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Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

9 Mar

via Google Images

During our recent short trip to Edmonton, AB. we drove the scenic route through the Rogers Pass and Banff National Park.  While tootling around the town-site my husband made the discovery that I had never been inside this National Historic Site and immediately drove us over there to rectify the situation.

Although it looks like a castle, it has never really functioned as one.  Built by the Canadian Pacific Railway it has always operated as a hotel.  When Fairmont Hotels & Resorts bought the hotel, they did extensive renovations and corrected a construction mistake made when the  entrance and lobby were located facing the river side. (The architect is said to have declared “you built my hotel backwards!”)

Built in 1887 following the plans of architect, Bruce Price, it was originally a 4 story wooden structure in what has been described as Scottish Baronial Style.

circa 1902 via google images

From 1903 to 1928 there were many wing and tower additions, a couple of fires, wing duplications and the addition of stone cladding from nearby Mount Rundle.


This photo (above) was not dated but appears to be before the 1906 reconstruction.  That’s Mount Rundle in the background.

circa 1929 via

The plans for the central tower is credited to Walter Painter, the chief designer for the Canadian Pacific Railway.     The hotel was winterized in 1968 and has been opened year-round ever since.

my photo

Don’t you just love that stone!

my photo

This is the lobby where I’ll check in next time I visit Banff!

my photo

Sorry for the grainy quality of this photo (just had my pocket digital) but I love, love, love this chair.  The back on this baby is veeery high.

via Google Images

via google images

via Google Images

How about these bedroom interiors for some inspiration for your next reno or refresh project???

I know that a lot of people just jump to the design magazines for decor inspiration (nothing wrong with that!), or stop in at every show home they see (also one of my favorite things to do), but don’t pass-over the opportunity to stop and drool over the interiors (& exteriors) of hotels – historic or not.

via Google Images

Simple Changes or Complete Transformations – design simply works.


Sizing Up Area Rugs.

23 Feb

I had the pleasure of working part-time for several years at a Carpet One location (this is not a plug I promise) while I was attending design school.  It was fabulous experience and had many informative conversations with the different sales reps from Armstrong, Mannington, Primco, Dal-tile, Schnier….to name a few, as well as put questions to the fellows who installed the carpet, tile, laminate, hardwood etc.   Each guy had his specialty, meaning that there were “carpet guys” and “tile guys” …. you see what I mean.

Fortunately for me (and my design education), the owner of this location did mostly high-end homes and show-homes.  He carried mostly the mid to high-end price point products so very rarely did we have someone coming in and looking for a 99 cent tile or a 1.99/sq.ft. carpet.

Almost immediately, I began to see some recurring customer behaviors.  One in particular had to do with area rugs.

In the early part of the last decade there was a huge swing away from carpet to hard-surface flooring.  In our store this generally meant solid or engineered hardwood.  The customer would spend time and money ripping out the living room, dining room and hallway carpet in order to put down hardwood.  Happy customer.

Several weeks later they’d be back to order an area rug.  Many people often scoff, “why spend all that money on wood floors if you’re just going to turn around and cover them up?”.

Actually the answer is so simple – it looks really good!  Well, okay there’s more to it than that but a room always looks finished when there is an area rug in the decór.  Other benefits include, noise reduction, warmth, added comfort underfoot and the most important, I believe, is a rug anchors all that furniture you’ve got floating around the room!

via House & Home

To determine the maximum-size rug that will fit in a room, subtract three feet from the room’s width and length, which will create a frame of flooring between the rug and the walls.  Remember that in order for the rug to make sense it can’t be left to simply float on the floor, “miles” away from the furniture it is supposed to be anchoring. Nothing pulls a conversation area together better than an area rug.

via Elle Decor

In a dining room, an area rug under the dining set can often add some needed color or texture to the decor.  For a dining room, choose an area rug that is wider and longer than your table so that the chairs will remain on the carpet even when pulled out.  At the very least, when a chair is pulled out to be sat on, the front legs and most of the seat should still be on the carpet.

via Lonny Magazine

In a bedroom, nothing compares to stepping out of bed onto the warmth of a rug.  Great example below of how an area rug provides the grounding that this big white bed needs while adding some much-needed color.

via Focal Point

Had to include this photo illustrating this rugs dual decorating function of adding some color and crib “support”.      So cozy – shhhhh!

via HGTV

An area rug can help define areas, introduce structure and direct traffic flow such as in a hallway.

via SoStinkin'Cute

(This hallway rug really pops doesn’t it – love it!)

Two examples of what not to do…..

It makes me crazy to see a little postage stamp rug laid out between pieces of furniture with a coffee table plopped on top.  If you are unable to, in the very least, put the front legs of the furniture on to your area rug……. then it is too small.

via Rue magazine

ugh! What were they thinking??

