free design notes: 4.25.11

When designing, part of my thought process is seeing a room for what it’s not. I know this sounds odd, however I think you can create interesting spaces in areas that are unexpected. Much like the image below of an upper floor hallway. More than a way to get from point A to point B, there’s another element of living here that can happen along the way.

Thinking outside the box and using a space in a different way than you may have first thought can add just the right amount of interest to your home. Do you have a typical space in your home that you could use in an unexpected way?

Would love for you to share!

Image via Google Images: Original Source unknown

design: sneak peek at jane’s bedroom

Here’s a little colour story and idea board I’ve got on the go for a fabulous young girl and her new bedroom that we’re working on. Just like her, it’s bright and cheery, so I thought I’d leave you with this as I head out for a long weekend. Happy Easter everyone! I hope you have a lovely, relaxing weekend filled with lots of love and chocolate :) See you back here on Monday.

Flower pom poms, bedding, floral fabric, area rug via Layers and Layers

artist: kate schutz

I was recently introduced to Kate Schutz‘ art when I purchased a piece for a Calgary client’s bathroom after their renovation was complete. I had the pleasure of meeting her in person at an event at Domaine and was thrilled to learn more about her artwork. Naturally I wanted to introduce you as well! I love Kate’s passionate description of her art and where she finds her inspiration so please take a moment to say hello.

“My work is about memory. I am fascinated by the bittersweet aspect of nostalgia that is neither entirely happy nor sad, but is a universal experience that humanizes us. The past is a deeply personal and resonant place for people and I am always looking at ways to capture these feelings on canvas; immortalize them and make them big. My paintings are usually larger than life size which makes the subject hard to pull away from. There is both a sense of comfort and awkwardness in my work. I find it easier to represent the universality of these nostalgic subjects if I remain detached a little bit, so I often work from memories that are not my own. My source images come from snapshots from other people’s photo albums and most recently from strangers via requests on the Internet. I am especially drawn to photos that are blurry, disintegrating or over-exposed because visually they look so much like our foggy, fading memories. Recent series have included Birthday Parties, Cities at Night and now a call for submissions for Summer Vacation images. And sometimes, when I need a break from other people’s memories, I go into the woods and paint trees, just to remind myself about the joy of this everyday life!”

Do you have a childhood summertime memory captured in a photo? One that perhaps epitomizes a time where you were free as a bird and thought time could stand still? Kate has a call out for Summer Vacation photos with a contest to boot. Take a moment to dig through the archives or your old summer memories and send it off to Kate. The winner will receive a collection of all the images in postcard form. How lovely to have one of those arrive in your mailbox?

Here is the one I’m going to submit. It’s a photo of my husband and his sister at the beach, circa 1978. Aren’t they cute? One definitely looks happier than the other LOL!

So what are you waiting for? If you don’t submit, I of course have a better chance of winning but I think it would be great to support Kate and help spread the word, don’t you?

Pop on over to Kate’s blog to see what the submission guidelines are and good luck!

You can find more of Kate’s work at Domaine Fine Furnishings in Calgary and also at her Etsy shop.


handbag to room: red & white stripes

They say accessories can make all the difference to an outfit and the same can be true in interiors. LOVE this red and white striped handbag. It can take an outfit to a whole new level in no time flat.

Now if you were to apply this same enthusiasm to your decor (and no I’m not just talking about adding a pillow), look at the impact red and white striped wallpaper has in this room. It takes a traditional space and completely transforms it into a playful room with bold stripes and a colourful contrast.

Don’t get me wrong, without the wallpaper this space would still be nice, but try imagining it without and I think you’ll agree that the red and white stripes really make this room sing.

Images: kate spade kennywood small sidney handbag, elledecor

free design notes: 4.18.11

Today’s notes are on a more modern and minimal space. Despite the simplicity it still feels quite comfortable and inviting to me. Whether it be the open shelving housing kids books and toys or the warm grey wall in the background, I can relate to this photo very well as it reminds me of the house we lived in when we had our first daughter. White walls, maple floors, a charcoal accent wall with floating shelves and a large colourful painting were all a part of our decor at the time.

