Kiki Interiors - Decor and Staging

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mix it up!

Pattern is an important part of interior design. It adds texture, color, and diversity. It gives a monochromatic design depth, and adds visual cues to the most colorful and complex rooms.

When you think of pattern, you tend to think of fabrics, striped fabrics or checked, flowered, graphic or geometric. But pattern is also in your arrangement of furniture and accessories, in your flooring and doorways. Pattern is the shape and form of all the elements of your interior design.

One of the basic tenets of mixing patterns is to use like colors. The colors tie the patterns together.

Another element in pattern mixing is scale. Really skinny stripes and really big flowers look out of proportion, like clunky shoes with an evening gown. When your patterns are of similar proportions, they can mix more easily. Your eye is better able to distinguish the individuality of the patterns and reconcile them into a cohesive design.

So, when choosing fabrics, consider the shape and placement of your furniture. Link the patterns together with color, and keep them in proportion to one another. These three guidelines are a strong foundation for successfully mixing patterns in your interior design plan.

When considering proportion, also think about how much of one pattern you want, and the relationship of quantity. For example, a very strong graphic print can create a stunning mosaic of color and texture. You'll want a very subtle mix, so as not to clash with or overpower the graphic; let the graphic be in charge. This is where a subtle stripe would be complimentary, rather than a large plaid or flower print.

Quantity is not how many pillows or how much yardage of fabric, but rather it's visual quantity, how much your eye sees when you are in the room. So if using a bold graphic, use enough of the subtle stripe to give the graphic pattern something to relate to.

The last considerations in mixing patterns are texture and style. The bold graphic is edgy, modern, sleek. You'll want your stripe to be sleek as well. For example, if your graphic material is a silk blend, be sure your stripe is similarly lightweight and has a smooth finish to it.

What brings a room together? Shape and placement of furniture and how it relates to patterns. The mix of patterns works when you tie them together through color and proportion, through style and texture. Your accessories mimic the pattern mixes through shape, color, and materials.

Once you've developed these levels of patterns, your interior design plan will come together easily and successfully.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Something's missing...

I have worked with many clients - builders, investors and homeowners, and I have experienced the same problem with all of them, incomplete work! What do I mean by incomplete work? Well, it's the final details that need to be completed in ordered to have your home picture (and seller) ready.

Imagine yourself going to an important meeting without your pants, would anyone take you seriously? Likely not, the same can be said for a house that is for sale. If the house is not completed, it is extremely difficult to get top dollar and stand from a strong side to negotiate for a higher price. But if the house is picture perfect people will respond and in a positive way.

Take care of the cracked tiles, leaky faucets, touch up paint, burnt out light bulbs etc...Sure, it will cost you some money but in the long run you'll more than make it back. If selling quickly and for top dollar is your goal, you can't afford to have an incomplete home on the market.

As a stager, I go through a house before a sign goes up on the lawn and provide the homeowner with a to-do list. It's disappointing to have clients ignore the list, as it is so important but it happens and often. Do what you can yourself and if you need help ask a friend, family or perhaps a contractor (if it is a big job). But a home with missing pieces will not go un -noticed, potential buyers in this day and age notice everything.

Staging, good marketing, open houses and an excellent agent can only take you so far if your home is still a work in progress. In a competitive market you need to be the best, so be sure to follow up on the small details, they make a big difference.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Outdoor decor ideas

Keep cool and comfortable this summer with these 10 chic ways to create a stylish patio.

1 -- A double lounger is very the essence poolside style but it is also great for spreading out for a nap or cuddling with your sweetie (or kids). They come in all sorts of finishes and colourful cushions. Check out a home decor store for weather-friendly throw cushions to add a homey feel to the outdoors.

2 -- Hand woven trays and bowls are perfect for entertaining. They have an organic look and perfect for the outdoor setting. They are moisture resistant and easy to clean.

3 --An outdoor fireplace. There are many styles to choose from - very modern to more traditional. By burning citronella fuel you'll also keep the bugs away from your space.

4 -- A wide, cantilevered patio umbrella offers sun protection and still looks stylish.

