Tag Archives: Lisa Rogers

BIG STYLE, SMALL SPACES: Think Inside the Box

BIG STYLE, SMALL SPACES: Think Inside the Box

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BIG STYLE, SMALL SPACES: Think Inside the Box

by Lisa Rogers

Container gardening on balconies and patios can create outdoor magic

After a long, cold winter, we’re all itching to get outside, head to our little backyard oasis and raise our faces to the sun.

Just because you live in a condo or a townhome, doesn’t mean you can’t have a lush beautiful garden. And just because you live in a house nothing says that your leafy oasis has to be on the ground.

Anyone can have a gorgeous garden right on the deck or balcony with a little pre-planning, some fundamental principles and great looking containers.

ASSESS YOUR SPACE

Figure out how much room there is and the type of exposure – higher floors on a condo create different planting zones because they are more exposed to harsh sun and wind. Check with the nursery to see which plants are hardiest under whatever conditions you have.

Calculate the amount of sun – and whether it’s morning or afternoon sun – to determine the type of plants. If there’s a lot of shade, you’ll be checking out impatiens, periwinkle, hostas and hydrangeas, while geraniums, salvia, coneflowers and peonies are sun worshipers. To create pockets of shade, try planter boxes along the railing, letting the ivy trail and providing cover for plants below.

CREATE A GARDEN PLAN

You want to enjoy the garden not just outside but from every vantage point inside as well, so figure out the views to coordinate colours and feel. Alternately, maybe your clean-lined modern interior would benefit from a riot of colour to draw the eye outside.

Keep proportion and ratio in mind; vary the heights of plants by mixing tall plants like palms or tropical trees with shorter bushes. Tall plants also create privacy from neighbours, as do trellises, but check with your condo board to see if you’re allowed to build. Add a couple of comfy chairs and a small table and you’ve created an oasis.

Decide on a colour scheme – not only simple and elegant, it will restrain you from buying every plant in the store. Choose two or three plants and repeat them. It saves money in the long run and creates a unified look that is calming and easier to care for.

CONTAINERS

They come in such a variety of sizes and they’ll help with the varied heights. Buy in durable lightweight materials that look like wood or stone as they’re easier to move around. And so easy – no mulch, weeding or digging.

If you like a clean look, choose identical containers that complement simple plant colours such as glossy green leaves and white blooms. If it’s a cottagey effect you’re after, use anything. An old metal wash bucket for growing herbs, wire egg baskets for hanging planters for those coral geraniums and pink begonias. Add in lime green or silvery foliage.

You can also use perennials in your containers. Although they don’t spread quite like annuals and, if you’re in a condo, you’re not likely to overwinter them.

PLANTING

Place the tallest plant in the centre of the pot and lower the heights as you move outward. For example, a tall tree or bush like hibiscus or Mandevilla, surrounded by shorter transition plants and at the edge add trailers. Spend money on plants that spread – impatiens, portulacas, various ivy like periwinkle and pachysandra – but leave enough room in the pot for them to grow otherwise they’ll die off after a month.

Bring out your indoor plants – they flourish outdoors in the summer as long as you keep an eye on sun exposure, which can burn them. Rubber plants, schefflera and Christmas cactus are ideal for the outside.

When grouping containers, remember the 3-5-7 principle — grouping in threes or fives or sevens. If you’re attaching pots to the fence, position at eye level because if they’re placed on top of the rail, you’ll see only the bottom of the pot when sitting down.

And finally, do add some garden accents. There’s nothing like the sound of water burbling all summer so add a water feature. Add a fire pit while you’re at it — summer evenings can be chilly, though it’s also handy to have a basket of pashminas at the ready for wrapping around your shoulders.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.


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Big Style, Small Spaces: Bring Spring In

Big Style, Small Spaces: Bring Spring In

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Big Style, Small Spaces: Bring Spring In

by Lisa Rogers

Simple ways to embrace a new season indoors

There’s no denying that spring has us excited to embrace nature and the fresh air again, so while we work on prepping our patio and outdoor space, what are some simple ways we can bring the season indoors? Here, six of my favourite tips!

1. Pared-down, simple and stunning: Clip your backyard blossoms and scatter in different vases of different shapes, sizes and colours throughout your home. It’s a casual yet sophisticated way of celebrating the vitality of the season.

2. Don’t just spring clean, spring edit: You know how big I am in editing your home. Clean up over-stuffed bookshelves by removing all the novels you read during the colder season, clean out your pantry of winter fare and stock with new seasonal finds and swap out heavy, thick throws, blankets and pillows for their lighter, airier counterparts.

