Make a Cozier Home with These Three Tips

 

Dealing with the dreary weather and chilling winds of February can be a trying experience. With spring still in the distance, it’s up to your home to provide the warm respite you need to get through the winter. With these handy tips, you can make your home the cozy getaway you need to get you through to spring.

Bring Warmer Colours Into Your Home

Colours have been proven to have a huge influence on a person’s mood. Take refuge from depressing weather forecasts and cold mornings by bringing some warmer colours into your home. Yellows, oranges, and certain shades of red can really brighten a room and bring a cozier feel to your home.  Fortunately, there are a wide assortment of decor accessories that will bring these colours into your home, such as coloured blankets or accent pillows for your couch, a decorative centerpiece for your coffee table, or perhaps a new table cloth for your dining table.

Gray sofa with colourful pillows and throw

Layers and Layers Home

Try a New Lighting Style

It may be a small tweak that you have never thought about before, but the way a room is lit can play a huge role in creating a warmer atmosphere. Lamps are a great way to illuminate a room and create a cozy, welcoming setting. If you are using lamps in your home, be sure to equip them with “Soft White” or “Warm White” light bulbs. These bulbs feature a slightly yellower tone that can help give your home a little bit of extra warmth. 

Introduce a New Scent Into Your Home

Trying out a new comforting scent is a great way to make your home feel cozier. Scented candles, in particular, are a great option worth considering! Besides bringing a relaxing glow to your living space, scented candles or diffusers are a fantastic way to create a cozier feeling to a room. Some great scents to check out include woodsy aromas like the just-cut forest fragrance Frasier Fir Candles or scents that offer a hint of cinnamon. One of my favourites is from Vancouver Candle Co – The North. It’s subtle, fresh and does not have an overpowering scent.  

If you would like help to create these cozy ideas in your home, give me a call and or set up an appointment through my email.

Text by Chris Harcus and Nancy DeVries

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Reveal of our Kitchen Renovation

Our kitchen renovation reveal is finally here!

Approximately 3 years ago, we started the renovation on our rancher-style home where we added a garage, created a larger laundry room with a side door entrance, extended our kitchen out into the backyard and renovated the main bathroom. Let’s just say the renovation which took months of hard work, sweat equity and patience did pay off. We are so happy with the end result and if you live through your own renovation, that is something you have to keep reminding yourself of. The months of disruption that you experience during the renovation is mostly forgotten when you are enjoying the end results of your dream kitchen or living space.

And it truly is our dream kitchen.

Kitchen Renovation: Before

If you want to appreciate how far it has come, here are some before photos.

It all started with us having drawings done by Mitchell Baker, owner of Karnak Pro Builders in North Vancouver. He envisioned a kitchen with a view of the forest behind our house, building with the original pitch line of the existing roof to create a grand indoor/outdoor living area that provided ample natural light.

Kitchen and back patio construction progress | Construction by Karnak Pro Builders and my husband Brad

Our designer friend Christina James helped us create the layout of the kitchen cabinets after I shared with her the look and feel that we wanted in the kitchen work zone.

Kitchen Renovation: After

The collaborative result is a light-filled kitchen that’s perfect for entertaining with friends and family, as well as a place to enjoy a morning coffee.

kitchen renovation | white lower cabinets with floating walnut shelves, invisible hood fan

After | Ice Mist wall colour | Kentwood flooring from Ethical Flooring

kitchen renovation

Kitchen after| Vaulted ceiling brings in natural light

kitchen renovation | Dining area with custom built window bench

Dining area with custom built window bench | IKEA table and chairs

kitchen renovation | walnut cabinets with inset white cabinets

Dining area | Walnut cabinets with white inset upper cabinets | Bocci 28 chandelier

kitchen renovation | angle top shaped window with view from kitchen sink

My favourite view. Can you spot my dog? | Aquabrass faucet |Photos by Maria Killam

For more photos and to read the blog that my designer friend Maria Killam wrote about our renovation, click here to go to her blog post.

To view more of my work, browse my Interior Design and Decorating Portfolio.

For more inspiration and behind-the-scenes photos, connect with me on Facebook!

