Summer Must Haves for the Outdoors

Nowadays people are turning their outdoor space into extentions of their indoors. They realize it gets them so much more square feet to enjoy and so it becomes another room to decorate. I’ve scoured online to pick out some of my favourite & easy DIY ideas, to turn these areas into cozy and comfortable retreats, along with a few neat ideas to put in your garden. All non-specified photos are from bhg.com.

Swap Out your Cushions:

Swap out your Cushions

You should pick furniture for your outdoor rooms that are durable and of quality that will last you for many years. Then simply swap out cushions whenever you feel like a new colour scheme. Try some bold colours if your furniture is neutral.

Mix Elements:

Mixing Elements

If colour is not your cup of tea, then use several different types of materials to create visual interest. A metal table pairs well with the dark wicker furniture, porcelain garden stool, and worn wooden oars propped up in the corner.

Paint your Brick:

Paint your BrickTo instantly lighten and brighten any outdoor room, consider painting out the brick white. Wicker furniture and the substantial amount of natural light streaming in give the space a light and airy feel. However, take note that once brick is painted, you will need to repaint every few years depending on your climate.

– Pattern for Porches:

Another way to inject interest if colour is not your thing, is to introduce several different patterns in your cushions. Even the woven chairs enhance the scheme though additional patterns. Add in some placemats and a rug, and voila… you’ve got one stimulating room!

Paint your Wicker:

Photo by SET For Design

Photo by SET For Design

Photo by :  SET For Design

As someone who has done this themselves (see photo directly above for my own front porch), painting wicker couldn’t be any easier! Keep it neutral and bright or go crazy and pick a fun colour. It’s only paint and can be swapped out again.

Create a Hanging Garden:

Hands down this is the best use for an old unwanted shower caddy! Spray paint it out in whatever colour you like. Line the baskets with preserved moss to hold soil and plants while allowing excess water to easily drain away. Creates an interesting focal point for your fence.

– A New Use for Terracotta:

Rather than discarding that assortment of terracotta pots, consider using them as in-ground planters. Tuck the planters in among other bedding plants to add dimension to your garden.

– DIY Terrariums:

Decorate with Terrariums

Terrariums are not a new concept, but lately they’ve experienced a big surge in popularity. Create a simple terrarium all on your own using no more than a wooden tray, a collection of small potted plants, and a large glass dome.

Once you’ve mastered these easy makeovers, here’s an easy beer cocktail recipe to enjoy in your new improved space (even the title works well!):

 Sublime Design

  • 3 oz Molson Canadian 67 Sublime or your favourite beer with lime
  • 3 oz pink lemonade
  • 1 tsp of frozen raspberries thawed
  • Fresh raspberries or other berries of your choice

To a wine goblet filled with ice, add the beer, pink lemonade and thawed frozen raspberries. Stir and garnish with the fresh fruit on top.

All that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

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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.

Purple Reign in 2014

For more than a decade, Pantone’s Colour of the Year has influenced product development in numerous industries such as fashion, home decor, as well as product packaging and graphic design. This year, Radiant Orchid was named it’s Colour of the Year for 2014.

PANTONE COLOR OF THE YEAR 2014 - Radiant Orchid 18-3224

According to them, ” Blending both cool and warm undertones, purple is an appealing hue for distinctive combinations and flattering to many hair, eye and skin tones”. So what better places to put it then where you look at yourself the most- bedrooms and baths. As always, the colour of the year can be incorporated in many smaller ways that can be changed out if/when you grow tired of it.

You can paint a deeper accent wall behind your bed in one of my favourite Benjamin Moore purples-  Dark Lilac 2070-30 or Purple Lotus 2072-30. Pair it with a neutral like gray, beige or taupe for the the remainder of the walls.

dark lilac      purple lotus

You can also use it in bedding- this striking Marrakesh pattern from Echo Design is a striking mix of neutrals with hits of purple.

