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!! :)

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

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

Area Carpets 101

Very often as designers, decorators, etc we are asked about area carpets and how best to use them in a space.  I've attached a Houzz article that gives excellent rules - how to use them and how to break them -  when using an area carpet.  In addition, the Calgary Design Group is pleased to announce that our designers now carry the Suriya line of area carpets and accessories for all of our clients. www.surya.com Surya is a vertically-integrated manufacturer of area rugs and home accessories.

For over 35 years the name Surya has been synonymous with high quality, innovation and luxury. Surya designers and weavers masterfully create some of the most versatile products to bring out the best in every room. Encompassing an expert understanding of the latest trends in fashion and interior design, each Surya product is a perfect combination of color, pattern and texture to accommodate the widest range of tastes.  Please contact any of the members of our group to get information on samples, pricing and styling for your home.  We look forward to hearing from you!

General contractors, home builders, and more ∨From kitchens to the living room, window treatments add a finishing touch to any room in the house.
Search for a fun bar stool, clock, sectional sofa and storage chest to spice up your basement.

Rebuilding from the Southern Alberta Floods: How to maintain Peace of Mind and Avoid Being Taken Advantage of.

After the recent floods in the Calgary area, it only takes a quick drive through a couple of blocks of the flood zones to see the extent of damage, the lives affected, possessions lost and homes destroyed.  It was deeply emotive to see the upheaval caused in peoples lives and emotions as many of you saw your homes being ripped apart to get rid of mold, sewage and debris left by the receding waters.  Much of your furniture and family treasures have been thrown away, and your flooded vehicles have been taken to salvage.



typical streetview during cleanup


Now you are focusing on making insurance claims, and figuring out how to rebuild, if you should rebuild, or what steps you can take to just get functional again.  It will be a long haul, and with all the new contracting businesses popping up almost overnight it will be very easy to get involved with an unqualified and inexperienced 'contractor' who could end up taking you to the cleaners.


So what should you be aware of?  How do you avoid the scammers and get connected with reliable tradespeople and suppliers who can provide suitable products and workmanship at decent prices, and get back into your home sooner?


Here are some tips:

1. DO NOT under any circumstances retain a contractor or sub-trade who wants to deal in cash-only without a written receipt or written contract. Chances are they are not a registered business, which means without a written contract you have no warranty or protection against faulty workmanship. RESIST the promise of a contractor who says by paying cash it will cost you less - it could end up costing you more in the end of the day if they are unqualified because they can walk away from faulty workmanship leaving you to pay someone else to fix it.


2. AVOID anyone who asks for payment in full up-front. This is absolutely NOT a practice endorsed by professional contracting firms or subtrades, so no matter what reason they give you, stay as far away from them as possible.  This is different than a deposit.  Its OK for a contractor to ask you for a deposit as long as you have a written contract in which the estimate for the work is detailed and you can clearly understand how the deposit amount was determined.


3. Check out the Canadian Home Builders Association has a great description of why you should get it in writing;  http://www.chba.ca/renovation-roadmap/get-it-in-writing.aspx


4. AVOID any contractor or sub-trade who cannot provide proof of their liability and workers comp insurances.  


5. Ask your contractor and/or sub-trades if they are offering some kind of discount, promotion or donation for those affected by the floods. However, just because a contractor or sub-trade is not offering a special discount does not mean you should ignore them.  Many contractors are already working at small margins, so you could be better off with them even if they are not offering a flood discount per se.  Make sure you understand how they charge, if necessary asking them what their hourly labour rates are.


6. Get comparison quotations - three quotations is an ideal number where possible. Make sure you are comparing apples-to-apples, and if you can't understand the way they have written their quotation, get them to give you the detail you need.  If a contractor only gives you a lump sum and will not give you any detail, ask them why.  There may be good reason why they could not give you detail, but equally so if you have given them detailed specifications, there should not be a reason why they cannot give some detail.  If they will not break down a lump sum quotation, they may not be the best contractor for your project.


7. Ensure your rebuilding/renovation project is engineered to be structurally sound and in accordance with Alberta Building Codes. The City of Calgary has waived the need for building permits.  The reason for this is so that they can avoid a backlog of building permit applications and you can get back home more quickly.  However it does not mean you should ignore your family's safety.  If you are putting a new bedroom in a basement, you may need a new window to comply with egress requirements in the event of fire.  Retain qualified design consultants (see next item)


8. It is advisable to retain the services of a designer, architect, or architectural technologist to draw up a set of plans. The investment in a set of drawings and specifications will enable you to plan properly and enable your contractor to give you more accurate pricing.