 

Notes:

Construction by Karnak Pro Builders and Brad Stephen

Flooring from Ethical Flooring – Kentwood Brushed Acacia Natural

Countertops from Beyond Stone Design Ltd

Cabinet hardware from Cantu Bathrooms & Hardware

Cabinets by Norwest Architectural Millwork

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Fireplace Renovation With a New Custom Cabinet and Floating Shelves: Before and After

My client’s family room had a red brick fireplace that dominated the space and she wanted a change. Because of the odd size and the lack of a mantel, the fireplace seemed out of place and unfinished. And since the client wanted to upgrade to a remote-controlled energy-efficient gas insert, this was the perfect time to redesign the fireplace surround. A full fireplace renovation was in order. In the end, she wanted her fireplace to complement the look and feel of the rest of her home that we had updated and transformed over the years.

Custom cabinet and floating shelves with new fireplace surround

After

Fireplace Renovation With a New Custom Cabinet and Floating Shelves: Before

Here’s the before:

red brick fireplace surround before renovation

Before

full wall view with red brick fireplace

Fireplace wall before

A fireplace is always a focal point in any space. When choosing fireplace design materials, there are a few considerations: the overall aesthetic that the client preferred, the style of the home, and proper scale of the surround. What will hang above it (if anything) is an additional consideration, whether it’s a TV or decorative objects such as a mirror or artwork.

Fireplace Renovation With a New Custom Cabinet and Floating Shelves: After

For the fireplace surround, we decided on a light, neutral tone ledgestone tile from Julian Tile. The contractor, Vaile Long from All the Right Angles, did a fabulous job rebuilding the fireplace frame and tiling the surround.

fireplace ledgestone tile with wood mantel

I suggested that we create a built-in cabinet on one or both sides of the fireplace surround and the client opted to go with a built-in on the left side only since she already had a freestanding sideboard on the right side.

We talked about our options for the wall above the cabinet and whether we should design a full height box with shelves, have floating shelves or leave the space open for a large piece of art. In the end, we decided on floating shelves so my client could use the space to display photos, art, accessories and books.

pictures and vases on floating shelves

Floating shelves styled with personal items

The custom cabinets were built and installed by troico, based out of Coquitlam, BC. They really did an excellent job with the finishing of the cabinet and shelves. The client especially appreciated that they scribed the cabinet to the ledgestone tile of the fireplace surround.

built-in white cabinet with wood top next to fireplace

Cabinet built by troico

To keep the wood tones similar, we specified a close match of the wood stain colour for the mantel and the cabinet top from the client’s sideboard, and from the wood flooring. Years ago we had selected the wall colour, Dry Sage by Benjamin Moore, and the client still loved it so we left it as it.

We wanted the space to feel fresh and up-to-date while maintaining the style of the finishes to have a subtle nod to traditional roots. The medley of the white painted wood, the rich wood tones, and a classic stone finish accomplish just that.

Brown chair and new fireplace

Speaking of renovations, you’ll also want to check out how we transformed our outdated bathroom into a modern spa.

Want even more interior decor inspiration? Follow me on Instagram!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Screen Roller Shades: How They Work, and Which Type is Right for You

I get a lot of questions about screen roller shades.

I’d like to take some time to go over different types of screen roller shades, how they work, and what you need to consider before choosing one.

What do people mean when they ask for a blind that they can see out, but people can’t see in?

The blind that most people ask for is screen roller shades.

These type of blinds tend to be called roller shades, or solar shades, screen shades or those kind of shades that Starbucks has.

They are basically a mesh or screen material and they all have a different openness factor. Openness simply refers to how tight the weave is, which directly reflects the amount of light that is let in through the fabric. Here’s another way of thinking of it: the tighter the weave, the smaller the holes in the material. There are a range of material types that have small holes (tighter weave) or larger holes (looser weave). The smaller or fewer the holes, the less you can see through the material. The larger the holes in the screen, the more you can see through. Larger holes mean more sun can shine through and people can see through more at night time.

outside looking in through a solar screen shade

Outside looking in through a solar screen shade

Another way to put it is that this type of blind only exists in the daytime. When you are inside and it’s light outside, you can see outside through the blind. This is because it’s brighter outside than it is inside your house or condo. But at night time, when it’s bright inside and its dark outside, people can see what is the brightest, which is inside your home or condo; the same way that you can see the outside through your blind during the day.

That openness factor is defined by a percentage.

