Savvy Home Renovation Investments

With spring around the corner which means the real estate market is about to kick into high gear. Are you planning on listing your home? Have you been wondering how to spend your money wisely to maximize your home’s price for resale? Without a doubt, hiring a professional designer that will guide you through the process is always best, however if you prefer to try it out on your own here are a couple of suggestions for your consideration.

Kitchens and bathrooms are the smartest way to update your home. It is wise to update these key rooms every decade.  If it’s been many years since you’ve had a remodel, these would be ideal places to begin. Modern home buyers are looking for open concept, efficient and organized kitchens to entertain in. They are also looking for sap bathrooms and ensuites which invite you to relax and unwind in style.

Master Ensuite - Before
Master Ensuite – Before
Master Ensuite - After
Master Ensuite – After

If a kitchen or bathroom renovation is not in this year’s budget, there are other ways to improve your home for resale. One of the easiest ways to protect your investment is to maintain your property. Fix anything that’s broken as soon as it needs a repair or update. A little TLC goes a long way. Paint every few years to keep your home fresh and on trend with a modern colour palette. Pay attention to doors, windows and light fixtures.

Another great design tip is to remove clutter regularly so that your home is a haven for special memories and treasures, not junk. Let your front entrance welcome friends, guests and potential buyers to your beautiful, organized home.

A professional designer (that’s me) can show you how to add storage solutions to your home, decorate tastefully and create a consistent decor scheme. I can show you how fresh cushions can update the look of your couch, and new window coverings can add life to a dated room. Always ensure that your home’s decorations match the current season. Homes that are clean, organized and beautifully decorated sell quickly.


Where I’ve been…


A few weeks back, I made a commitment to blog, and to do so regularly during my work week. While I may have already slagged on that last part of the commitment, I have a fantastic excuse! I completed a MAJOR presentation a little over a week ago for a full refurbishment of a 12 storey condominium in downtown Kingston. The scope of work surrounding this project is the largest I have ever tackled and the preparation for the final presentation took a lot of time and energy. I am ever grateful that I work with/for an experienced designer and business man who has been able to assist me through this entire process. With voting now open to the owners, I have nothing left to do but wait for the results…. this may just drive me batty!

Let me share with you, my concept;


The corridors: new carpet from the second floor up to and including the 12th. Remove existing wallpaper and wall sconces, paint all doors and trim.  The colour concept needed to flow with the Lobby that was renovated a couple of years ago so I pulled the choices directly from the existing furniture fabric. The new sconces will double the light output in the corridors without doubling electricity costs. The corridors are 6ft wide and there is not a lot of room for artwork so we will update the directional signage at the elevators while adding some black and white photography of local landmarks – a different one for each floor. The directional signage is mounted on aluminum which transports the viewer inside the photograph in a way that can only be accomplished with this mounting process.


The changerooms off of the Gym and Multi-purpose rooms also need a face lift. For budgetary restraints we choose a durable vinyl floor with a floating laminate countertop. New plumbing and light fixtures throughout will update the space and make the rooms more efficient with low-flow toilets and urinals. The Gym and Multi-purpose rooms will have a carpet tile border with proper rubber flooring for the equipment in the centre of the rooms. The same carpet tile will also be used in the Library and will use a 1/4 turn installation for added interest. 

So what do you think? Would you vote for this concept?

Finding your Inspiration

Where do you find your inspiration for your rooms? Every good designer, regardless of experience levels, starts with an inspiration piece as their foundation on which to build a successfully designed room.

Before I meet with a client I ask them to collect pictures of rooms that have the same look and feel that they are hoping to create. These pictures can be from magazines, television shows, websites or even from their travels.  Though it doesn’t have to stop there, if you love the colour of hydrangea’s, consider painting the walls light and add variations of blues, creams and soft purples for your fabric selections. Maybe you have found the perfect piece of fabric or toss cushions to start from. You might even use a favourite piece of jewellery or art work. Inspiration comes from everywhere!


The stripe is the “jumping off point” and from there complimentary fabrics are selected.

For designers, the arrival of new sample books sometimes feels like Christmas morning as the pages are flipped through to see the newest collections. Wallpaper is typically my soft spot, like this new book full of Moroccan inspired patterns and sparkle:


This wallpaper is so beautiful, fingers crossed I get to use it soon!

