Wow what a crazy, uncertain time right now! Now, more than ever, we need each other. We need each other for truth, for support and to feel less alone during a time that can honestly feel quite scary.
Our willingness, as a people, to step up in the face of what we are all experiencing with COVID-19 is awe-inspiring.
We are being told to self isolate and engage in social distancing. That means many of us aren't leaving our homes, unless we truly need to.
We truly believe our home is a place of refuge and hope you can love your space while you turn to family and friends in an era of social distancing.
Perhaps we can think of some fun things to do, that otherwise we might have not had time to do.
Here's a few examples:
Let’s all be there for each other OK? I’ll be posting lots of great ideas of what to do design-wise while staying inside, on my Jil Sonia Interior Design's Facebook group.
https://www.facebook.com/JilSoniaInteriors/ We’d love to have you join us!
Keep safe and remember to have fun!
Need Countertops? Are you building a new home? If so you might be interested in learning about the different countertop options.
There are several countertop options to choose from, here are some of the most common ones that I specify for my interior design clients.
Engineered quartz: this is by far the most common type of countertop that people are installing in their new homes. Natural quartz, one of the hardest and most common minerals on Earth. It is the most durable, beautiful countertop on the market today. It also has anti-microbial properties, making it food safe and because of its dense structure is does not require any sealant (as does granite). They pulverized quartz and mix it with a resin to hold it's shape. Usually the ratio
will consist of 93% stone aggregates by weight and 7% resin.
Important note: there are several budget countertop suppliers that do not have the same quartz/resin ratio as the top three engineered quartz manufacturers. These suppliers may have more resin added and less quartz. I strongly caution my clients to stay away from any of the lesser priced/ budget manufacturers. The quartz is often not food safe and they can stain very easily. I have a client who selected a budget priced engineered quartz on her own and spilled turmeric on the countertop. Unfortunately, it stained the surface and it was very challenging to remove. She did get some of the stain out but you could still see it mildly embedded in the surface of the engineered quartz.
With low cost quartz you may find:
The top three engineered quartz companies I use are Caesarstone, Silestone and Cambria. I find Cambria has more 'Granite looking' countertops, some clients like that but as a designer I find them quite busy looking and I prefer a more classic looking countertop. Personally I love Caesarstone as I find that they have great patterns that are simple but classic looking and they have great colorways without splotches of resin in them (which can make them look like a brownish Gray blob).
Granite: Most of my clients don't use granite anymore, it has a very strong pattern comprised of several colours. When using Granite you absolutely must select the rest of the components for your kitchen or bathroom; based on one of the many colours found in that particular granite. Adding another colour not found in the granite creates a very busy look to the home. Personally, I have not specified this since 2005 as I find it too busy looking.
Granite is only about 40% to 60% quartz, along with other softer minerals and impurities.
Dekton: is a newer countertop material, very beautiful looking and also very expensive. Dekton is offered in slabs of varying thicknesses that can be adapted to your design based on the application and the desired effect. It has a high scratch, stain and heat resistant rating and is available in very large slabs.
Corian: we started using this in the 1980s or so and although it looks beautiful it has a tendency to scratch so I don't recommend it anymore.
Laminate countertops: this is the most cost-friendly countertop. It comes in a variety of colours. They do look a little like a 'picture of a stone' but when you need to be budget-friendly this is absolutely a perfect alternative. We have it in our Laundry room.
Quartzite: Quartzite is a metamorphic rock made almost entirely of the mineral quartz. It is a very hard Stone and is very durable. One caution is that suppliers often sell countertops labelled as quartzite when in reality it is a softer limestone or marble product.
A good way to determine if this is true quartzite or a look-alike is to take a sharp metal object and try to scratch sample of the material. If it scratches it is definitely not quartzite is more likely a soft limestone. Another test would be using lemon juice or vinegar. Apply this to the sample and leave it for 15 to 20 minutes. If it does not etch then it is quartzite, if it does etch then again it is mislabeled and it's not true quartzite.
What about Super White?
Super White is one of the stones that is frequently caught in the quartzite vs. marble question. Most commonly, Super White is dolomitic marble. That means it can be scratched with a knife, and it will etch with acids. Some Super White has minor amounts of quartz mixed in with the marble. But the rock is still marble and will act like marble so be warned.
Marble: This is the most beautiful countertop in my opinion. It does need to be sealed yearly and even with sealing has a tendency to absorb stains such as red wine and it if you happen to cut a lemon on the surface or spill a vinaigrette, it will etch. Some clients absolutely love it and they are willing to accept the stains and etching. It can also be repolished but this is certainly an added cost. Most of my clients are quite busy without time for upkeep, so I don't specify a marble countertop very often.
Wood: We occasionally use it for kitchen island countertops, not usually for the perimeter as it's not good with water. But it sure looks beautiful!
I hope this article helps show you the different types of countertops available and the pros and cons for each one.
If you need help designing your own home we have on site and online services where we can specify all finishes for your beautiful new home. We would love to help.
How exciting to receive this email today, stating the I've won the Best of Houzz award consecutively for 8 years now!
“This year’s Best Of Houzz awards go to an incredibly talented and service-oriented group of home remodeling and design professionals, and we’re proud to highlight the winners on the Houzz website and app,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “This award is particularly meaningful as it reflects the sentiment of the millions of homeowners in the Houzz community who are hiring home professionals for their projects across the U.S. and around the world.”
If you'd love to get professional, interior design advice, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great day!
I'm thrilled to be featured in Canadian Home Trends magazine for January 2020.
There is a contest with great prizes to be won!
More and more of my interior design clients are wanting Navy couches and sectionals. It's a timeless classic colour, but still feels fresh!
I've added this rug and beautiful gold lighting and accents to make it pop!
Lots of fun pillows just add to the charm!
Wicker baskets hold cozy throw blankets and the wood toned end table and chair create a warm look!
So honoured to be able to compete. The other designer created a beautiful mood board, soft pinks and whites in a beautiful bedroom. See the whole article here :)
Happy Decorating! If you need help completing your living room, I'd love to chat!
