Tag Archives: Interior Design

Trend going viral, but the trees aren’t cheap

For those who like to spend holiday traditions, this trend is for you: The upside down Christmas tree.

This season, social media is rife with photos of inverted pines and firs that are adorning hotel lobbies, shopping centres and downtown atriums with gravity-defying drama.

It’s a surefire showstopper for retailers eager to attract shoppers, but the over-the-top stunt is now making its way into some living rooms, with several retailers offering up kits for the home decorator willing to try something different.

But these trendy inverted trees aren’t cheap.

Most cost more than $200, although prices range from $60.99 for a modest three-foot model to $1,299.99 for a 7.5-foot pre-lit version.

Calgary salon owner Dave Richards says he’s thinking about a purchase for next year, noting he already put up his Christmas tree several weeks ago, before he saw the latest trend.

“I’m in the market for one at the end of this Christmas season if they go on sale — if any are left,” says Richards, who is known as DevaDave to his clients and friends.

“In terms of space … it allows for more movement at the lower base of it. It’s definitely a conversation piece more than anything else and I think most people when they’re purchasing something like that it’s because they are hoping to make the corner of their home a little bit more interesting for guests and all that.

“Is it weird? Hell yes. Very much so.”

Richards suspects such a tree would be a good fit for his downtown hair salon, where he is a stylist and wig retailer who caters to cancer patients and people in the transgender community.

But at home, he says he’s very much a traditionalist, with this year’s decor of balls, bells and angels driven by a white-and-silver theme. He also doubted his four-year-old son would approve of a non-traditional tree.

“There are things that kids like (and) he wants his tree just ’so.’ He’s fussy,” says Richards, admitting he’d otherwise consider a flashier display since he sometimes welcomes clients to his home and often entertains friends and family.

A nine-foot Christmas tree hangs upside down in the hotel lobby of the Fairmont Vancouver Airport and it certainly seems to be a hit with guests and passersby, says marketing specialist Kate Francois.

It’s the second year in a row they’ve flipped their centrepiece, which is festooned with mini passports, planes, suitcases and hand-painted blue and gold globes.

“We’ve had a ton of interest, actually. We’ve had a few people come in just specifically for that, they weren’t even staying at the hotel but they wanted to come and photograph it,” says Francois.

It’s certainly not for everyone, says interior designer Jane Lockhart, who set up an upside down tree for a commercial retail display a couple of years ago. But she adds that the trees do seem to be part of a broader trend of more radical home design, possibly fuelled by social media.

After a year of disturbing headlines that at times felt like the world was warping into an alternate universe, an upside down tree might be just what some people need, adds Richards.

“It’s a finger up at the establishment of making (Christmas) so commercial,” he says.

But then again, many people find comfort in familiar rituals when times are tough, he muses.

“There are probably hipsters who think it’s a great idea and it’s fun and funky,” he says. “But the tradition of going to the lot and buying a traditional tree …. people still want that.” 

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Trend-proof painting: The colours that never go out of style

When a house looks tired and in need of an update, a lick of paint can be just what the interior designer ordered. Painting is a relatively inexpensive way to enhance a home’s appearance, as well as a straightforward job that many people can do themselves. 

But before getting busy with rollers and brushes, it’s important to give some serious thought to colour, lest you wind up with walls that date as soon as they dry (think: ’70s mustard or ’80s salmon tones).  

Continue reading Trend-proof painting: The colours that never go out of style


First, there were the pineapple jack-o’-lanterns that took over your Instagram feed in October. Now, there’s a new pineapple decoration perfect for the upcoming holiday season: pineapple Christmas trees. Yes, really.

Think of it as a way to add a little tropical flare to your holiday decor. And luckily, there are already a variety of pineapple Christmas trees out there to serve as inspo.

You can hang ornaments on your pineapple:


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When you walk into a room with exceptional design, you’re probably at a loss for words. Good aesthetics seem to transcend language — after all, the appropriate response to statement wallpaper or the perfect velvet sofa is *gasp*.

