DESIGN TIPS & STORIES
BEHIND THE SCENES
"I HAVE THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD. AFTER MANY YEARS BUILDING MY REPUTATION AS A PROFESSIONAL DESIGNER…
I find it's important to show the serious side of design and inspire others to create engaging homes. But another important lesson learned is to enjoy the moment and find time to have a good laugh. It is my team of talented, hardworking people that manage to keep me—and each other—laughing."
THE SOUL OF A ROOM
MY FAVORITE PROJECT
BEDROOMS PART I
BEDROOMS PART II
FIRST TIME HOMEOWNERS
Lighting is without a doubt, THE most overlooked design element for new homeowners looking to spruce things up. However, It doesn't matter how much time energy or money you spend on your home or it's furnishings, if you don’t have good lighting then it's all for naught. The key is to create layers or levels of lighting. Firstly, overhead halogen lighting – halogen renders colours true - in the form of either recessed or even a simple track fixture is what brings furnishings, art and accessories to life.
Lower level lighting such as sconces and table lamps are important for creating a feeling of comfort and intimacy. Dimmers are well worth the added expense as they give you the flexibility to adjust the level of lighting or ambiance to suit every purpose. I always tell clients that the best $100 you can spend is to replace their single ceiling mounted light a with a multi-head halogen track fixture typically sold as a kit at most lighting stores or building centers.
Paint or rather colour is one of the quickest, easiest and least expensive ways to transform and personalize a space or it's contents. Many new homeowners are keen to paint prior to or immediately after moving in but the age old question is “What colour?”.
If you don't have an area carpet, upholstery or drapery fabric to help guide your colour choices and assuming you have wooden floors, stick to cool blue or smokey grey-blue neutrals to contrast the warmth of the wood. A bold, intense or dark colour on one wall, behind a sofa for example, visually weights and grounds a room, bringing focus as well as high impact drama to a space.
If you have the space but not enough storage consider adding to rather than replacing your cabinetry and painting it all the same finish to unify.
If you have a smaller home or condo it's essential to get maximum use of your minimal space. Consider re-thinking the dining room or area as a more informal lounge - perfect for todays more casual entertaining - or multi-task it as a home office and work file storage and printers etc. into nearby cabinetry.
To save space and create drama I love to use banquettes (or a bench with toss pillows will do) as they require only 24” of space between wall and table rather than the minimum 3-4 feet of space required for chairs. So you don’t get tangled up in table legs a pedestal table is the essential – it also allows you to fit in more chairs when you are hosting larger get-togethers.
So you wished for big picture windows with spectacular views but wound up with puny windows that look straight into a brick wall! Well, this is where layers of window treatments, typically thought of mainly for privacy and light control, can be your best decorating friends. Hanging drapery rods at a height roughly half way between the window casing and the ceiling and at least 18” beyond the width of the windows on each side creates the illusion of much higher and wider windows.
This window “framing” approach also saves money as the drapes don’t need to be operable - leave light control and privacy to your second layer of window treatments. To make up for that lack lustre view I love to use translucent blinds or sheers printed with bold graphic patterns to create a room with a view no matter how dismal the setting.