Kiki Interiors - Decor and Staging

Friday, July 27, 2012

Signature style ideas for your home

So you've looking EVERYWHERE for those perfect pieces to finalize the look and feel of your home.  But everything out there just seems so common, but you are not common - what do you do?

You go to Deny Design online and you take a look at their amazing line of products. 
Every item helps an artist from somewhere around the globe. 
These pieces are colourful, fun, bright, bold and so special. 

There are so many styles to choose from it's really hard to decide - shower curtains, duvet set, throw pillows and more...
Some really fun animal pillows are great for a playroom, children's bedroom or any space needing some whimsy! 
Then there are some watercolour inspired pieces thtat are soft and romantic.  There is info on all of the artists, too!

I love these pieces and will definitely be adding some of these to my model condo and home projects and certainly in my children's playroom at home
Now which to ones to choose....

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Great Ideas For Summer Parties

Sadly, there is only about 6 more weeks of summer why not plan the perfect summer bash now to celebrate the end of season with friends and family?  BBQ don't have to be just hot dogs and burgers on the grill - get creative!  There are so many fun theme and food ideas to try outdoors.

Start with a great theme.  some great and easy ones to try are - a backyard luau, country style or a Mediterranean feast.  Before you pick your theme think about the food you'd like to serve and go from there!

The invitation.  Find a fun printed paper that works with your theme and if you are making this a child friendly event why not have your children make invites for the children that are invited.  Send out your invites about 3 weeks prior to the party - the summer is busy and if you want a good turn out give people enough notice (the norm is 2 weeks)

Decor.  This really sets the scene!  But it doesn't have to be tacky or cost a fortune.  check out craft stores and even dollar stores for materials to use.  For a luau, use glass shirts for the edging of the table, use bright colour napkins, tiki torches (which you may already have), use some tropical fruit for the table decor.  For a country theme, keep it more rustic - sunflowers, mason jar with votive candles and some hints of gingham in fresh colours like white and blue or white and yellow (you could even make you own table linens and just pop into a fabric store) and for that Mediterranean feel stick with a blue and white colour palette and keep it clean and simple.  and use the food in serving bowls as you decor - fresh herbs, olives, figs, almonds, cold and cured meats etc...if you already have white serving dishes use those.

Dress code? Outdoor entertaining can be tricky so make it clear in your invite how you'd like your guests to dress - for the Luau perhaps beach attire, for the Country BBQ keep it casual and for the Mediterranean feast you could ask guests to come in anything they feel relaxed in.  I wouldn't have a formal outdoor event unless it was a wedding or and engagement party.

Music.  Is a must!  Create your own play list according to the theme, age group of the guests and the overall mood of the evening.  Starting with some low key songs that move into something more energetic and fun and as the evening comes to a close make the tuns mellow again. 

What about the kids? So if this is a child friendly event have something for the kids to do and an area for them to hang out in.  Beach balls, sand box, crafts, a movie station, bean bags, a tent are all good and very easy ideas to keep the kids entertained.  Remember children often eat dinner early and can be very cranky when hungry some have dinner ready for them earlier or have some munchies for them to dig into right away.

Drinks.  when my husband and I host (which is something we love to do)  we have started serving a signature drink that works with the theme.  There are tons of ideas on the Internet.  At a Luau, have a great tropical punch (let people know there is alcohol in it!)  For the Country BBQ - how about spiked (that would be vodka) Homemade Lemonade - so easy to make and make it the day before (or at least 4 hours before the party).  It's easy and delicious!!  For the Mediterranean feast, wine is really best but you could start with spritzers all you need is some sparkling water, white wine and a slice of lemon.

Food.  You should already have a great meal menu in mind since you have your theme already.  But always keep it simple - Luau - think chicken, pork, fish, pineapple, mango, rice etc...easy food with a pan-Asian flare.  for the Country BBQ - you can go even simpler with hot dogs, hamburgers, maybe steak and sausages and lots of different salads for dessert nothing says summer like berries and ice cream.  The Mediterranean feast is a bit more involved but I'd serve it family style - kebabs, pasta with shellfish, lots of olives, tomatoes, zucchini, cheeses, etc...and a simple fruit plate for dessert peaches and watermelon are easy and in season too.

