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Area3 ‘s Christmas Gift Guide

Well with only a few short weeks till the big day, and too much to do on that preparation list (groceries, decorations, events, etc.), we thought why not help lighten the load? If you’re like us you probably have a pretty long Christmas list with the people you have yet to purchase for. Maybe because it’s so hard to think of that perfect gift? Not to worry – the team at Area3 is here to help! Even with those most difficult to buy for……….

For the Foodie:

How about a stuffed Santa boot filled with nuts from Thomas Haas? Or the charmingly candy colored (look too good to eat) Macarons delivered right to your door? Be sure to check out Vancouver’s own Soirette. Not into the sweets? Why not gift them an exploration of our local restaurants in Vancouver on a food tour!?

Foody

For the Chef:

Benu cookbook from Corey Lee – not only is this a beautiful book to display in your kitchen, it will also transform you into a James Beard Award-winning chef!! Well…a girl can dream…! Another beautiful item to add to your kitchen is the ceramic cookware from Williams Sonoma. These multifunctional Cocotte’s come in different sizes and are safe for the stovetop, oven, microwave and freezer. A great little kitchen helper, the Cuisinart Elite Mini Food Processor, will ensure to speed up all your food prep.

Chef

For the Techie:

The Rin Tablet Stand keeps your IPAD in its place and looks great. Have you ever left your house without your iPhone/iPod/iPad charger? With Bluelounge’s newest product the Kii, you will always have a charger that fits directly on to your key chain. Or how about the Nest WI-FI Smart Thermostat? It remembers what temperatures you like, learns your schedule, and programs itself to save energy. Its sharp 2.08″ LCD display with Farsight lights up when you approach. WiFi connected, you can control it with your mobile device, and use it with numerous compatible smart home products.

Techy

For the Hostess with the Mostess:

A 7-piece mixology bar set or wooden 6 pack holder complete with bottle opener from West Elm will ensure that you are the life of the party! Not into the beverage orientated gifts? Pottery Barn diffuser’s or candles are an excellent option. After all that hard work over the holidays how about a little pampering? The key lime body scrub from Indigo will ensure relaxation.

Hostess

For the Fitness Freak:

I have been a long-time fan and user of the Fitbit and would recommend this fitness gadget to anyone. On my list this year would be the latest model the Fitbit Surge. It records distance, pace, elevation, routes, heart rate, records running, cycling & cardio workouts! It even includes music control, call & text notification- so cool! More of a yogi on your list? Try the world’s 1st self-rolling yoga mat.

Fitness

For the Outdoor Enthusiast:

So you thought the outdoors couldn’t be design savvy? Have you checked out uncrate? This is one cool site! The Tipi Tent is a modern twist on the traditional tent with design being inspired by a tipi. How about bringing the outdoors inside and surprising him with his favorite photo of that camping trip? Woodsnap prints your image on sustainably-sourced wood. Their products are handcrafted in the USA and they plant a tree for every print sold.

Outdoors

For the Fashionista:

Everybody loves a good story, so why not pick up the Ash limited edition scarves? Only 500 are made and with each purchase 100% of net proceeds go towards the Obakki Foundation’s programs for clean water and new schools in Makila, South Sudan. While you’re at it why not include one of these unique Pendant Scarf Holders from Room in Order? Have someone on your list who’s consistently late? The modern (white of course) ladies Braun watch is perfect for everyday wear and will keep them in check and on time. For the boho fashionista, the Two Tone Felt Panama Hat from Nordstrom’s is guaranteed to please. Have you been to the new Simons Department store at Park Royal yet? They have some great sweaters and cardigans from their own line that are easy on the wallet and great looking. How about the very long minimalist cardigan? And because an outfit is never complete without accessories, we recommend you browse over at Dominos as the have an array of options that we would all love – like the world famous Horween Leather bag, by the Rockwell Collection. This makes an architectural statement. Finally, for every Vancouver girl – brave the rain in stylish rain boots from Unit Nude. 

