Sunday, 29 April 2012

Surrealistic Decor

I will never forget the lasting impression Salvador Dali's museum in Figueres, Spain left on me. When i was sitting in a train reading his book, on the way back to my hotel in Barcelona, Spain, his whole life flipped before my eyes. I was overwhelmed and happy that i lived long enough and was rich enough to see and touch the higher power. Salvador Dali was an incredible artist, the most influential among the surrealists and his work still touches many lives. He famously quoted : 'The only difference between me and a madman is that i am not mad'. Did you know that through his life, Salvador Dali also created furniture, statues and decorative objects ? The Figueres museum used to be Dali's home. Most of the furniture and objects in this house were created by Dali. Let's use it as a sample to get inspired enough to create surrealistic decor. Lets immerse ourselves in madness which usually defines higher level of art.

This is not a painting but an actual room inside Dali's house in Figueres. The red lips is an actual sofa.

As much as the room above is full of love, life, joy. The room below is influenced by Dali's fear of death. The house museum in Figueres was the last residence of Salvador Dali where he eventually died. It is filled with his fascination of human body as it ages and his ideas what happens after we die. The example below demonstrates that to some extent.

The ceiling in the hallways continues the idea what happens in after life.

The famous melting clocks continue the fascination with time and it's meaning in our lives.

The exterior of Dali's house is just as filled with stretched imagination as it's interior.

As per Dali 'Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.' In other words there is a whole wide world outside of what we can see. This world has limitless possibilities and it can be a part of you if you allow it, a world you can escape to inside your own home.

This room has a surrealistic motive created by our brake out wall art.

A little touch of surrealism can make a world of difference and bring that special uniqueness into a room.

Personally i am a huge fan of surrealism. Why ? As the man himself put it : 'People love mystery, that is why they love my paintings'.

Would love to read your comments about surrealism and home decor.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Easter egg as double agent

Christmas is long over and most of winter was boring that is why i am so happy Easter is at the door. Whether it's significance is important to you or not Easter traditions can be a fun and colorful activity.
When i was little i loved coloring eggs for Easter. Easter eggs can double as meal and decoration.

 Coloring eggs is super easy. Here is a quick guide.

Protect your work area with paper towels. Mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 20 drops of food coloring in 1 cup of hot water in a heatproof bowl, cup or jar. Submerge eggs for less than 5 minutes for light colors and leave the egg in for 10 minutes for deeper shades. Use tongs to remove the eggs.

This is traditional method of course. You can also use food coloring paint to color the eggs by brushing the paint on the boiled eggs. This will allow you more design flexibility and more color options.

When you are done painting the eggs it is time to decorate your table and your dining decor. Did you know that Easter eggs could double as food and decoration ? Please have a look at the two elegant egg decorations.

Even your walls can take a little egg decor this Easter. This Snap decal can be decorated with Easter eggs stickers, removable paints or anything your imagination will tell you.

Now you are all set to entertain your family over a traditional or non traditional Easter meal.

Happy Easter decorating !

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Spring decor 2012

As icicles are melting, green grass emerging from the ground, sunny days are becoming longer and longer we feel the desire to shake ourselves up a little from a very long winter. Goodbye winter boots, heavy jackets and hello to sunshine!  Are you in the mood for change? No need to brake the bank this spring. Small decorating accents can make a world of difference. Lets explore a few home decorating ideas for spring while paying attention to color and decor trends.

You have heard it a million times, spring equals flowers and i believe some things never change. When nature is awakening from winter, the first manifestation of warmer times ahead are flowers. I associate them not only with spring but also with happy times spent with a family. Flowers make a great gift, we greet loved ones with them, we gift them for Valentines day, we console the sick with them and we say our final goodbyes with them. Lets bring their fresh smell and lovely colors into our homes this spring.

Pantone's identified margarita green as one of the spring colors for 2012. Pillows, curtains, vases, green plants and carpets create an inexpensive home refreshment for spring.

Lets not forget the color of the year tangerine orange. It is not just a color of the year but it is also a happy color, a warm color, which can chase your winter blues away. Bedding is another example of an inexpensive option to add some warmth into your bedroom without braking the bank. Here is your boy's room bedding idea.

Craft is one of the home decor trends this year. Spring is synonymous with wood. A wooden chair or a grasscloth wallpaper can bring a piece of nature into your house this spring, literally.

Lets wake up from long winter and create our own spring trend. After all only fashion victims follow the trends by the book. Imagination, originality and creativity never go out of style.

