Friday, November 20, 2015

Deck your Halls...

Decking your Halls....

I am a little late with this post but since some of us are also a little late in 'decking our halls' I thought it  may help.  It always seems to just creep up on us.  This year I was at a little event where the theme for decorating this year is natural, red and gold.  Well that should be easy to accomplish.

When it comes to decorating, why not just enjoy the fun and anticipation.
Step back in time to when things were much simpler. Come up with new ways to showcase your treasured, current decorations along with adding new, simple refreshing additions. Have fun decorating!

There are many places to purchase d├ęcor items where you are not spending large amounts of money. One of the most inexpensive decorating sources can be in yourown back yard or nearby parks – pinecones, fallen branches, anything organic is environmentally friendly and looks warm and cozy.  You can re-purpose items you already have in a new and different ways.  Since it is only seasonal, the look or theme can change each year without purchasing an entire new collection of decorations.  What fun!  Here are some different themes to ponder – 

Natural Rustic/Organic Theme 

  • Greenery and pillar candles on kitchen counter       
  • Tree decorated with fruit in urn on kitchen table      
  • Small trees in baskets         
  • Grapevine or natural evergreen Wreaths in all windows
  • Tray on kitchen counter, which holds a small live Rosemary tree, paper whites and candle
  •   Large flat basket of greens filled with green apples, limes and pillar candle.
  • Christmas tree decorated with strings of cranberries, gingerbread men, twigs, dried fruit – apple and orange slices, etc.
  • Trays with greenery, and small votive & tea lights candles
  •  Collect fallen branches, trim your own evergreen bushes and perhaps some thicker birch type pieces and arrange in a tall glass cylinder
  • Fill different sizes of glass containers or baskets with pinecones
  •  Fill several different size glass containers with cranberries and then add some fresh flowers or branches
  • Bowls of fruit, nuts, pinecones
  •  Groupings of candles, especially battery operated for safety, among evergreen branches
  • 3 large glass candles with greenery, cinnamon sticks and oranges 
  • Light Fixture decorated with greenery            
  • Burlap wrapped presents in a basket on porch
  • Urns filled with greens, sticks, fruit and lights
 If you have a collection of Christmas Items why not showcase them -

Collection based theme – Santas, Nutcrackers, etc. 
  • Santas or Nutcrackers grouped with greenery and twigs around them
  • Group of Santas or nutcrackers on a bakers rack or shelving
  • Christmas Tree with small nutcrackers mixed among the other treasured ornaments you already have
  • Greenery on table with large candle    

Natural Elegance

  • Sugared fruit on buffet
  • Large glass with greens, cranberries and floating candles on Dining Table or Hall table
  • Vase of greens, sticks and amaryllis on counter
  • Wooden (olive) trough with berries and votive candles
  • Amaryllis in glass with moss and cranberries
  • Greenery lit up on top of kitchen upper cabinets
  • Row of boxes on counter with greens
  • Amaryllis, orchids, paper whites, greens and candles in arrangement on kitchen island counter
  • Sleigh with greens, soldiers, green moss, trees and balls
  • Christmas Tree with a color theme of treasured ornaments you already have with perhaps a few new ones added
  • Tray filled with round Christmas Balls with pillar candle in center
  • Tall glass cylinders filled with small Christmas Balls 
With the above options you can definitely add the three prominent options for this year - natural, red and gold to enhance your decor.

Try to take a casual and relaxed attitude to your decorating so that you enjoy it and leave leave more time for the fun part of these upcoming celebrations – entertaining family and friends; community events; walks in the woods; sitting by a cozy fire; making cookies with your children; decorating the tree or whatever your heart desires. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Cottage Paint

The other day a colleague and I had the opportunity to visit Cottage Paint and meet with Gail Rogers who kindly showed us how to use the paint and create different finishes. 

