Thursday, 8 September 2016

It's Been Awhile

Hello everyone!!!  Some of you may have noticed Real Interiors went on a long "break".  Like an almost three year break.  Which is super crazy when I think about what all has happened in that time.

I was really only not working at Real Interiors for about two and half years but took a break from the blog side of it for closer to three. 
Some who don't know our family well might be wondering why such a long break, I'm sure.  Well, long story short, we had a house fire and lost all of our personal belongings as well as all of my business equipment and samples.  I tried to keep up with it for a few weeks afterwards but found dealing with our lives basically being turned upside down, a little much.  Life took an even harder turn emotionally for us when we tragically lost an immediate family member just two months later.

Since then, life has been a lot of ups and downs. We've been settled in our new house for about a year now and just recently we finally finished the insurance process (thank goodness!).  I've felt settled enough lately that I really realized how much I've missed my work at Real Interiors and allowed me enough time to start rebuilding.

So...Real Interiors is officially back in business! And I'm so excited!!!

P.S. check out the Portfolio page for some of my recent work and stay tuned! I'll be adding more soon!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

DIY Nate Berkus Inspired Arrowhead Runner

DIY Nate Berkus Inspired Arrowhead Runner - How to make your own arrowhead runner for a fraction of the cost in only a couple of hours!  Really easy!

When I started working on my hallway I was envisioning a light bright space with a few fun details to keep it interesting but not overwhelming.  I also didn't have a huge budget to work with but really, who wants to invest a bunch of money in a hallway?

I'd been really crushing on the Nate Berkus Arrowhead Runner from Target but after thinking it through it just wasn't an option.  For one I would need two of them to run the full length of the hallway (it would've looked funny to have a runner that only went part way) meaning I would need to piece them together somehow, likely creating an odd joint in the middle.  The hallway includes doors from the backyard, the bathroom and my two kids rooms.  With all these doors I was concerned it might not hold up to outdoor footwear and it also had no sticky backside, making me nervous it would be slippery when the kids were running through there.  Plus double the rugs = double the cost.  At $70 a piece they were definitely out of the price range I wanted to spend on a hallway runner.

I was at the hardware store for some spray paint (for my giant $5 mirror you can see in the picture above) when I stumbled across the rolls of runners.  While it wasn't wool like the Nate Berkus rugs the fuzzy charcoal was close enough that it reminded me of it.  It had rubber backing so no slip and protection for the hardwood from wet shoes from the backyard.  Hmmm, it could work with a little tweaking.  I looked for the price...$2.75 a foot.  The 14ft I needed would be under $40, $30 less than just one single Nate runner and $100 less than the cost of the two I would've needed...Sold!!!

A quick stop for a sponge on my way out and fifteen minutes later I was rolling out my runner and making a plan.

I started by cutting some triangle out of my sponge.  The Nate runner triangles were smaller and more spaced out but I decided it would be faster and easier to make them a bit larger and line them up one right after another so I didn't have to worry about measuring spacing between.

Next I decided on my spacing between rows.  I wanted five rows just because that's what I thought would look best so I found the center of the rug and stuck down a piece of painters tape to mark it.  Then I did a little math to figure out the other rows.  Since I wanted five lines I divided the width by 6 and marked the center line of each row that distance apart. I put the tape down so the left edge of each piece marked the center of the line where I would line up the center point of the triangle and about 2 inches down from the edge of the rug so there would be room for my first triangles. 

I grabbed a paper plate and some regular white latex paint (some of my left over trim colour) and started dabbing.  I didn't want a really white and solid triangle, I was going for a slightly more transparent look, so I dabbed off quite a bit of paint on the plate before I applied it.

I lined up the center point of the triangle with the left edge of the painters tape that marked the center of my lines.  Once I had my first triangle I moved the tape down about half a foot and started working my way down stamping a few triangles in each row before moving the paint strips down.  If you look closely you can see the runner had grooves in it which really helped when moving the tape.  I could just run my finger down the groove and place the tape.  They also helped when stamping for lining up your next stamp with the last one.  I kept the tape though instead of relying only on the grooves because I found I started to drift a couple of times when I didn't line it up as close as I should have and the tape helped the find the center of the line again.

Once I got more comfortable with the process I got into a bit of a rhythm and it became much faster.

You can probably see a couple spots where my lines drifted a bit but I figured it added to the more authentic "hand woven" look I was trying to knockoff. 

While I know it doesn't look like a hand woven wool rug I'm really happy with the end result and find it makes the hall feel a lot more put together.  It feels nice underfoot (not really soft but not as rough as I thought it would be) and works better for my families needs and budget.  I don't think I could've beat $40 for a 14ft runner.  All said and done the painting took me about an hour and half and with the back door open it only took about an hour after I finished for it to be dry enough to walk on.

And just because I like a good before and after here's a picture of what we were working with before.

