Monday, October 31, 2011

Holiday colours



Are you a person who sees certain colour combinations which  immediately evoke holiday connections, e.g.,red and green, orange and black, yellow and purple?  I am, and as a result there are colour schemes I find difficult to live with because the cultural connections override the beauty of the combination.  But sometimes a combination sneaks by me.

I took this photo in the main area of a small London hotel.  I loved the modern flavour and the strong vertical stripes. My immediate reaction was not Halloween, it was great impact.  Later I realized they were symbolic colours.

What's your reaction?



Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mirror, mirror

I keep a list of ideas for possible post topics and near the top is an exploration of mirrors in home decor.  Well, that's one post I won't be writing because one of my favourite decorating sites, Your Decorating Hotline, has an excellent post on this topic.  It covers the gamut from why use mirrors to the creative ways they can be used. I highly recommend reading it.  There's something for every style of decor.


One of the topics explored is the use of mirrors in multiple groupings.  This is an application that I'm particularly fond of and I've added several from my file below.



Elle Decor has an excellent slide show on  using mirrors and 


Apartment Therapy   brings  multiple mirrors  to the limit.

Did you find something you liked?

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday Tip #6- simple centerpieces

Keep it simple...



Dinner parties can stress the budget.  I like to have simple arrangements for the table and that usually involves fresh flowers .  Rather than large bouquets which are tall and obstruct views, think about simple ways to use flowers or leaves in a repetition.

Hosta leaves are one of my favourites and I have lots to choose from in my garden.  I love the idea of massing different sizes and shapes of glasses/vases and submerging separate leaves in each one. 
The sunflower is a great choice for fall entertaining. If you don't have access to fresh sunflowers, there are realistic looking  artificial ones. The arrangement above works because of the meandering wave and colour variety.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's all about scale

  In recent weeks I've spent quite a bit of time looking for coffee and end tables for clients.  Getting the style and size right to work with the rest of the furniture in the space takes quite a bit of juggling and an  understanding of standard  furniture sizes.

The standard height of a coffee table is between 16 - 18 inches, but some can be as high as 21 inches. How do you know which height to choose?


The answer relates to the height of the sofa/ chair. I prefer to see the coffee table about the same height as the top of the chair cushion or one or two inches lower.  The length of a coffee table is usually about 2/3 the length of the sofa not including the arms. Don't forget that you need at least 18 inches (24 is optimal) of space for your legs between a coffee table and the sofa.

 The size  of your coffee table should work with your sofa and other furniture in your room. It should also work with the size of the room overall. Let's check this out.
 

How do you feel about the coffee table choice in this lovely room?  I would like to see something longer (remember the 2/3 the length of the sofa rule). This little beauty is having a difficult time holding her own with this sofa.


The soft colour scheme and small scale furnishings  in this room  appear overwhelmed by this large, dark, and tall coffee table, but I really like the table.  Sometimes the weight of a table is influenced by the colour and material choice not just the overall dimensions.  Darker colours and solid woods tend to look more visually weighted.

Grisell Navas contemporary living room
Grisell Navas

Don’t forget the size of the room when thinking about scale. Glass tables work well in smaller rooms because they give the impression of lightness -  space is not blocked out.

dakota contemporary living room

 Even with two tables this room does not look over furnished.

Great Room traditional family room

If your room is spacious and/or the furniture is large in scale, choose heavier wood tables or ones with lots of  tiers or drawers.

Willowgrove Living Room contemporary living room

This is a beautiful room with a colour scheme I'm partial to. Does the coffee table work for you?  I wouldn't want to try to place something on the table while sitting.  I'm such a stickler for function!

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Open doors - an ocean getaway

As a child I often imagined how a house would look on the inside as I drove or walked about the town where I lived.  I'm assuming I'm no different from most people.  My Open Doors  series of posts will fill the need to peek inside everyday homes- not the grand designs of decor magazines, but interesting homes that are achievable for most people.  Come along on a visit to my friends' ocean beach house. 

 The patio overlooking the Atlantic Ocean has lots of beach finds.   There's a wind up today. 

 From the kitchen looking out through the screened window.  Even I would like to wash dishes here. The exterior of the house is red with a soft creamy white trim.

Pat and Janna travel all the way from British Columbia to Newfoundland every summer to enjoy life on an opposite ocean. I met Pat  when she and a friend  came to visit my studio/gallery in my summer house.   Ever since we've been looking forward to our summer time visits. When they left this year I received a key to the premises so I could photograph.  

