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  • HOW TO DECORATE FOR THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS

    As busy as we are closing up our year, we can't stop thinking about the Christmas Holidays. In case you weren't aware, we are closed for two weeks to spend some quality time with our loved ones. However, we won't leave without giving you some inspiration for the holidays.

    Winter has arrived and holiday decorating is almost or already here. There’s nothing more exciting than putting up your Christmas tree while listening to some Michael Bublé. Wouldn’t you agree? 

    Listed below are 4 tips to get you ready for the holidays!

    1. Table Arrangement

    Planning on having the family over for dinner? Here's how to have the perfect table arrangement. Get a centerpiece for the table. We absolutely love the look of garland. Add a few candles, some berries, and your table becomes very festive already!

    Photo Via Country Living

    2. Add a wreath

    Add a wreath to your front door to show some holiday spirit or better yet, hang some around the doors inside!


    3. Buy a Christmas tree & decorate

    There's nothing like a real tree! Yes, it's messy but the fresh holiday scents and the experience are completely worth it! You can pick out and even cut down your Christmas tree yourself at Quinn Farms. It's such a fun activity to do with the family or a loved one! Enjoy the time spent together decorating your tree with the endless possibilities of choices! I especially love this Winter Wonderland look!


    Photo Via Country Living

    4. Light up your house

    If we were as patient as the person who decorated their home below, we would be welcome in Whoville! I've seen many houses over the past few years who take the time to show off their Christmas spirit and it's especially great for the little ones.

    Photo Via DIY Network

    Hopefully, these few tips inspire you to be a little more festive this year! Just a few weeks left until the holidays and we haven't even bought our tree or started decorating. We are always so last minute, but who has time when work never quiets down? On that note, we want to give many thanks to all our clients who have allowed us to grow and work on so many beautiful projects this year. Merry Christmas everyone!

  • A GUIDE TO A SCANDINAVIAN DECOR

    Scandinavian interiors are known for their neutral colours, warm accents, and mid-century modern furniture. This minimalist style embraces simplicity. Want this look? Take note of our few tips on how to achieve your Scandinavian look below.

    1. Neutral Colours

    In most Scandinavian spaces, walls are kept white to keep a clean and simple look. Colours like white, grey, and blacks, are most likely to be your colour palette. However, you can bring in soft, pastel colours. Find our favourite whites here.

    Photo Via Est Living 

    Photo Via My Domaine

    2. Light Flooring

    In order to keep your Scandinavian feel, you must have light floors. Whether it be your traditional light wood floors or white/grey tiles, this allows the space to feel bright & airy.

    3. Wood & Metal Finishes

    A minimalist design can be plain and boring, if not accomplished correctly. It's all about layering neutrals and natural textures. Bringing in wood through your furniture pieces allows your space to feel cozy - A simple way to make your room brighter without using bold colours. Adding metal finishes really ties the space together whether it be through your lighting or accent pieces.

    Photo Via My Scandinavian Home

    4. Add plants

    Bring a little life in your home with plants. Don’t add anything too colourful, but the right amount of greenery is an important key to bringing your Scandinavian Decor to life.


    Photo Via Pinterest

    5. Clutter Free

    This may be a hard one for many people. Without realizing, we all have a tendency to clutter. In this type of design, less is more. If you want your space to feel calm and inviting, any unnecessary items must go!

    Photo Via Sophie Heawood

    6. Lighting

    I’ve found that Scandinavian interior lighting is simple yet beautiful. I love the look of a wicker pendant, although the classic glass lighting fixtures compliment this design very well.

    Photo Via All About Interiors

    Photo Via Pinterest

    There is a fine line between simple and boring, but with these 6 tips on how to achieve your Scandinavian decor, you've got nothing to worry about!

  • LAS VEGAS MARKET 2018

    We've been heading to Las Vegas Market now every year for the last three years. It's a large tradeshow for everything decor and furniture related. We're talking about 3 buildings with over 5 floors of showrooms. All of the best suppliers and manufacturers are there to showcase their new collections and talk shop. During the three days that we spend at this giant tradeshow, we network, attend seminars, learn about new lines and products and place a few orders for product. The first year we went was a learning experience where we were able to see the decorating industry from a different point of view. During the second year, we placed a few orders for pillows and small accessories for our design clients. This year was special because it was the first year that we brought Melinda with us and it was the first time going with the goal of selecting pieces for our upcoming online shop. We've opened some exciting new accounts and we've hand-curated a good selection of products that represent our design aesthetic and our brand. We basically went shopping for all of you!

      

      

    Over the next few weeks, we'll be working on getting our products on a list, editing and eliminating and bringing the selection down to the best. Fingers crossed that we're just four short weeks away from launching Hibou Home officially.

     

     

    One highlight from the trip is that we'll be introducing a new line of rugs from Loloi.

     

     

    We also had loads of fun with Melinda this time. It was her first time in Vegas so we showed her around and traveling with her further confirmed what we already knew about her; she's a real team player and the perfect fit for our Hibou family!

     

     

     

    And of course, it couldn't be all work, we had to squeeze in some fun!

     

    Check out our highlights on Instagram!

  • DRESS UP BARE WALLS WITH A FRESH OUTLOOK

    Wall treatments date back as early as the 1400’s and most of us will agree that they remind us of our grandparent’s house; outdated. However, it continues to evolve into modern day society. Wallpaper can definitely make an appealing decorative statement, but at the same time can direct you towards a certain style. It helps warm a space, create a statement, or simply add some depth to an otherwise lifeless wall. While you can use wallpaper almost anywhere, we love using them in entrances and powder rooms. These are two rooms that usually don't have much space for anything else decorative, so our solution is usually to dress the walls. 

    In smaller spaces, adding a bold pattern or color as an accent really enhances a room’s design. Using geometric shapes such as linear patterns, hexagons, triangles, etc., adds a visually appealing aspect to your home while keeping it timeless. There are many creative ways to freshen up your home even if that means simply repurposing the back of a bookcase with decorative wallpaper.

    Here are a few pro tips;

    • For every design, our rule of thumb is to keep the pattern fun yet moderate. We never want the wallpaper to take over our design. 
    • Always confirm quantities with your installer before purchasing. Pattern repeats and different widths make wallpaper difficult to calculate on your own and expensive if you get it wrong.
    • Hire a professional installer. For the price of the paper these days, you definitely don't want to take a chance in having it installed poorly. Save yourselves both the headache (it's not easy) and the cost of having to start from scratch. Trust us - we've seen our share of DIY's gone wrong.
    • Lastly, don’t be afraid! That outdated wallpaper has now evolved into something current and elegant. So dress up those bare walls with some creativity to create an impactful statement within your home. 

    By: Melinda Recine

  • Guest Post: IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS by Korina Khamis

    Our guest blogger today is Korina Khamis; a Montreal based decorator who specializes in residential spaces. She has a passion for problem solving and a special talent for creating a beautiful visual balance in any home.

     
     
    "As a decorator, I usually get to work with clients once all of the bones of the home are up, the walls are painted and some big pieces of furniture are already in. People think of calling me in at this stage of the project because while looking around they find there is something missing. Their space is lacking warmth, character, a personality and they don't know where to start.
     
    Hiring a colour consultant will give you a great start, but it shouldn't end there! Paint and furniture can only go so far and blank walls can feel repressing, much like a blank canvas. Look at what a difference the accessories make in the pictures below, without the art, throw pillows and drapery this room seemed dismal and all of the effort put into choosing the right paint colour would go unnoticed.
      
    Source: Simply Modern Home
      
    Source: Simply Modern Home
     
     
     
    It is important to decorate a space, and every space for that matter. Why stop with the family room when there are multiple walls and surfaces screaming for attention around your home; bedrooms, dining rooms and even the washroom should get some love. 
     
     
     

    Many people feel that hanging art should cost a small fortune, but art doesn't have to be expensive, it has to speak to you.  It can tie in the other colours around the room or it can stand out, but if you don't know where to start, use your art to help bring your space together.

    Missing some throw pillows? Try pulling a colour from your artwork for your pillows. Repeating colours will ensure that your home is cohesive which makes it feel put together and complete. Look to add texture in pillows, rugs or art to add dimension and visual appeal. Play will different fabrics, tone on tone patterns, and both mat and shiny finishes to give your space depth.
                

      
     

    Even the smallest surfaces matter, don’t make the mistake and overlook your coffee table or ottoman, entry way table or small shelves.
     
     
     
     
    It is the little details that can and do make the difference between a bright, fun and inviting home and a beautiful, but boring one."


    by: Korina Khamis - Interior Decorator
     
     
     
     
    Call us today for help with all of your decorating challenges!
  • THE FRAME DEBATE

    What's the deal with white window frames? I'm not talking about trim (this time), I'm talking about the actual frame. The one that gets installed with your actual window. For years the standard has been white on both the inside and out. Now people are following trends and deciding to go with black on the outside but they still insist on keeping the inside white. In fact, some people are actually paying more to have both colours; black on the outside and white on the inside.

    Let me tell you what my problem is with white frames. First, and foremost, it's totally the wrong white. All of the standard white aluminum windows and doors are this horrible, super stark white with a tint of blue. I say tint, but really, I mean that they are blue-white. As soon as the trim is painted a decent white; Cloud White, Chantilly Lace, or even (my favourite) Simply White, you will see that most window frames are really a very light shade of blue. It's terrible. 

