Thursday, September 24, 2015

Kids and pets need not mess up your decor!

A constant question I get asked is “what products are best with kids or pets?”.  Most people believe that you have to give up fashion for function; well I am here to tell you that you don’t have to give up anything; you can definitely have fashion and function in your household with these helpful tips!

With kids and pets the main thing to think about is if the product is washable and durable.  When buying a sofa think about it like you do with sheets and thread count.  For fabrics it’s called a rub count – the wear and tear that comes from someone sitting down or getting up from an upholstered seat.

If you are looking for a sofa with fabric make sure you use a fabric with a high rub count. I recommend 50,000 or higher for active households with kids and pets. 3,000 double rubs equals one year's worth of use.

With the colour of your fabric try and find one that has a bit of a texture. This will help hide wear and tear over the years as well.

A helpful tip for pet owners is to choose furniture pieces that are the same as your animal’s colouring. This helps your space seem cleaner with less pet hair showing. I have white Jack Russell’s so my entire house is white!  I look like an amazing housekeeper because their dog hair is hidden, so white fabrics are a lifesaver for me! 

When it comes to dressing up your furniture use fun accent pillows. Think you can’t use designer pillows with kids and pets around? Think again – my new line is fully washable, hypoallergenic, cruelty free, reversible, recyclable and Canadian made – both accent pillows and dog beds to match! So no need to worry about messy hands or dirty paws, you can now throw the entire pillow in the wash and it comes out looking better than new every time.


For dining room tables I suggest going with something that looks better with age and a little wear and tear. Artemano has some amazing live edge tables that will stand the test of the time and add life to your space at the same time. Also look at adding a salvage wood coffee table, the worn out wood is perfect for busy households that like to eat or do homework in the family room. The table adds fashion and function to any space and adds a little stress free living for you at the same time! 

When looking at flooring, make sure you choose a tile, hardwood or laminate with a bit of a flex or multiple hues in it as it will help hide the dirt and dust. A solid dark colour will be your enemy so steer clear!  Go with middle grade colours and hues. Laminate hardwood flooring has come a long way, they are durable, stylish, and great for dog nails, kid’s toys, and they also don’t show traffic marks or sun damage, plus easy to keep clean!   If you want to take it one step further with an even more durable floor check out Creekside Tile’s porcelain wood flooring, it looks just like wood planks.  Comes in multiple colours and you can have radiant flooring underneath it. Plus your kids or pets will have a hard time destroying it, I don’t care how big or strong they are!

Now when it comes to your walls, a good giveaway if a house has kids or pets - you’ll see nicks and marks everywhere. Para Paint Elite Paint and Primer all in one is a 100% acrylic latex formula, ceramic micro-sphere technology for a strong finish, durable, high hiding, scrub-able, stain resistant, ideal for walls in high traffic areas, doors and trim.  So again don’t worry about the colour, think about the materials within the products.        

So just because you have kids or pets doesn’t mean you have to give up the love of light colours or a neutral colour scheme or nice decor. You can have it all if you make sure you have the right materials that are washable and durable.  The moral of the story is you can have a stylish house that is functional all the time; fashion and function can live under one roof!

until next time,
w&c design girl!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Small Space Big Cottage Feel

Recently I was tasked with creating a cozy dinning space in an awkward 5 foot by 8 foot space for a cottage makeover. I was up for the challenge and the transformation was jaw dropping for the owners.

With tiny spaces, my big tips are always to exploit every square inch and use visual tricks to create the illusion of space. Use all wall space, surrounding space and floor space possible

Go vertical. Instead of using one big piece of art in a small space, use multiple smaller
pieces. It makes the space seem more expansive than is really is. For this feature wall I used a variety of art from an online source - You go online, pick the art you want to use (or you can use your own), pick the frames and colour, and
they ship it all to your door.

 To enhance the cottage feel, for the feature wall I also used a variety of stag heads (faux
of course) found at Home Sense, which I mix and matched with in the photos. The great thing here is that you can just keep adding to the feature wall as you find things that

The most important piece of all is the table – it’s where you gather around and make lasting memories. For this space I chose a gorgeous five-foot-long, wood-topped table
from Artemano with sturdy metal legs, which anchors the room.

Seating was carefully chosen. Two wooden stools with raw unfinished edges — also from Artemano — add a “farmhouse twist.” For small space dining areas, I recommend chairs that tuck under the table when not in use.

For the captains chairs, I also chose a version from Artemano which are thinner than usual captain chairs and tuck nicely into the side of the table. This allows more walking space surrounding the area when meals are done.

In a small space I love to go big on colour. For this table setting, I used bright and bold patterns from Home Sense that were mixed and matched to create this gorgeous brunch setting. Setting the table is certainly a time where you can bring in bold colours and
really make a statement.

