Which Do You Prefer? Frame Up

Frame Up

When it comes to grouping artwork do you prefer?

Home Tour - Nathan Thomas4

Interior Design: Nathan Thomas – Photography by Axel Dupeux


Matching frames for a unified look?  Or…

Interior Design by Kimberley Seldon Design Group - Photography by Simon Burn

Interior Design by Kimberley Seldon Design Group – Photography by Simon Burn


Mix and matching frame styles and colours?

Spring Forward

  • Panelled walls and cofferred ceiling, were designed and installed to satisfy the clients’ craving for architecture more commonplace in stately east coast homes. The sunburst mirror is a “placeholder” to enjoy until a large scale piece of artwork is purchased.
  • Art: Oil painting by artist Michelle Armas provides a counterbalance to the geometric prints on the furniture and pillows.
  • Kitchen: The all-white kitchen gets its drama from dark stained 5” wide rift cut white oak floors, with a Rubio Monocoat oil finish. The table and Navy chairs are Restoration Hardware.
  • Dining Room: White panelled wainscotting is handsomely paired with a Phillip Jeffries grass cloth (Manila Hemp Graphite 3444). The head chairs, backed in raspberry, create a flow of colour from room to room.
  • Children's Bedroom: Fiorella likes to take her colour cues from the clients—pink and green are obviously a favourite combination for the girls (age 4 and 6) in residence.
  • Family Room: “We rotated the kitchen and removed walls so all the rooms face the back yard and pool area.”

When clients moved from Connecticut to sunny Menlo Park, it didn’t take them long to shed those extra layers required for warmth back home and embrace their new lighter California lifestyle.

The designer created a blend of east coast-west coast that would respect her client’s love for architecture with a pedigree and inject a more playful west coast palette.

The result? Springtime, year round.

Photography by Frank Paul Perez

Try this at home

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We love how eclectic gallery walls can share a collection and tell a story. Why not Dabble in a little art direction of your own?

Curate your gallery wall with photos and keepsakes that are associated by theme – vacation/beach images, by style – black and white photography, or by virtue of the joy each image brings.

Keep in mind it costs only a few hundred dollars to have the gallery professionally hung.  An investment that can save your walls from errant holes!


Reality Check: Buying Original Art

Whether you’re new to the process or a longtime collector, purchasing art is thrilling. Step into the world of artists and galleries with interior designer Nyla Freeand revive those tired walls.

Step 1: Birds of a Feather Flock Together
Art galleries are commonly located tightly within particular neighbourhoods, making them a strolling destination and an excellent way to enjoy an afternoon. The more artwork you see, the more you’ll define your tastes and interests.

Photography by Lori Andrews

Photography by Lori Andrews


Step 2: Don’t Be Shy
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Frequently, gallery owners keep inventory beyond what hangs on the walls. It’s perfectly fine to inquire about a favourite style and even a price point that works for you.

Step 3: Buy What You Love
Listen to your heart when purchasing artwork. If a piece elicits an emotional reaction—a childhood memory, family vacation, or perfect moment—you’ll know you’ve found something worth purchasing.

Step 4: Attend Openings
With a party in full swing and a glass of wine in hand, a gallery’s intimidation factor is diminished. In addition, it’s a great way to meet the artists and hear about their process and inspiration. Ask to be added to the mailing list of favourite galleries.

Photography by Lori Andrews

Photography by Lori Andrews


Step 5: No Need to Match
Matching artwork to decor is not wrong, however it isn’t necessary either. Adding interesting combinations and little surprises reflects confidence, infusing a room with personality.

Step 6: Collected Approach
No matter the period or style, collecting art requires time and education. Enlist the help and advice of art enthusiasts and dealers who can help you build on your knowledge.

Step 7: Gallery height
Hanging photographs and paintings too high creates an unwelcome distance between the viewer and the artwork. Installing pieces at gallery height (54″ to the centre of the artwork), or designer height (6″-12″ from top of furniture item) is best.

Photography by Lori Andrews

Photography by Lori Andrews


Step 8: Budget Wise
Think of original artwork as an investment in your home, something that increases your living enjoyment. Prices vary widely and frequently there are payment plans available. Shop college and university art sales to get great pieces at relatively low cost.

Step 9: Bring Art Home
Indecisive about a particular piece of artwork? Most galleries allow pieces to go out ‘on approval’, allowing you to view an item in the space before committing to a purchase. Some galleries offer a rent to own option.

Step 10: Open Walls, Open Mind
If you love a particular artist but have a specific concept in mind, you may want to commission an original piece. It’s fine to make a suggestion but often it’s best to allow for artistic freedom. The result may differ from your original thought, but speak more profoundly to you in the end.

