Top 5 Tips to “Winter Refresh” your Home

Warm up to Winter

Warm up to Winter

For many of us we feel a certain sense of accomplishment when we clear away the Christmas  decorations and restore a sense of order to our homes.  It marks the end of too much; clutter, eating,  drinking, spending, analyzing our family (maybe just me on that last one) and helps us hit that New  Years’ goal of being more organized. The thing is, now our homes look bare and lifeless without all that  glitter. Time for a little “winter refresh” to help you get through the next few months of hibernation.

Tip #1 –  See your room with fresh eyes

Now that the tree is gone and there’s a big gap in your room it’s the perfect opportunity to change the layout of your furniture. Have you had the same layout for years? Is there another way to arrange what you currently have? Would replacing the coffee table with a big ottoman change the function and the warmth of your room? Could you switch up furniture between your rooms. With cold days ahead think about arranging your furniture to take advantage of your fireplace or other hotspots in your home, flanking the fireplace with the chairs is so warm and inviting that you’ll want to curl up and stay awhile.

Who wouldn't want to come out of the cold to nestle into this room. Photo courtesy of Pinerest - Handmade for the Home

Who wouldn’t want to come out of the cold to nestle into this room. Photo courtesy of Pinterest – Handmade for the Home

Tip #2 –  Baby it’s cold outside!

Add a big basket of cozy blankets to your room; it adds a splash of colour and texture as well as keeping you and your guests toasty on those chilly nights. Don’t forget to put extra blankets in your guest room.

This ladder adds a bit of dimension and provides a functional place to display a collection of blankets

This ladder adds a bit of dimension and provides a functional place to display a collection of blankets. Photo courtesy of ControllingCraziness.blog.com

Tip #3 – Paint!

I think that this is the perfect opportunity to paint. While you’re cleaning up your decorations it’s just one more step to pack up the remaining accessories. As much as I hate to admit it we’ve got at least 3 months ahead of us that are indoors… why not create a space that you love to be in! See A Colour Story to take my painting quiz.

Time to freshen up those walls your staring at.

Time to freshen up those walls you’ll be staring at all winter.

Tip #4 – Buy fresh flowers

Nothing brightens up a room faster than fresh flowers. We are fortunate that we can now find so many varieties even in winter, spring might be months away but we can add some spring happiness with tulips and amaryllis that can be found at most floral shops.

Adding citrus fruits in the base of your arrangements will provide a quick and easy hit of colour and life to any room.

Adding citrus fruits in the base of your arrangements will provide a quick and easy hit of colour and life to any room. Photo courtesy of stylemepretty.com

Tip#5 – Redistribute your art & accessories

I often work on refreshing and editing with my clients and one of the first things we do is gather up lamps, accessories and art, we then lay it out on the dining room table and find new ways/places to group and display them. It’s amazing how a group of candle sticks can look completely different when paired up with new accessories in a different location.

This sparkly grouping from Pier 1 would add warmth to a hall table or mantle. Gorgeous!

This sparkly grouping from Pier 1 would add warmth to a hall table or mantle. Gorgeous!

I’d love to hear how you make your home “winter blah” proof, leave me a note in the comment section. Happy January may it be a warm and toasty one for you!

Ottawa Design Shopping

A good part of my life is spent sourcing furniture, accessories and fabrics for design projects.  Finding the right combination of pieces that fit the vision and have that certain “Wow” factor isn’t always easy in a small city like Ottawa, but with the right ingenuity and perseverance it’s possible. I really believe that homes that have layers of personality are the most special and engaging, but this means alot of shopping to get just the right mix. I get asked all the time “Where did you find that?” So I put together a list of some of the places where I have the most success and feel confident sending my clients for a unique selection and great service. Of course Ottawa has all the big box design stores and I spend time there too but everyone knows who they are. This list is for curating your collections and shopping our local hot spots to get a look that’s got spunk and sparkle.

