Friday, October 14, 2011

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Great idea, especially in chidren's rooms where their decor grows and changes as they do...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Toronto Gift Show

Just back from the winter Gift Show hosted by the Canadian Gift & Tableware Association (CGTA) at the Toronto International Centre. With over 1,000 exhibitors and almost 17,000 retail buyers in attendance, it's Canada's largest, one-stop business buying event. Thank goodness for comfortable shoes! Featuring tons of great new home decor, tabletop, housewares, gourmet food, garden accessories, collectibles, stationery, bed and linen products, there is literally, something for everyone. Lots of fresh inspiration served daily at the show - and in line with fashion trends, it was so nice to see so much more colour this year, taking over the usual black and white, silver and bling schemes of past shows.

Special features of the show include the New Product Galleries show, showcasing everything from everyday essentials to trendy new products, the Kitchen Spotlight, a demo kitchen of new housewares and tabletop items, and Showcase Canada, a collection of Canadian designed and manufactured products. The show also offers business seminars and workshops hosted by industry experts. From business strategies and trade secrets, to merchandising tips for the upcoming season, it was great show all around.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dazzled at the IDS

The Interior Design Show (IDS) in Toronto has become one of the must-see events of the year. Running January 28th to January 30th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre this year, it was buzzing with excitement. This design fair, intended for trade originally, but appealing to the masses, never disappoints, and this year being the 13th, was no exception. With a wide array of amazing local and international design personalities in attendance, and show-stopping design displays by local retailers, international and independent brands, I only wish I had more time to hang out, and take it all in.... check it out

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Canadian ReDesigners Association Conference

I had the pleasure of participating in the three-day conference with the Canadian Re Designers Association (CRDA) for certified Re Designers and Home Stagers. Interior Re Design is a term that refers to re-using and rearranging your existing furnishings to dramatically transform your home or space, in just one day. Re Design is an affordable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional interior design. Re Designers have the know-how to “pull it all together” using the same design principles as traditional interior design. Home staging is a real estate marketing tool, basically used to prepare your home or merchandise it for sale. Home stagers can help sellers do everything from de-cluttering, packing, and referring trades for minor fix-its’ or major Reno’s, to as little as simply providing design consulting services for depersonalizing and rearranging for better flow in the home, creating broader appeal to a greater amount of potential buyers walking through a home. It’s all about the psychology of buying a home and the emotional connection people make with the home in order to influence them to purchase. Industry statistics show that home staging typically sells a home for approximately 7% higher and in approximately half the amount of time than a non-staged home (often times, even faster), therefore providing a huge competitive advantage for realtors and home owners. Both are relatively new, up and coming industries currently experiencing a huge growth in demand from the real estate community, renovation and design community, and the general public, as more TV and mass media influences how we put together and decorate our homes and spaces, in affordable and eco-friendly ways. Educated consumers are starting to become better aware of common practices thanks to the design community and great association’s like the CRDA.

The conference this year was excellent, an invaluable, well-rounded source of information provided by various industry experts and leaders. Here’s an overview of the guests and speakers in attendance at this year’s conference:

General Paint Certified Colour Consultation Training session provided by Amanda Drenth of Design Interventions.

Marissa McTasney, Founder and CEO of Moxie Trades Ltd. as seen on the Dragon's Den speaking on her business start-up, and transformation of work gear for the working woman in the trades.

Lisa Kember of Constant Contact, speaking on the power of email and social media marketing.

Paula Hope, President of the Referral Institute Halton-Peel, speaking on networking and referral marketing strategies.

Real estate photographer Carla Johnson and Royal LePage realtor Tracie Giesbrecht, speaking on real estate photography and working with realtors.

Expert ReDesign and Staging panel, including Victoria Riley Keyes of Red Coats Moving Solutions, Karen Kostyshyn of House to Home Interiors and partner in Beyond the Basics , Anna Jacoby a ReDesign and Staging Specialist with Anna Jacoby Interiors of California, and redesign instructor with the IRIS Organization.

