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Before and After… a $500 kitchen remodel

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Everyone deserves to live in a home that makes them feel good. No matter how hard you try, it’s hard to feel good when you’re surrounded by heavy orange oak cabinets. These cabinets, and believe me we’ve seen plenty of them, seem to suck all the life out of a room. If money grew on trees, then everyone could afford to do a full kitchen reno.

When your budget is just $500, then you have to be a little more  creative, but the result can be spectacular.

The kitchen we’re featuring this week belongs to Debbie’s niece. She wanted to lighten up her kitchen and was willing to do the work herself. Debbie, being the nice Auntie that she is, did the consult long distance via emails and texts.

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Since these cabinets are solid wood and in great shape, a coat of paint makes them look new and fresh. Painting is a decorators best friend. Nothing can change a look so much as a fresh coat of paint, except maybe toss cushions. Paint and toss cushions are decorating magic…but I digress.

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These cabinets were painted with Benjamin Moore Advance Paint in White Dove OC- 17- it is perfect for painting oak cabinets and trim. It floats on and you don’t see any brush marks.

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The tile is a simple 3×6 subway tile from Home Depot. It’s a warm white with Oyster Grey grout. The darker grout lines give it some contrast and tie in the dark counter top. We have no problem with specifying laminate for kitchens. There are some beautiful laminates on the market and the price difference between quartz and laminate is substantial. The above laminate is Labrador Granite by Formica.

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Never underestimate the importance of cabinet hardware. These new hinges and handles in an oil rubbed bronze add the finishing touch. Light fixture is also from Home Depot.  Now the room looks fresh and current. A new paint colour was chosen for the walls – Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter HC-172. 

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With a small budget and some DIY resourcefulness, this kitchen went from heavy, dark and dated, to bright and pretty. Painting cabinets makes a huge difference. And if you or the man of the house are worried about painting over good wood, paint doesn’t change the fact that it’s wood. Only now it’s painted wood…and it looks soooooo much prettier. Thanks to Debbie’s niece for sending us pics of her finished kitchen. Good job!!!


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 & After – Fireplace Edition

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There’s something about having a fireplace in a home - everyone loves it. Most of our clients have a fireplace and those that don’t, want to get one. There’s all kinds of research that says why we’re attracted to fire and why gathering and gazing into a fire makes us feel so good. It’s an evolutionary thing, dating back to prehistoric times. There’s even research out from the University of Alabama that details how watching a fire will lower blood pressure.

For those sensitive decorating types, like myself, gazing into fire won’t have a calming, blood pressure lowering effect, if the fireplace is unattractive. Seriously – for us decor sensitive types, our whole body reacts to colour and texture and form. If there’s something off in a room or if the room isn’t in harmony, a pressure starts building in my chest and my body can physically feel the unbalance. Those that have this same reaction know exactly what I’m talking about. Other people think I’m a little out to lunch, but funny thing is, after the changes are made, they can see and feel the difference too.

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Take the fireplace above, some people would say the wall colour is too strong, others might say the surround tile is wrong. What bothered me was the hole above the fireplace. My eye didn’t know where to rest, top or bottom, in the hole or at the fire. Where do you focus? Once the primary problem of balance was addressed, then tile selection and colour could be chosen. If these colour and tile changes were made without addressing the balance issue, the fireplace still would have looked off and felt not quite right.

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We’re all about making life easy and stress free. Many of our clients never know what to put on a mantel. Sure, styled mantels can look fantastic, but are they really necessary? Is it just another place to clutter up. We say if you don’t have a mantel, then the problem is solved. Very often a clean run of stone or tile creates a sleek and simple look.

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In the fireplace below, the balance was off. It’s not that the stone couldn’t be pretty, or that built-ins can’t surround a fireplace, it’s that the scale and balance were incorrect. The before fireplace is way too heavy, and the built-ins stick out past the fireplace. Not a good feel. The homeowner wanted to calm down the area, and since she had a chance to redo the fireplace, she chose to go with a traditional fireplace that she always liked. The insert is a 36 inch Town and Country design based on the Rumford style fireplace.

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Look at this fireplace below. What do you think the main problem is? Did you say wall colour, or green tile, or dated lighting? Mantle decor doesn’t count as we put all the little tchotchkes up there to get packed up. Well, the primary issue is the scale of the fireplace. The green marble is too wide for the scale of the surround. We also felt that the fireplace looked as if it didn’t quite belong, so we added some detailing to the wall, as shown below. Since code calls for 6inches of noncombustible material from opening, we were able to cover over some of the marble.

