Kiki Interiors - Decor and Staging

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Enjoy the view

A window is a piece of art and should be treated as such. Based on this principle, the window dressing acts as the picture frame, framing the view, enhancing the picture and helping the eye to focus.

There are many options when it comes to dressing your windows - what to choose? what is current? what is timesless? But the first step in dressing a window is establishing the purpose and impact that the window has on the room. If the window has a “you’ve got to look at this” view then you need to support and encourage the eye to take it all in. We do this with drapery that is designed to focus the eye towards the center of the window and then to serve as a frame around the picture. The drape or covering must therefore not overpower or distract from the view. For example, if your drapes are too bright or dark or are too much of a contrast with the colours of the view or the room, then they will simply take away rather than enhance the view or the picture.

The same is true if you simply use a valance (a valance alone often is too top heavy and makes the view uncomfortable as it is not proportionate to the scale of the window nor does it balance the window as it only supports the top as opposed to the two). Instead of a valance, consider a fabulous curtain rod and drapery panels. Drapery panels also serve to soften the hard lines of corners and window to drywall transitions.

Bottom line; if you have a window with an amazing view - frame it The best solution is usually two well-proportioned drapery panels held in place with an equally gorgeous curtain rod and finials.

Now what if the view isn't so wonderful?

Just as we dress ourselves to cover and disguise unflattering parts of our bodies, we can do the same with drapery. If a window is off center in your room, use drapery panels designed to balance the window. For example, if the room has a window that is not centered, center the window by using extra wide drapery panels that are placed on each side of the window to give the illusion of a centered window (the panels are hung to cover more wall than window on one side and more window than wall on the opposite side). By framing a window with a rod and curtain pannels framing the exterior frame of the window, the window also appears larger.

What should we do if the picture is not so pretty? If the window doesn’t have a particularly nice view then the window’s objective turns to the light and we design accordingly. Allow the light to enter the room but distract from the view using a soft covering such as the Hunter Douglas Silhouette blind inside the frame (alternatively you can also use sheer panels instead of a blind) with drapery panels, a rod and finials above.
In this situation we can add a few embellishments such as sexy tassels to tie the drapery back and to give the window some curves.

As for budget friendly window dressing tips - bamboo blinds are always in style and work well in areas that fabric can cause problems such as the kitchen and bathrooms. Bamboo blinds are a more casual look but they are timeless. Pre-made curtain pannels are a very inexpensive option that you can find in most department stores such as Wal-Mart, Zellers and IKEA. If you want your home to look large and bright look for white or off white, especially if your walls are of a similar hue. Blackout pannels are a must for bedrooms, and no the curtain do not have to be dark in colour to block out the light.

Remember to enjoy the view....

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Favourite things - Wall Tattoos

What is a wall tattoo? It is a vinyl decal that sticks to your wall adding some funk and colour but can be re-used and does not damage your wall!

What is a wall stencil? It is a template where the design must be painted on. It is more time consuming, tricky to get just right and is only removable by painting over it!

Why do I love wall tattoos? Well, they are funky, colourful and they add a lot of personality to any room. They are easy to "install" and they can be removed without any damage. But they are also an inexpensive alternative to wall art. The wall tattoo I purchased for my son's nursery cost $34.99 and was purchased at my local RONA.

Do they come in different colours? Yes, they do. The kids series is very colourful and thematic. Fairies, Pirates, Animals and Fish are all available in the kids line. But for more "grown up" spaces, you'll find leaf motifs, stars, bamboo, and more; and in colours such as white, grey, charcoal, black, green, brown and red.

Where can I put a wall tattoo? Anywhere even moist areas like the bathroom. I personally find they make a bigger impact in a smaller room like a powder room or a child's room but they can go anywhere.

Where can I find wall tattoos? I have purchased mine at RONA. but they are also available at HomeSense and some craft stores.

Look for...Wall tattoos by Mur*Mur (a Canadian Company).

Deck the walls with funky decals....lalalalalalalala.....

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Area Rugs - why use them?

A lot of people use rugs in order to bring a bit of color and style to their home. If your flooring is dull at best, you may be able to use one of these in order to bring things together a bit. For instance, when you move into a new home you may not like the flooring that is in place. But at the same time, you may not have the money needed to get everything redone. If you are in this position, a great compromise is to use a bunch of area rugs. For a little bit of money you can change the entire look and feel of a room.

