design tips

Apex window dressing solutions

Apex windows is a huge architectural design trend these days in Ireland. To be honest, I will be surprised to see new build without one. It’s undestandable that tall windows look well as a part of exterior, you get plenty natural lighting inside and not to mention view outside.
Unfortunately, the day you move into a house and start decorating and styling your space, you might realize that in some areas even apex window require dressing. One of my clients said: “To buy window treatments for a new house, it was almost like getting a second mortgage!”.
It’s true that most of the times good quality & custome-made window treatments are pricey. We manage to find affordable window dressing solutions for standart size windows, where apex window cannot be called ‘standard’.
I would highly recommend to include window dressing for apex windows into your construction budget or consider them in areas where you easily can have them opened all the time. At the same time, there are three main areas where placing window dressing have more practical reason: sitting room/TV room, dining room and bedroom.
Here are your available apex window dressing solutions:
#1 Voile/Sheer /Curtains with long drapes
This solution will look elegant in any interior. Obviously for bedroom you will need to choose thicker fabric for more privacy, especially in the evening. At the same time, for TV room and dining room – light voile will be better for semi-privacy, which still allow plenty natural light during a day.

Pinterest: Design Anthology Magazine
#2 Shaped motorised blinds:
Great option to close all window sections when it’s required. Check design and size options with your window supplier. Here is good video example from

In addition, you could try to use combination of two solutions: Fit blinds at the very top and place curtains pole across a window with standard size pair of curtains.
#3 Cellular blinds (including sliding door):
This window covering used to block or filter light and insulate windows to save energy. It can be very efficient and practical in certain areas.
#4 Vertical Blinds (for smaller apex window): is simple and budget friendly alternative.
#5 Shutters:
We all know them well for being timeless and very effective.

#6 Something different (for small apex windows):
A large triangular window follows the roofline and provides views of the street. When privacy is required, a custom-made triangular blind that’s hidden within the cabinetry, can be raised blocking most of the window.
This example shows that there is always a possibility for creative and not standard solution.

Picture via Contemporist
Keep your mind opened for new things!
Best wishes,
Alena C


2020-06-29T22:58:49+01:00December 4th, 2017|Design Tips|

Ideal Furniture for Small Spaces

Spring time symbolizes a fresh start not only in life, in general, but in living environment too. It is a great time of the year to de-clutter rooms, make fresh decorative changes, add new colours in interiors and most of all rethink furniture layout and storage solutions.
I would like to remind you about available interior solutions to consider in your home for space optimization. They are simple but sometimes not always so obvious.
Kitchen & Dining room
Who wouldn’t like to have great kitchen with island, breakfast bar and still to have plenty room for decent size dining table. Unfortunately, not everyone has enough room to locate everything but here what you can consider to make life more comfortable if you are owner of compact kitchen/dining area.
Need more worktop in the kitchen – Add Island!
One of the main problems in small kitchens is not enough of worktop. It can be easily solved if to add island without cabinets under counter top. Your minimal depth can be 400mm with reasonable length. Keeping bar stool in the kitchen, you even can use island as breakfast bar from time to time.
Maximum use of vertical space.
If you plan a new kitchen then consider wall units up to the ceiling to use maximum space vertically. Moreover, it will make your kitchen to look bigger and ceiling higher. If you work around existing kitchen then you can add decorative storage baskets at the top instead.
Round table is the best space saver in the dining room!
You might be surprised to hear that round table allows to locate the same number of people as rectangular table but it will take only half of the floor space. You are right to say that rectangular table has more traditional look. I also like to say that Function and Practicality should go first. Personal comfort is priceless and it improves mental health. You can reflect your favourite style not only in furniture shape but in colour, texture, table dressing, chairs, lighting etc.

