Friday, April 10, 2015

A Girls Room - For Today and Tomorrow

Designing a child’s room can seem like a daunting task that comes with a hefty price tag. Add in the belief that a child’s room needs to re-done every few years as they grow and their tastes change, and this task goes from daunting to discouraging. But it doesn’t have to be! A few simple steps can take it from chore to fun – for everyone!

First and foremost, think long term. The design should incorporate elements and furniture that can grow with your child through their years, carrying them from childhood to tweens to their teen years. Don’t get carried away with a character themed room; think more generic with colour choices and include small, replaceable (read: economical) objects to incorporate their latest character obsessions
Consider what the room will be used for, and layout zones for those functions. Within my client’s little girl’s room, I created a reading area, toy storage, floor playing space, clothing organization and, of course, a great bed to curl up in. All these zones are necessary now, and can be used down the road within an updated format.

For toy storage, a cube storage unit is a great solution for the younger ones. As they grow, it can double as a space for clothing, art supplies, and more. On the wall above the cube unit, I mixed together art pieces from Home Sense with artwork created by the room’s owner to keep it fun and personal. The fun, fashionable items on top of the unit can be used for her dress up area now, then transformed into a great make-up and accessory area as she gets older.

The reading zone chair is a great Home Sense find. This chair and pink puff will be ideal for entertaining friends when that time comes; but for now, we’ve added a faux sheep skin to make it the ideal spot for her curl up with a favorite book and drift off into princess fantasy land.

Something I splurge on for any room is the closet organizer. The right organizer is a great space saver, and this is especially so in a kid’s room. I turned to Cutler Modern Living (www.cutlermodernliving.com) for the perfect closet organizer, one which allowed us to maximize hanging space, along with adding drawer storage and shelves for her to grow into. The bonus of this unit is that it can be altered over the years to suit her clothing needs. We were fortunate to have an abundant sized closet to work with, allowing us to eliminate dressers and, thus, store everything in one area.
Readymade curtains are a great accessory that is budget friendly and makes a huge impact on the space. Plus they can easily be changed over the years to update the room without getting into a major overhaul. The blue pattern I used here adds drama to the room and a bit of an older look; however, incorporating her stuff animals and bit of a softer palette in the bedding balances it out for these childhood years. When the time comes, a quick change of the bedding is all that is needed to transition to a tweens room in no time. As for the blue zebra inspired rug from Home Sense, I couldn’t pass it up – it  adds personality and attitude to the floor playing zone while being another great transition piece.

 
Play with textures and colours – don’t get stuck on the traditional. Allow smaller accessories to be the themed items so they can easily be changed and updated as your child grows. Patterned baskets allow for quick clean-ups and add some fashionable elements to the space. Fun pillows and throws are budget friendly and can transform the design and mood within seconds. Have fun shopping and creating your child’s ideal room for now and the future. This is the space where your child will dream, read, dress and grow…so go ahead and enjoy designing this space for them.

Until next time,
w&c designer girl!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Boys & Their Toys: A Boy's Bedroom

When designing a child’s room, you need to consider the room’s required furniture, plus storage and organizing systems. Add in a touch of fun design that the child can grow with, and you will have a room you’ll both love! It’s also great to include artwork they love or (even better!) have made themselves.

 

My most recent makeover project was to create a boy’s dream room, a space filled with super heroes and all the functional requirements. The “must have” list included a work space, storage systems, room to play, a place to read, and, of course, a sleep spot. His action figures and comic book collection provide my inspiration, and so I began with a brick wallpaper statement wall (picked up at www.homedepot.ca) and allowed it to set the mood.


First up – the bed! An elevated bunk bed provides additional floor space and what kids doesn’t love a bunk bed! I choose the Ikea Stuva loft bed, which incorporates a desk, book case and storage all in one. This style of bunk bed has the added bonus of freeing up floor space to allow for additional zones within the room.

 

Storage and more storage! The bed added a ton of storage options; however, we still needed more space for toys, clothes, and hiding everyday items. IKEA had an ideal white drawer unit and an awesome closet system to assist with ever growing collections and changing clothing styles. The multiple sized drawers are great for housing socks, folded clothes and even keeping toys organized. I added short bins within the unit to act as dividers and an organization system to help keep everything tidy, even the hidden items. The movable and changeable closet system is perfect for a young growing child since the levels can be moved to suit his clothing needs as he moves into his teen’s years, and larger sizes. 

