Kiki Interiors - Decor and Staging

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Summer staycation

What's a staycation you ask? Well, it's very simple a vacation at home. Not your immediate home but your hometown and surrounding area. Most people have never taken advantage of the many activities and events in their own city and Ottawa is one of the most active cities around. Here are some great suggestions for your Ottawa staycation.

The Changing of the Guard. Takes place at Parliment Hill from June to August every morning at 10am (weather permitting)

The RCMP Musical Ride. At the RCMP stables minutes form downtown. May to October between 10am and 2pm, tours occur every half hour.

Ottawa Sunday Bike Days. The Ottawa River Parkway is closed every Sunday morning from 9am to 1pm starting Victoria Day weekend until Labour Day weekend. Bike, Inline skate, walk or run but get out for some fun!

The Ottawa Dragon Boat Races. At the Canoe and Kayak club at Mooney's Bay from June 19-21.

Ottawa International Jazz Festival from June 25 - July 5. Acts include: Al Green, The 3 Tenors, and many many more.

Bluesfest July 8 - 19. This year's acts include: Blue Rodeo, KISS, Our Lady Peace and many many more.

Other great activities: padle boating on Dow's Lake, Free Thursdays at all Ottawa Museums, hiking at the Lac Philippe caves in the Gatineau Hills, take a boat cruise along the canal or Outaouais river, Le Nordik spa (for adults), Park Omega and taking in the food and culture in the ByWard Market.

A staycation is a great way to connect with friends and family and the great city you live in!

Labels: , , , ,

Bored with your decor?

Are you bored with your existing decor? Want a new look but don't know what to do? Here are some great ideas to liven up your space.

1. Make your bedside beautiful

Add photos, a grouping of books, flowers (a floating single gardenia bloom will stay fragrant for five days), and a lamp with personality. Stow moisturizers, lozenges and other personal stuff in the night-table drawer; keep magazines hidden but handy in a basket beneath.

2. Add a mirror

A reflective surface makes a small entry feel bigger and airier. Choose a long mirror so as you head out the door you can check out more than just your lipstick. (Note: Oval or round mirrors won't call attention to crooked ceilings or asymmetrical walls.)

3. Maximize storage

A table with a drawer keeps necessities like gloves and dog leashes nearby but out of sight. A trunk tucked underneath will hold shoes and boots and also double as a convenient seat.

4. Light it up

Opt for a lamp with a small footprint, like a candlestick base, so it doesn't take up too much space on a table. Or skip a table lamp entirely and add drama with a hanging crystal chandelier or a sleek modern one. And paint the ceiling a warm shade (even if it's white) so it reflects a more flattering light.

5. Go for a strong statement

This is a great area for bold design choices that could overwhelm a larger room. Try a deep or bright paint color (warms like red or orange are kinder to skin tones than green and blue) or a patterned or vertical-striped wallpaper that can compensate for too few art pieces or furniture. And a graphic rug, like the zebra print here, ideally in a cleanable wool for this high-traffic area, will add impact underfoot.

6. Display the basics

Store quantities of oft-used items (soap, cotton swabs, cotton balls) in clear Pyrex canisters. Everyday practical items can be beautifully simple.

7. Pick one bloom

A single color and type of flower gives you more bang for your buck. An arrangement of peonies, lilies or tulips in one colour hue alone packs a visual punch that a varied-flower bouquet doesn't.

8. Contain yourself

Display an open tray or basket to drop essentials. It will neatly hold keys, sunglasses, Ipods and more. If they always land here, they're less likely to be misplaced. Choose a shallow tray -- not too big and no deeper than 3 inches -- or you'll be tempted to fill it with too much stuff.

9. Refine your color palette

Neutral colors such as cream or chocolate brown are best big-ticket items like upholstery, walls and curtains. One strong accent color -- tomato red, bright yellow or aqua -- in pillows, vases or an ottoman are your splashes of colour. Limiting the accents to one hue makes a room instantly more cohesive. And if you tire of them, these smaller accessories won't break the bank to swap out.

10. Frame the bed

Put a twist on the traditional headboard with a statement-making screen -- the room gets another great piece of furniture without sacrificing any space. Look at new and antique options, particularly ones with interesting all-over patterns or motifs (for more stability, they can be wall-mounted too). For a smaller bedroom, non essential furniture can take up space that could be better used, so paint the wall above the bed a deeper colour in lieu of a headboard - you still get the drama without sacrificing the space.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bold statement

Want to make a bold statement in any room?

