Tag Archives: Jane Lockhart

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No-rules holiday decor

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No-rules holiday decor

Photography, Gillian Jackson

Decorating for the holidays is very personal. Some people really couldn’t care one way or the other, and then there are those who can’t wait for the season to arrive. Apparently, it says a lot about who you are if you put your decorations up early.

Decorate early, be happy

The New York Post reported that people are happier if they put up holiday decorations, earlier than most, outside their home. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology backs this up. We make associations with things that make us happy, and Christmas is, generally, a happy time. By putting up outdoor decorations evokes social cues to our neighbours, and suggests that we are friendly.

If this describes you, then chances are you’ve already brought out the boxes from storage, and you’re living in a Christmas wonderland.

Once upon a time

There was a time when the traditional colour themes included red, green and white, with a touch of gold or silver for sparkle. Today, there aren’t any colour limits and you can be as creative as you want to be. Visit any big box store after the 31st of October and you’ll be inundated with possibilities.

If you’re a person who prefers to decorate to a theme each year, then you’ll know that new ornaments (and themes) are constantly being introduced to the market. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, then make it. Home-made touches always add a special element.

When designers deck a tree

In our office we hold a tree decorating competition. One year our theme was A Wine-derful Christmas, which included wine glass, bottle ornaments and hand-made cork garland. For our Nordic Noel Tree, we used light-toned wood ornaments, hand cut white paper snowflakes, and played up a red, white and silver theme. Last year we did the the Tree of Misfit Fabrics. You guessed it – we used leftover fabric pieces, shaped them into bows, and complemented it with black, white and silver ornaments. It’s always the homemade touches that get the most love.

When to let loose

Even it you tend to be a more restrained decorator when it comes to your home environment, you may show your playful side come Christmas. You don’t have to go overboard (like we did), but by introducing the right lighting and holiday decor it can further elevate the moods of your family and friends.

There aren’t any hard and fast rules for decorating your home for the holidays. Some (and you know who you are) go as far as to replace their dishes, serving ware, towels and bedding, and they decorate every room in the house. And, they do it faithfully every year. If you love to do it, then do it. However, if it’s stressing you out, don’t become a slave to a theme, as your family and friends would prefer to see you relaxed and happy.

When to show restraint

If you’re really gung-ho about getting the holiday started early, please remember that although we are surrounded by retailers pushing it earlier and earlier, we can still show a bit of restraint. Many feel that it’s best to wait until after Remembrance Day, out of respect for those who fought for our freedom. It still leaves more than 40 days of letting the neighbours know that you’re friendly and happy.

Jane Lockhart, B.A.A.I.D., is a multi-award winning designer, author and television personality. Jane Lockhart Interior Design janelockhart.com

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Storybrook by Sorbara Group of Companies

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Storybrook by Sorbara Group of Companies

The town of Fergus is a beautiful town, filled with historical charm and modern convenience. When designing the Belsyde at Storybrook, a master-planned community of 40- and 50-ft. homes and townhomes, the builder, Sorbara, was thinking of how a family would live while loving country life but still perhaps commuting to the neighbouring cities of Guelph and Brampton. The builder thought this family would appreciate a home filled with comfort, charm and lasting beauty… something special to come home to. The style of fixtures, finishes, and furnishings are timeless, not trendy, to evoke comfort and offer colour, because life at Storybook is not restrained, or neutral; it’s charming and serene, but never colourless.

Project Name: Storybrook

Location: Fergus

Model Name: Belsyde

Product: 40-ft. detached home

Designer: Jane Lockhart Interior Design

Website: mystorybrook.com

Model Row: Features six model homes including two 50-ft. homes, two 40-ft. homes and two townhomes


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Summer lovin and the livin’ is easy

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Summer lovin and the livin’ is easy

Since the beginning of time, humans have been cooking food over an open fire. There’s nothing like the taste of a freshly grilled steak or salmon smoked to perfection. The fire sources that we now congregate around have been tailored to fit in urban living environments, as well as for ease of operation.

