Monday, June 27, 2011

3D room fun

I've been spending too much time on My Deco

Here's my first project.  My potential home office...? Maybe...

I'm still learning the program and some stuff is not exactly what I imagined, like the ceiling colour is supposed to be white, the large desk top is supposed to look like glass and there should probably be more stuff on the empty shelves ;)  But it's just for fun and learning purposes. 


More projects to come,

keeping it cool under pressure

I don't know how this woman kept her cool during this live commercial sometime in the 50's.  There's a malfunction with this new refrigerator they're showing off, but it doesn't affect her composure at all.  I'm amazed - she's amazing.  In future, when things don't go as planned or something unexpected happens, I will remember this and carry on with grace (hopefully!).

Thanks to DIYLife for sharing.


7 Sachen

7 things from my Sunday - as every week, inspired by Frau Liebe.

7 Sachen von meinem Sonntag - wie jede Woche, von Frau Liebe inspiriert.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Suddenly, I like bananas even though  I never liked them my whole life.
Ploetzlich esse ich Bananen, obwohl ich sie mein ganzes Leben nicht gemocht habe.


Washed all my windows ... inside and out.
Ich habe alle meine Fenster geputzt ... drinnen und drausen.


Rewarded myself with 1 scoop of ice cream.
Ich habe mir ein Kugel Eis gegoennt.

A walked along the Main river.
Ein Spazierengang entlang des Mains.

A little bit of knitting.
Ein bisschen Strickerei.

Iced coffees at 4pm.
Eis Kaffees um 16 Uhr.


A lot of MyDeco.  Just discovered it today and spent hours making 3D rooms!
Zu viel MyDeco.  Ich habe es heute entdeckt und viele Stunden damit verbracht, um 3D Raeume zu kreiren.

Happy week ahead!
Schoene Woche!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

moodboard fun

A while ago, a friend, who was moving into a new apartment, asked me to help her get inspired.  As you can imagine, I took to the task like a moth to a flame.  I do this kind of stuff for my school work all the time, but this time it was for a real person, so it was just that much more exciting.  She mainly needed help with the bedroom and open living/dining space.

Her wishes included:
- using green and purple
- creating a space that was relaxing (yoga studio feel) and comfortable but modern at the same time
- and keeping that feeling throughout the apartment
- nothing that involves too many alterations to the space because it's a rental and probably a temporary space.

Here's what I came up with in the end:

I had so much fun doing this.  I hope these will be useful tools for her to achieve the home she really desires.  I wish I was across the ocean, to do all her shopping!  

What do you think?  You like, you don't like ... feel free to share your thoughts.

see you soon,

Friday, June 24, 2011

wall project revealed

You may remember I mentioned on my last 7 Sachen that I was working on a secret craft project.  Well I'm ready to reveal it to you here and now.

First I must explain that I haven't put that much effort into decorating our apartment here in Frankfurt since we know we will only be living here for a little while longer.  But my dear friend suggested that no matter how temporary this place is, I should use still use this space to try creative things and make it the best it can be.  This made some sense to me, especially since I am studying interior design and this could give me some fun practice to turn a space I don't feel so emotionally attached to into something wonderful and special in it's own way.

My friend (whose eye I trust blindly) and I have many small projects planned for this space, which I promise to reveal more about soon enough, but for now, here is a peak into my first creative exercise for this space:

 So my dears...what do you think?

This is a corner of the wall above the TV.  It is very bland and bare, as are most of the walls in here.  I got the inspiration to do a little diy art project at one of my favourite blogs, IDA Interior Lifestyle.  What it is exactly are slices of toilet paper rolls I've been collecting, which I stapled together to create this curvy shape.  Then I hung it on the wall. 

I'm quite pleased with the outcome, although I keep adding slices to it here and there.  But it's almost perfect and I couldn't wait any longer to share.

Any fun diy home decor projects you'd like to share?

Happy weekend and see you soon,

Monday, June 20, 2011

7 Sachen

7 things from my Sunday - as every week, inspired by Frau Liebe.

7 Sachen von meinem Sonntag - wie jede Woche, von Frau Liebe inspiriert.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

First, breakfast while checking emails and reading blogs.
Zuerst Fruestueck, waehrend ich Emails und Blogs lesen.

Working on a craft project.  No details, you will see it when it's done.
Ein Bastelnprojekt.  Keine Hinweise - ihr seht es wenn es fertig ist.

Midday snack at the Kelsterbach-er Street Fair.  Deer sausage, onion bread and a glass of Pinot Noir.
Mittagsessen beim Kelsterbacher Strassenfest.  Rehwurst, Zwiebelbrot und ein Glas Pinot Noir.