We have all seen the design shows where the snotty designer dressed in all black leaves a room screaming because of the dreaded ceiling fan. But the ceiling fan has come a long way, there are many styles but they can get expensive. From an eco-friendly perspective ceiling fans can also drastically reduce the energy consumption in a household. A punch of colour upgrades a ceiling fan from merely functional to a bold focal point (and a conversation piece).

Here's a great DIY idea to use an existing and practical ceiling fan and make it pop!!

1 -- Remove the ceiling fan and medallion from the ceiling.

2 -- Use a screwdriver to take of the blades and open the motor casing.

3 -- Lightly sand all surfaces to be painted (it looks best when the entire piece is painted)

4 -- Cover ventilation holes in motor casing from the inside with painter's tape.

5 -- With a damp cloth wipe the ceiling fan clean

6 -- Evenly spray all fan parts and medallion with Rust-Oleum paint (comes in all colours - brights and neutrals even metallic), which is the only one to use as it can withstand the heat from the motor.

7 -- Once the paint is completely dry, re-install and voila!

Be an individual and make your ceiling fan one too!

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Save Energy. Let me count the ways...

May 17-23 is Energy conservation week in Ontario but if you are looking to live a "greener" lifestyle throught the year or years, follow these tips to save energy, money and the planet!


1 Schedule an energy audit of my home — and act on the results.
The Government of Ontario will help fund an audit and related retrofits to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Get more information from the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure at or by calling 1-888-668-4636.

2 Have my central air conditioning and furnace serviced.
Use a licensed HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) professional to ensure maximum performance.

3 Clean my air conditioning unit’s condenser of dirt and debris.

4 Clean or replace my furnace filter (especially, if I have central A/C).
Change or clean it monthly through the summer and every three months in winter.

5 Install a programmable thermostat.
A properly set programmable thermostat can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 10 per cent.

6 Improve the insulation of my home.

7 Reduce air leakages in my home.
Caulk around windows, apply good quality weather stripping around doors, and install foam gaskets behind the cover plates of lighting fixtures, wall switches and receptacle face plates, especially on exterior facing walls.

8 Sign up for peaksaver® (if available where I live).
Allow your utility to turn down your air conditioner for short periods during hot summer weekdays when the demand for electricity is high. (Visit to find out more about the program and the cash incentives).

9 Right-size my refrigerator.
Even an energy-efficient model can’t give you maximum savings if it’s too big for your needs.

10 Get rid of my old energy-guzzling second fridge.
Take advantage of the Great Refrigerator Round Up! (Visit to find out more about the program).

11 Upgrade to ENERGY STAR® windows.
This change could reduce overall annual energy costs by up to 12 percent.

12 Install a solar or tankless/instantaneous hot water heater.
This change will dramatically reduce water heating costs.

13 Install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the rooftop.
You might even produce more energy than you can use.

14 Install a ground-source heat pump.
You can produce at least two-thirds of the energy needed to heat your home this way, meaning savings of 30 to 70 per cent off your home heating costs.

15 Get a pool pump timer.

16 Make sure I have a thermal pool blanket.
A blanket will reduce heat loss and water evaporation.

17 Consider solar panels to heat my pool.
Solar panels can heat your pool very cost-effectively.

18 Specify that I want my new home to meet ENERGY STAR® standards.

19 Landscape for energy savings.
Plant coniferous trees on the north side to protect from winter winds. Plant deciduous trees to shade the south-facing windows in the summer

Everyone at Home

20 Use EnerGuide (Natural Resources Canada) ratings.
These ratings can help you make purchasing decisions about energy-efficient appliances, heating and cooling equipment, and even vehicles.

21 Fight phantom load – unplug electronics that draw power even when they’re turned off.
This includes TVs, cable TV boxes, clocks, microwave ovens and any items using "power cubes" (such as handheld vacuums and baby monitors).

