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

A new phase – What do you want your home to be?

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

A new phase begins. What do you want your home to be?

So now that the kids have left or about to, how do you want or need your home to function? This is the key to making your home work for you and your partner. Think about how you want to live. 

What are your goals? 

For example, do you want to entertain or travel more, start or continue a hobby, or just get out from under the clutter?

What path would you like to go down? 

More entertaining?

If entertaining is key to you, then perhaps an open concept kitchen/dining/living area will allow you to host those larger groups more easily.  Perhaps removing some walls (once an expert has determined this is doable), will make this a reality. 

Maybe you need a guest room or bathroom for out of town family and friends, then it is time to redo a few rooms to suit grown ups.

Want to travel more?

Than how about making your home more maintenance friendly. Easy care and durable finishes are a must. Declutter spaces for easy cleaning and installing internet capable thermostats and alarm systems will give you peace of mind travels. Perhaps you want to travel so much that a condo may be the ideal move for you. No yard or exterior to maintain may just be the ticket….pun intended.

Planning on playing?

Perhaps continuing with or starting a new hobby is exactly what you want to do in the next phase. Think about changing up that extra room or space into an art studio, music, craft, sewing or even a theatre room, so you can indulge your inner movie critic. Rooms DO NOT have to stay as they are advertised on your floorplan.

Or do you just need a refresh? 

Something to make your home feel shiny, fresh and new! 

Decluttering of course, is almost always necessary. First, check with the kids about everything they may want or need. Than be pretty ruthless about this, you DO NOT want six storage units full of stuff that no one wants and that you are paying monthly fees on.  Those units should be for temporary use only. Such as if you’re moving and want to store some furniture while you are staging your home or you are keeping items for a university student to use when they get their own home (hopefully sooner than later).

I know grandparents stuff can be sentimental or valuable, if so keep the best pieces that you love and can incorporate into your home, but not the entire dining room set that you don’t care for or have the room for. That chandelier that is priceless and unique can be the focal point in a contemporary room. A mix of design styles makes your home personal and interesting so don’t be afraid to challenge the norm. Breaking rules can be just the thing. That chandelier could be a showstopper in your master bedroom or bath. It doesn’t have to be in the dining room.

Paint or new flooring can also go along way to revamp a home. If you have worn and stained carpet, install hardwood. It is timeless, especially a mid-toned brown one with medium sized planks. Think of a french chateau with those beautiful hardwood floors, they never date. A stunning herringbone pattern will be cherished forever. Just choose what you love and not what you see everywhere, because that is likely a trend.

If hardwood is not your style, then a stone such as marble, slate or granite is another classic choice. If these are too pricey, then a great faux stone tile can also work. Typically porcelain tile is more durable than ceramic, but always ask your tile supplier about the durability of your selection and make sure you tell him/her where it is going. What is durable for a busy hallway versus a hardly used powder room can be vastly different.

Keep grout in mind as well for ease of maintenance, ideally it should be mid toned as well and now there are many stain and water resistant versions on the market. They are costly but well worth the investment.

Paint should always be chosen last on a project, yes dead last. There are millions of paint colours available but not millions of sofa or drapery fabric or tile choices. And also keep in mind paint should always complement your fixtures so DO NOT ignore the pinky beige carpet or tile (if you are keeping it) or you may end up highlighting it instead of working with it.

So think about what your goals are for your home and then you can start making your Reclaim your Home plan. 

I’ll be posting more in depth information on all of these options in the next few weeks so keep checking back. 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Quick cottage refresh and award winning kitchens

How is your Spring going? Lots and lots of rain here, really hoping that our late spring/summer improves soon. We’ve been busy recovering from the flood at our cottage and celebrating our daughter’s upcoming wedding by having her bridal shower this past weekend. It was a lot of fun and I’ll be sharing some pictures of that later this week or early next week.

fresh and bright country cottage shelf detail Photography credit: Melissa Kew Photography

 

Today, I actually have a few links to share. CDECA (The Canadian Decorators’ Association) just published their post on the 6 award winning kitchens for 2017. I’m happy to be included in this amazing group of designers/decorators. Click on the picture above to see all the winning kitchens.

And if you are looking for a few tips on how to do a quick cottage spring refresh, check out the article that I contributed to in the online magazine, More.

Happy Wednesday and here’s to some more sun!

Lisa

 

One Room Challenge Reveal – Sewing/Craft room

Well, she’s finished!

Sewing/craft room - overall - ORC

And let me say after the week we’ve had, that is no small feat. With the epic flooding at our cottage and all around our region, it has been a humbling experience to see the force of mother nature. My husband has been an absolute hero in keeping the water in our basement at a manageable level all week and trying to keep our losses and damage to a minimum. With no flood insurance and no disaster relief funding, it is terrifying what could have  happened. To say I’ve been distracted would be an understatement. My heart goes out to those who have suffered a much worse fate and I only hope that the disaster relief funding allows them to get their lives back to normal quickly.

Now back to the pretty.

Sewing/craft room - overall view1 - ORC

Sewing/craft room - overall view - ORC

And in case you have forgotten what I started with, here’s a scary reminder.

