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4 colour decorating tips from designer Rebecca Hay

4 colour decorating tips from designer Rebecca Hay

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4 colour decorating tips from designer Rebecca Hay

As a designer, I love to infuse a healthy amount of colour in the spaces I design. And, when it came to decorating my own home, I made no exceptions. With two young kids and a small furry dog, I wanted a space that felt friendly, yet looked polished – a place for neighbours to gather and kids to play.

1 Trust your instincts

Before designing any space, think about the mood you want to convey. Is it a calm, relaxed space or a warm, inviting space where dinner parties evolve? You don’t need a degree in psychology to figure out what colours are right for you. Trust your gut, and you will never go wrong, but it’s important to be mindful of the mood and energy you are trying to evoke. There’s no surprise that yellow is a cheerful colour that promotes optimism. While blue is associated with tranquility, it also happens to be the preferred colour by men. I incorporated a little bit of navy for the men in my own home.

For the living room, I wanted it to be bright and energizing, as this is the main sitting and socializing area of the home. The drapery fabric was my inspiration and starting point. I knew we wanted to energize the space with yellow. We already had the retro navy chairs to work with, so I chose to balance the navy of the chairs with bright yellow custom drapery.

2 Balance

Colour is an integral element to creating the right mood. When decorating with colour, it’s important to balance any bold colours with lots of neutrals. A little trick I use is the 60-30-10 rule. When decorating a particular room, divide the colours into percentages: 60 per cent of a dominant colour, 30 per cent of a secondary colour, 10 per cent of an accent colour and you will never go wrong.

3 Complementary colours

The dominant colours in our living/dining space are beige, yellow and navy. I also chose to complement the blues with hints of orange in the living room. Adding a few “bonus” colours adds further interest. I found an old traditional wingback armchair on the curb once. It was in desperate need of TLC, and so I had it stripped down and recovered with a piece of bold contemporary orange fabric. It’s cosy, warm and inviting while adding some traditional sophistication to the space.

4 Repetition

Repetition is key to any successfully designed home. By repeating a colour multiple times in a space, it feels purposeful and comforting. We repeated the orange in the custom toss cushions and with smaller accessories. By having the same colour layered throughout the space, it creates a unified design.

It’s a family space that is now an inviting and fun place for social gatherings or curling up by the fire. It’s proof that by taking the plunge and designing with colour, you can create a space that is visually beautiful, intriguing and sometimes surprising.

Designer Rebecca Hay is principal of Rebecca Hay Designs Inc., a Toronto based Design firm specializing in classically livable family homes.

Offering complete decorating and renovating services for over a decade Rebecca and her team manage all of the details from start to finish.


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Get cooking, The recipe for a fabulous and functional kitchen

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Get cooking, The recipe for a fabulous and functional kitchen

Photography by Stephani Buchman

When it comes to dream home designs, a fabulous kitchen always tops my clients’ must-have list. The kitchen is, by far, the hardest-working room in the home. It’s used multiple times a day, for a variety of tasks from cooking and dining, to homework and entertaining. Needless to say, it has to be functional. Kitchens also yield the best return on your investment in terms of resale value.

For these homeowners, the kitchen design project began with a simple request: function. This family with two busy boys and a hectic lifestyle were in need of some order in the form of flow and storage and we added some style for good measure.

Kitchen challenges

Right off the bat, there were some obstacles to address. The kitchen was dark, dated and very orange. The cooking area was closed off, which made it impossible to watch the boys while tending to kitchen chores – and let’s face it, parents with young kids spend a disproportionately large amount of time in the kitchen. We removed the wall to the living room to open sight lines and improve flow.

This kitchen was burdened by a big bulkhead between the cooking and eating area, which housed a beam from a previous renovation. We were also faced with a large, irregular height island, very limited wall storage, virtually no upper cabinets, two odd little windows, and an awkwardly positioned refrigerator that obviously ignored the “golden triangle” theory.

Despite its flaws, this kitchen had some good bones that laid the groundwork for a stunning, fully functional hub of the home.

“A custom built-in banquette becomes the perfect setting for meals, homework and crafts.”

Footprint improvements

We began the transformation by re-jigging the kitchen’s footprint. Admittedly, this isn’t always what a client wants to hear, as re-routing electrical and plumbing come at a somewhat hefty cost. But ultimately, most people will also agree that the functional lift you’ll see from a more efficient kitchen footprint is worth the expense. By changing the floor plan, we improved flow, closed off the two windows, and added a cooktop with an efficient range-hood insert.