22 Upgrade to ENERGY STAR®-qualified appliances.
Look for ENERGY STAR® entertainment products too.

23 Adjust the water level on the washing machine.
Match the water level to the size of your load.

24 Wash only full loads of laundry.
And, better yet, use only cold water

25 Do my laundry on evenings and weekends.
Electricity demand is lower at these times.

26 Hang my clothes outside to dry.
Your neighbours might be inspired to follow your great example!

27 Clean the lint out of my dryer after each load of laundry.

28 Use a toaster oven or microwave instead of the oven, whenever possible.

29 Opt for an electric frying pan instead of a range top.

30 Try slow cooking.
It actually reduces energy use even though cooking times are extended.

31 Use pots with tight-fitting lids.
Your food will cook faster.

32 Use the oven light to check on my food instead of opening the door.

33 Use an automatic shut-off kettle.

34 Always set my dishwasher to air dry and only run it when full.

35 Allow hot food to cool before placing it in my refrigerator.

36 Thaw my frozen foods in the refrigerator.
This can reduce spoilage and even help keep the fridge cool.

37 Vacuum my refrigerator coils to keep them efficient.

38 Use the oven’s self-cleaning option after cooking.
You can take advantage of the existing heat.

39 Make my showers shorter to use less energy and hot water.
Showers use much less water than a bath!

40 Install low-flow toilets.
You’ll save on water use and on the energy needed to pump water.

41 Rinse my dishes in a tub of clean water.
It uses more energy to run them under hot running water.

42 Fix dripping faucets, especially leaky hot water faucets.

43 Insulate around my water pipes.
Wrap the first metre on cold water pipes and the first two metres on hot water pipes running to and from the tanks.

44 Install a water heater jacket and low-flow faucet aerators.

45 Use a manual lawn mower.
You’ll save energy and get some exercise.

46 Open a window or use ceiling fan.
Often air conditioning isn’t really needed.

47 Set my air conditioner at 25°C when I’m home and 28°C when away.
You can even turn it off if you’re not going to be home.

48 Set my heat/thermostat at 20°C when I’m at home and 18°C overnight.

49 Install solar reflective film on my windows.
Use it on southeast, southwest and south facing windows to keep the sun’s heat from entering.

50 Use insulated drapes or energy-saving cellular / honeycomb blinds in the winter
They help to keep the heat inside your home.

51 Use drapes/blinds, awnings and shades in the summer to keep the heat out
And close them when you’re going to be out of the house.

52 Turn off the monitor if I’m not going to use my computer for more than 20 minutes.

53 Turn off both the monitor and the CPU if I’m not going to use it for more than 2 hours.

54 Turn off my screensaver.
It doesn’t save energy! Or your screen.

55 Use power bars with on/off switches, automatic shutoff, or integrated timers.

56 Replace my high-use incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR®-qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) wherever it makes sense.
They use up to 75 per cent less electricity and last up to 10 times longer.

57 Install dimmer switches and use dimmable CFLs.

58 Use task lighting.

59 Place floor lamps or table lamps in corners.
The light will reflect from both walls, making the room brighter without additional lamps.

60 Install motion sensors to turn off lights automatically.

61 Keep all air registers/radiators free of obstructions that impede air flow.
Have your ducts cleaned annually.

62 Use LED (light emitting diode) seasonal / celebration lights.
Traditional incandescent lights use more energy.

63 Use solar-powered outdoor lights.

Looking for more energy conservation ideas? Check out the following link It has a lot of great information and ideas to live green!
Green really is the new black - it goes with everything and it is always in style!

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, May 22, 2009

Living large in small spaces

The first rule of real estate might be location, location, location but the second must be storage, storage, storage! This holds true especially now. In Ottawa, the condo market is really just at the beginning stages of taking off, cities like Toronto and Vancouver have experienced their condo booms already. Condo sales are on the rise in Ottawa - statistics show that 323 condos were sold in April 2009 as compared to 318 condos sold in April 2008. Average sale price was $216,502 in April 2009 as compared to $210,661 in April 2008; A 2.8% increase.

The reason for this increase and interest in condo living? Downsizing. As the baby boom population ages, they are seeking a maintenance free lifestyle which will allow them to live luxuriously and live practically. Condo living could be in a low or high rise building or in a townhouse or semi detached but usually it consists of less maintenance but also a smaller living space. Many downsizers feel very anxious about selling the family home and purging their most precious pieces but this does not have to be if you plan ahead and use your space wisely.

You will want to invest in some multi-functional pieces or some pieces that can give the illusion of a large space. In the living room - look for storage options such as a storage ottoman - this can serve as a coffee table, extra seating for entertaining and storage. One on wheels can easily be moved around the room. If you prefer a solid coffee table, look for one with some open shelving for books, or other pieces and use storage cubes as end tables. Another option is a glass table, it disappears but is still functional and practical. For your entertainment unit, look for a lower piece and/or one with cupboard doors to hide your stuff. You do not want a piece that is too bulky as it can take over the room. Look and see if your existing unit comes in two pieces, often they do and use the lower piece only. If you are looking to upgrade your television set, opt for a flat one, as it will also take less space. For a sofa and /or occasional chairs, find apartment size furniture, now available at most retail stores. Also look for armless options, they are less bulky but if you must have arms on your furniture look for a more streamlined style like a tuxedo style which can also be very comfortable not just pretty to look at. A very modern look for occasional chairs, is the ghost chair. It is a smooth and curved chair that is made of a clear plastic. It's a very sleek look.