For this space I chose a funky modern light that casts great shadows at night, and by day is beautiful enough to be considered art. The understated colour gets noticed, yet doesn’t stealing attention from the rest of the room.

By carefully piecing this room together, a small space has the illusion of being much larger than it is, and the room’s functionality has improved as much as its beauty.

You can do a lot in a small space, and you can create a larger feel with just décor!
Until next time,
w&c designer girl!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Jo Alcorn's Collections are at the CND Gift Show!

Jo Alcorn’s new furniture line brings a designer’s touch to pieces like sofas, ottomans, chairs, sectionals, headboards and more…without the designer budget.

Each piece was created with the mind-set that people want a designer look but can’t always afford the luxury to hire a professional. This line mixes fun fabrics that play with different colours and patterns to create that one-of-a-kind custom look so many people crave but might not be able to afford or know where to start.

“I was so excited to create pieces that have a unique flare,” says Jo Alcorn, interiors expert. “The line has modern youthful lines with a touch of classic elements. I am excited for this collection because it is fashion forward, functional at the same time and there is something everyone can enjoy!”
Jo’s furniture line is manufactured locally by Eztia, Ontario.

Jo will also be showcasing and her new Dog Bed Collection with coordinating Pillows.
Man’s best friends’ sleeping quarters just got more stylist with the help of Canadian designer Jo Alcorn. While pet owners inevitably love to cuddle and snuggle their furry friends, it’s also great for their dogs to have a place of their own where they can curl up – and why can’t that be a stylish retreat?
“I am a huge dog lover and I have two dogs of my own,” say designer Jo Alcorn. “I wanted to create a pet bed that was not only comfortable and practical for my fur-babies, but I also wanted them to reflect my own personal style and act as an extension of my home-décor.”

Jo Alcorn’s dog bed line goes above and beyond what is currently available in the market. These beds have a StaminaFibre® filling. These beds are reversible and fully washable, including the cover and the filling; simply toss the entire pillow in the washing machine and it comes out looking and feeling like new. Each bed/pillow has hypoallergenic down-like feather filling, is reversible, was created and manufactured cruelty free, is recyclable and Canadian Made.

Make sure to stop by the 9972 booth and see the collection. We are also having a #selfie party the entire show.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Unexpected Nursery


Gone are the days when the typical baby colours are selected at the paint store. Today the sky is the limit when planning for a nursery. Coming from someone who loves breaking design rules, I was excited when a client came to me with a baby girl’s nursery proposal that was far from traditional.

To begin, I wanted to get a true feel for my client’s lifestyle and existing rooms within the house. What quickly became clear was their love of rustic, clean and the unexpected. And so, that was the starting point for my nursery design … and how the barn wood accent wall was born.

This stunning wall was an easy and inexpensive application that created a subtle wow factor and set the mood perfectly. The colour scheme of white, grey and hints of pastels was an easy choice after the accent wall came together. A fresh coat of JoJo whitewash paint from Para Paint gave the room a bright and friendly feel.

The incorporated colours allowed me to use a non-typical colour for a girl’s crib and dresser – a misty grey Fisher Price Lakeland Crib from Sears. I loved how that out of the ordinary colour worked so perfectly in this setting. I selected a matching grey dresser with a change pad on top for multi-functionality and to ensure its longevity; being used now and as the child grows.

The unexpected colour scheme for a girl’s room was the true winner for my clients to fall in love with the design idea. After having a directional colour scheme map, really everything else came together quite nicely. Especially when I found the grey glider swivel chair from Lil Niblets that almost matches the crib and dresser perfectly to balance off the other side of the room.
I softened the window shutters with a similar grey in the side panels on the window, again another unexpected choice. While shopping at Bouclair Home I feel in love with their metal cloud like ceiling light and book shelf’s.
Finding unique natural accent pieces like the Mobil and handmade wool dolls from Blah Blahs, which was also a play on the rustic love found throughout the rest of their home. Adding unique patterns within the bedding and few art pieces from Lil Niblets helped pull the feel together plus the direction of a bird subject/flying through the sky theme was born!

Flooring is always important to consider, and especially so here since the little one will be crawling and walking before you know it. Considering who would be on the flooring, I wanted an option that was safe and easy to maintain. I turned to Flor carpet squares since they are easy to install, easy to replace if one gets ruined and easy to clean, with the bonus of having stylish patterns to choose from. I didn’t want the floor to be the main focus so I decided to go with a simple textured patterned to tie in the grey tones.

 While the colour scheme is a far cry from the traditional blue and pinks, yellows and greens people commonly associate with nurseries, this has a timeless look while being very modern and still ideal for a child. Start thinking outside the traditional for nurseries, and you’ll create a look and feel your child will be eager to keep as they grow.

