Tuesday, January 26, 2016

If You Are Buying, Building, or Renovating a Home in 2016 - Please, PLEASE - AVOID the Following:



Most often posts on my blog are about what-to-do, but today this post is about what-NOT-to-do in order to love your home more.  I have the great privilege of being able to go into many different people's homes and help them out with their spaces.  It seemed like in 2015 I was often called into homes to help address some of the same problems over and over again - which is why I feel the need to speak out now - before it's too late for other homes.  These are problems that are not easy to work around - because the problems lay in the way the space has been constructed - which can not be easily changed.  So please, PLEASE, for the love of all that is good and holy - if you are buying, building or seriously renovating a home in 2016 please AVOID the following 5 things:

1) CORNER FIREPLACE:



The biggest culprit I saw in 2015 was the corner fireplace.  I don't know why, but it seems like a bunch of home-builders decided this was a good idea - it's NOT, and I'll tell you why:  

When designing a space, the first thing you want to determine is a primary point of focus.  That primary focal point is where the attention and direction of the room is focused and everything else falls into place around it.  Focal points should be clearly defined and organized in a hierarchy (primary, secondary, tertiary. . .), and should not compete with each other for dominance.

Primary focal points are almost always the most commanding architectural feature of a space (like a fireplace, or big window, etc).  Thus - when you have a fireplace in a room, it should be the primary point of focus - not a side thought.  If you are going to put a fireplace in a space, it should be centrally located where it will be easy to arrange everything else around it. My favourite is smack-dab in the center of the main wall of the space - not stuffed into a corner.

Being side by side, the TV /fireplace and piano are competing for attention, but because of the corner fireplace there's nowhere else for this piano to go . . . 
I know corner fireplaces can be made to look nice in show-homes - but it's easy to make show homes look nice because they don't have real people living in them with real stuff!  Don't be deceived!  Corner fireplaces limit furniture arrangement possibilities (most often you are limited to a L-shaped arrangement), and eat up wall space (because it impacts the two walls they are attached to instead of 1).  They become really difficult when another element that commands attention needs to be included in the space (like a TV, or a piano - or both in the case of one of my clients!), because the two features when placed side-by-side (which you often have to do because you have no other choice) will compete with each other disrupting the hierarchy and creating confusion!

There are very few ways to pull off a corner fireplace well.  The best is in a very large, open space without much else in it.  This maximizes your options for furniture arrangements.



If you're reading this too late, and you're already stuck with one of these suckers, the best thing to do is to give it more prominence by pulling it up all the way to the ceiling.

If you can't do "best" try for "better."  We couldn't change the position of the fireplace in this home and the piano had to stay in this room - so we cleaned up the decorative arrangement above the piano centralizing attention by using a round mirror and some lamps.  Then we drew the fireplace all the way up to the ceiling, kept the TV above the fireplace and balanced it out with tall drapes on the window.  It's not the best, but it's better.



If you also have a TV in the space, place it above the fireplace, NOT beside it.  This way you are combining these two attention grabbers into a single focal point instead of dividing them into 2 competing ones.

TV & fireplace combined in a single focal Point

Corner fireplace & TV placed side by side in 2 competing focal points.  I don't know where to place my attention - the TV?  Or the fireplace?  

2) CHOPPED UP FLOORING: 


Next to walls, nothing divides space more effectively than flooring.  Chopping up flooring makes space feel smaller and limits options for function and aesthetics (determines what the space can be used for and restricts how furniture can be arranged).  When it comes to flooring - particularly in open and connected spaces - less is always better.  Ultimately if you can be consistent with just 1 flooring type in the space that is ideal, but two can work if they are different mediums and you are using them to specifically and purposely divide spaces with different functional purposes (ie: a tile/carpet or /wood/carpet or tile/wood).  3 different flooring mediums in an open and connected space is pushing it.  It can be skillfully done, but is best avoided, and I would never do more than 3.  DO NOT put different selections of the same medium next to each other (carpet next to a different kind of carpet, tile next to a different type of tile, etc) and don't put fake wood (like laminate or tile wood planks) next to real wood - ever.

