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Displaying  5 of 21  Press Items.

Put Some Spring in Your Step

Author: JENNIFER COX  |  Source: The Suburban  |  Published: March 21, 2012

After months of cocooning in our homes it's time to throw open the windows and invite the refreshing season inside. As spring takes hold of the outdoors, it's the perfect time to bring some of that beauty, colour, and crispness to your decor indoors.

While a fresh coat of paint or a few new furniture pieces would be a great way to give your space a change of scenery, these can be expensive, timeconsuming projects. No need to reinvent the wheel — there are easier, faster ways of rejuvenating your home's look so that it's fresh for spring. Here are a myriad of quick fixes for the season: "The easiest things to do are change your throw cushions on the sofa, change out bed linens from the heavy duvet to the lighter duvet cover, and take down the heavy drapes, put up sheers and throw them open," said Joanne Padvaiskas, an interior designer and owner of WOW Great Place. She's a member of CDECA ( C a n a d i a n D e c o r a t o r s ' Association) and also has an office in Ottawa. "It's all about changing the fabrics in the room — you don't have to paint or buy all new things. Change the stuff that you can find inexpensively."

Adding dashes of spring colour to a space can really help to revitalize your interior. This season's hues are a delicious melange of rich, exotic and nature-inspired shades. Padvaiskas said it's all about adding colour in unexpected places to perk the senses visually. "Pantone announced the colour for 2012 and it's Tangerine Tango, which is very cool," she explained.

"This is a really fabulous and gorgeous citrusy orange. You don't need to use that colour exactly but it represents the mood people are taking in that we're wanting things brighter and more vibrant, and we're looking for really nice saturated colours rather than dull neutrals. It's like a V8 clunk to the head."

Because most of us have rooms full of neutrals, such as shades of beige or grey, incorporating colour into the fabrics and decor accessories could just be the spring pick-me-up your home was in need of. There's no rules about the accent colour you choose — this season Padvaiskas is a fan of spring hues like bright orange, celadon green, or teal blue. "They really have a tropical feel to them without going too cheesy into tropical. You can add in these pops of colour without completely having to redo the entire room. Just throw in a couple of toss cushions and you're done."

Given that spring is also about renewal, a quick clean-up around the house can make a huge impact on the appearance and overall feel of a space. "Spring cleaning is about finally going through that junk drawer, sorting CDs, DVDs, and photos, as well as getting organized. Spring is the perfect time to do it," Padvaiskas urged.

"It does something to your psyche to tackle a little project like that. If you're not sure where to start, take a picture of the room and then look at it — you'll see it differently. People stop seeing their rooms when they go into them every day. A photo removes the three-dimension so you can see things that you wouldn't necessarily notice."

So get rid of some of that clutter, add a few beautiful (and colourful) details, and create a spring oasis worthy of the vibrant season. Embrace all that is the springtime and bring the outdoors in!
Put Some Spring in Your Step

Transitional Decor: Creating Spaces That Grow With Your Family

Author: JENNIFER COX  |  Source: The Suburban  |  Published: November 16, 2011

While it would be wonderful to create a beautiful space that was timeless for
years to come, finding colours, furniture pieces, and accessories that never go out
of style is a difficult thing to do. Trends dictate certain elements of the home that
are "in", and other times, we just grow tired of the same look. That's where transitional
decor can be the solution.
"You have to predict what's going to happen down the road and keep that in
mind when designing a family space," said interior designer Joanne Padvaiskas
of Wow Great Place. "Be a bit of a guru and think long-term."
The primary areas of the home where transitional decor is the most effective
are the main living spaces, such as kids' bedrooms, dens, kitchens, and bathrooms.
Here's how to decorate them in such a way that they can be switched around and actually grow with your household.

Children's rooms
True, Disney characters are adorable and fun, but how long will your son and
daughter be into Toy Story and Cinderella? "What you do in a nursery
isn't what a kid will want as a teenager, and the easier it is to make changes in
the room the easier your life will be," Padvaiskas said.
"Keep kids' spaces as neutral as possible and then you can change up decor
items." Look for furniture that pulls doubleduty,
she suggested, like changing tables that turn into a dresser or cribs that turn
into beds — pieces that you're investing in can last several more years and get you
more bang for your buck. Trundle beds are also a great way to keep extra sleeping
areas hidden, and are ideal when kids grow up and start having sleepovers. "Once
they're old enough to have a strong sense of what they want in their room, around 10, 11, or 12 years old, I like to then get them involved in the
decision-making because they're the ones living in the space. But I'll still steer them away from things that are too trendy and that they might get tired of."
For example, a little girl wanted a Justin Bieber sofa, so instead Padvaiskas did throw pillows.
Another great way to make use of furniture in a transitional child's room is to find pieces that can adapt the space into something else. "Murphy beds now have a desk surface and the desk surface folds up to the underside of the bed — it can be a
living/workspace by day and a sleeping area at night."
Find out what you want that space to do for you. "That's all our spaces are — we define them by what we do in those spaces."