Seasonal sensations

And while our seasons may be short, we Canadians know how to make the best of each, and every, one of them. Come summer, we’re not only firing up the grill, but we’re fixing feasts in fully loaded outdoor kitchens, paired with incredible furniture. From impromptu picnics to appetizers on the patio, we’re eking out every possible warm weather moment, which is why outdoor furnishings and appliances are the fastest growing categories in the home improvement industry.

Do it in style

Outdoor kitchens can be as functional, and as impressive, as you want them to be with cocktail prep areas, built-in grills, weather-resistant cabinetry and refrigerators. Gone are the fold-up chairs and the wobbly table. Instead, cosy seating areas are not only comfortable, but well designed for group gatherings and conversation. Add an outdoor carpet and you have an alfresco vignette that may be more appealing than your living room.

Photography, Gillian Jackson

Design details

Similar to planning an indoor kitchen, you’ll want to customize an outdoor one that suits your cooking preferences and entertaining needs. As an extension of your indoor living environment, consider an outdoor layout that will complement your landscaped backyard or a rooftop patio.

Bells and whistles

As part of the outdoor plan, consider where you’ll require running water, gas lines and electrical wiring. Multiple stove top elements and varied grill levels can help to facilitate cooking different food items at once. Cabinetry options are stylish, functional and weather resistant. Counter tops come in natural or man-made materials, and can be designed to include smokers or other specialty appliances. Refrigerator drawers, and separate, temperature controlled bar fridges, eliminate the need to run back and forth into the house.

Photography, (right top and middle) courtesy of Outdoor Kitchens and Cabinetry

European influences

Our mood is boosted when we’re outdoors. As soon as the weather warms up, restaurants set up their patios, and patrons spend leisurely hours soaking up the sunshine. When we envision outdoor dining, we conjure up visions of a long wooden table in Tuscany ladened with fresh food, surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. With Italy in mind, consider an outdoor brick oven, complete with chimney, to make handcrafted pizzas.

Let there be fire

In the centre of it all is the fire pit. This, too, has evolved from a circle of rocks to a design feature. No matter how it’s fuelled, people naturally gather around a fire. Its hypnotic dance is comforting and meditative. Intimate conversations and story telling are natural conclusions to a perfect summer evening.

Jane Lockhart, B.A.A.I.D., is a multi-award winning designer, author and television personality. janelockhart.com

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A stately estate

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A stately estate

A contemporary outdoor colour palette blends seamlessly with a garden rooted in history

Photography By Gillian Jackson

Since the beginning of time, humans have toiled to impose order over the terrain and create art from the landscape. Formal gardens have a long history; from the Middle Ages, English country manors borrowed from the jardin à la française (literally, garden in the French manner) who learned horticultural pursuits from Italian Renaissance gardeners. Before that, planned gardens can be traced back centuries to the Middle East.

But some present-day residential lots defy order, and pose a dilemma to new homebuilders, especially when the lot is on a corner; it’s curve-shaped and it’s not level. Where do you situate the house so it will embrace the terrain?

When realty and history collide

For these homeowners, building a stately, French chateau-style home on an irregular lot wasn’t the only plan. In spite of the curves, they also wanted lush formal gardens. David Small Designs, located in Mississauga, created the home – reflecting the best of French Renaissance architecture, which embraces the irregularly-shaped lot. The hardscaping, landscaping and pool design was entrusted to ProScape Land Design Inc. in Oakville who formalized the exterior plan.

“THE FORMALITY OF THE STONE PATHWAY GIVES WAY TO a wonderful mix of contemporary, traditional and cottage-style elements THAT WORK BEAUTIFULLY TOGETHER ON THE ENTERTAINING SIDE OF THE YARD. “

Making a formal, first impression

The large gables, bold, steeply-pitched rooflines and warm, light-coloured stone on the entire exterior of the home set the tone. The landscapers replicated those warm tones in stone pillars, walls and raised garden beds. The placement of the gated entry with ornate wrought ironwork was carefully considered to preserve the mature trees on the property. Boxwood hedges, natural stone pavers and symmetrical plantings were added to give a formal air to the public side of the house.

