Sunday, October 23, 2011

Faded but not dated

If you ever go to a REALLY good rug/carpet store,. you will be amazed by the utter beauty some of them can be. It's truly a piece of work that will perhaps make you find the reasoning behind their 5-10K price tags.

Lately (for a while now) the trend has been to have those lovely, stunning faded pattern rugs. Often with a Persian style print or Patch work in bright colours:

Second Life Blue Rug - ELTE

Red Second Life Rug - ELTE

Dark Green Patchwork Second Life Rug - at ELTE

If subtlety is the name of YOUR game, then check out W STUDIO new Contempory Studio collection. One example is right below:
100% hand knotted - wool/silk

Please go spend an hour at those 2 stores and fall in love with the endless options you will encounter.
That being said, if you LOVE the look and HATE the price tag, I found the following DIY project on a blog (

It basically creates a pattern using paint and a metal flower stand!
The important things is to find something that has the pattern you love, and go from there.
Her initial inspiration was another DIY project featured on "", in which a rubber mat was used:

So below is the excerpt from the diy explaining how to do it! If any of you try it, let me know and send me pics!!

Before, this was just a regular ol’ beige rag rug, discolored in parts by water leakage and all around boring and lame.  Now it is a super cool, distressed, Moroccan-style area rug, and the transformation cost $15.  FIFTEEN. DOLLARS.  Dean and I were first inspired by this tutorial that Justin found on Apartment Therapy – stamping a rug with a rubber welcome mat – but we couldn’t find any decent rubber mats and we were under serious time constraints.  So instead . . . we used an iron plant stand.  Yes, that’s right, a muther flipping PLANT STAND!
painting stamping diy moroccan rug tutorial

- Rug (mine is a cheap-o rag rug from Target or World Market or something)
- Plant stand (purchased at Joann Fabrics and the wheels on the bottom make great “handles”)
- Paint (our 8oz sample of Behr Ultra Flat wall paint in “Midnight Dream” was perfect)
- Accent paint (we used gold purchased at the hardware store)
- Foam brush
- Tape Measure
- Pencil
- Drop cloth
Begin by marking the center of your rug and then decide on a pattern – marking where each stamp will land.   Use your foam brush to apply a generous layer of paint onto the plant stand and, beginning with your center mark, press the stand (paint-side-down) onto the rug.  Be sure to press down for a moment to allow the paint to seep into the rug (laying a drop cloth underneath the rug will protect from any major seepage, although I didn’t have that problem).  Apply a fresh layer of paint to the stand for each stamp and move out from your center mark, covering the entire rug.  The stamps will not be exactly the same, nor will they be perfect – it’s the imperfections that give the rug that faded, rustic charm.  After the first layer has mostly dried, you can begin to layer the pattern.  I stamped a random pattern using gold to add some dimension.
diy paint stamp rug turorial

This project is EXTREMELY MESSY, by the way.  Your hands will be completely covered in paint, but wall paint washes right off, so who cares?  Enjoy it.  And seriously, isn’t it worth a bit of mess?  I’m completely in love with this project.  And you don’t have to limit yourself to rugs – you can stamp anything.  Drapes would be super awesome.  And so would an over-sized canvas for some serious wall art.  Go forth, my friends, and do this project.

Theo Flamenbaum
- Style + Function + Love + You -

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Almighty white - Top designers' best whites

The neglected child

Countertops, flooring, accessories, bedding, pillows, backsplash … we all think that we must  pay immediate attention to all these items when designing, renovating or decorating, but there is one particular element that we tend to always forget or take for granted. Just look up…  the ceiling.
 Often ignored, a ceiling is just as important as the floor you walk on or the wall you put art and pretty frames on. It’s, in my books, the 5th wall in a room. So just as important as the other 4.
A ceiling deserves thought and attention because a successful ceiling gives a sense of harmony to a room or creates an unexpected focal point. It can create a mood or simply make your gaze travel upwards instead of around a room.
BIGGEST FAUX PAS: stucco/popcorn ceiling.
-          Cheap and economical yet aesthetically horrendous. I have one and it’s the biggest eye sore I have to live with and if I could, I would turn back time and make sure I wouldn’t get a condo with that. If you live in a condo ASK AND DEMAND if they’re doing this finish to smooth it out! A smooth finish looks more elegant and overall more appealing, which in its turn, allows you to eventually paint the ceiling too.
You may want to think of elements that you can incorporate during the construction phase to add character to a room:
  •  Exposed beams
  •  Exposed materials (concrete etc)
  •  Dropped/Suspended ceilings arrgh (if you must!)  but I know… they are inexpensive and an easy solution for heat and  ventilation issues avoiding the creation of HVAC bulkheads
  •  Tray ceilings
  • Coffered ceilings
  • Decorative suspended elements (panels and the likes)
TO PAINT OR NOT TO PAINT, that`s the question.
-          The answer is: if you have a regular, smooth ceiling: YES. The question to be asked here is:  how high is the ceiling and how much attention do I want to draw to it. DO NOT paint it in a dark colour if you’re ceiling is low-ish, that will make the room cave in. 
-          Think of 2 effects: CONTRAST or COMPLEMENT. Do you want to create juxtaposition or to tie things together?  So include our friend ceiling when plotting a killer colour scheme for the room.
Finally, the effect!
Think how a ceiling can add to the room’s look. Be creative, be bold!
Off the beaten track ideas for ceiling:

-          Wallpapering

-          Tiling (ranging from ceramic,  glass and plaster- which can be painted) – this one adds texture and dimension to a plain ceiling

