Thursday, June 28, 2012

Interior Design and the Use of Paint Colours

Are you searching for the right colors to paint your home? Its true that choosing and matching colors for your house is not an easy job for a number of reasons. Even if you have a color scheme in mind, you can not be sure it will look good in the room.

First, you must discover what shade would be best for your psychological comfort and how to manipulate it to your interior´s advantage. Interior designers and remodeling experts advise browsing and comparing pictures of different rooms in order to get an idea of how your house will look in a particular hue.

Generally, when decorating a house, an interior designer keeps three important things in mind: the clients´ personal color and style preferences, the use of space and the structure of the room (lighting and architectural details). Other designers rely on feng shui principles in order to achieve harmony and balance in one´s home environment. If you understand the psychological effects that colors have on peoples minds and bodies, you can design rooms which will foster health, well-being and prosperity.

Other things you should consider when decorating rooms are: the effect of light on your color choices, the way colors mix together and if they match with the color of the furniture. Too many or the wrong shades together can create a disastrous look.

Also, be careful when using trendy colors. They can be fresh and beautiful, but they must also blend in with the rest of the objects in the room. If you prefer trendy shades of pink like bubblegum, coral, or traditional rose, do not hesitate to use them for a nice, cozy and feminine atmosphere, without forgetting to add the appropriate furniture and design details. White and blue is also a classic color scheme that would do for any bedroom, but monochromatic palettes of Crown emulsion smell free makes it even more delightful.

And if you live in a house in which rooms connect so that you can see from one into another, choose Crown emulsion smell free colors that relate to each other in a pleasing way. Using unrelated colours in adjoining rooms can affect the overall image of harmony and unity in your house.

Decor Shopping…Penney and Company

I have been a fan of Michael Penney’s since his early days with Canadian House and Home.  He has since left the magazine and then did a season working on Sarah 101 with Sarah Richardson and Tommy Smythe (currently airing Tues nights on HGTV Canada.)

His latest venture is opening up his very own store in Whitby (Ontario) filled to the brim with everything quintessentially Michael. He is also taking on decorating clients, so if you live in the area, it’s certainly something to consider.

My sister lives in Whitby so whenever I go to visit, we always stop in to see what’s new as Michael is always bringing in new and interesting pieces.  (I snapped these photos on a visit there last month so some of the items may not be available.)


Love the exterior of his shop painted Farrow and Ball’s Arsenic, one of Michael’s favourite paint colours.  It definitely causes passersby to stop and take notice.  Another smart idea is having your website address on your storefront window.


He related that a woman bought this sofa without seeing it in person. It certainly is a showstopper!


When I interviewed him early last year, this is what he had to say about his style: “ the common thread is traditional elements mixed with fresh colours and casual comfort.  I like to reinterpret the work of the decorating greats through a modern, more loose perspective.  I can get into modern and edgy looks, but my heart strings are always pulled most by fresh, colourful and effortlessly comfortable rooms.”



I bought the wicker table that’s beside the sofa with plans on painting it black or a fun colour for possible use in my bedroom.


You may recognize these chairs from the June, 2012  issue of Style at Home.


In this photo, you can see where the pool tables were when the  store was a pool hall for many decades.  


I look so tiny compared to Michael (I’m really not that short – he is very tall!)  We had a lovely chat about the history of the store, items for sale and decorating in general.  If you haven’t been to Penney and Company, it’s definitely worth the drive to Whitby!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Building Design and Decor Into Any Room

Have you ever walked into your house, looked around and thought about knocking down every framed painting on the wall, pulling down the drapes, peeling off the table covers and kicking those pillows off the couch, simply because you just had a vision of what that room really needs to look like? You probably just returned from visiting a friend or from your doctor's office where you sat in the welcoming lounge that had such tantalizing taste in color and floral arrangement perfection, so unique and warmly comforting, you did not want to get up and leave! Driving home, you conjured up these different settings in your mind and thought out your action plan. The color would have to be a bold red with chocolate trim and accompanying accents and you would be taking down those five year old beige and gold drapes that were so 1990's! The old framed art work on the living room wall would be replaced with something more abstract and modern.

