Colour

Colour can be found everywhere and selecting colours during a home renovation can pop up in more decisions than you may think. What stain should I use on this wood? What colour curtains would look best? Does this pattern pillow match my couch or what colour would look best on these walls? What colour grout should I use and is this colour of stone the best choice for my fireplace? Decorating a room comes with endless colour selections, and without proper knowledge, this can be very intimidating and overwhelming.

In home renovations and decorating projects, picking colours if often one of those areas that either is a last-minute, spontaneous decision, or one that is agonized over and contemplated endlessly about (such as my kitchen cabinet colour).

But I’m so glad you’re reading this because there is some simple information about colour that can help you embrace the colour picking process instead of shy away from it. So let me help provide some basic colour theory and suggestions to help you to get more colour confident:

 

Colour Basics & Terminology

Colour Wheel – A colour wheel is an organization of colours within a circle that displays the relationships and connections between them. An image of one can be found below:

IMG_2986.JPG
Photo source – Sensationalcolour.com

Primary Colours – red, blue, yellow

Secondary Colours – When two primary colours are mixed together, it will create a secondary colour- green (yellow and blue), orange (red and yellow), and purple (red and blue).

Complimentary Colours – Colours opposite one another on the colour wheel are referred to as complimentary colours, example blue & orange. A complimentary colour scheme is often used in home décor to make something stand out or pop. Here is an image of room using the complimentary colour scheme of blue and orange:

 

IMG_2985
Photo source – Audrey Crisp Interiors

 

 

Analogous Colours – Generally 3-5 colours beside each other on the colour wheel.  Using a colour scheme with analogous colours creates for a harmonious and soothing space.  See the example below that has used a violet blue, blue and blue-green colour scheme:

IMG_2992.JPG
Photo source – Studio McGee

 

Monochromatic – Light and dark variations of the same colour.  Monochromatic colour schemes are often used in home décor to create calm and soothing spaces, like this example of a peaceful nursery with many variations of yellow:

 

IMG_2994.JPG
Photo source – Jillian Harris

Hue – A colours main properties – or a colour more basically.

Tint –Mixing a colour with white

Shade – Mixing a colour with black

Tone – Mixing a colour with gray

 

Warm & Cool Colours – Usually we think of warm colours as being red, orange and yellow, and cool being blue, green and purple. But if we start getting specific, each of the basic colours have a warm and colour variation to it. You can have warm and cool versions of blue, green, purple, red, etc. Mixing warm and cool colours add variation and more depth to a space than just using all warm or all cool tones.  Here is an example of warm and cool variations of red:

IMG_2988.JPG
Photo source – Live Journal

Neutrals –Also referred to as “Earth Tones”, neutral colours include black, white, gray and brown (and variations of those).   This is one of the easiest ways to tone down a rooms colour palette or blend together many natural elements within a room.  This dining space has layered many neutral colours allowing the textures of the materials and views from the windows to take more of the focus within the space:

 

IMG_2996.JPG
Photo source – Park & Oak Design

Undertones – The underlying colour or undertone is most easily figured out by placing colour chips next to each other or referring up or down on a colour swatch. For example, some colours will pull more red, green, blue or yellow as you compare them next to one another.  Check out the neutral colour swatches below and pick out which ones have blue undertones:

img_2254-3.jpg

 

Meaning in colours

Throughout history, colour has and still does symbolize various meanings and feelings for people.  Here are some of the most common meanings:

  • Blue – blue often invokes a calm and relaxing feeling like the water and sky, and symbolizes truth, trust, stability and faith.
  • Green – the colour of nature, green embodies fertility, growth and freshness. Green also is associated with safety and money.
  • Purple – historically purple is a royal colour displaying wealth and bringing drama to spaces
  • Red – associated with energy, strength, danger and love, red is an emotionally intense colour that invokes dramatic and passionate feelings
  • Yellow – the colour of sunshine, happiness and energy
  • Orange – orange is a fun and happy colour most often associated with the tropics, enthusiasm, creativity and attraction
  • White – symbolizing innocence, purity and cleanliness, white is often used as a blank slate allowing other elements to take center stage
  • Black – often represents mystery, power, elegance and death
IMG_2998
Photo source – Countrydecordiy.com

 

Suggestions & tips for creating a colour scheme

Pick a feeling you want your room to have or invoke and start looking at tints, shades and tones of that colour.

Consider the undertones of a colour before selecting it for your walls.  If you have even slightly orange wood floors, using a cool white with blue undertones will make the floor appear even more orange (complimentary colours).

Work off colours in elements that you already have in a space, example wood floors, furniture, architectural elements, etc.   If you want that element to stand out, consider a complimentary colour, if you want it to blend, use a tint or shade of the colour.

Find a fabric, image or pattern you love and work off the colours found within that for your colour scheme.

Use a classic colour scheme such as complimentary, analogous or monochromatic for a safe and sure to work combination.

Making colours pop – The best way to make something stand out is to use complimentary colours. For example, if you have a beautiful collection of red teapots that you want to stand out in your dining room, paint your walls or back of the cabinet green to ensure the red really pops.

Add neutral colours to tone down a bold colour scheme.

 

IMG_3001
Photo source – House & Home

What else to consider when selecting colour for a space

Natural light – colours can look different at different times of day and in rooms that receive different amounts of light. Generally, rooms that receive more natural light can handle a darker colour whereas rooms with less natural light will feel smaller and lighter colours should be considered.

Other light sources – even if a room has little or a lot of natural light, the type and amount of other light sources can alter colour in a room.

Size of space – dark colours make a room feel smaller and lighter colours help open up smaller rooms.