Happy spring awakening everyone !

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Design and culture

'People ignore design that ignores people' - Frank Chimero. True words of wisdom. I find it particularly  true when it comes to international or culture oriented design. Design is a form of art, an expression of a vision. A vision is very subjective but often influenced by culture.

In North America we are considered the new world. We are descendants of mostly Europeans who were fleeing the hardships they experienced in the old world. They came here with a hope to build a new future, a better future for themselves and their children, a different and distinct future. There was even a certain desire to renounce the past and embrace the new and unexpected. This historic moment left an imprint on how we decorate our homes. If you ever travelled outside of North America you probably noticed that when you step out of an airplane, first thing which flashes in your eyes is how clean, modern and rich our streets and buildings look. We are leaning towards the contemporary design the most.

Europeans represent the old world. The world rich in history, art, design, architecture. History takes them back in time from the ancient world , through the medieval times to the monarchy, which is still present, and takes us all the way up until today. When you walk through the European streets often stepping on cable stones, history is in every breath of every step. Many European people lean towards the traditional, luxurious, royal palace look. Luxurious wallpapers, majestic chandeliers, palace looking furniture dominate the decor. With the exception of warm Mediterranean countries, i find Europeans to be very conservative with color. Classic and neutral colors dominate the decor. Below is an examples of European driven decor.

As we cross through Asia we can't help but noticing how the color palette in home decor becomes more and more varied, sophisticated and rich in details. Asian interior design is influenced by Chinese and Japanese designs. Both have long and rich history. Their culture is filled with fairy tales about great warriors and love stories described in the most expressive and colorful language just as their history is.
Dragons, words of wisdom, red and black colors dominate the decor. Japanese are more subdued  and their decor tends to be more modern with earthy and natural subjects yet with a punch of yellow.

Sand dunes and camels approach us to Middle East. Similarly as Asians, Arab culture is one of the most ancient. Arab culture carries rich tradition and religion from the past into the present. Favorite stories which were spread from mouth to mouth for generations concentrate on great warriors, great conquers and big achievements. Middle Eastern culture is most resistant to modernism and therefore you will often find typical Middle Eastern traditional decor filled with ornaments, colorful mosaics, golden accents and majestic chandeliers. Close your eyes and picture images from the movie Lawrence of Arabia or Sherezada or One Thousand and One Night and the image in front of your eyes will represent Middle Eastern decor with precision.

If heat is burning your skin you are undoubtedly in Africa. Africa has always been and still is pretty much agricultural in nature and tribal in culture. African people are real artists. Creating objects and decorations is main leasure activity. Therefore jewelry is very creative and full of details, hand crafted objects dominate home decor, wooden arts are varied in shape and color, masks, pottery, sculptures you name them are all a part of home decor. Africans are also the most fierce with color. Any color including the most flamboyant is a fair play when it comes to clothing and decorating.

International design is more varied than that but i do believe they are the main players and the most distinct. When designing for international clients or for ethnical groups bringing a touch of their culture into people's homes makes a house, home. Home filled with warmth, heritage and a personal touch.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Heimtextil 2012 trends

Heimtextil world exhibition is one of the largest home decor fairs in the world.  It is held every year in Frankfurt, Germany.  Home Decor manufacturers from all over the world gather together during the second week of January to show case their products, to get updated on the latest trends and to develop business relationships.  As per Heimtextil there were about 70 000 visitors.  We were represented this year as well and here is a trend report from Heimtextil 2012 world home decor exhibition.

Heimtextil defined 4 distinct 2012 home decor trends.  They are: Color Riot, Dark Lux, Craft Industry, Split Clarity.

Color Riot is the mix and match of intensive colors.  'In the new season, rich, fresh shades will act as channels for emotions', explains Claudia Herke of bora.herke.palmisano.  To represent this trend i picked the following image below.

Dark Lux is the mixture of rich dark shades with metallic accents as represented below.

Craft Industry is the presence of creative artisan accents and textures as represented below.

Split clarity trend is to play with different illusions of transparency in shapes as well as color effects to create optical illusions.

The Wallpaper section consisted of wall galleries represented by manufacturers from all over the world.  As per our V.P of Design his view on the wallpaper trends is : 'Specialty wallpapers such as raised tactile effects plus elements such as metallics, glitter were one of the main themes seen over and over again throughout the fair.  From our booth perspective a lot of positive comments came from the fresh tropical blue section.  Smaller scale designs were the most sought after designs.'  Both our V.P of Design and Heimtextil press release agreed that Wallpaper is back and going strong.

To view our Interior Designer AVL wallpaper selections please visit our website.
All images are the propriety of Mess Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH and are used with permission.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Color of the year 2012

It is official.  According to Pantone, the world's authority on color, color of the year 2012 is orange.

Orange is my top 3 favorit color.  I find that this color is often underestimated and dismissed as flamboyant.  Just take a look around.  Are there many people in the streets wearing orange? Are there any buildings with orange accents in your neighbourhood?  Most probably the answer was no and on my humble opinion what a shame.

Color plays an important role in our lives.  Even more than we realize.  Psychologically speaking, our brain triggers subconscious emotional reactions based on color.  Color is widely used in cinematography to convey feelings to the public.  There is no doubt color plays an important role in our lives.

There are three color families : cool, warm and monochrome or neutral.  Orange belongs to the warm family.  It is the color of energy, warmth, change, health.  In India orange is sacred (the color saffron).  In Japan it represents courage and love.  In western culture it is the color of autumn, of harvest and Halloween.  For me it is a happy color.

When it is dark, gray and gloomy outside orange or yellow hues can pick you up almost literally.  Please  follow this link for orange trend decorating ideas from HGTV :

And here is how a modern condo house looks like with orange details.

And here is a room decorated with AVL orange wallpaper.

Whether you choose to add an orange scarf to your outfit or an orange vase to your decor, join the trend and add some happy emotion into your life in 2012.  I think i just created a new resolution.


Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Luxury goods and recession

According to extensive journalistic research i have done on the internet, many reputable websites report that despite the economic recession, luxury selling stores post increased profits.  The most common explanation is the rich are not affected by the recession as much as the poor.  I have a different theory.

The 26th of December is the famous boxing day in North America.  I went to buy a pair of quality leather gloves in Holt Renfrew.  When i approached the store i was speechless to see the number of people who lined up waiting for the store to open.  Holt Renfrew is one of the most expensive chains in Canada selling brands such as Chanel, Dior, Prada and more.  They were offering up to 60% off on most of their merchandise, however even after the discount the prices at Holts are nowhere near affordable.  I also looked around to see who was lining up and most of the people did not look wealthy to me.  Wealthy people don't need to stand hours in line to get a discount.  Who were those people and why the luxurious Holts attracted their attention more than Future Shop or Best Buy?

Anyone who has ever studied psychology remembers the Maslow pyramid of human needs. It start at the bottom with physical comfort being the first and self actualisation being the last. The need for luxurious goods would be the combination of the second need from the bottom (aka safety) and esteem which is second from the top.  Luxurious goods are better quality than cheaper goods, therefore they serve longer and protect better.  Luxurious goods are also a part of the elite group, owing them is a major boost to personal self esteem, a pleasure and an expression of someones creativity.  Luxurious goods tend to have out of the ordinary design and more appealing style, therefore they express someones creativity.

My second argument why ordinary average income people covet luxury goods is mere pleasure. Everyone have been deprived by recession in some way and it does not have to be by a loss of income. At the very least more and more people go out less or cut on their grocery bills.  During recession businesses cut on working stuff and therefore people work harder, longer hours.  It takes more for human being's survival than food and shelter, for many as i have seen during the Boxing Day the retail therapy works like a charm.

During recession people have the tendency to stay at home more and therefore home decor surroundings begin to matter more than ever.  What can easily and inexpensively add tremendous style and luxe to your home?

Have you discovered the power of AVL wallpaper? Pictures are worth a thousand words.  Lets compare a few before and after photos using our state of the art visualizer.

                                                  Here is a dining room BEFORE

                                                     Here is the same dining room AFTER

                           I have seen somewhat similar wall decor in Palais de Versaille in Paris, France

Lets have a look at a more modern luxurious dining room decor

Here is traditionally luxurious dining room wall decor


As you could see sometimes a little decorative touch is all that matters.  Whether it is a new lamp, a new carpet or a new wallpaper.  It can instantly add glamour to your home at a fraction of the cost.  Think my Holts leather gloves to make my whole outfit look expensive :-).  Your house might be looking for the same little touch of luxury.

As it is getting colder outside and we tend to stay at home more and more why not make your surroundings more pleasant?

For more decorating ideas visit

Chin chin to the New Year with more luxury in our lives.