 A reading zone. I wanted to add a zone where he could read, play games, hang out with friends, and act as an extra sleeping spot for guests, pending their age and size. The lounge chair was the perfect fit; it provided a relaxing spot to put your feet up, for reading alone or curling up with a parent. This chair’s purpose can be transformed as he grows up, and might even move out with him!


The colour scheme. I choose to work with a light grey paint from Para, knowing that this room will need to age well and be cool for many years to come. The natural grey is a colour that allows the room to feel warm but is not the focal point in the room. Using a lighter colour on the walls allows the pieces within to standout. As he grows and refines his tastes, these grey walls will coordinate with future room modifications.

Fun art wall. I love to bring colour and life into a room through artwork; it’s an easy way to update and refresh any space. It also adds a personal touch by including drawings and artwork created by the room owner. For kids who love to draw or paint, having a home for their masterpieces, and one that can be updated at whim, adds a touch of their own personality to their room. I used Ikea frames which come in all shapes, colours and sizes that are budget friendly for creating just such an art wall, and one that can expand as you desire or need.

 
I had so much fun getting into the mind of a kid who loves to get lost in comic books and super hero stories. Now that I have brought his dream room to life, my hope is that he can enjoy this space, grow with it, and return to his childhood whenever he wishes, no matter his age.
 
Until next time,
w&c designer girl!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Colour and Design Trends of 2015

Colour. It’s a hot topic every year – what colours are in, what colours to paint, what colours to accessorize with. And what will be around today and tomorrow. The 2015 runways are filled with colours reminiscent of the 1960s – shades such as warm olive and rich orange are being given new life, while some colour trends continue to be popular.

              
(Photo by- Miles Redd)

Marsala was named the Pantone colour of year for 2015, but finds its roots in the 60s. This rich and full-bodied red-brown provides depth and warmth to any room with a bit of a feminist twist.
According to Tucker &Negus, “Paint colours for the home still revolve around sophisticated basics with preference for cleaner whites, smokier neutrals and updated muted pastels. Feature walls are out, zone painting schemes are in and beige is a thing of the past.
 
So, what else is hot for 2015? Blue...in every possible shade! You can’t go wrong with introducing a bit of blue into your space; signs show this trend will be sticking around!

Want a fun and trendy way to add some blue to your space? Mix and match coloured bases with your choice of a marble top, like the Ynes coffee table from  from EQ3. For $599 you have the option to mix and match the coloured base with your choice of marble top

 

You can also choose furniture pieces to your space to add a pop of colour. Try mixing up your dressers with these fun blues from Ikea for www.ikea.ca

 
Onto metallic accents; make room for copper in your life! The copper penny might have disappeared but we are seeing copper and rose gold appearing in home accessories everywhere!   My Connecticut Collection by ArtcraftLighting.com found in independent lighting stores. JA802 $139.99 CDN

 

Grey is not only a colour – it’s a must have! Some say there are more than 50 shades of grey; in terms of colour trends, it’s a great time for the movie to come out since 2015 is all about mixing grey shades into your interiors. Pillows, baskets and throws are just a few easy ways to add grey to your interior. These baskets from Bouclair are great storage items that fit the trend and retail at great prices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Lastly, colour is cropping up in unexpected, stylish ways. A hot trend in furniture is placing a statement sideboard in the foyer, dining room, or in the family room as a TV stand. What makes these pieces unique are their interesting materials, textures and colours. Showcasing the beauty of raw, natural wood, these pieces can be used in any space to add a natural grounding to a room enveloped in the colour trends of 2015. Aretemano has great options. This sideboard is make of metal and wood from old fishing boats and retails for $2695.

 

Happy 2015 everyone, wishing a great year ahead!

Until next time,
w&c girl!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Laundry in style – create a functional and fashionable laundry room

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, the laundry room must be the liver. The laundry room cycles through messy household clothing and towels, and cleans them up time and time again.  In addition to being the place to do laundry and store cleaning supplies, many households also have their laundry room act as a mudroom; a place to drop off school bags, shoes, and jackets.  The laundry room gets a lot of wear-and-tear, but is often the most neglected room, design-wise! For my latest project, I wanted to showcase the laundry room, and how it can be designed as a functional and fashionable space.

