Nancy’s pick of Design Apps for your mobile devices.

With technology and the accessibility of mobile devices, the selection of information that is available through apps is overwhelming, but also very exciting. App, a short form for “application”, typically refers to software used on a smartphone or mobile device such as the Android, iPhone, iPad or BlackBerry.

And in the vast world of apps, there are countless categories and options available. So I thought I would give you a short description of some design apps for your mobile devices that will fully digitize your honey-do list. And these apps might just provide the incentive your gadget-loving partner could use to tackle that list!

Color Capture Benjamin Moore – Free

I’m going to start off this list with one of my favourites — even though it does have the potential to put me out of a job!

This iPhone/iPad app gives you the ability to match up colours from anything that you can snap a photo of. Simply take a picture with your device within this app and it will create a colour palette from Benjamin Moore paint colours. In the image below, you can see the photo I took of the Joan Miró print that is in my office, along with some perfect colour matches that were selected for it.


Home Depot – Free

When it comes to finding what you need, the Home Depot app will help you locate the items you need at a store nearby. So now instead of asking someone in the orange apron, you can just ask your mobile device. Too bad this app can’t mix up your can of paint.


I.D. Wood  – $4.99

This is perfect for those who work with wood in various applications. The app will help you identify 200 different wood species (like an wood identification book would have) with full screen photos and detailed description of the uses and look of the wood, all on your smartphone. It also gives you information such as wood origin, hardness, durability and common uses.


Houzz Interior Design Ideas — Free

I love this website! While I use it for my own inspiration, it also allows me to create digital ideabooks that I can share with my clients who are looking for photos that will help bring their ideas to life. With over 1,000,000 high-quality interior design images, Houzz is a one-stop shop for design inspiration. Here’s the link to my Houzz ideabook.


Home Improvement Calcs — $1.99

This app has over 115 calculations and unit conversions that you can use for any sort of do-it-yourself home improvements. For example, it will help you calculate the amount of materials that you need to frame a house, insulate your attic, wallpaper an accent wall in your bedroom or build a straight staircase. And more! It’s the perfect thing for the weekend warrior in your life.


MagicPlan — Free

The MagicPlan app measures your room just by you taking photos of that room. You can adjust and edit the plans and the measurements can be in metres or feet. You can save your layouts and email them to yourself for your records. It takes a little time to learn how to use, but for the price — free — it’s well worth the time.


Sketch Arm – 3D Closet Designer — Free

Sketch Arm is a tool that lets you create a fully customized closet — every organized person’s dream come true! You can create compartments for your hanging items, organize your shoes and add accessories. It did take me some time to figure out how to organize the closet, but after looking at photos of other closet designs, I was able to design my dream closet.

Below is a photo of my first attempt. What features do you want in your dream closet?


iHandy Level — Free

And now that you’ve designed your latest DIY project with your home design apps, this level app will make sure you start your home project on the level.



In addition to these apps, there are countless apps from furniture companies that feature catalogues of their collections such as  Restoration Hardware, Ikea, Norwalk Furniture, Design Within Reach, Bo Concept, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, just to name a few.

I’d love to hear from you what apps you like to use, whether they’re tools you use every day, or fun apps that help you dream. Share your favourites by leaving a comment below.



‘Couchsourcing’: The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

When searching for the perfect sofa, people often get stuck on colour and fabric choices and miss the most important aspects of all: size and shape.

The critical first step that’s easy to miss is knowing the measurements of your entry doors or elevator openings. The most stylish sofa imaginable won’t look as cool on your lawn as it will in your living room. So be prepared before going to the showroom or warehouse by writing down your room size and entry point measurements.

Step two is to think about how your sofa will be used. Will two people lounge on it or four? Do you like your sofas firm or plushy soft? Will the dog or cat claim a seat each night, or will this sofa only be used during that much-loved annual visit from your in-laws?

