July 23, 2010
We have some exciting news to share. Our blog has been renamed and has moved to a new location!
The Corea Sotropa Interior Design blog is being replaced by a fresher looking revamped one called “The Pink Chandelier”, named after our company logo (rolls off the tongue much easier, don’t you think?) You can find all the previous posts, more great weekly articles and larger pictures at The Pink Chandelier. I hope that you will sign up for our updates which can be emailed to you directly if you enter your information in the “subscribe” section on the side bar.
It has been really wonderful getting to know all our followers through your kind comments and words of encouragement. We hope that you will follow us over to The Pink Chandelier. You’ve all been so great! See you there!
July 15, 2010
I recently completed landscaping my backyard and I have to say that I adore my new outdoor space! Now that I have my backyard finished, I get outside every chance I get. It is a very small garden, but has a dining area, two sitting areas, a fireplace, a fountain and an abundance of plants and pots. Here are some photos of my project and some tips I learned along the way that might help you to create your own small city garden.
I hired a wonderful landscaping company, JVR Landscaping, to help me with the layout and plants for the backyard. I wanted a modern garden, with lots of succulents and grasses. As much as I enjoy flowers I decided to do very few of them, instead opting for plants with interesting structures, textures and colors. Choosing these plants was a modern alternative to traditional perennials and annuals. Instead of a lawn, a large concrete patio with planting beds surrounding it was a better choice and use of the space. Doing this has enabled me to create several sitting areas and a play area for my son. I would highly recommend forgoing the lawn if you have a small back garden. You can still create a lush look without one!
Tip #1 – Consider succulent plants and grasses for a modern look.
Tip #2 – Skip the lawn and go for a patio to increase your outdoor living area space.
Here is my new concrete fountain! It was built in California and shipped up to Calgary. I am thrilled with the way the sound of water fills the air. It is so calming and drowns out any traffic noise. The concrete was stained a dark chocolate-brown color and its simple form creates a wonderful backdrop to a bed of succulents and grasses in front.
Tip #3 – Add a water fountain to help quite the city noises.
I found this wonderful Buddha at a local antique shop called Traders of the Lost Art It sits in a bed of wooly thyme and in front of a row of tall grass. The patina of the sculpture looks terrific against the dark stained cedar fence and row of tall grass. Traders of the Lost Art is a gem of a shop known to every Calgary interior designer for having wonderful treasures!
Tip #4 – Create a focal point with an unexpected sculpture.
The deck was expanded in size, and instead of using cedar, we selected Kayu Batu wood which has a very rich color and beautiful grain. In this photo, you can see the sitting area I created off the family room. Instead of an umbrella or awning, our landscaper suggested a lovely Brandon Elm tree that shades the deck. Succulents from Vale’s Greenhouse in Black Diamond, Alberta were used to fill my pots on the deck. If you live in Calgary or the surrounding area, you have to take a drive out to Vale’s. They have the most incredible selection of plants - especially succulents - and their pots and planting beds are the best I’ve ever seen!
Tip #5 – Consider an exotic wood species for your deck.
Tip #6 – Add a tree to shade the sitting area.
Tip #7 – Try grasses and plants with unique textures for contemporary pot plantings.
I picked up the furniture throughout the backyard from a number of stores in Calgary. You might notice that only the sofa and chairs match each other, and all the other pieces of furniture are mismatched. Several years ago I purchased the sofa and chairs from Chintz and Company because I liked their clean lines. I added a new contemporary teak table from Kitchen and Patio. For a rustic element, I added the set of nesting tables and the petrified wood lamp, both of which are from Maria Tomas. I found the orange outdoor bolster cushions at Pier One and every year I change the color of the pillows depending on my mood!
Tip #8 – Mix different styles of furniture pieces together for an eclectic mix.
Tip #9 – Add color with accessories.
Pergolas add great architectural interest and a bit of shade. This pergola was constructed out of cedar and features metal columns beside the larger cedar one for a modern look. I have an old, industrial looking candelabra that I hung from the roof of the pergola over my dining area (you can just see it on the right side of the photo). Having a dining area away from the back door has worked out really well for me. It gives you a reason to go into the garden and enjoy it.
Tip #10 – Add architectural interest with a pergola.
Tip #11 – Hang a light fixture or chandelier over your dining area.
Tip #12 – Move the dining area into the garden for more pleasurable al fresco dinners.
In Calgary, summer is short and the evenings can be chilly. The amount of time that can be spent enjoying your backyard in our climate is limited. To extend this window of outdoor opportunity, I installed a fireplace to provide warmth on cool nights. I am happy to report that not only does my fireplace look great, but it has also become a lovely gathering place for my family and friends, where we can roast marshmallows or sip on a glass of wine while staying warm and toasty late into the summer evenings!
Tip #13 – Extend your summer with heaters and fireplaces.
Interior design by Corea Sotropa Interior Design
I positioned the fireplace against my garage and in this spot it can be viewed as soon as you enter my home. This arrangement really draws you into the backyard space. This photo is taken from my family room, which opens onto the deck.
