Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fourteen years…

I married my sweet man on this day 14 years ago.

Knew him a few years before that.  He had just been transferred to Toronto from New York where he was born.

Funny how things happen.

image (It looks like his suit is full of lint – must be from when I had scanned it years ago!)

He looks so cute in his Harry Potter glasses – such a trendsetter as this was years before the Harry phenomenon. :)

He is a wonderful father and I just adore watching him with our daughter.  He spoils her to death and they have such a special bond.

Happy Anniversary babe! (I know you read my blog!)

Thanks for putting up with my craziness all these years!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Blogfest 2012 – Day 1

Well, hello stranger!

So it seems that I have been too busy learning/being inspired at Blogfest 2012 and BlogPodium this past week that I haven’t found time to blog!

But I’m back, inspired and have lots to share!

Last week was Blogfest 2012 in NYC hosted by Kravet. I attended in 2011 and you can read my posts here. It was much of the same – hearing from the EIC’s of the top magazines in the US and from top designers, attending ICFF, visiting show homes and attending parties hosted by top brands.

There were 168 bloggers mostly from the US but a few of us from Canada and a couple other countries. It sold out in a few hours and there were 100 people on a waitlist!

I actually arrived on the Sunday before Blogfest, went shopping with Christine & Christine and then met up with some other talented bloggers for bevvies at Dublin6:



On Monday, we went to ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) which is similar to IDS here in Toronto but with more international representation (or so it appeared to me.)

I’ll be back with a post on textiles and wallpaper from the show as that was what I was drawn to and snapped a ton of photos of. 

A few other products/booths caught my eye:

LA lighting

I love Lindsey Adelman lighting and it was so cool to see artisans from her studio creating lighting on site.


Native Trails create beautiful apron front sinks made of reclaimed copper hand-hammered by artisans – so unique and beautiful!  Here’s a better photo from their site:


Kohler partnered with designer and colour enthusiast Jonathan Adler to create four special edition Kohler colours available on select enameled cast iron kitchen and bathroom sinks.  The apron front sink in turquoise or navy is calling my name.

Kips Bay Decorator Show House 2012


Margaret Russell, EIC of  Architectural Digest, kicked off Blogfest at the 40th Annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House.

Meeting Thom Filicia at Kips Bay was a treat.  He was such a sport when one of us said “Let’s all pile on the sofa for a photo.”  You’re not supposed to sit on the furniture at these show houses!  Also in the photo, Erica, Roslyn, Beth and Kimberly. Love all of these girls!

This is a vignette in the room Thom designed (yes we are on a first name basis.) Recognize the fabric? I used it on a custom designed ottoman which you can see at the end of this post. Interesting to see it used on drapes.  (BTW Toronto peeps – Elte carries his furniture line.)  Heather wrote about the room here if you would like to see more.

Meeting the lovely Erin from House of Turquoise (on the left) was a real pleasure as I have been reading her blog for years.

Pinned Image

via Houzz

I think this was my favourite room in the show house.  Although I don’t often advise clients to upholster a sofa in a graphic print, I couldn’t help but linger in this room and admire the sofa.  Designer Scott Sanders used a custom Scalamandre fabric.

And there was a party and after party but I won’t bore you with those photos!

I’ll be back with a recap of Days 2 and 3 later this week!

Have a great week!

There's a Big Difference Between Interior Designers and Interior Decorators

If you're thinking about buying new furniture and accessories for your living room that's one thing. But if you're talking about knocking down a wall to enlarge your dining room and you want to add on another bathroom, too, that's another. One requires the services of an interior decorator but the other means you'll need to start interviewing interior designers. Many people don't know which is which. Do you?

Interior Decorators are people who help you redecorate you home. They help you choose fabrics and finishes and paint colors that will give you the look you want for your existing room just as it is. They'll suggest different furniture arrangements and help you pick out new accessories or artwork. But they will not physically alter the dimensions of your room, even though they may be able to make it look bigger, or they may be able to actually give you more space by arranging the furniture in a different way.

Interior Designers are usually brought in while the house or office space is being designed, before it's even built. Or, if you're adding a room onto your home, you might want to consult an interior designer to make sure you're making the best use of the space.

