Your Design Dilemmas Get Answered

I often get people asking me for decor and design advice. Over the years I have answered thousands of questions for the readers of Style At Home, Homemakers, Canadian Living, House Beautiful, Metro News to name a few. I love getting/reading decor questions as it keeps me abreast of the decorating issues people are having. This most recent question has been asked many, many times over tha past few years. Many people would love the idea of ‘opening up’  the main floor of their home but just wouldn’t know how to choose finishes or decorate the newly opened space; I’ve got a few things to keep in mind before knocking down walls.

Soupehe.comQ: Is open concept the way to go for a kitchen and living room?
A: Choosing an open concept kitchen/living space is a great option for young families (where parents are in kitchen and children are in living space), folks who entertain in a big way (since most parties end up in the kitchen) or for those who want to make a small home layout feel more spacious. A few considerations before you take down the walls and open up your main floor space:
1. Your kitchen’s esthetic should be the same as your living space. For example, if you have a very traditional living/dining area, then the newly opened kitchen should have cabinetry, counters that mimic a traditional feeling too.
2. There should be a clear divider between the kitchen and living space.. An island, half-wall, table/chairs should be used as a barrier to the kitchen. This helps to visually keep the fun and games of the family room out of the work area in the kitchen.
3. Flooring should visually flow from one area to another without jarring the eye. For example, if you have medium wood toned flooring in your living space, then a matching medium-toned brown-toned tile would be a great durable option for the kitchen. An area rug under the table will help define that specific area and add some colour/pattern into the space.
4. Window treatments, hardware metal tones and wall colours should also blend from one area to another in an open-concept home. Keeping common elements similar will help create a visual flow, making each area of the open-concept space co-ordinate.

5. Paint colours need to be used at minimum in an open-concept space. Use no more than 3 colours; one should be an overall neutral; the other two should be used to highlight a focal wall within varied areas around the open space.

Photo source:


Do you have a decor question? I’d love to answer it in a future blog post! Send a note along with 1 or two pictures of your space and who knows; you might just be on your way to a more beautiful looking home!

Colour Inspiration: At Twenty-Thousand Feet






Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 9.03.57 PM

I often look at other’s images posted on Facebook or Instagram and get inspired by the colours that nature has teamed together. In today’s edition of Colour Inspriation, I found a picture that my friend JT recently posted on Facebook; a picture he snapped when flying from Toronto to New York. Who could ever imagine those brilliant colours coming together?  Sitting beside the wings means one thing for JT -he wasn’t seated in first class… but he’s got a million dollar view on that flight! Thanks JT for the photo!

John Thompson

We all see different colours and I bet you would find other colours to pull from this picture. I always love to find the darkest neutral (grey) the brightest colour (red) and then a soothing or calm colour (blue) to round things out. I think all three colours would look fabulous as patterned fabric for draperies or even a fun, geometirc area rug. Here’s my inspiration colours listed; I used the Benjamin Moore Paints colour chart for this week’s edition of Colour Inspiration.

Franklin Lakes Blue by Benjamin Moore Paints

BM Franklin Lakes


Red by Benjamin Moore Paints:


Ashland Slate Grey by Benjamin Moore Paints

BM Ashland Slate





Inspired Colour -choosing paint colours

If you are my friend on Facebook then you have probably noticed I have been posting beautiful images accompanied with paint colour choices. This is a great way for me find interesting colour combinations that I may never normally think of. Whether I find inspiration in old architecture or nature, the colour combinations always seem to look great once pulled together from the visual source of a favourite photo.

My discovery process: The easiest way for me to choose colours from an inspiring photo is to find the darkest neutral, the brightest/offbeat colour and then the complimentary colour within the photo. Here are a few examples of my Inspried Colour postings from Facebook. The paint blobs used are all from Benjamin Moore Paints and in future Inspired Colour posts, I will be listing the colours that are featured.

I love to see the unexpected; like the blue sky refelected in the windows and the moss-stained steps of this old scholar building in Montreal, Canada:

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 8.59.54 PM

Canada is famous for shoreline sunsets and this one shows off some spectacular colour; remember the peach/blue/grey decor schemes from the 1980’s? Now we know where it was discovered from!!!

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 8.58.21 PM

I am constantly taking pictures of tree trunks; the colours of bark are awe-inspiring for someone who likes to discover colour from nature. This tree was in NYC, outside the Martha Stewart headquarters. I bet she planted this tree because of its gorgeous trunk colours.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 8.58.42 PM

Ever been to the rockies? The colour of the mountains change by the hour. This looks like late morningtime when the sun is breaking through the clouds. Incredible pool blue, dark elephant grey and teal – all current decorating colours and available directly from nature.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 8.59.07 PM

This old Montreal entrance probably never had its colours planned by a designer or artichitect, yet they are just so chic. I’d love to decorate a French cafe or dining room with all these wonderful colours combined.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 9.00.09 PM

Please look for a new Inspired Colour posting each week on this blog… it might inspired by a friend’s picture posted on Facebook, a recent travel photo or just a detail shot of my garden.

AND… If you like this blog then please scroll down to the SUBSCRIBE button at the bottom and press it; I’d love to share all my design discoveries and ideas with you! Cheers, KL