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.
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, believe it or not, it's that time of year again! Yippee!
What colours will you be decorating with this year? I think I'll be using aqua and white, with silver accents.
Here's a few tips for decorating for the holidays - with style!
#1. Declutter. Remove all of your accessories and put them into storage, in an unused room, closet, or even under the bed. We need all the knick knacks gone.
#2. What type of Christmas tree will you be having? A real, green tree? A white flocked tree? Aluminum tree? No tree at all?
More and more people are moving towards the white flocked trees - I know I am. This allows you, to use even more colourful ornaments and tinsel. But there is something to be said for the traditional green fir tree - beautiful.
#3. What are your family favorites? You know, the ornaments, or décor that simply must go up each year? Incorporate this into your style and design.
#4. Colour. If possible, take into consideration the existing colour palette in your home. We're hoping to work with it, not against it. Can you pull colours from your wall, carpet, artwork and use them on your Christmas tree and mantle?
#5 Variations in tones. I love to use 3 colours or shades. One mid-toned, or darker colour; one lighter colour; and a metallic. Since it's Christmas - we need a little sparkle.
Now it's over to you? What colours are you dreaming of this Christmas?
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 (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 1-3 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 email@example.com 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?
It's always nice to be featured in different publications and magazines!
Beckenstein Fabrics was kind enough to ask me to present my recent projects. I was happy to be featured with 2 other amazing interior designers.
Feel free to read more here https://www.beckensteinfabrics.com/3-talented-interior-designers-share-the-projects-they-completed-this-past-summer/
Thank you so much Beckenstein for your kind words and for featuring our designs!
Would you like a few quick tips on how to calculate the correct size chandelier or pendant light for over your dining room table?
Here we go!
Add the width and length of your dining room ie. 10' + 14' = 24.
We need a light approximately 24" wide!
Or here are a few general dining room table sizes, and the width of lights that would complement the table nicely.
Oval table 42" long - light should be 18-20" wide.
Oval table 48" long - light should be 24" wide.
Square tables? Just take the table size and subtract 12" off each side.
ie. 42" sq. table. -12" and -12" = 18" wide light.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Of course there are variables, but this will get you in the right ballpark!
Here's a few quick tips on lighting placement for your dining room chandelier or pendant.
Specifically, how high do we hang the bottom of our pendant or chandeliers, above our dining room tables?
Well, this depends upon the height of the room.
Here's a few quick examples:
8' high ceiling - hang the bottom of the light, 32 - 36" off of the table.
9' high ceiling - hang the bottom of the light, 36 - 40" off of the table.
10' high ceiling - hang the bottom of the light, 40 - 44" off of the table.
Hope this quick tip helps!
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!
I absolutely love working on new projects, it's definitely my favourite aspect of design. You can imagine how thrilled I was to be contacted by Steve Kooner who is one of the real estate sales executives, for the brand spanking new, beautiful town home project called Onyx. He wanted to meet with me to discuss plans to build 129 new townhomes to be built in Clayton Heights, at 19501 74th Ave., Surrey.
After meeting the developers in their office, I quickly realized how wonderful they are to work with. They gave me free rein to select the colours and fixtures for the items. They trusted my expertise.
I had great suppliers to work with and was honoured that the team loved everything that I presented. I was so impressed with Mr. Jaswant Bassi and the team from Urban Coast Developments. When viewing items I had selected – doors, hardware, lighting etc., his team mentioned that Jas wanted only high quality items throughout the homes. I had wrongly assumed to go with budget items, (as often builders do this when building on masse, but upon touring the suppliers showrooms, selecting items, I quickly realized that this is a high-quality builder, he will not put his name on shoddy work or fixtures. Bravo!!
I always start with the exterior as that truly does show the framework of the design. We decided to go with 3 colour schemes. I wanted the colours to all relate, but feel different and I specially wanted the front doors to pop. You can see below some of our actual materials. We selected Hardie board samples, stonework, front door colours, accent shingle colours, roof colours, garage door colours, lighting and more. One of the things that impressed me most, is that each unit has its own DOUBLE garage, very rare on most complexes I've seen lately.
