Friday, October 24, 2014

A home office and a guest room: How to create a multifunctional space

City living may mean limited space, but you don’t have to sacrifice functionality. I was recently challenged to find a clever way to maximize a space. All of the bedrooms were occupied, but the home lacked a guest room, plus a more efficient workspace and storage in their walkout basement. This is how I created a dual-purpose room.

 An efficient and functional layout.
A multifunctional room needs a practical layout. What is the room being used for? In this case, we knew the home business needed stations for three workers, a sitting meeting area, closed storage, plus it would be a bonus if the room could double as a spare room for out of town guests.


I maximized the space by creating a layout, which utilized the perimeter of the room. This freed up the middle of the room for easy movement and created the feeling of a larger space.

Let’s work it out.

I wanted a clean, streamlined design for the office space, with plenty of counter space. I wanted to use every inch of the room, so store bought pieces were out of the question. I went to Harkel Office Furniture

for customizable desks with a simple, solid line leg, to maximize the wall space. This office uses laptops, great for maximizing space because you can get away with a smaller desk depth. It also allowed us to run a desk down the middle of the room, dividing the room into two distinct work areas and creating more countertop space.

 Storage is always key.

Offices usually come with a ton of paperwork and clutter, so closed storage is key to an organized office. I turned to Cutler Modern Living for a unique office solution storage systems. I designated an entire wall of cabinets that would house office storage. Accessing paperwork or office supplies is a breeze. Instead of awkward, in-the-way cabinet doors, this storage system has flip-up upper storage cabinets.


The basement office had low ceilings and a lot of furniture being added, so I had a few tricks up my sleeve to make this room look larger and airier. I added a light and fresh coat of JoJo Whitewash PF17 from Para Paint on the walls to open up the room. I continued using this colour in all the wall perimeter furniture. The furniture blends into the walls, creating a calming effect in a tight space.


The overnight guest.

Who doesn’t need more space for those overnight guests? A sofa was needed for the meeting area, but we decided a standard sofa wouldn’t be ideal for an overnight guest.  We selected a multifunctional pull-out sofa for the space so it can double as a private retreat for out of town guests.

The finishing touches.

The room was pulled together with a few finishing touches. At EQ3 we found a much-needed floor lamp, plus the perfect little round table to drink a coffee, take notes or use as a bedside table for overnight guests.  I also added a round metal mirror, great for reflecting the light and making the room look larger. I finished the room with stainless crystal wall sconces from the Jo Alcorn collection by Artcraft Lighting.


And there you have it!  A bright, organized multifunctional space you don’t want to leave!

The before . . . .
Until next time,
w&c designer girl!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Create your own bedroom retreat!

{Full article in this Friday's Toronto Sun!}

You spend a third of your day in your bedroom. It should be a relaxing place you enjoy spending time. Here’s how you can create a beautiful, comfortable bedroom retreat on any budget.

Cool Color Palette. I’ve had red bedrooms and I’ve had pale blue rooms. I can honestly say colour psychology is real. A cool, serene colour palette makes all the difference in creating a relaxing room.  Go for soft and subtle colours if you want a respite from the busy world outside. I choose Whistle Stop 50BB from CIL’s collections to create that calming effect.

The perfect bed. I had an awkward small window in my bedroom that I had to hide. I chose a padded headboard that was just high enough to cover the window.


I just couldn’t find the right size or colour of headboard. I wouldn’t call myself a DIY’er but when the time comes, I can step up. I found a headboard with clean lines at Home Sense for $299.99. However, it wasn’t quite the right colour for my project. When I found a patterned shower curtain for $29.99, I thought I’d tackle a DIY project and create the perfect headboard. Voilà! A custom-made headboard on a budget.

Side table conundrum. Side tables are a useful element of every bedroom. Do you need extra drawers or countertop space? What height, size, colour or material? I needed something to match the height and scale of the bed. I found the perfect side table at The side tables had a unique design, with added bedroom storage. With my DIY skills already set in motion, I swapped the handles to white, to tie in with the rest of the bedroom design. Another inexpensive project with a big results!


