Wednesday, July 20, 2016

We Answer Wednesday - How to pick the right Kitchen Island seating options

"I'm moving into a house this fall and we have a kitchen island.  I'm excited to have seating at the island.  I've never purchased stools before what should I be looking for?"

First off - Congrats on the move!  How exciting!!

A kitchen island is definitely something to be excited about - they offer so much extra kitchen space in terms of prepping, serving or just hanging out.  We love kitchen islands!

When it comes to seating at your island the first thing you need to be 100% aware of is the height of the island.  Is it bar height? Is it counter height? Or is the (seating space) table height?  This is the number 1 thing you need to know before making any purchase.

 Planning a kitchen island? Here are the dimensions you'll need--whether you're using it for dining, work prep or cooking. |  Illustration: Arthur Mount |

For a bar height (this is usually described as a breakfast bar, usually there is a part of the island that is raised. sometimes we see a raised portion on a kitchen peninsula). A 30-inch stool is the perfect height for a standard 42-inch bar or counter top but anywhere between 28" and 33" will work . Bar-height stools are also ideal for a work space, like the garage. These are the same size stools you see in a restaurant or bar and are taller than the average dining chair. Ideal for standard built-in bars. Not ideal for small children

For counter height, this is an island that is the same height as the rest of your counter tops. These stools are the ideal height for a 36-inch counter or to have on their own for extra seating. Counter-height bar stools are smaller than the typical stool you see in restaurant or bar, but are a great addition to your home bar or kitchen space, they range in height from 24" to 27". Popular option for kitchen islands and easy to use for most people

For table height, (we see this a lot in condos) the island usually has a portion of the island that is counter height and then a portion that dips down to table height.  This is in lieu of a kitchen or dining table. Table-height stools are shorter than counter or bar stools and can be a good alternative to chairs at a dining table or breakfast nook. Generally between 16 and 23 inches tall. Offers a casual look; often without backs. Great choice for small children and kids' seating

 Gorgeous kitchen with white cabinets, glass globe pendants and navy island!:
this is an example of the kitchen island counter top with only a slight over hang - this would not be the main eating space but perfect for hanging out while watch the host cook.
Other measurements to consider when choosing a bar stool are the spaces between each stool as well as between the stool and the surface height.

DIY your way to a one-of-a-kind kitchen island. These easy add-ons and smart ideas blend storage and style for maximum efficiency at a fraction of the cost of a built-in design./

For stool spacing, look to have about 26 to 30 inches measured from the center of one stool to the center of the stool next to it. This allows for optimal space for eating, working, and socializing. For leg spacing, account for 9 to 12 inches between the stool seat and the underside of your counter top or bar surface. We suggest a counter top over hang of 15"-18" if this is going to be a main eating area.

When it comes to style - the possibilities are truly endless but take a few things into consideration.  If this is a main seating/dining area - mid to full backs are a comfortable option.  If your are tight on space look for options that are sleeker and not bulky, backless stools tuck under counter top over hangs really nicely.  If you have room for lots of seating but don't really have a lot of guests over, try mixing styles - that way you have the supportive comfort but also some spare seating when you need it and your kitchen won't look or feel cramped.

This image is a great example of mixing stool styles.  The full back upholstered stools are comfortable and perfect for everyday use.  The backless adjustable cowhide stools add some extra seating when needed.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

We Answer Wednesday - How to Decorate with Red

"I love red.  I have lots of red accents in my house like pillows and some art.  I want to add a new colour in the mix but still keep the red.  What works with red?"

Red is a bold colour and it can really make a statement on it's own but we agree with you adding in a secondary accent colour can really change up the look of your space.

Although red is big and punchy you do have options for a second accent colour.

Red and charcoal grey. this is a great choice if your main furniture pieces are black or even a dark espresso or the opposite, white.  We also like mixing red and charcoal with a lighter grey sofa like the image below.

Seguir con la paleta..gris, negro, rojo, blanco...como el baƱi:

Red and Aqua blue. If you like a bit of the unexpected this is a good option for you.  the aqua or turquoise combined with the red makes a bright and colourful statement - plus you can add some white for a clean almost beachy look or some golden yellows for even more pop! In a case like this a pattern piece like this pillows bring this unexpected colour combo together!

