I am so happy to be quoted in Homes and Gardens magazine. Feel free to check out the amazing article here. It's chock full of great ideas for your traditional bathroom!
By SARAH LYON
Published on 03/12/23
I was honoured to be quoted in The Spruce discussing items that designers suggest you should never buy second hand. I've copied and pasted it here.
Whether you're an avid thrift shopper or looking to get more into the secondhand scene, you'll want to keep in mind that not all thrift store finds are created equal. Before you grab everything that looks slightly promising and end up with a full cart, you'll want to ensure that the pieces you're bringing home are items that are safe to use and will bring you joy. Not sure what to avoid altogether? Below, experts weigh in to share the items they'll always leave behind when thrifting.
1. Pillows and Blankets
Not everyone is eager to purchase bed linens such as pillows and blankets at the thrift store, no matter how stylish they may appear. "I know they can be washed and dry cleaned, but there is something about them that I never gravitate towards when I'm shopping secondhand," Imani Keal, of Imani at Home, says. "I used to have similar feelings about couches and fabric chairs, but once I found reputable vintage sellers who took great care of their inventory, I've been more open to sourcing secondhand sofas."
You may be thrilled to spot a fancy coffee maker or vacuum cleaner that's majorly marked down, but by purchasing this piece secondhand, you're taking your chances. "Never buy appliances," Grey Joyner, of Grey Joyner Interiors, says. "You never know if they are damaged or if they contain bacteria that could be passed on with usage." Plus, buying new can come with additional perks like years-long warranties that give you extra peace of mind when using the product. "This protects me as the consumer in case anything happens to the appliance while I am using it, and can save me money in the long run," Madeline Scalzi, of Tulips for the Table, says.
3. Cribs and Car Seats
In the name of your little one's safety, do not purchase a crib at the thrift store. "When it comes to keeping your family safe, cribs should always be purchased from a reputable retailer," Trish Knight, of Knight Varga, advises. "It is important that a crib is assembled correctly and meets current safety standards and know that the manufacturer has not recalled the item." The same goes with car seats, the best rule of thumb is to buy new ones when safety is involved.
4. Upholstered Furniture
You may wish to hold back on upholstered furniture unless you have plans for a DIY in your future, Knight says. "Upholstery can easily be hiding dust mites, bed bugs, and potentially larger critters depending on where the item was being stored prior to selling," she explains. "This would include upholstered bed frames, chairs, sofas, benches, and more. The only exception would be purchasing the item for the frame with the intention of fully reupholstering it prior to bringing it into your home."
5. Leaded Crystal
Certain crystal items may look pretty but aren't good for your health! "Lead crystal glasses and dishware may release lead into the food and beverages they encounter," says Jil McDonald, of Jil Sonia Interiors, says. " Any container you drink from, including ones made of lead crystal, or that has an exterior decorative pattern around the rim, such as a coating or glaze, may also release lead and cadmium from the coating or glaze. I would tend to ask myself what the item is made of and if those materials may cause health concerns."
6. Electrical LightingPurchasing lighting secondhand can come with a range of risks. "It may not pass building codes for your home," McDonald explains. "It is always best practice to ask your certified electrician first if the item will pass local electrical codes to maintain safety. Secondly, some lighting may have obvious frayed wiring and needs to be avoided." Furthermore, you'll need to take lightbulbs into consideration. "Some lighting occasionally may require a lightbulb base that is unavailable," she explains, "If you are not knowledgeable about what bulbs are available for a lighting fixture it's probably easiest to avoid the trouble altogether." If you fall in love with a lamp that needs rewiring, you'll also want to factor that cost into your budget, McDonald adds.
7. Pieces in Need of Repair
Scalzi finds herself tempted by pieces that could use a little bit of TLC but has learned to resist most of such finds. "As someone who is a DIY buff by heart, it can be very tempting to purchase a high-end chair that is missing a leg, or a vintage desk with a broken drawer, but I make myself refrain by weighing the pros and cons of the project," she explains. "What materials will realistically be involved in making this piece usable? Will I need to hire a professional to finish the job? Buy a custom part? Unless it is truly a one-of-a-kind piece I can't live without, most often the cost outweighs the benefit."
8. Items That You Just Don't Love
Lastly, there's no need to scoop up something you see at the thrift store simply because it's inexpensive or happens to be having a moment. McDonald says that a good rule of thumb when shopping secondhand is to only get things that speak to you emotionally to avoid excessive clutter in your home. Even if does speak to you, it's okay to leave it behind, it will certainly speak to someone else.
Windows are essential to any home, and choosing the suitable material for your window replacement project might be daunting. Two of the most popular options in the market today are wood and vinyl windows.
Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages, making it difficult to determine which one is the right choice for your home improvement.
In this article, experts from Ecoline Windows will help us weigh all the pros and cons of wood and vinyl windows to help homeowners make informed decisions.
Wood or Vinyl for New Windows? Ultimate Comparison.
● Wood windows have a classic and timeless look unmatched by other materials.
● They are also natural insulators, making them an excellent energy-efficient choice.
● Another advantage of wood windows is that they are easy to paint or stain to match any home exterior.
However, wood windows are more expensive than vinyl models and require more maintenance. They can rot or warp if not properly sealed, resulting in costly repairs. Also, wood windows need to be painted or stained every few years to keep them looking good.
● Vinyl windows are a more affordable option than wood windows.
● They require little-to-no maintenance and are resistant to fading, warping, and rotting.
● They are also great insulators and come in various colours and styles.
● Vinyl windows are easy to customize, allowing for more configurations and feature inclusion
However, vinyl windows are less durable than wood and can crack or warp in extreme temperatures.