Fashionista

For the Music Lover:

The stylish Beats Studio Wireless headphones by Dre ensure the best audio experience while looking extra chic.

For the Creative Type:

LEGO architecture is 1210 blocks and comes with an endless inspiration guide to build your own creations! For the young imagination how about the Woody Chalkboard table, always a hit!

for the creative

For Your Parents (who already have everything):

Give the gift of memories this year. Take the family out and go for a breath taking gondola ride in Squamish. Even go all out and treat your parents to lunch while enjoying the majestic views of the surrounding mountains. Do your parents need some time to unwind? Footworks Reflexology on West Broadway or Sabai Thai Spa (multiple locations, best massage ever) are our top picks. Need to unwind even more? Take a drive a bit further up to Whistler and treat your parents to the ultimate experience of the unforgettable Scandinavian Spa. Trust me – they will be ever thankful!

Parents

For the Design Savvy Guy:

Design savvy guys can now accessorize almost everything! The Greff Growler carrier in black will ensure to impress at his next guy’s night out. If he’s more of a scotch guy, he’ll be sure to love the ‘Whiskey Wedge’ Double Old-Fashioned Glass. Head over to Litchfield’s and you can pick up many amazing and unique gifts such as toiletries, stationary or grooming products. Lastly might we suggest a functional and fashionable twill messenger bag by Fossil.

Mens Fashion

Hope you have enjoyed our list. If you have any great ideas you would like to share, we would love to hear from you #area3xmas.

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From Classroom to Reality and Back

It seems like just yesterday when I was anticipating the summer – long warm days and a change of scenery – but just like that it has gone by in the blink of an eye. It’s hard to believe that after sixteen weeks of being a Junior designer here at Area3, I will be switching hats, trading spaces and going back to being an Interior Design student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Wilson School of Design. It has been an incredible experience being a part of the Area3 team this summer. Each project I have had the opportunity to be a part of has been a collaborative effort. This includes writing the blogs!  For those of you who have been following our weekly posts, I hope you have enjoyed them and found them to be a source of inspiration and help!

 

In my first blog post “The Real Deal,” I talked about what it is like to be a student. Now I will give you a glimpse into my experience as a Junior Interior Designer. I have mentioned before about the business of interior design – the coordination, communication, teamwork and creativity. Over the last few weeks, I have learned about how important that aspect is. Yes, Interior Design is about creating functional and beautiful spaces for clients, but before there is a finished space, there is all the behind the scenes work. Those Instagram and Pinterest stunning photos don’t show how you what is involved to get a beautiful image.

 

Most of the time you would think Interior Designers are on site or meeting with clients, but that is only a small part of the design process. Typically, I would spend most of the day on the computer sending out emails, sourcing finishes and products for specific projects. Sometimes I will be designing a custom millwork piece or helping with the actual construction drawings. Before a client ever sees a preliminary design concept or color scheme we have created, there would have been many hours in research and sourcing multiple variations. There are many ideas and finishes that we weed out and the client will never see.  After the initial concept meeting with the client, this concept will become even more refined or revised based on feedback. I have learned that whole process can take months!  This means that I have probably helped order in countless samples, requested pricing and have been in contact with many reps just to find the perfect fabric, tile, carpet etc. for a project. Does it get confusing?  Indeed it does, but that is part of being a designer, being able to juggle many projects at a time and always making sure there is clear communication. Behind each and every project we are involved with there is a team which we coordinate with. Depending on the size and nature of the project, we will be working with contractors, project managers, marketing, millworkers, and product reps. As you can see, coordination and communication is key!

 

Of course, there is a lot of hard work that goes into every design, but it is also a lot of fun!  This is where the team work and creativity comes in. Often as designers, we have many ideas but in order for them to come to life they have to fully form outside of our minds. It is always wonderful being able to bounce ideas off of another fellow designer – which we do on a daily basis here at Area3. Together we are able to come up with solutions that are best for our clients. Sometimes we have to get creative in order to carry out a concept through with the budget we are limited to, but that’s what makes design interesting. With every new project I have been a part of, I have learned something new, making each and every day I come into work exciting!