Holiday House 2014 by Beth Webb Interiors
Banquette seats are a little bit forgotten but still great compact and comfortable space saving solution. It is a great option if you plan to place dining table near wall. Moreover, high back seats is a rising hot trend in design industry.
Sitting room
Choose slim furniture
Living in the house with limited space, try to avoid unnecessary bulky sofas and arm chairs. They might look cozy and comfortable only looking at them but they take too much space. Try to choose sofas with slim arms and backs instead.
Multifunctional furniture
Plan furniture to be multifunctional. For example, instead of coffee table place couple of foot stools with a little tray for your cup of tea. Or use side tables on each side of the sofa and keep space in front of sofa clear.
Bespoke storage systems
Free standing furniture not always let you using wall space on maximum. Narrow cabinets and shelving units with simple clean lines can be a better option. Place them from the floor to the ceiling and from wall to wall. Even visually it will make room to look bigger and you will get plenty space to store and keep your stuff or organised display.
Integrated furniture will make room multifunctional. There are many variations to integrate desk with wardrobe or bed with storage. Find what suits best to your room and lifestyle.
Bedside tables may stay
I think it is ideal picture for many homeowners to have double bed at the centre of the wall with bedside tables on each side. Unfortunately, sometimes room layout makes us to question whether or not bedside tables will fit where we want them. I recommend to measure the entire wall before you buy any furniture. Choose bed size to be sure there is enough space left for bedside tables. There is always option to order bespoke table from local cabinet makers.
Very often people who work at home use ‘box’ room as a home office. The most important element is a good size desk and shelving units for storage.
Minimalist style is the best space saving solution. Integrated Desk top gives maximum work space and it is very easy to add shelving units to organise necessary storage.
I know sometimes it’s not easy to think of different & alternative design solutions for compact interiors. Try to think out of the box, practicality and function should go before aesthetics. When you solve this task, go ahead to play with colours.
Best wishes!
Alena C


2020-06-29T23:00:04+01:00April 13th, 2017|Design Tips|

Planning Kitchen Layout

Hello Everyone,
As you know, I often write Blog topics as an answer on the most often asked questions hoping to reach more people with similar interest. Let’s talk about kitchen layout!
Have you ever found yourself in situation when you looked at empty kitchen and made plans, for example, to fit American fridge, double bowl sink, large hob, island with breakfast bar and for bonus pantry; but when it came to reality, only half of your wish list could actually fit in? I know it can be very frustrating and pity, especially if you build or extend your house. But it can happen with anyone, even if it is just a simple renovation of existing space.
Similar story happens when people receive building plans from architects where kitchen layout drawn as rectangular empty boxes. Unfortunately, visually it might seem to look more spacious than actually it is. Be aware of this because often for this reason, some homeowners don’t discuss kitchen layout any further and get ready for building.

Today I want to share with you general idea how to plan kitchen layout and you will get understanding what can be fit into kitchen space just as a Pro. Moreover, I will introduce you general principals of kitchen planning and you will be able understand visual proportions on a plan.