When this time of year rolls around, designers anxiously await the Pantone's colour of the year.
Most designers I know focus on classic timeless design and don't rely on the trends, but it's always great to hear what the color experts state as their color of the year.
This year it's a beautiful blue, not too purple/blue or green/blue.
19-4052 Classic Blue
Such a beautiful colour! It works well with white, cream, light grays, taupes, beige and more.
I used a similar colour, but more muted dark blue in this media room.
Gentleman's Gray by Benjamin Moore.
The beautiful dark blue worked so well with the pink beige sectional.
Choosing a paint colour can be challenging, just a slight difference in colour can completely change the look of the room.
We are colour specialists and can help you the nail the perfect colour that works for YOU, the first time! Let us know how we can help.
I'm over the moon thrilled to find out today that I have won one of the 3 Best rated Interior Designers in our area for 2020.
Thank you to all my amazing clients who have supported me, trusted me and work along side of me to make our company what it is today!
Wondering what we've been up to? Check out our new short video!
Here is an outline of what a happy consultation looks like with me.
1. We meet and have a 2-hour consultation, either in your home or my design studio, we discuss your likes/dislikes, needs and priorities. We take into consideration all elements: colours, fabrics, floor plans, cabinets, furniture, budget etc.
2. I take notes, then transcribe them later (if you decide to carry on with my services), onto a worklist.
3. I provide you with an estimate of my design fees to carry out the design plan. You can choose to move forward yourself, or you can carry forward with our design services, whichever you choose (you don’t need to make that decision on the consult date).
4. If you move forward with our services, we email you the initial general written plan, which we call the Scope of Work. I update it with any additional items you’d like to include.
5. After I’ve finalized the Scope of Work, I create a mood board for most rooms, so you can see how items look like together.
6. We meet again to present the moodboards and ideas with you, using photos, and samples.
7. If you are ordering certain furniture, tile, etc. I do get trade discounts and share those 50/50 with my clients. These discounts can be substantial.
8. My fees are $395.00 for the first 2-hour consultation; then after that, my rates reduce to $175.00 per hour, and you can use me as much or as little as you like. GST is added to my rates.
If that's something that might work for you, I'd love to help. Together we'll come up with a great plan to create a home that you love.
Feel free to let me know your thoughts and if you have any questions.
Painting your home is exciting, the power of paint never ceases to amaze me!
However, we need to ensure we pick the perfect body and trim colour. Here’s a few tips to get you started!
I was thrilled that Sherwin Williams sponsored me for the paint, thank you SW!
We love their Emerald exterior latex! It went on smooth as silk and had superb coverage.
2. Likewise be aware of your neighbourhood homes to ensure you have not copied their existing color. You may need to check with neighbourhood restrictive covenants or strata agreements to ensure you are able to paint the color of your choice. Some neighbourhood covenants require you to stay within a color field to best represent a cohesive community aesthetic. It shows you are a good neighbour.
3. Paint a few large sample boards or poster boards of a minimum of 11”x14” sizing with your prospective color choices. Once dry, hold these color sample boards up against various features of your home such as in step 1 (noting exterior home elements) to see how they look.
Remember with smaller color samples, getting a true representation of color is more difficult than with larger sample boards. Your exterior contains large painted surfaces/spaces , so it’s important to have larger sample boards to get a truer representation of how a color will work.
A great hint also is to choose a flat/matte sample paint color, to allow you to see the color without sunlight glare or possible exterior lighting de-coloration/accentuation. And with that said, your exterior lighting will also play a significant role in how you color will appear. Your light’s Kelvin measurement (color of light) will change the tone of you color choice too, just as will the direction of various sunlight from North, South, East and West which is what we call metamerism.
Designer Tip: Most exterior paint colors tend to look lighter and brighter outside so it is important to test your paint samples in the actual elements outside. Beware of selecting a trim color that is too white, it might look too bright and harsh.
It's good to have a few choices pre-painted, as lighting, shade, and time of day can present color nuance to your choices. Have 3-4 color choices made up for a field/body and trim color.
The color finish (matte/flat, satin, gloss etc) can reflect light and cause a different color experience. We recommend a flat/matte finish for the body, as it does not provide too much glare or a sheen. Your home’s exterior color personality will showcase better with a matte/color. Remember you want to see color and not a mirrored reflective color tone as with satin or gloss etc.
4. Select your field (body) exterior color first, then secondly a trim color that accents it. Ensure your trim color choice works well with your window metal/polyurethane frame color. If you happen to be changing out your windows, black window frames are the best because they tend to disappear into the background of the glass from a distance. Black window frames can make selecting your paint colours easier. When choosing the trim color, keep in mind the window casing/frame color and choose a complementary shade. No one wants a “bossy” window frame color ruining a good field and trim color choice for your home exterior.
Finally, before you begin purchasing large amounts of paint, it is vital that you paint a test sample area of your home. Picking an area of your house exterior that stands alone as a test color pallet is crucial. At this point take a couple of days to think over your choices. Your color experience will change dependant upon the daytime hours, the amount of sunlight and even your exterior lighting.
And there you have it. We sure hope these tips and tricks can help you find the perfect color for your amazing home!
For the majority of modern households, investing in home security is a bigger priority than it has ever been in the past. With many of our homes now full of expensive items, from TVs to tablets, games consoles to laptops, it’s no wonder we’re more conscious of protecting the place where we live than ever before. But while security systems in the past have been unaffordable, bulky and frankly quite ugly to have around the home, new options are less obtrusive and smaller than ever before – not to mention far more affordable.
