Saturday, December 19, 2009

Deciding on a Refrigerator

We now have our new Refrigerator installed. It’s lovely and HUGE! You wouldn’t think two people would need so much space in a refrigerator, but we’ve filled it to the brim already. We chose a Samsung 28.5 cu.ft. stainless steel French door with bottom freezer model. The best part about it as I never have to make ice again. It pumps out 4.5 lbs of ice per day!RFG297AARS_medium_20080725


Being the diligent designer that I am, a lot of research was done prior to choosing this model. I thought I’d share some of my findings with you.

Refrigerators made after the end of April 2008 must be 5 percent more efficient to qualify for an Energy Star emblem. But despite advances, refrigerators still use more electricity than any other kitchen appliance because they're always on. The familiar yellow EnergyGuide labels and Energy Star symbols are a useful guide, but not necessarily the only thing you should consider when making your purchase. There are many types/models of refrigerators out there, each offering their own pros and cons. I’ve listed them below along with the most common and useful options available.


Top-freezer refrigerators


These are the traditional type, dating back to the earliest refrigerators. Widths typically run from about 30 to 33 inches. Manufacturers claim up to 22-cubic-foot capacities, but usable capacity is typically 20 percent lower by our measurements. Typically, these models offer the most storage for their size. Since they have fairly wide shelves, it makes it easy to reach all the way to the back. The downside is you have to bend to reach the bottom shelves and drawers.

Bottom-freezer refrigerators


Sales of bottom-freezer Refrigerators are the fastest growing. Widths run from 30 to 36 inches with claimed capacity of up to 26 cubic feet. The bottom-freezers offer eye-level storage and the French-door models provide space-saving narrow door swing of a side-to-side and the ability to open only half the refrigerator when retrieving smaller items. Although you have to bend down when using the freezer, this isn’t typically done as often as accessing the refrigerator.

Side-by-side refrigerators


A vertical, full-length split places the freezer on one side and refrigerator on the other. Side-by-sides typically come with through-the-door ice and water dispensers, temperature-controlled bins, and rapid ice-making cycles. Widths are typically 32 to 36 inches. Claimed capacities are up to 30 cubic feet, but only about 65 to 70 percent is usable. The narrow doors are a plus in a tight kitchen, however; most door don’t open wide enough for a pizza box or other wide items.

Cabinet-depth refrigerators


This type gives you the look of a built-in but for less money. Because the refrigerator is the same depth of your cabinets you achieve a very streamlined look throughout your kitchen. Most come as side-by-sides, but top- and bottom-freezers and French-door models are available. Claimed capacities reach up to 21 cubic feet, but far less than that is usable. The cabinet-depth models have less usable space than the deeper free-standing models, but they cost significantly more.

Refrigerator drawers


These are among the latest luxuries for kitchens where even the biggest refrigerator simply isn't enough. They can mount under a cabinet or in a kitchen island and are ideal for storing drinks and other specialized items. They don’t cost as much to run as their larger counterparts, but that’s because of their limited capacity. Refrigerator drawers are large on price and small on space, leaving them to the elite in kitchen design.


Once you have selected a type of refrigerator that you would like you should consider what options are important. Below are some of the most common and useful on the market:

  • Adjustable door bins and shelves
  • Elevator shelves
  • Full-extension drawers
  • Pullout shelves or bins
  • Split shelves
  • Shelf snuggers
  • Temperature controlled drawers
  • Through the door water and ice dispenser
  • Water filter

Monday, December 7, 2009

Buying a New Dishwasher – What’s Important?

With renovating a kitchen comes buying new kitchen appliances. The next few BLOG articles will outline what to look for and what’s just hype in the world of kitchen appliances.