Layered lighting. I love a bedroom with ambient lighting. A lamp with a soft bulb, mixed with task lighting for reading a book, plus decorative side can add some drama to your room. These white horned oversized side lamps from Mirens were the perfect conversational piece in the room.  Don’t forget about overhead lighting. This is another great place to add some art to the room. I used a Jo Alcorn light from , which added a touch of whimsy to the room. Layering lighting in any room, particularly your bedroom, allows for the perfect mix of function and comfort.

Comfy carpet or rug. Having the perfect texture under foot when you step out of bed can improve your whole bedroom experience. Rugs add warmth to any space.

Mirror Mirror on the wall. I love how mirrors create different dimensions within a space. To bring the bed and those amazing lamps to another level, I layered Home Sense mirrors on the wall to add a grand, romantic feeling to the bedroom. Mirrors make your room appear larger, and this one also added a feeling of luxury and sophistication to the bedroom.

Use these simple tips to create your perfect bedroom and ensure you get an amazing night’s sleep!

In addition to a great bedroom design, a must have for every bedroom:
PASCOFLAIR 425 mg überzogene Tabletten 
Health retailers
Retail CDN - $19.99
“Pascoflair helps stop my running thoughts that keep me up at night. This herbal product promotes relaxation and improves sleep.”

Looking to get help designing your own sleep haven? I'll be at local Home Depot Stores each Thursday evening until October 9 helping people choose the best paint colours for their makeovers. Visit to see my full schedule.
Until next time,
w&c Designer Girl!


Monday, August 25, 2014


Need Paint Advice? How about overall Decorating/Design Help? But can't afford a design consultation fee? Well you are in luck CIL has teamed up with a number of Design Experts across Canada assisting you once a week at a Home Depot near you for a limited time offer. Come out from 6 to 8pm at one of the locations below to meet with me for a quick free consultation to help with any of your paint colour or décor questions!  Make sure to bring any fabrics, or existing colours of furniture that is staying in the room(s), to make sure we don't miss anything in the time frame come ready with your question(s). Looking forward to meeting you and helping with your design questions!
Aug 28th: Brampton North
60 Great Lakes Dr
Brampton, ON
L6R 2S8
Sept 4th: Brampton East
9105 Airport Road, Brampton ON
L6S 0B8
Sept 11th: Brampton
49 First Gulf Blvd, Brampton ON L6W 4R8
Sept 18th: Mississauga Britannia
5975 Terry Fox Way
Mississauga, ON
L5V 3E4
Sept 25th: Mississauga South
3065 Mavis Road, Mississauga ON L5C 1T7
Oct 2nd: Oakville
2555 Bristol Cir
Oakville, ON
L6H 5W9
Oct 9th: Mississauga West
2920 Argentia Rd
Mississauga, ON
L5N 8C5

Until next time,
w&c designer girl!

Monday, August 11, 2014

All Seasoned Cottage Decor

With our short Canadian summer, more and more people are buying all-season cottages or winterizing their existing cottages to make a year-round retreat. People want to enjoy a get away not only in the summer but also in the cooler Canadian months too. I recently took the design challenge of styling my client’s all-season cottage.

 Decorating an all-season cottage is different than styling your summer cottage. You have to balance those colder months by the fire with those summer months when you want it light and bright. You don’t have to give up style when looking for durability and functionality however.

Consider seating. The cottage has to be welcoming, whether you are entertaining friends or just cuddling up with the family on the sofa.  I turned to Mirens (, an online furniture store, to find just the right pieces. I selected two, three-seater sofas because you can seat more people and they are the perfect length for an afternoon nap. For the cottage you want durable, easy-to-clean fabrics.  I decided on a weaved fabric in an oatmeal colour. The fabric adds texture, hides the sand and is warm in colder months. The light colour keeps the cottage looking light and breezy. I chose a stylish and comfy reading chair for added seating. Patterned blue pillows tie it all together for a perfect all-season cottage look.

To create a modern and bright cottage, we kept the wall colour light and painted out the brick fireplace with Para’s JoJo whitewash. This look is perfect for any season.

I added a shelf unit behind the sofa from Mirens as well.  It offers easy-access storage, perfect for cottage living, and can double as extra counter space when entertaining.


I got creative with cottage accessories. White stick floor lamps from Mirens are a great example of how you can incorporate modern, nature-like pieces in your space.  Just because you are in a cottage doesn’t mean it has to be rustic.
Bringing the outdoors in is not a new concept, but adding tree branches from the property is a budget-friendly way to add a whimsical spin on accent decor. In the fall months, coloured leaf branches will transform and add warmth to your space without having to change anything else in the room.

To make the cottage easy to clean, in the summer months remove the rug and in the colder months, add in a rug, to keep the cottage cozy and warm. Don’t be afraid to use an outdoor rug in the cottage, you can find some really fun ones and when it gets dirty, simply take it outside to shake it off or hose it down!  All of the pillows have removable covers, making them easy to remove and throw in the washer at home. The lacquer finish on the coffee table and shelving unit and the glass top on the side tables keep messes manageable with a quick wipe-down. The reading chair is a vinyl fabric, making it family (and pet) friendly.

 The point of an all-season cottage is to escape and enjoy peaceful surrounding year-round.  Make sure you love your space and feel good in it. A stylish design can also be functional!

Until next time,
w&c designer girl~

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dream Closet!

Who says you have to sacrifice fashion for function? For my latest makeover project, I wanted to strike a balance between style and organization to create the perfect walk-in closet. I called in organizing guru Clare Kumar to help with a closet makeover to make sure we ended up with a space that was functional and looked fantastic.

 I love adding drama to small spaces, so I wanted to make sure the walls made a statement to truly set the stage for a fabulous walk-in closet. The pink and silver damask wallpaper from Home Sense (  was just the ticket to accomplish that.

For the closet hanging and storage unit, I looked to the Cutler Modern Living line (http://www.cutlermodernliving.comThe sleek and open design was what first attracted me. When I found out Cutler was a Canadian company, and that the designs are customizable to fit any space, I was sold.

 I wanted to create a galley style closet with a dressing mirror in the middle to maximize space. We created hanging space on one side for all work and event clothing. To balance the closet and add that wow-factor when you open the door, a fabulous accessory wall of shoes, bags, jewellery and sunglasses was created.   Space Solutions did a fantastic job of installing the system in under a day. Cubbies provide compartmentalized spaces for clutches, scarves and hats.

Clare suggested unifying the hangers to only two types in one colour palette to dial down the closet noise and make the clothing easy to view.  Neatfreak‘s black and silver flocked hangers are ideal for tops, pant and dresses. Hangers with easy-to-open clips are perfect for hanging skirts and dress shorts.

 As a designer, Clare spoke right to my soul when she taught me a simple trick to make your closet stylish: colour blocking your clothes. This trick makes your space seem less cluttered and makes getting dressed a breeze.

I added simple hooks to the wall to provide easy eye-level access to a bold and beautiful accessory collection that won’t get tangled or lost in a drawer. Displaying the collection also adds some fun to the space.  I used regular hanging hooks from Canadian Tire and added a chair next to it. We always need a place to put on our shoes or to throw our clothes while putting our outfits together.

Mirrors are essential in a dressing room.  I added a second mirror right by the necklaces to make it easy to choose the right accessories. As an added bonus, mirrors make small rooms seem larger.

Don’t forget lighting. Often overlooked, lighting can add drama to your room. I added a great track light and a fun affordable floor lamp from Canadian Tire.