Kitchen design, AlenaCDesign
I will simplify principals and cut it down to general three for easy understanding:
#1 Kitchen cabinet/unit size and position
Usually you place Tall storage, Fridge, eye-level oven and even cooker where you have empty wall, sink goes under the window sill. Your wall will give you a direction how you can arrange kitchen. There will be several variations and which one best for you is very individual choice.
What you should know is all kitchen units have standard sizes. You don’t need to know all options but the most common are W 500 mm, W600mm and W 800mm. With these three in mind you can say how many cabinets will fit at the wall with length, for example L3000mm.
Do you see it now? If you would see kitchen as white block on a plan with length 3000mm, you would possibly think – it’s plenty! But knowing cabinets sizes now, you know that kitchen sink will require cabinet with W 1000mm and you will have space left only for 2 more cabinets with W 1000mm or 3 cabinets with W 600mm each.
Try to remember that every kitchen will also need:
Standard Hob/Cooker (W600mm)
Integrated oven/mcr/w (Tall unit W600mm)
Dishwasher (W600mm)
Standard Fridge (W600mm) – American fridge (W 950-1000mm)
Don’t forget to allow min 1000mm of empty counter for food preparation and some free counter to keep toaster, kettle and other things.
Calculation is very simple! Please don’t forget to include cabinets for extra (necessary) storage. Pantry is special consideration and will require W600-W1000mm for tall unit.
These numbers and calculation method will help you to see if there is enough room for the kitchen you want before you buy empty house or build new.
#2 Kitchen island and breakfast bar
These two can be a great addition to a kitchen but it’s good to be sure if there is enough space.
Kitchen island is a set of kitchen cabinets put up together. Now you know, there are standard units are W600mm and W1000mm. It is as simple as putting couple of blocks together and add worktop of your choice on top. Optimal island width with breakfast bar on one side is 1000 mm .
Minimum recommended depth for breakfast bar is 400mm and knowing how many people will use breakfast bar at the same time, you have to consider length as 610mm/per person.
#3 Kitchen Flow and voids
These part can be a little bit tricky for visual estimation. In general kitchen layout you have to consider free space to open doors and walk around without interruption. You have to consider distance from kitchen cabinets to island and breakfast bar. Here what you need to know:
– when you plan kitchen and island with NO cabinets with opening doors, you will require distance between them only L1020mm
– if you plan kitchen with island with opening cabinets under island counter, you will require distance between kitchen and island L1200mm. We need this distance, so when you open door of kitchen units and island cabinets at the same time, they don’t hit each other.
-if your dining table is in front of the kitchen, distance from the kitchen to the dining table should not be closer than 1830mm, better further away.
But use general rule 1200 mm should be allowed between any type of furniture in the house.
Here are main three principals what you should take into consideration when you plan kitchen layout. Take your ruler and start measuring from the wall by adding cabinets width, door voids and distance to your breakfast bar and distance to walk around on the opposite side. It will give a better idea what you can fit inside. Of course, if you will decide designing kitchen completely yourself, these three wouldn’t be enough to know all but they will help you in preparing general layout.
If you still have any questions related to this topic, be free to ask. I will be happy to help!
Best of Luck in Renovation!


2021-04-10T12:06:05+01:00March 30th, 2017|Design Tips|

Commercial Design for small and medium Business

Most of my blog posts contain advice to help people with residential design, who decorate homes themselves. Although, as a designer I often meet local businesses and there is a great number of owners who also like or choose to decorate themselves. It is true that Residential and Commercial design use the same design principals but still there is a significant difference in approach!
Smart design can help your business to attract more clients to open your door and come inside, it will help to sell your products or service. Design will make your brand more visible, trustworthy and clear to others, it helps to create right atmosphere and make it a part of overall experience making them to come back.
What I call smart design isn’t just a good taste in styling and matching colours but a good bit of science. I always use practical psychology and spatial design principals to achieve best result.
I have a little story to share. I used to live in Moscow and one day I had to go to dentist. It is probably the worse plan for Saturday morning. So you can guess mood wasn’t great and I was pretty nervous on a way to dental clinic. When I came inside, there was an ordinary reception and I’ve been asked to wait. The most surprising thing, there was no waiting room with chairs, what you usually expect. I followed a girl into a back room, which looked like conservatory. There were leather seats, TV on, lots of greenery, self-catering tea & coffee in a corner. Double doors were opened and I could see that actually the weather was warm and sunny outside. Seating there for about 15 minutes I’ve totally forgot that I’m in dental clinic! It changed my mood and I felt much better. At the end of the day the dental service was great too and I thought – that’s was a great Saturday! The key point of this story is even if you provide exceptional service and sell great products, people buy experience. They will walk out of the door and will remember only feeling they had during a visit. Design help you to set and provide experience beyond all expectations.
Of course, every different business will have different design solution for many reasons but I would like to share with you the most important design key points, which will be common for most businesses to consider.
#1 Plan Layout Before Design
Before you choose paint or any other finishing materials, think how you place furniture first. Decide where will be reception or desk. Try to imagine how your customers/clients will move around, what do you want them to see first and etc. It will help you to determine which area is a Focal point, which gives your visitors first expression. Give it a special thought from the point of design. Usually there are 4 the most common area types you will need to set in your business: Focal point, Reception, Waiting area, Working area. Of course, it depends on a business specific not all businesses will have waiting area but other three should be considered.
#2 Create Outstanding feature
As I mentioned before it is very important to create something memorizing and eye-catching. It can be a bright or rich painted wall, photo arrangement, art, mural, quotes etc. There are many ideas for different budgets. Not all customers are good to remember company names but they will talk and share experience with friends in a way, “you must visit a shop with this outstanding wall inside”.

