Sunday, July 31, 2011

Alexander's Room is on CTV News!

CTV News did a story about our room makeover project for Alexander today. You should be able to click on the link below to check it out:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Before & After

The problem: This client had purchased a brand new dining room set and was having trouble figuring out how to accessorize the hutch - what to buy, how big it should be, where to get it, how to arrange it. It didn't need to be used for storage, only display. The dining area is open to the living room, so they wanted to make sure both ends of the room worked together.  

The solution: We looked to the colour of the dining chair seats for the colour scheme - green, rusty red, and a hint of gold. Step one was shopping in the client's home - they had a set of old dishes packed away that fit perfectly with the colour scheme. Green and golden yellow ceramic plates and bowls that were just sitting unused in a cabinet.
Step two was heading out shopping for the rest of the pieces needed to fill in the gaps. I found some large square plates in the colours of the dishes we had taken from the homeowner's cupboards, and used them behind the stacks of dishes to give the displays some height and tie things together. Without the plates behind them, the stacks looked incomplete. I also found a great trio of candle holders (top right corner) that were exactly the right colour - putting them on the top shelf spreads the colour evenly so no particular spot is off-balance.

We added a few family photos in matching black frames, and word art that the homeowner spray painted black to match. Now it co-ordinates with the rest of the room and makes a great focal point.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Giveaway Time!!

Over the next 6 weeks or so, a few wonderful bloggers will be giving away my Virtual Room Reviews (check them out at my Etsy shop here if you just can't wait to win - $10 gets you a list of tips and suggestions you can implement right away to improve the look of your rooms!)

The first giveaway starts today (and runs until August 1st) over at MamaZen Blog - go check it out and enter for your chance to win :)

Super Awesome Virtual Room Review Giveaway!!

Good luck!

H is for Hardware

Hardware is a small thing that can make a big difference. Don't want to spend a lot to re-do a kitchen or bathroom? Replace the cabinet hardware for major impact. I've had a lot of clients that were looking for a new look in the kitchen but couldn't replace the cabinets or countertops...we replaced the hardware and painted the walls, and the room took on a whole new feel.

You might remember my post about my own budget kitchen makeover - the cabinet hardware made a huge improvement:

Before: Ugly handles that don't fit
Before & After side by side
After: Way better!
Even furniture can benefit from new many times you find the perfect dresser, armoire, sideboard, etc...but the handles are horrendous or don't go with the piece (or the room). New handles.....and voila! The piece works! Before we installed built-in cabinets in my office, I had an old desk and my dresser from when I was a baby...I painted them black (Ralph Lauren turret stair) and replaced the chunky wooden handles with new ones that really changed the whole look of the room and updated the furniture.

Take a look around your home - are there any pieces that could benefit from new hardware?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

G is for Grocery Store

Yes, I said grocery store. Most people don't think of grocery stores as having much to do with interior decorating, but you can find a lot of stuff there that can be used to decorate your home:

  • pumpkins
  • gourds
  • lemons
  • limes
  • oranges
  • walnuts
  • dried fruit (cranberries are a great colour)
  • dried beans/legumes (black beans are great for filling the bottoms of vases)
  • coffee beans
  • cinnamon sticks
  • pomegranates

Pretty much any of these can be put in an apothecary jar or clear vase (ok - maybe not pumpkins - use those more for centerpieces!).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

F is for Fabric

One really easy way to update almost anything is with fabric. (This is one reason I always travel with the paint swatches from each of the rooms in the makes it much easier to match fabrics than doing it from memory). 

I'm in the middle of updating our dining room chairs right now. The original seat covers are an off-white cotton - nice because they're washable, but they do nothing for the room.

So I popped over to Fabricland the other day and found some fabric that picks up the wall colour (BM rustic brick - which looks really orange in the pictures for some reason...). Total cost for the project was $40 - would have been less but I forgot we only have 4 chairs (no, I don't know how you forget how many chairs you have, but I did) so I bought too much - it will become living room throw cushions when I have time. The actual re-upholstery part was simple - unscrew the seat, pull the fabric tight, screw the seat back on. Now as long as the cat doesn't claw them, we're good to go!