Rugs are a great way to cover up any imperfections that you may have in your home. This includes everything from marks on your wall-to-wall rugs to pet stains. Anything that you want to cover up on your floors can be done with the use of an area rug. This may not be the best choice for you, but it is one to consider if you are looking for a quick, cheap fix.

You can use rugs as a way of keeping your flooring clean. For instance, many people use these in every room where there is a door that leads to the outside. This way, when people come into your home, they will step onto a floor rug before they get to your good flooring. This gives them the chance to wipe their feet off, and if not, at the very least they will be able to clean up just a bit. So as you can see, area rugs are meant for much more than good looks. They can also help to preserve the good look of the rest of the floors in your home.

Area rugs are also a great way to define your living spaces. If you live in an open concept place it can be difficult to plan the dining room, family room and living room spaces - by placing area rugs in those places you can have a firm idea of how the open space is to be used.

Hardwood flooring is a great feature in your home whether living or selling. It's easy to clean and looks great but area rugs add warmth, colour, practicality and purpose; and they do not have to be expensive try stores such as IKEA, CarpetSense, Wal-Mart and Home Depot for some inexpensive yet stylish options. With so many reasons to use floor rugs, it is a wonder that so many people do without year in and year out. Consider the benefits of using area rugs before you decide against laying them in your home.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Favourite things - Purse Racks

I know Oprah has her favourite things list every November, but I have my own. I will be writing regular blogs on great product finds for the home. Here is the first one.

If you LOVE handbags (like me) or know someone who does this is the PERFECT gift for them!

Most of my life is quite organized and routine but my closet looked like a tornado in a Department store! I made a real effort to tackle the mess and get organized. One of my biggest problems is that I love handbags - kind of like how Carrie Bradshaw loves her Manolo's - but my bags would always end up in a heap at the bottom of my closet on top of my shoes. One day while at Bed, Bath and Beyond, I noticed a small non descript package at the front cash - it was labeled "Purse Racks". The package contained two adjustable and stretchy nylon ropes with a series of plastic hooks for hanging, and at each end a metal hook to latch on to the top and bottom of your door - no drilling necessary! Since I was well aware of my handbag problem - I thought this product was made for me! So I purchased two packages and took them home to test it out!

This product is fantastic and super easy to install. You can use it for other items too, such as clothes, hats, caps and scarves. Each package holds up to 16 bags and since there is no drilling necessary, your doors are free from any damage. It took me no time at all to install and organize my handbags: and it only costs $13.99 (before taxes). My purses are off the floor, and now I can organize the rest of my closet...

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The perfect guest room

The guest room often becomes a catch-all for all your unwanted things but with the summer coming that can means visitors, so here's how to create "the perfect guest room":

When you start to plan your guest room, think about what you'd expect to find in a 5-star hotel and try to make your room measure up to that standard. Your budget may not have enough in it to let you create a getaway oasis, but you can clear the space, arrange what's necessary, and provide a quiet place to relax.

1 -- The Best Bed Your Money Can Buy
Don't give your guest the oldest, most saggy mattress you have. If you can't afford a new or good used bed, think about getting a quality air mattress. They're really quite comfortable and can be placed on top of a box spring, over a sofa bed mattress, or on the floor. A good night's sleep is important for everyone and if you have a lot of people under one roof you want to make sure everyone is in a great mood!

2 -- Bedding Upgrades
Beyond clean bedding, think about adding wonderful bed linens and comfort items often supplied by fine B&B's: a featherbed mattress topper, a choice of pillows, a cozy down comforter, extra blankets, and freshly ironed pillowcases. This about the season too - extra blankets or flannel sheets for winter and fresh cotton sheets for summer. When it comes to purchasing the bedding look for the sales more department stores have regular linen sales.

3 -- Fresh Linens
Always have an extra set of bed and bath linens available for your guests. Accidents DO happen! Or you may have one of those wonderful guests who insists on changing the sheets when they leave. Let them do it! And thank them profusely!