Paul's remote control plane flies around the apartment.
Pauls Fernbedientes Flugzeug fliegt in der Wohnung.

Time to practice German.  Reading a children's book.
Zeit um Deutsch zu ueben.  Ich lese ein Kinderbuch.

Preparing 'spaghetti aglio e olio' for dinner.  My Grandfather's best recipe.
Vorbereitung 'spaghetti aglio e olio' zum Abendessen.  Das beste Rezept meines Grossvaters.

Dishes are done.  Time for bed soon.
Geschirrspuelen ist fertig.  Bald ist es Zeit fuer Bett.

Happy week ahead,
Ich wunsche euch eine schoene Woche,

my handy man

I'm not very handy. Thank goodness Paul is - especially when he has his favourite power tool by his side - the Makita cordless screwdriver. He's done so many great things around here with it, especially when we first moved in.  Putting up shelves or assembling furniture has been a real cinch with this thing.  Today we received the replacement hinge piece for our broken garbage can. But get this. The old piece is bolted in place while the new piece comes with screws. So he had to drill out the bolts with sheer force and it worked.  This little power tool really is the best cordless screwdriver ever! Plus I find it quite cute and non-intimidating. I think next time we need to use the screwdriver I will insist to be the one to use it. I watched the whole process carefully this time in case I ever have to do something like this on my own. Gosh...I really shouldn't be writing about how useless I am, lol!

see you soon,

Sunday, June 19, 2011

moodboards for my final project

Hello all.

It's been a little while.  I've been very busy with my final assignment.  The project is designing the interior of a vacation home with an ocean view.  I decided to create something contemporary and modern but with some rustic and industrial elements; rustic for charm and warmth and industrial for some edge.  I let my imaginations of the sea lead the way.  So I am going to share my moodboards with you so that you know what I have been spending most of my time on.  Be sure to let me know what you think...

That was the hard part.  Developing a coherent scheme for an entire home takes a lot of creative energy - but it truly is my favourite part. Now with a clear concept in mind,  I can begin drawing floor plans, furniture and lighting plans, elevations, writing client briefs and contractor specification sheets.  Not so difficult but pretty time consuming.

I'm really loving working on my final project.  Everything I've learned is really coming together and as I work I feel I am exuding a sort of mad vibe - as in passionate or maybe slightly obsessed.  I know this is a good sign.  Everything is flowing.  I am much quicker now at pulling a scheme together than I was when I began my studies.  I'm very satisfied by that because I feel like it proves something in my mind has changed/grown/developed/evolved with regards to interior design. 

Off to the drawing board now...

Happy Sunday to you all...
and stay tuned for 7 Sachen...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

i found something today...


I found something today.  Something really cool.


{images via: 1, 2, 3 and 4}

You like?  I love!  All from a blog called Plenty of Colour.  This is a really great site for colour inspiration and colour lovers like me.  And may be you too!?  The author, Chloe, is a colour fan (obviously!) and she collects all these great pictures from all over the place and posts about them on her blog.   It's a really nice place for a one-stop, complete colour fix.  And on the sidebar of the blog, everything is neatly categorized so you may browse based on color.  As you may remember, I've been posting quite a lot about colour lately (go here, here, here, here and here in case you missed some).  Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about this blog find and I had to share it with you right away.  I will be checking it quite often to see what Chloe posts next.

'till next time.
Let colour lead the way,

Sunday, June 12, 2011

7 Sachen

Happy Sunday to you all.

I'm happy to announce I will be taking part in a regular Sunday series called "7 Sachen"  (in English that means "7 Things").  This idea was inspired by Frau Liebe.   She does this every Sunday and I look forward to seeing what 7 things her hands encounter through the day.  And I will be posting about it in English and German as a way to practice my German skills too!  So here they are, hope you like:

7 things from my Sunday
7 Sachen von meinem Sonntag

First let's start with morning coffee.
Morgens, erst mal einen Kaffee.

 Then it's yoga time.  My cat Jack wants to participate by showing off his fancy poses!
Dann ist es Zeit fuer Yoga.  Jack, mein Kater, wollte auch seine eleganten Posen zeigen!

Later, I quiz Paul about his pilot studies.
Spaeter, frage ich Paul ein paar Formeln ueber sein Pilotstudium ab. 

Time for lunch: mashed potatoes and spinach with sausages.
Zeit fuer Mittagessen: Kartoffelpuree und Rahmspinat mit Wuerstchen.

