Want to resurface or change those outdated laminate countertops?  There is finally a product that allows you to paint over top!  Rustoleum has a paint that will cover that old countertop.  Use one colour for a simple look or combine a few colours to create a stone look.

For more information:
http://www.rustoleum.com/cbgresourcecenter.asp?sn=pro&pid=32
 
 
I cannot remember the last time I did a remodel, or new build where flooring was not involved.  What you put beneath your feet in any space is extremely important.  Flooring can set the mood (warm and cozy in the bedroom or cool and fresh in the kitchen), regulate temperature, create great accoustics or quiet echoes, prevent damage to underlying foundations, keep you dry in case of a flood and even protect you from termites and rodents (yup, I will tell you how!)

Basement Flooring:

There are some very specific and important things to consider when looking at flooring for your basement. 
1.The main purpose for your space:
Games area?
 - You will want something durable and hard
CONSIDER: Vinyl, laminate, stained or etched cement, ceramic tile and bamboo
TV, reading and relaxing?
 - You will want something warm and soft underfoot
CONSIDER: carpet, cork, or engineered hardwood
Office and work area?
 - You will want something durable, hard (to roll chairs), but warm 
CONSIDER: cork, vinyl, laminate, bamboo
Play room?
 - you will want something durable, stain resistant, warm and fun
 CONSIDER: vinyl or rubber (comes in great colours and fun patterns), laminate
Bedrooms?
 - something warm, soft and cozy
CONSIDER: carpet (unless moisture), vinyl (rich wood look)

Or... perhaps a combination of all the above.

2. Region/area where you live:
A lot of moisture?
 - you will need a flooring that copes well when exposed to water and resists mold
CONSIDER: vinyl, rubber, stained/etched cement
Dry?
 - dry climates can attract termites that will damage some types of flooring
 - dry climates can encourage cracking and flaking of some floors
CONSIDER: cork, carpet, laminate, vinyl

3. Age of the house and how intact the foundation is:
Cracks in the foundation?
 - you will want to fix these or make sure you are using moisture resistant flooring in case of flooding
Is the foundation poured cement, wood or even dirt?
 - very old homes may be sitting on a wood or dirt foundation and will limit your use of some flooring choices

4. Resale:
Most people I talk to are not looking at turning around and selling their home anytime soon, however, life is unpredictable and you never know when you might be in a position of having to sell your house.  Finishing a basement increases the living area of your house and this could potentially increase the value of your home.  My advice to anyone finishing their basement is: DO NOT cop out and put cheap flooring in because "it is just a basement".  Potential homebuyers have to see this space as an extention of your home and believe that just as much quality and care went into designing this area - you will get your money out and more!
STAY TUNED FOR MORE ON BASEMENT FLOORING...
 
 
Mirrors are a beautiful accessory to any wall, however, be careful where you hang this "reflective" surface.  Be very mindful of what that mirror is reflecting!  Here are some do's and don'ts that I hope will be helpful.

Do:

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HANG A MIRROR TO REFLECT A LOVELY LIGHT FIXTURE

Mirrors can really add extra light and "bling" to any room that features a fabulous light fixture - especially if it is crystal!

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HANG A MIRROR TO REFLECT A VIEW:

If you have a manicured backyard, or a mountain/lake view or enjoy at beautiful flowering tree outside - place a mirror on the wall to reflect that view from every angle in that room.

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MIRROR REFLECTS PIECE OF ART:
A piece of art can be reflected to all guests to enjoy at a dining room table or from any chair in the house.


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MAKE A ROOM LOOK LARGER:

Floor to ceiling mirrors are really great at creating space and light in a room.  If you have a small, closed-in room that needs to look larger or brighter try leaning a mirror against a wall.

DON'T:

NEVER HANG A MIRROR TO REFLECT YOUR DIRTY KITCHEN
 - I was eating supper once at a friends and had the unfortunate view of a dirty kitchen in the mirror above their fireplace. 

IT IS A WASTE TO HANG A MIRROR THAT REFLECTS A BARE WALL:
- A mirror that faces a bare wall and reflects back just that "a bare wall" is very uninteresting. 