In the dining room, most couples have a dining set that they love and could not imaging replacing. You can still use your set just re-purpose it. Remove the leaves and keep a table for 4 and just add the leaves and chairs when needed. Your additional chairs could be tucked in either corner of the room and add a decor pillow for a splash of colour this will also draw the eye to the outer corners of the room, again making the space appear large. Your china cabinet /buffet likely comes in two pieces, keep the bottom and put the top portion in storage. This will make the room feel larger. Add a long mirror above the buffet, mirrors let light bounce around the room and make it seem bigger than it is. If your space is very open concept and the rooms are not solidly defined, add an area rug in the dining room. How big should it be? Big enough so when the chairs are slid out from under the table, all 4 legs are still on the carpet. Go neutral in colour, especially if your furniture is dark and rich like a cherry wood or mahogany.

In the bedroom, again storage is key. If you are in the market for a new bedroom set, look for one with storage, likely drawers under the boxspring, this is perfect to store blankets, sheets and other linens. Keep the bed linens light and neutral in colour. Add side tables that have drawers for storage. In a guest room, a Murphy bed is a great option, especially if you do not have regular guests. Use that room for a multitude of purposes, craft room, sewing room, home office etc...Keep it clean and clear and it can serve multiple tasks. Too many downsizers are used to having extra space to have unused rooms such as a guest room.

Accessories - Do not overpower your new space with too many pieces. If you have a lot, go through your items and determine which ones are the most important to you and put the others in storage or pass them along to your children. Clutter makes any space no matter how big or small, feel tight and crowded. Flat surfaces are not designed to be used as storage areas they should be clear except for decor or function items (example, vase of flowers, candy jar or a phone). Keep other items in drawers, baskets or other storage containers. Use mirrors whenever possible but don't have your place look like a fun house (a mirror above a fireplace mantle is a very classic look but it also adds light in the room). Keep your walls light in colour and for a bold look (if that is your taste) paint your ceiling in a bold colour this looks great in a well lit space and one with high ceilings. Use punches of colour in your artwork, pillows, blankets and keep the main pieces of furniture neutral.

Downsizing is an exciting time! A time to start over and really enjoy a new lifestyle. If you are looking to take the next step contact the Bennett Real Estate Pros ( for more information on condos in Ottawa. They have all the info and experience on new and resale condos in the city. Some of their current projects are Merrion Square ( located in Little Italy, 101 Richmond ( located in Wellington Village and other upcoming condo developments in the city of Ottawa. Call them today and take advantage of this new time in your life!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Homes - Decorator bonuses

In Ottawa, many new home builders such as Richcraft and Valecraft are offering decorator bonuses with every purchase of a new home. Bonuses usually range from $5,000 to $15,000 and can be spent however the purchaser wishes.

So what is the best way to spend these bonuses if you are looking at reselling your home in the future? The top three areas of the home to spend your bonus are:

1 -- the kitchen

2 -- the bathrooms

3 -- flooring

In the kitchen, you want to look at real wood cabinetry, lighting, a back splash, and the type of flooring (ceramic or hardwood). Other features home buyers look for are: pot and pan drawers, pantry storage and efficient use of space. When making your selections you do not have to spend a fortune but look at a neutral or popular colour palette, the design centre should either have samples of colour packages for you to look at or helpful associates in the showroom. Add additional pot lights in task areas such as the kitchen island or breakfast bar. Another added touch you can do after purchase, is updating the hardware on the cabinetry, this can add some more style to your kitchen.

The bathrooms, you want to look at ceramic, lighting, faucets and shower heads, storage space solutions and real wood cabinetry. Add pot lights above a stand up shower and/or roman tub. Again, make sure you stick with a neutral colour palette - magazines can also give you some great ideas to inspire you. Right now the spa look is very in style so peruse the builders selections and see which items can be used together to achieve a similar look. After purchase you can personalize your bathroom with a framed mirror and more modern overhead lighting above the mirror. Also go to your local home improvement store, and purchase a shower head with varied pressure options or a rain shower head - this will help with future saleability and increase your enjoyment!

