Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fireplace facades and more

From time to time, I'll be highlighting a product or supplier that I've worked with on some of my clients' projects, that I think would be of interest to you.  Today, I'd like to tell you about ErthCOVERINGS, a North American leader in the distribution of high quality, natural stone veneers.

Stone veneers

I've specified ErthCOVERINGS stone veneer for fireplace facades.  Their lightweight stone covering product comes in a multitude of beautiful stone combinations and is easy to apply to smooth surfaces.  Here's a photo of my client's fireplace.

 Latest offerings

ErthCOVERINGS has recently introduced a combination of raised and inset forms to create 3-dimensional surfaces that install seamlessly and can be painted over in any colour.  A great alternative to stone, backsplash tile or wallpaper.  Absolutely stunning!! 

Let me know what you think.  Could you imagine these in your home?

Please visit my website Tobi Brockway Interiors Inc. to see my portfolio and for more information on how we can help you with your own residential interior design project.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Window treatments aren't just pretty to look at

We all know that adding window treatments to a room can completely change its look.  Window treatments can create a focal point but I typically select colours and patterns that create a beautiful backdrop to the other elements in your room. 

However, there are a variety of other reasons to add window treatments for your home:

The most obvious use for window treatments is privacy.  Whether it's a shade or drapery panels, most homes require window treatments for privacy at night and often, depending where the windows are facing, privacy during the day also.

Energy efficiency is of huge interest to today`s homeowner given the rising costs of electricity and gas.  Window treatments are a great way to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  Depending on which treatment you choose, they can help block out the sun or insulate your home. 

Ever walked into a room and heard an echo when you talk?  Any soft fabric window treatment will help to dampen noise in your home. And of course, the fuller the treatment the more sound it will dampen.  Consider adding this type of window treatments in apartments, townhouses or large rooms to prevent sounds from traveling. 

Whether you install treatments in your bedroom, living room or TV room, you can opt for blackout options to control the level of lighting coming into the room.  For those people who need complete darkness to sleep, keep in mind that most black out blinds will still let light in on the sides.  Drapery panels with blackout lining are 100% effective in keeping out light.

Please visit my website Tobi Brockway Interiors Inc. to see my portfolio and for more information on how we can help you with your own residential interior design project.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rugs as Art

Imagine my surprise when I recently opened a new catalogue from Modern Weave, one of my favourite suppliers of high-quality exquisite rugs for my clients.  These rugs take the art of rug-making to a whole new level.  Absolutely breathtaking in colour and design.  Check them out for yourself:
Eden 09

Eden 12

Grand Theatre


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Protection for your dining room chairs

One of my clients with young children has found a great solution for protecting her brand new parsons dining room chairs.  She was concerned with the safety and environmental impact of fabric protectors such as ScotchGuard but desperately needed to prevent greasy little hands from soiling her new chairs.  She found Sure Fit Dining Chair Covers available at Bed Bath & Beyond.  These inexpensive covers make sense for non-parents too, for whenever you are entertaining young guests. 

These covers are machine washable, and while they don’t keep liquids from getting through to your chairs, they grant you a few extra seconds to catch the spill before it penetrates too deeply.  Have company coming? No problem, they slip off in seconds!  

Thanks for the tip, Christine!

Please visit Tobi Brockway Interiors Inc. to see our portfolio and for more information on how we can help you with your own project.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Etsy and SwapSity

Two interesting websites have recently come to my attention.  The first one is www.etsy.com, a web-based search engine where you can browse by category (anything from art, home & living to jewellery, weddings and kids) and search by location or by recently added products.  If you are looking for something unique, handmade and vintage, this is the place to look.

SwapSity.ca is a website where users can provide information on items they wish to get rid of in exchange for something else.  When you browse this website you can search by category, location or keyword.  Once you have found an item you are interested in, and also have something they are interested in swapping for, you can contact the user and make arrangements to exchange. This is a modern-day barter system, created in efforts to reuse and recycle goods.  Interesting concept.

