Alternative Wall Decor

Decorating walls can be tough – even designers can find themselves struggling to fill negative wall space. A well designed room has a balanced proportion of positive (furniture, decor, art) AND negative (empty floor and wall) space. In today’s world of open concept living, it can be challenging to fill negative wall space as you don’t want to have too many competing pieces of art around. These instances call for some creativity and outside-of-the-box thinking to figure out what ELSE you can use to decorate your walls. Here are some of our favourites:

  1. Woven Wall Baskets have livened up a number of our designs over the past few months. We have used them individually to fill a tiny wall, as a small group of three slightly staggered, and as a larger, asymmetrical grouping where they are slightly overlapping each other.
  2. Juju Hats are another piece of alternative wall decor that we have been loving. The softness of the feathers and the texture that they bring to a space adds immediate warmth and helps to fill empty wall space without grabbing too much attention. TIP: Try creating a collage of binga baskets AND one or two juju hats for an amazing display of pattern and texture. We recently completed a project where we did this over a sideboard in a dining room and the finished look is to die for!
  3. Wall Hangings have been around for a while and we don’t see them going anywhere in the near future. They are usually soft and natural in colour which means they won’t steal too much of your attention, and that makes them perfect for filling empty wall space.

Remember to always take a step back and assess your space before committing to too many pieces of wall decor. You don’t have to have every wall in your home covered with art and accessories. Let your walls breathe a little bit while keeping in mind that you need some empty space to balance out the rest of your furnishings and accessories.

Visit our shop to create a little magic of your own.

Updating Your Kitchen on a Budget

Your kitchen is often the biggest and most costly room in your home to renovate. However, if your kitchen has good quality cabinets and a decent layout, you can save money by reusing your cabinets (with some minor updating) and making other small, less costly changes that will give your kitchen a refresh without breaking the bank.

Updating Cabinetry Colour

Changing the colour of your cabinets will give your entire kitchen a whole new feel, and, if you are lucky enough to have solid wood cabinetry, then your kitchen refresh just got a whole lot easier. There are a couple of routes you might choose to take with your cabinets. You can either 1) sand down your wooden cabinets and update with a modern stain, or 2) give a light sanding and update your cabinets with a modern paint colour. Don’t worry, if you are reading this and wondering how to update your MDF cabinets, then we are here to tell you that you can still give your cabinets a makeover – you just need to do a little bit of extra prep and make sure to use the proper type of primer and paint.

Door Profiles

Do you know what we mean when we say door profile? It has to do with the detailing of your cabinet door/drawer fronts. A few common profiles are shaker, slab, single or double arch raised panels. There are MANY different profiles to choose from, and we couldn’t possibly list them all here, but they are generally different variations of the three styles above. The single or double arch is now considered dated and typically clients want that profile replaced. Shaker style is very popular and a good choice as they are quite classic.

Change the Hardware

Hands down, the EASIEST way to change the look of your kitchen is to change the knobs and pulls on your drawer/door fronts. There are hundreds (thousands?) of options out there and you can often find some for reasonable prices at your local hardware store. Since hardware is so easily replaced, you can have some fun here and not worry as much about whether you will be happy with your decision five years from now. The main thing to consider here is the scale of your knob or pull compared to the size of your cabinet door or drawers. They are definitely not one size fits all, so you might need to grab the same style in a few different sizes.

Update the Lighting

One of the best ways to update your kitchen is to add lighting. Many outdated kitchens only have one light fixture in the centre of the room, and that is just not enough! Your kitchen should have a combination of general lighting (such as evenly spaced pot lights), task lighting (like lighting over your sink, stove and under your cabinets), accent lighting (to showcase what is inside glass cabinets or on floating shelves) and most importantly pendant lights over your island.  Honestly, we sometimes encounter homes that don’t have lights over the island. Remember lighting is the jewelry in your home!

Updated Lighting

Update the Countertops

Changing out your kitchen’s countertops will have a HUGE impact on your kitchen’s style. Our favourite material to use in a kitchen is engineered quartz. It is a mix of natural stone and man-made resin, which comes in hundreds of different colours and patterns. It is highly durable and typically is what you will see in today’s new home builds. As pretty as marble countertops are, they are just not practical in a frequently used kitchen as they stain easily, and acidic foods will remove the polish resulting in certain areas looking matte instead of glossy. When it comes to granite, although it is a beautiful and durable natural material, it still requires regular sealing. It also chips easier than quartz and it is harder to hide the seams where the fabricators and installers join the pieces together. All in all, quartz is more durable than granite or marble, and there are endless colour and pattern options which make it hard to beat.