What’s going on outdoors – highlight your fantastic view by using light or neutral colours on your wall, or boldly frame out the view with a complimentary or dark surround.  If your view is less than ideal, make your interior space steal the show by drawing the eye to interesting colour combinations or bold colours.

Surrounding spaces – even if you don’t use the same colour throughout your home, use a connecting colour in some way between adjacent rooms. For example, your entryway has light gray walls, a bold blue runner and gold accent pieces. Your connecting living room could include warm yellow walls and blue accents as a way to connect some of the same colours between rooms.

IMG_3003.JPG
Photo source – Pinterest

There are millions of choices of colour to pick from, but with understanding some basic colour theory, the decision doesn’t have to be so scary.  Think about what you want the colour to accomplish, the feeling you want it to invoke as you also consider what else is going on in the space, as you are looking at your options.

Don’t be afraid to coordinate without matching everything.  Think tints and shades of a colour as you layer a space and fill colour into your home.  Start with a basic colour scheme and add your personality from there.  Finally, don’t be afraid to try colour and take a risk in areas that are easy to change, and if it’s not working for you, pick another colour.

Master the Mix

I bet you’ve heard style names ranging from modern farmhouse to mid century modern to shabby chic.  But what is your decorating style? Now days it’s more commonplace to incorporate multiple styles into your home decor than to stick with just one.  Although natural to be attracted to elements of various decor styles, it can be intimidating mixing elements that appear so different.  I’ve compiled some tips on how to get started in successfully mixing styles along with sharing some inspiring pictures.

img_1809.png
Photo source – blogdecorador
  1. Start Small – The best way to get started in mastering the mix in home decor is to start small.  Pick a small surface area or corner (mantel, beside table, reading corner, shelf, entry table, etc.) and play around with items you either already have or collect some.  Going with a whole room right away can feel overwhelming whereas smaller areas let you experiment and see what’s working and what’s not, in a condensed version.

    IMG_1816
    Photo source – House and Home Magazine
  2. Take Clues – Use what you already have or what can’t be changed as a starting point.  If a space is feeling too put together, add something rustic.  If a space is feeling too new, add something vintage.  Have an old hand me down dining table but you want the room to feel cleaner and more current?  What about adding some bright coloured modern chairs and a simple geometric print area rug underfoot.

    You can add emphasis to a certain piece you have in a room by making it feel contrasting to everything else.  If you love what you have, compliment it with contrasting elements so it stands out, but if you have some piece of furniture you hate but can’t replace, make something else steal the show and draw the eye away.  It’s all in the mix.

    IMG_1819
    Photo source – Ballar Designs
  3. Go With Your Gut – Don’t shy away from what you are drawn to.  Maybe you have your eye on a modern light fixture but aren’t sure it’ll suit the space.  It’s better to love what you live with than to be worried about everything coordinating just so.  If it’s something you just can’t live without, chances are there are other corresponding elements you just have to have, to go with it too.  It’s easier to work in elements that you are drawn to than to start with nothing to go off of, so go with your gut and get that thing.

    IMG_1802
    Photo source – Harbour Mill Design
  4. Repeat Elements – The next way to master the mix is to repeat elements so that there is something to pull some aspects together in a mixed styled space.  Consider repeating something of similar shape, colour, weight or texture to a room or connecting room to help balance out something like that modern light fixture you weren’t sure would go.  Your eye naturally looks for patterns so when elements are repeating it makes a space look more harmonious.

    This can be especially important if you’re blending a collection of styles, working in an open concept floor plan or have some wild pieces to connect.  Don’t worry about being all matchy-matchy, but rather use one element to tie a few things together like in the picture above.  The light fixtures may be completely different styles, but using similar shapes helps create some unity amongst the mix.

    img_1848.png
    Photo source – Pinterest, unknown designer 
  5. Forget Design Rules and Titles.  Worried that your room doesn’t fall into a modern farmhouse or mid century modern style?  Don’t sweat it!  Rules are meant to be broken and titles limit a spaces potential.  Group things irregularly, hang art at unusual heights and combine elements that aren’t normally seen together.  Breaking design rules and combining elements from across various styles help create a space that’s both interesting to look at and fun to live in!

    IMG_1835.JPG
    Photo source – Bloglovin’
  6. Dare To Be Different.  The most intriguing spaces are ones that have taken risks and tried something different.  Combine things that have meaning to you, use textures and colours that fascinate you and mix up the scale of items in a space to add visual interest.  Have fun with it and if something isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to switch it out and try something else.

 

If you have questions with this mixed style thing, don’t hesitate to ask for advice!  Contact me here with a picture and I’ll offer you some free expert advice.

Dare to be different with your home decor – it’s all in the mix!

 

Furnishing & Decorating a New Home

If you’ve recently purchased a new home like myself, or planning a move in the near future, it can be daunting to think about how you’re going to furnish and decorate the new space. Downsizing likely also includes purging or simplifying your belongings. Moving into a bigger home comes with extra tasks such as purchasing or collecting more furnishings. But even moving into a home of similar size can mean redistributing, purging or purchasing new pieces.

Since I’ve moved several times, I feel like I’ve streamlined my process to create a more stress-free transition. Creating a plan ahead of time is the most helpful thing at such a stressful and busy time. Here’s what I recommend:

 

  1. Figure out your budget.
    If you’ve downsized or moved to another city, perhaps you’ve made some extra money and can set aside a healthy budget for new furnishings. Congrats – now’s the time to spruce up your furnishings or invest in some new pieces. If you’ve purchased a more expensive home, perhaps your budget isn’t as large and you’ll have to get creative on how to stretch what you have.   Whatever the case is, know what you realistically can spend and plan accordingly.

