9 easy steps to go all the way with design

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Are you struggling with finishing or even starting to design a room. It’s something we have all experienced, even us decorators and designers. Life is so distracting sometimes and it can be hard to move forward.

However, the key is to keep making decisions and to focus on ONE ROOM AT A TIME!!! I know, I know, I always say that your home should be cohesive and it does but trying to design a whole home can be hugely overwhelming for most. So tackle one room at a time and I think you’ll see that one room leads to another.

Here’s the way I do it:

1.  Make a plan – decide on how you will be using the room, who will be using the room and what you need to do that properly.  If it’s a family room and you will be using it to watch television and do crafts – then you need to have comfy seating for the television watching and a large table with appropriate flooring and lighting for craft time.

2.  Plan your lighting – lighting is so important to a room.  Just think how annoyed you are when you don’t have the proper lighting when you are trying to do something.  Make sure there is ambient lighting (the general lighting for a room) and the appropriate task lighting (such as table lamps for reading or pot lights set over the craft table).  Decorative lighting can be added as well for mood and ambience in the form of sconces, candles or a decorative floor or table lamp.

3.  Style and colour – this goes along with #1 in that you need to have an idea of what style you would like.  The best way to do this is with magazines – pull out pictures that you like and keep a file or make a pinterest board (I’m going to post some tips on keeping your pinterest boards on point).  After you have a bunch in the file or pins on your pinterest board, a clearer picture of your style will emerge and you can use them as inspiration.  Colour will also show up in these photos – however, I still feel that the colour of the walls will be determined at a later stage once you have the bigger pieces decided upon.

4.  Large pieces – now is the time to invest in the larger more expensive pieces for the room.  Such as a sofa, area rug, draperies and case goods.  These are the items that you will be keeping for the long term and they form the base of your design.  This is where you usually spend the bulk of your budget and because of this I usually stick with classics and neutrals for these items.  You can however diverge from this tract, if for example you love red and fall in love with a red sofa.  GO FOR IT!  This is what will make your room, you!

A note here about pattern – if the larger items that you have decided upon are all solids you may want to add some pattern either in the area rug or in a smaller upholstered chair or ottoman to give the room some pizzazz.  Otherwise I would consider adding some wallpaper to the walls instead of a solid paint colour.  The key with pattern is to ensure that the pattern sizes are not all the same – for example, if you have a large pattern on the area rug then have a smaller pattern on the ottoman, so vary the scale of your patterns.

5.  Shopping – Okay now that you’ve decided on the larger items and you know how much they cost, you can form a budget.  This will guide you as to where you can splurge and where you can save.  A great room always has some of each in it – that is what makes it interesting.  Remember to keep some money for paint and accessories (usually about 15-20% of the budget).

6.  Paint colour – now you can pick the paint colour. I look at all the major items purchased and the rest of the home and then decide what would be the best colour choice.  Since paint is one of the most inexpensive parts of the design process and there are so many paint colours this is the best way to go about it.  Once I know the main colour of the walls, I can then go on to the next step, accessory shopping.

7. Accessories –  I do up a list of what I think I’ll need – such as: small round end table, gold framed rectangular mirror approximately 24”x12”.  This is also when I check to see if there is an abundance of one shape or another in the room.  If there are lots of square items, I balant with some round smaller items and accessories.  Most decorators and designers will pick up way more accessories while shopping so that they have a choice when doing the final placement.  You just return the items that you don’t need, so make sure the store you are shopping at has a great return policy.

8.  Keep on track – Now is when you’ll usually get distracted and start looking for items for another room in your home.  Try and keep focused and only purchase for the one room – your budget will thank you and you’ll have one room done instead of all of them in progress.

9.  Put everything in place – if you have managed to hold off now is the time to put everything in place.  Of course, first off the room should be painted and then the larger items positioned in place. Then the smaller furniture pieces and accessories, such as artwork, mirrors and decorative pieces are added.  And Voila!! a perfectly finished space!!

Lisa

 

How decluttering can help you redecorate your home for free

Photo credit: Melissa Kew Photography

Photo credit: Melissa Kew Photography

So what do you do if your budget is tight but you’d love to give your home a fresh update for Spring? You may not realize it, but there is a way to revive and refresh all the rooms in your house – without spending a cent. Do you think it’s impossible to redecorate for free? Well, just keep reading and I’ll tell you how.