Breaking down the costs
When it comes to cost, wood windows are generally more expensive than vinyl windows. However, they can be a better investment in the long run as they are more durable and require less maintenance.
On the other hand, vinyl windows are more budget-friendly, but they may not last as long as wood windows if not properly maintained.
● On average, a medium-sized vinyl window can cost $400-$700, based on style, glass type, hardware, etc.
● Wood windows come with a minimum price of $600 per unit
All in all, vinyl units are considered the best windows in Alberta in terms of quality/price ratio.
Wood windows require more maintenance than vinyl units. They need to be painted or stained every few years to keep them looking good, and they can rot or warp if not properly sealed. Regular caulking and weatherstripping are also necessary to keep them airtight and energy efficient.
Vinyl windows, on the other hand, are low maintenance and require very little upkeep. They are resistant to fading, warping, and rotting and can be easily cleaned with just a simple wipe-down. They are also designed to be stable and weather-resistant, making them popular among the majority of homeowners.
Insulation and Energy Efficiency:
Both wood and vinyl windows are good insulators and can help keep your home energy-efficient.
● Wood windows are a natural insulator, while vinyl windows have a unique thermal design that helps keep your home warm in cold seasons and cool in hot ones.
● Both types of windows can be equipped with a special LoE coating, which reflects heat back into the room during the winter and keeps the heat out during the summer. This can aid in decreasing your energy expenses and enhance the comfort level inside your home throughout the year.
According to the statistics, windows account for up to 25% of a home's energy bill. Both wood and vinyl windows can help improve energy efficiency in homes, but there are some differences in their performance.
Wood windows have a natural insulating property, with an R-value (a measure of thermal resistance) of around 0.8 per inch.
When equipped with Low-E coatings, wood windows can further enhance energy efficiency by reflecting heat back into the room during the winter and keeping the heat out during the summer. This can result in potential energy savings of up to 30%.
Vinyl windows have a unique thermal design that helps keep homes warm in winter and cool in summer. Their R-value ranges from 3.0 to 3.7 per inch, significantly higher than wood windows. When equipped with Low-E coatings, vinyl windows can reduce energy consumption by up to 40%, resulting in significant energy savings for homeowners.
Both wood and vinyl window models come with a range of customization options.
● Wood windows can be easily painted or stained to match any home exterior, but the colour selection may be limited to traditional home designs.
● Vinyl windows, offer a wider range of colours and styles and can be ordered in any shade.
Homeowners are also welcome to customize new windows with hardware, glazing, and sizes to align with personal preferences and the home exterior..
Wood vs Vinyl Windows – Which Architectural Home Styles Do They Fit In?
Wood and vinyl windows can work well with a variety of architectural styles, but there are some styles where each material may be better suited.
● For traditional and historic homes, wood windows are often the preferred choice as they have a classic and timeless look that matches the aesthetic of these homes. For example, wood windows can complement the look of Colonial, Victorian, or Craftsman-style homes. Wood windows are also ideal for homes with natural wood features, such as exposed timber beams or wood siding.
● Vinyl windows, are versatile and can work well with many modern or contemporary home styles. They are often used in homes with a minimalist or sleek design aesthetic, such as Mid-Century Modern or Contemporary-style homes. Vinyl windows are also popular in homes with a more transitional style, blending traditional and modern design elements.
When it comes to choosing between wood and vinyl windows, it ultimately depends on your budget, the style of your home, and your personal preferences. Wood windows are an excellent choice for homeowners willing to spend a bit more money and put in a bit more work. They have a timeless look, are natural, and can be easily painted or stained to match any home exterior. They are also an eco-friendlier option as they are a natural resource.
Vinyl windows are more budget-friendly and trendy among North American homeowners due to easy maintenance, different hardware and customization options.
I hope this article helps explain what you need to know when selecting replacement windows for your new home.
A warm, welcoming and practical family living room that perfectly reflects it's coastal location
I'm happy to have my amazing client's home featured in Interior Insider!
I'll cut and paste the article here by Ash Read.
"When Jil Sonia McDonald was asked by her client – a busy family with two sport-loving teens – to redesign their townhouse living room, she was tasked with finding the perfect balance of form and function.
The result is a beautiful yet practical family living room that achieves a refined coastal vibe by incorporating custom glass tile, weathered wood furniture, and seaside decor, that perfectly reflects both the family's lifestyle, and the home's location on the West Coast of Canada.
This beautiful yet practical family living room achieves a refined coastal vibe by incorporating custom glass tile, weathered wood furniture, and seaside decor.
“My client wanted a functional home with durable fabrics, but also wanted to incorporate a coastal vibe,” said McDonald. “A jumping point for us was choosing the custom glass tile around the fireplace. The watery blues, whites, and greens along with the fish scale shape bring a seaside look to her living room.”
Custom glass tiles around the fireplace provided a jumping point for the rest of the living room. A large poly rug grounds the space and upon it sits a large round weathered wood coffee table.
Seaside decor – including coral, sand, starfish, shells, and pillows with hand painted fish – give a nod to the nearby ocean.
Chinese console tables sit either side of the fireplace and provide a home for circular gold lamps, wooden sculpture and a mixture of well-selected candles and more seaside decor.
“The home is located on the West Coast of Canada where we have the fresh sea breezes and comfortable climate,” said McDonald. “As the ocean is just a short drive away, it’s wonderful to have continuity between the surroundings and her home.”
The living room provides a great example of how interior design can be both practical and beautiful in equal measure.
As the ocean is just a short drive away, it’s wonderful to have continuity between the surroundings and the home
Thanks Ash for the great article featuring my clients home!