4 -- A Place to Set Down a Suitcase
Clear a space to put a luggage rack or a small table or bench to set down a suitcase. No one likes to have to stoop over to the floor to pull out a clean pair of socks. Even a chair is better than nothing!

5 -- Keep the clutter out!

The surfaces should only be covered with the essentials maybe a clock, a small calendar, a bottle of water and some fresh flowers.

6 -- A Comfy Place to Sit
Some people absolutely do not sit on a bed! And your guests shouldn't have to. Place an upholstered armchair or side chair in the room with a table and lamp close by.

7 -- Good lighting!

It's always nice to have a light control near the bed, so your guest won't have to stumble around in the dark, just to turn a light on. If nothing else, provide a good reading light near a chair or over the bed. Another fixture or lamp near the desk would be great. A small night light is helpful and a lighted magnifying make-up mirror is a real luxury!

8 -- Hanging Clothes Storage
If your guest room shares space with a home office, clear at least a foot or two of pole space in the closet. Or purchase an inexpensive over-the-door hook that can accommodate some hanging clothes. Don't forget a supply of 6 or 8 hangers. A simple hook on the wall or behind a closet door can hold a robe, coat, or a purse.

9 -- Drawer Space
If you have an extra chest of drawers, how perfect! But at least clear out one or two drawers for small items. Both you and your guest will feel better with odds and ends out of sight.

10 -- Simple Basics
I need to have a lighted clock next to my bed. An alarm clock or clock/radio is even better. Provide paper and pens or pencils, scissors, tape, tissue, and a hair dryer and have all the bases covered. If you don't have an extra iron and ironing board to offer, be sure to tell your guest where they can find yours. A phone in the room will be a much-appreciated bonus item.

11 -- Provide a Set of Keys
Put together several sets of keys to your home (and car if your guests will be using it). Color-code the sets and keep track of who has what. Keep a simple log (where you can find it) of who has which colored set, and check them in when they're returned.

The list of things you've just read might seem very long, but the things on the list are very simple and logical to provide. By thinking of what you would like to find in a fine hotel room, you'll be on your way to creating a perfect guest room.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

DIY art!

Artwork can really pull the look of a room together and there are so many different pieces to choose from, so how do you choose?

Well, go with your first instinct and go for what you like - whatever you are drawn to and for whatever reason. It could be the colours, the emotions it evokes in you, the movement, the simplicity - art is very personal.
Art can also be expensive, so to avoid the high price tag take some time to tap into your creativity and make some art for your walls. Stores such as Michael's and IKEA have all sorts of simple frames at great prices and for your materials try craft stores or even Wal-Mart. By making your own art you control the colours used, the size and of course, the cost.

Even if you feel you have zero artisitc talent, here's an inspriring story - elephant artists! The endangered Sumatran elephants housed at the Bali Elephant Safari Park are truly big on talent - the talent of using their trunks for painting! The painting phenomenon for Bali Adventure Tours Safari Park elephants started in 1999, when two inspired artists, who established an Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project, came to visit the Park. The artists taught the elephants to paint inspirational works of saleable art (see image above) to help raise awareness and funds for the Parks own Elephant Foundation. The results? – Elephant Artifacts that have seen these jungle matriarch's works turn into international conversation pieces in art circles around the globe.

So get out the paint and canvas and go for it! Everyone has some artisitc ability - find yours!

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Kidding around!

One room in house where you can let your creative juices flow and flow is the kids room. One thing that is so much fun with children is that they can "get away" with things that adults could never do. Could you imagine yourself out in public in a onesie head-to-toe in bright lemon yellow ducks or walking in the ByWard market in a hot pink tutu and rainboots? No, but a child can and they look great doing it! So use your creativity and whimsy to create a space for your little one.

Here are some tips:

- If they are older, get their input. Maybe you have always wanted a pirate theme room but that was your dream, it might not be your child's.

- Think long term with more expensive items or projects such as furniture. A racecar bed is cool while your son is 5 but maybe not when he's 12. If you are creating a bathroom for your child keep tiles and cabinets relatively neutral (or at least something you can live with when the kids are away at college) and make your fun touches with hardware, paint colour and accessories.

