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Pets Are People Too?

How do we share our homes with our four legged friends?

Design Wise
By Shelagh Duncan

We love our homes: we want them to be stylish and comfortable, inviting and cosy. We love our pets too, and as they are very much a part of our lives we incorporate things into our homes to make them more comfortable. They are a part of our family after all!

However, these particular family members can be a little more work than usual. They don’t pick up after themselves and can be messy eaters. They often shed and are not too good at wiping their feet after a walk. They also think they are actually human so like to enjoy the furniture as much as we do!

That’s all fine, but they do add a considerable amount of extra wear and tear to our furniture and homes. So, looking for ways to help minimise this impact can be challenging. Tiles are the perfect solution for all floor areas, and microfiber upholstery fabric for our sofa and chairs. This about the best thing to use on furniture in our climate anyway. A good quality, thick microfiber will stand up to a great deal of use—and misuse, especially from heavier dogs with big claws. It cleans up very easily and can be vacuumed and brushed to look good as new. There are solid-colour microfiber fabrics, but now we also have many great textures and prints available in the same type of fabric. If your pet arrives after the sofa, one easy solution is to add a pet blanket over the chairs or sofas they like to sleep on. These are easily washed and will reduce stains and fur build-up on your sofa—and you! Or…. you can give them their own bed. This can be something to fit style-wise into your own interior, a trendy designer bed, or be practical and creative like incorporating it into a coffee or end table. The latter pure inspiration for those who may be short on space but big on design!

Dog bedsRoyal Palm Interiors

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TOP KITCHEN MUST-HAVES

Design Wise
By Shelagh Duncan

The two most important areas in any home are the kitchens and the bathrooms—especially to potential home buyers. Those two rooms will have a biggest influence on any purchaser. You know that feeling when you walk into a friends’ kitchen that is fabulous—you just stand there, and experience it. Then you lust after it!

We would all love to have huge fully tricked out kitchens, but often we are not that lucky. We don’t have the space, the money or sometimes even the ideas on how to make that happen.

Including some “must haves” into our kitchens can greatly increase its functionality, beauty and of course its value.

These are some of my must-haves:

Appliance GarageAppliance Garage

These are great for storing small appliances and can fit into corners or at the end of your work space. Add an electrical outlet too if possible, to add to the convenience. Think about what you want to go in there and you will have an idea of the size you will need. If you have lots of counter space—or lots of small appliances—you could have two!

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Fish or Visitors?

Design Wise
By Shelagh Duncan

Ben Franklin has been credited with saying something like “fish and visitors start to smell after three days…”

Bienvenidos - welcome signThat may have been true back in the day, but we all love to have friends and family come visit and want them to enjoy their stay. We are fortunate enough to live in an amazing part of the world, and naturally want to share this with them.

However sometimes space in our homes is limited. We live outdoors most of the time and don’t generally need a big house. You may have one or two spare bedrooms but one turned into your home office, or there are just too many people to sleep everyone comfortably! So, what do you do when they all want to come at once for that big family reunion???

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The “Man-Chair” and the top 10 features for chairs with Man Appeal

Design Wise
By Shelagh Duncan

If you used to watch Frasier back in the day you will remember his impeccable sense of style.

“So what do you think of what I’ve done with the place?” Frasier asked his father, Martin, in the pilot episode. “You know, every item here was carefully selected. The lamp by Corbu, this chair by Eames, and this couch is an exact replica of the one Coco Chanel had in her Paris atelier.” 

Eames chairWell, as soon as his father moved in—with his grossly overstuffed and battered “Man Chair” I could feel his pain. For the 11 years that the show ran that hideous chair created an eyesore in the middle of his very elegant and tastefully decorated condo. He suffered greatly at the extreme ugliness of this monstrosity*.
However, the really painful part came in the series finale when Frasier’s father moves out and Frasier finally gets to put his beloved Eames recliner back in the living room. His father comes to visit, sits back in the Eames recliner and says “Hmmm … this is pretty comfortable. I would have been okay with this!”