When looking for a new dishwasher, there’s a number of new features available to you. You can pay up to $1,500 or more for a fancy dishwasher that has hidden controls, digital displays, and special grime-fighting cycles. But when it comes to clean dishes, you don’t have to pay such a high price. Here are some of the things to consider:

Energy Conservation

Dishwashers are using less water as manufacturers strive to meet tougher energy standards; however, it’s taking longer to get dishes clean. Don’t just look at the Energy Star label and automatically assume that you’re going save money. If the washing cycle time has been increased your just burning the energy in a different way.
Adjustable RacksRacks that move up or down, adjustable and removable tines, as well as silverware and stemware holders allow you to reconfigure the interior and organize the contents based on your needs at the time.
Dirt Sensor

The feature will adjust the water use and cycle length to the soil level. If the feature works properly it can improve efficiency, but not all systems work well.

Rinse/Hold Cycle

This feature allows you soak the dirty dishes before you’re ready to start a full cycle. This will reduce odours and prevent soil from setting while you collect enough dishes for a full load.


All dishwashers have filters – they’re used to keep wash water free of food that could re-deposit on your clean dishes. There are two types: self-cleaning and manual. Most filters are self-cleaning; a grinder pulverizes the debris and flushes it down the drain. That's convenient but noisy. Some pricey models have a filter without a grinder. It's quieter, but it needs periodic cleaning (usually every few weeks), a job that takes a few minutes. It's your choice.

Special Wash Cycles Most dishwashers come with at least three cycles: light, normal, and heavy (pots and pans). Some offer pot-scrubber, soak/scrub, steam clean, china/crystal, or sanitizing cycles as well. The three basic cycles should be enough for most chores--even for baked-on food. A sanitizing option that raises water temperature doesn't necessarily clean better.
Stainless-Steel Tub A steel tub is more durable than plastic, but models with a plastic tub tend to cost less. While light-coloured plastic might become discoloured, gray-speckled plastic should resist staining. Even a plastic tub should last longer than most people keep a dishwasher.
Hidden Touchpad Controls Controls mounted along the top edge of the door are strictly a styling touch. They're hidden when the door is closed. You can't see cycle progress at a glance. (Partially hidden controls are a good compromise. They show that the machine is running and often display remaining cycle time.)

Next week: Refrigerators

Monday, November 30, 2009

Upper Cabinets in Kitchen Design

Last week I began discussions on our kitchen renovation. As mentioned we’re going with a white on white palette and have selected the cabinets, countertops and tile for the backsplash. One of the “discussions” my husband and I are having is whether or not to install upper cabinets along the wall with the windows.

Older kitchens generally have long stretches of boxy wall cabinets. This can give the kitchen a closed in feel and contribute to the space looking cramped and dark. By utilizing a wall of tile and some open shelves you maintain a look of open space and provide a canvas for displaying your beautiful dishware.

Our kitchen is going to be configured in a galley style and is only 9 feet in width. By utilizing open shelves along the wall with the windows will make the space look light and airy. Due to the number of drawers and lower cabinets, having no uppers will not affect the amount of storage available. Additionally, all of our everyday dishware will be within reach and easily accessible.

Take a look at some great kitchens designed without upper cabinets. What do you think?

jonathan adler liz lange country residence home kitchen white cabinets open shelves marble countertops counters wall backsplash dowlingkimmopenshelves 4d28d59b4ee4

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

White on White Kitchens

This is the first post I’ve done in many months and I’ve decided to discuss my personal experiences on renovating a home. My husband and I are in a perpetual state of renovations with our house. (This is what happens when a Designer and Contractor unite). Our current project is a complete renovation of our kitchen. This includes changing the current layout from a small U shape to a Galley, converting from electric over to gas for the range, installing all new cabinets, flooring and a backsplash. After looking at many pictures and contemplating what would look best with our existing style, I’ve decided to go with a white on white palette. My husband is not completely onboard with this decision, but after pleading my case, he has decided to go with the flow.

Will a white on white kitchen look too sterile and boring?
In my case I have chosen bright white glossy cabinets, with contrasting opaque white glass doors for the horizontal uppers. By utilizing two different styles of white cabinets, I’m adding visual interest and avoiding a “wall of white” with the cabinets.