    If this isn't a reason enough, did you know that black frames actually give you a better view? That's right folks, blacks frames are less distracting, therefore they take away less from your incredible, lush, green view. Where as white demands all of your attention, which completely cuts your beautiful view.

     

     

    Here's the biggest question I get when I'm trying to convince a client (who's about to spend a ton of money on new windows) to go with black frames;

    What colour will I paint my trim?

    Easy! Either something to blend in with the black frame or something to blend in with your wall. Black frames with black or dark trim looks great. Black frames with off white trim and an off white wall also looks great. Black frames with white trim and dark wall doesn't look so great. The idea here is not to have too many contrasting colours next to each other.

     

     

     

     

     

    Can't decide? Skip the trim all together. Black window frames look best without trim. Whether your space is ultra modern or traditional, this is truly the best option!

     

     

     

     

    If you're still indecisive or if I've confused you any more, give me a call to schedule a colour consultation. I'll be happy to not only help you choose the right colours for your home, but to explain why they're the best choices too!

  • THIS IS WHY I GIVE AWAY SO MUCH FREE ADVICE ON MY BLOG

    Every day, I get paid to give people advice. This is how I make a living as an interior designer so it's no surprise that some of my close friends and family are a little shocked to see that I give away so many of my hard earned lessons, valuable tips and step-by-step instructions - for free - on my blog. I've given this great thought and here's why I do it.

    The do-it-yourself-er who is religiously reading my blog and following every last suggestion I make is not going to hire me anyway. Someone who loves a good DIY, will always want to do it themselves. It empowers them, it makes them feel accomplished and they genuinely enjoy it. Who am I to take that away from them? Instead, I'd rather give them a hand and even a push in the right direction. Either way, these readers enjoy learning from their own mistakes, so go ahead and get your hands dirty! 

    The skeptic is that reader who is kind of looking for design ideas but doesn't know if they are ready to surrender their home to the aesthetic of a designer. Well, this blog will prove to them that I know what I'm talking about and that I'm able to communicate it. It will also show them that there is a lot more to think about than they could possibly imagine. This blog actually works in my favour with this kind of reader as it pushes them to seek the help of a professional.

    And finally, the shopper is the one who knows they want to hire a designer. They have ten websites of local designers open in tabs on their browser and now they just have to narrow it down to the right one. Sure, you can eliminate a few based on their portfolio but when you're down to comparing apples with apples, how do you make your final pick? Easy! Read their blog and find the one that you connect with the most. I can't tell you how many clients have told me that they feel like they know me through my blog and that they already know which design choices I'm going to lean towards based on what I've shared online. Welcoming a stranger into your home to help you change it is an extremely personal experience. You have to make sure that you can connect with your designer and that you will easily understand each other. Screening their blog is the BEST way for you to test the waters before you even spend a dime. 

    All of that being said, I'm back to blogging with a vengeance! I've coincidentally bumped into A LOT of acquaintances and old friends lately that have told me how much my blog has helped them with their own renovation which really has given me a push to keep blogging.

     

    Are you a skeptic or a shopper ready to book your first consultation? Contact us today to get started!

  • MY 5 STEP PROCESS FOR CHOOSING BATHROOM TILE

    It can be very overwhelming if you're choosing bathroom tile for the first time. Tile stores can offer a huge selection which can lead to some very unsure decisions. A full bathroom may include a floor tile, a wall tile and possibly a mosaic for the shower floor if custom built. Of course, you can always get creative and add accents, inserts, niches which usually just adds to the confusion and makes people even more indecisive.  

    Follow this 5 step process for a simple way to get to your end result.

    STEP 1: Start with your must have.

    Pick a tile that you absolutely love that you want to build your palette around. It can be the wall tile, the floor or an accent or even the countertop. This will simply give you a great starting point in a store with endless possibilities.

     

     

    STEP 2: Pick basic coordinating tiles.

    The rule of thumb in any room with fixed finishes is to have only one showstopper. Just like you wouldn't want a busy countertop to compete with a trendy backsplash in a kitchen, the same applies for bathrooms. If you end up going with an intricate mosaic on the floor, keep the rest of the space more toned down.

    STEP 3: Repeat the same tile.

    Don't feel obliged to pick 5 different tiles for the floor, wall, shower floor, niche and accent. Repeating a tile will create a flow and will be easier to coordinating than choosing different tiles. When you have too many different finishes in one space, it will look too busy and if you're doing this on your own, you have a greater chance of picking something that will not match. Stick to not more than 3 different tiles in one bathroom. 

    STEP 4: When in doubt, go with the same tile everywhere in different sizes.

    I do this all the time and I promise that the bathrooms I design don't end up boring or too simple. For example, I would use a 6"x24" tile laid in a herringbone pattern on a floor, the same tile in 12"x24" on the wall and the same tile in a mosaic pattern on the shower floor. The key to doing this right is to play with different sizes and pattern. This creates a texture that gives depth to the space. This is a good option for someone who will be installing a showstopper countertop or for someone who doesn't have the eye to coordinating the colours in multiple tiles. 

    STEP 5: Ask yourself two questions to confirm that you've made the right choices.

    Will the plan I've put together work with the flow of my home? Or will you be walking into a completely different style/era? Unless, you plan on slowly renovating the rest of your home, I wouldn't do an ultra modern bathroom in a country style home. It's important that the design aesthetic for the bathroom you're renovating flows with the design and architecture of the rest of your home. 

    Will I be able/willing to maintain the tiles I chose? If you love marble and plan on putting it everywhere but don't ever want to seal it or worry about toothpaste or water stains, than maybe marble isn't for you. You may want to consider using it as an accent instead or maybe look into porcelain replicas.

    Need help with your bathroom project? Contact us to book a consultation!
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  • STYLE YOUR SPACE LIKE A PRO

    Regardless of how much thought you've put into choosing furniture, a space will not feel complete until the final details are placed. It's the finishing touches that make a space feel lived in and inviting. Here are my 3 top tips to styling your space like a pro.

     

    1 - Try to decorate with what you already have. Useful things can be beautiful and no one wants to collect decorative junk that you will never use. Showcase your favourite serving dish or your antique tea set. Start in your kitchen; you never know what kind of gems you will find.

     

     

     

    2 - Declutter. A) by bunching your decorating items. B) by using boxes to store jewellery, keys, bathroom necessities. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

    3 - When all else fails, nothing will warm up a space faster than fresh flowers. I like to keep a bunch of inexpensive clear vases on hand that I fill with flowers bought in bulk and disperse throughout my house. 

     

     

  • MY TOP 5 DECORATING DOs DON'Ts

    Hello again! I've been completely caught up in being a new mom that I've neglected my blog for the last 4 months. I know - it's sad. But I'm sure all of you moms out there can understand! Personal busy-ness aside, design is still always on my mind. Following my favourite blogs, Instagram and the few projects I've been working on have kept me in touch with my passion. Which bring me to my topic of the day; this past week, I've put together a few blog-worthy visuals of my top decorating dos and don'ts. Some of these may appear obvious to some of you, but I can't tell you how many homes I walk into with these common mistakes.

    1 - Choosing the right area rug for your space. Size matters! Bigger is always better when selecting an area rug. It's so important that in a living room, the front legs of all of your furniture sit on the rug. This makes the room appear a lot larger. In a dining room, don't even bother with an area rug if the chairs will not completely sit on the rug WHEN FULLY EXTENDED.

    2 - Art is a great accent in any home but nothing will throw me off more than art that is hung too high and not aligned properly. The center of your art should be hung at eye level. Your eye level, since you will be the one enjoying it the majority of the time. All of your pieces should also be aligned in the center. 

    3 - Curtains should always be installed above the window frame. Closer to the ceiling, preferably. This will make your ceiling appear higher than it is. They should also be installed so that the panels sit on the wall beside the window when open. The point here is by installing your window covering around the window, and not over your window, you are creating a bigger window that allows more natural light to pour in. And who doesn't want more natural light in their home?

    4 - This tip applies to renovations or new constructions but it will be a life saver when the decorating phase comes around. Install all electrical switches at 36" off the floor. It appears to be that eye level is the standard and I simply can't understand why. It makes it very hard to place art on your wall. It's an eye sore and I simply cannot find the purpose in installing it at eye level. It's even more comfortable ergonomically to flick a switch at 36".

    5 - This may be a big surprise to some but your furniture should not touch your walls. Contrary to what you may think, by having your furniture float within the room, you are creating a more airy and open space. Leaving even just a couple of inches can make a difference if you're tight on space.

  • MIRRORED BACKSPLASH

    When it comes to backsplashes, I'm a strong believer that less is indeed more. As you can read in this older post; How To Backsplash, a trendy backsplash is truly a recipe for disaster. Finding that perfect last piece to complete your design can be as simple as mirror. Perhaps an older concept that has seen its day, like a lot of older options (ie; the subway tile), a mirrored backsplash can be the perfect timeless detail to complete a contemporary kitchen. I love this look when there isn't much backsplash to cover which is often the case with open galley kitchens. When you have a small surface, adding another element to a kitchen can look out of place or too busy. Also a great solution to bring in more light, create depth or extend a beautiful view.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • 2015 INTERIOR COLOUR TRENDS

    As always with the start of a new year, it seems like everyone has something to say about the year's upcoming trends. With colour being such a huge factor that plays into everything design related, we all want to know what direction it'll be heading. After Pantone released their 2015 colour of the year,  I was a little surprised by the choice but not shocked that we are moving towards warmer tones.

