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TECHNIQUE >> Before You Start

Designing a new space, or enhancing an existing space with fresh decor can be intimidating. The feeling of overwhelm can totally paralyze the design process. One way to overcome this feeling is by taking the time to plan and asking yourself the right questions.

Here are a few things to consider:

1/ Take time know what inspires you. This may mean taking a walk in nature, finding an inspiring mood board on Pinterest or getting lost in Houzz ideabooks or a home magazine. Be sure to take note of the things that speak to you. This is a personal process, but understanding what you like and don’t will make the decisions easier down the road. It also makes it easier for professionals and sales staff to make suitable recommendations for you because they are not guessing.

‘When I am in this space I want to feel…’

2/ Let your life influence your design process. Think about the attitude you have toward to space. How does it need to function for you? The more specific you can be about those needs the better your final design will be. For example, don’t say: I want to entertain. Say: I want to have dinner parties for 6 to 8 people, or I want to host Grey Cup parties.

‘I am going to make the following changes to better reflect my style and my needs…’

3/ Map it out. It is easy to move furniture and cabinetry on paper. It is messy, time consuming and often expensive to do it in real life. This is why I strongly recommend drawing things. It gives you a sense of how everything works together, and to analyze whether the space will meet the goals you have set for your lifestyle.

‘Activities that must happen in this room…’

Have you experienced design paralysis? What has helped you overcome this feeling?

Living-Room

Shows + Finds >> Imola Chair

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A modern take on the wingback chair, the Imola chair by BoConcept demonstrates where modern-style meets retro. Designed by BoConcept’s Henrik Pedersen, this iconic piece was inspired by the lines on a tennis ball.

This piece of furniture could be easily made part of a living room, bedroom or office. Recently we used this piece to complete a mid-century library. I can’t imagine a more cozy place to curl up an read a good book, what about you?

Design Inspiration >> Henry Ford

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Happenings >> Happy Fright Night!

IMG_6808I’ll admit that Halloween is not my favourite holiday decor-wise, but sometimes you’ve just got to embrace the kitch.

Things around here are getting spooky. The skeleton garland is hung. The wreath of doom is in place. Bring on the ghosts and goblins!

Happy Fright Night to you!

Design Inspiration >> Jean-Paul Sartre

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Shows + Finds >> Zinnia Handles

ZinniaOne of my current projects is for a family with contemporary tastes who are living in a 100-year-old house. They value the heritage and charm of the home, but don’t want to recreate the interiors that would have worked a century ago. This is a very fun design challenge.

Recently we installed a built-in bench seat with six drawers at the front of the house. These lovely handles are the final touch we’ll add to the piece. I love the antique brass and ceramic details. They echo the home’s existing lighting and will make the new built-in appear original to the house.

Technique >> Online Art Sources

Original artwork makes a big difference in creating a personal space. It’s something I highly recommend people include whenever they can and it doesn’t have to be Monet to be original.

There are many artists doing excellent work and at range of price points. The most important things about selecting artwork is to understand what you like.

It’s not as intimidating as it sounds:

1/ Educate yourself by visiting galleries — you’ll find people very interested in talking about art and artists. Look at the art. Decide what you like. Are there mediums that you really enjoy? Painting, prints, photography, collage, sculpture, wood cuts. There are so many choices.

2/ Identify artists that you like. Whose work are you draw to over and over again?

3/ Remember that how you frame and hang artwork will make a difference in the impact it gives you.

When gallery pieces are not in the budget, here are list of my go to sources for great, original prints and inspiration:

20 x 200

Mammoth & Co. 

Etsy

Kindergallery

Minted

What are your favourite art sources? Please share them in the comments below!

Design Inspiration >> Barry Dixon

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Yours + Mine >> Avenue Decor Feature

Avenue September 2014

The September issue of Avenue magazine is out and the story I did on a spectacular home in St. Andrews Heights is the decor feature.

The house was built for Wendy and Chris Chamberlain and the finishes and are warm, natural and light. I loved the stone work and that the house was architecturally-driven.

Every space in the home has a clear purpose and flows together.

The interiors were done by the duo of McIntyre Bills, an established studio featuring the work of James McIntyre and Ronald Bills.

You can pick up a copy of the magazine around town, or view the digital issue. The story starts on page 200.

I would love to hear what you think of this home. Which features are your favourites?

Yours + Mine >> Summer’s Over!

Summer 2014The lazy days of summer are over. Our family had one of our best summers, ever. We hiked. We biked. We played on the beach and visited with friends. It was great and just the break we all needed.

Now, it’s back to routine.

However, before all that gets going and life takes over, I thought I’d do something I don’t normally do and share some of the highlights of our holiday time with you.

They included the first big elevation hike for my children (950 ft!) and a solo paddle down the Columbia River that I’ve wanted to try for four years.

We got our youngest riding on two wheels this year and she’s now comfortable on a trail geared for first-timers. We also did a tent camping trip to universal applause.

It’s very exciting to re-connect with these activities that have been harder and — let’s be honest — not as much fun while the children were very young.

I hope your summer was a great one as well and would love to hear some of the highlights!