Remember, having a “white” kitchen doesn’t simply mean ALL white. It can include colours such as Vanilla, Eggshell and Cream. You can also change the look by adding an island in contrasting color, or selecting appliances that are stainless steel or coloured.

Weren’t white kitchens big about 15 years ago? What if it dates itself quickly?
The fact that white kitchens were popular 15 years ago and are popular still today shows the staying power of a neutral palette. A white kitchen is considered “classic” in design and will instantly make your kitchen look light and airy. Darker wood cabinets will add visual weight to your kitchen and more likely to date your look over time.

Okay, you’ve convinced me to have a white kitchen. What are some things to remember when choosing my cabinets, countertops, etc.?


When you work with a monotone palette, it’s important to select pieces that will add texture. By utilizing two different styles of cabinets and adding a quartz countertop and marble tiles for the backsplash, I’m able to keep my white palette while adding depth and interest to the space.

Next week; Should I utilize upper cabinets or open shelves?

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Don’ts of Interior Decorating

We don’t all have the ability to work with an interior designer when making changes to our home. If you are considering some updates to rooms in your home. Here are some basic rules on what NOT to do.

  1. Don’t Let Someone Else Dictate Your Choices
    Your home is your personal space and it should reflect your personality. If you need help, by all means ask a professional, but a good decorator/designer will not demand that you do things their way. They will take your taste into consideration when making selections. It's your home and you should feel comfortable with the choices.

  2. Don't Select a Paint Colour First
    Paint comes in a huge array of colours. When deciding on your choices, make sure that you choose your fabric, carpet or flooring and upholstery first. Matching your paint to these selections will be much easier.

  1. Don’t Rely on a Paint Chip
    When it is time to select a paint color don’t just look at a paint chip at the paint store to make your selection. The chip may look great in the store under fluorescent light but way too overpowering on your wall at home. Additionally, paint will take on different undertones based on the lighting and direction your home faces. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices to two or three, purchase paint samples and try them on the wall, or paint large pieces of cardboard and hold them up on the wall for a more accurate picture of the final look. Be sure to leave the sample on the wall and view it at various times of day and with your lights on and off.

  2. Don't be Afraid of Bold and Settle for Beige
    A gallon of bold blue paint doesn't cost any more than a gallon of beige. If you love color, find a way to use it in your home. You can always highlight a feature wall with your bold favourite color or with some great wallpaper to really give your room some personality.

  3. Don’t Turn Your Room into a Theme Park
    If you love animal prints, don’t turn your room into a zoo! Instead choose a tasteful ottoman of zebra print or a couple tiger throw pillows. A little goes a long way. You can coordinate the room in subtle color allowing the few pieces you do have to really pop!

  4. Don't Ignore the Psychology of Color
    If you want a relaxing environment, don’t paint your walls red. Choose blue or green for a more calming effect. Colours like red and orange work great in dining rooms or family rooms, where you want the atmosphere to be more lively. Choose a colour scheme that reflects the overall atmosphere you want in your home.

  5. Don't Ignore the Focal Point of Your Room
    Every room will have a focal point. Arrange your decor, artwork and other items around this important element.

  6. Don't Put Your Furniture “Under Arrest”
    Don't arrange the chairs, sofa, and tables all up against your walls with a big open space in the middle of the room. Make smaller groupings of furniture for conversations and pull pieces into the center of the room for a warmer feeling.

  7. Don't Build Barriers
    Don't put a chair in front of a door or a table in an obvious traffic area. Leave room for easy access and movement within the room.

  8. Don't Settle for Cheap
    Don't choose a piece of furniture because of a pretty cover or fun color. First, see if it's well made, has interesting details or classic lines. If it does, you can always recover the upholstery in a fabric you choose or refinish the frame.

  9. Don't Invest in Trends
    Don't break you budget on pieces that are trendy. Trends come and go. You'll want to spend your precious resources on pieces that will last for a while. If you are attracted to crystal studded or fur-covered furniture, experiment with a less expensive crystal embellished lampshade or faux fur throw.