Home builders generally have a designer on staff to consult with their clients before they start building the home. The designer works from the blueprints up, listening to the buyer's concerns. The buyer may want more closet space than what's called for in the plans, or perhaps a larger kitchen or an extra bath. But overall, the dimensions of the house still stay the same. So it's up to the designer then to work these changes into the blueprints in such a way that they make the buyer happy, but they don't affect the structural integrity of the home.

Interior Designers and interior decorators do occasionally overlap in the services they provide. And you'll need the services of both when you're building a new home. For example, your designer will need to know that you're planning on a king-size bed so he doesn't put the closet door in the middle of the wall. You decorator will need to know that your designer is knocking out a wall to make room for a fireplace so he doesn't plan bookcases for that spot.

But generally you'll use the services of the designer before your house is built to make sure everything you want in your home is there and that it's all functional. And after it's built, you'll use the services of the decorator to help you make your home an expression of you and your family.

Here's an easy way to remember the difference. When you design something, that means you're creating something new. So designers are involved in creating your space. When you decorate something, that means you're adorning something that already exists. So interior decorators are involved in adorning your room, or putting the finishing touches on it, after it's already been built.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Two D's of Home Improvement - Design and Decorate

A great deal of time is spent at home. It is a refuge from a hard day of work and a place to enjoy family activities and gatherings.

We want to make our home attractive, comfortable and efficient for our use. In the process of decorating our home, we want to make sure it fits the architecture of the space. Designing the interior provides a certain "feel." Interior decoration includes applying wallpaper, painting the walls, choosing furniture and fittings such as light fixtures, and adding decorative elements such as paintings, flowers, and statuary.

The concept of home interior decoration began in the late 18th century. The concept has evolved over the years and has gone through many trends and transitions. Today, home interior decoration and design focuses on innovative ways to decorate on a budget.

The objective of interior decorating is to improve the home functionally and have it to reflect the owner's tastes and personality in a unique way. This is a challenge.

An interior designer and/or an architect can help with the design and decoration. In years past, there has been a distinction made between an interior designer and an interior decorator.

Interior decorating focuses on finishing such as wallpaper, window covering, furnishings, and paint. Interior design deals with the architecture in addition to the decoration. Interior design is focused on the space as a whole such as the layout of the rooms as well as custom made furnishings.

Color palettes change, the same as in fashion, as trends change. Color is also a unique preference. While some homeowners may follow current trends, others may use colors that fit their personality whether they are in vogue or not.

Innovative home interior decorating ideas which cost less but give the impression of being up-to-date decorating schemes are what young professionals and newly married couples are trying to achieve. Most of these ideas are eclectic decorating styles in which the home owner can put their own stamp of uniqueness. Harmony has to be balanced with uniqueness so that the home provides functionality.

In one year alone, homeowners spent approximately $175 billion on home improvement. About 65% of this can be attributed to interior decoration. Most money is spent on improving bathrooms and kitchens. Growing in popularity are specialty rooms such as home theaters and craft rooms.

There are new trends, new styles, new decorative elements, and new colors each year. It is difficult to keep track of these trends. The important rule in home decorating is that whatever you choose to do with your home be functional and comfortable for you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Interior Designer Vs Decorator - Who is Who?

People talk about an interior designer and a decorator as two professionals who do exactly the same thing, but nothing is furthest from the truth. Although both may possess the same abilities and talents to create gorgeous spaces, there are important differences between the two.

So, what exactly are these differences that are so fundamental but still not recognized even by dictionaries?

As the American Society of Interior-Designers states, an interior designer is a person who is "professionally trained to create a functional and quality interior environment. Qualified through education, experience, and examination, a professional designer can identify, research and creatively resolve issues and lead to a healthy, safe and comfortable physical environment." Basically, interior design is the art and science of understanding human behavior so as to create living spaces.

Interior-designers have lots of responsibilities; they organize a space to work for a certain activity; they ensure the designs comply with building and safety codes; they manage the whole process of construction and installation of a design; they design for the right acoustics and lighting; they are responsible for choosing the fixtures, furnishings, products, materials and colors.

