Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sarah's Room

After more than 100 hours of planning and 4 days of labour, we finished Sarah's Room this month! We had a great time, and most importantly, Sarah loves her new room!

Here's the room before:

And here's the final result:

You can see all the project pictures on my website - www.stylishsolutions.biz - or on facebook - www.facebook.com/StylishSolutions

Special thanks go to everyone who contributed to the project - Walmart, Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Timmins Decorating Centre, Future Shop, as well as several members of the community - and to Steinberg & Mahn, M&M Meat Shops, Zenone's, and Christopher's Coffee House for putting out donation cans for us. Thanks go out as well to Topper's Pizza for providing lunch for us while we worked!

The project was a huge success and we're already looking forward to next year!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Using Colour to Fix Problems

It's probably not a big surprise that I love colour - it's the easiest way to update worn out rooms and furniture, and really helps when creating a mood for a room. It's also a great way to fix little design problems!

This homeowner had a bit of repair work to do after a picture frame fell off the wall. Once the holes were fixed, another problem popped up - the walls had been painted by a previous homeowner, so they didn't know the colour or brand to get more. The home is a somewhat open concept, so the wall continued down the hallway, into the living and dining areas as well as the entrance - and there were no suitable corners to make a colour change - which meant the homeowner would have had to paint
all the walls toavoid a choppy look. They really didn't want to paint more than necessary, so we needed to come up with something that would cover the repair job and only involve minimal painting.

The solution? Colour towall the rescue! I had previously specified a dark brown accent wall in t
he adjoining living room to fix a sofa/undertone issue (I wrote about it in a post last year)...so we took the rest of that paint and used it to createa colour block in the hallway. This allowed the homeowner to cover the repair, accent their photos, and only paint a few square feet.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quick & Easy Bathroom Updates

It's fairly easy to make a substantial change in a bathroom by changing a couple of small things:

- a new shower curtain gives the biggest update for the least amount of work

- try painting the ceiling the same colour as the walls - besides making it easier to paint the room (no taping!) it can make the space seem bigger since you aren't creating a white square at the top of your walls

- getting rid of clutter makes a huge difference - the more hidden storage you can find, the better

- avoid those fuzzy seat covers that match the bathmat - they can make a bathroom look dated

- use a large glass apothecary jar to store and display your facecloths for easy access

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sneak Peek of Sarah's Room

We still have quite a bit of planning left for our room makeover project, but thanks to another donation from a local resident I was able to pick up the bedding today. Here's a sneak peek:

I can't wait to see how our room comes together!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Overcome Your Fear of Colour

When people talk about what scares them, many are quick to mention the usual fears: spiders, snakes, flying, heights, clowns, windchimes (ok, maybe the last one is just me...). One you don't hear mentioned is thefear of colour.

While “chromatophobia” is an actual fear of colours, the fear I'm talking about is really not so much a fear of colour as it is the fear of making a mistake. Many people stick with a very neutral colour scheme not so much because they like it, but because they're scared to add colour, or more accurately, the wrong colour.

Here are a few tips to help overcome that fear of adding colour to your home:

- Use Colour in Small Doses

If you don't think you can handle boldly coloured walls and furniture, you can add smaller hits of colour with your accessories and accent pieces. If you think you want to try red, for example, but aren't ready for red walls, go neutral on the walls and furniture, and add your red with throw cushions, vases, and artwork.

A positive side to this is that you're generally less likely to tire of a coloured pillow than a brightly coloured sofa, and a cushion is much easier to replace or re-cover.

- Balance It With a Lot of White

If you don't want to be overwhelmed by a colour, you can tone down a vibrant shade by making sure the rest of the space has a lot of white or neutral colours. Try a collection of large white vases, a mainly neutral area rug with small splashes of colour, or slipcovered white sofas.

- Test Paint Colour First

If you're hesitant about using a bolder paint colour, the best solution is to test it first. A $5 sample pot can save you a lot of trouble and gives you a chance to see how a colour performs before you commit. Rather than painting the sample directly on the wall, paint a large piece of bristol board or foam-core. This way you can move the colour around to different walls and see how it reacts in different light, at different times of day, and with different pieces of furniture.

Once you've seen that you like the colour on the large sample in the different scenarios, and see how it works with the rest of the things in the room, you'll be less afraid to try it on the whole wall.

Studies show that a colourless space can have a negative effect on our mood, so adding colour can do more than just make a room look good – it can help you feel good, too! Try one of these tips and see what colour can do for you.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fun With Fabric

Here are a couple of easy home decorating projects you can complete with a small amount of fabric:

1. Turn store-bought curtain panels into custom window treatments by adding coordinating fabric. Try a 12-15" band of fabric along the top or bottom, or a narrow band around the entire edge. You can also experiment with a band further up from the bottom of the panel. This also works for fabric shower curtains.

2. Create easy artwork by framing coordinating fabric samples. Or instead of framing, cover and hang canvasses for a similar effect.


3. Add colour to shelves and storage cubes - cut a piece of foamboard to fit the back of the shelf/cube, wrap the front in fabric, and wedge it in place.

4. Update a plain wicker basket by making a fabric liner.

5. A hemmed fabric rectangle makes a great table runner - great for the dining room or even on a dresser in a bedroom.

6. Update a plain duvet by adding a panel of coordinating fabric to the centre - take a large hemmed square of your patterned fabric and sew it to the middle of your plain duvet. Use coordinating ribbon or trim to hide the sewn edges. The more advanced your sewing skills, the more creative you can get with this.

7. Create hidden storage space under a pedestal sink by making a fabric skirt. Attach it to the sink with velcro for easy washing.

