Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sherwin Williams Chip It - An Unsolicited Opinion

We have all heard that the best way to design a room is to begin with an inspiration piece, like a painting or a carpet and then pull a paint colour from that.  Not always an easy task because the colour is often so intertwined that it's impossible to pull out your favourite.

Sherwin Williams has come to the rescue with a new online tool called Chip It!  You can immediately turn any photo or image into a colour palette and identify the Sherwin Williams equivalent colour.  You download their app and it sits on your dashboard.  When you come across an image you like, you just click on the "Chip It" button (a la "Pin It" for Pinterest).

This beautiful piece of art is by one of my most beloved artists, Samantha Walrod and it's a piece that I was hoping would win the heart of a client.  Imagine how easy decorating would be if you just chose your art and then pulled out your wall colour perfectly.  Wait a minute, that might be VERY bad for business.

You might not want to paint the room in Lusty Red but it would definitely be helpful to have a paint chip in hand if you wanted to mat this lovely photo and could use the chip at the framing shop.  A wee bit of a time saver versus going through the trillions of mats in the store.

I am often out in nature and finding myself blown away by the colours around me.  There has been more than once that I wanted to pull over to the side of the road and pull out my colour deck to check the colour of the crimson leaves on a tree or the grey-blue of the sky. This makes it just a teensy bit easier for me to do that (without causing major traffic accidents).

Visit the Chip It site here to download the app.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

10 Reasons Your Designer Might be Thinking of Firing You

I'm part of an online designer forum and today we were discussing a designer's difficulty  in having to fire a client.  Sometimes the fit is just plain wrong but sometimes a client has overstepped their boundaries and the relationship can no longer continue.

Here's a list of the top 10 reasons your Designer might be thinking of firing you.

1.  Missed Appointments - Unless you have passed away in the night, you will be jeopardizing your good relationship with your designer by not showing up or cancelling at the last minute.  

2.  Indecision, Indecision - Changes to a design plan are a part of a good, healthy relationship between designer and client.  If you are soliciting the opinions of your neighbours, parents and clerk at the grocery store you will have too many reasons to feel scared and confused.  You are not a focussed client and you probably require way too much hand holding for this to be a viable relationship.  

3.  Non-Payment - You should have signed a contract with your designer indicating when payments will be made throughout the process.  Non payment is pretty much a deal breaker and/or a very good way to put a stop to any further progress.

4.  HGTV-itis - Sarah and Tommy are NOT showing you the entire process in a 30-minute episode.  There are months of preparation to get to a finished room.  Don't base your expectations on what you saw on tv last week.

5.   Cutting out the Middle Man - The relationship your designer has with workrooms is one that she/he has spent months or years establishing which is why you get such great prices and work well done.  You are not part of that relationship so do not ask for the phone number or address.  

6.  Saturday Night Dinner Guest - While it's true that you have your designer's cell phone number it does not mean you should call them on a Saturday night to ask about hardware choices.  Make a list of questions and bring it to your next meeting.  

7.  The First Baby Syndrome - You know how cousin Jenny is expecting her first child and talks about it as if nobody has ever had a baby before?  You might be doing the same thing regarding your reno.  Your designer has done this many times even if you haven't.  Trust that she/he knows what they're doing and that they've seen this exact issue at least a dozen times.

8.  Designers are the Design Professionals - Decorating is fun and lots of people are good at it.  That doesn't make them designers.  You don't go to your dentist and tell him/her to take into account what your brother's fiancee thinks so the same courtesy should be extended to your designer. 

9.  No Return Policy - Designers are not personal shoppers.  Unless it has been included in the contract or previously discussed your designer will not be returning all the items you didn't like for the decorating portion of the process.  

10.  She's Just Not That In To You - Sometimes the designer and client just don't connect and it's like a bad relationship.  Once things go sour there may be no turning back.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Working with What You Have

Have you ever purchased something for your home with no idea of where it would end up?  Yup, me too.  That's the case with this bolt of silk fabric that I bought a few years ago.  I purchased it with the intention of using it for curtains in my daughter's bedroom but 3 bedrooms and 3 cities later I'm still dragging it around.

