Holiday colours

Are you a person who sees certain colour combinations which  immediately evoke holiday connections, e.g.,red and green, orange and black, yellow and purple?  I am, and as a result there are colour schemes I find difficult to live with because the cultural connections override the beauty of the combination.  But sometimes a combination sneaks by me.

I took this photo in the main area of a small London hotel.  I loved the modern flavour and the strong vertical stripes. My immediate reaction was not Halloween, it was great impact.  Later I realized they were symbolic colours.

What's your reaction?

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Mirror, mirror

I keep a list of ideas for possible post topics and near the top is an exploration of mirrors in home decor.  Well, that's one post I won't be writing because one of my favourite decorating sites, Your Decorating Hotline, has an excellent post on this topic.  It covers the gamut from why use mirrors to the creative ways they can be used. I highly recommend reading it.  There's something for every style of decor.

One of the topics explored is the use of mirrors in multiple groupings.  This is an application that I'm particularly fond of and I've added several from my file below.

Elle Decor has an excellent slide show on  using mirrors and 

Apartment Therapy   brings  multiple mirrors  to the limit.

Did you find something you liked?
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Thursday Tip #6- simple centerpieces

Keep it simple...

Dinner parties can stress the budget.  I like to have simple arrangements for the table and that usually involves fresh flowers .  Rather than large bouquets which are tall and obstruct views, think about simple ways to use flowers or leaves in a repetition.

Hosta leaves are one of my favourites and I have lots to choose from in my garden.  I love the idea of massing different sizes and shapes of glasses/vases and submerging separate leaves in each one. 
The sunflower is a great choice for fall entertaining. If you don't have access to fresh sunflowers, there are realistic looking  artificial ones. The arrangement above works because of the meandering wave and colour variety.
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It's all about scale

  In recent weeks I've spent quite a bit of time looking for coffee and end tables for clients.  Getting the style and size right to work with the rest of the furniture in the space takes quite a bit of juggling and an  understanding of standard  furniture sizes.

The standard height of a coffee table is between 16 - 18 inches, but some can be as high as 21 inches. How do you know which height to choose?

The answer relates to the height of the sofa/ chair. I prefer to see the coffee table about the same height as the top of the chair cushion or one or two inches lower.  The length of a coffee table is usually about 2/3 the length of the sofa not including the arms. Don't forget that you need at least 18 inches (24 is optimal) of space for your legs between a coffee table and the sofa.

 The size  of your coffee table should work with your sofa and other furniture in your room. It should also work with the size of the room overall. Let's check this out.

How do you feel about the coffee table choice in this lovely room?  I would like to see something longer (remember the 2/3 the length of the sofa rule). This little beauty is having a difficult time holding her own with this sofa.

The soft colour scheme and small scale furnishings  in this room  appear overwhelmed by this large, dark, and tall coffee table, but I really like the table.  Sometimes the weight of a table is influenced by the colour and material choice not just the overall dimensions.  Darker colours and solid woods tend to look more visually weighted.

Grisell Navas contemporary living room
Grisell Navas

Don’t forget the size of the room when thinking about scale. Glass tables work well in smaller rooms because they give the impression of lightness -  space is not blocked out.

dakota contemporary living room

 Even with two tables this room does not look over furnished.

Great Room traditional family room

If your room is spacious and/or the furniture is large in scale, choose heavier wood tables or ones with lots of  tiers or drawers.

Willowgrove Living Room contemporary living room

This is a beautiful room with a colour scheme I'm partial to. Does the coffee table work for you?  I wouldn't want to try to place something on the table while sitting.  I'm such a stickler for function!
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Open doors - an ocean getaway

As a child I often imagined how a house would look on the inside as I drove or walked about the town where I lived.  I'm assuming I'm no different from most people.  My Open Doors  series of posts will fill the need to peek inside everyday homes- not the grand designs of decor magazines, but interesting homes that are achievable for most people.  Come along on a visit to my friends' ocean beach house. 

 The patio overlooking the Atlantic Ocean has lots of beach finds.   There's a wind up today. 

 From the kitchen looking out through the screened window.  Even I would like to wash dishes here. The exterior of the house is red with a soft creamy white trim.

Pat and Janna travel all the way from British Columbia to Newfoundland every summer to enjoy life on an opposite ocean. I met Pat  when she and a friend  came to visit my studio/gallery in my summer house.   Ever since we've been looking forward to our summer time visits. When they left this year I received a key to the premises so I could photograph.  