In many states, interior designers require a license to work, and they have to take a test to earn it. Only then, is the interior designer acknowledged as a professional with the right qualifications to make difficult decisions in regards to living spaces.

In contrast, interior decorators only worry about the surface decoration, this is, fabrics, paint, furnishings, lighting, and other materials. Decoration is the act of adorning and furnishing a space with beautiful things.

Besides doing the above, interior designers also have to worry about many other things. While a decorator will just have to select the floor's type, color, and texture, the designer will have to also consider the use it will be given, the acoustics it will produce, how flammable it is, its toxic properties, and the static electricity requirements, among others.

The interior designer's main concern is the human interaction and behavior that will accompany a space; this is not so for the interior decorator. The decorator centers on visual beauty, while the designer works to make beautiful work in terms of functionality, efficiency, and safety as well.

It is important to recognize each professional for what they do. Both do valuable and specific work that is worth acknowledging. Contact a local interior designer in Seattle and confirm the value of true experience.

If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. They'll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (don't forget to mention as the original source).

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Meeting Darryl Carter, Miles Redd, Timothy Whealon…

Well maybe not meeting them but definitely seeing and listening to them! Today I received the full agenda for Blogfest which kicks off Monday in NYC. Was happy to see the list of design talent that will be speaking.  I have admired their work for ages!

Darryl Carter



Timothy Whealon

Timothy Whealon Interiors

Miles Redd

So excited to learn from them! I’ll post a recap in the coming weeks!

Have a great week!

Recession Proof Your Interior Design Or Decorating Business

If you make your living as an interior designer or decorator the current economy has got to be hurting your business. When the economy is slow, many people who might otherwise hire an interior designer or decorator are forced to move such a 'non-essential' service to the bottom of their priority list. If you haven't felt the pinch yet, brace yourself as your business could take a drastic nose-dive during an economic recession. Nobody really needs interior design services, especially in have-not times.

There's also the fact that so many of your days are spent on the business-side of design; negotiating with contractors, waiting for deliveries to arrive, billing, gathering quotes, and so on. This is all time that doesn't directly generate revenue for your interior design or decorating business, and when client billings are already meager, this can really hurt your financial situation.

Maybe you're one of the many trained interior decorators who have ended up working in retail for a 100% commission. If the economy gets worse and you're working purely on commission, where does that leave you? Even in good times, if you work for 100% commission you might as well be your own boss and have the freedom to market yourself to new clients rather than being tied to any one store.

When I decided to take the reigns of my life back and do something that would allow me to profit from my creativity, I considered a career in interior design. I struggled with that option countless times across a 20 year period when I was unsatisfied in my work. I researched, and even interviewed, many interior design schools in my "former life"; but for some reason I never took the step to enroll. I decided with my BA, MBA and a couple decades of experience in business, being in a classroom for two to four years with kids 20 years my junior was not something I wanted to do.

Never mind tuition costs and the tremendous loss of income while you're a student. Then who knows how many years of working experience as a designer or decorator would be needed after graduation to really start earning money. I wanted to unleash my creativity and love for decorating, but I definitely needed to start making money as soon as possible. So, I started my own home staging company.

As soon as my business was launched, the money was coming in. Within my second year as a home stager I was making up to $10,000 per month. Compare that to the median annual salary of $36,150 a year for an Interior Designer according to this year. I'm very happy I trusted my instincts!

If you're an interior designer or decorator and you aren't making enough money, consider adding Home Staging to your service mix or switching to a more profitable career as a Home Stager altogether.

Here a few ways a home staging business can be more profitable than an interior design business:

o As a home stager you get the opportunity to work with different types of people than you would as an interior designer. Generally, only very high income individuals hire interior designers, which limits your target market. Home stagers work mostly with clients in the middle to upper income level which gives you a much larger percentage of the population to market to, and increases the number of projects available for you to work on.

o Home stagers enjoy a higher volume of projects than interior designers because each one is so short in nature. One interior design project might take months to complete (especially when you factor in the wait times to have upholstery done, or furniture delivered), but the average home staging project takes only a few hours or days. There's no way I could have decorated hundreds of homes within a couple of years as a new interior designer, the way I did as a new home stager. With such quick projects, a home stager is able to complete (and get paid for) a significantly higher number of projects per year than an interior designer who often has client work on hold through no fault of their own.