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Here is another fireplace we did. The homeowner said that for years she struggled to style the mantle, and she was thrilled with not having to worry about it any longer. Note the brass and black insert in the before picture. It’s the same insert in the after, just sprayed out with black high heat spray paint.

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This fireplace was unique as it was positioned in an architecturally busy area. We toned it down and brought in some calm by adding a heavier stone and mantle. This way your eye has a resting point and attention stays focused on the firebox.

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Sometimes budget doesn’t allow for a complete redo. There are always a few decorating tricks that can help. In the photo below we used white accessories on the mantle to bring some fresh and clean to the area. Notice how the curvy urn offsets the square of the fireplace and mantle.FP8

 

This fireplace was bright white with black marble. We asked the homeowner to paint it dark and she did. At this point, before the furniture and styling, it looks dark and heavy.

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Notice how the room all comes together and the black is repeated in the wall sconces and the coffee table.  The tufted sofa adds softness as does the Bergere chair just peaking out a little in the right corner.

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Below, the homeowner  didn’t like her fireplace at all, feeling it was too dark and heavy. Budget was a consideration, so we worked with what we had. We moved the sofa and love seat on either side of the fireplace to open it up and let it breath. We placed an airy rectangular bench to act as a coffee table. Notice how it doesn’t compete with the heaviness of the fireplace. Bright art was added on each side, as well as white accents on the mantle. The fireplace stone is grey and the wood has a red undertone. We suggested that she paint out the wood on the top of the fireplace to match the grey stone. This way the eye will read it as one, making the fireplace appear calmer and more soothing.

 

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Corner fireplaces always present a problem for furniture placement. There are only two ways to handle this. If the room allows, you can make it a secondary focal point. Set up the main living area away from the fireplace and have a strong focal point within the furniture arrangement. Then to tie in the fireplace, create a separate little area, perhaps with a chair and a basket of books. This only works if there is enough room and windows away from the fireplace.

The other way to handle the corner fireplaces is to set up the furniture so it relates to the fireplace. The before photo shows how we took the homeowners existing furniture and accessories and laid them out to sit in front of the fireplace.

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The after photo shows how fantastic it looked when completed. Notice how we used three round tables instead of one huge coffee table. Using round offsets the square lines of the fireplace. A hide was added so the area was not defined with a square shaped rug. Sitting directly across from the fireplace is a lounge chair. Again we kept this light and airy so it would play off the solidness of the fireplace.

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As you can see, there are so many different types of fireplaces. The before and afters show that anything is possible. But if budget is a consideration, then mindful furniture placement, paint and decor accents will do a lot too.

Since the weather is getting nicer and we’ll want to be spending more time outside, check out our blog showcasing this outdoor fireplace and cooking oven.

Enjoy the week and check back next Sunday for our new blog. Sign up below if you want to our weekly blog emailed directly.


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 10 step process for kitchen selections

Lately we’ve been doing a lot of kitchen renovations. We usually spend a fair amount of time with our client figuring out their needs, how they use the space, and what they want out of their kitchen. All these things are important and these details matter a lot. It’s really satisfying to design a kitchen that works for each homeowner. Yet my very favourite part is coming up with the look of the kitchen and selecting the finishes.

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So many people freeze up when they are faced with choices of cabinets, counter, backsplash tile and paint colour. Then of course there are all the little details like door profile, hardware, faucet and lighting.

 

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It might sound daunting, but there is a method to this madness. I’ve come up with 10 steps to help make the process easier.

 

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1. Collect pictures of kitchens that you love. Take advantage of Houzz, Pinterest and all the magazines online. Or simply start tearing up magazines, and don’t think too much. Just collect images. You’ll start to see repeats of certain features and styles that attract you. We have a great Pinterest page here that you can follow for inspiration.

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2. Analyze what it is you like – white cabinets, dark floors, open shelving. Make a love it list of everything you’re attracted to. Write it down or make a collage…actually have something you can refer back to.

 

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3. Pick, yes this is going to be hard, pick the one thing you love the most. Yup, the ONE thing you want more than anything. This is your starting point.

 

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4. Repeat after me - You Can’t Pick Everything That You Love. Yes, you read that right. Picking selections is about designing the room, and that means choosing things that go together. There has to be harmony and balance. Of course you want to choose what you like, but it has to be carefully curated and not based on infatuation.

