Blog Archives

A Neutral Palette Mixed with Colour

I love to create a neutral canvas to start in a home and then add accents of colour throughout. This Atlanta home featured in this month’s edition of House Beautiful is a stunning example of how a neutral backdrop can sing when you add colour to it.

Check it out:

Colour is not the only element that makes this space special. The designer, Kay Douglass, plays with scale and proportion particularly in the light fixtures and furnishings. Attention to the architectural details is also shown in the ceilings and windows.

How do you like colour in your home? Do you use it as a dominant feature or as an accent in a neutral space?

photos via House Beautiful


I am a True Colour Expert!

I spent three days last week participating in the “True Colour Expert Workshop” with international colour consultant Maria Killam.

I took the course to ground what I intuitively knew about colour and to learn additional tools and language to better communicate with clients. And boy o boy … am I now armed with tons of ideas and tools in my decorator toolbox!

We explored the world of undertones. We talked about creating flow in your space. We talked about effective colour consultations for interior and exterior spaces. Maria put on a workshop that was a mix of lecture, hands on learning and interacting with a roomful of other decorators to share ideas and experiences.

I’ve got more for you in the weeks to come but to get you started here are three key things to know about colour in your space:

Colour can make carpet look dirty, furniture look lifeless and can make a space blah and bland. The right colour combination can turn a space from just okay to fantastic.


Compare compare compare! Colour is relative to other colour. You can never say something is “too bright a yellow” unless you see in the context of other yellows.


In many cases you can’t change the fixed elements in a space such as green tile or bossy granite counters. However, through effective us of colour you can choose to embrace or figure out a way to ignore these elements.


In addition to learning Maria’s system for distinguishing undertones and comparing colour I met a wonderful group of decorators from all around Canada and the United States including Hawaii!


Maria & I

I am seeing colour in a whole new way now. I’ve been stalking exteriors all weekend and am quickly analyzing what is working and what’s not with houses in my neighbourhood.

Watch out … I might stalk you next!

BlogPodium, PARA Paints et moi

I am super excited to be attending BlogPodium this coming weekend. One of the sponsors of the event, PARA Paints is running a contest to be part of their “Blog Crew”. Open to attendees of BlogPodium, the winners get free paint and a stipend towards supplies for their projects. And, do I have some projects!

I was first introduced to PARA Paints last year by one of my instructors at Seneca who required that we spec PARA colours for our final project. It was a great initial opportunity to dive into the colours of a paint company I hadn’t used before. I particularly like that it has Canadian roots!

I’ve got a few spaces and things around my home that need some paint love and I thought I’d share these with you today. Don’t judge … they are in their very RAW form and ain’t pretty. Projects can periodically have long completion rates around here but I’ve been on a roll lately and am motivated to keep painting … so without further delay here they are:

The first two projects are inspired by grey siding, white trim and a yellow door … kinda like this:

via Houzz

Project #1: Our Back Shed

It’s currently a lovely shade of green and plywood (yes, plywood is a colour in my books). Instead of replacing the shed last year we had it reshingled and refaced portions of it.

See that bit of grey paint slapped on the green … well … I got a little slap happy with some random grey sample and then the weather got too cold to paint the exterior. We have been “admiring” it from our family room all winter. A-hem … not really.

I want to paint the shed a slightly darker grey than the siding on the addition at the back of our house.”Straight Goods” would work very well. It is a fairly “pure” grey meaning derived from a mix of black and white with no undertones of another colour in it. It is not too dominating or darker either.

Project #2: Exterior Doors

I love yellow and I’d love nothing more to have our doors splashed with a coat of yellow paint. It would look amazing next to the red brick on our front door and the grey siding on the doors to our mudroom and shed.

For this I’m thinking about “Sunflowers”. It is the right mix of a pop of colour for the door without being too bright.

Moving indoors …

Project #3: My office walls

A while back, I posted about the new bench seat and blinds I had made for my office … well … I still haven’t painted the walls yet!

I want the space to feel light, like I’m working covered by a pale blue sky. Kind of like the walls in this living room:

via Houzz

For this space I’d love to use “Skydiving” or “Clouded In”. “Clouded In” is the likely winner as it is more of a white with blue undertones but I would paint some larger samples first to test the colours before starting to paint the entire space.

I’ve got other ideas too but that’s just a taste of what is at the top of my list. So … PARA Paints … pick me pretty please! I wield a mean paint brush!!

What are you inspired to paint right now?

A Little Stool Re-Tool

Part of me wanted to title this post “The Saga of the Stool” but I’m very pleased with the results. When we purchased two black leather cube ottomans from Home Sav back in the Fall it wasn’t supposed to take five months before we could actually use them in our family room!

To keep a long story shot when you let a seven year old boy attempt to open a shipping box with an exacto knife there is a decent likelihood that part of the leather will get sliced. (Disclosure: my husband was helping him so I’m not entirely sure who actually cut the leather but there was adult supervision – we don’t let our kids wield exacto knives I assure you!)

Here’s the evidence. I’m sure the neighbours could hear my screaming – it wasn’t pretty.

I knew we had to do something to make the ottomans functional. I wanted a little va-voom, a little something that would make me smile but needed something insanely durable (see story above about enthusiastic seven year old and multiply by three).

I found this faux ostrich leather from Maxwell fabrics …

And had the tops of both stools reupholstered complete with a nailhead trim detail around the base.