Mundane chores; scrubbing the tub.
Banale Hausarbeit; die Badewanne scrubben. 

4 pm treat - a chocolate milkshake...yummy!
Hochgenuss um 16 Uhr - ein Schoko Milkshake...lecker! 

I hate drinking water (how crazy, I know).  So to help make it more exciting, starting this week, I drink sparkling water. 
Ich mag wasser nicht so gerne (verruckt, weiss es ich!).  Jezt trinke ich Sprudelwasser, damit es mehr Spass macht.

Wishing you a sweet end to the week,
Ich wuensche euch ein schoenes Ende der Woche,


Friday, June 10, 2011

about moving to a different country...

My blog was born as I was preparing to move to a different country.  The point was to document my experiences in order to share them with my family and friends and anyone else who might be interested in the life of someone who moves away from home, has to learn a new language and adapt to a different culture. 

via proconlists

A few days ago, I wrote about an article in which I was featured.  It was a two part series in which six people were interviewed.  These people had one thing in common (including me) - we moved away from our home country.  We were asked about how life had changed, what was different, what stayed the same, what we missed, what we learned, how we adapted.  The interview process was quite interesting for me; putting all my feelings into words was quite powerful.  

But because each interview was limited to a certain amount of words, not everything we discussed got published.  Therefore, I've decided to share it with you in full here, for a more detailed insight into my feelings, my experiences and what I've learned from moving to a different country.  Canada to Germany.


What is your name, age and occupation?

Holly von Hoyningen Huene, 29, interior design student and blogger for

Are you married/how long/Spouse name?

Married to Paul von Hoyningen Huene since November 1, 2010.

Were you born in Montreal?


Do you have extended family in Montreal?

Yes, almost my whole family is in Montreal - except my sister who lives in the Caribbean. I also have close relatives in Calgary and some extended family in the States. 

Why did you leave the city?

My husband and I (he was my boyfriend at the time) left Montreal end of summer 2009 (I
was 27) for the simple reason that we thought it would be fun. I guess we were looking
for a different experience and it just seemed like the right time to do it. But we by no
means left because we didn’t like Montreal. It remains one of my favourite cities to date
and will always hold a special place in my heart. I feel that I carry its essence with me
everywhere I go.

Do you still think of Montreal as home?

That depends on how one would define home. For me, home really is where the heart
is. It is something internal and defined by a sense of well-being. No matter where I go, I
carry home with me.

What do you like to visit when you go back home?

Hudson - a charming town, west of the Island, where I did a significant portion of
my “growing up”. Then of course downtown Montreal – Westmount, Monkland Village,
Old Port, Plateau. I love the vibe of the city.

Do you have a favourite Montreal food you miss?

Poutine!!! and real Maple syrup.

Favourite restaurant?

Ferreira Café.

Do you keep tabs of the Montreal Canadians?

Of course! The internet is a great tool and we subscribed to so that we
could watch games live, or on demand when we just can’t stay up that late because of the
time difference.

Do you read Montreal news or don’t pay attention to what happens in Montreal?

Yes on the internet. Plus, I stay connected via my family and friends.

Are you the sort of person who feels tied to your roots or not?

This is a hard question. In some ways I do, but in other ways I don’t. I guess you could
say I’m tied to my roots unless my roots get in the way of experiencing new things. If I
feel they hold me back from something in some way, then I can untie them. But most of
the time, I think my roots enhance my experiences.

Are you proud to be from Montreal? Or do you struggle with this concept?

100% proud. Every time I tell someone I’m from Montreal, I always get a positive

Do you have Canadian friends where you live or seek out like-minded fellow foreigners/
people who speak your language or have the same religion?

At first, I wanted to make friends only with German people. I guess I was afraid that
if I made friends with expats I might end up isolating myself from this new culture. It
was important to me that I integrate as much as possible, learn the language and really
live the true experience. But soon enough, I found it so nice to interact with people who
can relate to my experience as a foreigner. I now have a nice mixture of friends – native
Germans and foreigners like me from all over the world.

What are some of your favourite Montreal memories?

Watching the traffic and the action on the corner of Sherbooke street from my apartment
window. Studying outside on the grass in the sunshine at Loyola Campus. Picnics
in Westmount Park. Going to see Cirque du Soleil in the Old Port. Hanging out with
friends on our favourite terrace in Hudson. Working Grand Prix weekend at Newtown
Lounge on Cresent Street. The St. Laurent street fair. The colours of autumn. My room
in my parent’s house. And all my memories of time spent with family and friends.

