time, across the pond, trend watchers in Scandinavia anticipate these four design streams for the next two years:

Marble and brass are big in the "Pure classics" style.
1) “Pure classics” - an elegant and sophisticated style mixing old and new, and pastel colours with grey. Great for older homes with architectural interest, it’s a trend that highlights “modern luxury”, marble, gold, brass and crystal.

2) “Secret garden” combines “rustic retro” and "modern romantic". Second-hand finds and lots of green plants are important ingredients of this trend, that also highlights bright colours and botanical prints.

3) "Natural elements", features rustic, natural materials like stone, wood, glass and leather, and also includes washed linen, and furniture with patina.

4) The fourth style, "Aqua marine" is all about water. It favours stripes and white and grey-washed furniture. Blue, combined with white is predicted to be "next summer's strongest combination" within this trend.
Colour palette for the "Aqua marine" style.

Here at home, northern Ontarians have certainly embraced the grey trend. So many walls in the homes I visit are grey, as opposed to the taupey-browns that used to be so popular. 

Target's Beaver Collection.
In our local stores, I’m happy to see more natural fibres and materials. I’m thinking of the increased selection of wool rugs at Home Depot, and many wicker and wooden pieces in Target’s Beaver collection. 

Home Depot sells Lanart's wool rugs.
 Homeowners are asking for calm, neutral and uncluttered rooms, but are also desperately craving colour, which is introduced through accent walls and accessories. 

On its way out?
While leather is still a popular choice, more people now want less slippery, and warmer, upholstered pieces, and many are looking for a less bulky appearance.

This being said, here's my ultimate prediction, and not-so-secret wish, for 2014: it will be the year when chocolate brown leather couches finally fall from the top position in living rooms across northern Ontario. 

What do you think? Will I be right?

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy New Design Year!

IDS is the gathering place for design enthusiasts.

If you like design and have a home project on the go, here's a tip to get your design year off to an inspiring start: The annual Interior Design Show, or IDS for short, which takes place in Toronto on January 23 to 26. 

Marketed as "the total design experience", it's a great opportunity to see new products, learn about up-and-coming designers and run into your favourite HGTV stars. 


In preparation for the show, my next post will look at some of the styles and design concepts that seem to be getting a lot of buzz right now, in Canada, across the pond, and even here in northern Ontario. Stay tuned!


The Finnish design house Marimekko is one of the international companies that will be represented at the show.