Design & Decor Blog

cottage country tips

cottage2 cottage country tips
We live for the summer at Andrew Richard Designs and couldn’t be more excited that it’s finally time to head up North. Whether you’re lounging lakeside in Ontario or Quebec, alongside the Rockies in BC, or seaside out east, these cottage furnishing tips will set you up for a summer of relaxation and ease.

1 Shade products
Shade is essential on the dock to provide some relief from the hot summer sun. Shade producing products near the water always need substantial support to ensure they don’t fly away in a strong gust of wind! When choosing shade products for the dock, make sure that they are adequately supported to avoid flight issues; an umbrella base of 150 pounds or more is recommended.

2 Sunroom set-up
Treat the Muskoka room like an outdoor space. Most of these screened-in porches are not heated and are exposed to extremely cold winters and constant sun rays in the summer. Using outdoor-friendly pieces and fabrics in this space is highly recommended to maximize the longevity of your furnishings. Outdoor furnishings can better take the harsh changes in weather and constant variations in sunlight, with minimal deterioration and fading.

cottage3 cottage country tips
3 Comfortable furnishings
Cottage country is a place to unwind and relax with family and friends. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the great outdoors with more room to spread out. It’s nice to have large communal outdoor pieces where family and friends can relax together while enjoying a summer day or night. Outdoor beds, double chaises and large sectionals can really add a great place to socialize outdoors on the deck or dock. Mixing in some natural wood or teak furnishings and accessories will adapt your outdoor entertaining space to the natural environment at the cottage.

Enjoy your time lakeside this summer! Put your legs up and enjoy the sunshine.

Designer and entertaining expert Andrew Bockner is the owner of Andrew Richard Designs, a Canadian luxury furniture brand celebrated for its materials and designs. Andrew Bockner creates custom, unique experiences to enhance both the space and lifestyle of his customers.

behind the scenes: august high+low

As a long time reader of STYLE AT HOME prior to joining the editorial team, I always wondered how on earth high+low was pulled off.  How could the spaces look so similar at such different price points?

Well my dears, after watching senior design editor Margot Austin in action I can tell you it is no easy feat! You have to have the eyes of a hawk, the memory of an elephant and the endurance of a racehorse.

Animal allusions aside, you truly do require a mental catalogue of the retail design market indexed in your head and the energy and passion to hunt down matches, organize them all into a single studio space, and then whip up two nearly identical interiors.

Phew- even writing that has me exhausted…

high low 2 behind the scenes: august high+low

As a high+low rookie, I was keen to observe how a cozy nook was created out of a blank canvas of studio space. Photographer extraordinaire Nina Teixeira was a superstar, helping put up wallpaper, creating a window where there wasn’t one, and unpacking and unwrapping boxes and bags of furniture and accessories like it was no one’s business! (And that’s on top of her amazing photography skills of course!)

Starting by laying down floating flooring, we layered the big furniture elements with accessories and human touches, such as a glass of sparkling rose, to make the space come alive and feel like a real interior.

Of course there were bumps in the road, like when we realized the wrong colour rug had been delivered for our “high” and in our excitement of the proper white one arriving, put it down in the incorrect “low” setting we were shooting first– oops!

high low 3 behind the scenes: august high+low

Another memorable moment was taking a 15-minute breather to catch the final minutes of Oprah’s last show while commenting on how her coral ombre L’Wren Scott ensemble totally complemented our set. O, you are always right on trend!

All of the insanity that goes into creating high+low is worth its weight in gold though, because it shows that you can mix and match items at different price points and choose to invest in some pieces, and save on others – but still have a fabulous home!

I also love how the feature explains reasons for the price disparity, for example, for this High/Low we explain that the white chest we used in our “high” is finished by hand in a high gloss enamel, which requires hours of work to achieve, as opposed to the “low” which is simply a matte finish.