8. Hinge together 3 pieces of fabric-covered plywood for a simple fireplace screen.

9. Update glass cabinet doors by attaching fabric to the inside of the door with a small rod at the top and bottom of the glass.

10. Create a covered headboard with a large piece of plywood, foam batting, and a couple of metres of fabric. You can embellish it with fabric covered buttons to create a tufted look or leave it plain.


11. Make new covers for old throw pillows - finish them with matching trims and accessories to give them a more professional look.

12. Re-cover the seat of an old dining room chair for an instant update.

13. Give a new look to an old lampshade by covering it with new fabric that matches your decor.

14. Build a bulletin board by covering a padded piece of heavy corrugated cardboard or very thin plywood with fabric (watch the weight so it can be hung on the wall). Criss-cross wide ribbon across the board to hold your notes and messages.

bulletin board

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dream Room Project is Back!!

Some of you may remember Designers Unlimited's dream room makeover project - last year we redesigned a room for Kendall, a young girl with
Craniopharyngioma, an invasive benign brain tumour.

We're ready to do it again - this year's room is being done for Sarah Valade, an 11 year old girl with Central Nervous System Vasculitis (CNSV), an inflammation of the the blood vessels in the brain and spine.

We've started our planning and so far we have donations lined up from Home Depot and Timmins Decorating Centre, as well as a couple of local residents.

I absolutely love doing our dream room projects - if we can help make a sick child feel even the tiniest bit better, the work is worth it.

Here are a couple of before shots of her room and closet:

We're looking forward to putting together a wonderful new bedroom for Sarah!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Window Treatment Solutions for Hard to Reach Windows

I have my very first guest blogger today! Special thanks to Richard Moyle at Horizon Window Treatments!

Do you have windows that are simply too hard to get to? If you have windows that are behind a couch or even windows that are too high, opening and closing the shades is nearly impossible. Another problem is having too many windows. Opening and closing numerous windows takes too much time.

The good news is that there is a solution for this type of window dilemma. Try window treatments that are motorized, for example so that you can make changes with the push of a button. You may think they are too expensive, but in fact, motorized window shades are easier to operate and quite affordable. Most people will benefit from this easy to install solution that is likely within their budget and easy to use.

What are your hard to reach windows? They may be a skylight or a window that is up high. It may be a window located behind furniture that is too heavy or large to move on a regular basis. You could have too many windows in one space that need to be opened and closed throughout the day. You may have two windows, one located on top of the other. In these situations, conventional drapes are a hassle and they may even look bad in the space. However, motorizing your window treatments can make using your windows easier and more effective in virtually any situation.

While it may sound like an expensive or hard to install option it really is not. With one click of a button, you can easily adjust any of the drapes or shades you need to, depending on what you want from them. Not only is this process is affordable but, it helps you to take advantage of even those hard to reach windows. Motorized shades are available in all colors and styles.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Increase Your Curb Appeal For Summer

When decorating for summer, the exterior of your home can be just as important as the inside -- after all, it's the first thing people see. Walk out to the sidewalk and take a look at your house from the street -- is it fresh and welcoming or dull and tired? The fastest way to brighten up the outside of your home is to paint the front door in a crisp new colour. If you want to take on a bigger project, now is a great time to paint siding and trim too.

Landscaping plays a huge part in getting your home summer-ready. Clean up the debris left over from winter; plant a garden full of brightly coloured flowers; place a planter full of greenery or flowers on each side of the front door. Add window boxes for splashes of colour that draw the eye up as well.

A brightly coloured welcome mat is a great summer accent that has an added bonus -- besides the visual appeal, it keeps the dirt tracked inside to a minimum (less time spent cleaning and more time for outside!). Add a wreath (grapevine or twig work best) to the front door - it can be decorated with summery accents and easily changed to reflect each season. If space permits, a comfortable bench by the front door is a perfect finishing touch.

Take it a step further and create an outdoor living space. Start with some comfortable patio furniture -- a couple of lounge chairs, a wicker loveseat, a swing or hammock, and small side tables if you have room. Add a few lanterns, some greenery and a summery rug, and you have a relaxing summer retreat that will really boost your home's summer curb appeal!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Where Do I Stop Paint Colour?

One question I get asked a lot is where to stop paint colour. Here are a few guidelines for a couple of different scenarios:

If the ceiling in your room goes up on an angle from a low wall, continue the wall colour upwards – otherwise it brings the ceiling too far down and makes the room look oddly proportioned.

When it comes to rounded corners, stopping the colour would create an odd line, so colour should be continued. Only stop at straight corners/edges.

A common scenario is the living/dining room combo. When both rooms share one long wall, that wall should be one colour - stopping anywhere along that wall will look choppy. If you choose, you can paint the entire wall a different colour from the other walls in the room to define space – but that wall needs to be all one colour along its whole length.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Year's Worth of Quick & Easy Updates for Your Home

January – Remove your holiday decorations by the middle of the month. Organize them when putting away so you're ready for December.

February – Apply a fresh coat of paint to any rooms that need it. This is one of the least expensive ways to add a change to the inside of your home.

March – Move some accessories or a piece of furniture to a different room to give you a fresh perspective.

April – Update the pictures on your walls. Double check that they're not hung too high.

May – Get a fun new welcome mat to usher in spring.

June – Paint your front door. It's the quickest, easiest way to increase curb appeal.

July – Have a piece of furniture you can't stand? Paint it!

August – Organize your bookcases to create an arrangement that's pleasing to the eye.

September – Rearrange your living room furniture. Pull the sofa away from the wall.

October – Get ready for winter by tossing warm throws over your sofa or chair. Add a couple of new throw cushions in warm colours and soft textures.

November – Get rid of one box of clutter this month.

December – Treat yourself to new bathroom towels (maybe even a shower curtain & bath mat!).

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