3. Clutter-free: This isn’t that dissimilar from above, but it’s time to get rid of all the accumulated clutter you have. Keep a few of your favourite pieces, trinkets, vases or other accessories on display, but others retire to storage and rotate when the mood strikes.

4. Break out the bright colours: A coral throw, perhaps? Or what about a new bold piece of art? Have fun with it and think of spring-friendly shades like lemon, peach, lavender or mint green. But, in saying that, reserve these new additions to “pops” of colour throughout your home, while keeping everything else neutral in tones. That way you’re giving your space a roomy, airy feel. Also, while you’re at it, swap out your heavy sets of sheets and down comforters for much cooler cottons and linens.

5. Add some houseplants or flowers: Pots, plants or vases are the easiest way to bring spring in. Little succulents are very charming, and who can forget the rainbow colours of beautiful tulips?

6. Indoor herb garden: Don’t just limit all the new plant life that grows in the springtime outdoors. An indoor herb garden is a lovely way to bring some of nature inside. And the scent fresh herbs emit? Divine! Grab a few small pots, some potting soil and the seeds of some of your favourite herbs. You need the right amount of light, so be sure to start your set-up in a place where you know you’ll get ample natural light (near a window sill, or in it, is ideal). The easiest herbs to grow are chives, mint, parsley, basil, thyme and rosemary. Plant them all and watch them grow.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes (DunparHomes.com).

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.


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Big Style, Small Spaces: Book Worm

Big Style, Small Spaces: Book Worm

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Big Style, Small Spaces: Book Worm

by Lisa Rogers

Books aren’t only a treasure to read, but also to hold and display

Whoever said anything about books being obsolete hasn’t met an interior designer! Because, to us, books aren’t only a treasure to read, but also to hold and display – on your shelves and coffee table. They add weight and layers to a room, and the sense that the space has been lived in and curated by someone who cares.

I love going to the bookstore and browsing through the coffee table books – about gardening, interior design, cooking, fashion and photography. There’s nothing quite like a gorgeous coffee table book for inspiration. Browsing interiors or gardens online doesn’t compare – you can’t sit on the sofa in front of the fire, a cup of tea at hand and with the computer in your lap in quite the same way as a big fat book.

Online images are all over the place, whereas a book has a set focus and the settings and photos are related to that focus. You can be transported to exotic places you otherwise wouldn’t get to see. Vogue Living: Homes, Gardens, People, for example, is full of lavish interiors culled from the past several years of celebrity homes.

Art books are wonderful coffee table books. My new favourite is the one I got from David Hockney’s latest exhibit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art last fall. Fashion is another passion of mine – I love anything shot by Richard Avedon, arguably the greatest fashion photographer of the 20th century, and the 2015 book pulling together his collection of Dior photographs is another favourite.

The books are timeless; Tom Ford’s book of fashion — simply named Tom Ford — was published in 2008, the Chanel Collections came out in 2007, and Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty was available in 2011, all of them still bestsellers. I never get tired of going through my coffee table books. If I’m starting a project, I’ll spend an hour or so flipping through and will inevitably see something I want to incorporate.

Gardening books take you to places you’d never get in to see, like secret parterre gardens in England or France, courtyards in Venice, vast expanses of flowers in The Netherlands.

Whatever your passion happens to be – horses, dogs, needlework, fashion jewellery, 11th- century Japanese porcelain — invest in some large books with beautiful photos and captivating text and put them out for the world to see.

Books aren’t just about beautiful pictures; they also help you understand something, whether that is the balance and symmetry of a garden or an interior design, or how the various flavours co-exist in a wonderful recipe. When I want to do gardening, I will pick up a gardening book because I want to know how to create a garden, what temperature the plants thrive in, the kind of soil, and so on.

Books also work well as an integral part of your interior decor – heavy ones on their side on the bookshelf, or coffee table, or on the console. I switch them up every week or so, depending on the season and my mood and love how the covers are so eye catching.

I even display cookbooks on the kitchen island, the kitchen table, sometimes with a vase of fresh flowers on top. I like to have them accessible and within reach for the recipe I might need. But they’re also handy for keeping friends occupied while you’re preparing food.

The only thing with cookbooks is they’re a genre of their own and don’t translate as well into lusciousphotography in the same way as design or gardening. But they have a unique collectible quality as social and historical documentation. I have a few cookbooks that were my great grandmother’s, passed down to my grandmother, my mother and now me. I still make the shortbread recipe at Christmas that my great-granny made.

My all-time favourite cookbooks are my mom’s Joy Of Cooking, the Silver Spoon series, all of Julia Child’s books, and the Gourmet cookbook, a classic collection that required sifting through 50,000 recipes by editor Ruth Reichel and her staff. My latest favourite is the one I picked up last summer while taking the Tuscookany gourmet cooking school in Tuscany.

