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27 Feb

No, not the dreaded calculus or periodic table.  Whew, so glad that kind of “home” work is over with!

I’m talking about the work you do from home.  What does your workspace look like?  Is it working for you?  Did you labor over the planning of your perfect space or did it just evolve over time?

Now that I’m in a new space (again), I’m feeling the need to mull it over this time.  Plotting and planning (picture wringing of hands here) as I unpack and put away.  I have taken over a spare room and as I push furniture pieces around the room I’m realizing I need to paint some pieces and change out some pieces.  Need pretty storage solutions and need a wow factor.


What would  plotting/planning be without inspirational photos???

closet work station via Real Simple Magazine

I need more than a closet but the use of space and color is fantastic!


via house to home

Note to self:  use wallpaper to inject some movement, use photo & magazine boxes to hide “stuff” and maybe think about a fabric project (bulletin boards).



via Real Simple


Aha!  Magnetic boards and rolling carts……………hmmmm.


via Pottery Barn

Eureka!  What a great space!  All that storage (gonna need more file drawers!)   Love how the slanted roof just adds to the cozy feeling.  Oops, I don’t have a slanted ceiling…..guess I’ll keep looking.   All white furniture……..hmmmmm.


via Lonny magazine

via Martha Stewart

via Lonny

via Pottery Barn

The Bedford Project Table from Pottery Barn – this could be part of the solution.  Note to self:  look for pretty area rug.


Do you have a great workspace at home or an inspirational photo that you’re working toward.  Please share!

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!)

Look up and take notice.

21 Feb

The number one question asked during a color consultation is of course, “What color should I paint the walls”?

Rarely does someone inquire about a color for the ceiling.  Too often your ceiling’s contribution to the overall room decor is overlooked.  The ceiling makes up 1/6 of your total space yet gets the same attention as your second cousin’s husband on your mother’s side.

It’s time to look at this all important fifth wall from a new perspective.

Cosy theatre room by D.P. Mikulich


There is no longer the rule-of-thumb that stipulates all ceilings should be white.  Allowing the eye to travel up the wall onto the ceiling without a visual line between the wall and ceiling color will make any room feel larger and more finished because it’s not being split in half visually.

Ernest de la Torre via ElleDecor

via BeSusan.blogspot


A largely accepted practice is to paint your ceiling 2-3 shades lighter than your walls in order to give the illusion of height and openness.  Just go up the color strip to find it.  Another option is to choose a different lighter color that “goes with” your wall choice.


via Apartment Therapy


via DesignTrackMind


via House & Home magazine


via Apartment Therapy


If your ceiling is high and you want to lower it, paint a shade darker than the walls.  Having this fifth wall advance can make a cozier, more intimate room especially so if using a warm palette.


via dresslaundrette


I believe  rooms look more “finished” when the ceilings aren’t stark white.  A painted ceiling becomes part of the overall décor and your room will appear complete and more polished – like some real thought went into the whole scheme.


via house2cozyhome


via Apartment Therapy


What about the same color?  Same color walls and ceiling gives the illusion of making the room appear taller because the eye just keeps traveling up the wall and it “never” ends.  Therefore a small space can appear larger and more spacious.  A small laundry, kitchen or powder room are examples of where this application works well.


(In a good-sized room, however, this application will make the room appear flat and frankly, boring).


Guest bathrooms, bedrooms and especially kid’s rooms are the perfect venues for creativity on the ceiling.  Fluffy clouds on a blue sky, faux finishes such as Venetian Plaster or a mixed metallic glaze can all add drama, texture and dimension (and by texture I do not mean the dreaded popcorn ceilings).


via Marie Burgos

CactusCreekDaily via Google


via weedecor

If you always opt for a white ceiling because it’s the safe choice, okay, I understand fear of change.   But if you think “ceilings are supposed to be white”, well I’ll have to strongly disagree with you.

Let’s get rid of that big white bed-sheet overhead!  Look up and take notice.

Tip: Be sure to use the specially formulated “ceiling paint” made by every major brand of paint.

Simple Changes or Complete Transformations – design simply works.

If you have photo of a room that you’ve made fabulous by taking into account your fifth wall, please share!

Pantone Color of 2011.

20 Dec

I know I’m quite late in blogging about this and you probably have already heard but I’m so tickled “pink” by Pantone’s choice for 2011 that I just have to write about it!  (The only choice that could have made me happier would have been Royal Purple).

The Pantone Color of the Year for 2011 is – 18-2120 Honeysuckle, a very sassy, chic reddish-pink.

“In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum.”

