Yours + Mine >> Making the bed creates happiness

BedmakingGretchen Rubin is an author I admire. If you don’t know her she wrote the The Happiness Project, wherein she spent a year trying out the wisdom of the ages to find greater happiness in her own life. It’s created a bit of a thing for her with international bestsellers and the like. She has a lot of interesting and valuable things to say.

Something Rubin talks about are Foundation Habits, which are habits that tend make you more effective in everything you do. Creating external order is one of them and it’s kind of a big deal for me.

A routine I steadfastly stick with is making the bed. It not only looks nice, it signals a transition from the lounge-y, slow-moving mood of waking up to the more focussed energy required for the busy days of learning and working and playing that my family grinds out.

For me, this two-minute daily ritual is essential. What routines do you use to create external order? What do you think might make a difference in your home and life?

Shows + Finds >> Classic Fun

144028JO_441_1Two of the biggest trends in the design world at the moment are velvets and the colour teal. Just like Hansel, they are so hot right now.

I found them in one delicious package on this bow back chair from the new Kate Spade Home collection. I love the detailing of the back and the whimsical lines on this piece.

It’s classic fun all the way.

Yours + Mine >> Setting your design budget

design budget

I get a lot of questions about setting your design budget for a project. Sometimes clients are reluctant to share or set a budget because they have no idea what it should be for what they have in mind, or they are afraid to provide a number in case the designer tries to spend every. single. penny. they have. (Mwah, ha, ha…)

Joking aside, I do get it. We all work hard and want to be as efficient and effective with our dollars as we can. I know I do.

An important part of the service I provide is helping people make realistic decisions about how to achieve or revise their goals based on the dollars they have to work with.

A fairly simple approach for working out what you might be looking at budget-wise is an exercise I take people through when I do in-home consultations.

You can work it out on your own too if you have the time to do the research.

We sit down and itemize every single thing we’ve discussed doing in the space and put a ballpark range around the costs to achieve an agreed level of quality for each one.

At the end of this exercise, a few chairs, dining tables, a console, some lighting, a new backsplash, custom drapery, a wall treatment and finishing accessories can really add up. It is often an eye opening exercise.

Once you recover from the shock, you can start to make decisions about where it makes sense to spend up and where you can save a few dollars. You can also decide on logical ways to break things up into phases if doing everything at once is not an option.

It’s worth remembering that budgets are not a measure of worthiness, they are a measure of resources. It’s good to know what is and is not available so that everyone is on the same page.

Yours + Mine >> Classic, Graphic Kitchen Reno

Island Detail low res

I finally had a recent kitchen reno project photographed and am excited to share the result here with you.

We gave this cozy family kitchen a classic and graphic makeover. Picking up on the unique moulding that frames the space, we added a 4-inch quartz backsplash to give the small room more dimension. The graphic backsplash makes a bold statement.

We also up-sized the island stone slightly to allow the homeowner to seat her three children. A soothing neutral paint colour was was selected to play off and highlight the tones of the wood floors.

You can see the whole project over on my portfolio, or read about it online at Avenue Magazine.

Confessions >> Happy Fourth Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary


Thanks to the magic of LinkedIn, I have just learned that Form Interiors is celebrating its fourth anniversary. Four years!

I remember in the early days of this business looking ahead at all the work to create and build a design business and feeling a little queasy. You know what? It’s been a blast. There have been some really great days. Like client installs. I think I’ve mentioned before right here how happy these days make me. Winning Best of Houzz for Design and Service was pretty great, too.

There have also been some really low, lows. The day a shipper lost the truck carrying a client’s custom rug and couldn’t tell me for over a day where it was or whether they would find it was one. Seriously, they lost a truck! Did I mention it was carrying a custom rug? So. Stressful. I’ve learned a lot of grace when holding it together and handling those situations.

Mostly, I’m just blow away at how fast the time has gone and how many projects have been completed. I’m excited, too.

There are lots of new things on the horizon. We are kicking off a couple of very fun new projects. There is a new website in development for January. And, it’s looking like there may be some new faces on the team, too.

A million thanks to the great clients who have made it possible and the wonderful roster of suppliers I’ve been able to build. These are the people that make this work so rewarding.

I think I’ll have a cupcake and celebrate. Happy Fourth Anniversary!

Yours + Mine >> Transitional Living Room

Transitional Living Room 2

One of the things I love the most about my work is giving people spaces that reflect who they are and what they love. This transitional living room project was a great project in that sense.

The homeowners love to entertain, travel and collect art. They also have a young family. We created this bright family space to encourage conversation and maximize seating.

This space needed to function for hard-wearing family living and easily transform into an adult space for entertaining. We built on the home’s existing neutral palette and craftsman-style with tailored furnishing featuring show-wood details. The room was styled with a very subtle Asian-influence using a custom zen garden, and accessories collected by the homeowner’s when travelling.

You can see the full project in the portfolio.

Shows + Finds >> Perfect Guest Bed

diplomat-modern-sleeper-sofa-olive-3-4I am currently crazy for this perfect guest bed by Blu Dot. If you’ve ever struggled with keeping a guest bedroom that is rarely used, or just don’t have the space this sofa is the. best. thing. ever!

The Diplomat Sleeper Sofa features stylish lines from the front, side and back and folds out into a queen-sized bed without a bar to jab guests in the kidneys all night long.

Guests get a generously-sized bed and you get to use it the rest of the time.

And, did I mention that it looks great?

Yours + Mine >> Hiring for a Renovation

How to Hire for a Renovation

Our family has recently decided to re-arrange some of our living spaces. Moving bedrooms and offices around to make better use of our space for the phase our family is currently in.

It’s created a fair bit of upheaval, but seems to be working well now that we are settling into the new configuration of our home.

One of the things I love about our house is that this kind of flexibility is possible. However, I know that some houses need more drastic changes to suit the needs of the people who live there.

I wrote an article for Avenue in June 2015 about just that subject. How to Hire for a Renovation is a guide for homeowners on who does what, how to vet them and the payment models that are used.

What things do you wish you could change about your home?

Happenings >> Waiting with Kate Spade

Waiting with Kate Spade

Last week I spent over an hour waiting for an installer to show up for a scheduled and (twice) confirmed appointment. It happens. Not often, but it does. I entertained myself taking selfies of my new metallic Kate Spade kicks — as shown above — and hitting refresh on my email looking for an update.

While I waited the next trade arrived to do the work they could only complete after the first trade was finished. Except, when the second trade arrived the work was not even started because the first person was now over an hour late. Among all the waiting the homeowner arrived back to the house.

When the installer did arrive — with apologies for the circumstances beyond her control that lead to the lateness — she got to work. Myself, the second trade, the homeowner and the nanny all watched as technical challenges developed with the install. Awkward. They were eventually resolved, but it made for some tense moments.

The client thanked me for being there to ask the right questions and problem solve. It reminded me that the work we do as designers — holding the client’s vision and creating a design and path to achieve it — is a specialized expertise.

We understand how the industry suppliers work, who is responsible for what elements of a job, what effect and function will be created with our decisions, how to communicate what needs to take place and how to evaluate the quality of the work and project manage it to completion. Oh, yes, we also make it look good.

Occasionally, I question whether I really need to babysit the details so closely.

Last week reminded me, I do.

Happenings >> Calgary Home + Design Show


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!