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Mudroom Blues

Our kids are nicely seated back at their desks at school, the leaves are turning from green to gold and Canadian families go back inside to escape the chill that has returned to the air. There is no better time to consider the anarchy of the mudroom: shoes continually piled in disarray, coats strewn about, backpacks blocking doorways and various sports gear causing neck-breaking tripping hazards. Although mudrooms provide only a brief transition between outside and in, they are very busy places in any family. Illogically, most mudrooms are of tiny configuration, forgotten, messy and disorganized spaces, (that are nonetheless capable of causing embarrassment if the door is accidentally left ajar when a guest walks by on the way to the carefully cleaned powder room!)

Plan a mudroom well and you will be glad, maybe even delighted, to leave the door wide open. Whether you are a family of 2 small children with parents or a family of one child, three dogs, and 2 avid mountain climbers, it is important to plan storage for all members of the family and to utilize every square inch of this usually small space. Bring storage cabinets full height to the ceiling where off-season items can be stored out of the way. Closed storage such as drawers and cabinets with doors are great for hiding the many items the mudroom cultivates, such as hats, gloves, pucks or baseballs. Open and accessible storage is a must if you want things hung up or put away by returning school children and busy adults alike. The easier the access, the more likely it will be put in place. Hang coat hooks at two heights: one for children and one for adults. Shoe cubes hidden in the bottom of a closet rarely get used; instead, use horizontal shelves that are immediately within reach of the entry door and fit any shoe size.

Think about the views into your mudroom from the interior spaces. Keep the shoe shelves out of the view of the wandering guest while keeping them handy for incoming family members. Give individual cubbies or drawers to each family member. This way items are not mixed up and more easily found by the teen running out the door to lessons or practices. In some cases, depending on space, you may even be able to plan for specialized storage such as a sports locker or a puppy station. The average mudroom does not have to be average! Although you must think about using finishes that are hardwearing, you can bring a little whimsy or style to a mudroom of any size. Add message boards, an invigorating colour on the walls or even a barn door on the entry in the hall. A mudroom can become fully functional, tidy, and yes, even stylish, if carefully planned. If in doubt, call a designer for expert advice!

Lara Hontzias Interior Design


Despite the small size of this mudroom, it is well thought out and uses every inch of storage possible!

C/O HGTV on Pinterest

Fun and practical storage idea. Get those backpacks off the floor!

C/O The organizedhousewife.com on Pinterest

14 Tips on How to Get your Home Ready for Spring by ANA Interiors

Spring Tip 1. Spring is all about making a fresh start. We do this with our wardrobes by changing out our boots for open toe flats - our homes are no different! Time to shake things up.

Spring Tip 2. Clean & dust all crown moldings, lighting, chandeliers and fan blades. After all that neck straining upwards, balance it out by washing your floors, give baseboards the ‘single sock’ treatment (All those lonely socks we can’t find matches for - give them one last use before throwing them away by putting them on your hands and dust the baseboards).

  • Hot Tip: We know cleaning isn’t fun, but it is when you throw on some good beats, apply a facial mask, and a set of teeth whitening strips. Multi-task by getting you AND your house looking great.

Spring Tip 3. Change out your winter scents for spring time ones. This means everything from candles and pot pourri to wax melts and scent emitters. If you use certain cleansers, change those fragrances as well.

Spring Tip 4. Shed those heavy winter layers for lighter weight ones. Chunky knit pillows can be replaced with cotton or silk, and fur throws can be changed out for light chenille or a quilt. Put a lighter duvet on your bed and don’t forget to rotate your mattress.

Spring Tip 5. Rearrange the furniture. See your room with fresh eyes. Try a new grouping or conversation zone. Once furnishings get pushed around, you really do feel a noticeable change in the energy of a space. And want to know the biggest secret to moving furniture solo? Towels.

Spring Tip 6. Clean your windows inside and out. Also take this time to check around the exterior of your home and take notice of where you need to do touch ups.

Spring Tip 7. Thoroughly clean your kitchen. This means inside all appliances too. If you don’t have the time nor energy to do it, hire someone. You’ll want to start cooking healthy springtime meals and setting fresh tables with all the beautiful flowers that’ll be everywhere soon.

