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Will YELLOW be the new BLACK?

YellowBy Shelagh Duncan

Apparently yellow is going to rule the decor scene for the next while. It is a cheerful, happy color that has many moods, and works with lots of other colours. Yellow will dominate they say, but there is a trend to the pastels, as well as more rich and saturated colours. But, the general feeling is – FUN! 

We will enjoy using yellow because of our fabulous tropical locale but perhaps the trend will be modified for city folks: it could be paired with black or organic colours for a more chic, sophisticated look. 

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Great Ideas for lighting Your Bathroom & Kitchen

By Shelagh Duncan

Bathroom Lighting 

amazing tub accent lightingWhen it comes to lighting, an often ignored area of our homes is the bathroom. We’ll choose great tiles and faucets, but lighting usually plays a supporting role. Whether we opt for that minimalist Spa look, luxurious opulence, or just a serene place of refuge, lighting can make or break the effect. 

Let’s face it – the strip light above the mirror is the cheap and easy fix. A well thought-out lighting plan takes time and money, but makes the world of difference in any room. Basically you should have the three main types of lighting present – Task Lighting, Ambient Lighting, and Accent Lighting. 

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Is it Time for a New Mattress?

MattressesBy Shelagh Duncan

Fact # 1

  • Humans need to sleep about 30% of their lives  – cats almost 50% and giraffes less than 10%!

Fact #2

  • Humans are the only species who purposely delay sleep.   

Fact #3

  • More than 60% of North Americans do not experience a good night`s sleep

Fact #4

  • Most of us are sleeping on a mattress long after it has lost its ability to provide our body with the comfort and support it needs for rest and regeneration.

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How to Find Your Signature Colour & Use it in Your Home – Part 2

Yellow tropical living roomBy Shelagh Duncan

Last month we helped you find your own signature colour, and I hope you have your paint colour picked out by now. This time we are offering some  thoughts on where certain colours work best. Remember, you do not have to repaint the whole house, or even the whole room. Often a little colour goes a long way, and it can be introduced in window coverings, pillows or art, as well as other home accessories. If you really love your colour (which you obviously do) and want to make a statement, then get out the paint brush and roller and have fun!

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MOLD. Friend or Foe?

Mold spores

Mold spores

By Shelagh Duncan 

What is Mold?

Molds (and mildew) are fungi. Fungi are not plant, animal or bacteria, they are microbial. They are responsible for such wonderful organisms as the delicious edible mushrooms, they are the makers of the “miracle drug” penicillin and the yeast that makes our bread rise, our fine wines ferment and our richly flavoured cheeses taste so good. They play important roles in bio-technology and food science in the production of many foods, beverages, antibiotics and enzymes.

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How to Find Your Signature Colour and Use it in Your Home – Part One

Signature Colour  Aqua

Signature Colour Aqua

By Shelagh Duncan

This month we’ll explore how to find your signature colour, and next time we’ll look at what to do with it once you’ve got it.

We are fortunate enough to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth! Wonderful colours surround us each and every day. Colour is a powerful tool, and professionals  use all the time in advertising, product packaging, fashion, interior design and even road signs. The colours are not chosen because the designer likes them, they are chosen because they communicate. Colour can inspire emotions, stimulate appetites, improve vision and calm you down.

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When Colour Could Kill: Stories From the History of Paint

Delve into paint’s storied past — what you learn about its history and modern incarnations may surprise you.

George Washington's home

The large dining room at George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Virginia

I credit Victoria Finlay for the contents of this article. She is the author of  “Colour – A Natural History of the Palette”. She lives near Bath, England, and is writing a second book on colour for the Getty Museum. Her research has led her around the world and deep into the history of colour — and the risks we’ve taken to bring the most beautiful hues into our homes.

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Answers To Some Of The Most-Often-Asked Decorating Questions.