What are some of your worst Montreal memories? (Might as well be fair!).

Waiting in winter blizzards for a bus that never comes, especially when you’re ankle
deep in slushy snow.

Do you miss the cold weather and snow?

Not a single bit. We have winter here too in Germany but it’s not as intense and it
doesn’t last as long. It’s just enough to get to enjoy that coziness that the beginning of
winter brings. And when you are fed up of it you can see the light at the end of the tunnel
– not like in Montreal, it just drags on forever.

How often do you visit?

For now, only once a year. But I would like to soon increase that number.

Are your parents still in Montreal and if so, does this affect your frequency of visits?

Yes. I would like to see them more often. Ideally it would be great if we could see each
other 4 times a year – twice in Montreal and twice here in Germany. It is important to me
that my family can experience parts of my life in Germany.

Is your spouse also Canadian?

Yes, he is Canadian, just like me.

Does this impact on where you live?

Well, I guess I should mention that he is also German but born and raised in Canada. I
guess that had some impact on where we chose to live and the fact that we both hold
European passports. Europe seemed like a wise choice for us and since we’d been to
Berlin before and loved it so much we decided to move there. Now we live in Frankfurt.

Were your children born outside of Canada?

We have no children.

I know this article is meant to be about former Montrealers who do not intend to go back
to Montreal but is there a chance you might perhaps return “home” when you are older
and retired?

Anything is possible. It’s not part of the plan but I believe one should ‘never say never’.

If not, where do you see yourself living in your retirement?

I imagine retirement on the beach, somewhere hot. But I do like the city so much… so
maybe spending time between a penthouse apartment overlooking an exciting city and a
quiet breezy beach house might be the perfect solution. Boy, it’s nice to dream isn’t it!
Honestly though, I have no clue. I can’t think that far ahead.

How is your life different since you moved?

My daily life is pretty much the same fundamentally.  I am working, studying, hanging out with friends, wondering what to shop for for dinner ... you know, a regular life.  Probably similar to the one I would be living if I were still in Montreal.  But what makes it very different, is that everything is in German and that my family and friends are not here with me.  And for me these are the biggest challenges.

Can you say more about the challenges of learning German?

I speak intermediate level German now and the more I learn, the more restricted I feel - surprisingly.  At the beginning I could only say basic things but I felt proud because my scope was limited and I felt like I was accomplishing a lot - the novelty of it all was quite exciting.  But now that I have a better understanding of the language and that I am more comfortable with it, the desire to express myself in a deeper way is also increasing and here is where I realize how limited I still am.  I am sure this will come in time.  Meanwhile, I have learned the crucial value of hand gestures and facial expressions! Everyday I learn something new and I try to take German lessons as often as I can.  Although, living in big cities like Frankfurt and Berlin where practically everyone speaks English, I have to be careful not to get lazy.  It's very important to me that I become fluent in German.

What about being apart from your loved ones?

Being apart from my family and friends is a challenge that will never go away.  Not being able to walk down the street or drive twenty minutes to see them is a sad realization that still affects me and always will. Time passes, we get older, we are not in each others' lives to experience the day to day so we miss out on a lot of things.  It's a hard reality to live with at times, but it is nevertheless my reality and I must deal with that.  Thank goodness for Skype and Facebook though.  I guess this technology helps to deal with it all on some level.  I even started a blog in an attempt to provide a space where my family and friends could pop by to see what I've been up to.  I post pictures there and share my feelings about various topics.  But even though all these factors help keep us somewhat connected, there's no replacement for seeing them in person and spending quality time together.  I am planning for more frequent trips in the future and have been so lucky that some of my loved ones have already visited me here.

So why with these major challenges do you still live in Germany? 

Well, at the time the decision was made, I was searching for an exciting and personally challenging experience.  When the idea of moving to a different county became a possibility, all I kept thinking was the following: if at the end of my life I could say, "In my mid twenties, I moved to different country, learned a new language and still managed to achieve my personal goals", then I would be so proud of myself.  So here I am in the middle of all that with plans of soon finishing my studies and beginning a career as my next personal goal.  When I stop to think about that, I feel utterly exhilarated - and that's why I'm still here.  Plus Germany is really awesome.

What can you say about Germany?  How is it different, what have you noticed?