3)  SMALL DECORATIVE ALCOVES:


Sometimes people will build these in simply to avoid having too many blank walls.  DON'T!  There's nothing wrong with blank walls!  Blank walls give you multiple options - small alcoves limit your options.

Decorative alcoves often draw a lot of attention to whatever is put in them.  They are great for displaying famous pieces of art in European cathedrals - but they most often seem out of place in average homes and the main challenge to residents is: "what the heck am I going to put in there?" Decorative alcoves tend to create a "shrine" effect.  They draw attention and give importance to whatever they display - and most often, average home owners don't really have something of great importance to put in them.  Most often they become cluttered with trinkets or become collecting points for junk.


Large alcoves can be great, and can enhance the function and character of a space - but that is because they are big enough to support different options.  Small alcoves are limiting, and you're better off to just avoid them.



4) BUILT-IN DECORATIVE LEDGES:



When I see this, I often think to myself that it would have been better just to carry the walls around the closet up to the ceiling.  Maybe the dead space could be turned into clever hidden storage accessible from the other side that would actually be useful.

These seem to be have been a real trend for home-builders at one time and I see them frequently in homes that have been built in the last 20 years.  Again, they can be made to look OK in a show home where there's no real people with real stuff living in them, but often they're a pain in the butt for real home-owners.  Much like the alcove, the question is always what to put on them.  They limit options in the space, and inevitably just get cluttered up with junk that collects dust.   It kills me - because most often something like this is unnecessary, it takes up floor space for no real purpose, takes extra time and money to do, and a lot of time and money to undo.  Save your money and your sanity - just don't do it.

If you want something to decorate with - use shelves.  Shelves can be nice and they give you options. If you don't like them in 5 years you can easily take them down and do something different.  Built in ledges leave you stuck with only 1 option or a major renovation.


5) ROUNDED DRYWALL CORNERS:




Again, a popular trend among home builders that is often a thorn in my side.  These can add more softness and flow to a space, and are often more resistant to chipping than conventional 90* corners - however they are a pain because they again they limit options.  How so you ask?

Well, let's say I want to use more than 1 colour on the walls in a space.  Rounded exterior corners are great for flow, but not so great for separation.  If I want one colour on just one side of the wall It's really hard to know how and where to divide one colour from the other on a rounded corner, whereas it is clearly defined with a 90* corner.

Unless you are a master finisher - they also make the application of trim and moldings difficult because there's no easy-to-cut right angle.  This can limit you from being able to apply any kind of paneling effect that you may want to add to a space.


This just hurts me . . .
There are probably a couple of other things that I could add to this list of do-nots, but these are the main 5.  The trait that they all have in common is that they limit the options of what can be done with your space.  When creating a space, I like to have as many options available to me as possible, which is why the restrictions imposed by these things bother me so much!

For most people, the purchase of their homes will be the biggest investment they will ever make, and I hate to see people spend money on things that will only be headaches for them later.  I want you to love your home - to love being there.  Avoiding these things will help!








Thursday, November 26, 2015

BLACK FRIDAY SALE 2015!

Over the course of the year, I manage to generate a fair amount of scrap fabric left-over from the projects I have completed.  Last year I decided to whip up some quick pillow shams from this fabric and offer them to my customers as a Black Friday Sale!


It was so successful I have decided to do it again!  We have $5 17x17" cotton print pillow shams again, and have added $10 cotton print Euro shams (26x26" with 2" flange)!  Quantities are limited - when they're gone they're gone!  Sale starts tomorrow, Friday November 27th at 9am (MST) and ends Monday, November 30th at 12am (MST). www.etsy.com/shop/metzinteriors





Saturday, November 14, 2015

Something New For Christmas



I LOVE Christmas and I LOVE pretty things - so naturally Christmas decorating is something I like to do!

