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Ana Cummings

Now Trending: Bohemian Decor

By | Ana Cummings, Bohemian Decor, Calgary, Design | No Comments

With the weather getting a bit warmer this weekend, now is a great time to update a few things around the home. How about incorporating a bit of bohemian décor into your space?

So what is it you ask?

Bohemian decor is based on artisanal and crafted items accompanied by jungle chic. Woven baskets, hand knitted chunky blankets, macramé planters, macramé wall hangings, hanging greenery, cacti, and large leafy motifs.

My favourite way to incorporate bohemian decor is with woven baskets, handmade blankets, and plants. It is so easy to add these layers into a home. The colours I tend to use in bohemian decor would be a golden straw hue and its compliment, a purply blue or mauve.

The trends I am definitely seeing in bohemian decor are peacock chairs, basket lamps and woven wall hangings. Shag rugs, poufs and lots of relaxed pillows that lend to a Moroccan Kasbah feeling are indicative of this look. Motifs from Mexico or Aboriginal patterns also work really well in Bohemian designs.

Get out this weekend and see what inspires you!

Create Your Own Green Space

By | Ana Cummings, Biophilic Design, Design | No Comments

It might be the middle of winter here in Calgary, but things are popping up plant-tastic for 2018! The greenery trend we’ve seen for the last couple of years is still going as strong as ever. At Maison et Objet in Paris this month, attendees were snapping photos of huge displays incorporating large leafy patterns, emerald hues and jungle-liscious prints.

For us urban jungle dwellers, this is great news. As human beings living and working in enclosed environments, we crave to get into nature and the outdoors. When we bring these natural elements inside, something very interesting happens to us. We stress less, our cognitive function and creativity increase, our general well-being improves and we even heal faster!

This topic is really hot among residential and commercial designers right now. It’s called biophilic design. Biophilia is basically bringing plant life, in and around buildings. From homes to corporate offices, waiting rooms to shopping malls, school yards and even community gardens, more and more people are implementing a back to nature approach with respect to design. Have you been noticing a lot more living walls, potted trees and plants in your daily travels? We have!

Even if you lack a green thumb, you can still add a biophilic touch to your space by using botanical inspired wallpaper, fabrics or decorative accents like silk plants. Everybody should be able to reap the benefits that a connection to nature gives. If you’d like to add some “green” to your home or office but don’t know where to start, email me at info@anainteriors.com.

Other ways we can go green in our homes would be:

  1. Use no VOC or low VOC paints.
  2. Let the sunshine in and fresh air circulate around your home.
  3. Use organic materials, such as wool, wood and stone.
  4. Replace old lighting and windows with energy efficient options.
  5. Use solar powered batteries for your remote controlled window coverings

 

5 Things You Need to Ask Before Buying a Flipped Home

By | Ana Cummings, Design, Home, Real Estate, Renovation | No Comments

We all love a well done flipped home, and there are people who do a great job at it and make a profit on their investment. However, not all flipped homes are about the new kitchen cabinets or fancy new light fixtures. It about the unforeseen financial surprises that can come along with a flipped home. Here’s 5 questions you may want to ask before buying one.

  1. If the home is pre 1978, you will want to ask if the insulation has been upgraded. If not, what kind of insulation exists in the home? This will effect the level of energy efficiency, which can cost a lot of money in the long run, not to mention your comfortability in the home.
  2. Are there any “before” photos for you to see? And any photos during the construction phase? Photos don’t lie. They will show what the state of the home was when it was torn apart. That way you can see if there were any hidden no-no’s that could come up to haunt you in the future with respect to pipes, wires, ductwork, etc.  You want to make sure that the plumbing and electrical have been upgraded or brought up to local codes.
  3. Were permits submitted for the renovation? Any potential home buyer looking at a flipped home should want to have the peace of mind knowing that their flipped home was properly constructed. If permits were pulled, there will be a public record, including inspection reports that you can access. You will need to know what local city department to contact. It’s research well worth its weight because our homes are usually the single largest investment that we own.
  4. You might want to know who renovated the home. A licensed contractor that belongs to the local Better Business Bureau or a related Builder’s Association might be more reputable than a renovator found from Kijiji for example. You can usually tell with your eyes whether the workmanship is excellent or shoddy. Look closely at floor transitions, grout in a bathroom shower, and installation of doors, cabinetry & railings.
  5. Depending on the vintage of the home, have the sewer lines been replaced? That can be a 10-15k bill if there are large trees on the property.