Well then, do not just keep dreaming, dreamer! Take action and plunge head on into an exciting room makeover. Decor and Design are products of artist's dreams and visions. They develop in like fashion, as would an expensive oil painting on canvas after the inspiration of that artist and meticulous brush stroke after stroke, painfully skilled mixing of colors on a palette and imagination gone wild to produce proof of the dream. The final decor of the room you wish to transform is also that vivid vision you had when you walked into the room.

If you are going for a warm look choose fabric and accents with warm colors like red, red-orange, red-violet, orange, yellow-orange and yellow. These are colors we use in fall and winter too. Cool colors, generally associated with spring-time and summer would belong to the blue group and include blue-green, blue-violet, green, yellow-green, and violet. However, there is no hard and fast rule that you adhere to these color schemes. Do what you think brings out the beauty of your own house. Do it in your very own style! You can find any line of furnishings and decorations in colors of your choice in department stores ranging from high priced fancy ones to ones that boast name brand products at low prices. You could probably also find products of a particular color in one store and matching accessories in the exact same shade in yet another store. With a bit of patience and browsing time, one could find an entire custom made decor line to furnish a room while saving as you compare prices!

Whether you wait for spring to have your fling or would like to do the 'polar plunge' into decor and design make over, use your creative instincts and enjoy yourself rearranging furniture and planning out your design and decor. Make that room your very own signature collection show room! And if you come up with new ideas of your own, pass them on please!!

Interior Design and Home Staging - The Benefits

Interior Design used to be the privelage of the elite. Your bank balance had to be large to afford to employ a Designer who could create your space. Things are very different now. With programmes like House Doctor people are becoming more and more aware of how to make the space they live in feel like their own little bit of luxury. Home Stagers are rarely qualified in Design, most have just have an eye for what looks good, so when an Interior Designer takes on both Interior Design and Home Staging then the results can be astounding.

Most Interior Designers look down on Home Staging, but that can be a costly mistake. Concept Design Studio in Maidstone have been amazed at the positive response they have received from utilising their Design Practice and incorporating Home Staging into the mix of Interior Design. Designer Saffiere says "It has been an interesting time here at Concept Design Studio, I have through Home Staging, been privileged to have helped many many clients who just need a push in the right direction, and never thought they could use the services of Interior Designer to reach their goal"

Home Staging can very easily be incorporated into the Design Practice. It takes up little of your time and can be a great assest to the business. It is remarkable how just a little bit of advice can assist a client and help them to go in the right direction.

Interior Design does not need to be so inaccessible and expensive, Interior Design should be available to everyone and the philosophy of Concept Design Studio in Maidstone is one that should be taken on by Interior Designers in the UK

Interior Design needs to move forward into this new market of ordinary people who want some advice from a professional but cannot afford to take on a whole project and all the costs involved

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Outdoor Sectional

My vision for our small suburban backyard always included a sectional on the patio. There is just something about them – they create a relaxed, intimate atmosphere when entertaining and are comfortable enough to lie down on and read a book or even take a nap.  (That’s what the hubster is looking forward to!  He’s going to hate me for saying that!)


See? Don’t the eight of us on this sectional look comfortable and cozy?   This photo was taken after BlogPodium when a few of us decided to head to a patio for some food, drinks and more chit chat.  (PS Recognize any of your favourite bloggers?)

I had perused retail sites looking for a sectional with the required dimensions – 96” x 96”.  If you’re going to have a sectional, might as well be big! I figured this size would easily accommodate eight people.

When I found Ana White’s Outdoor Sectional Plan online, I knew it would be perfect.  (In case you haven’t heard of White, you can read an interesting article about her here.)  The sectional is made up of 24” x 24”  individual pieces so it’s easy to reconfigure, carry, store etc.  She recommends securing the sectional pieces together but I will see if that is necessary.

Simple Modern Outdoor Sectional Armless Section

via Ana White

Now I just needed someone to build it.  I’m pretty handy and have taken woodworking courses in the past and built furniture but time was an issue!   I remembered reading about a table built by Kerry’s Dad, Jim, on Shannon’s blog.  Lucky for me, he was available to build the sectional.  He worked on it diligently for two days, modifying the plans somewhat to accommodate the wood sizes that were different from those specified in the plans.  I used 5/4 x 6 x 8 premium cedar used for decks from the Home Depot.


