Spaces 4 Living

An Architect's Idea Book: Sharing ideas and inspiration to help create beautiful living spaces.

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Window Privacy Screens

Many of us have an existing window that needs a little help with privacy or want to block an unsightly view but still allow the sunlight to filter through.  Not all of us are keen on net/ sheer curtains. Good news, there are other options that can add a bit of flair to your room. The window screen below are a few that I found interesting.



This walk-in closet has a beautiful window treatment. It would look spectacular in a home with lots of old world character. The look can be achieved by affixing a metal screen to the exterior of the window. A variety of metals and techniques could be employed to get a style that suits you. Explore custom fit ironmongery, patina copper or laser cut aluminium.  Customisation gives you the scope to experiment with florals, geometrics, what ever your fancy. A less expensive version or installation in a rental property would be to have a printed roller sun shade. It would give the illusion of metal screen at a set distance.



This exterior mounted architectural sun shade has a similar concept as the ironwork above. The sun is filtered before it hits the glass. This contemporary piece stands proud of the wall in order to operate the windows behind.  It also is an integrated piece of the building; similar woodwork can be found wrapped around the façade at the main level and balcony railling details.



Lastly, there is the option of different glazing styles. This half clear- half sandblasted window wall brings in streams of light. It only allows a silhouette at the bottom visible to the outside.  The scenic views are unobstructed but still have the privacy where you need it.  The clean lines of the window treatment maintains overall style of bathroom. This looks can be modified with different glass types, and patterns. This look can also be achieved with a peel and stick privacy film in a variety of patterns.



There are numerous combinations that you could achieve the level of privacy that you want. The kitchen above employs both a translucent band and a planting screen. The wispy bamboo is planted within raised containers just outside of the window for maximum impact. You can mix and match any of the ideas above; whether that be with metal, wood, glass, fabric or greenery to make your space inviting.

beautiful window decorations



Kids Bedroom Ideas

Spring Break is just around the corner. What a great time to get the kids involved into spring cleaning and revamp their bedrooms.  A child’s bedroom is an important place. It is where he sleeps, plays and studies. This space is where he can develop and express his own personality.  First and most important criteria is to create storage for toys, books and clothing. Secondly, free floor space for playing and lastly as he gets older, is a seated desk area for study.

So not everyone has 9 foot ceilings, but this is an amazing space none-the-same. The custom lacquered plywood unit is a great example of using a relatively low cost material to produce a fantastic finished product. I love the built-in staircase rather than the use of a ladder. The child-size cupboard is great use of space. I like the idea of the duel function of the drawers as steps, but I could foresee the child not shutting the drawers properly and could potentially be a bit of a trip hazard. Love the idea, but kids will be kids. But you know your own children and know if they are messy or tidy at the end of the day.

The project could be a great bonding experience for the child to design their own cut out shapes, colours, and patterns with help from Mum and Dad.

Contemporary Kids by New York Interior Designers & Decorators Tamara H Design

This free standing loft bed is great for any child. Who wouldn’t love a tent canopy over their bed!! The corners of the tent are lifted by a pulley connected to the ceiling on either end of the bed for a great hidey spot. The incorporation of the bedside table/tray and magazine rack on the outside of the bedrails is necessity that is often overlooked. The storage beneath the stair tread is perfect for books, games and tubs of toys. I would suggest a non-slip applique on the treads for added grip, since socks and smooth finishes don’t really mix. The pull-out sofa bed is great for hanging out and sleep overs, but a desk space could be placed here instead if it could not be placed anywhere else. The added detail of the treed wall mural gives the room that added visual that sets his room apart from every other.

fancy wall murals

Traditional Kids by Raleigh Interior Designers & Decorators Driggs Designs

This daybed style is great for all ages. The custom plinth (can be created from modified kitchen bases) can be made to fit a single or double mattress. The built-ins add great added storage space in drawers, cupboards and shelves for an assortment of things. It also doubles as a great bonus room when they’re off to college without much alteration.

Eclectic Kids

For those creative types why not used a painted peg board to organise all their crafts and projects. The mounted cups hold pens and pencils, while other boxes and clasps hold coloured paper, ribbon and string. This set up is not limited to the bedroom, it could be suited for a family rec room or  hobby room.

Contemporary Kids by Toronto Interior Designers & Decorators Sarah Gunn, Interior Stylist

For the Tweens, a dedicated work desk is essential for studying. Creating a pin board is great for organising assignments. Most of the furniture you will probably have already so why not paint to refresh the old furniture, add statement pieces like a special chair and light fixture to create that uniqueness for your child and new contrasting bed sheet and curtains to complete look.


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Kitchen Garden

It is the beginning of March, and I am longing for the milder winters of Scotland, as I look out at the white mounds of snow. I could be prepping my soil for planting right now, if I was there. With this being the worst winter in decades on this side of the Atlantic, it shall be a while before I see any young shoots.

I suppose then this gives me time to plan out my garden. Winnipeg has a very short but HOT growing season due mostly to the continental climate on the prairies. Almost everything that I have grown in the past with ease in the UK proves to be a bit more of a challenge in this part of Canada. Its a learning curve, but I shall prevail!

