This is our group’s official organizer, Michaela Starling. Michaela is a fantastic facilitator and certainly made this evening a smooth event. In the background is Valerie Westra, the group’s assistant organizer – does the pen and clipboard give her away? Thank you Michaela and Valerie for your efforts in making evenings like this one come together for the rest of us.
Jan Laurie is a colleague and fellow CRDA member (Canadian ReDesigners Association). I have had the pleasure of taking in a nation-wide conference with Jan, and assisting her with a recent redesign project – thank you Jan!
Clemens said that social media is NOT advertising. He feels pretty strongly about this – what do you think? Did he make his point???
And just to get our attention… in case we weren’t listening!
We’re listening! Do you think he knew his audience? Seriously though, Clemens was actually explaining three different platforms to build your brand on: (1) innovative products and services (2) personal or corporate story (3) mastery and thought leadership… and he used this latest hot product, SAXX, as an example of an ‘innovative product’ platform in which to build a brand on.
He did give us a moment… before going into the ‘innovative product’ explanation!
And we did get back to business…
Thank you Clemens for spending this evening with us.
‘Take a European holiday in the Cowichan Valley. Imagine yourself in the middle of an apple orchard in northern France or the shores of England enjoying local cuisine, fine wine, and award-winning cider. Now cancel that plane ticket and join us at la Pommeraie, a bistro at Merridale.’ Source: http://www.merridalecider.com/bistro/
How about this?
And these photos are taken in the winter, so the trees are minus the leaves. Imagine them in the summer!
Here is the charming Cider House, the bistro, tour and tasting building… so perfectly designed for its picturesque country setting. Last week the grass would’ve been fully covered in snow!
The character displayed on the outside merely hints at what you will find inside…
I wish I had taken great inside shots to share with you.
This picture shows you a little tiny glimpse more of the inside… along with us and some of our family too! To the left is a magnificent double-sided rock fireplace. Notice the artwork (by local artists), that is displayed for sale. And how about the intricate lines of the ceiling? The skylight, the wood trim that compliments the fireplace mantle, the rounded edges of the drywall. And though you can’t see it here, behind the fireplace wall is another huge bank of second story windows – the light that floods this space is amazing – a true display of ‘light, bright, and airy’.
In photo: (L) Clemens’ parents, Ursula & Konrad Rettich – Ursula is an artist and you can see her creations if you visit her blog ‘Sea to Canvas‘; (C) Sister-in-law & brother, Barb & Bertrand Rettich who were visiting from Alberta; (R) Us! Well, ‘me’ and hubbie, Clemens Rettich – see what Clemens is up to by visiting ‘Clemens Rettich Business Consulting Ltd.‘
We do love our little outings to Merridale… and have recently added a Bistro La Pommeraie experience to our chest of memories. The food was incredible!
At first we weren’t sure if this cute carafe actually held a half litre’s worth of cider sangria… especially when it was placed beside the large chunky glass! Isn’t the glass great?
But once we started to pour, we stopped wondering and decided that it does!
The sangria was full of fresh, local cranberries… so pretty, and not too, too sour to eat!
Looking for a unique gift for someone special? Have you considered a Sid Dickens Memory Block? Just one block will surely lead to two, and before you know it, a collection will have begun. What really makes a collection so stylized and distinct is Sid Dickens’ annual retiring of memory blocks. If you fall in love with a memory block, don’t wait, because if you do, it may be too late! For example, tomorrow – December 1, 2010 – is the last day to order the 2010 blocks selected for retirement. Click here to see the list of 2010 blocks being retired.
‘Opaque’ and ‘Music With Moulding’ are my two favorites from the 2010 list to be retired. I also love ‘Cerulean Sea’ and ‘Aquamarine’ which were retired in earlier selections.
