Calgary, Alberta, January 17, 2017 – Kevin Gray Interiors of Calgary has won “Best Of Design on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. Kevin Gray Interiors – Western Canada’s Timberhome Interior Design Studio - was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.
The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2016. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2017” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.
“We love living out our purpose through our business, which is to open people’s minds to possibility and reveal potential through the application of good design. It’s inspiring and encouraging to see how many Houzz users have saved our designs to their ideabooks which gives us a feeling of satisfaction to know that Houzz is expanding our sphere of influence and reaching many thousands of users upon whom we are having an impact” Kevin Gray
“We’re so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including Kevin Gray Interiors,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”
Follow Kevin Gray Interiors on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/kevin-gray-interiors-inc/kevin-gray-interiors
About Kevin Gray Interiors: Based in Calgary, Alberta, Kevin Gray Interiors do city, country and vacation properties all across Western Canada, and are known as Western Canada’s Timberhome Interior Designers. The studio creates interiors in all styles from modern to traditional to rustic and everything in between, and undertakes work for private clients, builders, renovators and developers. The portfolio includes private homes, condominiums, showhomes and timberhome projects.
Its almost unbelievable that the year is drawing to a close - wasn't it just January 1st yesterday? As each year goes by it seems as if they go by faster, and time is marching on regardless of whether we want it to or not. Recently, during a discussion with someone at a Christmas Gala at Lougheed House (more on that in a minute), we fell into a discussion about how fleeting time is, and the challenges it presents about how we spend our time and who we spend it with, while juggling work and personal priorities which are so often conflicting. We often don't seem to have time to invest in building the important relationships that we need in our personal and business lives.
So this post has nothing to do with design. I just wanted to take a moment to celebrate some people in my life and work community that have influenced who I am today and the importance of them in my life and business. After all, at this time of year, its a perfect time to reflect, reconnect and be thankful.
With the down-economy hanging around like a houseguest who can't take the hint that its time to leave, and with other personal/professional challenges that we all deal with in some form or other, taking the time to be thankful is easily overlooked and yet is such a powerful tool to lift us up so we can take a top-down-view of the bigger picture.
Some of the most important people on my thank-you list are my family. They deserve a huge round of applause for their support to me and my business. Without them, I literally would not be able to function; they provide so much in the way of practical help and support quite literally every day. They are like the pit-stop team that helps get the car ready for the next lap around the track.
They provide everything from home-made meals, to muscle moving our office, to handyman painting services and simply someone to talk with who knows me well enough to challenge me, and some have provided a valued extra pair of hands at showhome installations.
Another source for being thankful is the team of people I have around me in the office; Katy and Brittany have done some excellent work in this past year, and their support to keep project work progressing allows me to be more focused on the bigger picture of the business.
I look forward to the possibilities and opportunities that 2017 brings to all of us, and wish you well for the coming year! Warmly, Kevin
One of the great qualities of a timber home is the strength in the characteristics of the exterior materials. There is often a mixture of rustic finishes including timbers, stone, wall shakes, siding and some elements of metal. The intrinsic nature of these materials gives the exterior of the home a very confident and strong presence.
With these qualities being quite dominant on the exterior it is important to repeat these characteristic throughout the interior of the home to balance the character and personality between the outside and inside. A great way to achieve this is to vary wall and floor finish materials throughout the home. Some great materials to start with are stone, tile, or even limestone plaster.
When selecting a stone material for the interior of your home it's important that the stone repeats similar qualities as the stone on the exterior. This way it helps make the exterior and interior feel connected.
Due to the chunkiness of the timbers throughout the home it allows the opportunity to select a larger and more chunky scaled stone.
Natural stone is always the best choice, however it comes at a higher price point. For selecting stone on a budget, consider imitation stones veneer products to help manage costs and extend your budget.