 

I will definitely miss coming into the Area3 Design studio on a daily basis – especially seeing everyone’s smiling faces as they come through the door each morning!  Going back to the interior design studio at Kwantlen Polytechnic University will take some adjusting to for sure. Hello crazy concepts and unlimited budgets!  Although the summer is over, I won’t be pulling a complete disappearing act. Keep following this blog as I will continue to contribute to future posts!  We have many more exciting blog posts coming up, which I am quite excited about, so stay tuned!

 

 

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Do you have any topics or questions you would like to see here?  Feel free to leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you!

 

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3 Must-see Design Districts in Vancouver

This one is for all of you shopaholics or deal-hunting window shoppers!  If you have been following our posts this summer we hope you have found some inspiration and are itching to start a new project. Many of the retailers we have mentioned in our blogs can be found online, but what about local ones?  We’ve decided to highlight three design districts in Vancouver that we love. Whether it’s shopping for ourselves or our clients these are sure to be on our hit list. Nothing to do this weekend?  Why not spend a few hours in one of these great design districts and seeing all the great finds right here in our very own backyard?

The Armoury District

A hidden gem that few Vancouverites know about is The Armoury District. Located just west of Granville Island between Granville and Burrard, north of Fourth Ave, this is Vancouver’s up-and-coming design and lifestyle district. It is home to many Interior Designers, architects, furniture and tile showrooms, art galleries and fine food purveyors. Before taking a stroll around the area, grab a delicious latte from Café Bica. Some of the stores you must check out are Livingspace, Metropolitain Home and Mint Interiors. Renovating your kitchen backsplash and looking for that one-of-a-kind tile?  Then head over to Ames, Stone Tile (a personal favorite) or the beautiful newly opened Ann Sacks showroom.  While you are in the area make sure you stop by and appreciate the stunning Waterfall Building on West 2nd Ave. designed by the late Arthur Erickson, one of Canada’s most influential Architects.

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South Granville

You have probably driven past this district many times on your way downtown. If you haven’t stopped to check it out, you definitely should!  It is home to many of the greats. You can easily spend a whole day going in and out of all the shops. We certainly can!  Here you will find 18Karat (love this store every season the merchandise changes), EQ3, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Urban Barn, West Elm and Williams Sonoma among many other home décor and furniture retailers. These retailers have online stores, but actually seeing a piece in person can be very different!  You will also find many high-end fashion retailers (like Boboli) only found in this neighborhood. It’s a great way to spend a weekend afternoon. I mean who doesn’t love lunch, fashion and home shopping all in a few hours?  Once you find parking (trust us, you will want to take a vehicle), start at either Broadway or West 15th and work your way around!

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Gastown

Everyone knows Gastown attracts numerous people as a tourist destination, but it also home to a few great design stores as well. Next time you’re meeting a friend, why not do a pub coffee crawl as there so many great new venues. For example we love the interior design of Timbertrain Coffee Roasters. Once you have your caffeine fix, you should be ready to pound the pavement. First stop, Inform Interiors for contemporary furniture, lighting and accessories. And the books… did we mention the magazine selection too?  One of the best sections in the store!  If you want to find something with an European influence, check out espace d. for some unique home décor. Looking for the design savy guy on your list?  Litchfield is a must. They carry some of the best tech accessories and toiletries for men. Old Faithful has that utilitarian meets vintage vibe. Here you will find an array of cutting boards, cleaning supplies, ceramics and wire baskets. If you’re looking for inspiration, Secret Location is a concept boutique worth taking a peek at which houses fashion, food and décor all under one roof.

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Well time to shop… Be sure to tell us which design district you want to check out!  Share with us your favorite one with the hashtag #area3designdistrict

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10 Expert Tips for Small Space Living

Small space living is not a new idea, nor is it uncommon. With the cost of housing in Metro Vancouver perpetually rising, many of us have no choice but to downsize or start off in a super small place in order to live anywhere close to Vancouver. Yes, those laneway homes look adorable and the micro studios downtown are almost like the ones in New York (almost, being the key word), but how do you keep 500 square feet of space or less comfortable, functional and stylish?  We have solutions!  Follow these 10 expert tricks and you are sure to have small space that you will love coming home to.