Flooring - most if not all purchasers are looking for hardwood flooring in the home and ceramic in wet areas. The flooring in the kitchen can be ceramic or hardwood. Hardwood in the kitchen is becoming more popular and looks great especially if the floor plan is very open concept. Continuing the same style of flooring makes the space seems larger (a bonus for potential buyers). Too many types of flooring in any size space can make it feel and appear small. The dark walnut stain is also very popular but buyer beware - darker floors show a lot of dust and pet hair. You do not have to upgrade your type of ceramic to a porcelain tile or marble but look for an option that is variegated and looks like natural stone. If you cannot afford hardwood throughout the home focus on placing it in the living room and dining room. Many buyers are fine with carpet in the bedrooms.

All home builders mark up on all home upgrades so select yours wisely. This will make a difference in the resale market and especially if your home is in a new community, yours can get lost in the mix so make your home special by adding enough extras to draw buyers into your open house but still keeping (and perhaps even adding) money in your pocket once it is sold!

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, May 18, 2009

Help me spend my reno money!!

When it comes to home renovations, some money is better spent. The money invested in improving your home will not always translate into an equivalent return in the selling price of your home. However, with planning it is possible to both increase the saleability of your home and even profit from your home renovations. Don't forget about the new home renovation tax credit ( help anyone looking at renovating their homes. Check out the above link for more information.

Renovations do not have to be extensive or expensive to earn a high rate of return. In fact, one of the cheapest and simplest improvements yields one of the highest paybacks - paint! A fresh coat of paint on interior walls returns an average 73 percent payback. So, a $1,500 paint job could be expected to increase a home's selling price by $2,625 (a $1,125 profit).

To maximize saleability ensure that your new decor is modern and tasteful. Choose shades of white and tame versions of popular colours (look at new show homes for color ideas). Steer away from too many personal touches and custom work if you plan to re-sell. It is unlikely that your investment will be recouped and it may prevent the quick sale of your home. Also, try to keep renovations in harmony with the fashion of your neighbourhood. A fresh paint job is one way to increase your profit and the number of showings but you also want to make sure your home is clean, decluttered and organized. Some home improvements will make your home sell faster but will not necessarily increase your profit. An example of such an improvement is installing a granite counter top. A granite counter top will be expected at a higher purchase point but your basic town home will not really benefit from such a cosmetic update.

So where should you invest when it comes to home renovations? The kitchen and bathroom are key areas to focus your renovation attentions. With average paybacks of 72 and 68 percent respectively, new fixtures, cabinets and tiles could be well worth the money and/or time and effort. The AIC's ( Appraisal Institute of Canada ) study highlighted the top ten renovations and the average rate of return:

1 -- Interior painting and decor - 73%
2 -- Kitchen renovation - 72%
3 -- Bathroom renovation - 68%
4 -- Exterior paint - 65%
5 -- Flooring upgrades - 62%
6 -- Window/door replacement - 57%
7 -- Main floor family room addition - 51%
8 -- Fireplace addition - 50%
9 -- Basement renovation - 49%
10 -- Furnace/heating system replacement - 48%

One area that tells the purchaser a lot about the home and seller is maintenance. If a seller wants top dollar for there home small repairs and basic maintenance must be attended to. Agents on the Bennett Real Estate Pros ( team have had buyers reject a home because of something minor such as peeling paint on a deck. The potential purchasers felt if the obvious was not attended to, other problems were hidden and not attended to. In this market, potential buyers are educated and are looking for something specific. If you are selling make sure your home is picture perfect.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Updating your front door

Whether you are selling your home or just want to update its tired look, that first impression your home gives from the street or sidewalk-its curb appeal-is key to how your house is perceived. At the very center of curb appeal is your front door and the area around it. It’s where you welcome the world to your home, and it sets the tone for your entire house. The Bennett Real Estate Pros know all about making that perfect first impression for potential buyers. Read here for a variety of ways to add interest and 'personality' to the front door of your home.

Renewing the Finish
Front doors take a lot of abuse both from use and weather-in particular, the harmful ultraviolet rays in sunshine. A wood front door will need a new paint job every five years or so to look its best. If it’s stained and varnished, it will need attention more frequently. Like any paint job, a front door will only look great if you put in the prep time and use top quality paint: Thoroughly sand down the existing finish, remove or be sure to cover the grip set so it's finish is not the same as the door's, brush on a primer, and follow with two thin top coats, while sanding in between each application. The same general routine applies to varnish, although it is even more important to be careful of brush marks and to paint in temperate weather with the door in complete shade. Use a good quality brush - you don't want your door to become hairy! Consider color carefully-your front door is a great place to express a little personality with a strong primary color, as long as it still works with shutters, trim, siding colors and other aspects of your house.