How To Bring The Country Vibe To Your City Life
Modern Living and Country feelings
Although modern living can feel a bit cold at times, there are many ways you can bring some country characteristics into your home making it feel warm and welcoming.
The key is finding a balance to combine both natural and man made elements through furniture, lighting, artwork and accessories. This can be done whether your interior is modern, traditional or somewhere in between.
Artwork can be a great way to bring in pops of color while still maintaining an overall earth tone palette.
Look for paintings that have various forms of wildlife so your home can feel more connected with nature.
For further guidance on giving your city home a country vibe contact Kevin Gray Interiors at 403-453-6860 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
There are four main goals you should consider stains or oil finishes for your timber home. protection, enhancement, maintenance and health.
Staining can help protect your timbers from checking, drying out and shrinking. Staining will aid the wood in maintaining its condition for a longer time period. It will also strengthen the wood's resistance to stains, odors and general wear and tear.
Oil finishes are also a great alternative to stains and can give extra moisture which will help, especially in dryer climates.
Stain and oil finishes enhance the wood's character, color and texture. When selecting, you can choose natural tones to enhance the natural color of the wood, which celebrates the tonal character of the wood species itself. Or, you can use a colored stain to change the mood and make it bolder while enhancing the grain patterns and its natural beauty.
Oil finishes are traditionally not colored due to the nature of the oil itself, but you can get some varieties with color added. This type of product can be great for embracing and revealing the natural aesthetics of the wood, and its ease of use.
Maintenance and Ease of Use
There are differences in the maintenance regime between oil and stain finishes. the benefit to a homeowner to using oil finishes is that they can maintain it with little to no professional help. With marks, scratches or stains oil can be used to just rub on one spot without noticing a difference between the old or new finish. Staining requires the finish to be applied to the entire timber to avoid problematic color variation costing extra time and money.
The ease of application of oil finishes are also an attractive feature in using them; most natural oils only require a single application. Whereas with stains, you will generally always require a minimum of two and sometimes up to three coats upon initial application.
Maintenance requirements will be dependent on how much the exterior of your home is exposed to weather, sunlight and extreme temperature changes. On average expect to have to do re application once every three years for exteriors.
Since a timber home has so much wood that needs to be stained, and much of this is on the interior of the home, we recommend using environmentally and health friendly stains or oils whenever possible. Minimizing the VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) levels in your timber home will not only help the environment but also will not pose any risks to your health. We recommend for anyone who suffers from lung problems or allergies to look into your options available prior to selecting stain colors or types. Be sure to do your research to keep you and your family healthy.
For more information on stain vs oil finishes Kevin Gray Interiors can help you make an informed decision for your timber home .
Call us today for a complimentary discussion. #403 453 6860
What you need to know to make educated choices for exterior color selection of your timber or log home. How to avoid making mistakes and conquer intimidation !
For any exterior home development you need a solid foundation of cohesive colors and materials to establish the character and atmosphere of your property. But with a timberhome, the process can be a bit more daunting than a non-timber property.
This is because with a timber or log home, the timber/log elements appear on both the exterior and interior of the property, so the relationship and color flow of exterior and interior materials is that much tighter.
It is not a stretch to have between eight to ten different exterior materials on a timber home, so its important to invest the time to assemble a cohesive color and materials palette, that is thoughtfully considered.
Start by considering the context of your home; how your home relates to its surroundings and how that should influence your concept. Is it a lakeside home, mountain home, or city home? What are the usual natural lighting conditions in that place? And how will that affect colors?
rThe next priority is to select the color of the timbers or logs, building your palette around that. Find out from your timber/log provider if there are restrictions on the color selection they offer and ensure you know what stain brands they use. Will they allow you to select custom colors, or can they only be from manufacturers standard lines? This is important to know, because it can affect your construction budget for the timber component, and sometimes significantly.
