Use wallpaper to style up your home

Wallpaper today is not your grandma’s wallpaper. It’s now trendy to use wallpaper as a way to style up your home in a way that’s unique and pretty cool.

Add style to your boring white walls

Recently I helped a client find wallpaper for their downtown condo. The boring builder’s white walls did nothing for this modern space. We looked through several wallpaper books and our final selection was quick and decisive because they just seemed perfect for the space; a zig zag pattern in metallic soft gold for the bathroom and a wide horizontal stripe for the hallway and living room.  Once we selected the wallpaper, we matched up a paint colour for the other walls.

 

wallpaper and paint swatch

Wallpaper final choices with paint sample

Wallpaper has been ordered, received and ready for installation!

 Wallpaper rolls

JF Fabrics Wallcoverings – Calligraphy Collection

Create an accent wall

In the living room we decided to do a feature wall and chose the wall behind the sofa to be wallpapered.

wallpaper behind sofa

Before & After Living room wall

Define your spaces

In the bathroom all the walls were wallpapered to give it a dose of oomph. And the long wall in the hallway needed some drama which is exactly what the wide horizontal stripe wallpaper does to this space.

Bathroom and Hallway

Before & After Bathroom and Hallway

The client really liked how the wallpaper transformed the look and feel of the condo. The wallpaper defines the various areas in the small condo and personalized them.

What do you think? Are you looking to add some style to your condo?

Related links:

Small space condo furnishing

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Smaller With Style – A Bathroom Renovation

For the last year, my husband and I have been immersed in a large-scale renovation on our ranch-style home. It all started with the removal of our carport, and it progressed into the addition of an attached two-car garage, mudroom/laundry room, kitchen addition and bathroom renovation. In this post I will share with you the progress and completion of the bathroom renovation, and in future posts I will describe other parts of the project.

The plan

Our plans to create a larger, well laid out kitchen involved making this bathroom smaller as they shared a common wall.  We moved the wall between the two rooms 16 inches into the bathroom space, meaning the bathtub was moved to the end wall by the window. That left the space for a vanity/countertop to became about 1/3 of its original size.

Figure 1 Layout: before on the left and after on the right. Not to scale

Figure 1 Layout: before on the left and after on the right. Not to scale

We already had a BainUltra therapy bathtub, which was purchased at a clearance sale years ago at CANTU Bathrooms and Hardware and let’s just say, I’ve been waiting a very long time to use this bathtub.

For the new floor tile, I really had no idea what style, shape or colour I wanted, but I knew that when I saw it I would know. Isn’t that true for a lot of our decorating decisions? My clients are way better at telling me what they don’t like than what they do like.

I went to Tierra Sol in Burnaby to start my search for tile inspiration and there’s where I found both the floor tile and the wall tile for the shower. I couldn’t believe that I found what I wanted the first time out! Honestly, that rarely happens.

Floor tile – Candia di Cava hex tile with the shower wall tile and Godmorgen IKEA cabinet door.

Floor tile – Candia di Cava hex tile with the shower wall tile and Godmorgen IKEA cabinet door.

Tiling Process

Here is a progress photo after the hexagon floor tile was installed.

Floor tiles not grouted

Once all the tile was installed we had to pick the grout colour. Here’s a tip to remember when selecting grout for your next tiling project: when grout is installed and dried, it ends up looking lighter than the grout sample.

tile and grout

 

Once the shower walls were grouted, we had the tiler finish off the bottom of the niche and window sill with a custom cut piece of quartz. Using quartz for your ledge allows you to customize  depth/width of your sill. We opted for a slightly deeper surface, great for the larger size shampoo/conditioner bottles that we tend to buy.    

niche with blue accent

 

Door or no door

Another decision we had to make was whether we wanted shower doors or a shower curtain. The tub is used mostly for relaxing and soaking, and many styles of doors can make an awkward configuration. We didn’t want to go with a frameless glass door as this would mean that there would be a stationary panel on the edge where the controls are. With that configuration, we wouldn’t be able to reach around it to turn on the water to fill the tub without having to step into the tub. Also, I just wasn’t feeling the love for the bi-pass shower door systems because that would mean there would be a frame on the edge of the tub. So we opted for a shower curtain and I love how the fabric of the curtain adds softness to the bathroom.

The choice of going with a self-assembly flat-pack vanity instead of a custom one was based on budget for the most part; and, if I’m being truthful, that other part was because I was tired of making decisions. When you are renovating, the amount of decisions you have to make is exhausting isn’t it? I can see why people hire interior decorators/designers when they renovate their homes. 😉

We decided on the Ikea Godmorgen sink vanity in the walnut finish. What this piece lacks in size relative to our old vanity, it makes up for in simplicity and ease of assembly and installation.