But when you do get down to talking good interiors, you need to know the lingo, otherwise it can be hard to keep up. We’ve already broken down the basics for you — from elevated to contrived patina — and now we’ve rounded up a few examples of design slang from around the world to keep on your radar.

Broaden your vocab and decorating horizons below.


South Africa: ‘Partial Story’

If you know what a mezzanine is, then you’ve seen a partial story. “It’s an additional level in an area that does not cover more than a quarter of the space (give or take), creating a double-height effect,” says Janine Saal, an interior designer at Collaboration in Cape Town. “It’s a great addition to any home that wants to add more functionality to a large, cavernous space but maintain the natural light and openness, while cutting the costs of adding a second floor.

Sweden: ‘Trasmatta’

“Look around a Swedish home (particularly a rural dwelling) and you’re more than likely to come across a trasmatta, or rag rug,” writes Niki Brantmark, the author of Lagom (Not Too Little, Not Too Much): The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life. “This traditional rug is usually handmade on a loom from scraps of worn-out clothes and old rags. You can easily find a trasmatta in the shops, but why not give your old textiles a new lease of life and create your own?”


France: ‘Chiner’

“The rule I follow when decorating is chiner, which means looking in many second hand shops to find the perfect pieces,” says French illustrator Alice Wietzel. “What’s important to me is to decorate in a sustainable and ecological way, and chiner — reusing and reinventing a purpose for elements of decoration — is part of that process.”

Philippines: ‘Ventanilla’

Considering the Philippines gets incredibly hot and humid, houses tend to have large windows to let air in. “You don’t want to keep big windows open all night, so traditionally houses have other ways of letting in air, like these small screened slots below windows,” says Filipino interior designer and blogger Jennifer Cederstam. “Basically, if it’s not a window but it lets in air, it’s a vetanilla.”


United States: ‘Decorina

“We love the word decorina, which could be used like: ‘I see the decorina has been busy today.’ A decorator pet word, if you will,” says Miles Redd.

So, go on global decorinas and prosper!

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Scared of Dark Paint? Don’t Be!

Judging from the pages of shelter magazines and interior designers’ Instagram feeds, dark colors are in. And paint companies are offering plenty of options.

Earlier this month, Sherwin-Williams picked a rich, moody blue called Oceanside as its 2018 color of the year. Benjamin Moore named Caliente, an intense shade of red, its upcoming color of the year, and its newest line of paint, Century, is composed of 75 saturated colors like Amethyst, Black Currant and Obsidian. Glidden Paint chose a black called Deep Onyx as its next color of the year, and Olympic Paints & Stains named Black Magic its choice for 2018.

The deep, rich colors promoted for years by companies like the decorator favorite Farrow & Ball, it seems, are finally going mainstream. “From the beautiful, vivacious tones of Radicchio to the super-dark rich of Studio Green, Farrow & Ball is seeing more confidence within decorating choices as we head into 2018,” Charlotte Cosby, who heads up the company’s creative team, wrote in an email.

Joa Studholme, Farrow & Ball’s international color consultant, attributed the trend to a desire to cocoon. “We’re sort of surrounding ourselves with comfort, and one of the ways we’re doing it is through color – to make our homes feel sort of nurturing and tender,” she said. “Instead of coming into clean, white houses, we’re going into homes that sort of give us a hug.”

For those of us more comfortable with whitewashed walls, however, it’s not so easy to make the leap to eggplant or onyx. But here are some tips from design and color experts on how to use dark colors without becoming overwhelmed — or claustrophobic.


START SMALL If you’re nervous about playing with a deep, dark hue, “limit the color to the inside of cabinets, backs of bookshelves or a painted floor,” said Donald Kaufman, who owns the paint company Donald Kaufman Color with his wife, Taffy Dahl. “Dark, bold windows often bring the outside in.”

Ms. Studholme, of Farrow & Ball, suggested starting with a contained space like a powder room, the underside of a claw-foot tub or a hallway. “When you arrive, it creates a sense of drama,” she said. “You come through and go, ‘Wow.’” An added bonus, she noted: “A dark color in the hall makes the rooms off the hall feel really big and light.”