Spring Tip 8. Change out deep pile area rugs for flat weave or low pile ones with natural fibres. If you have heavy traffic, or pets, and want to keep the same rugs out (like Persians) get them professionally cleaned. It’s not expensive and will prolong the life of your area rug.

Spring Tip 9. Clean your draperies or change them out to a springtime colour. The same goes for furniture slipcovers, pillow covers and shower curtains. These kinds of inexpensive accents should be switched out seasonally and can completely change the feel of your space.

Spring Tip 10. The only thing we all may not look forward to in Spring, is tax season. Take this opportunity to get your office organized by adding new filing systems to keep papers and belongings contained and out of regular vision.

Spring Tip 11. After a bleak brown and grey wintry landscape, spring offers up some beautiful colours. Think crocus flowers, daffodils and tulips - pink, blue, violet, yellow, orange and red. It’s time to move away from grey in our interiors (as with our wardrobes) and embrace the growth of green again. Mother nature is pretty spectacular offering high contrast and high chroma everywhere we look.

Spring Tip 12. Bring the outdoors in. Clip twigs with buds and tiny flowers and put them into a large glass vase. A new houseplant can signify spring if you’re a green thumb, or even a bouquet from the grocery store. If you don’t like fresh flowers or have allergies, check out the wonderful selection of silk flowers available at most décor destinations.

Spring Tip 13. Inspect and repair any of your outdoor furnishings. They may need a little spit and polish. You may even wish to replace a cushion or the whole set. Sunbrella fabrics have really come a long way and people are now embracing them for indoors too.

Spring Tip 14. Freshen up your walls. Add a new paint colour, wallpaper, or artwork. Perhaps something nature inspired, or more lively, which will add energy and personality to your home.

And once you’ve done all that to your space, get outside and enjoy the weather!!! You’re done!! :)


Designer Picks: Floor Screens / Room Dividers

Designers from ANA Interiors and Collage Interiors discuss the newest trends for floor screens and how easily they can work for any home.

With a lot of Calgary homes these days getting built and renovated with an open concept, it’s nice to carve out a little bit of private space from time to time.

Folding room screens go as far back as 7th Century Chinese royalty. Japanese shoji screens evolved and then the design took Europe by storm. From silk, wood, leather and metal, nowadays they are made from every material and used in many ways.

The Designers

Sylvie Croteau-­‐Willard, the principal at Collage Interiors, loves mixing antiques, wood tones, black and white, metals and other neutrals to create well travelled, collected and timeless spaces. Her firm specializes in inner-­‐city residential and small space design.

Ana Cummings is inspired by nature, an auction aficionado, can’t get enough of wallpaper, and thinks that colour and original art are the best ways to personalize a space. From award-­‐winning show homes to private residences, her ability to transform interiors in addition to successfully translating her clients' visions, are what fulfills her most.

Here are 10 inspired ideas from Sylvie of Collage Interiors and Ana from ANA Interiors on how you can create your own retreat without building any walls. Not only can a floor screen be used to make a cozy nook, they can also be used to fill a large space, add character to an empty corner or be used as a beautiful backdrop to a bed. Take a look at our 10 designer picks!

ANA Interiors’s Top 5 Picks

  1. Here Ana is perched in front of a cream antique panel door style room divider inset with a chalkboard. This could work in a shabby chic of8ice or between a rustic elegant open dining and living room area.

    Consignment Gallery, $445 CAD
  2. This iron philodendron leaf screen from Imax Home is 51” wide by 84” tall. It is visually airy and would look great in an MCM or tropical beach house setting.

    houzz.com, $510.55
  3. At a substantial 72” wide by 84” inches high, this sophisticated and super private Nolan 3 panel 8loor screen from Owners Select Furniture would make a handsome headboard or room divider for a bedroom in a studio apartment.

    Owners Select Furniture, $4380 USD, available through design professionals
  4. Imagine the light that would re8lect off this classic French styled mirrored 8loor screen in a no longer dark corner of a room. Made from reclaimed solid oak in a weathered black finish, it measures 53.5” wide by 78.5” high.