Cottage Paint is a clay-based paint that dries to a silky matte finish, and remains porous and easy to sand or wet distress when dry, making it perfect for the Shabby-Chic style furniture refinishing on trend right now. This type of paint isn’t new of course, it’s been around since the frescos in the Sistine Chapel, but the benefit of this modern clay paint is that it has been formulated to exceed today’s environmental standards by removing almost all of the VOCs in both the bases and the pigments. Cottage Paint is used as a furniture refinishing product, it achieves an authentic time-worn appearance through it’s chalky finish and the hand rubbed technique used to distress it. You can create many additional finishes when using their specialty products as well, the possibilities seem almost endless once you start to experiment with it.

 A few of the great qualities this paint has:

  • Cottage Paint dries in about 15 minutes to one hour. Never do more than THREE applications of anything to a piece per day though, even if you can.
  • It adheres to just about any surface you can think of: wood, plastic, metal, brick
  • It requires NO sanding, priming or stripping most of the time. Just make sure the surface is clean. Varnished and stained surfaces do require priming to seal the surface prior to painting.
  • The paint can be distressed as soon as it is dry using a damp cloth or fine sand paper.
  • Cottage Paint does not roll or peel like latex when sanded, it appears as if the paint has gradually worn off over time.
  • Can be used in conjunction with their other decorative finishes to create endless unique looks and combinations
Below are some of the different surface treatments available but a visit to this supplier is worth the time.

 My favourite below - using a special was on the fabric and then adhering it to a tabletop

If anyone is interested in a demonstration, please stop by Sheridan Nurseries for Ladies Night Out at the location on Southdown Road, Mississauga at 7 pm.,

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Flooring - Laminate

Laminate is considered a carefree and affordable option for floorings.  It is also extremely durable and can replicate stone and hardwood.  Laminate is a great choice if you have pets.   

The means of attaining a laminate surface begins with a high resolution image of hardwood or stone flooring.  These images are then printed on paper and together with a wear layer are laminated to a substrate made of high density fiberboard.  These days laminate has come a long way in looking more realistic than ever before.There are many options of different wood species.  Many laminates have greater repeat lines which offer a more realistic appearance as well.  They also have different widths printed on the design. Additionally you can purchase those that feature embossing which follows the wood grain and there will be a texture.  Laminate is a good choice where moisture considerations prevent use of solid hardwood like a lower level basement.

Caring for laminate is vacuuming or sweeping.  There are special laminate floor cleaners for stubborn stains.  Installation of laminate is easy and can be a DIY project.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Flooring - Cork

Cork is a renewable sources and provide a green option for flooring.  

Cork is available in different textures, patterns and colours.   Like hardwood and stone, cork has natural shade variation which only adds to the beauty of the product. The textures and patterns can vary from traditional to contemporary and in many colours  

Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree found in the west Mediterranean.  It is harvested by hand and only 50% of the bark is removed.This way the tree continues to live and the remaining bark protects the tree from climate and insects.  This bark regenerates every 9 years. The best cork is used for wine stoppers while the remainder is used for flooring.   Cork is moisture resistant, durable and warm while adding comfort underfoot, thus making is excellent for kitchens, laundry rooms, playrooms, bathrooms and is excellent as an option for below grade as long as you install a moisture barrier.  Cork is anti-allergenic and is 100% biodegradable and recyclable.   Due to it's properties, cork is excellent for kitchens, laundry rooms, playrooms, bathrooms, basements and any other space you would like.  Due to it's cushioning effect, cork is great in kitchens where there is considerable standing.  Care for cork is simple - sweeping, vacuuming but no water.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Let's look at Wood Flooring - Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood

Do you wonder what is the best flooring for your home.  There are so many products on the market today it is fabulous but also can be a bit daunting. Certain flooring is best in certain spaces.
Some of the options are - Hardwood, Engineered Hardwood, Laminate, Cork/Bamboo, Ceramic, LVT,  Stone, Carpet.

Let's look at wood first.  What is the difference between engineered hardwood and hardwood?  Solid Hardwood will expand or contract due to changes in moisture content. Cupping or gaping can occur in our varying humidity conditions.  It is best to keep your selection to no wider than 4 inches as the wider the flooring the more pronounced the cupping and gaping. Solid hardwood should not be used below ground due to this fact.