It was hard to find just the right size rug for this odd shaped room. I did a little DIY project to cut a shag rug to the size I wanted. The shag disguises the cut edge, creating the perfect rug for any sized room.

Make sure to have fun with your small spaces. You can have your dream closet by balancing efficiency and style.

Until next time,
w&c designer girl!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Small Space Patio Decor on the Global Noon Show!

If you missed Jo's segment on Small Space Patio Décor on the Global Noon show no worries watch online:
Special Thanks to Home Depot for the products.  Have fun dressing you outdoor space this summer!
Until next time,
w&c designer girl!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Stylish Patio Makeover on a Budget!

During the warm summer months, we tend to spend a lot more time outside, so it’s time to design or re-design your area to create a cosy ambiance that will encourage you to spend more time in the great outdoors. So for those of you who are seeking inspiration to spruce up your small patio or balcony space, I have some fabulous design tips to help you get started. 


First, how do you want to use your space, lounging with friends or dinner around a table with family? I opted for a living style hangout area, where I could sun on the sofa when time for relaxing was in need. Always keep in mind sizing, especially in a small space. I choose to go with small profile arms and lower backs so that I didn’t close in the space or make it seem cramped.

 When dealing with a balcony in the city, privacy is always an issue. I found this great white lattice at The Home Depot that I turned sideways and attached to the balcony railing and added greenery in front for an intimate and functional privacy screen.  The other thing I did was, add an umbrella, not to block the sun, but to block the view of the neighbours above me. Taking away that fish bowl feel and creating a relaxing room.

 Adding planters of different heights to any balcony helps to keep the space interesting and cozy, choose low maintenance plants so that you aren’t fussing with them all summer and the space always looks great.

 Bring the inside outside, by adding mirrors or decorative pieces, like The Home Depot’s outdoor shag rug, or their solar lanterns for ambiance at night. For that extra touch I added a fire ball for the coffee table, for a little bit of extra heat and mood lighting for night time entertaining. Plus it doesn’t take up much space and no need for firewood.  

In small spaces try to stay away from adding to many different colours with plants and décor, keep it simple so that it is easy on the eyes giving the illusion of a larger area.

For that extra touch, I added a water fountain to drown out the road traffic a bit and give the illusion of being near a lake, it is also a nice visual and conversational piece.  

I hope that these tips help to spark your creative juices. Remember your patio becomes an extension of your home make it flow from the inside out with a stylish design that everyone can enjoy! Happy Patio Season!
Until next time,
w&c designer girl!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Critical Listing - Mark and Michelle Episode

If you missed Critical Listing's Mark and Michelle Episode . . . watch it online

 Ewww Before!
Jo's wardrobes is from Jacob!
Until next time,
w&c designer girl!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Critical Listing - Kim and David Episode

Tune in every Monday night at 9pm on HGTV for a new episode of Critical Listing!

If you missed the Kim and David Episode don't worry you can watch it online:

Kim and David purchased their dream home in the subburbs, but now they're faced with renovations to offload their current home downtown:
 Ewww Before

 After  Ewww Before

Until next time,
w&c designer girl!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Critical Listing - Chris and Lia Episode

Tune in every Monday night a 9pm on HGTV for a new episode of Critical Listing

Did you miss the Chris and Lia episode  . . . no worries watch online.

"New parents Lia and Chris have scored on a family home in the suburbs – it’s even got tennis courts and a Jacuzzi!  But their dream will go sour if they can’t sell their city home and end up stuck with two mortgages. Lisa, Carson and Jo have a $20,000 materials budget to redo the basement and fix a major plumbing issue plus reconfigure a sliver of a driveway to accommodate cars and baby carriages for their young family buyers."

Lia and Chris’ Critical Listing
Before . . .
After . . .
Jo's Outfits for this segment,
 Stripe Sweater, Cord Pants, Printed Sweater, Skinny Jeans, Blue Sweater and Jeans all from Jacob!


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