 

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5.Remember - there can only be one star in each room. Meaning, if you want a very busy counter, then the cabinets, backsplash and lighting should all defer to the counter.

 

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6. Be very very careful once you start shopping for selections. Too many times I’ve seen homeowners go into the lighting store and pick the prettiest light, then to the tile shop and choose their favourite tile and do the same with counters and cabinet profiles. This is how you end up with a hot mess. If you enter the stores without a firm idea of what you want, then it’s too tempting to pick what you like the best – not necessarily what goes the best.

 

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7. Keep going back to what you identified as your must have. If it’s all about the backsplash tile, then plot, plan and research what will enhance that tile the best. This is the time you can go back to your list of what you like. You can start adding some of  these items only if they enhance the overall look.

 

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8. Learn about undertones and realize that there is no room for error when doing selections. If your counter has a green grey undertone, then you can’t pick a backsplash with a violet grey undertone. It will look awful. All the undertones must co-ordinate. Don’t know what an undertone is? We have lots of tips and tricks here.

 

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9. Throw in the one wow factor. What is it that will make your kitchen unique? I like to always do something that sets each kitchen apart, something that stands out.

 

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10. Realize that you are spending a lot of money on your new kitchen. If you are unsure about layout and selections, then it’s time to call in a professional.  Paying for a few hours of design time will seem like a small investment, as opposed to a costly counter or tile mistake.

There are all kinds of statistics that prove that investing in a kitchen reno gives you the best return on your money. Because we’re mothers, Debbie and I know that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where we spend good times eating and laughing, where important conversations take place while preparing meals. Snacks are eaten while the school and work day get discussed, and most importantly, problems are solved over a nice cup of tea.

If you want to update your kitchen, give us a call. We’re happy to help.

 


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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9 Things We Are Loving Right Now

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This week we’re sharing with you pics from our recent jobs and showing you what we’re loving now. We’ve picked 9 of our favourite things and had Taegan photograph how we’ve used them in our client’s homes. There’s definitely a softness emerging in residential  design. Traditional elements are becoming very popular and many of our clients are wanting their spaces to be soft and pretty. Read on to see 9 of our favourites.

 

1. Brass Hardware

This kitchen looks spectacular with brass hardware. After the highly polished brass of the 1980′s, we’ve stayed away from this metal, preferring polished or brushed chrome/nickel. Brass is back, but it’s softer and worn – more 1880′s style.

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2. Shaped Ceramic Tiles

Square and rectangular tiles are everywhere so we thought why not use a softer shaped ceramic tile. It lends just enough pretty to these fireplaces and balances their strong defined lines. Just in case you think this is for girls only, there’s been a lot of compliments from the guys too. Every room needs that perfect balance of masculine and feminine.

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3. Round Dining Tables

Tables aren’t just for eating on anymore. More of our clients are working from home and they like to work at the kitchen table. Round tables are just more inviting and easier to sit around. They work great in small spaces as there’s no sharp edges, so they look softer and more inviting. Unless it’s a huge space, we tend to recommend round pedestal tables. It’s fun to mix up the design styles like below. The traditional table and formal tufting gets a kick from the moulded plywood chair.

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4. Persian Rugs

It’s surprising how Persian rugs go with almost any decor. We put them in all styles of homes and they add a huge dose of warmth and interest.  Putting a Persian runner in the kitchen adds beautiful texture and pattern to play off all the hard surfaces. Plus these rugs don’t show the dirt as easily as you might think, because they have so much pattern. As for spills, the rugs are really durable and clean up with just a damp cloth.

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5. Pale Oak Paint Colour

Benjamin Moore’s Pale Oak OC-20 is a beautifully restrained colour. It has some presence, yet it’s soft and quiet. We love the way the wall colour quietly supports the beautiful draperies in this room below. Soft coloured furnishings are being added to make this a proper ladies sitting room.

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6. Wallpaper

If you haven’t looked at wallpaper in ages, you will be surprised at the sophistication of the patterns. Papering the dining room adds so much interest brings a softness. Below left, we painted out the oak wainscotting to a beautiful creamy white and did a large patterned paper above. We also love papering powder rooms, because in this room, anything goes. Really, how much time do you spend in there? It’s a room where you can go over the top. We used the floral pattern below in one of our client’s powder rooms and now it looks like a beautiful English garden.