That is where Engineered hardwood comes into play.   Engineered floors are real wood and are made by adhering a solid hardwood face layer to a sturdy multi-layered plywood core which are placed in opposing directions.  It is more stable and durable.  It is also excellent value since  you are only using an expensive top decorative layer, you are saving money.  This multi layered construction is a greener choice since use less trees than hardwood.  The plywood core is made of rapidly renewable wood grown on tree farms. This application also allows for wider planks without cupping or gaping.  Engineered flooring can be used below grade and will not be affected by the moisture.

Refinishing - We know you can refinish a solid hardwood floor.  What about engineered hardwood? Yes you can but it is not promoted to sand and refinish either type of floor. The original factory finish is strong and should not be removed.  This can void the wear warranty.  Refinishing is a long and arduous process and will not yield the quality of the original finish.  The other advantage to engineered flooring is that it can be used in basements over heated subfloors.  Because of the multi ply core construction they are more stable than solid wood.  You cannot install hardwood in a basement due to moisture changes.

Another decision to make is the finish - matte, satin, high gloss, wire brushed, hand scraped, distressed and on it goes.  So many options and so many beautiful wood floors. These days people are choosing their floors by texture rather than just colour.  Texture is more tactile and stimulates our senses. Adding texture can be a good choice with a growing family or pets as marks will be less visible. This give a rustic look while a more sculpted floor gives a contemporary look.

These days the finishes are so durable you only need to vacuum your flooring.  Do not use water or wax on hardwood or engineered floors

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Trends - Whats in and What out

Yesterday I attended a Designer event at Brentwood and the guest speaker was Shai DeLuca-Tamasi, a regular design expert on Cityline.  He spoke about some of the trends that are "in" and those that are "Out".

What's In......

One of the biggest things we are seeing and have seen for a little time now, is the use of mixed metals.  There is no matchy matchy of all one metal and this givves greater interest in the space.  We see  it in jewellery and as we know what is on the runway comes to home decor.

Mixing Black with Metals gives a dramatic and rich look

Our look is now a more liveable, relaxed and less staged look which is refreshing and welcoming.   We are less formal in our lives and now in the way we design and decorate our homes.

Area rugs that are painterly in style which is like a Monet painting.  There is an inconsistent pattern which doesn't show dirt as much as other designs.  This is great for families with young children.

Remember the 70's - well smoky glass is back.  Not sure if I like this trend.  I will let it grow on me

The colour Indigo which is a mix of black and navy is being seen and gives a moody look that can be quite elegant and very french.  Mixing it with carrara marble or mother of pearl is lovely and softens it

We are seeing graphic tiles more and more and now continuing as a popular and easy to maintain product - back painted glass which makes for easy clean up on a backsplash or shower.

What's Out....

The ombre look has been overdone and is not being seen as much.

Chevron - only being used in small amounts not as much as previously done

Mirrored Furniture which is still popular to a point but in the more formal design spaces

Text as decor has been around a while and now is going away

Friday, June 5, 2015

Cannes has it all - Sun, Fun and Architecture

To anyone following this blog I have an amazing announcement - Air Transit found and returned my lost tablet with my vacation photos.  Wow, I am delighted!  Now on to the 2nd part of my trip to France.

Yes, Cannes has it all - fun in the sun, great food and amazing architecture.
Our second week in France took us to Cannes, (known for the famous film festival.and pronounced Can like a can of anything)
A stop at the famous french flea markets is a must

A block from our hotel is the historic Suquet districe which is lined with
shops and cafes right down to the waterfront

A cafe closed during the early day
open at night

 Home of the famous Cannes Film Festival on the waterfront

 A short boat ride away and we landed on the Abbey of Lerins, where Monks wander and
practice as well as make wine

 A little retail therapy in the Suquet

All the fabulous yachts in Monaco

I couldn't come to Cannes without looking for the area that housed interior decor items - Le Hoche

Thursday, May 28, 2015