Furniture Shopping

Furniture Shopping

1) Urban Barn : 22 York Street in the Byward Market

I love the Urban Barn for the mix of rustic cottage and downtown glam. I head here when I need furniture with clean lines and sleek detailing without being too cold and contemporary. They also have an awesome collection of interesting coffee tables, colourful toss pillows and fun accessories.

Because I find that the finishing touches are what make the room I’m always on the hunt; I have good luck finding ready made drapery panels, large clocks and area carpets here.

2) Cadieux Interiors: 1280 Old Innes Road

Cadieux is home to some of the most recognized names in the furniture industry; Drexel Heritage, Baker, Barbara Barry, Bernhardt, Calvin Klein…

If you’re looking for pieces that you see in the design magazines then this is your first stop. I really like the diverse selection of products and the well designed displays. Cadieux really demonstrates what a well designed home should look like.

3) Polanco: 177 Richmond Road in Westboro Village

Polanco is a breath of fresh air. The showroom is absolutely gorgeous; full of inspiration and sunlight with beautiful displays that make me want to order one of everything!

There is clearly a bent towards the modern, urban client but many of the pieces would mix seamlessly into a more traditional decor. The two story showroom features furniture and accessories for every room with a fabulous design studio that includes 1000’s of fabrics to choose from. Us designer types like lots of choice :)

4) Mikaza Home: 1101 Bank Street in Old Ottawa South

Mikaza has a great mix of modern classics and contemporary signature pieces. If you are a collector of all things vintage or love the Mad Men sets then you’ll feel right at home in their showroom.

A go-to for dining chairs and cool bar stools, I also think they have a pretty cool selection of lighting and accessories. For the client that is looking for a sleek and minimal bedroom they have a killer selection of bed frames and case goods.

5) MY Home: 499 Terry Fox Drive in Kanata

MY Home has a terrific mix of modern & transitional pieces that work really well for people who have a family but don’t want to sacrifice style. They have a particularly good selection of upholstery styles that are actually on the floor for you to sit on (as opposed to being handed a catalog) and they have some fab lights and accessories to pull the whole look together.

6) Philip Van Leeuwen : 10 Byward Market in The Byward Market

For design enthusiasts walking into the PVL showroom is like having a shot of espresso; there is an energy and excitement to the experience! They are well known for carrying furniture classics but mixed in with these acclaimed pieces are great value items like dining chairs and bar stools.

If you are looking for a fabulous statement sectional or showstopping coffee table, this is the place. Most people mistakenly think that because the showroom is so spectacular that the prices will be too but I think you will find that the prices are surprisingly competitive.

Furniture & Accessory Shopping

Furniture & Accessory Shopping

1) Dreamweaver: 320 Richmond Road in Westboro

Dreamweaver has a really fun collection of home accessories including wall art, toss pillows and small accents. Most notably it is home to CobiStyle which features a vibrant collection of ready made drapery, pillows and accessories. You will also find a great lineup of bath & body, candles and gift baskets that make fabulous corporate gifts. I love that they support & market Canadian product! It’s such a warm and welcoming store; the jazz tunes & friendly staff will have you swinging by whenever you’re in the neighbourhood, not to mention LeeAnne Frederickson (owner) just knocks herself out with creative displays.

2) Bank Street Framing: 728 Bank Street in the Glebe

There is always something new at Bank Street Framing, they have great little accent pieces that are fabulous for layering into a room that needs a little something. I’m always on the look out  for fun pieces for projects that I have on the go, here you will find clocks, mirrors, wall accents, pillows, wall hooks, small furniture, floral arrangements, vases and of course frames for just about anything you want to frame :)

3) Luxe Interiors: 1677 Carling Avenue

Luxe has a showroom that is jammed packed with a great selection of upholstery and accent pieces. They carry a number of different lines which means they have access to just about any style with an abundance of fabric options. Well known designer and TV personality Candice Olsen showcases her furniture line at Luxe. She has some pretty cool fashion forward pieces that work equally well in an urban loft or suburban family home. I like that they have so many styles on the floor that my clients can test drive, most people really need the live experience when choosing furniture to be able to visualize it in their home. The Luxe showroom is gorgeous and sunny and full of design inspiration.