It’s a wonderful thing to hand these down generationally – your kids might not want your china, crystal or furniture, but they love the cookbooks that yielded their food, because food and memories are all intertwined. I love to make something that I remember my mother making, which I now know my grandmother made and her mother before her. Every time I pick up the book I think of those women, a constant reminder and a thread through the family.

These books make great gifts, especially for thard-to-buy for friends and family. As long as they have a passion, there’s a book to satisfy it, which they can read, look at and display on the coffee table.

Where to find them? I’m reluctant to provide a list of must-have design books because I love so many of them and it’s such a personal choice. Since it’s always best to flip through them before buying, head to the biggest Chapters or Indigo you know because they’ll have the most extensive collection. Also, Elte Market has some beautiful coffee table books for sale. Check out publishers’ websites, especially the high-end houses like Rizzoli, Taschen or Vendome Press, because their books are excellent quality, even if a little pricey.

See what books your friends have. I visited my sister in New York recently and she had some gorgeous new books out so when I returned to Toronto I ordered them directly through Vendome Press – The Haute Bohemians; Out East: Houses and Gardens in the Hamptons; Life at the Top, a look at the rooftops of New York City, The Art of Celebrating by David Monn (about dinner parties in places like the White House) and A House in the Country.

I’ll be in reading material for quite a while.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes (DunparHomes.com).

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.


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Big Style, Small Spaces: Home Work

Big Style, Small Spaces: Home Work

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Big Style, Small Spaces: Home Work

Make sure your home office is efficient but also reflects your personality

Working from home has lots of advantages – the office commute is about 30 seconds, you can stick a load of laundry in between conference calls, and you can wear PJs for most of the day. The downside is you’re too close to it to get away, you don’t want to be doing laundry all day, and PJs are really a fashion crime. Whether you work for yourself, or for a company that allows for some work from home, you still need a proper office. To start with, plan by making a list of everything you need in order to work well — natural light, tons of storage space and miles of countertop.

Where you work is important — preferably a dedicated office space in the guest bedroom, a main floor den, or the basement. This also depends on the kind of work you do; clients dropping in need a place to sit. Laptops and WiFi make it easy to move your office around, even to the back deck. Once you’ve picked a spot, try a space planner to see where the furniture should go, making sure electrical outlets and phone jacks – if you still use a landline – are close to the workspace. Include space for a printer, phone and resource materials. Rarely used items can be stored in the basement or a closet.

CHAIR

You’ll be sitting in this for six to eight hours a day, so get one that adjusts to your specific ergonomics. As pretty as leather is, refrain from buying it because you need something breathable. Chairs range in price from $150 to $2,000, but you can get a decent one for about $300.

DESK

Standard desks are 29 inches high, but 27 inches high is actually ergonomically better for where your arms and hands are while using a laptop. If the desk isn’t adjustable, raise your chair a little. You also need enough workspace to spread out papers; if one desk won’t do, add a second.

A writing desk is preferable to those clunky mid-century office desks – much lighter and easier to move around. Place your desk so you have a view of the room and away from the outdoors. Remember to place it so that light falls over your shoulder.

STORAGE

Drawers in the desk – or in stackable containers on top – are good for having stationery, paper clips, pens, pencils and staplers close at hand. Wallmounted storage minimizes physical and visual clutter.

Wherever you keep your files – on the computer, or an external hard drive, or in file folders – make a habit of culling regularly. If you haven’t used something in a year, toss it. (Except taxes. Those you need to keep for seven years.)

LIGHTING

Natural light is best, especially since windows also provide good ventilation. But if that’s not possible, bump up the overhead and task lighting and add a reading lamp. If there’s no room on the desk, have it wall mounted.

DECORATE

If your home office is visible from the rest of the main floor, try to tie it in decoratively so that it blends in style, colour and theme.

Don’t be afraid of colour, or at least adding colourful accessories. I love white space, but I still like to add colour through accessories – a Navajo blanket, or beautiful pillows on a chair. Incorporate colour as well into stationery, magazine racks, storage containers and so on. Colour affects the way you feel; orange is considered a colour that stimulates creativity, green is restful, blue is calming and yellow makes you happy.

This isn’t the corporate office, it’s your home, so get creative in making it yours, and making a place you look forward to working in. Incorporate art, lamps and accessories that convey your personality. Use what you have – turn a vase into a pen holder, wicker baskets for scrap paper, the dining sideboard for printer, phone and other supplies. Splurge on a chaise – go modern with Eames or Mies, or traditional like a fainting couch — for naps and reading breaks.