 

Clean, simple colours. I chose washable gloss white cabinets and applied a coat of CIL Wexford Fog on the walls. The simple colour palette created a calming effect in a usually chaotic room. I added in greys and stainless steel touches throughout the room for a more unisex overture. The laundry room isn’t just the woman’s domain!

Who doesn’t need more storage?
I turned to Cutler Kitchen and Bath, a company that makes cabinetry in Canada and sells through Lowes stores  (www.cutlerkitchenandbath.com/)  I added tall pantry storage to one side of the room which enabled me to store laundry baskets, kids boots and bins for mittens, hats and scarves, keeping everything organized and easy to find for winter. Upper cabinets are used to store and hide away detergents, extra towels and cleaning supplies, keeping the space organized.  Using storage baskets from Bouclair Home helps the kids to put away their mitts and hats each day, keeping the room tidy with the bonus of reducing morning chaos when everyone can find their belongings on their way out the door.

 


Make room for countertop space. Don’t overlook counter space! Make sure you have enough room to deposit dirty clothes, apply stain treatments and fold clothes. Choose a countertop that will hide dust and dirt; I used one from Belanger Laminates, a Canadian company who creates laminates that mimic raw stone. Multiple flecks of colour help hide messes and add an industrial element to the room. Laminate has come a long way in recent years; it’s stunning how you can now get it to look almost identical to stone, but at a fraction of the price.

                                                                                   

A well-oiled machine needs a good engine. What is a laundry room without gorgeous appliances? For this makeover I chose Whirlpool Duet Steam Front Loaders in Chrome Shadow. Not only are they stunning, they are also a homeowner’s dream. They keep clothes looking newer longer and have amazing features that make caring for clothing simple.  This washing machine does all the work for you, determining your load size, adding the right amount of detergent, even steaming and removing wrinkles.

 

Laundry sinks can be stylish!  Don’t forget about the sink, which is an integral part of any working laundry room. I wanted to find a faucet that was both stylish and that makes life easier.  I chose a Delta faucet where you can simply touch anywhere on the spout or handle of the faucet with your hand, wrist or forearm to start and stop the flow of water.  If your space doubles as a mudroom, this sleek faucet is not only visually appealing, it is also a great solution to easily clean up  muddy hands after gardening or washing up when arriving home from school, work, sports or  after taking the dog for a walk.

 The little touches. The laundry room doesn’t have to be a room you dread heading into. I wanted to make it a place that was functional and stylish and with a few touches from Bouclair Home the look was achieved – I added a great piece of artwork, a bowl for keys, and a multitude of great baskets to keep the room in tip top shape. Everything is out of sight and organized but very easy to access.

 

Make sure you give your laundry room some love to create a room that works for your entire family. Who knows, you just might enjoy doing the laundry.
 
Until next time,
w&c designer girl!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Quick Paint Tips / Projects

With the holidays just around the corner, so grows the list of to dos within the home. Spending too much time inside makes you realize how many little projects you need to get done or want to do to jazz up your space.  Not every project has to be a big one: you can make just as much of an impact in a space with little effort. These projects can change your space completely with just a little elbow grease and paint! Need extra encouragement to take on a quick & easy DIY project? CIL Paint Testers are on sale at Home Depot for only $3.97 until December 20th!

Here are few small painting projects that make a big impact:

Accent Walls can play a huge role in any space! Only have a short amount of time? Try just a few stripes on a smaller wall


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Paint a Window or an Interior Door in a striking colour for a major change within any space with minimal effort.
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Change picture frame colours for a whole new look.
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Add some colour to your kitchen accessories and be the envy of the town and your holiday guests.
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  {BRIT+CO}
 
Whatever project you tackle this holiday season, have fun with it. Paint goes along way on a budget and if you dont like it down the road paint over it!  It is a great solution to keeping your items around forever and giving it a whole new look with a little facelift over the years. Dont feel like you need to buy new stuff all the time - just add a DIY paint project to your to do list. Your wallet will love you and your home will look spectacular!

 
Until next time,
Jo Alcorn

Thursday, December 4, 2014

5 Days of Christmas Gift Guide!

With the holiday gift giving season upon us, our stress levels rise as we try to decide upon ideal gifts for our loved ones. Whomever you are shopping for this holiday season, we have five great options that are suitable for anyone (and everyone!) on your list. 

