Saturday, June 26, 2010


Are you feeling uninspired? Stuck for ideas? Facing a room that needs a little something, but don’t know where to begin?

It happens. And it’s ok to admit it.

In fact, it happens to me too. It’s happening right now. So I was thinking about all of the things I do to get inspired and I thought some of these tips may help you too.

Here are some tips and tricks to inspire:

• Don’t worry about having a plan for an entire room right away. Start small…with one item and slowly build on it. This way, you won’t get overwhelmed and give up!

• Look for inspiration in obvious places – don’t over think it!
o Flip through design magazines. Even flip through a fashion magazine or two.
o Watch a couple of design shows…HGTV offers a bazillion.
o Visit a couple of design and décor websites and blogs.
o If there is a paint color you love, grab a bunch of the paint chips to have on hand while you start to develop your ideas and look at accessories.

• Look for inspiration in the not so obvious places, too. This is my favorite way to get inspired!
o Visit home décor shops…both the big box and the smaller boutiques to slowly browse.
o Pay attention to colors, patterns, shapes and styles.
o If any item speaks to you, that may be your starting point. It could be something big or something small. Consider a lamp, a vase, dishware, a piece of furniture...anything, really.
o Don’t forget to look at fabrics and textiles…these often trigger something and are excellent jumping off points that lead to an entire room inspiration!
o Look at bedding, rugs, pillows, table cloths, and curtains. And don’t forget wall paper and wrapping paper, too!
o Go to your closet. Pick out your favorite dress or outfit. Think about how it makes you feel and why you like it so much. Translate that into an idea for your room décor. Keep those elements in mind while you start to build your plan for the room.

• Don’t fall into the trap of looking for a complete room – either on display or in a magazine – and feel like you have to go out and buy everything exactly as it is to replicate it in your space.

• Make it personal. Good, complete design that you will want to live with should reflect elements of your own personality.

• Build it up over time and add in layers as you go. No pressure to do it all right away. But it’s important to have a general plan and stick to the overall idea as you go. Great, inviting rooms should evolve as you do!

rouge is going to go out tomorrow with these things in mind and do a little slow and easy Sunday window shopping …maybe I’ll see you on my travels!

And send me a note about something that inspires you, would you?

Wishing you a week full of creativity and inspiration…

For more about rouge, visit or check out past blogs at www.justalittlerouge/

Sunday, June 20, 2010

aaaaah...cottage time

Please excuse the late posting…rouge was out of town adding a bit of flare to a favorite cottage.

Actually, that’s a bit of a fib. Unless eating off the bbq, wine & jenga, testing the new swimming dock and napping in the hammock count as re-design!

I did actually help spruce up said cottage not so long ago, though. A coat of paint in the entire place to freshen it up – we used light and airy colors like soft pastels (light blues, light greens and light creams) – made the biggest difference. Goodbye old wood paneling, hello to “what looks like new” fresh and cosy bead board!

We pulled up all the old carpeting and painted the floors a dark chocolate brown. I can’t even describe the difference this made in getting rid the musty smell. We added dollar store rag rug in each room for added comfort and a pop of color.

But that was a lot of work. Here are a few simple tips that are great for making your cottage feel more welcoming.

In keeping with what a cottage is supposed to be (not too fancy, laid-back, relaxed, fun), the key is learning to use what’s around you. There are lots of things that can be used in different ways to add a little something extra to your space.

And it all works, because it’s using items or elements that are in the cottage’s natural environment.

Here are a couple of examples:

• Sadly, there were a number of trees that had to be cut down. Although all of this will be great for the wood stove, we used a number of the stumps to help define the path from the parking area down to the front door. What a difference!

• We used a couple as side tables…perfect for placing your drink, book, hat, sunscreen on while lounging on the sunny deck. These work as a footstool too!
• We also used one inside as a bedside table for a bed that was low to the ground.

• We transplanted a lovely hosta (that somehow survived the bulldozer) in an old red bucket we found under the cottage. This adds a pop of color by the front door.

• Every time I visit, I stop along the way to pick bunches of wild flowers to put in the cottage. I never show up empty-handed and it’s wonderful to enjoy them for the weekend! Use anything you can find, if you don’t have any vases…water pitchers work the best, but bowls, buckets, and jars work great too.

• We used an old wooden salad bowl that was left over from the old owners and filled it with pine cones. The kids love finding new ones to add to it each time they visit!

• Also found under the cottage and left behind by the previous owners was a vintage croquet set. We used it as an art piece…and it’s one of my favorite items in the cottage because it makes me think about the history of the place and makes me imagine a much simpler time. I love the wood, the rust and the stripes on the balls.

Keep it simple, keep it clean and you can’t go wrong. Choose items that have some meaning to you…or even just items you love. Bring in a few elements from the outside and use your creativity to use everyday items in a new way.

In no time, you’ll have a wonderful cottage that you’ll never want to leave!

Special thanks to the BBG’s for inviting me to play again and again.

xx rouge.

For more about rouge, visit or check out past blogs at www.justalittlerouge/

Friday, June 11, 2010

rouge recommends...

If you are looking for some inspiration, check out this gem of a book. It was published in 2008 and is considered one of the best out there -- it's highly recommended by many in the design world…

Domino: The Book of Decorating cracks the code to creating a beautiful home, bringing together inspiring rooms, how-to advice and insiders' secrets from today's premier tastemakers in an indispensable style manual. The editors take readers room by room, tapping the best ideas from domino magazine and culling insights from their own experiences. With an eye to making design accessible and exciting, this book demystifies the decorating process and provides the tools for making spaces that are personal, functional and fabulous.

It's available at Chapters and Amazon for about 25 bucks.

For more about rouge, visit or check out past blogs at www.justalittlerouge/

Saturday, June 5, 2010

last minute (wo)man

(living room before & after)

Thanks for your indulgence on last week’s topic. Now on to other promises….

rouge recently completed a last minute staging job on a great 1 ½ story home in Halifax’s west end.

Under normal circumstances, we do a home evaluation first, leaving the client with a list of suggested repairs and a list of things to pack-up, remove…etc to be completed within a few days. In the meantime, rouge is working hard on generating ideas, making a staging plan, and picking up whatever is needed. Then we go back in and do the actual staging.

This, of course, is under ideal circumstances. We are very flexible, depending on the client’s & realtor’s timeline and can condense this process accordingly. Like anything else though, something has to give…either time, money, or product.

In this case, there was a very limited timeline. The cients found, made an offer, and bought their new home before they even really started looking. The purchase was conditional on the sale of their current home that hadn’t even been listed yet. And they had a short time in which to sell.

So tight timeline, as in…”can you come stage this house tomorrow and do the best with what you’ve got?”
It’s a challenge walking into a job blind…but it’s a challenge I love. Luckily, the clients were incredible – totally open to anything rouge suggested and they were ready to work.

Also as luck would have it, there was very little de-cluttering to do. On average, homeowners need to pack away 2/3 of their “stuff” before good staging can occur.

In this case, the homeowners were busy packing away closets and other things as rouge was working in another room.

We were efficient. In fact, rouge didn’t get all the “before” pictures because the clients were like a whirlwind in packing, de-cluttering and hauling out stuff going to storage!

At the end of the day, it was almost done. A small list for the clients to complete the following day. They did exactly that and listed their home in top “showing” condition in record time.

rouge is also thrilled to report that the home sold on the day it was listed with competing offers!

And we are sending our congratulations (twins!) and very best wishes to them as they move into their new place in the coming weeks.

For more about rouge, visit or check out past blogs at www.justalittlerouge/