Monday, December 15, 2014

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 décor items where you are not spending large amounts of money. One of the most inexpensive decorating sources can be in your own 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. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Great Home Decor at Urban Barn

I recently visited the newest Urban Barn which opened a couple of weeks ago in North Oakville, in the Oak Park area and it is just lovely.  Along with all the goodies they have also brought a little of Christmas as well.  I lovvvvve Christmas decorations so I did manage to spend a fair bit of time perusing the offerings.  Their regular lines are great as well.  I absolutely loved this....
Below are a few of the Christmas Themes followed by their all season merchandise

Thursday, November 20, 2014

7 Rules for Under Cabinet Lighting - from renovaton bootcamp by Robin Siegerman

7 Rules for Under Cabinet Lighting
Under cabinet lights keep the counters from being dark
No lighting under the cabinets makes the work surface gloomy
Did you know that poor lighting in a kitchen can cause you to have headaches, neck and shoulder problems and eye strain?  
Did you also know that poorly designed lighting in a kitchen can ruin the whole effect of your costly remodel?
Lighting your kitchen well can make the difference between a room that feels warm and inviting, where friends and family love to gather and linger vs one that feels gloomy and drab or clinical and sterile and makes meal preparation a chore and a depressing experience.
Here are 7 Rules for undercabinet lighting  for your kitchen!
Undercabinet lighting illuminates the work surface 
After the renovation, even undercabinet lighting


My pet peeve is when people refer to this as “undercounter” lighting.  It’s not mounted under the counter, it’s mounted under the wall cabinets to LIGHT UP your COUNTER, therefore it’s UNDER—–>>> CABINET lighting.

Because the tasks you perform often use sharp implements and blades that can lop off a digit or two, lighting up your work area is critical, but there are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind so you can keep your thumb on your hand where it belongs:

1.   The lights should be mounted to the under side of the wall cabinet at the front NOT the back.  The idea is to light your work surface, not the back wall.  Since your wall cabinets are half the depth of your base cabinets, mounting your lights at the front of the cabinet will give you good lighting on the whole counter top, not just at the back.

2.   If you have chosen a highly reflective counter top material like polished black granite, it will look like a mirror when lit from above, bouncing terrible glare off the counter top back into your eyes.  So for this kind of situation, use an under cabinet fixture with a lens that’s frosted which will diffuse the lights so you don’t blind yourself and cut off a digit!

3.   Using individual puck lights for under-cabinet lighting is not the best solution unless you space them very close together so you don’t get “hot” spots under the light and dark spots between the fixtures.  This causes your pupils to constantly be dilating and focusing and can cause eyestrain and headaches.

4.   LED strip lighting will not be as bright as other types like halogen, xenon or fluorescent, so you might want to use two strips side-by-side. This will double your cost, but their life is so long, you’ll virtually never have to replace them, unless you leave them on 24/7. Even then, they should last for a good 15 years or more.

5.   Try to install the light switch that controls your under cabinet lighting in the same place as your general room lighting.  You’ll get aggravated very quickly if you have to run around your kitchen to hit the switches to control various light sources.

6.   Colour temperature of your under cabinet lighting is going to affect how the colours of your backsplash tile and counter top look. If the light is very cool (like a fluorescent with a lot of blue in the spectrum), warm colors like reds and oranges are going to look dead.  On the other hand, a cool light can make green or blue more vivid. Talk to someone who knows lighting before throwing in any old under cabinet lighting if you’ve got a backsplash or counter top you want to highlight.

7.   Unless your cabinets have a face-frame that creates a recessed cavity under your wall cabinets, be sure your kitchen designer specifies a light valance. This is a strip of cabinet-match material of about 2″ high that will hide the under cabinet lights from view so you won’t be hit in the eyes with glare when you sit at a kitchen table.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

And the lights came on.....

Most decorators and designers will tell you that the correct lighting can make or break a room.It is one of the most important factors in good design.   Unfortunately in many cases it is the last thing on people's minds when undertaking a new re-decorating or renovation project.  Space planning/layout is one of the first before purchasing furnishings and then you should look at where the lighting should be an how much of it depending on the activities that will take place in that space.  Poor lighting will affect how we function in the space as well as lack of it can leave it flat and without personality.  Lighting can create a lovely atmosphere in your home.  It offers functionality as well as mood.

To have the most effective lighting scheme, you will require a combination of all three types of lighting, comprised of task, ambient and accent.  The ambient light will provide a general even balance of light throughout a space such as a chandelier.  Task lighting will focus on a specific area such as a lamp positioned for reading.  Accent lighting will draw attention to a particular area and add depth and drama, such as a picture light or a recessed pot light directed toward a piece of art.