Dior Unveils London Boutique Design by Peter Marino via
#3 Lighting is everything!
Did you know that the most visited businesses, especially retails, the ones have lights on all the time! Better to say, the businesses who have lights inside visible for potential customers/ clients outside. If you have a display window and products are arranged beautifully but it looks like it is dark inside, the number of visitors (potential customers) will be minimum. Unfortunately, window display is not enough any more. The reason is simple – every single window on a main street has a display. People pass those windows every day and stop paying attention but situation is dramatically changes when there is light inside. The light, be it a simple pendant or chandelier, gives us an idea ‘ it is busy inside’ and makes most people curious to come in.

#4 Use Colour psychology
All people are sensitive to colours, some more than others but it is undeniable. Power of colour will help to achieve desirable atmosphere and give your customers right mood for shopping, enjoy meal, accept service you provide etc. Here are several examples what some colours mean:
Yellow is a warm, joyful colour and it stimulates logical thinking and decision making.
Green creates sense of calm and harmony. It encourages generosity, kindness and sympathy.
Blue helps to increase customer’s loyalty and trust. It demonstrates confidence, reliability and responsibility. It promotes one-to-one communication rather than mass communication.
Purple shows wealth, extravagance and creativity. It is great colour to demonstrate sense of beauty and premium quality.
There are more colours with specific meaning and use several for the best result.
#5 Attention to details
Choose finishing details to match overall look and general design concept. Even affordable solutions can look great. Add accessories even if you don’t sell them but they will help to dress your stock. If you offer tea and coffee, use cups which will reflect your brand or business style. If you have elegant interior but use shabby chairs, it will be noticeable to your clients. Don’t let small things to ruin all the hard work and money you’ve invested.
Think of your business place design as an Investment and not an expense! Only then it will pay off and return a profit. When you do commercial design in cheap and cheerful way, your customers will expect you selling products cheap and cheerful too. They even might be very frustrated why prices are higher than their expectations.
Good design attracts right customers and they expect to pay price your business represent. Think yourself, when you visit boutique and see price a little bit higher than in any average shop, you look around a shop and you understand that you pay for quality and exclusive look. But what would be your thoughts if the same products with the same price tag would be presented in shabby retail place? I hope you get an idea. Make right choice and don’t do it half way!
Get Design You’ve Always Wanted!
Alena C


2019-02-03T16:59:42+00:00March 8th, 2017|Design Tips|

Match colours as Ying and Yang!

How hard can it be to put several colours together? Someone will think you need a talent; someone else will say you need to have a sense of balance. When some people are natural to decorate and match colours together, for others it’s hours of frustration and doubts if colour scheme is finished.
Let me try to help and share Pro advice how to complete attractive, eye-catching colour scheme. It is not a secret that all colours can be divided on two groups of warm and cool. I like to call them Ying and Yang of colour palette.
Warm colours such as red, brown, orange, yellow and all shades of cream and beige associates with sunlight, heat and warmth. That’s why beige and cream is the most popular neutral choice in decorating. They are great colours to make place to look cozy and warm.
Although, when it comes to choosing accent colours to complement basic tone, the most obvious choice would be orange, red, yellow, brown because colours of one group are matching easy and well. Unfortunately, that’s where a trap finds many. There is a risk that every part of the room will look the same and if there is nothing can catch your eye, room doesn’t look finished.
That’s where cool colours such as blue, teal, green, violet will help.
They give us calming and soothing effect. Integrating two tones in one room, Ying meets Yang and we achieve balance.
There is no complete formula on proportion of warm and cool tones in one colour scheme. Keep in mind, when it is too warm add a shadow of cooling tone, when it is too cold add a warm highlight. Visual proportion is more about your personal sense of colour and taste.
In a matter of how it can be done: If you like multi-colored design, use several paint colours on different walls, mix patterns on curtains, cushions or rug.
In opposite, if you like to show domination of warm/or cool colour only, simple green plant in painted pot, flower arrangement, stack of books, painted decorative figures can make a trick!