  10. Don't Keep Things Because You Think You Should
    Don't feel obligated to keep a piece you've inherited. If it doesn't appeal to you or it doesn't fit your space, either fix it or get rid of it. After all, it's your home. They'll understand!

  11. Don't Display Every Personal Treasure
    Don't overcrowd your home with collectibles and family photos. Make each piece be important. Keep your family photos confined to a bedroom or one wall. Your guests aren’t as interested in Aunt Betty’s 50th birthday celebration or the 5th Grade picture of your daughter.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Want Your Own MCM Home: Why Not Build?

Today finding a classic mid-century modern home to purchase in some cities and towns is next to impossible. Whether you live in a part of the country where these homes were just not built in vast quantity, or if you are in an area where they are now so coveted that your chances of actually getting your hands on one is unrealistic. Well, have no fear – you can now go ahead and actually purchase plans on-line and have your own new and improved contemporary home built for you!

The House Plan Site offers a wide variety of house plans sorted by various categories such as square footage and house style. You are then able to select the plan and review the plans online before making your final purchase. Even if you’re just looking for some great ideas before working with your architect, this site is a great resource for ideas.

One of my favourite plans: Contemporary House Plan D61-2056

Front of House


Back of House

Floor Plan

This is a 2056 sq/ft contemporary house plan with 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths. Large floor-to-ceiling windows and doors are perfect for lots with a view. This great room plan works for both casual living and semi-formal entertaining. The kitchen, dining and living areas are semi-open to each other, with a large 2-way fireplace providing some separation between the areas. The master bedroom looks out to the backyard through three floor-to-ceiling windows, and the attached bath offers two sinks, a separate tub and dual-head shower, and walk-in closet.

Very groovy!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Groovy Wallpapers

If you really want to pump up the mid-century modern look in your home, consider a feature wall installation of wallpaper. As my previous post on wallpaper discussed, this time-tested application has come a long way since the days of pasting and then never being able to peel it off.

Bradbury & Bradbury has come out with two new collections specific to mid-century modern times. The Atomic Age is reminiscent of the “tropical tiki” and “sputnik” era. The Mod Generation reminds us of the conservative prosperity of the 1950’s through to the civil rights demonstrations, flower children and man’s journey to the moon. Here are some of my favourites from each:

Grete – Naugahydeinterlock_INT-510_sage_400

Boingo – Grayboingo_BOI-710_gray_400

Now What? in Ginchy Green what_4_grn_400

Nouveau in Sea of Green
Gee Gee Sagegeegee_GEE-510_sage_400

Friday, March 6, 2009

How to think “Green” when changing your decor

2217_j0437370 It seems today living “Green” is a top priority – at least in theory. However, actually putting these theories into practice can be expensive and time consuming. So what is reasonable? How can you make an impact on helping the environment without breaking the bank during these economic times?

I've come up with a list of 4 things you can put into practice today. As you can see, many of these changes aren’t so much to do with major changes in how you life your life, but more to do with evaluating what you do when making everyday decisions.

Quality vs. Quantity

Don’t sacrifice purchasing a quality piece of furniture that you love for a less expensive, lower quality piece that you don’t love, just because it’s cheaper. In furniture pieces such as sofas and case-goods, you get what you pay for. A quality piece of furniture will withstand the wear and tear of everyday living, which means you’re making that big ticket purchase ONCE! When you spend money on lower quality, cheaper furniture, you may feel like you've saved money - but in the long run it ends up costing you more. You will need to replace the piece, which adds to your overall investment, and you then need to dispose of the old item. This means more junk being added to our landfills.

Be Aware of Trends

Like clothing styles, furniture and décor items will also fall in and out of fashion. If you want to keep your home looking fresh, it’s best to limit trendy purchases to smaller décor items such as vases, throw pillows, candle holders, etc. That way, when they fall out of favour you haven’t spent thousands of dollars on furniture you now don’t like. It's much easier to store and re-use small items and change them up for the seasons then it is to be stuck with a large furniture item that no longer works for you or your family.