It’s not just about the different numbers, it’s about “the why” too- knowledge is power!

colourful outdoor cushions

Fab find
Bhotah outdoor pillows, $24.53 each; Pottery Barn.
fabfind outdoor pillows colourful outdoor cushions
Nothing looks more inviting and energetic in the summer than a brightly decorated outdoor space. Inspired by Indian mehndi prints, these outdoor cushions are the perfect way to bring bold colours and patterns to your decor. But don’t forget – many outdoor accessories are also perfect for indoor use so double up on the savings by finding decor items you can use inside, too. And just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean you’re skimping on style! The Bhotah pillows come in four gorgeous colours, in two pretty prints, that’ll make any space comfortable and chic.

prairie farmhouse, part 1

After months of a packed schedule, overload of work and endless hours at my laptop blogging, designing and tweeting, I was beginning to get a little bug-eyed and blue. I love city life, but sometimes the go-go-go of it all gets to be too much. The Remedy? A delightful, albeit speedy, trip to my hometown – a small farming community in southern Manitoba. I had no real “plans” for my visit, other than to escape all the demands and pressures of the city. My vacay went exactly as, well, “planned”. I soaked up some rays, snagged a sweet deal at the local thrift shop, spent time with family and swung by my friend’s farm.

For as long as I’ve known my friend Virginia Janzen (which is almost a couple of decades now!), I’ve been gushing over her family’s farmhouse. Both Virginia and her mom Cindy have an effortless flair about them; and, the farmhouse’s simple, yet stylish decor is evidence of this. From it’s sweet perches (read: chaise and swinging bench) and splashes of red accents to it’s eclectic vignettes and abundance of blankets and pillows, the Janzen’s home is the quintessential prairie farmhouse.

Take a look at these lovely snap shots and you’ll see what I mean!

Farmhouse01 prairie farmhouse, part 1

Farmhouse Barn prairie farmhouse, part 1

Farmhouse Chaise01 prairie farmhouse, part 1

Farmhouse Outdoor Dresser01 prairie farmhouse, part 1

Farmhouse Outdoor Dining01 prairie farmhouse, part 1

I’ll be posting photos of the farmhouse’s interior soon, so stay tuned for part 2!

amy*

Amy Walters is a Winnipeg-based design enthusiast and blogger. For more design inspiration from Amy, check out her blog aDESIGNdock.

how to: throw a themed party

theme party1 how to: throw a themed party
While I have a passion for space and furniture design, once a year in June, I get my ultimate event planning fix! This year, we decided to host a themed party called Secreto de Verano, meaning Summer Secret. Our concept was ‘A Night in Buenos Aires’, where we focused on creating a lively atmosphere that was both beautiful and romantic. We wanted to generate an experience full of rich culture for our guests by offering the best caterers, music, and entertainment.

Our wonderful caterers started up their ovens and supplied all of our guests with delicious and authentic appetizers, ranging from warm Argentinian ravioli and mango salad to nitro dulce de leche ice cream from Origin Restaurant. We also had vivacious dancers and performers from Axe Capoeira and a crowd inspiring DJ from Bellosound spinning all night.

Throwing a themed party is a fun and playful way to way to celebrate, be it with 10 friends or a thousand.  Here are some tips to help you create the perfect event, whatever size your party.

Stay focused on your goal and follow these simple steps:

1 Have inspiration
If you are hosting a themed party, keep it simple and stick to your topic. Themes do not have to be cheesy! You need to draw from exciting, genuine sources for inspiration and keep your party plans authentic.

theme party2 how to: throw a themed party
2 Offer simple menus
Make sure your food choices are concise and delicious. There is nothing worse than being overwhelmed with food at a party. Flavourful appetizers and delicious finger foods are easy to manage, make less of a mess, and are still filling.

3 Create a mood
Lighting is one of the most important parts of a party. An event should begin with brighter lighting, followed by dimming as the evening rolls on. A quick way to add extra glow in any room, day or night: tried and true candles.

4 Play a perfect playlist
It is very important to take the time to create a playlist suited to your guests and your theme. This way, you are not being constantly interrupted to change a song or switch a CD and are able to enjoy the celebrations.

5 Invite compatible guests
Extend invitations for your party to people that are like minded. Regardless of whether they are strangers or not, they will have something to talk about. Your guests should feel comfortable and be entertained by one another; this will make your party a true success!

6 Game on
Get your guests engaged with optional games or dancing.  It helps to create interaction and memories, creating an overall experience.

Designer and entertaining expert Andrew Bockner is the owner of Andrew Richard Designs, a Canadian luxury furniture brand celebrated for its materials and designs. Andrew Bockner creates custom, unique experiences to enhance both the space and lifestyle of his customers.

