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Lake living…a behind the scenes look

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Years ago when I had my store in Ontario, I had a special client who used to pop in regularly. She always had awesome taste and a very distinct style. Plus she was really really fun to chat with. Skip ahead many years and in November I received an email from her and her husband. They were starting to build a new summer home on the lake and while they had a good idea of what they wanted it to look like, help was needed to pull it all together.

Emails flew back and forth and just before Christmas she flew out to Calgary and we had a full planning day. In February I met with her in Ontario and Debbie flew out in April and reviewed surface selections and paint colours. And again more emails were exchanged. Finally, after months of planning and lots and lots of decision making by the homeowners, it was time to go out to the lake and see their home. When we walked through the front door into the space for the first time, Debbie and I were absolutely thrilled. It’s everything the homeowners wanted and more. It’s organic, calm, artsy, natural and just plain perfect.

 

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This project was really fun to work on. The homeowners selected the plan and did a lot of the pre work. We were called in to review the plan and assist with surface selections, furniture placement and interior/exterior colours. We really felt that the outdoors should be the star, so we picked a palette that is more muted, but harmonizes with the surrounding scenery.

Last week was styling day. Debbie and I shopped for all the accessories that would bring it together. We loaded up the van, and we even had to ask the homeowner to load up hers. Out we went to the lake, and soon it looked like chaos. Stuff was everywhere. But then the magic happened…it started to come together and wow did it ever. Although you’ll see by the pictures, there’s still work to be done (is a home ever finished??) it’s looking mighty fine.

 

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Gagnon Camp Post8 Gagnon Camp Post9After so much work and planning by the homeowners, I’m glad that it’s starting to feel like home…their home. There’s been months of construction, dust and workers coming and going, so it’s nice to have a little pretty inside.

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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European Influence – Herringbone Tile

We’ve been working on a design style for one of our clients this week. They are the most gracious, elegant and classic couple. We want their home to be a true reflection, so we’ve been researching timeless patterns for flooring, wallpaper and fabric. You know me…I love this history stuff…in great detail. However, I’ll condense my notes and give you the short version. Taegan took a bunch of pictures when she was in Europe, so you’ll get some pretty pictures too.

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In around 500 B.C. the Roman Empire developed an expansive road system called Viae Publicae which stretched for 50,000 miles. Considering all the advances in technology and construction, we still use their basic principals of interlocking patterns. Criss-crossing pavers absorb the compression of movement and become very strong and able to handle huge loads. In fabric, this pattern can be traced back to Egyptian textiles where again the use of criss-crossing threads made for a strong fabric. There are very early examples of native cultures employing zig-zag weaves to create strong waterproof baskets. So a beautiful pattern started as an effective design solution in many cultures.
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Which brings us to the types of criss-crossing patterns…chevron and herringbone. Chevron is a zig-zag pattern that comes to sharp point. Herringbone resembles a broken zig-zag, and the points do not come sharply together. They are both classic patterns, but I find that herringbone is a little softer, so I usually specify chevron for more modern applications.
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When picking the fixed elements of design, it’s important to know your history! While we all like to be current, don’t go all trendy on the big expensive stuff. Keep it basic and classic. Look to the past for inspiration and you can’t go wrong. Keep the fun trends to the top layer…and switch that out when it becomes so last year.

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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Canada True North Colours and some holiday pics

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I don’t know about you, but there’s something about summer that brings out the Canadian in me. I’m just so darned proud of our country and think it’s so beautiful. We really are blessed to have so much wilderness around us. This year Debbie, Taegan and myself ended up vacationing nearby each other in Northwestern Ontario. We actually had a business meeting on the dock…really,  we did talk business!

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The rugged beauty of this area has inspired Taegan, and she’s been busy capturing it with her camera. Nature has always been a huge inspiration for us, and we’re constantly amazed at the colour combinations we see. Nobody does colour better than Mother Nature! We’ve put together a few collages of inspiration for you.

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We’ve also included some paint suggestions from General Paints. Started 96 years ago, General Paints is a Vancouver based company proud of their Canadian heritage. A few years ago, they took their  colours that have been consistently popular in Canada since the 1940′s, and called this collection Canadiana Historic. When it came to naming the collection, General Paints asked their staff from across the country to suggest a place or thing that evokes Canada for them. Then the head office staff set about matching the names to the colours.

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These are the colours of Canada. With names such as Trans-Canada Highway (dark grey),  Moose (dark brown), Killer Whale (black), Old Growth (leaf green) and Juno Awards (pale blue), these colours evoke our identity.

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You can pick up a brochure at General Paints that has all 120 Canadiana Historic colours. Reading the names and seeing the colours is like taking a trip to every corner of Canada.  About half way through reading, you’ll come to Canuck Red. Be careful, because your chest will start to puff out and you might find yourself proudly humming the national anthem!

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Debbie and Taegan join me in wishing you a very happy and Canadian long weekend.


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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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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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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

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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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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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