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Spring Trends 2017

Ahhhh Spring, we are so glad you made it! After a long and cold winter (bundled up in far too many layers), we are very excited to make room for things that are lighter and brighter. We have been keeping an eye on fashion and décor trends for this spring and wanted to share our favorite ones with you. Yes, we will always love our neutrals, but it looks like something bolder is on the horizon. Keep reading to find out!

A Sea of Blue

A classic can never really go out of style and blue is definitely back for spring. Taking hints from the sea, you may want to start incorporating some color with a deep, sophisticated indigo blue. If you are looking to invest in a this trend why not try a beautiful throw, dinnerware or toss! Feeling bold? There are even furniture pieces in statement colors. For those who are more comfortable, try adding pattern! On the runway, we saw nautical stripes as well as pinstripes from head to toe. Perhaps it is too much to deck out your entire living room with but you can definitely swap in a few new solid blue wool toss cushions from Ferm Living!

Khaki

Yes, you read that right – khaki is in (one of my personal favorites)! Although its muddy disposition makes it appear a neutral, we love the many ways you can rock this utilitarian color. Who can tire of the classic parka or cargo pants? All you have to do is Google a few fashion bloggers or articles online to see the many ways fashion designers are sporting this color on their runways for spring 2017. Want to try and bring this masculine color to your home? How about a sheet set layered with neutrals from Litchfield or paint one accent color in your room? Try one of these variations from Cloverdale Paint’s Artisan collection: CA142 Bay Leaf, CA166 Deep Forest, CA165 Sea Stone or for a fresh approach, CA164 Wreath.

Greenery

Pantone’s 2017 Color Of The Year is Greenery – a fresh, spring-like color that evokes a sense of hope and rejuvenation. Although some may think that we have taken a leap back to the 60s, the color can act as a neutral. Don’t believe me? Take a look outside and notice that the fresh greens in nature are a neutral that pairs with just about every color. Pantone has also created a few palettes to prove this point! What better time to start incorporating Greenery than at the start of spring. For those who are brave enough, go ahead and use it on a focal wall. If its jus a a bold pop of color added to your space, why not look for a few accessories like a vase? Better yet, add some real greenery to bring life into your room! Plants will always be on trend no matter what the season is.

spring-trends-2017

 

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Top 10 Smart Home Technologies

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost 10 years since the first smart phone came out. Remember how we all coveted that sleek iPhone 3G? Since then smart technology has expanded to the home and much of it can be controlled by the smart phone you have attached to you at all times. Smart home technology is all about what your home can do for you and how it can improve or enhance your everyday life. We have done some research and created a list of our top 10 smart home technologies. From saving you time, money, or just giving you peace of mind. These technologies are sure to impress you and your house guests!

1.   August Smart Lock

Privacy and security is always a top priority for your home. Never worry about losing your keys again with the August Smart Lock. Your smartphone becomes your new key and you are also able to create virtual keys for guests. You can also keep track of who comes and goes and give guest access for a few weeks, a few hours or even a few minutes. No more worrying about forgetting to lock your door when you are in a hurry or when you are on vacation!

August Smart Lock

2.   Nest Thermostat

Saving energy in the home is no easy task. How can you constantly monitor and control everything? The Nest Learning Thermostat helps you save energy by learning about what temperature you like throughout the day and builds a schedule around it. After using it for a week, it programs itself! With the app, you can see how much energy you use every day in Energy History or get a full report every month in Home Report. We love that it is simple to install, has a customizable ring to fit the style of your home and it will eventually pay for itself with the amount of money you save on your electrical bill!

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3.   Nest Protect Smoke Detector

No one really thinks about their smoke detector until it goes off and you’re left scrambling around to see if there really is a fire or if it is just another piece of burnt toast. We like the Nest Protect smoke detector because it is able to detect the problem – whether it is smoke or carbon monoxide – tells you what’s wrong and alerts your phone. You can also tell it to hush from the app on your phone, which means that we can say goodbye to the prolonged beeping sounds! Other features include automatic testing, so you don’t have to do it monthly and it lights up as you walk underneath it, so it doubles as a night light in your hallway.