The placement of the fridge was also problematic, so we recommended relocating it to an area that offered more open access. The homeowners were surprised and delighted with the suggestion, and ultimately this small move was a game-changer for how they now use the kitchen.

Embrace custom features

“Custom” is another word that puts the scare in budget-minded clients, but custom cabinets can be found in a range of materials, colours, finishes and price points, and they’re generally a worthwhile investment in the name of function. Custom kitchen cabinets in this space allowed us to amp up the storage capacity, which in turn opened up the rest of the space and made it that much more functional.

A custom built-in banquette becomes the perfect setting for meals, homework and crafts. We selected a durable vinyl for the seat with a small-print fabric for the back, which makes it feel cosier all around. Toss cushions add comfort and colour. Storage underneath is a perfect hideaway.

Fixtures and finishes

Beyond function, esthetics always play a vital role in good design. The kitchen cabinets offer a dark, almost-black look, which contrasts beautifully with the unlacquered brass pulls. The brass kitchen faucet by Rubinet adds sparkle with the added local bonus as they are made here in Canada.

We added some character and warmth with the walnut bar cabinet, which also serves to conceal a support post for the beam above. This provided a clever solution to hide this unsightly structural element.

Brass architectural mesh on the cabinet doors allow ventilation for the coffee machine situated inside, as well as quartz counter inside to protect the cabinet from coffee spills.

Unique brass brackets for the counter overhang add character, while the cognac leather stools are a rich complement to the dark-coloured island.

Easy, breezy style

A farmhouse sink and square subway tile keep the space feeling relaxed and much to the homeowners’ delight, make it easy to keep clean. After all, isn’t low-to-no-maintenance the ultimate in “function?”

The homeowners love their new kitchen and marvel at how much simpler their day-to-day life is post-renovation. A little function goes a long way.

Designer Rebecca Hay is principal of Rebecca Hay Designs Inc., a Toronto-based Design firm specializing in classically livable family homes. Offering complete decorating and renovating services for over a decade, Rebecca and her team manage all of the details from start to finish. Known and celebrated for her design work and appearances on various acclaimed HGTV shows, Rebecca is an active YouTuber, you can also follow her daily design adventures on Instagram. Servicing clientele throughout Toronto, Muskoka and throughout Canada. RebeccaHayDesigns.com

SOURCES PENDANT LIGHTS, CB2, Globe pendant light – large CABINETS, custom designed by Rebecca Hay Designs STOOLS, CB2, Roadhouse 24″ Leather counter stool SINK, Franke farmhouse sink KITCHEN FAUCET, Rubinet CABINET HARDWARE, Rejuvenation Mission drawer handle, Mission pyramid cabinet knob, Mission bin pull CABINET COLOURS, Racoon Fur, Chantilly Lace, Benjamin Moore QUARTZ COUNTER, Silestone – Eternal Statuario (suede finish) APPLIANCES, GAS COOKTOP, Kitchenaid 30″ OVEN COMBO, KITCHENAID FRIDGE, SIRIUS HOOD FAN, Miele DISHWASHER (panel ready) AREA RUG, Custom by Studio BANQUETTE, custom DINING PENDANT, Matteo Particles BACKSPLASH TILE, Olympia tile, Max white 6″ x 6″ subway tile

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Easy, breezy, cottage style, create that relaxed, casual look in your city home

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Easy, breezy, cottage style, create that relaxed, casual look in your city home

Photography by Jason Hartog

Summer days are the things that dreams are made of. Long and lazy weekends curled up with a book by a window, or soaking up the sun’s rays on a lounger outdoors. It’s certainly my favourite time of year. It’s when the weekend warriors brave the traffic and head out of the city for fresh air and cool lakes. Whether you have a summer retreat of your own, or simply want to create the cottage vibe in your own home, here are my favourite ways to bring easy, breezy cottage style to your decor.

Freshen it up with a coat of white paint

For walls, light and bright is always right. My go-to wall colour is Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White. It’s bright and fresh but still feels warm.

White paint works on any wall and acts as a great blank canvas for pops of colour. Summer is all about colour, so you can go bold in your colour choices everywhere else and they will POP against the white backdrop.