Layered and lush

The formality of the stone pathway gives way to a wonderful mix of contemporary, traditional and cottage-style elements that work beautifully together on the entertaining side of the yard.

Here, symmetry and balance add a contemporary element poolside; graduated steps lead you from the ankle-deep shallow end to the deep end; gas-operated fire bowls flank the pool and three modern, bronze waterfall features spill from the expansive stone wall.

Traditional plantings

Like a traditional garden, boxwood hedges and cedars frame beds of Chanticleer pear trees, Hosta plants and Japanese and native grasses. Even the white hydrangeas seem to pay homage to historical English Rose gardens, while adding to the understated green-and-white scheme. However, a jolt of electric teal, blues and lime green in the lounges, chairs and ottoman fabric remind us this is where we have fun!

The stone path continues to lead us to a stone wall and pergola-framed lounge area with lots of cosy seating around a large, gas firepit. It’s perfect for roasting marshmallows on a long summer night.

Loggia-style outdoor, covered deck

With entertaining in mind, the homeowners wanted an outdoor living and dining room with a wood-burning fireplace, large table for dining and an unobstructed view of the pool. A medium stained, bead-board ceiling adds a cottage feel, even at 11-feet high! Surprisingly, the curved, wicker seating arrangement by the grand, stone fireplace and the glassed-in balcony work harmoniously together. Stone steps that connect the deck to the pool level offer yet another place to perch and enjoy the view.

So, where is the lawn?

Instead of grass, the homeowners opted for artificial turf for the rest of the yard, now a large dog park devoted to their two Portuguese water dogs. Can you say, “spoiled”?

Contemporary or traditional, formal or wild, gardens are meant to be enjoyed; after all, they are our little piece of paradise.

SOURCES HOUSE, designed by David Small Designs, Built including covered porch, CMA Group POOL, Gib-san Pools LANDSCAPE designed & executed ProScape Land Design Inc. (front yard, dog yard, pergola & pool side) FIRE BOWLS, Grand Effects OUTDOOR FURNITURE, Southport Outdoor Living DECOR, Home Sense & Pier 1 COVERED PORCH LIGHTING Pottery Barn

Designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, Jane Lockhart is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of design and colour. janelockhart.com

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Trim, it’s all in the details

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Trim, it’s all in the details

Photography, Gillian Jackson

If renovating or building, the massive task of the actual ‘build’ can feel (somewhat) complete when you’re able to live in the dwelling. We want to settle in as soon as possible, and we tell ourselves that we’ll get to the trim work later – and often later never comes. However, it’s one of the most important design elements, so that your house looks like a finished home.

Trim work enhances the proportions of a room, provides visual appeal, and complements the home’s style and character – Jane Lockhart

Trim is necessary when there’s a transition from one material to another – where doorjambs meet walls, walls meet floors and ceilings meet walls. Trim can also hide slight imperfections, shims and blemished joints. Frames around doors and windows, as well as baseboards, crown moulding, ceiling medallions, and the like, do much more than unify a room. They also enhance its proportions, provide visual appeal, and complement the home’s style and character.

Architectural details were decorative features, even before the Renaissance. Classical rules of design and proportion were used by the Greeks and Romans with columns and cornices. It was a sign of wealth to finish a room to perfection. By the 18th century, Italian stuccadores (those who work with stucco) specialized in creating heraldic, or nature-inspired, plaster ceiling details – on site and by hand. Today, plaster finishes are replicated in a controlled environment for ease of installation.

Look Up

Elegant details that are built into a property add beauty and value. A series of sunken panels is referred to as a coffer, and they add layers of interest. Any type of architectural dimension, can be as grand, and as artistic, as you want it to be.

During the building or renovating process, work with your designer to come up with intricate ceiling patterns to complement your lighting plans. You may want to draw attention to a statement chandelier, or balance the overall space.