Of course there are some cultural differences between my homeland and Germany.  I feel them, but it's hard to say exactly what they are.  I get asked this question a lot and I am always unsure about how to answer it.  Maybe I am a bit naive or un-noticing but I feel quite at ease in this culture.  That probably has something to do with the fact that I am still in Western Europe - elsewhere, the culture difference is probably more apparent.  Or maybe it's because I don't concentrate on what's different but I focus on what is similar and find comfort in that.  Or maybe it's because I really don't like making generalizations.  I don't know ... but here are some random things I find interesting about the German way:

- Generally, Germans take turns speaking in conversation and there is rarely any interruption.  I think this has something to do with the structure of the German language.  Often times the verb comes right at the end, so you really have to hear someone out before knowing what they are going to say!  This is different for me, coming from a boisterous Italian family who constantly interrupts each other. 

- Germans like celebrating and they have lots of festivals and traditions, making it a fun and lively culture - opposed to what some people may think.

- On your birthday in Germany, you are expected to provide the cake.

- Vacation time is very important to Germans and traveling is a priority, even if it's not far.

- Germans value efficiency and this is apparent in urban infrastructure.  Punctuality is also very important.  Public transport, for example, is always on time, and if it happens that it's not, you can see people on the platform getting quite antsy.  They keep looking at their watches, sighing loudly and basically acting like this is totally unacceptable even if the train is only late by 2 or 3 minutes.  To tell you the truth, I have become one of those people - but only because here I have learned to expect punctuality - because usually everything happens on time.

- A "green" lifestyle is highly promoted in Germany.  Waste and excessiveness are not part of the equation.  This is a culture that pays for the water they use and pay a lot for gasoline (even more than in Canada).  Every building, residence and neighbourhood have designated bins for waste and recycling.  One for garbage, one for packaging, one for green glass, and separate ones for brown and clear glass, one for compost and finally one for paper.  And if you put something that doesn't belong in one of the bins, be prepared to be called out on it.  Bulk/discount supermarkets are not very common and you can't get milk in a bigger size than a liter.  Driving compact cars and using public transport is the norm. This has probably something to do with the fact that space is a luxury in most of Europe. I've always tried to think about my impact on the environment, but since being in Germany  I have enforced existing behaviours and developed new habits to live a "greener" life.  I don't let the water run when I brush my teeth anymore.

- Germans answer the phone by saying their last name.

- Football (soccer) is for Germans what hockey is for Canadians.

- It is a common opinion here that Northern Germans are generally seen as more socially reserved than Southern Germans, although politically, the North is known to be more liberal.

- The social system is hard to beat.

- Coffee to go is not very popular.  People sit to have coffee, outside if possible.  On that note, it seems like Germans sit outside as long as humanely possible.  Restaurants provide blankets for patrons deep into autumn when your breath is clearly visible in the air.  I mean it's practically winter and the terraces are full.  There have been days when even I, a Canadian woman, have found it a bit silly.


That's it.  Based on these questions and answers, she wrote a nice article about me.

What about you?  Have you also moved away from your home country? Are you planning to or thinking about it? Any comments or thoughts you'd like to share?  If so, be sure to leave me some comments below.

'till next time,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

about the color PINK

via COLORlover Hollyvhh
Today a reader made a comment on my Color and Mood post asking why I hadn't mentioned pink?  And I thought...good question!  I wrote about the 6 main colors of the spectrum (even though there are actually 7 - I didn't mention indigo) and about black and white and grey with regards to the general moods they can evoke when used in an interior space.  But pink is a special color and I think it deserves a little discussion.

Pink is a mixture of red and white but has a completely different effect on mood than either of those colors.  Typically, pink is associated with nurturing, youth, innocence, friendship, joy and femininity. When used in an interior, it can be very calming and comforting. When over done it can be aggravating or inappropriate, but this is true of any color.  Overall, it is a very positive color.  This is no wonder if you take into consideration some common references in our lives to the color pink.  Here are a few:

- when you say someone "is in the pink" it means they are in good condition or health.
- cherry blossoms are pink only in the spring, a season associated with renewal and life.
- 'rosy' cheeks are a sign of healthy enthusiasm.
- a sentimental or romance novel is called a "romanzo rosa" (pink novel) in Italian.

Can you think of any more?

I'm trying to think of any negative references to Pink, but it's quite difficult.  Oh here we go: when one recieves a "pink slip" it means their being let go, or fired.  Not such a good day. Although, it depends ... could be good for some  ;)

Again, can you think of any more?

That's all for today folks.
Wishing you all a 'rosy' day!

my fitness routine


I work out at home. I also do my job from home and my studies too.  It's a good thing I have some nice friends I enjoy spending time with.  If it weren't for them, I'd be home all the time it seems!  Dealing with the challenges of working and studying from home is a topic for another post though.  Today I want to talk about my fitness routine.