Contemporary Taupe bedroom by Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen
Be adventurous adding new colours, keep balance in mind and enjoy decorating!
Thank you for reading!
Alena C


2019-02-03T16:59:42+00:00February 9th, 2017|Design Tips|

Your Check List on Getting a Stove!

Stove is not a new product in home improvement but time shows that one of the most efficient. The number of people who wants to get a stove grows every year. If to take every 10 design projects I worked on recently, 8 of them included new stove installation.
There are many reasons why stoves on such a high demand. Here are some main advantages:
1. It produces more heat with less fuel.
2. You don’t loose heat through a chimney.
3. If you have enclosed stove, there is no chimney drafts.
4. Your house gets higher BER certificate rating and higher value on a market.
Before you will start stove installation in your house read my practical recommendations to save time and money:
#1 Decide what stove type you need
If you have no idea what to start from, I highly recommend to go to retail which specializes on selling stoves. Qualified team will help you to find technical details and parameters of stove you need.
When you will know stove type for your home, don’t forget to calculate required output for your space. Simply, measure floor area which needs to be heated and visit any online calculator with open access and get your number.

TIP: Choosing a stove take into consideration if you have back-boiler and what type of fuel you plan to use !Ask Pro to help.

#2 Flue Pipe location
Answer can be obvious only if you install stove into existing chimney. If you get a stove for your new extension and you don’t have any chimney or certain location, here are your options:
– Through the roof
– Use outside wall
– Build chimney.
I would like to get your attention to the last one. Let’s look at the situation where you have house and you want to build an extension with stove inside. It’s more likely you would like to get stove at the far side of the extension because it makes more sense to enter room and walk to the fire rather than bumping into stove at the start of the room. I heard from several engineers that flue pipe can be installed only close to the outside wall of the existing house because you need to bring it 1m higher of your existing roof and such. It’s true but it isn’t all! I don’t enjoy long discussions and always choose to read Building regulations.
It is good to know that you can install flue pipe anywhere you want in your extension IF ONLY it is not closer than 2.3m to any skylight, opening window or wall ventilation. It means, if you have 2-storey house and you build extension, if you locate your stove further than 2.3m than outside wall of your existing house and you are not closer than 2.3m to your neighbours, you can put flue pipe 1m above extension roof. You don’t have to bring flue pipe any higher, unless you have individual concerns.
#3 Surround for stove
As a designer, I always recommend to have build-in stove or get a surround:
– It looks more attractive without any pipes around
– There is less mess on your actual floor
– It is more kids-friendly solution as they see boundary comparing to free standing option.
Having integrated stove gives you an opportunity to have a stone surround. One of the greatest features in any Irish home!

#4 Choose right tiles
There is a very popular trend to tile wall behind stove at the moment. It isn’t just a nice look but also protects your wall from cracking from a heat. Porcelain tiles is the best choice. The way they are produced makes them more dense, better temperature resistant, less porous, much harder and less prone to moisture and stain absorption than ceramic tiles.

#5 Consider storage
I know it is had to think of where you will put a little basket with wood before you actually have walls of your extension. But planning in advance is a key to a better functioning house. Planning storage in advance opens for you a better solution than moving basket from side to side.
Consider build-in storage around chimney where you can store everything you need. Plan this before you build, you will need to centre your chimney leaving enough space on each side.