When planning your overall lighting you need to consider the mood you want to create and the tasks to be performed in each specific room.  When selecting your fixtures, obviously you would want to compliment the style of your room’s décor.   The type of lampshade can also affect your lighting.   The shape, material and opacity of the shade will affect the direction and diffusion of the light by sending it up or down and reducing glare.  Using dimmers gives you more control over the brightness and mood. 

These days, we cannot speak about lighting without mentioning the importance of Energy-efficient light bulbs. The original Compact Fluorescent lamps (CFL’s) that were introduced with the coils which appeared less attractive that the standard incandescent light bulbs we were used to have now been redesigned.  They also gave off a slightly cooler and duller light than an incandescent but again manufacturers have worked on making them warmer and brighter.

When planning your lighting, it is important to speak with expert lighting suppliers in order to be certain that your final plan will serve your needs.  The new LED's are amazing and having attended two seminars on this topic, it is definitely worth your investment to read about them and seek information from the experts. The latest way to select the correct amount of light for your space is measured in lumens.   I have learned quite a bit recently about wattage, lumens, halogen, cfl and leds,  but do not consider myself a complete expert so I defer to the many notes I have and the lighting experts.

All I can say is that lighting never looked so good!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Christmas has come to Sheridan Nurseries

Yes, Sheridan Nurseries is a Christmas wonderland.  I attended a container making seminar there today and as usual, Michael did a fantastic job.  Such a talented and creative man.  Of course it got my own creative imagination going and I picked up my greenery and some other odds and ends and now I am ready to create my own Christmas containers.

They have every style possible for decorating your Christmas tree and home.  Their collection of gift items is amazing.  Below are some of the photos I took and you will see how fabulous this place is.  Thanks to Brenda and June as well for the goodies we were served.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Retail Therapy

Spring came and went and somehow I missed it.  It seemed to be summer popped in for a very minimal time and it seemed to be raining way too much for my taste, and poof, it was gone as well and we headed into fall and now winter.   With all the business of the fall preparing for holidays we shop but we do not always treat it as a fun and enjoyable process when we have so much to do.  We are so busy we have so much to take care of that we tend to be happy to have it completed.  Well, now that we are heading into the Holiday season it is a great time to get a little 'retail therapy.'

I love to shop and all decorators and designers are very much into this pasttime.  This is where work can also be fun!  We call it 'sourcing' when looking for items for clients but when it is just for ourselves, it is really just good old fashioned shopping.
The old saying that the shoemakers children have no shoes tends to hold up with designers and decorators in that we are so busy working on clients projects and attending many showroom events to see the latest and greatest out there, we don't seem to have time for our own abodes.  Well now is a great time to take a little time and as Nike says DO IT! 

I really am in need of a little 'retail therapy' for myself and decided to check out some great spots, just to name a few and get your home ready for upcoming entertaining.

Pottery Barn
EQ 3
Crate & Barrel
Urban Barn
Wicker Emporium

Most are already dressed up for the Christmas season and can really put you in the mood. Watch for a future post dedicated to the wonderful displays at Sheridan Nurseries

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.....

I have been checking out just a few of my favourite shopping spots and and they are all decked out in their finest for the upcoming holidays...

Sheridan Nurseries

 Pottery Barn


 Wicker Emporium

 Urban Barn


 Interior Design House

 Watch for a future post dedicated to the wonderful displays at Sheridan Nurseries

Tips for Designing your Dining Room

Top Ten Tips for Designing a Dining Room

1.       The table size should be determined by the size of the room and the other     furniture in it. Absolute minimal clearance between the table edge and any facing wall or buffet is 30-36” but this will not allow for circulation behind a seated diner, or allow access to the buffet during a meal. Ideally, you should have 48 - 60” of space between a table and facing obstruction.

2.       Each diner needs his own dining space of 24-30”wide by 16-18” deep. Generally there will also be a shared space between facing diners of 5-9”.

3.       When buying any area carpet to go beneath the table, all chair legs should sit on it firmly when pushed away from the table. Always buy an under pad to protect the rug fibers from the hard floor. Rug under pads should be about 2” smaller than your rug on each side.

4.       To determine furniture quality, check the details. For example, look for dovetail joints in drawers. ( Fan-shaped tendons that interlock with a corresponding notched mortises) Also, look for a piece of wood that provides a dust proofing layer between drawers.

5.       In a room with an 8 foot ceiling, chandeliers should be hung with 30 -32” of space between the bottom of the chandelier and the table surface. Increase the space by 3” for every foot if you are lucky enough to have a high ceiling.

