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.

Staging to Sell: Before & After

Here’s an example of the power of staging!

These homeowners were on the market for the majority of a year. We had a consultation and recommended a paint colour for the main floor, going with a lighter more neutral colour (Benjamin Moore White Dove OC-17).

We also suggested that the lower cabinets and island get painted out white like the rest of the cabinets which would also blend better with the counter tops.

When the painting was completed the homeowners moved their stuff out to their new home and we staged the property. They sold in approximately a week after staging!

After:

After

After  After

After

Before:

 

Before  Before

Before  Before  Before

 

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

2020 Spring QE2 Lottery Dream Home

We’re so excited to have just wrapped up the interior design and decorating on the Spring QE2 Lottery Dream Home with Stonewater Homes again! This beauty is nestled on Kinsac Lake in Fall River.

The home opens for viewings Feburary 29th and is awarded fully furnished to a lucky ticket holder.  Tickets are $100 and all proceeds go the QE2 Foundation. Visit QE2 Home Lottery to purchase your ticket in advance or tickets can be purchased onsite.

Feb 29th onward:
Weekdays: Noon – 6:00 pm
Weekends & Holidays: Noon – 5:00 pm

Address
430 Heddas Way, Fall River

 

 

 

 

DIY Stair Runner

Runners are back in, and we love how they can transform a stairwell.  However, if you’ve ever priced out a runner you know they can be pretty expensive.  And then the cost of install…ughh.

Good news is there is an affordable option.  You can purchase a set of runners and lay them one after another.   They are very easy to install, and something you can do within an hour. I’ll walk you through how I did this runner and where you can purchase them.

Before and after DIY stair runner

Tools you will need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Utility knife
  • Pneumatic staple gun
  • Staples

Step 1 – Determine the size of the runners you need

First thing you need to do is measure the width of your stair tread.  You will want to leave approximately 4 inches or so on either side. You will want to buy a runner as close to this width as possible.

Then measure from the bottom of the first stair tread to under the nose of the stair tread and to the back of the next riser.  Then times this by the number of stair treads.  This is the total length you will need to cover.

How do I measure for a stair runner

Step 2 – Laying the Stair Runner

Lay the first runner out on the first tread so it is evenly spaced between the stair tread. Double check your measurements on both sides to make sure it is evenly spaced between the stair tread.

Measuring for a DIY stair runner

 

Then wrap it tightly around the nose of the tread and wrap it to the bottom of the trim along the first stair tread.  Use a pneumatic stapler and place your first staple along the bottom and continue to staple it along the bottom.

Installing a stair runner DIY

Your next spot to staple will be tight under the first stair tread nose.

How to install a stair runner

And then at the back of the first tread into the second stair riser.

How to install a stair runner yourself

 

Continue until you are getting close to running out of your first runner.

DIY stair runner installation yourself

This is where you are going to stop and cut your first runner.  Hold it flat and tight up under the nose of the tread and make a mark where you are going to cut the runner.  I left enough room for the edging of the next runner to be tucked very neatly into place. Staple it in place after cutting off the excess.

How to install a stair runner yourself

Start your next runner under the nose of the tread lining up the edges of the runner below it.  Staple it in place and keep going until you are done!

After photo of a DIY stair runner

 

Tip:  Use some caulking along the edges of the treads to clean it up nicely when you are done.

Where to buy the runner:

Runners come in different sizes, and for this one we needed three to run the entire length. I find Wayfair has lots of options.  Click here to buy  this runner.

Tips:

  • Apply a fresh coat of paint first.
  • Use some caulking along the edges of the treads to clean it up nicely when you are done.
  • Order a bit longer than what you need as there will be some wastage.

Click here to check out another mix and match runner installed at another clients!

Drapery 101

We really feel a room is not complete until the drapes are installed.  Drapes add softness and layers in a room and put the finishing touches on a space.

How much fabric?

We are normally not concerned with whether or not drapes will be able to fully close. Where you may want to be able to close them all the way would be in a bedroom, however, most other spaces we are just dressing the windows. We love bright and sunny spaces so we love to hang drapery so it does not block any of the view or light.

When dressing a narrow window, one panel flanking both sides of the window is usually enough fullness. However, for most windows we bump the fabric up to one and a half to two panels wide depending on the set back available for the drapes to hang.  The set back is the space between the window and an adjacent window or a wall.

Note, if you DO want your curtains to fully close, then measure the width of your window, add at least 6 inches to each side and times by two for each panel.  This will allow your drapes to close but still maintain fullness.

We feel that drapery should be hung high above the window close to the ceiling. We always measure from the ground up to where we want the top of the rod to hit (if we are using rings), or where we want the top of the drapes to hit if we are using tab backs.

We really feel that drapery should be lined. Adding a lining to even store-bought drapes makes them feel specially curated for the space and gives them a custom look. Lining will add some weight to your drapes which lets them hang really nicely. Not to mention, adding a lining can help prevent your drapery fabric from sun damage, such as fading and weakening of the materials fibers.

Style of drapery

For a more sophisticated, expensive look, we like to use a white linen-blend material, lined, with a single pleat and then we hang them with black hardware and rings like in the photo below.

drapery style

Tip: we get our hardware from IKEA.  YES, believe it or not you can get this look with IKEA  hardware!