One of the my most rewarding gardening aspects is growing fruit and vegetables.  There is just something to be said when you bite into a homegrown tomato, courgette (zucchini) or aubergine (eggplant).

When one usually thinks of the kitchen garden, the idea of raised cedar planters resonate. The traditional style shown above has had a contemporary facelift. The sharp intersecting planes and different height boxes work really well. The contemporary feel extends to the stone mowing strip between the boxes and the grass. The different widths of stone adds visual interest by adding a different contrast from the long smooth linear timber. The mowing strip not only adds a different texture, but it is also time worth spent when you lessen your weekly navigation of the lawnmower and strimmer. The custom designed privacy screen is the icing on the cake, extending the cedar and the contemporary style beyond the boxes.

On the complete opposite side of the design spectrum, a kitchen garden that is integrated into your overall garden theme. The image above does not show any vegetables, but just think of the idea of bringing your tomatoes and your marigold together. It is not only pretty, but the marigold help ward off the little pests and beasties that may damage all your hard work. There are many other companion planting pairings between herbs, flowers and vegetables that add a natural pest deterrent and a visual interest. A few other characterises that I am drawn to are that the beds are not too deep so there is easy access and there is lots of ground cover to reduce the soil drying as quickly. The latter is all dependant to your choice of plants and how you layer them. Lastly, the central vase could potentially be a rainwater collector (a wider lip would be preferable) and/or a surface rainwater runoff collector. The rainwater run-off flows through a series of inclined drains, beneath the decorative stones, that direct the water to a collection pit.   This is perfect for conserving water for your plants. Even without the bells and whistles, If nothing else a piece of artwork and a few herbs would be a nice central focal point, well other than your prize winning pepper plant!

So why don’t we stretch the idea even further. The lovely Cape Cod cottage pictured above has a whimsical note to the past that brings the potager garden to the front of the house. Who says you need a lawn? Even though the plants are placed in low lying symmetrical rectangular boxes, the array of vegetation brings a sense of playfulness. I love the mixing of textures; broad leaves of the rhubarb, tiny leaves and flowers of thyme, wispy fennel, curly kale and the list can go on. The great thing is that you can mix up the edibles and ornamentals every year.
With a mind full of design possibilities and sketch paper and a pencil at the ready, I shall be scribbling away creating ideas for my garden. Well, until the snow melts!!

Have fun dreaming of Spring!


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A Peaceful Landscape Repose

The relaxed and effortless splendor of this outdoor space is truly sublime. The mature trees add a majestic backdrop to the sculptural aspects of the new landscaping.  A sweeping Pennsylvania bluestone pathway is flanked by monochromatic ornamental mondo grasses and boxwood shrubs adding layers of opposing textures and visual interest.  The understated path lighting serves a utilitarian purpose without distracting the viewer from the captivating horticultural layering of the landscape.

A raised seating patio is anchored with a prominent robust outdoor fireplace and BBQ area. The patio features a curved rough cut stone retaining wall that adds a splash of colour through planting perennial purple geraniums. The low maintenance planting creates a ruffled or even a ripple effect as one’s eye moves from the smooth path towards the rough stone wall.

The curvilinear arrangement of the landscape creates a peaceful repose. It encourages you to stop and inhale nature before heading on to where you were destined. What more can you ask for in a place for the grown-ups to unwind in such a beautiful setting.

Exterior-Accents 400x361


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Rustic Farmhouse Living Room

I am usually not one to like farmhouse style décor, but this living room designed by David Michael Miller Associates draws me. Perhaps it is the touch of old world charm of the exposed heavy timber, white plaster walls and European vernacular furnishings. The casual tuft of pillows on the divan, the oversized basket chandelier, the heavy stone coffee table and rustic open fire place just hit every note in nature’s hard-soft relationship.


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Traditional Santa Cruz Kitchen

This house has many features and spaces that just makes it feel so welcoming. It makes you want to get comfy and unwind with a cup of coffee. Of all the wonderful spaces,  I just love this kitchen. The tall windows bring in a lot of natural light and creates a great connection to the outdoors which promotes a good sense of well being.

Along the periphery there is tall white custom cabinetry that extends up to the high ceilings. This is a great way to add more storage and to create a modern edge within the traditional style without overdoing it. The walls and cabinetry are painted “cloud white” and are visually merged together. The ceiling coving also wraps around both cabinetry and walls. Both treatments add to the uniformity, openness and airiness of the space.

A gorgeous butcher block island adds warmth, practicality and a great breakfast area. The corner window seat is inviting and relaxing.

Although I adore this kitchen, there are a few things that I am not taken with. The refrigerator and hob/ cooktop are on the opposite sides of the kitchen.  I could see as being a nuisance if you are like me and run back and forth to the refrigerator for ingredients. The sink is also far from the hob which is an issue when you are carrying a pot of steaming pasta that is ready to drain. Ideally, if one of the appliances were to be located in the island for a smaller work triangle it would be more user friendly. However, I do understand the desire to keep the island free in order to keep the visual of a farm house table work space in the centre of the room. It all depends what you would be willing to compromise: function or style.

Overall, this is a spacious yet cozy room that blends the sensibilities of a family orientated traditional kitchen but does not hold back on the desires of the modern. This is a great area that mixes home cooking, conversation and relaxation for a great well balanced space.