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Home of the Design Dilemma Columns

How to Feel Cooler in the Heat

How to Feel Cooler in the Heat

  • 2nd July 2017
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  The thermometer at 41 degrees is from my niece in Kamloops. On Wednesday the 6th. For my American readers, that's about 110 degrees. IN CANADA FOR CRYIN' OUT LOUD! This is a bit of a departure from my typical decor-related column, granted, but if this column helps you live…
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Decorating or Styling?

Decorating or Styling?

  • 26th May 2017
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Decorating or styling? Ok. I get to put on my slightly snooty decorators hat for this one. Decorating a book case, or a coffee table, or a shelf or the top of a dresser means painting designs on it, or adding tassels or  nail-head trim, or adding some wood trim.…
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Five Things About Solar Shades

Five Things About Solar Shades

  • 7th May 2017
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I know some of you have been thinking about the summer sun and how to protect your furniture, floors and yourself against it this year. I know because every year, in June, I get the slightly panicked phone calls: “The weather has turned and it’s going to get hot, after…
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Call me at 250-833-1120 for a FREE in-home consultation.

Call me at 250-833-1120 for a FREE in-home consultation.

  • 27th April 2017
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One of my clients took my advice on her window treatments, did the installation herself, and ended up turning off her air conditioning.  Another lady said she was able to sit in her living room -- with the drapes open --and enjoy her front garden for the first time EVER.…
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Summer Sun Blackout Window Covering Sale

Summer Sun Blackout Window Covering Sale

  • 9th April 2017
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I can solve this problem for you. You CAN have decent black-out or light-filtering window coverings which will keep the sun under control at 4:30 in the morning. Give me your email address or phone number in the comments, and I'll call you within 24 hours. Except on Sunday. And…
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Modern Farmhouse. What?

Modern Farmhouse. What?

  • 2nd April 2017
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I don’t think we’ve had a real new design style emerge in years. I don’t count Shabby Chic — it was an offshoot of French Country. I don’t count Bo-Ho — it was an offshoot of Eclectic. I don’t consider Transitional a design style because it’s, well, transitional. But now…
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A New Home!

A New Home!

  • 27th March 2017
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Hello Friday AM readers. I’m so very tickled to be here; some of you may recognize the by-line and mugshot of me from another newspaper column. Well, bless Lorne’s heart, my words and I have found a new home over here. ( And the image, by the way, is a…
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The Last Column

The Last Column

  • 11th March 2017
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Column # 224, The Last One The first Design Dilemma column published on August 29, 2008; it was about outdoor fabric. Today is column number 224 and it’s the last one in the Lakeshore News. I’m sad. The Lakeshore News is being absorbed by the Market News and they don’t…
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Your Window Covering Wish List.

Your Window Covering Wish List.

  • 26th February 2017
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  I was looking at the sunrise schedule yesterday, and I see that within six weeks, dawn will be about 4:30 IN THE MORNING. The sunset times which accompany these early days drive me NUTS because early to rise means early to bed and it’s tough to nod off when…
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How to do Pops of Colour. ( If you really must)

How to do Pops of Colour. ( If you really must)

  • 12th February 2017
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I know I should be talking about lighting, which is a topic I started in December but have not completed. But I’ve heard or read one too many times lately about statement pieces, pops of color, accent drapery, or even --  heaven help me -- feature walls, to stay quiet.…
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Buying Sheets. Step 1.

Buying Sheets. Step 1.

  • 3rd February 2017
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  I don’t know about you, but I suspect that, like me, you don’t want to pay $400.00 or more for one sheet. I do know that, also like me, you want a soft, easy to care for sheet which launders well and lasts a long time.   Here is…
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Trends, Fads and the New Neutral

  • 15th January 2017
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Chicken wallpaper borders. That’s was a fad. Short-lived. Thankfully. Brown everything? That was a trend. Lasted about ten years. Fads last six months, or a year, tops. Chicken wallpaper borders. Big words on the wall: ‘eat,' ‘love’ ‘read more.' Overly distressed furniture — which, I have to be snarky and…
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Lighter in ’17, Please

Lighter in ’17, Please

  • 1st January 2017
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OK. The world is full of wonderful things that make our lives easier and lighter. I’m currently in love with my Silpat baking sheets. Instead of a sheet of parchment paper used once and then trashed, I can use the Silpat many, many times. I don’t quite know how many,…
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The Last One About Lighting

The Last One About Lighting

  • 28th December 2016
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My column from a few weeks ago about light bulbs has been getting some attention. Several times I’ve been asked for more information, had comments made that now the homeowner knows what to ask for, and thank-yous for clarifying the whole thing. You are so welcome.  Thanks for letting me…
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FREE 6 Steps to Fool-Proof Picture Hanging

FREE 6 Steps to Fool-Proof Picture Hanging

  • 14th December 2016
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Fool-Proof Picture Hanging No More Extra Holes. None. Think of it: hang pictures in the RIGHT place, the FIRST time. And know that you are right BEFORE you insert one hook. This is the secret to picture hanging that will make you the star DIY'er. Click here to get your…
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A Few Things

A Few Things

  • 4th December 2016
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I spend a fair bit of time on the internet researching things, looking for new things, reading what the industry leaders are up to —  just generally keeping up with the business. Or at least trying to. There is a lot of information out there; it’s easy to get overwhelmed.…
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How to Choose Lighting

How to Choose Lighting

  • 20th November 2016
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    The credo here is “Light the tasks, not the room.” I’ve said that before but it’s the soul of successful lighting so it’s worth repeating. If you want the whole 9 yards on lighting, splurge and buy my book 'Every-Day Design Dilemmas, Decorating Simplified ' There's a whole chapter on lighting.…
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LED or CFL? How do I choose?

LED or CFL? How do I choose?

  • 6th November 2016
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I see so many people standing in the light bulb isle with a glazed look on their face. How do you choose? It’s not as confusing as you may think, read on. Start with the amount of light you need in your room. For years, we used a formula of…
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Floor Plans, One More Time

Floor Plans, One More Time

  • 23rd October 2016
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I’ve written about the importance of floor plans before. A few times. But it bears repeating because of the number of times I still see awkward furniture placements that could so easily be avoided if a floor plan had been used. I know that most of you are now computer…
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Room Usage

Room Usage

  • 25th September 2016
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How to choose the furniture you should have in a specific room seems to cause way too much trouble for a lot of people. I see too many huge sofas occupied by one or two people. I see cumbersome recliners which take up as much floor space as a twin…
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A Bakers Dozen of Tips

A Bakers Dozen of Tips

  • 16th September 2016
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1.Just because you have a wall doesn't mean the furniture must be smooshed up against it. It's all about usage and traffic flow. 2. If your room is tiny, pull the furniture out from the wall two inches. The walls will appear further away and the room will be perceived…
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What To Do With The Ashes

What To Do With The Ashes

  • 26th August 2016
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I recently lost a dear pet companion;with his cremation, I have some decisions to make about how to deal with the ashes. Because one of my goals for this column is to give you information you may not have the resources or time to find for yourself, I’m sharing what…
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Two ‘New’ Things

Two ‘New’ Things

  • 5th August 2016
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Two ‘New’ things. There are a few new things around I thought might interest you. First up, a new-to-me solar screen idea. The same fabric that is used in roller solar shades is applied flat to the outside of the window, attached to the frame. They don’t go up and…
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How My Columns Come to Be

How My Columns Come to Be

  • 27th July 2016
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What I write about comes directly from my contact with my clients, some tidbit I found in a magazine or something I saw or heard in my daily life. Sometimes I write about a design principle or concept. I try to pick something that will be of use and which…
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One Colour-confused House

One Colour-confused House

  • 14th July 2016
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(Update  since I wrote this column: The house I write about has been painted. I won't publish pictures of the house; obviously someone figured out that the colours were really bad and tried to fix it. But the colour lessons are important, I think. I was going to do a…
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Fixing MY Floorplan

Fixing MY Floorplan

  • 3rd July 2016
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First of all, any architect who designs a space with a corner fireplace should be required to submit reasonable furniture placement plans to the owners. A corner fireplace is the WORST architectural feature to deal with, I think. Worse than off-centre or odd-sized windows or no wall space for pictures.…
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What do I know?

What do I know?

  • 12th June 2016
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The other day a dinner companion asked me what it was that I do. She said,” What is it that you know that a non-decorator doesn’t know?” I thought it was a peculiar question at first, and then I realized it was a very valid question. Just what is it…
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Timeless and Classic – in Food AND Design

Timeless and Classic – in Food AND Design

  • 29th May 2016
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French women don’t get fat eating those wonderful pastries because they don’t eat five of them. They only need to eat a small one to be satisfied because good pastries have flavor and texture, not just sugar. They are Timeless and Classic. I asked a French (woman) pastry chef about…
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Stuff That Does Nothing

Stuff That Does Nothing

  • 15th May 2016
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In design school we learned that accessories fill no useful function other than visual interest --  such as a collection of glass balls. They aren’t truly useful at all, meaning they don’t act as potato peelers, or freshen the air, or do double duty as door stops. They are meant…
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Mistakes Happen

Mistakes Happen

  • 5th May 2016
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Sometimes design things go horribly wrong. Sometimes you just can’t predict what will happen and the best of intentions get sidelined with results which are beyond bad.  Yes, this means designers and decorators are fallible. I know, I know, bet you never thought a decorator would actually say that. The…
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Paint Color Matching?

Paint Color Matching?

