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The story of us…and a great before and after

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Let me tell you a story about coincidences…it’s actually two separate stories that run side by side, until one day when they bump into each other and became one story.

There once was a 20 year old girl who moved to Thunder Bay from Marathon. She loved being in the big city. There were parties to go to, friends to meet up with and always a warm bar stool at the Keg. She soon had a lot of friends, but Lisa and Alexa became her besties and the three were always up for adventure. Fast forward a few years and the 20 year old met the love of her life and moved away. Not just one move, but lots of moves, because her love was a railroad man. No matter where they lived, this lady would try to get back to the Lakehead every summer. Because she was always the life of the party, the party would start when she got to town.

There once was another girl who was born and raised in Thunder Bay. She went to college and then to University in the city. She too liked a certain bar stool at the Keg, but somehow the two never ended up sitting beside each other. Fast forward a few years and this girl became friends with Alexa. Every summer this girl would hear Alexa, Lisa and Sandy making plans for when the girl from Marathon would be coming to town. Yet they still never met each other. Alexa got married and had a beautiful wedding, both  were there with their spouses, but still no meeting. Finally 8 years ago this summer, there was a party for Alexa at the Keg, and for the first time the two girls met, although no one introduced them. Everyone just assumed that they had met before.

The story now moves to Calgary, where both girls ended up relocating and working. One day these girls joined a bunch of designers who were having a quick coffee meeting at Starbucks. Both girls were there because they knew the same designer who said to each, “I know another designer that you should meet”.  When the girl from Marathon turned around from the coffee counter she saw the girl from Thunder Bay. And they couldn’t stop laughing…not even long enough to hear when their designer friend said, “Debbie Blake this is Karen Fron”.

That’s the story of us…we always say we were meant to work together.

Below are some before and afters from a Design Style Package that Debbie did. The cool thing about this before and after is that other than a few cushions, rug and accents pieces, it’s all the homeowners things. Debbie just rearranged the existing furniture, rehung the art and styled the tables and cabinets beautifully. She can do that…we say she has magic hands. Check it out and you’ll be amazed.

 

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Debbie is amazing at styling. She has a way of putting things together that makes each space unique. Not only that, she usually targets the items that have the most sentimental value. I still don’t know how she does that, but she does. It’s like she feels the energy of a space and knows. I’m so lucky to be able to work with her everyday.

The nice thing about being friends with Debbie is that we share the same history…we both like persians, Keg nachos, keg-sized drinks and being near the water. We both know not to get on the bad side of Nanabijou, it’s not a party unless there’s beef-on-a-bun and that working together is ever-nice.

If you want to have a restyle of your home, give us a call and Debbie can work her magic on your space.


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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Our summer so far…

It was a weekend of weddings. Both Taegan and I had a wedding on July 12 – hers in BC and mine in Ontario. Both were small weddings in small towns, held outdoors. Each bride put tons of thought into her special day, making sure that family and friends were received well. Two brides, two different styles. One thing was the same at both weddings though – and that was how much fun the guests had and the sweet moments when young and old spent time together.

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If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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Art Nouveau- the new and old

When I was in school studying Interior Design, we took a lot of courses about art history and furniture design. I loved these classes. My art history teacher would say that art tells the true story of the world. It’s a peek into the culture and the way civilizations before us lived.

When our Junior Designer, Taegan, went to Europe, she saw so many beautiful works of art, grand buildings and exquisite details everywhere, her camera couldn’t keep still. Maybe because in Calgary she’s been exposed to square box buildings and get- it-built-move-on-to-the-next-architecture, she was captivated by the Art Nouveau style.

Here’s a brief gallery of her Art Nouveau photos.

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Etsy
Etsy

If you’re an art history geek like me, you’ll want to read up on all the details of the Art Nouveau movement; how it incorporates the cycle of birth, decay and death, it’s subtle negative portrayal of women as menacing and scandalous, how Sigmund Freud influenced the style and how the Art Nouveau style reemerged in the late 1960′s with psychedelic artwork for rock concert posters and album covers.

