the art & the anguish of kitchen renos - choosing a countertop

Carrera marble countertops and quartz look alikes are very popular.
Carrera marble is super popular but has maintenance issues. Many are going for quartz with very similar veining.

Dear readers,

First I have to apologize ...both my work life and personal life have been so busy that it has been ages since I have written! Its all great stuff! I attended my youngest son's wedding in Punta Cana and believe me it was truly beautiful... the sun, the turquoise sea against blue sky and miles of white sand beach. My daughter- in- law, Basia, was truly a gorgeous bride and my son, Chris, was handsome and so happy and proud. Their happiness was contagious and we had a fun time dancing on the beach.

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Do you ever feel like you need an artwork intervention? Perhaps you have been afraid to hang much of anything on the wall. Some people use the excuse they don't want to put holes in the wall. Personally, it is very important to me to have artwork arranged in a way that makes me happy and looks good. Maybe you are just bored with what you have and need a fresh outlook, pop of colour or a rearrangement.


 I have been feeling unsettled about my living room artwork on the long wall which has the sofa. I had installed a picture shelf, kind of like a mantle, a few years ago. It has allowed me to display and change artwork and accessories and is a good length for the sofa. The shelf being 2/3 of the length of the sofa is perfectly proportioned. A large piece of art also works well over a sofa but a single piece that is too small will always look lost.


A long wall can pose decorating quandaries need to consider whether you want art, lamps or other accessories to fill out the space. I recently moved a long vertical print from the front hall to the right side of the sofa...I have always loved it and it is great to move your accessories around. It is a great colour match for a piece of framed photo art which is adjacent to it. I paired the photo with a small mirror for interest and to take up a bit more visual space.


This past week I have been playing with the decision to remove the picture shelf or change the art arrangement on it.  For now I have decided to use two pieces of art and overlap them slightly and reduce the number of vases to two.


What do you you like picture shelves?


A painted picture shelf styled like a mantle gives the right proportions over the sofa and allows for changing the art and accessories.
Picture shelf gives lots of flexibility!
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Spring is here!  If you are putting your home on the real estate market NOW is the time to get it ready. Spring is typically the hottest time for real estate and if you want to compete in this buyer's market you should consider staging your home to show it to its best advantage. I know you love your home and you think that with a little bit of cleaning and tidying that someone else will fall in love with it and want to buy it. This can happen, but often it is not that easy. Buyers are getting pickier. Most do not want to do a lot...they prefer to just move in. So, what is required to get people wanting to put in an offer?

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The black door enhances the black desk and round mirror frames.
This would just not be as rich with a standard white door.

Many people will think I am crazy but I love interior doors painted black! Almost a year ago I painted the interior of my front entry door black semi-gloss and I have no regrets. It seemed like a big decision at the time, but now I wonder why I waited. For one thing it is only paint...but not one person has told me that they don't like it, and I love it!


Remember my friend, Louise, and her Cornwall condo? I wrote about her accessories last week and how they warm up the modern decor. For two years I have been suggesting that she paint the interior of her entrance door black, and she finally did it!  Well, almost...because of her concern about it being too dark and because she has charcoal wallpaper around the door, we chose a charcoal colour. The painter, Greg Brown, thought she was a little crazy...but once done he realized how rich it looks. No, it is not a big space but it adds presence and importance to a plain door.


So, for very little money she created a wow effect right in the entrance and is able to view it from the living room so it can be enjoyed all the time. This inspired her to move around her art and for next to no cost she has a whole new look!

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 Wow, it is still freezing cold in Eastern Canada! I thought you would enjoy some more "warming" tips ...and help cheer us all up as we remain cooped up indoors. These pictures are all from Louise and Pierre's condo in Cornwall...clients who have become great friends!  

I like to add the warmth of traditional touches into a modern decor. These are good examples of simple and beautiful vignettes that add coziness to an elegant space, as well as pops of colour to a neutral decor.

cool open centre vases add interest but don't take up space
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It is the time when many people are feeling stuck inside and tired of their decor. We all agree it is freezing if you live in Eastern Canada! ...while you are snuggled in your house there are lots of ways to brighten your home and your spirits and give a jumpstart to spring. 

My recent purchase at Clair de the gold and white...and the little bird!
My recent purchase at Clair de the gold and white...and the little bird!
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I think there is a time and a place for both ready-made and custom drapery. Let's talk about how the different options work for different scenarios.


Custom drapery or custom window treatments allow you to not just cover a window, but enhance the decor in the whole room. Well chosen drapery or valance fabric can help tie your whole colour scheme together, plus offer options for further accessorizing with the same fabric in cushions or a piece of upholstery.

Roll-pleated tied back drapery suits this window beside a bed. Photo Attributed to: J. Hirsch Interior Design, LLC
Roll-pleated tied back drapery suits this window beside a bed. Photo Attributed to: J. Hirsch Interior Design, LLC
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do you have a window covering dilemma?

Do you need help deciding between the large array of products and choices in window coverings? I have worked in the window covering industry for 25 years and have seen a myriad of style and product options.  I will touch on some of the key points to help you make some decisions.


1. Do you need a lot of light control for your window?


If you have a North or East facing window you will likely be most concerned with getting maximum light. With a South or West orientation most people want a lot of control over the amount of light that comes in. Even with the new windows, too much sun can be damaging as well as hot.

Beautiful Eclipse Shutters keep a room beautifully bright whenever you want. These have a divider rail which gives the option to close the bottom section and keep the top open.
Beautiful Eclipse Shutters keep a room beautifully bright whenever you want. These have a divider rail which gives the option to close the bottom section and keep the top open.
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Are You Stuck?

Finished Basement Renovation - Fireplace, furniture, flooring, etc

Sometimes clients come to me because they are stuck; they want a change but can’t move forward.  I worked with one such couple from Brockville over a year ago. They had a dated basement rec room which they inherited when they bought the house. Nothing had been done since the 70’s it would seem.


Why were they stuck? They had a lot of uncertainty because of the number of decisions that needed to be made and they did not always agree with each other. The husband, Bob, was really hoping for bolder colour rather than “boring beige”.


 Joanne wanted to renovate this large space into a modern, attractive room that they could use and be proud of…the current space was rarely used. She was happy to please Bob’s desire for colour, but nervous about how it would look.


I immediately agreed that it was a very nice large space and definitely deserved a makeover.  We agreed to keep most of the existing barnboard and improve on the lighting using track lights and dimmer switches.

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Remedy for january blues

Do you feel down when you put away all your Christmas decorations? The lights and Christmas decor add such a cozy element to our rooms...sometimes it just feels so bare afterwards! Or, we are happy to get them down and live with simplicity in our decor only to find that it looks boring and needs refreshing.

Rustic barnboard "Joy" sign and electric candle keep the front entrance cozy
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Remodeling and Home Design