Countertop Update


Change the Backsplash

Last but not least, to give your kitchen a new vibe, update the backsplash. Like countertops, there are hundreds of options to choose from and many different materials. It is also not uncommon today to see the countertop material continuing up the wall for a clean, modern look. That might not be feasible if you are on a budget, but the good news is that backsplash tiles can be found at extremely affordable prices and makes it one of the best ways (along with new hardware) to update your kitchen for a low to moderate cost.

Proper Height for Your Dining Table Light

Adding a hanging light fixture over your dining table can have a huge impact on your dining room’s design. When placed properly, it adds an ambiance to the room that just can’t be achieved with a fixture that is flush to the ceiling. The tricky part is knowing how big the fixture should be in relation to your table, and how high it should be above your table’s surface. We deal with this often, and through our experiences we can provide you with some guidelines to follow when picking out and hanging a fixture over your dining table.

First, consider the scale of the fixture compared to your table. A fixture that is too small will feel underwhelming, and a fixture that is too big will take over the room. Also consider how big your dining room is. You can get away with a larger fixture if you have an open concept room. A small room might mean you need to go slightly smaller with the light fixture. Typically, the diameter of your light fixture should be about 12 inches less than the width of your table. So, if your table is 36 inches wide, then your fixture should be about 24 inches in diameter.

When deciding how high the fixture should be, the rule of thumb is for the bottom of the fixture to be about 30 to 36 inches above the surface of your table. If you have a really tall ceiling, you should add a few inches to that distance. This is a guideline only, so do what feels best while you are standing in the room. A few points to consider are that you don’t want it to be too low and shining too bright into your eyes while you are sitting at the table, but you don’t want it to be so high that it is not providing adequate lighting.

Always look at the fixture from various points in your home when deciding on the height. If you have an open concept dining/living area, go sit in the living room and look towards the dining table and light fixture. Also walk out and back in to the room, paying attention to the light fixture’s height and scale compared to the room and dining table. It is possible you will need to make some minor adjustments based on how it looks from all angles of the space.

When in doubt, give us a call and we will be happy to come to your home and guide you through the process. Even the smallest additions to your home come with many decisions, and we are experienced in making them.

Dining Table Light Height

Styling a Coffee Table

There is a specific piece of furniture in every home that wears many different hats – the coffee table. It is a piece you gather around with family and friends. You may use it as a dining table from time to time, a foot rest, a work desk and sometimes even a place to play board or card games. Inevitably it is also common for a coffee table to end up as a catch all for things used on a daily basis that no one quite knows where to put away (like your TV’s three separate remotes and the latest novel you have on the go). Because of this it can be difficult to actually know what to put on your coffee table in terms of decor, so here are our tried and true tips to styling a coffee table. Continue reading “Styling a Coffee Table”

Spring 2019 QEII Lottery Dream Home

We’re so excited to be working with Stonewater Homes on the Spring 2019 QEII Lottery Dream Home!  Design work will commence very soon.  This home is being built in Indigo Shores, as was the farmhouse style 2018 QEII Spring Lottery Dream Home we completed.  The style for this home will be ‘lakehouse’.  Stay tuned!

 

Chives New Look

We’re so excited with how the Chives Bistro’s renovation turned out. Chives has always been known for their amazing food. As far as reviews went they always scored high on food, but clientele would note the decor was shall we say lacking or not in-line with the excellent, award winning food.

The combination of teal chenille banquettes, antique mirror galleries along the walls, new dining tables, rich colours, and the flood of champagne lighting from the pendant light fixtures throughout give the space a rich, gorgeous upscale feeling.  Check out some of the photos below by Chris J. Dickson.

The low-down on IKEA kitchens

Considering an IKEA kitchen? Get the low-down from local contractor, i love renovations.
i love renovations recently completed a major home remodel for a beautiful Kingswood property. Having the pleasure of staging the home after renovations were complete, I was able to see first-hand the quality workmanship provided by the company. The kitchen was definitely one of my favourite rooms in the house. I sat down recently with Chris McMullin, co-founder of i love renovations to get the low-down on designing, ordering and installing an IKEA kitchen.

i love renos IKEA kitchen-01

Q. What were some of the reasons your client chose an IKEA kitchen over a local cabinet company?

A. We always give our clients options when selecting their preferred route for a renovation. There are wonderful local kitchen companies we would highly recommend and have worked with on multiple projects. On this particular project, the cabinets were IKEA and the countertops were provided by a local vendor. Our clients were attracted to IKEA’s ease of ordering, the many options and styles available and the price point fit perfectly within their renovation budget. The turnaround time is also phenomenal. Upon confirming their order, our clients received their product in-hand in about two weeks.