9. For interior finishing products and equipment, there are many local suppliers and vendors who are offering deeper than normal discounts, promotions or donations of product, specific to those affected by the floods. This includes anything from appliances, to porcelain tile, bathroom fixtures, flooring and anything in between.  Ask the vendor if they are offering anything even if they have not advertised that they are.


For referrals to qualified and reasonable contractors, sub trades and vendors, contact the Calgary Design Group.  We are offering free consultations up to 2 hours in duration, to help you re-plan your space, and connect you with trusted and experienced tradespeople and vendors, who will give you value for money and greater peace of mind.


Article By Kevin Gray  C.I.D.  A.T.
t: +1 403 453 6860   m: +1 403 615 6862
e: kevin@kevingrayinteriors.com
w: www.kevingrayinteriors.com

Outdoor Dining & Living Segment

Outdoor dining

The allure of outdoor living and a sun dappled dining table speaks of a luxury coveted during our summer season.

Designing/decorating for outdoor spaces can be as casual or as formal as you please or as the occasion calls for.

Set up different zones in your space for relaxing/seating, dining and a play area, keeping in mind sun exposure, as each area should have some form as shade which can be provided naturally with landscaping or by adding gazebos, umbrellas etc. Then layer in your Potted plants and any outdoor sculptures , fountains this will provide interest throughout the property. (more…)

Spring is just around the corner

spring is hereWell, here we are at last with “spring, just around the corner”… It is a wonderful time of year to think about “re-newal” in every area of our lives!!! With winter SOON behind us, we HOPE, let's think about a fresh update in our homes!!!

Many of my clients over the years have asked the question “what is the new look for this year in paint, décor , etc.” The color “gurus” are always coming up with some new look to try and get us to throw out the old and bring in the new!! I take a more “classic” approach with my clients and encourage them to re-decorate with a timeless mood! There are many ways to not date your décor and yet still have a few new ideas incorporated into your home décor. (more…)

Kitchen Renovations? Hold on!

The most vital room in the house is the kitchen. This culinary space is the heart of the home, whether a large family or a single person dwells within. My family spends most of our time anchored to this room while we're doing homework, entertaining family and friends or devouring a quick breakfast before hockey practice. At this moment, it also serves as my office, so I am thinking about investing in more comfortable bar stools! The sun is streaming through the windows; I have my cup of coffee close at hand and have fresh air coming through the back door. It is my favorite room in the house. Most likely it is your family's favorite as well.

The amount of time we spend in our kitchens is reflective of the budget and planning that this room deserves in comparison to other rooms in the house. High quality planning is essential for the "here and now" in our kitchens, but it is also great for resale value later on down the road. A fabulous (and practical!) kitchen adds value to our homes and requires thoughtful, knowledgeable planning. Take the time and additional expense required to get it right!

Kitchen renovations come in all sizes: full renovations with new cabinets, new counter tops and island, or perhaps something simple like new backsplash tile or paint. Clearly evaluating and identifying how your family uses (or would like to use) this crucial room is a first step. What works in your current kitchen and what needs to be changed?  Planning also means thinking about the possibility of selling your home and what the design of your kitchen may mean to a potential buyer down the road. A kitchen with good ‘bones’ will make it easier for future buyers to make the space their own. Good planning is important in any renovation, but paramount for a kitchen renovation. (more…)

Stop Being so Matchy-Matchy in 2013!

We have just returned from the IDS in Toronto, Jan 25-Jan27th. One of my favorite upcoming trends is that you don’t have to worry so much about having everything matchy-matchy.. allow yourself some freedom and challenge yourself to new ideas!

STOP Being so Matchy

The trend is to clash your fabrics and stimulate the senses! Evoke conversation with all who enter your room.
Patterns will also become more inspired by Folklore African, Bulgarian, Mexican.... animals, culture and crafts will all come in to play. Look for that amazing pillow with all the color and pattern that makes you smile. Match it with a vase or a plant that has similar colors and move that color around the room! To really take your room to the next level, combine that color with other colors that compliment, and really enjoy your new space that is sure to inspire and inject new energy into your home!

An article by,

Lisa Danielewicz
Lush Interiors Inc
Rooms that live
Mobile: 403-589-6574
Email: lisa@lushinteriors.com