o When the economy is slow, people eliminate the non-essentials. Interior design or decorating isn't really high on the "essential items list" especially when choices need to be made about what to give up, and there's no real deadline to redecorate or renovate a room. In uncertain times, interior design moves way down on the priority list, while home staging move up. No matter how slow the economy is or how much the real estate market has declined, there will always be people who absolutely have to sell and move by a certain date. Divorce, job relocation, job loss, mounting debts, a death in the family or a birth often get people to put their house on the market even if it isn't the best time to sell. When a homeowner is desperate to sell their house, a home stager will often be involved since the seller stands to make a handsome profit from their services. When people have less time, less money or less equity in their house, they need a home stager so they can get whatever they can out of the sale of their home! As a home stager, your creativity and talent for decorating will serve you well in slow economic times and slow real estate markets.

I especially love the amount of creative freedom I get as a home stager. Because my clients know I'm decorating their home to sell and not for them to live in, I am able to execute my creative vision without their interference or taking their taste into consideration. I can't imagine wasting hours sitting with a client who can't decide which color they want for their bathroom, or which fabric to pick for their drapes. My clients don't care what I choose as long as their house will sell quicker because of it. Besides that, my home staging business is extremely profitable which every entrepreneur wants.

If your interior design business isn't doing as well as you hoped, it's not too late to make a change towards living a more creatively fulfilling career that is also more profitable. Do some research into the home staging field. It's a career that is virtually "recession-proof".

Friday, May 18, 2012

Button Tufting…for a Steal

Spied a few tufted beauties lately and just had to share.

This pretty tufted headboard that Style at Home design editor Jessica Waks sourced for her sister’s condo featured in the June issue is from…The Home Depot! Who knew?

Waks 1145 sister act: see the before...

Doesn’t it look perfect in her fresh and colourful bedroom? No excuse not to have a headboard at this price. If you save on the headboard you can splurge on quality bedding and cushions.

I’m sure you have seen this button tufted ottoman from Target that Danielle posted about.  But if you haven’t, it is ridiculously priced (in a good way!) and so stylish.  We don’t have Target in Canada yet, but it’s coming in 2013 last I heard.

Button Tufted Upholstered Ottoman - Navy.Opens in a new window

You can see the yellow version in Lizzy’s living room below.

If I had access to a Target, I would definitely pick one up and recommend them to clients.

I always scroll down to see where upholstered goods are made, as I try to buy/recommend Canadian first (North American second.)  I was happy to read that both of these items are made in the US! That’s the icing on the cake (or the tufting on the piece!)

Have a happy long weekend! I’m off to the Big Apple on Sunday a.m. so have a trillion things to cross off the To Do list before I go!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Guest Blogging at New York Spaces Magazine

When I attended Blogfest last year, I was one of ten bloggers chosen to guest blog for New York Spaces magazine (online.)

I knew I wanted to write about art and was waiting to shoot a few client’s homes with beautiful original art that we had sourced.  Well, that didn’t happen due to my clients’ budget constraints and other priorities.  I thought that with Blogfest 2012 kicking off next Monday, I should contact them to see if the offer still stood. I sent my article over yesterday and it is up on their home page today – so cool!


There I am mentioned on their home page today!

You can read the article here.  Thank you New York Spaces!  I will be sure to pick up their kitchen and bath issue when I am in New York next week. Love the cover!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Meandering

Hope you had a happy weekend!

I visited my sister in Whitby and popped into MP’s new store (post coming soon), was spoiled on Mother’s Day, went on a hike and finally saw the Hunger Games (good yet disturbing!) All in all, an amazing weekend!
(This is a post where I write about goings on, upcoming events, things I loved around the web from the past week, etc.) 

