Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas at the Lake: Decorating Your Lake Home for the Holidays

Photo: Between Naps on the Porch
Everyone knows that I love to decorate! I especially love to decorate during the holidays. There is something extra special about decorating a home for Christmas that makes me truly happy. I love seeing all the lights, the fireplace, the vintage ornaments and decorations that remind me of Christmases past, old traditions and precious memories shared with loved ones. I feel that life gets a little better...a little more peaceful...a little more magical.
I have always dreamed of one day owning a home by the lake where I can gather all my family and friends to enjoy a peaceful and restful holiday season. I became more inspired to do this due to a recent project I have been invited to write about, Waterfront Real Estate CT. What better way to celebrate the beautiful and delightful season than at the lake, removed from the fast paced everyday life we all seem to live nowadays.
Ah, until then a girl can dream, but for all you lucky ones with a lake home to enjoy this Christmas, here are some decorating ideas to help you bring in the magic of the season without breaking the bank.

Surround Yourself In Nature

The best way to decorate a lake home for the festive season is to bring the beauty of the surrounding outdoors in. Decorate by using natural elements like pine cones, twigs, and acorns. Keep things simple, naturally organic and not too fussy. 

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Traditional Home

Photo: Traditional Home

Photo: Passion D├ęcor

While you deck the halls, don't forget nature's friends. My personal favorites are deer. They hold some of the magic of Christmas that fill little hearts with delight after all!

Photo: Pinterest


How Lovely Are The Branches!

When looking for a tree in an all-white nature space like the lake, nothing would be prettier than an all natural evergreen like a fir or pine tree. Beyond their fragrance and appeal, evergreens are 100% biodegradable and once the season is over, can be recycled for a variety of purposes benefiting wildlife and nature in general.


Photo: Stylish Eve


Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Good home cooked food and good company is everything during the holidays. Why not highlight all the delicious delights within your decorating and put food on display.

Photo: A Blissful Nest

Photo: Pinterest

Add a little special treat for all of your younger guests by including a kids station where they can go and make their own hot chocolate to warm their toes, fingers and nose.


Spread the Cheer

Try to add a little bit of Christmas in every room of the home, especially the guest rooms. It will help everyone feel welcomed and right at home.

Photo: El Mueble

Photo: tulips flight suits

Photo: Lowes
One of my favorite things to do and share with my children is to include a Nativity scene as a node to what Christmas is all about.

Photo: Southern Hospitality

Relax, You Are On Lake Time

One of the greatest advantages of spending the holidays at the lake cottage is that you can take the time to relax and enjoy your family and friends. For me, there is no better way to relax and have fun than to take in a Christmas sleigh ride or go skating and watch my boys play hockey on the lake!

Photo: my sweet savannah

Photo: Banff and Beyond

Christmas is a special time of the year. A time to slow down a little and spend some quality time with people that we love. This time we can spend with our family and friends is the greatest gift that we can give and receive during this marvelous time of the year. 

Wishing you all a season of joy, a season of cheer, and to top it all off, a wonderful year! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Chic and Stylish Fall Decorating for Thanksgiving

One of the best parts of fall is the colors that mother nature puts on display. It's my favorite season because of all its natural, organic and unrefined beauty. I always love decorating for this season, especially during Thanksgiving, when celebrating fall and its abundance means welcoming family and friends.  If you are like me and you are either short on time or not really into the homemade arts and crafts look, here are some  chic, simple ways that I found most inspiring for you to welcome the arrival of fall and your Thanksgiving guests.

Warm Things Up

One of the easiest ways to add a snug and welcoming feel is by swapping your regular throw-pillows for velvet ones in rich fall shades. Then add a few coordinating throws and blankets and get ready to cozy up by a nice warm fire.


