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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Fireplace Renovation With a New Custom Cabinet and Floating Shelves: Before and After

My client’s family room had a red brick fireplace that dominated the space and she wanted a change. Because of the odd size and the lack of a mantel, the fireplace seemed out of place and unfinished. And since the client wanted to upgrade to a remote-controlled energy-efficient gas insert, this was the perfect time to redesign the fireplace surround. A full fireplace renovation was in order. In the end, she wanted her fireplace to complement the look and feel of the rest of her home that we had updated and transformed over the years.

Custom cabinet and floating shelves with new fireplace surround

After

Fireplace Renovation With a New Custom Cabinet and Floating Shelves: Before

Here’s the before:

red brick fireplace surround before renovation

Before

full wall view with red brick fireplace

Fireplace wall before

A fireplace is always a focal point in any space. When choosing fireplace design materials, there are a few considerations: the overall aesthetic that the client preferred, the style of the home, and proper scale of the surround. What will hang above it (if anything) is an additional consideration, whether it’s a TV or decorative objects such as a mirror or artwork.

Fireplace Renovation With a New Custom Cabinet and Floating Shelves: After

For the fireplace surround, we decided on a light, neutral tone ledgestone tile from Julian Tile. The contractor, Vaile Long from All the Right Angles, did a fabulous job rebuilding the fireplace frame and tiling the surround.

fireplace ledgestone tile with wood mantel

I suggested that we create a built-in cabinet on one or both sides of the fireplace surround and the client opted to go with a built-in on the left side only since she already had a freestanding sideboard on the right side.

We talked about our options for the wall above the cabinet and whether we should design a full height box with shelves, have floating shelves or leave the space open for a large piece of art. In the end, we decided on floating shelves so my client could use the space to display photos, art, accessories and books.

pictures and vases on floating shelves

Floating shelves styled with personal items

The custom cabinets were built and installed by troico, based out of Coquitlam, BC. They really did an excellent job with the finishing of the cabinet and shelves. The client especially appreciated that they scribed the cabinet to the ledgestone tile of the fireplace surround.

built-in white cabinet with wood top next to fireplace

Cabinet built by troico

To keep the wood tones similar, we specified a close match of the wood stain colour for the mantel and the cabinet top from the client’s sideboard, and from the wood flooring. Years ago we had selected the wall colour, Dry Sage by Benjamin Moore, and the client still loved it so we left it as it.

We wanted the space to feel fresh and up-to-date while maintaining the style of the finishes to have a subtle nod to traditional roots. The medley of the white painted wood, the rich wood tones, and a classic stone finish accomplish just that.

Brown chair and new fireplace

Speaking of renovations, you’ll also want to check out how we transformed our outdated bathroom into a modern spa.

Want even more interior decor inspiration? Follow me on Instagram!

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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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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.

Before

The mantle that I want to style 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.

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.

(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.

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.

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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