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4.   Philips Hue

Most people tend to give lighting much thought, but it really helps to create the atmosphere you desire in your home! Can you really transform your space with a touch of a button? With the new lighting technology from Philips called Hue you certainly can, and all from your mobile device. Not only can you control your lights from anywhere, you can also customize it to create specific scenes such as ‘dinner party’ or ‘movie night.’ Want to have some fun? Why not try changing the ambiance or mood with various colors of light! Personalizing your lighting is as easy as screwing in a lightbulb, connecting the bridge to your router and downloading the app.

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5.   Belkin Wemo Switch

Not sure if you left the iron on this morning as you rushed to work? You can now check from your smart device using Belkin’s Wemo switch. Simply plug the Wemo switch into an outlet, then plug in your appliances or electronics into the Wemo and you are able turn it off or on from your smart phone. The Wemo uses your home’s Wi-Fi network so you can control electronics such as TVs, heaters, fans and lamps from the palm of your hand.

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6.   Hunter Douglas PowerView Motorization

If you live in a large home with lots of windows (lucky you!), then you know the struggle of adjusting your window treatments throughout the day. The new PowerView Mortorization from Hunter Douglas is able to automatically adjust your shades throughout the day using the PowerView App on your smart device or their PowerView Pebble Control. Now you maximize daylight and create the perfect ambiance in your space without the hassle of manually adjusting each shade. Most of the PowerView window treatments are also battery-powered so it is very easy to install, use and maintain. We love that you can create pre-programmed room scenes – different combinations of shades and shade positions – so you can have the amount of light, privacy and ambiance you desire in a jiffy!

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7.   Kohler Numi Toilet

Some may argue that the toilet is the centerpiece of a bathroom; perhaps why it is dubbed ‘the throne?’ Needless to say, it is a key component so why not make it luxurious? The Japanese have embraced toilet technology for quite some time now, so it’s about time that we do too. The Kohler Numi Toilet offers top-tier toilet technology with a motion activated cover and seat, three bidet water spray patterns (pulsate, oscillate and wave), and multiple heating options (seat and feet). If that doesn’t already sound over the top, there is an audio system and you can cycle through seven different programmable color options for the illuminated panels. Did we mention that it is incredibly sleek and aesthetically pleasing? This toilet demands to take center stage.

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8.   Kohler DTV+ Digital Shower Interface

Ever dreamt of having that amazing multi-sensory shower from the last 5-star hotel you stayed at in your own home? It can be achieved! Kohler has a new digital shower interface called the DTV+ that combines elements – water temperature and pressure, steam levels, lighting and music – to give you the ultimate sensory experience in the shower. The waterproof touchscreen display allows you to have control over your personalized showerhead and steam systems. You can also preset up to six modes so everyone in the family can save their favorite combination. Take your shower to the next level by amping up your morning shower or help you relax and wind down after a long day.

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9.    Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator

What is the first thing you check when you walk into your kitchen? It is very likely the refrigerator! The Samsung Family Hub smart fridge has a Wifi enabled touchscreen that helps you manage your groceries, connect with your family and entertain. With three built-in cameras, The Family Hub takes a photo every time the doors close so you can always know what you have and what is missing from your phone. On the touch screen you can keep track of schedules, leave notes and reminders, display photos, stream music and even mirror what you are watching from your smart TV! Amongst all these features you can be sure that your food will be kept fresh and organized. You can it in Canada at Home Depot for about $5,000!

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10.    Google Home

Everyone wants a personal assistant and the Google Home is your answer! This small voice-activated speaker is powered by Google Assistant. You can tell it to do things such as rescheduling your meeting, play music from Spotify or even ask it questions and get real-time answers including the latest weather and traffic. It acts as a hub to help you voice-control other smart devices in your home such as Nest, Philips Hue and Chromecast. Now you can shut off your music, turn on your latest Netflix show, bring down shades and dim the lights without touching a thing!

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Happy 3rd Birthday Area3!

 

