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A' Design Award & Competition - A new year (and some past winners)

It is a new year for the A' Design Award & Competition and we're excited to see what new designs pop up for 2016-2017. To get things started I thought I would feature a selection of past winners for residential and commercial interiors, furniture and lighting designs. 

Silver A' Design Award Winner for Interior Space and Exhibition Design Category in 2015

Dom Pechati Public Space by Nikita Zhilyakov Workspace

Bronze A' Design Award Winner for Interior Space and Exhibition Design Category in 2015

Cat and Mouse Beer bar by Vladislav Kostadinov for Cat and Mouse Beer bar

Silver A' Design Award Winner for Architecture, Building and Structure Design Category in 2015

apel on the Hill Holiday cottage by Evolution Design

Golden A' Design Award Winner for Architecture, Building and Structure Design Category in 2015

Chalet La Pedevilla Residence & Chalet by Pedevilla Architects

A' Design Award Winner for Architecture, Building and Structure Design Category in 2015

Fisher Studio Contemporary Building by Shawn Ewbank for Shawn Ewbank Design Collaborative

Golden A' Design Award Winner for Interior Space and Exhibition Design Category in 2015

5xSao Paulo Interior Design by JULIANA PIPPI for Juliana Pippi Arquitetura e Design

Golden A' Design Award Winner for Interior Space and Exhibition Design Category in 2015

Hutong Courtyard Villages-Villa Luxury Residential model House  by Kuang Ming Chou for Vermilion Zhou Design Group

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Rustico Tile

I recently found out about a great source of tile called Rustico Tile & Stone. They are a small, family-run company based in Leander, Texas (just outside of Austin). Not only are they the largest manufacturer for authentic Saltillo tile in Mexico, but they are also a leading supplier for Cement Tile and Cantera Stone. And the best part is they ship worldwide! I wanted to share some of my favourite patterns they carry and some inspirational photos of spaces with their tiles and similar ones. 

I have to start with the cement tile because it is one of my favourite tiles and comes in such amazing patterns. I almost went with this type in my kitchen/foyer but in the end went with something alot smaller. I love the result but I am still dying to try some of these...maybe in my next kitchen. Their cement tile is reminiscent of older style encaustic tiles. Cement tile is available in many designs, shapes and sizes.  It is extremely durable, easy-to-maintain, and can be fully customized in colors specific to the space where it is installed.

(design in photo above by Egue Y Seta - one of my all-time favourite homes I have blogged)

I pulled out some inspirational photos we have featured previously. More reasons why these tiles are the best! 

CUT architectures

Apartment Therapy

deirdre doherty interiors

jette creative

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How to achieve the best outcome when working with an interior designer for your condo

As someone who has bought several Montreal condos in the last 15 years, I have worked with several interior designers. My experiences with them have been mostly positive, although I’ve also had my share of problems in the past.
Whether you’re planning to remodel your condo or buy new property, hiring an interior designer is a big decision. Most people who hire a decorator don’t have a concrete idea of what to expect, and this often leads to anxiety and problems along the way. But you don’t have to make the same mistake (which can be costly at times). Read through the suggestions that I’ve outlined here so your experience will be generally positive and you can expect a much better outcome for your home improvement project.

1. Preparation is a must!
A very common mistake that homeowners make is that they expect their interior designer to simply know what they want. The first time I hired a decorator, I merely told her my budget and shared a few ideas. Three days later she presented me with a design and as it turned out, I didn’t like most of it. It was then I realized that if I had only showed her some pictures of the concepts I liked, then maybe she’d present me with a design that I would approve the first time.
So before you meet with a potential decorator, you should have at least some idea of the style you like. You can also show your decorator the color schemes you want. Doing these will save you time and money.