Please visit my website Tobi Brockway Interiors Inc. to see my portfolio and for more information on how we can help you with your own project.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cambria Quartz Event

Some of you may have seen or heard the advertisement for Cambria Quartz's Ask-a-Designer event held on Saturday.  I was invited along with fellow CDECA member, Jeannette Wisby, to participate in Cambria's flagship showroom located at 39 Parliament Street.  

Here is the meeting room where we met with customers to help select quartz, kitchen cabinetry and paint colours.

I have been recommending quartz for kitchens and bathrooms for almost 10 years and the choices in colours and patterns have grown exponentially as its popularity has grown.  I've written articles and on-line columns on the advantages of quartz versus granite or marble - 100% non-porous which makes it totally maintenance free with anti-micro-bacterial properties. 

The showroom is absolutely fantastic and I encourage you to check it out the next time you're at St. Lawrence Market (only a 15 minute walk away).  Here's a photo of me demonstrating the various edge profiles in one of the many rooms showcasing quartz, including a wine cellar.  

Please visit my website Tobi Brockway Interiors Inc. to see my portfolio and for more information on how we can help you with your own project.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jewel tones

Further to my post last week on fall colours, I came across this print ad from Kravet Fabrics.  (All  my clients have at least one fabric from Kravet.  They have such beautiful designs and materials.)  The jewel tones I mentioned - violet, lime, lemon - look fabulous with grey, as you can see.  Consider using these colours as accent cushions in an otherwise neutral colour scheme.

What a great way to brighten up those dreary, rainy days!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Autumn Colours

Some of you may be wondering where I've been.  Well, I took a 6-month hiatus as the demands on my interior design business as well as a trip to France in June left absolutely no time to blog.  But I'm back and with the help of the rest of the Tobi Brockway Interiors team, I plan to provide you with design insights and practical tips on a regular basis.  And you'll also see the occasional photo and story that relates to architecture or design from one of my travel adventures.  

As I see all the fall colours around me, I'm inspired to look at the colour trends that are forecast for the coming year.  Earthy neutrals will remain a staple this year.  And grey continues to be dominant among these neutrals.  I've selected warm greys for 80% of my clients' living rooms in the past 6 months.  Benjamin Moore OC-49 titanium has been a favourite.


Bright colours reminiscent of fall foliage, such as citron yellow, tangerine orange and deep fuchsia will provide great accents in any room.  

Additionally, you can expect to see the introduction of brilliant jewel tones into many designs.  Emerald green, honey gold, deep teal, poppy red and varying shades of violet will be used in accent pieces throughout.  

Monday, April 2, 2012

More from New York Interior Design Show

The Diffa (Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS) exhibit was worth the price of admission alone. Last week, I showed a few creative dining rooms. Here are others that are all worth looking at.

I love the whimsy of the pink flamingos in this dining room setting. See how many you can find. (Hint: some are on the table.)

This next one has a touch of Gothic fantasy: check out the blackbirds flying around.

An upscale hunters' cabin in Northern Ontario, perhaps?

I hope you've enjoyed looking at these photos. Have they inspired you to add a few decorative touches to your own dining rooms?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Architectural Digest Interior Design Show Highlights

Last week I attended AD's Interior Design Show in New York City and the highlight for me was the DIFFA (Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS) fundraiser "Dining by Design". There had to be at least 20 dining room settings designed by members of the design industry that were absolutely spectacular. Imaginative, creative, original, some truly mind-boggling. Over the next week, I'll showcase the most interesting roomscapes for you to see for yourselves.

The first dining room used visual effects - a continuous video of underwater ocean scenes on the walls - that created a sensation of being in a dining room in the sunken city of Atlantis.

The underwater scene was completed by the "algae" chandelier and water-like table and chairs with blue table accents.

The most interesting component in the next dining room was the chandelier - made of wine bottles! It brought back memories of candles lit in Mateus wine bottles (you Boomers know what I'm talking about!) but with a modern edge.

Imagine a dinner held on an outdoor terrace with the New York skyline as a backdrop. Well, this room did have murals of the city skyline on each wall and, dropping from the umbrella lights, a cascade of giant glass bubbles filled with foliage. Fabulous!

Thinking about how to put the "Wow" in your dining room? The various elements of walls, light fixture and table top settings can be easily transformed as shown by these examples. More to come.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Coffered Ceilings

In the new custom houses that we've worked on in the past year, I've noticed that high-end builders are installing coffered ceilings in one or more of the rooms. The effect is dramatic and visually stunning. Most of us consider this luxury detail to be luxury-priced. However, there are many ready-made coffered ceilings products on the market today which can add an extra architectural element to your own home. For the do-it-yourselfer, check out Home Depot's step by step instructions. For those considering a home renovation, ask your contractor to price out a coffered ceiling. You may consider the enhanced value to be well worth the price.

Create a Picture Gallery

Do you have family photos or travel photos that you'd like to display? I have developed great-looking, yet practical, picture galleries for my clients using ready-made picture shelves.

In this example, the 3.5" deep shelves have been painted the same colour as the walls. They disappear from view, allowing for the frames to make a statement. The shelves and frames are uniform to create a specific look.

However, the shelves and frames can be varied in size (length and height) and colour in any configuration, depending on the wall space available, the size of pictures to be included and the other colours and finishes in the room.

Save the expense of custom framing and re-framing. These photos can be easily updated and rearranged to reflect what's happening in your life - family additions, your latest trip ... anything you feel you'd like to display.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Another Interior Design Show 2012 Find

So often it's the chandelier over a dining room table that provides the "WOW" in the room. For contemporary residential design, the custom light fixtures that are made by AM Studio, are absolutely exquisite. These designs can be customized by size, colour and shapes so that each one is unique. Here are a few of my favourites:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Interior Design Show 2012

This past weekend, IDS12 was in town and I scoured each aisle on Trade Day to source new and exciting finds. My clients with renovated kitchens and bathrooms know that I love backsplash tiles - they're the easiest and most economical way to add "wow" to your space. Here are a few that are worth noting:

Each if these tiles from Saltillo Tiles is actually rounded, giving a very cool look. For those of you who don't like patterned kitchen backsplashes and prefer a single colour effect, these tiles still provide a "wow". The smooth texture makes them easy to clean, another consideration when selecting tile for the kitchen.
For those of you who like pattern, these tiles from Orro Mosaics would look amazing in a bathroom!

A combination of ceramic, steel and glass in a dazzling contemporary pattern:

For a more traditional bathroom, imagine this backsplash on the wall behind the mirror. Beautiful!

Stay tuned for my other finds.......

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Create your own virtual pin board

Before meeting with my long-time client, Amanda, to discuss a new project, she told me she would email me a link to her "pin board" to give me an idea of what she liked. This "pin board" displayed pictures of furniture, rugs and accessories that she had found on various websites. Thus was my first introduction to Pin Interest, a fabulous website for finding inspiration and great ideas. Not only is it a quick and easy way to copy images into my own pin boards, but it shows what everyone else has put on their pin boards. Here's what my "Products I Love " board looks like that I just started.

I can have as many different boards as I like: "Design Inspiration", "Photography and Art" - the possibilities are endless. And no need to cut out from magazines. As I surf the internet checking out websites, I click on the "Pin It" button on my bookmark toolbar and the image is saved directly to my pin board. So start pinning and follow my pin boards!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Insights into 2012

Happy New Year! Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.

Here's my prognosis for the coming year:
  • Whether Canada will continue to avoid the recession that's affected the US and Europe or not, Canadians will redecorate, renovate and improve their homes. This should include an emphasis on planning, budgeting and smart purchases (quality + price = value).
  • Social media will be bigger than ever. We'll be spending even more time trying to keep up with friends and relatives' Facebook messages.
  • The IPad and apps created to make our lives simpler (4 new design app's in the last couple of months!) will cause information overload to a degree never experienced before.
Here's my 2012 mandate for this blog:

To distill through all that information, to sort out what's worthwhile and to provide you with the most relevant and useful tidbits on a regular and timely basis.

And to start off the year, here's a new product brought to my attention by my client Christine:
Magic Sliders, easy-to-apply cushions for the bottom of furniture that work on hardwood and carpet. There's nothing more aggravating than putting on a felt-type cushion on dining room chairs for the hardwood and then having to move them on a carpet. Problem solved.