Sunday, July 22, 2012

Guest post: Jen's Take on "Mr. Decor Happy's Den"

 Today, Jen from Rambling Renovators is here with her take on Mr. Decor Happy's Den. (I'm changing the terminology from "Man Cave" which I just couldn't get used to!) Welcome Jen!

Hello Decor Happy readers! I'm so excited to be guest posting here today and sharing my ideas for "The Man Cave." I've had the pleasure of seeing Vanessa's lovely home in person so designing a room (even virtually) for her is a bit intimidating! I've never designed a man cave before (my husband gets claim to only one room in our house - the garage, lol!) so this was a fun exercise in exploring some masculine style:


Vanessa mentioned that her husband uses this room for reading, watching TV and napping. He loves music and is a huge Beatles fan. I think this Retro Industrial Man Cave will be the perfect place for him to escape and indulge in all those things.
  1. These Bowie Beatles Rolling Stones prints are totally rad. I love the manly colour palette and the retro vibe. The prints are sold as a set of three and I'd frame and mat them as shown together on a wall.
  2. The existing wall colour, Special Edition by Para Paints, is a warm light grey. A perfect neutral against all the cooler, more vibrant elements in the room.
  3. For comfortable reading, I'd put in this high back wing chair. The Jameson Wing Chair from Ballard Designs is down filled and has generous proportions and the brass nailhead trim lends it an industrial edge. Drape it in a classic stripe fabric and you've got one hip chair you won't want to get out of.
  4. Building on that industrial feel, I'd put this wood and metal side table beside the wing chair. I love how its rough lines and raw texture play against the softness of the chair. Plus, its got lots of surface area... just the right spot to stack some books (and maybe a gin and tonic over ice?)
  5. A man cave demands some edge, some drama, so instead of a standard table lamp I'd hang a pendant light over the side table. This one from Barn Light Electric has all the right features: mirrored interior shade, edison lightbulb, a stem wrapped in heavy, textured rope. So cool!
  6. Hopefully there's a window somewhere in this man cave to let in some natural light. These Links Indigo custom drapes from Tonic Living are graphic and fresh. The vertical stripes mimic the stripes in the chair and play well with the other patterns in the room.
  7. What's a man cave good for if not to relax and maybe enjoy an afternoon nap? The Window Daybed from West Elm is the perfect place to do just that.
  8. Picking up on the orange in the retro prints, I'd add these Greek Key pillows from Tonic Living. Plus, they'll help with the aforementioned afternoon naps ;)
  9. A stylish guy space needs a stylish rug. The always classic Union Jack rug says modern and retro at the same time.
  10. And, of course, you need to have an HDTV.
What do you say Vanessa? Will this room make both Mr. and Mrs. Decor Happy happy?
Jen, this looks fab! I love the prints, chair and drapes. You have given me lots to think about. Thanks for putting this together! (and thanks for the lovely compliment on my home!)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Decorating a “Man Cave”

(First let me say, I’m not a big fan of the term “man cave” so if you can think of something else, please do share!)

While out for dinner with my blogger friends the other night, I mentioned that one of the rooms in my home that needs a lot of attention is our 4th bedroom.  We (our family) actually refer to it as the TV room but it’s a room predominantly used by Mr. Decor Happy.

We don’t have a finished basement with a large screen TV and I don’t see that happening any time soon.  We have plenty of space for the three of us above ground.  This is the room where Mr. DH goes to watch TV, read and nap.  It’s really his room and I rarely venture in except to iron (actually, come to think of it Mr. DH does my ironing for me!)   (It’s also the catch all room where we keep the ironing board and things that don’t really have a home.)  For this reason, I won’t be showing a Before pic. But if you picture a sad little room with a sofa bed and a TV from the 90’s then that would be it.

A New York City Apartment by Robert Couturier
So, I got to thinking that Mr. DH should have a room of his own with some personality.  Maybe something like the one above.  Because the room is used for the occasional guest, I am replacing the sofa bed with this West Elm day bed which arrived some time ago.  I recently lightened up the walls in my home, so this room got a coat of Para’s Special Edition, a light grey. Also, I should mention that it is a small room at only 12’ x 12’.

While at dinner, the ideas for the room were flying and I thought why not have my friends guest post about how they would decorate the room. They all had such unique ideas.