“BLUE IS HANDS-DOWN THE FRESHEST WAY TO CREATE A CRISP COTTAGE ESTHETIC.”

Incorporate natural wood tones

I always say that a touch of wood is a must in any decor, but this is especially true of a cottage. I love to add the warmth of wood with hardwood flooring or a vintage wood table. The wood accents also help to balance all those white walls by adding character and warmth.

When in doubt, use blue

Blue is my hue. Summer homes need a little pop of colour but if you’re too shy to pick one, or worried your choice won’t work, you can never fail with blue. In my mind, blue is hands-down the freshest way to create a crisp cottage esthetic. I love nautical navy but aqua and robin’s egg blues work, too. Layer in this colour with art, pillows and even lighting.

Add vintage finds

Vintage furniture and decor add a casual and comfortable vibe. This is the perfect time of year to go to antique markets or simply wander consignment stores for the perfect vintage piece of furniture. Not only does it add loads of personality and tell a story, but it’s easy on the environment too. Sustainability is important to consider and finding unique and fine objects at a local antique fair will be a great conversation starter for those summer soirees.

Use natural textiles

Nothing says easy, breezy cottage style more than white and neutral fabrics blowing in the wind. Textiles such as cotton, wool and jute add a relaxed feel. It’s okay if they wrinkle or aren’t perfect. That’s the idea!

If you are like me, you truly appreciate getting out of the big city from time to time to enjoy a slower pace of life, but it’s not always possible. So why not create that casual weekend vibe all summer long right in your own home? Just remember to slow down the pace and maximize the fun factor.

Designer Rebecca Hay is principal of Rebecca Hay Designs Inc., a Toronto-based Design firm specializing in classically livable family homes. Offering complete decorating and renovating services for over a decade, Rebecca and her team manage all of the details from start to finish. Known and celebrated for her design work and appearances on various acclaimed HGTV shows, Rebecca is an active YouTuber, you can also follow her daily design adventures on Instagram. Servicing clientele throughout Toronto, Muskoka and throughout Canada. RebeccaHayDesigns.com

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Rebecca Hay’s three tips for navigating a stressful renovation

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Rebecca Hay’s three tips for navigating a stressful renovation

Renovating doesn’t have to be a stressful and difficult task. Interior designer Rebecca Hay from Rebecca Hay Designs Inc. offers three tips to navigating and handling the stress of a renovation.

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Video: Whats The Difference Store Bought vs Custom Furniture

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Video: Whats The Difference Store Bought vs Custom Furniture

This week I explain what’s the difference between Store Bought Furniture and Custom Furniture. I take you with me into a condo I designed in Downtown Toronto, and to my favourite local custom furniture maker Cooper Brother, and have them share the neat difference between recovering and reupholstering.

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Designer Touch: Cooking With Character

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Designer Touch: Cooking With Character

By Rebecca Hay • Photography By Stephani Buchman

A blend of traditional, contemporary and vintage touches, create a personality-packed kitchen

Nothing beats a good kitchen renovation. Especially one that transforms the way you use your home. This personality packed kitchen makes a statement and yet provides much needed functionality for a young family.

When we were approached to renovate and design the main floor of this Riverdale family home in Toronto’s East end, the couple was pregnant with their second child. This resulted in a tight timeline to make a major transformation. The family had lived in the home for three years before they decided to make some big changes, and knew exactly what they wanted as a result. A growing young family, with no plans to move in the near future, they needed an updated space and an open-concept kitchen for cooking and entertaining.

EXPANDING ON THE PAST

The home is a semi-detached Victorian with great historic features and good bones. Its ’90s-style kitchen had crumbling maple cabinets, terracota floors and oodles of wasted space. It even featured a terracotta-tiled countertop! The busy couple wanted a more functional, open-concept kitchen, suitable for raising their children and entertaining friends. Space planning was key to creating a functional layout. By tearing down the wall between the kitchen and dining area, we were able to create the large open space that the family desired. After assessing all our layout options, we decided on a peninsula versus an island. This created a U-shaped kitchen where the cook of the family (in this case, the husband) could slave away without interference by dinner guests… or little feet!