Grip set Upgrade
This is the most expensive piece of hardware on or around your door because of its role in security, but these days it also offers a wide range of handsome aesthetic choices. The term grip set refers to a door handle and lock, which can be combined in a number of ways: a handle with a keyed lock, a door handle and lock with a separate deadbolt, and a handle and deadbolt that are connected visually and mechanically. Door handle styles include a “D” handle, a round handle that you grasp, and a lever handle. It’s important to pick a lock that offers the degree of security you need. Once that is satisfied, take some time to pick the look that will make the best statement on your front door. You’ll see lots of new finishes-satin nickel, hand-rubbed pewter, and hand-rubbed bronze-as well as bright brass. Prices range from less than $50 to $300 and more depending on the security rating of the lock, the quality of the materials, the design, and the finish. Typically, you can replace a new lock in the edge and face holes already drilled in the door. If you want to select a modern look make sure it works with the age and style of your home - otherwise, the front entry can look strange and disjointed.

Add House Numbers
This is another way to put some style and serve a practical purpose. Thin brass or nickel house numbers can run under $5 a piece; thicker examples can double or more in price. These are typically screwed to the wall with small matching that are included, but numbers “plaques” are also available that frame the numbers in a matching metal.

Mail Box or Slot
Even if the mail is only delivered to your mailbox out on the curb these days, a flush-mounted mail box or a mail slot have a traditional appeal and can be a convenient way for neighbors to leave things for you when you’re not home. Mailboxes, which are attached directly to the wall or siding, range in price from a few dollars for a thin sheet metal version to several hundred for a detailed architectural casting. Style and quality differences are obvious. Mail slots are available at architectural salvage yards in solid brass, and in at the home center in a brass- or nickel-plated version for under $20. Mail slots do require you to cut a hold in the door or wall, and they don’t promote good energy efficiency. In Ottawa, one of the best shops for a variety of mailboxes is Preston Hardware located on Preston Street in Little Italy.

Add some life
Place decorative plant pots or urns on the steps leading to your door or on either side of the door and fill them with colorful seasonal flowering plants or some fake topiary plants. Install window boxes to the windows near your front door and keep them filled with seasonal plants. Tie a simple grapevine wreath on your door. Change the theme by inserting various decorative items, such as flowers, flags, ribbons, pine cones, or pumpkins. You'll have a fresh look each season. Accessorize with plants and greenery whenever possible. Be sure to keep them watered!

Remember the front door is what your guests and potential buyers see first so make sure it is as welcoming and warm as the rest of your house. When opportunity knocks, answer the door - it might be an offer to purchase your home!

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mother's Day gift ideas that make a lasting impression

Don't forget...Mother's Day is this Sunday (May 10th)

Wouldn't it be nice to get mom something she will love?

Check out these ideas. Mom will love them.

1 -- Get flowers that last. Cut bouquets are a nice treat but opt for a potted version which will last much longer. For the mother that loves being in the kitchen, try an herb garden! It is a great idea for teas and cooking!

2 -- A beautiful picture frame with your picture inside. It is another lasting memory and is a very thoughtful gift especially if you live apart from each other. Another option is to create a photo montage - the frames are easy (check out home decor or photography stores) to find and you can select a variety of photos ranging from childhood until now.

3 -- Treat mom to some luxury. A high thread count sheet set or a cashmere throw blanket. In Ottawa's By Ward market the store "Mon lit" has some very rich and luxurious bedding and accessories to choose for mom.

4 -- Candles make a great gift especially if they come in a reusable holder. There are so many scents available too. When selecting a scent remember that it becomes stronger when lit, so if the perfume is intense without being lit, try another scent. In most cases a lighter scent is better.

5 -- If mom loves to garden, create a gardener's gift basket - include hand tools, some seeds, gloves and maybe a how-to book. Again, this is a gift that will last and keep a hobby of mom's growing.

6 -- If your mother is like mine, she doesn't really spend money on the basics for herself - so do it for her. Peek around her house and see what she could use - towels, kitchen gadgets, or cutlery. It's practical and functional but appreciated.

