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

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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

 

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Use wallpaper to add style to your home

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

Use wallpaper to add style to your plain 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 zigzag 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 a paint colour for the other walls.

 

wallpaper and matching paint colour

Wallpaper final choices with paint sample

Wallpaper has been ordered, received and ready for installation!

 Wallpaper adds style and changes the look of any room

JF Fabrics Wallcoverings – Calligraphy Collection

Use wallpaper to create a feature wall

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

wallpaper adds style, horizontal stripe wallpaper

Before & After Living room wall

Use wallpaper to define the spaces in your home

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.

use wallpaper to add style

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? Check out our Instant Aesthetics e-design package where you hire us to help you do up one room in your home. It’s that simple.

 

Related links:

Small space condo furnishing

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Seven Stylish Window Treatments for your Kitchen Sink Window

Here are seven stylish window treatments for your kitchen sink window:

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 over her kitchen sink window

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 roller shades

Woven woods roller shades

graber-woven wood roman shades

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.”

Stain glass panel in window above kitchen sink

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’s on your kitchen sink window? Do you need to add a window covering for privacy or to block an unpleasant view?

If you would like more information or even a free estimate regarding a treatment for your kitchen sink window, email me at info@urbanaesthetics.ca

For more inspiration, check out my Pinterest board.

For even more design inspiration, check out these ideas on the Urban Aesthetics/Hunter Douglas website

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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!

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