 

  1. Declutter — Your home is already small, why make it feel smaller? Go through all your stuff, pair it down and keep it under control. You really don’t have room to keep things that you don’t use on a regular basis. Rule of thumb, if you haven’t looked at something or used it in the last six months – chances are you won’t miss it, so purge!
  2. Stay Organized — There really is no option but to stay organized in a small space (otherwise you are sure to lose your mind, I know I would). Having a home for everything from your house keys, iPhone, books, seasonal clothing, etc. will have you stay calm cool and collected. Ever heard that saying a messy house is like a messy mind? A great local store is Room in Order. They can help with everything from food storage, entry organizers to cool gadgets like the Sanctuary4 which houses all your Bluetooth devices and looks great doing it!
  3. Simplicity — visually, we need space to feel at ease. No one really enjoys that claustrophobic feeling you get in a closet! There’s nothing wrong with having bold patterns or colors, but a lot in a small space can be overwhelming. Keep it minimal and use your favourite colors as accent pieces for a little punch. Maintaining a more neutral space will help create the illusion of a larger more cohesive space. For fun check out the line Hay available at Vancouver Special which makes some fun and colorful towels that could brighten any bathroom.
  4. Built-ins — If you plan on staying in your small space for a long time, it is worth investing in built-ins. This helps in utilizing every inch of space you have by creating furniture and storage that best suits your needs and lifestyle. Have you seen the videos of small spaces that transform to perform different functions? That’s what we’re talking about. Here’s one from Gizmodo that you should check out for inspiration. Resource Furniture specializes in small space and multi-functional furniture for condos and micro units.
  5. Utilize Vertical Space — a continuation of tip no.4; why not take the millwork or built-ins to the ceiling. I realize it’s not practical and hard to reach – but how often are you digging out that Halloween costume or Christmas decorations. It is extra space you would not have otherwise and is great for seasonal items.
  6. Keep it Light — Bright and airy spaces always feel bigger, that’s a fact. We love white (as mentioned in an earlier post (“Why I love White”)… but we especially love it in small spaces! It reflects light really well and you have the opportunity to play with textures and finishes without worrying about too much visual business. If white is still too clinical for you, mix in a lighter stained wood with a simple grain pattern such as oak.
  7. Reflect – Mirrors are a clever visual trick that always works. Often you will see it used in a long and narrow space to give the appearance of width that doesn’t actually exist. You can also use this principle in your tight corridors or nooks. Place a large one near your entry or behind some open built-in shelving to create the illusion of a bigger space. EQ3 offers some slim profile versions that aren’t too bulky.
  8. Double Duty Furniture — Banquette seating with storage underneath and open shelving that doubles as a room divider are examples of double duty furniture. These pieces can be custom made or even found at IKEA if you are working with a smaller budget. You just have to get creative!  There are also some really cool pieces on the market from Europe. One of our favourites from Italy is Clei. They offer unique systems and pieces that are not only functional but are also sleek. From wall beds and sofas to dining tables and desks, you are sure to be mesmerized. Who says your living room couldn’t also be your bedroom?
  9. Create Art Out of the Ordinary — Believe it or not, your everyday items can be art. Simple things such as a wall clock or a lamp can be statement pieces. Select these items carefully and combine them with the tips we have in our post “All You Need is Art” and your space will have some added character without the extra clutter of many little pieces of décor.
  10. Unobstructed Views — Chances are, your small space won’t have a lot of windows nor will they be expansive. Make the most of them by keeping them unobstructed. If you do have large windows that feature a spectacular view, don’t hide it! Access to natural light and views is important as it expands the space and keeps it from creating that tiny cabin-like feeling.