Ellen O’Neill, director of strategic design intelligence for Benjamin Moore, recommends starting with a focal point, like a fireplace mantel or the inside of shelves or drawers. “I recently photographed a home where the owner painted the inside of the drawers of an antique Chippendale chest a rich aubergine,” she said. “What a color surprise every time you open a drawer.” And as you become more confident, she said, “you can graduate to painting doors to a room or hallway, window trim or wainscoting.”

TEST IT OUT When you’re ready to tackle a whole room, “start with a color family that is already dominant in the home and select two to three shades that you feel makes a statement,” Ms. O’Neill said. “I’d get quarts of each color and paint large swatches of each, one set next to a window and one set in a corner. Observe how the room’s lighting affects the colors three times a day.”

EMBRACE THE DARKNESS “A deep, rich color goes an especially long way in a room without a lot of natural light, as dim rooms look particularly dull in lighter colors,” said Frances Merrill, the founder of Reath Design in Los Angeles, who painted her children’s room Farrow & Ball’s Pigeon gray. “It makes the small space feel finished and gives definition to the ever-rotating collection of artwork.”

In the playroom, she used Templeton Gray from Benjamin Moore. “Every surface in this room is usually covered in a layer of Legos and half-finished science experiments,” she said. “I find that the deeper colors mask the chaos.”


“Conventional wisdom states that small spaces — especially those facing north — should be lightened to increase the sense of space,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Instituteconsultancy. “However, painting trim a lighter color in an area painted with darker hues can actually increase the illusion of space,” she said, because it creates a “greater impression of height or width in the space.”

Whatever your situation, “it’s best to work with what you’ve got, rather than try to fight the light,” said Ms. Studholme of Farrow & Ball, which offers a guide to how light affects color on its website.

PREPARATION IS KEY “Before painting, ensure surfaces are sound, clean, dry and free from dirt, grease and any other contamination,” said Ms. Cosby of Farrow & Ball. “Always sand down surfaces to achieve a smooth base.”

And if you change your mind later, dark colors are just as easy to paint over as light ones, assuming you prep properly. “Start by priming over the bold hue, then apply two coats of the desired color,” said Ms. O’Neill of Benjamin Moore. But “be sure to allow the primer coat to dry completely before applying the first coat of color.”

GO HALFSIES To add “sophistication and spirit” to a client’s “stark, boxy, white rental,” Alex Kalita, a founder of Common Bond Design in Manhattan, painted the bottom half of the bedroom wall in Hague Bluefrom Farrow & Ball. She calls it “the chair-rail effect” and notes that it serves a few purposes: “It simulates architectural variation in otherwise uniform space; it ties in the building’s teal window frames; and it leverages the cozy, rich, complex and grown-up quality of Hague Blue, while maintaining the practical qualities of white paint, like the illusion of ceiling height.”


Another tip: “If you’re tempted to go dark and bold on the walls, but you prefer a restrained aesthetic, try keeping the furniture neutral,” Ms. Kalita said. “You can even make bulkier pieces recede by camouflaging them in the wall color. We had our client’s Wonk NYC dresser color-matched to Hague Blue, so that the piece could augment the client’s storage without competing for attention with the room’s more deliberate and sculptural design elements. Dark walls do a good job of visually absorbing things.”

FINALLY, BE BRAVE “I encourage people to be brave with color and unleash their inner artist,” said Ms. Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute. “Experiment with color, have fun with it, allow yourself to live with it for a while. It is, after all, just one or two cans of paint. And when, and if, you tire of it, move on to another color and treat yourself to another creative exercise.”

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Grey is the cooler, chicer cousin of white that we can’t stop lusting after. The neutral color can create a calming, elegant or even electrifying effect, making it the perfect option for any decor and personal style. Grey paints come in an array of hues, from subtle pale shades to deep rich pigments.


