Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Second Opinion

If you're one of those lucky people out there who are building, renovating or just doing a little sprucing up and haven't been working with a decorator, I'm sure you've been poring over samples, magazines, and pinterest stressing about what's right for your home.  You've got your ideas together and think you've got it right but you're a little nervous. 

What if the tile you're choosing turns out to be too busy with your countert tops?  Or not interesting enough?  Or your floor tile ends up looking yellow next to your cabinets?  

Source: 123rf.com via Kirsten on Pinterest

What if the neutral beige carpet you choose turns out looking pinky with the rest of the colors?

Source: houzz.com via Kirsten on Pinterest

 Or your bathroom looks like a black hole because you went with the dark cabinets, floors and counter tops because they all 'matched', right?

Sometimes before you make your final decision and spend all the money to buy it and have it installed, it might be nice to get a second opinion.  A couple of hours with a decorator to confirm your choices or give you some advice on how to make the right choice might save you thousands of dollars on fixing the problem.  Or possibly save you years of dissatisfaction when you look at the laminate floors that just don't quite go with the adjoining kitchen tile.

If you're intersted in a consultation to get some advice or confirm your choices email me at realinteriors@hotmail.com

Monday, 29 October 2012

Adding Warmth to Your Room in Cold Weather


Now that we're getting some cold weather and a bit of snow flying, I'm looking for ways to add that warm cozy feeling to my home, especially my living room and bedroom.  Here are a few things I do.

Texture.  Things like fuzzy knit throws and pillows or warm rugs and flokati cushions.  Even just adding some logs to the wood box makes me think of warm nights by the fire.

Warm colours.  If you're up for painting go for it but you can add warm colors in your accessories much quicker and switch them back to your cool ones in the summer if you want.  This doesn't neccessarily mean you have to switch your entire color scheme.  You can use neutrals like a warm cream throw and rich warm brown wood or leather pieces.  Or if you have a neutral backdrop add some color from the warm side of your color wheel.  Reds, oranges, and yellows.  Darker hues of these tend to feel a bit more cozy and mature. 

Source: bhg.com via Kirsten on Pinterest

Source: bhg.com via Kirsten on Pinterest

Source: bhg.com via Kirsten on Pinterest

Light. Low, warm toned lighting makes the room feel more intimate, cozy and warmer of course.  If you want your room to feel warmer make sure your bulbs are warm toned.  The yellow toned light reflects off of your walls and furniture making everything appear a warmer colour.

If you have a fireplace all you have to do is start a fire to add instant warmth and ambience but if you don't you can still add it in smaller doses by lighting a few candles.

Source: 123rf.com via Kirsten on Pinterest

Scent - If you're lighting some candles why not make them scented with something that brings feelings of warmth and comfort like peppermint, apple pie, gingerbread, vanilla.  These are some of my favorites, and I'm just now noticing they all revolve around food, haha!  Smell is one of the most powerful ways to create emotion and is strongly connected to memory.  It can go a long way in creating the atmosphere you're after.
I'm in love with my new scentsy

This is the one I have!  It adds some nice ambient lighting and smells fantastic,  I've only tried 'Frosted Ginger Cookie' so far but I can't switch if out because I'm enjoying it so much in this cool weather.  It just smells warm and cozy when you walk in the door!  I bought mine from a lady down the street from me if you're looking for one.

If you're like me and don't really look forward to the cold, add a few cozy touches to your home, curl up with a warm drink and your knit throw and suddenly you don't mind it quite so much!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Common Decorating Mistake - Hanging Artwork Too High


This is a really common mistake that I see all the time.  I'm not sure why we do it?  Maybe we think you won't be able to see it unless it's up high?  If that's the case, the opposite is true.  When we hang art and accessories too high, it actually makes it more difficult and uncomfortable to look at.  You have to look up to see it and visually it makes the room uncomfortable.  It breaks the rooms flow because your art feels detached from the lower half of the room.

The ideal height to hang artwork or accessories is so the center point is 57" off the floor.  There are of course exceptions but generally speaking that is the most comfortable viewing height.  It's standard gallery height and apparently represents the average.

1. Take the height of your artwork and divide it by 2 (ex. 24"/2=12")
2.Measure from the top of the piece to the top of the stretched wire or hook. (2")
3.Subtract the last amount from the first (12"-2"=10")
4. Add 57" to this last amount and lightly mark on the wall (57"+10"=67")
5.  Hang your hook or nail at this height and the center of your artwork will be at 57"
If you're doing a gallery wall then the center of your grouping should still be 57 inches high.  Arrange your collection on the floor or a table spaced how you would like and measure the group as a whole to find your center point.  It takes a bit of math but you'll have everything at a comfortable viewing height in the end, so everyone will be able to appreciate it!