 

What inspires your small space? Share it with us using the hashtag #area3smallspace

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Desk 101

It has been a hot summer and we have been enjoying almost endless amounts of sunshine. As vacations and weekend getaways wrap up in the next few weeks, many students will be getting ready to spend more time inside… at school. Yes, I said it, it’s almost time to get ready to go back to school. Homework and studying is on the horizon, but there is still reason to get excited. Why not create a study space that is functional, stylish and fun?  It can be a quick weekend project that will get the students a little more excited to hit the books again. Before you go out and shop, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Essentials

The bare bone essentials for a study space begins with a good desk, task chair and lighting. If homework isn’t done at the dining table, a desk and task chair is a must. It creates a space where they can have everything they need so they can get their work done. A study space doesn’t have to be a dedicated room either, it can be a corner!  A simple desk doesn’t have to be expensive, you can pick one up at IKEA for less than $25. If you want something a bit nicer, we like the industrial looking go-cart rolling desk from CB2. For those who would like the option to work standing up, a desk with adjustable legs is worth considering. Investing in a good task chair is crucial as it can make a huge difference in the long run for your back. The ones we have at our office are the Sayl Chairs from Herman Miller. Beautiful, yet so comfortable because of its ability to be adjusted. When looking for a good task chair, things you should consider is if you need the seat height, seat depth and arm rests to be adjustable?  Will your chair be stationary or on castors?  Did you know that at time of order, we specify if it will be used on carpet or a hard surface?  Don’t forget about a good task lamp. There are so many options available now – you are sure to find one that suits your style and budget. A few of our favorites include the clean and simple Pablo Lim C Table Lamp (is always stunning). The Artemide Demetra table lamp and West Elm Industrial table lamp offer an adjustable option. The IKEA Harte LED work lamp is quite unique and gentle on the wallet.

Stay Organized

From pens and paper to binders and textbooks, there is no shortage of stuff that end up in a study space. Having some storage is necessary to keep the clutter on your work surface manageable and organized. Depending on the size of your space, you can have a combination of wall shelves, bookcases, drawer units and storage cabinets. Desk accessories such as pen holders as well as boxes and magazine holders are also great to keep smaller items and loose paper organized on your desk. If you find that drawers are always an endless mess, trays and little boxes are super helpful. Take a browse through The Container Store or All Modern for inspiration. Cutlery trays are also a great solution!  No more digging around for your favorite pen or a paper clip!  To keep track of exams and due dates, a calendar drawn on a magnetic dry erase board is functional and can be easily maintained. For something a little fun, CB2 also has a brick wall corkboard for something more interesting than the usual Staples “special”. One accessory we love, love, love is the Kartell Uten.silo which was originally marketed for the kitchen. We love filling the various size pockets with tape, pens, rulers, envelopes, etc. Who says your study has to be boring?

 

What would you like to have in your study space? Share it with us using the hashtag #area3study

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Cool Kids Rooms

Remember making forts out of blankets and sheets as a kid? It was your favorite escape, a world that you created and where your imagination ran wild. In the same way we need a space to call our own, so do the kids. However, not everyone is lucky enough to have a playroom so your child’s bedroom is their haven. Designing a kids’ room doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. There is a whole world of design possibilities even for small spaces. It’s the perfect excuse to try something bold, fun and whimsical that your kids are sure to love. Let your imagination run wild!

Function

First things first, a kids’ bedroom has many changing functions. If this is the bedroom your child will be growing into, you need it to be able to transform as they get older. Determine the core functions of the room first, you will be glad you did. Will your child need a desk?  How about future play dates and sleepovers?  If your child loves to read do arts and crafts or have lots of toys, you will need to allow for plenty of shelving and storage. Make sure to mount freestanding storage such as dressers and bookcases to the wall so they don’t fall over if your child likes to climb (I was that child). If your child is still in a crib or toddlers bed, you will need to make sure there is room for a twin or larger bed in the future. Chances are, you will not want to redo their room over and over (nor have the budget to) so give this some good thought!