Marrakesh pattern by Echo Design

Marrakesh pattern by Echo Design

Why not use a wallpaper in a powder room that has some purple in it? This is an inexpensive yet striking option from Bouclair Home ($29.99 for a double roll).

Wallpaper by Bouclair Home

Wallpaper by Bouclair Home

Or if that’s still too bold, try mixing in some patterned purple towels such as these from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

You can always add it in accessories like pillows, vases and even something unique like these purple metallic wall sculptures also from Bouclair Home ($14.99 for the set).

Purple wall art- Bouclair Home

Purple wall art- Bouclair Home

Lastly, for those of you who are not scared to be a little bolder, purple compliments olive and deeper hunter greens, and is perfect paired with tourquoise, teal and even light yellow.

Happy decorating in 2014 and happy new year to everyone!

 

Design Trends for 2013

Just like the resolutions you make to improve your health and finances, why not make a few to update your living space with some new and on-trend design ideas? Who knows- maybe being surrounded with something new and inspired may help you to get to the gym or update that resume too? 🙂

Here are some interior decor trends for the coming year that you can incorporate into your home in big or little ways.

  • Colours: Green & Yellow  

The Pantone Colour for 2013 is Emerald Green.  

Pantone Colour of the Year

Pantone Colour of the Year

Painting your walls in Emerald may be a bit much for your taste, so how about incorporating it in other ways? It is fresh, bold and cheery; it makes a big statement so you can use it as little as in a few cushions or vases.

Trend spotter Lidewij Edelkoort also believes yellow will be the new ‘it’ colour. Yellows are a fantastic way to brighten up a room and make it more cheerful, either as a dominant colour or an accent, such as in this picture from Architectural Digest.

Published in Architectural Digest.

Published in Architectural Digest.

  • Pattern: Retro Stripes, Dainty Flowers and Brush Stroke Fabrics

Inspired by impressionist painters, here’s a fabric from Robert Allen I recently put on cushions which incorporates the latter two.

Fabric: Landsmeer in Citrine by Robert Allen

Fabric: Landsmeer in Citrine by Robert Allen

  • Touch: Knits

Touch is THE sense to focus on in 2013. Fabrics and finishes should all be touchable, with warmth and depth. One look that is already taken off in decor and will become even more noticeable next year is knits and handcrafted chunky items. Think large-scale knits and macrame… wish I had taken up knitting long ago 🙂

Winter blog- knits

  • Furniture: Shapely Forms

Furniture lines are slowly evolving from stark, straight lines to soft & curvy. There is a more feminine-feel to seating; don’t be afraid to incorporate these curves into your own rooms, mixing them in with more contemporary pieces.

Monaco Collection from Thomasville

Monaco Collection from Thomasville

  • Metal: Brass

Burnished brass is the metal-of-the-moment. It’s being used on everything from legs and handles on furniture, to lamps and trays. If you have an antique set of brass items you put into storage when brass was a dirty word, now would be the time to pull it out!

Here’s a favourite brass accessory of mine:

Starburst bowl from Crate & Barrel

Starburst bowl from Crate & Barrel

And on a coffee table in a room we helped accessorize…

Room accessorized by SET For Design

Room accessorized by SET For Design

Wishing you all the best for a happy and healthy holiday season and happy decorating in 2013!

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 🙂

Fall Back Into Style

It’s that time of year again.  Slippers, jackets, scarves and gloves all come out of the closet to keep you warm and cozy when the temperature dips. The same can be said for home decor.  Fall is the time to ‘warm up’ your home in more ways than one. Thermostats aside, there are lots of things you can do to make your home warm and cozy for autumn, plus maybe spruce things up at the same time.

