Tag: Design

Back to the Renaissance: A Day of Learning

Back to the Renaissance: A Day of Learning

On the weekend I had the pleasure of joining the group, Renaissance Women, to learn a new craft to me, but one that has been mastered for years! We spent the afternoon in Leola’s Studio at Whippletree Junction learning how to dry felt, wet felt, paint and…

Pillows by Dezign

Pillows by Dezign

This is not a sponsored post, but I was thrilled when Pillows by Dezign offered me a choice of any one of their designer accent pillows to review! Who doesn’t love fabrics by Kravat, Robert Allen, Schumacher… to name a few. And I’m not kidding,…

Shou-sugi-ban… I’m in Love!

Shou-sugi-ban… I’m in Love!


The ancient Japanese technique of charring wood to preserve it for use as exterior siding. Traditionally, Japanese Cyprus was used, but now we’re seeing this technique applied to cedar, and other woods. We’re also seeing the wood being utilized in new and interesting ways beyond exterior siding.

I first learned about shou-sugi-ban on HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins, and fell instantly in love. No, not with the cousins! With the distinct and unique look of the wood.

Here’s a close-up.

Delta Millworks on Houzz 

The wood is carefully charred, doused in water and cooled. Once cooled, it’s brushed to remove the dust and loose debris, and then cleaned, meaning washed and dried. The shou-sugi-ban can either be finished with a natural oil or left as is.

Anne and the Architects

Why would you want to do this? Well, its cool factor, for one! But actually, the charcoal barrier preserves the wood and is fire, rot and insect resistant!

Cast Architecture Blog

Here are a few examples of shou-sugi-ban in action.

Colin Conces Photography

Such a great panel look without the nastiness of paneling! Let’s not go back the 70s, okay?

This siding is an example of how the wood silvers once it’s brushed, cleaned, and oiled.

Orchard House Blog

And here you see how it looks cladding a fireplace.


I can’t tell if the wood has been oiled or not. What do you think?

I love this table top burner.


And the irony behind it and the fireplace… you know, charred wood as a feature where fire burns brightly 😉 But seriously, isn’t this burner pretty awesome?

These stools speak for themselves.

Urban Now Design / Nicholas Wray Photography

 Designed by Steve Hamm and Don Wroth of Urban Now Design, in their words, they “Like to create cool stuff, plain and simple.”

I’ll leave you with this last piece, a table by Materia Designs.

Materia Designs

This is a great example of blending ancient technique with modern design, and topping it off with a little vintage statement… did you guess the table top is made of reclaimed barn board? Hemlock, actually.

What’s not to love?

I’m thinking a shou-sugi-ban headboard would be pretty cool. But, I do wonder how long it takes for the the charred smell to disappear!

So how about you? Have you heard of shou-sugi-ban before? Do you love it… or would you rather leave the charring back at the camp fire?

Thanks for stopping by!

 All image sources credited below each image.

IDSwest 2012: A Final Tour Through the Show

IDSwest 2012: A Final Tour Through the Show

Now that the buzz has died down a bit, I thought I’d do a photo tour through the show with you! And seriously, this is just a snippet of IDSwest this year. But you know how it goes. It’s hard to see and do everything!…

Moving On: A Set of MCM Light Fixtures

Moving On: A Set of MCM Light Fixtures

This weekend I’m hanging out at the Vancouver Convention Centre where idsWEST is taking place. And tomorrow night I’ll be attending Blend 2012 sponsored by IKEA. Did I mention this is a gathering of the Canadian Design & Lifestyle Bloggers West? Can’t wait to tell you all…

Rainbows On the Floor

Rainbows On the Floor

Last Friday I was delighted to guest post for Luciane over at Home Bunch. Did you catch this ‘Cool or Fool’ feature? Well, today I thought I would expand on the multi-coloured striped theme of that post. Read on… and warning, this post is photo heavy, but I think you will be amazed at what you see!

