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Friday, November 27, 2009

Wicker Emporium's Can't Miss Sale





A quick tip to my fellow Atlantic Canadians .....

Head on out to Wicker Emporium. They are having an incredible sale! Many of their curtains and pillows are half price. Their accessories, window coverings and pillows have a Bohemian/ Indian/Moroccan vibe. Their furniture runs from straight lines to ethnic to contemporary French provincial.

My client Paula purchased her 'parsons table breakfast bar ' there in the early fall. It's now on sale. Check out my blog entry entitled. 'From Breakfast Bar-None to Best Breakfast-Bar None' to see both it's clean lines and chunkiness. We also bought Paula's shower curtain at Wicker Emporium in August, for $29.99. It is now on sale for $14.99. I just ran out and bought 4 of them for myself. I love the richness of the black /gold combination, the pops of sparkly paprika, the solid lines softened by floral patterning, its Indian ethnicity as well as the texture, weight and sheen of the fabric. Talk about creating a living space that is current and not costly. Two drapery panels and a rod will garner you Rave Re:views for under $60.00!

While shower curtains are not sold at Wicker Emporium, their drapery panels are a million times more tasteful than a typical shower curtain. They will make a fashion statement in any bathroom! Since one curtain panel will not cover the length of a bathtub, you'll have to buy two. And of course you'll have to add plastic liners behind the curtains.

So wander off to Wicker Emporium and think out of the box when you are there.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

From Folding Screen to Hanging Headboard






When we downsized, our master bedroom shrank substantially. In spite of the fact that our previous bedroom was much more spacious, we decided to 'go for it' and purchase a king sized bed. The beautiful made in France Grange queen sized sleigh bed that we owned, along with its matching armoire, would not fit into our very narrow new master suite. As a result, we were in the market for a headboard. Our king sized bed protruded into a space that was barely 10 feet in length. With very limited walking room between the end of the bed and our wall mounted TV, the headboard could be no more than an inch or 2 in depth and a footboard, well that was out of the question.
My first thought was a flat woven bamboo headboard. While our previous bedroom was sophisticated and formal, I was now looking to create a more casual space. On my shopping forays, some headboards beckoned to me but none enticied me to take them home.
After a few days of searching, I returned home forlorn. Upon entering our disheveled new condo, its chaotic state a result of our recent move, my eyes were drawn to a wooden screen. For 15 years it stood sentry in the corner of our living room. Another piece of furniture purchased at Wicker Emporium all those years ago, for which I had no sentimental attachment, I just couldn't part with it. Made of rich dark wood, I loved the leather look and its soldier straight lines softened by carvings. I could tell that the screen was too narrow to use as a headboard for a king sized bed when left in a standing position. Not one to give up when a decorating idea germinates within me, especially when it involves 'flipping', I ran to get my tape measure. The height of the screen was almost exactly the same as the width of our bed. I was ecstatic! All that was needed to reinvent the screen as a headboard was a sideways flip and some nails to secure it to the wall. And so Voila, a wooden screen found its calling as a headboard that is functional, original, aesthetically pleasing and the recipient of Rave Re:views.

Design Tip #1: Screens make great headboards. Search out second hand stores, garage sales and flea markets for inexpensive finds. Wicker Emporium, Pier One Import and Jysk all carry screens that could function as headboards that are current but not costly.

Design Tip#2: View items every which way before disposing of accessories, furniture, artwork and the like. The differing perspectives may lead you to new and creative ways to reinvent your furnishings. Want some advice? Send me a question or a photo. I'd be happy to help you save money and earn Rave Re:views.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Flip Theme Continued



When we moved into our condo we brought and bought furniture. Because our new home is less than one third the size of our former living space, we had a lot of well used and much loved furniture to dispose of. Three kids and 32 years of marriage - you can only imagine how much stuff we had accumulated. Thank goodness for KIJIJI! And thanks to the people who chose to purchase our belongings. I really do believe they loved our antiques and furnishings as much as we did.
One of the tables with which I couldn't part, even though it had no sentimental hold over me, was an inexpensive find that I bought quite a few years ago at Wicker Emporium. I loved that table with its textured woven surface, a mixture of honey and chocolate tweed, that rested upon espresso flavoured long tapered legs. Yes.... I loved the legginess of that table. In our former home, it was sandwiched deliciously between two stately down filled melt in your mouth blue leather wing chairs. In our new condo, I centered it between my licorice red Eames Chair and my husband's sleek black leather recliner. But alas, it was too tall. And so I did the unthinkable. I had the legs cut down.
While aesthetically less pleasing in its stunted reincarnation, the still yummy honey/chocolate table top well served its purpose as a repository for a lamp, the books we read and pens for my husband's stab at his nightly crossword puzzle . It was a place to rest empty dishes and glasses of wine. But functional as it was, standing less proudly than it had in its former life , it blocked the pathway to our ottoman/sofa. Whenever I sought the comfort of the ottoman or my husband went to sit on his chair, we had to squeeze ourselves in between the table and one or other of the chairs that stood guard beside it. A cumbersome and dangerous undertaking. I lived in fear that the lamp would fall off the table and dent our brand new hardwood floors.

So much to my husband's chagrin, off to Homesense I went with bamboo on the brain.