The third step is to look at how the sofa will work within the layout of the room. You need to consider the style and size of all the other furniture pieces in your space to know if the sofa you want will fit in there too. The famous architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright was once quoted as saying some part of his body had been black or blue all of his life from too much intimate contact with his furniture.

Step four is the fun one: researching what kind of styles you like! Here’s my current list of available styles that you might like for your home:

The Chesterfield sofa (yes, this is an actual style description, not just another word for couch that your grandmother would use) involves tight tailoring and tufting with a high back and arms. This particular style is making a modern comeback. Whichever material you choose to use, go with a solid colour instead of a pattern.

Steven & Chris – Decor-Rest

The English Classic Three Seater Sofa has low arms and a deep seat with comfy back cushions. It is perfect for lounging around and feeling like an British country-living aristocrat. This style is also suitable for the all-important Man Cave. Just remember the importance of measurements again if this will be a frequent napping spot.

 Barbara Barry

The Tuxedo sofa’s style is luxurious without the frills. The square, straight-line profile gives it a masculine feel. This style suits both modern and traditional settings. It works well with wood edges (as shown below) or upholstered arms and sides with back cushions.



The Camelback sofa, aptly named for its definitive curved back, has an old-world and sophisticated look. Many versions of this style have been made, making it a classic that can be used in both a modern or vintage room.

 Cameo – Decor Rest

The Slipper sofa is an option that works best for entertaining rather than lounging. With its lack of arms, lean shape, and direct access to the glass of wine on the end table, the slipper will be ideal if you live in a small space but still want to throw a good party.

Ethan Allen – Baldwin

The Regency sofa has rolled arms and a rolled back and, even more than the camelback, says retro to the point of royal. This style is formal and architectural, so you can dress it down for a modern approach with a solid colour in linen fabric or go dramatic with a large patterned print. Beware that the rolled back can make this style wider than just the area where you sit, so be sure to measure your entrance points.

  Regency – Restoration Hardware

The Sectional sofa is a staple of family and TV rooms everywhere. Sectionals come in many configurations and designs, and they can establish a designated sitting area in a large room.

 Stylus – Simone

The Modern sofa is often sculptural in design and can stand alone in an open plan layout. It can be a cool piece of art inside a contemporary living space.

 Roche Bobois – Arobase

Follow my steps and you’ll get the sofa that fits your room, works with your style, allows you to indulge in your relaxing, and looks fabulous in your home.

Urban Aesthetics’ top 5 desks that you should check out

How to add low cost style to your Dining room


The Art of Hanging Art

After a client has had the interior of their home freshly painted, the new wall colours usually inspire them to want to rearrange their artwork, and this is definitely the perfect time to do it. Over the years, I’ve been hired by my clients to return (after helping them choose their new colours) and help them hang their artwork. This is one of the many commissions that I love about my job. It is so exciting to give clients a new perspective of their home and their artwork when they hire me to show them the art of hanging art.

Of course, there is always the first hurdle to get over — and that is choosing which piece to hang first. Usually, I will advise that the piece that is the most important to the client goes into place first. Sometimes the client already has a designated spot for that one piece, but if they don’t, I will make sure it is hung in a prime viewing location. Once that first one goes up, then the next few pieces are usually pretty straight forward.

hanging art

Design by Urban Aesthetics and C Design Co

hanging art

C Design Co

If a client has a collection of photographs around a theme such as travel photos or family photos, I will try to find a wall where these photos can be grouped together. Individually these types of photos are usually too small to be hung on their own, so together they will make a statement. Here, photos in the same theme are hung in a symmetrical pattern. This is a formal style and probably the most straightforward layout to arrange.

hanging art collection


If you’d like to try something other than symmetrical, here is a guide showing various arrangements of how to group photos on one wall:

art of hanging art

This art collection is arranged on an expansive wall for full visual impact. This is a smart way to bring the height of that wall down into the living space.

hanging art collection


This hallway has both styles of art arrangements and it works really well in this space.

art collection


If creating this kind of “freestyle” layout is a struggle for you, cut out paper the size of your artwork and tape it to the wall after perfecting the arrangement on the floor.