 Great room makeover with red and turquoise throw pillow as accent:

Red and White.  A classic combination and you can't go wrong with it! This can work with any style: country to modern - it just depends on the pieces.  Here we have an example of a country bedroom it is so fresh and inviting.  The distressed iron bed frame in red is just another way to add some colour into the room.

white bedroom with red metal bed frame and quilt at the foot of the bed:

Red and Pink.  We you can!!  Again another unexpected combination but it definitely makes a statement! Again if you like the idea of mixing these two bold hues look for a piece that brings them together like a patterned pillow, area rug or an art piece. Keep the supporting neutrals clean and crisp like in this image - the pure white bedding and the soft grey drapes and bench are a perfect back drop for these bright tones!

Ask color of guest bedroom walls and trim:

 Red and Navy Blue.  This look can be a bit nautical but that depends on a lot of the decor items you choose.  This is another classic combination and it is truly timeless. See the image below for some inspiration in this colour palette that is not nautical in theme. 

6th Street Design School | Kirsten Krason Interiors : How to Become a Better Designer:

Red and Dark Brown.  This is such a warmth combination and you can really add smaller accents to this look as well.  Take some inspiration from the image below. The mix of the dark brown wall and red furniture adds warmth and richness to the space.  The pattern rug and pillow add some golden tones into this mix as well.  This has a bit more of an eclectic feel but it is very chic.

Farm house living room. Gallery wall display, with art, mirror, and metal animal head. Over apothecary cabinet painted in a distressed red finish. Reserve At Old Fredericksburg Model Part 2, see the whole house at...

 Red is so versatile in terms of both style and colour pairings.  Don't be afraid to try any combination!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How to Use Pattern Tiles

We have seen a lot of pattern tile in the past 2 years or so.  They made a big splash at recent design Shows, too!  They can really add a unique touch to a space.  Like the wallpaper accent trend they add some boldness or whimsy to a room but too much can just be overwhelming. 

If you like the look of a print or pattern, how can you use the pattern tile in a way that won't overwhelm or get 'tired' quickly. 

1.  Use a pattern tile in a small space like a bathroom.  For a few reasons, it won't be too overwhelming because the pattern isn't everywhere and also, should you decide to change it in a few years or so it won't be a huge undertaking. This image has the pattern tile on the floor in a neutral palette it is soft but still makes an impact.

Amazing patterned & cement tile inspiration [Barry Calhoun]:

2.  Stick with one pattern in the space.  When it comes to fashion mixing patterns is very chic but when it comes to pattern tile - to make the most impact stick with one pattern in the room (other wise it just gets too busy) keep the other pieces like cabinetry and paint pretty low key and solid.We love the backsplash tile here with the stainless hood fan and stove and against the white -Can you say?  #wowfactor

We'd be lying if we said we were only a little obsessed with this kitchen tile backsplash behind this oven range and hood.:

3.  Use it as an accent.  See a pattern tile you love but concerns that it might be a bit over the top? Treat it like the wallpaper accent wall - only tile one wall in the tile and keep the rest plain but complimentary. This blue pattern tile is busy and if the entire shower surround was covered in this tile it would be very overwhelming and likely not as pretty.  This accent tile makes a statement. A little pattern tile can go a long way

White and blue bathroom features a wall clad in blue Moroccan tiles, Fez Blue Vintage Moroccan Victorian Encaustic Effect Pattern Wall & Floor Tiles, lined with a white lacquered washstand adorned with aged brass knobs topped with thick white quartz and paired with an aged brass faucet placed under a white Mansard mirror.:

 If pattern tile is still just a bit too much for you but you want something different, consider lay out and shape.

 Blue Herringbone Backsplash | Young House Love:

Take some inspiration from this kitchen back splash. Typically we see rectangular tiles in a stacked formation or brick but this herringbone pattern adds some great visual interest to this classic kitchen. the herringbone arrangement also looks great in a shower surround in a 3x6 standard subway tile but also looks great on the floor in a 12 x 24 tile!

Trying adding just a tiny pop of pattern tile. In the image below we have a shower surround in a neutral subway tile in a dove grey tone in a brick layout but look at the shower shelf, a pop of print - so great!

