Light & Bright ‘Bring on the light’

Light & Bright

Whether you are planning a new look for your space to meet your current needs, or you are thinking about selling your home, lighting is an excellent way to start transforming any space. ‘Light and bright’, ‘Open and airy’ are common comments from buyers especially in todays market.

While you may not have a full renovation budget to turn a challenging space into an open one, you can edit your lighting and colours in spaces to achieve immediate results! While there are many professional tips and tricks to staging a property for a lucrative sale or decluttering and reorganizing a space, lighting and colour are key. Try to incorporate the three main types of lighting where possible and applicable, as each space is unique:

* Ambient/General Lighting: Gives your space an overall glow and lights up the space just enough to create the atmosphere, mood or tone. (General lighting allows for safe navigation of a space.)

* Task Lighting: Provides bright, non-glare lighting for key a strategic areas such as under-counter lighting, vanity lighting, and reading/ studying lighting.

* Accent Lighting: This type of lighting is intended to highlight key focal points in a room such as a niche, artwork or lighting within a wall unit. Often accent lighting can be fun and dramatic, both in function and form.

Proper lighting in a space is extremely important. It can work for you by supporting specific tasks, can curate the right feeling or mood in a space (this is where colour and light work in tandem), and can help your home stand out in online photos or a virtual tour.
While each space is unique and personal, I do aim to understand each client’s spatial (as well as special) needs to achieve optimum
results, especially when selling your home is the ultimate goal!
Light and bright is here to stay! Until next time, stay well….

Janine May


Article originally written for Kathy Summers Forest Hill Real Estate.    ****  Contact: ****

Kitchen refinishing done by:

Light & Bright Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Booth 7 Painting Solutions


Reimagined Home Office

Is this even a thing? Creating a liveable yet productive work space at home seems to be the current trend for many homeowners and renters.  Today, creating a home office, den, or a flexible workstation seems to be on high demand by everyone, since working from home is extremely common.


Let’s dial in on Five Key Home Office Design Tips from the pros!

Home Office
How to Improve my home office space you ask?

SPACE.  Your physical space can create a great deal of friction when trying to work from home. Does your home workspace have all the makings of an excellent work zone? Remember, “Location, location, location”… Do you have a nice nook, an open space or a spare room that could work as a workplace? How much space do you really need? Do your work projects require digital or physical space to spread out books, catalogues, samples? Do you need storage? Do you collaborate or virtually meet with other team members or clients from your workspace? The location of your work zone is important if you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions.

SOUND is very important when working from home, especially if you participate in lots of virtual meetings or calls with your officemates or clients. Headsets are important, and so is the concept of creating a low noise space for minimal interruptions.  Does your workspace have a door or even a screen you can slide across? Think about where in your home your workstation is set up and ways to reduce sound. Try to tuck into a quiet zone if at all possible. And if concentration is really important to you, and you live in a busy household, finding a quiet space to work is essential.

AIR QUALITY is usually overlooked when thinking about where to put a home workstation. Let’s think about concentration again—where certain scents can really disrupt you—nasty bathroom odours wafting into your work zone or burning toast that sets the smoke alarm off, wreaking total havoc and making refocusing challenging at best! So let’s look at placement of your workspace for optimal results. Fact: Did you know that casinos pump pure oxygen into their facilities to ensure their guests are wide awake while trying to win at the tables and slots? There is one sure fire reason for keeping air quality clean and fresh; it keeps you alert. Indoor plants are a great way to assist in lowering carbon dioxide and helping to reduce some toxins in your space.

LIGHTING. If colour and light work in tandem in physical spaces, then it is absolutely essential to harmonize these two key elements to create an effective working environment. In your home office, you may want to think about lighting specific task areas to begin with, then move onto assessing your lighting needs further.

Natural light is effective in making a space feel light and bright; this, in combination with modern LED options, means we can create many spaces that feel jus that—light and bright! I personally like to be see what’s happening outside; sometimes a quick watch on weather or a natural time-keeping method. If you have the option to simulate daylight synthetically with LED ‘daylight’ lighting, this will help to keep you alert similar to a traditional office environment, yet in the comfort of your own home. Blue light exposure on screens and devices can negatively affect your circadian rhythm, and lighting can help to offset this. Experts say if you have long workdays or nights, try to get outside into the natural light or just walk outdoors whenever possible; it helps to rebalance your circadian rhythm, which in turn can support sleep effectiveness, enhance your immune system, and improve your overall productivity.

COLOUR. Colour in your workspace is personal, and one size does not fit all! Each workspace is a little different, as are each client’s needs. Yet there are some colours that can be very effective to light up a dark space, and studies show some shades of yellow or colours with yellow undertones can stimulate brain activity, cognitive function and keep you alert for longer periods of time. However, there are some scenarios where warm colours are not effective in a workspace, especially in a high stress role. Be sure to steer clear of red as experts say these colours will make you more anxious. It will do the same to your audience if used as a Zoom call background. Too much red can just be too much! It’s all in the tonal value when working with intense colours. Blues and shades of green can be calming colours, yet lighting and intensity is everything. White and grey while nice in certain spaces, can make you look pale and sickly, and too much grey can be depressing. Colour balance is the key with these neutral colours. These are extreme live/work colour scenarios, but everyone has unique requirements for the functionality of their space! For optimal results, you should feel physically and emotionally comfortable and ‘presentation ready’ for virtual meetings in your new work zone, thus allowing you to be on your A Game!


There are many things to consider when creating an effective work/live space at home, and it can at times be overwhelming.

Take it step by step to try to resolve this challenge, or call in a professional to speed up your productive workspace creating process.


Until next time…



Staging Spaces


It always amazes me when I see a completed transformation like this become real!

The design intention is inspired by a fusion of coastal living elegance, light, bright and feeling as though you are ready to relax in this Scandi- Canadian country home!     Another perfect Staging project!

As I first walked into this space, all I could think was ‘Wow, I have a perfect space to transform with colour!’

These wonderful homeowners graciously followed my magic paint brush, as I spec’ed softly toned whites and smokey neutrals, some new accent pieces and plants.

We all worked our magic together with the excellent team at Booth 7 Painting Solutions who made the cabinet and mantle painting transformations happen!


Upcycled Organization Station!

Staying organized and keeping events/ dates all straight is always tricky!

Yes of course, we have Smart Phones to keep our calendars…. yet sometimes we need to hang some important keys, necklace, lanyard, pin up a fast note or save a cool label, ticket or picture!  If you are a visual person like me, gosh I need a reminder board as a landing space,  to quickly glance at it each day as I run out!

Upcycling made this board redesign almost free! 

Upcycled Cork board MOD & Deep Styling!


Here’s How to create your own old school Cork board Hack!

  • Select a dramatic latex paint colour!
  • (Note: You can use a contrasting colour from your walls or your wall paint for a monochromatic look!)
  • Paint with roller or brush 2 coats of paint, let dry between coats
  • Clean up edges or frame or repaint frame- depending on material of frame you may have to use a spray paint
  • I created metallic thumb tacks by spraying a light coat of metallic spray paint to old tacks (picture included)
  • Select your favourite colour note paper as ‘To Do Notes”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Have Fun with your old school cork board and ‘Pin Up’ whatever your smart phone will not hold!

Solar Garden

Planning for spring and the growing year ahead this past year was so invigorating!

We set out to teach our little one all about how gardens grow, where do vegetables come from and what is the solar process of the plants!

This was nothing like container or small urban gardening– this was a massive undertaking.

On a plot of land, we plotted, cleared and worked a series of long rectangular patches. Using recycled cedar, we created boxes, partially sunk into the ground to maintain the earth, lined with heavy duty landscape fabric and filled with triple mix soil!

We planned the design to be all fenced in and protected from local wildlife, so we sunk large posts, created wooden gates and an arbor to grow some grapes thru the centre!

Alternating seeds with tiny seedlings we started, veggies with flowers and herbs we created an eclectic arrangement of natures finest colours.


Growing everything from corn, beets, eggplants, peppers, carrots (heirloom), tomatoes, broccoli and loads of basil and strawberries, etc. What a fun project to get little ones involved in, especially if they have never seen this type of garden growing before!

Garden in Late July!

We all pitched in watering, weeding and picking- what a project! Hard work paid off for terrific results for harvests  for years to come!

Now what were we going to do with all these veggies?   …. That’s another story!

Let’s just say, everyone got organic homemade pickles for Christmas!

Sunflowers were 8 + feet high!





Gorgeous Greens

Fresh & Gorgeous Spring Greens

Fresh Spring Greens are all around us….
Peaceful Design Inspirations with Natural Greens

Green is all around us…. and People NEED Green!

The Green freshness of fruits and veggies found in the produce isle, seasonal and tropical plants or simply a walk on the dewy grass refreshes us, and gives us a Green Break in the day!

When designing spaces of almost any variety, plants are always included as a design element, for me- it seems that spaces need plants to breath life into it!

Similarly when staging a home for sale, plants are an essential!… plants can easily give the impression of an inhabited healthy home.

Helpful DesignTips: Designing your space with Plants….

  • Creates a feeling of Eco Modern Mindfulness
  • Gives a fresh feeling (good green energy) and some plants improve the air quality in your space creating a healthier environment to live/ work in. Green is said to enhance focus, create a feeling of growth
  • Earth bound colours in design are proven to be calming and grounding feeling, lowering stress levels as we reconnect with green
  • Fear not- neutral decor lovers- shades of green can appear as a neutral colour in a room palette. (Ex.”Green Peace” Colour of the Year by Beauti-Tone)
  • With respect to Chakras, the colour green represents the ‘Heart Chakra’…. perhaps, green is at the heart of all us!


Enjoy a healing regenerative walk in the green park to clear your mind and lower stress.

‘Earthing’ is a technique which is said to reconnect/ ground us with nature, thus promoting healing.

I love to bring my patio or living spaces to life with container gardens, terrariums, himmelis (Swedish plant decor item).            Gorgeous green crisp leafy or citrus zest in foods to savour, a refreshing glass of Limeade (maybe with something special added!!), enhance your window with a mini herb garden resonating freshness in the air, cushions and painted accents can brighten up, renew and refresh your space…. creating a feelings of fresh focus for your mind, body & spirit!


As Global Trending information reveals for 2019/ 2020, the busier and crazier life is all around us, the more we retreat to eco, promoting green/ clean energy, positive growth, health and the comforting balance of Spring Green hues…. change is on the way!

PS….  the Queen of England wore an exuberant hue of bright spring green, the bride & bridal party carried green bouquets  at the recent royal wedding of two global figureheads for change. Inspired by the freshness of Green.

Green Space, Apple Trees, Port Dover Ontario Canada



Here is a fun little ‘green friendly’ project for your kids play table…..

…. and best of all just repaint over when you need a new look!


Creative Eco Friendly kids table- Fresh Greens


Dining Room Drama!

Inspiration Design Board for Dining Space Colours & FinishesHow to Set the Stage for a Dining Space you ask?

Drama- Is the name of the game for Dining Rooms for colour & lighting!

Let’s take the Myth right out of; only pale shades on the walls make a space feel GRAND!

Actually depending on your dining room space, this is the room where you can go a little wild with!

Saturated deep hues add dramatic, elegant evening tones, which create visual focus in a well planned space.

This dining room was colour balanced by adding a rich accent wall, layering contrasting finishes in furniture, metallic silver, pewter and don’t forget the mirror to further enhance depth and reflection of lighting! Lighting is a key component, layering lighting types and dimmers on your switch plate! – Your guests almost expect a little excitement here as your dining space sets the stage for a little entertainment!

The Dining room Designer stage is set, your dinner party conversations will never be the same with these curated Designer Trade Secret Hues!

Continuously, I am inspired by colour & finishes found in nature when designing spaces and this dining room is inspired by the illusiveness of the magical midnight sparkly sky, finishes of a dragonfly wing, crisp, fresh natural green fruit & foliage.

One Dynamic deep tinted accent wall is all it takes to create this look, and when you bored of it- Change it up- it is only One Wall!

Colour Inspiration is all around us, drink it in, snap a shot, experiment with it- ‘Colour is Pure Luxury!

Modern Dining Space Inspired by the Magical Midnight Sky!


Scroll to top