Here it is sitting nicely (but looking a bit naked) on our new patio.  I was thinking of staining it a dark grey but think I will just apply a clear topcoat and retain the light wood colour.  Any thoughts?

Leah1 Photo credit:  Leah Kirin

This is how it looked on Saturday evening for the Blogger Backyard party sponsored by the Home Depot.   What do you think? 

The green striped cushions and the seat cushions were custom made by Tonic Living using outdoor fabric. 

The table and outdoor rug from Home Depot were brought in for the party.

Leahgroupshot Photo credit: Leah Kirin

Here is (almost) everyone that was at the Blogger party.  (Will do a post once I have all the photos!)  There are 8 1/2 people on the sectional and looks like one more could squeeze in!  I love it and I envision spending more time outdoors now especially in the evenings chatting with friends over a good bottle of wine!

Hope you have a great week!

(This post is sponsored by the Home Depot.)

If you require decorating advice, contact me at vanessa(at)vanessafrancis(dot)com.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Famous Interior Designers and Their Styles in Interior Design - Part 3

Modern Interior Designers

Jean Royere Jean Royere is often considered to be one of the all time great French famous interior designers. His career spanned from 1931 to 1970 in which he opened galleries on 3 different continents for the sole purpose of exhibiting his designs. His list of clients included some of the world's elite and royalty where he was entrusted to design the interiors of palaces and some of the most exclusives houses in the world. He was also a world redounded furniture designer and his works were displayed in various art galleries and exhibitions.

Jed Johnson Jed Johnson started his interior decoration and design company in the 1960's from Andy Warhol's Manhattan house. He was to undertake projects for the celebrity clients including Pierre Bergé, Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall, Richard Gere, and Barbara Streisand. In 1996 he was awarded the Interior Design Hall of Fame Award as recognition to his remarkable contribution to the profession.

Verner Panton Verner Panton is generally regarded to be the most talented Danish interior designer and furniture designer of the twenty first century. His not only characteristic of the 1960's, they helped to define the furniture and interior decoration styles developed in the era. His work was often considered to be modern ad futuristic, utilising vivid colours and technologies of day. He was the first designer to create the 'form-moulded chair' which was constructed in plastic without the use of joints. He is considered to be one of the most important contributors in interior decoration and design in the 20th century.

Terence Conran Terence Conran's contribution to architecture and interior design has enabled him to win a great number of awards. He is the founder of the highly successful 'Habitat' furnishing chain which grew to 36 stores in Britain France and Belgium. He also founded the Conran Design Group in 1956 and went on to establish the leading European interior design consultancy, Conran Associates. One of his most important projects was the renovation and restoration of a large historic riverside area of London. He has also authored many books on various subjects, although mostly on interior design.

Kelly Hoppen The multi award winning interior designer, Kelly Hoppen, is recognized as a modern day trend setter in the world of interior design. Her style is renowned for its individuality, simplicity and excellence where she incorporates colours and shades inspired by nature to give a luxurious timeless and simplistic ambiance. She is also a respected author on the subject, successfully publishing several best selling books. Although her designs are varied and dynamic, she is perhaps most well known for the signature 'East Meets West' Style.

Mauro Lipparini Italian Mauro Lipparini is another eminent interior designer. He is probably best known for his 'natural minimalism' style. Lipparini's style is characterized by wonderful touches of pleasure and joy. His use of bold colors and innovative visual ideas conveys several elements of the artistic. Lipparini has made several commendable contributions to the industrial design industry, including developing products for Japanese and European firms of high repute. Accolades that he has won in the course of his career include the International Du Pont Award Koln and the Young & Designer Milano.

Ron Arad A celebrated name from the Middle East that has graced the interior design world and met the needs of the rich and famous is Israel-born Ron Arad. Ron Arad achieved popularity in the 1980's for being a self-taught maker and designer of sculptural furniture. He is the creator of the Ron Arad Studio in Como, Italy and his works appear in many architectural and design publications across the world. He has also exhibited at a number of galleries and museums.