Living rooms
A den or living room is common area where the family congregates, and there are simple ways to design it in such a way that it can be easily changed. "To me it has a lot to do with the type of storage you're going to have," Padvaiskas said.
"You'd like to have a place where you can put the kid's paraphernalia when you want an adult space, so having storage to tuck all of that away is fantastic. Otherwise you'll have nothing but blocks, teddy bears, and tricycles taking over the space.
"Then, as the kids get older, it's more about hiding the video games and components that go along with it — you want it so that the space can transition between toy storage and the eventual technology they'll become interested in."

Utilitarian spaces
Kitchens and bathrooms are a bit more difficult to alter, given their much larger built-in pieces, yet there are still a few ways to discretely make these spaces more transitional when it comes to kids getting older. "There are pullouts that you can install at the sink and are built into the kitchen or bathroom cabinetry," Padvaiskas explained.
They're a much more stylish option that cheaper plastic step stools. "There are clever touches that can help the child transition without being kid-defined or obtrusive."
Cleverly-designed furniture, subtle colours, and ample storage are just a few tricks of the
designer trade to creating transitional decor.
Spaces can always grow with a budding family, from infancy to teen-hood, by avoiding major trends and incorporating a few specific features.

Transitional Decor: Creating Spaces That Grow With Your Family

Uncluttered Electronics

Author: JAMES CARELESS  |  Source: Montreal Gazette  |  Published: October 20, 2011
Original Online Article : View

Home entertainment systems are great, as long as they don't dominate your living space with black metal boxes, flashing lights and endless cables. The good news? With careful planning, you can hide away everything you don't want to see - resulting in a clean, uncluttered living space that still has access to all the technology you desire.

If you want to mount your HDTV set without bedecking the walls with cables, you'll need to hide the wires within the walls. Caution: You cannot just cut a hole in the wall and stuff everything inside.

"Your electronics need electricity to run," said Shawn Felix, home theatre install lead of ConnectPro, a division of Future Shop. (ConnectPro provides at-home electronics installations, at prices starting at $150 for a basic TV setup and $350 for wall-mounted and concealed wire jobs.) "So you should hire a qualified electrician to install power outlets behind the HDTV's wall mount, and any other places where you will need power."

In some cases, it makes sense to build a false wall, behind which wires, electronics and other components can be hidden. Again, a professional should be hired to do this job, because enclosed spaces must have ventilation included to keep the electronics from overheating.

Worth noting: You can't just install an indoor-rated cable in an outside wall. "Due to the temperature changes that these walls experience, indoor cables can't survive," Felix said. "More than once, I've seen indoor cables reduced to dust by a combination of moisture and heat fluctuations."

If you do opt to hide your electronics inside a cabinet, then you have to consider how to operate them remotely. The problem: "Most electronics use infrared for their remote controls, which can't go through walls," said Dominique Grenier, a sales expert with Fillion Électronique. "That's why we recommend using a Logitech Harmony universal remote control with RF extenders.

"This device can operate all the home electronics you have. As well, the RF (radio frequency) extender makes it possible for this remote to communicate with your components inside a cabinet.

"The process is a bit complicated to explain, but the simple answer is - it works."

What if you want to minimize the number of devices you have to conceal? If this is the case, then consider getting a Bose VideoWave entertainment system. The VideoWave is a 46-inch HDTV with a high-end audio amplifier and hidden directional speakers to provide wraparound sound.

"It's like having a 5.1 Surround-Sound home entertainment system, except that all you see is the HDTV," Grenier said. "It's pretty awesome."

For hidden stereo audio throughout the house, he recommends the Sonos multi-zone digital music system. Sonos uses a series of wireless players, amplifiers and speakers that allow you to send music throughout your home. You can even send out different music channels to different rooms, fed from your CD player, iPod/iPhone, or home computer.

"The beauty of the Sonos system is that you can hide a wireless receiver inside a bathroom cupboard, with the audio being carried by wire to ceiling speakers," Grenier said. "Except for an AC outlet for the amplifiers - which can even be installed inside a cupboard - there's nothing to be seen."