Another benefit to this is you don't need to figure out how to line up your art that's different sizes (tops the same height or bottoms?)  All of your art will be hung at the same center point and will flow visually.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Going Places Bedroom

I just finished up the last room for my portfolio!  And here it is!  The adorable little boy who lives in this bedroom will be turning two right away so we wanted something that was fun for him now but will grow with him too.  He loves his tractors so we really wanted to work some green into the color scheme.  Mom also had some really cute paintings with saying about aiming for the stars and the places he could go, so we really wanted to work them in too.  When I found fabric full of vintage cars, trucks and motorcylces with all our colors, "going places" became a bit of a theme.

So here are a couple of before shots. 

Sorry they are a bit dark and the colors aren't quite right.  It's been pretty rainy and overcast here the last few days, plus my camera is terrrible in low light :(   but here are some afters! :D

I can't believe this busy mom spent hours painting that striped wall!  It turned out awesome!!


Friday, 19 October 2012

The Decorating Order

I find lots of people I talk to seem to be quite frustrated with their home because they just can't seem to get the look they want.
 They see a show on tv that says some new cushions or a coat of paint will completely change the look of their room, so they run out and buy them but are frustrated when they get home and it doesn't look nearly as good as the tv.  Why doesn't it work for them? 

They are working in the wrong order.

The first step in decorating should be evaluting your room.  What do you use the room for, how do you want it to feel, what do you need in here, what do you love in here, hate in here, what features are making the room look dated or worn.  Once you've answer questions like these it will be easier to take stock of what needs to stay and go from the room.

Second is to figure out an initial floorplan.  Usually adding your largest piece first and working to the smallest is the easiest method. 

Next is your color scheme.  Do you have one?  Does it work with the your furniture and fixed elements in the room?  Does it flow with adjacent rooms?  Your color scheme will determine the mood of your room and how you and your guest will feel in the room.  A common mistake is to choose a paint color you like at the store and try to decorate around it.  Paint should be one of the last choices in your color scheme.  It is much easier to choose from one of the bazillion paint colors than to try and find a perfect sofa to match your paint. 

Southwest living room


Last is accessorizing.  Once you have your color scheme and placed all of your furniture in its new home you will find the last step much easier.  You will be able to see how much space there is on that wall and where you need to add a bit of color or texture to make the room feel pulled together.

Next time you're watching one of those shows notice that they are usually working from the middle forward.  They already have a clean, updated neutral shell where all they are doing is clearing out some old accessories and adding some new ones.  Once you have a functional floorplan and updated neutral furnishings you can switch your look quickly with a few pillows and some paint too.
So stop putting lipstick on a pig and invest some of the money you spend on new accessories every couple of months on starting from the beginning so you can finally get the look you really wanted all along!

Men and Decorating

I was having a conversation with a good friend about the frustrations of choosing decorative finishes with your husband. Every husband has a slightly different attitude about decorating but there is generally three camps.

 Number one, the very involved and concerned husband that has a definite view on everything that goes into the house.  There don't tend to be as many of these around but they do exist.  The bonus of this type of husband is that he wants to go along on the shopping trips (no need to drag him), offers his opinion (which can make the choosing process easier if you're indecisive), and gets excited about the outcome (nice to have someone to share that with).
The downside is that if your opinions differ it can make the choosing process more difficult because it becomes a game of compromise and mixing different styles, which can be a challenge without help.

The second husband is the inbetweener.  He may be interested in some aspects of the decorating process and have opinions on certain areas but really not care about others.  For example he may really care about the stone on the fireplace or the chair he'll sit in but could care less about the cushion fabric or the wall color (as long as it isn't that one color he hates).  This can be nice if you're willing to work with him on those areas he's intersted in but still allows you piles of freedom to choose what you like.

The third husband is the I don't care guy.  As long as there is a comfortable spot with a view of the tv and it's not all pink frills, he doesn't want to hear about it.  This is great if you're someone who prefers to make all the decisions yourself. 
This can be very frustrating if you do want some input or assurance that he likes it.  Most of these husbands won't give you much more than an, "I hate it," or, "I don't hate it".  Lot's of women (myself included, as most of the time this is my husband) find this frustrating because you get a design or idea together and show it to him, full of excitement, and all you get is an, "oh ya."  It kind of sucks the wind out of it.  You want him to be as excited as you are and think maybe he hates it or it's no good because he isn't excited.
I have learned that most of the time if he doesn't say he hates it, that's about as good as I'm going to get.  His lack of excitement shouldn't stop me from being excited about it.  It would be the equivilant of him telling me "the most exciting news!  The hockey lockout might be over and they'll probably play the whole season!"  I suppose I don't jump for joy when he says things like that but it doesn't stop him from being excited and watching every game. hahaha
Most of the time when it's all finished those husbands say, "nice," or "better than I thought."  And while it's not jumping up and down with excitement, it's about as close as it'll probably get.  So I'll take it!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Living Room Reveal

My clients are recently retired and spending more time at home so they decided it was time to update a few things. 
They asked me to help them make the room feel a bit more current and finished but I also noticed the room really wasn't a reflection of them or their lifestyle.  They're a very vibrant and active couple who like to entertain a lot.  However, their living room was feeling a tad dull.  All the furniture was pushed against the walls fairly far apart, which wasn't condusive to comfortable conversation when entertaining. 
When you come into the house you see right through the kitchen and dining room to the far wall of the living room, so the first thing you saw was a pair of huge cabinets and the tv.  Not a great focal point.
They were very excited to change that view, so we played with the floorplan a bit and came up with this.

