Well thought out entries and exits can make a dramatic difference in your life. Here’s how…
The Calgary Home + Garden Show is starting next week and this year I’ll be participating in the Ask an Expert series.
You can come down and meet with me for a free consultation between 2 and 3 p.m. on Thursday, February 27.
Bring me your ideas, your questions and your interior design troubles. We can work out the solutions together.
See you there!
The piece I wrote for Avenue Magazine’s February issue is now out on newsstands, but you can read about each of the personalized spaces on the website, too. (All the links are provided below…)
Lighting is such an overlooked way to transform the feeling in a space. If the budget isn’t large, I always know I can can get maximum impact from swapping out the fixtures, or adding some new ones.
The sparkle of this mini-pendant by Fredrick Raymond would be the perfect touch to give a small room a touch of glamour and elevate things from ordinary to special.
People often assume that because I work as a designer I am judging the interiors of their homes. Honestly, I’m not. It’s rare that I think “nooooooo” when I enter someone’s home. Except, for this one thing.
Just before the holiday break I shared a sneak peak of a project I completed a while ago, but finally had photographed. I promised a few more shots in the new year and today I was able to get them ready to go up on the blog.
The homeowner prefers a traditional look and wanted to update her space to suit her family. We looked at creating a furniture arrangement for her living room that offers better traffic flow and access to the adjacent kitchen. We also worked with many of her existing pieces, like the sofa and tables. She had a pair of wingback chairs that were originally covered in different fabrics and used in other spaces in the home. We recovered them as a matched pair and brought them together in the living room.
An oversize, upholstered ottoman was designed for stashing toys and to function as a place to put up your feel and relax. It’s soft, so no hard corners for the children to get hurt on. It becomes a coffee table by placing a large tray on top when guests come to visit.
One of the challenges we needed to solve with the design of the entryway was how to create a contained landing zone in an open area. This beautiful burled wood console provides a place to set keys, change and paperwork. Inside, it is working hard housing a collection of mittens, scarves, tiny shoes and other accessories for her children.
What I like about the approach here is that the homeowner was not afraid to maintain her style, but she did think creatively about using the furniture to meet her families needs. She now has a home with a cohesive look that functions for her family.
What do you like best in the space?
If you’ve been reading the blog for a while you know that I’ve been looking at the various elements of design. The one I want to start the year off with is scale and proportion.
This element is the most important in terms of functionality in a space. It’s what makes a space flow well, feel comfortable and work for your lifestyle. When you get scale and proportion right, a room looks balanced.
The terms scale and proportion do have slightly different definitions, but they are often used interchangeably. A simple way to remember the difference is that scale is the size of something, and proportion is the size of something relative to something else.
I’ll give you an example. Several years ago my family rented a beach house for vacation. It was built by the owners and they were very tall so they had adjusted the cabinetry so the counters were raised up above the more common height of 3 feet.
It was scaled for the size of the homeowners, but our family is not as tall. We felt like we were navigating a space built for giants as we chopped vegetables at chest level and grabbed stools to reach the upper cabinets. Also, the higher cabinetry closed in the room making it feel much smaller. We felt a bit like hobbits who had left the shire.
When correct scale is observed a space works well and feel comfortable and un-cramped.
Proportion is less about comfort and more a tool for creating emphasis, variety and energy in a space. It’s also incredibly easy to get wrong and the best place to play around with it is with your decorative accents like art, lamps, mirrors, rugs and vases.
A formula that can be easily applied to determine the perfect proportions for one object in relation to another is the golden ratio of 1.62. Yes, it’s math. If one item is 1.62 times larger than another, they will look good together. It works.
However, don’t think that every object must be exactly proportional with the ones around it. This is a recipe for going crazy. Rather consider it a tool if you are stuck and need to decide what to do.
Here are some rules of thumb for getting scale and proportion right in your space:
>> use oversize accessories or accents to draw emphasis to an area like a table, hallway vignette or kitchen island
>> match the scale of your furnishings to one another, not necessarily the pieces, chunky sofas go with chunky accent chairs and delicate side tables need delicate lamps
>> match the scale of things that need to balance one another out like the sidetable and the lamp that sits on it, or the sofa and the accent chairs
>> mix it up a bit because when everything is the same size nothing stands out and that is what gives a space personality
>> too much variation starts to look like clutter, you can instantly improve a space by grouping items of like size or material together so they give the impression of being one object instead of many
>> a common trick to create more impact in a room is to hang the drapery at the height of the ceiling instead of the windows to give the illusion of height, or to run drapery all the way to the edge of the walls even if the window is not that large
>> when working with scale start with the largest item in the room and build out from there
I’ve created a pinterest board with a few examples of scale and proportion in action for you to check out. What do you like? What are your biggest design challenges when it comes to scale?
You can read my other posts on design elements here: