Spending more time inside during the winter months is inevitable for most, especially for us in colder climates, brrrrr. But this year, we decided to make the most of our time inside and thought, why not build a fort? And by fort, we mean an incredibly romantic tent complete with twinkle lights, pillows, throw blankets and some adult beverages! This is DIY project will keep you buys for the weekend and is by far worth it for the months to come!
Heading on over to RONA, I picked up 4 - 11' L x 3" W wooden dowels. RONA is a GREAT place to find most of your building needs, especially for DIY projects. The staff are incredibly helpful (especially when you tell them what you're about to make - they get right into it with you). I also picked up some white paint to do a few coats on the dowels, rather than leave the wood exposed. This was a personal preference - if you like the look of the wood, then leave them as is!
Getting them home, and in my elevator (tight squeeze!), I used what I could find around my apartment to prop up the dowels and started to paint!
Our lovely seamstress Keterina met with Trisha and I to talk about how we were going to make our ideas into reality, and what fabric we should use for the ethereal look we had envisioned. After going over height and base dimensions, she headed on over to Fabricland and found the perfect fabric!!
Since we wanted to be able to reuse the fabric, for various things, she suggested paneling the pieces together, and holding them at the top with a drawstring. So no matter what size we wanted the tent, we had the allowance to make it bigger or smaller.
Using jute twine, I tied together two of the dowels as the base starting point for our tents structure. Once I had those in place, it took our team to put the rest together. While Trisha and Keterina held separate dowels, I scrambled up the step ladder to tie everything in place.
Once we had the tent together and fabric in place, we started to decorate with our favorite pieces from around the house! Bringing in blankets, throw pillows, candles and lanterns, our vision really started to take place. Cindy from Wild Valentine Design created some beautiful floral pieces to add to our romantic set-up, and it really completed the entire look! We adored putting this project together and we hope you do as well!
Photography: Melissa Carl
Florals: Wild Valentine Design
The holiday season is upon us. The stores are full of all things Christmas. It can be overwhelming, so I thought I’d let you in on a few of my favourite things in holiday decor.
Lit Birch Trees
I am a sucker for the lit birch trees by Restoration Hardware. Other brands offer similar trees in different price ranges. These are a holiday staple for me. I use them inside and out and I think they look best when they are done in groupings. I like to nestle bunches of poinsettias at their base. It is such an elegant touch.
I like crisp and clean - white lights always work. The coloured ones just don’t do it for me. I also like simple, regular lights - not dripping icicle lights. They look nice at night but not in the daytime. I also like to see the lights on the whole roofline. They have to be straight or they drive me crazy. Yes I know - my poor husband. We now hire someone to put them up. Saves on the holiday bickering.
Even though my personal esthetic lends to the modern side, I love to have some natural elements mixed in. Pine cones, cedar bows, and driftwood reindeer all make an appearance in my holiday displays. I think it brings a sense of balance to the traditional red and green Christmas decor.
Metals add that touch of glamour. I am partial to gold right now, even though I spent so many years avoiding it. I love the warmth of gold and now can take my time enjoying it. I like to see it on my Christmas tree in specialty ornaments or even the garland. I also look for great stocking hooks and table centrepieces. Don’t add too much or it can come off looking a bit Las Vegas.
I know it’s a splurge, but nothing takes the place of a natural wreath (this from a woman who uses an artificial tree - I hate the upkeep!). Your local nursery or florist would be your source for them, or even try a DIY!! I like to see a little green when the snow is everywhere. It just feels festive. And this year, we're really loving the unconventional wreath!
This truly is, the poinsettias are the only plants I can keep alive. And I love the brilliant red ones. I wish they could be popular all year long. I’m going to work on that! They are my go to for table centrepieces or shelving beside a fireplace. We spent Christmas in Florida one year and Disneyworld had these amazing poinsettia displays everywhere. I have not figured out how to accomplish that in the cold Canadian winter. I’ll work on that too!
The Decorated Entry
I must admit over the years as I drove through those picture perfect neighbourhoods - the Wisteria Lanes of Kelowna - I often wondered about the 'decorated entry'. Who has the time to create these stunning outdoor arrangements? Why do we need to do this? Yet, at the same time, I wished someone would just come over and do it for me. This year however, Alyx and I took it upon ourselves to create our own decorated entry. And I can honestly tell you, we loved getting into it!
I also must admit that I've never been overly crafty. I have great vision and even better delegating skills. So when my wonderful Alyx suggested I join her in spray painting pumpkins, I hesitantly nodded. Inside I was not convinced I was getting my hands dirty. Go ahead and judge. I'm comfortable with it.
We got our plans in place and set out with tarp and spray paint in hand. I watched Alyx for the first bit and then grabbed a can of gold spray paint and gave it a shot. It was so much fun and so easy to do. The gourds and pumpkins looked so amazing in the white, black and gold. I wanted to go inside and grab a bunch of things in my house to spray paint, but Alyx held me back. I'm a little bit like Gold Member in Austin Powers.
Once the pumpkins and gourds were dry we started our set up. It's important not to overwhelm the entryway. You want it to look full but not cluttered. I also think there needs to be some balance - don't overweight one side. The last piece of setup is to ensure you have varying heights. You can achieve this with taller items or use crates, barrels, or small tables to set your items on.
What other items do you need? I scoured a few home stores for fall related pieces. Baskets, buckets, and crates, pussy willows, wheat, and other interesting accent pieces. For a more vintage or country theme you can use an old ladder or broom to create height behind your display. A rustic wheelbarrow would be great to have the pumpkins and gourds spilling out of or old apple crates.
Our theme was modern so we had a white, black and gold theme. I wanted to make the large pumpkins pop so we stenciled the house numbers in gold. To achieve fullness we used two pots of chrysanthemums in a brilliant red.
In the end it was a lot of fun. And now I'm one of those people, LOL!! Needless to say, we offer this is a service to those of you that don't want to get your hands dirty! We will do a seasonal theme for you - Christmas is coming. Stay tuned!
SO LONG SUMMER - HELLO SEPTEMBER
We know, it's devastating. We all love summer and everything that goes along with it; beaches, BBQ's and bright pink flamingo floaties. But as the season starts to change, we want you to start thinking about how your interior has taken on the cool vibes of summer and how you're going to transition it into the calming tones of Fall.
For me, I love Fall, the changing colours, the cooling weather, and the scarves that double as blankets. As we start to spend more time indoors, I always take a good look around and think about what small things I can change to bring warm and comforting tones into my living space. Simple, lovable and inexpensive pieces can change the entire mood of your space.
Think big, warm and fuzzy throw pillows and blankets. Neutral tones, classic patterns and cozy textures. Change up your artwork and really reflect on bringing the fall colours to your interior! Adding a rug to your hardwood floor will immediately bring a warmer and more homely feel to your space.
5 INSTAGRAM INFLUENCERS YOU SHOULD BE FOLLOWING
For designers, those who love design, and those who are dreaming about designing their own home, Instagram has become their gateway for new and fresh ideas. Isabey Interiors has made a list of 5 Instagram Influencers in the design sector that you need to be following!
Truthfully, what's not to love about Emily Henderson? Her vintage inspired take on all things style and design is absolutely breathtaking. She seamlessly incorporates numerous styles with her own distinct flair. She's not afraid to use colour and that very fact makes her entire portfolio pop.
Grace Bonney, known as the Martha Stewart for millennials, brings personal design to a whole new level. Her views on design trends, wanderlust musts, mouth watering food, do it yourself projects and more are brought about in an open and welcoming way. She has a keen sense for community and what's going on behind the scene so you don't miss a beat.
One Kings Lane has always been an inspirational staple. Their website allows your visual sense to soar by giving you the opportunity to explore different styles, rooms and overall spaces. From must haves for your entrance way, to celebrity household makeovers and to the kitchen tile everyone is raving about, One Kings Lane is your one stop shop.
4. Design Milk
If you love modern, you'll love Design Milk. Get your fix of architecture, art, design, furniture, art and more on this incredibly unique and fascinating website. Fall down the rabbit hole and immerse yourself in phenomenal articles, style advice, and upcoming designers - it even has the inside info on travel and tech.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Some might say I'm an indoor girl. With that being said, I am the ultimate critic of outdoor spaces. Comfort for me is key.
My parents have a beautiful home on a 1 acre property. What I've always enjoyed about their property was all the different areas there were to gather. Little sitting areas. No matter where the sun was, or if it was raining, there was always a place to be outside - in comfort. The other aspect of their property that I love is the beauty in the landscape. They don't have a typical yard. There are different elevations - meandering paths to the lower part of the yard, overlooking an incredible view of the lake. The front yard isn't typical either - there's a great bench hidden among some established plantings. When I'm there I want to find a place to curl up with a coffee. It was with that mind that I planned my own yard. I hired a landscape architect to design it for me. She and I poured over pictures of outdoor spaces until she figured out what I was after. We incorporated spaces for the kids to play, as well as spaces for the adults to gather. I wanted a resort feel.
There are a number of considerations, hard surface finishes are one of them. You can go with traditional concrete, aggregate, stamped concrete, tile, wood, or composite decking to name the most common. Aesthetics and practicality will guide you. Elevations are another issue. Sometimes just dropping the elevation 3 steps can create a much more interesting feel. As it is for interiors, lighting is critical. You want to light your yard for use but also to display some key landscaping details. I enjoy driving by a house that has great outdoor lighting.
Of course you need to deal with plants and grass etc. Figure out what you like. Take the time to talk with your landscape architect about what grows well in your area, as well as each part of your yard. It all depends on sun exposure. This will save you money. You don't want to have to replace a bunch of plants! We wanted to put our sectional on a grassy spot. This presented a problem - how do we get the lawn mowed with a piece of furniture on it? Fortunately they make incredible artificial turf now. For some spaces you can't get a mower to, or for those of you that are against mowing entirely, this is a good option. Shop different brands - some look better than others!
The outdoor kitchen is a wonderful thing. I love to barbecue. The aroma of steak grilling outside screams summer. Plus, it means my husband cooks - a major bonus. Consider adding a wood or gas/wood combination pizza oven. You can do a lot more than pizza in them. Such a great way to entertain - and they look amazing!
Lastly, and of course my favourite, is the furniture and decor. I like a splash of colour outside. Again, when I think of the ideal setting I think of some of the fabulous resorts we've stayed at. Great outdoor carpets, umbrellas, pillows, statues, fountains and lanterns. All of these things will give you that resort feel.
The only thing left are the friends and family to enjoy what you have created...and of course the fabulous food and drinks to go with it!
Photography - Melissa Carl
The devil is in the details - art and accessories
I frequently get asked how I put a space together with art and accessories. It can be overwhelming to try to pick all of the right pieces. To be honest, I do not always know where I will put each of the pieces I've selected until I have them in the home. I encourage my clients to pick pieces they love. From there I will bring in a number of other decor items that will compliment their picks. As most of design is, it's all about balance.
I'm not a fan of making a space look too 'cookie cutter'. I like to put a client's personal stamp on their home. Their personality needs to come through. My own home, like me, is very tongue in cheek. At my entrance I have six 24" red cherries. I am an Okanagan girl and my home is an Okanagan home. I also have 3 very large chess pieces on my landing. Not only are they interesting but they portray a part of my personality.
For me, art has always been the finisher. It is so very personal, that you don't find art - art finds you. Some people collect art over the years that they love - again injecting their personality in their space. I also have several clients that are artists themselves and they have their own pieces throughout their homes. Art does not have to be worth thousands of dollars to be appreciated. Your art pieces simply need to speak to you in some way.
Once art and accessories are selected, we put it all together. But remember, not every piece can be the star of the show. You have some headliners and some supporting cast members. It might take a few tries to get it right (keep your receipts!). But after saying all of that, if it's still intimidating you or just plain not working....call us. We are glad to help.
PHOTOGRPAHY - MELISSA CARL
The Fine Art of Window Dressing
So many changes have occurred in window coverings. Out are the utilitarian blinds of yesteryear and in are the many options to give privacy, light diffusion, UV protection and, most importantly, beauty.