Q. One of the biggest complaints about IKEA kitchens is their kitchen planner software. Did you design the kitchen for your client or just do the installation?

A. There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to using the IKEA kitchen software. If it’s your first time, the program can seem cumbersome and daunting. As we’ve installed several IKEA kitchens, we are now able to navigate through each step with ease. We worked with our clients using IKEA’s kitchen planner software to create their ideal culinary oasis. What we love about the program is the ability to see multi-angle visuals of your design. We were able to move cupboards around and switch out colours and materials. It feels like you’re in a virtual showroom and our clients felt at ease knowing they had seen and approved the layout before installation began.

Q. Did you customize any part of the kitchen design?

A. We wanted to optimize any dead space with personalized features. One of our favourite custom elements in this particular reno is the custom wine rack. It was a simple addition and a nice surprise for guests when they walk through the home.

We were also able to customize the size of each box (cupboard) to work with irregular walls and desired heights. IKEA kitchens come in standard sizes, so we worked with our clients to trim each box as needed and create a truly unique space.

Q. As a contractor, what do you think of the quality of IKEA kitchens over ‘traditional’ manufactured cabinets and would you install them in your own home?

A. We would definitely recommend and have installed IKEA kitchens in our own homes. For the price point, you’re getting solid materials and excellent mechanical hardware. But it’s important to mention that it’s not really a fair comparison to put the IKEA product against custom, quality crafted, genuine pieces. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. In its class (similar price point and material used), IKEA is at the top and rivals those brands with similar components and price tags.

Q. Do you have any tips for people thinking of installing an IKEA kitchen?

A. Many assume ordering a kitchen “out of a box” means the client has no space for creativity or customization. One of our favourite aspects of an IKEA kitchen is having the freedom to customize and personalize each selection. It’s best to work with a contractor who can give you thoughts on dimensions, materials and the best design for your space. Having the proper measurements is key to a smooth installation, so you’ll want to make sure you have your numbers nailed down before ordering. The key is to work with a general contractor who is familiar with the product and its capabilities. This will avoid unwanted frustrations with the final design and will save you money in the long run.

ikea kitchen renovation i love renovations
ikea kitchen installataion
kitchen update with ikea kitchen
ikea kitchen update

Want to learn more about i love renovations? Visit their website at www.iloverenovations.ca.
i love renovations

Transforming a Vintage Side Table

So many people have a piece that was handed down to them from a relative that they don’t use as part of their decor. They don’t want to part with it, but they don’t want to use it either – so it gets tucked away in storage or a corner of the house somewhere out of site. That was the case with my clients beautiful side table. It has been passed down from my client’s grandmother and wasn’t being used or displayed. I don’t necessarily blame them, I’m not a big fan of it in it’s original condition.

However…some Annie Sloan Chalk paint and some clear and dark wax…and well, we have an amazing transformation!

My clients have purchased a new home that is undergoing a big transformation as well – walls have been removed to create an open concept throughout the main living areas, bathrooms and the kitchen are getting a complete makeover. This side table, previously tucked away in their old house is now going to be positioned in the entry way and will be the the first piece that you see when you enter their home!

Please excuse the after photos, I still need to get some good photos of this piece! This piece was painted with a custom colour, I started with Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey but wanted it darker so I customized it. The top was refinished to a darker colour and I used clear and dark wax on the base to give it an antiqued look. Quite the transformation if I do say so myself! 🙂

Before:

before side table

After:
side table makeover

Vintage desk makeover

I wasn’t a lover of this antique desk before it’s makeover, however, I have a new found love for it now.   It’s finished with a two-layer colour distressing process (coal and ash fusion mineral paint), finished with subtle light off-white waxing to add to it’s aged look. I couldn’t help but decorate it with my beautiful steamer trunk that I obtained over the holidays! 😉

desk makover

Here’s what it looked like before the transformation
desk before pic

desk makover2

desk makover3
And I love this steamer trunk I recently acquired…love it!
beautiful steamer trunk
desk before and after