5 -- Large, up-lit flower pots make a patio space feel very sophisticated. ( Try the store design within reach. These easy to clean, illuminated pots can serve many purposes - a great way to display greenery and for parties, use them as ice buckets or open drink trays. They add some ambiance to the patio too. (see the above image).
6 -- Look for an outdoor area carpet. The materials are designed for the outdoors so they are easy to maintain. This will add some comfort to bare feet and create a cohesive, homey space.
7 -- Outdoor lighting. Some people like the light of tiki torches (filled with citronella fuel), little white Christmas lights, solar lamps or outdoor candles - either of these choices works depending on the look you want to achieve. Outdoor lighting creates mood but is also a great safely tip for when your guests are circulating at your summer parties.
8 -- Herb gardens are great if your patio area is particularly shady. Keep your herbs in pots (easy to bring them inside when the cold weather arrives). They add a beautiful aroma to your setting and can be used in salads and cocktails, mojitos anyone?
9 -- Want to keep your indoors clean, while entertaining outside? Keep a basket of flip flops by the patio door so when guests need to come inside they can slip these on and keep your interior clean.
10 -- Entertaining with children? Have a seating area for the kids too. Try big bean bag chairs covered in an outdoor fabric or have their own hang out area under a covered canopy. Have some toys that are outdoor friendly. Make them a special drink (I used to mix ginger ale and orange juice with strawberry and kiwi garnishes for my niece and nephew - they really thought they were part of the party too). If the kids are entertained than their parents will be able to relax and enjoy their evening too.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Express yourself with colour!!

When it comes to paint, there are trends but this season there is something for everyone. Express yourself with paint! It is the easiest and least expensive transformation you can make. Paint can add personality, pop and make a room feel new and fresh.

Clean Whites

What does it mean when experts talk about “pure” or “clean” whites? The terms refer to whites with no deep pigment, and thus no undertones peeking through (hints of pink, yellow, blue, etc.). Clean whites tend to be a favorite of decorators who want a pure white to showcase fabrics, art and furnishings.

Nordic Notions

Pale, summery colors don’t have to be confined to the beach: draw inspiration from the Swedish style, where lots of pale blues and greens make wintry interiors feel fresh, breezy and unconfined. In a part of the world where summer is in short supply, color can supplement the season—any home decorator can do the same.

Bookshelves With Bite

Looking for a spot to inject some vivid color, without overwhelming a room? Try painting the backs of bookshelves or open cupboards a bright, unrelated shade. Pumpkin, apple green or Chinese red can make a delightful color accent peeking over book spines or as a vibrant background for collectables.

Orange You Glad

Orange is back in home interiors, but the new shades are a far cry from the color’s brassy, op-art, 1970s incarnation. Instead of fluorescent orange, persimmon, pumpkin, and melon colors are featuring prominently on the decorator’s menu, with some splashes of zesty tangerine.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

It's selling season!!

Well it's that time of year again, selling season, also known as spring! This time of year tends to be the most popular time to sell your house. But with so much competition on the market how can you set your listing apart from the others? Well, here are some great suggestions to make your home look the best it can. Home staging your property isn't just fluffing pillows, there is a lot of other elements, too.

In a house brimming with high-end style and charm you would never guess that a thrifty and practical homeowner was responsible for the transformation. By testing out durable pieces and being frugal, the homeowner completely c
1 -- Rake the front lawn. Sure, the grass isn't quite here yet but the left over debris can really make the front lawn look awful. So clean up!

2 -- Sweep the front porch or stoop. You might have some left over salt, sand or leaves, so clear the area it will make a good first impression. Also take the time to sweep the driveway and back porch too.

3 -- Add some colour. The flowers are not in bloom yet but you can add some colour with a spring themed wreath or perhaps a bench with some colourful outdoor pillows.

4 -- Pull back the curtains and pull up the blinds and let the light in! Your home will feel larger and brighter in an instant.

A sitting room just off the kitchen is outfitted in the same creams and taupes, tying the two rooms together. Light-color fabrics are balanced by dark wood furniture and a ceiling with wood beams.

5 -- As long as it is not too cold, open up the windows before your open house and let some fresh air in. Over the winter the air in our homes tends to get stuffy. But don't keep the house too cool, it might feel drafty.