I had built our family's Christmas decoration collection slowly over time by adding something new to the same theme each year. Eventually after 8 years or so, I felt like I had topped out my theme, and I was tired of my decorations!  For the last couple of years I have been looking for something new, but nothing has really grabbed me.  Gradually however, I felt myself moving away from the fancy-schmancy, gold and glittering decorations to something a little more simple, clean and natural.

I fell in love with red berries and decided to make the transition last year, experimenting with some new themes and began to build a new collection - so it was perfect when I received an email this year from treeclassics.com asking if I would be interested in reviewing a couple of their products!  I could choose a couple products that they would send to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review on my blog.  Free Christmas decorations of my choice in exchange for my honest opinion?  It seemed like a no-brainer.  So things around my studio got a little Christmasy a little earlier this year.



Treeclassics.com specializes in beautiful artificial Christmas trees, but to me it's just not Christmas without that real-tree smell, so I opted instead to review a couple of items from their other accessories.

Because I have fallen in love with red-berries and have based my new decoration collection heavily around that theme - the Classic Cranberry Christmas Wreath instantly caught my attention.




The wreath was larger than I expected, which I was quite happy about!  It's simple and natural but beautiful, and aligned entirely with my new vision and direction.


The cranberries on the wreath are quite realistic, which I appreciated.  The twigs do seem to shed a bit when the wreath is handled - but overall I am very happy with this lovely wreath!




The 2nd product to catch my eye was the Silver Glass Beaded Finial Set.  In my new vision, what to do with the tree is what I have wrestled with the most.  I started with clear lights and lots of berry sprigs, but after that I was getting stuck.  I wanted a clean and natural look, and felt myself moving away from ribbons and garlands - but I didn't really like the pine-cone, burlap/twig ornament look either.  I experimented with some "ice and snow" styled decorations, and decided I liked that much better.



I love finials because they remind me of icicles, and these elegant beauties grabbed my attention.  I loved the 2 different shapes which provided some variety and thought the glass beads would catch the light from the tree in lovely ways.




These ornaments are a nice weight and quality - but I just didn't love them as much as I thought I would.  That being said, I can't really put my finger on why exactly.  I think in the end, they were just a bit chunkier than I expected, and they just didn't catch the light quite as I hoped they would, but they are still a lovely decoration that brings a little touch of fancy to my new, much more simple tree.

     

All in all, I was quite impressed with the products I received from treeclassics.com!  If you're looking for something new this Christmas, check them out!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Easy Upgrades That Will Transform Your Bathroom

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Kelsey Reaves from Modernize.com about doing a guest post. Modernize.com is where you come to get inspired, see what's possible, and connect with a professional who will make your dream home a reality!  The following are ideas from Modernize.com about some easy upgrades to transform your bathroom:


Bathrooms are often the last thing in your home to be updated. We tend to overlook cosmetic
repairs to favor just the necessities of such a utilitarian space. The bathroom is actually a place
where you will spend a lot of your time so why not make it an enjoyable experience? At
Modernize, we know that the delight of an updated bathroom will not only improve your daily life
but will be noticed by your guests and your family.

Via Modernize.com

The first place to look to upgrade is your fixtures. By changing your bathtub handles and knobs
you will create an updated and clean look. Choosing deep matte brown fixtures for your tub will
add a warm and cozy vibe. Make sure to match the fixtures throughout the whole bathroom to
pull everything together.

Cleanliness is just as important as style, take this opportunity to clean
out your drains and do an overall scrub as you go. Then, set a rotating weekly schedule to keep
everything clean on a regular basis. It’s much easier to perform maintenance cleaning than to
deal with a bunch of grime that has built up over an extended period of time.

Adding in a new paint color to your bathroom is the cheapest upgrade with the greatest effect.
Choose a bright happy color to motivate you in your morning routine. Shades of yellow and
green make especially good choices. You can also use a peel and stick wallpaper to take a
chance with a bold pattern. Bathrooms are usually your smallest room, and it’s a place where
you can take the biggest stylistic risk. With temporary wallpaper you can create an accent wall
in a bold pattern. Use a navy stripes wallpaper and go for a nautical theme or baroque flowers
for a classic sophistication. The possibilities are endless.

