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.


A Fresh Update for a Client’s Master Bedroom

I was happy to hear from a client recently who called to inform me she wanted a fresh update for her master bedroom, along with some other rooms in her house.

I had helped her decorate her main floor 10 years ago, and now, after going through some changes in her life, she wanted to make some changes in her home. This included selecting new paint colours for the guest bedroom, her daughter’s room and the master bedroom. But in addition to finding a new wall colour for the master bedroom, my client wanted to make the room feel cozier.

The first thing I suggested was custom drapery panels for her window. (She had purchased the Luminette sheer blinds by Hunter Douglas from me 10 years ago.) She loved the idea, and I went back to my office to find the perfect fabric.

After searching my fabric books and not feeling satisfied that I had found the perfect fabric, I had an “ah-ha” moment and knew that I had to come up with my own design of using three different coloured fabrics that I would combine to make the custom drapery panels.

When I presented this option to my client, she immediately said, “That’s the one!” In addition to the drapery panels, she wanted a new chair and ottoman for a corner in her room, so we selected fabrics for that at the same time.

Here is the end result.

custom drapery panels, Master bedroom refresh

Cream and blue banded drapery panels with gold band accent.

The fabrics that I used were from Maxwell Fabrics and Unique Fine Fabrics. I chose the blue faux silk fabric to coordinate with the new wall colour, the gold to coordinate with the bedroom furniture, and the white fabric to match the client’s white bedding.

colour block drapery panels, master bedroom refresh

Close up of colour banded panels. Photo by Nancy DeVries


Luminette sheer shades, custom drapery panels master bedroom refresh

Luminette sheer shades by Hunter Douglas with custom drapery panels

And here is the custom upholstered chair and ottoman. We selected a solid chenille Kravet fabric for the furniture and a sweet floral print from Tritex Liz Claiborne fabric for the toss cushion.

custom chair and ottoman with decorative embroidered pillow

Custom chair and ottoman with embroidered fabric accent pillow

The wall colour is Benjamin Moore Aura AF-550 Amsterdam.

If you are thinking of freshening up a room in your home or changing the look of your windows, get the look that you want by hiring a professional. Contact me here to book an appointment.


For the DIY files – A roller shade installation

I enjoy a rewarding DIY project. Part of what makes a DIY project successful is having the right tools for your particular project on hand and ready for action in your own home toolbox.

I’ve always been a little proud of my toolbox which contains an assortment of tools that I have purchased, but more notably, tools given to me by my dad over the years.

So when my parents came for a visit this spring, it was time to bring out the toolbox because I had a roller shade installation project waiting for my dad to help me with.

Now for my clients’ window covering installations, I employ my professional blind installer to do the installation, as they can do the job faster and more efficiently. But since this was just one roller shade for my laundry room, I figured my dad and I could tackle this together.

This is how the installation process happened:

Before we drilled any holes in the wall, I held up the shade to mark where I wanted the top of the shade to be since it was going to be installed outside of the window frame. We then held the brackets in place and made marks where we needed to pre-drill the holes for the brackets.

Here my dad is drilling the holes for the valance brackets. The brackets for the roller shade are attached to the valance.

roller shade brackets

Top view of bracket for valance

Test fitting the roller shade



Now the roller shade can be inserted into the brackets that are attached to the valance. It was a bit of a tight fit when trying to affix the end of the shade into the rotator-side bracket but after some grunts and “ows” from pinched fingers, I was able to rotate the T-hook into the closed position. This keeps the shade in place when it is being raised and lowered.

roller shade brackets

Next, the front panel of the valance needs to be attached to the returns on the valance. There is adhesive on the plastic L return and the front panel adheres to that, which makes the corners of the valance join together almost seamlessly.

roller shade valance returns

And here is the finished look! What a difference this now makes on a window that did not have a wood trim casing. Thanks Dad!

Roller shade installation

If you would like information on roller shades for your home, contact me here for a consultation.

To see more Hunter Douglas window covering products, click on this link.


Getting Ready to Enjoy your Outdoor Living Space

Each year it seems that outdoor patio furniture is becoming more and more functional and better looking. The styles are so vast, ranging from cast iron-looking aluminum dining sets, to weathered wood-looking metal tables, to woven wicker (plastic) sectionals, to colourful plastic molded stackable chairs.

Here is a small selection of furniture that outdoor entertainers, loungers and diners can be enjoying this summer in their outdoor living space:

PVC wicker lounge set with Sunbrella fabric – Villa Cabana.

outdoor living space ideas pvc furniture


This curved love seat with a ledge for books or an umbrella drink is the perfect furniture piece for any patio. The PVC wicker is lightweight and durable. But really when you’re curled up and engrossed in your summer novel, those two details are the last things on your mind.



Steel frame dining set with all-weather Olefin fabric.