Tip #14 – Consider how your backyard looks from your interior and try to draw the outdoors in.
This photo from the opposite side of the pergola shows a sitting area which I furnished with some comfortable armchairs from Kitchen and Patio. The fireplace mantle is concrete and was manufactured and installed by Sculptural Design Studio. I found a fabulous French antique iron window frame c. 1920 from Traders of the Lost Art which is leaning on top of my mantle. The round orange shape to the right is actually a mirror that is hanging on my fence. It provides and interesting view in the daytime, a bit of sparkle and at night glows with the amber flames of the fireplace.
Tip #15 – Unexpected items in a garden make it appealing and unique.
Well, that’s a little tour of my modern city garden if you missed it on the Alberta Ballet Home and Garden Tour. You can see the interior of my house on a previous post called “Designer’s Own Home”. I hope that you enjoyed seeing my project, and got some inspiration for your own outdoor spaces. Enjoy the sunshine!
All photography by John Bilodeau.
July 14, 2010
I am really excited about this latest scheme that we have come up with for one of our interior design projects because of its soft color palette, chic style and seasonal accent colors. Our client prefers pale grey tones, soft creamy linens and a relaxed but tailored style. We are proposing the following furniture and fabrics for this dramatic living room and dining area makeover.
The Sutton sofa by Hickory Chair has a very elegant line. I love the long skirt on its base and the gracefully curved arms. We will be upholstering this sofa in a light-colored fabric that mimics linen from Kravet. Our client has a busy family of teenagers, so it’s important that we found a fabric with a Teflon coating for stain protection and a very high durability factor. Our client was drawn to a lovely charcoal and cream modern floral silk from Kravet’s Candace Olson Collection which we will use an accent cushion on the sofa.
Vanguard Furniture makes this handsome chair that we will have upholstered in a textured white fabric from Joanne Fabrics. This chair is accentuated with the black leather inserts on the sides and back as well as the shiny silver upholstery tacks. The masculine feel of this chair is a nice counterpoint to the feminine lines of the sofa.
This lovely side chair called the Chastain by Hickory Chair will sport this pretty, over-scaled damask pattern available through Kravet. Those white legs are adorable! It is just the right size, very comfortable and can be easily slip-covered for a different look.
Our client mentioned that she likes to kick back in this room, so an ottoman is the perfect solution for a coffee table. The shelf on this model provides extra storage and the button-tufted top adds an interesting texture. The ottoman will be covered in a charcoal linen and cotton fabric by Maxwell Fabric. We will repeat the silver upholstery tacks on this piece of furniture as well. The relaxed, matte finish of the fabric paired with the tack detail will be a show stopper!
In addition to fabric, Kravet makes lovely furniture that is available through interior designers. The Loire Lamp Table is one of their pieces and will sit on one side of the sofa.
An area rug is essential in this room to connect the upholstered furniture into a nice conversation group and to add some boldness. Once again, Kravet will be used to manufacture a custom area rug in a Barbara Barry pattern. The great thing about Kravet’s rug program is that a designer can choose any color of wool or silk and any pattern and have the rug specifically made to the right size for the job. That makes a designer’s life easy and makes for a happy client, too!
Adjoining the living space is the kitchen and dining nook. This trestle style table available through Domaine Furniture is casual but elegant. The Crate and Barrel dining chairs are a bargain and are very stylish! A banquette from Vanguard Furniture will sit under a window at this dining table to break up the chairs and provide a cozy spot to dine at. An earlier post I did shows lots of examples of dining banquettes. This one will be upholstered in a subtle stripe of cream, taupe and charcoal from the Candace Olson fabric collection available through Kravet.
I always feel that drapery is one of the most important elements in a room, and a space doesn’t feel finished without proper window coverings. Not only do they accentuate the height of a ceiling, they add extra texture and help to soften all the hard surfaces in a room. The drapery in both the dining area and the living room will be fashioned from this lovely taupe Kravet silk.
Our client also requested that she be able to inject some seasonal color into her neutral scheme. For the summer look, a sweet green herringbone from Duralee will be used for an additional pillow on the sofa. This cool flame stitch in green, silver and charcoal from Highland Court will be made into a bolster cushion for the black and white arm chair. Chartreuse green, charcoal and cream are such a fresh color combo – totally summery!
For a winter look, we went purple! This rich and royal purple velvet from Joanne Fabrics will be used as an additional pillow on the sofa. For the bolster on the armchair, the velvet stripe from Highland Court will be utilized. This fabric contains all the colors of our furniture and couldn’t be more perfect!
I hope you have enjoyed this sneak peak into one of our Calgary interior design projects! All of us here at Corea Sotropa Interior Design have enjoyed working on this furniture and fabric scheme for our wonderful client. We can’t wait to see the finished product!
July 9, 2010
Photo courtesy of Anne Paterson’s Flowers
Isn’t this arrangement so lovely? The idea of putting a tiny arrangement in a wine glass is so charming and elegant. This particular bouquet was designed by Anne Paterson’s Flowers, a favorite florist of mine here in Calgary. This arrangement is my flower inspiration this weekend. Hope you have a very happy one!
July 7, 2010
Interior Design by Corea Sotropa Interior Design
Most of our interior design clients have busy families. Mudrooms which are well organized and carefully planned keep all the family members’ coats and boots organized and tidy and keep Mom & Dad less stressed! One common request that we get time and time again when we are working on renovations or new home construction projects is to incorporate locker storage into the mudrooms. Lockers are ideal since little ones can easily hang their own gear and keep organized. We are currently working on several mudrooms for our clients. Here is a sampling of the floor plans for these rooms and some images showcasing different kinds of locker storage.
We are working in conjunction with Mission Homes and McDowell & Associates Architecture on this custom-built Calgary home in the neighborhood of Altadore. This mudroom features a row of four lockers and lots of shelves and drawers on either side for extra storage. There will also be a closet opposite the lockers with single and double rod hanging for overflow coats. Another great feature of this mudroom is the countertop under the window which will have extra plugs for charging cell phones.
For this Calgary renovation project in Bearspaw, we are expanding the mudroom into a space that is currently not used in the garage. There will also be four lockers in this scenario and we will be adding an extra bathroom and dog washing station in this mudroom. I’m jealous of this one!
Here are some great images of mudroom lockers…
Image courtesy of K+BB
Building the bench surface of the lockers out of wood is a brilliant idea if you want painted lockers. The wood handles wear and tear better than a painted surface and adds warmth to the room. The extra deep drawers under the bench are perfect for lots of shoes!
Image courtesy of the RemodelingCentre.com
Love the bead board backing on these lockers and the open shelf space below the bench for tall boots. Some of our clients opt for this instead of the drawer below because it is easier to clean. The arched niche at the top is a nice detail too.
Image courtesy of Southern Living Magazine
If you don’t want to see the lockers, you can always put them behind closed doors!
Image courtesy of the RemodelingCenter.com
This bench is not a locker, but I had to show it to you anyway! The antique mirror and carved wood surround makes this mudroom bench pretty enough to be in the front hall! What a lovely detail!
If all the piles of boots, shoes, backpacks and coats are getting on your nerves, locker storage may be the answer for you! Summer is a great time to get your mudroom designed and organized before school and hectic family schedules begin again in the fall.
July 5, 2010
I have some exciting news to share! The Corea Sotropa Interior Design blog will have a brand new look and name in the next few weeks! This has been in the works for quite a while and I am so excited and can hardly wait to show you! We are also revamping Corea Sotropa Interior Design‘s website too. I’ll keep you posted on when the website is up and running. There will be lots of new portfolio photos and examples of our work. I hope you’ll be impressed!
In terms of the blog, all the previous posts will be transferred over and I’ll still be writing about the same sort of topics. With this new look and new launch, I want to make sure that I am writing about topics you find helpful or interesting. I am curious to know what your favorite posts are and what burning design questions you have that you would like my two cents on. Please, don’t be shy! Leave me a comment and let me know what floats your boat!
July 1, 2010
Since I’m feeling patriotic today on Canada’s 143rd birthday I thought I’d share a couple of lovely rooms using our national colors. As you can see, using a touch of red against a white backdrop adds so much character and punch to your rooms.
Photo via the blog Coco + Kelley
I love this shot of red on the bed in this all white room. Talk about fresh! The colors in the painting just pop out!
Photo courtesy of House Beautiful Magazine
Usually, I’m not a fan of a feature wall painted a different color. But this photo caught my eye, and the treatment works well here because that same brick red is repeated on the antique chair and because the wall is paneled, making it stand apart from the drywall.
Red curtains are bold and dramatic in this chic living room.
Interior design by Sarah Richardson
This office is sweet with the white walls, chrome accents and red chair and accessories. And, it was designed by Canada’s decorating sweetheart, Sarah Richardson.
Interior design by Corea Sotropa Interior Design
We selected a red and white scheme for this bedroom in a Calgary interior design project we worked on a few years ago. The adorable drapery was made from a pretty embroidered floral fabric.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!
June 30, 2010
Photo courtesy of The Hostess Blog
I know it’s not Friday, but I’m having a BBQ for some friends on Canada Day and I needed some floral inspiration early! Doing a red and white arrangement will be fun and patriotic for our nation’s birthday party, but most of the time this color combo feels a bit like Christmas to me. Then I stumbled upon this unique way of combining red and white flowers in a grouping from The Hostess Blog which, by the way, looks like it’s full of great ideas to check out. This particular collection of flowers is so much more fresh and summery than putting everything together in one vase. Pure genius – problem solved! Happy Canada Day everyone! I hope all of you enjoy celebrating this incredible country we call home.
June 18, 2010
Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart
Peonies have to be one of my all time favorite flowers! The color and feathery texture of the petals are so glorious. This sweet little arrangement mixes chartreuse viburnum with gorgeous pink peonies for a fun and whimsical look. It will be my inspiration for my weekend flower arrangement but I think I’ll skip the hot gluing of the green chrysanthemums to the vase and go for a pretty container instead. For a great tip on how to get peonies to open up check out this video from Martha Stewart. Who knew?!!