So, just as we saw this year, with the announcement last year of turquoise being 2010 color of the year, we can expect to see this shade of pink starting to appear more and more on the store shelves and on the clothing racks.

via NY Daily

Cuisinart Yogurt & Ice Cream Maker

Google Images

Google Images

Google Images

via Little Green Notebook

via Apartment Therapy

via HomeGoods

"Mom Cave" via HomeGoods

Pantone Visa Card

Yes, this is a real VISA card!


Style at Home Magazine - Jan. 2011

Even the Style at Home issue that is on the stands now has a masthead in something resembling “Honeysuckle”.  Cool.


The Pantone Color Institute is widely recognized as setting color standards for the fashion and home industries.  It’s also the common color language spoken in the paper and graphics worlds.

In 2010,

Color of the Year 2010









In 2009,

Color of the Year 2009











I really like 18-2120 Honeysuckle and was thinking of a bubble gum pink for the new laundry room but now…… maybe something with a bit more red in it!

This Honeysuckle pink is going to be an awesome accent color for those who have been painting their walls gray (the new neutral).  Too punchy for you?  Start small, a pillow here, glass bowl there.  If you are tickled pink about this color but are not sure where to begin, just ask.

Simple Changes or Complete Transformations – thoughtful design simply works.

You can still reach me here with your questions and photos. 

Mantle x Two

19 Dec

According to the pictures I’ve seen of our new house, we have two mantles.  One in the living room and one outdoor mantle located above an electric stone fireplace located on the back patio.

The fireplace in the living room is a dreaded corner unit.  However, instead of lamenting on its unfortunate location I’m going to celebrate it’s stone facade and large mantle.  Even though we don’t move in until 5 days before Christmas, you can bet the farm that I’m going to have that mantle dripping in Christmas!

Finding inspiration is no problem!  (My ponderings follow each picture).

via Centsational Girl (favorite blog)

Kate never disappoints with her thrifty decorating tips and tricks.  Everything in her home looks like it’s brand-new right outta the box!  I love thrift store shopping and she continues to inspire and encourage me not to give up on finding the next treasure.

Colored glass, bowls filled with sparkly ornaments, swoops of beaded garlands….what’s not to love!

(Side note: Has anyone else noticed that the U.S. thrift stores seem to be filled with more pieces that are worthy of transformation than the thrift stores here in Canada?)


via Susie Harris

Love the use of the branches – bringing in an element of nature into any decorating project is always a great idea.  I have several footed glass jars with lids and have a ball changing them out all over the house over the year.  Don’t restrict yourself with what you put in them and if you don’t own at least a couple in various sizes, keep your eyes open for a sale!


via Home Goods

While I’m not fond with how the collection of finials are spread out seemingly evenly along the length of the mantle, those draped beaded garlands with the hanging stars are terrific!  I know I have some rattan stars and if they aren’t glitzy enough – I can take care of that!   (now where did I pack that glitter??)


via Google Images

Love this photo!  Would love to have this on a large  canvas to put up every season.   This puts me in the mood for sitting by the fire with a hot beverage and carols playing in the background.  I have a whole collection of flame-free candles…. yes, the wheels are turning….thoughts forming….


via Cottage Hill

A simple palette of red and green – lovely with a capital “L”.   Way more than just a mantle-scape here!  With the raining red ornaments shimmering down from the ceiling  and the light-infused cedar boughs that wrap down to the floor, this design makes a statement.   Notice the white bulbs are the big variety – nice touch.   J-O-Y, definitely!

Don’t limited yourself to just using your ornaments to adorn your tree.  Hang them in front of your windows, attach them to a wreath, hook them to your drapery treatments, dangle them from your wall sconces or chandeliers…. the opportunities or endless!


via Cottage Instincts

The homeowner here is working with and not against his/her gray brick.  Really a stunning, calming effect.


via Echoes of Laughter

More nature – love it!  This is a good lesson on using what you have – eg. the desert tier to showcase glass ornaments and add a punch of color.  And don’t overlook the use of stacked books to give height to an item that needs a little boost to be noticed.  This is one trick that I admit I overuse.  I can’t help myself!


via Cottage Hill

More draping of beaded garland – I’m definitely going to attempt that.  (Wonder if I’ll have enough beads left once I’ve finished the tree??)  Using the ceramic and glass birds is a wonderful idea – very woodland.  And of course you know I love seeing the use of picture frames in nontraditional ways!


via House & Home

How great is this?  A row of simple metal trees and the use of the floor directly on the hearth for two topiary trees.  You know I don’t like all white interiors but I appreciate the simplicity of this fireplace decor and the punch it brings to the room.  Love, love, love those trees – I need to figure out how to make them for next year!


via Google Images

The look of a cedar wreath against a stone backdrop is just classic to me.  Since this wreath is not dripping with ornaments or Christmas ribbon, I’d be tempted to leave it up during the remaining frosty months.  Love the simple groupings strategically placed on the mantle.  Don’t forget the punch of color – with the help here of a Poinsettia!


via Home Goods

Again, not my color palette but it’s a great lesson…..big statement pieces, add height, create drama….. the goals of any effective mantle/fireplace decorating scheme.


