Saturday, 29 March 2014

New location - great rooms

The Great Room store entrance on 390 First
Ave. E. in North Bay.

Who doesn't want a great room? If you're the least interested in design, the answer is probably a resounding "I certainly do"!

A good first step to achieving that objective is to check out the store with the same name in downtown North Bay. The Great Room recently moved to the lower floor of a 1909 house on 390 First Ave. E, just next to Fischer.

The 800 square-foot area is divided in various rooms, and provides an intimate setting for the store's classic and contemporary pieces. Take a look!
If you like white-washed pieces - which is my case - this is a great mirror.

Grey couch from G Romano. The tufted bench seat, narrow
arm rests and overall straight lines give it a light, tailored look,
despite its width. 
Blue - a hot colour this spring.

A versatile, wooden console.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Big box outing in Sudbury

We all need a change of scenery from time to time, so when the suggestion of a combined Costco and design trip to Sudbury came up recently, I jumped at the opportunity.

Nothing beats a little traveling when it comes to inspiration gathering. Even if it's just an outing to a neighbouring city, the simple action of "going away" seems to do wonders to both energy levels and idea bank. That's at least my experience. Sometimes, a walk in the woods has the same effect.  

My exploration of some of Sudbury's big box design stores was more of a power walk than an easy stroll, but it got my creative juices flowing. Here are some highlights:
This cool, mauve settee greeted visitors at the entrance
of HomeSenseThe tall, tufted back gives it an elegant,
stately presence. Tall pieces make the ceiling look lower,
which is often desirable when you want to create intimate,
inviting spaces. The settee made me think of.... 
...the breakfast nook in decorator Maria
Killam's kitchen, which was recently
featured in Style at Home. The exaggerated
height of the back of the bench sends a message
of importance to the world. The fact that it
blends in with the white walls makes it
less bossy and completely liveable. Two
sconces complete the look and make the need
for artwork completely redundant.

Dressers used to be plain and utilitarian,
but today we're seeing more and more playful
and individualized designs. This piece from
HomeSense looks like a knock off of ...
... West Elm's patchwork dresser.

Another dresser from HomeSense. You can achieve the same
eye-catching result with an old dresser (or a plain IKEA dresser),
some stencils and paint.
My previous blog post talked about fireplaces... Here's a realistic-looking electric Dimplex unit, carried by Sears. The light reflects against mist, creating an illusion of flames and smoke. Easy and safe!

These multi-coloured sisal rugs
at Pier1 are fun, versatile and
very affordable. I'm thrilled that
Close-up of the gorgeous coral rug. Be aware of spills, though. You don't want to place your natural fiber rug anywhere that's damp or where spills are likely to occur.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Focus on the fire

Photo: Napoleon fireplaces
Photo: Houzz. Parkwoods Home.
What to do with a living room that is "ordinary", without anything really exciting going for it? 

One well-tried option to get it to sparkle in every sense is to add a fireplace. With the vast selection of fireplace options out there today, it has never been easier.

And since you're putting it in, don't be afraid of enhancing its importance in the room. I'm working on a project right now, where we've installed it in a nine-foot wide surround which is clad with a gorgeous travertine tile. The photos you see served as inspiration shots.

Initially, we had planned to make the surround part of a wall-to-wall combined storage/display unit, but we later decided to make it a stand alone piece.

The TV will go above the fireplace. In  order to make the TV almost disappear, we decided to paint the centre area of the surround a very dark grey instead of tiling it.

Here are some photos of the process. Stay tuned to see the end result!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Moving forward - clocks and projects

Photo: House Beautiful.

No matter what the weather does, this weekend we are taking an important first step towards spring. Yay! Daylight savings time gives us more bright hours and renewed inspiration. There really is no better time than now to start planning our next home projects. Soon the frenzy of spring will set in and we will have less time.

Let's start small to get our decorating juices flowing. Here are three easy ways to get our homes in an early spring spirit:

1) Green plants. It's amazing what a little greenery can do. Plants inject colour and a natural touch to a space. Tall and powerful, like in this photo, they are perfect for a lonely corner. 

Photo: Houzz.
2) New curtains. You can make a room look like a million bucks with a new set of curtains. This time of year, we are yearning for happy looking windows, so don't shy away from patterns! 

3) New bed linen in fresh spring colours. Colours like acid green and bright yellow will make us fall asleep and wake up with a smile on our faces.

I know it's still winter and there's still snow on the ground, but it's time to spring forward!

Photo: Serena and Lily.