Spaces 4 Living

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

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A Nursery for the New Baby


kierans projects


I have enjoyed adding a few memorable decorations bit by bit to my son’s nursery. Over his dresser/ change table, I hung the white and blue pom-poms that I made for the party after his baptism. In his room, I also hung bunting that I made for his first birthday.  All the little things that I have enjoyed making for him through-out the year, rather than finishing everything before he even arrived. For me, it has given a reminder of family and friends…special mementos, as it were.

When we first received the news that we were expecting our little one, I was so relieved that we had already put the sweat equity into renovating a room that was to be our home office. It just so happened that this room was adjacent to our own room and the colours we chose were soft yellow-greens (a calming yet creative atmosphere). We originally chose the colours by analysing the Feng-Shui of the house but it also was the perfect gender-neutral colour scheme.

Please note that I did NOT hang any decorations over his crib, even though I wanted it there originally, I just couldn’t give into chance that if one of them fell and the strings accidentally choked him….I would just never forgive myself. I would implore that you also do not hang things over a baby’s crib for that same reason.


♥♥♥  The Nursery ♥♥♥

The art of a nursery is designing for the momentum of growth rather than perpetuating infancy. At five years old your child shall know what he or she likes but until then its a guessing game.  The task as a parent is to create  an environment that will encourage the mental and emotional growth of our children.


No matter what you chose…material, layout, whatever,  as long as your baby has a loving environment you are in the right direction for a  happy child.  No matter what, have fun with it.

I found some great examples that I hope you will enjoy.



I love the alphabet mural on the wall. It is colourful and playful. You could let your creativity lose on this.  The warm grey is clean and contemporary especially with the adjacent striped wall.



This is a bit more on the romantic side, but I do like the mis-matched fabric of the furniture, to keep it from being too bland, The whole scheme is within the same colour palette but it is the arrangement of textures that gives this room its appeal. The little canopy is nice to look at, but just keep in mind that once they are able to reach it, it shall be pulled and tugged. Do not make it too long that they can wrap themselves up. It may be best to remove it once they are about 6 months old and reintroduce it for their single bed at pre-school age.




Honestly, this feels like a breath of fresh air. The white room with light playful prints and mural all are within the same theme and opens the space. It is still a bit more on the grown-up side, but as the little one grows it will soon gain his or her personality.


Regal duchess! but oh so achievable. (warning reminder on the drapery!) Even without the sheer embellishment this room is in a class of its own. A neutral background with soft pink accents on the ceiling,  picture frames and rug gives the room depth and a feel of luxury.


A fun and playful nursery. This lovely colour co-ordinated scheme is trend-setting and contemporary. You could get the same look by picking a dominating patterned fabric, in this room it is the grey chevron fabric, along with a supplementary plain solid colour, a warm yellow in this scheme. It feels fresh, light and simple!


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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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.