Stick to the Classics

When considering large purchases such as a sofa, area rug or case-good items keep to simple classic styles. If you look for items that are well made with clean lines and limited adornments, they will stand the test of time and never look outdated. You can always jazz things up with a blanket or throw pillow. If you look at many of the older sofa styles, many of them are relevant today. They may just need to be re-upholstered. Many of the world’s best designers only re-design their home once every 10 or 20 years because when they do a design it does not date itself – this is the true test of good design.

Consider Vintage

When looking for new items consider looking in second hand stores, antique stores, garage sales, etc. Many of the best treasures can be found here. Sometimes only needing a coat of paint or a light sanding, these pieces can become showcases in your home. Plus you’re helping out the environment by recycling products. One of my favourite chairs is a piece from my in-laws first living room set. It has great lines and is of a smaller scale. Once I have it re-upholstered it is going to look brand new, modern and very unique.

Friday, February 27, 2009

eBay and Mid-Century Modern Design

Scandinavian Hall Table

If you are looking to find some mid-century modern items for your home, one of the best resources available today is eBay. True, there are more sophisticated vendors and collectors using the site today then there once was, but if you spend the time searching, you can still find some great deals and unique items for minimal cost. Just be sure to assess the sellers rating and determine the shipping costs prior to entering your maximum bid price.

There are a number of ways you can search eBay for mid-century modern items:
  1. From the main page type "mid-century modern" - this provides the broadest search.
  2. Find a specific Category and type in "mid-century modern" - brings back only items in that category.
  3. Go to the Collectibles category and find Vintage - select the decade that interests you and search.
  4. Enter mid-century modern buzz words - i.e., "eames", "saarinen", "danish teak", "federal glass", "blenko", etc.
Have fun treasure hunting!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wool - One of Our Best Natural Resources

My favorite textile has always been wool, both for its beautiful texture and wide versatility. In these times of earth friendly products and taking advantage of natural resources – wool is the perfect choice for many of your decorating needs!

There are many natural advantages of wool and it can be used for many design projects. Some of my favourite uses are upholstery, drapery and of course area rugs. Check out these great felted wool faux stone ottomans!

Shape Retention
The natural elasticity of wool fiber allows it to stretch up to 40% beyond its original length and return to its original size. Therefore, it’s a great choice for upholstery and carpets since they will bounce back from body pressure or furniture crush.

Water Repellant & Stain Proof
Wool fibers repel water and stains due to a unique membrane covering the fiber core. Spills will remain on the surface, allowing the liquid to be blotted up with a clean and dry cloth.

Easy to Clean

The natural membrane found on wool fibers allow for easy cleaning. This membrane prevents dirt and dust from sinking below the surface, permitting regular vacuuming to keep items looking clean and new.

Fire Safe
Wool has many natural safe characteristics, including flame retardant, high ignition temperature, low flame spread and the ability to self-extinguish.

Improves Air Quality
Wool naturally resists static and mildew – static by wool’s natural moisture retention up to 30% and mildew by its naturally low pH. Wool also improves and maintains indoor air quality by absorbing contaminants without re-emitting them into your environment.

Natural Insulation
Wool works as a natural barrier against noise and an insulator for heat or cold. For example, a wool rug will absorb the sound and noise level within your room and wool drapery will insulate your windows and keep the temperature consistent within your room.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Retro Style of Bakelite


Dr. Leo Baekeland, a Belgian scientist, immigrated to the United States for better career opportunities. In 1907, while working as an independent chemist accidently discovered the compound of carbolic acid and formaldehyde. When he tried to reheat the solidified compound he discovered it would not melt, no matter how high the temperature. He trademarked the compound "Bakelite" as well as two other variations, "catalin" and "marblette" - today also referred to as Bakelite. This was the first completely synthetic plastic, therefore, Dr. Baekeland became the father of the present plastics industry.

