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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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Fabulous Kitchen Makeover

The home was perfect in almost every way. Location was great, good sized yard, bungalow with just enough bedrooms, and a newly built sunroom. But for someone who loves to cook, the kitchen was a disappointment. A huge disappointment…it was really small and horribly outdated. While outdated can be fixed, it was the small that was worrisome.


After considering several options, it was decided to work within the space of the existing kitchen. There would be no knocking out walls and making a large chef’s kitchen. There would be no island, no separate prep area, no pastry counter, all the things that this hobby chef dreamed of.

With every renovation there’s give and take, and for a while this reno seemed more give. What helped get over the disappointment and allowed us to move forward, was to think of the renovation in very basic terms. What was most necessary, and who would be using the space.

Two ovens were a must, as well as keeping the large window to the sunroom. Also very important was an upgrade of the appliances. Cabinet space was sacrificed to gain a wall oven. Because the space was so small, an all white kitchen was chosen to give the illusion of roominess. Cabinets, counter and backsplash all blend seamlessly. Bulkhead was painted dark to provide some contrast.

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When it came time to select the floor we wanted something that would be seamless. We also had to consider that this cook will sometimes spend up to 14 hours at a time cooking! For these reasons, Marmoleum was the preferred choice.

Upper cabinets weren’t used over the counter beside the sink. Visually this opens up the space and provides an excellent pastry area. In future, reclaimed wooden shelves could be added to hold jars of flour and baking supplies. The sink is extra deep to handle big clean-ups. Cabinets were designed to accommodate this cooks favourite pots, pans and spices.


We’re happy to say that the kitchen is functioning very well for these homeowners. Though it may be a small space, there’s room for lots of big flavour.


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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Before and Happily Ever Afters

The call came saying she was a friend of a client and she liked what we’d done and maybe we could help her. On appointment day we knew we’d love this job because the family was just so nice. The home was welcoming, well cared for and filled with happiness. It just needed some updates.

 

 

Addressing how the space functions and how each family lives is our first priority. It became apparent that there was a whole lot of space in the front living room that was rarely getting used. Having a museum room is never good, so this became our starting point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After

 

We brightened and updated the space, giving this lovely young family a home that made them feel good.

Have a wonderful week before spring break!


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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It may be small, but it won’t be boring

Right now I’m working on a kitchen redesign for a couple in Ontario. They recently sold an acreage with a large split level to move to a bungalow in town. This home had almost everything they were looking for, as well as a large yard, which sold him immediately. She’s an amazing cook and for her, the tiny kitchen was a let down.

A complete gut of the bungalow was not an option, so we’re moving forward working with what’s there. My theory that any space can be functional and beautiful has become our mantra.

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The space is small, so we’re going with white cabinets, stainless appliances (including a wall oven) and a cambria countertop in Torquay, which is a carrera marble look. The space has been reconfigured to function better and move the stove away from the door. To keep the look clean and simple, the backsplash will be a white subway tile.

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Next is the flooring. Since there are beautiful hardwood floors throughout, we won’t try to match, rather we’ll pick something that co-ordinates. Maybe something with a little punch. When doing a small space, it’s important that the surfaces add colour and texture. Because there’s no island and very little counter space, there won’t be any place to add accessories or textiles. We’ll choose a fantastic floor, bold paint and great light fixtures. The choice of faucet takes on more importance as it’s one of few chances to create a look.

Construction is scheduled to begin first week of March. Will post the before and afters.


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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Saying goodbye to summer

Saying goodbye to summer

Happy September Everyone! There’s no use crying over the end of summer…well maybe just one little tear.

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Embrace the change of seasons and enjoy the colours, textures and patterns of Autumn.

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As you start to move back indoors, resolve to make your home a cozy place that everyone wants to hang in – and maybe drink some wine in!

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

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Don’t paint…that’s good wood

Don’t paint…that’s good wood

Usually it’s the men. They’re appalled that someone would want to paint over ‘good wood’. Maybe it’s the budget, or maybe some people just can handle a little reno but it’s out of the comfort zone to jump in all the way. Whatever the case, I have a lot of clients with oak cabinets wanting to update their kitchens without ripping out the existing cabinetry.

Be careful when picking a counter top. Granites are lovely and have great resale value, but beware. They need to be the star. Be sure to go to the granite place and look at the whole slab. What looks nice as a 2×2 inch square, can be overwhelming in counter size. Granite craves the limelight, so pick a back splash tile that’s quiet and calm. My favourite is the classic subway tile.

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In this kitchen the wood cabinets are the star. The dark granite looks calm and luxurious and it all works together.

Here’s a kitchen with a newly installed granite counter top. Instead of downplaying the yellow of the cabinets, the choice of counter plays up the yellow. The red wall is awful and relates to nothing, nor does it pick up any undertone colours. But not to worry, there’s an after. The cabinets have been refinished which is always an option.

Yikes! The after is worse than the before. This kitchen reno doesn’t work. The granite is yellow, the wall is red and the formerly oak cabinets are white. Uggghhh…if eating in this kitchen it would be hard to keep food down.

If you are going to keep your oak cabinets, you have to combat the yellow or orange undertones with a strong wall colour and keep the counter, back splash and flooring all working together. Greys work best, and greys with a green undertone will quiet the orange in the cabinets.

If a kitchen renovation is in your future, it’s worth the money to call in a designer to help with these details. Everyone deserves a space that makes them feel calm, happy and at home.

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

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Black and white looks so good

Black and white looks so good

Black and white have always been the epitome of style and class, and at times, hotness. When a colour combination can look this good, it’s no wonder we choose to wear it and decorate with it.

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Black and white is striking and bold. It can have hard edges, yet be warm and liveable.

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The trick is to add a few softening elements. A burst of colour sets off the sharpness of the contrast.

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The formalness of this room gets a playful punch from the zebra bench.

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Black and white rooms can sometimes project an image of aloofness and a look…don’t touch attitude. Darryl Carter added rough wooden accents to his design, and suddenly there’s a vulnerability present. A room of contrasts…sleek, yet touchable.

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When doing black and white, balance is so very important. One colour must be the dominate, with just enough accents of the other.

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The throw at the end of the bed provides so much pattern and colour, it’s hardly recognizable that there’s very little other black in this room. The yellow flowers give it a nice boost too.

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Black walls are another way to bring big style to spaces that would otherwise be boring and utilitarian.

Never underestimate the power of black and white. It’s brought more than one woman to her knees.


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

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That little bit of wow

That little bit of wow

Often what takes a room from nice to spectacular is the little bit of unexpected wow. Sometimes you have to break a design rule to get this wow going. Look at these red lamp shades – awesome and completely wow wow wow. Yet, there is no other red in the room. I guess the ‘repeat a colour three times’ rule just got stomped on and thrown under the carpet.

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Love this room, yet it wouldn’t be everyones first idea to paint two chairs a bright glossy yellow. Somehow it all works and the chairs give the room the kick it needs. Imagine a recliner in place of the chairs…suddenly the room looks old, boring and dated.

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The fun arrived in this room with the installation of the turquoise chandelier. The best thing about Tobi’s design is that the room looks full and interesting but doesn’t have any extra ‘stuff’ going on. This is a room made for good conversation.

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The tall windows framed with draperies are very formal, but the zebra cushions and log table provide some fun. This is such a great room because it shows that the homeowners have a sense of lightness about them.

Now take a look around your home…have you got the wow going?

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