None of the tables at Homesense that day matched the vision inside my head but as I was leaving the store, an item on one of the shelves called out to me. While not bamboo, it had the aesthetic I was searching for. Unsure of its intended function but fully aware that it was not a table, the reinventer inside of me sprung into action. I ambled, no, I raced over to take a closer look. I liked its form, its textured exterior and its proportions. A vase or perhaps an umbrella stand, it was a black metal container that was covered with some sort of natural fibre. Tightly layered, it resembled cork. I flipped over the container, hoping that the bottom could become a table top. Much to my delight, the bottom surface of smooth black metal was surrounded by, but not covered in the fibrous material. 'Perfect' I thought. Our table was born. Voila! From container to side table in minutes, it has garnered Rave Re:views.




Design Tip: Boxes, baskets, umbrella stands, large vases or containers have the potential to be reinvented as tables that are functional, original, current and inexpensive. Can't afford a new side table or can't find one that works for you, don't flip out, flip over!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Picture Perfect




While visiting Lauren in Rome I was thrilled to see that the apple does not fall far from the tree. Young architects in Rome earn meager wages and so Lauren is living on a shoe string budget. She needed a night table but did not have the financial means to purchase one. So.... off she headed to the Porta Portese market. She picked up an old 50's era retro table base and a picture for a pittance, brought them home on the tram and Voila-she had a functional, fun, one of a kind , bed side table. Like mother like daughter!!!!
Lesson learned: You don't have to spend oodles of money to earn Rave Re:views.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Red Re:design


The other day I was watching a home makeover show, as I so often do. When the owners proudly walked the TV host through their very red kitchen she cried out in horror "RED" to which the home owners immediately responded. "Red is in". The host countered mockingly " in 2000 !" Dejected! Humiliated! I'm talking about my feelings not theirs. I felt as if I had been stabbed through the heart. How could red be out? I LOVE RED as you well know. To add salt to my injury, Ron my husband who is usually supportive, called out from the comfort of his computer chair, "RED is out!!!" Fighting back the tears I regrouped my thoughts. Red is out???? Well there is no doubt in my mind that the manner in which the homeowners had used red in their kitchen was definitely out, not only in 2009 but way back in 2000 as well. All of the walls were swathed in red and an insignificant white chair rail wound its way around the perimeter of the kitchen where no cabinets stood. The homeowners most likely chose red because it was 'in' without taking into consideration the style and colour of their cabinets. By today and yesterday's standards the kitchen was a design disaster. I felt equally ill viewing that kitchen as I did hearing the words 'RED' is out. I felt sick because my beloved red, out of place in that environs, had lost her lustre .
Choosing a colour because it is 'in' is like buying a pair of trendy shoes whether they fit or not. A shoe addict, I've done that. Believe me it doesn't work. I'm not one to buck trends. I strive to create living spaces that are current. But, I also believe that if a colour is out and it is a colour you love you can make it work. So whether or not red is in or out, she will always be in my life. As I wrote in my last blog...red is medicinal and like all medicine an overdose can be deadly. The kitchen in the makeover show was bathed- no- it was drowning in red.
Read on to learn how red affects the human body and psyche so that when you choose to use it in your colour scheme you will feel the warmth and pleasure that red can elicit. The information I am sharing with you is found in the "Resource Manual' (Chapter 5 pages 27 and 28) upon which the Certified Staging Professional Course is based.

"RED is the colour of warmth and sensuality. It is said to stimulate the heart and the circulation system, fortifying the body and building up red blood cells. It can be an anti-depressant. It stimulates the brain and grabs attention. "


While wearing my stager hat I shy away from using red on walls. My goal is to neutralize and create mass appeal. As a stager I throw in pops of red to warm up neutral spaces. Talking about 'pops of colour', yesterday I came upon a great site for redophiles like myself. It is a site devoted to posting all manner of red furnishings. Check it out. www.popofred.com. It will link you to sites that highlight other colours as well.
While wearing my designer hat, I use red more liberally if my client has an affinity for my favourite colour. You can see how I dole out doses of red in the spaces I design by viewing my website. www.ravereviewhomestaging.com

Now that you have a feel for Red Re:design, let's continue Red Roming. Along the way some trendy finds of varying colours may do battle with red to grab your attention.











Thursday, November 19, 2009

Red Roming


I'm back. Had a wonderful 2 week visit with Lauren and Zacori in Rome and London respectively. I love little Halifax but Rome took my breath away and London... well London is an endless city of spice and colour. No longer staid and stuffy, a melange of fashions that range from quiet sophistication to wild and wacky cram its streets and underground.
While the goal of my blog is to demonstrate how high end design can be created using a mid to low range budget, I may deviate from the intended theme in my next few entries so that I can share with you some of the finds I stumbled upon as I strolled the streets of two extraordinary cities.

RED - My favourite colour in the whole world. Mezmorizing, Red has the power to stop me in my tracks. It penetrates my being. Medicinal, its searing heat is painfully comforting . Red brings a smile to my face and tears to my eyes.

On our first full day in Rome my daughter took us to the highly popular Porta Portese Sunday market. Confronted by an endless sea of wares, I began Roming and at the first table my eyes were immediately drawn to the ......... yes.......to the tomato red ashtray. Red loves to be noticed. See how she pops out in a crowd. Like a magnet, she draws us in.
Tables were brimming with -antiquities and their likenesses- retro and current treasures- some valuable some not. As I Romed the stalls I decided to record redness -more specifically retroredness which later expanded to redness in furnishings and then to all manner of redness both in Rome and London.
Are you reddy ? Let's Rome the market.













There I am, 'in the red' and loving it. A steal at 10 Euros....I couldn't resist. More Roming entries to come.

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