Photo: Sarah Richardson Design

Create A Warm Welcome
There isn't a better way to celebrate fall than by bringing the outdoors in. As the leaves change and their vibrant hues of red, orange and yellow emerge, use the natural colors in your decor. Choose  vases in various shapes and sizes and fill them with different colors of leaves and fall flowers. Place them on your entry table to warmly welcome guests and throughout your home to add elegance and color.
Photo:HGTV Ca

Photo: HGTV Canada

Photo: HGTV Canada
 Put Blessings on Display
Giving thanks and reflecting on your blessings is what Thanksgiving is all about. Why not create a message board for family and friends? Have them write what they are thankful for on a paper leaf and pin it up. I love this idea because it is a delightful way to bring everyone together. This frame was constructed using a linen-covered foam core and an old frame. Cut paper leaves from scrapbook paper in different fall shades and pin them on the board.
Photo: Midwestliving
Frame-Up Memories
This is one of my personal favorites! Pop family photos in frames and create a gallery wall so everyone can enjoy a sentimental stroll down memory lane. What better way to celebrate family and friends!
Photo: Buzz Feed
Photo: HGTV Canada
Company is Coming
We all enjoy and look forward to connecting with those we hold near and dear over a well set table and delicious food. Create simple and chic nature-inspired center pieces that add color and pay tribute to the season and all its beautiful colors.
The best and prettiest arrangements are the ones where we use what we have. Opt for earthy elegance and create an inviting dining experience simply by using fruit. All you need is a pair of scissors, a tray or a linen or burlap table runner, eucalyptus or greenery of your choice and 2-3 varieties of fruit.  Simply snip pieces of eucalyptus and add to the corners and middle of your tray.  Casually disperse fruit pieces and intersperse a few additional snips of greenery in nooks or open spaces and you are done. You can also simply disperse pieces of eucalyptus along a burlap or linen table runner and add candles of various heights with pieces of fruit in between.
Photo: Julie Blanner
Photo: Julie Blanner
Want a more traditional look? Add pumpkins and grapes or other hoards of gourds to bowls and add greenery around them to create a colorful and festive table.

Photo: Traditional Home

Photo: HGTV Canada
If  keeping things sleek, simple and stylish is more your style, try wrapping dried cornhusks around small votives. They cast a soft glow and serve as a reminder that corn was part of the first Thanksgiving feast.

Photo: Martha Stewart

All you need is dried cornhusks, double-sided tape, small ribbons in the colors of your choice, a pair of scissors and votive holders. Simply cut the widest part of the dried cornhusks to the height of your votive holders. Then apply double-sided tape around a votive holder about 1/4 inch from the bottom and add 2-3 cornhusks overlapping the edges to the holder. Finish by tying with a ribbon and you have classy elegance in minutes.
Want something more colorful and vibrant? Give fallen leaves one last chance to shine by using them as decorations on glass candleholders.  Against the candlelight, the leaves look like beautiful flames.
Simply apply spray adhesive to the backs of leaves. Then, wrap leaves around the candleholder, letting the stem of each extend slightly past the base. Cut off leaves overhung along the bottom of the candleholder and place them around your table for a more modern majestic glow.
It's A Family Affair
Don't forget about the littlest pilgrims of them all. Have them join in the fun and help them create a fun, colorful table of their own. For this great DIY all you need is a burlap or linen table cloth, acrylic or fabric paint and a paint brush. Simply choose an autumn color palette and paint polka dots and let them dry. Then start setting the kids' table!

Photo: shopruche
Finally, direct guests to their seats with fun and creative name cards. Keep things simple and invite guests to take a seat by writing their name on a dried leaf , or tie their name around a gilded pumpkin or piece of fruit. 

Photo: Country Living
Photo: Martha Stewart
This is one of my favorites. Direct guests to their seats with name cards topped by leaves that look like they just blew in.
Photo: Martha Stewart
All you need to do to make these lovelies is to fold a piece of brown colored covered weight card in half and write a guest's name with a white gel pen. Then cut one or two notches about 1" wide in the card, at an angle. Slide fallen leaves into each notch and voila! Instant charm.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because of the time I get to spend with all those who I hold dear and because it's a time to reflect on all the blessings I have in my life. Hope these tips inspire you to create a warm, inviting, personalized home for your guests this year. Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! Cheers to great food and great memories! Safe travels too!  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Condo Living: Design-Savvy Storage Solutions

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Photo: Yorkville
For young professionals in urban areas, condo or loft living is the way to go. There’s something uniquely charming about living in a modern, stylish place with rooftop gardens that’s at the heart of it all, even if you have to pay more money for less space. This is probably the main reason why there are so many Montreal condos for sale. When you are looking to live the comfortably chic urban lifestyle, location and price are probably higher on your priority list than the dreamy walk-in closet you have always wanted. No matter the size and location however nearly all lofts and condos have a few things in common. They are short on built-in storage, many need furniture scaled to size and then of course you may also have the common "bed in the living room" issue to contend with and conquer.  Here are some design-savvy tips for planning your space for maximum comfort, warmth and flexibility.
Set up proper and practical storage

