Kiki Interiors - Decor and Staging

Friday, February 26, 2010

Favourite things at the 2010 Interior Design Show

Did you miss the Interior Design Show in Toronto? Well, if you did here are my top 4 favourite things from the show but you can still check it out online and get some ideas

1 -- COPPER. It was featured in all kinds of ways - sinks, hardware and other decor pieces but my absolute favourite copper showcase was at IKEA they had a copper kitchen. The door panels were flat so the copper was the real showstopper. They paired it with a modern but simple looking handle in stainless steel (yes, you can mix metals). Some lower cabinets in a gray tone and a charcoal back splash. Really fabulous!!

2 -- HANDMADE, FOLK ART. This was everywhere but not over done. Very simple pieces but clearly made by hand. This was seen in pottery form, textiles and glass. These pieces have a story and are truly unique as each piece is not perfect. This seems to be a trend that is considered the 'anti-technology'.

3 -- INDUSTRIAL. Especially in furniture. These pieces had visible mechanics. Many had a very military/utilitarian feel. There were a lot of stools and other types of seating that had this industrial quality. There pieces are no frills and function centered.

4 -- VINTAGE ARTWORK. We have been seeing this for a while but at the show these art pieces, again, had more of a utilitarian feel - they were all used for another purpose before they became 'art'. We saw maps, eye charts, ads and teaching materials (all vintage) framed and featured in various spaces.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

30 minute room makeover ideas

I am sure many of you would agree that most of the room makeovers we see on TV or in magazines are quite expensive and intrusive. So here are some quick and easy fixes to give your room (any room) a makeover in 30 minutes or less.

a -- storage solutions. how about a small box for remote controls, or a large serving tray to cover a coffee table surface. large serving trays are great ways to display collections on a console table or to keep books and magazines organized on a bedside table. add some candles and a vase with flowers to create a very small vignette. organizing your space can really make it feel new and fresh.

b -- new seat cushions. if you have chairs that allow for cushions, change them up and add some pop with colour or texture. choose a colour you love (and can live with) and you can play it up throughout your space.

c -- install a floating shelf. a new shelf can go anywhere - kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or any room. they are a great way to eliminate clutter from photos, artwork, or collections from surface space. they help dress up your walls and bring attention to the pieces you place on it.

d -- hardware. change it up but be sure to measure the handles spread (if you have handles right now, knobs allow you to select a knob, pull or handle). but don't neglect the hardware on your furniture pieces, that too can really change up the look of a room.

e -- new lamp shades. another great way to add colour or pattern to a room, but remember to choose a colour that will work with the other colours you have injected into the space. also try a new shape of shade.

f -- area carpet. this works well in the living room under the coffee table, in the bedroom or perhaps (depending on the size of ...) your bathroom. this adds texture, pattern and/or colour.

g -- add a new shower curtain and don't forget the hooks. this can really freshen up your space and create a spa like atmosphere. don't see anything you like? purchase a curtain (intended for a 'dry' room) and be sure to have a waterproof shower liner to keep it dry. the hooks add some shine to the space.

h -- new seating. you can never have too much but it can get expensive, so add stools or cubes in a material such as a leather, rattan, or micro suede. this not only adds seating but some colour and/or texture and perhaps storage.

i -- peel and stick tiles. not for the floor but the back splash. Home Depot has some reasonably priced peel and stick metallic tiles for the back splash. this is a bit more permanent that the other suggestions but if you are looking to update a kitchen, make a big impact but spend little money - this will do all of that. easy to install.

With a long winter still ahead of us, a room makeover can give you something fun and exciting to do. Try all or some of these but a room makeover can really beat the winter blahs.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Room Make Unders

Over stuffed rooms! We all have one or know someone who does. What are they? - You ask. They are the rooms with an abundance of framed family photos, collections of plates and small statues, too many plants, big furniture pieces, wall treatments such as paneling or brick, lots of texture and colour. Can you picture it? How does it make you feel? When a room is over stuffed it can make someone feel unwelcome, anxious or even stressed. Too much of anything is never good for you, and that includes decorating. These rooms are most commonly found in homes where the owners family members live far away or the owner is the type of person who wants to make everyone happy all of the time. So what can we do about these rooms? Edit. Compare the two above images, the one on top is clean and organized but still warm and welcoming. Lots of room to display treasured items, soft colours in the bed linens and wall paint but some bold pops of red. The white flooring and shelving 'disappear'. The lower image is full of decor pieces, pattern, and rich colours which is cramped and cluttered. the dramatic wall colour makes the small room feel even smaller. Too many bold patterns and textures compete with each other and make the space too busy. The extra chair and Christmas tree fill up the space and don't leave much room for movement. Remember clutter does not necessarily mean that the space is dirty or messy, it might just simply have too much in it.