European Inspiration

In Canada you might find that furniture shopping for kids and teens is a bit challenging. We don’t have nearly as many options as those in Europe. I often turn to the web for inspiration. How about turning a daybed into a sofa – multi function is great for teen rooms. Have you noticed in nursery and children’s rooms they tend to stay away from cutesy themes like “Walt Disney” (no offence Mickey) and they instead turn to color and graphics. They use color blocking and bold colorful accents and keep patterns to a minimum. As your child grows it’s much easier to re-paint a feature wall then strip the Winnie the Pooh wallpaper. If you really have your heart set on a “theme” room. Why not source a print of Winnie, wall decal  or a toss cushion? These are easy to change in a year when the next new fad is all your child is talking about. Trust me you will thank us!

 

Send us your ideas #area3kidsroom

 

kids room

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3 Tips to Transform Your Entry

Everyone knows that first impressions are important. Within moments of meeting someone we leave an impression – good or bad. It is the same principle with your space, the front entry or foyer is the first place your guests experience. Although we don’t usually spend more than a few minutes in the foyer, this space is still important! It’s the perfect place to express your style and create a welcoming transition space from the public areas to your private home.

Light the Way

Yes, we love light… we can’t emphasize enough how important it is!  After all, what use is a good design if you can’t see it?  Your front entry needs to be well lit. Ever had the challenge of digging through your bag or a drawer for your keys?  You know the importance of good lighting! There are many options to light up your front entry depending on how big it is. If your foyer is large with high ceilings, definitely consider having a chandelier. It becomes not only a source of light but a focal piece that can be quite stunning. Got a smaller front entry?  A couple of wall sconces will provide plenty of lighting without taking up space. If you have the space for an entry table, a beautiful lamp will also do the trick!

Seating & Storage

Not matter how small or large your foyer is, you need seating and storage. Coming through the door, you are bound to have keys, a bag or two to put down. Wouldn’t it be nice to have somewhere to put them all down right away without creating a mess on the floor?  An entry table or a shelf is the perfect spot to put down your keys and some mail. Make room for a chair or if you have the space, a bench works double duty as a place to take off and put on your shoes with space to put down your bags and storage below. Of course, a place to store coats is important. If you don’t have an entry closet, install a few hooks or a coat rack to put your wet coats after coming in from the Vancouver rain. Gloves, umbrellas and other accessories need a home as well, so make sure to provide storage for those items as well!

Make a Statement

If you are unsure of trying something bold anywhere else in your space, the front entry is the best spot to try!  It’s not a huge space and you only spend so much time there a day so why not try something bold. If you have never had wallpaper, this is a good opportunity to find one that you love. Mirrors are always a must as they are not only functional but also makes your space feel bigger and brighter. Hang one above your entry table with wall sconces on either side for a tried-and-true pairing. Of course, accessorize your entry table with a vase of fresh flowers (or faux for easy maintenance) and other décor in your style. To add more character to your front entry, a nice rug pulls the space together. If you have a great piece of art (or a few), the foyer is a wonderful place for display. Refer back to one of our previous blogs “All You Need Is Art” for tips and inspiration. No matter what your style is, there is an opportunity to make a statement in your foyer!

 

What are your first impressions when you enter a foyer? Share with us a front entry that you love with the hashtag #area3foyer

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Books Are Worth More Than Their Cover

With e-books and e-readers escalating in popularity, books and libraries tend to be forgotten and are thought of as a thing of the past. Remember being a child and devouring endless amounts of books on a day-to-day basis?  Some of us have collected vast amounts of books over the years, which now sit in cardboard boxes in the garage. What a shame!  No matter what size space you have, books can add character. From a stack of coffee table books to a home library, there are plenty of ways to get inspired by books all over again. Below are some of our favorite ways to create a space inspired by books.