If you’re more normal, and maybe just intrigued by the sensuous sweeping lines of the style, below are some modern day inspirations to work the style into your home.

 

Brennon Braud
Brennon Braud

 

artnouveau.soup.io
artnouveau.soup.io

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If you want to seem like a real expert on this style, just remember that Art Nouveau is known for it’s sweeping curves and flowing linear lines. And don’t confuse Art Deco with Art Nouveau…two separate decorative arts. Maybe a post for another day?


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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Yard Sale 101 – decorating on a budget

Summer is here and so is yard sale season. If you want a unique look and like DIY projects, then get out and start hunting. A little bit of elbow grease and creative thinking can give new life to old pieces.

When Taegan, our junior designer, was putting together her first home, she hit the thrift stores and yard sales like a crazy. With her designers flair, she was able to spot these great finds. With a little loving care, she created a beautiful home.

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One of the best things about recycling older pieces is that you can put together a really creative style. Your place won’t have that ‘furnished from the big box store’ look. And the price…don’t forget that important fact. It’s a really economical way to get designer style.
 
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Beautiful spaces don’t have to be expensive. As Taegan found out, you don’t need a sack of gold to make your space nice. We believe that everyone deserves to live in a nice space that functions well. People feel better, they’re happier, children behave better and husbands are sweeter. It’s a Karen Fron Interior Design fact.
 

If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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Nail the details

Nail the details

Nailhead trim on furniture is hip and funky! Hard to believe that this detail is 400 years old. It looks modern and sexy, and is showing up in lots of new applications to create bold looks.

via graham and green

The use of nailhead trim dates back to the period of 1560-1643 with the rise of French Country Style during the reign of Louis XIII.

via hickory chair

Today nailheads are paired with contemporary fabrics and bold colours for a sophisticated look.

via hickory chair

Both upholstery and case goods are showing off their studs these days. The formal lines of the furniture can be outlined, but we are also seeing nailheads used to create bold artistic designs.

via Horchow

Many furniture manufacturers allow customization using nailheads. As well, nailhead trim can be added as a DIY project.

via lee industries
Whatever your choice, get some nailhead in your home. It’s like jewelry for your furniture!


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

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Show your Canadian Pride.

Canada Day is my favourite holiday…and not just because it happens in summer. Well, maybe the sunshine, warm weather and celebrating outside do have something to do with it. But mostly Canada Day is my favourite because I’m proud to be Canadian. We are so lucky to live in this country…and mostly I take it for granted.

The girls and I just redid a dental office and the theme was Canadiana. We wanted to celebrate what makes us special and those little touches that say ‘we’re Canadian and proud‘. Now we’re on a mission to put a little Canada in every home.

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Wendy Tancock Prints
Wendy Tancock Prints

 

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I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.
– John Diefenbaker (From the Canadian Bill of Rights, July 1, 1960.)

Happy Birthday Canada! Enjoy the party.

Canadian Party 1. Etsy 2. Crows Feet Chic 3. Chatelaine 4. Pimms Cocktail 5. Vikalinka 6. Etsy


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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Truly Canadian

To celebrate Canada’s birthday, here’s a short list of favourite Canadian decorating items.

1.  Hudson Bay Blanket

thebay.com
Hudson Bay blankets are a symbol from the beginning of our country. Originally valued for their warmth, even when wet, the Hudson Bay Blanket now holds iconic status in Canada. There’s nothing better than snuggling down deep in a bed made up with a Hudson Bay blanket.

2. Toboggans

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todd falkowsky sled table

 

Before crazy carpets and steerable sleds, there was the toboggan. The thrill of going down the hill, made up for the chore of lugging it back to the top. Toboggans were the original mode of transporting goods for the Inuit and Cree. Today, they are not so commonly seen on the sledding hill, but have made their way into Canadian decor.