Until next time,
the w&c girl!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Every Girl’s Dream Closet

Missed the Marilyn Denis episode watch it online:

We all dream of creating our dream closet, but it can be difficult to choose the products to do it.
Designer, Jo Alcorn, shares some of the items that can transform a dull space into a Hollywood star-worthy closet.
If you can spare the space why not transform an unused room into a spacious closet!
Every space needs a wow factor whether its statement pieces, colour, accents 
  • Use inspirational piece like flashy, bright wallpaper
  • Opt for functional yet practical and stylish pieces
  • A custom built-in closet system can work wonders for maximizing your space
  • Identify different hanging areas for specific areas and organize each one
  • Black felted hangers prevent clothing from falling off so that everything looks pristine
  • Colour blocking your closet acts as its own decoration
  • Install a full length mirror so you can see your outfit from head to toe
  • A nice chair makes trying on shoes easy
Think outside of the box for clever ways to store items
  • Umbrella can hold yoga mats, shoe horns, etc…

  • Vintage suitcases look stunning stacked together and create extra storage 


  • Screw the bottom of a paint can on the wall and put your shoes in them plus it turns your wall into an art piece
  • A kitchen rod can serve as a necklace stand

  • Use a towel rack for shoe storage to showcase them beautifully or as an accessory hanger

Paint Provided By:
Azalea Pink
43RR 19/444

Resource Guide:
  • Folding chair
  • Towel holder
  • Rod 
  • Hook pack 
  • Umbrella Stand
  • Leaning ladder
Decorator’s Own:
  • Vintage suitcases
  • Empty paint cans
Jo Alcorn

Monday, June 15, 2015

Add a little Design Drama to your Space

Who said you can’t do a dark colour in a small space? I’ve always loved to break the design rules, and I am delighted with the small bathroom makeover I just did. Current design trends are leaning toward dark wall colours, so I tested it out. A piece of advice: if you are intimidated by, or leery of a design trend, try applying it to a smaller area to ensure you love it prior to working on a larger space.  Case in point - I took on this once blah bathroom and transformed it into a moody, conversational design heaven.

First thing first, the wall colour. Yes, it is black! I went with a matt finish for a bit of drama and to be a little different all at once.  Black cabinets and walls are on the top trend list this year, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about …. now I get it! I love the drama it adds! 

 Then I found this great white gloss Canadian made vanity from Cutler Kitchen and Bath. The single drawer offers more storage than the old vanity with two doors, since the back portion of the vanity can now be accessed. I love that its floating application exposes more of the floor – always a great trick to making a small space seem larger.

 My DIY project was spray painting the handle that came with the vanity to have a vintage brass finish to keep with the room’s colour scheme. If you can’t find the exact piece or finish, don’t be afraid to alter something to make it perfect for your design concept.

The crème de la crème in this space is the stunning Delta Champagne faucet with the matching wall towel rack. It truly is the jewelry of the bathroom, and it was the perfect starting point to introducing brass and gold as the accent colours within this small bathroom. I tied in more of that brassy gold colour in the moody vanity wall light and my Etsy find vintage brass wall-art birds. Other bonus finds were the vintage pieces on the glass shelf above the toilet, which tied perfectly into my colour scheme.

 The round mirror added a different dimension and twist to the hard lines that the room had. I always like to add round elements to a space for character and interest, plus it softens the harshness.
Beyond the colour, art work is a conversation starter. Here I used my own photograph of a swan, printed through Poster Jack online, to add a personal touch and uniqueness to the space. Artwork is the ideal way to tie in your own interests and add a very personal element to any space. This image also connected to the birds on the wall – tying all the elements into a single cohesive design.

Changing out the curtain rod to a dark brass finish and adding a white shower curtain from Bed Bath and Beyond balanced off the white vanity and toilet on the opposite wall; again, making all individual elements into one consistent and interconnected look.

Overall, the contrast of white and black makes the room seem bigger and adds interest to this small space. Who knew such a boring space could be so dramatically changed by the use of colour? The bathrooms footprint stayed the same; however, it looks like an entirely different room and the best part is, it didn’t break the bank!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Daring Black and White Décor -

Jo was just on the Marilyn Denis Show talking:  

How to Decorate with Black and White

Watch the segment online

Ease Into Drama
Start with pillows to get motivated before you fully commit to a bold space. Or begin with a smaller room, like a den or bathroom; you don’t necessarily need to make the main living room the most dramatic.

Think in Reverse

If you’re afraid of a white sofa and black walls, reverse the look for a black sofa and white walls. The look should be classic, yet playful. Reinvent it to keep it current and modern.