#6 TV above stove
If you place your sofa in front of the fire, it makes sense to have TV in the same direction. If you like an idea of having TV above stove, take a note:
– ideally your stove should be inside of surround then you can place TV at the best eye-level to watch (approximately 1000 -1100 mm from the floor level).
– if your stove is not as deep as your surround consider mantel shelf or place TV not closer than 500 mm to actual stove.
As you can see, good planning is a key! Think about your routine and lifestyle before you build walls and then you will get maximum benefits of having a new home space.
Best of Luck in Construction!
Alena C
2019-02-03T16:59:42+00:00January 30th, 2017|Design Tips|

All about Engineered Wood Flooring

Hello guys and Welcome in 2017!
I hope you’ve enjoyed your holiday break and now ready to accomplish your plans and dreams in New Year.
Today would like to talk about practical use of wood and engineered flooring, where you can use it and explain WHY! As often happens, I write blog posts because of some Real-Life situations push me to reach people and break false beliefs. This time, similar situation happened with me in one local tile store, where I was told ‘ You can’t use engineered wood flooring in the kitchen! ONLY TILES!’ ….Well, I wonder how many people think the same?
Obviously he couldn’t explain why he thinks so. I assume he heard it from someone else. In any case, I want to give more details why YOU CAN use Engineered flooring in the kitchen!

To be more convincing for you, I will recall to my Engineering background. Let’s look closer at Properties of Materials.
To understand what kind of flooring you can use in the kitchen, let’s talk about common wood properties, such as:
– Wood has good strength along with elasticity and specific viscosity. It includes ability to resist fracture under mechanical loads. For example, if you jump on a floor or drop something heavy, wood will not break like a glass.
– Wood has good ability to resist wear. Wet wood wear is greater than dry wood.
– Another thing about wood, it has high porosity and high water absorption. We can’t ignore this fact and should be careful to use wood in wet areas. Even if wood is treated, oiled or waxed.
– Shrinkage is another wood property. Other words, it is resizing the loss of moisture in the wood by drying. Shrinkage occurs naturally. The direct consequence is a shrinkage cracking. It’s the main risk of using real wood in wet areas.
Here are not all wood properties so far but the main we need for now. So you know wood is very water and moisture sensitive because of its porosity!
Luckily we live in task-solving century and thanks to innovative thinking, now we have Engineered wood. Thanks to special technology we have benefits of real wood but with improved properties which allow us to use it even in wet areas like kitchen or bathrooms.
Engineered flooring consists of at least 3 layers of plywood glued together, where the top layer is a thin layer of actual hardwood. At the same time, plywood consists of several thin wood layers glued together. Layers compressed together! That’s why it has extremely low porosity. Moreover, the wood grain of each ply runs perpendicular to the ply below it achieving high level of stability.
Engineered flooring has superior stability and has great resistance to temperature and moisture changes. It can be used in any area where you wouldn’t think of using hard wood flooring. Moreover, engineered wood flooring is the ONLY solution if you want to appreciate real wood in challenging areas or environment. Especially, if you install under floor heating!
Talking about engineered flooring, I also would like to mention laminate flooring. I know some people find it as a fair alternative to real wood. In fact, it is a good wood illusion product. It is made of compressed and glued wooden ‘dust’ with high-resolution picture on a top. Price for laminate flooring can be 3 times lower, though it wouldn’t have all wood advantages and greater performance.
If you need a specific advice about tiles, stone or wood or something else specific, talk to your local supplier with wooden flooring trading specialisation.
Wish you a great start in this year and I believe it is going to be a fantastic year for all of us!
2019-02-03T16:59:43+00:00January 5th, 2017|Design Tips|