Are you looking for inspiration? Talk a walk, flip through a magazine, look in your closet for your favourite piece of clothing or surf the web. Try not to limit yourself when searching for inspiration. Here are a couple of places you can start:

  • HGTV
  • Home and Garden Magazine
  • Interiors Magazine
  • DIY Network
  • Blogs
  • Instagram
  • Pintrest
  • Architectural Digest
  • Living Magazine
  • Better Homes Magazine
  • and more magazines targeted to specific design styles

Bringing Work Home: Tips on Creating a Home Office


Modern technology has enabled us to work from home more than ever before. Emails, tablets, smartphones and computer networking keep us connected no matter where we are, even in the comfort of our own home. This saves us time and money as well as frustrating commutes.

Before deciding where your office space should be, consider what tasks will be performed in your home office. Will you need privacy to make important phone calls or receive potential clients or guests? Maybe you plan on using your office space to keep track of household expenditures and pay bills. Depending on your needs, your office can be as simple as a nook in your kitchen or it may require a separate room. Here are some tips for creating a space that will be functional and attractive:

  • If possible, find a room with a door, this will keep your business separate from the rest of your living space and minimize unwanted interruptions and distractions.
  • Lighting should be functional. Natural light by a window is always best and task lighting such as a desk lamp or overhead light will reduce eyestrain.
  • Plan for twice as much storage as you think you will need. A filling cabinet, shelving with baskets and trays help keep your files and paperwork neat and organized and minimizes clutter on your workspace.
  • If you plan on inviting clients to your home, consider a small sofa or chairs with a table to provide a comfortable and professional seating area.

Working from home is a wonderful option that offers freedom from the stresses of commuting giving you extra time to spend with your loved ones. Whether you are looking for a designated space to pay bills and conduct your household accounting or to welcome clients for business meetings, your home office should be functional and reflect your style and taste.  For more design ideas visit Tall Pines Interiors today!


Many home offices double as a guest room. The use of Murphy Beds and Day Beds help ensure valuable space is not wasted and create a welcoming atmosphere.


Space Saving Furniture

Extra living space can at times be a rare commodity in a home. Space saving furniture will help create a less cluttered, cleaner look to your home and reduce stress when unexpected guests come to visit!

Create  Closets

If your closet space is limited, get creative when looking for alternative storage space. The right closet organizer will add 25% or more of usable space for your clothing. Consider adding a storage drawer under   your bed that can house your shoes or toy collection. Storage ottomans are a perfect place to store your blankets and can double as a linen closet if your closed storage space is limited.

closet organizer systems-kxhU


Sleep  On  It

Your guest room shouldn’t only be used when guests arrive. Consider using a sofa bed that can be used as a quiet place to sit and relax or read. The sofa bed frees up valuable floor space and opens the guest room up for the possibility of a multi-­‐functioning room. Multi-purpose furniture such as a Murphy Bed is an excellent option for guest rooms that double as a home office space. The bed folds up into the wall and disappears until it is needed. What is left is wall-to-wall built in storage and clear and open floor space for your office needs. In a matter of minutes you go from an office space to a guest room with little effort.


Multi functional furniture can help resolve the lack of space in our homes without compromising style. Space saving furniture is a practical and inexpensive option that can look great too! The design experts at  Tall  Pines  Interiors can help you solve your storage and space dilemmas. Visit our website to arrange for a consultation or for more inspiration on furniture options and products available.

Window Coverings Make a Statement in Your Home

Windows are the ‘eye of the home that frames the view of the outside world’ and your options for covering those windows are endless, limited only by your personal style, budget and needs. Window coverings can be the focal point of any room while also serving a functional purpose. Window treatments of any type help control how much light enters your room and enhancing privacy. The right window treatment can also help improve your energy efficiency by minimizing drafts. Add to that, fully automated blinds or shades that raise or lower at the suns highest (depending on the season) and it is easy to see how helpful today’s window treatments can be in improving the efficiency of our homes.

So what kind of window treatment is right for you? Here is a quick run-down of available window treatments available to you.


Blinds are considered a “hard” window treatment and help create a clean and uncluttered look on any type or size of window or door. Blinds can be made from metal, bamboo, plastic, wood or fabric and are extremely easy to clean.