Start at the bottom

Baseboards cover the space where the floor meets the wall. The height, and profiles, have changed dramatically over time, and styles also vary by culture. Houses built in the early part of the last century had higher, more ornate, baseboards. During the early part of the 20th century, trim became more simplified and geometric, and by the 1930s, builders were installing thin casings and baseboards, without patterns.

There are so many options and profiles available. The current trend height for a baseboard is seven inches, with many opting for higher. It’s a return to elegance and craftsmanship, and homeowners are demanding that more attention be paid to these details.

From the top

Crown moulding is making a comeback. It not only adds a heightened feel to a room, but it also provides a visual break by separating the flat surface of the ceiling from the vertical wall. Again, we’re seeing a trend to beefier profiles. As a rule of thumb, five- to six-inch moulding works well with eight-foot ceilings. Increase the size of the crown moulding, for higher ceilings.

Fabulous Fabrications

Mouldex Mouldings, a Canadian manufacturing company, fabricates synthetic versions of architectural moulding from eight-foot blocks of expanded polystyrene. Hot wire slices through the foam, as per programmed machinery. Precise measurements, and intricate designs, can be reproduced in the creation of arches, columns and delicate ceiling details.

Once the piece is extruded from the block of foam, it’s coated in fibreglass mesh in order to prevent cracking, and then finished with two layers of concrete. Visually, it’s difficult to tell the difference between a plaster original, but it’s much more practical and light-weight – making it easier to work with.

Decorative mouldings and trim work, not only add an elegant finish to every room, but they also add significant value.

Jane Lockhart, B.A.A.I.D., is a multi-award winning designer, author and television personality.

janelockhart.com

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Home organization it all starts in the closet

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Home organization it all starts in the closet

Living in a decluttered home not only helps you to retrieve things with ease, but it also helps to clear your mind. The popularity of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo speaks volumes.

For some people, home organization is a methodical ritual, lovingly practiced. For others it’s a constant battle, bobbing above the waves of mounting stuff. Finding space for everything can be a problem, but it might have to do more with the way that your house, and closets, are designed.

Don’t touch it yet

When we first visit a client’s home, we ask them not to tidy up in advance. We want to see how they live, and what their house looks like when they aren’t expecting company. No one likes this request. Embarrassed glances are exchanged between the homeowners, and apologies are mumbled for the perceived mess.

It’s uncomfortable, but in order to fix it, it’s important to see how people use their space and what the issues are.

Come up with a plan

After a review of the house, we need to assess where their storage is located, how it’s used, and whether we can improve on what already exists. Post-war homes that were built between 1945 and 1965 typically had three types of closets – a linen closet with shelves, as well as an entry closet and a closet in the bedrooms with a horizontal hanging bar under a shelf. A broom closet was also common.

As designs modernized, and reflected the homeowner’s requests, we started to see pantries off the kitchen, a separate laundry/ mudroom, as well as larger closets in the bedrooms or small walk-in closets. Today, house plans maximize storage areas, but it doesn’t mean that you’ll feel organized.

WHEN PUTTING YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER, ADD CREATIVE DESIGN TO THE EQUATION, SO THAT YOU ACHIEVE ORGANIZATIONAL BLISS. – Jane Lockhart

Find unused space

Good design is the result of good planning. Therefore, every inch matters in a closet, or in a room that’s built for storage. When dealing with a closet, the designer will review which items that you wear most often, as well as whether you collect hats, scarves, jewellery, shoes, handbags, and the like. Some of these items will require different storage solutions. If you don’t wear dresses, perhaps you can get rid of the high rod, and double your space with two rods for shirts, jackets and pants. Rod heights can be assessed based on your clothing items and the length of your pants when folded.

Light it up

If you can’t see what it’s in your closet, then it becomes the no-go zone. Older homes didn’t incorporate wiring for lighting, but there are other options. Think of a brightly lit store and how easy it is to view the items. In my book, lighting is the number one solution for storage organization.

