Garden Inspirations as Easter Arrives…

The signs of Spring abound…we have had incredibly warm weather, the Canada Geese and Robins are back, and the Easter Bunny will soon arrive!

 Photo Courtesy of Style at Home

I have been excited about the arrival home of my two college aged kids…for a short stint at Easter, and then for summer as they take a break from their schooling.  And then the fear of God set in, as they both bring home with them the contents of their temporary college homes…argh…my already crunched-for- space garage will be filled to the brim!  Some current paint and decorating projects will have to be shifted around, and a Garage Sale may be in order…but til then, let the preparations for Easter begin!!

Photo Courtesy of Riches to Rags by Dori


The addition of fresh flowers to your home always gets everyone in the feeling of Spring.  Raised in the home of a perennial (literally!) gardener, the appearance of Easter Lilies or fresh bouquets adorning our dining table was an annual tradition.  On a recent trip home to my parents, I was amazed at my dad’s ability to over-winter Geraniums, Amaryllis, and a huge variety of house plants.  A skill I have never been able to master, I save my gardening abilities for creating outdoor beds and tending to my ever-changing design plans for my yard.  A process always in motion, I find it a relaxing time that proves to be very rewarding, even during our very short growing season!!

Photo Courtesy of Sagewood Design

One of my largest garden projects completed was my grouping of shrub beds created to take up space on our former acreage!  Low-maintenance was the main focus…we surrounded the beds with large rocks, and filled in around the shrubbery with gravel.  To keep weeds from peeking through your landscape fabric, use layers of newspaper after you have removed the sod.  Yes, the people at the recycling bins will think you are crazy…but it is all in the name of keeping life simple!  We had a well-head and a septic cover that we needed to conceal.  We used Dekorra Rock, supplied by our friend, Diane, of  Ezee Rock, to blend in seamlessly with all of the real rocks.  Pictured below is one of three huge rockery beds we created…in the background you can see the large circular fire pit area.  Designed specifically to house all seating within the area of the rocks and gravel, we no longer had the hassle of moving heavy lawn furniture each time we needed to mow.  It was a dream to keep this area looking neat and tidy, and safe because all sparks from the fire landed on the stones, rather than the grass.

Photo Courtesy of Sagewood Design

Whatever your Spring gardening projects are, save yourself time and money by planning ahead.  Just as you would inside your home, draw up sketches and plans.  Remember that those tiny trees you plant may some day be huge…so placement of those is imperative.  Consider the views from your interior out to your garden area.  Create focal points, and build up layers around these areas to highlight them from both inside and outside your home.

Enjoy the warm spring weather,  and your family this Holiday Easter  Weekend!



Creating a Suite Retreat…

We talk often about creating the whole package when designing your home…you’ve got to pull all aspects together for a peaceful and harmonious balance in your life.  So what better way than keeping this philosophy in mind as you go about designing and decorating your Master Bedroom.  It often is the last place in your home that you tend to…it’s understandable that you want your public living areas to be finished first as this is where your guests gather.  But it is so important to have a restful, peaceful area to go to at the end of a busy work day!  So don’t cut yourself short…whether you are living in a tiny apartment, or enjoy the luxury of a large estate home, be sure to pay some attention to your Master Suite…a sweet retreat!

Photo Courtesy of Design Connection, Inc.

In choosing your color palette, as always, choose colors that envelope you with a peaceful feeling.  So popular now are the pale aquas and silvery greens, or a shade of champagne…what could be more relaxing (and romantic!) than champagne…whatever your choice, choose colors that you love.  Layer on shades of similar color choices in your bedding and accessories  for a serene look.  Different textures of materials will add interest, but keeping the same colors sends a relaxing message of not being too busy and crazy—the last thing you want at the end of a nutty day!

Photo Courtesy of Beyond Drapery

In choosing materials to finish and furnish your bedroom, check out the ever increasing range of allergen-free products.  If you’re prone to allergies, you are better to eliminate carpet out of your plan, and go with a hardwood surface.  If hardwood isn’t in your budget, check out the many great alternatives…there are some vinyl products that mimic hardwood that are fantastic.  Blackstock Leather is a fabulous eco-friendly product that I am considering using my own Master Bedroom.  It can be applied as flooring, or onto walls (yes, walls!!)  How about that for a feature wall behind your bed—even as a headboard it looks just great!  I am NOT in love with my current shag carpeting that was existing in our recently purchased home, and think this might be a great replacement option.