Fitness is important to me.  But I never really liked the gym much, except if the gym was offering many Yoga and Pilates classes and had nice clean facilities like a steam room, a sauna, showers with good pressure and a pool would be nice too.  I guess one could say I have high expectations.  But when you don't like going to the gym, you need the perks.  So anyways, since living in Frankfurt, I haven't found any reasonable facilities in my area (because I don't live right in the city).  Therefore, I decided to put together my own fitness routine I could do from home.  After much internet searching and a tip from my cousin, I did it.

I was into it for about three weeks and then came some dental problems and since then I've been advised not to raise my heat rate too much since it will cause my problem teeth to hurt.  I just got back from the dentist and I have to go back next week it seems, so sadly, my fitness routine and I will be spending more time apart, I guess.

I miss my fitness routine.  I've been longingly watching the videos I follow anyway.  What a kook I am.  But I read somewhere once that just thinking about working out or watching someone do so helps a tiny bit to keep you in shape.  (I'll have to find the reference to that one!)

Since I've been obsessively watching these videos, I thought I'd share some links with you here because they are good tools for anyone who works out from home, and I'm assuming that's a lot of us. So without further delay, here it is:

Holly's Weekly Workout Routine

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday I work out with  Zuzana at  I love her calisthenic workouts.  I feel like they are the perfect combo of strength and cardio training I'm looking for. But beware, they are super intense!!  You have to try it to believe it, it's insanity.  I have two favourite workouts (Hot Bikini Body Workout and Halo of Sweat Workout) and I alternate between them. But sometimes to keep it interesting I do the one she is suggesting for the day on the website.  Her workout videos are not usually follow along style.  They're just to show the proper way to do the different exercises.  Not to worry though, the details and instructions are clearly posted below the video on the site so you can easily do it yourself. 

Wednesday and Saturday I do a yoga routine from  There are so many goodies on this site, no matter what your yoga level. Usually I do around 3 or 4 sun salutations to warm me up and then I choose three videos from the Core Power Hour series.  Click on watch video at the bottom of the post. Underneath that you'll find parts 1 to 5.

Besides that, I try to walk or bike everywhere, take the stairs, eat well and maintain a positive outlook.

What do you think?  Do you have any health and fitness tips you'd like to share?

See you soon,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

featured in the Montreal Gazette!

Danielle Murray did a special two part interview series for the Montreal Gazette about Montrealers who move away and set up their lives elsewhere. She featured six people and I was one of them, appearing in the second part of the series. I have cut out my portion of the article and posted it here to share with you all.

This is really special for me because I was featured in my home city's biggest newspaper. Thanks again to Danielle for this super opportunity. To see the full articles click here and here.

We conducted the interview in December via email. It was actually quite an interesting experience answering all these questions in writing. I mean, I have asked myself some of these questions before and have discussed some of the issues related to moving away with my friends and family. But writing them down allowed for a clearer picture of my thoughts and feelings. There they were staring back at me - my thoughts. I learned a lot about my journey so far by participating in this exercise. In my next post, I will share the full interview with you. Not everything could be included in this article because of word limit, but still the rest of it is quite interesting for me and maybe for you.

See you later,

Monday, June 6, 2011

my guest post about color at the House of Fifty blog

Today, a blog post I wrote got published on the House of Fifty Blog! I'm so excited because I love the new House of Fifty E-zine and now with their even newer blog, we are sure to get more treats between issues.  House of Fifty is about encouraging inspired living and finding it in our everyday.  Whether your looking for inspiration about interiors, beauty, fashion, food or stories about inspiring people, you'll surely want to follow the blog and subscribe to the E-zine.  I'm certain there is so much goodness to come and I can't wait.  You understand then why I'm so proud to have had this opportunity.

The blog post I wrote for House of Fifty is titled 'Color!'.  I decided to write about color schemes for the home, inspired by summer.  I chose some of my favourite images depicting summer scenes and paired them up with images of an interior space that shared the same color scheme.  I then developed a color palette for each pair of images that would be inspiring and appropriate for use in an interior space.  Do check it out (here) and spend some time browsing the rest of the House of Fifty Blog and E-zine. You'll love them!

On that note, I would like to thank Janell Beals, founding editor of House of Fifty and also author of Isabella & Max Rooms (another great blog I urge you to visit), for giving me the opportunity to write about things I love and sharing them on her site.  It was such a great pleasure.

'till next time,

Thursday, June 2, 2011

on color and mood...

via Janet Bloem's my.opera

Colors can be very influential concerning our mood because of what they represent historically and because of how they actually result in certain changes in our brain activity.

