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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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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.

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.

onekinddesign   /   blueprintmodern
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.

decor8blog  /   planette-deco.fr
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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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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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Do White Right

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White is hard to get right. It’s funny that such a basic colour can be so difficult. But it’s those sneaky undertones again. They can change the way the paint looks on the wall. If it’s too grey, it can feel cold. If the white has too much yellow, it could come across as dusty looking.

When done properly, white is great for trim, ceilings and walls. If you have fixed white surfaces in your home, such as cabinets or tiles, then you must match this undertone for trim. It is possible to put several whites together, but they must have the same undertone.

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So as you see, white is not white. It depends on the undertones and how much natural light a room receives. It’s also really important to have your decor relate to the white walls, otherwise, no matter what white is chosen, it will just seem out of place. The most important tip I can give you, is to always test your colour on the wall. Paint a bristol board and live with the colour for a few days. Make sure that the undertone in the white isn’t working against you.


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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Tricky Undertones.

Nothing ruins a good design more than mismatched undertones. If you’ve ever walked into a space and something felt off, it probably wasn’t so much the colours, as it was the undertones.

Colours have both a mass tone and an undertone. The mass tone is the colour that is seen at first. Undertones can be a little more sneaky. They are often concealed if a colour is being viewed in isolation. But you can bet the bank that they will show up on a large wall, or when placed next to other colours.

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You’ve probably heard this story before, or actually said it yourself. I have a nice neutral coloured sofa and just want a neutral wall colour…how hard can it be? Well plenty hard if you don’t consider undertones. Neutrals are the hardest of all colours to specify.

Remember in about grade two when you learned about colour wheels. Three primary colours of red, yellow, blue. If you had a patient teacher, she actually let you mix those colours to come up with the secondary colours of orange, green and violet. So you know that all colours are made from varying amounts of primary and secondary colours. Millions of fantastic beautiful colours can be created from mixtures of these and that is why they will carry an undertone of the strongest colour of the mix.

showlerandshowler.com
showlerandshowler.com

It takes lots of practice and a good eye to recognize the undertone of colour. And it’s not just paint you have to worry about. Counters, flooring, backsplash tile, fireplace stone…it’s important to have everything work in harmony. Most colour mistakes occur not in picking colours, but in not correctly identifying undertones.

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The first step in identifying undertones is never to look at colour in isolation. If you pick up a white swatch, it looks white. It’s not until you have laid out a bunch of whites together that you can start to see faint traces of yellow or pink. Also comparing complex colours to a true colour is a good way. If you need to know the undertone of your counter and can’t visually recognize it, lay out samples of pure red, yellow, blue, orange, green and violet. If your neutral has a green undertone, it will show up next to red, as red is the compliment colour.

As a designer who specs a lot of colour, I have my colour swatches broken into undertones. If a client says she likes blue, I am able to specify a blue that will work with her fixed colours such as flooring and furniture.

Last week we talked about the colour grey and how grey can be either green, blue or violet. This week I thought I should back up a step and explain what an undertone is and why undertones will make or break a room. Next week we can talk about colour again. I’ll share some of my workhorse colours and break them into undertones for you. If you want certain colour groups, leave a message in the comment section and we can discuss.

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Colour is both fascinating and frustrating…let’s take out the frustrating part!

Hungry for more colour advice? In case you missed it, take a look at our post on Gorgeous Greys.

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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Gorgeous Greys.

Grey is it..it’s the real deal. Grey is everywhere in home decor and has become the new favourite wall colour.

The last few years grey has tended to be on the fresh, cool side. For 2014, we’re seeing colours warm up again and grey is heading this way too. This is good for people that hear the word grey and immediately think cold and serious.

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What’s so great about grey is that it doesn’t mind not being the star. Grey is the strong, silent type. It’s the colour that let’s others have the spotlight and does everything to make them look good. When you walk into a well decorated room with grey walls, you notice how great the room is and maybe how beautiful the sofa or floors are, and only then do you notice the wall colour.

Grey is a neutral or achromatic colour. It’s made from black and white. Adding red or yellow makes grey warm, while the addition of blue to the black and white will cool the grey down.

mariakillam.com
mariakillam.com

Blue, green and violet are the three visible undertones to grey. Blue greys tend to read cooler than the green greys. When grey has a violet undertone, it can look pink on a wall. I tend not to use these greys too often for wall colour unless working with an existing tile or counter that has pinky/purple undertones. Then it will look grey on the walls and blend with the existing surfaces.

Since we spec grey paint colours so often, I’ve included a few of our favourites. No matter how sure of a colour you think you are, test first. Grey is not an easy colour to choose. Never make a commitment from a teeny tiny paint swatch. If you don’t have at least an 8×10 sample chip, then buy a tester and put it on the walls. Don’t get fooled by the undertones.

Rue Magazine
Rue Magazine

Since trend forecasters are predicting a few more years of grey, don’t be afraid to embrace this colour. Check out more images of gorgeous greys in home decor on our pinterest page.


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’s all about Green.

Are you embracing your inner Irish today? Green clothing, green hats and maybe some green beer? Let’s raise a cheer to all things Irish and look at the colour green.

Green is soothing and restful on the eye. It relaxes both mentally and physically. According to a study conducted by Dulux, blue is the favourite colour world-wide, but green is right behind.

Green is so versatile. It can be dressed up and very formal, or laid back and cozy. There are so many shades that there’s a green that makes everyone feel good. Like black and white, green is always on trend, but never trendy. It’s everywhere in nature, so it’s always popular.

There are no bad or wrong shades of green, but the trick for a great looking room is to mix it up properly. You wouldn’t want to use mossy earth tones with lime green. However, a few accents of fresh spring green will bring any room to life.

Not sure about green? Try a few toss cushions, or an small piece like a bowl or vase. Adding a fresh green plant will give your space a sense of renewal and new life.

When painting walls, green is a great colour to use. It doesn’t have to be full on green, but can be a colour with a slight green undertone.

An absolute favourite paint colour is PPG’s Sharkskin 513-5. It’s a warm grey with a slight green undertone. It’s perfect for those that want a grey colour, but don’t want it to be cold.  A few others to try are:

 

Green is great, green is nature’s colour and green means spring is around the corner. So tip-of-the-hat to the Irish today and all things green.

Like this post? You may want to take a look at:

Feeling the Colour
Colour is Showing up Everywhere
Colour or Not


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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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.