 Photo Courtesy of Candice Olsen

As a long time fan of Candice Olsen, the above Master Bedroom Suite is a perfect inspiration for a restful, luxurious retreat.  Layers  of patterns and textures in shades of blues.  Carrying the draperies right to ceiling height add height to this already grand room and highlight the architecture of the ceiling.  It is always nice if you can incorporate a chair into your bedroom if you are lucky enough to have the space.  Can’t you just picture having morning coffee here?

Photo Courtesy of Style North

Don’t have enough in your re-decorating budget for all new furnishings?  Consider spraying your current furnishings to coordinate the look.  Many people have collections of mis-matched nightstands, dressers, and such.  Choose which pieces you really love that will fit in with your new design plans, fitting your storage requirements, and furniture layouts.  Have your pieces all painted in one color coordinating with your room.  By keeping the color consistent, you maintain a cohesive look, and you have done a great thing for both the environment and your pocket-book!

Wishing you Sweet Dreams!


Adding some Spring to your Step…and your Home!

It is that time of year when visions of green keep popping into our head!  Spring is just around the corner,  and now is the time to start planning those spring time projects for your home, both inside and out.  Having a new yard to begin landscaping has me designing various layouts for upcoming flower and shrub beds, including moving plants that have become too large for their space and filling up a corner of my yard that is difficult to mow and really is a dead space calling out for a special feature–maybe a water fountain surrounded by some beautiful perennials.

But until the snow is gone…let’s focus still on interiors.


Photo Courtesy of Child

As clients are excited about updating and freshening their spaces for Spring, various shades of green keep popping into our plans.  Whether planning a modern twist on a traditional nursery, as above, or re-creating your main living area, I love the various shades and combinations of green.  Easily incorporated into a variety of styles, we continue to see greens ranging from sages and olives to the crisp apple and acid greens.  Espresso and black tones of furnishings partner well in a traditional home.


Photo Courtesy of House and Home

I love these rustic end tables mixed with the crisp traditionally upholsetered side chair.  If contemporary is more your style, pair apple and acid toned greens with Chrome, brushed stainless, white and translucent furnishings.

Photo Courtesy of Stanley Furnishings

The above photo highlights a shade of green we are currently using in a project.  Benjamin Moore Grasslands CC-590 is a perfect shade to partner with medium toned rustic wood flooring.  Our trim color choice is Navajo White OC-95.  It is the perfect combination to brighten up a dull, dated interior.

Be sure to highlight a gorgeous view to the outside if your scenery allows.  As below, if you are surrounded by greenery and lush surroundings, create a vista inside your home that compliments the view to the exterior.  This beautiful island home features the armoire flanked on either side by windows with a great view to the greenery outside.  Layering the décor accessories in varying heights on top of the armoire creates height and interest. Along with keeping all colors in the room neutral with a  shot of gorgeous wood tones in the armoire makes this piece a real stand-out.


Photo Courtesy of

Whatever way you choose to incorporate green into your home, whether on the interior or exterior, it won’t be long before we are enjoying the outdoors.  So hurry and get organized with planning what’s on your Outside To-Do list…and maybe think about adding some spring shades of green to your interior space.

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!


Have You Got your Tangerine On?

Photo Courtesy of Furniture Home Design

Well…okay, maybe you’re not prepared to paint entire walls Tangerine.  But there are plenty of ways to bring this fun, energetic color into your home.  Voted Pantone’s Color of the Year 2012, Tangerine Tango is sure to bring some pizazz into your space.  As the trend for color continues–yes, even in Alberta, where the color of choice is tan, we can easily add a hit of Tangerine to brighten things up.