Via Modernize.com

Choose a light fixture for your bathroom that makes a splash. Incorporate bright lighting so that
you can see clearly as you prep for the day. Choose lights that are bright but still calming. If you
want to keep your existing lighting but hope to match them to your new fixtures just use a can of
spray paint to paint your lighting to match. Simply turn off the lights and unscrew the fixture from
the wall. Cover the bulb area with a plastic bag and attach it with painter’s tape at the edge.
From a few feet away spray an even paint coat over the fixture. Allow it to dry for at least a day
before reattaching your new lighting to the wall. It’s easy to make small updates that will make a
huge difference. Many of these upgrades can be done yourself for a fun at home project.

Add in a few key accessories to show off your personal style. Change out your dingy old curtain
for a new one.  Shower curtains get dirty so quickly, so keep an eye on the shower liner and
replace them on a regular basis. Get some new accessories for your bathroom and let
everything feel fresh and new. Choose toothbrush holders and soap dishes to match your
fixtures. It’s a great idea to update your towels to match your new theme.

Via Modernize.com
Once you’ve completed your new bathroom, you’ll be shocked by the difference it makes. Easy
upgrades will make a huge change and soon you’ll love spending time in your new room. Many
quick and easy DIY projects will make a big difference within your home. The bath is an easy
place to get cluttered and messy with so much traffic. Don’t forget to give your old bathroom the
same TLC you give to the rest of your home.

- Kelsey Reaves, Modernize.com

Thursday, February 5, 2015

How to Re-Upholster Furniture with Wood Parts


It wasn't long after I tackled re-upholstering my first sofa that I wanted to try and do some other furniture pieces.  I just wasn't entirely sure how to get around the exposed wood bits.  With some trial and error I figured it out.

Most of the steps for re-upholstering are the same as those in my tutorial on "How to Re-Upholster a Sofa"  so I won't repeat them here, just the bits that are different.

STEP 1:  Check and see if the wood sections detach.

In many cases, I have found that often the wood sections will detach from the furniture frame.  They are usually held in place with wood dowels and glue.


Check the fabric to see how it is secured around the sections of exposed wood.  If the fabric is secured around the wood with staples and piping the exposed wood is most likely permanently attached to the wood frame; however, if the fabric is secured to the frame underneath the exposed wood sections, those sections should come off.

STEP 2: Remove the wood sections or piping.

If your fabric is secured to the frame UNDERNEATH the exposed wood sections: 

Use a lever (flat-head screw driver, butter-knife, whatever!) to gently pry off the wood sections.  They will most likely be attached to the frame with wooden dowels that insert into holes drilled into the frame.  They may be glued and be somewhat stiff at first. Start small and be careful not to damage the wood (you may need to wrap your lever in a piece of scrap fabric).


Work to remove the wood section evenly a little bit at a time to avoid breakage (this is particularly important when working on a delicate antique).  Find where the dowels are and exert more pressure there.


In some cases, wood pieces may be attached to the frame with screws.  Look for any screw holes (usually on the bottom) - and remove the screws with a screw driver.



If your fabric is secured to the frame AROUND the exposed wood sections: 

Carefully remove the fabric around the exposed wood.  It is usually finished with furniture tacks or piping/double piping.  This has to come off first.  Try to keep it as intact as possible so you can use it as a pattern for your new fabric.  Note how the fabric and piping/tacks are attached - you will want to re-attach your new fabric/piping/tacks in the same way.

An example of a chair with the fabric finished around the edges of the wood with double piping.  The piping is usually attached with staples that are hidden in-between the piping.  Use a flat-head screwdriver or butter knife to gently pry it off.

An example of a chair where the edges around the wood are finished off with furniture tacks.  Use a flat-head screwdriver or butter knife to gently pry it off.

STEP 3:  Refinish wood sections (if needed)

See my post: "Re-Upholstering Furniture Part 1: Refinishing Wood" for instructions.