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7. Chandeliers

The word chandelier is instantly synonymous with class. Throughout the ages, chandeliers have been as much about light as decoration. Below left, you can see how we have hung this one very close to the ceiling but still get a beautiful effect with the hanging crystals. The other photo shows how a tiny powder room gets instant glam with a chandelier. Instead of rewiring the room, we simply hung it from a cup hook in the ceiling.

 

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8. Antique and Vintage Items

No home is complete without something vintage. Whenever we go into a home we want to see the little treasures that get collected through the years. Usually our clients will say they don’t have anything special. As Debbie starts going through bookshelves and cupboards, we find all kinds of treasures that have meaning. This is what makes each home special and unique. Display your history with pride!

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9.  Florals

Flowers have burst into full bloom for interiors. It seems that for a long while everyone was avoiding chintz and floral motifs. Several years ago we started seeing large blooms show up in home decor. Now it seems we can’t get enough flowers. Below, we’ve done draperies for a formal living room, cushions in a family room, and a faux roman shade for a warm white kitchen. And there’s nothing like having a few fresh florals around the house. I’m even okay with artificial, as long as they’re good quality. One type of bloom per vase looks a little more realistic too.

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On the weekend we were downtown Calgary and they have the prettiest planters outside city hall. They’re faux of course, but it sure was cheery seeing the forsythia, pansies and primrose. I think I am going to do the planter outside my front door this week. Maybe add a few pussy willows too. It’s the little touches that make such a difference!

Call if you want help with your home. You can sign up below to receive our blog every Tuesday to your inbox. Have a happy week.


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 After…take a look at this lovely condo!

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We love before and afters and this after is stunning!! The client had been living in Ontario and renting out her condo. When it was time to move back, she decided to do a reno and her love of baking made the kitchen a priority.

We lightened the colours, incorporated a long run of counter, made a baking centre with fold back doors, and prettied up the fireplace with a small Moroccan tile. The hardwood was changed and new carpet was installed on the stairs and upper level. The railing was changed to glass so sunlight could filter throughout both levels. Don’t you think the banquette cozies up the eating area and makes a great place to sit and do paperwork?

Take a peek at the before and after’s.

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She loves her new space now. It’s full of light and looks spacious and airy. Best of all,  it works for her lifestyle. There’s plenty of room to bake, places to keep dog toys and leashes,  and nice comfortable seating for when family and friends come over.

We think it’s the details that make the design. Check out some of the pretties in this place.

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We’re so happy for our client. She is sweet and kind and her newly renovated place suits her perfectly. It’s functional for the way she  lives and really beautiful too.

With Spring here now, if you’re getting the urge to redo your place, give us a call. We can do everything from mini room makeovers to full scale renovations. We have a great team of trades that do quality work. My favourite part of the job is to assess the way you live so we can provide a design to make your place a home that works for you!

Next week we will show you how very pretty pastels can look in a home. There’s a feminine look that’s showing up in design now, curves, florals and soft colours. We like it – very ladylike.

Have a great week,


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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To Reno or Not to Reno

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Last week we had you tag along on a day at work with us.  We were out to Priddis and Lake Bonavista to check on the progress of the construction work. Some of the pictures showed some major construction going on.

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Often we get called in to help decide whether to do a major renovation or to do a smaller facelift. We don’t sugarcoat it. No matter how great the end result, going through a reno is always a lot more work and mess than ever planned. Daily life is disrupted and countless decisions have to be made.

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In order to make the decision to reno or not, it’s important to know the answers to three key questions.

1. Are you planning to stay in the home? If there is a possibility of a move in the next few years, then the reno needs to reflect this. Now is not the time to make two bedrooms into one, or to put in lime green kitchen cabinets. Think in terms of updates that will please potential buyers. Sometimes even a fresh coat of paint will give enough of a lift.

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2. Will the rest of the house fit the new look? It’s important to make sure there is flow throughout the entire home. An ultra modern      industrial looking kitchen won’t suit a 1960′s bungalow if that’s the only room being updated. Make sure the budget is enough to facelift the main living spaces in order to create unity.

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3. The last question, and the one that needs the most reflection is, does this renovation enhance your lifestyle?  Function must always come first. As designers, it’s our job to not only make your new place beautiful, but to make it function well so life is better. Spending time and money to put in new wider baseboards is a nice idea, but maybe the money can be better spent to make a larger mudroom.