    I find Montreal to be a very avant-garde city where we adapt very easily to change and we embrace it with open arms, no matter how drastic. We quickly turned the page on yellow-beiges and browns over ten years ago while some cities in the States are still in the process of making the transition to the cooler grays. Unlike our neighbours in Toronto who tend to keep it classic, we're open to bold pops of colour, crazy patterns and everything trendy. This wallpaper will be rarely seen in an upscale home in Toronto, yet it's probably a great seller here in Montreal. 

    With our modern lofts popping up all over downtown and its vicinity, it's not unusual to see bold pops of colour in their lobbies and common spaces.

    This shows that we are among the first to embrace a new trend and also the first to get sick of an old one. Looking ahead, colour forecasters are saying that we are moving towards the warmer tones inspired by nature and I'm truly not surprised. In this city, we jumped from the beiges to the cool grays so fast that now everyone is finding gray too cold, too industrial so we're already leaning more towards "greige", taupes and warmers grays. I don't at all think that we will be bringing back the beiges and browns of the 90s but we're definitely going to be seeing our current favorite neutral evolving soon.

    In a world where being green is so important and everything organic and natural is spreading like wildfire, who has room for industrial grays? It just doesn't seem to match. When aviation was in its prime, it inspired the streamline Art Deco design style of the 1920s, 30s and 40s and that's what's going to happen again. Trends are dictated by what's happening in our communities, and what's making headlines globally. Right now we are going back to basics, we are more interested in the old than the new. Eclecticism is trending where we recycle, reuse and mix and match with little rules. Check out my blog on Wabi Sabi which is a Japanese philosophy that's looking very trendy these days.

    Projects and movements making a small environmental impact and a big statement are huge trend influencers. Eco friendly travel, including developments like the Mashpi Project, are proof that the need to connect to nature is there and probably stronger than ever. This need was born from the advancements of our society, technology, industrialism and the lack of nature in our surroundings.

    Let's bring nature back! We will soon see the return of florals, and although some people may think that this would be going back in time, it's not quite done in the same way as what we saw in 80s.

     

    Natural finishes and raw material are here to stay (for a while I guess). Seeing the grain in wood, lightly stained pieces and simple scandinavian design are all big in 2015.

    Layering different textures and materials and mixing bold colours and patterns are also among styles that I look forward to seeing.

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  • I'M KIND OF DIGGING BLACK KITCHENS

    I NEVER thought that IKEA would ever inspire me, but I have to admit that it's what opened my eyes to black kitchens. If you scroll down just a bit to my previous post, you will see that IKEA is coming out with a new line on February 2nd that includes a true black finish. Well, I have to say that I kind of fell in love with the idea of a black kitchen from their photos. This is a shocker since I'm usually drawn to whites or pale blue-greys, but I truly believe that black (when done right) can be just as timeless.

    Here are some of my favourites that I found on Houzz. You will notice that a black kitchen does really well with some bling; pretty hardware, a luxurious stone counter, glamorous lighting. 

    I do think that this particular style has to work with the architecture of your home and that it would look best in a space with high ceilings and good natural light. I'd also love to carry the black throughout the home on all doors and trim.

  • IKEA KITCHENS... REALLY?

    I wasn't able to make it over to Toronto this year for IDS, which is their version of SIDIM, but all I've been seeing from the designers I know in Toronto is about the IKEA kitchen booth. It seems to have impressed quite a few big shot designers and its left me very curious. From what I gather, they are launching a new kitchen program on February 2nd, 2015 that will bring a solution to a lot of the problems that most of us have with IKEA kitchens. They are promoting more options for cabinetry sizes, which means that you can achieve a custom look in a space that would normally not fit their standard sizes. They are also stating that we will have the option to have drawers within doors, which is very practical for a modern look where you'd like the drawers to be hidden within your cabinet doors. It looks like they will be launching some new finishes as well, including a true black instead of their standard brown black that screams IKEA. All of this along with BLUM soft closing doors and drawers leaves me with an open mind about IKEA for future projects on a budget.

    Of course, it would have to be professionally installed - I've seen one too many IKEA kitchens that are badly installed where the kitchen ends up completed crooked and looks like it's falling apart. The only real way to make an IKEA kitchen work is to pair it with a fabulous finishes; a beautiful tile, upgraded stone counter and/or an eye catching backsplash. It looks like it would also be a great solution for a custom bar or bathroom vanity, rather than a full kitchen. 

    Check out what IKEA has to say about their new line SEKTION.

    I mean, does this look like IKEA to you? I just love the drawers on this piece and even the hardware is beautiful.

    Picture taken by Toronto interior designer, Caroline McKay.

  • GREY KITCHENS: TRENDY OR TIMELESS?

    If you subscribe to any design blogs, browse Houzz or even Pinterest, you have surely noticed grey kitchens popping up everywhere, and most of them are hard not to like. As they are quickly becoming a new favorite, I start to wonder if this is just the next big trend. I'll never say that grey is timeless simply because we see it everywhere and it's really just the current replacement for beige. However, it does make for a fantastic neutral backdrop, which makes for a perfect cabinet colour. 

    Do I think that you will love your grey kitchen in 5-10 years? That all depends on if you do it right. As in a living room, or bedroom, if you decide to go grey everywhere, then the answer is no, you will not love your trendy space in 5-10 years. If, however, you use grey for it's best quality, as the perfect backdrop to other colours, than yes, your kitchen can be timeless. A grey cabinet paired with a marble countertop and a white backsplash with pretty hardware, how can you go wrong? A grey cabinet with grey walls, a grey backsplash and a gray tile is wrong. That's when you can look back to the pink and avocado bathrooms of the 60s and imagine what your kitchen will look like in 10 years.

    Here are some great examples of grey kitchens done right. You will notice that what a lot of them have in common is the use of a warm grey, beautiful upscale cabinet profiles, pretty hardware and wood flooring. They don't lack style. Even the last image of the shaker cabinet and simply hardware has a clear country theme with its panelled backsplash, wood countertop and raw floors. Don't let grey be the star of the show, and you're off to a great start.

    Grey is not an easy colour. Choosing the right grey can be tricky because of different undertones that you may not see until presented large scale in the right light. If you need help choosing the right grey, contact us to book a colour consultation.

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  • HALLOWEEN IS OVER WHICH MEANS....

    It's time to start decorating for CHRISTMAS!!! Okay, so I might be jumping the gun a little but don't judge me. If any of you have noticed, the stores are packed with Christmas stuff which makes this post 100% valid. 

    I'm not entirely into the big, over the top, red, green and gold traditional decorating. Sure, if you have the right house for it, then I'd say to completely rock that style. For those of you with more modern or eclectic spaces (me!) that don't know what to for the holiday season, here are 5 tips that can get you on the right path.

    Tip #1: Less is more.

    Tip #2: Don't be scared of bare or nearly bare wreaths and trees. Nature in it's simplest form could be all you need.

    Tip #3: Fake, white trees are tacky. I have yet to see a white tree that I like. I really tried to find examples of the best decorated white tree to maybe change my mind but no luck. You may think it's modern but they're really screaming cheap.

    Tip #4: Red is a strong colour. If your space doesn't have any red in it, I wouldn't put any on the tree. BAM! All of a sudden, all we see is the Christmas tree. So much for hiring that expensive designer.

    Tip #5: You can still be festive in a small space without having it take over your apartment.

  • WHERE TO BUY THE PERFECT CURTAINS

    Since my last post about store bought curtains, I've been receiving inquiries about where to buy curtains that match my criteria; no grommets, long enough to touch the floor ect.

    Here are my top 5 stores both online and local. If you can't find exactly what you're looking for after browsing these selections, it's time for you to consider going custom. You will see that store bought curtains range from $20/panel to $400/panel. If you compare apples to apples, even the $400/panel ones will likely be less expensive than going custom. You will also notice that you still have to filter through all of the grommet panels if you want to end up with something that looks custom. Don't be tempted by some of the pretty patterns only available in grommet panels.

    Happy shopping!

    Restoration Hardware

    IKEA

    Overstock

    Anthropologie

    West Elm

    Still unsure about how to choose the right window treatments? Contact me to book a consultation.

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  • A LITTLE ABOUT ME

    I once learned from a very well known blogger that personal posts are her most successful ones. I guess after religiously following your favourite blogger, you kind of start to feel that you know them and like to hear more about them. Well this one is a little about me - design tips aside. 

    I've been blogging since March 18 2011. It started out with a way to generate more traffic to my website because a tech savvy friend told me that a regularly updated blog helps google recognize your site and will help bump you up in the organic listings. I've never been much of a writer and I honestly never expected for anyone to read my blog (secretly I had hoped that no one would because I was self conscious about writing).

    Since then, the majority of my clients who found me online have told me that it was my blog that convinced them to work with me. By reading my posts, they got to know me and a sense of my knowledge about design. That being said, I certainly was never told that I was a great writer. What's important is that my personality came through and my ideas were clearly communicated. Woohoo! So I decided to continue and I'm happy that I did. It's now become a regular part of my career and I really enjoy it.