Et voila!

I’m liking my new custom ottomans in our family room.

Do you have any ottomans that are in need of a little zing?

Colour Wow to a Neutral Space

Back in the winter I worked with a friend to do some space planning in her basement. She wanted a space that was cosy, organized and functional. They use their basement mainly for watching TV and gaming. It was time for a new look and to move away from the brown colour scheme.

We chose new carpet for the space (which is a deep grey) and used that as the starting point for paint colour which is going on the walls as I write this post!

I put together some ideas for cushions and fabric options for faux Roman blinds that are going to cover the two non-operational windows.

The starting point for the colour scheme was a delicious Mediterranean blue table lamp. I’ve incorporated blues with some yellows, and a pop of red. All anchored by a geometric grey patterns.

Check it out …

The neutral backdrop allows a ton of options to accessorize and finish the space.
What do you think?

All pillows via Tonic Living, lamp via, sectional via

Real Estate Musings: Making a home less “country”.

A friend of mine recently asked for my thoughts on a house. She loves the lot, the architectural details and the flow of the home. What she isn’t so sure about is how to make it a little less “country”.

So, I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on how to take this beautiful country home and bring it into 2012 while still respecting and celebrating its heritage. Today I’m starting with the foyer and dining room.

Here are some shots of the exterior:

Lovely property!

One of the easiest things to change in your home is the colour of your walls and this house is no different. The first thing I would do would be to rid every wall of the orangey-taupey browns. I’m the first to be in love with brown but in this particular home they really date the space.

Take the foyer for example:

The front door is fabulous as are the baseboards, ceiling height and the oak flooring.

But the wall colour is dated (think nineties) and the ceiling fan/light fixture could use a little va-voom.

Here’s what I would do in the foyer:

Paint the handrail black … like this

Paint the walls a creamy white or warm grey like Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter (HC-172)

Change out the fan for a hurricane pendant like this

Now, on to the dining room:

A few easy changes can update this space.

I’d start by ditching the window coverings. Period.

Then, I’d paint out the crown to match the same colour as the ceiling. This would blend it together but the texture of the distinctive crown moulding would still stand out.

Am thinking something like Benjamin Moore’s Rockport Gray (HC-105) for the walls (shown below) and a creamy white for the ceiling and all trim such as White Dove (OC-17) or Marscapone (AF-20).

And, finally, I’d incorporate a new light fixture like this:

In another post I will share with you what I’d do with the kitchen but in the meantime here are some other pics of the house. It’s got fantastic potential but needs a little TLC and a splash of youth.

What changes would you make?

images via 1 -3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Photography that inspires me

The walls in our home are in need of a little oomph. Part of the reason for this is my paralysis when it comes to hammering holes to hang pictures. Yes, neurotic, I know but I have a thing about putting holes in the walls (likely because it’s about repairing them when I want to make a change!).

I’ve always loved original art and, in particular, photography. I’ve been looking around lately and thought I’d share with you some of the pieces that I’ve come across.

The following five pieces are by Toronto photographer, Steven Crainford. I love the bold pops of colour. Take a minute to check out his portfolio – it was hard to pick just a few!

I’m also struck by the sensuality of these images.



And intimacy of these images.



I am also considering photos of destinations I’d like to travel to … but that’s for another post.

What would you choose? What type of photography are you drawn to?

Confession: I love orange but am not a fan of pumpkin earrings

It’s starting to feel a lot more like fall … unlike the 25 C ++ temperatures we had last week and over the weekend! One of things I adore about fall is the colours.

Reds, oranges, yellows … all are top of my list! In fact, my toes are painted orange right now 🙂

I love decorating with colour and especially bold fall colours but sometimes I find it can be over the top in terms of seasonal decorating.

Here’s an example … pumpkins, gourds, candles, leaves and black birds, oh, my!

I generally subscribe to the idea that less is more which is why images like the one above can give me hives.

I like subtle hints of seasonal decorating … you will never catch me wearing a festive sweater or pumpkin earrings. Not my style.

Instead I like to blend seasonal elements with existing decor.

Fall is great because you can pull in bold colours but also rustic and textural elements that celebrate the harvest and the changing season.

Small pops of colour mixed in with natural elements like these pumpkins below are more my style.

It might not be orange or red but I love the rustic element of the wooden bowls combined with the green apples.

I love how the pumpkins have been pulled in to serve a specific purpose

I love the combination of the lights, pumpkins and metal of the pail … very rustic … very fall

The simple statement of the pumpkin at the door acknowledges the season.

What kind of fall decor do you gravitate towards? Do you wear “Pumpkin Earrings”?

images via here

An amazing summer weekend … in October

This past weekend was Thanksgiving according to the calendar but summer if you were going by the thermometer.

We headed up north for some of it and it was absolutely fantastic.

Here is a taste of the beauty we were surrounded by …

How did you enjoy this amazing Thanksgiving weekend?

all images via moi

I’ve got the blues …

I actually don’t have the blues but have been under the weather all week with a stupid chest infection … thank you lungs!

So I thought I’d share a few images with you of spaces that are wrapped in a soft blue palette. They evoke a sense of comfort and relaxation, an air of informality and casual living.

And finally, I am hoping to see some of this kinda of blue sky this weekend …

Happy Thanksgiving!

images via here