Party set up.  Don't have your bar and food too close together if you can.  Otherwise it will be really squishy and your guests and that's when accidents happen like broken dishes, glasses, spilt food etc...

Countdown to the perfect summer party.
4 weeks out: get your decor
3 weeks out: send out your invites
2 weeks out: get the outdoor essential like bug spray, citronella, torches etc...
1 week out: order any special items (they need delivery time) and buy your non-perishable items
2 days out: shop for the other grocery items
1 day out: pick up any special orders, pre-cook anything that can be pre-cooked or prepared (and chilled), prepare your sauces
Morning of: set the tables leaving out any perishable items that are a part of the decor, chill wine, arrange flowers
7 hours out: prep your salads
5 hours out: get your meat dishes ready (not cooking)
2 hours out: get your signature drinks ready (unless you are doing a sweet tea or lemonade it need about 4 hours minimum)
1 hour out: get your apps ready, light torches
15 minutes out: set out your appetizers (any hot apps should come out in about 20 minutes), light your candles, start the music
Party time: toss your salad and start greeting guests

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Ottawa's first Condo Show

On July 18, 2012 - KIKI Interiors was lucky enough to be one of the presenters at Ottawa's first Condo Show !  The turn out was incredible and the air was full of excitement and positive energy.  The show was a huge success - a truly a one-stop shop for anyone in the condo market or looking to get in.  There were a number of condo buildings from all areas of the city represented including: SOHO, AV ridge, Cathedral Hill, Q West, the RE, the NEXT, Distillery Warehouse, Domus Lofts, and many more...

The members of the Bennett Pros Realty Brokerage were there to answer any questions about buying, selling and/or investing in real estate.  There were also a number of presentations from : Fortress Capital, TD Bank and the McLean Real Estate Lawyers. 

It was absolutely wonderful to be a part of this amazing event and I really enjoyed being able to speak to a live audience and talk about upcoming trends in design, focusing on condo decorating and all the other design-decor-home staging questions you had. 

The event was such a huge success that I have heard there will be another one held in the fall season - so if you missed out, register early you want want to miss out again! 

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Where do I put my TV??

OK, so with everyone trending towards condos and the concept of 'living large in small spaces' I would have to say the number 1 question everyone asks is - where do I put my TV?

Well, I came across an amazing furniture piece that solves that very dilemma.  It is available at Restoration Hardware - one of my absolute favourite stores. 

Check out the TV easel.  It comes in both dark solid hardwood and a polished nickel. I love this piece because you can wheel it around, you can place you TV anywhere in your space and it will fit.  If you are in a condo space that is just wall to wall windows and you don't want an ugly TV blocking the view - this piece takes up very little space and still allows for a large TV (for all you TV watchers and lovers).  And, if you do move into a larger home with more wall space to mount your TV, this piece can be used to display art or photographs too.

This also works beautifully in a large space too.  Not everyone likes a wall mounted TV or having one on a generic TV stand - this piece has some character and it is so functional.  Plus there is a clamp on the top that keeps the TV in place (a great safety feature).

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Model Condo Featured in the Ottawa Citizen

Just recently or the Grand Opening of SoHo Parkway (201 Parkdale) in Ottawa, Canada, KIKI Interiors was engaged to decorate a model condo.  Check out this article in the Ottawa Citizen and take a look at the photos, what an impressive brand and an incredible building in Ottawa

We wanted to create a space that both genders would enjoy.  We used a fresh and summer inspired colour palette with ocean blue, yellow and white.
We used accents of espresso to compliment the floors and the cabinetry.
We also utilized glass to create a light effect in the open concept space, the help reflect the light and have a lot of furniture in the space but without the bulk.