5 reasons to get a bean bag chair

Have you ever sat in a bean bag chair and just uncomfortably sagged into the floorboards? I used to own one and it didn’t take long for the filling to deflate and become a useless lump. Clearly, the bean bag chairs of yore had an expiry date. How disappointing.

But years after I had retired my chair and given up on the concept, I receive an invite for a bean bag chair event with Beanbag Boss. They’ve brought them back and I was definitely curious.

Well, I went. I saw. They impressed.

bean bag stack2 5 reasons to get a bean bag chair

Read the rest of this entry »

7 reasons to download the royal tour app

Do you have royal wedding withdrawal?

Despite the intense build up that led to the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the round-the-clock coverage dropped off soon after and the world was left in awe of the whole event.

Fortunately, the Department of Canadian Heritage has your back. They’ve released a mobile app for 2011 Royal Tour to Canada! Download it to your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad and keep track of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they tour the country from June 30th to July 8th.

royal tour app 7 reasons to download the royal tour app
{ Screen captures from my iPhone }

Not sure if you want to download it? Here 6 reasons why you should get this app:


1 Itinerary
Stay on their royal heels with an up-to-date itinerary of their trip to Canada.


2 Photos & videos

Find the latest pictures and video clips of Will and Kate during their Canadian tour.


3 Events

Keep on top of public events and RSVP through the Crown in Canada Facebook page.


4 Social media
Follow what’s happening with who and where on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube right from the app platform.


5 Share with family & friends
Write a personalized message to your friends and family with a virtual postcard. Choose from existing images or take your own photos to create and send them via email or post them on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.


6 Weather

It even has a weather app so you know exactly how to dress when in view of the royal couple.


7 The price is right

The app is free. FREE!


Are you going to download the app?

tea light lantern

Fab find
Tea light lantern, $4.99 each; ikea.ca.
fabfind rotera lantern tea light lantern
I live for those late summer days, taking advantage of the beautiful weather until the sun goes down. For those long days spent outside until the fresh night air hits, add some mood lighting with these tea light lanterns. You can put them along your deck, around your garden or hang them from a tree. The soft glow of the tea light candles will add a relaxing ambiance while you sit back and enjoy a peaceful night outside.

bedroom makeover: the paint has dried (and I love it!)

Yesterday I had my bedroom painted and I was a little nervous about the colour – it was looking really white, when what I had chosen was a pale grey. But once all the coats were finished and it dried, it looked amazing! The colour, Pegasus (D30-1, Olympic Paints), is soft and refreshing and such a nice change from the dark colour I had before. I was also impressed with Olympic’s Colours of Inspiration line, which I used in my bathroom as well. The colour selection is lovely. I had a hard time making my choice out of the 1,200 colours in the palette but I’m thrilled with the final results. Even better, the paint is zero VOC and very low odour. I couldn’t smell the paint at all, which was fantastic. If you’re considering painting a room, you should check out these colours. Here’s how my paint job turned out:

paint after3 bedroom makeover: the paint has dried (and I love it!) Pegasus from Olympic Paints is a soft, feminine grey and the perfect colour to lighten and brighten my bedroom.

More photos to come as I decide on new accessories!

bedroom makeover: the paint

Here we go again! Renovating and redecorating – it’s a slippery slope! Having just finished my bathroom renovation, I can’t help but continue to look around and see what else needs updating. First, I shopped around for inexpensive accessories to add some colour to my living room and foyer. Now I’ve turned my focus now to my bedroom. (And I will be updating the backsplash in my kitchen but one thing at a time!)

The bedroom is being painted as I write this and I’ve got my fingers crossed that it turns out as lovely as I’m hoping. I selected a light, dove grey paint from Olympic (Pegasus, D30-1). Right now, it’s looking really white – I’m nervous that it won’t look like the warm grey I was planning on. But I’m trying to breathe. It needs multiple coats to cover the mid-tone brown that’s on the walls and it needs to dry. I’ll keep you posted but here’s how things are looking … and welcome to a candid look at my bedroom, messy bed and all:

paint before bedroom makeover: the paint I loved this brown paint when I chose it years ago – it made the room feel really cosy. But now it’s time to lighten up and turn my bedroom into a space that’s more cohesive with the rest of my place. Whites and greys dominate now – so stay tuned to see the changes I decide to make in here.

paint after1 bedroom makeover: the paint OK, I know it’s only one coat of paint but it’s looking really white. I hope it dries to look like the lovely grey I chose!

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