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September 18, 2011

Well, isn’t this a busy time of year for interior designers?
  I’m really looking forward to the Interior Design Show – West coming Sept 29 - Oct. 2, 2011.

 This is the local interior design show to end all shows, hosting top independent designers, retailers and manufacturers from around the world. Join us at the Trade and Convention Centre in Vancouver for 4 days of fun and excitement!

Thursday night starts off with a VIP invite only party sponsored by Floform a countertop supplier featuring, amoungst other materials - gorgeous engineered quartz - check out the new colours of gorgeous Cambria, yum. 
Floform countertops

 Be prepared to party with, lots of dancing, cocktails and a superb fashion show to boot.

 featuring speakers Ross Lovegrove,

New Zealand artisan Jeremy Cole

  creative director Omer Arbel

 president and CEO for Millson TecWell.

Guess who’s sponsoring Saturdays agenda – none other than world famous IKEA
 (don't you just LOVE their furniture?) 

 and House and Home magazine ! Can you believe H&H will be 25? Mark Challen will speak on "WHAT MAKES A ROOM MEMORABLE?"

Shhh… don’t tell anyone but Cutey putootey, Suzanne Dimma,
  Editor-In-Chief, House and Home Media ,  will be speaking at 1:30 PM.  She'll be  letting us in on her secret Designer Tips and Tricks.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, brings sponsor General paint to head up our last day.

Kelly Deck, Vancouver, Canada - Founder & Director of Kelly Deck Design, encourages us to break out of our mold and try something new. 

Who doesn’t like art?    Let’s listen to three industry experts - art gallery owner Jennifer Kostuik, wood sculpture Brent Comber and fireplace creator Brad Carpenter .  They will offer their expertise in what’s new and exciting in Interior Design. It’s all about the details.

Lastly who doesn’t like something free? Check out What’s Your Design Dilemma?
The Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) will be offering attendees a free 10-minute consultations with an IDIBC Registered Interior Designer, how cool is that?

Be sure to click on for all the juicy details.

Here’s a secret - Get $2 off tickets by visiting and entering the promotional

code, HOUSE.

  I look forward to seeing you there!

September 14, 2011

Vintage Market in Abbotsford Sept 24, 2011

Have you heard?  There's a really great Vintage Market coming to town!   Fieldstone Vintage Market, created by Lily and Rachel of Birch + Bird and Helinda and Tanya of the Bakerview EcoDairy  are bringing an outdoor, tented,  European-style market to the Valley.   Check out Birch + Bird's last Vintage Market below, it was a HUGE success...

What's going on there, you ask?  Well amoungst the vintage sellers, will be the children’s corner complete with a petting zoo, lunchtime BBQ and picnic options, (Bakerview has a yummy deli department), there will be  entertainment and more!
All the items offered for sale will be local, handmade and vintage wares.  Please remember to bring your cash - as this market is open air - we won't have debit or credit availability.

Photo courtesy of Birch and Bird.

Reflections Interior Designs is offering free interior design consultations - so bring your photos, fabric samples and paint chips (or just your questions!) to  Fieldstone Vintage Market on Saturday, September 24th between 9am until 6pm at the Bakerview EcoDairy, 1356 Sumas Way, Abbotsford, BC.  We can't wait to see you there!

July 19, 2011

One of my favorite grays Kendall Charcoal HC 166

Last September, I embarked on something new.  A colour course taught by Colour Queen Maria Killam.
From Left to Right; Jennifer Duchene, Natalie Peterson, Mary Jo Gallagher, Jil McDonald, Maria Killam, Christina Joe, Gloria Hansen, Laurie Shelsby and Terreeia Rauffman.
  She is the author of the blog Colour me happy ( doesn't the name just make you smile?).  Her 3 day course covered every single thing you need to know about colour.  Maria took us through mixing the physical paint - to really understand the concepts of how pigments can  appear to change, to creating colour flow and how to select the correct paint colour.  My favourite part of the course was where she helped us determine the undertones of colour - such an integral part of interior design.

