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Interior Design Blog

Creative Craving

February 7, 2012

Cravings are a problem for some of us at this time of year.  You may crave a vacation but can’t take the time off.  You may want to shop for anything, just to feel the thrill of the hunt, whether you need the item or not.  You may want chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate, or pie, or potato chips…you get the idea.

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Talent for Change

January 31, 2012

I have a talent.   I didn’t always admit to it, because I decorated throughout the mad excessive eighties, when only the most frugal tree hugger would admit that they enjoyed re-vamping their old furniture.

Most interior designers who worked through the decadent eighties remember encouraging and celebrating excess, the more is more method of decorating, sparkle makes everything better.  Newness was celebrated, in sharp contrast to today’s philosophy of reduce, re-use, recycle.

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I was in my early twenties, before I became an interior designer, back in the day when that process was a little easier, I debated whether, on my modest household income, I could afford to have a professional come to my home to give me some objective and creative advice about my living room.

I had style and potential.  As mentioned on my “About” page, my interest in decorating started early—I was three years old when I started to collect paint colour chips from the local lumber yard on shopping excursions with my father. Continue Reading

We have turned over the calendar, and it’s a good time for renewal, reorganizing and planning.  There is something about putting away all the holiday decorations that motivates us to keep going and reduce clutter, and improve the look and flow of our homes and offices.

It may also be a time when you bring back a perennial debate:  go it alone or hire a designer?

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To get things rolling for the New Year, the following is a quick list of what’s hot in interior design and decorating, followed by what’s not.


Tangerine, a lively, but soft orange, so says Pantone, the colour experts.  See Tangerine Tango on their website

Tangerine is great for a family room. Other citrus colours to go with it:  Lime and Lemon, accented with Teal Blue, or Grey for a neutral.

Colours till going strong:  Teal Blue, Grey, Charcoal, Golden Yellow, Brass, Bronze, Rich Brown, Stone Beige, and Honeysuckle (a bright pink/red/orange), the 2011 colour of the year, is still relevant.

Olive Green
See Benjamin Moore’s Guacamole:

Berry colours of Strawberry, Raspberry, Blackberry, and Blueberry are all great wall and accent colours.

 Other Hot trends for 2012…

  • Eclecticism– ramped up by introducing industrial or very rustic accents and furniture pieces to a modern or traditional space
  • Rustic aged metal combined with natural distressed wood
  • Time worn furnishings, from factory artefacts, to hand crafted rustic wood and metal; either in their original finishes or sanded and washed in light stains
  • Painted cabinets and furniture, especially in distressed finishes
  • Satin and antique brass cabinet and door hardware and light fixtures
  • Velvet and linen fabrics
  • Nail heads on chairs and sofas
  • Incandescent light bulbs, especially Edison-type, carbon filament
  • Window shades without cords and draperies that open and close
  • Ottomans; but coffee tables are making a comeback for families without small children
  • Table lamps, and chandeliers, especially if they have an industrial and recycled look
  • Fewer, but larger, throw pillows on beds and sofas
  • Bright coloured accents for neutral rooms
  • Mid to dark painted cabinets, with light counter tops in Quartz, Marble and Corian
  • Repurposed, reclaimed wood for floors, accent walls, or ceilings, but not all three in the same room
  • Natural and light washed hardwood, and cork flooring
  • Aged  and threadbare oriental rugs
  • Sewn together rug fragments to create a patchwork area carpet.  See the picture above and Elte’s, Toronto, website.
  • Newly dyed older area rugs create a wash of solid colour, allowing the pattern to show through, but creating a modern look
  • And for the exterior:  Yellow, red and orange flowers for the garden


Disclaimer—this is really just a partial list of things that bug me, for now.

  • Not enough lighting or chandeliers that are too small.
  • Light fixtures devoid of personality. They attract attention, so don’t ignore them.
  • Uninspiring pictures that are too small for the space or not hung correctly.  (Hint: group them together).
  • Clutter
  • Area rugs that are not in scale with the furniture or room, or poor quality.  Save up for a bigger or better one, it will last forever, and look good even when it’s worn.
  • Worn out faucets and cabinet handles that you don’t like.  It’s not very expensive to change these, and new ones will be transformative.
  • Crowded dining rooms.  Remove the hutch and buffet.  (Isn’t hutch an ugly word !)
  • Single purpose rooms in small homes that are rarely used.  The living room, dining room, or guest room can hold a desk, storage armoire, or book shelves.
  • Tiny throw pillows, standing alone (Hint: group them).
  • Faux finished walls.  They are over, with few exceptions.
  • Too-dark hardwood floors.  Maintenance problem, (Swiffer Wetjet fatigue anyone?).
  • Dark, plain, shiny counters, such as black granite, which show every fingerprint.