( The lighter wall color doesn't look quite right in this picture, it's a lighter tone of the darker one,  We actually worked with the existing colors )
I wanted a focal point on the far wall to create more interesting sight lines from the other rooms and entrance.  We moved the tv into the corner where the recliner had been and put the couch on the far wall.  They are very proud parents and grandparents so I thought a collage of images they've taken of their family would be the perfect focal point for over the couch.
We arranged the furniture to allow for easy conversation and brought in a rug to help the pieces feel pulled together.  The rug helped warm up the space a bit but adding some cushions really made a huge difference.  The orange instantly warmed the room creating a much cozier atmosphere and added a ton of color and vibrancy that really reflected the clients personalities.
We also changed out the vertical blinds with gorgeous rolling shades and finished the look with coordinating curtains.  That alone made the room feel updated.
As you can see the man of the house didn't want to part with his lazy boy.  But we made it work!  We did look into reupholstery but it just wasn't in the budget right now (it may have actually been less expensive to buy a new one, eek).
Overall I'm very pleased with the final product and so were they.  It is such a comfortable space and really feels like them now, which is one of the most imporant things when designing a room for a client.
One more before and after.


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Laundry Room Complete

My first post was about a laundry room I was working on for a client.  I showed the moodboard I made for them and promised some pictures after we finished!  Here is the moodboard again.

Grey Yellow Laundry room

They needed a lot of storage for bedding, toys, laundry detergents and soaps, etc.  I also suggested adding a laundry sink since they make their own wine and that would allow them to keep that equipment out of the kitchen.  We wanted it to be clean, fresh and as bright as possible. 
Here is the before. 

And here are a few of the afters!

A counter top for folding and working on projects is always nice in a laundry room.
We were able to fit all of the toys and bedding in the lower cabinets and we added an upper over the washer to keep all of the detergents and soaps.  They got rid of some of the things they didn't really use anymore, so we still have a whole open upper cabinet plus some shelves for them to fill.  Can't beat extra storage!!!  And it looks pretty good too!


Thursday, 11 October 2012

Here's Bucky!

It was a bit of a wait for the finishing touch to Ryan's room.  But Bucky finally arrived this morning and I quickly got him put together and up there to fill the open space over the bed.  Ryan's pretty excited his new buddy is here!  And it was surprisingly easy to put together.  I think it took maybe five minutes.


That's probably as close to taxidermy as we'll get in this house.  A fun feature for a little boys room!

Monday, 8 October 2012

My Word

I apologize right now.  I'm writing this fairly late at night and there will probably be a few gramatical errors that I most likely won't come back to fix. Sorry!
I was catching up on a blog I frequently read, Nesting Place.  If you haven't read it, it's a really great view on home and decor, "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful".  Some may be surprised as a decorator that I would agree with this, but I completely do.  No home will every be completely finished and magazine ready.  Even the homes in the magazines are styled before they are photographed.
Anyways, she does a 31 day thing where she blogs everyday about one subject for 31 days.  This years her subject to blog on is Home on Purpose, so far it's been really great!  Her day 6 post was One Word You Don't Want.  About choosing a word you don't want your home to be, such as cute, formal, sterile etc.  There were piles of others in her comments.
So I was thinking what would my word be?  After some thought I think it's inauthentic.  I have done a lot of collecting of things over the years.  I go out and buy something because I see it at someone else's house, or in all the stores, to fill an empty spot, it's inexpensive or whatever.  But shortly after I realize, I don't really like it.  I didn't buy it because it was something I really fell in love with and in the end is a total waste of money and doesn't really reflect my (or my family's) personality. 
My goal is to try to take my time and get only what I really love and will really work for my family.  Even if the girl next door doesn't love it, it's not her house, it's mine and why not get what makes me feel good!

Collage/ Gallery Walls

I'm sure everyone had noticed the huge trend of collage and gallery walls in homes lately.  They are such a fun idea to really personalize your home with some of your favorite pictures but also objects, maps, inspirational words, mirrors or art.  There's no end to what you could make use of to create your own wall.

Source: google.ca via Kirsten on Pinterest

These are just a few pictures I had pinned that included gallery walls.  Several of the picture weren't even ones I pinned because of the gallery wall, they just happened to have one.  So much inspiration for your gallery wall on pinterest.  I think my favorite ones are picture canvas galleries and collections of random things that are special or hold appeal to the home owner.
I'm currently collecting for my own!