    Besides blogging, I'm a self employed interior designer based in Montreal. I've been in the business since 2008 specializing in residential deslgn and colour. I adore my job because I get to work with great clients and nothing is more rewarding than seeing my design creations come to life. Hence the name; Triandos Creations. Since my family name (Triandos) is plastered everywhere, client's often ask me what my nationality is. I've been given everything from Spanish to Russian but I'm actually 3rd generation Greek. More Canadian than Greek, but none-the-less 100% Greek. 

    I'm also a full time mom to my doberman/lab mutt, Congo (yes I'm that crazy woman who pulls out pictures of her dog when people are talking about their kids) and a devoted wife-to-be to my fiance, Alex. We all live in a duplex in NDG which is currently a full house because my sister, her husband and their dog are staying with us until their home renovation is completed. 

    If you've ever wondered what the inside of this designer's home looks like, don't get too excited! You would maybe picture an ultra trendy, high design loft worthy of a magazine spread, but you would be mistaken. My personal style is much less put together and aimed to please the masses than most of the homes I tend to decorate. If I had to label my own taste in decor, it would have to be eclectic. I adore mixing old and new and having a highly functional space that is going to be used and abused. I would never be able to live in a space that is always in impeccable order with everything put away. That's where my creative side really shows; like any artist, I'm an organized mess. I also love colour and patterns and have been known to break the rules by mixing too many in my home. None-the-less, I love where I live and ultimately that's the goal! You have to be able to live within your own comforts and if I had to give myself a picture perfect, high maintenance home I would not be very comfortable. And somehow this post has found it's way back to design. Did I mention that I'm passionate about what I do? Hope you see at least that much from my blog!

    Congo the dog striking a pose.

    Alex and I abusing the photo booth at my sister wedding last fall.

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  • 5 DECORATING TIPS TO LIVE BY

    Here are some tips to take into consideration when decorating your space. They may seam like small details but they make the biggest difference in the overall look and functionality of a room.

    1. The minimum break for drapery panels that hang to the floor is 1". Read my blog post To Puddle or Not To Puddle for more information on how to hang your curtains.
    2. If you are going to be tackling a new construction or major renovation, locate your light switches 36" from the floor so that they are not at eye level and so that they do not interfere with where you may hang your art.
    3. A dining room rug should extend a minimum of 36" around the dining table to allow room for all four legs of your chair to sit on the rug. For tips on choosing the proper area rug size in your living room, click here.
    4. If you're going to paint your walls white, you need art. PERIOD! No exceptions. Centre your art at eye level, never line up the tops or bottoms.
    5. Never install bathroom wall sconces above your mirror. It will cast a shadow on your face, which makes it difficult to put make up on. Instead, install your sconces at eye level on each side of your mirror.

    Everything else is more or less flexible. Rules=limitations, which is not something you want when decorating. These five tips are guidelines to prevent you from making common and costly mistakes.

    Considering a professional decorator? Contact me to book a consultation!

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  • TRENDING: GRAPHIC CEMENT TILES

    This is a big trend that I admit to completely falling for. These beautiful graphic cement tiles bring in character and old school charm, yet they are very trendy and in these days. You can mix them with simple, neutral finishes and, if used correctly, can give you a beautiful timeless design.

    I've used these types of tiles for several projects and they've always made the space. They are a little more difficult to work with because they need to be sealed and given their weight, shipping costs can get a little crazy, but ultimately worth the extra effort and cost.

    My practical side needs to give you a few words of caution: Only use something like these in your space if you absolutely love them and feel that you will always love them. Because like any big trend, these will age your space in a few years when you can no longer find them in a single store. That being said, this is my personal style, so I would happily put them in my space even if I'm the only one with this look in ten years. Would I suggest that you put this tile in an investment property, or a flip? Definitely not! An accent this strong needs to be installed in a space built for you, taking into consideration that there's a big chance that the next owner will rip it out.

    Don't be discouraged! There's a way to work with this stunning tile to make it work forever. If you'd like to see this kind of accent in your space but you're not sure how to pull it off, contact us to schedule a consultation.

    Toi, Moi & Cafe on Laurier

    Love this look, but need help putting it together? Contact me to book a consultation!

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  • SIDIM HIGHLIGHT: WHIMSICAL MASTERPIECES

    My big highlight from this year's SIDIM was this wonderful gem of an artist that I completely fell for. Her name is Virginie Mazureau and she specializes in whimsical art that incorporates several different techniques. As you will see below, she has a very particular style that seams to capture the creative imagination of a child. My wonderful fiance and I loved her work so much that we purchased one of her prints. 

    Here were a few of my favourites. As stunning as they are on screen, they don't measure up to the effect they have in person. These large scale originals are truly priceless, marvellously creative and highly detailed.

    This is the piece that captivated us and begged us to take it home.

  • SIDIM HIGHLIGHT: DID YOU KNOW THAT LG MADE QUARTZ?

    The product line is called Viatera and what really caught my eye was that some of their samples looked so similar to marble. Quartz is so popular these days, that there's quite a bit of competition among the different manufacterers. From Ceasarstone, to Silestone, to Hanstone to Korean replicas, you can now find this factory made product in so many different colours and patterns. None the less, when I saw these unique slabs from a distance, I knew I had to take a closer look. I have so many clients who love the look of marble but don't love the maintenance involved, which makes these the perfect solution. 

    Can't wait to get my samples and put them to use!

  • SIDIM 2014

    This year's Montreal Interior Design trade show had some hot finds. I usually find SIDIM to be a hit or miss but it's always a good idea to check it out to see what's up and coming in Montreal's design industry. From established suppliers to new and different products and companies, there's always something itneresting to see and pick up. A few stands really stood out this year. Stay tuned for some of my highlights.

  • BORING NOW = TIMELESS LATER

    One thing that really stuck with me during Maria Killam's True Colour Expert Training was something she said about timeless design; "boring now = timeless later".

    People complain about not wanting to have something that looks like everyone else's space. They don't want something simple, they want wow; a colourful backsplash, an accent tile in the bathroom, a bright accent wall. Think about what that "accent" piece is going to do for you a few years down the line: it's going to age your space. It's the accent piece that catches your eye that will be the one thing in the room that tells visitors exactly when you last renovated. By keeping your hard, permanent finishes simple, neutral and timeless, you are avoiding having to re invest in your space in just a few short years.

    You can still decorate with accents that will bring your room to life that are a lot easier to change than tile, countertop or cabinetry. Creating a timesless space is good for your moral, your wallet and for our planet. Who really wants to renovate every 5-7 years? Wouldn't you rather do it right the first time and only have to play around with your soft finishes throughout the years? Trust me, I'd love to have the same recurring clients every five years, but would I feel good about that? No. I'd prefer for my clients to call me in five years to tell me how much they still adore their space and how it's aged so well and that when people walk in, they still tell them how beautiful it is. That's good design!

    Are simple, timeless finishes really that boring, once all put together? These are spaces that I consider to be timeless. We still see subway tiles everywhere and they've been around for decades. The same for hexagone tiles, medium wood floors, simple stone counters, white cabinets.

    Can you tell when these kitchens were built? Do they look dated?

    Can I say the same for these kitchens? In ten years, will you still love them?

    Would you like to create a timeless space? Contact us to schedule your first consultation.

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  • HOW TO KEEP PLANTS IN YOUR HOME WITHOUT KILLING THEM

    If you're anything like me when it comes to plants, they won't last in your home for more than a week. It's become a real waste of money to keep spending on plants to try to make them work for me. A couple of years ago I purchased my first Lechuza planter and I can't tell you how happy I am with the results. They make it practically impossible for you to kill your plant and most of my clients would agree. The unique way that the Lechuza planter works allows your plant to drink only as much water as it needs. All you have to do is fill the water reservoir every once in a while, which also makes this planter ideal for the frequent traveller.

    If you're in Montreal, Alpha Plantes downtown and Jardin Jasmin in Ville St Laurent carries them. What I would suggest doing is having them plant it for you and maybe even deliver it to avoid any possible chance of you killing it (I take precautions so that I know I had no part in anything crucial to the life of my plants!).

    I actually still somehow found a way to kill my last Lechuza plant unfortunately. When we last moved in December, I unconsciously allowed my movers to move it and it got frost bite! Who knew that plants could get frost bite? These things should come with detailed instruction manuals. Anyway, it currently looks like bamboo since all the leaves fell off, so I guess it's time to replace it. 

    Here are some pretty pastels from their new collections but they come in all shapes and sizes.

    You'll see that mine, in the corner of my former living room, is actually a lot bigger... and that was what my poor plant looked like before the frost bite.

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  • WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SPOT TO READ?

    In my profession, I really get to know my clients on a personal level and I've realized that every family works differently based on habits, comforts and functionality.  I love that about my job. Learning the different ways that people live and use their space is fascinating to me. Today I snapped a great pic of my god sister reading a book in her favorite spot, under a beautiful lilac tree. What's your favorite place to unwind and read?

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  • NEW PROJECT AND ITS FIRST HICCUP

    Some of you may already know that I'm working on one of my sister's most recent projects; a new home renovation. In result of this renovation, she and her husband have been living with us for the last month and probably for another two. At first, I really thought it would be torturous. It brought back memories of when we used to live with each other before we both moved out of our parents place and it was really one fight after the next. Luckily, without the teenage hormones present, we're actually having a lot of fun. 