And a lot of sanding, painting and a little bit of accessorizing later.  The after!
I know it's just a hallway but it's nice to have one more room knocked off the painting list and feeling more us!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Adding Spring to Your Home

I don't know about you but this NEVER ENDING winter weather is really getting on my nerves.  I think I have a bit of seasonal depression because of it. 
I've never been more eager to have it warm up so I can open the doors and windows and get my spring cleaning done.  When I'd come home from school and my mom would have everything wide open and airing out, and everything would be pulled off the shelves and walls to be wiped and vaccumed and washed, was always when I felt like spring had come.  Life seems to be a bit stuck on winter mode until that happens for me.

So in an effort to throw off some of this "blahness" (I'm sure that isn't a word but I'm using it) I've been looking at some ways to quickly, easily, and cheaply add some of that spring feeling to my home in the mean time.

Flowers and greenery

Nothing brightens up a room like something living!  Having a vase of flowers on your table or desk totally brightens that area.  And if you want something that will last a lot longer, or if you're like me and have a black thumb, there are gorgeous faux flowers and greenery for very reasonable prices.  Check out Ikea or I've even found beautiful fake orchids at Safeway for a good price.


Source: via Kirsten on Pinterest

Recover some throw pillows and add a light throw or a fun rug in a bright colour. Add a new vase or lamp or even pull books with bright covers off the shelf and use them in a more obvious place.  All inexpensive ways to switch things up a bit.  Switching out some of your accessories for something in a bright hue adds colour and make the space feel new and exciting again. 


Painting a wall or a piece of furniture can totally change and brighten a space on a budget.  You can even make an old lamp or vase new for the cost of a can of spray paint.  I like this because if you want to switch it up in the fall you can without feeling too bad.


Part of that spring feeling is adding more light to your space.  Cleaning your windows (when you can finally get out to do that) will instantly make your room brighter.  It's amazing how dingy they get over the winter!  If you have heavy curtains that aren't used for privacy or light control reasons you could consider changing them out with something lighter for the spring/summer seasons.  This will allow more light into your room and the light fabric will lend a light and airy feel to the whole room.


Clear out all that clutter that's gathered over the winter.  Every once in awhile, usually at the change to spring or fall for me, I like to clear all the little stuff out of the space leaving only the furniture.  It gives me a chance to look at everything I've accumulated all laid out and decide what I really like and what is working and what might just be adding to a cluttered or unharmonious look.  I can clean off all the surfaces and items properly and place them where they will look best.  A bonus of this for me (I seem to get tired of things quickly and crave change) is that I end up with a bit different look without spending any money.

And someday, whenever it may come, I will throw open my doors and windows and do a thorough clean and it will truly be spring for me!

Looking for a change this spring or summer?  I'd love to help!  Contact me at !

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Chair Recovered

I had been thinking about getting a pair of chairs to flank my fireplace when we eventually mount the tv over it.  Since what I had my eye on wasn't at all in my budget right now, I jumped at an inexpensive stand in when it came up.

I got two of these chairs for cheap...$10 right in my budget!  They were simple, sturdy, comfortable, and I liked that they were kind of mid century modern which is the era my house was built in so I thought they'd fit the style.

Here's a couple of before and after shots!

And After

I'll hopefully get a tutorial up in the next couple of day.  I've been very busy with clients and life these days so the blog has been a little neglected, sorry!  I've also been working on a little makeover for my living room so most of my "free time" has been going into that.  But on the bright side I'll have some new pictures and maybe a couple of tutorial posts from it soon!  Stay tuned!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Not so Neutral Neutrals

Wow it's been crazy around here!  SO this will be a quick post on something I've noticed on several projects lately.  I wonder if maybe you have too at some point but couldn't put your finger on it.
You walk into a newly built house or a new renovated space and think, this is nice enough but something isn't quite right.  You just can't put your finger on it.  Some how things don't quite flow together.

If you've felt this way then there's a good chance that space had conflicting neutrals. 
But aren't neutrals neutral?  Yes and no.  Black, white, grey, and brown are supposed to be neutral but there's kind of a catch. 

You choose a beige sofa, chairs, walls, and rug, altogether they should create a nice neutral backdrop, right?  Not necessarily.  This picture is a prime example.  While it's definitely not the ugliest room ever, it definitely feels "off".

Unless a neutral is in it's basest form they have added other colours to it.  So why is that a problem and why does it look off?  Conflicting undertones.

For example beige comes in several undertones.  You may have chosen some nice brown/beige tile for your backsplash and decided to keep things neutral you'd go with a beige wall colour too.  But when you get it up there it just doesn't look right. The wall colour looks blah.  Is something wrong with the paint?
Most likely it's because your tiles are yellow beige and your walls are pink beige.  Pink beige will look dirty next to yellow beige.

Just check out this paint chip.  A light brown/beige (Lennox Tan BM).

When you put it next to a yellow beige...kinda dirty and blah.
 You can see the same thing with these couches and chairs.  The pinky beige sofas looks kind of dull next to the yellow beige chairs.

The same thing will happen with your finishes.

So when you're picking finshes please keep undertones in mind.  Just because you're picking all brown or gray stuff it won't aways go together.