I like to install strip LED lighting under shelves. This way you can see everything without pulling it out. Recessed, daylight-coloured, LED bulbs in the ceiling help you to see the true colours of an outfit. And, in walk-in closets, I like adding a gorgeous pendant light or a chandelier for a bit of glamour.

Drawers for your drawers

Drawers in closets are very accommodating, and help to eliminate extra furniture in your bedroom. Within the drawers, it’s helpful to have organizational trays and separations for your socks, knickers and other intimates, so that you can see everything when you open it.

The same rules apply to the pantry, the broom closet, the laundry room and mudroom. Personalize your shelving and space requirements to accommodate all that you need and use. Do canned goods and spices have a dedicated place? Is there a space for the vacuum cleaner? Are there enough shelves in your rooms for books, toys and decor?

Happiness quotient When factoring in all that you need, add some creative design to the equation so that you achieve organizational bliss. Happiness = space for all of your stuff.

Jane Lockhart, B.A.A.I.D., is a multi-award winning designer, author and television personality. Jane Lockhart Interior Design janelockhart.com

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Inside and out a 30-year-old kitchen and exterior landscape get a California-style makeover

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Inside and out a 30-year-old kitchen and exterior landscape get a California-style makeover

Photography: Gillian Jackson

You get to know a thing or two about a house after living in it for 30 years. For my clients, Sue and Lou who love to cook and entertain and be outdoors, their house had served them well. The lot was a great size and the 30-year-old trees were now stately and full, so moving wasn’t a consideration, but they knew it all needed some fine-tuning.

Seating nook
The desk, and seating nook offer great views of both the kitchen and the backyard.

As world travellers, they knew they loved the Mediterranean and California lifestyle of simple indoor-outdoor living. Their backyard was substantial and had a built-in pool, cabana, outdoor kitchen and covered wood-fired barbecue/ roasting oven. But inside, the small kitchen felt cut off from the yard and view by the covered deck.

A renovation was in order to enlarge the kitchen, but because we needed to preserve the concrete roof tiles — the Marley roof couldn’t be replaced — we had to dig out from underneath it while propping the roof in place. The area under the original covered porch was incorporated into a larger, eat-in kitchen and the walls became windows to the outdoors.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Because a great cooking and entertaining space was at the top of their wish list, we knew we wanted the home to be breezy and lightfilled, and to take full advantage of the southern exposure. A Nana wall was installed because it tidily folds away, offering the perfect solution to access the outdoors. The original skylights were preserved and with new, larger windows, boundless light now floods into the space.

ABOVE LEFT: White oak floors, cream coloured cabinetry and integrated appliances soften the look of a hard-working space. ABOVE RIGHT: The Marley roof tiles were kept intact and the extension grew under it.

COHESIVE CONNECTIONS

Once the renovation was underway, the homeowners decided to upgrade the backyard, too. They resurfaced the pool and pool deck. Lou is a passionate golfer so he had a one-hole putting green installed on one side of the yard. Light-coloured Travertine paving stones lift and brighten the backyard, and a taupe solid stain helps blend out the building structures, allowing the pool and greenery to stand out. The trick was to continue the feeling from indoors to out, so we chose white oak flooring in a light colour to blur the lines between them.

Backsplash
RIGHT: Custom details like the vent hood and backsplash personalize and enhance a kitchen.

A KITCHEN WITH A VIEW

The kitchen went from a small, dark space to an expansive, chef’s kitchen with plenty of room to hang out and enjoy all the views. The custom-designed kitchen by Downsview Kitchens, addresses all the homeowners’ needs. Creamy white cabinetry and backsplash tile are enhanced by the natural quartz countertops. When you walk in, your eye is immediately drawn out to the backyard and the kitchen recedes as part of the furnishings.

ENTERTAINING MADE EASY

We created a servery adjacent to the main cooking area where counter, sink, bar fridges, liquor cabinet and cooler drawers are accessible. Guests could help themselves in the kitchen without getting in the way of the prep and cooking.

