May 01, 2018
The winter has finally receded, spring has sprung, and a hint of summer is just around the corner. Victoria Day Weekend is officially the unofficial start to the summer season; a perfect time for BBQing and outside lounging. If your outside patio, deck, or yard isn’t quite lounge-ready, here are a few sure-fire tips to begin preparations and get your space in shape before May 21st!
Plan Your Space
Every great space starts with a plan of action. Think about how you’ll be spending time outdoors, what you want to use the space for, and who you’ll be sharing it with. Do you need a charming, cozy spot for two where you can sip tea and peacefully read a book? Or do you imagine a sprawling oasis where you can entertain your extended family and friends over drinks and several courses? You can probably tell that these scenarios will make for two very different spaces.
Divide and Conquer
You may be thinking I want to use my outdoor space for all kinds of things. Don’t worry! You can create mini spaces or section out zones throughout your outdoor space specific to each activity type. Tired of schlepping food in and out of the house? Create a grill station or outdoor kitchen. Like the family to gather altogether? Plan out a large dining space to accommodate the entire group. Prefer your gatherings to feel more casual? Swap a single dining space for clusters of tables and chairs where smaller groups can mix and mingle. Use these zones to create a variety of social spaces for every occasion you have in mind.
Let Nature Lead the Design
There’s one more step before jumping into choosing a color palette, selecting materials, and picking out furniture. A major draw of outdoor living is to spend more time in nature, right? Creating an outdoor space that meets your goals is how you achieve this. So, consider what nature is offering you. Will your sunlight be soft and subtle or will you need an umbrella or awning to calm its powerful rays? Do you already have a zen or lush garden or will you need to incorporate landscaping? Use nature’s greenery, lighting, and natural beauty as a starting point to begin your design and achieve your outdoor living goals.
Not sure where to start or want to be sure your outdoor living space is ready for the summer start? Schedule your complimentary in-home design consultation, so we can help you fall in love with your home – for the first time or all over again!
Apr 23, 2018
Creating the perfect home office space starts with understanding your needs for both style and function. The questions below offer a starting point for managing the process and making sure your office is not only a space for productivity, but also increases creativity and gives you the energetic boost you need to keep pressing forward in your work.
1. How will you manage distractions?
If distractions are a common challenge for you, the most important first step is considering strategies for reducing distractions throughout the day. Seeing family members passing by, hearing noisy neighbors, or even the way light shines into the room can all create challenges for productivity. Consider tools such as white noise machines, black out curtains, and even the positioning of your desk and other furniture.
2. How do you like to work?
Think about how you work best. Whether you like to stand, enjoy listening to music, or need a way to move your body throughout the day it’s important to incorporate those needs into your space design. Standing desks, hidden treadmills, Bluetooth musical devices, smart devices and even a sofa can help you create the energy you need in the place you work.
3. How do you organize?
Think about the equipment you use and the type of storage that will make it easiest to stay organized while keeping those tools at easy reach. There’s great decorative storage items that can help you keep your printer, shredder, copier and filing system at arms reach without looking bulky and unattractive.
4. What gives you energy?
Productivity is related to more than just office tools and seating. The way we feel throughout the day can impact our ability to work effectively and tap into our creativity. Think about the colors, textures, and accessories that give you an energy boost and incorporate them into your office decor.
Working with an expert can help make your home office transition as smooth as possible. An interior decorator will ask you these questions and more to ensure that your office space is the perfect fit for your physical and creative needs.
Apr 12, 2018
According to the 2011 National Household Survey, roughly 1.1 million Canadians work at home most of the time. That makes home office space a valuable resource, and an essential focus for interior design.
If you work from home, it’s important to shift your mindset from the typical utilitarian uses of your office and consider comfort and style as well. With many workers spending 7-10 hours a day in the office, it’s important to make it an environment that’s energizing and keeps your creativity flowing all week long.
Here are a few tips to make sure your home office is not only productive, but inspiring as well.
Bring your style into the room
Whether you love mid-century modern, country chic or a little bit of glam, you can pull your favorite design trends into your office life. Home office furniture and accessories now come in a variety of styles, so there’s no limit to what you can create.
Start with a design board to plan out the look you want to see and make sure all of the pieces have a great flow and consistency. A decorator can help you create a plan and choose the right pieces for your style and comfort.
Be sure to consider things like wall colours, materials, textures and finishes.
Skip the bland office furniture.