  • 16th April 2016
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Lets pretend that you found a sweater that you coveted. The color was what grabbed you but the price was out of range. Not totally, but more than you wanted to pay for a sweater. So you started hunting and found one almost exactly the same color but for a…
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Solar Shades 2016

Solar Shades 2016

  • 2nd April 2016
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Last year I wrote the annual shade column in May. This year it seems that spring has not Sprung but rather Leaped and I’m getting more and more calls about solar shades. What I said in last year’s column was mostly about the sun and light blocking properties of solar…
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Pick a Lane

Pick a Lane

  • 20th March 2016
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Had occasion recently to help a lady choose colors for a new build. Also had another person involved in the process who wasn’t color savvy at all and who had too much input. Didn’t go well. Here’s why: The client would not pick a lane, and the second person told…
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Custom Workroom Conference

Custom Workroom Conference

  • 11th March 2016
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In the drapery business, we do our work in “workrooms”. That’s the industry speak for the place where we work with our machines, big tables, irons and all the gadgets and gizmos we use in our trade. It’s where we make drapes, slipcovers, pillows, duvets, valances and whatever else we…
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No More Colour Confusion

No More Colour Confusion

  • 26th February 2016
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Can you imagine being in a room with twenty-five other like-minded people being guided through a learning experience by the poo-bah of your industry? You get to ask her any question, get one-on-one time with her, make friends with other knowledge-seekers and have a great time doing it. That’s what…
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Three Drapes in One

Three Drapes in One

  • 7th February 2016
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A friend is posting an online countdown to spring with accompanying pictures of flowers, or fields of green, or sunshine. It’s just about the most inspiring thing I’ve seen online yet. I get a warm fuzzy feeling every morning when I anticipate standing in the sun, actually looking at all…
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The Cost of Doing Business

The Cost of Doing Business

  • 30th January 2016
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Did you see the post roaring around Facebook about the cost of running a restaurant and why the patron should not expect her hot water and lemon for free? ( She didn't have a clue about the cost of doing business.)  It was priceless. 'Cafe Owner Leaves Brilliant Response'  Having…
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Who’s the Boss?

Who’s the Boss?

  • 12th January 2016
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We need to understand who the boss is in this tenuous partnership that is the decorator and her subject. (In case you are wondering, that’s you and your house. Or room, or whatever.) The boss decides the color scheme, has a whole lot to say about the style of the…
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Final Color Forecast 2016

Final Color Forecast 2016

  • 4th January 2016
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When I did the column on color forecasts a few weeks ago, most of the paint companies had announced that their color of the year would be an off-white. To which I said, ”Congratulations on actually listening to your customers.” The poo-bah of color, Pantone, had not yet announced, but…
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Duvets 101

Duvets 101

  • 22nd December 2015
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When I was a child way back in the dark ages, and  stayed over at my German-heritage friend’s place, we slept under big fluffy feather quilts.  No one else I knew had them and I thought they were really cool;  I couldn’t understand how something so light and fluffy could…
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Colors of the Year, 2016

Colors of the Year, 2016

  • 2nd December 2015
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Here we are, once again, perched on the edge of our seats waiting for the colors of the year announcements.  OK, maybe not all of us. OK, maybe just a few of us. OK, I don’t know anyone in the real world who is, but I bet there are some…
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Things that go “Pop”

Things that go “Pop”

  • 18th November 2015
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In the last few weeks, I’ve had several clients tell me they want things to “Pop.”   Personally, I think the word belongs in the fashion industry, (if even there), not in home decor. But some of you use it because you learned it from the home dec magazines and…
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How to Choose Paint Colors

How to Choose Paint Colors

  • 5th November 2015
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This is a test. Yup a test -- just like the ones you had in school. It’s a simple one-page, ten-step test which, if you pass -- and you will if you just follow directions -- will help you make sure you don't choose the wrong paint color. How to…
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You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know About Blinds

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know About Blinds

  • 30th October 2015
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  I’ve been doing some specialized baking lately, and I was having a real problem with one component of a dish. Dr. Google to the rescue. I found out that I didn’t know an important thing about the chemistry of that one component. Who knew? Well, not me -- I…
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She who hollers loudest gets the attention

She who hollers loudest gets the attention

  • 10th October 2015
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Yes, a feature wall can make your room feel smaller and more cluttered. I said that in the last column and have had some questions from readers about this, so here is the why of it all. It really all stems from the fact that our eyes notice first, and…
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You Choose

You Choose

  • 2nd October 2015
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If you want a valance over the kitchen window, put one up. If you want to paint one wall of your living room orange, go ahead and do it. If you still love that peculiar 1990s floor lamp whose bobbing arm tentacles seem to take over the whole room, leave…
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See No Evil

See No Evil

  • 12th September 2015
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I threw out a whole bunch of magazines. Well, I didn’t actually throw them in the trash, but they are gone out of my life. Some of them were eight or nine years old, and I’m sure I hadn’t looked at them in seven or eight years. But I kept…
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Too Many Books?

Too Many Books?

  • 23rd August 2015
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I lived in a little house for a few years. 450 square feet on the main floor with a tiny bedroom downstairs. (As a side-note, it had 7 (SEVEN) different floorings on the main floor). Needless to say, storage was a premium; it was an old house and there were…
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184

184

  • 9th August 2015
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This is my 184th column. My first column was published on August 29, 2008. Holy Moly.   It's SEVEN years old. Thanks for reading; thanks for commenting; thanks for listening. It is such fun when you stop me in the grocery store to talk about the last column or call me…
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Corner Fireplace Connundrum

Corner Fireplace Connundrum

  • 9th August 2015
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I have a corner fireplace in a fairly small living room. I love the fireplace but hate its placement. Because I’m repurposing part of my living room, the corner fireplace is the bane of my decorating existence right now. To say nothing of trying to find an area rug that…
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Two Fours

Two Fours

  • 19th July 2015
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These two fours don’t add up to eight. They do, however, contribute to the final tally in a well-designed room. Most well-decorated rooms will have both of these fours incorporated into them somewhere. It seems like a stretch but like every design guideline it’s not a rule so you may…
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Repetition

Repetition

  • 28th June 2015
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You and I both know that it’s really difficult to look great when we just throw some stuff on and “hope for the best”.  But we do it and are often disappointed with the result.  Then we look at that funky-dressed gal and wonder, “If she can do it, why…
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Recycle and Reuse

Recycle and Reuse

  • 22nd June 2015
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"Recycle and Reuse" Oh boy, aren’t we all just a bit sick of that tagline? But we do recycle and reuse anyway. It’s part of who we are, now.  We compost and trade clothes, and leave things for free on the curbside. But when it comes to furniture, we sometimes…
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Beat the Heat. For Free

Beat the Heat. For Free

  • 5th June 2015
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If I told you I could show you how to beat the heat  in your home by at least 10 degrees without fans, air conditioning or opening (or closing) the doors and window treatments and without having the lights off would you be interested? If I could show you how…
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How to choose the right solar shade

How to choose the right solar shade

  • 5th June 2015
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It’s time to seriously think about solar shades. The sun here is of equal intensity to Phoenix, Arizona, for cryin’ out loud. If you want to protect your floors, drapes, furniture and home cooling bill, you need to put something on your windows that will reduce the effects of the…
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Balance

Balance

  • 3rd May 2015
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If your 6-year-old self sits on one end of the teeter-totter and your hulking 12-year-old cousin gets on the other end, chances are you will be airborne in no time. When he pushes off, your skinny little butt will take the brunt of this out-of-balance situation quite quickly. I use…
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Choosing gray wall color

Choosing gray wall color

  • 18th April 2015
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How to choose the right color of gray for your new wall color. Again the other day I was helping a gal choose a gray wall color for the transition from the brown living room to the envisioned gray one.  She had tried a few grays on one wall, but…
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Slipcover Season

Slipcover Season

  • 5th April 2015
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Slipcover Season As I said in the last column, I recently got the overwhelming urge to slipcover the living room furniture, but I didn’t. Yet.  But it seems a fair number of my readers have also had the urge in the last while,  so it’s time once again for an…
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No Fuchsia Chair For Me.

No Fuchsia Chair For Me.

  • 23rd March 2015
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  I don’t wear bright colors. Well almost never, and if you see me in a bright color it’s probably fuchsia.  I found out a long time ago that limiting my wardrobe colors makes dressing, shopping and coordinating a lot easier. I also feel calmer in monochromatic, low-contrast colors. My living…
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The Price of Custom Drapery

The Price of Custom Drapery

  • 7th March 2015
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I’ve told you in previous columns what you can expect to pay for blinds and shades. Here is the drapery primer so you can plan a bit and not be too shocked when you get a quote.  I don't think it's luck, but in all my years in business I've…
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7 Ways to Add Privacy to the Front Door

7 Ways to Add Privacy to the Front Door

  • 21st February 2015
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Add privacy to the front door. What are you to do if your front door has glass inserts that don’t provide privacy?  Here are seven solutions for you that don’t require changing the door. Blinds. The old stand-by. However, there are a few things to consider here, so think ahead.…
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Paint the Brick!!

Paint the Brick!!

  • 12th February 2015
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In interior design, there are a few guidelines that make a lot of sense. (And some that are just ripe for breaking.**) One of them is that if there is an architectural detail in a room which you don’t like you can either camouflage it, ignore it or change it,…
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5 Drapery-Maker’s Secret Tools

5 Drapery-Maker’s Secret Tools

  • 27th January 2015
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I use some really neat stuff in my business --  stuff that isn’t available in local retail stores but which I get asked about often. So, I’m going to let you in on 5 Drapery-Maker's Secret Tools, tell you what they are, what problems they solve and where you can…
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How to save $5K on a new countertop.

How to save $5K on a new countertop.