With so many new security and home safety systems appearing on the market every day, it’s difficult to know which option the right fit for you is. But never fear – we look at some of the top options on the market to find out which home security systems are the top of their game and would be the ideal addition to your home. Read on to find out more:
Secure doorbells are one of the most recent additions to the roster of home security systems, but it doesn’t make then any less valid. Building from the concept of gateway entry systems often found on high-end properties, Bluetooth doorbell systems allow for that same safety from within the comfort of your home. Home security has evolved from the older wired systems, with the development of Bluetooth and wireless technology allowing for more affordable and useable options on the market. Devices like Ring enable users to access video feeds of their front door whether they’re at home or work, and are both sleek and unobtrusive, making them ideal additions to the house without the bulk of more traditional options.
Home cameras come in many different forms these days, and they are entirely different from the bulky CCTV cameras and setups we associate with supermarkets and corner shops. Instead, these in-house camera systems are designed to be simple, barely visible and highly connected – with many options allowing for direct viewing of cameras via mobile. Google’s Nest Cam system offers all the convenience of a connected service with multiple camera options, from affordable indoor cameras to more robust outdoor options. The benefit is a system that’s wholly connected in one place, allowing for fast and easy monitoring without the use of multiple systems. If you’re looking for a home system that does it all, Nest is an excellent place to start.
Homeowners often think of alarm systems as relatively outdated, requiring intensive wiring as well as a large, unattractive control panel in the home to function correctly. But as alarm system technology has evolved, so have the options available to homeowners. Modern alarm systems are capable of monitoring windows, doors and even identify the difference between intruders and pets with ease. Verisure’s system is one example of an excellent alarm system, with a 3G panel included instead of the more old-fashioned bulky wall-based system. Wireless has revolutionised how alarm systems work and picking one that has it all is your ideal choice.
Picking the right home security system for you is entirely subjective. By having a better idea of what level of security you need, and when and where you need it, it’s possible to tailor a security system into something ideally suited for your purposes. Don’t be afraid to expand your system or reduce it depending on your requirements over time; security is a personal thing and finding the one that’s right for you is vital to its long-term success.
I just had to share a great experience we had with a paint company last week with regards to one of our new built homes we are designing and decorating for a client with a young family.
Our firm was furnishing a newly built home and enjoying preparing two rooms for our client’s young girls. As the client was in Toronto and the new home is outside of Vancouver, we did the design choices, paint colour selection, furniture selections, etc. all online.
This project involved painting a feature wall that would be behind each child’s beds in their respective rooms.
Each color was individually chosen to match their style. I selected every piece of furniture and accessories, art, etc. before selecting the perfect colour. This paint color would also be focal to the decor selections for that room.
It was important to get the colour choice just perfect. I've got to say I'm the pickiest designer I know of when it comes to colour selection!
One girl wanted a light soft pink that was not too strong in its intensity, while the other wanted a lovely bold blue.
We decided to use Sherwin Williams paint. Our painters were familiar with Sherwin Williams and this is their ‘go to’ supplier.
For the blue colour I had already selected an existing Sherwin-Williams colour called Georgian Revival Blue SW7609.
But the baby pink colour I had originally selected, was from Benjamin Moore called Strawberry Yogurt BM 2104-70. I had been told that colour matching (selecting one paint colour from one brand and having it made up in another brand), cannot be done, so I decided to see for myself!
I ordered a drawdown from Sherwin-Williams which shows the paint colour match sample. A drawdown is when the paint supplier mixes up a gallon of paint, then uses a machine to equally and concisely spread out an amount of paint onto a coated piece of white paper.
If the colour match was not absolutely perfect, then they would tweak it to ensure a perfect match. This was indeed perfect!
This paint called Quali-Kote, by Sherwin Williams. It spread with ease and set up very quickly; with a remarkable exact replication of the sample we had chosen for each room. What a huge relief to confirm that this colour matched paint matches the exact representation of its fan deck color. In this case it also matched perfectly the “draw down” freshly painted sample that our Sherwin Williams clerk so graciously gave us.
Within a day our new feature walls were aglow with color that exactly represented our young client’s choices.
If you need help with selecting the perfect paint colour, we'd love to help!
Feel free to contact us here.
Thank you for allowing me to share a little designer insight with you.
Sustainability is a growing trend – and it's here to stay. There are many ways you can embrace sustainability. You can buy less, recycle more – and make a commitment to use renewable energy sources wherever possible. But why should you? If you're not convinced about the importance of living a more sustainable life, here are six reasons why you should be:
1. To reduce the impact of climate change.
You can't deny the impact our lifestyles are having on our environment. Despite an overwhelming body of science that confirms the damage we're causing, the situation continues to get worse. In fact, leading scientists claim that – if we do nothing to prevent it the world could experience irreparable damage by 2050.
Do you want to be part of the climate change problem – or do you want to be part of the solution?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) lists air pollution as one of the biggest threats to our health. This is an invisible threat – we can't see it, but we also can't escape it. It's all around us, in the air we breathe. According to the WHO, 91% of the global population lives in an area where air pollution exceeds acceptable limits, causing 4.2 million deaths each year.
When you make a commitment to living more sustainably, you reduce your impact on air pollution – playing your part in reducing the impact it has in our communities.
3. To keep wildlife safe.
A 2018 report from the WWF claims humans wiped out 60% of the world's wildlife between 1970 and 2014. The evidence is pretty clear. The way we live is not sustainable – and it's harming species that do not have a say in the matter.
When we live more sustainably, we're able to reduce the threat that still exists to animals across the world. For example, when we commit to buying products without palm oil, we're doing our bit to reduce the impact of deforestation. This deforestation currently affects already-endangered species across the globe, including chimpanzees, tigers and African elephants.
When we buy sustainably, we also need to make sure the products we buy are not tested on animals. Around 75,000 animals are still killed in laboratories each year.
4. To protect the world's resources.
The world's resources are not infinite. The majority of households still use non-renewable sources of energy to fuel their homes and cars. This will not – and can not – last forever. Sooner or later, these valuable resources will be gone forever, and we will be forced to move onto renewable sources of energy.
Why not make the change now, and protect the world's resources instead of depleting them?
5. To save money.
When you live a more sustainable lifestyle, you are likely to save money in the long-run. Sustainability involves switching to reusable products wherever possible - which means you no longer need to purchase their disposable alternatives. For example, if you have a baby, using reusable diapers can save over $2,500 between birth and potty training.
6. To reduce the need for landfill sites.
Despite government efforts to reduce the amount of waste going into landfill, we are still relying on them to take the majority of our waste each year. And, in 2016, Canadians had a total of 24,940,747 tonnes to dispose of.
Recycling is not enough. If we want to reduce the impact we're having on the environment, we also need to look at how we can reduce our overall waste - and ensure that the waste we do have, is being disposed of in a sustainable way.
With the advent of the new LED light bulbs, there is much confusion.
It used to be just select the correct wattage for your lights and away you go, but now there are so many things to think about.
Rather than writing article outlining the 'do's and 'don't's of LED light bulbs, I thought I'd post links to great articles here. All links are from Waveform Lighting and are excellent articles.
What is the dreaded blue light hazard?
Are LED light bulbs safe?
Should I choose a 2,700K or 3,000K LED light bulb? What's the difference?
What is the difference between CCT and CRI and do I need to know?
Why is my LED bulb flickering? How do I stop it?
What is the difference between Lux and Lumens?
What is Colour Rendering Index or CRI?
Here's an article I posted several years ago. It's been very helpful to others!
How many recessed lights do I need? How far apart do I place them?
If you need help with lighting, we'd love to assist you!
The National Building Code (of Canada) requires non-combustible material 18” x 18” to the left and right and 30” high. This includes the wall behind a range, a blower unit in a wood framed hood, but does not include a (metal) vent-hood.
The manufacturer will dictate the non-combustible zone for gas ranges and that 18” x 18” zone to the left and right may increase to (18” Left + Range Width + 18” Right) x 30” high.
Another hint - Look in the installation manual of the stove you are specifying. It will show/tell you what the manufacturer’s requirements are. Quite often they are the same as the National Canadian code.
Well, can you imagine my surprise and utter joy to receive an email from HGTV yesterday?
I'm honoured and absolutely thrilled to be featured as one of their Interior Design Professionals.
I'd love to have you check out two of the rooms I recently completed for a fabulous client of mine in Surrey, BC.
Just click either of the Room photos above, and join the fun!
Jil Sonia McDonald is an interior designer working in the Lower Mainland, and Fraser Valley, BC.
Please contact her at email@example.com
Hi, I'm thrilled to announce I won the best interior designer by Houzz for 2019.
Just a little note, I've won this for 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and now 2019. Feel free to click on the link above for more info!
If you'd love to get professional, interior design advice, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great day!
It is no secret that apart from all the other luxuries, the level of comfort in your home is affected by the air quality. The level of humidity and temperature are just some of the few variables that your health and comfort while indoors hinge on. For instance, when the humidity is too high, you quickly go from a perfect hair day to a ruined one, and when it is too low, you try to pet your furred best friend's head, and you end up zapping them with bouts of static electricity. Fortunately, you don't need a sixth sense to gauge the level of humidity in your home because we have shared tips on how to do so below.
How humidity levels affect your home:
The optimum humidity level as recommended by the EPA is between 40-60%. When it goes lower or higher than the optimum, the effects are often different as highlighted below
What happens when it is too low?
When humidity is too high:
It affects your health negatively: Studies show that most bacteria, allergens, dust mites, mildew, and mold flourish in the presence of excess moisture and when your indoor atmosphere has high humidity, they thrive. When breathed in, these allergens result in health problems. For instance, molds trigger asthma attacks, constant allergies, and many other respiratory problems. Also, high humidity means that your body's cooling system must work two times harder to maintain the internal temperature. This results to dehydration, fatigue, headaches, and excessive sweating which easily triggers other skin conditions such as heat rash.
It causes structural damage to property: Apart from affecting your health, excess humidity also brings you additional repair and maintenance costs as a result of the damage it causes to your home. This occurs in different ways as shown here;
Causes the growth of mold on furniture, walls, ceilings, and even attics thereby lowering the value of the house.
Monitor indoor humidity levels
The first step to countering humidity problems is by getting accurate measurements of its level. You cannot employ other tactics when you don't know if it's higher or lower than relative. In respect to that, strategically install a hygrometer to help you monitor the levels, so you can figure out what your next step should be.
Open windows and use fans when moisture is high
When there is excessive moisture, opening windows and using fans are the cheapest and easiest ways to dehumidify your house. This is because doing so allows cold, dry air to circulate. However, opening a window may not be as effective, as the level of humidity outdoors is often higher or like moisture indoors.
Purchase a dehumidifier and a humidifier:
It's essential to note that the aspect of high or low humidity is something that you'll always have to deal with regardless of your climatic zone. This is because, during winter, the levels of humidity tend to drop and during summer they skyrocket. In respect to that, you have to find ways to cope during these different seasons. Fortunately, humidity levels can be maintained with the help of humidifier and dehumidifier in your home. So, having these two appliances gives you the option of switching one on depending on the level of moisture. For instance, when it is too high, you switch on the dehumidifier which sucks in the moisture, causing the levels to return to optimum and when it is too low, the humidifier does the trick. This combined with the tips listed above will help you keep moisture problems at bay, enabling you to live your best life when indoors.
Get your air ducts checked
Besides a dehumidifier or a humidifier, your HVAC system also helps in regulating humidity levels. However, no matter how expensive your HVAC system is, it is of no use if your air ducts have leaks. For instance, if it generates cool, dry air when humidity is high during summer, then this air escapes through the leak spots on your ducts. The same case applies during seasons of low humidity, thus rendering it ineffective. Therefore, get your ductwork checked to ensure that all leakages are sealed.
Have an Interior Design Project you need help with? Contact Us Today.
Author: Eric Langstaff
Quite a few of my clients haven't gotten around to putting up their Christmas tree yet.
Here's a few quick tips to get you started.
1. First select your tree.
There are so many options to choose from:
2. Choose a suitable Tree stand.
Whichever stand you choose, ensure that you select the proper tree stand that will give you stability and hold a generous amount of water if necessary.
3. Tree skirts
They add a decorative touch and provide coverage for any planters or non-decorative tree stands. Great backdrop to those pretty parcels!
4. Tree lights
We now have three options to choose from:
If you choose LED white lights - ensure that you select the warm white which is usually 2700 to 3000 Kelvin units . This will ensure you have a warm glow. The cool LED lights often give a very bluish and harsh looking light.
Incandescent lights are the most beautiful lights but they are hard to find now and produce heat which can lead to fire hazards on dry trees.
Mini battery pack lights or Fairy lights are a beautiful option, especially on smaller and more delicate trees, or tree branches. If you go this route ensure that you select the mini or fairy lights that include either a remote option or a timer option, so you are not digging through the tree to find the battery pack.
Depending upon which type of lights you use, I tend to use 100 lights for each foot of Christmas tree.
5. Hanging your Christmas tree lights.
Note this is the most controversial aspect of this post as there are many methods to do this, but I prefer the "branch wrap “approach.
Make your starting point of lights at the bottom of the tree near the trunk. Pull the string of Christmas lights taut to the tip of the branch, then work back toward the trunk, wrapping the cord circularly over itself and the branch, while working your way to the top of the tree. Make sure to select the largest branches to wrap first. Ensure there are more lights at the trunk area of the tree as this provides depth to your design. You will know your tree is "all wrapped up" when you finish at the top lone branch.
Start with the largest ornaments first, placing them near the tree trunk with a few coming through to the branch tips. Then start with the medium sized ornaments, filling in the gaps and lastly the smallest and most delicate ornaments should be placed near the branch tips. This gives dimension to your tree and draws the eyes from the base to the branch outwards to allow others to enjoy your ornaments. Hanging your ornaments only on the outside of your tree can make it looked cluttered and less 3 dimensional. I've got to say I see this all the time and it's difficult to resist the urge to tuck a few ornaments into the background to provide depth.
Plan on at least 10 ornaments per foot of tree.
ie. 6' tree needs 60 ornaments.
Ensure your most precious ornaments are placed where they can be viewed easily. I have a special light bulb which we had only one of. It's now burned out so I've put it in a large plastic ball ornament, hung it on fishline and added a little 'snow' to it. Now I can enjoy that special blue bulb to this day, nice way to protect those keepsake ornaments!
7. Garland. Some people like to use garland. If this is the case, use it sparingly. I find it can overwhelm the tree so I tend to stay away from it.
8. Tinsel. This is optional and time consuming. Each piece needs to be placed singularly by itself. Try avoiding throwing your tinsel on by the handfuls, as I did as a child! It is truly beautiful to look at a tinselled tree, it reflects the lights and ornaments as well!
9. Tree Topper. Your final touch is applying the Christmas star, angel or Christmas spire to the top of the Christmas tree. Make sure the branch is strong enough to support your topper and can be seen above the rest of the tree facing the most viewed angle.
10. Almost done! Now, look at your beautiful tree that you wonderfully decorated, and see if there are any bare patches or empty spaces in the tree. Ask yourself if you may need to add more ornaments or perhaps move a few items. It's your preference on how full you want your tree to look. Some prefer a sparse looking tree while others prefer a full and colorful tree.
With all these considerations you can decide what kind of Christmas design theme you choose for this year. It all starts with your tree. Take your inspiration from the tree and dress up your mantel and a few table tops!
My preference is to put on my favorite Christmas music, have a nice glass of wine, nibble on a few (OK several) chocolates and dance around the house while decorating the tree.
Have a wonderful Christmas. Enjoy your decorating!
Merry Christmas from all of us at Jil Sonia Interior Designs.
Ready for the last post outlining the 15 Essential Steps to Design your Dream Home? Here we go!
First, let’s review, we’ve looked at steps 1-12 so far:
15 Essential Steps to design your dream home Part 1 of 5
1. Selecting your perfect structure
2. Floor plans and elevations
15 Essential Steps to design your dream home Part 2 of 5
5. Mood and Style
6. Overall design
15 Essential Steps to design your dream home Part 3 of 5
7. Bathroom and Kitchen design
8. Furniture Plan
9. Lighting plan
15 Essential Steps to design your dream home Part 4 of 5
10. Window covering
12. Wall colour
Now... we move on to the last 3 steps Part 5/5
Steps 13, 14 and 15 !
Now that you have a complete plan, exterior colours, roofing, windows etc, you can shop! Now it's time for accessories. For rhythm, you need objects that repeat. Instead of one candlestick on your sideboard in your dining room, what about 3 of the same? This way our accessories have more of an impact.
Ask yourself repeatedly through this process -- are my choices consistent with my commitment to the desired ambience? If not go back through a few steps. You cannot compromise here and get the room of your dreams.
Continuously keep the mood of your room in mind. Try to do all your accessorizing and styling within a short period of time in order to keep to one style. Note: 80 percent of the design of a room should be in one focused style and 20 percent can vary. This 20 percent will certainly stand out.
Every room needs some bling unless it's a Farm home pictured below. Fully complete one room, before moving onto the next.
14. Edit your choices:
Keep the concepts of harmony and balance in mind when editing your ideas. I find this stage often takes the most time. Your final choices should please your eye, feel balanced, and create your desired mood. Our eyes need to rest so don't be afraid to have a little bare space, that helps make everything else pop.
Line the items up along a wall to see what you are working with.
What works, what doesn't?
15. Finally - Relax:
Designing a home is not easy. There are important choices to be made and made quickly. Having a game plan and following it does ease the stress.
Now we're all done, kick back, relax and enjoy your beautiful new home!
OK, are we ready? Questions? I'd love to help!
Well, it's not often that I share another designer's blog post, but this one was so great, I thought I'd post it here. It even has a quote from me in it!
Read on to learn "How to get anything you want from your interior designer." by the uber talented Tawna Allred.
So, let’s review, we’ve looked at steps 1-3 designing your dream home.