    IMG_8839
    If the budget is minimal – invest in staple furniture and add secondary pieces at a later date
  2. Decide if you’ll be hiring help.
    Maybe you love design and are looking forward to this process – great! But if this process seems daunting, you don’t have a design eye or you’ll be tackling some larger renovations, be sure to hire the right type of help for your budget and project. Decorators, designers, contractors, trades people or architects may be some of the help you’ll be looking for. Make sure you do your homework on whom you’re hiring by asking for referrals, looking at customer reviews and looking at certification when necessary. If you can, I do recommend living in your space a little before finalizing plans for any renovation so you can get a true sense of what your family functionally needs from the space.
img_1009.png
If you don’t get a layout of your home, check builder sites for blueprints or draw one of your own on a walk through
  1. Get a floor plan.
    This step is likely one you haven’t thought about but can save you a lot of headaches ahead of time by ensuring what items you are moving or purchasing will fit in your new space.  If you’ve just built a new house or purchased a newly built home, you’ll likely get a floor plan when you are designing or purchasing the home. If not, ask your builder or realtor if this is available to you or check the builder’s website to see if they have floor plans posted. As a last resort create your own floor plan. On a walk-thru, bring some graph paper, a pencil and a measuring tape. Taking lots of pictures can also help.
IMG_5197
Travel is a great way to source inspiration for your home – Drake Devonshire Hotel

 

  1. Find inspiration.
    If you’re purchasing a lot or even a few new pieces, you want a new style or some new ideas on what to do with a space, looking for inspiration may be necessary. Take pictures during your walk-thru if you like the way the previous owners arranged their furniture. If you need some fresh ideas, click here to check out the post for my top 12 places to find inspiration.

    IMG_9467.JPG
    Home must haves include everyday essential items to make a functional living space.
  2. Create a list.
    What do you need? Create a detailed list of all the pieces you see yourself needing in the new space. Go through what you’ll be bringing over and what will be lacking or needs to be replaced. Think of everything from window coverings, rugs, appliances, organization and seating to artwork, paint, wallpaper or lighting. If you’ll be doing a renovation, this list will be more extensive to include other items like flooring, tile, electrical and more. Then prioritize the list if your budget is limited.   I like to create 3 groupings. What are the essentials to have when you move in? Think functional items like appliances, somewhere to eat, sleep, sit, safety (especially if you have kids or pets), and something to create privacy if there aren’t already window coverings. What are your next important items? Maybe side tables, coffee tables, dressers, side chairs or storage pieces. These are items that will likely impact your function of the home but aren’t as necessary as your first list. And finally your third column will include most things that are decorative. Area rugs, new light fixtures, artwork, pillows, etc.

    Check out my list for our new home:


1st Tier

Essentials\


2nd Tier

Accompanying Pieces


3rd Tier

Decorative

Formal dining table & 6 chairs Foyer table, seat, mirror and coat tree Patio chairs
Family room sectional 2 additional dining room chairs Art work, decorative pillows, lights and plants for multiple rooms
3 counter stools Office desk Kitchen refresh items
Towel bars & toilet paper holders Bedside tables for kids Powder room refresh items
Blackout blinds for nursery & kids bedroom, washroom blinds Master bedroom reading chair and side table Area rug for dining room
Guest room bed and side table

 

Curtains for family room & dining room
Coffee table New curtains for master bedroom & kids room

 

IMG_1551.jpg
Sourcing items can be fun as you browse style and prices at local and online sources – here I was sourcing our bed at Cornerstone Interiors – Cambridge.
  1. Research and source.
    Now determine based on your budget and needs, what you’ll be purchasing right away and what will have to wait. Going online to source items will help you determine costs for things and what may have to move from column to column.  For me, my first list was purchased before we even moved in or within a week. My second column was going to mostly be purchased within 6 months of living in the house and my final list will be an ongoing list as I work room by room, completing each space to my liking. If you need assistance sourcing, either email me for my assistance or to inquire about where some of my favourite places to shop for furniture and accessories are.
IMG_8866
Before purchasing custom furniture, double check all room measurements to be sure sizing is correct.

 

  1. Purchase, store or furnish.
    I cannot emphasis enough that you need to make sure you’re checking measurements against your layout from earlier and factoring in taxes and delivery if necessary against your budget. I knew we were going to go for a custom sectional for our family room and I wanted it right for when we moved in. Having a layout of our space and specific measurements helped me build the perfect size and layout for this expensive purchase. If you’re purchasing ahead, you’ll likely need to store the items ahead of time. If you can arrange delivery for the day after you move in (try not to do the day of – as you can get delayed with getting your keys), otherwise order after you move in if you can’t store items or it won’t be convenient to do so.

 

IMG_4608 copy
Once your essential furnishings are in place, add in accent and decor layers for a personal touch!
  1. Arrange, decorate & remember your home is a living space.
    Place items in the most desirable layout. If it’s not working, rearrange or move to a different room. Once the base furnishings are in place, add secondary furniture, rugs, and finally accessories and décor. Don’t stress out if your home doesn’t seem complete. Homes are living spaces that will develop and change over time as you accumulate, purge or adjust to family needs and décor trends.

 

If you’d like specific help for your home, please do not hesitate to ask and I would love to assist you with your new home.

When It’s Time To Move On

It’s almost Spring which means 2 things – Spring cleaning (we’ll get to that one next) and real estate season!