4) C&M Textiles: 1547 Merivale Road

C&M boasts an incredibly large selection of fabrics! They shop all over the world for textiles and I find that makes all the difference in being able to find fabrics with personality and high style. If you are looking to find something a little out of the ordinary (or plain Jane) C&M is the place to start. They have large swatches of fabrics so you can really see the pattern and often have many of the textiles in stock in Montreal. C&M also features drapery hardware and finishing touches for your windows.

5) Multi Luminaire: 1872 Merivale Road

Shopping for lighting can be a pain in the neck! Multi Luminaire has a massive selection of lighting and have access to another massive selection in catalogs. They have every major name brand as well as some unique, independent suppliers. Their showroom can be a little overwhelming for clients (ohh look shiny thing) so I try to keep them focused by walking in a straight line, up and down the aisles, not always easy when your eyes are focused on the ceiling…hence pain in the neck. They are competitively priced and very accommodating.

6) Zone Maison: 471 Sussex Drive in the Byward Market

Speaking of shiny things, Zone is full of them! Their fabulous windows set the stage for all the little treasures inside. I head to Zone when I’m looking for modern & sleek accents; glass tables, small desks, affordable lighting, funky accessories and table ware + linens. I frequently do a little Byward Market loop: park by Urban Barn, walk to PVL and then finish up at the Zone with a few little stops in between :)

I hope you find this to be a helpful resource and will consider shopping our local retailers that work so hard to to make their showrooms destination spots.

Hope your life is full of colour today.

Jennifer

Friday’s Five Faves

This week has been an all out sprint to complete lingering projects, translation… I’ve spent a ton of time online shopping and pounding the pavement. Here are five really cool design finds that I scooped up this week.

Jonathon Adler for Kravet

Jonathon Adler for Kravet

 

Manhattan bar stool - Sunpan

Manhattan bar stool – Sunpan

 

Moma Chair - Urban Barn

Moma Chair – Urban Barn

 

New Wave Collection - Momeni Inc.

New Wave Collection – Momeni Inc.

 

Howard Elliott Collection

Howard Elliott Collection

 

Brilliant blasts of colour with design details that grab your attention was on the agenda this week, mission accomplished :) What’s up next you ask? Well, I’m on the hunt for a “showstopping” raspberry fabric and a killer dining table.

Hope you have a weekend that’s colourful!

Warmly,

Jennifer

Spunk And Sparkle

Let me start off by saying I love Vancouver, seriously I feel at home there from the moment my feet hit the tarmac. We had a busy week of family obligations but every day we took time to get on our bikes and explore the city. One of the interesting things about Canada is how varied our design is. I am overwhelmed with love for Vancouver architecture. It feels like every house has it’s own unique detail; mixed materials like cedar shakes, copper detailing and a variety of board and batten colours. I almost fell off my bike a number of times just trying to take it all in!

One of the great things about exploring another city for a designer girl like me is having the opportunity to wander the local design shops. My heart started to beat faster and I felt a little sweaty with anticipation walking into Chinz & Co’s massive downtown showroom.

Image

Image

Image

20130817_120644

Image

For the full photo album of Design goodness visit our Facebook page.

There is a life beyond Home Sense and my wish is that people think outside the box be open to creative accents and begin to create homes with layers of personality.  Vancouver is so vibrant and full of possibilities, our safe neighbourhoods of Ottawa need to take a page out of their book and add some spunk and sparkle!

Image

Do you feel design inspiration when you travel? Let me know where you’ve been that most inspired you.

Long Weekend Packing

It’s the first long weekend of the summer and I’m just itching for it to arrive! This weekend our family as well as my sisters and their families will beat a path to the cottage. I have to say part of the fun for me is planning the menu and who’s bringing what.

I’ve been on the hunt to finish off some of the cottage projects that I started with my Mom in the spring so this weekend the SUV will be brimming with food and finds. I thought it would be fun to do a “I’m on the way to the cottage and in my trunk you’ll find” post :)

Long Weekend Haul

Long Weekend Haul

1. Us Cross girls are famous for our ability to consume copious amounts of cheese, no happy hour is complete without one. Local Balderson Cheese is a family favourite!