The following are a few of my favourite ideas to help your home ‘fall back into style’ 🙂

  • Stay warm and snug as you curl up by a fireplace.  Any fire will do as there are SO many different types of fireplaces to choose from- both inside and out. Try an ethanol-burning one to keep it green at the same time. Ethanol fireplaces run either on gel or liquid fuel. According to Roger Gripton, vice-president of sales for Napoleon Fireplaces, the gel tends to burn blue, while liquid fuel produces a warmer, more yellow fire. While ethanol fireplaces produce a real flame, they require no venting. On the downside, the flame from ethanol isn’t as robust as that of a gas unit, which Gripton says can increase the temperature of a room or “zone” by as much as 10ºF. Ethanol units also cost more to run; a $25 bottle of fuel provides five or six hours of fire, while an electric fireplace runs for pennies an hour.

Fireplace IndoorsOutdoor Fireplace

  • Paint out doors, whether inside or out, with this season’s up & coming colours- raspberry and orange/red are two fabulous options.
Hallway done in fall colours- design by Sarah Richardson

Hallway done in fall colours- design by Sarah Richardson

Red Entry Door- photo by CI-Janet-Loughrey

Red Entry Door- photo by CI-Janet-Loughrey

  • Bring in fall foliage or harvests indoors- placing them sporadically on tables, bookcases or mantles.
Foliage brought indoors- design by Layla Palmer

Foliage brought indoors- design by Layla Palmer

Design by Beth Hunter

Design by Beth Hunter

  • Place acorns into a simple cake platter- it will add an instant autumn look to your kitchen!
Acorns fall decor- photo by Liz-Regalado

Acorns fall decor- photo by Liz-Regalado

  • Do it as the Europeans do… bedding that is 🙂 I was recently on a whirlwind 4-city tour of Europe. Every one of the beds we encountered were done the same way. They had two smaller duvets folded separately on a larger mattress. This gave the two of us our own duvets!  I loved it!! No more fighting over the covers or having one person warm while the other person is cold. You control your own temperature. I swore I would repeat this in my own home. Whether I have the guts to go against the norm is still to be seen.  Stark white looks a little too hotel-like for me, but with some patterned duvet covers I think it could look smart,European and “snug as a bug” at the same time 🙂

    Photo taken in Flemings Deluxe hotel Vienna

    Photo taken in Flemings Deluxe hotel Vienna

Design Highlights for 2012

Happy New Year!  While there certainly is not a shortage of trend lists for the 2012- you can find them everywhere at this time of year… in magazines, TV shows and other blogs :),  I’ve compiled a short (and hopefully sweet!) list of my own favourite ideas and trends you can think to implement in the year ahead.

Black and White: Straight from the runways, it’s making a comeback! Try it as a checkered floor in the hall, as hexagonal tiles in a bath, or in fabrics for chairs or throw pillows.  Here’s an example of a chair I re-upholstered in a damask pattern.

Chair in a Black & White Damask fabric

Soft Watercoloured Wallpaper: The subtle prints add handmade charm to a hall,bedroom or bath; or works to offset edgier looks in furnishings, such as industrial pieces.  Think of a floral sundress worn with combat boots… definitely makes a statement!

Photo taken during Kravet's Designer day

Weathered Kitchens: a reclaimed wood finish balances shiny metals and sleek countertops such as quartz, granite or concrete.  And I love the chalkboard wall!

Photo: VT Wonen
Photo: VT Wonen
Camelback Sofas: The classic sofa style with a signature centre hump is clean and unencumbered by a fussy skirt. Keep the legs straight and sophisticated.

Photo: Gwen sofa by Windsor Smith Home

Bird Themes Everywhere!: In shower curtains, bedding, pillows, on runways and home decor.

Photo: Style at Home

Bedspread fabric: Vintage Plumes by Robert Allen

And if that’s just a tad too much of a good thing, how about a simple pillow?  This one is from Dwell Studio (fabric also available at Robert Allen) and comes in a variety of colours.  It looks fantastic on its own, as it makes quite the statement.

Dwell Studio pillow in Vintage Blossom

Happy Decorating in 2012!