I love this shade partnered with white and chrome accents.  It is a perfect color for a teen’s room, as they move from their childhood color schemes into a more grown up theme.  Don’t worry…they are only teen-agers for a little while!  And remember my motto…it’s only paint!  Definitely use it as a feature wall.  If you just can’t commit to paint, there are some fabulous bedding and decor accessories out there to add some punch to a neutral backdrop.  Pair Tangerine with Turquoise and add a pop of yellow, and you can’t help but be instantly energized.

Photo Courtesy of Style at Home

I can think of a couple of nephews that would be thrilled to have this fantastic color added to their rooms.  The graphic prints available now are a great way to update a dated room.  The 60’s and 70’s inspired patterns are funky and contemporary.  Imagine my thrill when a client dug out an old pair of table lamps–a beautiful shade of Tangerine complete with Chrome Base!  They are minus the shades, but a quick addition of a new shade and they are right back in style.  Eeeek…how great is that!

Photo Courtesy of Lamps Plus

Here’s to a bright and cheery spring!


Family Photo Gallery…Display your Loved Ones with Style

Nothing makes a house feel like your home until you surround yourself with the photos of your children and family.  I recently finished two family homes by assisting them with their family art collections.

In one instance we created a Family Gallery Wall.  This is a great way to showcase your family through the various stages of their lives, and the great memories you have from activities or vacations you have travelled on together.  It’s unique just to you, and it creates a sense of family pride amongst your children to see their photos showcased in such a special way.

The Gallery Wall you create doesn’t need to have all matching frames.  Though if you like the look of the consistency of all black contemporary, or the crispness of an all white-framed gallery against your walls, by all means start collecting those types of frames.  Some crafting stores sell entire packages of a selection of various sizes of frames with a template to follow…if you are concerned about your placement abilities, this is definitely the way to go!

I think it is fine to have an assortment of different frames for your Gallery Wall.  Keeping within the same color family will keep your collection maintain a flow when you have different styles of frames being placed together.  A variety of sizes of frames will add interest.  Varying the layout to have large, medium and small can be tricky.  I suggest beginning with the largest piece in a place of high-light, and build your layers from that.

Spacing is important also as you begin to lay-out your photos.  I suggest sorting your portraits first as to kids’ collections, photos of generations past, frames that don’t have any relationship to the style of gallery you are trying to create.  With a variety of frame sizes being hung on the wall, keep the spacing in-between consistent.  2 -3 inches is what I prefer as it ensures a cohesive look without being too crowded.

As you create an off-set placement of your large to small frames, you allow yourself to add to your gallery as the years pass.  As in the Wall we created for our client most recently, some of the frames needed to be up-dated or changed out to fit the style selection of the majority of their family portraits, which consisted most of ornately embellished frames in dark wood tones.  Some had gold or metallic highlights which gave them an eclectic feel with which they can add and change frames as they desire.

By grouping your Family Photos together, you are celebrating your family and your home.  You are giving your photos importance by grouping them together as a feature to all that visit your home.


Gallery Wall Courtesy of Pottery Barn

Time for Redesigning your Home…and your Life!

Make this year the year to get yourself on track.  Set some goals, do some good, make it happen.  Enjoy life more.  Learn lots.  As we enter 2012, let’s think about what we can do with “this” year. Some things in our life happen by chance, and some things happen by design.  So make this year the year that everything counts…it’s the year to “re-design” your life.

Always forefront in my mind is to create a home.  Really.  Be proud and grateful for your home, everyday…and make it a great place to be.  Tackle your rooms, one by one, and address the problems presented to you.  Choose soothing paint colors that you love!  A good scrub-down and a fresh coat of paint is great to lift your spirits.  If that room is a dumping ground for old furniture, kid’s outgrown clothes, and paper piles–guess what??  It’s time to de-clutter.  Set up a system to remove the stuff you don’t need.  Love your recycling program.  I am so happy every Thursday when my guys come to pick up all that junk that just clutters up my garage…and my life.

Challenge yourself to re-use articles in your home in a new and fun way.  Up-cycle some photo frames, a night stand, or even a lamp with a few coats of paint.  Need new decor??  Check out vintage and second hand stores for some steals.  On a recent stroll through a store filled with vintage stuff, I found two designer frames and a small woven tapestry.  Sooo exciting!!  With a plan to decoupage beautiful paper into the picture frames, I am assured to create items that are unique and gorgeous…all for $15.00!