(Another example of the wrong size – see the gap?  Additionally, that 6 inches or so between  the rug and sofa is actually a tripping hazard.)

More rug inspirations….

via Rue magazine

via Rue

Same living room but this angle shows that the sofa is pulled right up to the edge of the rug.  While all this furniture tends to cover the busy pattern, it really pulls this cozy conversation grouping together.

source unknown

Loving this all-over patterned rug.

via HGTV

The perfect overhead shot – a picture really is worth a thousand words!

Simple Changes or Complete Transformations – design simply works.

(Are you lovin’  an area rug in your home?  Please share a pic!)

Juju anyone?

19 Feb

Well, I hadn’t the foggiest notion that the Cameroon headdresses that we’ve been seeing for the last couple of years, actually had a real name!  Thanks to Averill over at Edi et Amo, I’m now enlightened.

Just last Thursday I saved this picture (for a future “pink” post) that I saw at Style At Home magazine.

I love it because it’s soooo pink (Pantone color of the year anyone?)

via Style At Home 2011

This is a bedroom in one of those ity-bity Vancouver condos.  From the January issue I think.

I’m immediately drawn to unexpected items that are used as wall art and have loved these headdresses ever since I first saw them used on walls several years ago.  I just love they way they POP out from the wall.

From here,

Juju men in traditional dress via Google Images

To here,

thank you Google Images

and here,

Google Images

and here,

via House&Home June 2010

Now, obviously the “safe” thing to do would be to use a neutral one but I’ve seen one in Royal Purple!!

At a price point from 300 – 500 dollars, I wonder if I can talk Mr. DesignWorks into it?!  Hmmmm.

Simple Changes or Complete Transformations – design simply works.

Is it a blank slate above your bed?

15 Sep

Whether you have a headboard or not, that space on the wall over your bed often gets forgotten.  While a single picture is usually the traditional solution (as long as it’s big enough), don’t be limited by thinking that this is the standard for over the bed decor.

Step it up a notch by getting creative and trying different things.  I hope the following images will provide some inspiration.

via Flickr

Picture rails overhead are just wide enough to hold leaning pictures securely.   Notice how nice and wide each rail is – almost as wide as the headboard.

via House & Home

Loving this wall color!! It’s actually a Pratt & Lambert grey.   The four prints grouped as one big piece really grounds that bed unit to the wall.  Provides much more impact than one print hanging all alone.

Check out those built in bedside tables.  No legs equals no visual clutter.  Clever design.

Erin Feasby via House & Home

OoLaLa.  I look at a lot of images in a single week but this one stopped me in my tracks.  Gasping, staring, drooling.  Is there anything to dislike here?  Truly stunning bedroom.  While it would still be beautiful without it, I think that the wall mural really makes this space sing.

Megan Mullally via Elle Decor

Actress Megan Mullally (Karen on ‘Will & Grace’) reportedly had a major role in decorating her home in California.  See more of Karen’s Megan’s home here.  The tall headboard juxtaposed with the long row of narrow photographs is unexpected but pleasing especially with the color of her tables showing up in some of photos.

Rebecca Cole via Elle Decor

There’s a lot to look at here but focus behind the bed.  Yes, it’s a set of windows with a simple brown matchstick blind.  The stenciled damask design on the walls was also applied to the blind on the window making a great back-drop to the bed.  Hey, even I could do that!

Anne Hepfer via House & Home

Another show-stopper.  I would never get out of bed!  The ceiling attached valance and wall of fabric creates a dreamy, regal look.  Honestly, the room would be great too without the valance and drapery treatment.  The patterned, curvy headboard with coordinating bed-skirt  could stand on their own.

via Style at Home

Take your favorite wallpaper, apply to wall and frame with some primed and painted trim pieces.  Voíla! instant headboard.  The style of the wallpaper will determine what dramatic effect the headboard will have on the whole room.  Notice the great drum shade on the pendant?  No jumping on the bed!

Stephanie Odegard

I really like the use of plaster wall art because it’s so three dimensional and looks substantial wherever it’s used.  Here the design could be played up if hung a bit lower to look like an extension of the headboard.  These pieces are easier to find that you’d think, just don’t buy too small.

I have used a plaster piece in a show home’s bathroom above the bathtub – when I locate the picture I promise to post it.

Sarah Richardson

Can’t do anything regarding bedrooms without showing one of Canadian Sarah Richardson’s designs.  The applied panel moulding, patterned window treatments, custom headboard and bench.  What’s not to love!  This is a good example of not needing anything over the bed.  Homerun Sarah (as usual).

Hmmm, going to run home and take a look at my bedroom!

Simple Changes or Complete Transformations – thoughtful design simply works.  For help making design work for you, please email for an on-line consultation or if you are local please call 204.620.6202