Take a look around the house for all of the accessories and artwork you own – including art work, sculptures, vases, candles, picture frames, even plants. Gather them all up and place them all on your kitchen table, this is now your own little decor shop.

Look at everything on your table with new eyes, as if you are seeing it for the first time. Just because that piece of art has always hung over the fireplace does not mean it wouldn’t look even better in the foyer. Or maybe the frame just needs a quick spray paint to be perfect over your bed. Perhaps that red vase that faded into the background in the family room will make your powder room pop.

Keep going, item by item and room by room, until you have redone your entire house. This is the perfect job for a weekend so take your time and it’ll definitely be worthwhile in the end.

Keep in mind that when it comes to decorating, less really is more. That means you don’t have to find a home for all the pieces. Inevitably, there will be leftovers that just don’t seem to ‘fit’ anywhere – at least for now. If you love some of the unused items, store them until you redecorate again, and if you don’t, then it’s time to say goodbye. You can give find them a new home or donate them, just don’t keep them around taking up your precious space.

Now with less items around you’ll definitely spend less time vacuuming and dusting and just think you did it all without spending a cent plus you’ll feel great giving some much appreciated things away for someone else to enjoy.

Lisa

The 6 questions you need to answer before you start designing your space

6 questions you need to answer before you start designing your space.

When I’m starting a client’s decorating or renovation project, function always comes before form. What I mean by that, is the function of the space has to be determined before we get to the layout or furnishings. The foundation has to be solid so that we can move ahead with the pretty. You wouldn’t spend money on having fabulous wallpaper installed when the wall is crumbling…right? Even the prettiest room has to function properly.

So on my first client visit I ask these 6 questions:

1. What do you use the room for?

All rooms have a purpose, perhaps even many purposes. If you need a room to function as a family room and as a home office, then that will determine how the layout gets decided and what furnishings are needed.

2. How many people will be using the room?

A dining room that sits 12 will be set up differently than one that sits 4. So think about the number of people using the room on a daily basis and perhaps those special occasions when you’ll need to accommodate a larger group.

3. Are there young children and pets that will be using the room?

Of course, if you have pets and young children that live or visit your home  you’ll need some adjustments for them and likely for your piece of mind. In this case, think easy care fabrics, hard floors (like hardwood and tile) and washable throw pillows.

4. Are there any allergies to be aware of?

This is something that is often missed but critical if you or a family member has environmental allergies. Those goose down feather pillows may cause needless suffering and that paint should be low VOC.

5. What is the feeling or mood you want the room to convey?

The answer to this question, shows me the direction to go in design wise. If you say you want it to feel like a hug, then I’m thinking mid-tone warm colours, lots of soft textiles and larger “sink-in” sofas and chairs.  If you want it to feel like a fresh breeze, then light toned cooler colours and clean minimal furnishings are what I’d be suggesting.

6. How long do you plan to stay in your home?

This is the big budget question. If you are in your forever home then you can decorate to your tastes exactly and also you will likely feel comfortable with a larger budget. If you are thinking you’ll move within 10 years than perhaps temper the design to appeal to a larger audience and the budget will likely be a little stricter.

Answer these questions and it’ll lead you in the right direction to set up your floor plan, the style and type of furniture you need and what your budget range should be.

Lisa

Classic, warm, beachy home

Classic, warm and beachy, these were the adjectives my client used when describing to me how she wanted her home’s living room/dining room and kitchen to feel. She also wanted to have lots of storage in all three rooms. And we achieved just that. I visited her last week and took some photos to show just how great the transformation turned out.

This is the view from the entry now.

After – beachy living and dining room

The befores:

before living room before living room

I did up a couple of mood boards and sourced products for her so that she could follow the plan along at her own pace as her time and budget allowed. She also has an extremely handy father who did alot of the hands on work. Trades people were hired for the jobs that were not DIY and I think this makeover shows just how much you can do on a fairly strict budget.

So obviously this was a fairly extensive makeover, new hardwood floors were installed in a medium tone brown to keep the look classic and timeless. The dining table was an existing one that her father had made so it was incorporated into the space.  The sofa was custom made and the case goods were picked up from big box stores.