Matt, Satin and Gloss

Hello everybody,
I hope you are doing well and have started getting ready for Christmas. It is a very busy time of the year and for some people especially. Only I could name few, who is still working hard to finish house before winter holidays.
Most of us, who doesn’t have a deal with paint on daily basis, see choosing a paint as simply buying tin of colour and a brush. The hard bit here is to decide what finish you need to go for. Different surfaces and areas require different finish to fulfil practicality. The most common case when people get to this question is the moment they are about to paint doors or wooden cabinets in their homes. Would you know ‘What paint finish do you need for your doors?’ How to decide either you need Matt, Satin or Gloss paint?
Let’s figure it all out together with my personal practical tips and helpful info I’ve found to give you more details.
#1 Level of Sheen (Glossiness)
Taking a tour in your local DIY store, you probably find all common finishes: Matt, Eggshell, Satin, Silk, Semi-gloss and High Gloss. To understand the difference between them, we should know average level of glossiness of each finish. Therefore, than less glossy paint than more flat and less shiny it looks. So, Matt has the most flat finish of them all.
Here are the numbers from Wikipedia:
Flat (1–9% gloss)
Low Sheen (10–25% gloss)
Eggshell (26–40% gloss)
Semi Gloss (41–69% gloss)
Gloss (70–89% gloss)
There is no details how precise these numbers but they give us a general (estimated) idea how shiny painted surface will look.
#2 Practical Aspect
I will simplify all advantages and disadvantages of two extreme sheens (Matt and Gloss) and you will get a good idea which finish works for you best.
Matt finish:
(+) Great to hide imperfections! Any possible damages or scratches will not be reflected on a surface, so will stay invisible. It is a good part!(-) Unfortunately smooth surface get small damages easier. Moreover, Matt and even surfaces can loose its neat look.(+) It is very easy to give a quick fresh paint touch to look perfect again.(+) White paint: has a clean, neat look. It doesn’t change tone.
Gloss finish:
(+) More resistant to any damages, scratches, staining, dirt and so on.
(+) Easy to clean
(+) Reflects lots of light (can be a great advantage if you use paint in interior)
(-) Surface should be perfect! Uneven surface will be seen easily.

The Biggest disadvantage of High Gloss paint is:
(-) White gloss paint has reaction with sunlight and causes severe yellowing.
For this reason I wouldn’t recommend white Gloss paint for any area (especially doors). Better choose Satin.
Satin finish
It is one of my favourite finishes. Surface has a light shine but not as when it’s glossy. I will say it will have the best from both, nice Matt look and good durability of gloss finish.
I can add that all tips are fair to any surface and area.
You should only consider if the paint suitable for interior or exterior use.
Best of Luck!
Alena C


2019-02-03T16:59:43+00:00November 27th, 2016|Design Tips|

Hone your skills in wall decor arrangement

We all dream of the beautiful house, where we feel comfortable, cosy, homey and welcoming for our guests. To have the home you’ve always wanted you need to add final accessories and wall decor. I use common meaning of decor because we will talk not just about pictures and framed photos, but also mirrors, paintings, metal wall art, clocks etc.
It doesn’t matter if you are a professional designer or it is your hobby to decorate, facing 4 empty freshly painted walls can give a panic to anyone. It can be quiet a challenge if you have a deal with a big room.
I’d like to share with you several Pro tips to give a good understanding how to choose the best wall decor arrangement. Let’s look at a very common case where we have 4 walls: 1st wall is taken by a window, 2nd is taken by a door or double doors. Now we need to create balance of shapes, forms, textures and colours only for 2 walls. Don’t plan decor for each wall separately. Do it at the same time and then each wall with complement one another.
Here is a list of your main considerations:
#1 Use different shape
If you decide to put couple of pictures or canvas on a wall, try to avoid putting square or rectangular mirror or another canvas next to it. Try to add round or different shape instead. For example, it can be round mirror in the middle and rectangular canvas on each side.
#2 Show Symmetry
Symmetry is a visual balance. It always looks attractive and neat. It is classical and timeless technique to display accessories.


#3 Feature Vertical or Horizontal line
Choose which line vertical or horizontal you want to showcase. If you would like to feature high ceiling then choose display object with maximum vertical dimension, for example oval mirror, long narrow canvas etc.


In opposite, if you have narrow space and you would like to maximize it, add objects with maximum horizontal dimension, such as horizontal rectangular canvas or art, shelves from wall to wall. We need to show active line which tries to reach limits and stretches the wall to look bigger.