Openness visibility guide for solar shades

The most common range is 0-10%. 0 means that there are is no weave (no holes); it’s a solid material. This is used when you want to block all the light, we call it a blackout material. This is a great option for bedroom windows or TV/media rooms.  1% openness lets light through, but you typically won’t see objects outside. The holes are so small that you can’t see through to make out any identifiable shapes.  2-3% has slightly larger holes. This option is a good one for letting in light and for you to see the outline or the shape of objects outside. It gives you some privacy.

1 percent openness solar screen

A solar screen with 1% openness. Photo by Nancy DeVries

Next is 5%, which is great for when you have a view you want to see, but you want sun protection. You might have a lot of sun coming through and you want to have sun and solar heat protection. This screen will tone down the glare that is coming through the windows, so you can watch TV and sit in your bright room without wearing your sunglasses.

5 percent openness solar screen

A solar screen with 5% openness. Reduces sun glare while preserving the view. Photo by Nancy DeVries

Open roll roller shades in 5% solar shade from Hunter Douglas

Open roll roller shades in 5% solar shade by Hunter Douglas

Next openness range is 10-14%. Bigger holes, bigger views, best visibility. This screen only diffuses the sunlight, it doesn’t block the sun. It will soften the sunlight.  I like to suggest going with a black fabric which really does help tone down the glare. The black fabric will absorb the light. When the fabric is white, it reflects more light, so you have more brightness. The great thing about black fabric with the solar shade is that the eye sees through the black mesh material a lot easier than when it’s white, because it’s bright outside. You can hold up the two different coloured materials to see the difference.

What are some other advantages of screen roller shades?

The great thing about having roller shades on windows where you have a view is that when they are rolled all the way up, they roll onto the tube so there is no stack hanging down covering your window. The roller tube can be installed as is or it can be covered with a painted metal fascia or a fabric covered cassette headrail. The painted metal fascia can be square or curved, great for giving windows a clean, simple appearance. The cassettes are typically curved and covered in the same fabric as the roller shade. It is a softer, more decorative look for windows that might have drapery panels and or decorative moulding around the window. Both of these coverings are either 3” or 4” high, depending on the size of the roller shade.

screen roller shades

Screen roller shades give windows a clean, simple appearance.

Roller shades can be manually operated with a pull chain or motorized. When I say motorized, that means the shade has a motor in the tube and the blind is operated by you pushing a button on a remote. Simple, right?

Now when I say the motorized shades can be automated, that means that you can purchase a Hub (like a router) which will allow you to operate your motorized shades through an app on your smartphone or tablet. Most manufacturers have created apps that allow you to schedule times when you shades will operate. How cool is that? So, when you are away from home and the sun comes out and is shining into your home, warming it up and fading your hardwood floors, you can open the app on your phone and close your blinds.  So convenient!

These are some quick guidelines about screen roller shades. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at info@urbanaesthetics.ca

 

For all things related to window coverings, leave a comment below if you would like to receive the Hunter Douglas The Art of  Window Dressing brochure (British Columbia residences only).

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for even more design inspiration!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Bathroom Renovation Story: How My Husband and I Transformed our Vintage 60’s Bathroom into a Modern Spa

My husband and I moved into our rancher home 8 years ago—and while it had good bones and character, it was in need of some serious updates and modernization. We both agreed that a master bathroom renovation should be our first priority.

Before the Reno: A Tired and Out-of-Style Bathroom

The original 56 square foot ensuite built in the 60’s included a lilac coloured sink, bathtub and toilet. The grout and tiles on the countertop were stained and loose. The overhead lighting was inadequate and the bathroom lacked a door, making it completely open to the attached closet.

Ensuite before bathroom renovation on a budget

Shower/tub before

60's bathroom cabinet and lilac sink

Ensuite before reno

The dated tile in tub/shower enclosure desperately needed to be replaced, and not just for reasons of style. The dropped ceiling above the tub made the space dark and small.

The existing layout of the fixtures worked for us but instead of a bathtub, we preferred a barrier-free, (or curbless) walk-in shower with sliding glass doors.

During: The Process of Learning Where to Save

Putting in our own sweat equity for our renovations really helps with the budget, and an added bonus is that my husband is a carpenter. Our budget for this project was around $10,000 and I knew that was going to be tight.

The first savings that we had was purchasing our luxury shower kit on sale at Cantu Bathrooms and Hardware. Even before we had started the renovation we had purchased these pieces. I realize that not everyone is able to do this if you don’t know what the design is going to be, but since we were going to be tearing down to the studs in this bathroom, we could make this kit work in whatever configuration we came up with. Because we bought these items when we saw them on sale, the significant savings allowed us to purchase luxury pieces that we normally could not have afforded.

