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A living room to last a lifetime

A living room to last a lifetime

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A living room to last a lifetime

by Jo Alcorn
Whitewash & Co.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top 5 Spring Trends

Top 5 Spring Trends

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Top 5 Spring Trends

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

by Jo Alcorn

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

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

 

High Performance Outdoor Sound

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

 

Shading Style

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

 

Grilling Galore

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

Burn Baby Burn

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

 

The Final Touches

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

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

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


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Top trend picks for 2018

Top trend picks for 2018

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Top trend picks for 2018

Drama and colour will be the hot trend in home decorating

by Jo Alcorn

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Delta Trinsic contemporary floor mount faucet $1,713.25

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


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


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


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


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Closet Makeover

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Closet Makeover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.whitewashco.ca

@Jo_Alcorn

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