30 April 2012

quick refresh: dining room display

Here's your Monday inspiration for planning small refreshes to your home: just a small change makes a big difference. I changed out the display on top of my credenza by grouping white vases and ceramics together to create a fresh, clean look. 

Now get planning what you can do for little to no cost to make your home your palace. And let me know your ideas - I'd love to be inspired too! 

26 April 2012

room of the week: marble and wood bath

This bathroom, completely clad in Cararra marble, is stunning in its simplicity. Beautiful heavy wood doors and wood antique furniture add warmth, and the vanity and fixtures are kept minimal in order to let the amazing stone take centre stage. 

Photo by Karl Anderson via Skonahem
I'd be late for work every day if I owned this amazing bath!

25 April 2012

black and white day 11

Carpe Diem. Wouldn't this fun kitchen help you seize each day? From the classic checkered floor, old wood beam and glass-door pantry to the industrial accents and fresh topiary, this room lifts my spirits. 
Does it do the same for you? Happy Wednesday everyone. Make it count. 

Elle Decor

24 April 2012

trend to try: open shelving in the kitchen

 OK, maybe this isn't so much of a trend now as just plain good design, but either way, open shelving is something you should consider for your kitchen. First, it opens up the room to allow it to feel bigger and lighter. Second, it forces you to be more organized, since the stuff you have on display has to look good. And third, it's eco-friendly since you are not purchasing a set of upper cabinets. Brilliant. 

House & Home
Country Living






Ginger Sorbara design via The Marion House Book

Lesley Unruh photo
3rd Uncle Design


23 April 2012

monday refresh: small organized entry

I live in a rented condo with a small plain entryway that opens directly into the open living room/dining room. I'm limited in what I can change, but that doesn't mean I can't give it a refresh and make it functional. 

BEFORE (bad point and shoot photo!)
I wallpapered the plain white closet door with strippable wallpaper that matches the back dining room wall and the bookcase backing in the living room . The vintage-look glass door knob from Home Depot adds a pretty touch. 

I showed you in this post how I refreshed an IKEA chest to create an industrial-looking storage cabinet that holds everything from mail to shoe polish to shopping bags- everything that I need on my way out the door. The striped mats are also from IKEA, and a large vintage wooden bowl holds scarves and accessories. New gray-brown curtains are from Bouclair Home.

The vintage tray on top of the chest corrals cute Karim Rashid mugs that hold my keys, mints, change and sunglasses.  

A full-length mirror not only makes the space look bigger, but allows me to have a final prep moment before heading out. Black iron hooks make it easy for guests to hang their coats, and an oversized vase holds umbrellas and other stuff. Finally a thrift store makeover lamp adds ambience at night. 

Small but stylish and functional, without spending much or changing much. See, even we renters can refresh our space! 

20 April 2012

I'm obsessed with: wegner ch29

I've long been a fan of Danish modern designer Hans Wegner, but when I came across this picture recently, I fell in love with his CH29 chair design of 1952. Not to mention those amazing pendants and horizontal slat walls!

photo by Sophie Skyfont via Skonahem
This gem is not easily found, but here are a few versions, new and old. 

originals from Design Addict
original via 1stDibs
replica from Sokol - $229

set of 6 originals from Scandavian.Modern.

vintage from Danish Design Store

19 April 2012

black & white day 10

This sleek, modern, black and white open space kitchen/dining/living is by Calgary designer Amanda Hamilton. I'm loving the attention to detail, like the ceiling and under-shelf lighting, matching chrome legs on the stools and dining banquette, and chic matte black lampshades. Brilliant.

In need of a little help with designing or redesigning your home? Contact me about online design help, starting at $75.

18 April 2012

the principles of green design

Yesterday I featured a home by designer Jessica Helgerson, who adheres to the principles of green design. I adore her work.

photo by Lincoln Barbour
Jessica outlines on her site an overview of green design principles, as written by environmentally-friendly architect John D. Kelley, who also does outstanding work. 

John D. Kelley
The green principles below from Kelley are similar to the principles of building a "slow home", which I've posted on previously. They should definitely be taken into consideration when building and renovating. 


Land is an environmental resource and we should make appropriate use of it. When planning a development it is important to study the ecosystems on the site,  in order to avoid environmental harm to undeveloped land, and then to protect the site during construction. On ecologically damaged land, landscaping with native plants and creating beneficial microclimates with water features and trees can help to restore and enhance environmental productivity and biological diversity. On steep sites, it is least disruptive to terrace the buildings in harmony with existing land contours. Landscaping with edible plants enhances the sense of community, while making positive use of the land.