We recommend establishing two or three preliminary options for your timber colour, and at that point you can then focus on the other materials and colors you want to include in the exterior finishes, gradually refining the palette as you go, eventually arriving at a desirable solution. This is a process that you should not rush - allow yourself enough time to consider various options and engage your spouse or significant other in the decision.
We highly recommend doing a color rendering on the architectural elevation drawings of your home before you instruct your timber builder or contractor to order the materials; This is important because it will more clearly show the relationship between one material to another, helping you better analyse your choices.
Try to render the colors as closely as possible to the actual materials, keeping in mind it will not be possible to make it exactly accurate. If done properly, it will be adequate to convey the mood.
We also recommend having physical samples of all materials made up and taken to the jobsite location so that you can see in reality how they look in relation to what is around them, and to see them in the lighting conditions at the jobsite.
If you still feel daunted or need a second opinion, it will be money well invested to get the help of a professional with experience in timber or log homes who can help you make informed choices.
From timber beam to window trims Kevin Gray Interiors can help give your timber or log home a unique and memorable character.
Call us today for a complimentary discussion. #403 453 6860
Basic human instincts guide us all to search for a strong and secure shelter to reside in. On an emotional level the chunkiness and solid character of a timber frame home creates the sensation of an indestructible sanctuary, making us feel at home.
With a look like no other home the strong architectural characteristics of timbers encourages the use of vibrant colours and bold textures within the interior finishes. This is what fuels our passion and admiration for timber frame homes, because it allows us to help the client express their taste in a more definite way.
Just like each person is different and unique from the next person, so is every piece of timber. This means in a timber frame home the wood structure becomes the soul, creating a dominant architectural element from which every other element in the home is designed around. This allows the client to be creative and outgoing with the finishes to make their home truly custom to their individual tastes.
The bold characteristics of a timber frame home allows the designer infinite possibilities when adding beautiful craftsmanship details throughout the home.
As per the seating area image above a coffee table was required to match the level of character and feel cohesive with the thick timbers and vast openness of the space. The coffee table above was custom designed and made of reclaimed wood materials to reflect similar characteristics of the timber beams.
Rich finishes, like the ones in this powder room image create a unique ambiance which allowed for Kevin Gray Interiors to incorporate an antique tractor tire rim to be re-used creating an overall rustic and one-of-a-kind look which no one else has.
It is really important in a timber home to create a cohesive flow of colours, textures and materials which unite the exterior and interior of the home.
From concept to completion Kevin Gray Interiors can help make your space as rare and unique as you are.
Call us today for a complimentary consultation. #403 453 6860
Have you recently purchased, or are considering purchasing a vacation home or Condominium in a tropical hotspot? Are you aware of what you need to get it setup for use, and plan for ongoing maintenance, to make your vacation property enjoyable and minimize maintenance hassles? Let's talk about what you need to be aware of to ensure you make the most of your investment.
Construction and maintenance costs in places like Florida, The Caribbean, Mexico and other parts of Latin America are reasonable in comparison to here at home,and that can be a significant incentive for us to take the plunge.
However there may be a few things you need to consider beyond the real-estate transaction itself which might not be front-of-mind if you have less experience with the everyday wear and tear that a tropical climate brings on your property. Being more aware of these things can help you budget better for initial setup and ongoing care, avoiding potentially costly mistakes along the way.
Here are just a few key things to consider:
1. Make the effort to learn at least a rudimentary knowledge of the local language and culture. It will go a long way to help you forge relationships with local craftsman - In many cases these craftsmen and women are experts in their field and may have knowledge of more than one discipline so use them as much as you can. They are also likely to have contacts who can do other types of work. Find them by getting references from other Canadian/Americans who have owned property in the area for a number of years.
2. Frequency of Painting Exterior/Interior. High humidity, precipitation and ocean spray are very hard on exterior and interior finishes. In most tropical or sub-tropical climates if the exterior of your property is painted (rather than stucco or plaster that has integral color in it) painting the exterior once per year is pretty much a given. The same applies to any interior spaces which are open to the exterior. If your interiors are not air conditioned, they will run a higher risk of damage from humidity and likely will require a once-per-year repaint. If this is could present a problem, consider having the interior walls plastered or consider creating an interior aesthetic that has minimal painted surfaces.
