Wednesday, September 19, 2012


You either love them or or you don't.  They can be a little intimidating to some people as well but most people like them..... I love stripes and how they are always on trend, no matter what the style of the space or what the space is.  They can look elegant, fun, and everything in between depending on how they are used.  Stripes can visually expand a space - either add height or width and are easily mixed with other patterns and art. Stripes visually carry the eye where you want it to go.They become somewhat architectural in that way.  They can reshape a space.  
Stripes can offer drama or can be subtle.  We find striping in many forms, paint, wallpaper, fabric, tile and so on and on.....
A few ideas and a few pictures to think about.  Scale, Direction, Colour and Balance play important roles in 'getting it right'.
Think horizontal stripes on walls - they extend and carry the space, especially in a small corridor or room.  They give off a  modern/contemporary look, and a little fun.  Not only do they extend and widen the space they can be fun and playful if used in different colours.
Great in kids rooms.  If you are looking for a more sophisticated yet fun look, do a tone on tone or monochromatic stripe.  Unlike vertical stripes, they will lower a ceiling which is great in a space with high ceilings.

Vertical Stripes on walls or drapery create the illusion of more height and seem to raise the ceiling, especially great if you have low ceilings as in a basement.  Vertical stripes are the most commonly used and can give a contemporary look as well as a simple traditional look.

The scale of stripes is important as well.  It really comes down to the look you want.  Large, wide stripes are more contemporary, with thin stripes being more traditional. If you want to make a bold statement then use wide large stripes.  You should keep in mind where you are using the stripes - walls, furniture, ceilings, accessories as it makes a great difference in how the room plays out.  Putting over large stripes in a small room will overpower it just as very tiny thin stripes in a large room will look washed out and not even seen from a distance.

Think colour.... If  you want a playful look for a child's room then a variety of colours and different widths would be fine.  For a more classic look using low contrast colours in a mid width creates a timeless feeling.  Tone on tone is a great way to achieve the look of stripes without  too much tension, yet can be very elegant.  Using a cream or white with another darker colour will definitely give drama.  I love Black & White stripes or Navy and White.
You will find it easier to live with bright, or high contrast colours in your stripes when used in small doses such as a powder room where  you want a 'wow' factor but will not be spending a lot of time there.

Balance is important in creating a pleasing look for your room.  If  you are using stripes on the walls, then they should not be used on the furniture.  Keep it either plain or a different pattern with the same tones.  Using different stripes, plaids, floral or geometric along with plain will work as long as you stay within the same palette and keep the scale in mind.

Direction plays a part in how your stripes will work in your space.  For instance, using vertical stripes on drapery is more subtle to the eye than putting them horizontally.  That is not to say it will not work but you really have to be going for a particular look to do that.
In the photos below you will see many of the different ways that stripes work wonderfully.  Enjoy!!




Monday, September 17, 2012


Kitchens, The Hub of the house.....

We have all known that the kitchen has and always be the central gathering place in a home.  We have evolved through the years from the old farm style kitchen with the wood stove, table and most probably a sofa and other chairs. Back then they had what we now refer to as an "unfitted kitchen". It was the warmest place in the old farmhouses of days gone by.   
During the mid century period we moved into having more utilitarian kitchens and formal dining rooms for entertaining.  As we moved into the 80’s there was a resurgence of family style entertaining and the focus was on the great room The establishment of a great room by builders was addressing the need for families to be close together as they became very busy with 2 career households and the family activities involved all members.  Great rooms afforded a space to cook, eat, help children do homework, and watch television or play games.  As the boomers were so busy, they approached entertaining as a family affair with guests bringing their children.  This hub was perfect for some group bonding.  
As we approached the millennium we have taken the kitchen even further by opening it up to the living area and in some cases to the formal dining area or even removing the formal dining area for more 'living' space.  When we are entertaining we want our guests to be part of the entire process and we want to enjoy and be part of their conversation while preparing the meal. It has become the gathering place for guests.  We also saw the incorporation of the unfitted kitchen, which is where there are individual cabinet pieces, giving the look of furniture rather than cabinetry. 
Thus the kitchen has evolved again into a sophisticated room and in fact quite a showroom of the house.  Many European kitchen suppliers have become more prevalent in North America and are offering the most state of the art high-end kitchens.  The kitchen is still the gathering spot yet is has become a place of beauty and functionality.   We all know that everyone ends up in the kitchen at parties.
When designing these ultra kitchens, it is important to look at the overall concept and how to incorporate it with the remainder of the house.  Flow is very important as well as ergonomics and optimizing space in creative ways. When utilizing a professional we find them to be more knowledgeable these days and can offer the most appropriate finishes and products for each individual client.  Overall the kitchen must function like a well-oiled machine, yet appear pleasing to the eye. In other words all the “unsightly” paraphernalia in a kitchen must be accessible yet hidden.  We want to enjoy a less formal manner of entertaining, yet maintain a sense of elegance. 
The products themselves must be of the highest quality and withstand the test of time and have the longevity needed and to be worth the large sum of cash required to obtain such a space.  Kitchens can be as inexpensive or expensive as you are prepared to spend and as long as they are properly planned and executed, they will function and be the place you want to spend time in.


Here are some beautiful photos of kitchens, reflecting many styles...