 On first day of Christmas I bought an Oster Versa 1400 High Performance Blender. With so many choices available in blenders, the Versa differentiates itself by being just as powerful as comparable models but at a fraction of the price ($250).
With the bonus of its attractive red hue, this gift can spice up any countertop! http://www.oster.ca/



 On the second day of Christmas I snuggled up with a Sunbeam Cuddle Up Heated Throw.  As we brace ourselves to see what Mother Nature has in store for us this year, staying warm cannot be overlooked. To fend off the elements and chase chills away, snuggle up with a Sunbeam Heated Throw that has three heat settings and an automatic on/off function. Available in 22 assorted patterns, you’re sure to find one that appeals to everyone on your shopping list. My favourite this Christmas? The Holiday Deer throw! www.sunbeam.ca 

*A side note:Sunbeam is proud to launch Supports with Warmth, an awareness and fundraising campaign in support of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Wheels of Hope transportation program.www.sunbeam.ca/supportswithwarmth
 




On the third day of Christmas a Martello Café Stilista Lattelux made its way into my kitchen. It’s an at-home espresso based capsule brewing system that’s small on size but big on style. Compact appliances like the Martello Café Stilista Lattelux are perfect when kitchen counter real estate is at a premium, or you just want a fantastic unit with a small footprint. But foregoing a large unit does not mean giving up on taste! This unit brews authentic Italian-roasted espresso and comes with an automatic milk frother to create macchiatos, cappuccinos and lattes at home. Great for impressing holiday guests, but even better for eliminating the stress of morning line-ups at the coffee shop all year long. www.martellocafe.ca

 The fourth day of Christmas I found myself at Artemano to find unique serving bowls and gifts for friends and family. All their items are made from recycled materials and 100% unique. I purchased several great tea light holders and serving trays for myself, and to use as hostess gifts. When you want to delight a friend, family member or hostess with an original gift, you cannot go wrong shopping at Artemano. http://www.artemano.ca/

 And on the fifth day of Christmas I wrapped up my shopping with a Sonos Wi-Fi speaker. Sonos is a smart system of wireless Hi-Fi speakers and audio components. You can play all the music on Earth and control it all with one easy to navigate app on your phone, tablet or computer. The best part is you can play a different song on every speaker! I love this system for holiday entertaining or even as a luxury gift for a loved one.
http://www.sonos.com/
 
Happy Gift Giving Season!!
 
Until next time,
w&c girl!

Friday, October 24, 2014

A home office and a guest room: How to create a multifunctional space

City living may mean limited space, but you don’t have to sacrifice functionality. I was recently challenged to find a clever way to maximize a space. All of the bedrooms were occupied, but the home lacked a guest room, plus a more efficient workspace and storage in their walkout basement. This is how I created a dual-purpose room.

 An efficient and functional layout.
A multifunctional room needs a practical layout. What is the room being used for? In this case, we knew the home business needed stations for three workers, a sitting meeting area, closed storage, plus it would be a bonus if the room could double as a spare room for out of town guests.

 

 
I maximized the space by creating a layout, which utilized the perimeter of the room. This freed up the middle of the room for easy movement and created the feeling of a larger space.

Let’s work it out.

I wanted a clean, streamlined design for the office space, with plenty of counter space. I wanted to use every inch of the room, so store bought pieces were out of the question. I went to Harkel Office Furniture www.harkeloffice.com

for customizable desks with a simple, solid line leg, to maximize the wall space. This office uses laptops, great for maximizing space because you can get away with a smaller desk depth. It also allowed us to run a desk down the middle of the room, dividing the room into two distinct work areas and creating more countertop space.

 Storage is always key.

Offices usually come with a ton of paperwork and clutter, so closed storage is key to an organized office. I turned to Cutler Modern Living http://www.cutlermodernliving.com/ for a unique office solution storage systems. I designated an entire wall of cabinets that would house office storage. Accessing paperwork or office supplies is a breeze. Instead of awkward, in-the-way cabinet doors, this storage system has flip-up upper storage cabinets.

 Colourless.