3. Slippery Floor Surfaces. That polished limestone tile sure looked fabulous in the showroom and at that resort down the road, but just a little humidity or light shower of rain can make it a dangerous skating rink! Where possible, choose floor tiles that have some degree of texture to them to minimize slippage. Or use smaller-sized tiles so that there are more grout joints which will facilitate better grip. You may have noticed that in some tropical resorts, they use broken tiles to create a sort of random mosaic installation which is not just for decorative purposes - it helps to reduce slippage. Other options include stamped concrete, exposed aggregate concrete, and standing pebble pavement which is particularly attractive and surprisingly comfortable. There are also plenty of porcelain tiles available which are rated for use as floor tiles in wet areas. Also, the 'grout' is not necessarily what we use in Canada/USA - review this with your contractor or tiler before the material is installed to make sure the grout used is also of a material that will withstand the humidity and be less conducive to mould growth. Stan
4. Woven Flooring. If you must have any kind of carpet in your property, make sure it is made of fibres which are mould resistant. In particular, Wool is one of the best and most reliable. Your best option is to avoid wall to wall carpet and use area rugs placed on top of tile or hard-surface floors. While you can find other area rugs, or carpets which have been treated to be microbe-resistant, a fibre such as wool which is naturally resistant is your best bet. Plus, wool has the added advantage of being easily cleanable and fire resistant.
5. Critters. Depending on geographic location there will be critters of various types which are not particular about where they relieve themselves. Bats in particular will leave streaky marks on walls, floors and ceilings, as will lizards. In a similar way that the acids from bird droppings will damage paint work on vehicles, these tropical critters will leave messes that will do similar damage. Become aware of what these messes look like and ensure that you and you cleaners make it part of your cleaning regimen. Critters can also leave marks on furniture, so ensure that your furniture selections are easily cleanable.
6. Upholstery and Drapery Fabrics. For anything that is going to get high sun exposure, whether inside or outside, use fabrics that do not fade in the sun, and are resistant to humidity, otherwise you will be reupholstering or replacing the pieces very soon and spending twice what you needed to spend. Brands such as Sunbrella or other equivalents are a wise choice, and there are options which do not feel rough to the touch. The other thing to keep in mind is the type of foam or 'fill' used in cushions. You want something that has some moisture and mould resistance. If possible, find a local upholsterer whom you can ask about the options they offer. Even using a foam core with a wool wrap can be enough to help mitigate mould growth. With regards to cleanability - fabrics that are inherently stain resistant and wipeable are you best bet for exterior use, and for interior use you can use some of the same exterior-grades as well as using other fabrics which are washable as opposed to 'dry clean only'. If you cannot find the style or selection of fabric from local sources, it could be procured in Canada or the USA, depending on quantity required as it costs less to ship than larger items such as furniture or rugs.
7. Wood Furniture - Any piece of wood furniture that will be outside is going to require a lot of upkeep. Pieces located inside will require less, but its still more humid than northern USA and Canada so interior pieces will still require more attention than we give them at home. The sun, humidity, wind, rain and critters all want a piece of it, so you need to choose pieces which will require minimal maintenance. First of all, buy wood furniture that is made as locally as possible. This is because wood that has been acclimatized to the humidity of the region BEFORE it has been constructed is likely to last a lot longer than pre-manufactured pieces that are shipped in from further afield.