Properly done, hidden home entertainment systems can provide tech performance you want, without taking over your living space. This can be especially important in rooms that are decorated in traditional or antique styles, where modern electronics stand out like a sore thumb.

Joanne Padvaiskas, owner of the design firm Wow Great Place, will often suggest that clients build custom cabinetry to house their electronic components, and will design around the gadgets.

"We once had a client that had already wall-mounted her television, but hated the ultra-modern shelving the components sat on," Padvaiskas said. "Her style was very traditional, so we had our cabinetmaker custombuild something to hide it all away, without having to remove the TV from the wall."

The bottom line: "You can have all the home entertainment capability you desire - HDTV, music, the Web - without turning your living room into a science lab," says ConnectPro's Shawn Felix. "It's just a matter of planning, proper execution, and the right electronics."

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/Uncluttered+electronics/5577554/story.html#ixzz1bKKlGUsF

Letting Your Passions Guide Your Decor

Author: RENA CALABRESE  |  Source: Montreal Gazette  |  Published: October 20, 2011
Original Online Article : View

The wedding gloves from her parents' wedding. A spool of thread from her grandmother's sewing kit. Her great uncle's shaving kit. Her dad's ties from the 1950s. All of these items have a place of prominence in the Mile End home of Ruth Hovsepian. The hallway is decked with shadow boxes and picture frames that showcase a collection of heirlooms and photos tracing the heritage of Hovsepian's Armenian roots back to her great grandparents.

"To me, they are reminders of who we were and what our stories are," Hovsepian said.

Both her maternal and paternal grandparents fled Armenia before the massacres in the early 20th century and later settled in Greece.

"They were always running, and when you're running you don't keep very much. So, to me, these little things have more significance. The few pictures and items that I have really tell a story about my family, and displaying them is an opportunity for me to share that story."

Tapping into the things you love instantly personalizes a space, said Joanne Padvaiskas, a Pointe Claire interior decorator and owner of Wow Great Place.

Whether it's a family collection like Hovsepian's, a hobby, or any other interest, "when it's well done, it has an incredible storytelling experience for your guests, because everything in the room has a story behind it," said Padvaiskas, who helped Hovsepian transform her collection into a stunning showcase of memories.

As Padvaiskas pointed out, the key thing is it has to be done well. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to scatter a collection around the house, diffusing its "wow" factor.

When it comes to collections, Padvaiskas advises grouping items together. "There's strength in numbers when it comes to displaying a collection. It really makes a bigger impact," she said.

According to the designer, collections can be a great conversation starter, no matter what the collection - well, almost. She once gently dissuaded one client from displaying what she called a "creepy" collection of porcelain dolls. Otherwise, Padvaiskas is open to displaying almost anything.

"I've done African masks or rugs that (clients have) collected in their travels.

"It really doesn't matter whether it's considered ugly or attractive; if it's meaningful to you, that should take precedence," she said, adding that the importance is the story behind it.

"When you listen to the history of the pieces in the space, that itself is a really cool way of experiencing a room."

But collections aren't the only way to personalize a space. Any facet of your life can literally be an inspiration - even your career. John Gidding, a designer on HGTV's Curb Appeal: The Block, recently created a custom-designed wine wall made of stacked wood for a client studying to become a master sommelier.

"It's great to have a physical embodiment of your own lifestyle in the house, even if it's a sommelier whose livelihood is physically manifested on the wall," Gidding said.

He believes the uniqueness of a custom-made piece of furniture, installation or wall brings an element of pride to every project.

"One of the main reasons for design is to create something that hasn't existed before and that's personal to you," he added.

That's precisely what Palma Di Sano was after in her home. A former Montrealer now living in Chicago, in 2005 Di Sano attended a course in making stained glass with the express purpose of designing her own stained glass for the family room.

"When we moved in, we had this lovely window that looked onto this beautiful pond. "I wanted it partially covered but I didn't want to obstruct the view, so I thought stained glass would be nice," Di Sano explained.

The only problem : she couldn't find any that quite fit her design aesthetic.

"Everything in the stores had a very old-fashioned, church-like look to it," she said.

Di Sano wanted something with more of a modern twist, so she decided to make it herself and was thrilled with the result.

"When it's a nice sunny day, the light shines in through the stained glass and produces these terrific reflections of colour on the wall," she said, adding: "It gives me a warm feeling of satisfaction to say that I contributed something to the way the room looks."


- - If your hobby is collecting art, make the space as conducive as possible for your collection. That doesn't necessarily mean making the furniture all neutral, but it does mean having lots of wall space where you can hang things really creatively.

- - When it comes to collections, group items together to create a bigger impact.