As I was scouring my fabric books looking for the perfect fabric to make some curtains for our master bedroom I realized that this perfectly good fabric needs to be put to use.  Not necessarily a colour I would have chosen for our bedroom I am now taking this as a challenge and am determined to make it work.  Not only make it work but make it fabulous.

Here's how to incorporate something you don't love and turn the room into a space you really do love.

In this case I need a fabric with lots of colour and pattern for a duvet cover.  The fabric should include the colour of the fabric you're starting with.
 Now you can focus on a secondary colour that you actually do like.  I'll need this for pillows.

It's important to repeat not only colour but patterns.  In my case I'll add one of these fabric trims to the curtain fabric.

And finally a rug is essential for finishing it all off.  I can't finish a room without some black and especially a room like this that's been worked around bright colours.

Now that I have a plan I'm actually quite excited about using the silk.  See how easy it is to use what you've got and make it work.                               

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Are you an Over Styler?

I recently read an article in the New York Times entitled "How to Tell When You're Over-Propped".  It hit such a nerve with me that I just had to write my own version in an effort to rid you all of your over-styling ways.

An over-styler is someone who styles their home to look like a magazine layout.  Trends are great but only in moderation.  Take a look at the list I've compiled.  If you are guilty of one or more of these, you should seek immediate intervention.

1.  Fabric Extravaganza - Chevron, Ikat, Quatrefoil, Imperial Trellis, Suzani or Greek Key.  If you're nodding your head enthusiastically and being transported to your happy fabric place then it may be too late for you already.  If you have 2 or more of these patterns in one room of your house, you're over-styled.

Over-styling remedy:  Find fabrics you love rather than loving what's hot.  I'm a big polka dot fan and I use it everywhere.  Pair your love with a trend and it'll look super trendy but unique.

2.  Party Like a Rock Star - Do you own a bar cart?  Do you throw cocktail parties?  If you said yes to both you're okay but if you said yes to the first and no to the second, you're over-styled.

Over-styling remedy:  Just don't do it.  Booze is great but it's just not that exciting as a decorating tool (especially if you drink it all and your cart is empty most of the time).

3.  The Domino Effect - The Domino decorating book is an icon of good style.  Do you own it?  Great.  Are you currently using it as the focal point of a vignette?  Bad.  You're an over-styler.

Over styling remedy:  Use any other book ever printed for display purposes at least for the next 2 years.  I own this book but it's well hidden for now because this book screams over-styler.

4.  Stripemania - Have you recently painted either vertical or horizontal stripes on any wall in your home?  Alone you're fine but in conjunction with anything else on the list and you're an over-styler.
My entrance

Over-styling remedy:  Do something to make your stripes different from the rest.  Change the size of the stripes, use only a few, very thin but well placed stripes or do stripes in the centre of the wall and do them in a bold colour.

5.  Framed - Gallery walls are hot, hot, hot.  I love them but if you have more than 10 frames hanging in a room and not one of them includes a photo of a person you love then you're an over-styler.

Over-styling remedy:  Make sure that there's something personal on your walls.  It can be a photo, a letter, a scribbled drawing from your child.  It just looks like YOU live there and that's what you want.

So there you have it.  I will readily admit that I myself am an over-styler and I can give you the number of a good therapist if needed.  What about you?  Are you guilty?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Painting Interior Doors

One of the things that's keeping me awake at night these days are my interior doors.  They're white and boring like the doors in so many other new homes.  I bet many of you have equally ugly doors so I think we should all get out our paint brushes and give our doors some life.  Which category do you fall into when you think about painting doors?

SOPHISTICATED AND DRAMATIC - Black is bold and strong but it's also considered sophisticated and can work well in both traditional and contemporary spaces.

CHIC & SUBTLE - This one is a lower contrast so definitely a good option for the faint of heart.  I really like that the door frame has been painted the same colour.

STAR OF THE SHOW - These wild colours are great if you're just looking to paint one door or a set of doors.  I'm pretty sure too much of this good thing could go very wrong so use restraint people.

PAINTED EDGE - I am so crazy about this idea. It's a great option for someone who is just not ready to paint but wants to add a bit of pizazz to the room.

So which one are you more likely to lean towards?  Have you been brave enough to paint your interior doors?
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