6. Reduce Shipping Costs - Buy local wherever possible - This not only supports the livelihood of the local population, but it also minimizes what you pay to get goods to your property. Shipping between Canada and the USA is one thing, but it is cost prohibitive when trying to ship from Canada (or the USA) to/from Mexico, the Caribbean or other Latin American countries. The other side to this is that you can get custom-made furniture in Mexico/Latin America (in particular) for a fraction of the cost that you would pay at home, so its to your advantage to make your property more unique by tapping into whatever hand-made, custom goods you can. If the local suppliers do not have what you are looking for, work with them to see if they are willing to make something to your specifications. If the prospect of doing this daunts you because you don't know exactly what size of piece(s) you require, or how to create the style/shape, an interior designer can help you design/specify what you want. The investment in their services can pay off by ensuring you get something that is exactly what you want which you can then take to have priced by more than one source if necessary. Alternatively an interior designer can design AND supply the product for you, putting the onus on them to manage the process and provide the end result.
7. Vegetation Overgrowth - Be aware of the proximity of plants, trees, shrubs to the walls and roof of your home and be aware of their growth rates. Its obvious to say it, but fast growing plants will require more ongoing maintenance than slower growing plants. Consider too the aesthetics you want on your property and purchase plants which will enhance the effect you want and provide enough shade from the sun; too many cacti in comparison to shade-providing trees/bushes will make the property feel a bit exposed and harsh, even although they are very easy maintenance. So work to get the balance right between maintenance versus aesthetics to create the mood you want. If you are renting out your property, consider the importance of planting to make the place look and feel attractive. If you scrimp on plants and the place feels uninviting, it might mean that is will be less attractive to your potential clients.
8. Construction Cost & Upkeep of Palapa Roofs - A Palapa roof is a type of thatched roof made of palm fronds, or can be made of synthetic materials and in tropical zones this style of architecture is in widespread use. While this type of material looks lovely and is a true piece of craftsmanship when done well, it also requires upkeep, repair and replacement on a regular basis. The life cycle of a natural product will be less if it is used on top of a plywood or other substrate, versus when it is used in an 'open' roof application. On average a natural Palapa open roof will last in the region of 10 to 12 years before it needs completely replaced , whereas a synthetic thatch material in a similar application will last a lot longer, in some cases almost double the length of time. There are other variables which will affect the life cycle of it which you should ask a local supplier for their expertise. Natural palm frond roofs also should be coated with fire retardant material, which may also need to be re-applied at regular intervals.
As with all of the above, if the process of setting up your vacation property becomes too overwhelming or you can't find what you need, consider the value of investing in an interior design professional who can help you to enhance your property so that it looks and functions to the best of its ability.
Need help with your vacation property in a tropical climate? Call Kevin Gray Interiors for a complimentary discussion today. We are based in Calgary, Canada and one of our specialities is vacation living. 403-453-6860
I have heard my clients and friends say many times, that when it comes to selecting an appropriate colour palette for their home they just don't know where to start. Many of them say they want colour, while others prefer more neutral schemes. They all have one thing in common: their senses are barraged on a regular basis with TV programs, social media and magazines all touting great ideas. But most people find the onslaught overwhelming and in many cases they find it more difficult to make a decision because there are simply too many sources screaming for attention.
Here are four simple exercises to help you focus on what is right for you;
1. do the online color sense game.
For clients who are really stumped as to their own personal colour preferences when it comes to their home interiors, I often have them complete an online colour game which was created by Pittsburgh Paints. Its called The Voice Of Color, Color Sense Game. Click on the link below to access the game. My clients have found that it usually is very close to accurate. The game takes about 15 to 20 minutes maximum and can be a real time and money saver, by helping you make more informed and confident choices regarding colour in your own home which is more aligned with your personal preferences. We highly recommend that you do this game first, then proceed to create an actual color palette using the techniques suggested in item 2 through 4. If you have a significant other, it is a good idea to have them complete the game too so you can compare the similarities and differences between your personal colour preferences.