SCHEDULE

When you work alone, getting down to work can sometimes be hard; it’s far easier to check out the fridge, stare into space, or run the vacuum through the main floor. Most successful people say that having a consistent routine, one that triggers the brain to get into think mode, is the only way to get things accomplished.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes (DunparHomes.com).

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.


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Big Style, Small Spaces

Big Style, Small Spaces: Enjoy the Winter

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Big Style, Small Spaces: Enjoy the Winter

After the holidays have passed, when winter settles in and the snow piles up around the windows, it’s tempting to put on pajamas, watch old movies and snuggle with the family. After all, the holiday rush is over, and you don’t really have to go outside.

That’s exactly when I conjure up images of my childhood. When you’re young, the winter doesn’t bother you – in fact it is an invitation to get outside and make snowmen, have snowball fights, skate and ski. It’s just what you did, you didn’t think about it twice, because it was always great fun.

As we get older, though, winter isn’t quite so welcome, especially the remembrance of cold, wet feet and hands. But it’s so important to keep moving, even though you can get lulled into inaction at this time of year. Not moving can lead to unwelcome weight gain – definitely something I want to avoid. But it’s really important to have a plan every day. I like to go for a walk in the morning, take the dog and get out and get moving, even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes. And Lucy loves it, too.

One of the things I like about having a dog, besides totally loving my Lucy, is it actually keeps me active, forces me outside to walk and connect with the other dog lovers in my neighbourhood. You don’t want to hibernate no matter what age you are – and if you don’t have a dog, hiking is a great option.

My husband, John, develops and builds townhomes. He always carefully picks the locations to be close to established downtown areas and close to greenspace. When you’re close to nature, get out there for a hike or cross-country skiing – the city of Toronto is very good at maintaining the trails and pathways, keeping them clear of snow so it’s easier to walk, and, weather permitting, you can strike out off the main path on your skis.

But it’s important to dress properly. Layers are the key — a t-shirt, a sweater and then the jacket. I prefer to wear the new leisure kind of winter pants, which are kind of between a sweat and a dressier pant. I love my jeans and they’re great but they don’t keep me warm like these do. It used to be about the bundling up but now with these technical fabrics you don’t have to feel like the Michelin Man. And they’re available in just about any good sport goods store.

As for an overcoat, if you’re out walking get something that reaches your knees, preferably down filled, and if you’re being more active — say on cross-country skis — get a nice parka that at least covers your behind. Wear a toque, and if you’re in really rough cold weather, like Calgary, go for a full balaclava to cover your face, which also protects your delicate facial skin. I look a bit strange, but at least I’m warm.

The biggest problem I encounter is the fingertips – I usually wear mitts when walking the dog because it lets me move my fingers and keep them warm. When driving I wear gloves, but the secret I’ve found to warm fingers is mitts with glove liners. Same goes for hiking boots – there are good insoles out there to add to your boots, designed for winter to keep moisture and cold out. They also work in skates.

When buying boots for outdoor activities, get ones with good treads to keep from slipping on slippery sidewalks. Public paths you don’t have to worry about because the city keeps them cleared. And if you live in a Dunpar community, like I do, the snow removal comes with your purchase.

Another challenge with winter is where to store your gear. What I like about my home is that you walk through from the garage right into the lower level. While the closet won’t stow all your skis and skates and so on, there’s good space to keep your coats, mitts, hats and scarves. But the garage is a goldmine – it’s the perfect place to install built-in storage, or freestanding units, like Ikea sells. It’s a good investment to get built-ins to store winter gear for easy access, or summer furniture. You can hang your bike from the ceiling and your skis and poles on the wall. You come in from downstairs and there’s some room to hang your coat and leave the boots outside.

Let’s face it — winter is here, so let’s embrace all it has to offer.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes (DunparHomes.com).

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.



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Big Style, Small Spaces: The Perfect Dinner Party

Big Style, Small Spaces: The Perfect Dinner Party

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Big Style, Small Spaces: The Perfect Dinner Party

Keep It Simple!

Whatever the season – summer’s ease or fall’s cocooning – my rules for hosting the perfect dinner party are always the same. Keep it simple.

First the decor. I don’t bump up the decoration for an autumn dinner party – I will have already changed to a more seasonal look with deeper colours, like oranges and reds, through cushions and throws. These serve double duty, since at this time of year, even with the heat on, one of your guests is likely going to feel the chill, so you can pass these around to warm up. I’ll also switch out my summer sisal carpets for thicker wool ones.

I might add some extra dried grasses, or fresh flowers to a tall glass vase for the kitchen island or centrepiece for the table.