Well three years ago today, we did it! I mean we really did it! According to some it was the best idea we ever had, others questioned our judgement. What did we do? We quit our long term employment to start my own business. Crazy right? Well I had been reading articles on Inc. Entrepreneur and Success magazine for years…. I mean all these other successful entrepreneurs before us had done it. Sure we had read about the first few years and some of the challenges, but that didn’t apply to us. We had it all figured out! We wrote a business plan, researched and had lots of experience. Well turns out there was some truth to those articles – the first year is a grind! Say goodbye to your personal life. My one business partner saw me more than her own husband. The second year is like the terrible two’s those growing pains, more expenses and new challenges. Come the third year we are starting to grow!!!! More staff, learning to hire out for those tasks that aren’t our specific background. We are finally starting to understand cash flow (kinda) and those crazy financial documents our account keeps trying to explain. Quickbooks and I are on a first name basis now! We are all wearing extra hats – payables, IT, HR, law, marketing, etc. but the really cool thing is every year we are getting a lil smarter, grasping a little more and having a lot of fun! Did I mention the best part of owning your own business? You get to work with people you love being around. You go to an office every day you helped design! You get to create the type of company culture you always wished you had, and you get to celebrate every milestone with your team. We do work hard, but we also know how to appreciate every new client, new project, new hire and especially every Area3 Birthday. We are so excited to see what this year brings. If you ever dreamed of owning your own business we say go for it! It has been one of the most rewarding things we have done!

 

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10 More Inspiring Design Instagram Feeds

Once upon a time, going to the store and picking up the latest issue of your favorite design magazine (or a handful of them) was your favorite thing to do when you needed some inspiration. Who doesn’t love flipping through a few glossies on a weekend? Nowadays, making that trek to the newsstands seems completely unnecessary when you can have it all at your fingertips – hello smartphones and tablets! With so many websites, blogs and social media accounts readily available, how do you know which ones to follow? Fear not! We have expanded our list to include ten more of our favorite accounts on Instagram to follow. Start with these and you will happily scrolling for hours through many inspirational photos.

@adesignersmind

With over 1 million followers, this account is worthy of your ‘follow’ for architecture, interiors and lifestyle design inspiration from around the world. No matter what your style is, you are sure to come across many images that you love.

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@scandinavialist

Curated by a Norwegian architect, Scandinavialist is your mecca for Scandinavian design – be it architecture, interiors or fashion. If you have not already, you are sure to catch a case of “Scandimania!”

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@thegreyinteriors

For all those who love timeless and functional design, The Grey Interiors is definitely for you. Carefully curated images make this account a dream to scroll through and you are sure to be gawking at the images for hours.

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@azuremagazine

A snapshot of the wonderful articles found in Azure Magazine is how we would describe their Instagram Account. Give them a ‘follow’ for some neat profiles on designers and architects, innovative projects, products and ideas.

azuremagazine

@archdaily

As the name suggests you can find your daily dose of architecture on the ArchDaily feed. Architecture geeks will surely marvel at all the unique projects featured around the world on this account!

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@interiordesignmag

Interested in some truly one-of-a-kind interior design inspiration? Look no further than Interior Design Magazine. From restaurants and hotels to museums and homes, everything you see on this account is sure to make your jaw drop.

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@westernliving

Capturing everything that inspires Western Canada’s design, food, travel and entertaining is Western Living. What is there not to love?

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@dwellmagazine

Looking to re-do your home? After just a few moments on Dwell’s account, you are sure to have some serious home envy.

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@gray_magazine

We love how unique the design culture in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. and Canada are and GRAY Magazine perfectly reflects just that.

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@minimaliststyle

We love minimalism and the products on this account with their perfectly composed images make us go head over heels.

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Vancouver Embraces Public Spaces

When most people think about public spaces, outdoor spaces often come to mind. The park or courtyard where neighbors meet while walking their dogs, the park bench where seniors read their newspaper or even the skate park where youth practice or show off their latest trick. Public spaces are important as it is in these places where people can spontaneously interact, create connections and build community. Whether inside or outside, interior design plays a big role in creating these communal spaces where we connect every day. Interior designers must consider how people interact within a space and with each other in public spaces. The design of great public spaces are pleasing, playful and unique – ensuring that the public will regularly visit and that the space will have adequate use. With densification on the rise there is a greater need to create more public spaces for urban dwellers to enjoy. Looking for new public spaces to check out in Vancouver? Here are a few that we are excited about taking interior design outdoors!