1) My latest ideabook for Houzz is live. I rounded up a selection of sectionals with various styles and price points.  You can read it here.
2) Speaking of sectionals, thanks to those of you who voted for my moodboard but I don’t stand a chance of winning the sectional as there are others with way more votes than I. But if you are so inclined, you can comment or "like" here.  Thanks!
"I love the long, low lines of the Lola 2-pc sectional and I think it pairs well with the Champi cocktail table. I was inspired to create a light, airy Scandinavian inspired design with white washed floors, dark wood and touches of blue. The traditional feel of the aqua wallpaper is an unexpected backdrop to the modern Lola." -Vanessa F
3) My friend Tim is participating in a Garage Sale this Saturday with a number of design savvy folks.  Apparently, last year’s sale was a success so this is the Second Annual. Just going by what Tim has for sale, it looks like it may be worth the drive into TO on Saturday. These are just some of the fabrics he has bundled together - instant pillows! You can read more about the sale here.


4) I’m heading to Blogfest in NYC again this year and can’t wait.  I leave this Sunday! A busy week ahead wrapping up a few projects.

5)  I have a couple of secret projects that I’m working on and will be sure to share soon!

Have a wonderful week!

If you require design help, please contact me at vanessa(at)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day!

~Just wanted to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day~


Tell your Mom how much you love her today.

If you are a Mom, I hope you have an extra special day.

Mom Photo of Mom in London, England circa 1960

(To this day, Mom doesn’t like having her photo taken and as a result doesn’t smile in any photos!)

I received some lovely gifts from hubster and my daughter but the sweetest present ever – he cooked dinners to last the week! Better than any jewellery, sweater or gift in my book.

We are heading out on a hike shortly, one of my favourite things to do with my little family.

Have a fun day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sponsor…The Floor Shop

As a designer, I love working with companies that have a wide selection of product, are well priced and offer great customer service.  One of those companies is the Floor Shop, my newest blog sponsor. Welcome!

Although they carry a wide selection of hardwood, they also carry laminate, cork and other flooring like Marmoleum.


This is the Etobicoke location and they have two others in and around Toronto. (This showroom will be renovated in the upcoming weeks.) 

I recently had hardwood from the Floor Shop installed in my daughter’s room and love how it turned out!

This is how it looked with the basic builder broadloom.  Remember?


Photo by Leah Kirin


(Terrible photo by me)

What a difference, hardwood makes! It’s better for your health (e.g. if you have allergies), easy to clean, great for resale and looks beautiful. (I still have to find a rug for in front of her bed.)

I have always loved the look of white/cream painted furniture on dark floors.   Classic and timeless.


The Floor Shop also installs hardwood on stairs.  As my 10 yr old would say, ikr?  Isn’t this gorgeous?  If you are tired of the worn carpet on your stairs, give them a call and you could have something similar to this!

And if you are in the market for new flooring, please drop into The Floor Shop.  Their Etobicoke location has a lovely decorator on staff and she knows everything there is to know about hardwood!  She will steer you in the right direction so you don’t end up with orange or red floors!

The Floor Shop is a preferred installation company to Holmes and Holmes, so you know they are good!

Let me know if you have any questions pertaining to hardwood and I will answer them in an upcoming Hardwood Flooring 101 post.

Have a wonderful weekend!

(And don’t forget to comment here!)

If you need decorating help, please contact me at vanessa(at)

What Is Interior Design and How Is It Different From Interior Decorating?

To begin this journey, first an attempt must be made to answer the question, 'What is Interior Design'; The National Council for Interior Design Qualification offers up the following definition: 'is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment. These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants and are aesthetically attractive'. Comparing this to the definitions provided by The Free Dictionary for an interior decorator: 'also called interior designer a person whose profession is the planning of the decoration and furnishings of the interior of houses, shops, etc.' and 'a person whose profession is the painting and wallpapering of houses'

Well it is understandable, based on the two definitions above, why there are two camps. One camp holds that the interior designer is held to a higher standard and has significantly more training and design responsibilities than the interior decorator, and then there are those that bunch them all together as one and the same. There are those that look at the designer as a version of an architect and those that look at them as being a house painter. No wonder there is confusion amongst the ranks.

In an attempt to answer the question, 'Is there a difference or not?', a Google search was performed for 'Interior Decorator Degree' and the response overwhelmingly returned results for 'Interior Designer'; and not the keyword as searched. One can reasonably conclude that since one can get a degree in interior design, but not as an interior decorator, that there is a difference.