Personally, I don’t use a dining room for entertaining – I like having friends around me while I cook. Even when I’m having a couple of girlfriends over for tea or a glass of wine, we still sit at the island. Otherwise, we’ll pull up club chairs to have a really good gab but in the kitchen area.

Dinner parties I do right in the kitchen and we eat at the kitchen table. Before dinner, everyone mills around the island having drinks and appetizers, which I also keep simple.

For big festive meals – Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. – I like sit-down dinners. But even when there are lots of people, or maybe even more when there are casts of thousands, I like to keep it simple. And I don’t ask so many people I can’t talk to them, so at most 12 to 14 people.

You have to put on a great playlist. I subscribe to Apple Music, Spotify and Google Music and have a lot of playlist favourites from soul to jazz. My dad introduced me to jazz and I developed a love for Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Billy Holiday, Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, John Coltrane and Count Basie, among others. I developed a taste for soul as well, everything from Al Green to Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and Curtis Mayfield – the list is pretty endless. I’ve more lately come to chill mixes with bands such as Jamiroquai, Zero 7 and Morcheeba, a sound that mixes soul and jazz and which is great for a Sunday afternoon.

When it comes to the menu itself, I go for simple every time. But simple in my books doesn’t mean potluck. Call me a control freak, but I like to cook, and I have something specific in mind and not everyone is a great cook. I also like to keep the menu simple and prefer it uncluttered with a bunch of different dishes.

During the week, meals are super simple, but weekends I’ll make something more complex, like an osso bucco or a rich marinara pasta sauce, or a big beautiful chicken curry, all dishes that take time to build and layer. Even better is making the dish a day or two ahead so the flavours really set. Just keep the dish in the fridge and then heat it up.

When it’s a holiday, like Christmas or Thanksgiving, I have more people for dinner, but rather than turkey, I’ll roast two capons (never with stuffing inside, only on the side). With that, I’ll make smashed potatoes — parboil, shake in the pot so they break up, put them in a roasting pan with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary and cook at 350F until they’re crispy.

Instead of potatoes, I might do an easy pasta with pesto and a bit of cream, or an eggplant parmesan. I will often do a vegetable stir fry to avoid having them overdone, so a nice mix of snow peas, asparagus, carrots, broccoli and squash works well.

In the fall and winter, when you have warm and nourishing mains like these, it’s best to pair with a beautiful fresh salad or two. Sometimes all it takes is fresh local arugula with dressing, or salad greens with sliced purple onions, almond slivers and a vinaigrette dressing. If that comes after dinner, serve with a wheel of cheese and beautiful crusty bread. Then I like to finish with a very light dessert, like gelato or fresh fruit salad.

Whatever you do, no going cheap on anything. A million elaborate dishes won’t impress your friends as much as good quality, delicious ingredients served simply. That includes wine; there are lots of good wines for around $20 but you do not get a great wine for $10. I don’t care how well you shop, it’s just not possible.

Not everyone knows wine, or which is a good one to bring. Rather than offend a friend by saying they brought a terrible bottle of wine, I now tell guests what I’m making for dinner and what wine I would like them to bring, right down to the name, year and price. It’s like wine training for your friends, and actually they’re happy with that.

A few brief tips on hosting:

  • If you’re hosting a large party, select people who know each other, or at least people you think will get along.
  • Ask about allergies.
  • Cook something you’ve experimented with already.
  • Clean as you go. There’s less mess at the end and you also won’t have dirty dishes staring you in the face during dinner.
  • Keep the menu simple and avoid cooking items you have to constantly watch – you’re supposed to be a guest at the party, too.
  • Prep as much as possible ahead of time.
  • Delegate work to guest, not just in prep but in clean up.
  • Keep your cool. If you’re stressed and anxious, everyone else will be too.
  • Music – make up some playlists specifically for dinner parties.
  • Lower the lights and light the candles.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes (DunparHomes.com).

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.



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Big Style, Small Spaces: Get Ready for Fall

Big Style, Small Spaces: Get Ready for Fall

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Big Style, Small Spaces: Get Ready for Fall

With fall just arriving, you’ll be transitioning from outside to inside and your interior needs a little transitioning, too.

Bring in warmth and brightness by changing pillows, drapes, throws and even rugs. You want to make your home warm and welcoming, so transition from summer’s cool bright colours to the deeper more intense colours of fall. Plump up the textural palette as well with luscious mohair, wool or cashmerelike fabrics. Increase light and sparkle with mirrors.

Bring the outdoors in with bouquets of fresh flowers, or by gathering dried ferns, grasses or leaves still on the branch and arrange in a tall glass vase for the hall table or in a big bowl on the dining room table.