BE CAREFUL NOT TO HANG A MIRROR ACROSS FROM A WINDOW WHERE A LOT OF SUNLIGHT COMES THROUGH:
- You can blind anyone who comes into a room where sunlight is pouring in and reflecting against a mirror :)

 
 
 
If you would like to give your dated kitchen a new look, but cannot afford to completely gut it - here are a few ideas to inspire you!
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CHANGE YOUR KITCHEN CABINET HARDWARE:

A quick and inexpensive way to update any kitchen cabinet is to change the handles/hardware.
Try darker knobs on lighter wood cabinetry (Honey oak, bleached oak, natural maple, birch). 
Examples: Oiled Bronze, black, or antique gold.

Look for lighter hardware for darker cabinets and white cabinets. 
Examples: Stainless steel, white or brushed nickel.

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ADD OR CHANGE YOUR BACKSPLASH:

Most backsplash areas are not very large - from your countertop to bottom of cabinetry.  This is a great space to splurge a little and get a dazzling effect.  Believe me when I say that this small space can really create that "wow" factor in any kitchen.

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PAINT THE INSIDE OF ANY CABINETS WITH GLASS DOORS:

Give your kitchen some personality by painting the inside (or back panel) of any display cabinet.  Go with neutral grays to play it safe or live on the edge with some bright primary colours!  If you are having trouble deciding - look at the dishes you are going to display here and pick out a colour that will favour them.  (see one of my first blogs on mixing colours if you are not sure).

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CHANGE SINK AND FAUCET:

Sinks are more expensive than you think - I learned this the hard way!
However, a new deep, shiny, square kitchen sink can really give your kitchen a piece of jewelry to be proud of.
If you are on a really tight budget - add a brand new shiny faucet and walla!

 
 
Add some Eastern inspired spice to your rooms this year!  Bright, rich and bold colour is here and I believe it is going to hang around for awhile.  What is different about using colour this time around is that we are going to only "splash" it around the space NOT "drown" the space with it.
Use colour on throw pillows, accent walls, vases, blankets, flowers, upholstered chairs or stools, candles and art.

Here they are:
TEAL and BRIGHT BLUE
ROYAL PURPLE and
MERLOT
ORANGE and 
BRILLIANT RED
NEUTRAL OF CHOICE: GRAY
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And believe it or not... GREEN.

EMERALD GREEN

 
 
This is the year that opposites attract!  Old meets new, east meets west, masculine mixes with feminine and industrial dances with farmhouse.  In lieu of the recession, and the emphasis on decorating "green", I am pleased to announce that it is also the year to repaint, resurface and reuse that dated piece of furniture! 

My favorite way to revitalize that old piece of furniture is to paint it white and distress it.  I use a sander to distress any edges or grooves.  Let the wood underneath show through. 

Old Meets New

If you are remodeling, don't get rid of those dated pieces.  Keep them and mix them right in!  You can give them a facelift with paint or reupholster to make them fit into your new scheme.

East Meets West

Bring in vibrant colour with Asian and Indian influences!  Again, keep what you have and add some eastern flare.

Masculine Mixes with Feminine

No need to be at odds with your significant other on colour and decor.  If he wants brown leather and you want pink cushions - great!  Mix them!

Industrial Dances with Farmhouse

 This looks brings country and industrial styles together.  I have seen it done in kitchens mainly, but I think it would be brilliant in a loft space.  It allows some warmth to invade the sterile industrial look.  The open shelving you see here is also a big trend for 2010.

Stay tuned for colour trends 2010!

 
 
I was just looking at my very traditional Christmas tree draped with all the red, green and gold Christmas ornaments and wondered how I can add some pizazz to my holiday decor... here are some of my thoughts.
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ADD SOME ORANGE TO SPICE IT UP!

Why not add a bit of contrast with some orange ornaments.  They work well with the green of the tree and work harmoniously with the traditional deep reds we are used to.

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ADD PAINTED PINE CONES!

Why not add more colour with pine cones?  You can paint them any colour to add a snowy touch (as seen here) or a vibrant surprise with turquoise or even pink!

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ADD A FEW BIRDS TO YOUR BRANCHES!

I was shopping today and saw the most amazing bird ornaments!  They add a beautiful surprise nestled inside the tree.  It is also a unique way to add colour and interest without falling back to the good ole' Christmas ball.

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FRESH AND COLOURUL - SMELLS GOOD TOO!

