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You want what? Not in Newfoundland

Rant warning! Have you ever noticed how your location impacts design because of availability of products? I live in a terrific city, St. John's,  on a beautiful island, Newfoundland, in the North Atlantic known for its culture and brightly coloured homes. source   But there is a downside to living on an island; it doesn't always provide ready access to a lot of products especially in interior design.   Judging by the homes for sale on in my local area,  this is a common problem for more than me or my clients. That being said, every now and then you find the perfect solution to your design quandary at local businesses.  It just shouldn't be a sporadic event. Yes, I know in this world of technology anything is possible, but if you are super fussy about undertones and/or comfort, it would not be smart to order a big ticket item without setting your eyes on said object.  That leaves custom ordering from fabric samples and hopefully a floor model to test for comfort

Does burlap work in contemporary decor?

Ideas for using burlap in crafty, country decor have taken over my Pinterest feed lately.  My own decor is a mix of contemporary and mid-century modern with a generous application of contemporary art.  Burlap just doesn't seem to fit with that mix.  But wait...  just tell me something doesn't work, and I am on a journey to prove otherwise.  Currently in my art practice I am questioning public expectations for certain materials.   Perhaps that's why I am thinking about burlap.   All those country/homey pins for burlap  got me thinking about raising the ante, by taking burlap  out of its country comfort level. So let's explore the question. I like burlap because it ... has texture; is a natural fibre from the jute plant; is a renewable product because of its source; is  available in several  neutral colours and can be dyed;  is relatively inexpensive; can be used without sewing; accepts paint well; comes in a variety of widths and qualities; has an open weave for introduc

7 Tips for creating a DIY summer house

March is the month when my heart beats a little faster because spring is on its way and opening our summer place begins to be a reality. Each year at this time I plan what the coming year will bring in repairs and DIY projects.  This post summarizes some of our past projects and how they have come together to create our special place. It is modest and quite ordinary looking when viewed from the outside, but  we have a million dollar view, and an interior that reflects our interests and skills.  We are perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean on the Bonavista Peninsula in Newfoundland and through the seasons we see icebergs, seabirds, whales and beautiful full moons.  One October I even saw my first display of the Northern Lights. Come along for a virtual visit to Ryall's Seaside Home and Studio. View outside the studio window mid summer After the storm Full moon over Bonavista It's a magical place and it hardly matters what goes on inside, but over our years here things have e

Choosing what's important

Summer is officially over. Did any readers notice  I took an extended holiday away from Designing Home blog? This is where I spent my summer. The little speck of a house in the background is my favourite place in the world. The views are spectacular and the ocean in all its moods speaks daily.  Duntara is as close to heaven as you will get. I had a marvellous summer full of creativity, conversation, relaxation, long walks roaming the beaches, whale watching and iceberg viewing directly in front of the house and on and on it goes.  I'm coming to fall with a renewed focus on my art practice.  It feels very satisfying.  My new work continues to focus on  what gets left behind, but I have moved from two dimensional works to three dimensional using found wood and objects to explore Compositions in Time.   Composition in Time #22,  2016, Margaret Ryall , wood assemblage, 16 x 16 in.  Composition in Time #27, 2016, Margaret Ryall, Wood assemblage, 16x16in. Composition in Time #29, 2016, M

The art of a welcoming entry

  Choosing the right piece of art for you entry can set a welcoming scene for your home.   When I have the option, I always choose art first and then build a room around it  rather than buy art to match a space. It's the artist in me, you need a focal point in a room that doesn't have an architectural one, and art is your most versatile choice.  I designed this small space several years ago, but it is still on trend today. Here are some elements to think about before making an art purchase for any space, but in particular small spaces where you many only have one piece of art. Scale This  contained front entry is a narrow space with a high ceiling. The bench is low and dark and was to the right of the door.  The table  also dark was to the left of the door. Always choose work that mimics the shape of the space you are filling.  In a smaller space I often use one piece of art rather than an array of smaller pieces, but that's personal preference.   The vertical orientation  

From glam to calm and points in between

Are you someone  who loves pretty, sparkly, elegant, or glamorous in home decor? source source   Do you love to continually redecorate, change with the seasons etc. Are you someone who loves accessories?  Many people have this "refined" up to date, concept of beauty and want their living spaces to reflect that. Believe it or not, there are also people who are equally determined not to have spaces that are perfect and new. They like more pared down, earthy, calm environments that have "real" objects in them.  Some refer to this look as zen. source  As in all things there is usually a middle road that people like to take.  I am certainly not, nor never have been, attracted to glamorous spaces, with silk, sparkle and too much excess.  Comfortable, calm and clean lined is more my vibe. I have always found the Japanese world view/aesthetic of wabi sabi that acknowledges three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect, very freeing. Such