Friday, August 28, 2009

Designing A-Z (Part 1) - BTSH Around The House Tip of the Week

Have you ever hired a contractor or designer to come into your home, and found yourself questioning your knowledge of the English language when they started explaining what they would like to do? These trades tend to use words from a dictionary all their own, so whether you are hiring someone to do work on your home, or planning to do work yourself, I have put together a list of terms from A-Z that you need to know before you get started. This week features A-M.

Ambient Lighting vs Accent Lighting—Ambient Lighting is the light that is available in a room, whether from light fixtures, lamps, or natural light. Accent Lighting is focused on a particular element in the room, such as artwork, or architectural features.

Beveled—slanted and polished edge detail used on wood, marble, glass, etc.

Console Table—a small table fixed to a wall or designed to stand against a wall (see figure 1).

Decoupage—artistic application of glue, paper cut-outs and varnish applied to the surface of any object (see figure 2).

Eclectic—combines various characteristics of at least two different styles to create a look that is unique.

Focal Point—specific visual elements such as a spectacular view, home entertainment system, fireplace, art, sculpture or furniture piece, which becomes the main focus of the room or vignette.

Gilded—an object with a thin overlay of gold leaf added to its surface (see gold picture frame to the right). Gold leaf is paper thin layers of gold brushed onto a prepared adhesive surface, usually over a red primer to increase vibrancy and lustre (see figure 3).

Hearth—The original definition for this is a “fire-proof floor extending out from a fireplace into a room for fire protection”, however, many of these are now more decorative than anything else, and while they still provide fire protection, their main purpose is decoration (see figure 4).

Iridescence—the property of certain surfaces which appear to change colour as the angle of view changes. Iridescence may be seen commonly in soap bubbles.

Jabot—side portion of a window treatment where fabric is draped in soft folds vertically (see figure 5).

Key Pattern—An ornamental design consisting of repeated and symmetrical geometric figures, often in relief, contained within a band or border.

Lattice—a criss-cross pattern made from strips of metal, wood, or fabric.

Motif—a design or figure that consists of recurring shapes or color.

Written By: Shauna Lynn, Beyond The Stage Homes

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thrift Store Finds - BTSH Around The House Tip of the Week

Ok, so it’s not exactly a secret that I spend my spring hunting around at garage sales, and the rest of the year I can be found often at various thrift stores throughout town. I am also a bit of a kijiji junkie. I like to find good quality items with potential, and transform them into something great. Here are a few reasons why I’m addicted to thrift, as well as my latest finds.

One of a Kind

I suppose technically the item itself, in it’s original condition, may be one of many. Chances are however that this item can no longer be purchased in stores. The more vintage the item is, the better your chances are that you will not walk into your friends house and see that she has the same vase, picture, plate, whatever! I love IKEA, and Pier 1, and of course Crate and Barrel (welcome to Canada CB). They have new innovations all the time, and have a team of extremely talented designers working hard every day to create the next big thing in home fashions. Nonetheless, there is nothing more frustrating then walking into a home, and immediately recognizing their living room as page 32 of the latest IKEA catalogue, or worse yet, seeing a mirror of your own home! My best advice, when shopping at any of these stores, is moderation. Pick a few select items from each store, but be sure to add variety, and a little of your own personality into each one.

Repurposing is a GREEN idea

This is a fairly common theme to my articles, but I cannot stress enough that you do not need to be a hardcore environmentalist to think green. I myself am not, however I am always looking at ways that I can make a difference. Whether it’s as simple as applying some paint to give an item a facelift, or finding a whole new use, such as making a planter for your garden out of an old barrel, by repurposing second-hand items, we are giving them new life, and reducing the waste that would be sent to landfills.

Saving Money

While some may look at thrift stores with the idea of saving money as their top priority, you can shop for unique finds no matter what your budget. As well, being thrifty isn’t just about buying thrift items. You can do your part simply by donating to your local thrift stores. For large items that you don’t want to just give away, I definitely recommend using It’s a free classified site, and you can buy or sell pretty much anything. Why not make some money from those unwanted items you have around your house. One person’s trash really is another’s treasure. And speaking of treasures, check out some of my latest thrift store finds (pictured on the left)! Stay tuned to upcoming articles as I show you how I find purpose for these one of a kind pieces.

Written By: Shauna Lynn, Beyond The Stage Homes

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blog, Blog, Blog... - BTSH Around The House Tip of the Week

Getting your blog on these days is easier than ever. You can find someone out there talking about pretty much any topic under the sun! This week I thought that I would draw some attention to some fellow bloggers that I like to check in on frequently.

Style At

Not just a great magazine, Style At Home is also online, with lots of great tips for every area of your home. They also feature some great blogs, one of my favourites being “Favourite Things” by Natalie Bahadur. Natalie is the editor for, and loves everything pretty for house and home.

Eco Logic by Jessica Ross

This is a fairly new one that I’ve stumbled across. The web address for it is The name pretty much says it all. Jessica Ross works for Homemakers magazine, and writes about ways to simply reduce the overall effect that you have on the environment. She seems to have a similar philosophy to me. As I mentioned in my article on July 13 (Healthy Living Starts With Your Home—Cleaning Naturally), you don’t have to be a tree hugging hippie to appreciate what makes good common sense these days. I admit that perhaps not all my habits are putting the environment first, but every little effort that we each put into it truly does make a difference. I’m not an environmentalist in the traditional sense of the term, and neither is Jessica. She simply writes about her experiences as she tries to reduce her carbon footprint. Whether you’re taking your liquor bottles back to the beer store for your refund, or bringing your environmentally friendly re-usable bag to the store so you don’t have to pay for bags, or if you go as far as Jessica did, and try out a Hybrid, it all adds up.

The Consumerist

I was actually surprised to find myself so intrigued by this site. talks about consumer related information, everything “from non-existent customer service to onerous cell-phone contracts to ever-shrinking (and ever-more-expensive) grocery products”. It is not-for-profit, does not take any advertising or sponsorship, and speaks nothing but the truth. I found myself relating to my own personal experience (most recently Sat. Aug 8/09 post stated that Dell’s tech support was the worst of those surveyed—I use a Dell, and after calling for help with my CD drive which the computer suddenly decided didn’t exist any more, I was told in an indistinguishable foreign accent that since my computer was over a year old, they would need to charge me $49.95 to help me over the phone to fix my computer myself). If only I had seen this blog first! Before you buy, check out what this site has to say about the product, or the company.

Written by Shauna Lynn, Beyond The Stage Homes