1. Selecting your perfect structure.
2. Floor plans and elevations.
And steps 7-9 of designing your dream home:
7. Bathroom and Kitchen design
8. Furniture Plan
9. Lighting plan
Now... we move on to steps 10, 11 and 12!
10. Window coverings:
When designing your dream home, be aware of oddly shaped windows. For some reason architects love to add them in! Notice the angle at the top of the window below.
These windows are very difficult to cover. If you like horizontal blinds these can usually be used for some of the more difficult, or odd shaped windows, however not everyone likes horizontal blinds. Many clients prefer window coverings that can be slid to the sides so that all the glass is showing. Transom windows (especially if they are arched), although beautiful, are especially difficult to cover.
Determine what kind of light coverage do you need. Do you sleep in - then curse the sunlight in the morning; or do you embrace it? You may need room darkening, or light filtering blinds. Do you have a window needing privacy? A window with lots of glare? Many solutions are available.
Discuss your drapery needs with an interior designer or window coverings specialist. Note blinds, drapery and window coverings can be a little pricey, 30% of your room's budget usually goes towards window coverings.
OK, so we are really getting to the styling part here. We know the mood we want to achieve. But where do we go from here? One idea is to start with a ‘signature fabric’, this is a fabric that sets a style or creates your desired mood. Determine the placement of your signature fabric. This can be an expensive fabric - perhaps use it just for the front of a small pillow or the back of a beautiful chair. Confirm your signature fabric suits the ambiance you desire. Use this fabric to set the colour tone of your room.
Now select complementary fabrics. In general, allow no more than three different patterns in one room! Determine placement of all fabrics i.e.:
- patterned drapery fabrics for the windows - like the example above
- perhaps a cream and raspberry stripe for an ottoman,
- black and cream polka dots for the chair backs.
Finally select trim to customize draperies or throw cushions. This trim can be a fringe on pillows, or a band of colour/fabric/ribbon along the side of a drapery panel. Then use your signature fabric to pick colours for the rest of the room.
12. Wall colour:
Now you can finally pick a wall colour! Can you believe we had to wait until step 12 for this? Wall color is not usually picked until near the end of the design, as there are so many distinct colours of paint to choose from. Kimberley Seldon says " picking a wall colour first is like buying a lipstick, then look all over trying to find a dress to match."
Remember to keep the room’s atmosphere in mind. What is your light level? Resist the urge to paint a dark room in a light colour. Donald Kaufman says "Light wall colours never come to life in a dark room..." If the room is sunny, play that up - don't use a dark colour for the walls. Look at your signature fabric for wall color ideas.
I can go on and on about colour but really colour expert Maria Killam says it best when she says "Painting a dark room in pale colours simply accentuates the shadows in a space."
Other questions to ask when selecting a colour 'theme': Are you drawn to warm, neutral or cool colours? Do you prefer many colors or a monochromatic look?
Personally, I throw out the colour theory I was taught in design school. I don't understand how someone can look at a room and say "Do I want a complementary colour scheme? What about the split - complementary colour scheme or maybe an analogous colour scheme?" Only interior design students talk in those terms. I used to be one of them!
Maybe, just maybe, those theories come into play when looking at how to spice up a room with accessories or accents, but in general the main points to remember are:
Finding all this confusing? Contact me to find out how you can have the home of your dreams!
Stay tuned for our last 3 steps!
So, let’s review, we've looked at 15 Essential steps to design your dream home Part 1 of 5.
1. Selecting your perfect structure.
2. Floor plans and elevations.
Then 15 Essential steps to design your dream home Part 2 of 5.
5. Mood and Style
6. Overall design
Now, let’s move on to step #7 shall we?
7. Bathroom and Kitchen:
In our last blog I had mentioned that, when considering the overall design of a new home or renovation, I always start with the kitchen. I find the kitchen counter top to be the most limiting. Yes, there are lots of different materials; quartz, granite, cement, laminates, etc. But the colour palette generally starts with the countertops.
Then we move onto the cabinetry itself – do we want stained or painted? The trend is certainly towards a light coloured, painted finish.
When I specify a painted finish, I usually go with MDF material for the cabinets. I find all kitchen cabinets or wood in general, contracts and expands with the moisture in the air. If you are using wood, the joints will split a little when the wood swells. If the cabinets are stained, that small gap is not noticeable, but if they are painted, it certainly is noticeable. MDF does not contract or expand to the extent that natural wood does, so we don’t have to worry about any tiny cracks.
That being said, if a raw (unpainted) area of MDF is exposed to water for an extended period of time, this will swell and will not go back down. However, all areas of MDF should be painted, leaving no ‘raw’ areas. Just take care to dry off those items before stacking them in the cupboards.
Now we’ve got appliances selected (as stated in my last post), cabinets and countertops selected, let’s select our sinks and faucets. Speak with your cabinet manufacturer and find out which size sinks you can accommodate. Ensure the sinks will be large enough to contain all the splashes from either washing dishes or washing hands. Select faucets that are easy to use and go with the general style of your home.
In the bathroom when selecting your tub – don’t be afraid to visit showrooms and lay in the tub. There are two things I don’t like selecting for clients - tubs and beds – they really are a personal preference. Make sure you’ll be comfy in the tub.
Now, select tile to coordinate with bathroom fixtures, flooring, faucets, etc. Please, please, please don’t select an accent tile. If you really need an accent, perhaps select a textured tile (ie. one with waves), that coordinates with your general tile. Different coloured tiles or patterned tiles date the home so easily. Remember, when in doubt use plain tile. You can always bring in accent pieces of sculpture, or flower vases, etc. to give life to the room, don’t rely on accent tiles to do this job.
8. Furniture plan:
It is essential to create a furniture plan before choosing lighting or finalizing the electrical plan. Go through each room and write down all the activities that will happen in each room. i.e. in our living room we:
Play board games
Ensure you have furniture for each activity and plan for furniture to perform double duty for several functions. We have upholstered ottomans that we prop our feet up on when watching TV, but when we have several guests over, they become seats and they also can be pulled up to the coffee table for board games. Arrange furniture around a focal point, perhaps the fireplace or a window with a view.
9. Lighting plan:
a. Choose your general lighting first. This is the lighting that you initially switch on when entering a room – it casts a soft, even light over the bulk of the room. This can be recessed lighting or perhaps a beautiful chandelier over a dining room table.
b. Task lighting next; such as Island lighting, under cabinet lighting, desk lighting. Think about what tasks you’ll perform and ensure you aren’t struggling to see what you are doing (have you ever tried to finish a jigsaw puzzle with dim lighting?). A tip when you are reading – the bottom of the table lamp shade should be level with your eyes when seated, this is the most comfortable level for most people and helps to reduce eye fatigue.
c. Decorative lighting is last; such as: wall sconces, up lighting, etc.
To me, lighting is one of the most important aspects of design. It can make or break the atmosphere of your room. Be sure to include both up lighting and down lighting (have some light sources shine up, some shine down). Ensure you have enough outlets to plug in your favourite lamp, stereo, computer etc. The electrical budget usually equates to 3% of your budget.
Stay tuned next week for more design tips. If you need help or have any questions on home design, please email me at email@example.com. I’d love to help you complete the home of your dreams!
Hi everyone, ready to hear more about designing your dream home?
Earlier, we looked at steps 1-3 of designing your dream home.
1. Selecting your perfect structure.
2. Floor plans and elevations.
Today we'll look at steps 4, 5 and 6. Whether you are building from scratch, renovating, or just tackling that one room; we'll help you solve your design dilemmas.
The dreaded "B" word - budget. Create a budget and stick to it. I know it's not fun, but yes, it is essential. Here’s some help…Speak with your builder or interior designer first. They will have a set amount of money allotted for items such as counter tops, lighting fixtures, flooring etc. Shop within this budget and see what you get for that amount. Remember a good hint is to put your money in things that you touch or see on flat surfaces, these are the items that are most visually prominent.
Materials such as flooring, counter tops and paint are often where quality really shows. Go for the best you can afford for those surfaces. Items that aren't so visually apparent like toilets, sinks, and high mounted lighting fixtures don't need to be expensive to get that great look.
So, save on some areas and splurge where it really shows! When budgeting, don’t forget to include essential items such as window coverings, home insurance and property taxes.
5. Mood and Style:
Choose to create an emotional atmosphere in your home. We live by our emotions. Have you ever seen a home that is lovely, but lacking something? It's probably lacking emotion or mood – the real ‘feel’ of the home.
What mood do I want this house to convey? What's my style? Traditional, contemporary, west coast or 50s bungalow? Look at the exterior of your home and continue that style throughout. Nothing looks worse than when you have an exterior that is a distinctive style from the interior. We need a unified and beautiful look to create a harmonious home.
I live in a Frank Lloyd Wright styled home. In design school, I learned that he spent a lot of time in Japan. His homes and interiors quite often reflected the Japanese style - low, horizontal lines, and low-pitched roofs. So, I went with a slightly Asian look in my home, minimal furnishings, no clutter, I selected furniture for function - with a Zen like appeal.
Look at those tear sheets you've collected from magazines, often they evoke the mood that you love. Try to replicate that mood - if you need help hire an interior designer- this can be the most cost-effective way of keeping you on budget. Designers prevent you from purchasing those 'one-off' kind of items. Having those types of items in your design can throw off your focus, ending up with a home that has no cohesive flow. Designers can sum up the mood you are trying to achieve and keep you on track. 80% of your style should be one focused style. Whether it's casual, modern, country, formal or informal; keep your style in mind when selecting tile, kitchen cabinets, plumbing fixtures, or purchasing furniture.
I like to start with the kitchen; it truly is the heart of the home. Select appropriate appliances before designing cabinetry. Note: non-standard sized appliances or fridges will not fit in standard cabinetry. Work with a great designer who knows how to create functional kitchen spaces.
We aren't so concerned about the traditional triangle in kitchen design – whereby the stove, sink and fridge are in a triangle formation. That worked well when there was only one cook in the kitchen, but as kitchens increasingly have multiple family cooks helping out - think about work zones. We need a baking and cooking zone, prep zone, beverage zone, clean up zone. Ensure all work areas are covered and it will make your life so much easier.
Look through the other ‘work’ rooms of your home i.e. laundry and bathroom areas. List your day to day activities and ensure your home truly functions to enable your life to flow smoothly. Isn't that what great design is all about?
Stay tuned for more great design tips from Jil Sonia Interiors.
What does your dream home look like? Contemporary, Traditional, Craftsman, Mid Century Modern? Townhome, House, Apartment?
Whichever style or type of home you choose, there are important steps to follow in designing your dream home. In this 5 part feature, we will be looking at 15 helpful steps, guiding us to complete the home of our dreams. Today we'll cover steps one to three.
1. Selecting your perfect structure.
We all know to keep a folder of tear sheets of desired looks, from magazines. Don't worry about cost just yet; I want you to keep your mind open at this point. Tear out anything at all that catches your eye or makes your heart flutter!
After accumulating several photos, look for a similarity. In general do you like ranchers or multi-level homes? Stone, brick, wood, stucco? Lots of windows, or cozy and quiet? Come up with a theme - 'your look'. Speak with your builder and architect about which type of home can be placed on your lot. Often something we like, can be incorporated into what we can afford.
The style of your exterior architecture should influence your interior design. i.e. Victorian homes generally look best with traditional interiors; lodges look wonderful with structured, but casual furnishings. Remember to bring that exterior feeling inside. For example, exterior rock siding also works for the interior fireplace surround.
#2. Floor plans and elevations:
On to the inside. Have a copy of your floor plan available, this is a must! If you are not building a new home, you can hire a design firm to draft out your existing floor plans. We need plans to either build from scratch, add on, or renovate.
Elevation plans are also important - they allow you to visualize the finished look of a vertical wall. An elevation is a view of an interior or exterior wall. You are standing back, looking directly at the wall. This is a flat, two-dimensional view. Only the height and width are obvious. This view of the wall shows items that cannot be clearly shown in plan. This could be wall moldings, doors, window sizes, light switches, electrical outlets, or a finish pattern that is applied on the wall.
List the needs you have for your house. How do you really live? Be honest!
Do you need a: play room, large kitchen, four bedrooms, den, or a large family room? Write a list of what you do each day - down to the nitty gritty- including things like how much laundry you do, which door you generally use to enter a home - garage, side or front door.
Things like these really let you customize your home to your unique needs. For example; when I come home I rarely enter via the front door. I park in the garage and usually bring items from the car into the home. I immediately enter the laundry room, so, I need a place right near the door to set down my bags of groceries, design sample boards, etc.
A pet peeve of mine is when you enter the home from the garage, come inside, then open the closet door to put away your coat - while someone in your home is trying to greet you - but they are blocked by an open closet door. To avoid this, ensure the door swings are drawn in on the plans to all you to have smooth sailings whichever door or hallway you use!
Knowing how to customize your floor plan really helps you plan a home to really suit your needs.
Stay tuned for the remaining steps!
If you need help designing a dream home, or just the perfect room, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org we are here to help.
Hi, my name is Jil Sonia McDonald of Jil Sonia Interiors
I am thrilled to have been asked to guest post for Maria Killam while she is away vacationing in the land of the Tuscan sun. I've copied the post here.
I have been a professional Interior Designer for the past 12 years, located in beautiful Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.
I am absolutely passionate about Interior Design and it gives me great joy to create dream homes for my clients. I love what I do!
Maria had a few questions for me.
1. What’s your favourite colour? Why?
I have to say my favourite color is "Simply white" OC-117 by Benjamin Moore. It is the perfect white for walls. It is not too creamy, not too gray, not too "pinky".
Being an Interior Designer, has me working with paint, furniture, fabrics, carpets and tiles, everyday. Simply White is the color that allows me to change up my accessories with clients, and even at home - whenever the mood hits me. And as other designers will tell you; we love updating our own home and work spaces.
I have found that when using white walls, it is important to add texture to the room, such as this lovely coffee table in a distressed wood from Restoration Hardware shown below, or this rattan end table. I have seen that when we use all flat, smooth, finishes white paint can look like primer – definitely not what we want.
2. What was your biggest colour/design mistake?
I work with a 15 step design system, which doesn’t leave room for mistakes, but sometimes it’s the little things that really ‘make’ a room. I once decorated a client’s home and it turned out beautifully, client was thrilled, but it didn’t have anything with ‘meaning’. Now, I always try to add something that is personal to a client, such this client’s great, great, grandmother’s silver cutlery. Our client had these beautiful pieces mounted in a shadow box, and now they are a wonderful conversation point – brilliant idea!
3. What is the most important colour lesson you’ve learned?
When I started out as a designer I had no idea about undertones in colour selection. I thought a beige, was a beige. I discovered with the training and mentorship program from Maria Killam's course “Specifying Undertones”, that there are many undertones of beige – pink, yellow and green, to name just a few! She taught me to compare colours, so that we, as designers, can know exactly how to give our clients, or ourselves, the PERFECT colour. I cannot recommend this course highly enough. Such a great professional development experience that one can add to their role as an Interior Designer.
4. When it comes to colour, what’s hot?
Grey is still hot – but I see white over taking more and more! Clients are all asking me for light and bright. White walls with pops of coloured pillows, throws, and accent trays, as pictured below. I just love it!
5. Which colour do you think is timeless?
I think a grayed blue is timeless. I strongly recommend you use a very grayed blue — so grey looking that on the paint sample chip itself, it looks gray, not blue! Colour appears twice as bright on your walls as on the chip, so we always need to select muted gray blues unless we want in-your-face baby boy blue.
One of my favourite grays with a slight blue undertone is Stonington Gray HC-170.
6. Which colour trend would you love to see disappear?
If I had a magic wand I’d banish the world of pinky beige carpet. I’ve discussed this with carpet manufacturers – they were blissfully unaware! Pink beige can clash with so many other colours – especially yellow!
It’s one of those non-descript, all pervasive, colours that look too much like skin tones and doesn’t give clients the fresh, bright colours that we’re all yearning for today. Often builders who don’t hire professional designers, think it’s a neutral colour, but it’s far from that!
Here, client’s dog Bella, shows off her timeless medium brown flooring – isn’t that much lovelier than pinky beige carpet?
7. What do you think is one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make with colour?
The biggest mistake homeowners make on their own is trying to select a paint colour first. Really, we should be first selecting our hard finishes, and in the following order: countertops and tiles, flooring, furniture, draperies, pillows. Paint comes last.
We have thousands of paint colours to select from. It is absolutely vital that homeowners choose wisely, with the help of a great interior designer. Paint colours should be a beautiful backdrop for the other items we have selected, unless the paint finish is a beautiful metallic or lacquered finish.
Here, we’ve added a darker, grayed blue table, which just pops against the Simply White walls.
8. Which part of participating in Specify Colour with Confidence™ created the biggest breakthrough/aha moment/insight for your business, and how did it help you move forward?
I realized just how important it is to compare colours. It is almost impossible to determine the undertones unless you compare samples side by side, with a pure white background behind them. A simple piece of white poster board is such a great tool to have on hand when choosing colour.
Now, I meet all my clients with absolute confidence. I know that I will help them choose the most amazing paint colours, fabrics, tiling, and more, making their home perfect!
For more great tips, interior design insight, or to see more photos of my work, please check out this blog. I’d love to see you there!
Maria, thank you for this exciting and amazing opportunity to guest blog. I’m eternally grateful for all the colour instruction that I’ve received from you. I’ve just not found this instruction anywhere else!
Now, I'd love to know... Which white is your favourite right now?
Jil Sonia McDonald - Interior Designer at Jil Sonia Interior Designs.