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Creating Your Sanctuary Bedroom

Design Wise

Ideally, the master bedroom should be the sanctuary where you can retreat at the end of the day. A place to relax, enjoy, and encourage a good night’s sleep.

By Shelagh Duncan

It should be able to make you just feel good—it is not important whether it is a large master suite or a small bedroom—you should be able to feel the comfort and serenity in this space. It should be the place to make you feel special, and for you and your partner to nurture and enrich your relationship.

Clean and uncluttered bedroomHere are some simple ways to create this space, and I promise the end result will be well worth the effort.

First Impressions

When it comes to design, first impressions count so decorate, clean and arrange your master bedroom accordingly. Keep the floors and night tables clutter free. Ask yourself what do you see when you first walk into the bedroom? What is the first thing you see when you open your eyes in the morning? For me, I see the big sky and the trees on the mountains in the distance. I love that feeling.

Royal Palm Interiors

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Bulletproof Decorating, Or How to Survive Living in the Tropics

Unfortunately there’s no way yet to create indestructible furniture and homes. However, there are steps we can take that will help them stand up to life with kids, pets & the jungle.

By Shelagh Duncan

Design WiseMy guess is that none of us came here to live a high maintenance lifestyle in high maintenance homes. We know that living here has its challenges, and keeping one step ahead of what life hands us is a constant battle.

So, when we purchase furniture and other things for our home we want them to last. Furniture is an investment and we take time to carefully select exactly what we want and plan on enjoying it for many years to come.Royal Palm Interiors

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In Pursuit of Modern Part 2

Tropical ModernismDesign Wise

By Shelagh Duncan

Last month we looked at the basic differences between Modern and Contemporary design, and now let’s explore the world of Tropical Modernism. That’s a little closer to home…

Tropical Modernism

Tropical Modernism

We saw that this movement was born out of the need to incorporate the Modern aesthetic into a tropical environment. Geoffrey Bawa was a leader in this field in Sri Lanka and understood that in a tropical climate the forces of nature are a thing to be reckoned with and you cannot build a beautiful structure and ignore its environment, so he began to incorporate them.

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In Pursuit of Modern Part 1

Modern or Contemporary?

Design WiseBy Shelagh Duncan

When we moved down here I was probably more drawn to the Tommy Bahama living room more than any Modern one.  How can our casual and laid-back lifestyle in Costa Rica relate to the cold, clinical steel and concrete interiors that are called Modern?

However, things change… Oscar Wilde penned “With age comes wisdom” and perhaps my new-found appreciation for the modern aesthetic is proof of that. The clean lines and minimalist approach do have a certain appeal, and I must admit, I have always admired the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water

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Outdoor Rooms – Where Would You Rather Be?

Design WiseBy Shelagh Duncan

The outdoor living area has probably become one of the most important features in North American homes over the last few years. We however, have been lucky enough to enjoy our outdoor living areas ever since we arrived!

We love to spend our time outdoors – who would blame us! With the incredible beauty, and pure oxygen-rich air surrounding us, naturally  the covered terrace is where we prefer to spend most of our time. Typically that area has also become larger than our indoor living room, but how do we bring the inside out and the outside in?

Royal Palm Interiors

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Choosing a Colour Palette for your New Home

Design WiseBy Shelagh Duncan

Building a new house in Costa Rica is an exciting venture for many of us. Sometimes it is our first custom home – our dream home.

There are always many details to think about and many decisions to be made, often ones you had not even considered. Choosing a good custom home builder and project manager who will help you through this process is a whole other topic, and one we have covered previously. However, this time we are looking at just one aspect – Colour – and how to choose the colour scheme for your new home.