Bryan Bauemler of Bauemler Quality Construction and TV personality from HGTV's DIY Disasters and House of Bryan, along with his gorgeous, barely-showing-almost-fully-baked wife Sarah, who is due in just a few weeks (best of luck with baby number 3 guys!) talking about some of his renovation experiences with his shows and retail construction life.

A CRDA initiative, the Havens for Healing Boutique fundraiser raised money and awareness in support of Ovarian Cancer Canada.

Donna Cambell and Kerri Lewin, both professional organizers with Organizing Boot Camp giving an overview of organizing styles and strategies for clients.

Small Business Basics with Audrey Macdonald of AM Creative Interiors.

Nashly Mathews of Puh-Nash Inc. with a session on dressing for success in the business world.

Check out the CRDA website to find a local certified Re Design and Staging specialist in your area today!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

At the ICFF in New York City

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the 22nd annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, and view the incredible global display of what’s new in design. This event draws the world’s best in-the-know design professionals, and explores cutting edge designs in furniture. The over-riding theme for this year’s event, not surprisingly, was Reclaim, Reuse, Recycle! Fantastic array of the world’s finest and most creative reclaimed woodwork, recycled paper masterpieces, and generally, reused materials of all kinds (including old, plastic, newspaper vending boxes turned dishwasher and wine cooler). From interior designers, architects, retailers, and developers, to manufacturers, distributors and vendors of everything from seating, carpets, flooring, kitchen and bath designs, outdoor and indoor furniture, accessories and textiles, the creative genius of the show blew us away! With representatives from all corners of the earth, including, Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Vietnam, it was sheer pleasure to speak with some of the most creative design minds of our time. This may just become an annual event for me : )

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Staging Your Greatest Asset

Recently I had an opportunity to attend several workshops on Home Staging offered by local, Oakville real estate agents and staging professionals. Home Staging and Redesign is an interior decorating technique used to show off your home's best features, making it more attractive for a potential buyer when selling your home. It can boost your home’s selling price, as well as shorten the amount of time the home stays on the market. Home staging is a crucial and strategic marketing step every homeowner needs to consider before listing their home. On average, a staged home may sell for approximately 7-10% more, and sells in half the time of a comparable home that is not staged.

The Home Stagers provided some real valuable information about important steps to take in preparing a home for sale. They offered basic strategies that not only applied to staging or styling a home for resale, but also for generally maintaining your home’s value through simple updating and de-cluttering, on a regular basis. Your home is your greatest asset and most significant financial investment. It’s therefore crucial to preserve your equity with regular maintenance and updating.

What tends to happen is the longer we live in a space, the more we get used to and overlook the flaws or dysfunctional areas in the home. Daily routines take over. We become complacent to our surroundings. This leads to clutter, disorganization, dated, mismatched belongings, and generally, stressful environment. However, just as we take time to care for our personal appearance by buying a new outfit, getting a new haircut or trying a new shade of lipstick every once and a while, we need to update our homes, as well. Staging a home allows it to almost sell itself by making a great first impression, showcasing the house in the best possible light to a potential buyer, and allows them to visualize themselves living in that home.

Home improvement projects can have a major impact on the value of your resale home. But if you’re not prepared to invest dollars on a renovation just yet, here are some tips to consider in your annual maintenance checklist - whether you’re deciding to sell your home, or just tidy up a few things.

1. Spruce up your curb appeal and landscaping:
Healthy, neat, and trimmed yards and flower beds is the first step in getting potential buyers to want to walk up to the front door. The last thing they want to see is your "stuff" all around the yard, so make sure toys, gardening tools and garbage bins are put away. A well maintained exterior planter or fresh sod in the front yard can make a world of difference.