7 -- Anything for the outdoors. The outdoor living space is now very popular whether it is the large family backyard or a chic condo style patio - there is a lot to choose from. Buy mom some outdoor accessories such as candle sets, margarita set or dishes. There are so many to choose from, great colour and pattern and at many price points.

8 -- A good book. Look for something special - an inspirational or motivating story or a fabulous photography book. Be sure to write a personal message inside and date it!

9 -- Make something. There are some great ceramic stores in Ottawa such as the Mud Oven and Gotta paint! You can create a special gift for mom. Give yourself about a week to select the item, paint it and fire it (the final touch of the ceramic process which gives the item a glossy and polished finish). They have salad bowls, teapots, coffee mugs, picture frames, serving platters and more, that you can personalize right there in the store.

10 --The gift of time -- What this Mom adores most is being with you, so take the time to plan a special day for you both: shopping, a picnic in the park, a rambling walk. Think of your Mom's favourite things and share them together -- she'll be delighted with your consideration.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Simple. Style. Sleep. The Bedroom

Your home should be a place of sanctuary, and no room gives us a deeper sense of shelter than the bedroom. It is where we escape from the daily grind. The bedroom is an intimate space that should soothe and inspire. A perfect bedroom should be both stylish and practical. Create a space that is a canvas of all the things you love.

Start with a basic framework to creating your bedroom sanctuary. A comfortable bed is a must, go to a mattress store and test a few out. Roll around, take your shoes off and lie in the position you usually sleep in. Many stores offer a great return policy if you are unsatisfied but it can be a bit of a pain to move mattresses in and out of your home. Think about your space - will a king size bed fit and still leave room for other essentials? Do you need additional storage? Next, the lighting - you will require bedside (for reading) and overhead (for dressing). Accessorize - add pillows with a pop of colour, a throw blanket with some soft texture, art work that is calming, plants for some life and dimension, appropriate window coverings, a chair for sitting, an area rug to keep your feet warm while waking on a cold winter day and candles for mood setting.

To create a tranquil bedroom be sure to keep the look warm but clean. Too much clutter can cause stress and a room cannot be relaxing if you feel stressed out when in it. The bedroom should not be too multifunctional - try and keep the computer and TV out of the bedroom. This can be very distracting and make it difficult for sleep. Try and have 2-3 sheet sets per bedroom and look for the highest thread count you can afford - you won't regret it. The higher the thread count the softer the fabric.

When it comes to colour in the bedroom, softer and lighter is better as it creates a subtle and soothing feeling in the space. Bright accents can add personality but they should not take over. In a space that greets you at the beginning of every day and sends you off to sleep every night, the colours you choose should feel personal and special - straight from your heart and soul.

your bedroom more than any other space should reflect who you are. This is the most personal space in the house and it is only shared with those whom you are truly close to. Select pieces, colours and accessories that express your spirit in the room. Keep it lively and have fun!

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Got an hour? Organize your linen closet

Ooh the linen closet...a space that is often neglected and one that is just jammed full of towels and sheet sets that have seen better days. I know my linen closet was in need of some serious attention, so here's what I did and it only took an hour!

20 minutes - Empty. Purge and Sort.

Remove and inspect everything from the closet. Discard items that are not in good condition - items that are stained and frayed or ones that you no longer want. Separate the keepers - sheet sets, towels, blankets and tablecloths.

25 minutes - Fold and store

To keep stacks neat, find a folding method you like (for example you could roll towels to conserve space) and stick to your system. Aim for two to three sheet sets per bedroom - rotating your bedding is hygienic and extends the life of your bedding. Extra pillow cases are also a great idea - if you don't have time to change the entire bed, by just changing the pillow cases you'll still achieve that clean and crisp feel for bedtime. Once your sheet sets are in a pile, you can place them in a wicker basket or an open container with a label indicating the size or room; or tie them up using a light coloured ribbon. Place bed sheets and towels on shelves with easy access, eye level is best. Use top and bottom shelves for seasonal items, such as heavy blankets.

15 minutes - Protect and preserve

Never store blankets or duvets in plastic bins or bags, this can cause the material to disintegrate, use cotton bags instead. Don't fold tablecloths, hang them! Use natural bug repellents like lavender or mint sachets. To add a soothing scent to your linens, spritz your favourite scent (bounce sheets work nicely too) on a clean hand towel and tuck it discreetly behind a neat stack.

It feels great to be organized and see how much you can get done in an hour!!