2. Set realistic goals.
We see HGTV shows and start dreaming of high-end window treatments, hand painted wall designs, and shiny ebony floors. But you have to be realistic. Don’t expect your living room to look like a million bucks if you’re only willing to spend $5,000 for this project.
On a related note, it’s also important to be practical with your timeline. If you’ve been watching too many home improvement shows on TV, then you probably think that everything can be done in 3 days (or less!). But that’s usually not the case. Many interior decorators spend a week planning and creating the design alone. The whole project can take a month or so depending on how much work needs to be done.

3. Finally, have confidence in your designer.
Of course, it also pays to actually do your homework and find a designer that has the experience, training and track record. Ask around for recommendations and be sure to check their portfolio before you even consider them.
Once you’ve found your interior designer and you’ve already agreed on the design/concept then it’s time to let them work their magic. Designers should be open to your ideas if you’ve been thorough and explicit about what you want. Remember that your interior designer can visualize the completed project for your condo’s interior and veering from their design plan might lead to an unsatisfactory outcome.


This post is a contribution by a guest writer


Garage doors by Garaga

I was approached recently by Garaga, a Canadian manufacturer of garage doors, who offered me a brand new garage door of my choice. I was elated, as garage doors have always been a bone of contention with me. Here in Ottawa builders always install cheap, run of the mill garage doors on houses and you are guaranteed to see this on every house in the suburbs in particular. Something that has rattled my cage for as long as I can remember is how much I hate that most homes have garages that are set forward from the rest of the house so it is ALL you see. Yet no one seems to put any thought into the design of their garage doors. My current home is located in an old neighbourhood (1940's) and most garages are detached and located in the backyard at the end of a long driveway. Lucky for me because my garage is a bit of an eyesore. It really needs to be re-built one day as it is in rough shape and leaning to one side which is why I turned down the offer of a brand new garage door (soooo bummed). It would just look ridiculous. I will however absolutely take Garaga up on that offer when I have a new garage. :)

To show you why I am so bummed, here are samples of some of the fantastic garage doors they have designed, starting with some modern ones.... 

And some with a bit more of a traditional/country look

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Some time ago I received 2 sets of table legs from an awesome Swedish company called Prettypegs to make some tables from. I was really excited about this for a couple of reasons. First, finding cute/cool table legs is a serious pain. Second, my husband (Daff Design) has gotten into wood-working over the past couple of years and this was a great excuse to get him to make me some tables, because there are never enough tables! It took an embarrassingly long time to organize this project but I am stoked to say my tables materialized and they are DAMN FINE if I do say so myself. The first set of legs I picked out are the August legs (perfect height for coffee/side tables or sideboards). I went with the teak/blue finish but now I see they have an ash/black combo that would have been ideal in my grey room. YAY for options! The saffron yellow is gorgeous too if you're looking for some spunky colour. 

Turns out my husband made the table top out of hemlock which I don't love with the teak legs so I may paint the teak part black or dark grey eventually. Regardless I LOVE this! These legs are fantastic and have a funky Scandi modern vibe. It is now a table that houses this rather large plant next to my sofa. 

(The hanging light is the Aim pendant by the Bouroullec brothers for Flos, the kilim pillow is from the Third World Bazaar, the ferals have scratched the crap out of my leather sofa and we have yet to purchase and install trim since our floors were refinished because the projects in this house are never-ending so don't look too closely)

I also picked out the Estelle legs in black ash/brass that are the perfect height for desks, kitchen tables and in my case, console/sofa tables. These come in 6 finishes but I think the black/brass combo I chose is my favourite. A few of my cats are always hanging out in my windows watching the birds and squirrels so I thought this was a great opportunity to make a table that fits right under the windows in my living room at the front of the house. We went to a local wood supply shop and I found the most incredible piece of spalted maple that had distinct black patterns and some worm holes. The table looks amazing, the cats love it and now I have a new spot to house some of my plants. 

(Cowhide is from eBay, the faux fur stool is from Homesense, the leather and wood chair is from Green Light District, the Jieldé lamp I bought off a DTI follower, and the clay vase is by le lou ula, walls are painted Downpipe by Farrow & Ball)

Thank you Prettypegs!