We didn't use the largest sofa possible.  We wanted to create some conversation area that was inviting for guests when entertaining.  We added some leather swivel chairs, a sofa and not seen are two charcoal upholstered benches.  The glass accents in the living room add surface space but not bulk.  the colour palette is consistent throughout the open space so that is feels large and spacious.

In the bedroom, we put in a king size bed which is almost unheard of in a condo but with the right furniture it can be done.  We added some bedding with lots of pillows, and we used summer inspired colours with margarita green and magenta.  We kept the furniture very simple and in light tones.  Again, accents of glass with the bedside lighting

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Help me - organize my...closet!!

If you are anything like me (a busy working mom of three young children, a husband, two dogs, 5 fish and always being pulled in any number of different directions) organization isn't something I have a lot of time for but certainly aspire to have in my life.  We have all heard how an organized life reduces stress and helps keep life easy and on schedule (because you aren't running around looking for the kids' sunscreen before racing off to the park for some fun!)  If you are like me, you need some easy steps and solutions to organize your own closet.  I hate the feeling of knowing what I want to wear but cannot find it - is it hanging? folded? in the laundry hamper? or on the floor? EEK.....getting dressed shouldn't be this complicated.

So here are some quick and easy tips I plan on using myself to get my closet organized and user friendly.

1.  Empty out the entire closet (just like in 'TLC's What Not to Wear').  that way you can start with a clean slate - it's a big and a bit of a draining job but you will feel good afterwards.

2.  Go through every piece, one at a time.  If you haven't worn it in 6 months to a year - TOSS (DONATE).  If it needs hemming or repair, evaluate if it is worth it and if it is, SET IT ASIDE and GET IT DONE. Getting all your hemming at repairs done at once is best especially if you don't have a lot of time to spare.  If you know you won't wear it, TOSS (DONATE).  If you love or like it and it fits (I means fits and is flattering) then KEEP.  It is amazing how much we hold onto that we don't use or need. Try not to hold onto pieces that you plan on fitting into.  As a new mom, I still have a lot of baby weight to lose, so I have set my pre-baby body clothes aside but they are not at the front end of my closet taking up prime real estate. as for donating clothing - there are many local charities and consignment shops that will take clothing donations.

3.  Organize your actual closet space.  Unless you have a custom designed closet, you likely have a rod and that's it.  So add some drawer space at the bottom of the closet area, I personally find that tends to be a catch all space for just about anything.  I like using clear plastic drawer sets inside of my closet - you can label them or just see through them.  These plastic drawer sets are great for shoes, belts, scarves, handbags etc...I put dressers in my children's closets since their little size clothing doesn't take up much closet space, putting the drawers inside the closet give them more play space in their room too. Get some good quality wood hangers too, to hang your suits, shirts and dresses.  The wood hangers allow those clothing pieces to hang better.

4. Now it's time to start actually organizing. Keep the prime closet space for the items you wear most.

5.  I like to keep everything together - such as pants together, shirts together, jackets together etc...

6.  It is best to fold sweaters and not hang them.  They tend to stretch and pull when hung.

7.  If you are low on storage for seasonal items like blankets, use your luggage to store these items. Empty luggage takes up a lot of space, so use them to keep blankets clean and easy to find when you need them.

8.  Think outside of the box too.  Yes, there are a lot of storage and organization solutions out there but there are other great ideas too such as the EXPEDIT bookcase line at IKEA.  This is a great and inexpensive bookcase that's easy to assemble, it comes in many colours and is a great way to store bags, shoes, sweaters etc...all in one piece.  Try an umbrella stand to store yoga mats.  Multi-level cake stands are great to keep costume jewelry organized too.

9.  Add some light in your closet.  Just like any room, a closet will benefit from some better lighting too.  You an see what you are looking for.

10.  Keep it regular.  Meaning getting and staying organized takes time so make it a regular part of your day.  Hang up your shirts and fold your sweaters - over time it will become automatic.  It's also a good idea to regularly purge your closet, some say every season but I think in most cases once or twice a year is more realistic.

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Big Ideas for Small Spaces

Small spaces is a big topic right now.  Condos. apartments and town homes are so popular but they do present challenges when it comes to furnishing and decor.  Will I be able to fit my most precious pieces? Will I be able to entertain? What colours work and which don't? How can my space be both beautiful and functional?

Don't worry.  You can achieve all of your wants and needs even in a small space all you need is a plan that includes the right colours, the right furniture scale and placement and the right lighting - all of these elements together can result in the perfect space with big impact.

1-- PLAN.  Before you buy or select anything make sure you sit down with your partner (assuming you live with someone else) and plan out what you want to do with each room.  Discuss goals and priorities for each space plus you also need to discuss your budget!  Put together a master plan of attack for the entire space.

2 -- KICK CONVENTION TO THE CURB. You don't need to have a large sofa for everyone to sit on, think about seating alternative that can serve other purposes for when you are not entertaining.  A big sofa where everyone sits in a row can feel like a waiting room.  Try looking at ottomans, or cubes or chairs that offer some visual interest and can offer other functions too like storage and extra seating when needed. 

3-- TRUE COLOURS. Light colours are the best choices for small spaces - they make any spaces feel larger.  Also think tone on tone, light paint colours, light upholstery and linens but add accents through art and accessories.  With a neutral background, any 'pop' colour will work, so choose what you like.

4 -- OPEN UP.  The farther you can see into and through a space, the larger it feels - so furniture placement is one way to make a space feel larger.  So try not to block traffic flow or windows (as windows make spaces feel bigger too).  Look for furniture that is low and armless (and of course, comfortable too).

5-- LET THERE BE LIGHT.  A dark space feels small too, so let the light in.  Keep window covering light in colour, they don't have to be sheer.  Add pot lights they don't take up a lot of space but can add a lot of light.  Layer your types of lighting so ensure a well lit space.

6-- THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS. Well placed mirrors are stylish and functional.  A small nook space in a hallway is a great spot for a mirror.  In smaller rooms, like bathrooms look for larger mirrors as they can make any bathroom feel big - builders tend to installer smaller frame less mirrors which aren't as effective.  Glass is another great way to have larger furniture pieces that give the illusion of invisibility.  Because glass is transparent it doesn't seem to take up much space.  I like to use glass for coffee tables and dining tables in condos.

7-- SORRY, SIZE MATTERS.  Just because you are in a small space doesn't mean that everything else has to be small too.  Lots of small things in a space can make a space feel cramped.  In a smaller space, I still like to use really large art pieces.  Keep your furniture to scale so the room doesn't feel stuffed and most retailers are carrying lines of 'apartment' size furniture.  Or try a love seat and add 2 chairs for seating in the living room.  If you want a king size bed, go without a head and foot board (which can add a lot of bulk and they aren't really necessary). 

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hot trends Alert!!

So we are a little more than half way through 2012 and we have seen a broad spectrum of trends this year but the common threads seems to be quality and colour.

Quality: the trend towards quality long lasting and authentic materials continues.  Woods, natural stone, glass, just to name a few

Colour: this year started off with a bang with tangerine which later lead us into turquoise and pink.

So what is happening in terms of trends right now?

Colour - the hot colour du jour is purple. Hues ranging from lavendar to eggplant - it's doesn't matter but it's all about purple!  And it's everywhere and everything - textiles, paint, glassware, lighting and more...and it's is any space you want! 

Look - the summer is upon us so the 'cottage' look is really hot.  The cottage look consists of smaller and cozy rooms with lots of white with some fresh accents (like blue or yellow) and pieces that are handcrafted.  Perfection and sleek furniture are not what to look for with this style.  Super soft almost threadbare linens and wobbly wood chairs have a charm and whimsy and fit right in with this relaxed look.

So if you want to be decorating in the here and now and embrace what's trending in decor, you are now up to speed and in the loop...

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Everything is better with a twist of lemon

One of my favourite colours to work with is lemon yellow!  I love this colour for so many reasons - it can do so much in so many ways.  Yellow is the most intense colour on the colour wheel and that means you cant help but notice it.  When I was teaching I used to tell my students "if you didn't do your homework, don't come to class wearing yellow - the teacher will notice you before everyone else!"  When I'm staging homes, I love to use yellow because the buyers can't help but notice the photos of the property - they draw their eyes in because of the use of yellow.

When most people think of yellow they think country...a butter yellow wall with accents in white and blue gingham and a vase of daisies but yellow is so fresh and fabulous and works so many different styles but it's how you use it.

In a modern space you can really highlight architectural features with accent walls and by choosing a bright and bold yellow tone like...

But you can also add colour without transforming your walls.  I love a splash of yellow in my art, pillows, flowers, towels etc....even just one small accent can go a long way!  Just recently I furnished a model condo and we used colours in the blue and grey family but here and there added a few twists of lemon yellow and the impact it makes it just enormous!

So what does yellow 'go' with? Well, the obvious pairing is black but getting more sophisticated and daring by pairing it with any neutral - grey (any shade), navy, cream, white, brown, khaki. 

Personally, I like to use it in moderation. I feel that give the most 'pop'!  Use a layering technique.  Let's say you have a navy or grey sofa, add some colour like green or another shade of blue (a pattern would be great) and then add once piece like a solid lemon yellow pillow or a fabulous art piece above the sofa with some splashes of yellow.

If you want to be seen use some yellow - a little can go a long way!

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A D.I.Y Project that is to 'Dye' for!

Looking to spice things up a little in the boudoir?  Well, I can help - with the decor that is.

Try this easy and fresh watercolour look for your bedding.  This will give any bedroom a soft, romantic look by capturing the whimsy of watercolour.  This is a fabulous and relaxed summer look.

Here's what you need:
- a sharpie pen (now keep this in mind: a black marker will give a dark purple result, red - a pink result, blue and green will result in lighter shades of blue and green)
- rubbing alcohol
- spray bottle
- white linen sheets or white linen duvet cover and pillow shams

Here's what to do:
1.  Trace the trim of your sheets.  Lay the duvet cover (pillow shams and/or sheets) on a flat surface (be sure it is protected).  Use your sharpie permanent marker and trace along the four sides.  No rulers needed!  the imperfect line works with the whole concept of being and feeling carefree!  Trace the trim on the duvert cover, pillow shams, sheets etc...

2.  Spray with rubbing alcohol.  Transfer the alcohol into a spray bottle.  Apply generously along the lines that you have traced.  Now pin the sheet on a drying rack or clothesline and let the pigmnt bleed into the sheets (this will take a few hours - so be patient!)  The more you spray, the more the ink will bleed which leads to a stunning watercolour effect.  Once dry, tumble the sheets in a hot dryer for about 15 minutes to set this dye, then launder. 

3.  Dres up your bed.  this watercolour custom sheet set looks best when paired with solids in similar hues (that way it keeps that rich custom and carefree look).

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

White appliances are back!!

Yes, it's true!  White appliances are back and in a big way!  Thanks to integrated appliances and the popularity of the super chic high gloss white cabinetry - white appliances are back and better than ever.

...and you are seeing the sleek and chic appliance look everywhere even IKEA.

Check out current condo building like the SOHO Parkway in Ottawa to see these integrated appliances and how they disappear and really show off the uber-modern cabinets and all the other beautiful elements of the space.  See the photo below - a beautiful one bedroom condo with integrated appliances/cabinetry - can you find the dishwasher? how about the fridge? They are there!  That is what is so chic about integrated appliances - the 'ugly' but necessary ones are hidden so you have a functional yet beautiful space to work and entertain in.

These 'new' white appliances are not bulky and boring like the ones we are used to seeing in 1980's and 1990's construction.  They have a streamlined look and feel with stainless steel accents to give them some sparkle.

So for those of you who do not like the maintenance and the potential scratching of stainless steel and feel that black is just too hash check out these NEW white appliances - they have really come a long way!

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