This Pin was discovered by Jillian Lare. Discover (and save!) your own  Pins on Pinterest.:

 The hexagon tile is another great option if you are open to new shapes - this can give you a modern look or a more vintage style depending on the size of tile.  You can also get a more traditional look depending on the material you choose.  sometime a new shape can give you a whole new look without going crazy with colour or pattern.

Split - Kitchen Detail White and timber, black hexagon feature tiles with recessed lighting Niche Design & Build:

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

We Answer Wednesday - How to mix patterns

"In magazines I see designers mix different prints and patterns in one room.  I love the look.  How do you mix patterns without making a mess?"

You are so right! Mixing prints and patterns in one room is a designer look and it makes a room more chic and sophisticated but it can be tricky to get right.

Combining prints brings excitement to a room—but how do you make it work? Set small patterns against large ones, limit your palette, and include one big solid (on sofa, floor, or wall) in the scene.

We recommend a solid for large pieces like a sofa and then we can build on that.

Here are a few examples that you could follow.

Maine Beach House with Classic Coastal Interiors:

This room is a great example of mixing prints and patterns with a limited palette.  We have a solid and neutral wall paint and sofa and simple window coverings - on it's own it is a bit boring.  Now let's add the excitement....the stripe rug in white and blue is fresh and adds a big pop in the room.  This area rug in white and blue is the inspiration for the colour palette for the prints.  We have an accent chair in a modern botanical print in the blue and white palette plus we have some decor pillows in a different blue and white pattern. This room has a cohesive look with a bit of a nautical theme (but certainly not overboard on the theme - pardon the pun!) This room has the designer look and follows the simple formula of a few solids, a mix of large and small prints in a limited colour palette.

Ralph Lauren Hamptons style - I could sleep in that chair, with that ottoman, by that window, with the beach breeze blowing in...:

If you prefer a look that is softer, you can still play with pattern.   In this room we have a mix of stronger and softer prints.  The drapery has a larger pattern yet still in a neutral colour palette, the ottoman has a very subtle print in a low contrast colour scheme.  The pillows on the accent chair add a bit more pop to the room but the look here is very soft and toned down.  The walls and the chairs are a great neutral backdrop for the prints and texture. This creates a very relaxing and soothing look in a space.  The rattan tray and plant add some texture adding some visual interest.

 A floral wallcovering behind a navy blue twin bed.

Love the look of wallpaper but think it limits your chances to add other patterns? Think again! Use the wallpaper as a point of inspiration for other prints in the room.  The wallpaper in this image has a blend of orange tones, yellow, blue and white.  It's a pretty bold wall covering so the other prints should be a bit more subtle.  Here we have a blue bed frame that pulls from the wallpaper tones.  The bedding textiles have a soft mix of corals and white with a blue throw blanket -so this way everything works together.

Light gray with pale blue and small pops of coral.

Don't be afraid to mix prints when it comes to pillows.  This arrangement follows a 'buddy system'.  The soft mint green is seen in some solid pillows (at the back) and we also see it in the front lumbar pillow.  The white is seen in all of the print pillows.  We have black in 3 pillows and the only true pop is the pink peony.  This combination of prints seems unexpected and maybe random but it is very much planned which is why it looks great!

When it comes to playing with prints you can get as bold or as subtle as you like.  Follow the easy steps and you can achieve a designer look in your space.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

We Answer Wednesday - Best Front Door Colour

"I have a red brick home and the style of my home is quite traditional.  I want to paint my front door in something that's a bit more fun (currently my door is black).  Any ideas?"

Painting your front door is an easy update and it can really transform the look of your home.  Red brick is a classic and paired with a black door you have a timeless look.  But you can update the exterior with some paint and it can really make a huge difference.

 Black Door on Red Brick - Our Favorite Charleston Front Doors:
 We love this home located in Carleston, SC (USA).  This look is timeless.  The matte black against the brick is classic and the cream trim matches the cream mortar between the brick and the mullions. 

Assuming your roof is neutral like black or possibly charcoal - you have lots of options.   But remember when you are picking an exterior paint colour you really need to work with what finishes are already there.  So the shade of red brick is important. We also suggest looking at the region for inspiration.  A soft beachy blue for example works well in Southern climates like the Carolinas but looks out of place in Northern climates, so keep that in mind as well.