3.  Log Furniture

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Whether it’s as simple as using stumps for chairs around the campfire, log furniture has been the Canadian way. It continues to be popular in fashionable interiors and Canadian designers such as Brent Comber are internationally known.

4. Canadiana

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It’s not just moose antlers and Mounties. Canada is known for more than we give ourselves credit for. Throwing in a bit of Canadiana works for all decor styles. Repurposing bits of our heritage keeps us connected to the past and adds interest to interiors. Love this to hold books and newspapers.

5. Maple Leaf Forever

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If the days of hanging a Canadian flag in the window are long gone, then this patriotic cushions offers a grown up way to display your pride. The maple leaf is the quintessential Canadian symbol. Show yours with style.

Happy Birthday Canada. Cheers to living in one of the freest, happiest and welcoming places around!


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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What is the right interior white?

 

We’re a young couple and this is our first home. We need help picking a wall colour. We were thinking white but now we’re stuck. We don’t know which white is right because we have white trim and baseboards already. Can you help us out?  signed T&D 

Such a smart couple to know that white is difficult to choose. But when done right, white is fresh and youthful. First off, there’s nothing wrong with using different shades of white in one room. It actually looks wonderful. If the baseboards and trim are a crisp white, painting the walls a lovely warm shade of white will look great. Some of my favourites are Pointing 2003 by Farrow and Ball, as well as Benjamin Moore Cloud White (CC – 40).

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Another favourite white is Benjamin Moore Ballet White (OC – 9). It’s a slightly chalky greyed white. It’s never harsh and still looks clean. Judging by your floor colour, Ballet White might look good because it definitely is a deeper white.

A trick of the trade is to use a combination of glossy, flat and eggshell. If you want just a slight variance between colour, changing the finish will do that.

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346living

When doing white walls, it’s important that the white is repeated in the room. Pops of colour can still be done, but there must be a tie-in. Even if it’s just some accent pieces or cushions, you need to continue the white.

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redonline / houzz

Don’t be afraid to do an accent wall in a colour. The accent wall above works beautifully because of the white shelves that sit on it. There’s nothing worse than having a brightly coloured wall that doesn’t relate to anything. Be wary of doing a quick fix accent wall – usually not a good idea. Always have a tie in.

bhg / petitpapier.typepad
bhg / petitpapier.typepad

Having a little contrast in a room adds style. Notice the windows above and how they provide such a punch. A touch of dark will bring a room alive.

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onekinddesign / blueprintmodern

Dark floors with white walls look amazing, especially if there are dark touches in the room. In the room on the left hand side, note the brown colour repeated in the throw, the wall sconce, the picture frame and the door rail.

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decor8blog / planette-deco.fr

The amount of light a room receives is important to consider when choosing white for the walls. If you like a crisp fresh white like the room on the right, Benjamin Moore’s Simply White (OC – 117) is a great choice, especially if you are painting the window trim and baseboards the same as the walls.

lauriegrassi   /    twentythreefour
lauriegrassi / twentythreefour

Another way to add punch to a room is to highlight a door. Painting an interior door black will elevate the entire room. Matching the door to the furniture, as in the photo on the left, adds another layer of interest.

 

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Because of the position of your fireplace and tv, you can have some fun with paint on that wall. Paint the wall a warm white, but highlight the fireplace by painting a vertical strip of black from the tv cutout, floor to ceiling. Since there is no stone or brick to give the room some strength, use paint to do it. You could use a flat black paint and that will give you some beautiful depth.

 

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The best thing about paint is that it’s an inexpensive fun fix. Consider doing the above door a warm black (Benjamin Moore Black Beauty  2128-10) as well as the handrail. Do the handrail in a glossy black for a bit of shine. White and with a punch of black, such a classy combination.
Thanks for the before photos and your question about white. Have fun, think outside the box and always test colour on the wall. Don’t make your final decision from a 2inch paint sample. Oh and send us the after photos – would love to see how it looks.