Royal Palm Interiors

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10 Simple Things to Make you Happier at Home

Happiness is always an inside jobBy Shelagh Duncan

I know, we tell ourselves “We live in paradise—what’s there not to be happy about? The resulting guilt because we don’t feel happy can just make things worse.

If you believe that our homes are an extension of who we are, we have somewhere to start. But if we are not happy in ourselves, how can we be happy at home? Perhaps we can change this up, and make our home a happier place to be so we, in turn will feel happier. Can this be possible?

What we do within the space we call home—both inside and out—shapes our mood, affects our productivity, and influences our outlook on life. The colours we paint our walls, the textures of the fabric we use and even the artwork on our walls can all influence how we feel. But without redoing our interior design and buying all new furniture what other options are there?

Royal Palm Interiors

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Design Wise – July 2016

Lighting by Shelagh Duncan

“Light is the first element of design; without it there is no color, form, or texture.”  Thomas E. Farin – educator, lighting consultant, entrepreneur

Dining roomLighting is such an important part of our lives, and one we take for granted most of the time. For me, I love lighting fixtures. They are like jewellery for the home!

Visually, light fixtures can add style to your home, and in practical terms the lighting you choose can effectively alter the mood or ambience of a room.

We have many lighting choices available that will add that special something to a room, and make it feel complete. Lighting options range from the edgy Industrial style, to sleek Modern and Contemporary styles, and from Rustic fixtures to the latest On-Trend designs.
Royal Palm Interiors

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What Type of Window Covering Should I Choose?

Bedoom-copyBy Shelagh Duncan

Where Do I Start?

Window treatments have been a part of life for most of us. We consider it one of the finishing touches for any room. There are many window covering options available to us here just as there are back home, and a huge variety of different styles, fabrics, textures and colours to chose from. However, once we move to the jungle and have are lucky enough to have staggering views, or perhaps total privacy afforded by lush vegetation or  a lovely large lot,  then covering the windows can be a secondary consideration.

Having said that, the other thing to consider is function. Why do you need to cover this window? Is it for privacy, do your rooms get too hot, is the early morning sun too bright, or do you just want to soften the feel of the room? Perhaps it is in a bathroom, where the builder decided in his wisdom that a large window in middle of the shower area would be a really good idea! Whatever the reason there is usually a great solution – but you have to know how to find it.
Royal Palm Interiors

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From Rocks to Recliners  –  The History of Upholstery

By Shelagh Duncan

Egyptian couch

Egyptian couch

One of the things we learn early on in CR is that Tico chairs and sofas leave a lot to be desired in the comfort department. The mattress, chair and sofa are the most important pieces in your home. They are where you will spend most of your time typically, and so they need to provide good quality and comfort. But a comfortable, upholstered piece of furniture wasn’t always an option.

When did we humans stop sitting around in the dirt or on a convenient rock and start wanting the comfort of something better? Well, nothing happened fast in the  history of mankind but about the time Stonehenge was being erected and we were just beginning to work with bronze, the people of ancient  Egypt were already enjoying their leisure time with semi-comfortable furniture.  If you had the prestige, power and ‘purse’ to allow some leisure, then there were animal hair-stuffed cushions, fine fabrics draped across daybeds and gilded and decorated chairs to offer relaxation.
Royal Palm Interiors

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How to keep your house cool and comfortable this summer.

Modern ceiling fanBy Shelagh Duncan

This seems to be have been one of our warmer summers and it gets harder to keep our homes cool. A/C is expensive and we all know it is better to breathe in the wonderful, oxygen-rich air that surrounds us than any ‘processed’ air.

I was just up in San Jose for a few days, and it was a fair bit cooler up there. There were some big breezes passing through—which were great—and helped make up for all the other stuff I don’t really love about big cities! Coming home, I was reminded just how humid and warm our little part of Paradise can be. This is not a bad thing—but we do need to be able to be as comfortable as we can in the heat, and maximize our enjoyment while living here.

Royal Palm Interiors

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