Stack ‘em

Coffee table looking a little bare?  We love keeping a few books stacked up on a coffee table or side table in the living room. Find a few great books with interesting covers or catchy titles (these can be great conversation starters). Pile them up and place a stack on the floor next to a floor lamp and vase to create a vignette. This adds visual interest. I truly believe every home needs art and books; these are two things that give your home a personality. Isn’t it fun to see what someone is currently reading?  Fiction, non-fiction, college text books?  What are you currently reading?  Are you more of an avid reader but don’t have a big enough of a collection to fill a bookshelf?  That’s okay!  Display your books along with some decorative accessories and family photos on a shelf, console or nightstand.

Shelving

Bookshelves don’t have to be boring like the endless ones at the library. We are loving Crate & Barrel’s Leaning Wall Shelf and West Elm’s Lacquer Storage Bookshelf. Also check out IKEA for a variety of options. From tall linear bookshelves to ones that have a mix of rectangular compartments, there is no shortage of interesting bookshelves on the market to suit your style and budget. Get one without a back and use it as a room divider!  Fill it with your favorite books, some decorative pieces, framed photographs and perhaps some items you have collected over the years.

Get Inspired

Locally we have some restaurants and shops that have used books to add character to a space. Since it is still summer and patio season, go check out Tap & Barrel in Olympic Village. Before you go out to the second floor patio for a couple drinks, check out the “The Library,” the 12-seat private dining area tucked in the back. If you are downtown and in the Waterfront area, Tap & Barrel has another location which also has a library area that is worth taking a gander at. Then why not head over to Gastown?  There are many stores with great products and interiors to inspire. Worthy of a visit is LYNNsteven, a women’s clothing boutique designed by local talent Michael Green Architecture. Here you will find a unique cylindrical partition built from books that MGA bought off of Craigslist. From afar the cylindrical form at LYNNsteven looks like it is made of bricks. A unique, functional and very intriguing focal piece, the design won the 2010 IIDA Project of the Year Award. Get out and get inspired!

 

What’s the last book you purchased? Share with us your bookshelves and a few of your favorite reads with the hashtag #area3books

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All You Need Is Art


Do you have a space that is a little ho-hum and could use a little character? Perhaps your walls are bare because you have no idea what to put up. Or do you have the opposite dilemma with far too many photographs, paintings etc. that you are not sure what to keep up and what to take down? Fear not, finding the perfect balance between bare and busy can be found! We have gathered some of our tips and tricks to create your own art inspired space.

Group ’em

You don’t need to be an art collector to have an art inspired space. Just a couple good prints can do the trick! A large over sized painting or photograph centered on a wall creates a focal piece that is hard to miss. If you have a series of prints or photographs, line them up and space them out equally and you will have a mini gallery! Just add some lighting and your prints on a budget can look like treasures only found from art dealers. If your space is smaller and less formal, don’t even bother with hanging up your art pieces. Line them up along a shelf or even place on the floor or console and prop against the wall. You can create a vignette this way by layering your art with some sculptures, accessories and books. Voila, you have created your own masterpiece. If your art is bold and loud, keep your furniture neutral in color and pick up some of the same color in toss cushions to pull the room together.

Frames

The same way a hairstyle frames a face, a frame on a photograph, print or painting can make a huge difference. A thick fame makes a bold statement whereas a thinner gallery frame barely intrudes on the image allowing the art to speak for itself. Color is also an important aspect to consider. Black and white frames keep it nice and simple. While metals such as silver add a bit more glitz and glamour or even traditional appeal. For a more eclectic look mix and match frame thicknesses and colors (this one can be a bit tricky for a first timer, be careful as it can also look like a mess. I suggest you find an inspiration photo to follow for this look). Looking for frames on a budget? Check out IKEA, or for a more professional look try the gallery collection from Pottery Barn. If you have artwork that doesn’t fit in these pre-fab frames then head down to Opus or Michaels and custom frame your pieces.