Wendy Vipond’s winning image (below) from the contest ‘Memory Blocks in the Wild‘ is a fantastic display of just a few of these amazing works of art. If you look closely you can see ‘Aquamarine’ forth from the right. I think this one is just beautiful on its own, but it’s how this photo captures the collection that is truly magic. The setting does not compete for attention; it serves as a backdrop that enhances the collection as a whole, and yet compliments each memory block as if it were standing alone.
This photo depicts so well the elemental beauty that Mr. Dickens describes in the following excerpt; he speaks to its influence on his vision as an artist, and ultimately a turning point in his career. (Read more here)
…In 1987, after an inspirational trip to Europe which Dickens regards as pivotal to his artistic development, he moved to a remote waterfront studio in the Queen Charlotte Islands. The elemental beauty of this secluded and mystic wilderness expanded Dickens’ vision… (Link to full article)
I think what really resonates with me is how Wendy Vipond’s photo truly captures the memory blocks in the wild, but it’s the similarity of the setting to that of Sid Dickens’ Sandspit home on the Charlottes (Haida Gwaii) that connects. In fact, there’s even a wharf (pictured below) that is located near his Sandspit studio home!
Below is a photo of the stunning view that would be seen from the artist’s studio home, and which sprawls along the community of Sandspit’s shoreline. Isn’t it breathtaking? Across the inlet lies the north Island known as Graham Island, which I am intimately connected to as this is where I was born and raised, and where my ‘roots of home’ will always be.
And if you need any help to make a selection that will match your décor… Contact us . Or if you’re looking for assistance with your styling and décor we’re happy to do that too. All it takes is an introductory consultation to get started – remember the first ½ hour is on the house!
This is how our yard looks today. White, wintery and beautiful. But ‘welcome’… Ummm, not so sure.
Our plans for today were set. Even marked down on the calendar. Today we were going to head out and get started on holiday prepping – gather the lights and decorations from storage, get all the necessary baking supplies, and yes, do a little Christmas shopping.
Well, this scene not only set the stage for the holiday spirit, but it also stole our show! Instead of hitting the pavement, we are pulling out the snow shovels to find said pavement. Where is the driveway? I know it was here yesterday…
This is not much snow, I know. In fact I think it’s just a little over half a foot, but shoveling the driveway, and lugging decorations through the snow was not in the plans for today!
This little guy did inspire us to put the feeder out though.
Notice the broken branch he’s perched on – sadly the main branch of the ornamental cherry tree couldn’t sustain the weight of the snow. This snowfall was very moist and heavy – can you tell?
So to protect the Japanese Maple from a duplicate tragedy, my awesome hubby went back out and knocked the snow off its branches.
It looks like he’s really knocking the branches, but honestly he was very gentle. Oh, and yes, he does own a jacket and boots!
Just a little taste of winter wonderland… What’s happening where you live? Does your ‘today’ have snow in the way?
Are you trying to clear the path for your holiday styling and décor? Feeling snowed under? Maybe we can help. Why not contact us to schedule an introductory consultation – remember the first ½ hour is on the house!
Selling your home through the Holidays doesn’t have to be an added frenzy on your ‘to do’ list. Here are a few simple tips to keep the ‘first impression’ décor done up just right, and maximize the spirit of the showings.
1. Decorate with quality, not quantity
This is the time to resist showcasing the cutesy crafty creations you have accumulated over the years. Simple elegance is the way to go. Stay with your pieces that catch and bounce the light. Place them with intention so they draw a potential buyer’s eye to the great features of your home. If you have a fireplace, work your mantle, but don’t hide its details!
2. Choose a neutral colour scheme with sparkle and glam
If the ornaments clash with your décor, they do not add to it! Choose neutral – think nature: tree cones, berries and boughs mixed with candles (battery operated flameless for safety). Add in a little festive sparkle with cut crystal, glam glass, and top off with the twinkle of metallic accents. Remember to keep it secular so that all potential buyers feel welcome – not everyone shares the same religious beliefs.
3. Holiday accessorizing: visual interest or distraction?
When selling through the holiday season ‘less is more’. You don’t want to overcrowd your rooms with festive decorations, because they will distract the buyer from seeing the real features of your home. Highlight the focal points, and leave the rest to stand on its own.
