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Mixing Materials

There is an art to mixing materials, almost like creating a painting. Mix them in the correct proportions and the look is unique, eye catching with a truly bespoke statement.

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I love this kitchen and the clever use of materials used to create a very well thought out kitchen design. Stainless steel finishes, chrome, wood and engineered stone are used to create the perfect balance of unique and complementary. Another reason why I love it…..its bold.

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your “safe” box. With a little creative gusto and a bit of daring, amazing designs can be created.

 

Wallpaper that I love

Wallpaper Makes Your Rooms Pop.

Use wallpaper to develop a feature wall, or put it behind a shelf to bring any room to life.

Sources for unique wallpapers.

Here are my go-to suppliers in Vancouver:

Crown Wallpaper & Fabrics. Crown Wallpaper has a fantastic showroom in Gastown, Vancouver’s interior design district. They also have an excellent selection of designer fabrics for both commercial and residential applications.

Mint Interiors. Located on West 2nd Avenue, Mint carries the unique Trove line of wallpapers. These papers are distinct and artistic, including many that resemble murals. Here’s one of my Trove favorites:

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Installing wallpaper the right way.

I always recommend hiring a professional to install wallpaper. The easiest way to find one is to go to a store that sells wallpaper (like Benjamine Moore) and ask for a referral.

If you’re gutsy and plan on putting the wallpaper up yourself, here are three tricks from eHow on making it work in your home:

1. Draw a Plumb Line.

A plumb line will help you hang the wallpaper in clean, straight lines. To draw one on your wall, use a pencil and a level to create a perfectly straight line 1/16 inch from where you intend to hang the paper. By drawing the line slightly outside of the area, you will prevent the pencil-marks from showing between the seams of paper.

Never use chalk to draw a plumb line. It could seep through and become visible after pasting the wallpaper.

Plumb lines can also help you limit waste by helping you prevent having to hang a narrow strip at the end of your room.

2. Cut the paper with a ruler and blade.

Never cut wallpaper with scissors- they make it difficult to cut a perfectly straight line.

Instead, lay the wallpaper on a table and use a level and pencil to draw a straight cutting line. Hold a ruler against the penciled line and draw a blade over the wallpaper in one stroke- this will create a level and crisp edge.

Make sure to use a sharp blade to prevent tearing and always leave a few extra inches of paper in case the measurements are wrong.

3. ‘Book’the paper to prevent peeling.

Booking wallpaper helps it relax before placing it on the walls. Book the paper after you have added paste for regular wallpaper or the water for pre-pasted wallpaper.

Fold both the top and bottom of the pasted side to the middle. Make sure that pasted sides are only touching pasted sides. Do not crease any folds. This allows time for the adhesive to activate and helps relax the texture of the paper. Booking makes the wallpaper easier to hang and prevents eventual peeling.

Interior Design Shows around the world

Finding inspiration at design shows.

Have you ever been to Paris? Did you know that it’s home to one of the world’s premiere interior design shows?

Maison & objet offers inspiration and trendsetting design for home textiles, tableware, furniture and every kind of accessory for the home that you can imagine.

From the website:

“A one-of-a-kind, indispensable gathering of the greatest, most talented international designers, scènes d’intérieur once again offers visitors the most luxurious visions, the best of high-end decoration and home fashion within a unique space in which the most prestigious brands have come together. “

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One recent exhibit at the show that inspired me was called “Rain”, by Thierry Gaugain. A poetic installation, it was design to create an “atmosphere of chill light rain, like a magical world”. This installation is a perfect example of how just lighting itself can be the focus of the room.

 

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To learn more about other design shows around the world check out World Design Directory.

The site lists shows by country and includes dates, locations, and contact information.

Interior design apps for your iPhone

 

Interior design by iPhone app.

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It seems like there’s an iPhone app for just about everything these days, from tracking the calories you eat in a day (which I use and love and sometimes hate) to apps that are fantastic in helping you with the design and renovation for you home.