  • 14th January 2015
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$5K on a New Countertop? Really? I recently saved a husband $5K on a new countertop by asking his wife two questions. They were about to buy a new Corian countertop and came to me for help choosing a new backsplash. Question 1: “Why do you want a new countertop,…
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Colors of the year 2015

Colors of the year 2015

  • 31st December 2014
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 Colors of the year 2015 The color poo-bahs at Pantone have declared “Marsala” as their entry into the "Colors of the Year, 2015," race. You can expect to see this color in advertising, the “What’s New and What’s Hot” magazine articles, and in accessories in the home dec stores. It’s…
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Vinyl Plank Flooring: To Plank Or Not To Plank

Vinyl Plank Flooring: To Plank Or Not To Plank

  • 31st December 2014
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Vinyl Plank Flooring Know-How Not all vinyl plank floorings are created equal, but when you stand there looking at them, it’s difficult to see what the differences are. The price varies quite a bit,  the thickness varies a bit, and the edges are different. You want to be a smart shopper,…
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HER Toolbox List

HER Toolbox List

  • 12th December 2014
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If you need a toolbox, or are asking someone to give you one for Christmas, this is "HER Toolbox List" for what should be in the box. It has what you need and everything is there for a reason.I have added some essentials to my tool-box this year --  things…
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Layers are the Key for Reducing Heat Loss at the Window

Layers are the Key for Reducing Heat Loss at the Window

  • 21st November 2014
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Layers are the Key. Last column was about how much heat goes out your windows. This one is about what you can do to reduce that loss without getting new windows or a second mortgage. The key here is to prevent the cold air outside the window from meeting the…
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Window Heat-Loss Rant

Window Heat-Loss Rant

  • 14th November 2014
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My Annual Window Heat-Loss Rant. It would seem that winter is winning the battle against autumn. Again. Which means that our heating bills will start to go up in direct proportion to the temperature going down.  Because at least 25 percent of your home heating bill goes out the windows,…
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Grommet Panels: the good, the bad and the ugly.

Grommet Panels: the good, the bad and the ugly.

  • 22nd October 2014
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Grommet panels are not going away. For which I am truly sorry. So, I’ll admit defeat and stop complaining. Andin the spirit of acceptance, here are a few things you should know about them if you are considering buying some. These are out of the package panels. First of all, they are…
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The Pros of Pros

The Pros of Pros

  • 19th October 2014
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  For years I bought the same style and frame color of eyeglasses because I can’t see well enough without my glasses to see what I will look like in the new ones. A few years ago I asked a friend to help me pick out something new and different. …
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Remote Controls De-mystified

Remote Controls De-mystified

  • 19th October 2014
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  Blind motorization I was at the inaugural demonstration of remote controlled blinds (through Hunter Douglas,) way back in the mid-nineties. We were awe-struck. “We” being most of the custom blind and design community in Calgary. Previous to this intro, motorization required hard-wiring by an electrician, lots of patching of…
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3 Bits of Advice

3 Bits of Advice

  • 19th October 2014
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  I have been working in interior design for a long time. Sometimes I get asked for advice and I give that advice based on my knowledge and experience. Sometimes my clients take my advice and sometimes they don’t.  Here are three of the most common of these  conversations.  I…
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Cabinet Refacing

Cabinet Refacing

  • 4th September 2014
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Let's suppose you like the layout of your kitchen cabinets; you like the cupboard arrangement; the depth of the shelves works for you and all your pots and pans fit the below-counter storage just fine. But you are tired as can be of the surface. Maybe you have the old…
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Corn, Rhinos and Carpet

Corn, Rhinos and Carpet

  • 24th August 2014
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  I send out a monthly newsletter and for the first time I’m going to use some of the newsletter in the column. I’m doing that because I really want homeowners to know about this carpet fiber and what it can do for you. If you are out and about…
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Proportion

Proportion

  • 1st August 2014
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Last column I talked about scale, and how not understanding scale can really mess up an otherwise good design plan. I recently read a blog post by an ‘expert’ who said that proportion and scale were the same thing and the words could be interchanged. Such nonsense is probably one…
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Scale: The number one reason for bad design

Scale: The number one reason for bad design

  • 23rd July 2014
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  A design colleague and I were talking the other day and the issue of scale came up. He said, quite emphatically, that he believed the lack of understanding of scale contributed more to poor DIY design than any other element. After mulling over this rather radical statement for a…
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Stacked Glass Backsplash Can Date-Stamp Your Kitchen

Stacked Glass Backsplash Can Date-Stamp Your Kitchen

  • 3rd July 2014
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Just because something is new and is a trend and you like it doesn’t mean you have to use it in your home. I was helping a gal coordinate a backsplash with counter top and she was having a real problem with mixing patterns. She liked the look of multi-colored…
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Flooring: Hardwood, Engineered or Laminate?

Flooring: Hardwood, Engineered or Laminate?

  • 26th June 2014
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In my childhood home we had dogs and cats and kids with toys in a living room where we were allowed to take the cushions off the sofa and make forts any time we wanted. I remember the electric floor buffer my Mom pushed around that floor. Dad had laid…
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Changing Times

Changing Times

  • 6th June 2014
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I remember that when Ikea opened in Canada most of us in the design world daintily turned up our collective nose. Flat-packs? Indeed. The first ready-made drapery panels generally available were just awful. Window blinds and shades for odd-sized windows used to cost an arm and a leg.  Even just…
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Harmony and Theme

Harmony and Theme

  • 24th May 2014
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The repetition of a design element creates harmony in a room and a theme comes from strong harmony. This dining room is pleasant to look at; nothing leaps out shouting,"Look at me!" It's balanced and the repetition of the circular design creates an understated theme. The circular design of the…
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The Sun List: How to Keep the Damage At Bay

The Sun List: How to Keep the Damage At Bay

  • 9th May 2014
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I am assuming spring is on the way. It’s  May, for heaven’s sake, and I’m still wearing my winter jacket on the morning kitty-walk. At least we know spring will eventually get here and with it comes our friend/enemy the sun. Lots of sun. So much sun it can create…
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Types of Color Combinations

Types of Color Combinations

  • 27th April 2014
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I know you understand contrast and you get undertones, and what a muted color is, and that you should not mix clear and muted colors. So here are a few other things that will help you choose a color scheme if you have painted the walls first. Once you understand…
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Choose room colors backwards-2

Choose room colors backwards-2

  • 9th April 2014
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Picking room colors backwards continued. You can choose any colors you want for your room, but you will have better results if you follow a few guidelines. I promise. Continue to refine your identification of your wall color and then pick other colors that work, based on these concepts. Colors…
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Choose Paint Colors Backwards

Choose Paint Colors Backwards

  • 26th March 2014
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Choose Paint Color Backwards This column is about how to choose paint colors if you want to start with a wall color first. You know that doing it this way is choosing paint colors backwards,  but so many of you insist on doing it I thought it might help to…
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Color Schemes 2014

Color Schemes 2014

  • 2nd March 2014
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Color Schemes 2014 [caption id="attachment_1689" align="alignleft" width="265"] Neutrals come in all colors.[/caption] No way around it, current design plans are obvious in their lack of pattern and the color schemes for 2014 seem almost monchromatic. Take a stroll through Houzz or any shelter magazine on the racks and you will…
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Home Fashions University and Me

Home Fashions University and Me

  • 2nd March 2014
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Home Fashions University Join us at Home Fashions University for classes, tutorials, videos and information sharing; home decor decorating, sewing, tip exchange and the new Question and Answer page. Check in regularly, lots of changes happening  every day -- and don't forget to sign up for the newsletter: Home Fashions…
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Colors for 2014

Colors for 2014

  • 27th February 2014
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  I just did legwork on this one. This is a collection of what the best-known paint companies are touting as their entry in the collection of colors for  2014. Color of the Year 2014, Radiant Orchid, The executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eiseman, explains: "This season,…
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Internet TidBits

Internet TidBits

  • 16th February 2014
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[caption id="attachment_1647" align="alignleft" width="150"] Check here for little bits of things.[/caption]   These are some little Tidbits of  things I learned on the internet. If you want to check them out, click on the highlighted links in brackets. 1. “Why paint a Ceiling Black?” ( Houzz: Reasons to Paint a…
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Is it OK to Copy? Ethics in Interior Design

Is it OK to Copy? Ethics in Interior Design

  • 18th January 2014
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[caption id="attachment_1650" align="alignleft" width="279"] Go ahead and copy, just don't pretend it's your idea.[/caption] I don’t know where I heard that there really are never any new ideas, just old ones put together in different ways, but it seems to be an adage that really fits interior design and decoration. …
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Headboards

Headboards

  • 13th January 2014
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[caption id="attachment_1542" align="alignright" width="300"] Use something special. Or make a new collection.[/caption]   My headboard is a collection of five water-colored paintings my Granny did from 1908 to about 1912. They are on the small size, they are different shapes, but the common theme is that they are landscapes done…
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Towels 101

Towels 101

  • 13th January 2014
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  I remember a set of towels I bought, back in the day, that matched my dusty rose and powder blue bathroom to a tee. But, as my ex used to complain almost daily, they were water proof. And they were; they worked best if we used them as sort…
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How Much Fabric Do You Need for Drapes?

How Much Fabric Do You Need for Drapes?