2. Thorough cleaning and fixing of visible repairs in all areas of the home, especially the kitchen, bathrooms, floors and closets:
A dirty house or broken door knob is an immediate turn-off. The two most important areas are the kitchen and bathrooms. If you have not deep cleaned all counter and tile surfaces to a spotless condition, you stand the chance of losing the buyer. Another critical area is the closets and your floors (especially older carpets and rugs). Closets should be well organized and not jammed pack. Take the time to go through them, and purge or store some things which you don’t use on the regular basis. Without question, spotty carpets are a total turn-off, and leave people wondering what caused the original stain in the first place. Steam cleaners do wonders!

3. De-clutter your entire home:
Clutter, both inside and outside your home makes it extremely hard for the buyers to visualize moving into your home. It leaves them feeling like your home is too much work! The disorganization will distract the buyer’s ability to focus on your space and they will overlook your best selling features. Also, clutter makes your home appear smaller than it is. At the end of the day, people are buying “space” – that’s generally why they’re looking to move in the first place.

4. De-personalize your entire home:
Your home is your comfort zone and is filled with all of your personal treasures, pictures, and memories – another huge distraction when selling your home. The way we live day to day, and how we merchandise a house, are two different things. People are generally curious, and when you really want them to notice the beautiful entranceway, they may be focused on all the family pictures on the shelves, or the "stuff" all over your refrigerator. Your objective is to change the view of your home from "lived in" to "ready to move in”. You want to turn it into a commodity by neutralizing the decor, and generally making it look like an easy move for the buyer.

5. Updating paint colours inside and out:
While your favourite colours may be a reflection of your style, your choices may cause a buyer to lose interest because it evokes a certain feeling in that room. Or your favourite wall paper may not be in the buyer’s taste. The best way to present a home is for the wall colours to be painted a neutral color. This goes for the outside as well – a loud or non-neutral colour may just keep the buyers from even stopping to see the inside. Instead, choose bold or trendy colours in your accessories.

6. Make pet’s and children’s toys disappear:
Let’s face it, children’s and pet’s things can take over your house. The presence of food, toys, books, and boxes are generally a turn-off. They should really be contained in principle rooms of the house, so buyers are not distracted from the prime objective – viewing your home in the best possible light.

Hope that’s a start. Good luck with your home staging projects this spring.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Office Design & Your Productivity

My husband recently mentioned that his company was moving into their new office soon, and that he needed to plan his new office work space. A plant, good chair, some light, maybe a picture or two, water got me thinking about just how important your work environment really is. A poor workplace costs businesses millions each year in lost productivity. And nowadays, the average worker spends about 45 hours a week at work, most of that time sitting in their own office. You want happy and productive employees? Make their work space comfortable!

There's many social distractions at the office that cut down productivity numbers, for sure. Good design and function only helps lead to better overall performance and happier employees. So what aspects of office design are most important? The most obvious is clutter. Many people waste valuable time just searching for papers, phone numbers, invoices, or resources they need. That clutter is likely also slow down your mental energy and makes it more difficult to focus. Try to keep only the necessities on your desk, and put everything else into drawers, shelves, organizers and cabinets. Colour-coded file folders and multiple to-do lists is my secret for keeping all projects and papers in order, whether at work or in my personal life.
The layout and set-up of your office is also important. Make sure you can easily reach things you use most often, like your phone, stapler or a reference binder. If you have to get up every few minutes to reach for them you’ve already broken your concentration and lost time. Equally, if your chair is uncomfortable and you keep getting up to stretch out, your body will eventually start to feel it.

The d├ęcor in your office can have a major impact on your mood or energy levels. I’ve talked about the impact of colour before, but I can’t stress enough how really important it is in your working environment. Cool or neutral tones are calming, and earth tones or warm colours can help those creative juices. Also, inspirational photos, plants, personal items or books, natural light from large windows (versus just fluorescent overhead lights) can also inspire, and boost your energy and productivity.

The more you create a work environment that matches your personality and makes you feel at ease, the happier and more productive you’ll be getting the job done!