UNCOVERING SPACE AND STORAGE

The current pantry was previously a lonely, empty wall with nothing but a small table leaning up against it and a pile of shoes. During construction we discovered there was space between the exterior wall and interior framing, so we moved some ductwork and gained almost a foot of extra space. This allowed us to make the kitchen bigger and provided space for the custom pantry with lots of storage. The full-height cabinets house a broom closet, pull-out shelves, cupboards for small appliances, and a nook for coats and shoes. Since the family has laneway parking and generally enters the house through the back door, the mini-mudroom was a must.

CHARACTER BUILDING

In addition to being extremely functional, we wanted the space to make a statement, while still being consistent with the character of the home. We chose a mix of traditional and contemporary elements, vintage touches and pops of colour to create an inviting and unique space. The rich blue cabinetry adds colour and depth, while the mosaic marble backsplash adds luxurious texture and interest. It also hides any water splatters or mess. The marble ties in seamlessly with the sleek white quartz countertops and Silgranit white sink. Hits of yellow and brass establish the fun and polished esthetic.

Vintage details help this new kitchen blend effortlessly into its surroundings. The school housestyle pendants and handmade wood shelves add an old-world feel. While the detailing on the walnut stools also has a trendy yet timeless appeal. The shelves and bench were handmade by the homeowner’s mother, and are a perfect personal touch.

COLOUR STATEMENT

Pops of yellow make a bold statement against the blue cabinets. The Roman shade adds colour and texture, and complements the custom yellow leather stools. A lot of time was spent searching for the perfect counter stools. The original design had wooden stools that we ordered and ended up returning because they didn’t make the right statement. Sometimes you have to be fluid with design and recognize when something just isn’t quite right. When we couldn’t find the perfect stool, I decided to design a custom one. They ended up being the showstoppers and the proverbial icing on the cake. The stools tie all the design elements together.

The end result is a personality-packed kitchen full of all the modern amenities and conveniences of modern family life.

SOURCES

DESIGN, Rebecca Hay Designs, rebeccahaydesigns.com CONTRACTING, TriMatrix Construction WALL PAINT Benjamin Moore 2125-60 Marilyn’s Dress CABINETRY PAINT, HC-155 Newburyport Blue & CC-40 Cloud White COUNTERTOPS, Caesarstone Canada BACKSPLASH TILES, Marble Granite Depot REFRIGERATOR, Oven, Range, Jenn-Air DISHWASHER, Whirlpool FAUCET, Delta STOOL FABRIC, Designer Fabrics CUSTOM STOOLS, Rebecca Hay Designs ROMAN SHADE, Tonic Living PENDANT LIGHTS, The Door Store CABINETRY HARDWARE, Upper Canada Specialty Hardware

Designer Rebecca Hay, Principal Designer of Rebecca Hay Designs Inc., is a Toronto-based boutique design firm offering complete design & renovation services for residential, commercial and vacation properties for over a decade. Known and celebrated for her design work and appearances on various acclaimed HGTV shows, Rebecca and her team design classic, livable spaces that reflect the homeowner’s personality. Servicing clientele throughout Toronto, the GTA and Canada. rebeccahaydesigns.com

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Behind the Scenes at the GTA Home & Reno Show 2018

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Behind the Scenes at the GTA Home & Reno Show 2018

This week we take you Behind the Scenes at the GTA Home & Reno Show 2018!

I’ve been working with Reno & Decor Magazine and they asked me to be a part of their unique Design Intervention booth at the GTA Home & Reno Show 2018 that took place over February 16 to 19 2018 at the International Centre in Mississauga. I was able to sit down with many Homeshow visitors and provide them with free 15-minute consultations. Reno & Decor Magazine also asked me to speak on the main stage with another fabulous designer, Linda Mazur, about the realities of a renovation! Check out the full video and tag along with me on my crazy Sunday adventure at the GTA Home & Reno Show 2018!

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Behind the Design with Toronto designer Rebecca Hay

Video: Behind the Design with Toronto designer Rebecca Hay

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Video: Behind the Design with Toronto designer Rebecca Hay

This week we share a peek into behind the design of our process, how we deal with surprises when managing orders, how to work with contractors and the importance of having a strong team.