Floating vanity cabinet from IKEA

Floating vanity from IKEA

The Aquabrass hand shower/tub filler set was another item purchased at CANTU.  Since the tub was mostly going to be used for soaking in, I wanted a hand shower (instead of a stationary rain shower) which makes for easy tub cleaning.

shower rail set

 Bathroom renovation completed

Bathroom renovation completed

We are very happy with this bathroom renovation. As intended, the new tub is wonderful for long, relaxing soaks. The space feels fresh and modern, while still fitting with the style of our 60’s rancher-style home.

Are you dreaming of a bathroom renovation or bathroom makeover? A great way to start is to book a consultation with a design professional and an idea book of bathroom photos and products that you love.

For more inspiration, check out my bathroom inspiration ideabook on Houzz or my dream Bathroom board on Pinterest.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Seven Stylish Treatments for your Kitchen Sink Window

In my childhood house, the kitchen sink had no window over it, only a mirror. Even at a young age, I imagined how much better it would be to have a window with a view, providing distraction from the daily drudgery that is dish washing.

Clients usually ask me for ideas for their kitchen window coverings that have unpleasant aspects or a lack of privacy. Happily, the house I live in now does have a window over the sink and I love looking out to my back garden. This window doesn’t need a covering for sun protection or privacy, but I sometimes find myself thinking of how I would dress it if I needed to.

Here are seven stylish treatments for your kitchen sink window to make it not only functional, but stylish:

1. Valances: padded, awning and swag styles.

A valance is a window dressing that covers the top portion of the window. Styles range from fabric-covered padded boards to dressy swags to flat straight-cut valances. A valance is usually mounted on the outside frame of the window, allowing for a privacy blind or shade to be mounted underneath.

 

Valance photo collage

Pinterest and Urban Aesthetics

2. Roman shades

Roman shades can be made as a valance (decorative) or as an operable shade. This classic design works well in both traditional and modern kitchens. Custom Roman shades can be made with your choice of fabric to bring colour and elegance to your kitchen.

Maria Killam's roman shade

Maria Killam’s roman shade

3. Bamboo/woven grass shades

This is a great way to add a natural woven texture to your kitchen décor. A bamboo or woven grass shade filters the light and provides privacy. It can roll up under a valance or fold up like a Roman shade. Made from natural woods, reeds, bamboo and grasses, they are unique in that over time they attain a one-of-a-kind finish, like other wood features in your home.

Hunter Douglas Woven Woods

Woven woods roller shades

graber-woven woods

Roman shade woven woods

 

4. Stained glass window panel

This idea is practical and beautiful.  Stained glass windows have been used as decorative accents for hundreds of years. Choose the panel in a size to cover as much or as little of the window as required to hide the view or provide privacy, and in a design that provides the colour and style that complements your kitchen. As my friend who provided this photo of her window says, “While I love the view of my neighbour’s yard, this allows them some privacy. I don’t feel like a Peeping Tom, and I still get beauty and natural light.”

Photo by Sheilah H.

Photo by Sheilah H.

5. Shutters

Vinyl shutters are one the best options for window coverings in high moisture areas. They can be wiped clean and are incredibly durable in a kitchen environment. The second image below shows how this style of shutter can provide privacy when the bottom half is left closed, while still allowing light in by leaving the top half open.

shutters on kitchen sink window

Hunter Douglas Palm Beach shutters

 

Luxaflex shutters

Luxaflex shutters

6. Light filtering shades

While you may want privacy, you likely don’t want to block out all the light that comes through the kitchen window. This is where I recommend a light filtering polyester roller shade or honeycomb shade. They are easy to clean, easy to operate, and the honeycomb shades can be ordered with the top down/bottom up feature so you can lower just the top of the shade, allowing you still to see out your window.

Top down/ bottom up honeycomb shades

Top down/ bottom up shades

Sheer screen roller shade

Sheer screen roller shade

7. Shelves and plants

What I like about this option is that you can have plants do what they do best: grow in a moist area, provide shade and give you nourishment. Glass shelves secured to ledges in the window frame give you the perfect area to grow herbs or your plant of choice. And the best part is that you won’t forget to water them!

 kitchen-window-herb-garden orchids as window dressing

What is YOUR kitchen window wearing?

If you would like more information or even an free estimate regarding a treatment for your kitchen sink window, give me a call.

For more inspiration, check out my pinterest board.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Hire a professional to help you deal with an unexpected mishap in your home

There’s no such thing as a good time for a burst pipe or any other unexpected disastrous mishap in your home, but when you hire a professional decorator to help and assist in the recovery process, you can save time and stress! Let me give you an example:

Recently, a long-time client of mine woke up to flooding caused by a burst water pipe in an upstairs guest room. Although much of the damage was confined to the guest room, water also flooded into the rooms below, affecting family room, living room, dining room and kitchen.

Before_during

Family Room before and during the restoration process

I have worked with this client since 2005, assisting her to choose paint colours for her whole home, and select and purchase custom furniture, window treatments, light fixtures and other décor accents. Our professional relationship proved very useful during this stressful event.

Below is the redecorated family room with new silver drapery hardware from JF Fabrics, drapery panels made with fabric from Maxwell Fabrics, and new wall colour from Benjamin Moore Paints CSP 830 Peaceful Garden.