Downtown Vancouver Laneways

Next time you are in the Downtown Vancouver’s central business district, you might want to meander through the laneway located south of West Hastings Street between Granville and Seymour. Recently the laneway has been revitalized with a fresh coat of bright pink and yellow paint on the road and walls – nothing you have ever seen before in Vancouver. The laneway has been transformed into a pedestrian-friendly public space with basketball hoops and mini soccer nets – a great place to gather during a lunch break! A handful of basketballs and soccer balls are also available for people to play with or you can bring your own equipment. In addition, the Odyssey Nightclub will have a bar outside their back door, playing music every night to transform the laneway into a place where people will want to gather and socialize (much like Europe). The string lighting overhead also adds to the welcoming atmosphere at night with patio space extensions into the lane for Starbucks and Trees Organic Coffee Shop. Sounds cool right? It is all part of a pilot project by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, the City of Vancouver, local businesses and is designed by HCMA Architecture + Design. Two more laneway revitalizations are also in the works, so keep an eye out for these!

laneway

Beneath Granville Street Bridge

We briefly mentioned Vancouver House before in our previous blog post “New Iconic Architecture in Vancouver” and the market-style area under the Granville Street Bridge. The public space is also designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), which is known for creating fantastic public spaces along with architecture around the world. BIG has reimagined the bleak space beneath the foot of the Granville Street Bridge to become a civic space for the city and an attractive place to spend time. An art installation will go on the underside of the bridge, which will liven up the infrastructure that separates the buildings. This will set the tone for what we imagine will be a vibrant plaza space where people will buy products from vendors, gather and connect. We are sure to give this space a visit once it is completed!

beneath-granville-street-bridge

Lonsdale Waterfront

In 2018, make sure to take a Seabus over to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver to visit Metro Vancouver’s largest outdoor ice rink! It is a part of a revitalization project for the Lonsdale waterfront, providing much needed public amenities and event spaces in North Vancouver. The new structure will be located on a site east of The Shipyards buildings. It will be an ice surface with a looped skating trail in the wintertime. In the summer, the ice surface will be transformed into a plaza space for events and part of the west side will be converted into a play area with pools and sprayers that kids will love. We’re excited to see a concert or festival here and visit the new restaurants and retail stores that are proposed for the area!

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We can’t wait to check these public spaces out! Which one is at the top of your list? #area3publicspace

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Mindfulness by design

Design is a tool. It can be used to provide solutions, reinvent living, or change our perception throughout space. In today’s age, we really know how to pack in a tight schedule. Though it is still important for us to remember to take the time to rest and restore our energy before we burn out. Easier said than done! Most of the time there just isn’t room for a break with a deadline hanging over our heads, errands to get done, and other people in our lives to support. So how do we create a sense of mindfulness through all this disruption?

That’s when the definition of design plays its integral role in distilling moments of relaxation. Have you ever heard the acronym, “KISS”? Maybe in an old English class? It stands for, Keep it simple stupid. Of course, designing is definitely not the same as writing an essay, nonetheless this acronym really can go a long way in many aspects of our lives. So let’s apply it to designing for mindfulness.

  1. Focused Attention

A messy space can often be a reflection of the mind. Simplify and de-clutter the spaces that surround you. The office should replicate your work, and the bedroom should replicate your personal life. Keep the gadgets out the bedroom, and your personal items at the office to a minimum. When the two spaces coincide it can be hard to stay productive while working. It can be even harder to leave the stress of work behind while trying to rest at night. The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for Slow Living, is a great coffee table feature to have around the house. If you haven’t flipped through this yet, it’ll do you some serious good! Not only is it full of charming and attractive homes, there are lovely personalized stories to go along with each feature. This book provides some great tidbits on natural living and simple design.

  1. Mind is Body, and Body is Mind

When you’re slouched and sitting in a chair most hours of the day, your mind can easily get just as lazy. Hence the onset of a headache. When we are hunched over a computer, we are actually sitting in an unconscious manner and often unaware of our surroundings. Studies encourage you to make a point of getting up and moving around throughout the day. Why not walk over to your co-workers desk and talk to them instead of sending that email?People who sit a lot have an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. A solution would be to check out the popular sit stand desk. A height adjustable desk that allows you to stand while working. A few of the noted benefits are increased productivity, less back pain and may lower blood sugar levels. Workplace furniture companies like Teknion, and Haworth offer plenty of intuitive alternatives for getting the job done. Even fresh air and a sense of soothing sounds can help.

  1. Stretch it Out

I’m not about to preach the benefits of yoga, because I get it. Not everyone has the time or wants to get out on a mat with a room full of strangers. However let me tell you about the benefits of stretching. Provide some space in the home with plenty of clearance, and I guarantee that if you allot 5 minutes of time a day to touch your toes and wiggle your hips, it will shortly become 10, followed by 15. It just feels that good to open things up. A clutter free home, not only feels good, but looks better as well. All you have to do is try reading one of these articles, “What yoga can teach you about entrepreneurship”, or “Why exercise is a higher priority than my business” by Entrepreneur to realize most successful people pay close attention to their health and fitness. That’s what we call good inspiration!

