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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Outdoor Rooms- The best seat in the house may not be IN the house!

Oh July, parting is such sweet sorrow, already we're saying goodbye! Dear readers, my apologies you've not heard from me in a while, it's been a crazy month! Although the summer is swiftly sailing away, I hope it's been enjoyable for you! I'm assisting some of my clients with outdoor spaces this summer, and so I thought I'd share some outdoor rooms with you! For me, little bits of downtime are enjoyed here, in my backyard, sipping coffee on a sunny Sunday morning, or unwinding with a glass of wine after dinner.

Truth be told, I had never been a fan of 'hanging in the backyard'. This changed when my husband and I decided to create an outdoor living room to be comfortable while watching our kids in the pool.
While many of us enjoy a getaway to the cottage, the decision to create a resort in the backyard is a daily pleasure that is a worthwhile investment. Whether your space is large or small, creating a lounging area beyond an umbrella table and chairs is the way to go. Here are some wonderful outdoor rooms to enjoy!

Outdoor room via Decorpad

Photo courtesy of pointclickhome.

Kriess Furniture via Design New Jersey

Outdoor room via Decorpad

Photo from Houseandhome

photo by rowhousecreative

photo from Coastal Living via Apartment Therapy

Photo from Mimi and Meg

Photo by William Waldron for Southern Accents

Photo courtesy of Southern Accents

Six Inch polyurethane outdoor furniture.

photo via RoomEnvy

photo via Country Living

photo via rowhousecreative

photo via stylebeats

photo via

Photo via Decorpad

Outdoor room from Calgary Herald

Beyond the beauty, there are definitely many practical considerations. Some essentials:

Adequate seating - there should be areas to sit and eat, and somewhere to lounge, so guests need not sit in folding lawnchairs....and for lounging, a sofa or chaise is best.

Always beautiful, the furniture of Dedon.

Outdoor furniture from Six Inch.

Outdoor Furniture from Brocade Home via Apartment Therapy

Coverage - Shelter from the elements and hot sun is imperative. Umbrellas, pergolas, vines, awnings, or an actual roof are possibilities.

Softness - cushions on hard chairs and an outdoor rug...these elements, in my opinion, make the difference: guests sit, kick off their shoes and want to stay all night! Mildew resistant fabrics are needed, such as Sunbrella. Think chair pads on the chairs around your table, as well as some larger arm chairs, ottomans, chaises, and sofas. Rugs add softness underfoot and floor cushions on the rug are another option.
Outdoor pillows from William Sonoma Home

Dining - Lots of space for putting down drinks and appetizers, as well as for dinners.

a table setting by Housewears for a local Kitchen and Garden Show

Lighting - Adequate lighting for night, and lights in the yard to add drama to landscaping, pool, or feature areas.

Water feature - a pool with a waterfall, a bubbling pond, a small water fountain, or waves of the lake add to the resort feel of a backyard.

Domino Outdoor Garden from Sara Gleeab

Fire feature - an outdoor fireplace, patio heaters, or an outdoor fire pit are wonderful for chilly nights.

Gandia Blasco Brasero Modern Outdoor Firepit by Jose A Gandia

Firepit from Cooke Furniture.

AV equipment - A flat screen tv, and a sound system with speakers around the property is ideal for entertaining.

Privacy - a fence, a private screen, a tented wall, trees and shrubs, draperies, all of these make us feel enclosed and removed from the neighbours. This is essential, as many clients of mine with new homes don't have established landscaping, and they feel uncomfortable and 'exposed'.

Room Separator by Dedon

Some other luxurious ammenities:

An Outdoor kitchen

Cheope Outdoor Kitchen via Elite Choice

A Bar
Kitchenaid's 6 cubic ft outdoor refrigerator.

A cabana keeps wet guests out of the house, and is equipped with towels and hooks for clothing.
Cabana by Ruthie Somers.

Hideaway for storage- area to house garbage, pool toys, equipment, etc.

So what do you wear to lounge in your backyard room? I love a comfortable cotton beach coverup - I add a pair of cropped yoga pants to hit the store to buy supplies for a weekend barbecue.

Echo South Beach coverup
The shoes I live in these days - some comfortable Cole Haan patent leather thongs.

Cole Haan air capri buckle thongs

Cheers to beautiful outdoor rooms! If you haven't created one already, think about it! Outdoor furniture is now on sale and there's still time to enjoy the summer in your own backyard!

Photo by Craig Lee

This week, we're hooked on outdoor rooms! Check out this Friday to find out what others are hooked on.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Design By 5: Housewears Interviews City TV's Ramsin Khachi

We've come to the fifth and final designer of our 'Design By 5' series of interviews! I had the pleasure of attending an interior design seminar led by Ramsin Khachi of Cityline fame, and spent time chatting about interiors with him. Ramsin was charming and friendly, and was kind enough to contact me after our chat with additional information for the interview.

First, some background - Ramsin's endeavour in television began when his daughter's "princess" bedroom, which he designed and built in 1999, was featured on Cityline. Since then, he's made regular appearances on City TV's Cityline and Breakfast Television, dispensing common-sense advice on home improvement projects, and also bringing the hottest in home products and gadgets to viewers.

Ramsin's daughter Brianna's 'princess' bedroom.

Ramsin is principal of Khachi Design Group and its sister company Khachi Interiors Inc. located in Oakville, Ontario, specializing in both residential and commercial projects. Known for unparalleled integrity for quality and extensive knowledge for construction, Ramsin has grown a one-man construction company into a full service design/build firm, and he's recognized as a leader in his field. He is a frequent lecturer at public forums and to professional organizations such as 'IDS' and The Ontario Home Builders Association, where he also judges annual award entries for all of its members.

Find out more about Ramsin in a great article from West of the City Magazine by clicking here. As a devoted husband and father, family is a huge priority for Ramsin. He shares his design talents with other families for charity, creating room makeovers for children with life-threatening illnesses through the 'Make-A-Wish' organization.

And now, the interview:

Housewears: The HRTC (Home Renovation Tax Credit) allows Canadians to save money on home renovations until February of 2010, so what renovations would you suggest a homeowner do for $10, 000 to create a 'wow' factor?

Ramsin: There are all kinds of amazing wallpapers out right now, and that's a great way to create a statement! Here are 3 wall coverings I like from the Maya Romanoff Collection.

Housewears: What are some of your favourite materials to utilize in a bathroom renovation?

Ramsin: I love many of the latest natural stones as well as the porcelain tiles. The high polished look in both is very hot right now. Two of my favourite stones are Calacatta marble and Eramosa limestone.

Vein cut Eramosa limestone from Stone Source.

A photo of a recent bathroom project by Khachi Design Group, with a stunning Calacatta marble floor.

Housewears: Ramsin, you're known for enlightening people about the latest and greatest gadgets and technology for the home- what's hot in bathrooms?

Ramsin: I just returned from the Hans Grohe Aquademie in Atlanta, and had the chance to personally try all of the new Hans Grohe products. One of the new amazing products in the Raindance E shower head.

There's also some fantastic electronic thermostatic systems for showers such as the Ondus by Grohe,

And the Hansgrohe Rainbrain. Keep your eyes open for some great new innovations and designs.

I'm also really excited about two other technology systems for the home, Sonos, and Schlage's Link. Sonos is a multi-room, multi-source audio system for the home, an amazing wireless system at a very affordable price. Go to for more information.

Schlage's Link is an interactive keypad lock using z-wave technology to provide secure remote access and control of the can lock your doors from your cell phone! This is a great way to provide a simple means of creating an automated home. For more information on this product, visit

Housewears: These products sound incredible! In terms of colour, what are your favourites in paint colours right now?

Ramsin: I like neutrals, specifically grays, and some of my newest favourites are Benjamin Moore Thunder (AF685) - a soft gray, Edgecomb Gray (HC-173), Natural Linen (CC-90), and on the bold side, Black Beauty (2128-10), Black Bean Soup (2130-10), and Metropolis (CC-546). All are from Benjamin Moore.

Benjamin Moore's Edgecomb Gray, HC-173

Housewears: What exciting projects are you currently working on?

Ramsin: As you know, Jill, we're working on the Dove Spa project, and we've just completed the second location at Yonge and St. Clair in Toronto. A third location is being considered for Bloor West Village, and there are plans for building 50 Dove Spa locations across Canada. We've also completed a state of the art 'medical office of tomorrow', with paperless office technology and HP touchsmart touchscreen computers. We're also looking into adding to our own office with a retail furniture and accessory showroom and a retail innovative product website.

Thanks so much, Ramsin, for sharing your ideas with us! Here are more photos of Ramsin's wonderful work to enjoy!

A photo of a lounge inside Dove Spa.

Dove Spa photos above and below.

Click here and type in a name under the new"Search Housewears Blog" icon on the right to find Housewears' interviews with the other 4 Canadian designers - Sarah Richardson, Tommy Smythe, Emmanuel Belliveau, and William MacDonald.

Today we're hooked on Ramsin Khachi's design! Check out what others are hooked on at