By Shelagh Duncan 

My passion is design and I love problem-solving! Here are some easy and inexpensive solutions to a few of the most commonly asked decorating questions: 

Q:  What color should I paint my walls?

Pick A Paint Colour To Work With Your Chosen Fabric

Pick A Paint Colour To Work With Your Chosen Fabric

Orange. Okay I’m kidding. But only you will know what colors work best for you. You can figure it out…. Look at the accessories you already have – pillows, artwork, fabrics. You will probably start to see a colour theme there.

If you are starting from scratch, go and find yourself a fabulous fabric (or picture) you love  What are the dominant colours, what are the complementary colours? Pick your favourite colour from what you see in your accessories. You can go lighter or darker, but make sure what you choose relates to something in that pillow or art. 

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Help Your Vacation Home Pay For Itself

Main PhotoBy Shelagh Duncan 

The dream of having a vacation property in Costa Rica is something many of us are living, and many others would love. However owning a second home that remains vacant most of the year can be a financial burden if you are still working, or have long-term commitments back home. If you want to be able to make the most of your investment (and still fully enjoy your time here), it is worth looking into renting your home out during the year. 

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Pets & People

By Shelagh Duncan

doghouse-Spanish ColonialWe love our homes, we want them to be stylish and comfortable, chic 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 as well with pet doors, pet beds etc. The other side of the coin is that we also have to reduce the wear and tear that pets can have on our furniture and homes.

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Decorating in the Tropical Chic Style

Tropical Living RoomBy Shelagh Duncan

Tropical chic is a perfect style for those of us who have chosen Costa Rica for their home, or home-away-from-home. It is a casual, comfortable style that adds a touch of the exotic, using jungle themes, restful colors, and natural textural elements. 

This is not the multi-colored jungle-book  look you might choose for a child’s room. Instead, it might be defined as “lush minimalism” since it mixes lots of texture and intricate pattern with simple details and a few large accessories. 

Common motifs might include stylized palm trees, large leafed  plants, monkeys, animal prints, rattan, bamboo, leather, and grass cloth. 

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The Outdoor Kitchen

kitchen alfrescoBy Shelagh Duncan

Outdoor kitchens in many old Mediterranean farmhouses and homes have pizza ovens, fireplaces, grills, sinks and work counters, set in covered terraces, courtyards and gardens.  Today, this trend is growing wherever the climate allows – especially so here in Costa Rica. In this part of the world we tend to live outdoors more and the outdoor kitchen can extend our living and entertaining areas to encompass the garden, pool and beyond. 

Many people were smart enough to include an outdoor kitchen in the original plans when they were building their home, others have either purchased or built homes and now are thinking about adding one. 

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

mirrorBy Shelagh Duncan

Mirrors are not just fancy frames around a piece of reflective glass. They actually have the ability to change the appearance of any given area. A well placed mirror will make any space seem larger, lighter and more ‘together’. 

Try hanging one in a hallway or a dark corner and see how it brightens and opens up the area. Also consider using more than one in a room — treat each one like a piece of art. 

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Create a Warm and Inviting Guest Room

Create a Warm and Inviting Guest RoomBy Shelagh Duncan

Now is the time of year when we enjoy visits from friends and family. We all want to make their stay as enjoyable as possible, so when arranging the guest room, think about your experience in your favourite B&B or 5-star hotel. Take your cue from the special touches that made your stay so memorable. 

You may not have the budget to create a getaway oasis, but with a few simple tips you can offer a comfortable, quiet place to relax. 

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The Man-Chair

By Shelagh Duncan

Comfort Chair

If you used to watch Frasier and remember his ‘impeccable’ sense of style, you may remember that he suffered greatly at the ugliness of his father’s grossly overstuffed, battered “man chair” for 11 years. I could feel his pain as that hideous chair created an eyesore in the middle of his very tastefully decorated condo. 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 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!”

So what makes a chair a “Man Chair?” Does it have to look like a pillow fight is going on underneath worn out upholstery?

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