4. Moving a tree in… what are you moving out?
Let’s face it – wherever you put your tree, it is going to take up space. Be prepared to move something out so your tree can move in. The last ‘first’ impression you want for your buyer is a feeling that the space is too small. Have you considered a smaller tree… just this once?
5. What does your curb appeal say?
Curb appeal is your first priority, which is why I’ve put it last – I want to leave you with that thought. Your driveway, walkway, and stairs must be safe! Make sure they are always free of slippery snow and ice. Ensure your entrance is well lit, and that you have a spot inside for buyer’s to place their shoes. Refrain from ‘upstaging’ Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with your display of outside lights – try a minimalist approach by using simple strands of clear lights instead. Suggestion: stay away from icicle lights – they only look attractive at night!
And may we strongly suggest that your inflatable lawn ornaments stay packed away too!
Trust that an understated ‘holiday welcome’ will open the door to your potential buyer’s heart. Greet them with a fresh wreath or door swag instead.
Need an extra hand this holiday season? Maybe we can help. Contact Usto find out how!
In today’s world of reduce, reuse, recyle, repurpose – so many ‘re’ words – what does it mean to you when you hear the word, redesign?
Depending on the professional you’re working with, redesign can take on many different meanings from a full-scale renovation to the reworking of a vignette, and everything in between. For me, redesign means to maximize what you already have in styling your space to create a look that’s fresh and new… One of my favourite Home Stagers, Matthew Finlason says, “In an ever-evolving aesthetic trade, what is hot now is yesterday’s tomorrow.”
There is so much truth to Matthew’s statement, and it definitely works for staging, but where is the real value in taking that approach for your home? What about those special pieces you cherish, but which don’t fit into the current hot or trendy mould?
In HGTV’s ‘Selling New York’ Episode 8, designer legend Vicente Wolf transformed a space from, as he put it, “very boring, bland and static” to interesting, colourful and alive. What Mr. Wolf did was ‘stage’ this space for an evening gathering using apartment owner Mike Olson’s existing pieces – nothing borrowed, rented, or new, just the things that were already there. This is staging for the ‘non-seller’, which is really redesign at its best!
Here is a ‘Before’ shot of the space:
Here you see the sofa, coffee table, audio table and area rug are squared to the room. The furniture is placed far apart, and snugged against the wall, including the lamp. The coffee table isn’t really anchored to anything in the space, and appears to be floating out in the middle of the nowhere. The chaise, even though angled into the space, actually draws the eye away from the core of the room to the white wall behind it. This room looks sparse, and cool. The hardwood floor, though it is warm and beautiful, actually detracts from the room in its current layout, because the visual lines of the flooring feed into the space feeling long and narrow. From this angle there is very little colour to greet you, and what colour there is gets lost because it has no impact – it’s too small, and is without context. Yes, very boring, bland, and static indeed.
And here is an ‘After’ shot of the same space!
Yes, this is the same room! To be fair, this image is shot from a different angle and the red artwork on the wall, which wasn’t captured in the first shot, definitely adds visual warmth and drama, but in spite of that, the changes that have been made create an amazing impact. It’s all about flow and focal points. Mr. Wolf has pulled everything away from the walls and angled them in to the room – did you notice that the area rug now sits at an angle to the hardwood strips? The seating has been pulled closer together and placed in a cozy conversational arrangement, and now the focus is towards the windows instead of away from them. Mr. Wolf pointed out that if you have windows, why would you have your back to them? Such a simple question, yet often overlooked.
And it is those simple things that are the essence of how redesign works. So many times all the pieces are there, they just need to be edited into ‘place’. Your home is collected over time, and that’s where your home finds its voice. And there is no ‘time’ in hot or trendy, just… here today, gone tomorrow. It’s in the things you hold dear that your stories are told. And it’s the stories that create that ‘feeling of home’.