Vertical blinds can add drama, strong lines and enhance the height of a room so they are particularly effective in rooms with lower ceilings. They allow for good air circulation while protecting your home from harmful UV rays.

Visionelle Sheer Vertical Wrap 1

A recent addition to the vertical blind family is the Sheer Vertical Wrap that uses the versatility and function of a vertical blind with the soft lines of a sheer.

Horizontal blinds made from wood or faux-wood are more expensive than metal or plastic but are quite popular and versatile. They can be used to create a modern and contemporary look or traditional and rustic depending on your home decor and style.

Faux Wood 5


Shades are considered a “soft” window treatment that ranges from elegant and formal to casual and simple. Cellular, honeycomb and pleated shades are normally made from fabric and add warmth and comfort to any window and room. These shades are typically available in horizontal and vertical styles with a variety of room darkening or light filtering features.

Roman Shade 8

Roller or roman shades offer simple, no frills window coverage that give any room a homey and casual feel.

Drapes, Curtains and Sheers

Curtains, drapes and sheers are available in countless colours, fabrics and pattern designs and suit any budget. Curtains can cover the entire window or hung as side panels for a layered look. Hanging draperies floor to ceiling add a “perceived” height to any room.

Pleated Shades 6

Layering your window coverings with panels or curtains creates a dramatic effect, adding dimension to any space.

For more information on window covering options or to schedule a consultation visit Tall Pines Interiors today!

Covering Up

Living in the Limestone City means there is an abundance of older homes. While these homes are chocked full of character, they also bring challenges to the owners when it comes time to update. Radiators in particular can be problematic as they are expensive to replace and not all homes are capable of being retrofitted with new duct work for furnaces. So what can you do? Aside from replacing your existing rads with a lower profile wall mount which still comes at a higher cost, you can cover them. Radiators covers will not only take any emphasis away from those unsightly rads by creating an architectural detail, they can also act double duty as a window bench or much needed shelf in an entrance way. The best part of building radiator covers for your new space? The covers are built for your taste and style to enhance the space to your liking. As an example, if your furniture is Shaker style then your rad cover can reflect that:


If you are keeping with a more traditional feel to your home, perhaps this is more suited to your tastes:


Even in small spaces like this bathroom, the radiator cover offers clean lines and a much needed shelf while not taking up too much space:


Radiator covers are a versatile and effective way to hide your rads without loosing their function and can add the finishing touch to any space. For more design ideas or if you are planning on renovating your older home, visit and schedule a consultation today!

The Right Colour Makes a Difference!

For some people, choosing colours for their homes seems to be a daunting task. Unsure of how to use this important design tool, and afraid of creating the wrong look, many opt for off-white walls and choose simple designs for furniture. The right colour, however, can change the way you look and feel about your home and create a look that truly expresses your personal style.

There are over one million colours, all variations or red, yellow and blue. Colours with a red or yellow base are referred to as warm colours, because of the emotions they evoke and their association with fire, sunlight and other warm forces. Colours based with blue are considered cool colours, relating to the sky, mountains and water.

 HighParkPaintSample          GrasslandsPaintSample

The sample on the left (Benjamin Moore’s High Park) is a “cool” green while the sample on the right (Benjamin Moore’s Grasslands) is a “warm” green

There has been a great deal of research into how colour affects our attitudes, moods and general outlook. Although we may not be aware of its influence, colours can make us feel warm or cold, excited or calm. Within our home, the proper use of colour can help make a room more  inviting or make a small room feel larger. 

When choosing colour for your home, remember that all elements need to be taken into account – the furniture, the walls, the floors and the furniture. Generally, larger areas, such as ceilings and floors, should have fuller or softer colours allowing your furniture and accessories to make an impact. If you have a number of photos or large paintings to display, hang them on a white or lightly-coloured wall to give them the most significance.

The structure and location of your room is also important – look at the architectural details such as a fireplace or interesting moulding and decide whether they should be highlighted.

Keep in mind that the sun exposure will affect the intensity of the colour, as will nighttime lighting. Certain colours have an architectural background that may be more in keeping with the age and style of your home, for example Williamsburg Blue as opposed to a more Modern grey.