Sewing/craft room - BEFORES- ORC

Very, very frightening, well from a design standpoint. To see the step by step process you can visit the past 5 weeks’ posts here.

Week 1 | Week 2  | Week 3  | Week 4 |Week  5

My goal was for a happy, colourful space that was also clean and minimal. I love when everything has a place and now it does. And since we are contemplating moving sooner rather than later, I didn’t want to break the bank and I wanted it to be an easy change back to a bedroom. Plus it definitely helps me to get the creative juices flowing when I can be in such a calm and organized space.

And now for a few more reveal pics.

Sewing/craft room - detail- ORC

This was not the clock that I originally wanted but it wasn’t going to be even available to order until early June and luckily Homesense provided this very reasonable and attractive substitute.

I have to say I’m in love with the light fixture, I think it’s unexpected and fun in a sewing/craft room. I also love the dark finish against the lighter walls, plus it pulls in the black from the drapery rod and the sconces. This was from Zone and I was so thankful that they had it in stock right when I needed it.

Sewing/craft room - light fixture - ORC

One of the last things I got done was this bulletin board. It was spray painted in the same dark grey as the bookcase and then I used a chevron fabric on the cork front and trimmed it all out in a fabric ribbon. She’s looking mighty handsome now.

Sewing/craft room - bulletin board- ORC

Storage was key in this room. For my beads and jewelry fittings, I bought Ikea’s Grundtal magnetic strips, typically used as a knife organizer. But I attached my empty David’s Tea tins, of which I have soooo many, and ta da… bead storage extraordinare.  Hoarding does come in handy sometimes 🙂 Now I can see all my pretty little beads so that they inspire me to create. Placing Ikea’s Ranarp sconces on each side lights up this area for any small details that I need to see.

Sewing/craft room - bead organizer - ORC Sewing/craft room - bead organizer - ORC

The Ikea Alex drawer unit is amazing, It holds wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper, cards, buttons, ribbons, sewing notions, thread, needles, pins, scissors, etc…..

Sewing/craft room - Alex drawer unit- ORC

The white Fintorp organizers on top are also from Ikea, the vase I already had, the faux branches were a hand me down from a friend and the clock was, as I already mentioned, a great find from Homesense. Sewing/craft room - Alex drawer unit- ORC

A few of the Gleve organizers help with small items and they fit perfectly in the shallower drawers at the top.

Sewing/craft room - fabric organizing - ORC

I adore this method of organizing fabric. It was easy to pick up some pant/skirt hangers and then just place the fabric inside. Now, it’s easy to see what I have and they are all in one place. My larger fabric bolts are tucked in the corner together with my ironing board, and my iron is easily reachable on the closet shelf.

Sewing/craft room - bookcase makeover - ORC

The bookcase turned out so great with the dark grey paint and Hygge & West’s Quilt wallpaper. I love how the graphic print complements the paisley print of the drapery. It is also home to many boxes …hello Tiffany 😉 and containers which store glue guns, floral notions, drapery hardware, etc… Two of  Ikea’s Skubbare baskets took care of all my extra wool that was in various bags around the house and they look great doing it.

Sewing/craft room - bookcase detail - ORC I’ve even got room to grown on this bookcase!

Sewing/craft room - bookcase detail - ORC

I also picked up these clever knitted Nordrana wall baskets in the perfect shade of grey for my room. They store my knitting needles and patterns. And if I tire of them here they can be used as standing baskets on the shelf.

My sewing table is kept simple, with just my sewing machine on it, ready for the next sewing project. The artwork above is repurposed from my recently redone dining room, since they didn’t make the cut there and they tied in perfectly with the drapery colours. The chair was as I mentioned in Week 2 a very lucky find at Ikea as it was being discontinued in this particular colour.

Sewing/craft room - light fixture - ORC

This makeover was done on a very strict budget, so the key was using alot of items I already had. The two tables, bookcase, bulletin board, basket, vase, artwork and many of the storage items I already had and of course, Ikea was a god send for budget friendly and practical pieces.

And for those of you who like to see the befores and afters side by side, here you go.

One Room Challenge - Sewing/craft room before

Sewing/craft room - overall - ORC

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Sewing/craft room - overall view1 - ORC

One Room Challenge - Sewing/Craft room before

Sewing/craft room - bookcase detail - ORC

And for it’s final closeup.

Sewing/craft room - Alex drawer unit- ORC I’d like to say a big thank you to the creator and organizer of the One Room Challenge, Linda at Calling It Home and her media partner, House Beautiful for this challenge. I am absolutely 100% certain that without this incentive my sewing/craft room would still not be finished. Be sure to check out the absolutely awesome reveals from the  20 featured designers  and my fellow linkers . They are truly awe inspiring!

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Sources |Wall paint and bookcase paint – Benjamin Moore | Bookcase wallpaper – Hygge & West | Drawer unit, sconces, small storage items, chair – Ikea |  light fixture – Zone | drapery fabric – Pottery Barn| clock – Homesense | fabric on bulletin board – Tonic Living | ribbon on bulletin board – Fabricland |

Lisa