Due to its durability and beauty, Bakelite's uses were limitless. Its popularity grew very quickly, and within 15 years it had taken the world by storm. You could find everything from electrical plugs to ornate jewelry made from Bakelite. It was even used on the dashboard face of the Mercedes Benz car. Bakelite could be produced in a wide array of colors, but the most common were white, brown, green and red. Pieces dating back to the 1920s-1940s have oxidized and developed a wonderful patina that is sometimes a completely different hue than the original color. For example, white often turns to butterscotch, light blue changes to forest green, and pink turns to orange.

Original or Reproduction
So how do you determine if a piece is genuine Bakelite?
  1. Smell
    When Bakelite is heated it has a very strong odor which comes from the carbolic acid in the composition. On some pieces you can release the smell simply by rubbing them hard with your thumb and creating heat. Others will need very hot water to release the odor. On some the odor is so faint you may not detect it.
  2. Sound
    When you tap two Bakelite pieces together they will make a deep clunking sound, rather than the higher pitched clack of acrylic or Lucite plastics.
  3. Hot Pin Test
    Bakelite is a thermoset plastic so it cannot be remolded with heat. To test if a piece is bakelite get a very very hot pin from an open flame source, then touch the pin to the item. If it is Bakelite it will not penetrate. It may give off the acid smell and it may leave a purple burn mark. If the pin penetrates or melts the plastic then it is not genuine Bakelite.
  4. Formula 409
    This product works very well to test whether an item is Bakelite. Make sure the item is clean, wet the end of a Q-tip with Formula 409 then touch it to the piece. If the Q-tip turns yellow then the piece is genuine. If you believe a piece is Bakelite but it doesn't pass the 409 test, don't count it out. Sometimes polished Bakelite will not react or pass the test.

Although these tests are foolproof, they will determine if a piece is genuine Bakelite.

Stopped Production
Bakelite has always been known as "the material with 1000 uses," and it surely did earn this name. It is now treasured for its unique, irreproducible beauty. When the Bakelite patent expired in 1927, it was acquired by the Catalin Corporation that same year. They began mass production under the name "Catalin". The Catalin Corporation was responsible for nearly 70% of all phenolic resins that exist today.

In 1942 Bakelite-Catalin stopped sales of their colorful costume jewelry in order to concentrate on the nation's wartime needs. The company produced thousands of products that found their way into the military. By the end of the World War II, new technologies for molded plastics had been developed. These new products consisted of plastics such as Lucite, Fiberglass, Vinyl, and Acrylic - all which were molded. Thus, Bakelite and Catalin became obsolete, except in the hearts of collectors who still pursue it today.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Quality Control in Living Room Basics - Coffee Table

Our last item to discuss in our series of Living Room Quality Control is the coffee table.

Like most wood furniture, coffee tables can be made of hardwood or softwood. For durability, look for a "solid wood" table and not one labelled "all wood". Solid wood tables are made of solid boards, while furniture labelled all wood is madeof engineered plywood and particleboard. Tables that are veneered may be either solid wood or engineered wood underneath, be sure to ask the retailer.

A well-made table shouldn't be wobbly or creaky. It should have legs permanently attached with mortise and tenon joints, or, in the case of removable legs, with brackets and lag bolts. Tables with legs that are stapled or glued won't have the same longevity. If the table has a drawer, look for one with dovetail joints. Dovetail joints are much stronger than stapled ones.

The finish should never feel rough or sandy. On a quality piece the finish will feel silky. The underside of a quality piece will also be stained and lacquered, to prevent moisture from penetrating the wood.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Quality Control in Living Room Basics - Rugs

Last week we discussed sofas and what to look for when buying a quality piece. Today we are going to discuss Oriental rugs. Keep in mind that wool contemporary rugs would follow these same standards.

Oriental Rugs
Quality Oriental rugs are usually made from silk, wool or a combination of the two. Wool is resistant to wear and tear and retains its appearance for years to come. Silk is softer underfoot than wool and has a wonderful, luxurious sheen. But it stains more easily and may flatten with heavy traffic.