  • 10th January 2014
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Even if if you don’t plan to make  the drapes yourself, you should know how calculate the required yardage so that you get enough fabric. A bit extra is good, not enough is not good. Stackback is the amount of extra space past the window frame that the drapes require…
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Space for Door Swings

Space for Door Swings

  • 2nd December 2013
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Making sure you have enough room for your doors to function is an important part of designing a space. A wonderful space looses its panache if the door bangs into the back of the sofa, or if there isn’t room for someone to pass by while the door is open.…
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Form Follows Function

Form Follows Function

  • 27th October 2013
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When I first became interested in Interior Design, I had a bit of a problem understanding just exactly what “form follows function” meant. (It was said by architect Louis Sullivan in 1896.) It made sense that the function of an item must come first, and the design must come based…
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Paint the Hallway

Paint the Hallway

  • 10th September 2013
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  After living in this condo for three years, I finally got around to painting the doors and trim in the hallway. Typical of a condo of this age, the skinny baseboards, doors and door trim were painted dark brown. Really good high-gloss oil paint, too. That was fun, but…
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Paying it Forward

Paying it Forward

  • 25th August 2013
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I am a member of a 5000-strong group of people who do what I do. A few of us had quite an on-line chat the other day about ethics and good business practices, and the necessity of turning away customers on occasion. From that grew the discussion about sending potential…
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Step by Step Decorating

  • 4th August 2013
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Here are the step by step directions for decorating a room. I want you to cut this column out and highlight the step that talks about choosing paint colors. Then keep this column in your files. When you decide you want to change the paint, or you are moving to…
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Floorcloths and Floorquilts

  • 7th July 2013
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Back in the “olden days,” the floor in an average home could be planked wood -- sometimes with substantial gaps between the planks -- or it could be packed dirt, or it could be just ugly and cold. If your household was of modest means, chances are you couldn’t afford…
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Painting wood

  • 7th July 2013
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So this is me stamping my foot and saying, “Listen up, people. I’m not talking just to hear myself talk. Lets go through this one more time.” No more than three woods per room. The floor, the entertainment unit and the window trim.  Or the floor, the entertainment unit and…
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Woods 101

  • 3rd June 2013
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So the big hint I can give you about wood blinds is this. Imitation wood blinds are heavier, typically, than real wood blinds. The heavier the blind, the more lift cords -- or ladders -- you need to lift the blind.  Lots of lift ladders also gives you an indication…
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Your Front Door

  • 3rd June 2013
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There was a wonderful old home I used to drive by every few days. It was being restored, obviously by caring, thoughtful owners.  It was set back from the road on the site of a small dairy; the dairy barns were painted that glorious red that is typical of dairy…
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Venetians Blinds 101

  • 18th May 2013
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These are not your Grandmother’s blinds. Not by a long shot. Those were so heavy a small child could (and sometimes did) swing on the cords. When the blinds were down and the closed, you could see through the disproportionately large guide holes. Every bit of dust in the house…
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Venetians 101

  • 12th May 2013
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These are not your Grandmother’s blinds. Not by a long shot. Those were so heavy a small child could (and sometimes did) swing on the cords. When the blinds were down and the closed, you could see through the disproportionately large guide holes. Every bit of dust in the house…
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Window Covering Costs

  • 28th April 2013
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I had two potential clients in the last while suffer from window covering sticker shock. They told me they had no budget but weren’t really concerned, they wanted the best they could get. That I can help with, says I.  What became clear, very quickly, was that neither client understood…
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Honeycomb Shades 101

  • 17th April 2013
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    Hunter Douglas introduced honeycomb shades in 1985. To say they caused a stir is an understatement. Really new ideas expressed through really innovative design is rare, and honeycomb shades were both.   In cross section they are shaped -- in their purest form -- like one cell of…
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Vertical Blinds 101

  • 17th April 2013
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  I once had occasion to sell a lady vertical blinds for her wall to wall windows overlooking downtown Calgary. Huge window. She insisted on pink plastic.  It was one of those instances where, had I been more experienced, I would have just put my foot down and said, “No,…
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Roller Solar Shades 101

  • 13th March 2013
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These members of the shade community are notorious for their blah appearance and their stellar (no pun intended) performance. On the lower end of the price scale you can find  ready-made roller shades in the big box stores where they will often cut them to your specific measurements, or you…
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Pleated Shades 101

  • 13th March 2013
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Pleated Shades When we were kids making accordion-folded paper fans, one of us stashed that information away and later figured out that with a few cords running through the folds it could become an operable window covering. And the pleated shade was born. Originating from the Netherlands, these shades are…
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Blinds 101

  • 13th March 2013
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When I started in this design business, I went to work at Chintz and Company in Calgary. I learned about high-end fabric there, and how to use my school-smarts when designing window treatments. I learned about table-scaping  and I learned what makes good furniture. After Chintz  I worked at Cricklewood…
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Backsplashes

  • 13th March 2013
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I’m going to start adding visual elements to these columns, I’ll put a few links to sites, or some pictures, on my website (Designsewlutions.ca) in the Columns section where the reprints of all of these columns live. I’ll try to have them on the site by the Monday following publication.…
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Panic Painting

  • 13th March 2013
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Several times in the last few weeks I have been asked for help picking fabric for window treatments and upholstery to coordinate with the new wall color. In each instance, the paint color was chosen without regard for the design plan of the room, the color of the existing furniture, …
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Some Little Things

  • 13th March 2013
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Some Things from 2012 I learned a lot of stuff this last year that I intend to keep close. I always feel a bit better if I learn something every day. Here are a few things I learned this year that I’d like to share with you. I learned about…
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2013 Color Forecast

  • 13th March 2013
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For those of you waiting for the 2013 color forecasts, here is the synopsis of the interior colors that we are "supposed" to use in our homes next year. I trust all of you to do what is right for you and your families first, and decorate according to trends…
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Everything About TP…

  • 13th March 2013
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I was in the Store-that-shall-remain-nameless the other day getting socks and bathroom tissue. Yes, I shop there on occasion. There, I’ve outed myself. Just like window coverings, I believe in buying what you need at the price you can afford. Shopping around for the best buy is  common, good, fiscal…
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Beige and Taupe

  • 12th March 2013
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Beige and Taupe Well, that grabbed your attention didn’t it?  Try to hold the excitement down, I know this is gripping stuff.  But -  we need to talk about undertones, and if I had titled this column “Undertones” you most likely would have turned the page. I’ll get to “Beige…
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What to Put on the Patio Door.

  • 15th August 2012
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This is how the pros do it. Function, mood and harmony will lead you to the right decision.  What do you want the window coverings to do? Is total privacy the issue, or is it blocking the sun from damaging your furniture or floors?  It could be keeping heat in…
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A Few Ways to Stay Cool

  • 15th August 2012
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One of my great big pet peeves is T-shirts in the summer. I know I might sound like a bit of a snob, but when I see people sweltering in the heat, pulling their T-shirt away from their body, I just want to go over to them and give them…
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Mirror Mirror

  • 15th August 2012
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I was cleaning the BIG mirror in the living room the other day and realized that the reflection of moi in that mirror was much clearer, much crisper and not as distorted as the reflection I see in the spare bedroom mirror. We all have one of those distorting mirrors…
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Summer. Where??

  • 2nd July 2012
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Have you noticed that the gray skies are manifested in the gray moods of the residents of this city? I know it’s hard to bear the rain and gray skies, day after day, day after day. We are all  getting  grumpy and just a tad snippy at times. I see…
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Picture Framing 101

  • 2nd July 2012
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As you know, “Interior Decorating” is fraught with guidelines. Not rules, but gentle reminders of the tried and, usually, true ways of doing, displaying, painting, and coloring that tend to bring out the best in the item and your interior. It shouldn’t be  any surprise that “Picture Framing” also has…
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Staging

  • 2nd July 2012
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How to sell your home 30% faster. Well, that caught your eye, didn’t it? ‘Days on the Market’  can be a huge problem for homeowners anxious to sell - usually because they are trying to buy another property and must sell the current one. Oh, and suppose we could get…
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How  Loosing  My Voice Made Me Clean Up The Office.

  • 22nd May 2012
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About 10 days ago I felt a cold coming on - the sneeze and the scratchy throat were typical warning signs. I prepared to do battle. I can usually nip these in the bud but one little germ got through the defense line of power vitamins and, heaven help me,…
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What Size Centerpiece?

  • 22nd May 2012
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Ever been to dinner and the centerpiece was so high you couldn’t see across the table? Or it was so large there were leaves in your soup?  Even if your centerpiece is stunning, if it isn’t functional --- which means it fits into the plan of the table, it can…
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How to choose the right size air conditioner

  • 22nd May 2012
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Summer is coming. I know the robins are here and I saw a blackbird at  my friend’s house the other day. There is green poking through the nasty ‘lawn’ thingy in front of my condo. I moved bedrooms this winter and my current one faces west; that means I may…
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Just The Facts.

  • 22nd May 2012
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I get asked about these things a lot. Especially at this time of year.  Each year I write a bit about these things and hope that those of you who have not paid attention in the past will do so now.  I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t want…
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“Porcelain” Tile: ??

  • 22nd May 2012
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I learned some things this last week. Always good to learn something new and what I learned may be if interest to all you weekend-warriors, or wives of would-be-weekend-warriors, or husbands thereof, I suppose.Porcelain tile. Sounds rather exotic, doesn’t it? When I hear ‘porcelain’ I immediately think of the figurines…
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Care of Your Shades and Blinds

  • 22nd May 2012
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OK, first off, shades are usually made of fabric or a fabric-like product. They are manufactured as pleated, honeycomb or Silhouette-type coverings and are considered a ‘hard’ window covering. As opposed to soft window coverings, such  as custom-made drapes and Roman shades --- which I make.  Blinds are coverings made…
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What you need to know about your outdoor cushions.