For more information on how to choose the prefect white click here.


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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Wallpaper is cool again

After a short hiatus, wallpaper is back in fashion. We should have seen this coming as wallpaper has a long interesting history.

via prestigioustextiles.com

In the middle ages the elite class hung tapestries on their walls. This added colour as well as much needed insulation. Less well off members of the upper-class turned to wallpaper to brighten their rooms.

via prestigioustextiles.com

Early wallpaper featured scenes similar to those depicted on tapestries. Some early wallpapers were even hung loose to mimic the look of a tapestry.

via prestigioustextiles.com
via prestigioustextiles.com

During the Protectorate, under Oliver Cromwell, the manufacture of wallpaper was seen as frivolous and was halted. Following the restoration of Charles II, the lure of wallpaper was as strong as ever and wealthy people all across England began decorating with it again.

via prestigioustextiles.com

The development of the steam-powered printing press in Britain in 1813 allowed manufacturers to mass produce wallpaper. Thus its price was reduced and wallpaper became affordable to working class people. It was a cheap effective way to brighten up cramped and dark rooms.

 William Morris was one of the most influential designers of wallpaper and fabrics during the latter half of the Victorian period. Although he believed in ‘art for all’, his wallpapers were expensive and there wasn’t much uptake. However, he has had a long lasting effect on wallpaper design and his papers continue to be popular. Charles Francis Annesley Voysey  was an Arts and Crafts architect who also designed fabrics, tiles, ceramics, and wallpapers. His style combined simplicity with sophistication. His wallpapers feature stylised bird and plant forms in bold outlines with flat colours. Many of his designs still remain in print.

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During the late 1980’s, wallpaper fell out of favour in lieu of faux painting. Now we’re seeing wallpaper show up in stylish homes, often as a feature wall. The patterns are big and bold and the colour choices are simply beautiful.

via prestigioustextiles.com

Consider adding wallpaper to your home. Email me if you would like to see some of the newest and stylish patterns. Seems our love of wallpaper can only be suppressed for so long. So go ahead, enjoy this inexpensive way to bring colour, texture and pattern to your walls.



If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

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The golden touch of Paris

We’re so happy to have Taegan back from Europe. She’s back, but it’s not the same Taegan that left. Travel’s funny like that. It might be fun and interesting, and enjoyable, but it changes you. I remember my first trip to Italy when I was 18. Best time ever…but then something funny happened. My art history course was suddenly way more interesting, as was the History of Architecture and even furniture design. What…did the teachers suddenly step it up? Then I realized, it was me… a more alive, curious and connected me.
 

And Taegan is experiencing the same feelings. She’s noticing things that passed her by before. She’s connecting with history on a deeper level, feeling part of all that has come before. We love her enthusiasm and energy. We love her making connections with the design work we’re doing here to what she saw on her trip. In Europe, she saw traditional and cutting-edge forms of art and design co-exist in harmony. She noticed that many traditional designs and motifs are still relevant today, and designs and ideas she thought were modern, are really very old.


Plus the pictures…she took amazing pictures to share with us all. We’ve been going through her collection and drooling over them – then suddenly someone will notice that it’s just like the such and such we installed at so and so’s house.

“The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different.” Aldous Huxley

So here’s Taegan’s interpretation on what she saw in Paris and what’s current in interior design now.

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Gold accents are the big thing right now for interiors. Everyone’s talking about warm finishes as if they have never been used before. Silver was number one for so long that it almost seems gold is something new…however, we know better.

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Photo cred: MadeByGirl, LaurenConrad

 

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So if you love gold, use it, have it and love it…embrace it and make it yours. And if silver is your thing – then that’s what you should have. As Taegan found out in Paris, beauty is beauty…and it’s always beautiful.

 


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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