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

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

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!

Related posts:

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

A fresh update for a client’s master bedroom.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

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.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

‘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.

Urban Aesthetics’ top 5 desks that you should check out

How to add low cost style to your Dining room

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest