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."
We’d love to have you join us!
Keep safe and remember to have fun!
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 (i.e.. 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 contact me. 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 to 3 in part 1/5
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, or creating a board on Pinterest, (check our our Pinterest boards here!) . 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 kitchen cabinets, fireplaces, 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, contact us here, we work virtually with our remote interior design services, and 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?
Calculating the correct CFM (cubic foot per minute) for your bathroom fan is important. We need the capacity of changing or replacing all of the air in our bathrooms 8 times each hour. This will remove the moisture that can lead to mold and mildew.
Large bathtubs and showers can give off a lot of steam - which can be relaxing and enjoyable - but - we don't want that steam to stick around. So how do we get rid of it?
A correctly sized fan will help keep our home comfortable and remove the moisture quickly and effortlessly.
Here's how to calculate the correct numbers, so your fan draws out the extra moisture, but isn't too powerful (making it quite noisy).
First, we need to calculate the volume of the bathroom.
Take the length of the room and multiply it by the width of the room. Take that # and multiply it by the height of the room. ie. 7' width x 10' length = 70. 70 x the height of the room (9' or however high your ceiling is) = 630.
Now take that # and divide it by 7.5. Why 7.5? Well remember how I mentioned our air needs to be exchanged 8 times per hour? Well that works out to being changed every 7.5 minutes.
So 630 divided by 7.5 = 84 I always round up, so that means a fan rated 100 cfm, will be perfect for our bathroom.
Hope this helps keep your bathroom well ventilated so you can enjoy those luxurious hot showers!
How to know which size bathroom fan to purchase for your main bathroom, powder room or ensuite bathroom.
How many CFM do I need for my bathroom fan?
Wondering how to calculate which size of fan you need for your bathroom? For a bathroom with a tub or shower, here's the magic ratio!
Calculate the volume of your bathroom:
Height of the room x length of room x width of the room = total volume.
ie. 8' high x 10' long x 6' wide room = 480 cubic feet.
Now divide the cubic feet by 7.5
480 divided by 7.5 = 64 cfm fan size. Or select the closest available fan size, when in between sizes, always select the higher CFM fan. Meaning, if there is a 50 CFM fan and a 75 CFM fan, select the 75 CFM fan.
There you go!
Comparing different types of Caulking and Sealants. What your interior designer and contractors, need to know.
I received a great email from Mehran from ATEC Building Envelope Consulting Inc. and I just had to share the great information.
From time to time builders or homeowners ask me what type of Caulking and sealant materials they should use. The following list provides some guidelines.
A wide variety of caulking material is available, each suited to certain applications.
They tend to be high VOC emitters; therefore, builders need to be aware of possible indoor air quality problems that can result from the use of a particular sealant , especially in housing for chemically sensitive people:
Please do not hesitate to contact Mehran Saraie, EIT, AScT if you need further information or if you have any questions. email@example.com
Jil Sonia McDonald - Interior Designer of Jil Sonia Interior Designs.