Heart of the Home and Hygge

Family hygge living room space windows and fireplaceIn today’s market, setting your home apart from others speaks to the family ready or Hygge factor, I call it!

What is Hygge?

Hygge (pronounced hyoo-guh) is from the Danish or Norwegian for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.

Canadians, in general, are catching on to this charming home and lifestyle  trend. Many homeowners ask about ideas to create a welcoming and well designed together space that draws people in; essentially, to create a space that everyone in the home and guests (once again, some day) will enjoy together.  Creating atmosphere is key when observing this powerful Scandinavian lifestyle, and it works well in our similar climate.

Being mostly homebound recently, many of us are inspired to create special moments at home, something like hours gathered around the fire at the cottage or campsite (maybe because there’s no wifi?) that brings everyone together; coziness is at the top of the list.

What better way to create a cozy space than to add a fireplace.

Fireplaces  today come in so many different sizes and shapes; the possibilities are endless and only dependent upon budget and type—gas, wood-burning, electric— and a great place to start if creating coziness in your home is what you’re after.  Overall styling and details can be combined to create the ultimate statement of Hygge or even just a great family space within your home! Fireplaces today are creating much more than just physical warmth.

Until next time, visit janinemay.ca for more designer tips and ideas for your home.

Fireplace project
Photo Courtesy of Huth Homes 2021

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   Real Estate Homeward, Brokerage    ****  Contact:  [email protected]****


Kitchen refinishing done by:  booth7.com

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… [email protected]



Emerald Future Thinking & Biophilia for Living

IDS Show Features Installations ‘By Nature’ 2018, 19

Emerald Future Thinking for Working & Living Spaces

Biophilic stems from the word biophilia, meaning a ‘love of nature’

Biophilia is currently a hot topic conversation for design and architecture, as well at Interior Design Shows 2019.


Everyone knows that nature is one of the principal stress relievers, and today, stress and anxiety are seriously a part of our everyday worlds, especially in urban centres, and in our over-scheduled lives. Many researchers are revealing that by including just a few biophilic design elements (such as plants) effectively in live or work spaces is a great start to building healthier human-centric spaces.

Designing your human-centric spaces with natural elements such as indoor vegetation, plant walls and large windows can:

* Boost your overall wellbeing and productivity.

* Reduce stress, as they sooth and inspire, improving cognitive function and enhance mood & creativity.

* Improve overall air quality.

* Make a space feel complete and inhabited, as visually pleasing, green shades are a natural neutral.

* Fight effects of climate change in an eco-friendly direction, and promote sustainability methods.

Companies of the future, such as Google, Apple & Amazon, are investing heavily in designed office spaces that enhance wellbeing, reduce stress and increase productivity. Biophilia is just one design strategies being used.


As a nature lover myself, I often wonder how we, as humans became so disconnected from nature? Our interiors became so clinical, with fluorescent tube lighting and cold synthetic materials.  Is it about taking the tine to smell the roses? Where is the human connection to today’s environments, filled with synthetic materials, cold steel or oil based bi-products?

Perhaps, we are remembering how important our connection to nature truly is, and how, there is more to biophilia that meets the three-dimensional eye through which we see the world.

Orchids are gorgeous and fun to grow!

Tip: Emerald green often found in plants, is associated with the heart chakra, and Energy Healers call this the “divine Emerald Ray of light” which heals certain human ailments.

Trend Focus: The future of design is focusing more and more on wellness and natural elements to boost our human-centric journey forward.




Emerald Ray- heart chakra ‘Healing our systems of light’

Almost like we are standing in the bright radiating sunlight, the golden solar ray lifts us up, allowing us to tune into the emerald green ray.

This green ray of light makes us feel very bright, and is a core uplifting, healing ray of light!

Nature is in tune with our vibratory DNA. While walking thru a lush green forest, filled with the scents of white pine wafting in the air and listening to the rustling of the foliage, our vibrational energy improves, as we reconnect with nature to support our own healing, and our visual sight is actually said to be enhanced.

We tune into and ignite this higher green light; it is a lush frequency of light.

This ray of healing light uplifts our core light.

Information taken from YouTube Video by Cynthia Cole Energy Healer   www.healingourenergy.ca www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZ71NQuFl54

A walk in nature inspires your mind!
















Research Article & Sources:  http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/bringing-outdoors-into-office/  

The Impact and Benefits of Biophilia in the Workplace


Maison et Objet 2019 …. Colour Love

Top Row: Maison et Object Colours Bottom Row: IDS show Toronto Colours

A quick comparison in colour seen at Maison in Paris vs. IDS show Toronto. Would love to see more images of Maison et Object, to continue comparing thru colourful eyes!

European Design regarding colour always amazes me, and we see this annually through our work at CMG. The green in the IDS (Toronto, Canada) swatch mostly comes from all the plants we observed at the show this year, only a tiny bit of this green in textiles. The overall European freshness of colour really resonates with fashion, as here we are seeing a tiny bit more colour on the horizon coming into 2019, there is alot of grey here still in North America. Grey is a safe interior finish, but sort of creates a sad mood in fashion, so folks let’s wear some COLOUR- toss some fresh colour in the mix- it will lift our spirits during the dreary winter! Spring Colours are in Sight!

Image Inspired by Jeannette Hanenburg
Trip to Maison 2019
Colour Professionals – Centre for Colour & EducationAntwerp Area, Belgium
Interior Design Show 2019 Living Colour


IDS Show Living Colour


Inspired by Jeannette Hanenburg’s Video Post Jan 19th/ 2019 at Maison- JLN’s Booth https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6492108198357590016



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!





A New Neutral….

A New Neutral for Design!

Color Marketing Group said it best: Lamb’s Ear: “Whisper your Style”!

This colour is so current–it’s unreal how quietly the colour seems to appear in almost anything from softly-toned textiles, ribbons of silk, through fine wool carpets; in artwork, pottery and home decor; in our gardens as new varieties of succulents and cactus.

We see this colour everywhere in home decor, even in places where grey has traditionally dominated the colour landscape. So is this a new neutral coming forward? We see some very interesting neutrals being used now.

Possibly the season for Lamb’s Ear as we see in gardens; possibly this is a call for soft earth-toned hues to reconnect us with the earth and nature’s moments of solitude.

Imagine sitting at the water’s edge on a crisp misty morning by the lake, soft scent of evergreen, before the sun rises and only the sound of a loon calls out. Soft, meditative ripples in the water gently glide along as water life stirs below. What a lovely way to start your day…. somewhere calm, where you can think. This colour transports you to that moment, a location, a time, as it is seen in many places in nature.

Lamb’s Ear is definitely a colour that intrigues many of us. There appears a slight variance in shade and it is often paired with similar blue-green tones, (reminiscent of the plant); it is really more about the smooth feeling this colour creates with layers of light. Those who are “nervous nellies” about using COLOUR in their space or wardrobe, and currently we see a lot of white, grey and black, this colour may just resonate with you! Incorporate it into sheets, cushions, a soft wall tone, a carpet or through artwork—almost anywhere really—just be a little carefree, relax and pair it with other neutrals or soft shades. Enjoy this free flowing natural new neutral hue!

Inspired Colour!

Lamb’s Ear Colour Name:  http://colormarketing.org




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!





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