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!