 After one visit to the Bonavista Peninsula , Pat and Janna fell in  love with the place and purchased a typical Newfoundland outport house and began to remodel it.  Remodel doesn't seem the right word though. They worked backward until they reached the original boards, removing layers of wallpaper and wallboard.  I was lucky enough to photograph some of this process for my wallpaper archive which is part of an art project I'm working on.  Here's what it looked like then....

 And look what was hiding under the layers of wallpaper, a newspaper article about The Kennedy family.  After much patience and elbow grease they were ready to simplify the decor.

 They painted the whole interior  white and added their personal touches. That's what makes a home in my book.  I appreciate the way they have arranged/displayed their finds.

 The accent colour throughout the house is red.  What a fitting use for these cod jiggers!

Sea urchins in a bottle, beach glass, a boat and sea birds on an old trunk flanked by windows and oars.  

 More splashes of red against white and navy blue.  The sofa is red,  but it was covered for its winter rest.

 Some  of my favourite things in the house... the checkerboard that has two colours of beach stones for checkers, and a book about sea glass which prompted me to get my own copy.  It just arrived and I'm reading every word getting ready for next summer's hunt.

 Most of the furnishings are from IKEA which is a feat when you live in Newfoundland- they have to be shipped or driven.   I covet the aqua coloured lantern on the bookcase. Would they notice if it wasn't there next summer?

 I love seeing the remnant of an old window (I'm guessing) above the left chair. Shutters are a very practical window treatment because these windows are visible from the street and there could be nosy people just like me hovering outside.


  I call this the gallery of "Walked On" .  Pat salvaged scraps of the various floor coverings from the house and framed them in simple IKEA frames.   The stark simplicity of the frames show off the contents.  Keeping the stairway all white further enhances the overall look of this very effective display.

Upstairs hallway leading to....

..... a great desk area .  Now where did they find that old map of Newfoundland that was on the school room wall in my day?

There are more rooms for another time, but I ran out of battery power before I could finish my job.  Do you have any favourites?

Thanks to Janna and Pat for leaving me with the key and welcoming my intrusion.
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Thursday Tip #5- Use geometry

rosettes  living room

Most  furniture  is predominantly rectangular.  When you're adding accents it's good to include circular shapes to play against the strong horizontal  and vertical lines. The basket, table, wooden goblet and  medallions work wonderfully with this sofa (which is not as squared off as most).  There's also lots of texture in this room. If you can't count at least five different textures in a space it is probably not that exciting!  You rarely see beige paired with yellow, but doesn't it look fabulous? In case you didn't notice.... spray paint medallions meant for ceiling applications and use them as wall decor.
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Seen through a window

Travelling allows you to broaden your horizons in many ways.  You get to experience different cultures, climates, foods and transportation systems.  While many things stay the same from country to country,  there are also subtle differences in many of these areas.  One of my favourite things to do when I am walking in a new city is window shop with my camera.  Here are shots from Munich and Prague that relate to interior decor. Hope you see something your like.

Bling is in and the metal of choice appears to be chrome with lots of crystals....

Bedding inspired by nature and the fall season was everywhere.  

 Fall table settings

 Purple is popular.

And quirky clocks are always fun. Sometimes you even get a surprise when you take a shot. I'm looking in and out!
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Interior Design Idea, to Brighten Your Home

In addition to paint you should change out all of the window dressings. When you step into any home one of the biggest elements that ages the interior design is the window dressings. Change out not only the color, but the style. Today curtains and blinds are affordable options and are available in many different styles and colors. Make sure that your new window dressings compliment the color of the paint on the walls. You can choose something in the same color family, or you can add another touch of color by opting for something altogether different.

Another way to change the interior design of your home is to add throw rugs or runners on the stairs. You will want to choose more modern pieces than you currently have. In addition to rugs, you may think about replacing your flooring altogether. If you have old dingy carpet you are automatically aging your interior design. Pull out worn carpet and consider replacing it with new carpet or even tile. Tile and wood floors are really popular right now and the products on the market make these flooring options really easy to care for.

If you are not sure what to do to change the look and feel of your home, why not bring in a professional who deals with interior design? They may give you some great ideas that you can do on your own or with their help. Sometimes the changes need not even be all that drastic and they will change your home instantly!
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