  • 26th February 2012
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Outdoor Cushions -- why you can't use everyday cushions and expect them to last. [caption id="attachment_1698" align="alignleft" width="400"] Striped Outdoor Cushions[/caption] Spring is coming. I don’t really care what Punxsutawney Phil said.  I know because I am getting lots of requests to re-cover outdoor  and RV cushions.  A lady I…
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5 Reasons to Hire a Decorator

  • 12th February 2012
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 A decorator will save you money. If a gallon of paint costs $65.00 and you buy two in the wrong color; you have lost $130.00. Plus all the time it took to choose, shop and paint. The smaller your budget, the less room you have for mistakes - you need…
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Trim Colors

  • 28th January 2012
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Unless you are David Letterman,  you wouldn’t wear white socks with a nice brown suit. You know that they would draw attention to your ankles and take focus away from the nice brown suit and spectacular shoes. Its the contrast rule. Again. The eye will go to the area of greatest contrast…
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Colors for 2012

  • 10th January 2012
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For all of you who have been anxiously waiting for the color forecast for 2012, sorry to disappoint but I just couldn’t do it.  I did my research. I looked at all the ‘important’ magazines and web sites. But I gave up. I really wanted to summarize what one of…
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Trust Yourself. Please.

  • 10th January 2012
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I was doing my due diligent reading in preparation for the color forecast column and I came across a blog talking about interior design trends for 2012. Interesting stuff. But what caught my eye was a comment, way down the comments section, from a gal who said  she had seen…
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How to hem pants

  • 10th January 2012
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I would not be exaggerating to say I have hemmed over 1000 pairs of pants, in my time, --- everything from jeans to astoundingly expensive custom made mens wool pants.  Some, like  jeans and the expensive dress pants, should be taken to a professional - for lots of reasons. But,…
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Magnets,, sort of

  • 3rd December 2011
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Magnets, sort of....I spoke at a Reskilling Workshop for  Shuswap in Transition recently, presenting information about insulated window coverings and I learned something new, Read on... As a reminder: an uncovered new window may have an R-value of about 3; whereas the wall will probably have an R-value of 20.…
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Things That Should Not be Trendy.

  • 3rd December 2011
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Things That Should Not be Trendy.The thing about trends is that they come and go. That is what makes them trends.  In the home decor world, trends are fine for pillows, cushions, area rugs, accent lamps and the odd bit of artwork but for major components in a home, watch…
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The Information Sites for Drapery Insulation

  • 23rd November 2011
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Design Sewlutions: R-Value and Drape Insulation    http://designsewlutions.blogspot.com/2009/11/r-value-and-drape-insulation.htmlThe  Sensible House Project: Keeping Heat in (or out)The Sensible House Project; Keeping Heat in (or Out); Bob Scheulen, et al. http:/.sensiblehouse.org/tu_nrg_envelope.shtmlInterior Mall; Warming Up to Drapery Linings; Cheryl Stricklandhttp://www.interiormall.com/cat/window/aboutdrapery_linings.htmUniversity of Wisconsin Extension; Energy Conserving Window Treatments; James W. Buesing; http://learningstore.uwex.edu/assets/pdfs/B3064.pdfSmart Energy Living: Window…
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Toolbox for Christmas

  • 6th November 2011
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A few weeks ago I was at my niece’s home, getting to know my new great-nephew. I offered to install the curtains in his room and asked for a screwdriver. I got the Leatherman. I got the job done --- yeah to Leatherman --- but later, when I asked my…
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60-30-10

  • 6th November 2011
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Imagine (now just bear with me for a moment) a man dressed in a smashing navy blue suit, crisp white shirt and a classic red tie. Perfect color usage proportions. The ensemble looks pleasing and balanced. Why? The 60-30-10 guideline. ( No rules, remember, we have “guidelines”). The main color…
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DIY Window Insulation

  • 6th November 2011
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I had to turn on the heat in my house last week. Here we go again. So, broken record me, it’s time to talk winter and the effect the weather has on  the heating bill. Did you know that between 10 and 30 percent of your heating bill is going…
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Catch up

  • 6th November 2011
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The column on bamboo generated a bit of buzz. I have been asked several times for a source for the socks and except for the lady at the Caravan Farm Theatre Sunday Market, I couldn’t find any local store selling 100 percent bamboo socks. I’m trying to track down the…
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Rules and Guidelines

  • 6th November 2011
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Just after the long weekend, a friend said she had quit wearing white for the year because the fashion rule is no white after Labour day.  When we were talking I was wearing my summer uniform: white capris and a white sleeveless blouse. Ten days later I was on the…
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The chair and sofa in the pretty house

The chair and sofa in the pretty house

See those big tassle tie-backs? Couldn't be more perfect and I've had them in my stash for a few years. Glad they have a new home.Close ups of the sofa and chair before and afters. We used the same fabric as on the window treatments, just the opposite side. 
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One of the prettiest homes

One of the prettiest homes

This home has a soft, gentle ambience that is very comforting and inviting. It's right on the water, and the flower gardens are a true testament to the owners love of green things. You'd never guess this little gem was here -  can't be seen from the road at all.…
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The Travel Trailer

  • 27th August 2011
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My niece has a travel trailer that has fake wood wall-board, gold appliances and rust-colored flowered upholstery fabric. You know the one --- we have all seen it.  Unfortunately there is nothing wrong with the wall board, appliances or rust-colored flowers so there is no need to replace anything, but she…
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The Bulkhead and Odd-Angled Walls

  • 27th August 2011
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Bulkhead and odd-angled walls I went to a previous clients home the other day and I was stuck, again, by the architecture of the home and the wonderful colors.  The home has two predominant colors and there are a lot of angled walls. When we were planning the paint colors…
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The Foyer

  • 27th August 2011
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Foyer: An entrance Hall in a house or apartment. Pronounced “foy er”  or “foy yeah”. Either pronunciation is correct but the snoots in design school insisted on “ foy yeah”.   Whatever.  In everyday English, it’s also the “entry” or the “front porch”. Just depends on the house.  But whatever…
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Deck furniture

Three cushion sets - all using Sunbrella fabric and the new outdoor cushion 'foam' I found.  This foam won't mildew or mold, or collect water. The Sunbrella fabric won't fade or disintegrate. These cushions should last as long as the homeowners want them to. They can put the cushions out…
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What I Learned About Bamboo

  • 20th July 2011
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What I learned about bamboo.   I have recently been writing some articles for an internet site that, on occasion, require me to do research. The one on bamboo sheets was an eye-opener.  Here is some of what I learned:   Bamboo is a renewable resource; it can grow four…
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Tables and Rugs

  • 5th July 2011
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Tables and RugsI have been asked several times recently about rugs and tables -  both coffee and dining - and how the shapes should relate to each other. So, here is your lesson on rugs and tables. The Shape of the SpaceThe shape of the area rug should mimic the shape…
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The Patio Cushions Season

  • 5th July 2011
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The Patio CushionsSummer is almost here; well, that’s what I’ve been told, anyway. I’m not sure I really believe it, but if the number of patio cushions I have in my workroom is any indication, it’s just around the corner. We ask so much of the patio cushions. When being really…
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Trims and Tassels

  • 8th June 2011
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 Most of us love trims and tassels, but there seems to be reluctance in many people to take the plunge and add trim into your home. Don’t be afraid; the ‘risk’ is well worth it. I have never had a client ask me to take the trim off; I have…
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The Green Home Tour

  • 30th May 2011
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My ‘How to Make Your Drapes More Energy Efficient’  display and I were part of the  Green Home Tour on Saturday, May 14. I was at Jen Dyck and Steve Mennie’s home - the straw bale one.  We were the last on the list but we had the first people…
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Las Vegas

  • 7th May 2011
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  The Las Vegas Convention Center encompasses about 2 million square feet of exhibit space. LIke everything else in Vegas it’s larger than life. I was there last week to attend the International Window Coverings Expo. The  Kitchen and Bath Industry Show  was held there at the same time; I’ve…
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My Favorite Books

  • 24th April 2011
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If I could, I’d be a book hoarder. Fiction, non fiction - doesn’t matter, I love books and if I had a large house with a large library it would be full. I’d love to have one of those library ladders that run on a track all around the room... …
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Summer Sun

  • 18th April 2011
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I actually felt heat from the sun the other day. Summer is coming. Those of you who have gardens must be getting excited.  In a short while the front yards will take bloom; the veggies will show their potential - and the sun will be streaming in the windows; heating…
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How to clean your window coverings.