Google Image

I have boxes of pine cones that I’ve collected over the years and while they may not show up in the indoor mantle scheme, they’ll likely have a role in the outdoor one.

Just a couple more days…… tree, mantles, front entrance, back deck ……getting excited about putting my Christmas decorating ideas into action.  Oh ya, unpack first…then decorate.  I better keep repeating that to myself!

I can still be reached here! How are your holiday plans coming along?

This Fall Think Deep Thoughts About Color.

26 Oct

Deep, rich, sink-into color, that is!

It’s only 6 a.m. here in my office and I should be getting dolled up for work but I had, had, had to share the latest palette offerings from the very inspirational Margot Austin over at Style at Home magazine.

Those who know me or have ever been to my shop know that I’m over the moon for the color Royal Purple, so this first palette made my heart sing (now if I could only get it to play a little ditty for my husband )

Plum & Pewter via Style at Home

Paint shown is by Farrow & Ball (sorry they don’t list the paint name or number).

That glossy striped wallpaper as a backdrop to the deep grays – Oh, Yah.

Margot even gives us a room in plum, just in case we’re not convinced yet….

Plum Inspiration via Style at Home

I’ll take the deep purple chair, the sink-into gray chaise, the gi-normous ornate mirror ……loving those walls!  With those high ceilings did they really need to paint them snowman white?  (ding – post idea!)

Next up is this blue & red combination – don’t think Crayola crayons!

Margot refers to these two as Oxblood and Inky Indigo.  Whatever you choose to call them, I call them terrific together!

Oxblood & Inky Indigo via Style at Home

If I were looking for components for my room redo with these colors, I’d be carrying around that small vase in my purse!

I was thinking office when I first saw this inspiration board and ……

via Style at Home

Here it is!    Aside from the pink rug (I would keep looking for something with more red in it) I really like the use of the indigo on all the walls and bookcases.  If you like the color….use it on all four walls!

Last one is Cocoa and Bronze.  While I’m not a brown loving individual, I can’t help but appreciate all the richness and luxury that chocolate can bring.  Talking color here not Cadbury!

Cocoa & Bronze via Style at Home

Sooooo, you know there is an inspiration room coming up next……

Are you waiting for chocolate walls? …………Nope!

Bronze glazing? ……….. Nope!

Fabric wrapped panels? ………….. Nope!


Timothy Mather via Style at Home

Croc wallpaper !

Is your master bedroom or guest room lacking punch?  How about a croc wall treatment?

Designer Timothy Mather hit this one, right outta the park!

Deep thoughts about some deep colors, perfect topic for this fall.

Simple Changes or Complete Transformations – thoughtful design simply  works.

If you would like design to work for you please contact me here for an on-line consultation, or if you are local please call 204.620.6202

Bravery – Are you feeling it?

20 Oct

My husband purchased his very first, well-deserved I think, brand-new boat.  We are safety conscious people and took the course, read the manual and purchased the necessary equipment.  Including a doggy life jacket for our little boy, Henry.  See the “About” page for a picture of the “cutest dog in the whole wide world”.

There are just certain things I’m not brave about.  Zooming around at 35 mph in a boat without a life jacket, working out in my garden in July without bug spray, cutting lumber without measuring twice, leaving on vacation without packing a hair dryer, filling in forms in ink and eating shelled peanuts out of an open dish.

For many, the use of color appears on their list, right up there with public speaking and sharks.  The majority of my color clients come to me because they can’t pull themselves away from the safety of beige.  The practice of painting white trim and ceiling to “contrast” with beige walls is well……….habit I think (I hope).

I have no reservations using color (just ask my husband about the yellow spare bedroom) and anyone who has been in my shop knows my favorite color is Royal Purple.  While I can’t get too crazy because my husband needs to be comfortable too, I do push the envelope as much as I can and I am constantly on the look-out for the next big inspirational image.

Maybe there is one here for you?

via Flickr

via House & Home

Ben Stiller's Home via Elle Decor

via Martha Stewart

By Nina Campbell via Veranda

via Google Images

via Chatting at the Sky

Candice Olson

This last image alone makes me want to run out and purchase teal paint!  Canadian Designer Candice Olson has been one of my favorite designers since before design school.  Remember when she first started doing segments on “Cityline” in Toronto?  Very great.

So…….inspired to be a little braver?

Simple Changes or Complete Transformations – thoughtful design simply works.

To help you make design work for you please contact me here for an on-line consultation or if you are local please call me at 204.620.6202