 After one visit to the Bonavista Peninsula , Pat and Janna fell in  love with the place and purchased a typical Newfoundland outport house and began to remodel it.  Remodel doesn't seem the right word though. They worked backward until they reached the original boards, removing layers of wallpaper and wallboard.  I was lucky enough to photograph some of this process for my wallpaper archive which is part of an art project I'm working on.  Here's what it looked like then....


 And look what was hiding under the layers of wallpaper, a newspaper article about The Kennedy family.  After much patience and elbow grease they were ready to simplify the decor.

 They painted the whole interior  white and added their personal touches. That's what makes a home in my book.  I appreciate the way they have arranged/displayed their finds.




 The accent colour throughout the house is red.  What a fitting use for these cod jiggers!


Sea urchins in a bottle, beach glass, a boat and sea birds on an old trunk flanked by windows and oars.  

 More splashes of red against white and navy blue.  The sofa is red,  but it was covered for its winter rest.

 Some  of my favourite things in the house... the checkerboard that has two colours of beach stones for checkers, and a book about sea glass which prompted me to get my own copy.  It just arrived and I'm reading every word getting ready for next summer's hunt.

 Most of the furnishings are from IKEA which is a feat when you live in Newfoundland- they have to be shipped or driven.   I covet the aqua coloured lantern on the bookcase. Would they notice if it wasn't there next summer?

 I love seeing the remnant of an old window (I'm guessing) above the left chair. Shutters are a very practical window treatment because these windows are visible from the street and there could be nosy people just like me hovering outside.


 

  I call this the gallery of "Walked On" .  Pat salvaged scraps of the various floor coverings from the house and framed them in simple IKEA frames.   The stark simplicity of the frames show off the contents.  Keeping the stairway all white further enhances the overall look of this very effective display.

Upstairs hallway leading to....

..... a great desk area .  Now where did they find that old map of Newfoundland that was on the school room wall in my day?

There are more rooms for another time, but I ran out of battery power before I could finish my job.  Do you have any favourites?

Thanks to Janna and Pat for leaving me with the key and welcoming my intrusion.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday Tip #5- Use geometry

rosettes  living room

Most  furniture  is predominantly rectangular.  When you're adding accents it's good to include circular shapes to play against the strong horizontal  and vertical lines. The basket, table, wooden goblet and  medallions work wonderfully with this sofa (which is not as squared off as most).  There's also lots of texture in this room. If you can't count at least five different textures in a space it is probably not that exciting!  You rarely see beige paired with yellow, but doesn't it look fabulous? In case you didn't notice.... spray paint medallions meant for ceiling applications and use them as wall decor.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Seen through a window

Travelling allows you to broaden your horizons in many ways.  You get to experience different cultures, climates, foods and transportation systems.  While many things stay the same from country to country,  there are also subtle differences in many of these areas.  One of my favourite things to do when I am walking in a new city is window shop with my camera.  Here are shots from Munich and Prague that relate to interior decor. Hope you see something your like.





Bling is in and the metal of choice appears to be chrome with lots of crystals....



Bedding inspired by nature and the fall season was everywhere.  


 Fall table settings

 Purple is popular.


And quirky clocks are always fun. Sometimes you even get a surprise when you take a shot. I'm looking in and out!

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Paint it blue


While I was in the UK recently I was struck by the number of blue doors I saw.  Where I live  I have a difficult time convincing someone to go with a blue door, sometimes navy, but never a vibrant blue.  Blue was also  a constant accent colour I saw in France and Greece.  Is it a cultural or climate thing?  Living in the middle of the North Atlantic, we have our share of fog and cold so possibly blue is too cool for an entrance colour.  Red doors are very popular as a result. I'll have to investigate this further. As you can see blue can be many things.


Bright and vibrant and warmer, these are my top three doors  from all the ones I saw.

 
and getting cooler  ...

 
and paler...

and paler still.


How do you feel about blue doors?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday Tip #4- Layering accessories

Laura Martin Bovard

What do you have in your house that your friends don't have? What personal touches make your house into a home?  Accessories may be small but they have a big punch in decor. This is an area where you should strive for personality plus.  Choose things that mean something to you or your family, and then combine them  to make an interesting grouping. Forget about spreading things out along the top of a cabinet or mantle- group, group, group.

Why does this vignette work? 
  • the  colour tones are very similar
  • there's  a variety of objects, textures, shapes and sizes (love the sphere)
  • the objects are layered forcing you to look through to the back (providing a visual journey)
  • the art work is overlapped , but you can still see each piece
  • the format of the vignette is a classic v shape with the height at the edges and the lowest point near the middle
 

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