Friday, August 20, 2010

A Floor Plan

Number one on the list of things to do if you are considering a room make-over, a renovation or especially if you are building is a floor plan of each room.

Here are a few of the ways a floor plan will help you:

It will tell you the size of the furniture you should have in the room. Have you ever heard about the new sofa being delivered and not fitting into the room? A floor plan would have foreseen this.

Working with a room usage list, it will tell you where to place lighting in the room.

It will tell you the size and shape of the coffee table, area rug and dining table.

It will show you how people will move through the room, and will prevent traffic flow problems.

It will help you plan seating for the maximum number of people you foresee having in the room.

It will tell you how big the armoire to house the T.V. should be and what size that T.V. should be. Yes it will.

It will tell you how big the bed can be and what size the bedside tables should be.

It will tell you how to make the living room conducive to conversations.

It will show you if the room is ‘balanced’ or not. - We have all been in rooms where the majority of the furniture is on one side of the room, giving the room a feeling of more weight on one side than the other. It feels off center.

It will save you money because you won’t be buying anything not on the plan.

It takes a bit of time to put one together, but, like a business plan, once you have done it you will wonder how you managed without it. When you go shopping for a piece of furniture, you will know how big it should be, think of the time you will save if you can say to the furniture salesman ’ My sofa should be 80 inches long, don’t show me anything other than that, please’. It will save you money; no more impulse buying. We have all bought something, thinking ‘Oh -I’ll make it work’ only to find it is too small, too tall, too wide, and the piece ends up in the basement.

In the next column, I’ll explain how to do a floor plan to scale.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Walk along main street.

One of my favorite things to do in Vancouver is walk along Main street, from 49th to 52nd or so, cross the street and walk back up to 49th. It usually takes me 3 or 4 hours to complete the trip. This is ‘Little India’ and it is the place I like to go to get my color fix. The sari shops are always busy, it’s fun to stand back and watch the ladies shop. I always go into the bridal shops too, the beaded saris and men’s jackets never fail to take my breath away. There is one little shop that sells only bangles and the jewelry stores defy description. My favorite stop is the Punjab Cloth House. I went in once and told the gentleman behind the counter that I needed some silk chiffon ‘This color’, and pulled out my swatch. He gestured at the floor to ceiling, 30 feet wide expanse of shelving behind him, full of flat bolts of silks and said ‘ You come and look’. I did, and found exactly what I was looking for. Silk chiffon, 8.00 per meter. I often buy the dupioni silk for cushions - it’s about 10.00 per meter. They also carry a very fine, thin silk that is perfect for lining in garments and makes the BEST underslips for summer dresses; about 7.00 a meter.

I’m sure there has been someone, somewhere, who has written a paper relating the physical climate of a society to the use of color in that society. I’ve never been to India, but I understand the natural landscape is vibrant. Think flowers and birds... Now, think of Scandinavia; I think of snow and ice in winter, blue water and green trees in summer, but not a lot of tropical flowers and the decorating style somewhat reflects this.

French Country: summer sun yellow and vibrant blue sea. Tuscan: Terra cotta, olive green, vibrant blue. I think this correlation may explain why some styles work better in our climate than others. I am in a lot of homes in this area, and I have to say that the homes filled with heavy antiques sometimes feel a bit out of place here unless they are well balanced with some whimsy and lightness. Just some things to think about.

I was so very fortunate to be asked by my friend Diane Jewel to attend the Skwlax Pow Wow on July 17. If you haven’t been to one of these events, mark it on the calendar for next year and then make sure you go. I listened, I learned, I was amazed and I was humbled.

While you are in the area, check out Rokkos Fabrics at 6201 Fraser. ( Remember the trick about Vancouver streets? 6201 is at 46th and Fraser - subtract 15 from the first 2 digits of the street address to find the cross avenue.)

Well, the Punjab Cloth house has moved, I guess, to Surrey 12725 80 Ave but there are a lot more cloth shops on Main, don't miss this street.