    Restoration Hardware, $989 USD
  5. What I really like about this gold metal Quatrefoil 8loor screen is that it is see through. The gilded classic motifs are lined with a gold mesh and would sit perfectly between a window and a stand alone tub in a master retreat. It measures 57” wide by 78” high.

    Chintz & Company, $249.00 CAD

Collage Interiors’s Top 5 Picks

  1. This antique, chinoiserie-­‐inspired divider does double duty as both a privacy screen and a stunning piece of art. I love the subtle use of metallics while still being fairly neutral. It’s ornate and timeless without the fussiness. This piece would be perfect as a living room or bedroom focal wall.

    MBW Furniture, cost unknown
  2. This screen is so unique, with its abstract spidery, shattered glass look. I love the sculptural design that has been created out of reclaimed wood pieces. It would be perfect to separate a living/ dining area in a very open space-­‐ keep the open feeling while creating some division and stopping the eye.

    Bliss Home & Design, $1680 USD
  3. I love antique mirror panels and would use them anywhere and everywhere! More specifically, this piece would be lovely in a foyer. Maybe behind a slipper chair and a mini console table-­‐ would be great Feng Shui and work to open up the small space.

    Fratantoni Lifestyles, $833.80 USD
  4. The brass and brushed gold look is right on point for 2015! That combined with the geometric shapes of this piece mean it will really have some design staying power. Add intrigue to a traditional setting by using the screens to flank a floor-­‐to-­‐ ceiling fireplace. With a pair of armchairs, a lamp and an end table you’ve got a luxurious space to retire with a well-­‐deserved nightcap.

    Masins Furniture, $1584
  5. The clean lines are what attracted me to this piece. The mixing of leather and brass is modern and on trend but also a classic look. I can see this used to create a functional of8ice nook in any small space. Pair it with a great reclaimed desk, modern task lamp and a hide rug for a genderless and rich look!

    Bernd Goeckler Antiques, $27 500

To Trend or Not to Trend?

It’s hard to keep up with all the latest trends and expensive, a person isn’t likely to change out there furniture every few years to keep up with trends.

But in saying that there are ways to keep your space current and out of a time warp by choosing wisely with professional help.

Paint is the easiest way to change the look of a space and with the proper prep and time you can do yourself, if you have high ceilings and cut out ceiling work hire a professional to save yourself the grief and cost of a fix job.

Lighting as well is a relativity simple fix but can be costly so if you are wanting to change out a number of rooms watch for sales and if the order is substantial you may get a package discount
I have changed the look of a table lamp by changing out the shades at a reasonable cost.

Furniture when choosing furniture look at a style you like and find comfortable, if you just choose based on what’s current you may not be happy 4-5 years down the road
I once went out on a house call to advise on furniture selection for the client who had just purchased their furniture 5 years ago from a high end furniture store and had the sofa, love seat, chairs even their drapery done in floral chintz which had been the trend for the last few years but was on its way out. Now if the main pieces had been done in a neutral fabric with chintz and floral accents it would have been a relatively inexpensive change.

Flooring area carpets are a great way to change the look of a room and you can find them in various price ranges.

Adding or removing plants from a room can give it a different look, I like to use silk plants in areas that don’t offer optimal growing conditions, great for basement media or family rooms.

And last but not least accents can update your look, change out cushions, art work, accessories on book shelves, coffee tables. Sometimes just taking everything off your bookcase or shelf’s and reorganizing items gives you the change you are looking for.

Natalie Brierley CID
Principal Designer
Earthaven Interiors Ltd

Colour Trends of 2015

2015 will have a palette full of rich flavours giving homes a fresh global style from Europe to South America. The international influences uniting the world with modern to traditional yet spicy Pinwheel of colours.

Pleasant earthy colours such as shades of gray, soft blacks and lackluster browns and creamy whites perfectly set off a weathered palette. This brings to life a classic, beautiful contrast within contemporary spaces….. "Industrial to the Modern Country Farmhouse" look.





The paring of a soft tone with a stronger more vibrant jewel hue can create a whimsical edge to a decor. A pretty yet gutsy modern look to a traditional space …a contrast that is essential to the new "British Traditional Eccentric" look.