In February we discussed ways you can fall back in love with your home, but there are times when you know it’s just best to move on. There could be many factors that lead you to this decision, some of which could include:

  • Space has become too big or too small
  • Location isn’t right for your lifestyle
  • Finances have changed
  • Relationships have changed

Deciding when to pack up can be a difficult decision to reach for yourself and/or your family. Emotions can run high and there can be a lot of fears in relation to letting go, making the best financial decision and fear of the unknown ahead. I am not a Real Estate Professional, but I know a little about moving, as I have moved 12 times and have learned some valuable lessons along the way. Here are my suggestions on ways you can minimize the stress of this time and things to pay careful attention to:

IMG_4079

  1. Hire the best – don’t try and sell your home yourself unless you’re a Real Estate Agent. It’s such a large legal investment that it’s not worth saving the money with all the potential risks involved. Let the professionals educate you, help you price well and know what the best moves are.

    img_5470.jpg

 

  1. Get real about your finances – if you are barely making payments on your monthly expenses now, chances are moving to a higher priced home isn’t the best decision for you. Sit down with your bank or mortgage expert ahead of time to get your financials in order so know what the budget is before emotions get tied to potential new homes.

IMG_4603

  1. Know your timeline – do you have a hard and fast date you need to be out of your home or do you have some room bridging dates with a new home? Will you need time to complete some renovations before you move in? Do you want the kids settled before school starts? Knowing this head will help you stay firm with conditions in offers, closing dates for the new purchase and general preparing for the big move.

img_4610.jpg

  1. Staging – the general public has a hard time picturing potential in spaces, so it is your job to stage your home to showcase a generic idea of what life could look like for the general population. If you don’t have the eye or time for this, hire a stager to complete this necessary task.  Here are some specific ideas:
    1. Convert specifically designed rooms back to formal dining rooms, offices or guest rooms.
    2. Remove all personal photos and objects from rooms (basically anything that would make a potential buyer think of they type of people that own the house instead of picturing themselves living there).
    3. Paint all rooms a neutral or light colour.
    4. De-clutter everything (including closets, basements and storage spaces – rent a storage unit if you must).
    5. Simplify furniture and create ideal layouts in rooms.
    6. Take care of general maintenance you’ve been putting off – touch up dings in the walls, replace burnt out lights, broken handles, leaky faucets, chipped trim, etc.
    7. Place fresh flowers and bright accessories in rooms to provide a fresh and clean look.
    8. Give your home a thorough clean before photos, showings and open houses.

IMG_4620

  1. Create a moving plan – Writing out everything ahead of time that will need to be taken care of can relieve last minute stress. Think ahead and consider the following: Do you need to hire a moving company? When do you need to start packing? Who will you be asking for assistance on the day? Will a great distance be involved in moving and you need to book overnight accommodations? Make arrangements for pets and kids if necessary for moving day. Contact Canada Post about forwarding your mail. Where do you need to contact for a change of address once you have moved?

IMG_5287

  1. Prepare the family – Including kids in the process of selecting a new house and preparing your house for sale can help them greatly in processing what this change means. Answer fears they may have but let them know about what exciting opportunities lay ahead (will they get to pick a new paint colour for their new room? Will they be living closer to relatives? What parks are close by they may enjoy?). Have kids help pack up their rooms and toys allowing them to decorate boxes with their names and pretty drawings. (If you need to keep kids busy while you pack, a box with markers or a roll of bubble wrap can buy hours of fun!) . Allow them to visit any walk-throughs of the new house if possible so they can know where their new home will be and plan out how they want their new room to look. Walk the neighbourhood or visit local parks and restaurants so they get a feel for what their new neighbourhood is like.  As something special for kids to look back on, take a family photo in front of the house on or just before moving day, and allow them to take something small with them, like a rock from your garden, they can put at the new house.
    If you have pets, walk the neighbourhood together, visit parks and let them smell out their new neighbours.

IMG_5312

 

Once you get the keys to the new place, a whole new ballgame begins. Stay tuned for the April’s blog post about Making A New House A Home.

 

 

Where To Dine With Your Valentine

I love a good night in, but with Valentine’s Day around the corner, you may be looking for a different place to take a loved one for a special meal. Many restaurants offer specific Valentine’s Day specials, but remember you don’t have to get out on February 14th to celebrate time together. If the day doesn’t suit or you want to avoid the prearranged chaos, try a different evening, weekday lunch or weekend brunch instead. It’s about making the effort to arrange something and spending time with someone you love, whether it be child, spouse, friend or sibling.

If you’ve been checking out my Tour This Town posts you’ll know I love checking out and recommending amazing restaurants and cafes, so I’ve selected my top 10 independent choices in the area (many of which have not hit my Tour This Town posts yet). Here are my recommendations:

 

IMG_9735
Photo credit – Yelp
  1. Easy Pour Wine Bar & Restaurant– Blair/Cambridge

This is my top choice almost every time. This converted heritage house is intimate and perfectly charming. The food is delicious, wine list is impressive and they have the friendliest service. You can also catch live music some nights. My must get dish is the mixed board to share over a glass of wine!

 

IMG_9736
Photo credit – wilhelmskw.com

      2.     Wilhelm’s Café & Bar – Belmont Village

I can’t get over how gorgeous this new hot spot is. Casual yet sexy, meet up for an pre-dinner drink or some afternoon snacks with your loved one.  Snuggle up in a booth or grab a drink at the bar, you’ll feel the warmth of the space and the glow from the village.

 

Light Retouch 128
Photo credit – Mandy Blake Photography
  1. Timeless Café – Waterloo

This place holds near and dear to my heart because we had our intimate wedding here several years ago.  Rustic and charming, this converted hen house brings the relaxation of a country setting right through your meal allowing you to linger on flavour and conversation.  For something different, try a casual breakfast with a loved one to start your day or check out their usual date night with live music on Thursdays.