Before putting away summer things – wardrobe or decor – conduct an edit. Deciding now what you’ll use next year will free up valuable storage space. It’s also a good time to declutter the pantry of old spices and packaged foods with overdue best before dates.

With children back in school, you’ll also want to make your home more functional so that weekdays are free moving rather than frustrating. Get their rooms ready and top up supplies. With each age and stage, needs change and instead of homework at the kitchen table you may have to set up a desk in their room with good lighting and organized storage. The best role for a parent is set things up so they can become independent, and more responsible.

In the hallway, install enough hooks for hanging coats and school bags and place a bench underneath. You’ll need trays to hold wet, dirty boots that will start to collect soon enough.

Start cooking. Get out the jam and chutney recipes, can those tomatoes and peaches.

When it comes to signing up for fall activities, however, be careful how much you take on. September and October always feels like the start of a new year and the temptation is to overdo the intentions. By Christmas you’re dead on your feet. Instead, consult your bucket list and see what is most important for you and your children — in other words, prioritize.

Some things can’t be avoided, though, like the backyard and you don’t want to wait until the first snow falls. Here’s my fall checklist for the outdoors:

  • Hose down furniture, retractable awnings and cushions, letting them dry completely before storing.
  • Wrap planters and if they’re terracotta, remove the soil and turn them over to avoid cracking from rain and snow.
  • Store chairs, table and umbrellas if you have space and, if not, then wrap them to protect from elements.
  • Thoroughly clean the barbecue.
  • Mulch the garden and plant bulbs.
  • Clean the eaves and downspouts or hire a pro to do it. I don’t feel comfortable hanging off a ladder to clean my own eaves, and the handy guys who do it are very reasonably priced.
  • Seal around doors and windows with caulking or weather stripping, dryer and bathroom exhaust fans and any pipes or vents that exhaust to the outside.
  • Check the roof for damaged shingles to replace.
  • Shut off and drain outdoor faucets.
  • Change furnace filters.
  • Hire a professional to check and clean the fireplace and to check the attic for water damage or nesting animals.
  • Remove window AC units and store. If you have a whole-home AC, partially cover the unit – covering to the ground traps in moisture.
  • Check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Empty rain barrels.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes (DunparHomes.com).

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.



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Big Style, Small Space: Ten Ways to Prolong Summer

Big Style, Small Space: Ten Ways to Prolong Summer

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Big Style, Small Space: Ten Ways to Prolong Summer

by Lisa Rogers

We Canadians love our fall and winter, but we look forward to our summers even more. Especially when they’re all too brief and fleeting. But I have ways – 10 of them in fact — of pushing summer well into fall. And here they are:

ONE

Extend your time outdoors. Hang a hammock (as an added bonus, they’ll be on sale by now) and schedule time to enjoy it. Keep a stack of summer type design books nearby, such as India Hicks Island Style, The Big Book of the Hamptons, Hinckley Yachts or Creole World.

Add a fire pit to your deck, fill a basket with throws, candles and mosquito repellent and stow just inside the back door. You can still find tall tropical plants with glossy leaves and brilliant coloured flowers, so put a couple out on the deck.

TWO

Bring the outdoors in. Snip fern branches or hosta leaves from the garden and place in vases. If the weather turns chilly, bring those lush tropical trees inside. The ones with flowers are showy, but fig, banana and rubber trees are just as nice. If for some reason you can’t have real plants inside – your cats chew them to shreds for example – then go dried. Long grasses in a large vase, whether on the floor or the side table, look beautiful.

Brighten up the bath with aqua and white Turkish towels, hang a thick white cotton shower curtain and fresh new summery bathmats. I’m a huge fan of yellow, it’s vibrant and warm like the sun and mixes beautifully with white, straw, black and warm wood tones – think yellow-and-white striped towels or a bright yellow and white tablecloth.

Pull out accessories in summery colours, and put away the darker ones until later. Ditto for cushions and throws – those in bright blues, greens, pinks, yellows and corals will have you feeling summery all through the fall.

Keep your blinds open to maximize natural light – only in the hottest part of the day should you close or lower the blinds.

THREE

Permanently remind yourself of vacations with your travel photos – of the white sand beach you visited last year, the Tuscan countryside with grape-laden vineyards, or the crashing surf in Santa Monica. Have them blown up and hang with or without frames. Fill a large glass jar with seashells – better yet, fill several large jars with them (and occasionally hold them to your ear to hear the ocean.)