Good luck if you’re thinking of purchasing a flipped home, and remember, consider the big ticket items that might not be instantly recognizable, like a new roof. It’s these “hidden items” that could be the deciding factor on whether you put in a bid, or keep looking.

Top 10 Interior Design Trends in 2018

By | Ana Cummings, Design, Home, Uncategorised | No Comments

Happy New Year! Here are my Top Ten Predictions for interior design trends in 2018.

  1. The heart of the home will become even more colorful. From cabinetry to major appliances, there are so many ways to add personality to your kitchen and take it to the next level. Grohe just introduced a gooseneck sink faucet that comes in a rainbow of colours. Even for those people that would hesitate to add an emerald green range might take the leap to a small dose of punchy colour in the faucet instead.
  2. Artisanal touches. Items crafted by hand in metal, textile or wood, add instant warmth to these modern gray spaces we are seeing everywhere. Not only do they add textural and visual appeal, they may also be used and viewed as art. I’ve been seeing more and more artisans using everyday objects and turning them into amazing show pieces.
  3. The knock-off will be knocked out. People are so much more knowledgeable about interiors with the saturation of online procurement sites, home and garden television shows and shelter magazines. The incredible photos churned out over Instagram daily is a solid education alone. People want to connect with their home and belongings. I see a resurgence of living with antique furnishings but refashioned in a new way to suit modern lifestyles.
  4. Ceilings will be seen. From creative mouldings, interesting coffers, to fantastic paint and plaster treatments. The ceiling has become another surface equivalent to the complexity of a Persian Rug on the floor. No room will be completely finished without a ceiling treatment.
  5. Art Deco and Art Nouveau has flirted with us a few times and may be coming in for the long embrace. Yes, those pastels and curvy curves are coming back. Stylized three legged arm chairs, channel tufting, glamorous velvet fabrics paired with shiny metals like Brass and Rose Gold. Beautifully carved wood fireplace mantels that look as fluid as marble carved by Michelangelo.
  6. The Cement look. Caesarstone recently launched a quartz that looks remarkably like cement. Entire fireplace hearths from top to bottom, counter tops, vessels, flooring, entire walls with cement panels are coming under my radar huge. There are even faux cement panels that you can clad along an entire expanse of a wall which really lends to that industrial loft feeling which is continuing to trend.
  7. Black and Chiaroscuro details. From painted walls and gorgeous wall coverings to area rugs and custom millwork, finding a cozy space in your home that is inviting, sexy and dark imbues a sensuality that really makes you want to stay at home.
  8. Freestanding tubs or garden tubs. Time is precious and the bath represents a luxury we all covet right now. Time away from the hustle and bustle and more importantly, time away from our devices and screens, allowing us a sliver of more time to relax and dream.
  9. Turning an unused room or bedroom into a master closet. Let’s face it, we accumulate way too many clothes, shoes, bags, accessories. We have large wardrobes and most closets in standard homes are jam packed. I’m seeing a lot of purposeful and thoughtful storage applications that any homeowner can incorporate into a closet system.
  10. On the opposite side of the coin, I am also seeing a lot of paired down interiors. For those downsizing into small condos, living with less is not only an aesthetic but a freer way of life. It is great for those who travel frequently or live in dense urban areas. Only decor items with meaning and purpose make the cut.

Tell us what you think! We’d love to hear what’s on your list.