In Part 4 of this article - which can be accessed through the 'Article Source' link below - we look at the careers of celebrity interior designers including Rachel Ashwell, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Linda Barker, Nina Campbell, Tara Bernard.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Interior Design and Architecture - How to Tie Interior and Exterior Together

The key is to pay close attention to the size and shape of the facility. Creating a coordinated setting is all about acquiring appropriate furniture and fixtures to fill in the room. Never forget that interior design and architecture must complement one another or else your room will wind up as a jumble of odd bits and pieces that do not appear to belong together.

Interior Design in the Office

Well-designed corporate buildings are a pleasing sight to behold. All around the country, you will see commercial buildings with remarkable designs that are both functional and beautiful. If you happen to maintain an office in a commercial building that prides itself on the beautiful architecture, make certain that you don't spoil the effect by placing interior décor items that do not blend with the existing architecture. To make sure that your interior design does blend well with the architecture,

it would be a wise decision to hire an interior decorator to do your office. A good interior decorator is adept at knowing just how to blend interior design and architecture. That way no one can accuse you of creating a sort of monstrosity inside your office.

When hiring an interior designer, you will want to present him or her with the ideas of what you are looking for. For instance, you might have in mind to project an ultra modern atmosphere in your office which will suit your occupation. Of course it's easier to simply let the interior designer decide what all to do with the office décor. However, if you want to keep your personal touch in your surroundings, it would be smart to suggest your ideas about the design in advance. Besides, the blending of interior design and architecture is not the ultimate objective in designing your office.

You will also want to have an office where it will be a comfortable and pleasing place to work. Functionality and comfort of the office should be one of your primary considerations aside from the interior design and architecture.

Since decorating your office will entail a sizable investment, you might want to give your Interior Designing Techniques an idea of how much you are willing to budget on the décor. Giving the interior designer such guidelines will help a great deal when he or she sets about to select furniture and fixtures for your office.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Backyard Makeover

First of all, thank you so much for the lovely comments on my last post, plus your tweets, FB messages and emails!  

So, while I have been busy making some minor changes to the interior of the house, I also have a backyard landscape project on the go.


(no that’s not me in this absolutely adorable backyard about to welcome guests)

We have lived in our house for seven years and the backyard looked like this: 

(the trampoline is a lot of fun though) 

So when the Home Depot contacted me to host a Blogger Backyard party, I was going to decline. Wouldn’t be fun to be wearing heels on grass, right? But it’s the Home Depot and it’s a party, how could I say no?

I always wanted to have a patio but it was put on the backburner as there was always something else (house interior, travel) that was the priority.  

So what better way to get my a#% into gear than this!

When designing a backyard, it’s always nice to have a hard surface such as a deck or patio, a garden and grass. 
 Decor Precast - Earth Blend Abbeystone Paver - 10109014 - Home Depot Canada
This is the paver I chose.  When the salesperson at my local HD store said it is rough and looks aged, it just sealed the deal as that is exactly the look I was going for. 

You can use either the smooth side like I did or the other side which has a textured/bumpy appearance. I am having them laid in a brick pattern.


These pavers are similar in colour to the ones I chose.
I am also having an outdoor sectional made in time for the upcoming party – another post about the decoration part coming soon and of course the final reveal!

Is your backyard (or balcony) your hideaway? Or has it been put on the backburner?

This post is sponsored by the Home Depot.  Check out their site/stores for everything for your outdoor needs from building supplies to furniture and barbeques.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Entryways: Make a Great First Impression With the Design and Decor of This Little Space

The entryway of your home is the first impression visitors get of the interior. Even those not invited further in judge your home based on what they see immediately inside the front door.

Because of our climate, most Canadian homes have an enclosed vestibule, or entryway, with nothing but the front door, an interior door leading in to the home, and sometimes a closet. Being small spaces, these areas are often almost neglected in terms of design and decor. Home builders seem to have a habit of locating a thermostat and/nr light switch dead-centre on the only usable wall space these vestibules offer. So how can design and decor be handled in a space that is frequently only about 42"X72", and where 72"X72" is considered luxurious?