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Frantic Festive Finishes

Well we all know how busy the holidays get! Lots of party invites, family obligations and don’t forget all that Christmas shopping. Have you run out of time yet? One last – but critical element is the scene. Are you still scrambling for some last minute holiday decorating ideas? Don’t worry we have a few quick and modern ideas that will help to ensure your space looks festive while you have a holly jolly good time!

1) Quick fix vase ideas:

Fill a glass vase full of ornaments or flocked sugar pine cones or how about cranberries or mini birch tree cuttings and a single candle?

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2) How about a no fuss Christmas tree?

Fill a floor vase with tall branches or twigs and leave au natural or hang a few ornaments of the ends? We love the simple minimalist birch LED trees like those found at Crate and Barrel or Restoration Hardware. You could cluster mini pine trees wrapped in burlap on a table or purchase a cute Charlie brown tree from your local florist. If you a modernist at heart, then why not go for a whimsical zig zag indoor or out “chrimsy warm light” tree.

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3) Modern spin on that old wreath:

Go glam with the silver glitter wreath from crate & barrel. It makes a statement to any space and will create a sparkly focal for your winter wonderland. Or be a softy with the plush snowball wreath from CB2. Accessorize yours with twinkle lights or small pops of coloured ornaments to complete the look.

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4) Going Geometric:

CB2 offers this modern spin on ornaments. These copper and silver framed Christmas trees will add some shine to any mantle display. Or dazzle your company with these out of this world galactic copper ornaments. These kinetic sculptures will hypnotize you as they spin and twirl in suspension, hanging from the tree or simply provide a focal on any surface.

5) Mantle Pieces:

Ever home needs a place to hang your stockings with care. Why not hang them with some style too? These metal weighted stocking hangers are one part functional and one part décor. Choose from a pair of antlers or a quaint little home which can be fitted with a candle to make your mantle merry. You can also choose to create a small village across your mantle with these porcelain cityscapes all from West elm. Want to add some life to the town? Complement your scene with silver reindeer from Crate & Barrel or acrylic polar bears from CB2. There’s nothing like a winter scene to make the season bright.

6) A Tree Topper:

You may be wondering how to top your tree after seeing the same old thing all the time.  Dont worry we’ve got you covered – how about a starburst of light at the top? Sure to bring a unique look to any tree. Or how about a dance party around the tree?Why not try the  disco ball tree topper for a little more fun? Too flashy? How about a simple silver rattan tree topper which adds a rustic yet classic look to your tree top.

7) DIY 3D snowflakes:

Why not try these DIY simple 3D paper snowflakes? We even made them in our own office which were a big hit. Might make a fun family activity.

1. Fold a square piece of paper in half diagonally, then again into a quarter. Cut three straight lines into the folded piece of paper. (The space between each cut and how many cuts you need will depend on the size of your star).

  1. Open the piece of paper and cut in half, this will become your cutting template.
  2. Fold another square piece of paper in half diagonally and place your cutting template over the top of this. Cut along the cut lines.
  3. Open the square piece of paper you have just cut and flatten. Take the inner triangle cuts and bind the ends together with glue or a stapler.
  4. Take the next triangle cut and fix those ends together but this time in the opposite direction.6. Repeat this process until all ends have been fixed together to create the first point of your star.
  5. Repeat this process with the remaining 5 pieces of paper, creating 6 points to your star.
  6. Take 3 of your completed points and stick the top of the points together creating a semi-circle. Make sure that the star points are glued together facing the same direction.
  7. Repeat step 8 for the remaining 3 points of your star and staple both half’s together to secure. Your paper star is now complete!
  8. Suspend from your ceiling with a pushpin and a strand of fishing line. Add some variety by using different scales for a more dynamic look or for a more festive look, choose a coloured paper such as red, green or a frosty blue.6) Paint Swatch Christmas Trees:If you’re like most designers you should have a bunch of these lying around the house or office. If not, pop down to your local Paint or Hardware store for some colour charts. This is where you can have fun looking for some gradients or colour combos that speak to your Christmas spirit. Once you have made your choices, cut these into Christmas tree shapes and using a glue stick apply them to cards or even a wintery backdrop. You can complete the look by accessorizing your trees with paper ornaments and sticky stars. They also make great gift tags. Just don’t forget some brown swatches for trunks!

