Ready to Go Outdoors?

I know I am!  This never-ending winter has made me long for sitting out, bbq’s, gardening… even moving the lawn seems preferable to the alternative we’ve had for so many months.

Why not create a cozy and ‘bohemian’ inspired room outdoors that can act as a additional and interesting aspect to your indoors. Here are some great ideas to implement this outdoor room that don’t require a ton of money.

Stump for a coffee table? Unfortunately with this year’s ice storm is southern Ontario, a higher than average number of trees have come down. If you find you (or someone you know) has some stumps remaining, why not create a unique coffee table that is bound to get some conversation going- “remember that crazy ice storm of 2013?”…

Bohemian Outdoor room by HGTV.ca

Bohemian Outdoor room by HGTV.ca

Add in a wonderful bright, colourful rug and matching throw and you’ve got an outdoor living room that will make you smile with every visit.

Lighting should not be ignored! Where there is electricity, you can’t go wrong with a stainless steel pendant that will blend in with just about anything.

 

Outdoor Stainless Pendant by HGTV.ca

Outdoor Stainless Pendant by HGTV.ca

Where there is no hardwiring, consider re-purposing a chandelier with battery powered candles for a soft and elegant glow.

Outdoor Battery-operated Chandelier by HGTV.ca

Outdoor Battery-operated Chandelier by HGTV.ca

You may also want to light the way to your outdoor room. Use a standard (& cheap) globe fixture with a strand of white lights inside of it.

 

Light the pathway by HGTV.ca

Light the pathway by HGTV.ca

Don’t forget whimsical patterned pillows and art or mirrors where appropriate. Bright colours are certainly a sign of spring and warming temps. I have grown pretty tired of always seeing the same monochromatic, plastic, neutral placemats in grey/beige/black. How much more fun would it be to eat off of these?

 

Bright Placemats by Style at Home

Bright Placemats by Style at Home

I think the grey and cold winter has really made me want to add some extra spice in colour, pattern and feeling this year.  What better room to do that in that your outdoor one?!

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Wallpaper… It’s Back Better than Ever!

We all remember some pretty hideous wallpapers from when we were young- or at least most of us do 🙂 I remember a pattern from our kitchen which had large yellow and green sunflowers in brown baskets. We couldn’t wait to rip it down. Now homeowners can’t wait to put wallpaper back up. It’s no longer a dirty word!

While wallpaper popularity has been on the rise for a few years now, I recently came across some that I had to share with you. There are so many varieties and categories that wallpaper fall into now, that I’m sure something will peak your interest.

  • Bold/Striking:
Wabi wallpaper, $28/sq.ft, Newwall

Wabi wallpaper, $28/sq.ft, Newwall

  • Geometric/Fun:

-Bamboo pattern wallpaper by Milton & King

  • Organic/Zen:
Toile Linen wallpaper, $170/roll, Newwall

Toile Linen wallpaper, $170/roll, Newwall

  • For Kids:MM244M - solar system wallpaper for walls by Muffin & Mani
– Solar System Wall Mural by Milton & King
-Cat Wall wallpaper by Milton & King
  • Vintage/Quirky:
C'est Magnifique wallpaper, $88/roll, Anthropologie

C’est Magnifique wallpaper, $88/roll, Anthropologie

  • Rustic/Natural:
Timber pattern by Prime Walls

Timber pattern by Prime Walls

If you still find it intimidating to wallpaper a whole room, why don’t you start small?  Perhaps a single wall behind the bed,couch or dining buffet, in a powder room or on a fireplace wall like I did for this project.

Fireplace Wall by SET For Design

Fireplace Wall by SET For Design

It’s a way to add interest, colour, texture or pattern in the most dramatic way possible.

Where Do You Get Design Inspiration?

That’s a question that as designers we always face. For me, it’s a combination of places.  Magazines are an obvious choice. Sometimes I watch HGTV (who doesn’t love Sarah Richardson?). Then there are seminars, tradeshows and special events. It’s the last two that I thought I would touch on here.

Shows such as the Interior Design Show (typically held in January in downtown Toronto), and most recently The International Decorating Show (held last week in the International Centre by the airport in Toronto) are great for 1) finding new and innovative products being displayed  2) seeing terrific talks and rooms done by experts on new trends, design ideas and looks they love.  I volunteered for the CDECA booth at the Decorating Show as I belong to the organization.  For those of you who are not familiar with CDECA,  it’s the Decorator’s Association of Canada. Our mandate is to ensure consistency in decorating excellence and to steer consumers to a site where they can find accredited members- http://www.cdeca.com  (in case you are interested).  Here is our booth at the show:

CDECA booth

CDECA booth at the Interior Decorating Show

Right beside us were some ‘inspiration rooms’.  You will always find rooms or sometimes entire homes at shows such as this one, that can provide you with some insight and inspiration which you can translate in some way to your own spaces.  These were done by some top Canadian designers including Kimberley Seldon, Jane Lockhart and Lynne Spence.  Have a peak at their Christmas-inspired decor:

Inspiration Room by Jane Lockhart

Inspiration Room by Jane Lockhart

Inspiration Room by Kimberley Seldon

Inspiration Room by Kimberley Seldon

Inspiration Room by Lynn Spence

Inspiration Room by Lynn Spence

Another reliable source of design inspiration for me is the Princess Margaret Dream Home. I faithfully make a trek out to Oakville every year to see what it looks like, gather tidbits of inspiration and just wish that it was me winning this lovely home.  Yup that’s me in this year’s principal bathtub 🙂