Colour scheme #1



Colour scheme #2



Sophistication is added to a room by the marriage of natural tones, soft whites with the colours of the Mediterranean. This serene palette brings forth a modern, polished tailored understated decor ......defining the now "Refined Glamour" look.




Spicy jolts of bright colours fused with white or linen gives a space a decidedly upbeat feel transforming it into a cheerful bohemian decor ...Influences from Latin South American are the foundations of this fresh "Exotic Lively Global "look.







Designer – Rocking Chair – Picks

lush interiors & chairs that rock

Designers Lisa and Charlene from Lush Interiors discuss the newest trends for rocking chairs and how easily they can work for any home.

Dating back to the 18th century, the rocking chair has become an iconic furniture piece throughout history. From its traditional origins, the rocking chair has transformed over the years, developing many looks from traditional to ultra modern. More recently, the rocking chair has made a comeback into our day-to-day lives bringing with it, a familiar seat to relax and enjoy. When designing for the home, it’s important to use pieces that invite us to enjoy the space. The rocking chair is just the reminder we need to sit down and enjoy a moment of comfort whether it’s in the living room, study or nursery.

The Designers

LD | Lisa Danielewicz

Lisa has a great eye for proportion and scale allowing her to play with wild patterns and bright colors. When choosing furniture Lisa always finds unique pieces to pull the room together.

CT | Charlene Threatful

Charlene loves to express design through simple, clean lines. Her designs show a great understanding of form and function allowing her to translate her clients needs into beautiful designs.


1/ The Kennedy Rocking Chair by Thrive Home Furnishings

LD | I call this the cabin chic rocker. It would marry well in a warm cabin- like interior. Picture this by the stone fireplace with your hanging argyle stockings.

CT | This chair has a very Danish feel to me with it’s teak wood and curved lines. The arm rest adds a modern twist. Would look great with a graphic fabric.

36”h x 30”w x 40”d

2/ Woven Windsor Rocker by Katie Walker

LD | This could easily be on your porch, as it could be in a little girls bedroom. With it’s light, white and airy design, I would toss a hot pink fuzzy pillow on it. This could be the girlie girls favorite reading chair.

CT | Definitely see this on a porch sitting by the lake enjoying the view. What fun it would be to paint it a bright pink or orange color.

31”h x 28”w x 40”d

3/ Rocking Beech Chair by Tomoko Azumi

LD | This rocker has me thinking a pair of these would look awesome in a high ceiling loft with a large white leather sectional and concrete fireplace.

CT | A really masculine take on a rocker. In a den or office makes a statement all by itself. It would

66”h x 56”w x 62”d

4/ Rocking Chair by Berger Duet

LD | Stop the presses, we finally have a replacement for the man’s lazy boy rocker. I see this chair and ottoman working well in a TV room or den. It is as comfy as it is nice to look at.

CT | Can you say baby’s room? So comfortable! Covered in a soothing pastel fabric, it would be the perfect place to sit back and read to your little one.

35”h x 25”w x 34”d

5/ Roxy Rocker by onefortythree

LD | This is a wonderful take on our mid- century modern revitalization. I would use this as an accent chair in my living room, in a funky library or even a music room. Throw a bright colored toss cushion on it to make it your own.

CT | This mid- modern beauty, by onefortythree would look good anywhere and everywhere. Love the lines and the warmth of the wood.

30”h x 30”w x 30”d

6/ Lookout Mountain Rocker by woodstudio

LD | The name says it all with this chair. The wood stain and leather upholstery would pair well with any cabin retreat.

CT | This rocker shows true quality in a handmade piece. The chair offers a traditional look paired great with a non traditional ottoman. Great to sit back and relax.

42”h x 22”w x 34”d

7/ RC01 Rocking Chair by Jason Lewis Furniture

LD | This rocker adds elegance to any room design. Be it a traditional or contemporary style, this Jason Lewis chair will add interest and warmth.

CT | Love this Jason Lewis chair. I think it may be one of my favorite. Classic, timeless design. The large back would provide lots of support. Would look great in a formal setting.

36”h x 30”w x 32”d

Creating lasting memories this holiday season.