So where would one draw the line between a designer and a decorator? Reverting back to the two definitions above one can discern the key difference. The definition for the designer refers to 'built interior environment' whereas the decorator suggests 'decorating and furnishing' as the key activities. The higher standard is the designer's ability and responsibilities to call for tearing out walls, flooring, windows, lighting, electrical, as well as recommending furniture and miscellaneous design pieces. In short, the scope their role includes the responsibilities of a decorator, but goes much further.

Often it is critical for the designer to understand the wants and needs of the individual or company leadership that is hiring them to make a space comfortable and esthetically pleasing to 'the eye of the beholder'; meaning whoever is paying the freight. This will require the designer to ask the question, 'What is interior design through the eyes of my employer?'

Determining just how to customize a small dwelling area up to major corporate businesses like a national restaurant chain that must be attractive to the eye in many different regions of the country with a common design can be very challenging. Requiring a grasp of many different fields including developing and reading floor plans, a knowledge of building codes, and access to a long list of contractors that are capable of doing the work to specification are just a few of the extra requirement that separate interior design from decoration.

Often specializing in unique areas like hotels, casinos, restaurants, or other businesses that may regularly freshen up their designs to keep their businesses looking comfortable yet enticing, designers generally develop skill sets that may not play all that well outside of their special areas of expertise. What they probably are looking for in the interior design of a hospital is most likely a far cry from what they are looking for at a casino. Perhaps a better example would be determining just how to continue on with a southwestern theme for a Mexican restaurant chain in places like Seattle, St. Louis, Charlotte, Pittsburg, and Boston. What is interior design widely accepted in one region may not be well accepted in another.

In asking, 'What is interior design?' in today's environment, one must also begin to start thinking green and to look for ways to minimize the consumption of non-renewable energy sources. How does one create areas with a lot of natural lighting but not subject the individual to the blazing rays of the sun? How does one incorporate solar panels into the design or solar powered floor heaters in colder climates without losing the esthetic charm and ambiance of marble floors? These are the challenges of today's designers. It's a good thing that they love their jobs.

Interior Design and Interior Decorating - Some Definitions

Interior Decoration and Interior Design, although related disciplines, are different in terms of their application. Interior Decoration is the process of decorating a house with regards to finishes (for example wallpaper and paint, choice of furniture and fittings as well as adding finishing touches and decorations such as paintings and objets d'art. All of this provide a certain "feel" to a house but essentially the underlying structure of the house is not changed.

Interior decoration is normally professionally done by Interior Decorators although recently the trend has been for people to learn about Interior Decorating through various courses or books and then apply the techniques themselves-usually on a shoestring budget. The whole objective of Interior Decorating is to make a house aesthetically pleasing and at the same time, unique, since it should reflect the owner's specific personality and tastes.

Interior design on the other hand is more integrated with the architecture of a building and a professional Interior Designer will work closely with architects and builders to make choices regarding the integral design of the whole house or building. This includes looking at choices with regards to room layout, choice of cabinets and tiles and lots of other design factors. While the Interior Design budget for new developments used to be minimal, it is recognized these days that incorporating Interior Design into the project means the difference between a run-of-the-mill development and one that contributes to the branding and life-style image of the project. The money spent on Interior Design is therefore seen as a worthwhile investment in the whole property development process.

Homeowners are spending more and more to improve their homes. Since it is relatively easy to change the appearance of a house by changing the finishings and fittings a large portion of this money goes into Interior Decorating. The growing popularity in do-it-yourself Interior Decorating has meant that a whole industry around Interior Decorating courses, books and TV Shows have also sprung up, and it has become a popular hobby for married couples. Innovative Interior Decoration ideas, which cost less but at the same time giving the impression of style and class, are in vogue.

Young entrepreneurs have also seen the gap and there is a growing demand for information and courses on how to break into the Interior Design and Interior Decoration Industry. This has also given the home {interior decoration industry a boost.

Although the trend recently is for people to tackle the exciting task of transforming a house themselves, it has to be recognized that this falls more in the area of Interior Decorating. Interior Design still requires study of the context of Interior Design, the theory of good design, knowledge of the technical advances in the engineering industry for both residential as well as commercial buildings and knowledge of the latest trends and advances in the Interior Design industry.