Another benefit is that after taking Maria's course, is that you can belong to a secret group on Facebook.
 (isn't anything secret cool?)
  Really this group focuses on supporting each other - most of us have a passion for colour.  It's a safe place to ask questions or just bounce ideas off each other.  Here's a secret I can share, from what I understand, Maria might be hosting colour webinars later this year! Stay tuned for more info. about that.

Since most designers find we are specifying so many variations of gray lately, Maria was asking us which grays we like.  Well, one of my favourite grays is Benjamin Moore's Kendall Charcoal HC- 166.
Benjamin Moores Kendall Charcoal HC-166
It is a deep, rich charcoal which I adore with a crisp, clean white.  In searching online to find a photo that shows just how beautiful it looks, I found this beautiful bedroom by Jennifer Holmes.  This is a blog you simply must check out, she is talented beyond words.
  Why this colour gray works is, of course, the attention to details, but primarily the stunning, crisp white linens and pillows, and... don't cha just love the mirrored side tables?  Jennifer even gives a tutorial on how to make the cute ruffled lampshades shown below.

Now what do you think about the dark charcoal with pops of yellow and white?  I say 'yummy'.


Yes, Kendall Charcoal is a gutsy colour to place on a wall, but when well co-ordinated with white, yellow or even pink.  I think it's a colour you can have fun with, and isn't having fun what it's all about?  Come on, I dare you, try this luscious dark charcoal - you're gonna love it.

March 23, 2011

Colour, colour, colour!

Last week I met Sharon Grech of City Line TV.

Sharon Grech

She was hosting a seminar about upcoming colour trends in 2011. I’ve seen her for years and have always wanted to meet this little fireball!  She is a Benjamin Moore expert and focuses on updating clients lives with fantastic and inspirational paint colours.
She had mentioned a poll was done where clients were asked which was the most difficult area of design --in projects ranging from $1,000 to $100,000.  80% of the respondents stated CHOOSING THE WALL COLOUR was the most difficult aspect of interior design.  The reason is, it is very difficult to imagine or visualize colour!
Dog house show the difference between men and women’s thinking.  This graph shows the names of colour in women’s minds and in men’s minds.
The chart above kind of makes sense doesn’t it?    Unfortunately.

Sharon explained many things impact colour forecasting such as:
Trends in society
The economy
Pop culture
Sharon had mentioned a good place to start finding your style is to look at the trend forecasts then narrow it down to what you find pleasing.
In other words if dark grey is trendy, but you are unsure if you like it, perhaps just use it as an accent wall or in slate grey vases etc.
Gray vase

It’s amazing how fashion can change your perception of colour.  I didn’t formerly like Fuchsia as a colour. Several years ago when it was in style -as a clothing colour- I started wearing fuchsia and quite enjoyed it. Now that the grey trend is here I find fuchsia a colourful accent to liven up the grey tones.

Spring wreath

More and more I find people are not filling up their homes; but are now filling up their lives.  Excess is gone and  a more balanced and thought provoking lifestyle is prevailing. Let’s only keep items in our homes that we truly love or truly need.
At Reflections Interior Designs, we'd love to help make your house a home!

March 8, 2011

15 Essential Steps you need to know, when designing your dream home. Part 5 of 5

So, let’s review our 15 essential steps when designing your dream home, we’ve looked at steps 1-12 so far:

Steps 1-3
1. Selecting your perfect structure
2. Floor plans and elevations

3. Function

Steps 4-6

4. Budget
5. Mood and Style
6. Overall design

Steps 7-9
7. Bathroom and Kitchen design
8. Furniture Plan
9. Lighting plan

Steps 10-12
10. Window covering
11. Fabric
12. Wall colour
Now... we move on to the last 3 steps 13, 14 and 15 !

13. Styling: 
Now that you have a complete plan, you can shop! Now it's time for accessories. For rhythm, you need objects that repeat. Instead of one candlestick on your sideboard in your dining room, what about 3 of the same?  This way our accessories have more of an impact.

Santa Rita Ave traditional dining room

Ask yourself repeatedly through this process -- are my choices consistent with my commitment to the desired ambiance?  If not go back through a few steps.  You cannot compromise here and get the room of your dreams.