Good window coverings are not inexpensive, therefore you are unlikely to be replacing them very often. I chose to align myself with Hunter Douglas. They lead the industry in design and customer care. I've been so impressed with the product offerings that continue to be presented. My favourites are the 'ette' products. Vignette, Pirouette, Silhouette and Luminettte. They provide a very high end look with such practical functionality. I outfitted my home with Silhouettes and Luminettes. I love the natural light they let in, but I also enjoy the privacy. We spent a lot of money on our hardwood floors. The more sun exposure they have, the more the wood bleaches out.My window coverings provide the protection I need to keep my floors beautiful. Blinds also cut down your cost on air conditioning bills.
We chose to power our blinds. This is the way of the future - Smart homes are a leading trend in luxury design. Adding power to your blinds makes your home more functional. At 8:00 every morning my blinds open to their morning scene. I can customize scenes any way I wish. In the evening the same thing occurs. We put over 40 windows in our home. Think of how long it would take to go around, to open and close those blinds! You simply wouldn't do it.
If you are in the middle of a new build I highly recommend hard wiring your blinds. We bring in our installer to direct the installation with your electrician. If you are in an existing home you can choose a battery operated blind. Either way, you increase the value of your home, as well as your enjoyment.
Hunter Douglas has aligned themselves with many other powered operating systems, such as Lutron, Crestron and many more. Make the investment. You won't be disappointed.
Floating Stairs, well custom stairs in general, are a hard thing to master. The transition from one level to the next. Simple, right?
Even though most of us walk up or down them, every single day, have you ever stopped to think about what went into the making of these? Why your foot fits so perfectly on each tread? Why the stairs are at the right angle, so they are not to steep, nor to straight? Well let me tell you, A LOT of time, and effort goes into - and that's just the building of them! What about the design? The colours? The material??
While building our current home, we came across a number of interesting issues and details that I honestly had never thought of before and by the end of the build, I was a seasoned professional! Never be afraid to ask questions, and then make sure to ask some more! We gained a better understanding of stringers, wiring, exact measurements, foot placement, proper coding and rules.
Needless to say, there is a learning curve - developing a strategy to make it work, and at the same time make it beautiful. We all love to see a design come to life, grow and excel. It's exciting and interesting. And, to be very frank, complicated. I love to figure these things out. How do you want the treads to be attached? What is your railing like? What material will I do it in? One question leads to another. To begin the process I encourage clients to find photos of stairs they like. Be sure you know who you're hiring. A great company will help you and walk you all the important decisions. We learnt this the hard way and had to hire a second company to clean up all the mistakes and put us back on the right path. Although one or two funny stories came out of the errors, hire carefully, it makes all the difference!
Here are the basic elements of floating stairs:
- The stringers - these are the main structural support for the stairs. They are the pieces that will attach to the different levels of your home. They are typically done in wood or metal. They can be a single stringer in the middle, a double stringer, or a side stringer.
- The treads - these are the steps on the stairs. Thing to take into consideration are the thickness of the tread and the material it will be made in. They can be done in wood, concrete, metal or acrylic. Another consideration is the span of the tread; how wide you want your staircase. There are also treads that appear to be attached directly to the wall - this is done with metal plates that are inside the wall as wells as underneath the treads. This style is incredible; they create an optical illusion.
- The railing - there are a number of options here. The most common is wood, glass or metal. Then comes the decision on how to attach the railing to the stairs. There are some very creative ways to do this. When choosing your material, keep in mind what you want to see as you are coming down your stairs. If you have a beautiful view you might want to consider glass. If you have kids, dogs or husbands be prepared for the upkeep of fingerprint and nose print removal.
A floating staircase becomes a major design feature in a home. It creates a more open and airy feel. While not inexpensive, they will add value. Engage a design professional to help you plan your beautiful stairs!
METAL - VERSATILE FAB
WOOD STAIRS - OKANAGAN HARDWOOD
PHOTOGRAPHY - MELISSA CARL