Here are a few of my favorite Interior design-related apps to help you when you work on your home:

  • Color Capture by Benjamin Moore This is a great one. I use it when I don’t have a paint chip fan with me and need to find a color match. Just take a picture of the colour you want and the app will give you a Benjamin Moore’s paint chip match. Plus the best thing is… It’s free!
  • Sherwin Williams ColorSnap  This paint company has the same style of app and this one is free as well. Take your pick from your favorite brand.
  • Mark On Call Created by interior designer Mark Lewison. It has some great features including shopping lists, measurement tools, and room layout planners. Priced at $1.99.
  • Convert  A unit calculator, highly recommended. Very helpful for converting metric and imperial when shopping for imported furniture. Costs $.99.
  • iHandy Level  is just that, a level. There are a few app levels out there, but this is the one I use and it does the job quite well. And the best part is it’s… Free!
  • SwedeShop  is an app for shopping at Ikea. You can take pictures, make notes, and find the store location for the items you want. It makes the shopping experience easier and more organized. Costs $.99.
  • Evernote is an all-purpose organizational app. It’s a great replacement for your over-stuffed design binders. Use it for snapping and storing pictures of fabrics, rooms, and furniture; making recordings and notes; mapping locations of your favorite stores and sales. Free.
  • Flashlight  is an important tool when you are in those dark corners trying to get a measurement and you’ve forgotten your actual flashlight.  Now you can pull out your iPhone! There are quite a few flashlight apps to choose from, but I have “ Best Flash Light!” and it works quite well. And the best part is its Free!
  • My Measures & Dimensions  This is a really helpful tool if you don’t want to draw out a plan on paper. Just take a picture of your room and upload it into the app. Measure out the room’s dimensions and record them onto the actual photo in the app.  Easy and great to refer to later. Cost: $2.99.
  • Photosynth is another great app interior designers love. This one comes in handy for panoramic shots. Touch the screen and it shows you the area of the shot inside a box. Link boxes to create a panoramic picture and its free to top it off!!

Building a Successful Furniture Business from the Ground Up: Hellman-Chang

Creating a furniture business

Like so many other creative people or people wanting to express their creativity in ways which they can earn a living, I often daydream about trying out different business concepts like creating my own furniture or fabric line. There are a few talented and lucky interiors designers like Candice Olson who get to do this as well as interior design. A ton of research and information would be required to learn and understand before one could venture in this direction and create a successful brand and concept.

Often when I think about these idea’s I will do a Google search and see what I can find on the internet that would give me that inside peek or overview from some generous person sharing their experiences and insights.  While researching “ Building a furniture business” I came across this fantastic article. It’s a long one but definitely worth a read. There is a ton of insight from personal experience and great tips and if you want to start your own business…whatever that may be, I am sure this story will inspire you. Here it is:

Building a Successful Furniture Business from the Ground Up: Hellman-Chang, Part 1 – Core77.

Green Walls

Add a little (green) life to your walls.

Who doesn’t love a little green in their home? Living walls and indoor gardens, fast becoming a trend here in our beautiful green city of Vancouver and around the world, offer fun ways to add plant life to your living spaces.

I love green walls. I could build one in every house I design. They bring life and energy into a space like nothing else. They also bring in beautiful smells and keep the air fresh.

When deciding to get one of these living delights installed in your home, location and lighting influences plant selection. For those like me who love plants but are not sure what works best where, It’s important to talk to specialist like Heather March at Greenstems. Heather is Landscape designer by trade and works with some of the best interior designers in Vancouver. She can design a wall to fit whatever shape and size you need, and she’ll make sure the plants chosen will flourish with the natural levels of light in the space.

Here are a few tips from Heather on living walls:

“When it comes to your living wall, be sure you choose the right combination of trailing and upright plants and they the are placed cohesively as a grouping to compliment each others natural growth patterns.

Once installed, be sure you keep up the weekly maintenance of cleaning out any old, decaying foliage from the garden. This only takes a moment to peek in and amongst the plants and it will keep your living wall free of any pesky indoor bugs.

And lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment, its part of developing your green thumb!”

living wall designed and installed by Heather March from Green Stems Vancouver B.C

 

Article below from Dwell Magazine:

“Two years ago, Brad Zizmor showed his parents the apartment that he and his wife, Susan, were buying a half block from Central Park on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Despite the plum address, the purchase went over poorly with mom and dad. The two-bedroom is only 912 square feet. Worse, it is situated off the lobby on the first floor—an ugly duckling previously occupied by the building superintendent.

“It was dark. It was small. It was completely cramped,” notes Dag Folger, Brad’s partner in the architecture firm A+I Design Corp, who came along for support. “The outside space was dismal.”