Drapery panels on FR windows

Drapery panels and window bench cushion after renovation. Photo by Tracey Ayton Photography

Insurance and restoration companies often aren’t staffed with decorators who are experts in design, fabric, paint, and how to oversee the making of custom pieces that reflect a homeowner’s style. My client suggested to her restoration company that they bring me on board because she knew I could make sure that the items that needed to be replaced would be of the same quality as those we had originally installed. She also knew I had her information on hand, had her style in mind, and could supply the original purchase paperwork to make this process faster and smoother.

For example, years earlier we had chosen a beautiful light fixture with a lovely amber shade, and my client wanted to replace it when it was ruined in the flood. I still had the product code and contacted the light company to reorder the same style and the same colour. The salesperson confirmed the product via catalog photo and model number. I was assured the same fixture was on its way.

However, after almost six weeks of waiting, the fixture arrived and the “amber” shade was actually a reddish colour! Also, the size of the crystals was different (see photo below – original crystals on the right). The numbers matched, but the product had been revised and the original amber colour was no longer available.

chandelier mismatch crystals

I handled the situation by returning the fixture and taking my client shopping to find a new light that she loves.

Chandelier

 

Situations such as the light fixture can be hard to for a homeowner to handle on their own. It can be difficult and stressful to deal with wholesale companies or manufacturers when something goes wrong. I can handle the stress and deal with the bumps in the road for the homeowner.

I have professional relationships with furniture and design companies and their salespeople. I’ll visit the workrooms, check on the fabric, re-order and re-do things on behalf of my client. I can help speed the restoration and redecoration process so that a client isn’t living with dust and grime for what can feel like forever. It comes down to having a history of experience with my clients and connections in the decorating business that representatives from a restoration or insurance company just won’t have.

Working with the same professional decorator over time also assures that when something is redesigned, due to a change in preference or an unexpected problem such as a burst pipe, it’s easy to keep elements of the previous design and refresh other parts, such as paint colours or window treatments, to update a room. We were able to do that in the guest bedroom. Originally the walls were yellow and had no drapery panels. Now the walls are BM AF 515 Exhale (ironic don’t you think?) and match the drapery panels that were moved there from the master bedroom.

Drapery by UA1

When designs are classic and true to the style of the home, updating here and there is much simpler. And it’s exciting for me as a decorator to see how a client’s style can change over time.

If mishap does happen, be sure you know your insurance contacts, and consider hiring a professional like myself to save you time and stress in the recovery period.

I wish you a happy and prosperous 2015, and may all your renovations be planned!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

How remote control blinds can allow you to relax in your home

So you’re curled up on the couch with your favourite drink and your snuggle buddy (mine is my dog, Zoe) – ready to watch that highly-anticipated movie, ready to truly relax, when you suddenly realize that the glare on your screen means you need to close the window coverings! You could get up, ruining the comfortable little nest you’ve made for yourself on the couch. Or… you could close your motorized, remote control blinds without even leaving your seat! Wouldn’t that be nice?

Couple-Watching-UP-TV1

Automated motorized window covering products include drapery tracks (that roll from left to right across the window), solar screen or fabric pleated shades (that move up from the bottom), and even shades that move from the top down.

remote control blinds

Any motorized blind can respond to your command by the push of a button on a wall switch or a remote control.You can even move the shades with your favourite mobile device! For example, Hunter Douglas provides an app for Apple products that allows full control from your iPhone or iPad. hd_app_1_0

Some manufacturer’s automated shades can have a timer that can be set to respond to the time of day, a pre-set room temperature, or even the position of the sun. This means the blinds can:

  • automatically close to stop the sun’s glare from damaging or discolouring furniture and artwork
  • open in cold weather to keep your heating bills down
  • close in warm weather to keep your cooling bills down
  • open in the morning to provide a pleasant wake-up call
  • close when you’re away to prevent anyone from seeing in

The possibilities are endless. Just imagine if you have a motorized shade in your children’s rooms… While you are in the kitchen enjoying your morning coffee, you realize it’s late and you still can’t hear your kids getting up for school. To help them wake up, you pick up your iPad, and with a single swipe of your finger, voila!, their blinds are opened without you even having to step foot in their room!

In all of these great explanations why motorized shades are so convenient and easy to operate, the number one reason why most of my clients ask about motorized shades is because their furniture, or even their teenager’s pile of clothes, is blocking the access to the blind’s pull cords.

Remote control blinds

In spite of all these benefits, you might think that the cost of automatic blinds would outweigh the practical application. However, over the years they have become more and more affordable, as well as user-friendly. Furthermore, their cost can be off-set by the long-term energy savings from decreasing both your heating and cooling bills. There are numerous companies that provide excellent automatic systems, including:

With the right remote control blinds, you can make sure your home gets the light—or shade—it needs in a way most convenient for you.

If you would like an estimate on motorizing your window coverings, contact me through my website.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest