Colin and Justin wonder if high impact design has to cost a fortune, or if the modern home can exude chic, contemporary style when dollar spend is strictly limited?
Does high impact design have to cost a fortune? Can the modern home exude chic, contemporary style when dollar spend is strictly limited? Guess it depends who’s in charge of your project. Allow us to explain.
As demonstrated last week, we’re all about real design for real people and, consequently, spend the majority of our schedule transforming ordinary houses into extra ordinary homes. While similarly content toiling at the pricier end of client instruction — when relevant projects arrive — we’re much more challenged when purse strings constrict like a boa laying claim to terrified prey.
Today, as a follow-up to last week’s column — where we re-visioned Ikea cabinets — we’re thrilled to showcase design that requires even tinier spend. While potentially hard to believe, all the wall hangings, floral artistry and accessories shown (short of two candle sticks plucked from our own condo) were plundered from the shelves of Dollarama (dollarama.ca) for inclusion on one of our Cityline segments.
So what are the lessons to be learned? Well, for us, exciting projects often depend upon looking at things with a degree of vim and vigour. Dashing round the aisles, however, should be less about snatch and grab and more about cherry picking key pieces for optimal reinvention. Could that jauntily toned bowl, for example, be wall hung as an “art” piece? Could that glossy melamine tray transmogrify into a mirror when filled with reflective glass? Could those faux florals twist into chic arrangements worthy of Elton John’s dressing room? In creative hands, yes. Anything is possible.
To put all this into perspective, consider, if you will, today’s yellow and black framed vignette. Our spell, it should be reported, cost less than the Ikea console ($89.99, ikea.ca) and way less than the beautiful Snag rug from EQ3 ($299.99, eq3.com) upon which our masterpiece floats. This, as we see it, exemplifies the measure of competent design; save a bit here, spend a bit there. As much about financial balance as it is “having an eye,” it’s how we tackle our projects both on and off screen. Common sense, n’est pas?
In the same way that luxurious hotels create commanding tableaux in lobbies and public areas, so, too, can interesting talking points be constructed in the domestic setting. Under our watch, though, these needn’t cost any more than a round of drinks in one of the aforementioned outposts. And we’re talking literally; a fat glass of Argentine red at your local Shangri-La, for example, could easily skin you 15 bucks, so do the math and divert spend from vino collapso to fashionably feathering your nest.
SETTING THE SCENE
When assembling a feature wall project, it’s often fun to add extra framework. This in mind, set decorator Steve from Cityline used Frog Tape (this stuff is epic, great adhesion and built-in paint bleed deterrent make for sharp crisp lines) to map out lines and we specified yellow latex for one and black for the other. Yellow, from a design perspective (especially when played with white), is fresh and spring-like, while black lends a dramatic note that further anchors the project.
The white sofa bench was perfectly acceptable as we found it but, with a cute C&J twist, it became so much more. And the trick? Vision. That much is free. We embellished the furniture staple by masking off sections and applying two even coats of ebony-toned paint and primer in one. The result is eye catching but the transformative effort required is minimal.
Put the kettle on, you’re gonna be busy. You’ll need sixteen $1.25 black frames. One $2 roll of peel and stick self adhesive butterflies. Four $2 packs of 3D chromed butterflies and a sheet of $1 yellow artists’ card. Oh, and you’ll need a little patience as you build the Dollarama goodies into our affordable vision.
First, disassemble the frames, remove half the white mats and replace with the yellow card cut carefully to size. Next, peel off and stick two butterflies into each aperture and reassemble the frames. Finally, using the sticky pad that lies to the bottom of each 3D butterfly, affix it to the glass as if floating in air. For extra drama, we arranged our entomological swarm in a neat grid. Doing so established strong graphic presence that allowed our project to fly. Almost literally.
Using $3 faux crystal bowls stuffed with floristry foam, we set to work. Each stem cost $1.25 but is much more individual when bent and twisted into a “weeping” formation rather than left tall and skinny. A finishing flourish is the addition of faux pussy willow; this immediately adds an architectural twist.
FLOS KT INSPIRED LAMPS
OK, so original Flos lights cost a fortune. Our interpretation of the iconic piece, however, just $3.50. To make it, we glue-gunned small plastic beakers to the top of candlesticks and popped round LED spot lights ($1.50) inside. Shades were formed by inverting small plastic bowls and positioning these on top to crown each base. Could this be any easier?
ICE SCULPTURE OCCASIONAL TABLES
A week after making these we still get goose bumps. Unbelievably cute, perfectly rigid and so of the moment, their light reflecting nature would add sparkle to even the dullest room. But have you guessed what they are yet? Or rather what they were, in their original incarnation? Plastic faux crystal trays, no less, which cost just $2 a pop. To construct, glue-gun two trays, lip to lip, then repeat the process. These form the middle sections. Attach one set to the other and affix another two trays (double walled for extra rigidity) to form the top and bottom surfaces. Job done! A 10-minute project utilizing eight trays at a total cost of $16. Go figure!
Funky, huh? And perhaps the least expensive vignette we’ve ever mastered. Guess it’s fair to observe that today’s editorial is as much about achieving maximum visual return as it is shelling out, frugally, in the first instance. As we’ve counselled before; it’s not what you buy but how you use it that makes the biggest difference. And imagination, of course, is utterly free. Now go find that glue gun. And get crafty!
Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan are the hosts of HGTV’s Colin & Justin’s Home Heist and the authors of Colin & Justin’s Home Heist Style Guide, published by Penguin Group (Canada). Catch them every Monday on Cityline (9 a.m. on City). Follow them on Twitter @colinjustin or on Facebook (ColinandJustin). Check out their new product ranges at candjhome.co.uk. Contact them through their website colinandjustin.tv.