STEP 4: Remove and replace fabric

See my post: "How To Re-Upholster a Sofa" for instructions.

STEP 5: Re-attach wood sections/piping

If your wood pieces are removable:

A) To get the wood pieces to fit back on the frame you may need to scrape or sand off any old glue still attached to the wood pieces (particularly on the dowels).  You will also want to re-drill the holes to make sure that they are clear, cut away any fabric, and look for any staples that may get in the way of the hole.

*If the dowels were damaged when you removed the wood pieces, you may need to cut them off, drill them out and insert new dowel pieces with wood glue.*

Do a "dry-fit" first, to ensure that your wood piece will fit back on properly - if it doesn't, repeat step 5A and keep checking until the piece fits properly.

B) Apply wood glue to the inside of the dowel holes and the dowels on the wood pieces - position the pieces and press firmly into place (be careful not to drip glue on your new fabric!!!)




If your wood pieces are not removable:

Attach the fabric around the exposed wood pieces the same way the old fabric was attached.  Often this is folded under, and pulled tightly around sections like these chair legs . . .

Drape the fabric around the wood section.

Fold under and tuck in around the wood.

Fold the fabric edge under and pull tightly.

Pull the fabric tightly around to the back of  the frame.

Secure the fabric to the bottom of the frame with staples.

. . . or secured at the edge with staples and then finished (covered) with piping/double piping or furniture tacks.  When using piping be sure to hide your staples in the crease of the piping so that they are not visible (you may need a hammer and nail-punch to ensure that they are inset deep enough so as to not be visible).  When using double piping place your staples in-between the piping to hide them.  When using furniture tacks - use a hammer to gently secure the tacks in place.  Be careful not to accidentally damage the wood with your hammer.

STEP 6: Love your "new" furniture!




Monday, November 24, 2014

Black Friday 2014

I LOVE a great deal - so I'm super excited to be able to offer one for Black Friday this year!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How To Completely Transform a Bathroom in 21 Days


When we moved into our house 5 years ago, the main-floor bathroom was perhaps the most detestable space.  I knew it was going to need a total overhaul, so I didn't bother to touch it until I could do it all






 I lived with this bathroom for 5 YEARS, and then the time for change finally came!


DAY 1: Out With The Old!

We began by ripping everything out.  We had replaced the bathtub/shower a few years earlier due to mold and water-damage issues, and then replaced the toilet for water conservation purposes a little while later, so those things stayed - but everything else had to go, and it felt sooo good to get rid of it all!





DAY 2: Re-Routing The Lights

As part of my renovation plan I didn't just want to replace the old light fixture.  Instead I had an entirely different lighting plan in mind that involved a fair amount of electrical work to re-route the lights from one fixture above the mirror to 2 fixtures, one on each side of the mirror.  Drywall had to be cut open, studs had to be drilled through, the attic had to be crawled in, the breaker had to be replaced.  It was a fair amount of work - but worth it in the end!


DAY 3: Tape & Mud


Day 3 was about patching things back up after the lighting shift.  On went the tape and first coat of mud.  I have decided that mudding drywall really isn't my thing - but up to this part it's not so bad.


DAY 4: 2nd Coat Of Mud

Here's where dry-walling and I start to fall apart.  Achieving that perfect smooth look is really finicky business.  This was my 2nd stab at dry-walling, and I'm not sure that I really improved much from my first attempt. Luckily my Dad was there to help me along with his skilled hands and years of experience!


DAY 4: 3rd Coat of Mud 

Yes, we had to mud again.  By this point I was definitely ready to move on!  However, while I was waiting for all that mud to dry I got busy removing the nasty old lino.  Pulling up the lino itself wasn't so bad, but scraping the paper backing off the plywood was a bit of a tedious chore.  I found spraying the paper with water and then scraping it up with a putty-knife reasonably effective.