A room make under requires a few things but the most important is a friend. Help your friend or family member tackle this project as it can be emotional and tough to do by oneself.

Let's tackle the issues!

1 -- The photos. Go through the framed photos and determine which ones you want to display and which you are willing to place in an album. Can't decide? Make your selections and remember, photos are easily rotated in and out of frames into albums. Instead of cluttering your surface space with the various framed photos, create a family photo gallery on a wall. The frames do not have to match. Hang them on your wall in a collage/gallery style - this is a great method to display your memories and it is also a very clean look. Use paper templates to decide how where to hang your frames, before nailing anything to your walls.

2 -- The heavy furniture. You may have to make a purchase or two for this one. Now that the photos are on the wall, you should have created some surface space which helps make the room feel less 'stuffed' but I would recommend eliminating a few large items such as a large entertainment unit and a large TV. With flat screens as an affordable option, they really cut down on the need for bulky furniture pieces. Place your new TV on a lower, storage solution style cabinet. Your big, cozy couch and armchair can stay, as they likely fit a lot better now. If the coffee table still takes up a lot of space look at a few options such as glass or even cubes (they can be used as storage and extra seating). Try playing around with the placement of your furniture too.

3 -- Too much texture. Texture is important in a room and mixing them up is a lot of fun and creates a comfortable space but too much is distracting. If you like a lot of texture, keep the colour tones similar and light and only have some boldness in an area rug, decor pillows or maybe your sofa, just some simple examples. If your walls are textured, such as brick or paneling, paint is a great option (ask you local paint store which type of paint is best) these textured walls can feel heavy and make the room feel very enclosed. Again, keep the paint colours light and then select window dressings in a similar hue - this will make any space feel large. In a small space with average height ceilings (8 feet) keep the curtains simple and too layered, this adds bulk.

4 -- Gifts. Vases, statues, souvenirs, etc.... they are great gifts but you do not have to have them all out at once. Have a few out at a time and rotate (by month or by season or maybe when you just feel like switching things up). If your Aunt Sally bought you a vase for a wedding gift have it out (all filled with fresh flowers) when she comes to visit. By editing down your space and rotating 'gifts' you will create focus and make each item feel special.

Updating the look of your room doesn't have to cost a fortune. By rotating your furniture, decor pieces and photos you can really change up your style. Having everything in one room all at one time, is like putting all of your dishes in the sink at once and leaving it - it's a mess!! Help your family, friends and yourself with a room make under.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Office space : functional and fashionable

I recently had the task of re-vamping our team's office space. The tricky part about decorating an office space is that functionality is most important in this room. It's all about storage solutions, practical work areas, everyday usefulness and style - in that order.

So here were some of our problems:

1- our surfaces were covered with papers, coffee machines etc...

2 - we had boxes of papers taking up useful floor space.

3 - the designated agent area was cluttered with overflow from the administrative area

4 - personal items such as purses and gym bags were on the floor

5 - the space was not inviting to anyone (clients and employees)

So what did we do?

We started off by eliminating junk. We had empty boxes of scrap paper, old signage that we hadn't used in months (and knew we wouldn't be using again). When organizing a space a good clean sweep is the first thing to do. The next step was to create more storage, so we added another three drawer filing cabinet (which we had room for one we eliminated the junk), a tall cabinet and we also added another storage piece in the agent area - this piece was actually a dining room sideboard. We use the sideboard in the agent area since it is a more attractive piece and that is the space our clients are likely to see. The taller cabinet stores the microwave, small fridge and coffee machine and other personal items.The boxes on the floor were sorted through and then placed in the new storage pieces. By cleaning up and adding storage pieces we were able to minimize the amount of paper on the surfaces.

We removed the three calendars we had in the office (we kept one) and also removed the photos and artwork. We asked a local graphic artist to create a wall tattoo of photos of the various condo projects we have and are working on, and posted them on our walls.

The agent area was looking more presentable to our clients and functional for our agents. We also added a small table with drawers for agents to keep note pads, pens, calculators etc... for their use only. That way the agents had their own materials to use without taking items from administration.

We installed hooks under the desks for our administrators to hang their purses and gym bags, so they are off the floor and out of the way. We made a decision as a team to keep our overcoats in the hall closet which is outside of our workspace to eliminate bulky clutter.

To keep the space inviting we added some decor pieces such as candles, plants, the sideboard keep the space beautiful, clean and refreshing.

Here are some simple steps you can take to create a functional and fashionable office space:

- Add some soft lighting. Fluorescent lights are harsh, a special lamp with some colour shows style and personality.