We all know the standard 4-wheeled chair found at office supply stores around the world, but there’s so many comfortable and stylish options that can make your office a place you love to be.
Search for something novel, and stylish that also feels great.
To maximize comfort, look for a chair with a sinuous steel spring clipped into the frame for strength and resilience or an eight-way hand-tied steel spring construction. Comfort also depends on the density of the seat, back cushioning, and the pitch between the seat and the back of your chair.
If you really want to treat yourself, go for a custom chair, so you can pick the style, fabrics and even monograms to match your design.
Don’t make lighting an afterthought
While desks, seating and organization are often the focus of office design, it’s important to make sure you don’t forget the importance and value of quality lighting.
Lighting can impact the energy in the room as well as your ability to focus when working in various parts of the room.
Your lighting is not only impacted by the lamps and fixtures you select, but also the window treatments and how they help you manage the light positioning throughout the day.
Just like shopping for clothes, or choosing your next smartphone upgrade room design takes a bit of thought and research to find the right selection for your needs. In the next article we’ll share strategies for planning and managing your home office design to create the perfect space for your work life.
Mar 28, 2018
The sofa is typically the workhorse of the living or family room. That’s why it’s so important to protect and maintain it, so it looks great for years to come.
There are several ways to make sure the upholstered furniture in your home stays clean and beautiful through years of regular use. In this article, I’ll describe a few of the best options and also share tips for communicating with your interior decorator to make sure you find the best fabric fit for your lifestyle and design needs.
Daily upholstery maintenance
Surprisingly, the major culprit causing damage to our upholstered furniture isn’t stains and major incidents, it’s daily dirt build-up from simply using the furniture each day.
The best line of defense from everyday dirt build-up is to have a regular cleaning routine that includes either vacuuming your furniture with your vacuum’s suction attachment, or brushing the upholstery with a soft fabric brush. Fabric brushes can be found online or at select furniture supply stores.
By working this into your regular routine you’ll catch most of the dirt before it settles into your fabric, creating that dreaded “dingy” look.
Cleaning stains from your sofa or chair
Whether it’s red wine, chocolate, or that bit of popcorn butter from your fingertips, stains happen, and each instance creates a bit of anxiety as we hunt for the right solution to the problem.
Before this happens it’s important to have a plan and be prepared with the proper tools for your cleaning arsenal. When you get a new piece of furniture, take note of where the informational label is. It’s often attached on the bottom of the sofa or chair, or could be in between modular pieces. It’s not necessary to memorize the details, but be aware of where you can find this in the event a spill occurs.
If you hired a decorator to select your furniture it’s likely that they have a file indicating the type of fabric your furniture piece is made of and can provide recommendations for proper cleaning. (This is why hiring a decorator goes far beyond simply design. We become consultants for all of your interior needs.)
On your furniture label, you’ll likely find a cleanability code from the manufacturer. Below is a list of those codes and how you can interpret them.
Whatever the cleaning instructions, be sure to test the method in a spot that is concealed before applying it to a more visible area to make sure there’s no significant color change or additional staining.
Manufacturers’ cleaning codes
W – Use a water-based cleaning product only. Apply the foam from the water-based cleaner using a soft bristle brush because you don’t want to damage the fibers. Rub gently in a circular motion, and vacuum when dry.
S – Use a water-free cleaning product only. Since this is a chemical based product make sure that the area you’re using it in is well ventilated, and do not use it around any open flames.
W-S – Either a water-based or water-free cleaning solvent can be used, or a combination of both.
X – This code means to only vacuum or brush the fabric. Anything else might damage the fabric. (If this is the case, you may need to call a professional upholstery technician to have them assess your options or provide reupholstering services)
Working with an interior decorator to choose the right fabric for your home
The stress of managing stains can be reduced by choosing the right fabrics for your home and family needs. By working with an interior decorator, you’ll not only find the styles you want, but also have access to fabric selections that reduce the cleaning burden in your busiest rooms.
Here are a few conversation starters to help you get the right support:
- What are the best fabrics for keeping my furniture clean in a high-traffic room?
- What products and supplies should I keep around for events where stains do happen with the furniture we’re selecting?
- Does this product come with stain-resistant options? If so, tell me about the performance of each option and the types of stains and spills it can handle.
- Are there any warrantees or protection plans available?
By getting these questions answered you’ll be better prepared to make the right choices for your fabrics and have the tools you need in your arsenal to protect your investment long-term.