Jenna Ration G

Contemporary visual artist Jim Lambie specializes in colourful sculptural installations made from everyday modern materials. And one of his trademarks is applying brightly coloured vinyl tape in patterns of continuous lines to floors, most often of galleries. The vinyl tape Lambie uses is an everyday material, but has the capacity to alter the dynamics of a space. The tape is applied following the shape of the room and its architectural details, transforming it from a soft, quiet area into an energetic and emotionally charged sensory zone. Lambie’s creations often trick the eye, confusing, even disorienting, the viewer. According to Lambie, covering an object somehow evaporates its hard edge, and so the artistry is in creating so many edges that they all dissolve, leaving one to wonder if the room is expanding or contracting…

Would you alter the dynamics of your space in this way? Let’s take a look.

Apartment Therapy

Did you notice, this is the same floor from the first photo? Isn’t it interesting how the perspective changes when you see the whole area compared to just a snap shot of it?

Hirshhorn Museum

Since the tape follows the shape of the room and its architectural details, what do you think the shape of this room is? And even though the photo is straight, doesn’t it look like the bottom edge is cropped on an angle? That’s an example of how the multiple edges can trick the eye.

Apartment Therapy

Notice how the tape curves around the far side of the column, but mirrors the shape of the stairs on this side? This is an example of how the tape is applied to follow the architectural details in the room.


Dying to know what’s in this space! Do you think it’s from the same space as the photo above?


Here the tape follows the square base of the column rather than the column’s curve. This creates the illusion that the floor is an extension of the column base.

iiiinspired Blog

At first glance, doesn’t it look like there could be a step down on the right?

iiiispired Blog

Even though the square columns are outlined flat against the floor, doesn’t the diamond shape in the middle make it feel like there is a gradual incline to the base of the columns?

Didactic – Richard Cassel

Have you noticed the slight variations in the colour combinations of the designs? Lambie picks the tape colours and layout for each design, but he leaves it up to his assistants to coordinate how the colours are put together within the design.


This is a great example of how Lambie’s design can trick the eye. Doesn’t it remind you of a kaleidoscope?

Chic Cham Blog

Imagine applying the tape to a set of stairs. This close-up gives you a better idea of just how intricate the process is. Every mitered corner must fit perfectly or the design will become skewed, especially when you factor the risers into the equation.


Can you tell where each step starts and ends? Look closely to the left, and you’ll see…

Joanne Mattera Art Blog

Did you notice this photo is from the same space as the one above it? A lot easier to see where the steps are now, right?

Oh My News

See how the design of this floor leads you to, and emphasizes each sculpture, yet still manages to mirror the long lines of the ceiling?

Well, are you ready to take the leap yet? Want to create a ‘Lambie’ design in your home? What if I showed you spaces you might relate to a little more?


Yes, this is a Lambie staircase. But I think it would be easier to paint! How about you?


And how do you not get dizzy going down these stairs? Do you think they’d be easier to navigate in the dark?


Notice how the base of the newel post is mirrored on the step below it. And see the green in the center of the stairs? That’s the mastery of this application. You have to make sure as you extend the design, you retain the overall perspective of the design. Because remember, the tape is applied by following the shape of the space and its architectural details. In this case, the newel post is an architectural detail.

Apartment Therapy

So, now I’m curious. Do you think it would it be fun to live in geometric colour like this everyday?

I  hope you have a bright, cheerful weekend! And don’t forget, today is the last day to enter our special GIVEAWAY. You have until midnight tonight, and tomorrow we will announce the lucky winner 🙂

Thank you for stopping by!

Guest Posting Over At Home Bunch

Guest Posting Over At Home Bunch

Wow, can you believe it’s Friday… and August 31st, too? Where did the summer go? I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite ready for our summer to end. My sunflowers just started to bloom! Although, I have to admit, it is nice to…

And The New Black Is…

And The New Black Is…

We’ve all heard this before… [Blank] is the new black. And I bet you can fill in the blank. Well, here’s the thing. The other day a mystery envelope was left on our porch. I recognized the sender’s name (thank you so much, Alicia), but…

DIY: Zipping Up A Lamp Shade, Painting It With Colour!

DIY: Zipping Up A Lamp Shade, Painting It With Colour!