 

fullsizerender.jpg
Photo credit – stillwatersplateandpour.ca
  1. Still Waters Plate & Pour – Paris

If you’re looking to impress with a spectacular view, this is your stop!  A large selection of options and some tasty combinations are found in their menu.  Enjoy the casual setting while taking in the breathtaking view of the Grand River.

 

IMG_6767

  1. Imperial Market & Eatery – New Hamburg

For something new, try a small town treasure with comfort food in a farmhouse vintage setting. Reserve dinner in or simply enjoy a meal to-go, such as their rotisserie chicken meal, for a quieter meal at home.

 

IMG_7874

  1. Casa Rugantino – Belmont Village

Nothing is sexier than fresh pasta and Italian wine. A classic choice with mouthwatering options in an freshly updated gathering place.  Gorgeous and delicious, you can’t go wrong taking anyone here and ordering anything off the menu.

 

img_9739-e1518138196320.png
Photo credit – theberlinkw.ca
  1. The Berlin – Kitchener

If you’re looking to impress and be impressed – this is your stop. Carefully curated dishes, the menu is always changing and sure to be a delight to your tastebuds. An unpretentious ambiance creates an approachable atmosphere allowing you to direct your attention to high-end, mouthwatering plates.

 

img_15941.jpg

  1. Relish Cooking StudioUptown Waterloo

New location coming soon! If you’re looking to spice up your Valentine’s outing, try joining a cooking class together, or for the ultimate date, book your own private cooking class. Learn from the professionals, watch a demonstration or get your hands dirty, all while enjoying some delicious food. From pizza making to culturally diverse cuisine, you’ll be sure to find a class that excites your tummy and date!

 

IMG_9741
Photo credit – Red House Instagram

        9. Red House – Uptown WaterlooNear the heart of Uptown Waterloo, this gem keeps their menu fresh and fun. You can’t go wrong with going for any meal, but I recommend mixing things up and taking your special someone for a Saturday brunch and having the crème brulee French toast!

 

IMG_9472

  1. The Common – Stratford

Stratfords culinary scene just improved greatly with this new restaurant. A theatrical ambiance with a delishious approachable menu, this restaurant is sure to delight all the senses. If you’re going for lunch, I highly recommend the buttermilk fried chicken thigh sandwhich.

 

These additional options are on my list to try next:

 

Where will you be enjoying a meal for Valentine’s this year?

Home to Love – how to really love your home again!

Awww…. February – the month of LOVE!

It’s easy to fall in love hard and fast… especially when we’re house hunting. But what happens when we fall out of love with our house after years of being in a relationship? Or perhaps we have been connected in a prearranged relationship with a space we never drew these positive emotions from?

Just like with human relationships, love can grow stale, weak or disappear completely. We can get tired of looking at the same walls and dealing with the same dysfunctions, day after day.  If you are not looking to move, a little effort can help restore the relationship. But how can we fall in love all over with a home that has somehow let us down or become boring? I’m glad you asked!

The key to get the spark back is to pour love back in to our homes. Here are some suggestions:

 

Function
Are your spaces not allowing you to live life the way you wish? Is it more work to prepare for a shower in your small bathroom than it is to enjoy the feeling of being fresh? Is your living room more of a toy graveyard you can’t stand looking at, rather than a relaxing place to converse and gather with loved ones?

I suggest you get out some notepaper and write out the name of every room in your home. Beside each room write out what specific functions you need that room to have (ex. Kitchen – space to prepare 3 meals a day for a family of 4). Now get real – rate how you feel that room is currently functioning. If it is not a high enough number (say at least a 7/10), you need to analyze the reasons why. Maybe your entryway is lacking space to hang jackets. Maybe your dinning room is lacking enough seating for your family or your closet is jammed so full you don’t dare open it to put anything you actually use away. These are all fairly simple fixes.

Pick one of those spaces and get to work making it function the way you need it to. Get a coat tree, buy a bench, clear out your closet and throw away items you’ve saved for a rainy day.  A room that functions the way you need it to will help you feel more at peace in the space and create a more functional daily life.

 


Bring In Beauty
What do you love to look at and be surrounded by? Enveloping your home in beautiful things will help you feel attracted towards it and maybe forget about some of the areas you aren’t able to change. Cover walls in art or photos that make you smile. Bring in objects with a personal connection from family members or from travels afar. Infuse colours and textures you love with pillows, throws, rugs and drapes.

This is an easy way to start pouring love back in with little commitment. You can easily swap or switch out anything that isn’t sitting right.

 

 

Be Inspired To Live
Many times the best relationships are ones that inspire us to be better people. The same should be for our homes. Is your kitchen allowing you to cook the best food you can? Is your home office allowing you to function in an organized and creative way? What about your bedroom? Is it the refuge you need at the end of a long day? This is where you can combine beauty and function and have it transform your daily life. Surround yourself with things that will push you and motivate you to be the best you, you can be and then live your life.  Live life between the walls that surround you.  Dance while you clean the dishes, colour at the dinning room table with your kids and snuggle in their beds reading stories.  Let your home be the vessel to a memorable and purposeful life.

 

Get Started Right Away!
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t wait until you have such hatred built up that there is no way to feel love with your space once more. Start small or dive in head over heals. Perhaps knowing that you’re willing to love again can be enough to start seeing why you fell in love with your home in the first place.

 

Need help bringing love back to the relationship with your home?
Message me here – I’d love to help you!

 
*All images are my own.