6 -- Clean your carpets either with a powerful vacuum or maybe contact a professional carpet cleaner. It's amazing how dirty our carpets get over winter (especially if there are pets in the home). A deep cleaning can even make the air feel crisper.

7 -- Clean you windows and screens. Again, the home will feel so much better and if you have a great view, don't block it.

8 -- Brighten and freshen up your home with some fresh cut bouquets or potted plants.

9 -- You can renew your spaces such as the bathrooms and bedrooms with some minor accessories. Add some new candles, new guest towels or decor pillows with some colour. Check out some inexpensive stores such as Bouclair, Loblaws and Wal-Mart for some great finds at great prices.
10 -- Take the time to check your light fixtures for dust, cobwebs and burnt out light bulbs. This is also a great time to clean your smoke alarms.

 Driven By Décor: Is Kubu For You?: Kubu Grey Rattan Dining Chairs
Your home should always look it's best but it is most important when there is a lot of competition on the market you need to really impress. To sell quickly and for top dollar, it is worth spending the time (and money) to make your home the best it can be.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

What is good design?

I recently had the opportunity to get a sneak peek at a condo model for an upcoming new development in downtown Ottawa. This model was designed and decorated by a Toronto based firm.

Since my blog is not about trashing other designers, the firm will remain nameless. But after my viewing I found myself asking many questions, but mainly - what is good design? The condo model is definitely unique but I personally feel that good design is not just having a spectacular looking place but one that is really functional. This model was a large enough space (approx. 1,000 sq. ft) but it felt so small. The proportions were way off. The kitchen island was double the size of a normal island (which would have been a great way to add pot and pan drawers) leaving a tiny dinning space where a table with four chairs was squeezed into the unit. The large kitchen island also impacted the size of the living room, where there was only enough space for a love seat. The storage in the kitchen was extremely limited, the cabinets were not even deep enough to store dinner plates!! The light fixtures were very heavy looking and did not provide much light. The master bathroom was not well laid out - there wasn't any storage for basic personal items or even a garbage can. The kitchen sink was not very deep, not at all useful for a man needing to fill the sink to shave. The colour scheme was not much better it consisted of stark white walls and 'splashes' of charcoal grey. The overall feeling was very cold, lifeless and impractical. I later found out that just about every finishing in the space was an upgrade. This leaves the potential purchasers wondering what will they get for their money without paying a penny more for the condo.

In order for a model to be truly successful it must 'work' for the clientele. Could you host a dinner party in the space? Could you host family Christmas? Is there enough storage for basic items such as glassware, crockery and cutlery? Is there enough closet space for his and her wardrobes? Is the space organized with day to day activities in mind? Such as, the dishwasher in a practical spot, a living room that can fit sufficient seating or a bathroom where one can store their personal items instead of leaving them out for all to see. When buying new, pay attention to the specifications to find out exactly what you will be getting. Unfortunately, the condo model was missing a lot of the practical essentials.

When shopping for a condo or any home, it is so important to look beyond the flash and splash, take a look at the functionality of the space. The best way to do that is to walk through the space and imagine your day to day life. Pretend to unpack groceries and unload the dishwasher to see if the kitchen layout works for you. Open up the closets and see if you have enough space for you (or all of you). Check out the bathroom for layout and storage. Know the dimensions of your existing furniture to see if it will fit in your new place - this also helps if you are moving into a smaller or larger space, as you will have a good idea of what to buy and what to get rid of.

It is very easy to be swept away by a decorated model. The decorated model helps in some ways but it can also seduce you, and sway you into a purchase that may not be right for you. Go to a model viewing with a firm idea of what you are looking for, what you need and what you get for what you pay.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Downsizing - the fresh start

Downsizing is an exciting time but many downsizers cringe at the idea of getting rid of their cherished possessions. Does moving to a smaller space mean you have to give up your favourite things? No, of course not. Some pieces will have to be sold, or passed onto family members but it's really easy to keep certain items and other elements of the family home that you love.

