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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.

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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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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.

redonline  /  houzz
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.

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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.

via prestigioustextiles.com

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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Update to timeless design – before & after

Jackie Blog
The decision was made and they were going to stay in the house. The kids were older, living at home only for the summers, but the space still worked. What was needed was an update. New flooring, furniture, paint and a redo of the fireplace. It was also a chance to set up the home to function for the way they lived now.

The homeowners were eager to embrace some new ideas and move outside their comfort zone. They wanted a calm, neutral palette that would be soothing. The kitchen and living room receive a lot of sunlight, so it’s always bright and cheery. This allowed us to use a fairly monochromatic palette.

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JackieBlog33

On the first visit we discussed the necessity of three eating areas – kitchen table, kitchen island and dining room. It made sense to keep the dining room because the kids aren’t home all the time and when they are, meals turn into a dinner party.

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When it’s just the two of them, the homeowners enjoy eating at the island. They also like grabbing a light meal or coffee in the lounge chairs where their kitchen table used to be. We debated whether to do a small bistro table or an upholstered bench. Being able to put the feet up won over a place to put a plate.

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When it came time to design the fireplace, we took the tiles straight up to the ceiling. This keeps it sleek and modern looking. After years of struggling with what to put on the mantle, the homeowner was happy not to have one.

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We really enjoyed working with this couple and giving them a space that suits their life now. For me, the most important part of the design process is to find out how the homeowners live and give them a space that reflects this.


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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An old fav…High style for your headboard

This week I’m off to visit my favourite upholsterer. He’s making an 8 foot headboard for one of my clients. We want to create a luxurious feel in the master bedroom, and having a dramatic headboard will set the tone. My client likes clean lines and functional pieces, so there won’t be a lot of extras in the room.

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She was surprised at where the cost came in for the fabric headboard. Having something custom made may sound costly, but the price is actually comparable to purchasing a standard linen headboard that she saw at a home decor store at the mall.
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And by going custom, we get the height we need, as well as a beautiful raisin coloured velvet with shimmer in it. It will truly be luxurious and a focal point. This allows us to have less in the room while keeping it peaceful and relaxing.
via thingsthatinspire

Don’t overlook getting custom made pieces because you think it may be costly. Price it out and make a decision based on the facts. Not only do you often end up paying less then you think, you get something truly unique.


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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A young family’s transformation.

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For a long while life was all about babies and toddlers, trips to the park, stories, crafts and nap times. The days were full raising two little boys. Then suddenly it quiets down and there’s a moment to breath. It was during one of these moments that we were called in to help out. “My house needs help”, says the mom. “It’s a design emergency”.

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The family is lovely, the boys are a joy and the home is a happy place. Added bonus, there’s a gorgeous art collection. We were thrilled to be working with such great clients.

The first appointment was spent deciding how the space needed to function, rearranging existing furniture, picking paint colours and hanging art.

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By the end of the appointment we had a moving forward plan. Over the next couple of months furniture was ordered, shelving was installed, walls were painted and accessories were shopped for.

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Finally it was installation day. The day when it all comes together. Sofas are placed on the exact angle, cushions are added, accessories are arranged, and suddenly it looks beautiful.

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It’s always exciting to see first hand how happy a family can be in a well functioning and beautiful 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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5 easy solutions for clutter

5 easy solutions for clutter

Who cares how beautiful a home is if there is junk and stuff laying all over the place. Give your home a mini-makeover by just sorting, cleaning and putting away. Here are my top 5 ways to eliminate clutter.

via walldesigns.net

1. Get it off the floor and hung up. From coats to brooms to electrical cords, use hooks to keep everything neat and within reach.

via potterybarn.com

2. Baskets are my best friend. In our home, everything goes in a basket. Each boy has a  personalized basket for mitts and hats. Each bathroom has a basket full of books (I live with four males – need I say more). Toys, papers, sports equipments, crafts, you name it, I basket it. In my closets I often use boxes that I can’t bear to part with. Everything neat, tidy and contained.