Inside I started with the kitchen first, as it truly is the heart of the home. We decided to go with two colour schemes inside, which I call Classic and Modern. The Classic scheme has shaker cabinets in white, shiny warm gray backsplash and a beautiful marble look countertop with stunning medium warm brown flooring. The Modern scheme has flat front cabinets with white uppers and grey lowers and a grey island. We have a soft warm grey countertops, combined with a glossy white backsplash.
The same lighting goes throughout. I used 3 sparkly pendant lights to draw your attention to the beautiful kitchen islands and I used a chrome round light fixture pictured below, for over the dining room table. The bathrooms are focused in very neutral colour scheme, so you can accessorize with whichever colours that you wish. Keeping with the kitchen cabinet colours I chose white shakers for the Classic bathrooms and grey flat cabinets for the Modern scheme. The bedrooms are clad in a beautiful warm carpet to keep your tootsies toasty, upon waking in the morning.
Then I moved on to the large amenity building that is located within the complex. It has 2 levels with kitchens (upper and lower). We will be selecting beautiful stackable chairs and tables as well as lovely sofas with accent chairs in the lounging area. This will be able to be rented out for family functions, weddings etc. I wasn't involved in the landscaping, but I do know what is anticipated and they're going to be adding lush trees grass and shrubbery to truly make this complex look warm and inviting.
I want to thank Urban Coast Developments, Jas and Rajan Bassi, Sukh and Arsh Pandher; and Steve Kooner and Tom O’Hara (Realtors) for being so wonderful to work with and making me feel like I was part of the team. If you want anymore information on this gorgeous project or to view the sales display suite, please contact Steve or Tom here http://liveonyx.ca/contact/ or go to their website which is http://liveonyx.ca/ I hear they are selling out fast!
For a quick summary, please view the feature sheet here! http://liveonyx.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/OnyxBrochure.pdf
I've been in interior designer for 12 years now and when talking about kitchen renovation, the question I get most often is "What colour do I paint my kitchen cabinets?".
Painting kitchen cabinets is expensive and hard work, we don't want to have to do this every 5 years!
Here our client chose to go with the classic white kitchen cabinets, which is something I recommend often.
White is classic and never goes out of style. To amp things up a little, the island was painted in a soft gray colour, which works so well with the marble countertop.
Another great point about white cabinets, is that you can accessorize with whatever colour you are using in the adjoining rooms. Above it's blue! Below it's yellow!
What is your favourite colour to use when accessorizing your kitchen? I'd love to know!
In the work of any Interior Designer you have clients all along the spectrum of available budgets.
You have the young couples who may be newly married involved in a first purchase of a home with a limited budget, getting their proverbial feet wet in the real estate market and trying to better themselves.
You may also have others who are at mid points in their real estate journey whom are looking to upgrade with family in mind, spaces to plan and a budget designed with a growing family.
You may have empty nesters who are in a flux looking to downsize after previously owning a larger home who need a new workable space and are involved in budgeting based on a possible retirement funds.
All these and more showcase the strong necessity to work within a defined client's budget.
One might argue that the Interior Designer might also be strongly involved in assisting the client on setting a reasonable budget that does not strain a client's potential funds and allows for the design project to be be completed and successful.
As a preface I would like to mention that in my life i have had the good fortune of a lovely father who raised me with the sincerest of business ideal, particularly that of being customer service oriented.
As a former dental corps officer in the WWII he was responsible supplying many necessary things while stationed in England.
Upon returning home to the west coast of Vancouver area he was immediately involved in sales, firstly in furniture retail then moved to real estate. This was where his strong integrity in working within the means of his clients. Later his work would bring him to starting his own Commercial Real Estate company.