Catching some zzzs with Lori Andrews


Lori Andrews blissfully lulls you to sleep with her use of the muted grey patterned wallpaper in the bedroom. All you need to do is close your eyes and enjoy your slumber.

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Lori keeps it artsy yet functional by flawlessly injecting pizzazz to white walls. She completes the look by sparingly adding bold accessories and using large artwork. The use of differing sizes of accessories makes this space seem larger than life.

To see more of Lori’s work, visit Issue 2: May/Jun’11.

Summer Sailing


The sails are down and the anchor is in…could this summer day be more perfect? Take an afternoon off and flow with the tide…Dabble finds inspiration through Karen Merk‘s photography.

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Read the entire article ‘Infusion – David Wickemeyer’ in Issue 3 of Dabble.

Snap Crackle Pop

  • Architect Bill Bocken’s clients love brightly coloured art work and collect it on their travels.
  • LEFT The double chaise lounge by Ligne Roset is positioned beside retractable doors, which open to the Pacific Ocean below.
  • The basalt wall tiles are from Classic Tile and Mosaic and the contemporary light bar is from Tec Lighting.
  • The clients host frequent weekend visitors, so the bed in the guest bedroom has built-in drawers to maximize storage in the small space. The cheerful red swivel chair and ottoman are from Hold It Contemporary Home.
  • Light bounces off the mirror backsplash to make this bright and cheery nook the perfect spot to start and end the day
  • A definite focal point for casual gatherings, the breakfast table also enjoys front-row ocean views. The glass table allows the metal base to get the attention it deserves while the tulip style chairs with red cushions carry colour from the living room into the kitchen.


Acting as architect, designer and landscaper Bill Bocken furnishes a beachside condo for empty nester clients with a taste for pop art and playful colour.

The airy and playfully designed San Diego condo shares airspace with the landmark Hotel del Coronado and sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. But the adjacent ocean doesn’t provide the condo’s only colour. Says the designer, “My clients are inspired by brightly coloured accents and clothing. I showcase what they love in a sea of white and great lighting,”

The living room features a white Roche Bobois sofa with decorative accent cushions in black and bright red . A sleek coffee table from Hold It Contemporary Home and white kitchen bar stools from Ligne Roset round out the contemporary furnishings. “The furniture placement creates a relaxing conversation area for my clients and their guests as they enjoy the ocean and beach vistas,” says Bill.

“I dabble in creating artwork. I once used saris to create a contemporary abstract mosaic which my clients describe as ‘stunning’.”

Rocker Style

  • Dining room chairs from the Eighth Avenue Antique Mall and light fixtures from ‘some Russian junk man on Coney Island’ match the home's vintage—originally built in 1933.
  • Salome, oil on canvas, overlooks Veta (the artist) and a vibrant red sofa in the living room.
  • LEFT The stunning Sohaila, mixed media on panel, holds court over the fireplace and Veta’s cat, Baci.

Talented Nashville artist, designer, photographer, video director and transplanted New Yorker, Veta Cicolello finds pleasure in the madness.

“I dabble in literature, music and the ‘theatre’ of a good meal”

“I believe the only way I’ll learn anything is to do the very things that frighten me most. So in that way, yes, you could say I am fearless when it comes to design,” says Veta. “I start with a mood and challenge the other pieces, especially the artwork, to hold its own against the surroundings”.

With her 70s-style shag haircut, reminiscent of a young Jane Fonda, Veta’s talent for mixing modern with a dash of New York vibe is evident throughout her two-story home. “I like to have fun with design. It has to be beautiful and it has to work,” says Veta, a graduate of New York City’s School of Visual Arts.

In the living room, books and art rule. “I love the look, feel and smell of books. They have a tremendous influence on me,” Veta confides. Not to be outshone, a tomato red sofa sits opposite the fireplace, a gift from Veta’s friend and hair stylist Michael Fox. The fabric is a New York City flea market find. In the dining area, bold yellow chairs circle an acrylic table on which rest a metal skull, colourful glass bottles and candle holders.

Both Veta and her husband, Theo Antoniadis, are passionate cooks. “When we moved in, the kitchen was a disaster,” remembers Veta. They gutted the original room to the studs and removed five layers of old linoleum before the original pine flooring finally emerged. A vibrant vinyl window treatment on the glossy black door leading to the pantry adds a dramatic accent.

“I labor over design choices and take each step seriously, but there is definitely a flow that just feels natural,” Veta explains. That being said, the playful and stylish mood of her home is a testament to Veta’s fearless flair for meshing rocker style with contemporary and vintage New York.

Retro Revitalized

  • Andy Warhol’s “Diamond Dust Shoes” takes pride of place above the slab marble fireplace.
  • Thanks to the broad, sweeping lines contemporary designers crave, this1970s home is a worthy candidate for stylish revitalization.
  • The horizontal mirror reflects the opposite side of the family room and the large hanging orbs used for ambient lighting. Aluminum floating beams with adjustable AR lamps act as spotlights for artwork.
  • “The key to working with an all-white scheme,” says Eric, “is to vary textures and finishes.” Here, sleek white lacquer cabinets are paired with a textured tumbled marble back splash made up of small mosaics. White leather barstools add another layer of interest and provide secondary seating within the generous kitchen.
  • The chrome banding on upper cabinets mimics the horizontal thrust of the island’s bar, made of honed Lagos Blue limestone.
  • A Brueton ‘Ginger’ dining table is surrounded by four white leather chairs and positioned within the sunny kitchen alcove.
  • Relocating a well-loved piece of art sparks new appreciation. Case in point, the playful chrome sculpture moved from home office to kitchen.

Large Scale Intimacy

Interior designer Eric McClelland of Fleur-de-Lis Design Inc. was eager to maintain the retro-modern edge of this urban Toronto home. With his client’s wishes for minimal colour firmly established, he set out to improve the functionality of the main rooms while respecting the home’s inherent architecture.

Ask anyone in a small condo if they’d like more space and the answer is likely a resounding ‘yes’. But extra large rooms have their own challenges.

“By dividing the long family room into two distinct seating areas,” says Eric, “we were able to create a more intimate scale for family gatherings and conversation.”

An extreme change of ceiling height (from 9 to 18 feet) provided another challenge, easily solved by strategically positioning nine hanging mirrored orbs to create a visual balance between the adjacent areas.

Using a simple palette of smoky taupe on the large upholstered pieces provides warmth and comfort without distracting from the room’s best commodity, an impressive art collection. Bright fuchsia toss cushions are a single nod to the client’s favourite colour.

Light Matters

To create more usable space, appliances were relocated within the renovated kitchen and desk space was allocated to an underutilized adjoining hallway. The Lagos Blue limestone anchors the setting by providing a warm contrast to the all-white kitchen.

“Previously, the lighting was comprised of giant pot lights, making a Swiss cheese effect on the ceiling.” says Eric. “To modernize the lighting plan, we introduced multiple MR 16 store fixtures and recessed pot lights into simple architectural coves.”

Dabble Savvy

  • Group AR bulbs in a series of three or four to create a single architectural fixture, avoiding a sea of pot lights.
  • Drop a ceiling when necessary to add cove lighting, which tucks up into ceilings.
  • Light sources with rotating heads offer flexibility, allowing you to put the focus on artwork or noteworthy collections.

Take 3: Hallway Overhaul

A daily thoroughfare should be anything but everyday. Turn an often ignored hallway into a purposeful beauty with one of these three creative solutions.

Photography by Simon Burn

Photography by Simon Burn


Cubist Console
This handsome console table is an ideal width for the niche in this long hallway, and it provides a spot to throw your keys at day’s end. Stretching from side to side, its driftwood grey colour is a lovely complement to the rugged stone floor. A large, cubist style painting titled “Mujer con Pez” (Woman with Fish) strikes a dramatic pose between the black shaded sconces.

Design Tip: Change white lamp shades to black to create a more dramatic, formal look.

Photography by Simon Burn

Photography by Simon Burn


English Manor
When storage is at a premium, take advantage of available floor and wall space. To capture vertical storage, position a tall bookshelf or étagère (similar to a bookshelf, an étagère is an open shelving unit meant for display) against the hallway wall. Now, decorative objects such as the antique wooden boxes, leather books, and personal mementos are in clear view.

Design Tip: An étagère’s open back allows wall colour to become part of the display.

Photography by Simon Burn

Photography by Simon Burn


Gallery Style Art Wall
A series of mismatched stools becomes part of the dynamic art display on a bare hallway wall. To create a similar grouping, measure available wall space, considering fixed features such as sconces or light switches. Cut a piece of butcher’s paper to the required size and lay it on the floor. Position artwork in a pleasing composition, making sure outside edges line up with butcher’s paper edges and leaving 1″–3″ gaps between pieces. Next, using a ruler, determine exact placement of nail holes and mark spots on the paper. Finally, tape butcher’s paper onto wall and put nails through marked holes. Tear paper away and hang artwork.

Design Tip: Combine objects d’art with framed pieces for added interest.