How to Create a Productive Work Space at Home

By | Ana Cummings, Calgary, Design, Home | No Comments

Looking to make the most out of your work space at home? Here are my top 10 tips on how to create a productive space:

  1. Have a place for everything and make sure it always stays there: pens, paper, calculator, etc.
  2. Proper height desk and comfortable/ergonomic chair to sit in
  3. Remove distractions, i.e., turn television off
  4. Put a timer on your desk. i.e. start your task and give yourself a solid 15 minutes of uninterrupted time, work until the timer goes off
  5. Clean it regularly, from dust to dishes, anything that clutters your desk will clutter your mind
  6. Add some artwork or images on a corkboard that motivate you
  7. Create adequate task lighting. Our eyes get weaker with age, the older we get the more light we need to see
  8. Storage or filing cabinets for finished projects. Shelves for textbooks and other items
  9. All electronic equipment should be in an area where they can be easily and readily charged, phones/laptops/tablets/etc.
  10. The room should be set to a comfortable temperature. (not too hot, not too cold…like Goldilocks, it should be just right!!!)

For more advice, check out our website.

ANA’s 9 Tips to Sell Your Home in Winter…Brrrr!

By | Ana Cummings, Design, Home Staging, Real Estate | No Comments

In Calgary, it might seem like we have a longer winter season than summer. If you plan on selling your home during the winter months, here are my best tips!

  1. Make sure all your rooms are well lit. Replace low voltage or old bulbs with brighter or LED ones. In winter, the sun goes down much earlier, therefore your afternoon and evening viewings will require more light. Aim for 100w for every 50 square feet.
  2. Style your home as cozy as possible. This means layers. Put out a fur throw on the sofa or at the end of the bed. Luxurious touches that invite visual warmth will imbue a sense of comfort.
  3. Have an adequate place for boots and coats during your viewings. Empty out the front closet and put a mat underneath. This will not only keep the house tidy, but will make your potential buyer feel like they are already “at home”.
  4. Bake some cookies in the oven or have a fragrance diffuser in the home that triggers good memories of wintertime. Cinnamon, chocolate, cider smells are wonderful this time of year.
  5. Make sure the outside of the home is free and clear of snow and ice. This is your first impression and it needs to be as easily accessible as possible. Maintaining the outside of your home is just as important as the inside. Adding a couple of winter planters is also a welcoming touch.
  6. Turn on all in-floor heat in bathrooms and in areas that have it. There is no other feeling in the world than coming in from the cold and into a warm cocoon of a home. Our feet love to be warm. Having said that, being too warm is also a turn off. Monitor the weather and plan your temperature control accordingly.
  7. Add fresh flowers in places like hallways and kitchens. The addition of botanical elements adds life to a room in winter.
  8. Keep your home as clean as humanly possible; give the kids baskets to put their bulky items into.
  9. Have a designated place you and the family can go that will allow you to work and the kids to continue to study or do homework; like a public library or cozy cafe.

Best of luck to you!

Living Rooms and Selecting the Correct Size Sofa

By | Ana Cummings, Design, Home Staging | No Comments

First and foremost, how large a sofa you can get depends on two things, 1. How large the room is, and 2. How large the doorway(s) is in which it will enter. There is nothing worse than ordering the perfect sized sofa only to realize it can’t fit through a door, into an elevator or around a winding staircase.

Again, if it’s just a sofa and not a sectional, you’ll want to make sure you can allow enough room for side tables, a coffee table, and lighting such as floor or table lamps. A room just is not complete without the proper elements that make that space function perfectly. Always carry your room measurements with you when you go out shopping for your large furnishings. If you find yourself questioning between the 6ft or 8ft sofa, you can always ask an associate or call an interior decorator or designer.

Once you have found the perfect sofa, make sure you can walk all around it, and can walk in between the edge of the sofa and the edge of the coffee table, minimum distance for that would be about 14”.

When you are thinking of adding other chairs to your sofa, note that people sitting in seats opposite to it should not be more than 8ft apart, as it is very difficult to have a nice conversation at that distance.