There are two ways to handle the vestibule: utilitarian, or decorative. Of course you can also combine utilitarian (functional) with the decorative, but there isn't necessarily enough space to really separate the two.
Utilitarian simply means that you are using useful items to help create the decor:

coat racks

hooks or pegs

mirrors with hooks/pegs

umbrella stands (with a decorative umbrella to match your decor)

storage bench

shoe rack (capable of concealing shoes and boots)

shelf or box for mail and keys

Decorative vestibules are done to look good but don't necessarily offer the more practical accessories and furnishings.

People are often afraid to decorate their vestibules, fearing that a small space will end up looking even more confining. If done properly, even a dark-coloured vestibule can look dramatic and rich rather than crammed and unwelcoming. Opt for colours (dark or light) from the warm palette, and don't forget that there are even some blues that are warm, while others are cool. Use contrast carefully -- black and white will appear to shrink a room, while, for example, honey coloured walls with walnut brown wood furnishings or accents will just look stunning. Make sure to have a mirror on the wall, both for convenience and to visually expand the area.

If you're doing some renovating in the entryway, consider replacing the interior door with a French door (with window panes) or another type of door that offers partial window. If you feel you need a bit more privacy, just hang a sheer curtain panel (secured at top and bottom) in a dark colour for real drama. The front door should allow in a generous amount of light. Pay extra attention to your choice of flooring, as this area must be easy to clean, and is even better if it conceals some dirt so you won't feel the need to be cleaning daily. Also, shoes or boots often come in wet, so it is advisable to avoid polished or glossy finishes which encourage accidents. Avoid wood flooring and laminate floors, as they will not hold up well to the wear they'll get. If you'll be replacing the light fixture in a small vestibule, be careful not to select something that will get hit by the door; otherwise it should offer good lighting (quality light bulbs provide a more natural looking light without yellow or pink undertones), and have a bit of pizzazz to it to complement the decor.

Famous Interior Designers and Their Styles in Interior Design - Part 1


This series of 4 articles takes a brief but informative look at 21 of the most famous and Interior Designers, from the earliest pioneers right through to the most celebrated modern day designers.

The Pioneers of Interior Design

Jean-Henri Jansen (1854-1928)

Dutch designer, Jean-Henri Jansen, launched one of the first ever international interior design companies 'Maison Jansen' (House of Jansen) in 1880, which became renowned for designing and creating exceptionally beautiful and high quality furniture which would be utilized in a multitude of interior decoration projects. House of Jansen opened branches in 8 of the major cities of the world. Jansen worked closely with the talented interior designer Stephane Boudin whom he made director of the company. The clients of House of Jansen included Royalty and the rich and famous.

Elsie de Wolfe (1865-1950)

The first lady of interior decoration, Elsie de Wolfe considered herself an 'ugly child'. This Victorian stage actress was a rebel of her times and was credited by many to be the inventor of the modern profession of interior design, even though there were already established interior designers in her time. Elsie disliked Victorian tastes altogether, her designs were therefore generally made up of light and bright colors, contrary to the drab and gloomy Victorian décor coupled with unnecessary excesses such as heavy velvet draperies. This was a pioneering departure from the contemporary designs of the time. Elsie's influence continues to be felt in the modern world of interior design.

Ogden Codman (1863-1951)

American interior decorator and architect, Ogden Codman spent his childhood in his birthplace of Boston before heading to France in his youth for a period of time. Codman had two uncles who influenced him tremendously - architect John Hubbard and decorator Richard Ogden. Some of Ogden Codman's works include Edith Wharton's Newport home, Land's End, the Rockefeller family estate of New York client John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and the Newport summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II. Along with novelist Edith Wharton, Codman co-authored a guidepost of American interior design, 'The Decoration of Houses' in 1897.

Frances Elkins (1888-1953)

Born in Milwaukee, Frances Adler Elkins was one of the most prominent interior decorator and designer of the previous century. Sister of the famed Chicago architect David Adler, Elkins was known for her futuristic designs that brought together different styles and elements from various periods. They included country French styles, chinoiserie and art deco. The furnishings featured in her designs included designers such as Jean-Michel Frank and Alberto Giacometti. The career of Elkins that spanned over three decades is glittered with many high profile commissions in Hawaii, the Midwest and northern and southern California, none more interesting than the restoration of the 1830s structure, Casa Amesti in Monterrey, California.