Cave Hotels Transform Ancient Dwellings into Luxurious Vacation Stays

Located in central Turkey, the Cappadocia region is known for its breathtaking landscapes and arid climate. Visitors flock to the area to take in otherworldly rock formations and cave dwellings that have been in use for thousands of years. Cappadocia’s incredible appearance is due to volcanos that were active in the area 2 million years ago, leaving behind lava flows that turned into a soft porous stone known as tuff.

Over the years, water and wind have eroded this stone layer, carving out deep pockets and structures known as “fairy chimneys.” Now tourists visit to take in the bizarre formations and partake in a hot air balloon ride, one of the most popular activities in Cappadocia. But where to stay? A cave hotel, of course.

Making the most of its history, Cappadocia’s towns are filled with cave hotels, these ancient dwellings transformed into vacation stays. From high-end luxury to rustic charm, each hotel offers a different experience and ambiance. We take a look at some of the unique cave hotels in Cappadocia, which have transformed ancient dwellings into comfy suites.


Anitya Cave House – Ortahisar


Located in the small village of Ortahisar, known for its rock castle, Anitya Cave House aims to blend modern life with historic caves. With just two units, the project is a labor of love for the owners, a doctor and an actress. They meticulously restored and decorated the house to their tastes, creating cozy, homey rooms that will make you want to extend your vacation. One suite has a private terrace with sweeping views of the valley, allowing you to relax and take in the view while sipping a glass of wine.




Hezen Cave Hotel – Ortahisar


Also in Ortahisar, the Hezen Cave Hotel brings a contemporary twist to the traditional cave hotel. Though historically influenced, the interiors are decidedly modern. Clean lines and contemporary decor contrast with the cut stone walls and views into the countryside. As is the case for many of these vacation stays, the Hezen can help organize a myriad of activities in the area, from visiting the underground city of Derinkuyu to horse back riding.


Museum Hotel – Uchisar


The 30 rooms and suites of the Museum Hotel are restored versions of ancient cave dwellings. True to its name, each acts a museum preserving the history and tradition of Cappadocia. The founder, who is an antiques collector, used his own collections of rugs, tapestries, furs, art from the Ottoman and Byzantine eras to give the space a magical feel. Guests can participate in cooking lessons or dine in the hotel’s restaurant, where ingredients are sourced from their nearby “eco-garden.” If you want a touch of luxury, rooms include jacuzzis with some even featuring massage rooms and a private garden.


House Hotel Cappadocia – Ortahisar

cappadocia-cave-hotel-2Soak in luxury at the House Hotel Cappadocia, which includes a spacious spa complete with a Turkish hammam. The modern interior design keeps the spaces light and bright, with suites having separate living rooms and bedrooms. Each interior is slightly different, with three styles described as Regal Classical, Luxury Raw, and Contemporary Classic.


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10 Children’s Rooms That Show The Fun Side Of Interior Design

This week’s roundup from Pinterest shows how children’s rooms can be designed to encourage play, even in the most minimal of homes. Examples include a room that divides territories for two brothers and a room with secret storage for toys.


Apartment renovation, France, by Les Ateliers Tristan & Sagitta

Changing floor surfaces and pale blue paintwork create a visual divide in the children’s room of this renovated Parisian apartment, giving two brothers a side each to play in. Other details include a model plane that hangs down from the traditional ceiling rose.

aa-duplex-yael-perry-interiors-residential_dezeen_pinterest-sq-1704x1704A|A Duplex, Israel, by Yael Perry

This renovated apartment in Sharon, Israel, features a small play area with blocks of colour painted onto the walls, and wall-mounted storage shaped like houses.


Adorable House, Japan, by Form

Skylights funnel daylight into the first floor of this top-heavy family residence in Tokyo, which features a pared-back children’s room with white walls and simple wooden furniture.


Sleep and Play, Russia, by Ruetemple

This Russian summer house feature a multi-level play area with a suspended net above the master bedroom, allowing its occupants to supervise their children without getting out of bed.