Painting provided by Warline Painting!
Jil Sonia McDonald, Principal Designer at Jil Sonia Interiors
COMPANY Jil Sonia Interiors Award-winning Virtual Home Interior Design in Canada, the USA and beyond Visit website
FOUNDER AND INTERIOR DESIGNER Jil Sonia McDonald
Jil McDonald, is the owner of Jil Sonia Interior Designs and has been a full time Interior Designer since 2007."
February 28th, 2023
Loving this super soft bedding from #Buffy along with beautiful cleansing products & skincare from #Dore! Thanks #heybeam for the great moodboard software, super easy to use!
Trying to define what kind of design aesthetic that your home fits into and which design finishes and décor furniture work with your homes style, can be overwhelming.
Of course, this is why you need the help of a qualified designer for more professional advice.
The following SPRUCE article features Jil Sonia McDonald with some great tips for determining if your space or choices fit with a certain design trend of past, present of future.
This is a great way to start understanding what fits best with your space and what is considered timeless decor.
If you are looking for personal design advise please do not hesitate to visit our website and fill out our contact page so we can chat about all your interior design needs.
What is Timeless Interior Design features? Here are some great considerations:
What is your homes architectural style?
Materials and Production?
When was it made?
Unique features & Dimensions?
Continuity & Resilience?
The 10 Best Tips for Decluttering Your Home, According to Designers. Jil Sonia Interiors as featured in VERANDA
When you get home from your busy day of work, or the hustle and bustle of life, are you looking for a comfortable, organized, stress free home? Well maybe it's time to consider de-cluttering your spaces. It is not as hard as you think.
If you are completely lost as to how to begin - here are some great designer tips for decluttering your spaces by Jil Sonia McDonald of Jil Sonia Interior Designs, as featured in the following VERDANA article.
The article starts by saying that there is good news about decluttering! “Decluttering your home can bring in new energy and help you feel much more organized and less stressed.” That being the case it makes sense that decluttering is just part of life to help us move forward in our spaces and home and brings us sense of relief and peace. Is that not the perfect recipe for an enjoyable home?
Here are 10 great tips to start you off on the right foot!
If you are looking for personal design device from this Interior Design service please do not hesitate to fill out our contact page so we can chat about all your “de-cluttering” or interior design needs.
Hiring a home designer can be intimidating. You want to ensure you make the best decision, as this person will be responsible for helping you create your dream space. It's essential to take the time to evaluate potential designers and find someone who is qualified and experienced in making your vision come alive.
So, what should you look for when hiring a home designer? Here are the top seven things to keep in mind:
Budget & Process
Before hiring a designer, discussing your budget and the overall process is crucial. Ask how much they charge per hour and if they offer discounts or packages. Many designers have a process they go through when designing a space, so ask them to explain their process in detail. It will give you an idea of how long the project will take and what steps you need to take along the way.
Finding a home designer adds up to the hassle of the process of building a home. But if you want to save yourself from that, house and land packages can also be a great option. It includes land, house design, and all the necessary construction details, allowing you to move into your house faster.
Because of their convenience and affordability, house and land packages are becoming increasingly popular not just in the US but also in Australia, the UK, and other countries. So, you'll probably find one if you're on the hunt for the best house and land packages Sydney has to offer, or you can easily look for the perfect houses in popular places such as Ohio, London, etc.
Professionalism and Reputation
Before you begin the hiring process, investigate any potential design firm's reputation in the industry. Find out what past clients have said about their experience with the designer and ensure they have a good track record of successful projects. Ask for references to get an even better idea of how others worked with them.
Furthermore, look for signs of professionalism in your potential designer. They should be organized and detail-oriented, have good communication skills, and be willing to listen to your ideas.
Experience and Expertise
When creating the perfect home design, experience matters; look for a designer with significant experience designing homes or interior spaces similar to yours.
Ask them questions to ensure they have the knowledge and expertise to create your dream home. It's also a good idea to look at their portfolio, as it will give you an indication of the quality of their work.
Additionally, ensure they understand current design trends and the latest technology and materials used in home designs. They should also be able to take measurements accurately and correctly translate them into drawings.
Style & Design
Finding a designer who understands your style is essential for home design. Look at their portfolios and ask them about specific projects they've completed. It's essential to determine if they can customize their designs to meet your specific needs and preferences.
Additionally, ask them about their design philosophy; in other words, what inspires them, and what do they focus on? You want a designer who is passionate about creating beautiful spaces that you can be proud of.
Flexibility & Adaptability
When creating a space for your home, it's essential to find a designer who is willing to be flexible and adaptable. No two spaces are the same, so you need someone open to making changes if needed. Ask them about their experience working with different clients and their ability to adjust the design when needed. It will give you a better understanding of how well they can handle any changes you might have in mind.
Moreover, find out if they are willing to work with other professionals you may need, such as an architect or a contractor. It will help ensure the project runs smoothly and that all parties involved are on the same page.
Collaboration & Communication
When hiring a designer, it's essential to consider how they collaborate with other professionals, such as architects, contractors, and tradespeople. Can they work with them to create a cohesive design that meets your needs and expectations? How well do they communicate throughout the process, and can they keep everyone informed of changes or new developments?
Good communication is essential in creating a beautiful space for your home; you want someone who understands what you're looking for and can explain their ideas clearly and concisely. Ensure they understand what you're hoping to achieve so that they can make the best design decisions for your project.
Customer Service & Support
Finally, customer service and support are essential when looking for a designer. Ask them if they offer any post-project support or follow-up services. You want to ensure they're willing to answer any questions you may have, even after the job is done.