The dining room
Items to keep - chairs, drapes, artwork and light fixtures are easy to move into the new space. Depending on the size of the table you had you may have to re-purpose some chairs but they are easy to carry into the decor of the new place, same with the light fixture and drapes (but depending on ceiling height they may have to be altered). Your artwork, you may have to change the placement or reduce the number of pieces but you can re-purpose the artwork in your new space.
Inspiration - if you loved the paint colour of your former dining room, why not do the same colour in your new space? Or, you could always use a modified version.
New items - a table and area carpet will likely need to be purchased in order to fit into the new room.

The living room
This room is a bit trickier. In the former home, you likely had both a family room and living room. The family room was probably used frequently and the living room rarely used, so how to combine them. Your new living space needs to be multifunctional - comfortable, useful, yet still stylish.
Items to keep - lamps, drapes, artwork, side tables, decor accessories all of these pieces can be re-purposed but perhaps not all of these items - choose your absolute favourites. Depending on the size of your living room sofa you might be able to use it but use it if, it is stylish and comfortable too.
Inspiration - again if you loved the paint colour of your old living room you could use it again but please remember that if your new space is open concept one colour throughout works best.
New items - an area carpet is likely needed because of the size of your new living room. A new coffee table is also a great idea. An ottoman can provide more seating and a glass coffee table can make any room feel more spacious - the choice is yours. A new sofa could be needed but occasional chairs are likely needed, look for slipper chairs or anything streamlined.

The kitchen
A well designed kitchen is a must in a smaller space. Small kitchens do not have to feel cramped they can be quite efficient.
Some points to keep a kitchen functional are :- a lighter kitchen feels larger, this storage for pots, pans, glasses etc..., an over the range microwave takes up less counter space, an island in the kitchen can act as a substitute for the breakfast area and cupboards right up to the ceiling can add a lot of extra storage room. If your floor plan includes a "breakfast nook" this can easily be used as an office area, small den with bookcases or another seating space.

The master bedroom
This is often the area where a lot of downsizers need to make some sacrifice. Your king size bed will likely not fit, so take this opportunity to purchase a lush and luxurious bed. Simple and light colour linens make the bedroom feel larger. Add a streamlined headboard and no foot board to make the room feel spacious. Side lamps installed on the wall instead of on the side tables makes the room feel less cluttered. Make sure to have side tables with drawers for storage.Again, area carpets would be needed because of the new room sizes.

Take advantage of this exciting time and remember cherished items are also precious to your loved ones. This is also a time to surround yourself with the items you love and create a space just for you. A fresh start is right around the corner!

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Spring decor

It's hard to believe it is already March 1st and the weather has been excellent, it's really starting to feel like spring!! A great way to celebrate the season is through decor. There are some key ideas to spring decorating and some trends.

The main principle of spring decor is to lighten up. Traditionally, homes used to have winter drapes, rugs and pillows and that is starting to happen more commonly again. When we talk about lightening up, it's not just colour but fabric too. Heavy wool and tweed are reminiscent of winter and fall, so change them up with silk and cotton. But lighter colours are important too. You will start seeing more yellow, green and robin's egg blue in stores. Cream and white are classics and season appropriate too.

Other key ideas for spring decor - bring the outdoors in! Flowers such as dogwood and lilies are perfect for front entry or dining centrepiece. Also small furniture items or decor pieces that look like they belong in the garden are great inside too. Try a sisal area rug for your space, this adds some natural material to the room and spring is a celebration of nature!

The trends for spring that we are seeing everywhere are birds! Bird fabrics, bird sculptures and artwork. You do not have to spend a lot of money but check out the following stores for some cute bird decor pieces for some chic bird pillows in great spring colours, also some adorable bird cage napkin rings, nest inspired bowls and candle holders, decorative eggs, wall art and candles. Just don't get too carried way with the theme!

Also try for rattan chargers for a place setting. Again, it has the bird's nest feel and adds some texture to your table. is a great place to find branches and florals at a great price point, they also have some very cute and shiny bird sculptures.

Add some colour (season inspired , of course) to your home with pillows, throws, dishes, flowers, candles and place mats.

Bringing spring inside your home will really make you feel cozy but also make you feel like enjoying the new season ahead.

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