    I wanted to bring up her renovation because for one thing, I will be documenting it on my blog and I also wanted to share our first hiccup that relates a lot to the blog that I just recently wrote about choosing the right countertop. 

    My sister, Sophia, and her husband, Tim, bought an older home that is in excellent condition but definitely needs a facelift because nothing has been renovated except for the floors and maybe the beautiful wainscotting that frames the main floor. The project consists of a full kitchen renovation, we're also starting from scratch in the master bathroom, powder room and adding a third full bathroom in the basement.

    I'll be posting the before picture shortly since we lost them when the listing was taken down. Once posted, you will see that it was kind of like walking into a time machine since everything was dated but in great condition.

    They get the keys in about ten days and until then, we've been working on plans and ordering all of their finishes. Sophia absolutely wanted a natural stone countertop. She's sick of seeing quartz and for some reason, whenever she doesn't like something she'll refer to it as being "too condo". It's kind of funny how she associates everything that she's seen too much with condos, it's probably because she's one of the first among her friends that's making the transition from condo life to purchasing their first house and she wants it to feel like a home.


    We reviewed her options and found that she absolutely loves the look of marble but of course, my sensible self could not allow my OCD sister to choose a product that will surely stain over the years and most likely give her nightmares. So I suggest going with a quartzite to achieve the look and feel of marble but with the durability of granite. We started shopping and I absolutely fell in love with a slab that I found at a local supplier. The name of this quartzite is Fantasy Brown but as you will see in the image below, the slab I chose is not very brown. If I chose a colour to accurately describe it, it would be taupe, and maybe even a grey-taupe, with a pink undertone.

    Once approved by Sophia and Tim, I picked up a sample and went on to creating a beautiful palette for their kitchen that was carried through to the rest of their home. Everything was done, we were all so happy with our choices and then I get a call from my installer to tell me that the slab I chose has a defect and I absolutely had to choose another one.

    I was kind of disappointed because I was so happy that I found the perfect slab on my first visit, but I just thought that I would search for a similar slab elsewhere and that would solve that issue. WRONG. I went to at least another 3 suppliers asking for Fantasy Brown and every slab I saw was completely different. Some were too dark, some of the veins were too busy and most were too brown. Here are just a couple examples, and really I only took images of the slabs closest to my original.

    Can you imagine that this is the same stone? I clearly could not settle since that would mean changing the look and feel of the space. 

    This is where I started to panic and realized that this changes EVERYTHING. Since I couldn't find anything I like in Fantasy Brown, we decided to go with our plan B quartzite, which was Super White. 

    This meant that I had to re-shop her kitchen tiles, backsplash and even change her cabinetry colour. Being my sister/best friend who I'm living with and who has done so much for me in my life, I'm not charging her, so this didn't mean much to them. But if this was a client, it would mean at least another full day of work, if not more. All of this because of one little uncontrollable hiccup.

    Anyway, all worked out, really, we loved Super White from the start, and we chose beautiful finishes to bring it to life in her new kitchen. Construction is starting in mid June and I think we're all anxious to see this project start.

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  • QUEBEC'S ONLY TRUE COLOUR EXPERT

    I just completed Maria Killam's True Colour Expert training in Toronto and I'm proud to announce that I'm Quebec's first and only True Colour Expert. The last three days have been an intensive and detailed overview of interior colours and undertones. Maria is truly a genius when it comes to her business model and for having created a system for understanding undertones.  

    I had had an incredible time being immersed in colour for three full days but what also made the experience were all of the other professionals that I got to network with and bounce ideas off of. 

    I'm catching my flight back to Montreal tonight and I'm ready and eager to put the knowledge I've acquired to use. 

    I've been advertising my colour consultation spring special until June 20, 2014 and I will still honor the $150 special until then. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of this rate before my prices increase. Book your consultation today

  • MARBLE, GRANITE, QUARTZ OH MY!

    WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MARBLE, GRANITE AND QUARTZ??

    I thought I would address this on my blog so that I can have something to send to my clients since this is a question that comes up so often when deciding on a countertop stone.

    There are several options for stone counters; marble, limstone, granite, quartz, quartzite. They all have their own qualities and unique pros and cons. Here's a useful breakdown of each material so that you know what you're getting yourself into before your countertop is installed.

    I tend to put MARBLES and LIMESTONES in the same category since they have very similar qualities. They are probably the most beautiful stones on the market, they are both natural and they are also both very porous. Natural stones are those that have not been modified by man. They are dug out from specific quarries and other than being cut and polished, they are left in their natural compositions. Marbles and limestones, by nature, are more porous, which basically translates to: they stain. No matter how well the stone is sealed, if you leave a wine spill, or anything acidic on it for just a couple of hours, you will be left with a permanent stain. This is why I have a very hard time specifying this stone for kitchens. People still often use it in kitchens, but they have to be very careful; they have to seal it regularly and still be okay with stains appearing over the years. That being said, there are certain marbles and limestones that are simply irreplicable aesthetically. For that reason, to some, they are simply worth the sacrifice.

    GRANITE is also a natural stone, and a more popular choice for kitchens because it's not porous. This is the best option for durability and low maintenance when you are considering a natural stone. The only problem that I have with granite is that it's difficult to find slabs that I like. They tend to have more specs and patches than marbles which are more linear and veiny. The colours can also be difficult to work with because one granite can have 3 different undertones. It comes down to finding the right slab to fit your vision. Sometimes you get lucky, other times it's close to impossible. The worst part is that you can fall in love with a specific granite, and once the quarry has run dry, you won't see it ever again. This is also what makes the price of natural stones fluctuate so much; its availability.

    QUARTZ is another really popular choice these days. Partially because of it's strong durability and stain resistance and partially because it suits today's modern, clean trend. This factory made product is composed of one of the hardest minerals on earth and is, like granite, not porous. It comes in a variety of colours ranging from solids to patterns that resemble a more uniform granite. The great thing about quartz is that you don't have to choose your slab. Since it's man made, you know exactly what you'll get, even from the smallest sample. One difference to consider between granite and quartz is that you can place a hot pot directly on a granite counter without leaving a stain. It's not the same for quartz; because of its high resin content, a hot pot will leave a melted yellow ring on your beautiful seamless counter.

    Quartzite is a cross between marble and granite. The beauty of quartzite is that it can sometimes resemble marble but carries the properties of granite. This is a great example below. Super White Quartzite has a lot less going on than your traditional granite, it actually looks very close to a white marble (but with more grey), yet it is not as porous as marble. It becomes the perfect option for someone who wants a look closer to marble but without all of the maintenance. The thing to consider about quartzite is that since it's a mix, certain parts of your stone can be more porous than others. This means it's very important that it's well sealed at all times. It's easy to tell whether your counter needs to be sealed or not. All you need to do is let a drop of water sit on it, if it bubbles up at the top, it's good, and if it gets absorbed, it's time to re seal your countertop. This applies to all natural stones.

    I still would not risk a wine spill to sit on the counter for more than a few of hours.

    If you are in the Montreal are looking for a fantastic Stone supplier, check out Stone Co Inc, at 6400 Trans Canada Hwy. They have the best prices and they are the only supplier I've found in Montreal that is able to deliver and install within a week!

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  • IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS: KNOBS

    Although they can be sometimes overlooked, a set of beautiful knobs can really make a piece. Whether you're building a custom piece from scratch or just changing knobs on an existing piece to update the look, this is where you can make a big impact for a small cost. I like to get creative with my hardware whether it's on furniture, kitchen cabinetry, vanities or doors. Here are some beautiful inspirations and fantastic sites to start shopping.

    Zara Home has a great selection of knobs, handles, pulls, hooks. They also recently opened a store in Carrefour Laval. When they launched their website, I was hooked, up all night mentally documenting everything they have. Beautiful!

    Anthropologie is an oldtime favourite of mine. This store is really great for all kinds of stuff but it's really my go-to store for hardware. They also recently opened a store in downtown Montreal but their selection for home is not huge in store. Your best bet is to shop online.

    We purchased these knobs from Anthropologie for a clients to tie in her nursery colour and give this old piece a new look.

    And as much as I looooove their door hardware - as I am sure you will agree once you see this image below - unfortunately, they are close to impossible to install. I've ordered them before and they are not made for North American doors. My dad (who is a very handy guy) struggled with it for over an hour and once it was installed, it still wasn't perfectly functional. 

    For more classic, but still original options, check out Restoration Hardware

  • EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST ONE OF THESE IN THEIR HOME

    There are some pieces I own that I am so greatful for. This is one of those pieces that I think everyone should have at least one of in their home. The ever so versatile round side table. This one is mine, passed down from my grandmother that has so far had at least 3 purposes throughout it's lifetime. 

    It can be a simple side table used to fill a corner as seen here or on the side of a couch. It can also be used as a night table, or as an entrance table to fill in an otherwise useless space with a pretty vase in the center. I've even used it as a desk. It's the perfect height, it looks great from all angles and will pretty much fit into any room serving a different purpose.