For instance, if you have a terracotta (orange brick) this works well with colours such as navy blue or even a cobalt blue, dark taupe, dark (warm) grey, khaki and olive are nice green options, a deep cranberry and espresso are good options as well.

front door color for orange brick house - Google Search:

This orange brick home looks current with this charcoal door with warm white trim.  

 89e093157601c6a5ee4f675989648795.jpg (236×314):

This orange brick has a few more variations in tone but the olive-sage door looks fresh and clean especially with the warm white trim.  This home has a lot of charm and is warm and inviting.

Now, if you have a brick that is a deeper tone like a brownish red or a burgundy, you will want to look at paint colours such as navy blue, charcoal grey, deep olive green, a dark cranberry with brown undertones is another great option.  If you are looking for something a bit more unusual try a teal door with warm white trim. A red door is also a great look on a deeper red brick home.  It's a classic but it isn't as formal.

Feng Shui.  Blue doors represent trust, loyalty and stability. The color blue is often linked with thoughts and feelings of safety and security. If your home is a safe haven, painting your front door blue can reflect that. The deeper the blue color, the more you reflect that feeling of stability for your home’s curb appeal.:
 This navy door with white trim against the burgundy brick is a very classic look but it looks great and isn't as formal as the black door. 

Front Doors, I love different colored front doors:
 This teal painted door is a fresh and fun look but works with the tones in the brick.

 This charming front porch has a door mat, perennials potted in white urns, and the house number boldly placed on the center of the door in a contrasting white.:
 This burgundy brick home looks great with a red door - notice how the shade of red in the door isn't orange, it is a true red.

These are some great options for your front door and as you know already paint can make a huge difference.  Be sure to pay attention to the other features like the trim (is it chipping?), the mailbox, doorbell, grip set and address numbers - are they in good shape? Do they need replacing or repairing? Those small details can make a huge difference in the exterior and curb appeal of your home.

Monday, June 13, 2016

What is mid century modern design?

We hear this term a lot and especially lately - but what is mid century modern design?

It is an architectural, interior, product and graphic design that generally describes mid-20th century developments in modern design, architecture and urban development from roughly 1933 to 1965.

So why are we seeing it more and more these days? Well some may say that popular culture has made an impact.  Popular TV shows like 'Mad Men' has really helped bring this era of home design, decor and fashion in the spot light again.

 Mid-century modern style is a trend not going away anytime soon, a chic aesthetic with pared down, clean lines and an organic ease that's very appealing.:

Why is it so appreciated? Midcentury modern's emphasis on pared-down forms, contemporary patterns, natural materials and a seamless flow between indoors and out create a mix functional comfort and chic style. The look bridges the organic and the man-made, with one foot in the natural world and the other in brave new territory that still has the power to surprise us today. Clients are really like the 'throwback' feel and blending it with more current and organic styles. We love how all of these images look current and not like they are trapped in a time warp.

So what mid century modern decor elements are we seeing a lot of now? And how can I bring some of this 'mid century modern' style into my space?

When it comes to style be unique.  We always recommend bringing in pieces you love - if you love it, you will make it work. Never feel like you have to fully commit to one style and one style of decor only.  You can easily bring in mid century modern elements into your space without a total overhaul of what you already have.  Any time you start to mix styles, it's a good idea have a few elements of that style so that the overall look is cohesive and not random.

Definitely lighting.  Mid century modern lighting is huge right now.  It's a great way to make a statement.  Mid century modern lighting has a great sculptural element as well. This dining room with mid century modern lighting (and dining furniture) still looks current.  The organic wood beams add character and some texture and offer great contrast with the brass finish light and accents.  But the textured wall paper accent wall with oversized mirror makes this dining room big and bright - giving it a new and fresh look!

