Gold award for 398 Square Feet of Winning Style!

An important professional challenge of mine earlier this year was figuring out how to decorate and furnish a 398 square foot show suite inside a new development in Surrey, BC.  I was hired by the developer’s marketing company to decorate and set up a display suite for their micro suite. They wanted to show a small space with maximum style for maximum affordability.

My purpose in staging the 398 sq ft display suite was to show potential buyers how they could have a complete living space within a single 398 square foot room. My reward at the end of that exciting and challenging process was winning the gold award in the “Homestaging” category of the Canadian Decorators’ Association’s (CDECA) annual Decorating and Design Competition.  

CDECA is a national organization of accredited interior decorators and their Decorating and Design Competition’s awards luncheon was held in Toronto on April 14, 2014. I was able to fly to Toronto to attend the ceremony and receive my gold award from a representative of the “Homestaging” category’s sponsor, Speers Flooring.

Gold award win in CDECA decorating competition

Receiving design award from award sponsor Speers Flooring representative.

It took about three months to plan, connect with local vendors, source furniture, and implement my idea in order to show potential future homeowners that they could have their bedroom, living space, dining table, work space and kitchen all in one room.  No “small” task!

Gold award win in CDECA decorating competition

Ultra 398 sq ft bachelor suite furnished by Urban Aesthetics

I sourced the furniture and accessories at Ikea, Crate and Barrel, and CB2 The awesome multi-functional wall bed and drop down table combination is made by Instant Bedrooms Manufacturing in Yaletown.

Gold award win in CDECA decorating competition

Instant Bedrooms wallbed

Instant Bedrooms wall bed ~ Queen bed or table.

My style idea for the suite involved an overall neutral palette of white and grey with trendy shades of turquoise and orange as accent colours. The geometric pattern wallpaper in a darker grey colour helps to define the living area and is a great backdrop for the neutral coloured apartment sized sofa from IKEA.  I’m proud to say this small space was furnished and styled within the real estate developer’s budget, which was under $12,000.

Gold award win in CDECA decorating competition

Interior design by Nancy DeVries of Urban Aesthetics

I’m very excited to have won this award as all the winners in the competition where selected by my peers in the organization and I’m proud of my achievement in a profession that I love. I’m also excited to be able to use my experience winning this award to highlight that people can have affordable and stylish design, including hiring a professional such as myself, without having to pay a fortune.

Style doesn’t have to break the bank to be good!

If you would like to know more about this project or if you would like to create a new look for a room in your home, connect with me here.

Related posts:

Finding Your Decorating Starting Line

‘Couchsourcing’: The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained

 

 

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Finding your decorating starting line.

For the past few months I’ve been working on several decorating projects with both new and previous clients. One of these jobs involved helping a client find new fabric to reupholster her living room furniture. Other clients purchased all new furniture –– their first time doing so in a couple of decades –– along with flooring for a new condo. The third client was a condo developer with a new studio suite that needed to be styled and furnished so potential buyers could visualize how they could live in the 400 sq. ft. space.

Gold Award winning display
Gold Award winning display

 

The common theme among these clients was a blank space (or fresh palette, in the case of the reupholstering job), and what they needed help with was finding their decorating starting line. Where do you start when you have a whole room that needs to be furnished and decorated? Most people will begin by going to the paint store and looking at paint chips to find their new wall colour, which they feel will help them in choosing their flooring or new furniture. After they have looked at 50 tiny paint samples and painted five or more sample colours on the walls (as in the picture below), they will call a colour consultant such as myself to come to their home because they are unsure which colour would best go with their yet-to-be-selected flooring or sofa or drapes (which usually is the reason why they are changing the wall colour in the first place).

Where do you start when decorating your home

Pinterest

So my question is, why let the paint colour, which will be the least expensive cost of the decorating budget, dictate what the flooring, drapes or sofa fabric colours will be? All of these big ticket décor items are going to have a longer lifetime in your home, which also means that they will more than likely eat up most of the decorating budget. It’s these items that need to be selected first before you dash off to the paint store to pick out possible paint colours.

My guess for why people think choosing a paint colour is the starting point is that the walls are the “outside” of a room. Rationally that’s how we work, from the outside to the inside –– with our dinner forks, our donuts, and our redecorating. But I’m here to tell you that where you should really start is the inside. Your inside…

Tap into your artistic “eye”. That means finding out what decorating styles you are instinctually attracted to. You may not know why you like a particular design, you just feel it. So allow your instincts to guide you. Start by going through décor magazines and tearing out photos of rooms that you’re drawn to, even if you don’t know why; just go with your gut reaction. Make a pile of these photos and when you’re done, go through all of them again. If it helps, circle the items that you really like about a room. You will start to see your design style in the highlighted items.

Finding your decorating starting line.

Centsationalgirl.com

Now you’re on your way to creating your dream design “visual board”. These photos will also help a design professional or sales associate see what your style is, which in turn will help them serve you more efficiently. You can also do the same thing digitally on websites like Pinterest.

Finding your decorating starting line.