During this process, you can hammer in your picture hooks, remove the paper and then hang your art! Easy!

hanging art


Do you have a wall of art? Which arrangements do you like?

If you would like more information on creating any of these arrangements for your home, contact me here.


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Creating an Autumn Mantle for your Home



Styling an Autumn-Themed Fireplace Mantel

This seasonal home décor project is how to style an autumn-themed fireplace mantel with seasonal items.

For me, fall decorating is all about bringing in natural materials and using found objects from in and around your home to create your seasonal decor displays.


The mantle that I want to style is only 5 1/8″ deep, which makes styling it a bit of a challenge because the decor items all have to work in a linear arrangement.

Create interest by adjusting the heights of the various items as well as using objects with a variety of shapes and sizes.

I started with collecting all the items that I may or may not use and put them together on the coffee table. This makes it easier to see the various shapes and sizes of the objects, and from here I can pick and choose what I want to try out.

(Mmm…. I forgot to remove the seasonal cupcakes that I was using as motivation before I took this photo lol)

So I started with placing two stacked books on the mantel to be a pedestal for the glass bottle with the maple branch cutting on the the right side. Then I filled the apothecary jar with the potpourri (which I purchased only for the colour) and placed that next to the books.

When you have two items that are the same material but different sizes, you can make them seem the same size by how you stage them. By elevating the smaller glass vessel and having the large maple branch overhanging the larger glass vessel, you create the illusion of visual balance.

I added glass pillar candle holders to the left side.

Autumn mantle in progress

I wanted to have an art piece in the middle of the display, but I couldn’t find a piece that I owned that worked, so I used a window-like framed mirror instead. I added the small pumpkins and the dark brown vase to the left side.

But after taking the photos, I found that the overall look with the dark vase wasn’t working for me, so I changed it out for a cream coloured vase.

Autumn mantle

Autumn mantle

All photos by Nancy DeVries

And there it is!

Feel free to share if you have been inspired to create your own autumn decor display!



Trend spotting – The Union Jack

The 2012 Summer Olympics are starting next week in London, England, and I thought it might be fun to source some decor items featuring the Union Jack.

This iconic symbol is a globally recognized design and businesses are aware of it’s popularity and therefore it is showing up on all kinds of consumer goods.

To have your own piece of the Union Jack, you don’t have to fly to the United Kingdom to get it. Here are some of my favourite Union Jack pieces that can be purchased right here in Canada:

Halo Bensington sofa

A fun modern take of this iconic graphic design on a traditional sofa. Available through UpCountry in Toronto.

The Rug Company_Vivienne Westwood

This vintage, worn-looking area carpet, designed by Vivienne Westwood for The Rug Company, is a stylish piece that will add a lifetime of drama and jubilee to any decor.

Union Jack Mat

This mat will bring a smile to any British visitor arriving at your door step. Available at The Cross in Vancouver.

Restoration Hardware

Anyone can be comfortable resting their feet on this ottoman from Restoration Hardware while cheering on their favourite athlete at the London Olympics.

Union Jack artwork

A wrapped digital print on canvas of the Union Jack will be the focal point of any wall that this piece will hang on. Available through

Numbers cushion by Pony Rider

This cushion, with a remake of the Union Jack design, is available at Provide in Vancouver.


This solid wood chest of drawers is a new addition to the collection of furniture from Monarch Furnishings in Victoria.

And for you readers that love to travel, you can create a travel look in your homes with these storage trunks available through Modern Furniture.

And last but not least, if you need even MORE British influence in your day, you can always turn on some British music. If this band is any indication of British style, it’s a timeless one!

Contact Nancy here if you would like to add some British flair to your home.