FOUR

Smells are routed through your olfactory bulb, which is the part of the brain that analyzes smells and is closely connected to the memory and emotion parts of the brain. Which is why smell is such a powerful reminder so fill your home with the summery smells of fruit, or Lampe Bergere’s scented oils and herbs in the kitchen window.

FIVE

In summer, I’m a huge fan of the put-it-out and forget-about-it mode of decorating. (Let’s face it – that about sums up my year-round approach.) White cotton and natural materials like seagrass and raffia are visual cues to me of summer. So I love white slipcovers, seagrass carpets on bare floors, raffia baskets, wood blinds, white denim or cotton duck curtains (reminds me of a sailboat) and wicker chairs. No law says these have to be put away in September. In fact, the longer you keep them out, the more summery your home will feel.

SIX

Food, glorious food! Cook like you’re in the middle of summer: Tuscan and Greek (gazpacho, roasted peppers, barbecued whole chicken, shish kebab), Southern soul food (black-eyed peas and creole shrimp), or Southwest TexMex (margaritas and chili rellenos).

SEVEN

Schedule weekly cleaning and home maintenance tasks according to the weather forecast. You should only do housework, organize closets for back to school, weed the garden or scrub the kitchen on rainy days. When the weather is beautiful, schedule your own day around it by meeting a friend for lunch or coffee outside, rent a cottage for a week or weekend in September and eat every dinner al fresco.

EIGHT

Host a canning party with friends. Late summer is when you can pick up bushel baskets of peaches, tomatoes, cukes and rhubarb. Each person should bring a recipe, mason jars and the fruit or vegetable of choice. You provide back-up supplies of mason jars and lids, pectin and sugar.

NINE

It’s still possible to have a beach day well into October if you prepare properly. Either make a picnic, or take the portable gas or coal stove along with hamburgers or slow-cooked ribs to put on the BBQ. As long as you have sweaters, fleece throws and blankets for late afternoon or evening chill, you will be comfortable. Even if the water is too cold to swim, you can still put your toes in, build a sand castle, or go for a long leisurely walk along the shore.

TEN

Starting planning ahead for next summer, booking things like theatre or outdoor concerts early so you can’t opt out. Make a note to start getting your home summer ready by March so that you’re not wasting precious outdoor time with contractors and maintenance people.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes (DunparHomes.com).

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.



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Big Style, Small Space: It's Summer: Enjoy the Outdoors

Big Style, Small Space: It’s Summer: Enjoy the Outdoors

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Big Style, Small Space: It’s Summer: Enjoy the Outdoors

With summer finally here, it’s no surprise that Canadians are dying to get into the backyard, which is why we’re spending more on making that small patch of real estate into a heavenly oasis. Long gone are the white plastic chairs circling like wagons around a Plexiglas table, and in their place are fire pits and heaters, deep-seated sectional sofas, teak dining tables and chairs, and lights, lots of lights.

All of this exponentially increases the time you spend outdoors listening to the birds, or the burble of a water feature, watching the sun set, and connecting with friends and family.

Even if you don’t really have a backyard, you can create the same experience on a deck, balcony or terrace. And furniture manufacturers are eager to provide all your needs for making that possible.

Before you buy anything, though, figure out how you will use the deck. Is it where you’ll go read, lie in the sun, have friends over for dinner? If you don’t like to eat outside and you prefer to sit out and read or lie in the sun, invest more heavily in living room-style furnishings rather than a dining table.

The outdoor furnishings of today are higher quality for better looks and durability. The frames last longer, the water-resistant fabric retains its shape and the cushion foam stays comfortable.

There’s also greater choice in materials and styles. In the wood family, there’s teak, ipe or treated pine, but you can also get metal mixed with wood, or solid aluminum or stainless, or iron for a clean contemporary look. Of these, teak and aluminum last the longest.

Loose flooring tiles in teak alternative wood are easy to install and creates an immediate room setting, especially on the concrete of a condo balcony. Add a rug to pull the look together – there are plenty of outdoor carpets to choose from.

And when it comes time to place the furniture, think about where your eye will rest when you sit in a particular spot. If the view isn’t great, reorient the sightlines by moving the furniture around.

THE OUTDOOR LIVING ROOM

Comfort is king when it comes to furniture and that includes being waterproof — nothing worse than sitting down in a chair that oozes moisture from the most recent thunderstorm.

Privacy is an issue in a condo or a townhome but a row of boxwoods or ornamental grasses in matching containers along the edges of your deck will fix that. If you already have privacy lattice or bamboo screening up, create an instant retreat by adding some wallmounted terra cotta planters.

A hammock is a worthwhile investment for the afternoon naps or evenings spent gazing at the stars. Add bright colourful pillows and surround the area with container plants and you have a vacation destination right on your deck.