How to Sell Your Home with Messy Kids

By | Ana Cummings, Design, Home Staging, Real Estate | No Comments

Kids right? Cleaning up after them is like cleaning up after a party that you weren’t invited to – and the party never stops! This is when you aren’t trying to sell your home, so what do you do when your home is on the market? Don’t worry, I’ve put together my top 10 best tips for getting your home sold, despite having messy kiddos.

  1. The daily to-do list. Get every family member involved with completing the daily to-do list. Put alerts on devices so that every morning everyone makes their bed and puts their unworn clothes away.
  2. Build multi-tasking muscles. Kids love games! Tell them they need to develop their “multi-tasking muscles” by making sure every trip up or down the stairs involves carrying something that needs to be put back in “its spot.”
  3. Have secret storage spots in each room. Make these new to-dos a snap by purchasing baskets or bins with lids that everyone can keep under their bed or in a designated storage area in each room.
  4. Hire a cleaning service. You need to make sure toilets, showers, and sinks are always sparkling. You can negotiate with cleaning companies to offer you the basics like bathrooms and kitchens (or the whole house). Tell your kids that they can earn some extra allowance each week if they keep their bathroom clean. Make sure each bathroom has its own set of cleaning items, including a container of disinfectant wipes for quick clean ups.
  5. Install diffusers at the entry so the home always has a pleasant fragrance. Hang charcoal air filters in smelly closets.
  6. Be proactive with your storage. Pack up any toys or clutter that make the most messes (ahem, Lego) right at the get go. That way you won’t have to worry about it when you have a last minute showing.
  7. Get the paint can out. Make sure all of your high traffic walls and doors are freshly painted; no need to see the many finger prints and dings accumulated over the years. Remove all posters tacked to walls in bedrooms.
  8. Relocate the pets. If possible, temporarily send beloved pets to a welcoming friend or neighbour’s house. This will eliminate any odors and associated accoutrements that may put off a potential buyer.
  9. Make sure everyone’s closets are super organized. This is one of the biggest challenges when you have kids, especially kids that like to collect things. A professional organizer can help. Potential buyers look inside of closets because storage is important, keep them as tidy as possible!
  10. Keep those carpets and floors spotless. Have your carpets and floors professionally cleaned prior to listing and install a strict “no shoes, no food, no drink” policy. Everyone enjoys their snacks and food at one designated spot which is cleaned immediately after each meal.

Best of luck! You can do this.

10 Ways to Makeover Your Home (for Free!)

By | Ana Cummings, Design, Home | No Comments

Want to update your home on a budget? How about a budget of zero dollars? Here are 10 ways to update your home for free:

  1. Take everything out of the room and start over. It’s amazing what can be achieved by starting off with a blank canvas. Not only will you edit and remove everything that is not purposeful or beautiful, but you may even come up with an entirely new furniture layout to add fresh energy into the space.
  2. Roadside shopping. Find a treasure by the curb, clean it up and call it yours. I think half of New York City operates like this. It is amazing the things that people no longer want to live with and place at the curb because it is too much work to think about the alternative.
  3. Go online. Kijiji, Craigslist, Listia, Recycalize, Curb Alert – are all websites that cater to locating free goods. The only investment you’ll have to make is a little sweat equity and gas for your vehicle or friend’s truck.
  4. Phone a friend. Do you know someone that can paint inside the lines? How about asking them to assist with a feature wall in your home in exchange for watching theirs while they go on vacation or another cost appropriate trade in kind? Recruit your creative and talented friends and think of ways you can help each other. And when you show off their handiwork, make sure you give them credit and hand out their name for additional work.
  5. Reuse those hues. Speaking of paints, I personally like using the cans of paint that are left over from different projects. For my son’s $0 room makeover, I put painter’s tape on the walls and created extra-large stripes using two existing colours that were already in the house. Not only does the room have a hip paint finish now, but I’m also assured that the colours flow seamlessly throughout the entire house.
  6. Change out the artwork. If you need a fresh boost of colour and can’t paint a wall, try changing up what’s on the walls. In the winter, I have a dark sombre piece of art above my fireplace. When summer arrives, I love the vibrant hues, so I replace the art with a more colourful piece. If you have anything in storage that can be placed on a wall, see how you can re-incorporate it into your scheme. If you can use the same hangars and hooks, that’s a bonus.
  7. Look outside. Mother Nature offers us some of the best $0 decor hands down. My favourites include, pussy willows, cut garden flowers, dogwood branches, wheat sheaves, pine cones, cedar boughs, cherry blossoms, lilacs, birch wood, drift wood, and river rocks. There’s so much out there, just make sure you’re not helping yourself to items on other people’s property.
  8. Initiate a decor swap with your friends and family. Maybe your parents or grandparents have a Danish teak credenza or a cool retro floor lamp that they no longer have a use for, and hey, these things might just look perfect in your space, right?
  9. Auctions and Estate Sales. Some of my best scores have been from places where I have stumbled across a box of mystery goods that accompanied the purchase that I was actually making. At these kinds of sales, items are required to get sold or relocated in very short order. Not only can you find some great deals, but they might throw in a few free extras along with it. Bartering skills tend to help.
  10. Take the time. A lot of us don’t have the spare time to do a complete room makeover. Book off the afternoon one day and take the time to ruthlessly edit, thoroughly clean, sort unwanted items into piles, and then drop them off to their respective locations or call a charity service that will collect. You will be surprised how good you feel entering a room that is just simply neat and organized. It’s a makeover in and of itself.