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It’s important to think about how you want your home to feel and function. If doing major renovations doesn’t appeal at this time, there are a lot of tricks that can be done with paint, furniture placement and some great colourful accessories.

However, going through a little pain in the short-term will bring about some spectacular long term results.

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It’s kind of like having a baby. Once that beautiful new space is yours, and you see how gorgeous it is, the memory of the discomfort fades and you can’t imagine life without it!

Have a great week and a Happy Valentine’s Day. Give yourself a little Valentine’s Day treat and sign up for our blog. Every  Tuesday you’ll have an email directly from us. It’s like getting a wee present every week.


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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Day in our Life…A Visual Story

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This week, Debbie and I will continue to check in on these jobs. As well, we’re doing a master bedroom makeover and also having a meeting with a new client. If you want to have our blog delivered to your inbox every Tuesday, you can subscribe below. Have a great week!!


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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9 Fun Ways to Use Wallpaper

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If you’re afraid  that wallpaper is just too trendy, don’t be. Since the middle ages people have been covering their walls. Originally tapestries were hung to help keep in heat. That set off a trend for decorated walls that hasn’t stopped.

There are so many great designs available that it’s hard to choose only one pattern. That’s okay – there’s lots of interesting places that can be papered. We’re going to show you some great wallpaper patterns along with some creative ways to use wallpaper in your home.

1. Do a Feature Wall

One wall in a room will really make a statement. And if you’re doing only one wall, go really bold and strong. For added interest, do one wall in a room and then one small wall of an adjoining room in the same paper.

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2. Use Wallpaper to bring in a Texture

Sometimes you need to touch the wall to know if it’s paper or the real deal. That’s how good today’s wallpapers are. Always wanted a concrete wall, or reclaimed wood or raw silk? You can have the look with wallpaper.

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3. Powder Rooms are Crying out to be Papered

A little shy to try out some paper? Start with the powder room. These small rooms can pack a big look when done in a fun paper. And just because it’s a small room doesn’t mean you can’t go big. Actually, the room will look better with a larger scale paper. Go wild, after all, nobody stays in this room too long.

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4. Wallpaper the Fireplace

Not sure what to finish the fireplace in? Consider wallpaper! There are times when stone or brick just isn’t the right choice. Wallpaper let’s you go for a one-of-a-kind look.

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5. Use Wallpaper in Place of a Headboard

A bed just can’t float in a room, so we automatically think headboard. Be a little different and use a fab wallpaper. If the space is large, try a mural wallpaper – it’s a showstopper. If you are a headboard person, pick a paper that co-ordinates.

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6. Don’t forget to Paper the Ceiling

So often the ceiling of our homes is overlooked. Think of it as the fifth wall. Look up – surprise – there’s wallpaper on the ceiling. It’s a beautiful way to add interest and tie a room together. Subtle or bold, it really warms up a space.

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7. Paint over Textured Wallpaper

Feel a room needs a little something but not a whole lot? Paintable textured wallpaper is a great alternative. It adds pattern and texture which can do so much for a room.

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8. Use it to Brighten up Furniture

Why limit wallpaper to just the walls. Using it on furniture makes a lovely statement. Inside or out, it’s a great way to use up left over bits.

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9. Frame Wallpaper and Use it as Art

Today’s wallpapers are like art – so go ahead and frame it! A cheap and cheerful touch that looks really high end.

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We love wallpaper – and if you haven’t checked it out since the days of ducks wearing heart-shaped wreaths, you’re in for a surprise. January is a great month to add some wallpaper pizzaz. Happy papering!!

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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Mixing High & Low…we share our secrets

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Somehow we’ve been program to think that something nice has to cost a lot of money. While it’s true that quality does cost money, not everything in a beautiful room has to be best quality. We like to mix it up and combine quality new items with vintage pieces along with our favourite budget finds. The trick is to have a mix of items. We’re certainly not above shopping at Target, Bouclair Home or Ikea. They all have some great pieces. Our rule of thumb is, it’s important to have quality for pieces that get used all the time…for the others, maybe this is where you can save a little.

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One area where I never scrimp is cushions. Having a few luxurious cushions in a room sets the tone. When doing a grouping, there’s always the one or two cushions that are the stars and the others that are the worker cushions. For one client, we had two custom cushions made and the cost was just under four hundred dollars. Since we blew the budget on those, the rest came from Target and Ikea for twenty dollars each. Now we were back on budget and the entire grouping looked fab. Those two cushions made the room and tied it all together. Moral of the design story – look at your budget as a whole. Don’t get too caught up on the price of one or two items as long as the entire project stays on budget.

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Every home needs original artwork. It adds class and keeps a space original. I encourage clients to slowly build a collection and only have original pieces on the wall. Before you start thinking that it’s just out of the budget, consider some of these options. Check out yard sales and goodwill stores. You’d be surprised at the amount of original art you can pick up for a good price. Go to smaller art shows and support hobby painters and artists just starting out. Frame your children’s artwork – it really does look great. If custom framing is not an option, then use frames from Ikea. They’re simple and have lots of white matting that shows the art off beautifully.

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Sometimes a room really does need an entire redo, but it’s just not an option at the time. One way to elevate the entire look is with wallpaper. It adds texture, colour, movement and instantly brings a sophistication. It takes the eye right away from a not so new carpet, makes an older sofa look stylish and will help blend some mismatched pieces.

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Accent pieces make a room. They tell the story of the people that live there. But it’s important they have a curated look. These pieces need to look like they were collected over time. This is where splurge/save is most important. In every room there’s a spot where the eye is automatically drawn too – a large coffee table, the end of an island, a fireplace mantle. Put your best items there. Something unique, handcrafted or an heirloom piece. And we’re not saying it has to be your heirloom either – that’s what antique and thrift stores are for. Just make sure that it’s quality. Then all your accent pieces look good.

One last piece of advice for mixing high and low. Certain stores have signature pieces – those Ikea pieces that we all know are from Ikea, and likewise Bouclair and Target…don’t get those pieces. They’re too easily identifiable. The fun with mixing high and low is that it shouldn’t be easily recognizable.

I leave you with some of our projects where we’ve mixed it up. As you can see from these rooms, scale, proportion, balance, colour, texture and harmony are what make them beautiful.

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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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Before & After…Personalizing a New Home

New homes are lovely. They’re modern, clean, and everything works. The downside is that new homes don’t have a lot of personality. We think it’s a good idea to move in, live in the space for a while, and then figure out how to make it your own. That however, can be the tricky part. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what we want and what we really like.

We received a call from a lovely young couple who wanted some help with their space. They are a couple that appreciates quality and likes traditional elegance. That’s where they stalled out. They knew that they wanted it to be more on the formal side, yet it had to be youthful.

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An important part of the design process is to evaluate how space in a home is used. It was determined that the main space was mostly used for cooking, eating and small group entertaining. They have a wonderfully relaxing space on the upper level and a great casual entertaining space in the basement, which is bright and airy. We suggested the piano be moved to the main level so that it would be easily accessible.

Tony + Sharon 2The upper living space was made into a cozy reading and television watching area. The grey area rug was  originally on the main floor, but we thought it would be better laid on top of the beige wall to wall carpeting. Having layers creates visual interest and gives a space coziness.

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Every space needs that mix of pretty and rough. Formal draperies add elegance, and we added in some organic and whimsical pieces. The eating area seemed to call out for a sparkly light fixture. We felt  the tear drop fixture kept it airy and glitzy, yet in a very modern way. The pewter finish of the bird lamp is classic, but the little bird is that unexpected treat. An organic element is brought in with the rough wood table and the faux fur throw.

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The basement area will be mostly used for gatherings of friends or quiet at home weekends. To give this space a focal point, we suggested hanging some Ikea cabinets. The wall was painted a brown colour to match and the result is stunning. It looks like built-ins and gives the room some strength and purpose. There’s nothing worse then a tv just floating in a space. The two sofas were older ones from a before-marriage apartment, but they look great down here all dressed up with cushions and throws. We have saved many sofas by loading it up with cushions. Again we threw down an area rug on top of the wall to wall carpet, as this takes the eye away from the not-so-new furniture. Now the space functions as a cozy sitting/tv area and the back half for games and food serving.

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Sometimes it’s hard to figure out the function and design of your own space. You know what you want, but it is difficult to bring it all together and create a home that really reflects how you live. That’s when it’s important to call in a designer. A good designer will asses how you use the space, listen to what you want, read between the lines, and create a look that functions for the way you live, while making it look beautiful.

Have a nice week. As evening settles in early now,  dim the lights, light some candles, and enjoy the warmth and coziness of your home.


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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