So, over the next week or so, Jen, Amy, Lindsey and Tim will give their take on The Man Cave.  And if you would like to participate, please let me know!

Check back on Monday for Jen’s take on the room.

We’re off to spend some time with Rick’s Mom in upstate New York.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Catching Up with…Vanessa Sicotte

Hello there!

Vanessa from Damask & Dentelle is one of my newer blog sponsors so I thought it would be fun to get her take on my “10 Quick Questions.”  She is an interior decorator, blogger, mom to three young children and host of a new TV show in Quebec! One busy lady!  I have had the pleasure of meeting her on a couple of occasions and she is formidable! (hope that’s the correct use of the word Vanessa!)

vanessa sicotte large
1) Tell us a bit about your background and education. When did you begin your career in design?
Oh boy, are xou sure? It might take a while… I have a bachelor degree in industrial psychology, one in marketing, a master in international business, a diploma in real estate… and finally I did a decorator’s course 3 years ago!
(Note: all interior shots are of Vanessa’s belle maison in Montreal.)

2) What is Damask & Dentelle?
Damask & Dentelle’s website was launched in October 2009 and is now recognized as one of Québec’s leading design blogs & web directory with a devoted following. As the curator of the site I am also a design blogger and trends observer. I created Damask & Dentelle as a way to reach out and share finds of Québec’s design boutiques, artisans and professionals to the consumers as well as people from the design industry.

3) Tell us a bit about your latest venture – Sauvez Les Meubles.
Sauvez les Meubles is a new TV show that will air on Québec’s Canal Vie as of September. It’s concept is adorable (hey I am a little biased)! My mandate is to decorate a room in a couple’s home using their existing vintage furniture, hand-me-downs from family members and thrift finds… all for less than $500. I try to propose as many cool DIY ideas as I can find to give people the most bang for their buck and so far we’ve had some awesome reveals.


Myself, Nancy, Gabby, Vanessa and Barbara at Aberfoyle Antique Market back in May where Vanessa sourced some great finds for the show.


4) Who inspires you?
My children are a huge source of inspiration for their mere no hold back use of color. In the design world I admire the work of Albert Hadley & David Hicks as the forefathers of pattern and the timelessness of their designs. Kelly Wearstler for her interpretations of Hollywood Regency, Canada’s Tommy Smythe for his use of black, Thom Filicia for his business sense, Darryl Carter for embracing all things white, Amy Lau for her Mid Century revival decors and India Hicks for her beach je ne sais quoi!

5) Name something about yourself that readers may be surprised to learn?
I have 3 children under 7 years of age, 8 tattoos, 0 pet, and way too many pairs of shoes!


6) How would you describe your decorating style?
With a lot of qualifiers! I would say my style is somewhere on the median between bohemian, eclectic and Hollywood Regency with a massive vintage twist.


7) What is the most common mistake people make when decorating?
Not trusting their instincts and buying everything at once, from the same place. It is better to have a void in the room than to pack it up with things that are just fillers. The perfect piece of furniture will eventually find its way and fill that void as if it belonged there. Also, I often recommend to people to be mindful of the craftsmanship and provenance of the products they buy. Cheap (and I don’t mean inexpensive here) will always be just that… cheap.


Love the floral fabric on her 400 year old chair.

8) What does every room need?
A touch of black! (Navy counts too)

9) What are three simple changes someone can make to their home right now for maximum impact?
Look up! Add interest to a room by using the ceiling as a fifth wall and paint it, add mouldings, or wallpaper to make it come alive.
Use your china and crystal glasses everyday! These are life’s small luxuries that I love to indulge in. Not only do they look so pretty at the breakfast table but they also have mood uplifting capacities.
Go green! I find people have less and less plants in their homes for some reason. Let’s change that shall we? Right now I am infatuated with ficus trees for their large leaves and their architectural features that add oomph to any room.

10) What’s next for you?
Some time off maybe?? I have not had a day off in what seems to be forever. So my family and I will be taking 3 weeks off this summer and I am already counting the days until then. Woopidoo!
On the Damask & Dentelle front, I am very excited to see the Toronto directory come out this fall. It’s been a long process but it is now ready.
Otherwise, I am entertaining the wild dream of one day writing a book and having a a signature bedding line. Hey a girl can dream right?
Thanks Vanessa!  Enjoy your well deserved vacation! I have no doubt that your dreams will become a reality soon! 