When we talk of creating peace and harmony in your home, its important to work on that for yourself, too.  There are many great life coaches and sevices to help you with creating personal happiness.  Take time each day to sit quietly.  Make a concious effort to have some quiet time. There is a very real problem with being tuned in all the time to all the electronics and technology available to us…so it is imperative for your health and the health of your children to make time for quiet.  Try something new…take a yoga class or maybe that photography course you’ve been thinking about for so long.  Reach out to a friend or neighbor that may need your support.  Volunteer some time to help others.

Realize that all of these steps are the building blocks to building your happy, peaceful life.  You get back what you put out.

Make 2012 fabulous!!


“Cheers to a New Year, and another chance for us to get it right!” –Oprah

Whew…December’s Here!

Wow…December is here!  ‘Tis the Season and may I say “Yay”!!  I love the Christmas Season and have been thoroughly enjoying the excitement brewing with friends and family.

A seemingly global decision has been made by so many people to simplify their Christmas season and festivities.  I have heard from alot of people that they are not going overboard with shopping, planning to spend more time visiting friends and family, and really just trying to get back to a simpler time for holidays.

On the decor front, I have loved looking through all the new Christmas decorations in the stores.  There are fabulous glittering, shining goodies…and there is also a real feeling of vintage decor coming back.  We have been recommending to clients that they don’t need to go spend alot of money on more decor…just look through your own decorations and see what you can re-vamp and re-style.  Pull items from rooms and use them in unexpected places.  A quick spray of gold and silver spray paint will give some tired tree ornaments some glitz and glam.  Visit your local craft stores and dollar stores…there are some amazing ribbons, florals, and decor to add a touch of new for not alot of cost.  We all love the coziness of the Christmas season…cozy up your house with time-worn and well-loved items.  I really think decorating for the holidays helps us get through our long Canadian winters!

Vintage is creeping into home decor more and more.  A current project of Vintage Garden and Custom Design is what we are presently working on.  It is a sign of people craving that unique look for their home that you just can’t get by buying a ready-made furniture package.  How absolutely refreshing to be able to mix high-end with existing fabrics and decor, and have a request to throw in some customized painted furniture to add to a distinct personality for the home and our lovely clients.  I love that!!

As we get closer to the Christmas Season, I hope you will add love and cheer to your home…enjoy time spent with neighbors and friends, and delight in the smiling faces of all the little ones so excited about the arrival of Santa!


Vintage Decor courtesy of

Vintage Decor courtesy of

Summer’s Past…and so nearly has Fall!

It’s been so long since my last post…I can blame a hectic summer filled with a busy schedule and much travel…and learning all the way!  Fall is upon us with its beautiful colors, chilly mornings, and a return to routine, which is something I think we all crave after holiday time.

I am always looking for ways to improve my craft and business.  This summer was filled with a love of design and a love of learning.  I had the privilege to tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s genius property, Taliesin West.  Situated in the desert of Arizona, it is surrounded by the absolutely glorious colors and textures of the landscape and the never-ending sky.  It, by design, blends seamlessly into its surroundings.  The thought came to mind that, indeed, this man was a genius…

How thrilled I was to see the same architecture and design elements Frank Lloyd Wright created and used so long ago still being used today.  All through the landscape of Arizona, and even on our travels through Southern California, the use of his clean-lined, geometric was apparent…some were new buildings and homes, and others dating back a few decades.

The gardens and use of landscape to compliment and enhance the site of Taliesin just melded together with the home.  How lovely to have a tiny little courtyard garden right outside your bedroom, with a view of the horizon and sunset as the backdrop?

It’s the planning and design of your home and its surroundings that are crucial.  I loved that this home was built so long ago, and yet so much of it was still current and used  today.  Even its decor had me thinking of all the resurgence of up-cycled, vintage pieces that are so popular now.  Thoughts of that funky sideboard your mom has from the 50’s, the china cabinet begging to be re-purposed, and the happy feelings we get when something comes back in style for the second (or third) time!

Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes and buildings with a timeless brilliance.  Be sure to create brilliance in yours…

 Courtesy of Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Photo courtesy of The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation