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Cedar Ridge Designs & Custom Cabinetry

Measure Twice, Cut Once: Monthly Musings of a Home Renovator

When it comes to choosing colours, some people have it and some people donʼt. When I look at a palette of colours, I am confronted with an impossible decision. I see thirty shades of I have no clue. Pablo Picasso asked the question, “Why do two colours, put one next to the other, sing?” I am not really concerned about why two colours “sing”. I just want to know that Iʼm choosing colours that match in the first place.

My mother has a knack for putting together the right shades of colour. She can make a room look beguiling simply by choosing the right combinations. Her spare room is decorated in creams and greyish blues. The colours blend together to create an inviting and soporific space. I tried to recreate the same “feel” in my own bedroom. I was only off by a few shades, but instead of the tranquil sanctuary that I was aiming for, I ended up with a bedroom that looks more like a clinic. Choosing the right colour is important.

For anyone who, like me, is not a master of colour, here are some tips from the not so colour blind:

Remember your colour wheel from art class? The primary colours are red, yellow and blue. Secondary colours are orange, green and purple. When the colours are arranged in
a wheel, the opposite colours are considered to be complimentary. Pairing complementary colours can be helpful in planning decorative schemes.

Complementary colours:

  • red and green
  • yellow and purple
  • blue and orange

You donʼt have to paint your walls in complementary colours, but accessorising with the right colour can help transform a space. For instance, if your walls are yellow, decorate with a violet vase or other violet trimmings. Not sure which colours you fancy? Colours can have great emotional power, so pay attention to how different colours make you feel. Look at the world around you for inspiration. Gardens, public spaces, magazines, billboards… Colour schemes abound.

Find which ones appeal to you most. For more inspiration, revisit the artworks of true masters of colour such as Vincent van Gogh or Henri Matisse.

And if youʼve chosen the wrong colour scheme, donʼt worry! The best thing about renovating with colour is that paints and fabrics are among the easiest and least expensive ways to change a room.

Kitchens: The Great Migration

When buying or renovating a home, the design of your kitchen is probably the most important one to consider. Once upon a time, kitchens were relegated to the back of the house. They were the small, utilitarian spaces that served to produce food for the family. Before fire alarms and modern innovations in fireproofing, it made sense to isolate the kitchen from the rest of the house.

The kitchen was meant for mom, grandma, or in more affluent families, hired kitchen hands. It was a place to don aprons and peel potatoes. Kitchens often had poor lighting, an inadequate number of electrical sockets and virtually no storage. They were too hot in summer and uncomfortable in general.

In the last few decades, the entire family has migrated to the kitchen. Modern kitchens have become the heart of the home. With the shift to double income families, meal-time has become a shared responsibility. The kitchen has become a place where families both cook and eat together.

Today, kitchens are often combined with the dining area to create the hub of the home. Range hoods have allowed kitchens to be centrally located. It is the space wherein children can do their homework, where guests congregate, where families might watch television (including cooking shows), and where people often use their laptops or tablets. Of course, kitchens are most importantly a place where the finest meals can be prepared, but also in which take-out can be enjoyed.

The ideal kitchen has cleverly designed storage space, proper ventilation, and a good mix of natural and artificial lighting. Even the most basic appliances can make cooking and storing food much simpler than in years gone by. For the gourmet, every conceivable gadget is available to help turn a basic meal into a culinary masterpiece. For the novice, there is the microwave.

Regardless of your level of cooking expertise, when planning a kitchen, it is important to think beyond meal time. For instance, should your kitchen have a computer workstation? Comfortable seating? A butler’s pantry? For me, I would love a coffee bar and a wine fridge.