    Here are some more examples:

    In the bedroom:

    Living room side table:

    The entrance centerpiece:

    Office tete-a-tete:
  • MY 5 STEP SYSTEM FOR SHOPPING KITCHEN FINISHES

    If you're tackling your own kitchen renovation and are taking on the task of choosing your finishes by yourself, I'd like to congratulate you for being so brave! It's not an easy task and most people in this predicament simply don't know where to start. After designing so many kitchens, I have this down to an art. I am proudly able to put a harmonious kitchen palette together in less than an hour jumping between 3 stores. This is because I follow a solid system that works for me every time.

    STEP 1: Do your research

    It's impossible to know what you like and what you don't like until you've seen hundreds of kitchens, even if only in images. Study them closely and take note of the finishes you'd like to use and the ones you'd like to avoid. You MUST have a solid idea or concept before you actually start to shop. You need to know your budget and what you are looking for. If things change along the way, that's fine but it would be a big mistake to walk into a stone and tile showroom and not have any idea of what you want your kitchen to look like. Trust me - you won't be inspired by the samples on the walls. You need to be inspired by actual spaces if this is not something you do every day. Houzz is a great place to start.

    STEP 2: Choose your focal point 

    One piece to the puzzle that will be your attention grabber; that is where you will start. If you are going with a busy granite, start there. If you decide on a colourful backsplash, start with that. The idea here is to start with what is the hardest to find, what you will have the least options with. If on the other hand, you decide not to have a focal point, (which is not a bad idea) again, start with what gives you the least amount of options or what you have your heart set on. You really want a natural stone counter? Start by choosing your slab. It's easier to coordinate your tiles to your counter than vice versa. 

    STEP 3: Identify your undertones

    So you've chosen the first piece to your palette. Great! Now closely identify the undertones present. If you don't know what an undertone is, it might be best to consult a designer from here. Make sure to understand which colours will best communicate with this first piece and stick to them. From here on out, it's all about comparing. Every piece you add to your palette needs to be thoroughly compared to the pieces preceding it. All of the undertones need to be harmonious.

    STEP 4: Always take samples

    You can't compare if you don't have samples. It might be hard for you to get used to but you need to ask for samples of EVERYTHING you choose, everywhere you go. In this context, bigger is always better. A bigger sample will definitely help you visualize your space and it will also help in identifying the undertones. Another good idea, is to get more than one option to bring home because your perfect palette may not be so perfect when you get home, which brings me to Step 5.

    STEP 5: Compare the samples in the space where they will be installed

    No matter how sure you are in the store about the palette you've chosen, don't give the final okay until you've seen it in the space where it will be installed. First of all, the lighting in design showrooms can be extremely deceiving. Even from one area of the showroom to an other, it can change drastically. Taking your samples outside will not be the solution because your kitchen will not be flooded with natural sunlight 24/7. Bringing your samples home will help you:

    a) take into consideration existing finishes that you may not have considered at the store, like the adjacent flooring.

    b) better see the colours for what they are in the lighting that they will be installed in. The best thing to do would be to leave them there for 24 hours and see what they look like during the day and at night.

    c) prevent you from making an impulse decision that you may regret which can cost you thousands of dollars to repair. You are making a big decision that you will potentially have to live with for the next 5 to 10 years - sleep on it.

    Follow these 5 steps and I can't promise you your dream kitchen but I am positive that you will save a lot of time and eliminate some of the most common errors made when choosing kitchen finishes.

    If you'd like a professional's opinion instead, whether it's from the start, mid way or just before you give the final okay, contact me to schedule a consultation.

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  • HOW MUCH IS WORKING WITH A DESIGNER GOING TO COST ME?

    This is probably one of the very first questions people have about working with an interior designer. Most clients who call me usually start the conversation with: "I've never worked with a designer before, how do you work? What do you charge?". So much so that one of my very first blog posts was about working with a designer. This time around I'll cover more about how we charge, less about what we can do for you.

    Assuming that you already know about all of the advantages of working with a designer from my previous blogs, lets jump right into what it will cost you, not taking into consideration what we can save you.

    Designers work several different ways: 

    • Some charge a flat rate based on your project size or budget, sometimes this is calculated by a percentage of what you spend on your renovations.
    • Some designers charge hourly rates and take a commission on everything they sell you. This can get blurry considering we usually get discounts on most items and some designer will either just take the commission offered by the supplier while others will tack on up to 30% more.
    • Other designers will charge an hourly rate and will not take commissions on what is sold. 

    The way I work is by charging an hourly rate which includes conceptual work, consultation, drawings, shopping, on-site supervision and travel time if outside the island on Montreal. I don't take cuts on what I sell and I pass my discounts down to my client, but I charge for all of the time I put into the project. The reason I choose to work this way is because I find it to be the most fair for both my client and I. Through the years, I've learned that every project and every client is different. No two projects are alike, therefore I can give you an estimate but I find it close to impossible to specify a flat rate for any project. Plus, at the end of the project, my clients know exactly what they've paid for; how much I charged them and how much I saved them and I feel happy working with my clients to get them the best possible deals.

    A designer's hourly rate varies from $45 to $250 per hour. This rate is based on several factors. First, an experienced designer who really knows what they are doing will definitely be charging more than $45 per hour. A designers rate will consistently go up throughout their career as they acquire more experience and knowlegde through both their work and continuing education.

    I'm not saying that a designer who charges $45 per hour is not completely qualified to take on your project. I'm just saying that they may not have as much experience under their belt as one that is charging $200. Let's face it, school only gets you so far as a designer. Our real knowledge lies in the projects that we complete and the hiccups that we face along the way. 

    Another hidden clue as to what a designer charges is if they have another income source like a percentage of their sales. Most designers consider this a big part of their income and part of their job. They may charge a lower hourly fee but they balance out with what they sell you. This "commission" is also a cushion or insurance for them in case anything goes wrong with the order, while other designers will have to absorb this cost themselves if a mistake is made.

    How many hours will it take to complete a project? That depends on how big your project is, how well your interior designer understands you and what you want and if you prefer to be hands on or if you prefer for your designer to do everything from conceptual to on site supervision. A rough estimate for a full living room, for example, is between 15-25 hours. If you are working on more than one room at a time, it tends to take less time because you can discuss both space during consultations and we can knock off items for both spaces while shopping.

    Another thing to keep in mind is minimums. I require a minimum of 6 hours to take on any project unless it's a colour consultation which is usually billed at a flat rate. Some designers take a retainer before they start a project and others don't, some have contracts or letters of agreement and others don't.

    Bottom line is that every designer works differently and charges differently based on their experience of what works best for them. They will be upfront about it when you hire them and no matter what their agreement is, if it's the right designer for you, their service will truly be priceless. 

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  • THE ART OF CREATING A PICTURE WALL: 5 TIPS THAT CAN HELP

    Creating a picture wall can be a great way to fill a bare wall with everything from photos to art to memorabilia to wall sculptures. However, there is a very fine line between a nicely organized picture wall and a big mess.

    Things to keep in mind:

    1. Have some kind of a structure or common theme. Choose one or more of the following: keep all of the frames the same, keep the frame colours the same, or limit yourself to two colours, use only black and white images, use only images of a certain colour, use similar frame sizes, use similar pieces; photographs, prints, paintings. Whatever it is, make sure that they have at least something in common.
    2. You don't have to cover an entire wall. 
    3. Lay your pattern out on the floor first before mounting it.
    4. Space the images apart equally, closely together usually looks better than further apart. I usually allow 1"-1.5".
    5. Centre the grouping at eye level. As you should hang all art at eye level.

    Here are a few hits, followed by a couple of misses. Feel free to share your thoughts! Happy Hanging!

    HIT: Using a picture rail give you a tremendous amount of flexible and is a lot easier than perfectly hanging individual pieces.

    HIT: Do you have few, small photos that you want to display on a larg surface? Easy, using large framing!

    HIT: This is for the super structured type. Same frame, same size, same spacing, same colour. You can never go wrong with this much structure and you are sure to achieve a clean picture wall.

    HIT: Mix & Match done right!

    MISS: My two misses have the same problem. Too heavy, too many different frames, no common factor.

    MISS

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  • THE BIGGEST MISTAKE MADE WHEN CHOOSING PAINT COLOURS

    This month is going to be all about colour because I just signed up to Maria Killam's True Colour Expert Training in Toronto next month and I've got colour on my mind.

    I give tons of colour consultations and the biggest mistake made when choosing colours is the timing. During a construction, renovation or move, the ideal time to paint is before construction is over, while the construction team is obviously still working on your place, right? This means it's before any of the furniture is in, sometimes before the floor is even in which means the kitchen is not installed yet, the countertop is not there, the backsplash probably hasn't been chosen yet and the client is open to any suggestions I give them.

    At this stage, I can give you ANY colour in the world and it will look fine because we have nothing to match it to. As I've mentioned before, in order to really see a colour, we must compare it to other colours, including everything that will be next to it in the same room. Furthermore, you have far more options for paint colours than you do for your tiles, cabinets, backsplash and furniture. So really the best time to choose the colour for the walls is when the floors are in, the kitchen is installed and your furniture is delivered.

    The problem we face, is that once everything is done is obviously not the most convenient time to start painting. The result for most is choosing a paint colour blindly. Of course, the choice can be made off of samples. So there's solution number one: choose you floors, tiles, cabinetry and backsplash BEFORE the paint colour; if we have samples of all of the permanent finishes, we can confidently choose the appropriate paint colour. 