Wanting to reduce, reuse, recyle, repurpose your way to a redesign of your space? Not sure where to start? Maybe we can help.Contact us to schedule an introductory consultation – remember the first ½ hour is on the house!
The white crawl glaze spilling out like foam on a wave.
This is how Mary Fox describes her white textured crawl glaze that stretches and swirls its way around her stunning navy creations. To gaze at just one of these pieces is breathtaking, but to hold one in your hands takes your breath away.
This weekend was the ‘only sale of the year’ event at Mary Fox’s Studio Gallery, and definitely on my outing list for Saturday. Everything was marked 25% off, with the bonus ‘seconds’ marked down even more – and for this weekend only! So, my husband and I vowed to be on time, promised to do the Saturday morning scramble to get out the door and be there for the 11:00am opening. And we were… well, about 10 minutes late – but at this event 10 minutes is definitely lost opportunity, though in no way a lost cause.
The gallery was full, in fact filled to overflowing! We had no idea what we had already missed out on, but we certainly knew what was displayed before us. Where to begin? I had taken my camera hoping, with permission, to take photos for this article, but there were so many people that I didn’t dare make the attempt.
Click here to see close-ups of a few of Mary’s works of art, and learn about the inspiration behind each piece. And click here to see a few more… seriously – it’s worth the click!
Right from the beginning I was wishing, hoping, crossing my fingers to find a treasure to bring home (well, a treasure that our budget would say ‘yes’ to). My heart was secretly hoping for what Mary refers to as ‘contemplation’ pieces – they are pure art, meant to be viewed and contemplated, enjoyed for their beauty and intrigue. But the practical part of me was steering me toward the functional pieces – absolute works of art and beauty, of that there is no doubt, but created to be used. As we wove our way in and around, and through the clusters of people suddenly we found ourselves lined up with ‘destiny’. For there before us was an assortment of contemplation vessels, and dangerously within the negotiating of our budget!
Imagine the thrill and rush of being so close to our first Mary Fox purchase… well purchase just for us! We have purchased in the past ‘as gifts’, but never just for us. We narrowed our selection down to 4 pieces (yes, I said ‘narrowed’) – 3 navy white crawl pieces (2 vases and a bowl), and 1 chalice in earth tones. Oh, and there was also a great metallicy-gold vase that caught my eye, perfect for the Christmas season (wish I could’ve taken a photo to share with you). After a lot of discussion, and going back and forth between the four pieces…
The final choice is…
See what I mean about ‘breathtaking’?
And eye-catching from every angle.
This so reminds me of the ocean, the waves, the white foam…
Even the inside is beautifully finished with attention to detail.
I love this piece, and for me it’s symbolic of where I come from, and who I am. The ocean speaks to me; it’s what grounds me and takes me back to my roots.
And aren’t the shadows dramatic? Can you hear the waves? Can you smell the ocean? Do you see the intensity in the changing colours of the water, the frothing of the foam?… Do you see the vast greatness of the ocean in this piece?
How about you, does it take your breath away too???
Do you have a spectacular work of art? Not sure how to showcase it and tell your story through your space? Maybe we can help. Contact us to schedule an introductory consultation – remember the first ½ hour is on the house!
What do you do when your search for a unique off-the-shelf item turns up empty?
I was working on a space that required a coat rack for its open concept entry, also the client seating area. As I began the sourcing process, it didn’t take long before I realized this item would be difficult to find, at least to find one ‘off-the-shelf’ that met all the criteria: a wall-mount; the right length; priced within budget; and unique, with visual character.
So you can imagine, how excited I was when I discovered a metal wall-mount shelf, technically a baker’s rack, and wondered if the slatted shelf would work in place of an actual rod for the hangers. A quick demo had me thinking this might just work.
As it turned out, when I held the unit against the wall the depth of the shelf was not quite enough for a hanger to fully clear the wall. However, the scroll detail on the sides of the rack opened up a whole new possibility for creative success. I could envision a rod resting in the scrolls, but would this really work? And how could I mount the rack so that the rod was far enough away from the wall to accommodate the hangers, and at the same time maintain its visual integrity?