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)

Frank Lloyd Wright was an interior designer and architect whose career included more than 1000 projects, 500 of them that have been complete. Wright was known for his promotion of organic architecture, an example of which is Fallingwater. The Robie House is an example of Wright's leadership of the Prairie School architectural movement, while the Rosenbaum House depicts Wright's Usonian home concept. Wright also had refreshing ideas for every kind of building, be it church, office, school, hotel or museum. Along with excellent architectural renderings, Wright also designed much of the interiors of his buildings including the Décor, layout and furniture.

Friday, June 8, 2012

My BIG News!!

OK, I cannot keep this from you any longer!

I’m about to have a dream come true…

No, not expanding our family…

Nor did I win the lottery…although that would be nice.


via Pinterest

I am going to be published in one of my favourite decor magazines, Style at Home! Yes, that magazine. I know, right?

this issue

So how did it come about?…After the Steven and Chris shoot I hired this photographer to come in the next day and shoot the four rooms because they never looked so good.  Best money I ever spent!

Only two rooms had made it to air on the show.  I sent the photos  to Style at Home (with much support from my business coach :) ), waited (not so) patiently and then received an email from one of their editors.  She said “everyone loves your place.”  So exciting!

I think that is every decorator/designer/stylist/blogger’s dream, isn’t it? To be published in a first rate magazine.

So true.

via Pinterest

When I was at Blogfest 2012, Darryl Carter advised us to work on our own homes, get it photographed and submit those photos to the magazines. Sometimes mag editors find you through your blog too.


Tim’s balcony via Style at Home

I’m following in the footsteps of two of my favourite bloggers and friends Jen and Tim who have had their lovely homes featured in Style at Home this year. 


Jen’s bathroom via Style at Home (love that door!)

So, there you have it! My BIG news! Now what are you waiting for? Go forth and decorate your home, get it photographed and #getpublished.

And another.

via Pinterest

Gotta run! Tonight is my sweet daughter’s 10th birthday party at the house. It’s an 80’s theme complete with colourful Madonna-esque clothing, Michael Jackson music and chocolate fondue (although, I think the latter is more 70’s than 80’s!) 

Have a happy weekend!

If you need decorating help, please contact me at vanessa(at)vanessafrancis(dot)com.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Style at Home’s Summer Trend Report

Yesterday was a somewhat sunny day – a nice change from the dreary weather we have been having here in the burbs of TO.  I’m ready for summer!  Aren’t you? I love decorating at this time of year – changing slipcovers, area rugs, pillows and accessories – to give the house an airier, breezy feel.

The folks over at Style at Home shared what they see as three trends for Summer decorating and I have to agree -  loving them all!

1.  Aegean blue:


Aegean blue can be any number of shades of blue ranging from turquoise to indigo – the colours of the Aegean sea.    I find that I never seem to tire of the colour blue in all of its shades. 

Love the backsplash from Ravenna and the West Elm pillow above – I feel so happy just looking at them!  You can see more aegean/blue inspiration here.

2. The Kilim

Although I don’t  necessarily associate kilims with summer decorating, their bold colour and graphic pattern can certainly liven up a space.  Kilims are hard wearing and therefore perfect in an entry way or just about any room in the house. It’s versatility means it can work with just about any style and aesthetic. Love how it  works with the damask print on the chair and the leopard carpet on the stairs in the above image.  You can see how it works in a High/Low story here.

3. Country Colours
country-colour-white-house  All images via Style at Home
Back in 2010, I mentioned that Style at Home had introduced a collection of paint colours with Beauti-tone paints.  They recently introduced a “Country Colours” palette and I was told by the staff at my local Home Hardware (where the paint is sold exclusively) that these are the same colours that were out before the 2010 launch but have been rebranded and brought back due to its popularity.


Hint: Choosing a paint colour from a well-edited collection of 50 colours like this is so easy.  They have done all the guess work for you!  You can read about the collection here and here.  I am drawn more and more to a lighter, airier palette as in the ones I chose from the fan deck above.

Happy Wednesday! I’ll be back with my Blogfest and BlogPodium posts later – so much to write so little time!  I also have some exciting news to share!