With the Christmas season just around the corner many of us are beginning to pull out our holiday decorations. As we consider hosting guests for dinner parties and events it’s important to remember that you are creating memories for yourself and your family day to day. We can all remember how our house was styled growing up and the efforts our parents made to make the Christmas season extra special. Now as adults, we realize how important those moments are as they still resonate with us to this day. The holiday spirit is often triggered by our environments as the Christmas tree is decorated, the fireplace is brought to life and the holiday lights sparkle. When decorating this holiday season, put in that extra bit of effort as it’s not just about the big events that we host but rather our day to day moments we spend surrounded in our lovely home.

When choosing decorations to display, make sure you pick items that bring you joy. Remember you will be the one looking at these items the most over the holiday season, so why not surround yourself with treasures that bring you happiness. It is also important to know that you don’t need to use every decoration you have kept over the years, instead pick the few that have the most memories and trade out different items each season. Even a few new decorations blended in will make your home feel different each year. Last, don’t over clutter your home with seasonal items, try using items with Christmas themes and patterns rather than the traditional Santa Clause everywhere.

For example, by using items that are solid gold, silver and white bring items with pattern and texture to life. Often our most interesting decorations become outshined by the items we insist on using. When decorating your dining table, a simple gold napkin can bring a festive look without overpowering the table in patterns. Leave the visual interest to the centerpiece of the table where your guest’s eye will go first. In the living room, use decorations sparingly on side tables as guests will want to be able to put down their drink without moving your display of snowmen. Instead, use small scale decorations and candles to give the room atmosphere allowing your tree and fireplace mantel to become the visual interest. Last, your front entry is a great place to invest time into as you greet your guests and wish them good bye. A few simple decorations can go a long way leading the festivity into your home.





To end off, have fun with your decorations and explore new ideas. Christmas allows us to celebrate with friends and family in the comfort of our home. Take pride in your decorations and share this holiday with those who mean the most.

Article by Lisa Danielewicz Lush Interiors
Follow @lisathedezigner

A Comparison: Calgary Weather and a home Renovation

The crazy weather last week in Calgary caused a mix of anxiety and alarm. The anxiety arose when we had to drive in winter conditions unprepared without winter tires or snow brushes on hand. The alarm came from the shock of having beautiful sunshine just two days before and then afterwards the broken branches we came home to find in our yards.

It made me compare the unexpected weather of Calgary to a renovation. It is not uncommon to meet obstacles along the way when you are renovating: A framer fell playing hockey and broke an arm, demolition revealed mold in the walls, the granite slab you picked out was dropped in the shop…The list can go on and on.

There are two items that must be emphasized in order to reduce the anxiety and alarm when embarking on a home renovation. Number one is to always be prepared with a good plan and the second is to expect the unexpected.

A good plan is a must. Hire a professional to make sure it is done correctly and all details have been thought out. An Interior Designer can make sure all details are accounted for and recorded in a form that can be easily translated by all involved. This will ensure that what you envisioned in your mind becomes a reality in the end. Furthermore choices and decisions should be made before your renovation proceeds so that you are not under a time crunch and make hasty decisions that you are not happy with later.

No matter how prepared you are for a renovation it takes many pieces to fall into place to make it all come together. Take it all in stride. Make sure you have a contingency plan. Have an extra 10% to 15% in extra funds as padding just in case. When walls open up you can find things that no one could have foreseen. Old leaks caused damage that must be repaired or building code issues such as plumbing must be updated. Extra insulation of funds can come in handy. Time is another part of the contingency plan. Tile is discontinued or lighting is delivered damaged. These take time to order and will most likely cause a delay. Most renovations for many reasons take longer than what was originally planned. Do not ever plan a renovation to finish just weeks before Christmas when you have invited all your relatives to stay with you. That is a sure fire way to cause a great deal of alarm and stress to you and the contractor!

Having a great plan beforehand and knowing the probability of things not always going as planned will keep the anxiety and the alarm to a minimum during a renovation. Us Calgarians know this all too well when dealing with the weather. Although most of us do not carry our winter tires in the back seat all summer we do learn to prepare when we can and roll with the punches when the weather does not go as planned.

Article by Lara Hontzias Interior Design
Follow @LaraHontzias