Furniture Scale

We don’t all have the space for a large sofa; thankfully small pieces make a space seem bigger.


Mix your Golds

Everyone talks about mixing metals, but what’s really interesting is mixing warm metallics, like brass, bronze, rose gold and gold.

Conversation Starters

Add drama to any space with unusual pieces, like a big art wall, antlers, vintage pieces, or an oversized lamp.


Console Table as a Media Stand

Think outside of the box for a media stand and opt for a decorative console table with cubes underneath it for extra seating options. This will add visual interest to your TV wall.

Big Plants are making a Comeback

Add height with a fiddle fig plant. Dramatic, large plants are coming back into style.

Paint provided by:
Dark Secret 00NN 05/000

Resource Guide:

Camille Settee, $ 1599
Aida Accent Chair, $ 1399
Mill Street Console Table, $ 1499
Rolando Ottoman, $ 577
Arcadia Cocktail Table, $ 2499

Miscellaneous Accessories

Love The Design
Fiddle Fig Plant
Wall Art
White Paper Plant Bag
Vintage Trophies
Until next time
designer girl!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Splendid Summer Patio Dining

When the warm weather arrives and you move your dinner parties outside, having an outdoor oasis is every entertainer’s dream. While you might think a successful dinner party requires sophisticated settings and mulit-course meals, just the opposite is true. All that’s required to create an enjoyable evening is appealing food, good company, and a welcoming setting.


While I leave the recipes and guest list up to you, I can certainly help with the hospitable setting. I recently enjoyed working on a client’s cottage patio, designing the perfect space for a summer full of fun dinner parties.

First thing first – you need a good floor. When we began, my client’s patio was covered in kitchen porcelain tiles which were slippery, ugly and impractical for our weather. I turned to EON Deck and Patio Tiles from The Home Depot. They are super simple to lay-down and click together easily in a variety of patterns. They are such an easy solution to update any space, large or small. They can cover up existing mistakes or be the new ground under your feet. These tiles completely transformed my client’s space and gave it a clean and inviting place to begin the makeover design plan.

Fresh paint works wonders to update any space. The existing paint here was distracting and dated so we applied fresh paint. Exterior paint from Para has longevity and instantly brightened up the area. Go the extra mile and paint all the trim work too – that additional effort will complete the fresh new look and feel.  

 With your space in good shape, it’s time to add in the key components. To have a great dinner party, you need a great table to gather around. This table is a find from The Home Depot which seats six, has a sleek design and is comfortable for long conversations. This set has stunning appeal and fit the space perfectly. The chairs even stack for easy winter storage, and have removable bottom cushions. 

 Every great table needs a great umbrella. An umbrella not only has the obvious task of providing shade, it also helps define your outdoor dining room. I found these colourful lanterns from PC Home at the Real Canadian Superstore; hung on the umbrella pillars, they provide warm mood lighting, and even a touch of romance. Tip: Be sure to add a hook and a stopper to the location of where you want the lanterns to hang under the umbrella, otherwise they will move around as the wind catches them.

Adding to the mood lighting, are the battery operated lanterns from The Home Depot. These are strategically set around the perimeter of the deck, where no one will trip over them, and they define the patio area. These lanterns have the bonus of built-in timers without having to sacrifice style.

 Onto the china…don’t get overly fussy with china. An eclectic mix feels more laid-back and it is a great conversational starter. Outdoor dishware has come a long way – you can now find stunning colours and patterns that are as nice, or nicer, than your indoor set. Mixing collections together is a fun and easy way to create interest at any table. And don’t fuss with table clothes or placemats – use chargers instead. The PC Home collection has a great selection of chargers and outdoor dishware that can either be mixed and match or pieced together for a fun table-scape that will get the dinner conversation flowing.

No outdoor party would be complete with out a BBQ. The homeowners love to cook so we chose this stunning gas grill from Weber which is ideal for entertaining. It has a multitude of features like Flavourizer bars to eliminate flare-ups, and a fuel gauge so you never run-out mid dinner party.

For all dinner parties, I am a fan of a stocked bar cart. Not only is a cart convenient for holding supplies, it is a splendid accessory in setting the mood for a notable diner party. Pile glasses on your cart, store the plates and silverware, and use it as much needed outdoor counter space and a self serving zone. Wheel it back to the kitchen if you run low on supplies, or, in the case of this cart, carry the top tray into the kitchen to refresh if you don’t need the whole unit. The bar cart is an essential for a good party hostess.

For the finishing touch on your patio oasis, including plants in different elevated planters completes the overall feel and sets the mood for many meals and conversations spent with family and friends during the glorious outdoor season.

EKK the before . . .  what a change!
Happy Patio Season Everyone! 
Until next time,
w&c design girl!


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