- Think about designated spaces for homework or reading. If your little one is really little but you want to raise a reader have an area for books that he can have easy access to - you don't want him climbing the furniture.
- When purchasing bed linens, your child may love Dora or spiderman right now but not forever. So purchase bedding in a colour palette that can be updated with pillows of their favourite characters and the basic sheets and duvet can remain the same. Also the linens with the various characters are not very good quality and have to be replaced more often, so you are better off spending your money on higher quality linens and adding Hannah Montana accessories.

- Check out designer shops like Pottery barn kids for inspiration, there are less expensive options out there that achieve a very similar look.

- Try and select a theme that can grow with your child such as animals or sports.

- Make the space their's. If you have a child that loves arts and crafts, frame their artwork and put it up in their room. It's really inexpensive, easy to change up and the look on your child's face seeing their art framed is really priceless and heart melting!

- Keep the wall colour in tune with the theme or neutral but keep it light. Kids toys and other belongings tend to be very colourful already, so keep the backdrop (the walls) light and fresh - the space will feel bigger and fresh.

Remember you are decorating a child's room, your child's room, so have fun and make it a wonderful place to sleep, play, read and just be together!

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Add some personality

So many people ask me what is the secret to having a room (any room) that is truly special and unique. The answer is: personality! But what does that mean exactly? Personality is what makes a room reflect your taste and style. When you purchase a furniture set, as many of us do - you get the couch and chairs that match and maybe even a coffee table ottoman too but your space starts to look generic and boring. Sure, you can paint your walls a dramatic colour but that doesn't suit everyone - so what can you do? Take a stroll through your local anitque shop and look for items that catch your eye. In Ottawa, we are lucky to have antique alley located on Bank St. where we have several excellent and truly special antique stores.
Take a close look at the image above. The colour palette is quite dramatic and modern - charcoal grey with a lime accent throw pillow but a basic white wall. The area rug and occasional chair are both very traditional and classic but complementary to the sofa which has very structured and modern lines. The coffee table (if you can see it) is a smooth and sleek clear plastic piece. The wall art is big, graphic and bold but the frames are very classic. The hardwood floor is a natural material that adds warmth to the room and classic style. This is an excellent example of blending old and new to create a truly special room.

I have never been to antique shop. Where can I go and what should I be looking for?

In antique stores, look for interesting lamps - you don't have to have a matching set but be sure they have a common thread such as colour, shape or scale - especially, if they will be flanking either side of the sofa. Look for an interesting table or trunk to be used as a coffee table, a trunk offers more storage too. Picture frames, containers or just interesting knick knacks can add that "je ne sais quoi". Pottery is a great find in antique shops and it's got a lot of character combining colour, shape and texture. These "personality" pieces give your home true character and make your space distinctive. Use pieces for things other than what they are intended for : old tools can be used as art on a wall or coffee table. Anything that catches your eye is worth picking up - if you love it you'll find a spot for it! This is what will make your home your sweet home.

Here are some antique stores in Ottawa - these are worth checking out:

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Monday, June 1, 2009

What's cooking?

The kitchen is the hub of all activity in any home - so it should be practical and stylish.

So before you start your kitchen reno, take a loook at what's cooking in the kitchen.

Here is what is happeing for hot kitchen looks in 2009.

Rustic chic: natural materials and colours (like stone, wood, light greys, white, pale greens and yellows); more obvious wood graining; rough-hewn-looking stones such as slate, soapstone or honed stone finishes.

Electric-bright colours: strong statements in bold primaries, often used in one element or as an accent (like a red wall); also, bright cabinets and/or countertops, especially in yellow or orange.

Reflective, high-gloss surfaces: already a hit in Europe, in colour, black or white or metals such as stainless steel; mirror, glass (including glass mosaic) or high-gloss finishes.

Monochromatic design: especially all-white or all-black.

Cleaner, simpler lines: even in traditional styles; the heavy, over-the-top mouldings of years past are being toned down.

Built-in appliances: a 30-inch deep fridge can be integrated with a 24-inch counter depth by actually recessing it into the wall behind, maximizing storage capacity without interrupting the flow of a counter or jutting into the room; it can then be finished with a cabinet front or embellished with furniture elements.

Enviro-chic: good looks are not enough these days! The kitchen must be environmentally friendly at all stages of its creation -- from the choice of materials and manufacturing processes to its functionality and efficiency to all the appliances.

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