For even more visual interest, add artwork to the deck walls — wrought iron grills, architectural salvage, window frames (with or without mirrored glass).

Anything that adds the sound of water is welcome in the backyard, like a fountain that’s powered by a recirculating pump.

INSTALL MOOD LIGHTING

Decks aren’t just for daytime. Add lights around your deck to set the mood. Small white lights are magical when strung from the house to a tree. Add candles around the edges of your deck or patio – flameless ones are safer. An ethanol fire pit not only creates mood but keeps feet warm, and the best thing is they can be moved around.

Music adds to the ambience – just not so loud your guests can’t hear each other or that the neighbours will complain.

DINING AL FRESCO

When shopping for a table, look at the expandable ones. Materials range from classic wrought iron to teak (both pretty pricey) to wood and metal – all great looking but distinctly different in style.

Chairs should complement the table, though they don’t have to match exactly, and if your deck is on the small side, get the stackable kind.

An umbrella will shade the table from sun and rain but if there’s enough space check out a pergola. It works as a nice architectural feature, shade for a living area — especially fitted with a retractable canopy system — and can be screened in against bugs.

PLANTING/CONTAINER GARDENING

The deck is a perfect place to let your inner container gardener go wild. They come in all shapes and sizes – the bigger ones you can put on rolling carts to move. But you can grow anything out there as long as you have the right light and soil — tomatoes, herbs, colourful flowers.

If you live in a condo tower, what you can plant depends a lot on what floor you’re on. Wind affects what you plant especially because it drops the temperature significantly, removes moisture and brings in a lot of dust. Some plants are better than others at standing up to these elements, like evergreen foliage plants, euonymus and ornamental grasses.

Once your outdoor space is set, you’re not going to want to leave. You’ll already be enjoying the weekend while everyone else is fighting traffic to the cottage.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes (DunparHomes.com).

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.


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al_jj17_active_home_2_fi

Active Home: Stretch Out The Seasons

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Active Home: Stretch Out The Seasons

Photography, courtesy of Lisa Rogers

Trying to extend outdoor time in our seasonal climate, and squeeze as much living as possible out of our backyards, has become a national preoccupation. With the addition of fire pits, heaters, deep-seated sectional sofas, dining areas and lots of lights, it’s easy to accomplish.

ELEMENTAL FURNISHINGS

The quality of outdoor furniture has come a long way. There are far more durable and water-resistant options available, but good quality does cost more.

When it comes to frames, there are all-wood ones, like teak, ipe (an exotic hardwood) or treated pine, as well as ones that are a wood/metal mix that include solid aluminum, stainless or iron. Hardy resin/wickers inject a weathered Hamptons’ look.

Whatever style you choose, stick to a minimal colour scheme that complements your home. Turquoise and lime suggest a seashore theme, while green and red are pure Muskoka, and black and tan are fashionably uptown.

Consider your sight-lines when positioning furniture. When sitting, make sure your eyes rest on a pleasing view. If not, reconfigure.

If you don’t have a deck, balcony sized furniture can be arranged to create a similar experience. If you’re short on space, consider an expandable table and stackable chairs. Storing cushions and dining essentials can be a challenge, so incorporate a waterproof bench or a cubby by the back door. Keep extra throws on hand for chilly evenings.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS

Even the smallest water feature can add a soothing ambiance to an outdoor space. There’s nothing like flickering flames from an outdoor fire and candles. Depending upon your space, flameless candles may prove to be a safe alternative, or string small white lights through a tree or along a fence. Ethanol fire pits are a great option, but check first with your condo board.

Long gone are the days when you had to put a speaker in the window from your massive stereo system. Playing music outdoors is easy, and it sounds great. Tune into your favourite playlist through your computer, phone or Sonos speakers, but ensure that the neighbours don’t have to listen too.

CLANDESTINE MEASURES

Typically, an outdoor space is more private if you’re living in a low rise home, than a townhome or condo. Imaginative fixes to counter balance this concern include the installation of lattice or bamboo screening. Also, you can place boxwoods or ornamental grasses in tall, matching containers along the edge of your deck – they not only create privacy, but augment your deck-scape.

Umbrellas come in all shapes and sizes, and can be positioned to shade targeted areas. If space isn’t a concern, consider a a pergola. Not only is it an attractive architectural feature, but it can be fitted with a retractable canopy system and screened in to keep out pesky pests.

Take the time to smell the roses, listen to the birds and watch the sun set every evening by increasing the time that you spend outdoors this summer – and fall.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes, and has appeared on Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV, Flare TV and The Shopping Channel. Lisa is a regular guest consultant on City’s Cityline.

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