William Hefner Architecture Interiors & Landscape traditional dining room

Continuously keep the mood of your room in mind.  Try to do all of your accessorizing and styling within a short period of time in order to keep to one style.  Note: 80 percent of the design of a room should be in one focused style and 20 percent can vary.  This 20 percent will certainly stand out. Fully complete one room, before moving onto the next.

14.  Edit your choices: 
Keep the concepts of harmony and balance in mind when editing your ideas. I find this stage often takes the most time.  Your final choices should please the eye, feel balanced, and create your desired mood.  Our eyes need to rest so don't be afraid to have a little bare space, that helps make everything else pop.

15. Finally - Relax: 
Designing  a home is not easy.  There are important choices to be made and made quickly.  Having a game plan and following it does ease the stress.
Now we're all done, kick back, relax and enjoy your beautiful new home!

Haven traditional bedroom
traditional bedroom design by Houston interior designer A Waters

OK, are we ready?  Questions?  I'd love to help.
Check out our interior design website!

February 20, 2011

15 Essential Steps you need to know, when designing your dream home. Part 4 of 5

So, let’s review, we’ve looked at steps 1-3 designing your dream home.

1. Selecting your perfect structure.

2. Floor plans and elevations.
3. Function

Then steps 4-6 of designing your dream home:

4. Budget
5. Mood and Style
6. Overall design

And steps 7-9 of designing your dream home:

7. Bathroom and Kitchen design

8. Furniture Plan
9. Lighting plan

Now... we move on to steps 10, 11 and 12 !

10. Window coverings: 

When designing your dream home, be aware of oddly shaped windows. For some reason architects love to add them in! Notice the angle at the top of the window below, it dips down in the centre.

These windows are very difficult to cover. If you like horizontal blinds these can usually be used in some of the more difficult, or odd shaped windows, however not everyone likes horizontal blinds. Many clients prefer window coverings that can be slid to the sides so that all of the glass is showing. Transom windows (especially if they are arched), although beautiful, are especially difficult to cover. (Please do not cover windows with furniture as in this photo below!)

Determine what kind of light coverage do you need. Do you sleep in - then curse the sunlight in the morning; or do you embrace it? You may need room darkening, or light filtering blinds. Do you have a window needing privacy? A window with lots of glare? Many solutions are available.

traditional bedroom design by portland interior designer Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc.

Discuss your drapery needs with an interior designer or window coverings specialist. Note these can be a little pricey, 30% of your room's budget usually goes towards window coverings. 

11. Fabric: 

OK, so we are really getting to the styling part here. We know the mood we want to achieve. But where do we go from here? One idea is to start with a ‘signature fabric’, this is a fabric that sets a style or creates your desired mood. Determine the placement of your signature fabric. This can be an expensive fabric - perhaps use it just for the front of a small pillow. Confirm your signature fabric suits the ambiance you desire. Use this fabric to set the colour tone of your room.

Now select complementary fabrics, but allow in general, no more than three different patterns in one room! Determine placement of all fabrics i.e:

- patterned drapery fabrics for the windows - like the example above

- perhaps a cream and raspberry stripe for an ottoman,

- teal polka dots for the chair backs.

Finally select trim to customize draperies or throw cushions. Then use your signature fabric to pick colours for the rest of the room.

12. Wall colour: 

Now you can finally pick a wall colour! Can you believe we had to wait until step 12 for this? Wall color is not usually picked until near the end of the design, as there are so many different colours of paint to choose from. Kimberley Seldon says " picking a wall colour first is like buying a lipstick, then look all over trying to find a dress to match." 


Remember to keep the room’s atmosphere in mind. What is your light level? Resist the urge to paint a dark room in a light colour. Donald Kaufman says "Light wall colours never come to life in a dark room..." If the room is sunny, play that up - don't use a dark colour for the walls. Look at your signature fabric for wall color ideas. 

I can go on and on about colour but really colour expert Maria Killam says it best when she says "Painting a dark room in pale colours simply accentuates the shadows in a space." 