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3. Don’t just have a piece of furniture if you can have furniture and storage combined. Love benches that open, night tables with drawers, and sofa tables with a shelf to hold baskets.

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4. Paper always accumulates in the kitchen, so have a mini filing system right there. I use a wicker file from Ikea and keep it right on the counter. School work goes directly into their bristle board folders, stored in the pantry. Even the newspaper has a home for the day and gets tossed in the evening. Be vigilant with the paper clutter.

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5. After much deciding, I went ahead and put up a small (12×18) bulletin board in the kitchen by the phone. Grocery lists, phone numbers, to-do lists, now all have a home and aren’t laying on the counter. Liked this system so much, I hung bulletin boards in the boys room for all their important papers. Because I never like to put holes in the wall, I used 3M’s picture hanging velcro. Love it!!!!

Banish clutter from your home this summer. It’s the easiest and cheapest way to take your home from nice to fabulous!


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

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Every room needs the unexpected

Sometimes it’s a pop of colour, other times it’s a differing texture. Every room needs a bit of the unexpected. It’s what makes it pop.

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The good thing is, it doesn’t have to be much. A few bright cushions in a neutral room, or a rustic stool beside a velvet sofa, is all it takes.

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Rooms shouldn’t be perfect – they need tension. If there’s nothing just a bit off, it can look placid and dull.

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Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Hang grandpa’s old skates on the wall, recover a footstool in bright pink and put it in a room full of browns. It’s the surprise that’s exciting.


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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10 Questions for Karen

For this week’s post, Taegan, our junior designer, asked Karen 10 questions.
 

1. The most important element in a room

Tension. Every room needs that bit of tension so that it doesn’t read all matchy matchy. It’s putting the unexpected in a room. Combining opposites that almost clash. It could be an antique buffet in a modern space or a pop of raspberry in a monochromatic room. The trick is making it look unified while still giving off tension.


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2. Best way to make a room feel more spacious

Clear out the clutter. I hate clutter…it ruins everything. Baskets are my favourite way to control clutter.  Ask yourself how much stuff you really need around.

 

May 4th- 10 Questions3

3. Favourite paint colour
Right now it’s not so much a specific colour I’m loving, but more a mood. I’m liking the warm grey’s. They’re clean, fresh, yet not cold. These always depend on the light in a space.
 

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4. Favourite tile

Classic tiles never get old for me. 1. 3×6 white subway, 2. 1 or 2 inch Hexagon3.  Basketweave 4. Penny Round (photo: lifeingrace blog) and anything out of 5. Carrera Marble.

 

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5. Design rule
I have so many rules…and then I go and break them all. But I guess my absolute rule is only have what you love. When you really love something, it always looks good. And buy quality…quality never goes out of style.

 

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6. Design pet peeve
When people don’t put any effort into making their homes look nice. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to create a beautiful space. It does take some effort, but it’s time well spent.
 
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7. Favourite lighting tip
Bright overhead lighting creates no ambiance – there should be a dimmer switch on every light in the house. Put the foyer lamp on a timer so that there’s always a welcoming light when coming home.

 

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May 4th- 10 Questions6

8. Best DIY project
Rehang your art. Group it gallery style and hang it lower than you think you need to. Also a little piece of surprise art makes such a statement. Hang a small piece under a window, or just above a console table as part of a grouping. Small walls look great with art hung vertically.

 

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May 4th- 10 Questions8

9. Best use of $500
New cushions. Period. Nothing updates and refreshes a room like new cushions do. Custom cushions in luscious fabrics add luxury and make a big impact.

 

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10. Most common mistake people make
Well I think there’s two big mistakes people often make. Number one is thinking that hiring a designer is a luxury. Anyone who’s ever chosen the wrong tile, counter, paint colour or sofa knows that choosing right the first time saves money. Second common mistake is pushing all the furniture up against the walls. And not having a focal point in the room. Every room needs a focal point. Technically that’s three, but they’re common ones.


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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