This is where I gleaned a strong customer service ethic and as well as taste for modernism, mid-century aesthetic and interior design while personally spending some 20 years in the Vancouver residential and commercial real estate field. It is very client budget based.
Throughout the years and with that ethic I have found that client's budgets are a very personal thing. They are tied to various emotions depending upon their financial means. It is always a sensitive topic and needs to be dealt with in a very careful manner.
For that reason, my business model does not use pressure to have clients overextend themselves in their design. If client - designer relationship is key to a good Interior Design business, then exerting financial pressures to achieve a particular design project is not what I would consider good "customer service". In fact some may argue that it would be rude.
That in mind it would be safe to say that in the long run clients, who may not be able to afford a more pricey design, and whom have had a good experience with you as a designer, more trusting of your capability and relationship style. After all being personable and reasonable within client budgets goes a long way into creating possible repeat clients and also great referrals and even repeat business.
Here's to creating great happy design relationships one budget at a time!
I have the greatest item to tell you about. It’s a Star Map! By Modern Map Art.
A Map of the Stars for any particular night. We ordered one that was our wedding night and we were absolutely thrilled with it. You can pick the:
I'm over-the-moon happy with this and I'm thinking that other people could use this for their own wedding night or first date birth of a child, Engagement date, or even an anniversary date gift for your parents.
People love personalized items and I'm sure I will be ordering many of these as gifts.
The cost is really reasonable And there is even free shipping in the US and believe it or not in Canada as well. Check it out here (or click on any of the photos) and find out more of the details.
I also hear they have a Street map available as well..... !!
Who has heard of the rule of thirds?
This important rule says that most designs can be made more interesting by visually dividing a wall or a photo into thirds vertically and/or horizontally; and placing our most important elements within those thirds.
If you have a fireplace on a 12' wide wall, and perhaps the fireplace is 4' wide, well, you'd place the fireplace in the centre, leaving a 4' patch of wall on each side. Thereby dividing that wall in thirds.
Another important design concept is Visual Center and Balance. Placing important elements or the focal point of the design within the visual center of a piece is another design trick. We all know the actual centre of a photo is right in the middle of the shot. But, did you know the visual center is slightly to the right of and above the actual center of the photo? This is the area that our eyes are drawn to immediately.
This "rule" originally was developed by photographers to ensure every shot looks great. Don't we as designers, or homeowners want that as well? Basically when you are composing a photograph, or a wall, imagine two vertical lines and two horizontal lines dissecting your image into nine squares as shown below.
Placing your most important elements at one or more of the four intersections of those lines, helps create interesting photos or design.
Most balanced designs (and even unbalanced ones) rely on a grid. This invisible structure helps ensure that all the elements are placed in the right location, thereby achieving balance as well as helping with continuity and consistency of design. These are design principles that help the professional designer achieve visual balance.
If you'd like more info, please visit this great site at Photographytalk.com
If you'd love to have a visually balanced room, one that is truly pleasing to the eye, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mother's day is fast approaching.
Wondering what to get her for a gift? She's got perfume and scarves galore.
Judging from what my interior design clients say - most women want their home to look like THEY live there, not someone else!
We can provide the perfect paint colour, select the furniture that is just right - or simply answer all her interior design questions!
We're here to help!
Click here to book now, and I can email you a beautiful gift certificate that you can slip into her Mother's Day card.
Dear Interior Design friends and enthusiasts - Easter is upon us and we are celebrating by offering Interior Design Consultation vouchers for your loved ones. Show someone you care by purchasing a design consultation. We look forward to hearing from you. HAVE A HAPPY EASTER!
Contact us at email@example.com
Let me introduce you to my new e-Design platform! We provide interior decor services for all rooms of your home, including paint, furniture, tiles, flooring and more.
We'd love to help you, please click below!
I am beyond thrilled to announce that I have won the coveted "Best of Houzz 2018" award!
Jil Sonia McDonald - Interior Designer of Jil Sonia Interior Designs.