How colours can affect us based on their positive and negative attributes and how this can help us in deciding upon colour schemes for interiors, will be discussed, taking each color in turn below.  Remember, the remarks made here are general statements.  Colors and how we respond to them is a very subjective thing as well.  A certain hue can evoke different reactions simply by manipulating its tone or intensity.  Also, this post does not take into consideration the effects of simultaneous contrast - what happens when you put two hues (colors) together.  That said, read on. 

This is a reference post for me, based on what I have learned in my studies in interior design, but I thought it could be useful or interesting for others too.

The colour red consists of predominantly the longest wavelengths of light that we can see and is the most powerful colour in the spectrum.  Historically, red has been linked to royalty and military power and is associated with blood, courage, fire, sacrifice, wealth, power, sex, love, passion and sin. It is also a colour that has come to signify warning or danger.  Based on these associations one can see how red can evoke a positive or equally negative mood when brought into a space, so it must be used with care.  Certain tones of this colour can evoke aggressiveness, agitation or claustrophobic feelings.  It has even been associated with increased incidences of headaches.  It should no be used in rooms where calmness is required or where there is already too much action, but could be used in spaces where you wish to keep people moving.  The right tones can evoke feelings of warmth and coziness since red is a warm colour.  It can also be appropriate in ceremonial or state rooms since it reminds us of royalty and power. 

Orange is a warm, vibrant colour.  One thinks of autumn leaves, the setting sun or citrus fruits.  It has been linked to concepts such as safety, health and vitality, joy and change.  Orange has been found to stimulate activity and appetite.  It has also been found to encourage sociability and creativity.  It is a good colour choice for children, exercise rooms, workspaces of people in creative fields, restaurants and dining rooms.  As it is a cheerful colour, it works well with public housing projects or social centers.  However, there is also a negative side to orange.  As mentioned, it represents change, which is not always a positive thing and orange has been described as annoying.  It should not be used in rooms where relaxation is important.  Since it stimulates appetite and activity, it should not be used around “excessive” personality types.  Orange has also been linked to nausea.

Yellow shines with optimism, enlightenment, and happiness. It is associated with the sun, warmth and citrus fruits.  Yellow is extrovert and has been linked to feelings of self-esteem and personal power.  It will advance from surrounding colors and instill optimism and energy, as well as spark creative thoughts.  It has such a strong link to creativity that is not a good choice for people who suffer from mental disorders, as the line between creativeness and madness is sometimes a fine one.  Yellow has also been associated with fear and sickness; think about most caution signs, quarantine or jaundice.  It should also be avoided in customer service departments, doctors’ waiting rooms or airports because these are places where people have been known to become upset, worried or fearful.  Nevertheless, yellow is mentally stimulating, has been linked to encouragement of memory and communication and is generally a happy colour.  It is a good choice for welcome areas, childrens’ rooms, studies and work rooms, store fronts and sales areas. It is also a good choice for kitchens, although greenish shades of yellow should be avoided. 

The colour green is abundant in the natural world.  It is associated with nature. It is a clean, healthy colour and implies friendliness and cooperation, making it a good choice for charities, non-for profit organizations or children’s rooms.  It represents balance and harmony and it has been found to offer a sense of self-control, renewal ad relaxation. So it could be good for spas or recovery sections of hospitals and clinics where people need to be calm and relaxed in order to heal. It could equally work well in a home’s bathroom or bedroom.  However, these qualities would make it not appropriate for a room where an official, serious air is required, like a boardroom or corporate manager’s office. On the same note, green is associated with some negative concepts.  It is the colour of money and can be associated with greed and jealousy.  Certain green tones can give off an institutional, uncaring vibe. 

It is a tranquil and serene colour.  It is seen as reasonable, calm, confident and trustworthy.  After all it is a constant in our lives – it is the colour of the ocean and the sky.  Blue encourages calm, sedation and intuition. It is a good choice for any room where people need to calm down or cool off, such as sick rooms, rest rooms, bedrooms, airports, dentist’s waiting rooms, complaints departments or in the interiors of houses in hot climates.  Deep, royal blues are a good choice for ceremonial rooms.  There is another not so appealing side to blue.  It is a cool colour and could encourage antisocial behaviour, isolation and could make people feel colder than they actually are.  It is not a good choice for people who suffer from depression or sadness.  It is not a good choice for rooms where activity is important, such as a gym or playroom. 