If you're picking finishes and on the fence about hiring a decorator, just remember a consultation or two with me is much cheaper than ripping out and replacing flooring or furniture that looks off in your room.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend everyone!!!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Inconvenient Built Ins - Working With What You Have

Emily A Clark is having a link up party today where bloggers can show off and share some of the projects they've done where they worked with what they had.  She's had posts on this topic for a few months, showing ways she and some of her readers have worked with things like beat up hardwood floors, less than desirable furniture, long narrow living rooms, etc.

So todays post is was a last minute throw together of a project where I worked with what I had.  When we redecorated our office/guest room into a nursery for our little girl we were faced with a bit of a challenge.  While the room was larger than the nursery in our old house this room had lots of "things" in it.  Three windows in the corner, a closet door in the middle of one wall, the door on another, and built ins.

We have a lot of built ins in this house.  A doctor had this house custom made back in the fifties (so I'm told) and just about every room on the main floor has some kind of built ins.  While some are nice, others are pretty inconveniently placed and make furniture placement difficult.  That was the case in the nursery.  I loved the bookshelf and drawers in the corner but didn't love the desk that was attached to it.
I wish I had a before picture of the actual desk but I didn't think ahead at the time and was just eager to get rid of it.  When we started the room my plan was to remove the desk altogether.  It was covered in a peeling shiny (but scratched up) black laminate and constructed of ugly pine.  It even had one of those slide out keyboard shelf things.  I wanted it gone!
However when it came time to take it out it wasn't just some boards attached to the side of the bookcase and mounted on the wall, it was literally part of both.  If we were going to take it out it would've been major surgery and left the side of the bookcase marred and meant a lot of patching and possibly drywalling the wall behind it.  Since that work wasn't in the timeline or budget we decided the best route was to try and spruce it up a bit. We tore off the laminate, removed the keyboard shelf, and sanded everything really well.  A few coats of primer and paint later we had what would be our baby's change table. 
It actually ended up being a perfect length for the change pad and had enough room behind it for all of the diapers, wipes, lotions, etc. to sit conveniently and space underneath for the laundry basket.  It was one less piece of furniture to try and fit in (since our change table was too large to fit in that space anyways) and when she no longer needs a change table we can take the pad off and bring a chair up so it can be a desk again. 
I can't wait to see her sitting there drawing masterpieces... or doing homework!

Working With What You Have link up at emilyaclark.comCheck out the link up party!


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Using a Decorator on a Budget - One Idea

It's quite common for decorators to be called in half way through a project when a the client gets stuck.  As a decorator I have no problem coming and helping at whatever stage they need me at, however, projects like these are often more challenging.  Why?  Often clients have made quite a few decisions, made several purchases, already had their trades out to do some of the work, and the decorator comes into a "hodge podge" of decorating, so to say.


Probably the biggest challenge for a decorator when coming into half done projects is that quite often one or two (or several) of the purchases or decisions made by the client really don't work and we are asked to try to salvage the pieces. This usually results in more cost for the client (having to repurchase items or get trades out to fix problems) and/or a less than beautiful result (and who really wants that after they've spent all the money and time on it) If they had had a decorator out before making purchases or starting work they would have had the finished product they wanted for less money.

One way I have found that may save money for some people, and avoid the "hodge podge" rescue, is to do the leg work yourself!

Decorators charge for their time and mileage.  Gathering all of the samples and pictures they bring you to look at takes a lot of hours and leg work. So if you're willing to do the running around you may be able to save some dough. 

Source: via Kirsten on Pinterest

My suggestion is, if you're thinking about doing some redecorating, before you start anything, think about what you really want and what you really like. Fill your pinterest board, your houzz ideabook, or a binder with clippings and pictures of things you like.  This way when you meet with your decorator s/he can much easier see what your style is and what you want your project to feel like. (If you have no idea what you like then that's a whole other story and you'll probably need some help figuring that out) When you've got a collection together have your decorator out for a consultation.

Most decorators offer a one or two hour consultation for a fairly reasonable rate and you'd be surprised what you can get accomplished in a short amount of time.

Tell them up front that you're on a budget and want to do the shopping around yourself but you need to know what to look for and what to avoid.  When you've shown your decorator your ideas ask them what you will need to get the look you're after.  They should be able to give you a good idea of what to look for and possibly even the best places to find it. Make sure you take notes and ask lots of questions!

Once you have that information start your window shopping and sample gathering. Go to stores and get sample and good quality pictures of all of the options you find. Make sure you get prices, sizes and all the information you can on all of the items you're looking at. Don't forget to check prices at different places. Don't buy anything yet!!!

With all of your samples and pictures together have your decorator out for another consultation. Using everything you gathered they should be able to help you choose what will work together and get you closer to the desired look the first time around.

I think that extra hour or two at the start of the project is well worth it!  Often when I add up the extra money clients end up spending fixing mistakes or the headache and disappointment living with those mistakes (which they will probably get fed up with after a year or two and redo anyways) my fee for that hour or two at the start of the project would have been covered many times over.

If you're starting a project and need a little guidance I'd love to help!  If you have any questions about my services and how I might be able to help you, contact me at!