Dornbracht shower fixtures

Dornbracht rain shower and hand shower

The second savings I had was with the floor tile. Again, I purchased these tiles before we had started the renovation. I had received an email from a tile showroom that they were having a sale. Truthfully, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for but I had a feeling that I would know what I wanted when I saw it. I went to the sale knowing the square footage of the bathroom floor so that when I found something, I could confirm there would be enough tiles— an important tip to remember when buying tiles on sale. There’s a reason why they are on sale; stock may be low and they want to move the remaining tiles out of the warehouse.

shower floor porcelain linear tile

A third savings was that I was able to keep my Hunter Douglas Vignette Roman Shade blind in the bathroom window since we did not change the window. I love that the blind operates by holding the handle on the bottom rail, eliminating the use of pull cords. This type of blind is energy efficient by keeping the cold out and blocking the afternoon heat in the summer.

Vignette Shade from Hunter Douglas

Vignette Roman Shade from Hunter Douglas

And finally, we saved by doing the labour ourselves—from the demolition to the final coat of paint.

After: The Reveal and Finishing Custom Touches

I fell in love with the wall tile right away when I saw it at another tile showroom. They are a porcelain tile that look like marble, but at a fraction of the price of marble—and without the long-term maintenance.

The custom-made wall niche was designed and built, keeping in mind the size of personal hygiene bottles. It’s very important to review the size and number of bottles that you will use every day to ensure you have enough space on the shelf for them all. You don’t want to be picking up bottles from the floor when you could have them right beside you.

Budget saving - build your own shower niche and edge with quartz

Tiling the shower niche. We edged the niche with quartz.

walk-in shower with custom built wall niche in bathroom renovation

Walk in shower | Stool Crate & Barrel

Bathroom renovation walk in shower

Walk in shower with rolling glass door

The shower controls are conveniently positioned by the shower entry for ease of use. It does not have to be right under the rain shower. A hand-held showerhead is perfect for cleaning the shower and for when you just want to wash off your feet. The slightly sloping floor in the shower directs the water flow to the trough drain located along the side wall. We chose a sliding glass shower door from RONA since it is a narrow bathroom and every bit of room counts.

In-floor heating was my personal request because my feet are always cold in the winter. I wanted warmth and comfort wherever I’m standing in the bathroom, including the floor of the walk-in shower. We used the Nuheat Cable System in this bathroom because of the larger area that we needed to cover and we didn’t want to wait for a custom-built mat. When we renovated our main bathroom, we used the Nuheat Stand footprint cause it was a smaller foot print that was the same size as a standard mat.

My husband had the idea to have the wall-to-wall custom floating cabinets and I loved the idea. I chose a walnut laminate for the cabinets. I love the mid-tone colour of walnut and I find it adds warmth to the space. The doors and drawers are touch-to-open for a clean, minimalist look. The upper cabinet offers additional storage for toiletries.

Floating cabinets with motion activated LED lights in bathroom renovation story

Floating cabinets with motion activated LED lights below

Underneath the floating cabinet is a motion sensor light, with an optional colour changing feature which is useful as a night light or for ambient lighting when using the shower.

The white quartz countertop with a rectangular under mount sink and single lever faucet add to the minimalist style of this spa-like bathroom.

Dornbract single lever faucet, undermount sink

Single lever Dornbracht faucet

As a supplement to the recessed ceiling lights, the mirror mounted linear lights from Sonneman frame the single under mount sink, allowing the light to land where it is needed most. Luxe chrome bathroom fixtures add sparkle and functional style.

Bathroom renovation: Modern lights mounted on mirror

Contemporary linear lights mounted on the mirror

Bathroom renovation by Urban Aesthetics

And a final detail worth noting is that a pocket door now separates the ensuite from the master walk-in closet.

space saving pocket door in bathroom renovation

New pocket door. A great space saving feature.

My favourite features of this bathroom renovation are the curbless walk-in shower and how bright this room feels, even though it is a narrow space.

Have you renovated your out-dated bathroom? What was your best cost-saving purchase?

If you are struggling with selecting materials and products for your bathroom renovation, book a consult with a professional who can give you tips and ideas that could save you time and money.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest