Tag Archives: Jo Alcorn

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Tips for kitchen bliss

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Tips for kitchen bliss

I recently completed a tough kitchen makeover — maybe the toughest yet as it was my own personal space. Follow my tips below on how to create a space you will truly love.

I chose my appliances first. I knew I wanted something completely different and when I saw the new Fingerprint Resistant Sunset Bronze collection from Whirlpool, I made this my jumping off point. It’s the crème-de-la-crème of this kitchen. With a brushed satin finish and rose gold undertones, this fingerprint resistant suite really sets off this space.

For the walls I decided to stay true to my one true paint love – Jojo whitewash PF17 from Para. I find staying with the same colour in an open concept gives the space a cohesive and continual look.

Next, I worked with DV Kitchen and Bath to find the right cabinets for a clean, streamlined look. I decided on a flat-panel front but in trendy gloss white; the gloss helps to bounce light and creates the illusion of a larger space. Plus these cabinets are super easy to wipe down, keeping that new look and feel.

To keep the cabinets streamlined, I selected Grass soft-close hardware from their Nova Pro Scala collection. Grass is the hidden gem in any cabinet system – my cabinets push closed silently and open with a gentle touch.

For the countertop I wanted a waterfall island. I chose Caesarstone’s Calacatta Nuvo for both the island, counters and backsplash. This countertop is stunning and durable and is the centre of attention in the kitchen. Choosing a primarily white countertop with white cabinets creates the illusion of a much larger space. Don’t be afraid to have your countertops the same colour as your cabinets. And make sure you have them installed properly. I too often find clients skimp on the most important part of the kitchen renovation, which is the installation. I turned to the folks at Renovare Marble and Granite, who installed my counters with complete professionalism and perfection and also create a complete custom backsplash for my space that is a serious showstopper.

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times: the faucet is the gem in the kitchen. I went with the Delta Trinsic single-handle pulldown in Champagne Bronze. The design is simply smart and elegant, with an integrated pulldown wand. Plus, the colour is a modern take on gold that pairs well with my stainless steel sink and my appliances.

I went a bit trendy with the herringbone style floor, but I used a classic and timeless marble tile to balance the trendiness. The result is amazing and ties the cupboards, countertops, closet and paint all together. This tile came from Creek Side Tile, which has a vast selection.

In my house, the HVAC piping went up through one of the kitchen walls I wanted to remove, making a full open-concept impossible. Originally I was bummed about having to keep the piping there, requiring a closet to hide it in. I now love this closet. It is a fun architectural focal point, where I was able to add display shelves and texture. To create a perfect finish and get a properly sized door for this closet, I used Metrie’s Trude Craft Collection.

Onto the stunning finishing touches. The dishware and stools were found on Wayfair Canada. They have an extensive collection of affordable options and offer free shipping. These stools are elegant, simple and have brass accents that I could not do without.

The blinds are TriLight and offer a unique combination of sheer pleated shade on the top and a honeycomb shade on the bottom. It’s like having three looks in one – all sheer, all privacy or half and half. This design is exclusive to Budget Blinds. In my kitchen I choose to go with Artcraft for lights with brass stems, accents and posts. They fit perfectly with the appliances, faucet and the accent pieces I choose – once again, tying the entire space together.

Jo Alcorn is founder and design specialist at Alcorn Home. https://alcornhome.com/

Photography by Jason Hartog

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A living room to last a lifetime

A living room to last a lifetime

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A living room to last a lifetime

by Jo Alcorn
Whitewash & Co.

There is nothing worse than a living room that is poorly laid out and/or lacking function. I recently redesigned a family room so it is comfy, cozy and a room the family wants to gather in.

And I did something that some might think is radical — I converted this family’s gas fireplace to an electric fireplace. Electric fireplaces have come so far in recent years and it’s something I recommend in almost all my designs now. For this space, I selected a Dimplex electric fireplace, which appears so real people have to look twice. The flame clarity and colour is like nothing I have ever seen before. Another feature I love is that you can use it all four seasons, as there is a no-heat option.

The fireplace was the jumping-off point for the room. I started with a unit that would fit the room and then created the most stunning built-in unit you can imagine to surround it. To create this unit we used Metrie’s French Curves Collection. This collection leans towards formal and ornate, but you can take them in so many contemporary directions.

This room needed seating that would work for this family of four; a good place to snuggle up to watch a movie, or separate nooks for reading and relaxing. I chose this giant oversized sectional from Structube. A great thing about their furniture is that it is super family friendly and the prices are incredibly affordable.

I was also able to add a side chair and a modern rocking chair, which I have been wanting to add into one of my designs forever; I am a bit obsessed with this modern rocker. Since this company is so budget-conscious, I was also able to add the gorgeous glass coffee table and raw wood side tables – all within my clients’ budget. Being a family room, I knew it was important to include some family photos. While I might not traditionally lean towards family photos for the walls, I love incorporating non-traditional and meaningful photos to a family’s space, especially when they are artistically taken. These photos were some of the most cherished memories from this family and all we did was upload them to Posterjack and with a few clicks of the mouse we chose the frame style and size as well as changing the photos to black and white.

To make this room multi-functional we also wanted to ensure you could swivel the TV so it could be viewed from all angles of the room. We chose this amazing TV mount arm from Wayfair Canada which allows you to adjust the TV so you can watch it from any seat in the room.

For this room, pot lights were not in the budget but lighting was a necessity. The room still desperately needed light so we chose lighting from Wayfair’s home improvement category. We paired together two affordable ceiling lights to give the impression of one large track lighting system.

Finally, what room is complete without proper sound? I am obsessed with my Sonos system so I naturally want all my clients to get it. The Sonos Playbar connects to my TV – which makes everything I watch sound better – and the stereo pair of Sonos Ones (with Amazon Alexa built-in) take movie nights to the next level with surround sound. And when the TV is off, I can use all three speakers to enjoy my favourite music, radio stations, podcasts and more.

With all the key components in place, I went on a shopping spree at HomeSense to give this room the finishing touches it needed to bring it to life. I grabbed a multitude of throw cushions, side table accessories, pots and bowls, which gave it the elevated look I was aiming for.

The result is a living room all member of the family can enjoy in the way they want to – watching TV, reading, relaxing or having conversations. This room works for the entire family, which is exactly what they wanted. And I was delighted to create for them.

Jo Alcorn is a design specialist and founder of Whitewash & Co..

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Top 5 Spring Trends

Top 5 Spring Trends

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Top 5 Spring Trends

It’s a time to switch things up, refresh and renew your home and backyard.

by Jo Alcorn

I love spring! It’s a time to switch things up, refresh and renew your home and, more importantly, your backyard.

I’ll be at the Backyard Living Expo — coming on April 6 to 8, 2018 at the International Centre —  for an on-stage presentation at 1:15 p.m. and would love for you to join me to talk about all things backyard decor and design. As a sneak preview, here are my top 5 tips and trends for this season.

 

High Performance Outdoor Sound

I love music and I play it all day long and there’s no exception when I go outside to relax and enjoy the warmer weather. I love the high performance outdoor sound that Paradigm has to offer. Long gone are the days of the boom box or the huge speaker systems. This company offers discrete luxury speakers that can be wall or deck mounted and faux rocks that can mix right into you garden, There is even a garden oasis systems with an underground subwoofer for large areas.

 

Shading Style

While I love the outdoors, shade is of the utmost importance. This year I am obsessed with pergolas. They have retractable systems that allow the light to shine in when you want a few rays, but you can also crank the roof closed when you need some shade. The great thing about these systems is that they can be built to spec for odd shapes, attached to an existing structure or they also have great stand-alone units.

 

Grilling Galore

There is nothing Canadians love more than firing up the grill and when your grill can match your decor it’s even better! I love the new Weber Spirit ll series that comes in four bold colours so you can add the perfect barbecue to match your decor. My choice this year would be the gorgeous ivory colour to add to my small space patio.

Burn Baby Burn

Adding a fire element to an outdoor space helps to elongate the season, creates an atmosphere of warmth (literally warm up next to the fire) and just adds a touch of sophistication. You can choose a stand-alone unit that can be purchased at most big box stores or, if you are creating your space from scratch, it’s great to incorporate a built-in unit that fits right into your design.

 

The Final Touches

I love adding accessories to an outdoor space that really tie it all together. Homesense has amazing seasonal accessories that bring your space to life at affordable prices. I love to add trays, lanterns and faux plants (yes, even in an outdoor space) to my backyard designs. Pillows are also a great way to add colour and comfort to your space. I have an entire line of outdoor pillows that are fully washable and are available on my site in a variety or colours and patterns.

Use these ideas to create your very own backyard oasis. Discover the secrets behind the perfect barbecue and learn how to make the most of your backyard, no matter the size or the budget, from industry and celebrity experts at the Backyard Living Expo, which runs from April 6, 7 and 8, 2018 at the International Centre, 6900 Airport Road, Mississauga.

Jo Alcorn is the founder of whitewash & co and Alcorn Home.


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Top trend picks for 2018

Top trend picks for 2018

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Top trend picks for 2018

Drama and colour will be the hot trend in home decorating

by Jo Alcorn

I love when the new trends for the upcoming year are revealed. It’s the perfect time to update your decor and freshen up your home. This year I am seeing (and loving) all things dramatic. Bronze decor, patterned wall treatments, beautifully bold pillows and all things brass. Here is a sneak peak at the trends I see emerging this year, many of which will be incorporated into my 2018 makeover projects.


This year, expect to see big and bold patterns and more items made in Canada. That’s certainly the case for my line of product, from matching dog beds and throw pillows, to the new wallpaper line, both are following these trends. Made-in-Canada and big bold patterns. Wallpaper $179, dog bed $129.99


The on-trend hosts will have brass silverware and plates. Brass is no longer just for your decor, you will now see it in table settings, flatware glasses and more. These beauties are from Wayfair.ca: cutlery $179.99


As the bronze trend continues, expect to see splashes of bronze throughout the home: on top of mantels, on media units, in wall decor and more. Looking for the perfect bronze decor? HomeSense has you covered from lamps and clocks to bookends and artwork.  Light $79.99; bowl $19.99; InstaFood sign $16.99


Look for a mix of materials in furniture pieces this year. This gorgeous multi-function piece is from Structube and it incorporates all the trends I am seeing this coming year – a mix of wood, glass and a metal frame along with drawers, making it the perfect blend of function meets style. Table $399


Step aside stainless steel because the new kid in town is Sunset Bronze. In 2018, it’s all about statement appliances. Functional and bold, the Sunset Bronze kitchen suite from Whirlpool brings warmth to any kitchen with its rich metallic finish. This statement suite of appliances is the very set I chose for my own kitchen reno (stay tuned for that reveal in early 2018). I wanted to go big or go bold in 2018, so this set met my criteria perfect. Pricing TBD


This year I am loving all things black in the bathroom. This trend is drastically different and really packs a punch when you enter the bathroom. The inky and edgy sophistication of matte black is the go-to finish for the design-savvy homeowner looking for a dose of drama in their space. From shower heads to faucets and towel bars and hooks, these black beauties from Delta Faucet are offered in a variety of show stopping collections including the Trinsic and Ara.

Delta Trinsic contemporary floor mount faucet $1,713.25

Delta Ara Monitor 17 Series H2Okinetic tub & shower trim $466.10


In addition to black and bronze, pink is red hot this year in wall colours, accessories and accent pieces. Want to add a bit of blush to your setting? Check out the super affordable ideas from Bouclair, from side tables and throws to artwork and accessories, they’ll have you tickled pink. Table 79.99; throw: 29.99


You all know I am obsessed with white. But this year it’s time for my love affair with white to take a backseat while I introduce bright, bold and powerful colours into my designs. It started slowly in 2017, but wait and see what I have in store for 2018. I am forecasting a mix of pinks and reds — used in the same space — for a few of my upcoming makeovers. Stay tuned for some dramatic and bold, on-trend makeovers. Here is one of the colours I think will be hot in 2018, Pleasant Pink by Benjamin Moore. From $49.99 gallon


Jo Alcorn is the founder and design specialist at Whitewash & Co..


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Top holiday gifts from Jo Alcorn

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Top holiday gifts from Jo Alcorn

Gifts that are truly unique and special

Each year I try to go above and beyond what I did the previous year to surprise and please my loved ones. See a few of my top picks below.

I typically go all white with my holiday decor but a great option is black and gold, a trend I’ve been seeing a lot this year. I love the idea of giving someone a tree ornament with a special note attached, or filling a stocking with some of their favourite goodies and hanging their gift right on their mantel using this great marble stocking holder from Lowe’s. These items are part of the Lowe’s Opuluxe holiday trend, which also includes some fantastic black and gold ornaments and lanterns.

In keeping with the trend of gold this year, I found the most gorgeous teacup and saucer and gold-hued coasters from HomeSense. These would pair nicely with a selection of your recipient’s favourite tea.

The Canadian Red Cross has great options to give the gift of two blankets to keep refugees and migrants warm. A warm blanket can help carry them through the cold snap of winter, give their children something to sit and play on and help them get a proper night’s rest. This gift is certainly warms my heart and at $15 if’s affordable yet so significant. See all of their gift options at www.redcross.ca/perfectgifts

I love bubbly water (okay, bubbly anything for that matter). Last year I tried to go a little bit greener and bought a SodaStream Fizzi sparkling water maker. This machine is like magic. It doesn’t require a plugin and all you do it pop your bottle of tap water in the SodaStream and turns ordinary tap water into sparkling water with the touch of a button. It’s the perfect gift for all those fizzy lovers out there like me (and it also keeps cans and bottle out of landfills). The special holiday pricing is $99.99 and available in red for a limited time only.

Having two fur friends myself, I could never forget about pups on Christmas morning. This year I am happy to launch our donut dog bed, which both my pooches have already fallen in love with. This year they will each be getting their very own, super comfy new bed from my Jo Alcorn collection.

Sometimes something cozy is in order for the holiday season. Bouclair has great accessories, candles and throws to choose from for that last minute gift idea.

Mighty power. Mini footprint — the KitchenAid Artisan Mini stand mixer makes up to five dozen cookies in a single batch. This bold countertop staple is smaller than the brand’s classic stand mixer but fits all standard attachments, making this the perfect gift for the foodie on your list.

Set the mood for winter cuddle ups with the cutest plug-in electric fireplace imaginable from Dimplex. It’s not only charming, it can also heat a room up to 400 square feet. This little gem provides cozy ambiance and charm. It’s also small enough that you can take it with you outside on cool summer nights.

Who doesn’t love the look and feel of fresh new bedding? Give your loved one a crisp new duvet and sleeping pillow from my new line this year. My new bedding is hypoallergenic, has dust mite control, is fully washable, is animal cruelty free and feels just like down.

Finally, who can resist the gift of these adorable and comfy socks for the holidays? I know I’d personally love to receive a pair (hint, hint). I can’t even imagine anyone on my list who wouldn’t love these paired with a nice bottle of wine or a gourmet bag of coffee. I found these little sweeties at the online shop of the RJ DAX Collection.

https://joalcorn.ca/

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Tips on how to survive a home renovation

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Tips on how to survive a home renovation

By Jo Alcorn

As you may or may not know from my constant social media updates, I have been living through a massive kitchen renovation since September. That means three months without water, counters, floors and more.

Did I move out? No. How did I cope? Here I share a few tips and tricks on how to live in a home that is under construction and not go crazy in the process (okay, maybe just a bit crazy but that’s acceptable).

INSPIRATION

The inspiration collage is what kept me sane and helped me to keep the end product in mind when the going got tough. I would look at that gorgeous inspiration and know that — one day — it would all be mine. No pain, no gain right?

GUT DOWN

Compare that beautiful inspiration image to this, which was my reality for three months. To stay sane, and functional, and still live there, I had to find ways to make things work for all of us.

LIVING WITH THE MESS

I have two sweet dogs that live with me, so I desperately needed to keep the space clean and tidy – not only for my own health but for their health and safety as well. I can’t tell you how many Swiffer pads I went through each day. I was constantly whipping that magic tool around, day in and day out. I’d start with the Swiffer Sweeper to trap and lock in all the dirt (and let me tell you there was a lot of dirt). Next, I’d use the Swiffer WetJet on the finished hardwood floors to clean up any remaining dirt and grime and make it a safe haven at the end of the night … until the dirt and dust appeared the next day and then I’d repeat.

CLEANING AND MORE CLEANING

I’m not sure if you can tell but I am a bit obsessed about cleanliness. It’s pretty hard for someone like me who lives in a tidy home to live through a reno. I turned to tools and products that would give me peace of mind, knowing they’d help keep my space as clean as it could be, for all of us. I tried Scrub Daddy for the first time during my renovation and it was life changing. This little sponge doesn’t scratch delicate surfaces and doesn’t require harsh chemicals, which I am totally against for my own health but also the health of my furry friends. The power of this little scrubber is amazing.

On top of cleaning the floors, it’s so important to clean surfaces, windows, tops of furniture and anything the might be mingled with dust. Because I am so against toxins and chemicals, I was thrilled when I found out about Thieves. This is an all-natural, 100 per cent pure, plant-based, essential oil cleaner from Young Living. Half a capful makes a full bottle of this cleaning goodness. One single Thieves bottle will make 26 full bottles of cleaner, and at $27.50, that is a steal. In addition to being all plant and essential oils based, it kills 99.96 per cent of airborne bacteria and germs, it’s safe around kids, and I don’t need to worry when my sweet pups come into contact with it. You can get Thieves from The Oil Girls Canada.

Speaking of cleaning, people often overlook cleaning the inside of their appliances. After, or even during a reno, if you still have appliances up and running it’s important to take care of them. Did you know that only 27 per cent of Canadians have cleaned the inside of their dishwasher in the past 12 months? Ewww! There are specially formulated tablets that actually clean the inside of dishwashers called Affresh. They clean the hard water and mineral deposits that accumulate in your dishwasher over time. During and after a reno is possibly the most important time to tackle this task.

STAY SANE

Living without a kitchen is hard. I don’t mean kinda hard, I mean really hard. To stay sane I had to make sure I had access to appliances and alternate items so I was not breaking the bank every night eating out. My KitchenAid six-quarter slow cooker was my saviour. All you have to do is throw in your ingredients, let them simmer and have a meal at the end of the day. It also automatically goes into keep warm mode for up to four hours so you know you’ll have a hot meal to look forward to. The KitchenAid compact oven is also great if you are going to have to go longer periods of time without a kitchen (and mine was pretty long). It takes up a very small footprint, you can plug it in just about anywhere to make anything from roasted meats, fish and vegetables, to quiche, pizza, muffins and more.

CLEAN THE AIR, TOO

Clean air is so importance to me because I have severe allergies. If you are living through a reno, or you have kids or pets, clean air should be a top priority. The Philips Air Purifier is proven to reduce allergens, odours, volatile organic compound emissions and even certain bacteria. The filter removes 99.97 per cent of allergens and pollutants while the active carbon filter reduces gases and odours from the air.

DECREASE YOUR STRESS

This might seem like an odd recommendation but another key to surviving a reno is to decrease your stress (and trust me I had a lot of it when there were hiccups in the delivery times, delays and changes that needed to be made, all which inevitably slowed down the process). Make sure you have a safe, clean retreat to get away to where you can rest and restore before conquering an entirely new set of challenges the next day. Soft pillows and a comfortable mattress (my new Bills Bed mattress sure came in handy these past few months) are absolute musts. You might also want to try out my new washable, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, Canadian-made sleeping pillows and duvets — a good night’s sleep is just the blink of an eye away.

All in all, I think I am surviving just fine! My pups and I still live at home, eat at home and enjoy the rest of the house – no easy feat in these conditions! But these are sure to help you through the long weeks of a reno. Keep looking at your inspiration photos — it will all be worth it in the end.

https://joalcorn.ca/

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Jo Alcorn: How to Create the Best Bedroom Retreat

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Jo Alcorn: How to Create the Best Bedroom Retreat

When the cooler weather arrives, people tend to hunker down and seek out cuddly corners in their home. Fall is an ideal time to create a cozy bedroom retreat, before the annual time change and seasonal lack of sunshine happens. Looking after this ever so important room in the house will ensure you get a good night’s rest during the cooler months ahead, and all year long!

Here are my top 5 tips to creating the most inviting and relaxing bedroom retreat out there.

Mattress Madness – This is the nuts and bolts of creating a deep and restful sleep. There are hundreds of mattress options out there, and your choice will literally make or break the quality of your sleep. I recently tested out a new mattress from Bill’s Bed, which was delivered directly to my door in a golf bag-sized box (the box spring also came in a box) – they were both so manageable I could get them up my super small staircase on my own. It’s the most innovative mattress I have seen! Not only did it pop out of a box, it has this amazing double-sided option; one side of the mattress is firm and the other plush. So, depending on your preference, you can simply flip the mattress over to get the perfect firmness for you! It also has a great 100-night sleep guaranteed – but rest assured, I’ve already tested out this mattress and it will not be going anywhere!

Attention to Ambiance – Whenever I create a bedroom space for my clients, I ensure this room feels relaxing, giving my clients a perfect space to unwind. I love to include a fireplace in a bedroom – after all, what could really be any more relaxing than a fireplace? Got a small space or don’t have access to a romantic wood burning option to help you relax? No problem! Dimplex has simple and sleek units that come out of a box and literally plug in so you can enjoy the ambiance of a fire year round. Plus, they are so realistic looking; you won’t miss the mess of a wood-burning unit for one second! They also have no-heat options which are very cool, excuse the pun! These allow you to have all the ambiance of a flaming fire without the heat, in the warmer months, too.

All Day I Dream of Darkness – Ensuring your room doesn’t have a stitch of light slipping through the curtains or blinds is key to a good night’s rest. Bouclair has super affordable blackout curtains and now they even have blinds that are light blocking. Now you can keep style front and centre in your space but also ensure not light enters your sleeping zone. Luckily, there is no need to sacrifice style for performance with all the options they have.

Sumptuous Sleep – I love to choose bedding that is lush, fun and curl-up inducing. I always top a bed with some great pillows from my Jo Alcorn collection, and my headboards create the finishing touch that makes you want to dive right in and relax. My line is now available for purchase online, delivered right to your door with white glove service. Pop on over to my site to peruse what might work in your space – Jo Alcorn Collection

Diffusing to Dream Land – Every person, young and old, can benefit from a bedtime routine. Hot baths with Epsom salts, journaling before bed about what you are grateful for, or diffusing your favourite essential oil to help you un-wind from the day are all great options to get you off to sleep easily and relaxed from the day’s stresses. I love the idea of a diffuser in your bedroom to disperse essential oils into the room at night to create a peaceful atmosphere. My fav? A great atomizing diffuser from independent distributor of Young Living, The Oil Girls.

Those are a few tips and products I love to incorporate in any bedroom I design. They are the keys to a good night’s rest, which we all need. And they help to relieve stress as soon as we enter this special place. Let’s face it – we all need, deserve in fact, a place where we want to cuddle up and feel our best. So get started now, before the weather turns cold and you wish you had a calm, relaxing spot to retreat to.

 

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Jo Alcorn: Nursery Decor

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Jo Alcorn: Nursery Decor

Photography By Jason Hartog

A baby’s room needs to be fun and playful, but also a place they can grow into. For this baby boy’s nursery I kept longevity in mind, creating a space that would take him from toddler to teen with minimal updates.

Sometime you need to think outside the box when choosing décor pieces. In this room we certainly did that when we took a tool box and made it into a dresser. It screams everything boy! It’s also indestructible which is ideal for rough and tumble toddlers.

Instead of just painting the walls, we wanted to add layers and textures so we went with wallpaper that is from the new Jo Alcorn Collection, dark crown molding and wainscoting to really finish the space in a unique way.

I went with low profile pieces when it came to furniture. The room was small so it helped to create the illusion of more space. We chose this great Tribeca 4-In-1 Convertible Crib from Sears that will take the family through baby to toddlers years. We also added in this sweet mobile. We finished off the bed with the most perfect bedding from Bouclair’s baby line.

We chose the most delightful glider for story time or late night cuddles. This piece from Sears fits right into the corner of the room and makes the perfect seating addition to the room.

On a trip to Bouclair I was able to pick up affordable curtains and a rod that matched the space perfectly, and also some adorable side table décor from their baby collection. I also grabbed some baskets while I was there to use as extra storage for blankets, or even as laundry baskets if needed.

My clients really wanted an air purifier in the room for the new baby; since the room is so small, we opted to remove the closet door to give us extra room required. We chose a great Philips unit that fit in perfectly with the décor and tucks nicely into the open air closet. Other than looking great, this unit reduces allergens, gases and odors in the space and the filter captures 99.97% of particles that pass through the filters.

I added in some dramatic pieces from Homesense like a faux fur rug, side tables and lamps to completely tie the space together. This room is perfect for a baby or a toddler, and can easily accommodate an older child or teen with minimal updates.

 

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Innovative Home Ideas

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Innovative Home Ideas

In my line of work, I am often come across innovative home products, and new designer colours and trends long before they hit the consumer market. It’s part of what I love about my job!

Take a look at a few cool things I’ll certainly be including in my fall client projects.

My clients often depend on me to come up with ideas that work for them, their families, and how they live in their homes. You may have noticed, I simply love electric fireplaces, and have been using them a lot more lately. The main reasons I love them, and include them, are that the price of gas units are so high, some units in my clients’ homes were inefficient, and in some homes gas was simply not an issue. I’ve installed a unit in a master bedroom to give a warm cozy ambiance, I’ve used them in living rooms to give a bit more heat, and have even included them in bathrooms! The newest option, and a really cool one, I recently saw at the Canadian Furniture Show was a unit by Dimplex where you can take the fire box out in summer months and use the unit as a media console, and then in the winter months you add the fire box back in. How brilliant is that?

Another great idea for client’s with electric heating, or who have vacation properties is the new CONNEX Smart Thermostat by Dimplex. They have introduced a new precision electronic thermostat, the CONNEX Smart Thermostat, which can be connected to any existing baseboard or fan-forced heaters. Simply put, this allows old and new electric heating units to now be controlled from anywhere in the world when used in conjunction with their WIFI CONNEX Controller, so arriving to a cold building is now a thing of the past.

I love to educate clients about products I use in my own space, ones they may not know about themselves, but which make a huge impact. This past year I discovered the joys of soft-close hardware. All my clients want to see the pretty outside drawer pulls and cabinet handles, and they often forget about the function of the piece. GRASS drawer slide and hinge systems are perfectly engineered to enable all design ideas while maintaining the highest performance. You could literally have a drawer faced with solid marble and GRASS soft close hardware could hold it.

A few other innovative products I have come across lately are kitchen innovations by luxury appliance brand Monogram. They have an amazing Pizza Oven that brings a luxurious oven to homeowners. Already available in the states, this product will be launching in Canada later this year. This oven is proven to replicate the exact conditions of some of the best pizzeria ovens in the world. Now this is something I’d love to test out first hand!

When an appliance can make my life easier, it always goes to the top of my must recommend list. The KitchenAid Professional Blender is the most powerful blender on the market. This means I only need ONE for all my requirements. It can power through kale laden smoothies, it can juice the heartiest vegetables and make the smoothest soups and dips. It is a gorgeous countertop appliance well worth the investment.

And last but not least I’ll tout my own Jo Alcorn pillow line. I wanted to create a line that was stylish and trendy but was also innovative and practical. I created the pillow in great colours and patterns to match all décor types but I also thought about the functionality. They are fully washable, have dust-mite control, are hypoallergenic, Canadian made and animal cruelty free. All things that are so important to me.

Jo Alcorn – Design Specialist, B.A. whitewash & co

www.whitewashco.ca

@Jo_Alcorn

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Closet Makeover

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Closet Makeover

As a city dweller in a small space myself, I love the challenge of making useful spaces in my client’s homes. For this space, I worked with Digital Influencer and radio personality Taylor Kaye. She has a ton of outfits, shoes and bags and really had nowhere to put them, so we turned a small room into a space where she can glam up for all her special events.

The first step was to clean out the space and declutter. When cleaning out an area, I always tell my clients it’s a great time to get rid of unwanted clothing, purses, shoes, accessories and really anything that isn’t used, worn or useful to them anymore. My client for this project has a soft spot for Diabetes Canada who also operates a reusable clothing and household goods donation program, so we worked with them to have her gently used clothing picked up. For the items that were of a bit more value, she posted them on Kijiji to help make a few bucks. For those who love the look but want to try to do it themselves great how-to’s are available here.

After the pairing down was complete, we had the space cleaned and painted to give it a fresh look and feel. The base of the closet system we were going to use was white, so I chose a dramatic colour to compliment the whiteness – Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore

Now for the crème de la crème….we worked with Tailored Living to create the exact space my client needed. It was seamless! They did a consult, measured the space, asked questions to determine the needs of my client and then created a three dimensional (3D) drawing to show the client exactly how the design would work in the space.

Tailored Living took inventory of the client’s clothes, shoes, belts and accessories. They discussed how the space would be used and how they could maximize the floor and vertical space. In the end, they were able to provide my client with more than 25 linear feet of hanging space that is organized based on clothing styles (long hanging, medium hang and doubled up short hanging spaces) to maximize the vertical space. They also added shelving for shoes, purses, folded clothing, etc.

To add even more organization to the space, we chose a few key pieces from Neatfreak who specializes in home organization. We used their harmony twill collection small and large bin drawer organizers. These are great to help keep scarves, accessories and jewelry in place within the drawers. They even take care of the little details like non-slip felt hangers so clothing stays where it’s supposed to, and garment bags for when you have to travel and want to keep your clothing clean.

From Neatfreak, we also used their Everfresh laundry baskets. All their hampers have Everfresh Probiotic natural odor control. I love it when practical items have a dual purpose.

A larger more glamourous mirror from Bouclair replaced and old ottoman and mirror; I always recommend my clients try to sell larger items like these as they are always in demand. My client popped these two items on Kijiji for a quick and seamless sale.

To finish off the space I had tons of fun shopping at Bouclair Home for the little, yet important, details to really tie the space together. I picked up a huge mirror, drapes that matched perfectly, artwork and a few other accessories that make the room all that it is, at a great cost.

Jo Alcorn – Design Specialist, B.A. whitewash & co

www.whitewashco.ca

@Jo_Alcorn

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