What do you think of the space? Any thoughts of your own to add?

Image Source: Design Wagon

artist: murray duncan

There are certain pieces of furniture that go beyond function and can truly be called works of art. A collaboration between Murray Duncan and Hardware Interiors has become just that. Focused on unique, vintage and salvage findings in an effort to create one of a kind furniture, lighting and art, each piece is a conversation starter in it’s own way. Not limited by conventional applications, Murray’s art is incorporated into the faces of such pieces as sideboards, credenzas and armoire’s creating a statement in any room. Subtle yet dramatic, I adore the graffiti like quality in the hand written text with a message of contemplation.

“the end of monday” 2011 mixed media under resin 48″ x 60″

A collage of both furniture and traditional artwork.

Two armoires with Murray’s artwork incorporated into the doors. Each piece is custom built so whatever your space, size or function needs are, the team at Hardware Interiors are sure to create that special piece and truly a work of art.

You can see more of Murray’s art at Hardware Interiors and Rouge Concept in Toronto or online at

colour inspiration: cobalt

Inspired by a new pair of shoes and our bright and beautiful Alberta blue skies, I can’t help but be drawn to the intensity of this classic colour showing up in everything from fashion to home accessories. If you’re shy of colour, blue is an easy one to add and most would gravitate towards the lighter shades. This year, take it up a notch by adding cobalt. It’s like a breath of fresh air.

1. Circa Lighting 2. Moma Store 3. BM Paddington Blue 791 via House Beautiful 4. Marimekko via Finn Style 5. Hammocks and High Tea 6. Anthropologie 7. Prada via Polyvore 8. Crate & Barrel 9. Tory Burch

Image Source: House and Home

before & after: bathroom renovation

You’ve seen the ‘after’ in the March/April issue of Dabble Mag (pg.68-72), and now see where it all began.

After moving into a previously owned home typically there are grand plans to make it your own, however it’s common to settle in and watch years go by before a renovation occurs. In my client’s case it was thirty and high time to bring this bathroom to life by removing wallpaper, carpet and drapery.

Before photos of the ensuite.

Quick sketch of the bathroom layout and floor tile configuration.

The layout of the bathroom remained the same. We took advantage of the large window by adding a glass wall in the shower and opening up the space which involved moving the plumbing to the opposite wall. This was the biggest change in the bathroom and well worth it. Replacing and re-sizing the window was also a worthwhile change as the original window was too low to allow a new tub to fit properly without compromising the window frame.

As you know tile was a large part of our design scheme. Natural materials were also important in our decision making using marble, granite, glass and walnut wood to name a few. I originally blogged about creating interest with neutral tile at the start of this renovation.

A photo during the renovation. Floor is complete and counter has been installed. Next the tub deck is to be tiled so the glass can be measured for the new shower wall.

After…a world of difference. Bright, warm and inviting. A perfect place to wake up to and finish off the day.

Renovations can seem daunting and overwhelming at times. There are many decisions to be made during the process, but having the right team working with you will smooth the process and ensure a fabulous end result.

You can learn more about choosing tile from my Reality Check video on the Dabble website.


Accent table and chair: Maria Tomas, Painting: Kate Schutz through Domaine, Accessories: Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Homesense



free design notes: 4.11.11

My style is definitely all about the mix so I was immediately drawn to this image with classic pieces of modern and traditional paired together in this dining room. Klismos chairs with a Platner table is a sophisticated combination, all alongside metallic walls and what looks to be an interesting ceiling. Show me more!

Image: Jeffrey Bilhuber via Roomlust

new project: country house living room

Long time clients of mine are moving to the country. We’re going to make this house their own while still respecting it’s surroundings of prairie goodness. It’s going to be french, country, modern with a little bit of industrial chic. I put together an inspiration board of some of the pieces we have selected for the living room and perhaps dining room, showing lighting, fabrics, sofa idea and flooring.

We’re making decisions quickly as move in is fast approaching. I’ll be sharing what we’re up to in the kitchen on another post, so come back and visit!