Gluckstein dining set - Tudor

Gluckstein dining set – Tudor

This type of dining set is easy to maintain and will not get blown over in sudden summer wind storm. The neutral colour of the seat cushions is the perfect backdrop for any touches of colour in your accent pillows, table accessories or flowers from your garden.

Aluminium and faux wood 




Funky plastic stackable chairs like these from the Italian furniture company Calligaris. Of course this may not be everyone’s style of outdoor furniture, but for those of you who love a modern chair, you certainly do not have to compromise here. Both of these chairs come in bright colours (the new fashion trend right now) such as fuchsia, green, red, orange and white.

Area 51 Chair by Calligaris

Area 51 Chair by Calligaris

Hero chair by Calligaris

Hero chair by Calligaris









And as a decorator, I would be remiss not to point out a few outdoor accessories to complement your new furniture.

1) Stylish accessories. Entertaining is a big part of our time outdoors during the warmer months. So not only do we need to have comfortable seating, but we also want functional, stylish accessories like these colour dishes from Brian Gluckstein that can be found at The Bay, Pier1 Imports and Pottery Barn. Colour is the new trend for outdoor dinnerware.







Pottery Barn outdoor dishes

Pottery Barn

2) Outdoor area carpets. You can have style and function when it comes to outdoor carpets. Most of these carpets can easily be hosed off and hung over the fence to dry.

Surya outdoor carpets










3) Umbrellas. This cheerful red two-tiered umbrella is from Pier1 Imports. It’s a great way to add colour to your patio.

Pier 1 umbrella

This modern parasol is the perfect sun shade but even in the evening, it can give you shelter from the elements while giving you overhead lighting.

Kosmos Parasol from Living Space

Kosmos Parasol from Living Space


4) Ambient Lighting. Real and flame-less candles encased in any of these pretty candelabras will cast a beautiful light to an evening outdoor party .

Gluckstein Lanterns

Oil Lamp from Inform Interiors


I just love these LED light planters. They add ambient light with style and function. You can use them as a planter or as a cooler for your summertime drinks.







Right now retailers and wholesalers are promoting their outdoor furniture, and its a good time to start thinking about the kind of furniture you might enjoy so you’ll be able to purchase it before they are sold out.

What will you be sitting on when you are spending time in your outdoor area?

If you would like help styling your outdoor space, click here to send me an email.



7 Tips to personalize your bathroom

When it comes to our bathrooms, most of us have a pretty good idea of what we would like our bathrooms to look like, but in reality that dream doesn’t just happen overnight. Whether you are renovating or cosmetically updating your bathroom, making a plan is the first step to ensuring you will get the look you want, the function of the space you need, and the emotional reaction you’ve been dreaming of. An important part of this process is knowing how to implement your personal style into your bathroom that will help take the look from store vignette to private home spa.

Here are my ideas for creating that presence:

1)      Create a soothing atmosphere. This can be done to fit anyone’s budget by painting your walls a soothing colour – one that you love and find relaxing. It might be a sky blue like Benjamin Moore’s Whispering Spring 2136-70. Complete the look by painting your cabinet and trim in a soft white or linen colour like Ivory White CC 130.


2)      Take it up a notch. Upgrade your counter top to a white quartz or marble for a clean, opulent look.  An added upgrade that can be DIY is to change up your cabinet hardware with a new style ranging from whimsical, to round glass knobs to shiny chrome square pulls.

3)      Trade up. Replacing your taps and faucet can bring your bathroom from the late 90’s to the current decade. A bathroom fixture manufacturer like Dornbracht has clean, soft geometrical shaped fixtures that will certainly make your bathroom feel stylized with luxury in mind.


4)       Introduce texture. If you are doing a complete renovation in your bathroom, I recommend spending a decent amount of your budget on quality, neutral materials that will not date in style or durability. Within that neutral palette, allow yourself some play with texture and pattern when planning your floor and wall tile layout.

Avalon Interiors

5)      Personalize your reflection by customizing your vanity mirror or mirrors. You can frame your existing mirror with crown moulding or replace it with a mirror in a decorative frame. A designer tip is to go tall and narrow with the mirror shape so you heighten the look of the room.

6)      Light it up. Add LED strip lighting on the toe kick of your bathroom cabinet so you can have ambient lighting while soaking in the bath.


7)      Accessorize! If you have space, add a furniture item like a chair or a stool to bring softness and comfort into your hard surfaced bathroom. And other accoutrements like candles, framed art, matching baskets, potted plants and window dressings will add finishing touches to transform your bathroom from blah and boring to a personalized charming retreat.

Following these decorator tips will make the function of your bathroom be the highlight of your home with it’s appearance of comfort, style and calming emotion.

If you are thinking of renovating your bathroom and are feeling overwhelmed with the multitude of choices, consider hiring a professional to help you with your planning and design.

Contact us here for our fee schedule and design services.