Budget-Friendly Renovations – where to spend and where to save!

When you want a room to gain a new feeling or function in a different way, we sometimes think a big renovation is the only way to improve things.  But there are many ways you can improve a space with very little money.   You can create a huge impact even with a small budget as long as you can invest a little time, are strategic with your bucks, and are willing to take a risk.

IMG_9014
Photo credit – Studio McGee

The first step to try is to just move things around.  Are you not liking furniture placement?  Try to switch out a large sofa and move in some arm chairs coupled together.  Spruce up your foyer by adding an old dresser and a bench.  Bedroom feeling bland?  Move your bed under the windows and switch out stale matching end tables with something modern or vintage instead.  Try new curtains, paint, bedding and/or area rugs for simple mood enhancers if moving things around doesn’t do the trick.  Maybe your bathroom is feeling builder grade – why not switch out the large mirror for one or two statement pieces and improve the faucets and lighting with an upgrade?  Small changes can totally improve a space, but sometimes we do need more.

IMG_9003
Photo credit – Cynthia Weber Design

But if you are tackling a renovation, one of the best ways to save money is to keep the footprint of the room and any plumbing or electrical where it is. Changing any of this up will require you to, more than likely, hire professionals and your budget can go out the window quick. Another great way to save money is to use existing pieces you have or to at least purchase off the floor models instead of custom pieces and fixtures.

Knowing where to spend your cash for the biggest impact takes consideration and planning. Create a reasonable budget, source your items thoughtfully and execute with precision, knowing your time and effort will save you tons!

IMG_8599
Photo credit – Birmingham Home & Garden Magazine

 

Here are some of my top areas to spend and what areas to save your $$ for the biggest impact with a tight budget:

SPEND

  • If you need any electrical, plumbing or structural work done – hire a professional and spend the cash. No one saved any money by YouTubing how to install a new receptacle only to have it not work (or worse have some damage done to your home). You’ll probably end up forking out the cash in the long run anyway so save the stress and extra money trying to do it yourself and just hire a professional.
  • Durable furniture – if you don’t already have investment pieces or can’t repurpose stuff you already have, spend the money (unless you have a new puppy…). Buying an Ikea dinning table that you’ll want or have to replace in in a couple years is not a wise decision, compared to just buying something solid to begin with.
  • Paint and supplies – I have done my fair share of painting to know that paint and roller quality can not only impact the final product, but the amount of effort you have to put in to the job. Purchase wisely.
  • Mattresses – Don’t cheap out on something you will spend so much of your life on. Quality mattresses create quality sleep – plain and simple.
  • Fixtures and hardware– facets, handles and knobs are a great area to spend a little extra to really elevate the feel of a space.
  • Statement fabrics – if you want something like your drapes or throw pillows to have a specific pattern or be the statement of the room, spend the money. It can be exhausting trying to find a gorgeous set of drapes at a fraction of the cost.

 

SAVE

  • Hired help – the biggest way to cut costs on a reno is to do as much of the work yourself as you can. If you can spare the time, find yourself somewhat handy and don’t care about testing the fate of your relationship, then try to perform tasks yourself (minus electrical, plumbing or structural as mentioned).
  • Area rugs – Personal story here… our living room area rug has been pooped and chucked on by each of our children and dog over the years so unless you live alone and never have people over, I suggest you take my advice here. Buy something gorgeous at your local Homesense and save hundreds if not thousands!
  • Accent furniture – furniture that won’t get a lot of wear and tear can afford to be less expensive. Think end and bedside tables, buffets, stools, etc.
  • Other fabrics – drapes, table linens, throw pillows and blankets don’t have to be expensive. Unless it will be the signature item in a room, save some pennies and cheap out on these fabrics as long as the fit and make are good.
  • Light fixtures – unless you want your light fixture to be the focal point of the room, you can save here too. Many hardware and décor stores have fantastic looking lighting at a fraction of the cost of what you can find specialized lighting stores. There was not an item in our old house that got more compliments than our island pendants – and I got them for a steal of a deal at $125 each! I put a vintage inspired Edison bulb in them to give them an elevated feel.
  • Accessories and décor items – save on décor items by using items you already have or looking at clearance sections in boutique gift shops. Shop at the end of the season for next year when thinking of seasonal or holiday decorations.   If you are saving pennies on a room renovation and still want a luxurious feel, spend a little more in key accessories only to still elevate the space (towels, bowls, pillows, tabletop décor, etc. are good areas to spend more for a big impact).

 

Hopefully you gained a little insight on how to save some bucks when tackling your next project. I’d love to hear what areas you like to save and spend when undergoing a budget-friendly renovation – share your comments below.

Happy Home Habits

 

Happy New Year everyone!

The start of a new year usually motivates us to get our lives and homes into tip-top shape. I’m not sure if it’s because we need to find a home again for all those holiday decorations or the empty spaces they seem to have left once they get taken down, but after the holidays our homes suddenly feel like they need to get back to the gym again. Getting back into some healthy home habits can not only make our spaces feel refreshed and organized, but they can also help daily living become more functional. These are not big things and they don’t have to take a lot of time, but they can have a big impact on our day-to-day living.  Here are some of my top healthy home habits for daily living:

IMG_8839

  • Make your bed every morning. This is a simple one but it definitely makes an impact on how you start your day. Making your bed not only gets you up and focused for the day, but also helps prevent you from falling back under the sheets. Besides, a well-made bed is so much prettier to look at than a big sheet ball.