Tel Aviv apartment, Israel, by Toledano Architects

A plywood cabin is located inside the children’s bedroom of this Tel Aviv apartment, creating a nook for its youngest residents to escape to. According to the architects, the space is laid out like a playground and filled with objects that promote creativity.


Toy Management House, Australia, by Austin Maynard Architects

Storage for toys takes priority in this remodelled Melbourne home, which has built-in floor cupboards that conceal clutter and a hybrid bunkbed and bookshelf in the kid’s bedroom.


House for a Photographer, France, by Alireza Razavi

A mezzanine level transforms the attic of this summer house in Brittany into a compact bedroom, with a ladder connecting the sleeping and playing areas.


The Family Playground, Taiwan, by HAO Design

This Taiwanese home contains a set of stairs that doubles up as a bookcase. It connects the kitchen with a play area featuring window-shaped cutouts and a cushioned reading space – designed to encourage more family time.


The Rough House, Canada, by Measured Architecture

Toy building blocks can be used to create drawings on the cupboards in this children’s play room, contained within a house in Vancouver.


Bernoulli House, Switzerland, by Rafael Schmid

A kid’s room featuring neon wall transfers and toys contrasts with the pared-back interiors of this Zurich residence, which otherwise eschews colour in favour of all-white walls and cabinetry.

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8 Small Spaces Where Paint Can Make a Big Impact

Don’t forget about these little areas in your home. The right paint color can inexpensively transform a space.

During my years of painting people’s homes, I’ve learned that small spaces don’t have to be boring or go unnoticed. All it takes is a little paint. By adding paint in strategic places around the home, you can easily and inexpensively transform a space. Plus, there is a good chance you could accomplish at least one of these eight painting projects during the course of one weekend.

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Here are eight spaces to consider painting and my tips and tricks on making even the smallest places have a big impact.

1. Entryway. When a guest arrives, their first impression is based on your home’s exterior and the front door. Realtors call this curb appeal. But the very next thing guests will notice is the area right inside your front door, so you should use it to make a statement.

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If your home has a formal entry, choose a paint color that is one to two shades darker than the next room. A darker paint color in the entryway can make the space feel more inviting, like a warm hug.

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If your home has an open floor plan without a defined entryway, use paint to create one. Try a bold color on the wall surrounding the front door and an adjacent wall as visual borders for the entry.

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2. Hall bath. Small bathrooms might appear to be limited when it comes to design, but they can easily be transformed with a quick paint color update.

How do you pick a color for this small bathroom? Look around your home for spots of color that crop up in your art or drapes. For example, a living room that is mostly beige with blue accent pieces would coordinate well with a bathroom painted in that same shade of blue.

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Dark colors also have been trending with homeowners I’ve worked with lately. To offset the dark nature of the paint, we typically recommend keeping the other design details, such as the floors and sink, light to make sure the room still feels open and bright.

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Worried one color will overwhelm the small space? Consider installing a chair rail as a natural divider. Then paint the lower portion of the wall in a statement color while leaving the wall area above a neutral tone.

3. Bookshelf. Whether the bookshelves in your home are built-in or freestanding, you can easily create style with paint. Remove the shelves from the surround and paint the back wall of the case. Don’t be afraid to go bold with your paint color, because once the shelves and objects on the shelves are in place, your color choice will seem more subtle. You will get an instant pop of color without being too in-your-face.

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4. Closet. This space is often overlooked when it comes to paint, but a fresh coat of paint on the walls and shelving in your closet can go a long way. With a small- or medium-sized closet, keep your paint color choice bright and light.

With a large walk-in closet, consider using a paint color that complements the attached room.

For shelving, use an oil-based paint for durability against scratches and scuffs.

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5. Hallway. Hallways are typically long and narrow and, depending on the lighting, can also be dark. When choosing a paint color for the hallway, consider the paint colors in connecting rooms and then go one to two shades lighter. The colors will complement each other and coordinate the home’s overall design. Plus, a lighter shade will brighten up the passageway.