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At the IDS 2018 with RENO & DECOR

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At the IDS 2018 with RENO & DECOR

Big Thanks to: Kate & Co Design, Rebecca Hay Design, Eventful PR, Interior Design Show, W Studio, Distinctive Appliances

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Designer Touch – Practical Indulgences

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Designer Touch – Practical Indulgences

Save and splurge your way to a chic, gender-neutral nursery

By Rebecca Hay • Photography By Stephani Buchman

Babies are precious and of course, deserve to have it all. However, while our bundles of joy are worthy of a beautifully designed space, it’s easy to get carried away splurging on every detail. After all, it’s the parents who’ll be spending many sleepless nights here, too. You don’t have to break the bank to get the designer look you crave. Here’s how I kept my budget in check while still creating the chic nursery I dreamed of for my own little babe.

GENDER- & BUDGET-FRIENDLY

I’m particularly proud of this nursery, which was designed with some extra love for our first baby. Since we didn’t know the baby’s gender, I opted for a neutral theme and colour palette. Navy is one of my favourite neutrals, providing a sophisticated backdrop that’s ageless and pairs well with a variety of colours. I wanted a space that felt contemporary yet timeless, with some traditional elements. The strategy was splurge and save.

WHERE TO SAVE

For these purposes, keeping the redesign simple and cost-effective was key. To finish the walls, I originally wanted wallpaper, which can be pricey. We changed tracks and opted for the navy painted wall with gold decals to achieve that “papered” look without the effort, commitment or cost. I invited the grandma-to-be to help with the stickers (placed at random) and we turned this fun project into a party!

NAVY  IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE NEUTRALS , PROVIDING A SOPHISTICATED BACKDROP THAT’S AGELESS AND PAIRS WELL WITH A VARIETY OF COLOURS .

Another save was the chest of drawers. By customizing this affordable piece of furniture, we made it one-of-a-kind. I dressed up the Ikea dresser with pretty square, gold knobs from Anthropologie. What a find! These gold knobs add a touch of sophistication to an otherwise simple, practical piece of furniture.

Art is another easy save. The adorable baby animal photographs were purchased online and put into inexpensive box store frames. The cost? Minimal. The look? Too cute for words and suited to any boy or girl!

Get this LOOK:

I used Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy HC-154 as my neutral of choice, and a great alternative to the ever-popular grey palette. This bold blue is fresh and classic. It makes the gold accents pop and complements the coral and yellow accents. Colours befitting any child, no matter their gender.

WHERE TO SPLURGE

Then there’s the “splurge” part of the decorating strategy. Some of the furnishings came at a greater cost, but in my opinion were well worth the spend. The crib is a solid-wood piece from New Zealand, classic by design with a slight nod to mid-century modern. Not too girly or too masculine. The modern rocking chair too was a splurge, but again, worth it for its comfort and lovely wood base.

My favourite element is the custom drapery, which also lands in the “splurge” column. I love using fabric as an accent in a room, to bring in interest, texture and colour. The best part is the ball fringe, which adds a playful detail. A bit of a risky move but miraculously, only a single pom has been plucked off by little fingers…so far!

Underfoot, the wool broadloom carpet is soft and cosy, and adds warmth to the space. The light carpet and white wainscotting detail help to balance the dark-blue walls and brighten a rather dark room.

Remember when decorating a nursery, or any room for that matter, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all and lose sight of the real goal—a harmonious space that makes its inhabitants feel comfortable, relaxed and right at home.

SIBLING SHARESIES

We made this nursery a space that any little baby can grow into. It’s a nursery that my little boy has thoroughly enjoyed. By thinking in terms of gender-neutral palettes and smart investments, this nursery has been an easy hand-medown to a new baby sister! As your kids grow and develop their own specific likes (and dislikes), the accessories will be easy and economical to update and add. You don’t have to overdo a theme, or break the bank doing it.

SOURCES CRIB & ROCKING CHAIR: Nursery Works DRAWERS: Ikea KNOBS ON DRAWERS: Anthropologie ANIMAL PRINTS: Etsy PAINT: Hale Navy HC-154, Benjamin Moore GOLD STAR DECALS: Etsy LAMP, YELLOW CLOCK, CEILING LIGHT: Ikea DRAPERY: Tonic Living SIDE TABLE: West Elm

Designer Rebecca Hay, Principal Designer of Rebecca Hay Designs Inc., is a Toronto-based boutique design firm offering complete design & renovation services for residential, commercial and vacation properties for over a decade. Known and celebrated for her design work and appearances on various acclaimed HGTV shows, Rebecca and her team design classic, livable spaces that reflect the homeowner’s personality. Servicing clientele throughout Toronto, the GTA and Canada. rebeccahaydesigns.com

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