6.       The width of the chandelier should never exceed the width of the table. Ideally it should be 1/2 to 2/3 the size of your table width.

7.        Always use dimmer switches.

8.        Wall sconces should be mounted 60” from the floor.

9.       Centrepieces should never block the view of diners. Average eye level for men is 27”from the table top and for women it is 19”.

10.       Finally, have fun and be dramatic when decorating this room. Often it is a separate, more formal space, giving you the freedom to make it different from the other areas in your home. It can be decorated with deeper, richer colours that complement candle light, sparkling crystal and gleaming white dishes.

Sources:    Human Dimension and Interior Space by Julius Panero and Martin Zelni,  Furnish – The Home Furnishings Experts; Winter 2012, Furniture Today Media Group;  10 Principles of Good Interior Design by Vinny Lee

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Using Glass Table Tops in Interior Design

When visitors come to your home, where do they gather? Chances are you answered the living room or dining room, which is why these areas of your home should be comfortable, flawlessly decorated, and ready to receive guests. Of course, the design process includes making the right choices when it comes to furniture.

In designing a dining room, selecting the right table is one of the most important decisions you will make. As one of the largest and most used pieces of furniture in your home, a dining table will set the tone for the rest of your decor. In your mother’s day, nearly everyone had massive, solid wood tables that were always dressed with a tablecloth when company came for dinner. Now, we have many more options, including glass tables, which are meant to be used uncovered, as they catch the light and add elegance to your dining room.

Glass table tops are available in a wide variety of forms, tints, and types, although most people prefer a transparent rectangle or oval shape with a beveled (slanted) edge for a dining table. The majority of glass table tops are made of strong safety glass, and will last years with normal usage and cleaning. Glass dining room tables fit seamlessly into most design sensibilities - depending on the cut of glass and the base you choose, they can look modern, traditional, artistic or even rustic.

A more common place to find glass table tops in the home is the living room. In this area, people are usually more open to experimentation with different shapes and etching. Remember also that, depending on its style, the base of your coffee table can provide storage for items such as books, albums, or coasters.

These photos are just a few of the limitless options in glass table tops!

About the Author: Glass and Mirror Pros is a glass company in Orlando dedicated to making customers happy by creating beautiful glass products customized to their specifications. Whether you are looking for a glass table top, glass shelves, shower enclosures or more, we’ll be here for you. We can help you hone your vision and create a unique glass table top that is guaranteed to be the centerpiece of your home! For more creative tips follow us on Facebook!

Thanks to Glass & Mirror Pros for this guest blog post for Design Savvy Interiors

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The great Beauty of Paris,

I recently vacationed in France.  As with other European cities I have visited, it is filled with history and wonderful architecture.  Having studied this in college, I am of course incredibly interested in viewing it first hand.  My first stop was Paris and nothing can quite compare to that!  Loved it and will be going back.  So much to see and not enough time.  What I did see was amazing.  I had a list and was able to accomplish some of it.
The buildings, the bridges are all so old and so fantastic.  I was really taken away with the intricate carving I saw everywhere.  Imagine our very industrial and practical bridges in comparison to the intricately carved bridges all along the Seine. Statues everywhere. Very ornate, very beautiful!

A stop at the  Galeries Lafayette  offered much more than expected.  Consisting of several buildings along Boulevard Haussmann.  It was so huge I only really visited one of the buildings. Must go back there for sure - lots of goodies!  From the second floor there is an amazing view of all the other floors with once again intricately carved and painted balconies.  The top of the building has a beautiful stained glass dome.

All of the floors viewed from this point  

Of course one must see the well known tourist attractions - The Eiffel Tower, was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built it.  Eiffel lived in an apartment at the top of the tower for many years. 

A statue of Mr. Eiffel at the base of the tower                                                                                

Views from the top of the Eiffel Tower

On a stroll up the Seine we were able to view the 
intricate details of he bridges.  So magnificant!

Notre Dame 


After our visit to the Cathedral we made our way down to the Archaeological ryps of Notre Dame which links to the Paris Catacombs which run for miles under the historical secton of Paris.

A view from the crypt out to the river

Looking out at the river from down in the crypt

Jardin des Tuileries


A visit to Versailles is definitely worth the lineups.  Having studied this I was prepared for it's grandour and beauty but wow!! it is overwhelming in person.
 Famous Hall of Mirrors

An intimate dining space 

And set up for formal

Champs Elysees - The famous shopping boulevard was all and more than expected. We spent out last night in Paris after returning from Cannes and strolled down the boulevard with a light rain falling,  just like in movies and art. Unfortunately all my lovely photos are on my tablet which is out there somewhere unknown...

Keep reading for part two - Cannes