    However, you still probably haven't started shopping for furniture or even thought about furniture at this stage yet.  Usually, after leaving a client's place who only wanted a colour consultation, I am confident that the paint colour will be beautiful with the kitchen finishes, but still hoping that the client will then choose their furniture based on their wall colour... which is kind of crazy.

    Think about it.

    After weeks of shopping, you may only fall in love with one couch, and that couch only comes in 4 different fabrics. Now what? You have 4 different fabrics to choose from to go with your paint colour or you could have had thousands of paint colours to choose from to go with your couch. It's kind of obvious that we are doing things backwards here.

    So what's the solution?

    I've had to struggle with this one for a while because I can't control when a client calls me and how far into their renovation it is. The only solution that I can come up with is to plan your construction like and interior designer would. Don't wait until your contractor tells you what he needs next to proceed. Create a concept for your space from the beginning, choose everything even before construction begins, shop furniture as early into the renovation/construction/move as possible. Create a mood board, have a plan, an idea, finishes selected and furniture options. Just don't choose your paint colours blindly because you will be limiting yourself at the next step, when it's time to shop furniture.

    If you are planning on hiring a designer, this is another reason why it is so important to involve your designer as early into the process as possible.

    This is a great example; do you think they were able to choose the paint colour before the curtain, fireplace brick and furniture? Definitely not! (for the record, I think a few things are off about this room, but nonetheless a great example)

    I'm curious to know if anyone else has struggled with this problem and if you have come up with any other solutions, tips or tricks?

    I just really like the colours in this picture below:

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  • RETHINKING THE SHOWER CURTAIN

    Purchasing a shower curtain may seem like such a petty task until you actually get there and realize how much of your bathroom will really be affected by your choice. Some people even take it into consideration when building their bathroom to avoid it all together. I have literally had clients spend thousands of dollars more to change the configuration of their bathroom and install a glass shower just to avoid having a shower curtain. 

    Well I'm here to tell you that YOU HAVE OPTIONS! And so here are a few shower curtain ideas:

    The SHEER: This was my inspiration for this blog. I have never thought about using a sheer until I stumbled upon this image today. It's simply an awesome idea for a bathroom with a window in the shower to allow the light in.

    The RUFFLE: These are kind of popping up a little everywhere in different colours. It's fun for a kids bathroom, and it can be very feminin and delicate in the right colours. This curtain is from Anthropology, which actually is one of my favourite stores to shop shower curtains.

    The CUSTOM: This is custom curtain made specifically for this bathroom, you can tell by both the design and the perfect length. You can get super creative with this option; choosing the fabric, embroidery, and borders or inserts, you can also specify the fullness, the length and the hardware. Almost like a window treatment, the combinations are endless.

    CONTEMPORARY HANGING HARDWARE: There are ways to get creative in the way the shower curtain is hung; whether on this super cool recessed ceiling track or on a regular ceiling track made for standard curtains or a decorative pole.

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  • TREND ALERT! GEOMETRIC TILES

    If you have recently visited a tile store of any sorts, you would have most likely encountered the next big trend in tiles because we're already seeing it all over the place.

    I'm really not a huge fan of trends or ultra "trendy" design, as mentioned in this older post. I prefer timeless design that lasts versus renovating every 5 years. Of course, avoiding trends is close to impossible because of accessibility. On that note, I have good news! This is a trend that you can make work forever, since it's not entirely new, we kind of know how it will age.

    I'll give you two really good examples.

    I'm sure you've all at one point seen the white hexagon penny tiles installed in an old bathroom. Like this one. 

    If you found yourself with a bathroom with these tiles (but from the 1940s) in good condition, would you feel compelled to rip them out? Probably not! 

    On the other hand, here's example two of a, at one point, really trendy tile that you would most definitely feel compelled to rip out.

    Can I make this tile work with the right design? Yes. Can the next person who buys your home make it work with their furniture? ... Most probably not. 

    What's the big difference between these two tiles? Well at one point, this terracota orange was considered a neutral. It's kind of how we lather our homes in grey now and consider it timeless. The only true timeless color is white or shades of white. It's clean, crisp and always going to be around. Especially in the spaces that have the most tile, bathrooms and kitchens. 

    Choosing how to work with patterns and colors are also very important. As a guideline, try going with a great pattern in a solid and neutral color, or play around with color more in a less distracting pattern. Unless you're looking to make a statement like we did in this kitchen. However, you will see that everything surrounding the statement backsplash in that project is pretty much white or shades of it.

    Here are some other fabulous (and timeless in the right color) geometric tiles to look out for:

  • WHY IS ALL TRIM WHITE???

    Over the last five years I've been a strong supporter of white trim (or a close alternative). Trim being base boards, moldings, window frames and sometimes doors. It's clean. It's simple. It can be carried throughout an entire house regardless of the room colour. It's an easy go to colour for the majority of my colour consultations. It's also being done by almost every other designer, contractor, homeowner so it's almost the expected colour for trim. 

    That being said, I cannot wait until this changes. I'm so sick of seeing the same super strong contrast between the trim and the wall colour over and over and over. Yes, the goal is to excentuate the trim which is usually a key feature of the architecture of a home, but why not get creative and excentuate it in a different way?

  • CUSTOM CURTAINS: TO PUDDLE OR NOT TO PUDDLE?

    When going custom for your window coverings, you will find yourself faced with many decisions. You need to choose the fabric, the style, the lining, the hardware and of course the dimensions. The length of curtains can vary drastically based on practicality as well as the look you would like to achieve. There are several different options available and it's important to know what they are.

    Curtains that float just above the floor, usually this is about 1/2" to 1/4" above the floor. This is the cleanest look available, however, I tend to steer away from it because the curtains sometimes look too short. Short curtains, for me, kind of look like that old man with short pants, where you see his socks. The reason why they look short is because floors are never really even. So by having curtains just skim the floors, it accentuates this discrepancy when part of the curtains touch and other parts don't.

    Curtains that just sit on the floors, this is usually a 2" puddle. This is by far my favorite option and the one that I use most often, probably 90% of the time. I love this option because you don't get the crooked floor look that you would get in the option above and the puddle is not long enough for it to look messy. You're also not constantly stuck placing the puddle which makes it still very functional. It even gives your wall a little more height when the curtains sit on the floor.

    Curtains that puddle 4-6". This option would be used if you like the look, have the room and are okay with placing and adjusting the puddle when you open and close your curtains. Unfortunately, they don't naturally take this beautiful shape when sitting on the floor - so it's a little more work.

    The very dramatic look of a heavy 12" puddle. This is a look I would only consider for fixed panels. Panels that only serve as decorative features to frame a window, but don't open or close to ever cover the window. It's very annoying to always have to place such a large puddle. You also need the room to be able to accommodate the puddle. You can't have anyone trip over them or have your furniture placed too close to them.

  • CEILING TREATMENTS THAT LEAVE ME IN AWE

    While apartment shopping this last month, I came across an absolutely stunning building from the 1920s. It was a combination of the beautiful architecture, high ceilings, large windows and old charm that made this place special. However, what really stood out were the detailed crown molding and ceilings. They kept me looking up the entire time. It was the inspiration for my blog today. Here's the one shot I left with of the entrance and others that capture the same beauty from these unique ceiling treatments.

  • DIY HEADBOARD IDEAS

    I recently started working on a 490 sq ft, two story loft for a wonderful young couple who are really trying to use every inch in their space efficiently. This even meant choosing a bed without a headboard to save on the room. I soon found myself showing them options of headboard that take up little to no space and I thought it would be great to share in case any of you are struggling with the same issue.

    A stenciled (or painted headboard take no space at all and it can really easily (and beautifully) fill in that empty space above your bed.

    Stencil found at: TradingPhrases.com.

    I grabbed this photo from a fellow blogger, Liz Marie. You can also apply this same concept of hanging antique windows to antique doors, empty picture frames, or stained glass windows. All available at any local antique store with just a little shopping around.

    I love fabric so much that I really try to use it anywhere. I've framed prints that I adore as art, so why not choose a fabulous fabric for a headboard without the space or high price tag of a traditional tufted headboard. A curtain rod is a great, inexpensive way to create a finished look.

  • BOHO CHIC SPACES THAT SPEAK TO ME

    What's boho chic? Well to me, (since it's all relative) it's a combination of bold colors, ornate patterns, comfort, busyness and a mix of old and new. To achieve a good boho look, your place has to look like it's been put together with things that you love that you have collected over the years. It has to look lived in. A place that has not really been designed but looks as if everything works.

  • RENOVATION SNOWBALL EFFECT

    When does it end? We all know where it start. That daunting, dated blue bathtub, with matching blue toilet and sink staring at you, morning after morning, when you're still half asleep brushing your teeth. Or maybe it's the tarnished yellow (used to be white) cabinetry with plastic handles from the 80's that throw you off the edge. Whether it's one scenario or the other, we've all been there. The question is really where does it end? Okay, so you make the decision to start a renovation. You talk to your partner, set a budget and start calling the trade for quotes. Maybe you even start getting work done before you realize that you are no longer in control of your renovation.