A handknotted Oriental rug should have a base of either cotton for wool version or silk for a silk version. The base is made up of the warp (horizontal strings, which extend to become the fringe at either end) and the weft (vertical strings). Individual strands are knotted tightly onto the warp and weft by the carpetmaker.

A key measure of a rug's quality is the knot count, measured by the square inch. Flip the rug over and count the knots: a good rug should have at least 100 knots per square inch; a high-end silk rug can have as many as 1,000. There shouldn't be any gaps between knots. The higher the knot count, the denser and more durable the rug will be. If you can't make out any knots and the fringe appears to be stiched on, the rug is most likely machine made. A good quality rug should have even colour with no faded spots.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Quality Control in Living Room Basics - Sofa

When furnishing a living room, the plethora of choices can be overwhelming. The old saying "you get what you pay for" usually rings true - but what exactly does that mean in today's day and age? We are going to take a look at three different items found in the living room, how they are made and what to look for when purchasing. Let's start with everyone's staple item - The Sofa.

Sofa Frame
The frame of a sofa should be made from 100% hardwood (ash, birch, maple or oak). The hardwood should be kiln dried, meaning it's been dried in an oven. If the hardwood has been air dried it will be less strong since over time the wood will continue to dry and subsequently warp.

A sofa of less quality will have a frame made with laminated plywood or particleboard; these sofas will be lighter in weight, not as strong and won't last as nearly as long or be as durable.

Sofa Seat
The seat deck will consist of a Kevlar layer attached to the frame and topped with a spring system. Over the springs will be a layer of burlap, two layers of felt and then the upholstery. The best way to spring a seat deck is with an eight-way hand tied web and coil spring system. A lesser quality spring system will be known as "no-sag", "zig-zag", "seamless coil" or "sinuous spring".

Sofa Cushions
Good quality seat cushions are generally made from high-density polyurethane foam wrapped in down, synthetic down or cotton batting. A layer of cotton or Dacron should wrap the whole cushion before the upholstery layer. Depending on the style of sofa the cushions may have only foam for a boxier look. If buying foam cushions, ask about the density of the foam (look for a density rating of 1.8 to 2.2 lb per cubic foot).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Drapery and your mid-century modern style

One of the challenges when using MCM design style in your home is finding the right window covering(s). In keeping with minimalist ideals, hard window coverings such as roller shades, blinds or bare windows would be appropriate. However; I feel that hard window coverings just contribute to an already "hard" environment (wood furnishings, flooring, etc.) One way you can add warmth and visual interest to your room is utilizing soft window coverings such as floor to ceiling drapes.

Drapes work especially well in living rooms or bedrooms that have valances. You can install the hardware railing underneath the valance then the drapes will run on rollers for the length of the rod. This type of installation provides a nice clean look and will give a finished stack to the each side when the window is showing.

Here are some other things to think about when it comes to drapery in your home:

Custom or Off the Rack
Depending on your window, off the rack curtains can work well, if they are lined, and the appropriate length. Going custom provides you with unlimited choices in fabric and a plethora of workrooms to make your drapes. The greater Vancouver area has many sewing workrooms that can make draperies at a reasonable price.

Lining is important for three reasons; it provides additional weight in the hanging of the fabric; gives you a clean uniformed look from outside your home; and lining adds an additional layer for insulation.

Window Insulation
It has been proven that by installing drapes in your home, you will stop drafts from coming into the room as well as keep the warmth within the room. This in turn saves you money on your heating bill.

Sound Reduction
Drapes can help to drown out sound from outside.

Black Out
For those who need to sleep in complete darkness, add blackout liner to your drapes. You'll feel like you're sleeping in a hotel room.

Window Camouflage
Not all windows are beautiful, having draperies installed can hide many flaws that otherwise may be obvious.

Utilizing soft window coverings will provide your home with an atmosphere that you can’t achieve with the less formal hard window coverings, such as blinds or rollers.