Purple combines the coolness of blue and the warmth and excitement of red.  It has a sense of mystic and royal qualities; imagine a sense of greatness, leadership, respect and on by the same token, spirituality, emotional balance, inspiration and wonder.  Purple is also frequently a favourite colour among teenage girls, so it could be a good choice for a young lady’s bedroom.  Artists and philosophers respond well to this colour also, probably because it encourages original and sound ideas.  Purple is appropriate for creative types, especially ones who work in solitude and seek inspiration from within, such as composers, painters, and poets and also for people who are self employed.  Purple is also a good choice for meditation rooms, healing centers, spiritual rooms or buildings.  Since purple displays some royal qualities it is also a good choice for the work spaces of executives or any ceremonial room.  Because purple encourages reflection and introspection, it might not be a great choice for young children or someone suffering from a mental disorder.  Social centers, restaurants and hospitals, should avoid purple.  

Black is a very powerful colour (or lack there of).  It has a sense of darkness and mystery but can also be sophisticated and glamourous.  It all depends on how it’s done.  Black can bring out and emphasize the beauty of its surrounding colours or objects.  However, one must be careful about using black on a large scale.  It can be oppressive and depressing.  But if done right, it can be amazingly dramatic and surprisingly comfortable. 

White is a pure honest colour.  It is associated with spirituality, health and hygiene.  Using white creates a sense of openness and brightness.  We see a lot of it today, typical of ultra modern interiors and the increasingly popular Scandinavian styles. When white is used properly, you can get a clean, bright feeling room but still maintain a sense of coziness.  But when used incorrectly and over done, the room can have a sterile, clinical, empty and frankly, boring feel about it. 

Grey is a colour that is associated with old age and can bring to mind concepts such as wisdom, intelligence and calmness or negatively, over use and nearing the end.  It is also a colour associated with stone and metal and can call to mind feelings of strength, durability and quality or inflexibility. Overuse of grey can be oppressive and hinder personality to shine through.  It is a colour that blends in and conforms, which is why it has been such a popular colour with uniforms. Overuse of grey should be avoided in business, especially sales departments, rooms where children, the elderly and people suffering from mental illness will be spending time. However, it is one of those colours that when used correctly can really bring out the beauty in it’s surroundings.  It is a really great accent colour.  

on color and light...

I put together a post about how I understand the relationship between color and light and how knowing this relationship is helpful when designing interior spaces.  This is based on my studies and I am putting it here for my future reference and yours if you like   =). 

via SwissDesignNetwork

To understand the relationship between colour and light, one must understand what light is and what colour is.

Light is energy, composed of electromagnetic frequencies, visible to the human eye.  Light has many sources, but for the purposes of an interior designer, the most important sources are the sun (natural light), light bulbs (electric) and flames. 

Colour is basically shattered light.  Each colour of the spectrum exists on its own wavelength or frequency, which together, make up white light, as we know it.  Sir Isaac Newton first showed this when he shone a beam of white light through a glass prism, which resulted in a display of the colour spectrum on the other side of that prism - individual rays of colour in a consistent order  (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). 

Knowing this helps us to understand that when there is no light, there can be no colour – which is the basic relationship between colour and light.  This can help us to understand occurrences in our own lives where this relationship is obvious.  For example, on a dreary cloudy day, the colours in our surroundings also appear dreary and dull, much less vibrant than on a bright, sunny day.  Just as when the lights are out, we cannot distinguish between colours and consequently, objects as well.  The reason for this requires one more bit of information.  Yes, we’ve established that when there is  no light, there is no colour - when there is light, we can see colour.  But why?  That is because every surface that comes in contact with light manipulates that light somehow.  It breaks it, or absorbs it to varying degrees, which results in different visual experiences.  Darker objects absorb more light, which results in us seeing a darker colour compared to a lighter item that absorbs less light. 

Understanding what can change and manipulate the properties of colour is the basis of colour science and theory.  Because so much of an interior designers job is dealing with colour and colour schemes, it is important they understand this science, at least fundamentally.  Colour has a way of evoking a feeling and has a big impact on someone’s senses and mood.  The designer’s job is to create and plan all aspects of a space in order to establish a desired mood or feeling.  Is it a relaxed space, is it a space where production matters – like a work space, is it a space where there will be lots of activity?  All these spaces serve different functions and they should be designed accordingly.  Lighting plays a big role in this task and since colour is affected by light and can look different in different light, it is important that the designer consider the lighting and light sources of a space before choosing on a colour scheme.  Otherwise they could end up with something very different that they had originally planned – which needless to say, would be terrible.  For these reasons, when deciding on colours, it is vital that the designer considers lighting.