A great local source for us as well is Bellissmo and online with Tonic Living.

When styling a casual space, we will opt for hidden tabs which will still allow your drapes to hang nicely. This might be done in a rec room or just more casual home.

Rod Placement

To visually enhance the size of your window, and to maximize your room’s natural lighting, we typically place brackets 6-10 inches away from the window trim. This allows the drapery panels to hang to the sides of the window, without covering any (or much, depending on how full your panels are) of the glass. This tried and true technique will trick your eye into thinking the window is bigger than it actually is, and it won’t be blocking any of your sought-after natural lighting.

Our rule of thumb is to always place the curtain rod as high as we can above the window. This will add visual height to your room.

As noted earlier, we always hang drapes so that they are JUST ‘kissing’ the floor.

Finally

We know it can be hard to figure it all out. If you want custom drapes for your drop us an email to set up an appointment.

 

An updated living space with soft earth tones

For this project our clients were moving to Halifax and would be working in Halifax, but then travelling for months for work as well.  Therefore their home would be used as an airbnb while they were travelling.  We wanted to give them a space that they could enjoy themselves, but would appeal to airbnb renters as well.

We went with soft earth tones, lots of texture, and of course some wicker and we love how it turned out! Here are a few of our favorite photos.

We’re in love with the sectional from Article.com with it’s thin arms and tapered legs.  It’s not our first time using it and we have to say we love the quality as well!

For our pillows we selected warm earth tones again and added in some blue that we pulled out of the area rug.

We love to add tons of plants. Even if you don’t have a green thumb there are some great fake plants available now.  And of course we need some macrame thrown in there.

And check out those mix and match stair runners we incorporated from Wayfair!

Living room wicker chairs

livingroom orange tones

Mix and match stair runner

honeycomb shelf

How to get the look:

Sectional:  Burrard Sofa from Article.com
Rug: Roehel area rug from Wayfair.
Media unit:  Besta from Ikea (comes in different configuration and colours)
Side chairs:  Papasan chairs from Wayfair
Coffee table:  Rattan coffee table from Wayfair
Honeycomb shelves:  Made locally by DC Woodworks, find a DIY here compliments of A Beautiful Mess blog

Runners were a combo of three from Wayfair for a mix and match look:

Runner 1, Runner 2, Runner 3

Heat pumps spread warmth throughout the home

This is one of my favorite spaces in our home. This is our family room that is open to our kitchen and at the other end of the house from our main living room / dining room area.  There use to be an old fireplace in this room. I had no desire to maintain the old fireplace, deal with dirty wood being brought in all the time, or the nuisance of ‘making a fire’ so when we renovated the room, we tore it back to the fire box and capped and sealed it.

heat pump efficiency throughout the home

What about heating you ask? Let’s face it most real wood burning fireplaces actually suck the heat out of your house. And I wasn’t concerned about it being a heat source as we have a heat pump on this floor (a mini split one all three floors). It’s at the other end of the house but it’s strategically located to blow straight down both sides of the main floor. The one on this floor is our most powerful one at 18,000 BTU and it works like magic even at this end of the house. This end is maybe one to two degrees less than our main living room/dining room space where the heat pump is located.

Since heat wasn’t an important factor (thanks to our heat pumps), we tore down the ugly old fireplace and created our faux fireplace in its place. Yes, we thought about installing an electric fireplace but I figured we didn’t need it as a heat source so why spend the money on one? And honestly, I liked this look better! I wanted it to feel somewhat authentic though so I insisted that we would keep some of the dust and charred wood bits on the bottom.  So truth be told – the bottom of the firebox never gets cleaned.  And we joke and say our ‘fireplace channel’ is the lake out the window that is always moving (except when it freezes over). We’d never consider living without heat pumps now. We love the even, economical heating during the colder times and let’s not forget the air conditioning setting for the summer – BONUS!

To learn more about heat pumps and NS Power’s heat pump financing program click here.

fireplace design black

 

Worried a heat pump will cramp your home style – don’t fret

Let’s talk about this thing on the wall. Bet you thought I was talking about the wall baskets, but I’m not. You likely didn’t notice it – I’m talking about the heat pump in my living room. We were spending a fortune on oil heating, and after much researching by my fiancé on alternative heat sources, we decided on mini-split heat pumps so we could use different settings on each floor.To be honest we were a bit unsure of the location of the heat pump on our main floor at first. Here’s the thing – during a reno or new build people can get hung up on something visual when they are focusing on just that one item. I see clients do it all the time. When the room is not furnished or decorated, it’s easy to think that a heat pump won’t blend in with your home’s décor.

The way I see it – it’s not a lot different than an appliance in your kitchen. In fact it’s way more discrete than that. I’ve never shared a photo of a project and had someone comment about a heat pump in the room. I think most people would agree it really just fades into the background. So, if you’re contemplating getting one but are hesitant because you don’t want to notice it on a wall, I’d say don’t worry about it. And with white walls (my favorite colour!) it will blend in really well! Your pocket book will thank you too!

Want to learn more the benefits of heat pumps and NSPI’s financing program – click here.