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Happenings >> Calgary Home + Design Show

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The Calgary Home + Design Show is coming up in September and I will be participating in the Ask A Designer feature again this year.

Come to the show and bring me your design dilemmas. I love to help people solve problems in their homes.

I will be offering complimentary design consultations for show attendees at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 19.

I hope to see everyone there!

Happenings >> Confession

It’s been quiet on here the past few months. I’ve been thinking about this space and how I want to fill it going forward.

Here is a confession.

The blog was feeling like a chore to me. A really big one. I can only imagine how it feels to read something I’m not excited to create.

I am so excited about design and the work that I do. I am always excited to start a new project and I get incredible satisfaction from finishing one.

I love my clients. They value good design and see how it can improve their lives, they are curious, fun-loving, patient, realistic and have a great sense of who they are and what they like. They appreciate quality.

My clients don’t always know how to create a space that reflects all of them, but they know it when they see it. That’s why they trust me to create it.

I love a complicated design brief. I love to solve problems in a client’s home. I love to analyze a space and ask: what if…? I love to make a knotted up mess tidy.

A success to me is giving people spaces they can use and grow in and that give them joy.

Installation days are my favourite. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them. Walking into an empty shell and transforming it is such an amazing thing.

I always feel sick to my stomach before they begin and practically giddy by the end of the day as it all comes together.

These are the things that make my work exciting and rewarding. That’s what I want to talk about in this space. These are the stories I want to tell.

Design Inspiration

Design Inspiration

Today’s Design Inspiration is from designer Santiago Borray who says: “Design is like a mom, nobody notices her when she’s around, but everybody misses her when she’s not.” So true!

Shows + Finds >> Miles + May

Screenshot 2015-02-03 09.14.56Last week I was in Toronto for the 2015 Interior Design Show. It was whirlwind tour complete with a conference, supplier meetings, attending the Opening Night Party, show and trade talks as well as investigating new suppliers at a variety of stores and showrooms in Ontario.

One of my favourite furniture lines from the trip was from Miles + May Furniture Works.

The company is based in upstate New York and creates modern, handcrafted furniture from reclaimed, recycled and non-commercial sources.

I loved the dove-tail joinery on the drawers, the beautiful patina on the wood. The pieces they were showing at IDS were gorgeous.

This is the company’s A-Line server, which was my favourite piece in their show booth.

Technique >> Tips to assess a room

Screenshot 2015-01-27 12.58.18When I start working with a new client it’s often because they cannot decide where to start on a project. They know what they like and do not. They may have seen a few design elements or furnishings they love, but the process of deciding what to do next gets overwhelming.

Inspiration definitely figures in when deciding how to approach the design of a space, but there are also things that I do every. time. I go to a consultation appointment.

Great spaces are as much about a disciplined approach to design as they are about big ideas. Here are the tips to assess a room and the five things I am looking at when I advise clients how to proceed.

1/ Lifestyle

I ask a lot of questions about who lives there and what they like and need to do on any given day. What does their home need to support? What do they wish could happen, but are not set up to do?

I am also very specific. If a client likes to host parties, I want to know the average number of guests and whether it’s sit down or buffet. Those details change everything about what is suitable for that client.

They also make it possible to set an objective for the design so that everyone is working to the same goal.

2/ Layout

The shape and configuration of the rooms or room we are considering is also very important.

I am looking for traffic flow, scale, storage opportunities and view corridors. The layout also tells me important things about how sound flows through the home and the way the spaces currently — or could — flow together.

3/ Features

Most homes have existing architectural features and finishes that can lead the design, unless we are starting from plans.

I always note the details of these features such as window style, trims, flooring, railings and any existing millwork. The scale of these features is also important.

When I have a good understanding of what currently exists, I can make recommendations that will let any new design elements flow together to give a cohesive look, or what needs to change if a client wants a new direction.

4/ Materials

This is an important factor, but probably the least important because usually it’s easiest to change.

If a client has specific pieces of furniture, art or decor that they love, it’s important for me to know so we can make a plan for them.

I note the fabric, colour, size, metals, woods or stone that is in the space so that it can be repeated, amplified or downplayed as required.

5/ Lighting

One thing many clients overlook is the type and direction of their lighting. I am watching for access to natural light and direction (i.e. north, south, east, west), ambient lighting and task lighting. This is so important because it sets the tone and mood in a room.

Once all of these elements have been considered I can make recommendations on what to do in a space so that it flows together, makes a client feel at home and looks amazing.

Happenings >> Best of Houzz 2015

Screenshot 2015-01-19 21.43.46Guess what? I opened my inbox yesterday to find the sort of message that just makes a person happy.

I was voted Best of Houzz 2015 in both the Design & Customer Service categories by the readers. If you don’t know houzz it is a comprehensive resource for homeowners seeking information and ideas on all things home remodelling and design.

My work was voted most popular among the more than 25 million monthly users and so I am very flattered.

Receiving recognition for my design work feels pretty good, but I am really thrilled that my customer service stood out.

You can check out the shiny new badges and the reviews and portfolio that won at www.houzz.com/pro/forminteriors.

Design Inspiration >> Frank Lloyd Wright

Space Art Quote

 

The Design Inspiration for this week is from architect Frank Lloyd Wright who said: Space is the breath of art. I agree. It’s the punctuation of design. What do you think?

Shows + Finds >> Escape Pendant by LZF

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I’ve been working with a fun-loving couple who want to infuse ethically-sourced and environmentally sensitive choices into their home.

There is a lot to understand and learning about the available products and what it takes to manufacture them has been interesting for me.

One of the choices we are moving forward with is a pair of these Escape pendants over the dining table. They were designed by Ray Power, an Irish designer.

The criss-cross pattern on these contemporary lights will cast gorgeous light and shadow in the dining space and set the tone for the room. I recommended my client’s use two to balance the length of their dining table.

LZF Lighting in Spain manufactures the lights. All of the company’s veneers are forested under environmentally sustainable guidelines, and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Happy Holidays

Screenshot 2014-12-10 11.28.11We are off to enjoy family and friends this holiday season. The blog will be back the week of January 5. In the meantime, we want to wish you and your family the very best of the season!

Shows + Finds >> Rubik Console

Rubik Console

 

Redford House designed the Rubik console with form and function in mind. Behind the six doors, this functional mid-century, modern style cabinet has three storage compartments with adjustable shelving to maximize storage space.

I’m excited to be using this piece in client’s home. We’ve chosen to go with white doors and a washed grey case (the console is available in 26 different finishes).

Would you use this piece in your home and what function would it serve?