I picked up a little glazed ceramic lamp base at the thrift store not too long ago, but had no idea what to do for a shade. Knew I wanted to DIY something, but not sure what.

And then I came across a tutorial by Courtney over at A Little Glass Box. A very cool idea that I hadn’t seen before.

First, I had to buy a cheapo shade, because I needed the frame to work with.

Home Trends Lamp Shade

And I knew from my DIY skeleton lamp shade that finding a thrifted shade to fit a small lamp was harder than you’d think. So I didn’t take the time to try and thrift one, but popped into Wal-Mart instead.

Even though the shade looks a little top heavy, I knew it wouldn’t be once it was taken apart.

And that’s because the bottom ring was only attached to the fabric, not the actual frame. I was going for a drum shape, so losing the bottom ring was exactly what needed to happen.

Can you see a drum evolving from this frame?

Frame of table lamp shade

No, not so much?

Next was cutting 1/4″ wire mesh to size for the new shade…

1/4" wire mesh

And attaching it to the frame with small plastic zip straps, to form the drum shape.

DIY Lamp Shade with Wire Mesh

And now the fun begins. Have you guessed how this shade is being created yet?

Here’s a peak…

Small Plastic Tie Strap Lamp Shade

That’s right. Staggered layers of zip straps will be used to fill in the mesh and create the shade! Crazy, I know.

You actually want to attach straps in every mesh square of the bottom row, and the very top row. It’s all the rows in between that are staggered.

Check out the layer of white!

White Zip Strap & Wire Mesh Lamp Shade

Looks kind of funky, don’t you think?

I really liked the layered colours of Courtney’s lamp in the tutorial, so I wanted to layer colours into my shade, too. But it meant spray painting zip straps!

So I figured out how many I would need in each colour, and counted them out. Yes, seriously, I did!

Zip Straps and Spray Paint

Did I mention, I bought a bag of 1000 small zip straps? And in total I used 575 of them, give or take a few!

I couldn’t figure out a fast and easy system to spray these puppies, so I just resorted to threading them – One. By. One. – 😐  onto fishing line, and then sprayed away, trying to cover both sides of the straps!


Make sure you spray the straps ahead of time, because they definitely need to dry overnight, and the longer they dry, the better. Otherwise the paint will rub and flake off too much when you’re attaching the straps to the mesh.

Here’s the colour layering in action.

DIY Lamp Shade with Zip Straps

One thing to keep in mind is not to pull the straps too tight. The ones you see sticking out have deliberately been pulled tight to anchor the mesh to the frame, but they were only temporary until they could be replaced with the blue straps.

Are you feel’n it yet?

Here’s a look at the finished shade…

DIY Zip Strap Lamp Shade

I know it looks a little ‘Dr. Seuss’, but hang on… you haven’t seen it turned on yet!

I used a small 60w clear bulb…

DIY Zip Strap Lamp Shade



And was blown away by how different this little lamp looks when it’s on!

I love the shadows it casts…

And check out the reflection on the lamp base.

Doesn’t it remind you of a White Sea Anemone in an ocean of blue?

Here’s one more look back at the lamp and shade in its ‘Before’ state…

Martha Stewart Lamp Shade

And the ‘After’ of the total shade makeover!

What do you think of my little Crazy for Colour project? Would you zip up 575+ straps to make one of these shades, too?

Today I’m joining in the party fun, and linking my project up here…

I want to thank these awesome ladies for being such great hosts!



Such a fun project! And so many more to do 🙂 Why not pop on over and check out all the other projects, too? Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to do up your own crazy colour project… or maybe it’s just a crazy project. Seriously, zip straps turned into a lamp shade? Who knew???


All Photos by Sheila Zeller

Old 2×4 Reclaimed, Repurposed & Brought to Life

Old 2×4 Reclaimed, Repurposed & Brought to Life

So I came across this weathered, rust stained scrap piece of 2×4, thoughtlessly discarded and left for… well, scrap. See, it even comes complete with the dust and grime from where it was left to decay! But I saw beyond all this. To me there was…