- - Keep in mind that there's a fine line between eclectic and kooky. It's nice to have touches of whimsy in a room, but when it's overpowering then you have to pull back a little. If you have too many items in your collection - like, say, 100 chicken figurines - rotate them out seasonally.

- - It's preferable to hang photos in similar frames. The frames don't have to be identical, but make sure they are similar - for example, all in wood or all brass. Group them together on a wall to create that rogues' gallery type of effect.

- - Add objects that reflect your personality and your style because a room is more than just furniture. Until you add those pieces that mean something to you, it's a very generic space.

- - There are no rules regarding what can and can't be displayed. It's a completely personal choice.

rina calabrese

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Letting+your+passions+guide+your+decor/5577551/story.html#ixzz1bKN2A52p
Letting Your Passions Guide Your Decor

A fresh coat of paint does wonders

Author: SUSAN KELLY  |  Source: The Gazette  |  Published: February 25, 2009

Ah, spring! Time for renewal - and that includes home decor. Adding some colour is the easiest way to freshen things up. And choosing the right ones now will get you through 2009 in style.

Nothing says spring like shades of green. And going green in your decor - whether that means using verdant hues or being aware of the environment - is more in than ever, according to Sophie Bergeron, Benjamin Moore's colour and design manager for the eastern market.

"There's an even stronger movement toward green in 2009," she said. "Both the colour itself and the environmental aspect will continue to be chic for the next couple of years at least."

In terms of a shade to enhance your decor that means anything from palest seafoam green to 1970s retro avocado. A contemporary way to update almost any green: team it up with other colours in out-of-the-ordinary combinations and unique accents to personalize a space.

"Such colour combinations are striking and individualistic," Bergeron said, "and can help establish zones in an open area and create a flow."

Benjamin Moore decorators, for instance, created a living room in which a wall painted a satiny black makes the fireplace it surrounds even more focal in the room and draws attention to the seating area. A light and airy green-blue hue is used in a nearby zone to set it apart and emphasize its use as an area in which to circulate, while a trendy avocado elsewhere emphasizes an alcove's architectural features.

Another quick and fresh update involves using blocks of colour in unusual combinations to create an instant focal point. No need to repaint the entire room, as long as it is one uniform neutral. Just pick something like a fireplace or other focal feature and lavish it with trendy colours.

"You can start with the colour cards that paint companies put together for ideas about combinations," Bergeron said. "Then personalize them from there. The point is to really make the space your own."

There's even been a big shift in what neutral shades we put in our homes, according to interior decorator Joanne Padvaiskas.

"Grey is the new beige," said the owner of Wow Great Place in Pointe Claire. "Fabrics, paint colours, hardwood flooring, you name it."

Other places where this new neutral is appearing include menswear-inspired fabrics on a sofa, icy silver-grey silk Roman shades and drapes, and large-scale floral prints with grey tone-on-tone. Even wallpapers are flaunting shades of grey.

And this shift is a good thing, as it's a neutral that can work beautifully almost anywhere in a home, Padvaiskas said.

"Most people look at me with an odd expression when we suggest grey," she said, "but are thrilled when they see the end result."

Shades of grey are even making their way into the wicker or teak furniture for the patio this summer, said Natalie Jikerjian, a HomeSense spokesperson based in Toronto.

"But a grey colour scheme needs a sister shade, either contrasting or complementary, or it can look dull and institutional," she added.

For 2009, decorators are using fig or shades of purple to pair with any grey tone for a look that's richly elegant.

This spring, however, it's more about adding splashes of brilliant colour, Jikerjian said. After a long, dull winter, Andy Warhol-era pop art-inspired shades are a welcome new trend. Look for vibrant yellows, oranges, and pinks to enter home furnishings.

"Home decor trends follow runway fashion more than ever," she said. "And this look is big on both fronts. Spring is such a vibrant time that adding some of these colours is the quickest way to add new life to a decor."

A second trend, also seen in fashion designers' collections, embraces vibrant shades with an ethnic flavour. Looking to Morocco and India for influence, richer, saturated colours such as burnt orange, turmeric or mustard yellow, turquoise blues and so on predominate this palette.

Whichever trend appeals, vibrant shades can be used sparingly and still give a room a big lift.

There's no need for a big expensive overhaul, either. It could be as simple as changing the towels in the bathroom and the charger plates on your table, or putting some vibrant vases on the mantel and a throw or some new accent pillows on the sofa.

"Have a look around for areas that need a little livening up," Jikerjian suggested. "And let your spring-inspired imagination take flight."

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

A fresh coat of paint does wonders
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