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8) Wood Veneer Ornaments:

This one requires a strong hand and skills with a blade. Depending on your belief of skill level you can choose from a group of materials but cardstock, balsa wood or even a thin veneer sample will do wonders for these Scandinavian/rustic ornaments.

1. Begin by making a Christmas tree template out of paper.

2. Using this paper as your template, cut two Christmas tree shapes out of your material (balsa wood, veneer, cardstock). You have the option here to lay strips of craft paper tape across your tree to give it a snowy look, or using a glue stick coat your tree in glitter.

3. Cut a thin notch through the bottom of one tree (A) and through the top line of the other tree (B). Make sure these notches match each other in length.

4. Insert tree A into tree B and voila – your tree is complete!

Secure the pieces together with a glue gun or accessorize with a string to the top for a hanging ornament. No Time? No problem – merely display on your mantle as a small wooden forest. You can do this with any shape you wish, such as a minimal triangle to save time or any traditional Christmas shape (snowman, stars, angels) it’s up to you!

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9) Warm/White Fairy lights:

Restoration hardware has a great choice of coloured lights, starry and globe LED versions that you can add into simple or frosted vase. Try an assortment of vases with these lights which are sure to add a little Christmas magic to any space. Place them on end tables, lower ones on coffee tables, or a variety across your mantle.

10)Paint Swatch Christmas Trees:

If you’re like most designers you should have a bunch of these lying around the house or office. If not, pop down to your local Paint or Hardware store for some colour charts. This is where you can have fun looking for some gradients or colour combos that speak to your Christmas spirit. Once you have made your choices, cut these into Christmas tree shapes and using a glue stick apply them to cards or even a wintery backdrop. You can complete the look by accessorizing your trees with paper ornaments and sticky stars. They also make great gift tags. Just don’t forget some brown swatches for trunks!

colour-swatch-diyWishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

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12 Days to Christmas Gift Guide

In case you don’t have it in with Santa’s elves and are still scrambling for that perfect gift idea….. look no further. From all of us at Area3, we hope you’ll find one or two of these ideas helpful so you can spend a little less time shopping and a bit more time wrapping. We have rounded up 12 of the most difficult people to buy for and sourced original ideas from local stores like Walrus, MEC, Provide, Litchfield and many more to help you out this holiday season.

For her: Every women I know loves these things – beautiful toiletries, decadent candles and of course a nice bottle of wine. Best of all we can enjoy all three at the exact same time. So if all else fails we are confident you can’t go wrong with one of these options. Orling and Wu carries a line of bath and body products called L:A Bruket which come in various scents. How about the luxurious candles that last 45 hours (my personal favorite is Lime Basil and Mandarin) from Jo Malone?  Best for last, drum roll………. the wine. Upon a recent trip to Europe I fell in love with the French Sancerre (unfortunately not as common or readily available here). Everything wine carries a few options like Domaine Foussier ‘Les Romains’ Sancerre Sauvingnon Blanc – this would be sure to put you on my “nice list”.

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For him: Who wants a standard gym bag? The Red Flag Duffle bag made of a neoprene rubber is not only durable, chemical and water resistant but pretty darn stylish too! Located on 5th Ave. in Vancouver wings + horns brings a sleek industrial space to life in both its production and retail home. Their cabin fleece available in three colors (back only for the holidays) is boxing inspired and sure to be a hit. Or how about a little pampering for him? At JD’s Barbershop in Gastown along with a cut or shave, every client gets a single malt scotch as soon as they walk in. This was recently one of the top five barbershops by Vancitybuzz.

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For the techie: The Apple watch series 2 complete with built in GPS, water resistant up to 50 meters and with multiple bands and faces to choose from  is sure to appeal to many on your Christmas list this year. For the techie and outdoor enthusiast on your list how about the Chip 2.0 Bluetooth compatible in-helmet speakers with simple, glove-friendly controls for audio, phone, voice command and push to talk walkie-talkie functions. This last suggestions is a bit of a tease as it’s not available yet – but too cool not to share! The Kobi is one machine with three different functions: one to mow your lawn, one to remove leaves and one to blow away snow. Check out more on the website, watch the video and stay in the loop for the next release.