The basement office had low ceilings and a lot of furniture being added, so I had a few tricks up my sleeve to make this room look larger and airier. I added a light and fresh coat of JoJo Whitewash PF17 from Para Paint on the walls to open up the room. I continued using this colour in all the wall perimeter furniture. The furniture blends into the walls, creating a calming effect in a tight space.

 

The overnight guest.

Who doesn’t need more space for those overnight guests? A sofa was needed for the meeting area, but we decided a standard sofa wouldn’t be ideal for an overnight guest.  We selected a multifunctional pull-out sofa for the space so it can double as a private retreat for out of town guests.

 
The finishing touches.

The room was pulled together with a few finishing touches. At EQ3 https://www.eq3.com/ca/en we found a much-needed floor lamp, plus the perfect little round table to drink a coffee, take notes or use as a bedside table for overnight guests.  I also added a round metal mirror, great for reflecting the light and making the room look larger. I finished the room with stainless crystal wall sconces from the Jo Alcorn collection by Artcraft Lighting.

 

And there you have it!  A bright, organized multifunctional space you don’t want to leave!

 
The before . . . .
 
Until next time,
w&c designer girl!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Create your own bedroom retreat!

{Full article in this Friday's Toronto Sun!}

You spend a third of your day in your bedroom. It should be a relaxing place you enjoy spending time. Here’s how you can create a beautiful, comfortable bedroom retreat on any budget.



Cool Color Palette. I’ve had red bedrooms and I’ve had pale blue rooms. I can honestly say colour psychology is real. A cool, serene colour palette makes all the difference in creating a relaxing room.  Go for soft and subtle colours if you want a respite from the busy world outside. I choose Whistle Stop 50BB from CIL’s www.CIL.ca collections to create that calming effect.
 

The perfect bed. I had an awkward small window in my bedroom that I had to hide. I chose a padded headboard that was just high enough to cover the window.


{Before}

I just couldn’t find the right size or colour of headboard. I wouldn’t call myself a DIY’er but when the time comes, I can step up. I found a headboard with clean lines at Home Sense www.homesense.ca for $299.99. However, it wasn’t quite the right colour for my project. When I found a patterned shower curtain for $29.99, I thought I’d tackle a DIY project and create the perfect headboard. Voilà! A custom-made headboard on a budget.


 
Side table conundrum. Side tables are a useful element of every bedroom. Do you need extra drawers or countertop space? What height, size, colour or material? I needed something to match the height and scale of the bed. I found the perfect side table at www.Mirens.com. The side tables had a unique design, with added bedroom storage. With my DIY skills already set in motion, I swapped the handles to white, to tie in with the rest of the bedroom design. Another inexpensive project with a big results!

 

Layered lighting. I love a bedroom with ambient lighting. A lamp with a soft bulb, mixed with task lighting for reading a book, plus decorative side can add some drama to your room. These white horned oversized side lamps from Mirens were the perfect conversational piece in the room.  Don’t forget about overhead lighting. This is another great place to add some art to the room. I used a Jo Alcorn light from www.Artcraftlighting.com , which added a touch of whimsy to the room. Layering lighting in any room, particularly your bedroom, allows for the perfect mix of function and comfort.

 
Comfy carpet or rug. Having the perfect texture under foot when you step out of bed can improve your whole bedroom experience. Rugs add warmth to any space.

 
Mirror Mirror on the wall. I love how mirrors create different dimensions within a space. To bring the bed and those amazing lamps to another level, I layered Home Sense mirrors on the wall to add a grand, romantic feeling to the bedroom. Mirrors make your room appear larger, and this one also added a feeling of luxury and sophistication to the bedroom.

 
Use these simple tips to create your perfect bedroom and ensure you get an amazing night’s sleep!
 
 

In addition to a great bedroom design, a must have for every bedroom:
PASCOFLAIR 425 mg überzogene Tabletten 
Pascoflair
Health retailers
Retail CDN - $19.99
 
“Pascoflair helps stop my running thoughts that keep me up at night. This herbal product promotes relaxation and improves sleep.”


Looking to get help designing your own sleep haven? I'll be at local Home Depot Stores each Thursday evening until October 9 helping people choose the best paint colours for their makeovers. Visit CIL.ca to see my full schedule.
 
Until next time,
w&c Designer Girl!
 
 
 
 

 
 

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