Other questions to ask when selecting a colour 'theme' : Are you drawn to warm, neutral or cool colours? Do you prefer many colors or a monochromatic look? 
Personally I throw out the colour theory I was taught in design school. I don't understand how someone can look at a room and say "do I want a complementary colour scheme? What about the split - complementary colour scheme or maybe an analogous colour scheme?" 

Maybe, just maybe those theories come into play when looking at how to spice up a room with accessories or accents, but in general the main points to remember are: ensure the colour flows from room to room, keep either a clean, (or conversely), a muted or a dirty colour scheme throughout, and remember to consider the undertones - more about that in a later post.

Finding all this confusing? E-mail me to find out how you can have the home of your dreams! Stay tuned for our last 3 steps!

February 13, 2011

15 Essential Steps you need to know, when designing your dream home Part 3 of 5.

So, let’s review, we've looked at steps 1-3 in designing your dream home:

1. Selecting your perfect structure.
2. Floor plans and elevations.
3. Function

Then steps 4-6 in designing your dream home:

4. Budget
5. Mood and Style
6. Overall design

Let’s move on to step #7.

7. Bathroom and Kitchen:

Powder Room / Half Bath traditional bathroom

In our last blog I had mentioned that when considering the overall design of a new home or renovation, I always start with the kitchen.  I find the kitchen counter top to be the most limiting.  Yes, there are lots of different materials; quartz, granite, cement, laminates, etc.  But I still find the colour palette generally starts with the counter tops. 

Classic White traditional kitchen

Then we move onto the cabinetry itself – do we want stained or painted? The trend is certainly towards a light coloured, painted finish, Colour guru Maria Killam points out more information about which colour cabinetry to select. 

When I specify a painted finish, I usually go with a MDF material for the cabinets. I find all kitchen cabinetry or wood in general, contracts and expands with the moisture in the air. If you are using wood, the joints will split a little when the wood swells. If the cabinets are stained, that small gap is not noticeable, but if they are painted, it certainly is noticeable. MDF does not contract nor expand to the extent that natural wood does, so we don’t have to worry about any tiny cracks. 

That being said, if a raw (unpainted) area of MDF is exposed to water for an extended period of time, this will swell and will not go back down. However, all areas of MDF should be painted, leaving no ‘raw’ areas. Just take care to dry off those dishes before stacking them in the cupboards.

Backsplash detail contemporary kitchen

Now we’ve got appliances selected (as stated in my last post), cabinets and counter tops selected, let’s select our sinks and faucets.  Speak with your cabinet manufacturer and find out which size sinks you can accommodate.  Ensure the sinks will be large enough to contain all the splashes from either washing dishes or washing hands.  Select faucets that are easy to use and go with the general style of your home.
In the bathroom when selecting your tub – don’t be afraid to visit showrooms and lay in the tub.  There are two things I don’t like selecting for clients - tubs and beds – they really are a personal preference. Make sure you’ll be comfy in the tub. 

Now, select tile to coordinate with bathroom fixtures, flooring faucets, etc.  Please, please, please don’t select an accent tile, if you really need an accent, perhaps select a textured tile, one that co ordinates with your general tile.  Different coloured tiles or patterned tiles date so easily.  Remember, when in doubt  use plain tile.  You can always bring in accent pieces of sculpture, or flower vases, etc. to give life to the room, don’t rely on accent tiles to do this job.

8.  Furniture plan:

It is essential to create a furniture plan before choosing lighting or finalizing the electrical plan. Go through each room and write down all the activities that will happen in each room.  i.e. in our living room we:

Watch TV
Play board games

Ensure you have furniture for each activity and plan for furniture to perform double duty for several functions.  We have upholstered ottomans that we prop our feet up on when watching TV, but when we have several guests over, they become seats, they are also pulled up to the coffee table for board games.  Arrange furniture around a focal point, perhaps the fireplace or a window with a view.
9.  Lighting plan:

a.  Choose your general lighting first. This is the lighting that you initially switch on when entering a room – it casts a soft, even light over the bulk of the room. 

b.  Task lighting next; such as Island lighting, under cabinet lighting, desk lighting.  Think about what tasks you’ll do in which rooms and ensure you aren’t struggling to see.  A tip when you are reading – the bottom of the table lamp shade should be level with your eyes when seated, this is the most comfortable level for most people and helps to reduce eye fatigue.
c.  Decorative lighting is last; such as: wall sconces, up lighting, etc.
To me, lighting is one of the most important aspects of design.  It can make or break the atmosphere of your room. Be sure to include both up lighting and down lighting (have some light sources shine up, some shine down). Ensure you have enough outlets to plug in your favourite lamp, stereo, computer etc. The electrical budget usually equates to 3% of your budget.