If you’re interested in discussing how to add drapes to your home give ReVIBE a call!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Rain Chains

A rain chain is an alternative to the downspout component in a traditional rain gutter system. Rain chains are typically a series of metal cups, with a hole in the bottom of each, or chain links that span vertically, funneling water from a rain gutter to either a collection system or to the ground. Rain chains can be constructed from a variety of materials including aluminum, brass, copper and plastic. The most commonly used material, though, is copper which will naturally develop a vivid green patina over time from rain water and the elements.

Different styles of rain chains are available to suit the design of the given structure. Rain chains are typically affixed below a hole in a gutter to allow the water to be channeled to the chain below.


  • Channels water away from basements, walks and patios.
  • Keeps the outside of your home or structure clean by preventing mud and sand from splashing up onto siding and windows.
  • Protects the color of brick and concrete. No drip lines or discoloring.
  • Protects concrete slabs from sinking and cracking.
  • Provides an aesthetically different alternative to traditional gutter downspouts.
  • Preserves stained wood decks, doors and garage doors from splash-ups.
  • Stops landscape erosion.
  • Due to otheir wonderful sound or “ch’i” they provide a positive energy flow for Feng Shui.
Originating in Japan and called "Kusari Doi," rain chains are presently used as an alternative to household rain gutters and pipes. The history of these wonderful rain chains date back hundreds of years, where Japanese households and temples would utilize them for collecting water and saving it for later use. Even today, rain chains are being utilized in households for the same purpose, making these ornate items functional for both your home and landscape

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 Paint Colour Trends According to Benjamin Moore

Raw, Natural and Tranquil Paint Colours
Neutral Benjamin Moore paint colors are hot in 2009. As home owners attempt to appeal to the broadest base of potential buyers, and existing home owners try to make the most of the home decor and furn ishings they already have, neutrals take center stage in 2009.

The raw, nature based Benjamin Moore neutral paint colors also fit into the growing trend of creating tranquil space in the home.

Scaling Back
As the economy continues to be a concern, home owners are scaling back on larger renovations and focusing on the concept of interior decorating. This involves either purchasing new interior items or using furnishings you already have and giving them new life. One way to pull off economical decorating in the home is to stick to neutral wall paint colors, like those in the Benjamin Moore 2009 Color Pulse forecast. Neutral colors will add a clean and fresh backdrop to your home decor and furnishings. The Benjamin Moore neutral paint colors can harmonize your space and make it look new again.

Neutral Paint Colors Suit Any Decor
The 2009 Benjamin Moore neutral paint colors for 2009 are suitable for any home decor style. The neutrals can mimic industrial style
materials, in shades of concrete or metals. The hues also reflect nature in its raw form: beach sand, the white of a chicken egg, or the light gray of a winter sky.The concept of relying on colors which represent "authentic materials" is also keeping in line with the 2009 color trend forecast by the Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute.

So which colors are in the 2009 Benjamin Moore Paints Home Decor Neutral forecast palette?

Creamy Whites
  • Chantilly Lace OC-65 - A clean white which falls between the crisp Pure White and the cool Snow White.
  • Fossil AF-65 - Fossil is not gray, but a creamy white with a whisp of green undertone.
  • Frappe AF-85 - Richer than Fossil, Frappe is the creamy white color of a milkshake made with French Vanilla Ice cream.
  • Hush AF-95 - A darker creamy white than Frappe, that's very easy on the eyes.
  • Jute AF-80 - A creamy white that appears to be shadowed.
  • Tucson Winds 1024 - A blushing, creamy white.

Clean Whites

  • Collector's Item AF-45 - A barely baby's cheek pink infuses this white neutral color.
  • Mascarpone AF-20 - Another barely there white.


  • Sterling 1591 - A seductive, light gray that could tone done any room, or add a touch of elegance.
  • Storm AF-700 - Invite an electric, pre-thunder gray into your home.
  • Steel Wool 2121-20 - A medium, cool gray best suited for large rooms or as an accent color.
  • Gray 2121-10 - A darker, brownish gray for the brave.

If you are unsure of how to choose a paint colour, contact ReVIBE for a colour consultation!