Off to see Dad, my resourceful project partner.
After taking into consideration the criteria I mentioned earlier, Dad came up with a mounting solution that not only worked, but that was nearly invisible to the eye, and stayed within the budget!
If you look closely you will see shorter vertical pieces behind the frame the scroll is fastened to. These are pieces of box steel, 1″ in diameter that have been attached to the original frame. The box steel managed to bring the whole unit away from the wall just enough for the hangers to clear. The steel pieces were spray painted to match, and the ends were capped off with standard chair leg caps. A piece of clear Plexiglas was cut to fit on the rack and provide a solid shelf, as well as protection for coats hung below. And the rod, a piece of doweling stained to compliment, was secured into place with screws to keep it from sliding out of the scroll. The screws were camouflaged with wooden buttons stained to match the doweling.
So what do you think? What would you do if you couldn’t find what you’re looking for? I’m dying to know!
Oh, BTW, the rock mat is also a little DIY. I took two prefabricated stone mats, and placed them on a rubber-backed runner with the rubberized side up, and the carpet side down. This way the carpet protected the floor, and the rubber back acted like a vapor barrier between any drips from wet coats and the hardwood beneath. Isn’t it fun to stretch function in this way?
Thanks for stopping by!
Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use!
Something that comes up consistently in my consultations is the storage solution conundrum. With smaller footprint homes becoming the ‘norm’, clients are increasingly focussed on utilizing every nook and cranny in order to maximize their space. There are so many tips and strategies on this topic that a blog article could become a book. Read on to see three ‘before’ and ‘after’ mini projects where functional, and optimal storage was the ultimate goal for each of my clients.
Project #1 – Master Suite
This master suite was actually part of a larger redesign project, which included selecting new wall colour and window treatments, but the biggest obstacle was to create a truly functional closet from a standard closet design.
This closet is 9½’ long x 2’ deep x 8’ high
The opening is 6’, which is accommodated with two 3’ bi-fold doors
There is also 20” of awkward-to-access space in each end of the closet to work with
The original closet system contained a single rod stretching the full length of the closet, a narrow unfinished shelf above the rod, and 2 lower shelves in the 20” space on the left side. The rest of the closet was unutilized dead space.
One 4– 8’ Rubbermaid closet kit, available at Canadian Tire, Home Hardware, and Home Depot. This kit includes two 4’ shelves and rods, and one 26” shelf and rod. The system is fully expandable, which provides the flexibility needed to set each shelf and rod to suit the storage needs and really make the space in this closet go a long way.
In order to utilize the rest of the closet space, a piece of dowling was cut to size and mounted near the ceiling at the left end of the closet for out of season tops to be hung and stored. An extra shelf was added to the existing shelving for jeans and sweaters, and canvas lined wicker baskets (from Jysk) were incorporated for t-shirts and smaller items like scarves, etc.
The floor space under the shelves is left open enough to store a small carry-on size suitcase, and other items of similar size and bulk.
In the opposite end of the closet the 26” rod and shelf was mounted high enough to hang full length gowns. You can see here that dress pants hung full-length also take advantage of this space. The floor space that is left is roomy enough for shoes, though you can’t see the floor space in this picture.
Other add-on items that were incorporated: a tie rack (left of top shelf), and a hanger for belts (left of tie rack on back wall of closet).
From a standard closet design to all-out function, every inch of this closet was maximized with a simple closet kit, a few add-ons, and a little creativity. And all this was done in a day!
Project #2 – Teen’s Closet
This bedroom is quite small, and only has room for a double bed and either a small dresser or a small desk, but not both. Previously the useable space of this room was expanded by placing a study desk in the closet area instead of having a functioning closet. There were shelves in the left end of the closet, but the rod had been removed.