Stay tuned next week for more design tips.  If you need help or have any questions on home design, please email me at  I’d love to help you complete the home of your dreams!

February 3, 2011

15 Essential steps you need to know, when designing your dream home. Part 2 of 5

Last week we looked at steps 1-3 of designing your dream home.

1. Selecting your perfect structure.
2. Floor plans and elevations.
3. Function.

Today we'll look at steps 4, 5 and 6. Whether you are building from scratch, renovating, or just tackling that one room; we'll help you solve your design dilemmas.

4. Budget:

The dreaded "B" word - budget. Create a budget and stick to it. I know it's not fun, but yes, it is essential. Here’s some help…
Speak with your builder or interior designer first. They will have a set amount of money allotted for items such as counter tops, lighting fixtures, flooring etc. Shop within this budget and see what you get for that amount. Remember a good hint is to put your money in things that you touch or see on flat surfaces, these are the items that are most visually prominent.

 Materials such as flooring, counter tops and paint are often where quality really shows. Go for the best you can afford for those surfaces. Items that aren't so visually apparent like toilets, sinks, and high mounted lighting fixtures don't need to be expensive to get that great look.

Master Bathroom  bathroom

So, save on some areas and splurge where it really shows! When budgeting, don’t forget to include essential items such as window coverings, home insurance and property taxes. 

5. Mood and Style:

Choose to create an emotional atmosphere in your home. We live by our emotions. Have you ever seen a home that is lovely, but lacking something? It's probably lacking emotion or mood – the real ‘feel’ of the home.
What mood do I want this house to convey? What's my style? Traditional, contemporary, west coast or 50s bungalow? Look at the exterior of your home and continue that style throughout. Nothing looks worse than when you have an exterior that is a different style from the interior. We need a unified and beautiful look to create a harmonious home.

I live in a Frank Lloyd Wright styled home. In design school, I learned that he spent a lot of time in Japan. His homes and interiors quite often reflected the Japanese style - low, horizontal lines, and low pitched roofs. So I went with a slightly Asian look in my home, minimal furnishings, no clutter, I selected furniture for function - with a Zen like appeal.

Current issue

Look at those tear sheets you've collected from magazines, often they evoke the mood that you love. Try to replicate that mood - if you need help hire an interior designer- this can be the most cost effective way of keeping you on budget. Designers prevent you from purchasing those 'one-off' kind of items. Having those types of items in your design can throw off your focus, ending up with a home that has no cohesive flow. Designers can sum up the mood you are trying to achieve and keep you on track.
80% of your style should be one focused style. Whether it's casual, modern, country, formal or informal; keep your style in mind when selecting tile, kitchen cabinets, plumbing fixtures, or purchasing furniture.

6. Design:

I like to start with the kitchen; it truly is the heart of the home. Select appropriate appliances before designing cabinetry. Note: non-standard sized appliances or fridges will not fit in standard cabinetry. Work with a great designer who knows how to create functional kitchen spaces.

We aren't so concerned about the traditional triangle in kitchen design – whereby the stove, sink and fridge are in a triangle formation. That worked well when there was only one cook in the kitchen, but as kitchens increasingly have multiple family cooks helping out - think about work zones. We need a baking and cooking zone, prep zone, beverage zone, clean up zone. Ensure all work areas are covered and it will make your life so much easier.

Farm Sink traditional kitchen

Look through the other ‘work’ rooms of your home i.e. laundry and bathroom areas. List your day to day activities and ensure your home truly functions to enable your life to flow smoothly. Isn't that what great design is all about?
Stay tuned for more great design tips from Reflections Interior Designs.