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Pretty in Pink: We’re in Love With These 10 Blush-Colored Bathrooms

There are many trends from the ’50s that are better off buried. The fixation with Jell-O, for example. Conical bras. McCarthyism. However, there are some things that should be allowed to stick around, pretty much forever. Nearing the top of the list: vintage pink bathroom tiles.

After all, Millennial Pink is still enjoying its moment. And homes featuring this pink perk aren’t in short supply: The Save the Pink Bathrooms campaign started by Pam Kueber of Retro Renovation estimates there might have been approximately 5 million pink home lavatories built from 1946 to 1966. They could even be found in the White House, when first lady Mamie Eisenhower redecorated the presidential living areas with her favorite hue.

There’s more than just random trendiness going on here. Pink is a calming color and can help enhance some skin tones, making you look just that little bit fresher when you stumble in for your morning shower.

If you want to join Eisenhower’s illustrious ranks and tint your world a pretty rose shade, perhaps the pink bathrooms in these 10 homes for sale will make you blush with joy.

2323 Robinson Way, Huntsville, TX

Price: $199,000
Pink perks: The previous homeowners clearly weren’t strangers to the appeal of a good blush-toned decoration. One of the two bathrooms features vintage pink tiling halfway up the walls, topped by a complementary green wallpaper.


901 Ben Lora Ln, San Benito, TX

Price: $187,000
Pink perks: This home’s stone exterior doesn’t prep you for the vintage tile in the eat-in kitchen and both bathrooms. While there’s a teal-and-black combo in one bathroom, the one pictured below has pink tiling with a thin black border reminiscent of pink poodle skirts.


636 Green Briar Rd, Elkins Park, PA

Price: $199,000
Pink perks: This three-bedroom home features a spacious living area with a wood-burning fireplace. In the bathroom, the lovely pink shade graces the tile and even some of the ceramic fixtures.


3434 Oak Ridge Dr, Joplin, MO

Price: $169,900
Pink perks: Original wood floors, colorful accent walls, fireplace, large shady lot, and vintage tiling—what more could you need? The pink in this bathroom is painted on, but there’s matching tiling installed around the bathtub and on the floor.


326 Primrose Dr, Louisville, KY

Price: $309,900
Pink perks: Cozy amenities including a built-in hutch, two porches, and a marble fireplace are apt for a home on the aptly named Primrose Drive. The bathroom with pink tiling and black accents comes with linen storage, a contemporary vanity, and a matching diamond-patterned floor.


42 Cornell Dr, Dennis Port, MA

Price: $309,000
Pink perks: The green-trimmed exterior of this home is just a preview of the country design inside. Naturally, that wouldn’t be complete without a pink-tiled bathroom set off by patterned green wallpaper and pink ceramic fixtures.


113 Cross St, Bennington, VT

Price: $129,500
Pink perks: “Yes, it’s pink!” boasts the listing. Built in 1900, this New England home’s vintage accents include exposed kitchen beams, a brick hearth with a wood stove, a breakfast nook, and, of course, a bathroom with a pink tile, sink, and tub.


14 Fairlawn Rd, Louisville, KY

Price: $279,500
Pink perks: When you need a break from your porch swing, stroll inside this four-bedroom home, past a fireplace with built-in shelving and recently renovated kitchen. This bathroom’s pink tiles surround the pink sink, ceramic soap holders, and floral accent tiles. But be warned: You might have the occasional visitor asking to see your charming bathroom.


124 Ridgewood Ave, Berlin, NJ

Price: $175,000
Pink perks: The rose-tinted bricks on this three-bedroom rancher are just a preview of the colorful interior. Amenities include the rooftop solar panels to the modern kitchen to the retro pink-and-black bathroom.


309 Greenview Ln, Havertown, PA

Price: $299,900
Pink perks: The previous homeowners installed new carpeting and appliances and updated the electrical and plumbing systems, but they left intact the charming bathroom. Pink tiling with a black border wraps halfway up the walls and fully covers the interior of the walk-in shower.


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