Whether you are enjoying the smell of a fresh Christmas tree or looking at your perfectly shaped and lighted fake one - add some fresh scent with cranberries and peices of orange or lime.  This makes a beautiful and "natural" looking garland. 

 
 
So how many of you out there have left your room as the last room to furnish in the entire house?  And now there is little to no money left for a new bedroom suite?  Well, here are a few inexpensive and "do-it-yourself" ideas for a headboard that will be the showcase in any room!
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WALLPAPER HEADBOARD

This is one of my favorites.  It is VERY easy, takes just minutes and looks great!  Go to one of your local arts and crafts stores to pick up a canvas (already mounted on a wood frame) the same width as your bed.  Next find a piece of wallpaper that you love - it only takes a small amount of wallpaper to cover so you might go to a paint store or interior decorator for left over pieces.  Now simply glue (follow instructions for mounting your wallpaper) onto your canvas making sure to wrap the edges.  And VOILA!  It is light and easy to hang... the ultimate DIY project!

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UPHOLSTERED HEADBOARD

Another great idea is to build an upholstered headboard.  Get a piece of plywood cut in the shape and size that you wish.  Find a fabric of your choice and style to cover it - I would make sure it is an easy fabric to clean.  At your local fabric store you can also find "batting" of different thickness to add some cushion and depth to your headboard.  Now simply spray glue the batting to the plywood, wrap the fabric around the batting and staple to the back of the plywood.  Add decorating touches with tacks (as shown) or buttons.

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FABRIC SQUARES

Same idea as above, but try using an arrangement of fabric covered squares or rectangles

For instructions on how to create a Fabric Headboard go to:
www.ehow.com
 
 
Something that I have been dealing with lately and perhaps you also have this in your house - fireplaces that are not centered on the wall.
It is human nature to expect an object to be centered in its space.  Just think  of where your table is in your dining room, or where you have placed your bed, or how you arranged photos on a wall.
When a fireplace is not centered on the wall I assume it was for structural reasons, or perhaps the owners who built the house had a vision that we are not privy to.
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PLACE IDENTICAL BOOK SHELVES ON EITHER SIDE:

One way I have been able to get around this issue is to place bookshelves or storage units on either side of the fireplace.  An even better idea would be to build shelving units along the length of the wall and encorporate the fireplace into the shelving.  The fireplace now has "purpose" in the space.  It appears part of a unit. By placing identical bookshelves on either side of this fireplace it does not seem so out of place.  The bookshelves will give your eye the balance it craves

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WHAT DO I DO WITH THE TV?

Now here is a picture of a fireplace inset that is off center from the brick wall behind it.  If you live in a house built in the early 70s you may have one of these in your home.  This was before the days of plasma screen televisions - and before we liked to hang our tvs above the fireplace.  So what do you do?  Place book shelves on either side to give your eye some balance and then center the television on the wall.  Quite simply... the object that is "off" is out-numbered by centered objects and the plasma tv now becomes the focal point. 
KEY POINT:  Unfortunately big, black plasma screen tvs usually become the focal point in any room.

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A GREAT SOLUTION!

This is my favorite image of what can be done with fireplaces the are not centered on the wall and also deals with the good ole' television set.  In order to make the fireplace feel "naturally" off center they built a set of shelves or wall unit around it.  The addition of the mantle that matches the wood on the shelves also makes it appear that this all had a purpose.  AND... the television is hidden away in the cabinet so this beautiful stone wall and fireplace remains the focal point of the room.  YEAH!

 
 
It is not a surprise that neutral palettes are very popular and the most common colour scheme used today.  It reminds us of our natural surroundings - wood, stones, clouds, trees - and hence remains timeless.  This colour scheme can be used to create a calm and harmonious space or a bold and dynamic space.
Neutral colour hues include: black, white, gray, brown and tan/beige.

Here are a few things to remember when using a neutral colour scheme.
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ADD TEXTURE:
A neutral space can be very boring unless you inject some texture into it.  Some examples - faux furs, woven fabrics, seagrass or wicker, ornamental woods or metals, rugs and throws.  Shiny objects such as glass or stainless steel also add interest to the space with a bit of "bling".

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ADD COLOUR:
Add some visual interest, change your decor to reflect your mood or compliment the seasons by adding colour with flowers, pillows, throws, or art.  This is also a great way for people like myself - the "continuous decorator" - to change a space without a lot of time and expense.