I suggested that she use some of her own family pictures in the 4 large frames and they have turned out perfectly. She already has plans to rotate in some newer pictures. The drapery was ready made and adds some graphic pattern to the palette.

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The bird and octopus artwork was purchased by my client on her yearly trips to Prince Edward County and they are the perfect compliment to the space.

after - beachy living room

after - living room

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Now onto the kitchen. Here’s what it looks like now.

After - warm beachy kitchen

And here’s the befores:

Before - kitchen before - kitchen Before - kitchen

We continued with the same drapery as the living room and dining room as the windows are literally right beside each other. The hardwood floor was continued throughout the kitchen as well to keep the flow from room to room. The existing dark wood cabinetry was painted out to match the new pantry and open shelving.

An antique feeling dark wood table was added to tie in with the dark wood floors and the chairs were my client’s grandmothers, which serendipiously match the table perfectly.  I selected a clear glass pendant to keep the sight lines open to the new backyard deck, as well as a glass and gold flush mount fixture (not shown) for the working area of the kitchen. Under cabinet lighting was also added during the renovation.

The bronze/gold Brizo Talo faucet sparkles like a piece of jewelry on the Caesarstone Quartz white counter and the backsplash is actually tile that looks so much like barn wood, you have to touch it to believe it.

After - warm and beachy kitchen

After - kitchen pantry and open shelving area

These extra cabinets added much needed storage to the space challenged kitchen and a little touch of display area, which can be changed out to a bar or appetizer area when guests are expected.

After - kitchen wallpaper and mirrors

This long, long wall opposite the stove, was treated to some softly textured wallpaper that is wipeable and adds a little extra pattern to the kitchen. My client found these adorable mirror spheres that hide the unused and unsightly phone outlet.

Kitchen faucet - Brizo Talo

The Brizo Talo faucet.

After - kitchen open shelving

Some added display area that also showcases the backsplash.

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My client is thrilled with her home and it’s new look. She says when she gets home she breathes a happy sigh and settles in for some R & R. Which just makes me smile!

Lisa

 

 

 

 

 

How to throw a bridal shower

Well, we are gearing up for wedding #2 in as many years here in the Goulet household.  A few weekends ago, my daughter, Kayla and I threw a bridal shower for my other daughter, Ashley.  I was feeling a little out of shower world, since it’s been a long time since I’ve attending bridal showers, but with Kayla’s help as to what’s current for the younger generation, I think we pulled off a great shower.

First off, how can you throw a shower without visiting Pinterest? Tons of ideas and shortcuts for what to do, serve, eat and decorate. We both added to our Pinterest board and lol, we discovered we had both pinned alot of the same images, so great that we were both on the same page.

I was looking for an inexpensive and easy to make takeaway for the shower guests and Pinterest didn’t disappoint. We made these little hand scrubs, made with only two ingredients, sugar and lavender dish soap, perfect for gardening season. I found all the supplies needed at the Dollarama, Michaels and the grocery store.  You can find the link to the recipe on my Pinterest board, link above.

shower takeaways

And here we are in the process of making them. It only took the two of us a few hours one evening.

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The hardest part was threading the thin purple ribbon through the tiny labels, but here’s a tip, a sharp toothpick worked like a charm.

shower takeaways

I added in a little plastic silver spoon so you can just scoop out a little of the scrub at a time.

DIY hand scrub

And here they are all ready for the guests to grab as they leave.

DIY hand scrub takeaways

We both liked the idea of a Mimosa bar, with champagne and a selection of juices, perrier and fresh fruit. This was a great crowd pleaser, if you didn’t want to imbibe, then you could have the perrier or juices on their own, garnished with fruit in a pretty champagne flute.

Mimosa bar

Mimosa bar

We had a ton of help with the food from the shower guests and it all came together beautifully.

Shower buffet

And a family friend, made the gorgeous cupcakes, in the wedding colours of dark purple, cream and gold.

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Aren’t they adorable and we added in little tags that said, “I do”.

We played a few shower games and Kayla suggested that we have a wedding theme photo booth for some fun and silly photos. It was well used, and all you need is:

  •  a plain wall
  • some decorations,
  • a tripod,
  • a camera with a timer, and
  • some silly props, we got ours at a party store and Dollarama.

Here’s some of the silly results.

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It was a great way to spend an afternoon with a bunch of wonderful people!

Lisa