Like any architect, Brad saw possibilities, but his parents saw only small, dark rooms looking onto a grim alley and this is his fantastic creation.

 

 

Green walls can be perfect to cover a not so interesting pony railing wall or pony wall.

 

From Green walls to plants that live in glass blown lights.

Check out these new lights from Vancouver-based Bocci: made with the blown glass we are accustomed to from the celebrated lighting designer, but with added cavities to create pockets for air plants!  Succulents, cacti and even a bit of dirt fit into these perfect little bowls. Leave it to the talented folks at Bocci to come up with such a fabulous invention.  There are two or three light sources in each blown sphere.  The copper wire, which also carries the electricity, acts as a rigid but malleable structure to hold the globes and the plants.


Bocci lighting

 

Bocci lighting

 

Bocci lighting

 

Bocci lighting

 

Hang your greenery.

Check out these wall hanging planters from Dwell. Dwell magazine featured them on the side of a fence for an outdoor patio.

 

There are endless idea’s and concepts for vertical planting, but this is a great one. I would love to see this outside my front door everyday.

 

 

These particular planters come from Fold Bedding and sell for $72 each. They are great for succulents, cactus herbs or even lettuce! Use for both indoor and outdoor applications.

The Beauty of Lucite

Lucite and its triumphant return

Lucite enchants. Furniture made with it floats in the air. It catches the eye and inspires intrigue. I’ve loved it since I started designing, and it may just be my favorite material for furniture.

Lucite is sexy and stylish, and can be made to look traditional or modern. This is definitely a material that stands out from the others and makes an impact when used by interior designers and architects.

One of my favorite examples of how Lucite can be used to maximum effect is this bed custom-made for Helena Rubinstein. The headboard and the footboard were built with a light to create a soft, glowing feel. The piece was made by Roman Haas, maker of the first Lucite furniture in the 1930’s. (Photo from Life.com)

Don’t know about you, but I think this piece looks as modern as ever. To the triumphant return of Lucite!

Made-in-Vancouver Lucite Furniture

Meet Vancouver designer Martha Sturdy.  She uses acrylic glass (Lucite!) in her work, and I find her to be a complete inspiration (and no I am not talking about Martha Stewart – these are two very different people!). She creates furniture, art and accessories for the home, made with a resin-type acrylic.

Sturdy’s accessories make for fantastic accent pieces around the house. She offers over twenty colour options for her pieces, so it’s guaranteed there is one that can work for your space.

The Martha Sturdy chair and ottoman shown below are lit from the inside, creating a dramatic and sculptural effect.

 

 

Lucite furniture, reimagined.

Lucite is back. It seems these days we’re seeing a lot of older designs for Lucite/acrylic/resin furniture recycled new designs with a modern look and feel.

Check out some of my favorites below. For an even bigger gallery of inspiring examples, visit my Pinterest furniture design board.

 

The classic old world meets new world. Sleek and elegant!

 

A bar trolley takes becomes a elegant feature (pictures from Lucite Lux)

An example that many of us know very well is the “Louis Ghost Chair” by Philippe Stark

Hudson Bay Furniture does an amazing job of using live edge tables with Lucite bases. A stunning look that captures, modern elegance, warmth and sophistication.

 

The uses are endless in designing furniture.  This crib was designed by “Sissy + Marley” and retails for $3,500.00. Beyonce also recently purchased it for her new baby named “Blue”.

Interior Design and Colour

 

Neutrals are classic, versatile, and easy.

White, taupe, warm whites, or dark charcoal. Using a neutral as your base colour on your walls or wood work allows you to switch up your accessories to express vibrant or subdued colour ways. Not only cost-effective, it allows for flexibility. Drapes, pillows, vases, throws or a chair can do the trick. Changing accessories is easy and can be done from season to season or any other time you feel like you need a new look for your space.

My favorite neutral? Try revere pewter (HC-172) by Benjamin Moore. It’s soft and subtle warm with a touch of cool. It can work in any space or provide that touch of contrast you need from your beautiful white millwork or furniture.

 

White, and why you should love to use it.

Is white a colour? I believe it is – even if some claim it isn’t!

White is one of my favorite colours to use in modern homes and houses with interesting architectural details. It highlights built-in features, sets a pristine stage for the furniture, art, windows, and whatever other beautiful details are happening in the space. It’s also expansive, creating an airy feeling of freshness and openness. What’s not to love about that?