In short, an Interior Design project in which all the elements of design are pulled together is still the ambit of the professional designer who should be able to deliver on projects that extend beyond the boundaries of a hobby pastime.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

EQ3 Moodboard Contest (+ Giveaway Winner)

Well, hello there stranger!

If you are a design blogger in Canada (North America, other parts of the world perhaps), you have heard of BlogPodium.  It’s the creative endeavour of two of my blogger friends Jen and Lindsay  -  “Canada’s 1st and only conference for bloggers.” 

Ramping up to the BlogPodium event on May 26th, EQ3 sponsored a contest where attendees could create a mood board using their favourite EQ3 products.

EQ3 Contest 

This is my entry where the sleek (and very affordable) Lola sectional was my jumping off point.  I can see my family and I sinking into it for movie night. Round tables and sectionals work well together so the Champi is a good choice.  Other items from EQ3 are the  bookcase,  the mirror, the side table, lamp and black and white pillows.  Whitewashed floors and a gorgeous wallpaper from Schumacher are a perfect backdrop to the “modern with a twist” living room. (PS You may be seeing this wallpaper in my home soon!)

Please vote for me, would love to win! It’s very easy (you have to sign up for Pinterest first though), just leave a comment or even a “Like” here.

Speaking of winning,  the winner of my latest giveaway is:

Joanne from Homestyling 101!

Fullscreen capture 09052012 22357 PM

Congrats Joanne!  Please forward your address to me at decorhappy(at) and I will pass on!

Thanks to all for entering and to Avril and Tania for supplying the lovely goods!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What Size Should Your Dining Room Pendant Be?

I’m working on the dining room of one of my ongoing, favourite clients. We have chosen a beautiful round table and chairs from Geovin (the table is from their new line and I can’t wait to share more.)

Gianetti Home.


Martha Angus

The room is actually what would be a breakfast area off the kitchen on the floor plan.  The “real” dining room is on the side of the house with a view of the neighbour’s brick which is typical in many suburban homes (at least in my neighbourhood.)  It made much more sense to make the breakfast area the main dining room. It is at the back of the house surrounded by windows and looks onto open space with the Escarpment beyond.  A much better spot to eat and host dinners.

Pinned Image

To me the “nook” (aka one beautiful room when we are done!) was calling out for a lantern as the light fixture over the table.  The clients didn’t want it to be fussy or overdone so a lantern fits the bill. These images are some examples of the type of lantern I suggested – larger at the top and smaller at the bottom and similar to a coach style light you may find outdoors. I’m sure we all remember this one in Tommy Smythe’s former kitchen (this kitchen still gets me 6-7 years later.)

Tommy Smythe's former kitchen from 2004 - a classic. (crediting the correct source.)


brick wall and exposed beams . . .

My client had bought one but at 14” w x 16” h, it was way too small.  The rule of thumb for dining room lights (be it a pendant or chandelier) is its width should be 1/3 to 1/2 the width of the table.  In our case, that is 18-27”.

The one we are going with is 20”w at its widest point (perfect) BUT its height is 30”! Yikes - that is the height of a table!  So, you have to consider the height of the pendant as well.  The 30” is to the top of where the four chains meet and you require 36” overall. Isn’t she lovely?

Remember this dining room?  This is a modern take on a lantern and is 16”w x 25”h which I think is just perfect for the table and the space overall.  Even though it is not wide in relation to the table, the height provides enough visual weight for it to work.

Client Project: casual elegance



You will notice in all of these photos, that the rooms all have high ceilings and the lanterns are hung higher than the typical 30-36” above the table.  That’s why it works.

Christina Murphy.

All images via Pinterest.

We are still going with the large pendant (the one smaller was only 14” wide and just 3” shorter anyway.)  We will hang it as close to the ceiling as possible so that it doesn’t seem so massive.  It will be 42” above the table (there are 9’ ceilings.)  I think know it will be perfect!

What are you loving in dining room lighting lately? (say that 3x fast!)

PS Sorry for my lack of blogging this past week.  Client work has kept me extremely busy.  I don’t see it easing up until the end of June which is a good thing!

And don’t forget to enter my giveaway here!

If you require design advice, please contact me at vanessa(at)