Be sure to head on over to Damask & Dentelle to get inspired. Also check out Vanessa’s blog here.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Blogger Backyard Party

Still thinking about the fun times at the Blogger Backyard Party last weekend, sponsored by the Home Depot.  As you saw in the Before photo, the focal point of our backyard was a large trampoline.  So, it was nice to finally have a patio, seating and some trees.



Love, love, love the sectional!  Also love these stackable chairs – inexpensive (they are on sale right now too!), comfortable and easy to store.  The end table was a $5 Aberfoyle find which I spray painted with navy outdoor paint. (PS Would love to paint the fence an off-black colour but don’t think that will happen any time soon.)



Wendy, myself, Christine, Lisa, Sarah, Amy

This photo cracks me up. Not sure what I was saying but everyone looks shocked! There is always so much to chat about when you get a few design bloggers together.


Aly and Jordana (Home Depot’s PR team) with Jen and I.  Yes, it was very sunny, hence the shades. I think, I’ll have to invest in a pergola or gazebo next year.


Lisa and Lindsey


Yvonne, Christine, Tim, Chris






The best photos at a party are the unposed ones like this.


Macarons – yum!


  Love this photo of Sarah – she is glowing!


And this photo of my gorgeous sister Arlene.  She’s really thinking “OK Van, you can get off my lap now. You’re not 10 any more!”


I really think outdoor rugs like these cozy up the hard patio surface. The ones above were brought in for the party but I just may invest in a couple. I also placed planters around the patio (see left of photo) for some colour.


Group photo - smile!  (All photos by Leah Kirin)

(Thanks Home Depot for organizing the event – your team was a pleasure to work with!  Visit the Home Depot for everything for your backyard/balcony/porch!)

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

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Interior Design and the Art of Feng Shui

The role of feng shui in interior design is vital. The principles behind feng shui coincide with the common aim of interior design for the space to be functional and aesthetically pleasing. These are credible and logical ideas that should be treated as beneficial guides in designing and decorating interior spaces. Feng shui is somewhat like a science that is based on a systematic determination of what the space needs, gathering pertinent information, experimenting with furniture arrangements and interior design elements guided by sociological principles, reaching the most reasonable and feasible results and building a list of recommendations that will aid in the design implementation.

Embracing this practice can be done by anyone who has the patience, time and energy to engage in re-arranging and redecorating design elements until such time when a final layout and design can be achieved. You can make your life easier by hiring an expert to have him assess the needs of your particular space. You do have to spend extra money, but for a worthwhile endeavor such as this, it will be one of the wisest things you can do.

Rather than be uncomfortable and restless in your living room with the wrong layout, why not consult your feng shui master or browse a guide book to find a feasible and workable layout. Feel free to rearrange your sofa or the dining table and find out where the best location for them is. Why not interchange the location of your living room and your dining area? You might realize that the new layout is better and it will allow you to maximize the garden view adjacent to the two areas. It will be a matter of trial and error to see what works and what doesn't. You have to learn to be in tune with every element you have in your house. You just might find the culprit for your morning tantrums in the morbid and gloomy painting that you have neglectfully placed on the right side of your hallway. Whatever element that gives you a discomfited and bothered feeling, you either have to remove it or change its location.

For feng shui practices to work and be successful in the long run, you must take the initial step to get to know yourself better and familiarize yourself with your surroundings, specifically your home. You must reach a balance between what you need as an individual and what your space requires. In feng shui, basically every form of hindrance, eyesore, or clutter should be eliminated because they disrupt the flow of positive energy around your home. The design elements that are left exude vitality and harmony that will appeal to you on a physical level as well as on a psychological and emotional one.

Oh Happy Day – Canada Day, that is!

Hello there!

Just popping in to wish you a Happy Canada Day, or as we say in French, Bonne Fête du Canada!

So whether you are having a picnic:

Hanging out at the cottage:

Or just taking a nap:

images via here

Happy, Happy Canada Day!

The Huffington Post wrote an article on why their readers love Canada and “Why Canada Rocks” – have to agree with the ketchup chips one!  So Canadian!

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