Closets and shelving tend to be in short supply in lofts and condos. You can build in your own storage by taking over one entire wall for the purpose. Fill the wall from floor to ceiling with shelving, cabinets or closets. The cost may seem high but, this is something that makes daily life much easier and more pleasant. It's easy to drive yourself crazy tripping over shoes or constantly making monstrous piles of clothes and mail on the floor and kitchen table. Therefore, it's money well spent and well invested in my books.

Don't have an entire wall to spare? Make sure to catch all the daily clutter by installing proper shelving in other main living areas of your loft or condo. A wall shelf can work wonders to keep clutter contained in your bathroom and can work double duty as a nightstand in your bedroom. 
Photo: Apartment Therapy
Photo: Graceful Order

Get creative and build storage around furniture pieces. Stylish and modern, this sofa storage system adds both a modern flare and easily accessible storage for daily living.

Photo: Apartment Therapy

Use Innovative, flexible, double duty furnishings

Think outside the box when it comes to creating storage for living spaces where square footage and built-in storage is at a premium. Savvy-designed furniture like fold-up murphy beds, disappearing pocket doors, modern sofa beds and adjustable height tables for dining and lounging are made for the loft and condo lifestyle. 


Photo: Sustainable Living News

Photo: Condo Plus
You can also divide a space with open-backed shelving. This works easily well in both small and large spaces and it's also the easiest way to create a "room within a room". Design tip: arrange open shelving so that it looks good from both sides. Try stacking books horizontally and vertically; place items in baskets that look good from all angles; and, always mix in plenty of what's pretty!  Use objects such as vases, candles and bowls to infuse style and color. Always remember safety! If you have young children, you will need to secure the shelving to a wall and/or the floor.

Photo: Corynne Pless

Scale it right

Appropriately scaled furniture can make the difference between a space that feels awkward and one that feels comfortable.  In a small space, choose the largest pieces you can while allowing ample room to walk around the furniture.  Pieces that are too small will only feel uncomfortable and look somewhat disproportionate in a grand open-style loft. In a large space, go bigger with the furniture but please, for the sake of all that is holy in design, keep it human-scale. Some sofas and chairs on the market today are so big and bulky that an average person is lost sitting in them! They are also a sure-proof way to make any room look much smaller than it actually is.

Soften the Edges 

We are often drawn to condos or lofts for their large expansive windows, exposed piping, ductwork and all the modern finishes such as concrete, steel, stone and brick or wood. These features can also quickly rob a place of any personality and make it cold and uninviting unless you bring in some softness. Use curtains to soften edges and bring privacy in the bedroom or create a soft, more intimate living and dining room area. You can also cover large expanses of windows with floor to ceiling drapes that can be pulled shut for warmth and privacy or opened to let the light flow in.  Drapes can also serve double duty if you want to divide a space. Hang curtains from the ceiling to create a room within a room.

Photo: Homedios
Take advantage of ample wall space and make your condo all your own with a gallery wall. A huge wall can be daunting, but it also provides a great opportunity to make a style statement. You don't need to fill the entire wall at once. Start building your arrangement from the center out and you can continue adding to it over time until the wall is happily full.

Sarah Richardson Design
One of the most important pieces that can bring warmth and comfort to any space is the area rug. Whether you have spiffy cement or hardwood floors, rugs are a great way to visually delineate one “room” from another and instantly make a space feel homey. A statement rug can also be the perfect piece to tie together a color scheme. However, you'll want to get the right size and put it in the right place. Don’t make a small rug do all the heavy lifting. Spring for the size that can accommodate your living room, dining area or whole bedroom set with ease. A rug that is too small will not help your place look more spacious and will most certainly look like a last minute afterthought in your decor.
Dev McGill Condos

 Explore All Angles

Lastly, ask any decorator and they will tell you not to let standard furniture setup get in the way.  Try furniture at an angle, move couches out of corners, and really explore what space you do have. You might be pleasantly surprised!