A large island accommodates the kitchen sinks, expansive prepping area and counter seating for guests. I’m not a fan of the work triangle theory, which came about after the Second World War and was practical at the time. Now we work in zones: store, chill, prep, cook and clean. I like to design kitchens, so you don’t have to cross the cooking zone to get to the fridge, keeping the zones separate but nearby.

We incorporated a desk area to rein in any paper clutter and placed it next to the new glass door that leads to the outdoor kitchen. The seating nook is a cosy, glassed-in area that gets you as close to the pool as possible without leaving the house. Swivel chairs make it easy to take in every angle, the whole view, outside and in.

Now that their wish list is complete, the homeowners live in a resort-like atmosphere, that they can appreciate every day. They didn’t bargain on the fact that I would be at their door every hot summer day for a swim, but they’ll get used to me.

SOURCES KITCHEN: custom kitchen, custom colour, Downsview Kitchens APPLIANCES: Miele OVENS, DISHWASHER: Sub-Zero, Wolf BAR FRIDGE, REFRIGERATOR: Wolf INDUCTION COOKTOP: Caplan’s GLASS WALL SYSTEM:NanaWall System TABLE AND CHAIRS: Wormwood maple table and custom chairs Brice’s COUNTERTOP: natural quartz, Dolce Vita from Interstone PAINT: WALLS: Plaster of Paris CSP-185, Benjamin Moore TRIM & CEILING: Oxford White CC-30, Benjamin Moore FLOORING: White Oak, Nautilus from Vintage Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

Designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, Jane Lockhart is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of design and colour. janelockhart.com

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Buried Treasures the Hidden Potential of Odd-Shaped Rooms

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Buried Treasures the Hidden Potential of Odd-Shaped Rooms

Discover the hidden potential in odd-shaped rooms and unlock extra storage in your home

I remember studying the layout of my soon-to-be-built condo unit, thinking with its square footage, storage space would be at a premium. I decided a wall-to-wall storage system of built-in cabinetry for the entry hall and master bedroom would be the only way to go. It was all custom designed and installed before I moved in, and I’m still happy with it. Order in my surroundings is very important to me, so having everything organized and behind closed doors suits me perfectly. I’m still grateful I had the time to plan for it in advance.

Tucked under the stairs, the reading nook was outfitted with shelves to fit the space and drawers under the bench seat add more storage space for toys or cosy blankets.

Generally, we are living in smaller spaces with increasingly more stuff. So much so, according to a July 2017 Canadian Business article, the self-storage industry is experiencing a boom in Canada. It cites that Canadians now have an average of two square feet of storage per person. For some, it’s cheaper to pay an extra couple of hundred dollars a month for an off-site storage facility than to buy a bigger home.

But I see another solution. Finding more living or storage space in an existing home takes some ingenuity, good design choices and a willingness to put that long-term storage investment into your own home.

A simple wall separates the office area from the children’s reading nook. Undermounted lighting is a great space saver, even in the office.

UNEARTH EXTRA SPACE

I love discovering a home’s hidden potential. Sometimes a solution is straight-forward, like adding an ottoman, bench or bed with storage. Or looking up and taking advantage of an unused attic or investing below grade into the basement. It may only be a nook or even a cranny (is there a difference?), but it may hold the key to more storage or living space.

We created more space by pushing the table close to the wall and building in a bench for extra storage.

One client was moving to the city due to a sudden job transfer. The family barely had time to look at multiple residences before making a purchase. The house they bought was in good shape, but lacked their personal touch and storage space.

Because of the second-floor layout, the master bedroom would be located in the underused attic space. With lots of measuring and many discussions with the contractor, we were able to design and install built-in cabinetry. We worked with the existing roof line and gable walls to make sure the space didn’t feel closed in. In this case, investing in custom-made cabinetry spared the homeowners having to renovate and add an entire third storey.

Customization may be your only option when working with awkward angles. Here, we opted to eliminate ceiling trim, so the fixed drapery treatment would add volume to the desk nook.

“FINDING MORE LIVING OR STORAGE SPACE IN AN EXISTING HOME TAKES SOME INGENUITY, GOOD DESIGN CHOICES AND A WILLINGNESS TO PUT THAT LONG-TERM STORAGE INVESTMENT INTO YOUR OWN HOME.”