    IMG_8844

  • Open your window coverings and let the sun shine in. Whether you are the type of person who is better woken with the fresh swish of the curtains, or would rather not have your neighbours see you until you are fully dressed, letting the sun shine in has this awesome power to suddenly elevate our mood and get us motivated. A well-lit space is also a lot brighter, cleaner and larger feeling.

    IMG_8848

  • Don’t let junk pile up. Ok I’ll admit this is a tough one. We all have that junk pile or let’s be real – table and counter tops. It’s stuff that we don’t want to deal with or decide if it’s garbage or needs to be kept and instead of just deciding, we place it in a nice pile hoping it will magically disappear. I’m sorry to break it to you, but it doesn’t disappear and when you pile it, you suddenly have to deal with it again later so why not just deal with it the first time and get it out of sight. Suddenly your surfaces will feel a whole lot larger and rooms less cluttered.

    img_8866.jpg

  • Wipe surfaces. Keep your counters fairly clear and wipe clean and dry. You don’t have to perform a deep cleanse and polish everyday, but if your counters, tables and dressers are kept free of debris, you can wipe them clean with next to no effort. Clean counters after clearing them, tables after every meal and dressers and other surfaces as needed. No one enjoys putting their laptop down into a smudge of jam left by the kiddos at breakfast or having a coffee cup leave a ring on their antique table.

    IMG_8918

  • Stay on top of laundry. Do a load a day if you need to instead of waiting for the weekend and making your washer do a marathon. There is nothing attractive or enjoyable about having mounds on the bedroom floor and your closet has nothing left but an old prom dress and a stale pair of pants that don’t fit. Also, use attractive baskets in your room or bathroom for a good-looking alternative to the laundry hamper. Using one might make chucking your clothes more appealing rather than scattering them recklessly across the floor.

    IMG_8932

  • Put dishes away. I have a general rule to turn the dishwasher on every night before bed and empty it every morning before going anywhere. It helps keep counters clean too if you put dirty dishes into the dishwasher after every meal and hand-wash others as needed. Look for pretty dish towels, great smelling soap and antique plates to keep brushes on for a more attractive workstation.

    Processed with Rookie Cam

  • Tidy up before bed. Have kids help participate in cleaning up toys before they go to bed. Check your kitchen countertop, tabletop and bedroom floor for a clear surface before getting some shuteye. Suddenly you’ll be able to fall asleep quicker and wake up happier.

 

What daily habits do you find help keep your home in shape?  Leave a comment below and share what works for you.

Tips for the Holiday Hosting Home

The Holiday Season is upon us and for many that can mean opening up your home and hosting gatherings with family or friends. Whether you are hosting a simple family dinner or multiple parties, getting your home in shape early can help you truly enjoy the event and spend time with loved ones. Get your home hosting ready for the holiday season with these tips and ideas:

 

IMG_8162

Declutter and forget the dust
You will likely need as much surface space for food preparation, dinning, games and decorations over the holidays so take care of the stacks and piles of stuff that have been building up in your home. Don’t worry too much about dust or doing a deep clean every time someone comes over, rather keep things in continuous decent condition. This will prevent stress and free up time for food preparation or to enjoy company.

IMG_8163

Take care of what you’ve been putting off – as far in advance as possible, change the burnt out bulbs, fix the broken table leg and figure out or replace the appliance that isn’t working. Fill gaping wall holes if you please or finally get around to hanging up that painting that’s been sitting on the floor. Make sure you are proud of your home and that it’s a reflection of you but don’t start any major renovations or projects you can’t complete within sight of your gatherings.

IMG_8166
Spare sleepers
– if you are likely to have overnight guests during the season, get your spare bedroom in shape or borrow an air mattress if need be. Your guests should be gracious for whatever bedding you can spare them, but try to get them as comfortable as possible. Get kids to share a room if you can spare a separate room for longer-staying guest and always plan for unexpected sleepers after a party with great wine. Wash extra bedding or purchase new sheets and pillows ahead for the ultimate comfort. Always have extra pillows and blankets available for guests who like to cozy up during the night. If you truly want guests to feel cared for, offer up your master suite and spend a night bunking with the kids.

IMG_8165
Bathroom essentials – make sure your bathroom is stocked for day or overnight guests with everything you can image them needing. Freshly laundered bath and hand towels, beautiful smelling soaps and mini toilet trees are all must-haves. Keep feminine products hidden but available for those that need. Ensure you have a lined garbage can for any bathroom waste. To make guests feel pampered include individual lotions, soaps, cloths and towels in baskets or glass jars. If you have only one bathroom or will be sharing, clear away as much of your family’s products as possible to allow guests room for their things.

IMG_8164
Entryway
– hosting means guests will be coming and going. Your entryway will get a lot of use during this season so ensure you have a functioning and beautiful greeting to your home. Space to hang coats and store guest shoes are a must. Decorate your entryway with holiday trimmings to ensure guests feel a festive welcome. Click here to read my Entryway Must Have post to ensure you have the best functioning space.

IMG_8168
Seating – somewhere for each guest to sit when visiting is a must! Whether you are hosting a dinner party or large family event, ensure there is at least one seat per person. It is not essential for all seats to be in one room or at one table. For formal gatherings, you will likely want everyone to be able to sit at one table. Bring chairs from extra rooms and mix them with your formal chairs for an eclectic look. For potlucks or larger family gatherings, consider casual seats in family rooms, island stools or separate small kids tables. If a meal is complete and the party has moved to a more comfortable space, move extra dinning chairs to the living room so everyone has a seat.