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For the child on your list: Osmo blocks and games are like Lego for coding. The iPad compatible game and magnetic pieces are designed to teach kids how to program. Little passports offer monthly subscriptions based on age and selection. How about the world explorer which is geared for ages 6-10. They get to discover a new country each month with souvenirs and hands on activities. The first month includes a blue suitcase along with world map, passport and online access to games and more. The classic draw-and-guess game Pictionary lets teenagers explore their drawing and sketching skills.

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For the chef: Want to cook the most tender and flavorful meat ever? Be sure to add the Sous Vide to the foodie on your gift list this year. Maybe you will even get a dinner invitation? Edible Canada has a lot of great ideas like – original rubs, infused salts or gift baskets. Available at several locations you are sure to find something for the chef on your list. Getting back to basics, as we are much more consumed with what we are putting in our bodies these days; why not bake your own wholesome bread? Check out the Breville Custom loaf bread maker this model mixes dough for pizza, focaccia and pasta, as well as offers gluten free settings.

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For the sports fan: Tickets to the Blue Jays game vs the Mariners. Take a trip down to Seattle and support Canada’s only baseball team. As the American League Division Champions two years in a row, the Toronto Blue Jays are sure to provide quality entertainment for your sports fan. The crowd and atmosphere in the station is electric. With 80% Blue Jays fans attending, everyone is thrilled to be there and cheer on Canada’s team. It’s an experience they won’t forget. The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is stopping in Vancouver again this year! Last year the Sevens made its debut in Vancouver to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics and proved to be quite the spectacle. The series includes 10 tournaments held around the world where teams compete for World Series points. Known for its action packed plays and fandom, this would be a unique opportunity for your sports fan.

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For the camper on your list: Talk about fun? How about the Yalabs soft shell ice cream ball. Encourage your kids to play with their food. Simple ingredients plus 20–30 minutes of shaking and rolling equals a pint of delicious home-made ice cream. They get an outlet for their energy, you get to know exactly what they’re eating. Just the thing to put a new spin on a camping trip, barbeque or birthday. You know what tent everyone will be hanging around! Having a clean shower facility at campsites may not always be the case. Or any shower facility as a matter of fact.But if you have the Texsport Portable delux shower shelter with solar camp shower and battery powered handheld portable shower, you don’t have to wait your turn or look for coins. This is compact and mobile and great for long or short trips

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For the artist: Do you know a romantic? Poet? How about the Cinema Lightbox with interchangeable letters that allow you to show off your creative side. Calm and patient? Appreciate the subtlety of color? How about the Gradient Puzzle. For the one on your list who loves to sketch – up their game with the Wacom Intuous Tablet. This sleek tablet gives you the chance to apply your hand directly to the computer. Choose from a wide array of artistic styles that are just as unique as the artist. Drawing, comic art, painting, photography and 3D character modelling are all included with free download and plug ins pack that comes with your Intuous.Bringing your creations to life is as easy as pie with free tutorials to get you started today. Have fun!

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For the health nut: Do you have that friend that’s all about Zen? Why not look at this sleek, modern matte black or white aromatherapy diffuser. The benefits include reduce stress, anxiety, induce sleep and a lot more. Are you more about the experience? Then we highly recommend something like the float experience at The Float House which has many locations. Known to help you build focus, strength and expand your mind. Once you’ve completed the float why not head into the infrared sauna (my personal favorite) available at Halsa. With benefits known to improve your physical health, burn calories and release toxins, best of all you will sleep like a baby afterwards.

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For the traveler:  Perfect for the avid traveler. You can power through those emails or edit a presentation on the fly with the Microsoft folding keyboard which can be simultaneously paired to any two mobile devices – an IPad, IPhone, Android device, etc. For your next flight might we suggest the Bose QuietComfort® 25 headphones. Even air travel becomes enjoyable, as engine roar gently fades away. No matter how noisy the world is, it’s just you and your music—or simply peace and quiet!

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For the home: Honest simple materials make the Concrete Lamp a thing of beauty. It looks great on a desk, bookstand or end table. Perfect for any home. Need something cozy – the luxurious eco-friendly alpca wool throw is a must on any sofa, available in multiple colors (we happen to love the charcoal). Thinking of getting your hostess the tried and true Christmas poinsettia? Why not shake it up this year and get a beautiful succulent that lasts all year long? Kermodi creates a wide variety of sizes and styles.