  • 3rd April 2011
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The first step is to look at your window coverings and decide if they actually need a total cleaning.  Fabric coverings and blinds are treated differently.  For blinds please please please DO NOT take them down and try to wash them  unless the care instructions  indicate it’s OK to do…
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What a difference a wall makes

The client loved the fabric but also loved the  green wall color and wanted to try the two together. Sometimes it's best to let clients just do their own thing.  A few phone calls and a few renderings later we painted the walls the same aubergene as the stripe in…
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A few solutions

  • 12th March 2011
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A Few Solutions While not directly associated with home decor, the following problems  definitely fall under the category of ‘dilemmas’ and I’ve found solutions for them that make my life easier. I hope they will help you too. I used to do quite a bit of silversmithing; haven’t in awhile…
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Clutter

  • 6th March 2011
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I spend a fair bit of time helping people get started on the way to their vision of their home. Sometimes this is very difficult and usually due to clutter. I remember one house that had piles of clothes everywhere. The circular staircase led to a large second floor landing off…
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Follow up to color…

  • 13th February 2011
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When I did my research for the column on the  color forecast, none of the sources I looked at mentioned blue. But in January  a major shelter magazine published their forecast with blue and green prominently displayed. I stand corrected.  To further add to the confusion Pantone later released their…
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Drapery Rods

  • 1st February 2011
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definition: Curtains are window coverings usually hung on rod systems that open and close horizontally. Drapes are lined curtains. Considering the  fact that most over the counter drapery  rods will only span a specific distance without bending; what’s a DIY’er to do?  You can spend a LOT of money on…
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The banquette

The seats hide storage. Wonderful design.The homeowner is going to replace the small glass table top with a larger elliptical  shape. That will give her seating for all the grandchildren at once.
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Catching up a bit

  • 15th January 2011
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Catching up.A few catchup things this week. First of all, I’ll be at the ‘It’s All About Women’ Conference, Saturday January 29 at the Prestige, doing a little talk at 1:00 and repeating at 2:00. The subject will be color and light in your home. Come join us and learn…
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Color Forecast for 2011

  • 2nd January 2011
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Here is some good news for all of you who diligently followed the color mavins guides for 2010 and re-decorated according to their forecasts. You don’t really have to change much to be on the cutting edge for 2011. In terms of color. Which means that the ‘what will the colors…
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Winter window fixes

  • 26th December 2010
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The cold snap reminded me that the windows in my new-to-me condo needed attention.   I finally took some time and made the insulated drapes for the balcony sliding doors and used a new lining that is flannel backed. Like the new black out linings it drapes much better than…
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Space Heaters

  • 26th December 2010
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So there I am, shivering from being outside in the COLD, standing in front of the space heaters in the hardware store. I needed to buy one and I didn’t have a clue which one to get. The clerk couldn’t help, so I picked one on sale and took it…
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Taffeta chair

 Before and after of another second hand store find. The fabric is bronze taffeta, the design is a sage green. I found the brush fringe on a 70% off sale and used it double. It is exactly the same colors as the chair.
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New Jewelry for a grand old gal.

This house is being lovingly restored and the latest additions  are these grand swags and horns and jabots set off with a fantastic  tassel trim. I just love it, but most importantly, so does the homeowner.
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An Older Home

  • 24th November 2010
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I’ve been asked to do a window treatment in an older home. The homeowners are very lovingly restoring this beauty and are taking care to do it with period appropriate designs.  We have a photo to work from; it’s a perfect design for the room and the home. But, it’s…
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More floor plan

  • 24th November 2010
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If you want to continue on with your floor plan you have a few choices to make now. You can draw it to scale   and add outlines of furniture; you can go on line and do a computer generated floor plan or you can call a designer and get…
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More floor plan

  • 24th November 2010
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If you want to continue on with your floor plan you have a few choices to make now. You can draw it to scale   and add outlines of furniture; you can go on line and do a computer generated floor plan or you can call a designer and get…
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Old Dogs and New Tricks

  • 23rd October 2010
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I was doing some research the other day and came across a statistic that I thought I’d share: Ideas that are being explained with the use of verbal and visual tools are 6 times more likely to be understood than ideas being explained with verbal tools only.  I have know…
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Floor Plan continued

  • 23rd October 2010
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Continuing with the floor plan.If you’ve been doing the homework, you should now have a floor plan with the appropriate ‘seats’ in place.  This very simple exercise shows you where people will sit in the room and what type of furniture you need in that room.  Now you need to…
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Soft grey bedroom

This is another rendering of a bedroom built around the beautiful fabric on the window treatments. The chair gets an update via a slipcover too.
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A touch of Africa

The goal was a contemporary room in camel and black. No fuss bedding; easy care fabric. Neither masculine nor feminine but with a fun feel. I think we got it. This is a rendering, available as part of my full service or as a separate project; can also be done…
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The floor plan continued.

  • 26th September 2010
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Now that you have your floor plan drawn to scale you have done all of the tedious work. Just a bit more homework and then you get to play. Write down what the room is used for and how many people participate in those activities. This should include the possibility,…
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A few loose ends

  • 19th September 2010
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This column will be a bit of a catch-all, so please bear with. I hope that any of you who are actually taking the time to do a floor plan will take this week and finish it. In the next column I’ll help you continue with the process of designing…
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Floor Plan Part 2

  • 4th September 2010
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How to make a floor plan. First of all, you do not have to be a drafting genius to do this. But you do need to do it. Get some 1/4 inch graph paper. Each square on the paper will represent 6 inches of floor. If you are a metric…
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A Floor Plan

  • 20th August 2010
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Number one on the list of things to do if you are considering a room make-over, a renovation or especially if you are building is a floor plan of each room. Here are a few of the ways a floor plan will help you: It will tell you the size…
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Walk along main street.

  • 1st August 2010
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One of my favorite things to do in Vancouver is walk along Main street, from 49th to 52nd or so, cross the street and walk back up to 49th. It usually takes me 3 or 4 hours to complete the trip. This is ‘Little India’ and it is the place…
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Chandeliers

  • 17th July 2010
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Every go into a room and see a fixture hanging over the table and wonder why it is hung so high? Or why it looks so small, or so large? Well, there are a few guidelines ( once again, design principles are guidelines, not rules) to help you avoid these…
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Visualize this

This is a rendering, a design scheme for a bedroom. The 3 part plan includes a mood board - showing various room elements, rugs, trims and fabrics. It also includes a floor plan, to scale, using the furniture and materials from the mood board. The elevation rendering shows how all…
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Design on a Photograph

This is a really simple example of designing on a photograph. The first photo is the undressed window, the middle is a rendering done on the actual photograph (with some plants outside the window added) and the third is the finished drapes. If we have fabric chosen, I can take…
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Shade Fabrics

  • 6th July 2010
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Shade fabrics.Summer sun is back. Finally. I’m getting lots of calls about sun blocking drapes and how to prevent sun damage to furniture and floors. The sewlution is very simple, and you have quite a few choices. Any of these will prevent your floors and sofas from getting sun-bleached and…
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Math

  • 19th June 2010
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I was miserable at math in school. My Grade 10 teacher agreed to pass me if I promised never to take math again. (True story). I use a lot of math in my business now, fractions, decimals, converting meters to yards, inches to centimeters. I’m pretty good at it and…
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Down in Duvets

  • 19th June 2010
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I remember my Dad telling me that 2 inches of newspaper is as warm as 2 inches of feathers. I’m not sure if that is actually true or not, my Dad had a lot of this kind of knowledge stored in his brain, but I’ve learned some things about down…
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From formal to fun

Even though this chair was sitting off to the right of the window there was a lot of sun damage along the left side. The room is quite formal but the burgundy stripe was just too much. The homeowner has a great sense of color and style and picked this…
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Another ottoman saved!!

Another false cushion ottoman that was destined for the big bin. --Tufted top, worn olive green velvet, all lopsided and wonky. The slipcover makes it look like it belongs in the room. The club chair in the client's loving room is upholstered in this fabric too.
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Ladybugs

This is a miniature chair. The red splotches in the new slipcover seat and back are actually ladybugs. The chair, and it's matching sofa, are going to the Ladybug Landing daycare. Too darn cute for words. ( Work done by Darcy and me. )
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More about color

  • 26th May 2010
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In the early 90’s the whole ‘Southwest’ decor style came at us. Peach and blue; geometric borders, ceramic coyotes, zipper paintings. I remember one house in Alberta done entirely in this color scheme that was so cold feeling in the winter it was very uncomfortable. Then some smarty pants designer…
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4 chairs in a circle

This is a really nice 1970's home, lots of cedar walls. LOTS of cedar walls but the homeowner is transforming it into a seaside cottage starting with new soft beige slipcovers for the chenille chairs in the living room.
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Poufffffff!!

The client wanted gingham. The room is red and yellow and BOLD. ( See post of April 14th below.)Sue at Fabricland walked us right over to the red fabric and that was it. Perfect
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How to choose an area rug.

  • 8th May 2010
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I’ve decided I need a new area rug for my living room. There are an infinite number of prints and styles and colors and prices available and it can be overwhelming. I know I’m working backwards; I should be decorating the room based on the rug but this will just…
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New old rocker

The local heritage museum (Haney House) is mounting some 'vignettes'. One is centered around a painting done by a local artist at the turn of the century of a nursery with admiring uncles looking down at the new baby in the crib. The chair in the painting is a rocker…
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What is a ‘workroom’?

  • 25th April 2010
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A drapery workroom is the place where the magic happens for fabric fashions for your home. If you are doing some home decorating on your own it is a good idea to find the local workroom and make friends with the operator. Just like any professional, a workroom operator will…
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Spring has sprung

The plaid is beautiful but the client wanted a bit of an update. The Raymond Waites floral fabric (Fabricland) was the starting point. A cover for the pouf, red and yellow gingham is next.With the area rug removed for the summer and that fantastic lamp taking center stage, this is…
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Selling my House

  • 11th April 2010
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Use a professional. I know I sound like a broken record but here I go one more time. We can’t do everything ourselves. Ask around, find someone with good references and then let them guide you. Chances are really good you won’t regret it. I recently sold my home; bought…
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Staging

  • 11th April 2010
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We have all seen ‘Sell this House’. Roger the stager works magic, with very little money. The homes sell quicker and for more money than homes that are not ‘staged’. So what is this all about anyway? Staging is the preparation of your home for sale. It involves the de-personalizing…
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White is nice but the gold is better

There is nothing wrong with the chairs as they were ( white ) except they didn't work well with the wood and leather and very warm living room. The gals found the micro suede floral print at Arlenes in Vancouver, on sale half price... and the chairs belong in the…
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Wallpaper, continued

  • 22nd March 2010
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I’m currently working on a top floor room that has very large exposed beams in the ceiling and on the walls. Unfortunately this beam is off center on the bed wall. We want a headboard but this 8 inch wide vertical beam throws everything off center and out of balance.…
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What’s new in Wallpaper

  • 22nd March 2010
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When I worked at Chintz and Company in Calgary, the Crown Wallpaper showroom was just down the street. I used to love going in there, just to spend a few hours looking through the books, putting fabrics and papers together, designing imaginary rooms. Like a new coat of paint, wallpaper…
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No words..