Composition

Keep your spacing between pieces consistent. We often suggest you lay the arrangement out on the floor and make sure you like it before you put the first nail in the wall!  Once you have determined your layout now you need to find the center of your wall and start with your center image and work your way out. I suggest mounting your first image around 5’-0 above the finished floor the center of the art pieces.  If all your frames are the same size you will most likely be creating a cleaner, more modern arrangement. Such as stacking a grouping of say 4 or creating a horizontal line. In which case the bottom and top of all your frames should be aligned. If you have opted for various size frames you may decide to try hanging them at various heights. This look is harder to achieve as it really depends on the amount and sizes of your art pieces. I would suggest you have a minimum of 10-12 to start your gallery wall and be sure to pre-determine your layout.

Shopping for art

Looking for a great piece of art? On a budget? Head over to art.com or allposters.com although I warn you…you may lose hours of your life. Etsy and Society are also worth a look. If you are ready to invest in an original piece we have lots of great local talent right in our own backyard. Some of our favorites include Jill Pilon, Studio N2 and Carla Tak just to name a few. Although only once a year a fun way to source up and coming artist is by visiting their studios during the Eastside Culture Crawl.

 

Is there a space inspired by art that you love? Have you created your own gallery wall? Share it with us using the hashtag #area3art

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Old is New

Soaring double height ceilings, brick walls, reclaimed wood, concrete floors and windows that span an entire wall to frame the amazing view. Haven’t we all dreamt of this?  You are sure to have seen images of this look everywhere lately. Just open a magazine or head on over to Pinterest… Since we all can’t live in Gastown or the Armoury District, just continue reading below for some tips on how to bring this industrial look home.

Oh Natural

Finishes are everything when it comes to an industrial inspired space. Usually the first things that come to mind are concrete floors and brick walls. Concrete floors may not be possible, but that brick wall look can be achieved with the help of some new innovations in wall coverings such as this faux brick. They look just like the real thing!  Another key ingredient to the industrial look is when the finish has been distressed or has a patina. You don’t have to look far to find a flood of concrete, or reclaimed wood furniture and accessory pieces. Check out some local favorites like Old Faithful, Crate & Barrel, Style Garage and Restoration Hardware are sure to help you achieve this look. Be careful not to overdo it!  Balance it out with some white walls or other white finishes; read our previous blog “Why I Love White” for more. Of course, we can’t forget about the metals. Take your pick from the ever popular steel, copper or coated black. Don’t go with anything too shiny though (leave the glam behind), we want some patina for that unfinished, old and worn look!

Let There Be Light

We’ve mentioned it before, and we’ll say it again – lighting sets the mood!  If you don’t have huge windows to let in lots of natural light, your choices in lighting are even more important. Those old Edison light bulbs are back in a big way and can be found absolutely everywhere!  Hang just one as a pendant over a side table or cluster of them at various heights over your dining space to create a focal point that is sure to wow. There are also some great vintage looking dining pendants and desk lamps that enhance the industrial aesthetic. Have you seen the Roll & Hill, Bluff City traditional pendant shade and wire cage pendant that provides a postmodern feel?  How about the old warehouse pendant in a porcelain enamel finish from Old Faithful?  These are only a few examples of how to let the lighting enhance your mood and style.

Reclaimed

One of the best things about the industrial look is that worn and old furniture is perfect. No need to go out and spend thousands of dollars on pristine new pieces!  Try using a mix of metal, concrete and reclaimed wood for your key furniture pieces. Locally we have J & S Reclaimed Wood who provide ready-made and custom pieces from salvaged wood from old barns (even old pipes get a new life as legs and gables). Union Wood Co. is another popular source for the reclaimed and salvaged millwork and furniture. Just one key piece of their furniture is sure to add character to your space. Metals – ever considered a rolling stainless steel cart as your dining table?  Try the one from Design Within Reach (many of us want it for ourselves here at A3)!  Crate & Barrel offers a metal base and concrete top dining table. Restoration Hardware excels in this look, from the vintage dining stool to their concrete outdoor fire pits. No matter what your budget and timeline is, there is no shortage of industrial inspired products out there. Old is new!

 

 

What are your favourite elements of an industrial influenced space? Share a picture with us by using the hashtag #area3industrial

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