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Project >> Refined Living + Dining Room

IMG_7090I received the images from a photo shoot last week at one of my favourite recent projects. I’ll get the whole gallery loaded on to the website soon, but wanted to share a sneak peak of some shots I took that day.

These clients have such an elegant, clean style and it was so fun to work with them putting together their living room and dining room.

A big part of this project was the lighting. The home was built in the thirties and some of the lighting added over the years was not terribly respectful of the existing architecture and home.

We spent a lot of time looking for the right lighting and while our final picks do have a contemporary sensibility they could be mistaken as original to the home. The burnished brass and warm bronzes in the lighting also inspired a lot of the palette for the project.

The couple wanted a calm, inviting space where they could relax, but also entertain their friends for dinner parties. We set up the living room to draw people in when they enter the house and made sure the table could expand to seat eight when required.

A layered palette of neutrals was key to getting a calm energy and we and played around with the client’s existing art and collections in the styling to give it a bit of punch.

Storage was a major requirement for this client because older homes tend to be a bit short on it. We focused on furnishings that would provide that functionality for them.

The Bernhardt console with the antique brass base and carved silver doors that we placed in the living room is my favourite piece.

What are your favourite elements in this design?

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

imola

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?