2. find inspiration in nature
The next time you are out in the great outdoors, take a look at what's around you. It could be as simple as observing the different colors in a pile of fallen leaves, or as grand an expansive mountain vista with lake, trees, rocks and sky all presenting a perfect combination that could create a color scheme. For example:
The image to the left was taken by yours truly while on a trip to Yellowstone National Park. The photographic composition is nothing to write home about, but it has particular resonance for me because I like earthy colors. So, when you are looking for inspiration from nature, pay attention to what you are drawn to and how it makes you feel. From the image to the left, you could extract a color palette as shown below.
First, start by pulling out the obvious colors like the murky neutral of the water, the pale off-white of the steam, and a green representing the grass (but does not have to be literally the exact shade as seen in nature). Notice how there are more than one color within the dirt - this means you can pull out at least three tones that represent tones in the dirt as shown below. Imagine using this palette as follows: pick a hardwood or tile for your floors that approximates the colour of the redder 'earth' tone, then use the mid-tone 'earth' tone for the walls, use the lighter earth tone for the baseboards and casings, paint the ceiling in the same colour, use the murky grey water tone on an upholstered sofa, and use a combination of the green and off white as cushions on the sofa or in an accent chair.
3. Let simple Objects inspire
Don't underestimate the value a simple object can have to inspire your color genie. It could be as humble as a piece of fruit on which there are particularly attractive color markings, or it could be a man-made object such as your grandmothers hand painted teapot. Whatever it is you extract the color in the same way as described in #2 above. So the colors you extract from a pear might look like this: (image sourced at design-seeds.com)
To apply the 'pear' color palette to a room, might look something like this: Interior Styling by Kevin Gray Interiors
4. Look at photos of completed rooms
Some of the best 'go to' sources for color inspiration is to find images of completed rooms that already exist. My clients find this gives them the best idea of how their ideas might look in their own home. But BE CAREFUL! When you look at images of completed rooms you need to be able to 'filter' what you are seeing to make sure you know whether you are responding primarily to the color palette, or whether you are responding to other elements in the room, such as architectural or furniture styles, the views from the room and/or natural light entering the space. For this exercise we recommend that you do NOT look at images of completed rooms until you have a very clear understanding of what your color preferences are (as per the Color Sense Game). Otherwise you might 'like' so many different images which contain a huge variation in styles and colors that you are no further forward in defining your preference and might even become more confused than when you started.
If you are about to start work with an interior designer or decorator they will be able to help you define your preferences, but even they need guidance from you because we can't design with you in mind unless you have some reference point for your preferences. Some of the best online sources include www.houzz.com and www.pinterest.com. Check out our Kevin Gray Interiors Houzz and Pinterest pages as follows, and enjoy your journey of color inspiration! If in doubt, consider investing in the services of a reputable designer/decorator; it will be money well spent and can add value to your home while enhancing your experience of living!
We often get asked 'what are you working on', and so I thought I'd take this opportunity to share two of our projects which are currently in progress.
In keeping with our focus on vacation living, we are working on two homes which are both in the Kootenay area of British Columbia, Canada - a vast area of wilderness with countless mountain peaks and beautiful valleys, most of which are filled with lakes; the perfect place for summer and winter getaways. If you are not familiar with this beautiful region, take a look at this video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FQ2xH8tvf4
One of our projects is a boutique lodge which will be rented out summer and winter, and comes complete with a chef who will cater exquisite cuisine to discerning international guests. The overall style is casual and relaxing, with a contemporary twist - its most definitely not a rustic retreat. The architecture is contemporary with butterfly ceilings and lots of open plan spaces, and the furnishings are overall more transitional in feel with contrast upholstery and stronger colors.
We are providing all custom furnishings, fabrics and accessories to make the interior come alive. Here are some of the concept sketches for the expansive living area. The style of the property is essentially contemporary and very open.
Here are some of the custom furnishings we provided. The lodge is currently being completed and when it is we will post more photographs of the spaces.
Kevin Gray is a residential interiors specialist, who has more than 20 years experience in the interior and architectural design industry.