WIN-WIN SPACE SOLUTIONS

With small children, a closed off space for an office isn’t always viable. But the client needed to be able to work from home on occasion and have the children close by. We accommodated both needs by creating a cosy seating area in the basement, under the stairs for the children, right next to the new, expansive office space.

When you’re working with an existing layout, it can be difficult to figure out where the furnishings will go, and where storage can be built in or added. Putting a bed under a window or installing a headboard on a landing may be your only solution. The key is to plan in advance, lay everything out on paper first, so you know you are truly gaining more living and storage space.

There’s nothing better than a dreamy sleep under the eaves, or an addition of practical, yet beautifully designed storage to keep you feeling balanced and stress-free.

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The Most Colourful Time of the Year

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The Most Colourful Time of the Year

Holiday decorating allows you to unleash a vibrant colour scheme, in tune with the festive season

Photography By Gillian Jackson

Holidays are meant to be festive and colourful, and I’m here to tell you there are no rules about which colours you use to decorate your home. If someone even mentions a “don’t,” I’m very quick to tell them to MYOB (meaning Mind Your Own Business). Let’s just have fun, throw political correctness and matchy-matchy out the front door and celebrate the season with colour!

A statement chandelier plays nicely with blue, silver and chartreuse tree and mantel decor

It may be just me, but I love going into my friend’s and client’s homes during the holiday season, just to see how they’ve decorated. Do they follow through with an already existing colour story? Or do they make a bold statement with vivid hues that don’t speak to anything else? Sometimes elegant and understated is the way to go, but you can find ornaments in almost every colour today, so it’s just a matter of getting creative with the placement.

One client, who during the holidays has been known to put a tree in Every. Single. Room., loves decorating, and the holidays give her an excuse to go over the top! You may not want to consider installing a real pine tree in your powder room, as she has done more than once, but think about it…there are benefits, especially when it comes to that lovely, pine scent.

But let’s get back to colour.

ROARING RUSTIC

Imagine owning a house with a 14-foot-high basement. There’s no question whether a tree will fit, it’s a matter of how tall a tree you can find. If it’s the kids’ retreat during the holidays, the decor can be colourful, youthful and fun. The room is dominated by a beautiful field-stone fireplace and bold berry-red furnishings, so my client added pops of red, pink, fuchsia, and purple. It looks just right with rustic, natural decor.

Pink, red, purple and fuchsia ornaments and decorations work when you let one of those colours dominate. Here it’s the berry red that draws your eye through the design.

CLASSIC WITH A TWIST

Silver and blue are classic, go-together colours during the holidays. Adding hints of chartreuse to the mix tames the blue and silver ever so slightly, but what a great combination. By repeating the colours together throughout a space, you give the eye a treat as it looks around the space. But don’t overdo it; it doesn’t have to be too theme-y. Let whatever blues you love mix with the other colours to add depth and interest.

Candles and natural greenery are more than enough to make your dinner table beautiful!

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Don’t skimp on the shine. Glittery fabrics, candle light, warm LED bulbs in the tree and a roaring fire. They all spin their magic to make your room come alive. Try to add light in special places, like lanterns on the floor with candles. It adds interest in the corners and can also help light a path from room to room in the evenings.

Candles lit on the table and surrounding it bathe your holiday decor in a warm glow.

BEYOND CONVENTIONAL

Taking your holiday decor colour scheme in a direction dictated by the furnishings is a sure winner. But if your home has a neutral palette, you can go in whatever direction you like. I personally have used a black and golden-orange colour scheme in previous years because I love the way the colours look together. It’s not as Halloween-y as it sounds. It has a slight gothic vibe but still reads festive and cheerful.

Orange and black may sound garish but I loved my gothic Christmas tree!