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For the Architect/ Designer on your list: The Chisel and Mouse Architectural Plaster sculptures (designed and made in England) are available locally at Goodge Place. These scenes of beauty can be mounted vertically or placed on a table top – ensured to spark conversations. Change your scale with these miniature concrete houses and various other architectural elements from the Materiallmmaterial Etsy shop. Inspired by modern styles and displaying the raw beauty of concrete, these affordable minute architectural masterpieces are sure to captivate any 3d minded individual. Build your own community as you choose from a wide selection that can be integrated to form a united courtyard.

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3 Ways Interior Design Improves Productivity

It may have never crossed your mind before, but did you know that interior design can improve your productivity? From the moment you wake up to the hours you spend at work, you have to be productive and make the most of every minute you have. There are so many ways to improve your day-to-day productivity with the help of interior design. Here are three ways:

At Work

As much as we don’t like to admit it, we spend most of our days at work and office design can greatly affect the productivity of employees. By simply having access to daylight and views, employee satisfaction goes up and so does their productivity. Being stuck in a cubicle or a stuffy office can also create stagnation. An office setting that is open and warm with spaces to collaborate can help keep productivity up when being isolated and staring at the same white wall becomes too much. A comfortable ergonomic task chair, height adjustable computer screens and personalizing your desk all help as well. For furniture inspiration look no further than Herman Miller, Steelcase and Coalesse to name a few!

 

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In the Kitchen

When you are finally home from a long day at work and have survived the rush-hour commute the last thing you want to do is spend more time than necessary in the kitchen preparing dinner. If you are looking into getting your kitchen redone anytime soon or are looking for a new place, make sure to keep an eye out for a “working triangle.” Without being too technical, this working triangle is formed by your stove, kitchen sink and fridge. When cooking, a good working triangle formation helps to save you time and makes it easier for you to access what you need quickly. Maximizing countertop space by having useful and accessible millwork that stores all your necessities can also help you become super productive in the kitchen and getting meals on the table in a jiffy. Watch out for smart kitchens coming your way! Everything from appliances that can be remotely accessed via your phone to virtual chefs are on the horizon.

 

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Resting

Can you be productive while resting? No, not really, but getting a good nights sleep and being well rested sure can affect your productivity throughout the day no matter what the activity is. For those who work night shifts or are on-call, sleeping can often occur while there is still plenty of daylight. This is when window treatments in addition to a really great mattress is necessary. Your bedroom is often your private escape from the rest of your home, so having a space that is calming and can aid in your relaxation is the key. For those cold Canadian nights, might we suggest installing a fireplace? Not only is it functional, but it adds to the atmosphere. Who doesn’t love curling up to a nice fire with a glass of wine and a good book at the end of the day?

 

Bedroom

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Well Designed Everyday Objects

We don’t often realize it, but if you pause and take a moment you will notice that everything around you is designed. From the screen you are currently staring at to the chair you are inevitably sitting on, it is the product of design. Great design is often invisible – a quote that I have heard many times before. Don’t believe me? I think our most memorable experiences with design are not usually the ones that take our breath away, but the ones that we think are an epic fail and cause frustration. We love objects that are not only functional, but innovative and beautiful so we have decided to feature a few products from a couple of designers that we admire. You are sure to remember them… in a good way!

Phillipe Starck

This innovative French designer has created products, interior, industrial and architectural design that you are sure to have come across at some point in time. His well-designed objects are affordable and aligns with his “democratic design” concept. It seems Starck has designed every object under the moon from his iconic Juicy Salif juicer to glasses, watches and bathroom fixture lines. His interior design can also be found around the world in world-class hotels, restaurants, stores, bars and clubs. Not impressed yet? You can also check out some of his boat, bike, motorcycle and car designs. What doesn’t he design?

Phillipe Starck

Karim Rashid

Quirky might be the best descriptor for Karim Rashid and his designs. The Canadian-American industrial designer specializes in luxury goods, furniture, lighting, surface design, brand identity and packaging. He is bold, which is represented by his love for the color pink. His work can be described as sensual, with curves and bright colors and that are easily recognizable. You have or have seen his designs in stores. Some of his recognizable products include the Oh Chair and Garbo waste can for Umbra, bobble water bottle, watches and tableware for Alessi and lighting for Artemide, just to name a few.

Karim Rashid

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