Mid-Centry Modern Dining Room with large round vintage mirror // #hgtvmagazine

How can we keep this vintage light fixture look current? Think about placement!  Try adding a mid century modern light fixture in an unexpected room like a bedroom for instance. the mid century modern lighting in this room makes a bold statement and paired with a sideboard from the same era keeps a common thread in the room. The comeback of gold is also a nod to the mid century modern trend.  We are seeing gold in lighting but also decorative accents.

 modern brass bubble chandelier with dark navy walls, white crib, gold over-sized mirror, mid-century modern credenza, fiddled fig tree in a bast and boho rug

Mid century modern furniture classics are also very popular - dining chairs, armchairs, coffee table, bookcases and more are all being mixed into rooms of all styles. This living room corner below has a mid century modern bookcase and chair but the black and white clean contemporary styling and accessories makes this room look cool and current.

Gorgeous shelf styling vignette with juju hat. I love the neutrals and Mid Century Modern inspired design. Seattle Showhouse. Interior design by Decorist with and Porch. Click to see more of the house on House Of Hipsters blog.:

Colour was something that was popular during that era - rugs, tile, art, wallpaper and more....add some pops of colour and some great combinations of colour. You will also notice this was an era that wasn't afraid of mixing patterns and colour and texture!

In love with the color scheme / mid century elements of this space - Em Henderson is a design genius!:

 We are also seeing a resurgence of the shapes from this mid century modern era. shapes play a big role in this design period - take a look at the geometric patterns in fabric and art.  We are definitely seeing this trend in current day.

A Mid-Century Modern Home In California:

If none of these suggestions work for you - here's what we suggest! Have fun with your decor and don't be afraid to take a risk!  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

We Answer Wednesday - Painting a Brick Fireplace

"I have a brick fireplace in my living room. It's a bit dated and I really want it to look more modern and I'm on a tight budget. What can I do?"

A fireplace is a wonderful focal point in a living room and it is such a great feature to have on those crisp fall evenings and cold winter days.  Some brick fireplaces can look dated but they can also look dark and heavy (depending on the brick style and colour) and that can have a negative effect on your room.  Plus the brick fireplace may not totally jive with your personal style but there is an easy and very affordable solution that you could finish is just one weekend.

Try paint.

OK, don't get nervous.  Paint can do amazing things for a room - you have likely experienced this first hand on your walls but it can make the same magic on your brick fireplace.  We've done it!

warm gray with bright white details look good with the floor, which is like yours!:

You have a few options in terms of technique and look.

White washing your brick - so this is actually what Kristi did in her home.  She had about 2/3 of her living room wall covered in heavy deep red brick - it made the room look so dark and heavy. The white wash technique doesn't mean you have to use white paint.

What you do is you water down the paint a bit so that you have less surface coverage.  Why would you want less surface covered? If you like a more rustic look and you like the texture of the brick and want some of the brick tones to pop through - this is the technique you want.

Great tutorial on white washing a brick fireplace. Great option if you want to change or update existing brick without painting it the traditional white, gray, or black:

Make it pop! - So maybe you want to stand out from the crowd and make a splash.  If that sounds more like your style, painting your brick in a tone that makes it stand out .  We are liking neutral tones like charcoal grey, deep blues and even black.  This might sound boring but it isn't - it's basically turning your fireplace into an accent wall.  Plus if you stick pretty neutral you can switch up your decor as often as you like without the obstacle of a crazy colour fireplace.

The painted brick fireplace is the focal point of the living room.:

Keep it clean -  make your room look even bigger by blending that fireplace in.  So paint the fireplace brick the same colour as the walls.  We love this look with a reclaimed wood mantle (like the image below).  This look so clean and fresh. You fireplace is still a focal point - the mantle and the heath still draw the eye in but the room looks so light and large. 

5 Places To Add Natural Accents At Home:

Match your trim - matching your trim is another great option - this will give you a cohesive look, lighten up the appearance of the fireplace and freshen up the whole room. If you prefer a deeper tone on the wall this is also a great option as you get the great colour on the wall and you get the clean look of the painted fireplace.

A 1937 Craftsman Home Gets a Makeover, Fixer-Upper Style | HGTV's Fixer Upper With Chip and Joanna Gaines | HGTV:

Before you paint - things to consider:
- Be sure you want to paint the brick as removing paint isn't easy
- Take a look at the condition of your brick - if it is chipping, crumbling, or other damage, painting isn't a good idea (get an expert to take a look at the fireplace - there could be other issues)
- Clean your brick with basic water and soap and let it dry before painting
- Use a good quality paint with a primer (ask an expert)