Furthermore, check for customer reviews and feedback online. It can give you an idea of their service level and how well they support their clients throughout the process.
When searching for a designer to help create your dream home, it's essential to consider many things. Make sure they understand your budget and style preferences, have the flexibility to adapt their designs when needed, collaborate well with other professionals, and provide excellent customer service before making a final decision.
This winter has been one of the coldest in history. Keeping your house warm is likely a struggle, and keeping the thermostat on all the time will add to your utility bills. In these circumstances, here are a few additions you can add to your house to keep it warm and cozy.
1. The Right Materials:
Hardwood and linoleum floors often become extremely cold in winter, so invest in rugs. Pick entryway carpets that can tolerate rough footwear and weather conditions. Your heavy winter boots will track in mud, snow, and ice, sometimes staining your clothing. The best rug materials for winter weather include polypropylene, polyester, and other robust synthetic fibers with absorbent ribs.
Hanging heavy curtains on windows reduces drafts by building a substantial physical barrier against the outside chilly winter air. Floor-to-ceiling drapes are the best curtains for the winter because they offer excellent thermal insulation to save fragile flooring, mainly hardwood. Vertical design elements also fill up vacant wall space and emphasize the clean windows in small areas, making them appear bigger and more opulent.
2. Thermal Insulation Decorative Boards
You can easily fix thermal insulation decorative boards on your wall by pasting them. They come in multiple designs and materials, like metal, cork, and plastic, and can elevate your house’s look if used correctly. The insulating layer they provide will keep heat from escaping your house in winter and entering your house in summer, letting you save on electricity bills and make your house efficient.
3. Door Sweeps
Chilly air will seep underneath your exterior doors and increase your heating system’s workload. You can prevent the air from entering by installing a draft-preventing nylon door sweep along the inside bottom edge of the door. If you’re using your garage as a living space or a studio, rubber garage door gaskets fastened with one-inch galvanized roofing nails can help you keep those chilly drafts out.
4. Floorboard Fillers
The little holes between your floorboards can let a lot of cold air in. To stop draughts from entering through the cracks, apply a floorboard gap filler to fill the gaps. This is a rubber-like substance that is simply pushed between the boards. It also makes floors look more polished and stops dust from collecting inside the little pits and holes in the floor.
5. Reverse Your Ceiling Fan Blades
Your house may not get warm despite having the heating system on because of a lack of circulation of warm air. Rotate your ceiling fan blades clockwise to push the warm air into the room. This will keep your room warm without ruining its look and design.
6. Install an Electric Snow-Melting System
Snow that’s piled up on your driveway can ruin the look of your home by hiding its architecture or burying your car. If you use de-icing salt, you can end up with deteriorating paint and cracks in your driveway. Installing a snow melting system through experts like Heavenly Heat is one of the best ways to get rid of the snow, while also saving you time and costs from damage.
EndnoteAdding these upgrades to your house will make your house can reduce your energy expenses, keep you warm, and prevent winter damage. Get insulating fabrics and boards, cover the gaps under your doors and in your floors, and invest in the right tech to ensure your house remains cozy this winter.
I was super honored to be featured this great article by Interior Insider.
I'll copy and past the article by Ash Read, but find the complete Farmhouse Kitchen article here!
Jil Sonia McDonald, an interior designer, transformed a small and outdated kitchen into a beautiful and functional space for her client in Maple Ridge, Canada.
The original kitchen, built in the '80s, was small and cramped, but McDonald had a vision to open up the space and create a modern, functional kitchen that would be perfect for the homeowner's love of cooking and entertaining.
"The original kitchen was so small, the first thing I suggested was to remove two walls, one between the original dining room and kitchen and the second between the tiny kitchen and the hallway," McDonald said. "Thankfully our builder allowed us to remove those walls and we were able to create a large open concept kitchen."
The kitchen was remodeled and combined with the adjoining dining room to create more space.One of the key features of the new modern farmhouse style kitchen is the large island with a White Oak countertop. The countertop was specially oiled with food safe oil, providing a beautiful and functional surface for rolling out cookie dough or preparing meals. "I think that island countertop is my favourite part of the design," McDonald said.
The homeowner's love of cooking also led McDonald to include plenty of cabinetry and storage, ensuring that all the drawers pulled out completely so the homeowner could access the very back of them. As a built-in refrigerator would have been too small, McDonald actually built out the cabinetry to be 32" deep, so the refrigerator appears to be nestled within the cabinetry.
The adjoining room was originally a dining room with a fireplace, but the layout of the room only allowed for their dining table to be placed 3 feet away from the fireplace. By removing the wall between these two spaces and refacing the fireplace, McDonald was able to create a unique and beautiful kitchen with a fireplace. The homeowner loves this feature and says "On the cold winter mornings first thing she does is turn on the fireplace while she's making her first cup of coffee! She loves it!" By Ash Read
Thanks for reading! If you are interested in renovating or building your Farmhouse kitchen, please fill out our contact form and we'll be glad to help!
What is a drop zone in a house and do you need one? Learn what's usually in an effective drop zone.
I was honored to be quoted by Marianne Hayes, in Ownerly, an amazing online magazine with lots of tips and tricks for homeowners. I've cut and pasted the article here, but this is where you go to see the original article.
"We probably all agree that having a clutter-free home is a good thing. It’s nice to keep things organized, but everyday life can make that tricky. If your entryway is littered with shoes, backpacks, mail and the like, a drop zone might be just what you need. What is a drop zone in a house? It’s exactly what it sounds like—a space to neatly drop your stuff when you walk into your home.
A well-designed drop zone carves out a spot for everything you unload when you come through the door. It’s also meant to be aesthetically pleasing to blend with your interior design style. A drop zone is a simple way to tidy up your space, but it can easily become a mess if you don’t have a good system. Here’s what you need to know.
Drop zone in a house: What is it?
Drop zones are dedicated areas of your home that are either in or near your first point of entry into your home,” said Jil Sonia McDonald of Jil Sonia Interior Designs. “Imagine yourself laden with grocery bags, your mail, keys, lunch kits, sunglasses and your purse. You want to ‘drop’ everything on the floor when you arrive home. That’s your drop zone.”
Instead of dumping these things on the floor or your kitchen counter, they’ll have a designated spot that keeps your home free of clutter. Think of it as a catch-all for sports equipment, shoes or anything else your family routinely enters your home with. A drop zone can also help prevent essential items from getting lost in the shuffle.
“When choosing a location for your drop zone, consider a high-traffic area such as the entryway or mudroom,” said Jen Stark, the founder of Happy DIY Home. “This will help ensure you don’t forget items as you head out the door.”
Drop zone ideas
Focus on a busy walk-through area of your home, ideally near the most used entryway.
“Do you live in an apartment and enter through your front door? Or do you have a home where you enter through the garage?” asks McDonald. “Try placing your drop zone to the closest area upon entry.”
McDonald suggested a low dresser or console table that’s deliberately left empty and clear if you use your front door the most. You can drop everything on that flat surface if you walk in with your hands full.
“It’s a great idea to have your permanent storage right near that console table,” McDonald said. “Often my clients use the back of their hall closet equipped with baskets and hooks on the back of the door so that you can easily hang up a light coat or sweater, and there is a place for your keys, mail and purse.”
The most important part of a drop zone is having a clean, horizontal surface that’s big enough for you to unload when your hands are full. McDonald uses a low bookcase unit. She has a plastic container in one of the cubbies for her receipts, a small bowl for her keys and loose change, another bowl for her sunglasses and a space for outdoor shoes. Above the unit are hooks to temporarily leave kids’ backpacks, jackets or umbrellas.
“Baskets are also a great place to drop things,” McDonald said. “They keep things contained until you have time to place them away neatly. In a pinch, a bench seat with a basket underneath and hooks above can be a lifesaver.”
Keeping a drop zone organized
According to Stark, a well-designed drop zone should be both functional and stylish, providing a place to store your belongings while also adding to the overall aesthetic of your home. Above all, the goal is to keep this area organized and tidy—otherwise, it defeats the purpose. If you’re tight on space, you still have options.
“A narrow console table with baskets or bins underneath is a great way to add storage without taking up too much space,” Stark said. “Wall-mounted hooks are another option for small spaces for hanging coats, hats, bags and more.”
For a more substantial drop zone, look for pieces with plenty of storage, such as benches with built-in cubbies or hooks. Just be sure there’s enough space for everyone in your family to use the area comfortably.
“Label storage containers and baskets so everyone can easily find what they’re looking for, and consider using dividers or trays to keep things like keys and mail sorted,” Stark said. “If you have young children, be sure to choose storage containers that are durable and easy for them to use.”
From there, don’t be afraid to add some personal touches to your drop zone. This can include family photos or a fun doormat to make the space your own. Just remember that drop zones aren’t designed for permanent storage.
“It is simply a holding area that you can temporarily use to place items while entering the home,” McDonald said. “At the end of the night, it’s a good idea to put your shoes and coat away so that it is clean and available for the next day.”
Drop zone alternatives
There are a few reasons you might prefer an alternative to a drop zone. Maybe you prefer to keep your entryway clear and open. In any case, here are some solutions that might work for you:
Create a mudroom
A mudroom is an area of your home that’s specifically for removing dirty boots, muddy shoes and wet clothing. You might carve out space for one in your laundry room and add extra organizational systems for backpacks, keys, dog leashes, etc.
Convert a flex room
A flex room is typically a small space that may or may not be a separate room. It’s essentially a nook that you can convert into something like a home office or workout space. It might also make an ideal drop zone.
Use your garage
For those who enter their home through their garage, McDonald recommended setting up a landing pad right beside the door inside the garage. You can place hooks inside the garage wall for your coats and sweaters and set up shoe storage there.
Do you need a drop zone?
It really depends on your lifestyle. If you’re frustrated by constant clutter in your home and are looking for ways to get organized, a drop zone could be a great solution especially if your entryway has become an unloading zone for your family’s stuff.
A drop zone might also increase your home value. Every home and local market is different, so it’s best to consult an experienced real estate agent who understands what buyers in your area are looking for. Setting up a drop zone is inexpensive, so there isn’t much to lose. To appeal to future buyers, you might consider installing shelving units, a built-in bench or lockers for family members to keep their things. When you’re ready to sell, these formal touches could be attractive to buyers.
A drop zone is a simple DIY project that can help keep your home more organized. You can also dial it up a bit by installing fixtures that add to your home’s functionality and style. In the end, it could even increase your home value. " by Marianne Hayes
Let me know if you need help creating a drop zone in your home!
Well I hope you all had a wonderful new year and that 2023 brings you all sorts of love and laughter!
Purchasing the perfectly sized sofa for a small space is tough.
There are more things to think about than what initially comes to mind! Here's a few tips!
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Nature has always been a great source of inspiration and beauty, and it can be easily embraced into the home decor. This type of decorating style is often referred to as "eco-chic," an aesthetic that seeks to bring the natural elements from outdoors into the home in a comfortable yet stylish way. Here are some tips for incorporating nature into your home decor:
Embrace natural lighting
Natural lighting is one of the best ways to embrace nature into your home decor. It helps create a cheerful, airy atmosphere and can provide energy efficiency when used correctly. Place mirrors strategically around your windows so that they reflect light throughout the room and make sure your curtains or blinds are sheer enough to let the natural light in. Light-colored walls can also help maximise any available light. Don’t forget about utilising skylights or solar tubes as well; they provide bright illumination while using no electricity at all!
Opt for natural fabrics
Natural fabric such as linen is perfect for bringing texture into any room without compromising comfort; these materials are much softer than synthetic ones which makes them ideal for carpets, rugs or throw blankets. You can also use them on window treatments (think woven wooden blinds), upholstery fabrics and even artwork frames! Magiclinen has an excellent selection of linen products for all of your home needs. Be sure to check out their website!
Incorporate organic materials
Bring nature indoors with furniture, flooring, decorations, and other items made of organic materials such as wood, bamboo, hemp, cotton, linen, jute or rattan. These will instantly add warmth and texture to any space regardless of style–rustic or modern–allowing you to easily incorporate nature into your décor. Wood accents also offer an earthy look that will never go out of fashion; choose pieces such as coffee tables, end tables or benches with dark stains for a timeless effect.
Nothing says “nature” like adding greenery throughout your space! Not only do plants bring life into any room but they also help purify the air by removing harmful chemicals from it; having houseplants in every room is beneficial for both physical health and emotional wellbeing. Choose low maintenance plants such as succulents if you’re not particularly green-fingered; these require very little attention but still add a pop of color wherever they’re placed. For larger rooms try placing tall trees in corners or against walls for added drama; these will instantly make any room look more inviting.
Use wallpapers with natural patterns
Wallpapers featuring patterns inspired by nature – think trees, leaves, branches – create a beautiful backdrop that immediately elevates any space without looking overdone; pair this with neutral elements such as white furniture or light-colored woods to really bring out the pattern's details while keeping things minimalistic at the same time! There's something very calming about having these peaceful images on display in our homes too which helps enhance one's sense of wellbeing every day while living there.
Choose eco-friendly products wherever possible - Support sustainable and ethical practices whenever feasible when shopping for home décor items; there are many businesses out there that specialize in producing furniture and accessories made from recycled materials or those that use energy-efficient processes in their production. Doing so will help reduce your carbon footprint while still allowing you to enjoy nature-inspired pieces that add beauty and warmth to any home.
By following these simple tips you can easily incorporate nature into your home decor without losing a sense of style – after all bringing together design elements from both indoors and outdoors creates a truly breathtaking result that will fill you with joy each time you look at it!
Key Takeaways:Incorporating nature into your home décor can be a great way to bring in some peace and tranquillity, while also enhancing your wellbeing. By using natural light, fabrics, materials, plants and wallpapers; you can easily create a space that feels like an oasis in the middle of busy city life. Whether your style is modern or rustic, there are plenty of ways to add touches of nature throughout your home without going over-the-top.
We hope these tips have given you some ideas on how you can achieve this look in your own living spaces!
How to decorate our holiday tables
Holidays are so important to all of us. Is the time where family and friends gather to show our gratitude for each other and to celebrate!
This year we're keeping it simple, gone are the years where elaborate decorating was de rigueur. We are now featuring more texture, adding earthy elements to the table such as olive branches, eucalyptus, or fir branches. Candles are still a must, Remember, we don't need facelifts or Botox, we just need beautiful candlelight!
Springs of Cedar, rosemary or thyme can be tucked into your linen napkins and tied with a piece of hemp rope for a casual, yet elegant appeal
Try switching up your cutlery - black or gold cutlery can make quite a statement and can be used for years to come.
Forget the Santa napkins or reindeer napkin rings. Let the food speak for itself.
Sometimes all you need is sparkling glasses, candles, natural elements running down the length of the table and of course brilliant conversation!
Really, that’s what the holidays are all about.
Let us know if our interior design firm can help with any last minute decorating, we'd love to help!
Wondering about what size coffee table you need to go with your couch or sectional?
Living Cozy has written a great article, interviewing 4 interior designers, including myself!
Here's a few tips:
How tall should a coffee table be? How should the height relate to other pieces of furniture?
In general, a coffee table should be 1- 2 inches shorter than the height of the sofa cushions. That allows us to have a more comfortable experience when setting down our coffee cup or wine glass (or for propping our feet up on the table). Most coffee tables are between 15” & 18” in height. End table heights do not have to match coffee table heights, in fact, as your arm must move up over the sofa arm, generally, they can be 4-6” higher than the coffee table, depending on the height of the chair arm.
What's the average width of a coffee table? How should the width relate to the sofas and other pieces of furniture?
The average width of a coffee table is 48 inches wide but it's important to remember that the coffee table width should never exceed sofa width, a rule of thumb is your coffee table should be 2/3rd the width of your sofa.
I have created a table showing some of the standard width sofas. It's important to note that once you have a sofa wider than 72 inches, using a round table is a little more difficult to accommodate seamlessly into the seating plan since it will likely be smaller than 2/3 of the overall sofa width.
How far from other pieces of furniture should your coffee table be?
Most coffee tables are between 18” and 24” deep.
16”-18” is the ideal distance between the edge of the seating and your coffee table, allowing for comfortable access to books, remotes drinks etc. distances smaller than this make it challenging to get in and out of your seating, while larger distances make it more inconvenient to reach the coffee table.
24 to 36 inches is the minimum comfortable distance that you need to circulate around your coffee table when there is no adjacent seating. 36 inches is a good distance for most people in both situations. However, in a small space 24 inches is acceptable but not necessarily comfortable.
I hope this helps! What size of shape of coffee table are you loving?