So where do you start and stop? That’s up to you. No rules. Except don’t ignore your holiday dinner table, it needs colour, too, but just subtle hints of it. Here, the people around the table and the food must take centre stage. Use a sideboard or bar cart to create a holiday wonderland, perhaps surrounding a dessert buffet, but go easy on the table decor. Candle light and dimmable lighting is the only complement you need with happy guests.

Mirrored, white and silver ornaments help temper the black and orange-gold colour scheme.

It’s that one time a year you can (almost) go over the top but look at it as a way to bring fun, beauty and warmth to your home.

Tips

  • Don’t be afraid to mix analogous colours (variations of the same hue like burgundy and pink) whether it’s in an ombré throw or a shiny ornament, it will look fun and fabulous!
  • If you have a tradition of colours you use every year and you love it, don’t change it. Just add another colour into the mix to keep your holiday decor fresh.
  • The sparkle of a chandelier feels special all year long but adding the holiday glitz and glamour makes your whole room downright shimmer.
  • Warm LED lighting gives you that soft, warm glow. Try to avoid cold, fluorescent-like lighting. You’re not at the office, you’re at home for the holidays.
  • The only rule about adding colour to your holiday decor is just ADD IT!

Designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, Jane Lockhart is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of design and colour. janelockhart.com

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Active Home: The Powder Room

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Active Home: The Powder Room

Dramatic tones for the secondary throne

By Jane Lockhart

The powder room is the one place that many of your guests get up close and personal with. And because it’s generally set apart from the rest of the home, it’s the perfect room to experiment with the latest in design and decor.

EXPLORE YOUR DARK SIDE

For a dramatic palette, choose rich, dark shades like charcoal grey, navy blue, chocolate brown or black. The contrast of the room’s edges almost disappear, when you cover the ceilings, walls, doors and door frames in the same colour. What you’re left with is the perfect jewel box ready for its gems.

Since it’s a small room, consider splurging on some expensive wallpaper, also in a dark shade, to complement the trim. You can find patterns that have a subtle reflective quality – it just needs the right light to make it shine.

MULTIDIMENSIONAL LIGHTING

I’m a firm believer in layered lighting, especially in the powder room. Lighting has the ability to take a room from functional to glamorous. The installation of pot lights (even just one) immediately upgrades the room, as the crisp downlight lights up the surfaces.

Avoid the flycatchers – those upside down shades that light up the ceiling, instead of what’s below. Chandeliers add sophistication and the light dances off the reflective surfaces.

Cross-illumination can be created by adding side lights that hang on either side of the mirror, or choose show-stopping sconces.

“Lighting has the ability to take a room from functional to glamorous.”

Some bathroom vanities feature under-cabinet lighting that reflects on the floor – a wonderful night light option for safety and navigation.

This is your chance to select the most glamorous lighting that you can handle – the blingier, the better.

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL

Cover a whole wall with a mirror, or with smoky subway tiles. Mirrors augment the lighting, and add style and shine. Consider mirrored vanities to double up on the drama. Not only do mirrors reflect your personality, but they heighten the intensity of the fixtures and the artwork.

FROM TOP TO BOTTOM

Tiled floors are the way to go in the powder room, and because the space is limited, consider it your canvas. From simple ceramics to patterned mosaics, the available choices are endless. Surfaces also vary dramatically, including matt, glossy or reflective.

PURE VANITY

Choosing the finishes and upgrades for your powder room is all in the details. The dresser-as-vanity trend continues, and we’re seeing more custom-made cabinetry that looks like stand-alone furniture pieces.

If you’re not into a complete makeover, changing out the faucets, cabinet pulls and knobs can give the room an updated lift. It’s completely acceptable, and oh-so trendy, to mix metals. Stainless, silver, nickle, copper, gold and rose gold are available in a variety of finishes.

And don’t forget to accessorize. Something as simple as a new soap dish can add vitality to the room.

The powder room is where you can unleash your inner boldness, and try out rich colours, shiny surfaces and spectacular lighting. And, it just might end up being the nicest room in the house.

Jane Lockhart, B.A.A.I.D., is a multi-award winning designer, author and television personality. Jane Lockhart Interior Design janelockhart.com

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