DAY 5: Sanding and Priming

I was so happy to get to this point, but I found sanding dry-wall to be another total pain in the butt!  What looks and feels smooth, may not actually be - and every flaw will be revealed once the paint goes up.  My Dad taught me to hold a work light level to the wall in order to reveal the flaws that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye, then sand bumps and fill holes. It worked well - but unfortunately just revealed a whole lot more work to be done - ugh!  I have learned that dry-walling is not for the faint of heart.  If you have the patience for perfection, dry-walling will be your thing - if not, you may want to consider leaving it up to the professionals!

Finally, I could move on to priming!  It was so exciting to cover up that nasty pea-soup green!


DAY 6: Paint

Due to the absence of any kind of natural light in my bathroom and it's small size, I opted for an all-white colour scheme to lighten, brighten, and enlarge the space.  This involved several coats of paint (4 in total), but each stroke took me further and further away from that dreadful green.  It was happy work!


DAY 7: More Paint

Once my walls went white I realized that I was going to have to paint the ceiling as well.  It looked so dingy next to the brilliance of my freshly painted white walls!  Painting ceilings is not my favourite activity (hard on the neck and arms), but it wasn't too bad in such a small space.


DAY 8: In With The New!
"Lillholmen" lights from Ikea 
 With the painting completed we could start installing the new fixtures!  Day 8 was about the lights (which were easy), and the bathroom fan - which was not so easy.  I thought the fan would be simple to replace, but unfortunately it had to be done from the attic - which was not so fun.


DAY 9:  Floor
See: "How To Install a Herringbone Tile Floor"
I had really fallen in love with herringbone floors and couldn't wait to try it out in my own home.  It was a long, messy day of hard work - but when it was all done, I just wanted to stare at my floor and smile.


DAY 10: More Floor

Day 10 saw my new floor grouted.  Another messy, but satisfying day!


DAY 11: Trim and Paneling

I find all-white spaces most effective when elements of texture, shape and line are added.  Without these additional elements, all white can feel too stark, plain and frankly institutional.  Paneling my walls brought all these things along with classic elegance and sophistication, and really, was quite easy to do.  Day 11 was a very exciting day!


DAY 12: Crown Moulding, and Custom Closet Door
The bathroom closet I created came with an unusually sized door opening that was going to require a custom door.  This was actually a lot more simple than I thought it was going to be.  We framed in the door jamb, took a plain piece of white shelving material, cut it to size, added trim to the face, a couple hinges to the edge and voila!  We had a new custom door, perfectly tailored to blend in with my moulding panels - LOVE!


Installing crown moulding is always a bit tricky, but it is always worth it.  I could stare at it all day.

See: "Cutting and Installing Crown Moulding"


DAY 13: New Vanity & Toilet Installed


Day 14: Marble Back-Splash
I really wanted a marble counter top for my new bathroom vanity but I just couldn't make it fit into the budget, so instead I settled for a marble mosaic back-splash:

See "DIY Mosaic Back-Splash"


DAY 15: More Trim
With the back-splash installed I could finally finish off my wall panels by trimming around the vanity.




DAY 16: Dap, Dap and More Dap


All that moulding meant a LOT of Dapping, not only for aesthetic reasons, but for practical ones too.  With the exception of the baseboards, all of the moulding I used in my bathroom was MDF.  Typically MDF doesn't do well in moist environments because it will absorb water, warp and swell.  To avoid this I had to make sure that all of my moulding was sealed very, very well.  By the end of day 13 my finger tips were raw!  


DAY 17: More Paint
With every nook and cranny filled with Dap, I could finally seal off my moulding with it's final layer of protection against moisture: 3 more coats of paint!




DAY 18: Mirror & Towel Hooks


DAY 19: Call The Plumber!
We got the faucet started, but couldn't get it finished.  A plumber was called and had everything working properly in less than an hour.

Faucet from faucetdirect.com

DAY 20: Final Touches
I decided to dress up my vanity by replacing the brass knobs with glass crystal.  Normally, these are fairly expensive, but I found them for super cheap on aliexpress.com:





DAY 21:  New Bathroom Bliss
I just wanted to stand and stare at my beautiful new bathroom!  Looking at the "before" photos it's hard to believe it is the same space!