I haven't seen such a sorry chair in a very long time. It used to have a slipcover of pretty pink damask. Now it's tired and old and faded and ripped. Raymond Waites fabric from Fabricland. Spring has sprung.
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The floral chair

It seems like so  many of the chairs I slipcover were originally done in dusty pink or dusty blue velour.This  floral suits the chair and  it  provides that little bit of color and print so necessary in a well balanced room. Pillows  were made from the floral for the gold…
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Magazines

  • 20th February 2010
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Ah, the lure of the magazine stand. I can get into trouble there but I’ve learned to curb my buying and tend to stick to my favorite 4 or 5 ‘shelter magazines’ and I don’t buy them all every month. The only one I have a subscription to now is…
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Kindergarden slipcover.

The church has a kindergarden in the basement. That' s why the walls look like that. That's why the before sofa looks like that too.When it was time to paint the walls and update the room, I got the opportunity to do the slipcover. It's washable.
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The color primer

  • 7th February 2010
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I was recently reminded that a lot of people don’t know how color is ‘made’. So here is your primer about color. There are 3 basic colors. ( Bear with.. some colorists say there are more than this, but that’s an altogether different issue). For sake of expedience, we’ll also…
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The cut velvet sofa

The old cover was getting very warn thanks to the two little beauties in the foreground. The chennile we used, (cudos to Fabricland again), has a soft aqua background and a gorgeous bronze cut velvet design. Quite a change.
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Blind Recall

  • 17th January 2010
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The US Consumer Products Safety has recalled over 50 million window blinds due to the possibility of children strangling on the exposed cords. Health Canada has not issued a similar recall but has issued a warning and is urging consumers to follow the U.S. program and have their blinds, made…
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Happy New Year

  • 2nd January 2010
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Well, 2010. Came rather quickly, didn’t it? I’m not much on making resolutions; actually I love making them, it’s the keeping them that seems to be the problem. This year I have made the resolution to be kinder to myself. I’m going to really make an effort to take a…
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Cushions from leftovers

I was asked to make a cushion to match the headboard and bedskirt. ( The gray one). What was left over for the cushion presented quite a challenge because there were only 4 pieces, the largest being 16" x 18", the other 3 about 5" x 16" so I designed…
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How to light a room Part 2

  • 19th December 2009
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Because this is a re-print of my column, Part 1 is below as it was published 2 weeks ago. Please read it first. Now that you have set the task and ambient lighting in your rooms, go back and look again and decide if the room needs any Mood lighting.…
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How to Light a Room Part 1

  • 6th December 2009
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Techspeak: A lamp is the bulb. The apparatus that holds the lamp is referred to as a fixture. I did an install not long ago where there was hardly enough light to see anything I was doing. In a recent issue of House Beautiful (my favorite shelter magazine) 10 designers…
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How to mix patterns

  • 21st November 2009
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I’ve been on the internet several times in the last week with a young gal in Ohio who is having real trouble mixing patterns of fabric in a family room. She had picked two main fabrics that were what she wanted but there was something ‘wrong’. After quite a few…
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Grommets – the new way

I love finding new ways of doing things. A new 'gizmo' available on the market has made it possible to have grommet topped drapes close with all the pleat fullness moving along the rod, like normal pleated drapes. Until now, when grommet panels are closed, each pleat must be moved…
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Swivel Rocker

This chair swivels and rocks. It was in perfect condition; we found it at a second hand store. The client wanted a swivel rocker for the corner window, right beside the book case. The perfect spot for reading to the Grandkids, Kaylin and Ashton when they come home to visit.…
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R-Value and Drape Insulation

  • 15th November 2009
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In the last week I have had several requests to add lining to existing drapes. For those of you who have been thinking about it but need a bit more information, here is a brief summary of the infomercial I presented at the Shuswap Women in Business meeting last month.…
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Unity in Design

  • 6th November 2009
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The room feels right, the colors work well together, the lighting is just so, there is a feeling about the room that everything belongs there, everything has a purpose and that purpose is to make you feel at home in the room. This room has unity. Unity is achieved by…
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Blue chair one more time

This is the second incarnation of the blueFabricland display chair.It is a really vibrant print, the lime green piping is perfect and the chair creates a really sunny spot. I think it is going to someones bedroom soon. I have used fabric from this textile designer before, in 5 bedrooms-…
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Remake the swag.

We started thinking about this one 4 years ago. The fabric is perfect for the room and the homeowner loves it, but the droopy swag had to go. We wanted something a bit formal, not too fluffy and something I could make from the fabric we had. This is an…
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Up from the basement

Relegated to the basement. Still comfortable, still good design but really outdated fabric - and they didn't work together anyway.The finished chairs and sofa have been moved up to the main living room. They co-ordinate now, I re-designed the chair cushions to match the sofacushions. Very cosy.
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Fulling, Felting and Zipper Pulls

  • 17th October 2009
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I was asked the other day what ‘fulled’ fabric is. Some of the garment patterns are listing it now as suggested fabric for certain designs. So.. most of us are familiar with what felted means; big upsurge in this in the last few years; but rarely do we see real…
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The price of custom

  • 25th September 2009
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We all know about custom window coverings. We all know that they may be very reasonably priced or may force you to take out a second mortgage but sometimes it’s the only way to get exactly what you want. If you buy quality you should only have to buy once.…
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Pilling

  • 16th September 2009
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As a continuation of the tread count issue - knowing you now understand what ply is and the value of long fibers as opposed to short ones, I thought this would be a good time to explain fabric pilling. In my experience, natural fibers pill less than man made ones.…
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Pretty new Bedroom

Great fabric, Fabricland bargain center, I think it was about $5.00 per meter. The homeowner says this is the prettiest bedroom she's ever had.It's soft and gentle and really quite feminine
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Semi-attached cushion chairs slipcovers

Two of these chairs, in great condition - just a bit tired. They are in the same room as the floral sofa ( once beige sofa ) that I did and featured here called 'Another Great Transformation', posted on July 3. The homeowner loves them. The cover is actually a…
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The best fruit fly catcher ever

  • 30th August 2009
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Andrea Smith told me about this one. It is the only one I've ever tried that actually works.Put some fruit in a tall glass.Cover the glass top with cling wrap. Make it tight on the sides.Prick a few needle holes in the top. I used a fairly large needle.Done.The little…
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Another one about saving money

  • 30th August 2009
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I’m sure you get tired of me harping on about saving money and shopping around but I am a firm believer that we really don’t have to spend a lot to have a beautiful home. I got some new decorator fabric books from a supplier recently and was surprised to…
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A nice place to sit

This is in a corner of one of the most amazing gardens in town. It's close to the highway but there is no noise from the traffic and the homeowners have established a fantastic vegetable garden in conjunction with water features, superb stone work, a lilly pond, lots of seating…
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Thread Count

Thread Count

  • 14th August 2009
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You don’t have the time to research every home decor decision you make. It’s my job to help you. So here; I hope; is thread count explained and what it means in bedding. Please remember that there are no legal guidelines for listing thread count and there is no international…
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Arranging Pictures

  • 1st August 2009
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I'll be posting some lighting information within the next while. Bit busy in the workroom right now.. One of the most interesting picture walls I’ve seen was a compilation of about 60 pictures, all different subjects, all different sizes and frame styles that were displayed on a wall; covering the…
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White wins again

What a difference a slipcover can make.  To the left is  one of the chairs in the before blue velvet.  Above is where the two chairs are now;  below is the closeup. The white is tone on tone  floral: Rococco ( yes.. Fabricland) and we used a tone on  tone…
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The Patio of the Red and Yellow House

We used a red and yellow outdoor fabric from Fabricland, re-covered the fouton style cushions on the sofa in red with yellow piping, made zip-on covers for the decorator chairs and used the toss cushions in both red and yellow for accents. I spent a wonderful afternoon with these fabulous…
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How to hang pictures

  • 19th July 2009
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So you have gathered all your family photos and decided to hang them together on that long hall wall.  10 pictures; hopefully only 10 holes in the wall. Chances are really good there will be more than 10 holes. Hopefully the pictures  will be straight. Hopefully they will look like…
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Update.. Update

From early 90's Southwestern to up to the minute green and taupe chenille. The semi-attached cushions have been replaced with separate cushions. They feel a lot better now too.
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Permission To Do Nothing.

  • 4th July 2009
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I got a call  the other day from a lady I initially talked to about 2 years ago when she had just moved into her new home and needed some window coverings. I went to see her, did some designs on a photograph of her window, found some great fabric…
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Another Great Transformation

A very nice sofa, very beige, just not a lot of pizazz. The 'botanical' print and added skirt changed the look from quite modern to a more country, yet still modern, style of sofa. We're doing the two side chairs next. Maybe in a raspberry tweed..
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Recycling

  • 20th June 2009
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Recycling. We recycle so much of what is in our homes yet many people are mystified when it comes to what to do with their old drapes or blinds and the pieces end up in the landfill. First of all, maybe they aren’t really  ready for the big bin yet.…
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How to choose a paint color.