IMG_8169
Ambiance – the holidays are full of a joyous spirit and festive spark but you can definitely enhance this in your space by paying attention to a few things:

  • SMELL – add some homey and festive smells in your house with lightly scented candles, diffuser, home cooking or baking. Don’t overpower a space by mixing scents in different rooms or going with a strong unfamiliar scent.
  • LIGHTING – make sure you consider what your lighting needs are depending on the type of function and time of day. Intimate dinner parties demand candlelight whereas large family gatherings can benefit from multiple light sources. The right lighting can make a dinner party linger or totally break an intended ambiance.
  • ATTITUDE – a host’s attitude determines the feel of the gathering. If you are prone to be overcome by stress easily, perhaps hosting a large gathering is not the best choice. Acknowledge what you are or aren’t comfortable with and outsource where necessary. A gracious host should be able to welcome guests while completing last-minute tasks with a calm attitude to set the party up in fine form.
  • COMFORT– no one enjoys a rock-hard chair for a meal that carries on for a few hours. If your dinning chairs are hard, consider adding seat cushions for much-needed comfort. Ensure lounge spaces have cozy throws to warm up chilled guests and have large pillows lying around for kids to take a seat on the floor for large gatherings.
  • SOUND– the ultimate kick-start for any gathering is picking the right soundtrack. If you have large gatherings and family members are musically talented, encourage some live caroling for the group. For lively affairs pick a soundtrack that has an appropriate tempo. For more intimate affairs, a classic jazz soundtrack played softly in the background often is a good choice.IMG_8170Stock the pantry – nothing is worse than having to drive out to the store last-minute to pick up a necessary ingredient for that dinner recipe. Stock up early and with more than you think you’ll need on not only baking and cooking staples, but snacks and drinks and household goods and staples too.IMG_8173
    Prepare for the unexpected
    – you can probably plan to need an extra party gift (or 3) or have an unexpected guest pop by at some point over the holidays so prepare for it. Stock up some of your favourite bottles of wine with cute wrappings or bags. Prepare a few gift baskets for hosts or family members who dropped off your Christmas list. Fill your freezer with premade cookies and casseroles for extra lunches or snacks during the holiday season. Prepare whatever way you can imagine for meals that have yet to be planned and guests you have yet to invite.
    IMG_8172Traditions – don’t forget to stay true to holiday traditions you love. If a tradition is stressful or way too costly, forgive yourself (or obliging family members) and let it go. If you have way too much going, try combining events by having a girlfriend gathering that doubles as a holiday cookie exchange or a family photo shoot while picking out or decorating your Christmas tree.

    IMG_8171Get everyone involved – write out tasks ahead of time and get the whole family or some of your close friends to help you. Kids love decorating cookies and sisters are perfect to plan dinner menus with. Decorate your home with your mom or mutually help neighbours with your outdoor Christmas lights.  These may even become new traditions.

The holidays can be a stressful time of year but they sure as heck don’t have to be. If you prepare your home and plan for events accordingly, you can be sure to love the events you work so hard to host and actually enjoy the time you spend with loved ones this season.

IMG_8174

Tour This Town – St. Jacobs, ON

Well known for the amazing Farmer’s Market and Mennonite history, the quaint town of St. Jacobs is bustling on any given weekend in the summer months. Leading up to Christmas, the streets fill up with lights and decorations as the town comes alive in festive spirit.

Recently, St. Jacobs was voted in the top 3 for small towns in Canada by Expedia, so it’s no wonder it’s made our list of Towns to Tour.  Many people think they have been to St. Jacobs without even being to the town because of the amazing Farmer’s Market and outlet stops just 5 minutes up the road near North Waterloo.  But the downtown of the village is a must-stop for checking off some of those hard-to-buy people off your Christmas list and learning about some of the Mennonite Heritage of the town and people.  The many shops have an array of merchandise, specialty products, homemade treats and quality furnishings.

Here are my top choices to shop at with some honourable mentions as well:

Timber Barn – An amazing showroom of not only solid building materials and customizable furniture, but some awesome gift ideas, décor pieces and home-goods as well.  Although must of the store has a rustic edge, there are some lovely modern and traditional options to spruce up any space. They have everything for your home and I can’t wait to use some of their pieces in some upcoming projects.  There are many hidden nooks in this store so take your time as to not miss a treasure.

 

Stone Crock Bakery – This is one of the founding shops of the tourist town today and I will warn you, it is likely you will leave the bakery 5 pounds heavier (if not in bags, then your tummy). Behind the abundant displays of breads, pies, muffins, donuts and more, you can see many of the hardworking employees rolling out dough or mixing batter.  Visit their restaurant, meat & cheese shop or booth at the Farmer’s Market too for more delicious goods.

 

Artefacts Salvage & Design– Just 2 short blocks off the main road, where the train stops for those traveling from the Farmer’s Market, is a rustic barn housing hundreds of years of one-of-a-kind artifacts, building supplies and furnishings. These reclaimed materials are available for purchase as-is or you can customize anything you see into a beautiful piece of furniture or décor for your home.

 

img_7933.jpg

Shadetree – It can be easy to miss this store on the main street as it is set back a bit and immersed in the shade of a beautiful tree (hence the name). But this old home is filled with theme-filled rooms of decor, accessories and gift ideas. The rooms go on-and-on so keep traveling back and up as your arms fill with wonderful finds.

Here are just a few other places worth popping into:

Home Hardware Furniture, Jacob’s Grill, Exclusive Elements,
Block 3 Brewing Company, The Village Silos, La Creme

Something to keep an eye on in the village are these two transforming properties which both have a rich history:

 

If you want delicious comfort food, to see some horse-drawn carriages and Mennonite heritage, amazing specialty shops and solid quality furnishings, St. Jacobs should be a must on your shopping list!