Leather vs. Fabric sofas- how to choose? What do I look for? Featured in Living Cozy!
I was honoured to be featured in the August 15th 2022 issue of Living Cozy! 4 other interior designers & myself were interviewed and asked to provide our top tips on the benefits of both fabric and leather sofas, and most importantly, how to choose.
Please feel free to read my tips along with the other fabulous interior designers!
Let me know if you have any questions.
If you need help selecting the perfect sofa, please fill our our online contact form, that will start the process. We will respond within 1 day and in most cases, your design will be finished within one week.
We look forward to helping you!
Lighting can be complicated, we get it, it's changed a lot - and we're here to help!
We used to use the term 'wattage' to describe the amount of light that was produced. So if our old incandescent light bulb went out, we looked at the wattage on the bulb and purchased the same wattage, ie. 60 watts, 40 watts, 100 watts, etc.
But, in reality, wattage only tells us the amount of energy used by the light.
What we really needed to know was how much light is produced by a light bulb. Well, that is lumens! Lumens show how 'bright' the bulb is, or how much light it creates.
Here's a handy cheat sheet showing the conversion from the old incandescent bulbs (wattage) to the new LED bulbs (lumens).
We have been using incandescent bulbs for well over 100 years. They worked well, but the light bulbs produced a lot of heat and consumed a lot of electricity.
Then they came up with florescent bulbs, remember those corkscrew and long tubular bulbs? They gave off a horrible blue-ish light and often hummed, but they were more energy efficient then incandescents, but something had to change!
LED bulbs soon came along, they were energy efficient, at first they too were blue-ish, but throughout the years they have gotten better & more realistic looking.
So as LED light bulbs don't produce heat or use much power, we started using the term lumen, to show the amount of light being provided. But now, we can't use the term wattage to discuss light output, we need to use the word lumen.
Here's another helpful chart to show on average the amount of lumens needed in each room.
I hope this helps explain the conversion of wattage to lumens & to show you how to determine how many lumens you need in your home.
Feel free to contact us to create a beautiful lighting plan for your home.
I was honoured to be asked for my professional opinion about how to decorate with Jewel tones.
A great place to start experimenting with jewel tones is in the living room, says Jil Sonia McDonald, principal designer at Jil Sonia Interiors in Vancouver. “Perhaps start with your couch in your favorite jewel tone—turquoise, gold, and emerald greens are gorgeous colors to start with,” she explains.
Feel free to read the rest of the amazing blog here!
Best of Houzz 2022
I'm so very honoured to have won Best of Houzz for 2022.
That makes 10 consecutive years!
A hearty thank you to all my clients for their amazing 5 star reviews! I couldn't have done it without you!
How to permanently remove the Custom Office Templates Folder from constantly popping up in your Documents folder.
I've written this short blog to show how to remove those annoying Folders that Microsoft creates and recreates from your Documents folder, so that each time you start your computer or update Windows, it's still hidden.
This worked in Windows 11 for me. Finally.
Note: others will say to:
I finally found a little bit of soluction, you can hide it so it permantely doesn't pop up when updated or restarting your Computer.
Go to Word, on left side, click: options
It doesn't permanently delete it, (I can't find out how to do that anywhere), but at least we don't see it popping up in the documents folder. I'm an interior designer, not a tech person, but I hope this helps you!
I was so honoured to help design the new Commnity center for Cheam First Nation in Chilliwack, BC.
Cheam's culture & community is so important to the Cheam Community! The Xwchíyò:m have lived in S’ólh Téméxw for thousands of years. They are a thriving community and needed a centre to support their members. We were happy to help.
Cheam’s vision is to continue looking after their fish and our environment, as the Pilalt did, and to keep their community healthy and strong.
The Vision of the Cheam First Nation management team is to encourage greatness; embody excellence; display professionalism; empathy; courage; valuing culture; tradition and integrity and deliver a service second to none.
How wonderful to work with a community who embrace that teaching.
We added a health and dental wing, traditional healing room, huge gym, several offices and meeting rooms and a large kitchen to be able to feed the community during the many events that are hosted here.
In the Fall of 2021, several areas were affected my intense flooding. Cheam kindly used their gym to offer food and provisions to those in need.
Introduction by Councillor Rick Quipp
Our culture and spiritual teachings are important to the Cheam community. It is our teachings that build the person that we become. Our most important teachings to ourselves is to have fun, respect ourselves and others, be proud of our community and be proud of who we are and where we come from. We have a program for Cheam children in foster care, this program is called “Roots and Ties”. Once a month we have a dinner and encourage family members of children in care to come spend time with their children. At the dinners, the families share stories and other cultural activities. Historical events are discussed such as colonization and residential schools and how this changed our community life and our families. In fact, these two historical events almost wiped out our spiritual and cultural traditions by: taking our identity away; banning our spiritual practices; prohibiting us from voting and enforcing the Indian Act.
I am so very grateful to Chief Andrew Victor and his team for hiring us to create this important gathering place. A place to learn, to heal & come together as community. We know that it will have an important legacy and our design team is happy to have been a small part of this beautiful factilty.
I was so honored to be featured in the Spruce again. Here's the article, penned by amazing writer Sarah Lyon!
I've copied it here.
How do you know when a decor item is timeless or whether it's just a trend? There are many factors to consider, designers say—and we asked them to share the details! Below, nine designers comment on what they think about when determining whether something is a classic or may be fleeting.