Pinterest

Finally, with your completed visual board, you will have a clearer vision of your design concept, so you can start shopping. You’ll be more focused on what you’re looking for because you’ve already found it in print! There’s less of a chance you’ll be distracted by trendy items that you might see featured in the stores or showrooms when you have a design plan that you really want to follow. You’ve found your starting line, now go get the look you want for your home!

Finding your decorating starting line.

Happy shopping!

If you are struggling to find your starting line in your decorating project, why not hire a professional?

Did you enjoy my article? Then why not like me on Facebook to stay in touch!

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From concept to completion: How custom drapes for a nursery meets the due date.

A fresh update for a client’s master bedroom.

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From concept to completion: How custom drapes for a nursery meets the due date.

Back in the fall of last year, I received a call from a new client (a referral from a past client – the best compliment!) who was looking for help with decorating the spare bedroom with custom drapes and wall paint colour to become a nursery for her yet-to-be-born baby. How exciting!

We started with looking at her existing furniture and area rug to see what she thought she would keep in the room and what she should remove. Loveseat – remove; desk – remove; chair – remove; area rug – keep; bookcase – keep. As it was a white painted bookcase, we knew we could work with that. From this point, she would purchase the nursery furniture that would coordinate with the style of the bookcase.

That left the area rug as our jumping off palette for colour and pattern design style.

Wall paint colour

We started looking at paint colours to see what colours she liked with the rug and we settled on a fresh green Benjamin Moore’s AF 455 Croquet. Since we still needed to select the fabric for the drapery, this was just a tentative colour. I always suggest that the final wall colour be chosen after you have selected all of other materials with colour and pattern on them. It’s easier to change the paint colour than it is to find the right fabric or bedding to match one particular colour.

colours

 Fabrics for custom drapes

Our next consultation was to look at fabrics for the drapes. I brought over two bags of fabric books and we looked at all the fabrics, bookmarking the ones that we liked on the first flip through. Once we went through all the books, we reviewed our bookmarked options and narrowed down our preferences.

From concept to completion:  How custom drapes for a nursery meets the due date.

Next, I ordered larger fabric samples so we could see the individual swatches and then review our choices again. However, once the samples arrived a few days later, we still felt like we were missing our statement fabric.

The client went to various fabric stores and found a few options, but again, nothing was really speaking to her. We then met up at Fabricland in Richmond and went through what felt like every bolt of fabric only to come up with an option that was a sample of a fabric that needed to be ordered. When we asked for the information and a sample, we found out that it had just been discontinued! How disappointing!

A week or so later, I was at a “to-the-trade” furniture and fabric showroom to see a new furniture line that they were showcasing. While I was waiting to speak with the visiting furniture sales rep,  I thought I would ask the showroom staff to show me some fabrics that might work for my client. In about 10 minutes, we had found the fabric that I thought would be perfect! I got a sample, snapped a photo of it and emailed it to the client.

From concept to completion:  How custom drapes for a nursery meets the due date.

She instantly loved it! I then found coordinating solid coloured fabrics that we wanted to use as banding and we finalized our decision.

Here is the “Before” photo of the window:

From concept to completion:  How custom drapes for a nursery meets the due date.

And here are the curtains on the area carpet, waiting for the rod to be installed:

From concept to completion:  How custom drapes for a nursery meets the due date.

  And here are the curtains installed:

custom nursery drapes

custom colour banded nursery drapes

Colour banded drapes using 3 different fabrics

Custom baseboard heater cover

Underneath the window was a baseboard heater, so for safety reasons we couldn’t have the length of the drapes go to the floor and rest on the heater. The only option was for the bottom of the curtains to go to line up with the bottom of the window ledge, which in the end made the window look like it was wearing a dress that was too short. This look really bothered me, so I mentioned to the client that I would like to come up with a design for a baseboard cover that would the cover the heater and match the width of the curtain panels. Instead of having a wooden cover made — again not a safe choice when covering a heater — I found the company Arsco Manufacturing in Cincinnati, Ohio that manufactures steel baseboard covers. I immediately called them to see if they would ship to Canada, and was so excited to know that they could — plus they would be able to have it made in about 2.5 weeks. We were working with a “deadline” after all! My issues were solved and the end result is fantastic.

custom nursery drapes

Close up of custom baseboard heater cover

 

custom nursery drapes

 Photos by Nancy DeVries

Is there a room in your home that needs a custom touch?

Related posts:

A Fresh Update for a Client’s Master Bedroom

7 Tips to personalize your bathroom

If you have a room in your home that needs window coverings and are feeling overwhelmed with the multitude of choices, consider hiring a professional to help you with your planning and design.

Contact me here for my fee schedule and design services.

 

Republishing this article in full or in part is a violation of copyright law. © 2008-2017, all rights reserved.

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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!

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

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.

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

 

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

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.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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.

 

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

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?

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

 

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

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.

 

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‘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.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

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.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

 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.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

Oly

 

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.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

 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.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

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.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

  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.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

 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.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

 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.

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