F is also for facebook - where you can head on over and "like" my page to get even more tips :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

E is for Entrance

Another easy tip for today (I guess E could also be for Easy!): If you don't have room for a table in your home's entry, install a crown-molding ledge/shelf with a mirror above it to create a spot to drop your mail and keys. 

A mirror is a necessity before heading out the door, and can also help the space seem bigger, so you get a 2-for-1 there. You can try a shallow shadow box for keys instead if you don't want a shelf to collect clutter.

If you don't have a front closet, try adding some hooks to the wall for jackets. If you can squeeze out the space, add a high shelf above them that can hold baskets.

(E is also for Etsy - head on over to my shop and take a peek!)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

D is for Doors

Quick and easy tip today - to add a bit of character, paint or stain your doors a dark colour.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Shutters, Blinds & Shades

I'm happy to announce that as of this week Stylish Solutions will be carrying Maxxmar Window Fashions.

This means I'll be able to offer my clients better pricing than before for quality custom window treatments.

If you're in Timmins & area, contact me for your FREE quote on shutters, blinds, cellular, roller & roman shades.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

C is for Context (and colour!)

One thing that's important to remember when choosing a colour - from the time the selection is made until the room is complete - is that the colour means nothing without context

Many colours look great alone, but look awful when paired with other items. Some colours look fabulous in one setting and ugly in another (one common reason people call me to choose a colour is that the colour they chose because they liked it at a friend or neighbour's looked completely different on their walls with their furniture!)

It's important to consider the whole picture when putting together a room - quite often a colour can give you that "what were you thinking?" moment while you're painting...because you're seeing it on the wall alone, not surrounded by the items it relates to. I often remind clients to wait until the room is put back together before they make a final judgement on whether they like the colour.

I've specified a couple of bolder colours this month (these 2 above...going in 2 different homes) - and when I look at the paint chips they can seem pretty "out there", especially for living room walls...but once they're put beside the furniture and accessories that have bits of the wall colour in them, they end up looking exactly as they should. 

Context counts!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

B is for Baseboards

An easy way to heighten your baseboards and make them seem more substantial: add half-round trim a couple of inches above your existing baseboards, then paint the trim, baseboard and wall in-between the same trim colour. This makes it look like your baseboards are bigger than they really are.

Media Coverage for Alexander's Room

We're starting to get our much-needed media coverage for our Alexander's Room Project. People seeing the story in the news is what helps us get our donations so we can actually do the room, so we're very happy to see the stories starting!

Moose FM website

We're also talking to our CTV contact about a story, so stay tuned! 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A is for Accessorizing

Based on what I've been hearing from clients, one thing that causes a major decorating headache is accessorizing. What to buy, how many, where to put it. Accessories may be on the smaller side, but they have a big influence on how the room looks.

image from Pottery Barn
Here are a few general guidelines and tips to make accessorizing a little easier:

Group your accessories in odd numbers (three or five work nicely!).

Group together items of various sizes - avoid putting all one size together. Mix it up by putting tall with short, wide with narrow, etc.

Try grouping items of the same colour together.

Displaying collections against a contrasting background makes them stand out.

Try grouping like items together as well. A seashell on the table, one on the mantel and one on the floor are "3 seashells in a room". Put them together and they're a "collection".

If you have a huge collection of something particular, display some and put the rest away - then rotate the pieces every few months to change things up a bit. 

On a bookshelf, add some accessories so it's not just books - mixing together books and accessories adds a bit of interest and variety.

If you have mismatched or ugly accessories that you can't bear to part with, try painting them. A can of flat white spray paint can fix a lot! A group of mismatched accessories become a collection when they're unified by white spray paint - try vases, ceramic birds, pumpkins, etc. Anything you find can be painted to tie together.

Try one or all of these tips and see how your accessorizing improves. Let me know how it goes!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Home Grown

I was recently invited to contribute decorating articles to a brand new online magazine and I'm thrilled to announce that it has officially launched today:

Home Grown - Parenting in the North

Click on the link to check it out (and let me know what you think of my summer decorating tips)!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Decorating From A to Z

I've read a few articles lately that follow an A to Z format, and decided to give it a try here on my blog.

Stay tuned for the first of 26, coming up soon!
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