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!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Trisha and Andre’s Episode on Critical Listing

Make sure to tune in every Monday night for a new episode of Critical Listing at 9pm on HGTV!

Did you miss the Trisha and Andre episode, no worries watch it on online:

"Trisha and Andre finally got it right – a family home in a family neighbourhood. But they’ve got to offload their university area house and are unsure of their market. "

Photo Time:

for more photos of the entire space visit htt p://!/8

before . . .

Jo's Outfits for the segment:

Grey Blazer, Dark Blue Sweater, Red Pants, Printed Sweater and Jeans all from Jacob.
Until next time,
w&c designer girl!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Critical Listing - Episode Tracey and Steve

Make sure to tune in every Monday night to catch a NEW episode of Critical Listing on HGTV 9pm ET! And get caught up on re-runs throughout the week!

Tracey and Steve's Reno: Full shopping guide online.


More photos on!/0

Jo's outfits for that segment:
Green Dress, Grey Blazer, Green Jacket, Tan Sweater/Strip Shirt, Dress all from Jacob
Until next time,

Monday, March 17, 2014

Critical Listing Premieres Monday March 17 at 9pm ET|PT

You’ve just bought your dream home and guess what? Your current home is worth way less than you think! You must now dig deeper into your pockets to prepare it to sell for what you thought it was worth. You need help making the right decisions, and fast!

Critical Listing comes to the rescue with hand-picked projects and ideas that help you sell your home for top dollar. Watch the Critical Listing team turn a homeowner’s small investment into upwards of $100,000 added value. Budget isn’t the only challenge; these homes must also sell as soon as possible. Can we do it? 

Property expert Lisa Colalillo, interior and exterior pros Jo Alcorn and Carson Arthur know they can! They choose projects that will make the most impact on buyers once the “for sale” sign goes up.  However, as with any home renovation large or small they often find more to fix than meets the eye. And this means coming up with last minute solutions at a time when money’s running out!

In spite of the challenges Critical Listing’s not all about work. Jo and Carson share a friendly rivalry as they grapple with their piece of the homeowners’ small budget. Lisa keeps them on track, but is also quick to join in on the fun with her infectious laughter. That is until she reassesses the home and we learn it can be sold for the price the owners need to seal the deal on their new home!


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