This closet is 8’ long x 2’ deep x 8’ high
The opening is 5’, and does not have doors
There is also 27” of awkward-to-access space in the left end of the closet to work with
This space is now a teenager’s bedroom, one with a lot of clothing and accessories. So in desperate need of a closet system, she wanted a combination of solid shelving and double rods, room for her laundry hamper, and somewhere to store all her handbags. She was very clear that she didn’t want doors of any kind, because she wanted to have easy access to all her things.
Individual materials were purchased from Home Hardware to build the closet system with: two 4′ long x 1′ deep pre-cut pine boards; one 9′ piece of dowling to cut down to size for 2 rods; plastic rod cover; four shelf/rod mounting brackets; one 3′ pressure-fit rod. Canvas lined baskets were purchased from London Drugs.
If you look at the reflection in the mirror you can see all the purses hung over a rod. This is where the pressure-fit rod was installed; it’s easy to remove and keeps the purses from being crushed, or squashed. Installing the mirror here was the teen’s idea!
Here is the finished closet. Isn’t it neat and tidy? In front of the mirror is the laundry hamper, and under the bottom rod of clothing there are more baskets that hold smaller accessory items. This closet has a light inside, which makes the items on the top shelf easier to see.
Did you notice the great new colour on the walls? It’s Benjamin Moore’s ‘Tropicana Cabana’ 2048-50, also part of this project!
Project #3 – Laundry Room Storage and Styling
This laundry room is a very tiny 6′ x 7′ work-horse. It not only has a washer, dryer, and basin in it, but is home to the hot water tank, and also multi-tasks as storage too! The challenges were lack of counter space, and turning wasted vertical space into more functional storage.
Right away I wanted to find a solution to disguise the hotwater tank as much as possible, and remove the visual clutter from the top of the cabinets. I wanted to find a spot for the laundry basket that would keep it off the dryer, which could double as a valuable folding surface.
Baskets from London Drugs; Trolley and replacement laundry basket from Super Store
The baskets fit perfectly above the cabinets, and the smaller ones on the side complete the look.
The trolley serves as quick and easy storage for smaller items that are used more often. The new laundry basket sits on top of the trolley and does a great job of hiding the hotwater tank – did you even remember it was there?
The space now has a more unified and finished look. The baskets not only serve a function, but they warm the room up as well. Adding colour to the walls would be a nice touch too, but that is part of another phase in the styling work.
What do you think? Have the challenges of these projects been met for the clients?
Can’t find the solution for your storage challenge? Maybe we can help. Contact us to schedule an introductory consultation – remember the first ½ hour is on the house!
Not long ago we had company joining us for a weekend, and with the anticipation of their arrival came the ‘extra’ tidying, tweaking, and putting things in order to welcome them. Our home is compact and its space maximized to the limit, so I decided we needed hooks where our guests could hang their jackets. With a bare wall in the foyer crying out for some attention, I had the perfect spot. Now all I had to do was find the perfect hooks…
This turned out to be easier said than done – yes, there are hooks in all shapes and sizes, but nothing leapt out at me as unique or different; none were really ‘perfect’. Not until I popped into Nancy’s Fashion & Furnishings – a very tiny boutique right here in Ladysmith. Who would have known? Voila! Tucked here and there throughout the store were the perfect decorative hooks, and even better, in a few different shapes and sizes!
Here’s what I chose in the end.
Next… the search for a piece of reclaimed wood to mount them on. And this proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. So, off to see my Dad. He has a little shop with all kinds of odds ‘n ends, and not only is he awesome, he’s also a great project partner. Next question, would he take on this project with me?
The answer. Dad not only took on the project with me, he actually did the project for me! He tore the spruce plank to the thickness needed, set to work lightly distressing it, and then did some stain samples for the colour. I chose red mahogany in the end, because I wanted the hooks to stand out, but I also wanted the look to work with the hall table.
Here is the finished masterpiece!
I would love to do a full-scale make-over in the foyer, but this is a rental home, so I shall save that for another time. In the mean time… welcome to our home. Take your coat off and stay a while!
Thanks for stopping by!
Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use!