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  • 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treatments date back as early as the 1400’s and most of us will agree that they remind us of our grandparent’s house; outdated.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

  • 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.

  • 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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  • 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.

  • 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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  • 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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  • AZULEG COLLECTION BY MUTINA CARAMICHE & DESIGN

    Last week, I walked into one of my favorite tile stores, Ramacieri that I've blogged about before, and I absolutely fell in love with a new collection by Mutina that they carry called Azuleg. I adore the ENTIRE collection. So much, in fact, that I could not decide which I liked best for my clients. For the first time ever, I had sent them all of their options and had them decide because I would be happy seeing any one of these options in their entrance!

  • CASAMANCE

    I've been enthusiastically working with a high end line of fabric called Casamance for the last three years. They specialize in both commercial and residential fabrics and wallpapers that really make a statement. Casamance is a French line run by a young and dymanic team that is really on top of their game when it comes to innovative design. Their creativity is unbelievable. They produce fabrics and wall coverings that are so unique and that leave you wondering how they were even made. Enough of my ramble... see it for yourself!