For more inspiration or if you have any questions, please check out our website.

ANA’s Tips for Buying Furniture Online

By | Ana Cummings, Calgary, Design | No Comments

Online shopping has never been easier and more convenient. From picking out a new outfit, to ordering groceries for the week, everything you need is just a click away. When it comes to buying furniture online, finding pieces to update your home is the easy part. But how can you make sure these pieces will work in the real world? I’ve put together a list of my top five tips to consider before buying furniture online.

  1. Know thy space. Know your room size and have a floor plan. Nothing is worse than buying the most comfortable chair and a half, only to realize it takes up the wall where you wanted the sofa to go. Planning is critical. Have a scaled drawing made of your room with all of your furnishings laid out. If you’re going online to source furniture, also go online to see what the recommended space is required for adequate traffic flow. You want to be able to walk around that coffee table without bashing a shin.
  2. Know what colours you’re selecting. We all have different screens and monitors that show colour differently. It’s wise to see if you can get an accurate pantone of the colour they are stating. Some online suppliers will provide you with a sample swatch so you know exactly what those undertones are. Again, it is really easy to be fooled by colour and texture and you don’t want your new purchase to clash with your walls or existing furnishings.
  3. Know the finish. If your coveted item is in a wood finish, the same rules apply as colour. Is it cerused oak? Reclaimed pine? What is the stain? Is it even wood? Can you get a sample of it mailed to you? These things are very important when putting a room together. I never have more than three different wood finishes in a room.
  4. What’s the shipping and return policy? Is there a warranty? I can’t emphasize this enough. Make sure you know what your item is going to cost to ship to your address. The shipping costs, especially from the US to Canada, may be so much that it is actually cheaper to purchase the item from a local supplier. If it happens to be the wrong colour, size, finish, or if it is damaged, you will want to know their policies regarding returns or exchanges. Some online shops are so good that they will send you another item right away, others, not so much.
  5. Read the reviews. People are terribly honest online and they will tell you exactly how their experience went. If you see some great stuff written, or conversely harsh comments, take those as truth. Sure, there may be some false reporting out there and you should view everything with a grain of salt, but hopefully there is more than one review to read so you can compare. Having said that, once you make your purchase, be diligent and courteous enough to leave your own review.

All in all, shopping for furniture online sounds like a great way to save time and money. However, as a person who likes to touch and feel and see with my own eyes, and hey, even actually sit in it to see if it’s comfortable and fits my body, it’s a tough sell for me. I like to see how the piece is made. And as with everything, buyer beware. Compare apples to apples and know what you’re buying.