- Add a plant. Faux or real. This adds life to any room.

- If your office is on the chilly side, keep a small throw blanket on your chair to keep you cozy and warm - instead of the ugly sweater you would only ever wear at the office.

- An area rug can help ease any back pain (especially if you are on a hard surface) but can also add a splash of colour

- A framed piece of art is also a special touch to personalize your space.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

4 Easy ways to make any room more interesting

I am a big believer that you do not have to spend a lot of money to make your living spaces attractive and functional. People often ask me about tips and tricks when it comes to decorating their spaces. Here's a FAQ that I am asked quite often.

How can I make any room more visually appealing?

The answer is simple add these four elements - colour, pattern, texture and shine. But don't go overboard. small splashes of these four elements can go a long way. Here are some examples of each element.

Colour - Doesn't necessarily have to be bold. That is really up to the individuals personality, some like it bright (think oranges and fuchsia). But it could be calm colours such as light blues or greens. Where to put the colour? I like it in art or throw pillows but some people like to make colourful statement with painted walls and tile. Again, how you use your colour is up to you, make sure it suits your personality but don't be afraid to experiment.

Pattern - You will likely see pattern in your textiles, so drapes, pillows, throw blankets and rugs but we are seeing a trend towards wall tattoos and wall paper on accent walls so make a splash with some pattern but remember if you want to mix patterns (which is totally acceptable) just be sure to have one bolder one and the others more in a supportive or lesser role and be sure to pick multiple patterns in similar colour tones.

Texture - This is also very common in your textile choices. Textures can be both smooth, rough, soft and sleek and combining all of them is the best way to go. This year we are seeing a lot of sweater knits and furs used as throws or decor pillows. Texture can also be used with decor pieces particularly anything that is handmade such as pottery or blown glass pieces.
Shine - Some sparkle is always needed and this can be found anywhere but mostly in decor items although this season you will be seeing some wall paper and area rugs with sheen. Glass, stainless steel,mirrors and glossy ceramics can give you just enough shine in your space.
See the photo above as an example of color, pattern, texture and shine. The cotton chenille couch with canvas pillows add some cozy textures. The coffee table also adds some smooth texture to the space. The glass jars also add texture but also some shine (double duty). The colour can be seen in both the pillows and artwork - yellows and greens transfer from season to season and they always look fresh. The pillows, artwork, armchair and wire side table bring in pattern, notice they are not exactly the same but they work together. some more texture could be added with some rattan or knitted pieces but this is a great example of how to blend all 4 elements and still keep a very classic living space.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Eco-friendly Arizona!

I just returned from a short stint in Scottsdale, Arizona and everywhere I travel I like to check out what is happening in design and decor trends. I wasn't sure what to expect in the southern US state but I was really impressed!

The style of homes is what anyone would expect to see in that part of the world - Spanish influenced bungalows with clay roofs and white stucco walls but it was the interior and landscaping elements that I really enjoyed viewing.

Since Arizona is in a desert region, they really keep that in mind when it comes to their decor. The landscaping (for the most part, golf courses being the exception - and there are many in Scottsdale) consisted of sand and stone "front lawns", with restrictions on water use and working with the existing climate this is eco-friendly, functional and stylish. Arizona is a state that has strict laws on preserving their cacti and other regional vegetation, which is so beautiful. Any other plants wouldn't work with the landscape which makes this place so special.

The interiors are no different. I saw a lot of eco-friendly materials used in many ways. Driftwood for example was not just used for firewoood but to create art (the twisted branches resemble many pieces of sculpture one might find in a gallery) and also used in furniture. Driftwood tables and chairs have a truly organic look and feel. Bamboo was also widely seen and not just in vases and flooring but all in fabrics. Bamboo makes incredibly soft textiles for towels and bed linens. Pima cotton (which is the softest of all cottons) is locally grown and also used a lot in Arizona. Other materials that are both true to nature and stylish - slate tiles on floors and walls, ledge stone (around fireplaces and as wall treatments), cow hide (area rugs, sofa chairs and decor pillows), leather and feathers. Now I know this is sounds like a southwest restaurant but these elements were mixed with a lot of modern touches such as minimalist styled furniture, clean lines in cabinets and other fixtures and some stainless steel to add some sparkle.
You hear so much about waste and consumerism in the US so it was surprising for me to see a state that is so very focused on making environmentally responsible choices and keeping it local (which we don't see too often in decor).
If you like southwest style but think it can too much or over the top. Take a look at the above photo from the Firesky resort in Scottsdale. It is an excellent example of the unique blend of eco-friendly, modern and the local flavour you find in Arizona and could introduce in your home too.

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