I look forward to seeing the colour schemes and what they do in the ‘money-is-no-issue’ kitchen- which by the way looked like this:

Princess Margaret Dream Kitchen

Princess Margaret Dream Kitchen

Now I may not agree with all of the choices (for example that the fridge is in another room!), but l will always glean a little something to inspire and dream by. I do feel however there has been a lot of repetition in the overall feeling and colour scheme of the dream homes over the last few years.  Perhaps they need to get a little new inspiration also 🙂

Easy Weekend Summer Projects

Want to try some easy summer decorating projects you can comfortably tackle in a weekend or less? Here are some of my favourites that I’ve come across recently:

–  Summer Shimmer:

Summer shimmer

Summer shimmer- photo by Jennifer and Kitty O’Neil

Give an occasional chair a modern makeover with metallic silver spray paint and combine it with sherbert colours in yellow or green.

Remove the seat and spray the chair with several coats of metallic paint. Recover the chair with lattice or other nature-inspired prints.

Tribal Motifs:

Tribal motifs

Tribal motifs- photo by Jennifer and Kitty O’Neil

Go tribal by incorporating a few natural accessories in wood, bone or ebony; set off by strong graphic prints. Add small doses in neutral browns, whites and blacks which can blend effortlessly in any room.

– Vacation Finds:

Vacation finds

Vacation finds- Photo by Ore Studios

Why not add that great vase or Mexican statue that you picked up while on vacation this summer? These bold pieces will instantly add some pizazz and is a great story as well.

– Book Backdrop:

Book backdrop

Book backdrop- photo by Style at Home

Add a bright, bold or unexpected colour to a neutral room by painting the back of a bookcase in a hot hue. This is a fresh yellow-green hue, but how about coral or aqua as well?

– Stylish Storage for Kids’ Toys

Kids' storage

Kids’ storage- photo by Style at Home

With summer here, toys are everywhere! Reclaim the space by putting toys into inexpensive, galvanized buckets labelled with different categories. Use chalkboard labels so it can be changed up. Then place them in cheap and cheerful, open bookcases!

– Table top Coverlet:

Table top Coverlet

Table top Coverlet- photo by Jennifer and Kitty O’Neil

Take a solid colour table runner. Stamp it with a pattern that evokes long grasses or some other nature-inspired print. Drape it over contrasting bedding and you’ve got an instant new look for your bedding.

– Nautical-Inspired Lamp:

Nautical lamp

Nautical lamp- Photo by Style at Home

Breathe new life into a tired lamp by wrapping natural hemp around a lamp base and shade trim. This couldn’t be any easier or inexpensive and absolutely screams “summer”!

I made my own birch log lamp last summer (see pic below), so in comparison this will be a piece of cake 🙂

Birch log lamp

My own birch-log lamp creation

Travel-inspired Design

A couple weekends ago I traveled with some friends to Nashville Tennessee. It was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment trip, as I’m not much of a country music fan.  But I had heard it was a fun place to visit- lots of bars, lots of bands and believe it or not, lots of interesting architecture! The picture below shows the main foyer of the Frist Centre for the Visual Arts, which displays Art Deco at its best!

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts

Art Deco is an elegant geometric style, characterized by mirrored accents, symmetry, straight lines, wood furniture, glass tops, chrome hardware accents and vibrant colors. It’s an artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s and into the World War II era. At its best, Art Deco represented elegance, glamour, functionality and modernity. Its linear symmetry was a distinct departure from the flowing asymmetrical organic curves of its predecessor style Art Nouveau. It embraced influences from many different styles of the early twentieth century, including neoclassical, cubism and modernism.  Art Deco is considered to be an eclectic style, and a spirited aesthetic.

One of the oldest and most posh hotels in Nashville is called Union Station, a former train station, circa 1900. This building oozes with character; as well as Art Deco architecture and furniture. It was glorious to look at (and have a drink at the bar!) and I couldn’t help but take many snapshots during my visit.

Have a look at the fantastic Art-Deco-inspired lobby and bar areas:

Lobby of Union Station

Lobby of Union Station

I love the hits of pink in this room…. I never thought I would say that! If a pink chair is too much for you, how about a pink lamp and some pink cushions?!

Check out the fantastic lime green leather chairs and delicate side table.

.Look to the Bar for some more inspiration!

Sitting area in bar

Sitting area in bar

I LOVE that swirly mirror- which, however, is more in line with the asymmetrical organic curves of a predecessor style Art Nouveau.

A Fantastic bar!

A Fantastic bar!

The bar was something to behold- from the faux croc seats to the bold black/white fabric on top, to the padded lime-green bar front. If all three put together is a bit too crazy, how about trying just one?

And how about these lights?  If you can’t use 6 feet tall cube lights, try using them as inspiration and pick up a small lantern instead 🙂

Art Deco lamps

Art Deco lamps

Looking for inspiration but don’t have the time or budget to travel? Spend some time with travel sites, books and blogs.  Incorporate the ideas into your home by interpreting them in ways that works for you- no matter how big or small!

Here’s a few contemporary takes on Art Deco style:

Art Deco-inspired console table

Art Deco-inspired console table

Bedside table

Bedside table

Art Deco living room

An example of an Art Deco living room