2. Green glass tea light holders from Bowering are going to look gorgeous on the deck, both during the day and lit at dinner.

3. I’m in love with my new Cobi style pillows from Dreamweaver Gifts in Westboro. The indoor/outdoor fabric means I can use them in the living room & on the sun porch…genius

4. The lantern style reading light from Urban Barn is the perfect edition to the newly complete dorm style bedroom.(see photo below)

5. It’s a long weekend and it starts with drinks on the deck, well actually every weekend kicks off in that manner! My, Mom, sisters and I head for the flavoured vodka. “Waiter: lemon vodka, cranberry juice, soda and a lemon wedge all around please” Cheers!

6. Winners has a huge selection of lanterns at amazing prices. I picked up 2 sizes

7. While at Winners I also found sumptuous Tommy Hilfiger towels that are going to look amazing on the dock. That chevron print is everywhere right now.

Dorm Bedroom

Dorm Bedroom

So I’m off to get a jump on packing. For more cottage inspiration checkout our feature in this months Ottawa at Home.

Happy Canada Day!

Pinterest Fave’s

I’m a very visual person, a picture is a quick and easy way for me to explain my vision to a client. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and I’ve built a pretty good collection of images that I can use as a reference point for my clients. I thought I’d start a new series highlighting some of the great people on Pinterest that inspire me.

A word to the wise, if you’re new to Pinterest; when you click on a profile of a Pinner you have the option to follow an individual board. You do not have to hit follow all at the top, this way you can pick and choose what interests you and you won’t be clogging your feed. Also watch for boards that have the multiple Pinners icon (3 little heads).  Although some of these boards have great content they often have thousands of pins on them  and sometimes aren’t relevant to the topic. I recommend that you click through the board to ensure that it’s not just the one image that caught your eye but there are other images that reflect your personal interest.

Marnie Fuchs Martin - A colour consultant in TX. This is the most comprehensive collection that I've come across. I love the way she has laid out all her boards by both style, room and colour.

Marnie Fuchs Martin – A colour consultant in TX. This is the most comprehensive collection that I’ve come across. I love the way she has laid out all her boards by both style, room and colour.

Jennifer O'Brien - Profiles her City Farmhouse. She has a great collection of inspiring design boards and vintage ideas.

Jennifer O’Brien – Profiles her City Farmhouse. She has a great collection of inspiring design boards and vintage ideas.

Better Homes & Gardens Magazine. They continually post feel good interiors, exteriors and entertaining imagery. Love them!

Better Homes & Gardens Magazine. They continually post feel good interiors, exteriors and entertaining imagery. Love them!

Amber - Snippets Design. A wonderful collection of entertaining, cottage chic, garden and style. I like the way Amber has broken her boards into style categories.

Amber – Snippets Design. A wonderful collection of entertaining, cottage chic, garden and style. I like the way Amber has broken her boards into style categories.

Shanna Nicole - Design Lifestyle. If you're looking for inspiring event ideas or entertaining and high style glam then you'll love the depth of her boards.

Shanna Nicole – Design Lifestyle. If you’re looking for inspiring event ideas or entertaining and high style glam then you’ll love the depth of her boards.

Erin Olson - House of Turquoise. How I love these boards! Filled with fun colourful interiors and exteriors that will make you smile. Pinterest Happiness.

Erin Olson – House of Turquoise. How I love these boards! Filled with fun colourful interiors and exteriors that will make you smile. Pinterest Happiness.

And there you have it, this weeks Hit List. Do you have a board that you would recommend? Share it in the comments section, I’d love to hear from you. Happy Pinning :)

Lemonade Jars

Lemonade Jars

Has anyone noticed that mason jars & glass dispenser jars are everywhere? I thought they were turning up because I was looking for them for my summer wedding, but now they are overtaking Pinterest & turning up in design show features. Both Pottery Barn & Pier One are featuring tons of them.

I adore the look for say a wedding :) but also would be great for a backyard BBQ. What do you think?