    Let's paint the walls, and of course the moldings, ceilings and doors. While we're at it, let's also touch up the bathroom because the tiles are too dated. But if we're going to change the tiles, we might as well change the vanity and the mirror. If we change all of that, then the shower and toilet will look dated and all of a sudden we're in the middle of a full blown major bathroom reno. Moving the washer dryer downstairs, moving the bathtub and adding a walk-in shower, installing an electric towel heater, changing the doors and molding throughout the house to match. Because hey! if we're going to make a mess painting, we might as well get the rest done at the same time!

     

    So you probably think I'm exaggerating, but this is a true story that I experienced with one of my clients. And I can say that, to some extent, it happens on every reno project. It's hard to know when to stop, which is why you need to plan from the start. If you're not going to be changing everything, you have to make sure that the selections for the new compliment the old that you are keeping. And if you're not comfortable with that, you might want to adjust your budget for a few extra changes along the way or wait until you have the budget to do it all at once.

    The last thing you want is to spend money changing a countertop that will only make the tiles beside it look even more dated. On the other hand, if you need help choosing the right countertop to compliment the dated tiles, that's where I come in!

  • DESIGNER BLOGGING

    WHY CHOOSING A DESIGNER WHO BLOGS IS A GOOD IDEA

    There are a few different ways clients come to me; most are from referrals, a few from Houzz, and some from my website. Of all the clients I get, the ones I get along with the most are usually those who have read my blog and contacted me partially because of it. I wouldn't say it's necessary for your designer to have a blog but it definitely helps.

    First of all, it's important for an interior designer to have an opinion and be comfortable voicing their opinion. You are paying for their opinion and explanation for the choices you make together.

    Secondly, an interior designer who blogs is most likely reading blogs and educating themselves. You can rest assured that if your designer is blogging, they are current with trends and new products. Sometimes designers will get used to a design style that works for them and just reuse and repeat. This is probably not something that you want unless you love what the designer has already done and literally want a duplicate. It's important for them to be innovative, and involved in the industry in my opinion.

    Finally, blogs gives you a glimpse of the designers personality. Working together is a very personal experience. It happens that I get clients that I just don't click with. I'm not saying it doesn't work out in the end but it does take longer to understand each other, feel comfortable sharing opinions with each other and overall making it a fun experience. It does eventually get there as you get to know each other, but it definitely helps when there is an instant connection. Their blogs can give you an idea about what's important to them and help you determine if they are the right designer for you.

  • 5 TIPS FOR MISMATCHING NIGHT TABLES

    Most of us have finally accepted that bedroom furniture no longer consists of a 6 piece solid wood matching set that you will buy once and keep for life, then eventually pass down to your children. Great! Next challenge: trying to convince everyone that your night tables don't have to match. In fact, it would look a lot better if they didn't. I love mixing night tables of different sizes, materials, shapes. There are many ways of doing it for it to look right and here are a few examples of things to look out for when shopping night tables.

    1. If you're going for two completely different styles, materials and shapes. Try to find pieces of a similar size.

     

     

    2. Open your options. They don't both need to be night tables. One can be a desk, a dresser or a hutch. Find pieces that you love that will be practical for you.

     

     

     

    3. Your table lamps, artwork and accesories also don't need to match. The key is trying to achieve a proportional balance.

     

     

     

    4. Get creative with the different mateials used. Mix mirrored, silver leaf, wood, painted, vaneered. There are tons of different textures that when pulled together marry well. Especially with a beautiful tufted, upholsted headboard. It's these design details that will really make your bedroom wow!

     

     

     

    5. Take this idea outside of the bedroom and have the same mind set when shopping for living room end tables and other accent pieces like table lamps. Start questioning where you would typically think of putting something symmetrical and identical and look for fun alternatives. A great thing about having random pieces in your home that have multiple functionalities is that you can move them around from one room to the next. Bored with your living room? Swap the end table for one of your night tables in your bedroom.

     
  • PREPARING FOR YOUR FIRST INTERIOR DESIGN CONSULTATION

    The only way to work efficiently with a designer is for them to understand your needs. These simple tips to preprare for your first consultation can get your relationship off to a good start.

    • Share your style through Houzz. Create an account by logging on to Houzz.com, create an Ideabook and share it with Triandos Creations.  In your Ideabook, include all of the photos of styles that you would like to see in your space.

    • If you're not very computer friendly, you can share your style by magazine cut outs and images you've seen of styles you like.

    • Make a list of the pieces of furniture that you are keeping.

    • Think about functionality. What will you be using your space for? Is there anything you would like to accomplish in the space that you are not currently able to due to the design?

    • Determine a budget. It's very important for your designer to know how much you want to spend. This will save you both time because they will avoid shopping for and showing you pieces that will not fit into your budget. This will also help you get the biggest "bang for your buck" since your designer will work within your budget to get you the biggest effect.

    • Think about how you would like to work with your designer. Do you like to be hands on every step of the way? Would you like to shop together and make every single decision together? Maybe you would prefer if your designer shops for you and sends you pictures of the items for your approval? Or, you might not want to be involved at all and just give your designer "carte blanche".

    Once you've covered these simple steps, you are sure to make the most of your first consultation.

     

  • TIMELESS DESIGN

    With the progress of my career, I am trying to find ways to make a positive impact on our planet and in our society with what I do for a living. One approach is for me to promote timeless, long lasting designs by purchasing good quality pieces as well as designing with a style that will age well. I am noticing an abundance of low quality furniture made overseas, purchased with the intention of it lastng for just a few years. Only for it to be replaced in order to follow future trends. This concept appeals to consumers on a budget or to those who enjoy changing their decor often. It may, on the surface, make sense, but I believe that there is a better way of doing things. "Temporary" furniture usually ends up on a curb which contributes to the pollution of our earth and consumerism. Ikea is now used in both dorm rooms and million dollar homes. In both scenarios, it is considered temporary furniture, that's not built to last, yet we are seeing more and more of it. We are constantly promoting recycling but not focusing on preventative measures for wasteful and excessive purchases. Follow these guidelines to achieve a timeless style with solid furniture that should last a lifetime.

    Buy Quality Pieces

    This sometimes means that you may have to take your time until you can afford at least a medium to high end collection... even if you are living in an empty space! When ready, do your homework. Every salesperson will insist that their product is of excellent quality. Look up reviews, check the craftmanship of the item you are considering. Ask where it is made and if there is a warranty.

    Forget Trends

    Buy pieces that YOU like. Shapes, patterns, colors, and textures that appeal to you. Do not settle for what you see in current magazines because in a few years time, that trend will be gone and you will be left with a design that is dated. This also applies to colors. Fifteen years ago beiges and browns were the big trend, ten years later, greys took over and now people are looking for ways to transition to the new trend, which sometimes means replacing their perfectly good furniture. It usually better to purchase the big pieces in colors that you have always liked. If it's a couch for example, whether it's a deep purple, a burnt orange or a cream, you can always accessories with a trendy color in the pillows, paint color, throws, and accents. It is less costly to change your accessories then to start reupholstering,

    Mix and Match

    Eclectic styling is truly one of the most timeless ways to decorate. If you are mixing and matching different collections, finishes, styles, with signature pieces that you love, you are garanteeing a timeless design. What's more is it allows you to constantly change the layout of the furniture in your home since you are not limited by the style in each room. This comes very useful when moving or when you just need a change of scenary at home.

    Take Your Time and Shop with an Open Mind

    Do not settle. Yes, shopping can be very tedious. It can be exhausting and frustrating and sometimes we just settle for what's available now instead of going the extra mile to find what we really want. It is important that you keep an open mind when shopping since you may be inspired by pieces that you wouldn't have initially considered but we must never feel that we settled. You would be surprised by what you really need to survive. If it means eating dinner on the coffee table for an extra month, it's usually worth the wait. If you are in a rush, hire a designer. Show them pictures and ideas of exactly what you are looking for and they would save you time by presenting you options both online and locally.

    Most importantly, be excited about the choices you make. Your home is your canvas that should describe you - have fun with it!

  • WILD ENTRANCES & POWDER ROOMS

    These two special rooms are probably my favorite to decorate. The entrance is very important, yet so often neglected or put off to last. It is the first place we see when entering our home and the last when leaving. It should welcome you with warmth and style and leave you feeling like you can't wait to be back home when you're on your way out. Both the entrance and powder room are where you can allow your creativity to soar. They are usually confined spaces, seperated by doors where there isn't much functional furniture. This is where we can be different, not logical, artsy, bold. I like to use graphic wallpapers, loud colors, oversized light fixtures, unique accessories and dramatic accent furniture to make these spaces scream "Look at me!". Here are some great examples of what I mean.

  • WHEN IS IT OKAY TO PAINT WOOD FLOORS?

    The answer to this question is really simple - when the floor is so bad that you really don't have any other option. It of course has to suit the space. This look is perfect for a country cottage or a sunny attic. It's not exactly suitable for a formal dining room or city loft.

    From all of the images I've seen of painted wood floors, I've always wanted to try it. I've just never found the right situation. I love the way it looks in pictures but actually living with painted floors (that are usually white), is a little high maintenance. You have to be okay with scartches and scuff marks that will come up with time, but I guess that just adds to the beauty of them.

     

    My white Scandinavian home. Splash of colors. Old & new. Always in change. eclectic living room
    Bedroom. Peacefull & calm. eclectic bedroom

     

    Or you can go with a checker style pattern...

     

     

    -or a stripe?

     

     

    -or just go with a crazy pattern!