  • 6th June 2009
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Once again, the additions to the column appear here in gold type.It seems that choosing a color to paint the walls is one of the most difficult for a lot of DIYers.  In my Interior Decorating short course we spend at least 8 hours learning about  colors. This is  the summary version …
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Other Uses for Things

  • 23rd May 2009
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Information that is in addition to the column is in italics and gold colored.For a special occasion my nephew wanted to wear the navy blue suit in which his grandfather had been married in 1947 but there was a fairly large sun bleach spot on one shoulder. My sister, the…
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Valance and Side Panels

The lace curtains are nice but they needed to be 'finished'. Valances and side panels were added in a two toned stripe the client found at Fabricland.  The window in the dining room is a very large bay, we did the same treatment there and also in the master bedroom. The…
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Off Center Things

  • 15th May 2009
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 I worked with a designer who loved asymmetrical things. If I hung a picture straight in the show room, she would come behind me and skew it just a bit. All the furniture in her living room was off centered, just a bit.  We did a Christmas Show Home one…
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White Denim Slipcover

This chair was slipcoverd in white denim from the local fabric store. 60 inches wide, about $5.00 per meter. I prewashed the fabric so the slipcover can be machine washed whenever necessary.This is the before, the old legs were ready to fall off so new legs were made by a…
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Hide-a-bed Slipcover

Cute little hide-a-bed, only 50 inches wide. The fabric was a learning experience - a really discounted sticky backed fabric that I won't use again, but it turned out OK in the end.  At least the plaid is gone.
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The Sun

  • 25th April 2009
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This is the latest article in the Design Dilemmas series. I have added comments not published in the newspaper and have highlighted them in gold.Here comes the Sun. Great having the sun back.  Personally I love the heat but if you don’t and the sun is heating up your rooms,…
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Inside mount blackout blind.

This is the typical roll down blackout shade, inside mounted. It has at a 1/2" gap on one side and a 3/4" gap on the other. The bottom rail is fabricated in such a way that there is a 1/8" gap there as well. We put a valance with side…
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What dimout lining does

The before is the verticals. They had bleached out from green to plum. Who knows.. The drapes; again made from my current favorite, Rococco from Fabricland, has a dimout lining. You can really see the difference. It was sunny and hot this day and the temperature in the room changed dramatically…
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Fabric Differences

  • 10th April 2009
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 Which Fabric Should I Use? I don’t mind a client bringing their own fabric to have me construct drapes or cushions or whatevers.  BUT often I am asked to use fabric that is not the correct quality or type suitable to the design. So,, for all you gals who want…
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Magnetic Roman Blind and Valance Headrail

Some new developments on the magnetic headrail front.  I can now put a cord lock system on the headrail, no need for a cord cleat as on the blind pictured here.  Today I installed a blind  25" wide and 84" long. Somenew components are coming my way and  I hope to…
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Magnetic Roman Blind and Valance Headrail

  • 3rd April 2009
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This post appears here and on the gallery. I think it is important to get the 'word' out about this because for years we have been trying to find a solution to the metal door and I  now have a functioning Roman Blind that does the job.Some new developments on…
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If It Doesn’t Work It Won’t

  • 28th March 2009
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I love the make-over shows on TV. They are full of good ideas. Sometimes I can adapt an idea and make it work for me or a client but  sometimes I just shake my head and hope that NOBODY takes the idea and does it for herself - my favorite…
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From yucky tomato paste red to great.

I found this sofa, a Flextsteel, on sale. Regular price was $2899, on sale for $499.00. The color was just awful which is why, I'm sure, it was on sale. I slipcovered it in this lucious bronze tweedy fabric that was a bit pricey but was just exactly what I…
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FOAM

  • 27th February 2009
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We have high density, low density, high compression, low compression,   5 ,10 or 15 year, open cell, closed cell, latex, visco-elastic, memory, craft,outdoor and camping foam.  And all you wanted was some new foam for the chair pads in the kitchen. So here you are, the Foam dictionary: Density:…
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The Feature Wall

  • 15th February 2009
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In the last column I mentioned a design ‘rule’ that is : the eye will go to the area of greatest contrast first.(White belt on a black outfit)   Another example of this is: Think of a tree standing all alone in a field. Now think of that tree with…
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60’s wing

This is a Koehler chair found at a garage sale for $30.00  and was paid for in local trade dollars. The fabric and chair costs came to just under $85.00
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Valances – the good the bad and the ugly

  • 1st February 2009
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Yes folks, valances are back.  But wait!!  I am not talking about the newspaper stuffed balloon valances, or heaven help us, the combination of  2 or 3   wide rods hung really close together with fabric all squished up.  Style and  beautiful fabrics are what make today’s valances different.  The…
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The Gold Sofa Slipcover

This is the Gold Sofa, there is also a loveseat in the room and the wing back chair was done in a really garden-like floral. Once again Fabricland came through with just the right fabric at fantastic prices. The rococco on the sofa is a wide width fabric that is…
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Judy’s Meditating Chair

This is my favorite slip cover so far. Thrift store chair, astounding chenille fabric from Fabricland at about 8.00/meter. A slipcovered ottoman is in the works.. for Judy to rest her feet...
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Dining Room Chairs

Great lines on this chair, just really icky fabric.The beige slipcover has a nubbly all cotton bullion fringe on the bottom and on the lumbar cushion but it is still all washable.The red is a gorgeous fabric with a shot taffeta used in the double pleats and as the main fabric for…
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E’s Kitchen

Valances now are more formal. No fluffy things, few ruffles. Good fabric, good design, attention to detail. My software program allows me to take a picture of a window, design a window treatment and apply the chosen fabric, allowing you to see what it will look like before you decide.…
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International E-Zine Features ME!!

  • 17th January 2009
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I am just thrilled. Minutes Matter has featured me in the designer spotlight for this issue of their E-Zine. Minutes Matter is a software company that supplies the international interior design trade with the most advanced software available. Click on the link below to see the featurehttp://archive.constantcontact.com/fs041/1101122218818/archive/1102392749092.html
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How to deal with a corner fireplace.

  • 17th January 2009
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One of the frequent design questions I am asked  is ‘How do I place the furniture around a corner fireplace?’ This is a bit of a problem. The guideline in design  that covers this is that the main piece of furniture in a living room (the sofa) should be oriented…
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Pre-Made Drapery Panels

  • 10th January 2009
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Well - a good thing or not? They are everywhere, they vary in price from quite inexpensive to very  costly. We can find a good assortment of styles -  grommet tops, tab tops  and even  fake pinch pleats. We now have access to longer length panels  and an astounding assortment…
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Brown and Yellow Bedroom Done

This is the finished bedroom. The client will be selling her home in the spring so has opted not to paint the walls. If we were going to paint, we would use a really soft mocha.The little chair has several incarnations including the '60's Chair' on my website, Designsewlutions.ca and…
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Brown and Yellow Bedroom Rendering

This is the design on a photograph rendering  for the window treatment.  We wanted a classic design, something without ruffles but one that  suggested a country feel. The rendering uses the actual fabric we chose.
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The log home

  • 24th December 2008
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Once again Rococco is the star fabric, the color is a bit off in the photo - it is actually a rich gold that compliments the log home beautifully. Dim-out lining provides great sun and cold protection on this south-facing window. 
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Magnetic Roman Blind and Valance Headrail

  • 21st December 2008
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Muslin for the blind, a jacquard for the valance.This decorative valance and functioning Roman Blind  are attached to the metal door with my latest goodie: magnetic headrails.  What makes this one different is that a valance or shade can be attached to it with velcro or staples. I've been thinking about…
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How do I decide if I should slipcover or re-upholster?

  • 21st December 2008
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 Most of us became aware of slipcovers in the early 90’s when the  ‘Shabby Chic’ style of covering  became well known. They were loose fitting covers, skirts puddling on the floor, often using several different fabrics. Custom slipcovers  have changed and now  are usually very fitted. ‘Fit like a Glove’…
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How much does it cost to heat one window?

  • 6th December 2008
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If your double paned window is 50” x 50” , and you heat with gas, an estimated $37.00 per year  of your heating bill is going out the window.  This ONE window only. How many windows do you have in your home?   With the right window coverings you could…
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Saving Money on Draperies

  • 23rd November 2008
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 I often hear that custom made drapes are just too expensive. Here are 3 of  my favorite stories illustrating that  drapes can be done without taking out a second mortgage. One of the easiest ways to save money on drapes is to  establish a good relationship with your decorator/sewer, make…
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Valances on In-opening Doors

  • 14th November 2008
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Putting valances above doors is  a stickler.  Selecting window coverings  can be frustrating if the placement and type of window does not lend itself to the style of drapery we want. I am often confronted with the necessity of  putting a valance on a door that opens in to the room.…
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Christmas Help.. really

  • 11th November 2008
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With Christmas just around the corner - the  shelf-stocking elves are hard at work at Canadian Tire already-  we often find that the projects we planned to finish this past summer are still on the ‘list’.  But with the economy, or rather lack of it, being a huge part of…
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How to Choose a Coffee Table

  • 11th November 2008
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So - picture this living room: Two recliner love-seats, one recliner chair, one recliner sofa, a 40 inch T.V., corner fireplace, electric piano, full sized organ and 3 small end tables - all around the perimeter of the room.  The tiny coffee table in the middle of the room was…
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Choose a Window Covering

  • 11th November 2008
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Unlike most interior decorating ‘rules’, that are really guidelines, the following guidelines should be regarded more as rules. ( Confused yet??.. It gets easier)     Establish a budget. As with any home improvement plan, expect the budget to be challenged, but start with an amount you are comfortable with. …
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Designer or Decorator?

  • 11th November 2008
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I was asked the other day if I was licensed to practice as an Interior Decorator. My client was quite surprised when I told her there are no regulations in B.C.  concerning the use of the title Interior Designer or Decorator. This means anyone can tag the title onto their name and…
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