#4 Mix textures
Putting a set of objects or a collection of decorative elements on a wall try to mix materials and textures. It will add depth to overall look and will be more eye-catching.

Traditional with Modern Twist in Aqua at Lakeshore East
Photo by Two Birds Photography
#5 Right proportion of Display
Proportion has a large impact on spacial functionality. It can be a hard one because it requires vision of space in 3 dimensional space. Although, to keep any decorative objects fair to the size of your wall, display should take average 2/3 of the wall. It will let you save correct wall and room proportion. If you don’t like large objects on a wall, you can consider wall decor with size half of chosen vertical or horizontal line.


#6 Complete collection of different objects
I have mentioned that it is a great technique to display several objects with different textures together. But I would like to add: if you plan to unite several objects in one display, make sure you compete your idea. Before you think of a number of things to involve into it, think of the general shape and a size of this display on a wall. Use masking tape and draw border of this collection where you want it to be. The next step is to fill up internal space with chosen decorative objects. You can cut shape of each decorative element out of paper, place it on a wall making sure it all looks perfect and more or less has the same distance from each other.


I hope these tips and ideas will help you to complete your project into home! Keep looking for fresh ideas and don’t hesitate to try something new. I like to say “Try something new you’ve never tried before to have home you’ve never had before but always wanted”.
Thank you for Reading,
Take care yourself and your love ones!
Alena C


2019-02-03T16:59:43+00:00October 28th, 2016|Design Tips|

What you can build without permission

It’s not a secret that every person wants to have a dream house. I also know that every second homeowner would like to improve existing building, or even better, to start from scratch and build a new house to make life more comfortable. Whatever changes you decide to make, you should become familiar with building regulations.
I will publish 2 Parts related to Building Regulations topic. First part will cover what you can build without requesting permission and Part 2 will provide general guidance to assist you to fulfil the necessary administrative and procedural requirements to avoid penalties and significant fines.
First of all, let’s have a look at situations when YOU DON’T NEED BUILDING PERMISSION:

House extension and renovation. Foxrock, Dublin, Ireland by
1. You are allowed to build extension without permission at the rare of your house and if it is no bigger than 40 m2. If you already have extension and you want to make it bigger than altogether extension should not increase the original floor area of the house by more than 40 m2. (For example, if you have extension 30 m2, you can extend it maximum on 10m2, additionally).
2. Extension is not higher than the house.
3. You still have to reserve area for your rear garden – minimum 25 m2 after extension was built.
Similar rules fair to converting a garage attached to the rear or side of the house:
1. It will be exempt from planning permission once the floor area is limited to 25 m2.
2. Garage should not extend out in front of the building line of the house.
3. It should not exceed 4 metres in height (if it has a tiled/slated pitched roof) or 3 metres (if it has any other roof type).
4. Garage or shed to the side of the house must match the finish of the house and may not be lived in, used for commercial purposes or for keeping pigs, poultry, pigeons, ponies or horses.
You can build front porch without permission:
– If it doesn’t exceed 2 m2;
– it is minimum 2 metres away from a public road or footpath.
– If the porch has a tiled or slated pitched roof, it must not exceed 4 metres in height or 3 metres for any other type of roof.
Capped walls made of brick, stone or block, wooden fences but no security fences can be erected as long as they do not exceed 1.2 metres in height or two metres at the side or rear. Gates may be built and do not exceed 2 metres in height.
Permission is always required to if you wish to widen or create new access to the public road.
You can install a satellite dish at the back or side of the house with diameter up to 1 metre and no higher than the top of the house roof. A dish on the front needs planning permission. Only one dish may be erected on a house.
Here described general guidance to build without permission but it is good practice to check additional details with your local authority before starting to make any changes.
Remember that you will need planning (building permission) If you want to make substantial change to the use of your land or building which will have an actual or potential impact on neighbours or the local community. You will find more information in next post ‘Before you start building: Planning Permission’.
Best of Luck!


2019-02-03T16:59:43+00:00September 2nd, 2016|Design Tips|

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