Determine Whether It Can Be "Carried Through the Ages"
"Timeless to me is about quality materials, lighting fixtures, furniture, et. cetera, that work with every style and can be carried on through the ages. Most trendy items have a hard time fitting into all design direction as they are very specific to an age or theme. I try to steer away from what is super hot and zeitgeist-esque, as it tends to get overused and worn out quickly. My take is that personal style is like selecting a wine: If you love it and it works for your taste and feels right, that is all that matters." — Samantha Tannehill of Sam Tannehill Interior Design
Look for Quality Materials and Production
"In order to avoid falling into the trend trap, I like to look for quality materials and production. Investing in natural resources like woods, metals, and stones can also turn into a savvy investment. I once purchased two vintage Finn Juhl rosewood chairs for a project in North London. Not only do they look better with time, but they have increased in value. Natural materials that are taken care of properly can age beautifully and maintain their value and classic appeal." — Susan Knof of Knof Design
Approximate When It Was Designed
"The first way to determine if an item is trendy or timeless is to try to approximate when it was designed. If you cannot pinpoint the approximate time period, then it is considered timeless. For example: Look at a beautiful Persian rug, it looks beautiful in a room, either 100 years ago or today. That is a great indication it is a timeless piece." -- Jil McDonald of Jil Sonia Interiors
Decide Whether It's Versatile or Not"
The best way we like to determine if a decor item is timeless or a trend is to think if the piece is very versatile or not. Timeless decor tends to have clean lines, neutral colors, and natural elements which allow them to fit in for a long time. Earth and natural tones such as wood, linens, stone, and leather are key materials we look for when selecting timeless items." — Megan Whalen of JL Design
Look at Design and Proportions
"Timeless pieces are those that have classic style and proportions and have been around for decades. If you flip through several coffee table design books and see the same type of lamps, tables, or fabrics in all of them, chances are they’ve stood the test of time and will still be a detail of beautiful rooms for years." — Jerad Gardemal of JF Gardemal Designs
Decide Whether It Can Be Built Upon
"I think a great rule of thumb for determining if something is timeless or trendy is to ask yourself, 'Am I able to use this design as a great base to build upon in upcoming years?'' For example, if I’m redoing a kitchen, I will want to select timeless features that will be relevant and stay fresh for years to come. How I determine that is by asking myself if I can keep all the main design elements the same and make small tweaks in the design years down the road to keep it fresh. Is the design resilient enough to withstand new waves of trends along the years and still manage to look current? Timeless design is resilient in that regardless of how many new trends or fads come and go, it will always hold its own." -- McCall Dulkys of Interiors by McCall
Determine What It Means to You Personally
"The ultimate answer for knowing if a decor item is timeless or a trend is what it means to you personally. I always advise my clients to collect and surround themselves with things that have meaning to them. I find that is the most natural and organic way to style and decorate a home. Then even if it was an item that was 'on trend' at some point, it will still feel special. My mantel is a collection of a midcentury metal wall hanging (the first piece of art my husband and I bought together for our home 19 years ago!), a painting from my childhood, and driftwood collected from beach walks with my family, while they are all of different decorative 'genres'. they are timeless because of what they mean to me." — Amy Sklar of Amy Sklar Design
"Finding a connection with decor items that relate to your personal story, or with a connection to nature, is a great way to ensure that your decor will stand the test of time. Whether it’s something you pick up during a trip abroad, something you made as a child, or a sentimental piece from your grandparent’s basement, you can use these pieces to make your spaces your own and generate a feeling of timelessness." — Nicole Cole of Vestige Home
Ignore the "Rules" and Choose a Piece Based on Whether It Brings You Joy
“I don't have many rules when it comes to decor items except for one: It should bring you joy. Honestly, it doesn't matter if it's a piece that will stand the test of time or a passing fad, if it makes me (or my client) smile, it passes muster. Books, art, and items collected over time from travels are all pieces that can work well in any space." — Molly Torres Pornof of DATE Interiors
I hope that helps determine whether an item is trendy or not. But keep in mind, your home is not a show home, it should reflect what you truly love!
It can be challenging to determine the 'wattage' of LED lights. When incandescent light bulbs dominated the lighting market, it was easy to tell how 'bright' a bulb would be.
When using LED Lighting, we use the term lumens which is the power or strength of the light. A Lumen (lm) is the International Standard unit that shows the total amount of visible light emitted from a source. Like Watts, Lumens are a standard measurement within the lighting industry and can be found on the box of most light bulbs.
The next time you purchase a light bulb, remember to look for both Wattage & Lumens. Watts show the amount of power used & lumens show the brigthness of a bulb. The best combo to look for is:
LOW WATT & HIGH LUMENS = BRIGHT, ENERGY SAVING BULBS.
We understand it's tough if you are switching out from Incandescent light bulbs to LED light bulbs, we need to know the comparable light values.
Here's a quick and easy chart to get you started!
Need to know how to space your recessed lighting & how many recessed lights do you need?
Be sure to check out my most popular blog post.
We provide a simple formula to help you layout your recessed lighting!
Interior designers get a lot of emails from our wonderful suppliers. I look at each and everyone of them as I need to know the latest trends in kitchens, bathrooms, exterior home finishes.
The email today from Marathon Hardware didn't disappoint! The Eurocucina 2022 Design Show was held in Milan, Italy from June 7-12/22. The show featured many of the latest design trends and innovations for kitchens, bathrooms, and every other room in the house.
Watch this quick kitchen video above showing the latest and greatest in kitchen design for 2022.
Did you know countertops are moveable? Well yes they are!
Let me know if you need help with your kitchen or new build, I'd be happy to help!
Jil Sonia McDonald - Interior Designer of Jil Sonia Interior Designs.
Design Links Bloggers I follow:
Kimberley Seldon Design
Linda Holt Interiors
Ina Goetz Photography