-          Wood

                                                                                                                                                                                      -       Incorporating lighting (often LED`s) to a tray ceiling structure

And finally, referring to the last item above, think of LIGHTING! As they go hand in hand.  Below are some stunning lighting and ceiling combinations to die for:
 Shots of New York’s Cienna Ultra Lounge which used LED lighting in ceiling pockets filled with acrylic strands, gorgeous.
Video imaging maps colourfully and dynamically the  ceiling of the restaurant/bar in the one of a kind Sofitel Hotel in Vienna. Wish it was my crew hotel there…

-Style + Function + Love + You-
Theo Flamenbaum

J'adore Ben

So many choices, so little time.
When it comes to paint the options are endless, so I decided to talk about my personal favourite today, Benjamin Moore.
Benjamin Moore has very high quality, competitive prices and one of the most extensive colour selections out there!
  • BEN paint offers great value with all of the performance qualities you expect from a premium interior and exterior paint from Benjamin Moore. Ben is a low-odor, low-VOC paint available in any color you can imagine to suit any lifestyle and every décor. Ben paint makes fabulous style easy and affordable.

  • Regal Select - The newest in their time-honored line of premium paints, Regal Select has been infused with our cutting-edge waterborne technology for smooth application and long durability. Washable and fade- and mildew-resistant ( I like that!) , Regal Select paint always delivers beautiful results you can count on.

  • AURA - going higher now on the $$$ scale, this awesome collection has colour lock technology that will give you a finished look with fewer coats and available is 3,300 hues. Experience premium performance in a paint with incredible hide and resistance to fading and color rub-off. Special mention: Aura Bath & Spa Paint: giving you a matte finish in high-moisture areas.

  • NATURA: Comes in Primer, Eggshell, Flat and Semi-gloss finishes. Ideal for those with the environment in mind, it has low odour and Zero VOC (volatile organic compounds)
Benjamin Moore also offers a variety of Wood (exterior) stains, such as the Arborcoat (Waterborne exterior stains for wood and decks.
Other features: An amazing array of colour collections, among them:
- Pottery Barn Spring Colours (soothing, safe and fresh hues)
- Designers classics (if you don’t want to hire me) with the all-time favourite and safes colour: decorator’s white CC-20
- Off white colours
You can spend hours and hours on and play. I particularly like the paint ideas section with great images for inspiration and also, when you select a colour in the colour gallery, it also gives you a “goes great with” option and other pairings.
Finally: you can walk into a Benjamin Moore store and buy a fan deck for $34.99 (CDN) and let your imagination go wild!!

- Style + Function + Love + You -
Theo Flamenbaum

Black chandeliers- Black statement

In times where “eclectic” is the name of the game and “funky” is what everyone wants to be, there is one item that I believe will always be timeless.
Black crystal chandeliers are simply HOT!!!
If you are looking to make a statement, add drama to a room and have a sensational focal point, here is the answer. Oh …. and all that while being classy and sophisticated! (it IS possible).
The good thing about black chandeliers is that you use as a “matching piece” (such as the image above) so basically in a room where black is present in the decor already (walls, accents or furniture) OR you may use is a “contrast piece”, in a white room or a monochromatic room (when there is one predominant colour).

Things to keep in mind when going for this look:
  • Height of the room - Do not install a chandelier in any rooms lower than 9’ 
  • Proportion - Please measure the entire room and furniture pieces. Proportion is so crucial in decorating. That being said, I would suggest you buy your furniture first, then you look for the right chandelier. Also: width and volume are important and height from bottom of chandelier to a dining room table.
  • Cleaning and maintenance: Remember that dust is so much more visible on black. (Does anyone have a black car?!). And cleaning involves removing each crystal/glass!! each one of them!
How to get it???
- Here in Toronto, I remember seeing some nice ones (but not real crystals) at Upcountry on King st. East.
Also: Also good old Homo Depot  has one for $179 CDN and apparently only sold online. “Concerto 6light black chandelier”
Also: Sescolite ( and union lighting ( should definitely have something. The latter one has the largest showroom in Canada and it’s worth the trip to the area (Castlefield street).
You may also opt for a chandelier with black little shades (like the stunning Baccarat Chandelier below) or a modern twist:

If a full blown chandelier is too much (honestly, it is never too much in the right room!!) check out this table lamp that genius designer Philippe Starck designed with Baccarat:

- Style + Function + Love + You -
Theo Flamenbaum

Theo's favourite magazines

So… we’re almost saturated with so many publications of Interior Design and Decor.
They are all shiny and with beautiful glossy pages… but really, how good are they? and … how helpful and relevant are they?
Most people, non designers, buy them thinking they will find step to step design and decor solutions and customized ideas to whatever it is they need to do with their own space. Well, it doesn’t work that way :-(
They often feature spaces created with astronomical budgets and professional input, well, that’s why they’re on a magazine. Then people get mad and throw them out saying “my house will never be like that!”
So keeping that in mind, I invite everyone to resort to magazines with a different approach:
- Inspiration
- Ideas
- Trends
- Resources

Below I mention my top 3 magazines based strictly on their content.

Canada’s House and Home - It’s overall well written but its best asset: the local resources! The magazine makes reference to locals shops, stores and locations
Elle Decor - It has amazing inspirational images with super trendy ideas and stylish spaces. The best photos out there!

Interior Design - An exquisite magazine with intelligent texts and articles. Smart and avant-garde. Particularly good for those that in the trade.
Special mentions:UK’s “Wallpaper Magazine” for it’s hip content and travel section, Spain’s “El Mueblo”  -me encanta!!! and ANY “Architectural Digest” for those that dream big!

- style + function + love + you -
Theo Flamenbaum