Most importantly, choose colours that you can live with! Every year fashion and trends and while some people can afford the time and money to re-paint, most of us want a look that is more timeless. Take the next step in design and work with some new colour in your home – you may be surprised at home it can make your home a more comfortable place to be. 

Mixing Colours and Patterns

Mixing colours and patterns can be tricky, even overwhelming at times. So much so that many people opt out of using patterns when it comes to upholstered items and choose simple solid colours leaving patterns for small pieces such as toss pillows. When done correctly, mixing colours and patterns will add that much desired WOW factor to your room.

How much is too much and how many patterns can one room hold? The simple answer: it really depends on the size of the room, however anywhere from 4-6 patterns can easily be introduced into the average room.  Where to begin? Most Designers will find one patterned fabric with the desired colours as a starting point or inspiration. This fabric could be planned for drapery, a chair, pillows or even an existing area rug. From there, use the largest piece in the room, the sofa if working on your living room as an example, and keep that simple. A textured solid works great and will help ground the room.  When choosing this solid colour, pull as neutral of a colour as possible from your inspiration fabric. In keeping with the example of a living room re-do, find a larger pattern in complimentary colours for your upholstered chairs, for every style of chair, choose a different pattern (unless you are trying to bring similar chairs together for a conversation area). You may choose the same pattern in two different colours as well if you have two separate groupings of chairs for seating areas. When selecting complimentary patterns consider the shape and size of the pattern you are starting from. Is there a diamond shape throughout? Try to repeat the shape without repeating the pattern. Here is an example:


Notice the repeat of the diamond shape in 3 (4 could be argued with the yellow geometric) of these fabrics.

By repeating a pattern and changing up the colour you get the WOW factor without visual clutter.


Just because it matches doesn’t mean it will work. Here is an example of using the same amount of patterns without the flow of repeating the “shape” of the pattern:


The colour combinations have stayed the same – everything matches right? Hmm not so much. The smallest pattern doesn’t really work that well with the other fabrics and wouldn’t be useful in multiple applications without creating visual clutter.

There will be some trial and error so make sure you have all of your fabric choices together when making decisions. Don’t rely on memory! If you feel like maybe this is too much to handle on your own, keep in mind that Designers are more than happy to help you with a consultation. There is typically a small fee involved but the assurance from a professional eye to get you the room you desire is priceless.

Starting From the Bottom

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Interior Design as:

 “the art or practice of planning and supervising the design and execution of architectural interiors and their furnishings”

 They also define an Interior Designer as:

 “a person whose job is to plan how the rooms of a building should be furnished and decorated”


So, why would you need an Interior Designer and what can you expect when working with one? Simply put, an Interior Designer is a trained professional with knowledge of interior design concepts and finishes. We understand the various genres and styles of architecture, furnishings, wall coverings, colours and fabrics, and we have the ability to put these all together to create an atmosphere that truly reflects the personality of our clients.

Some common myths about Interior Designers are that we are only used by the rich and famous or that we will take over your home and throw out all of your belongings. Rest assured, an Interior Designer will be respectful of budget and work with you to design a look that fits your home and its existing elements, your belongings will remain with you unless you prefer otherwise. Instead you might notice your Designer taking pictures of your treasured items during your initial consultation. What you have in your home and how you accessorize it can be a starting point or our inspiration for the design of your new space. Designers work on a variety of projects and with a variety of budgets – we can act as a consultant or supplier, a liaison between you and your contractor/builder or you can use us as an excellent industry insider. Because Designers specify and order large selections of draperies, furnishings, wall and floor coverings using reputable suppliers and quality products, you save time and money – doesn’t everyone want that?

Here are some tips for finding an Interior Designer:

  • Word of mouth – a good reputation speaks for itself
  • Check out their online presence – via their website and social media pages, are they engaging? Do you like what you see?
  • Check with local paint stores or home improvement stores – professionals use box stores too!
  • Interview potential candidates before you commit. Ask to see a portfolio of work they’ve done and discuss schedules and fees involved
  • Fees may be based on hourly rates, daily billing or fixed depending on the project
  • Get it in writing! A good contract protects all parties involved and takes away a lot of the guessing work.

An Interior Designer will use their skills to make your home design vision a reality. Whether you are looking for a small change or a complete makeover, a Designer will help your home tell its own personal story, room by room with every detail. For more of our story go to