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Feng Shui Your World

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to utilize the laws of both Heaven and Earth to help one improve life by receiving positive life force or energy.
Feng shui is not a superstition or a set of dos and don'ts. It is the art and science of understanding the forces of nature in order to design houses and workplaces that blend with the environment instead of clashing with it. It aims to help us live in harmony with the world by promoting the flow of positive energy and neutralizing or avoiding negative or destructive energy.

The practice of feng shui is one related to nature. Nature, being composed of living things or those that breathe, also breathes. It gives out a universal and spiritual energy called "qi" (pronounced chi) whose direction is dependent on two vital elements – wind and water. Wind carries energy and thus symbolizes nature’s change and transformation. It also signifies action, fervor and enthusiasm. Water, meanwhile, holds energy and thus symbolizes stability as well as internal strength, meditation and psychological power.
Feng shui has quickly evolved from a new age trend to a decorating phenomenon widely practiced by professional decorators and amateurs alike. Decorating and feng shui principles work well together. A room does not have to be decorated with flutes and bamboo in order to use feng shui. Decorating with feng shui principles involves the movement of energy and moving blocked areas so energy moves at a balanced pace around the entire home. Feng shui practitioners will use all types of tools to move this energy. This could involve decorating with mirrors, water, plants, color, sound, scent, and more.
Colours and Feng shui

Black or blue, associated with water energy, support inner work, helping us to concentrate, contemplate, mediate and handle creative endeavors. Blue can slow the heart and breathing rates and lower blood pressure. It can be used to increase coolness, to calm and to create privacy.

Green is associated with wood energy, that of growth, decisiveness and action. It can motivate internal change.

Red is associated with fire, which supports life energy. It’s the color of blood, and can increase heart rate, respiration and blood pressure. It also can promote activity and alleviate depression. It’s clearly the color of passion and love.

Yellow is associated with earth energy, representing Mother Earth. It can cheer, infuse with hope, clarify and elevate mental activity. It also creates a sense of stability and nurturing. Yellow is often used for children with dyslexia to help improve focus.

White and metallic colors are associated with metal energy. They can support carefulness and focus, as well as purity.

Combination Colors
Mixing colors also mixes the feng shui energies related to them.

Salmon, a combo of yellow/orange and red/orange, is a unique balance of earth and fire elements that’s quite harmonious. Use salmon to call attention to the heart of a space, create a sense of abundance and encourage conversation.

Turquoise, a blue-green combo, evokes the qualities of wood and water. It has both the contemplative qualities of blue and the life of green, making it a great choice for spaces that allow movement and growth.

Lavender, a mix of the qualities of blue and purple, can evoke a sense of calm, spirituality, contemplation and quiet. Use lavender to minimize high activity, calm a stressful situation or create a special spiritual space. Lavender is best not used in spaces where conversation or high activity is encouraged.

The influence of color is an important aspect to decorating through feng shui eyes. We respond to colors subjectively. In China, decorating with the color red brings good luck. Red is frequently on the front door. Decorating with red is not the only color of good fortune. Yellow and purple are very auspicious to have in the decor. In Feng shui, yellow has been considered an Imperial color that many Feng Shui masters find it more beneficial than red. Decorating with green is a color of freshness, peace and growth. Darker decorative colors can either be relaxing or depressing, light colors can be uplifting or annoying, and extreme colors can be exhilarating or aggravating. If there is a certain room in the home that an argument always occurs, check out the color and the way it is decorated. Does the room have aggressive decorative objects? Is the color irritating? If you feel good in the home of a friend that is decorated with colors and objects you love, remember that when deciding how to decorating your own home or apartment. For some reason, the decorating scheme works with your sensibilities. Begin to "feel" the room with Feng shui in mind.

Some basic Feng shui ideas for decorating and designing rooms and houses include: avoiding floor plans with small cramped rooms, keep the design free flowing. Avoid long hallways because the energy moves too quickly down the hall. Avoid excessive overhead lighting. Choose warm full spectrum lighting instead. While decorating with Feng shui, keep sharp corners to a minimum. Place healthy plants in a decorative manner throughout the home. Arrange couches and chairs in a way that allows people to see the door and for easy conversation. Be careful of too many knick-knacks. This can mean decorative clutter and it can quickly get out of control. Decorating through Feng Shui principles is not hard, just feel the space and follow a few good Feng shui ideas to decorate a home that’s great to live in.

Labels: , , , ,


This Page

has moved to a new address:

Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service