Building appropriately gives us a chance to strengthen local economies and communities by preserving and enhancing the existing economic and social fabric. By remodeling existing historical buildings we maintain and enhance a sense of place, while saving the energy and expense of new construction and eliminating demolition and disposal costs.  We can also plan new developments to integrate with and enhance existing communities, maintaining beneficial land use and transportation patterns and minimize new infrastructure.


When designing buildings, we should consider providing views for enjoyment and inspiration, and useful and pleasant outdoor spaces easily accessible from the building. For energy efficiency, it is useful to incorporate natural daylighting and ventilation to the maximum extent possible, and whenever possible, provide each room with windows on two sides for light and ventilation. Thermal performance should be designed for human comfort while minimizing energy use. Choose systems and materials to minimize or eliminate toxins from indoor air. Design acoustic qualities according to human comfort and functional requirements, by incorporating features to minimize or eliminate unpleasant noise. Minimize human exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF). Protect workers during construction.


We can maximize beneficial use of sun, wind, and natural features with building placement and configuration. Use landscape features and outdoor rooms around the building to create beneficial microclimates. Incorporate natural daylighting and ventilation to the maximum extent possible. Design an energy-conserving building shell to optimize thermal performance and comfort. Once the shell is designed, we can further reduce energy consumption by selecting energy-efficient furnaces, water heaters, lighting, appliances and equipment, and by minimizing or eliminating air-conditioning. The building can produce its own renewable energy using solar hot water panels and photovoltaic electric panels. Also consider wind, hydro and geo-thermal energy production where feasible. This keeps money in the local economy by spending less on imported energy resources.


We can use significantly less water, and lessen the impact on our rivers and oceans by harvesting the water that falls on our sites with on-site ground water recharge systems and water storage tanks.  We can reuse water that has been lightly used (gray water) for use in our gardens. There are many ways to save water by using low-flow toilets, shower heads and faucet aerators, and choosing water-efficient clothes washers and dishwashers. We can further these savings by planting natives and other drought-tolerant plants in our gardens and minimize water use with drip irrigation and other water-efficient irrigation systems.


Reduce, reuse, and recycle during construction.  The most basic ways to use fewer materials are by re-using existing buildings or by designing smaller buildings. If reuse is not feasible, rather than demolish, move or deconstruct the building for reuse. By designing more intelligently, we can design the building to make efficient use of standard lengths and sizes of material. We can also expand the standard material selection criteria of strength, cost, appearance to include environmental impact, durability and toxicity.  With the materials we use, “greener” products are becoming available such as engineered lumber, bamboo, non-toxic paints and finishes, low-impact fabrics, non-toxic adhesives and insulation, and long-life roofing. We can also incorporate salvaged wood products such as timbers and flooring and select other products with recycled content. Consider alternative construction techniques such as adobe, native stone, rammed earth, sandwich panels, foam blocks, and straw bales. Create a sustainable supply of materials by using sustainably harvested wood products or by planting trees to replace the wood you use.


We should maximize the longevity of the entire building by designing with flexibility in mind. When selecting materials and construction techniques consider long life and sustainable maintenance. Design the building to be economical to build and operate, and maintain the specified quality of materials and workmanship during construction so the building performs as it was intended. Operate and occupy the building in a sustainable manner.

17 April 2012

small, sustainable and stylin'

Who says you can't live small and well? This 540 square foot home of designer Jessica Helgerson is almost entirely made of reclaimed materials. The building itself is now being recycled for the fourth time: it was first built in the early 1940s to house shipyard workers; then it was floated down the river to Sauvie Island (Oregon), where it became the goose-check station; years later it was remodeled to become a rental house; now, it is home to Jessica, her architect husband Yianni Doulis and their two kids. 

As part of the remodel, the  roof was replaced with a green roof, planted with moss and ferns. New appliances and lighting are all eco-friendly. Amazing work.

 Photographs by Lincoln Barber. 

16 April 2012

monday refresh: the painted door

Looking for a dramatic but inexpensive way to refresh your home for Spring? Paint your front door. 

House and Home
In Feng Shui, a red front door means welcome, good luck and financial abundance. But if you want to choose something different, here are the colour symbolisms according to Feng Shui Your Life by 

pink- love, happiness, uplift

orange- enthusiasm, joy, exuberance
green- harmony, prosperity, healing
yellow- optimism, inspiration, sunshine
gold- wealth, wisdom, luxury
blue- imagination, calm, serenity
violet- intuition, devotion, peace
brown- warmth, practicality, patience
black- strength, elegance, sophistication
white- faith, honesty, grace

Apartment Therapy

One Kings Lane
Michael Gebauer

Molly Frey Design
Tar Paper Crane
Alan Briot

Martha Stewart