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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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!

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.

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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.

Urban Aesthetics’ top 5 desks that you should check out

How to add low cost style to your Dining room

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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.

Styling an Autumn Themed Fireplace Mantel

Before

This mantel 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. This means that I have to 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.

Styling an Autumn Themed Fireplace Mantel

(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.

Styling an Autumn Themed Fireplace Mantel

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.

Styling an Autumn Themed Fireplace Mantel

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!

 

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