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Fabulous Fabrics…it’s all in the mix

Fabric Post

Getting a new box of crayons in my Christmas stocking was my very favourite present. Carefully I would open the lid, breathe in that new crayon smell and admire those 64 gorgeous colours. It would take me about a week before I was actually ready to use them. First I had to make colour combinations. I would put the purple beside the red (daring), line up all the different shades of green (monochromatic), and decide if I liked pink better with blue or orange. There were so many colour combinations and I loved them all. It’s no surprise that I gravitated toward interior design.

Working with fabrics is probably the favourite part of our job. There is something so satisfying about putting different colours and textures together. When it’s done well, it immediately elevates a room from nice to show-stopping.  Many times we’ve made a ho-hum room fabulous by loading up with exquisite  cushions.

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It’s not just the colour combination that’s important, it’s also the textures. Rooms need differing textures, but they still have to blend. It’s especially important when working with whites and creams. Think smooth, chunky, small pattern, stripe, herringbone and tweed.  It’s also important to have different shades of white, ivory and cream for an interesting look.

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When putting a room together, we like to add a pop of colour. A look isn’t complete until we throw in that something extra, that bit of colour that doesn’t necessarily match, but really stands out. Sometimes it’s hard for homeowners to be that bold. A few weeks ago, Debbie and I were at Homesense getting some Italian sheets for a client. As I was talking to Debbie, I could see her attention focusing on the basket of a fellow shopper. Trance-like, Debbie whispers, ‘I can’t let her do it, Karen. I can’t let her buy those cushions and lamps because they’re just so blah. They won’t look nice in her home.” So off she went to make a new friend and get a pop of colour in that shopping basket!

Lately we’ve been using different shades of red. Scarlet, raspberry, coral, burgundy and carmine are happy colours and can be added to most colour schemes. A little red goes a long way though, so be cautious. Red feature walls are never a good idea for a family home. They may look okay in a restaurant or office, but are really hard to live with.

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Most times a colour should be repeated at least three times in a room. Sometimes though it’s okay to just put one stand out pop of colour. In the photo above on the left, imagine how great a few toss cushions in pumpkin orange would look. It’s just that touch of  “I’m not trying too hard!”

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As much as we like colour and pattern, I don’t mind using great neutrals for large items. The chair below is done in a beautiful textured work horse fabric. It might seem a boring choice when you consider all the options, but that’s the beauty of it. The choice for cushions, throws, draperies and area rugs is wide open.

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Beautiful fabrics can cost a beautiful price, but we think it’s money well spent. The luxurious feel of quality fabrics really is worth it. However, not every fabric in a room has to be best quality. It’s that old trick of mixing low and high. A few high end pieces will make everything look great.

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Most of the fall fabric collections have come into the showrooms now. What impresses me the most is that there is so much variety. If there is one look, it seems to be an ‘anything goes’ attitude. Colours are warming up slightly, but there really is something for everyone. I’m hopeful that this trend of not being stuck on one look stays.

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I feel colour affects us so much, that we absolutely need to surround ourselves with fabrics that bring out the best in us. Think of beautiful fabrics as a tonic for the soul.

 


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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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.
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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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An old fav…Over the moon

Yesterday at the fabric showroom, I found the most amazing fabrics. My client is going for a modern British look, yet still a bit clubby and menswear inspired. These fabrics by Abraham Moon and Sons have me swooning.

moon.co.uk
moon.co.uk

Moon has been making woollen fabrics in the United Kingdom since 1837. They still use many of their old patterns from the early 1900s. Tweeds, tartans, heather colours, checks and stripes are manufactured for both fashion and home design.

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The colours are muted, yet the fabrics have such depth to them. Whether it’s a large upholstered piece, draperies, or simply a few toss cushions, they’ll add quiet luxury to a room.


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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Throwback Thursdays – Persian Pickles

What’s old is new again, and in this case, what’s really old is once again trending high. The persian pickle motif is also known as the Welsh pear design. The most common name though, is Paisley. Paisley is a teardrop-shaped motif of Persian and Indian origin and has been used since AD224. Wow – that’s really old.

the paisley shoppe

 

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Paisley shawls, imported during the 17th century, from the East India Company to Europe became the rage. Soon many European countries were copying this centuries old design, but the town of Paisley, Scotland became the foremost producers. Hence the name association.
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Paisley has influenced many designs around the globe. Paisley became very fashionable during the Victorian times as well dressed men and women wore this pattern. William Morris furthered paisley’s popularity with his wallpapers and through his work, it became known as somewhat bohemian. 
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In the 1960s it was the Beatles who propelled paisley back in fashion. They fuelled the interest in Indian spiritualism and this included the use of colourful paisley designs. 
the paisley shoppe
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Paisley is one of the most recognizable patterns in the world. We’re seeing it show up again very strong on the runway and in home decor. Considering it’s been around for centuries, it really can be called a classic. 
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And just because it’s super old, doesn’t mean it’s old fashioned. Paisley works in all decors and is right at home in classic design as well as modern.


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 Design Classics

What’s with all the ugly, cheap furniture on the market today? I know we live in a throwaway society that promotes new and shiny over long-lasting quality, but it’s always a good idea to buy the best you can afford.

If you’re going to invest in a few quality pieces, here’s a list of our 10 favourites.

These pieces have truly have stood the test of time. They always bring a classic elegance to any space, no matter whether you choose the traditional or modern version. Good design, unlike fashionable design, will last a long time. Good design is worth investing in.

And you know what goes great with a cup of tea and rearranging your furniture? Some good tunes to sing along to… remember this one? Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits This is another must have. Enjoy the remaining of your 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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Chaos to masterpiece.


It’s style day at our client’s home. The large pieces were delivered a few days prior, and now it’s time to put it all together. This is the part we love. At first it’s all bags and loads of accessories. It doesn’t look too good. It’s actually hard to move around in the space, and there’s stuff everywhere. But shortly the magic is about to begin.

All renovations have been done before today. We’ve made a floor plan and large furnishings, chosen for function and beauty, are sitting in place. Today is the day to do pretty. Sometimes our clients like to be there for the process, but many times they let us do our thing and come home once their space has been transformed. It’s always so fun to see their reactions.


Although it may look unorganized, there is method to the process. There are simple design principles that every space needs. Most important in a room is balance. It has to feel right. There has to be a balance between large and small, square and curvy and masculine and feminine. Scale and proportion come next. Furnishings and accents have to be in the proper scale or again, the room won’t feel good.


Colour is so very important. Every room needs some warm and cool. A room that is all warm colours will feel choking. All cool colours and it just feels frosty. Sometimes it’s fun to throw in a colour that’s just a little off so it looks interesting. Chartreuse or raspberry are good colours to add for a jolt.


Within every home, there must be harmony, a natural flow from room to room. That doesn’t mean it all has to look the same, but it certainly has to work together. Focal point, rhythm, repetition, these all must be considered when designing and styling a space. As the cushions get unpacked and the accent tables put in place, we’re following good design principles. There’s a lot that goes into it.


Because we love our client so much, we styled up her home and helped her bring in extra seating for the baby shower she was hosting the next day. So no after pictures right now. We’ll get some of those when the chairs and teacups and shower decorations are taken down.


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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Freshen up your space and fall in love with it again.

 

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January has come and gone already, so some would say the worst part of winter is over. Us Calgary folk know that we have a lot of indoor days yet. I figure if you’re spending a lot of time at home, it should be in a space that’s enjoyable. There’s no reason to live in ugly – none whatsoever. We always say, ‘ugly costs just as much as pretty’. So roll up your sleeves and let’s get the pretty party started.

First on the menu is a really good clean. Honestly, how can anything be pretty if it’s dirty. Get out the soap and water and scrub away. The added benefit is that while scrubbing, you’ll probably tidy. Sort through all the piles and put it away… in it’s home…out of sight. Now that everything is fresh and clean and sparkly, you can start doing pretty. Look out the (clean) window and see the snow filled, barren landscape. It’s time to surround yourself with something green.

 

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Fresh greenery will have your place looking alive. We’re using a lot of orchids to style with because they’re so elegant and really an easy flower to grow. We’re also using Boston ferns, ficus trees, English Ivy, cast iron plants, and umbrella trees. Adding greens to a space will make it look current and fresh. Warning…this is important. Do Not have ugly, half dead plants. Never ever. And remember the rule, Poinsettia plants must be disposed of by January 15 at the latest. Really…it’s true.

 

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What’s the difference between a show home and a real home? Show homes don’t have a soul. They don’t have important objects that give off good energy. We really believe that every beautiful home needs to have collections of rocks, personal photos, meaningful books and handcrafted items. Artfully displaying items that have sentimental value is so important.

 

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Don’t keep treasures hidden away. Group collections and display mementos. There’s a real art to arranging shelves and coffee tables. Last week in a client’s home we displayed their beautiful tea cup and saucers from Italy. To keep the collection from looking scattered, we contained them in a sleek black tray. For years the dainty tea set was tucked away at the back of a kitchen cupboard, now it sits in the centre of the dining room table.

 

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The easiest way to freshen up a space is to throw in pops of colour. Adding a few new cushions on the sofa will completely change the look of a room. Don’t go all matchy matchy either. Mix patterns, colours and textures.  It’s a good time to update bathroom towels and kitchen linens too.

Our homes need constant care and attention. Putting forth a little effort to keep our spaces looking good is so worth it. When we live in a space that feels good, so do we.


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 steps

January is always the month I want to organize and freshen up the house. The Christmas decorations get packed away and I love getting back to normal. I walk around the house thinking how cozy it looks, and maybe, if I just added a few more cushions, or cleaned out the book basket, it would look even better.

Here are my 5 easy steps to create a beautiful home.

1.  Organize / Remove Clutter / Clean

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2.  Rearrange furniture to create balance

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3.  Paint and add wallpaper

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4.  Introduce fabrics with texture and pattern

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5.  Surround yourself with authentic accessories

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January is the month to get organized and be creative!

Wishing you a happy 2013!


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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Let it snow….

As the snow pours down in Calgary, I feel so lucky to have chosen today to work at home. With the fire going it’s so cozy in the family room. If your place isn’t feeling warm, cozy and safe, try adding in some new toss cushions. Honestly! Whether they’re custom fabric or Home Sense, new cushions add so much to a room. A nice throw helps too…and maybe a new lamp…

 

ralph lauren fabric wallcovering

 

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Surround yourself with what you love. Colour is so very important, but so are textures. During the winter months it’s nice to be surrounded by velvets, wools, chenilles and cable knits. It’s all about the warm and fuzzies.


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.