Archive for September, 2010

Many houseplant owners move their plants outside in the summer so they can enjoy the sun and air. But because most houseplants are tropical plants, they must be brought back inside just before the weather turns cold.

Bringing plants inside for the winter is not as easy as simply moving their pots from one place to another, you have to be careful not to put them into shock and you must check for bugs like aphids and spider mites. These bugs can hitchhike on the leaves and infest all your houseplants.

It is very important to acclimatize your houseplant to environmental changes from outside to inside. Most houseplants cannot stand temperatures below 45F.Once the temperature outside reaches 50F or less at night your houseplant must begin the process to come back into the house.

First start by bringing them in at night for the first few days and out in the day. Gradually over two weeks increase the amount of time the plant spends indoors, until it is indoors full time.  Remember they won’t need as much water as they did outdoors.

The dry winter air inside from heating can wreck havoc on plants, so a well-lit bathroom or laundry room can be a perfect place. Sunny windows are good locations, but avoid letting the leaves touch a cold window or they could become damaged. Also keep out of drafts and away from heating vents and hot radiators.

Check for aphids or spider mites, even if there are no visible signs of them, it is best to spray in case they are hiding in the soil. You can use horticultural oil, which you can put on with a soft cloth or spray with insecticidal soap; this will block the airways of the insect. To make this yourself, you will need 2 cups of water and a teaspoon of soap.  It must be plain dish soap, not anything that is marked anti-bacterial or detergent soap. Add the soap and water together and pour into a spray bottle. Try the mixture by spraying directly on your plants where there are insects, and make sure you label the bottle so you don’t forget what it is. Spray when it is not hot as it can burn the leaves because water droplets can make a magnifying glass that burns the leaves.

If you are the proud owner of a Hibiscus or Mandevilla plant you will definitely want to try to bring them in as the thought of them going to waste outside would be intolerable. The Hibiscus needs light and warmth.  A few hours of direct sun a day in a south or west-facing window is good, but avoid any drafts from doors and don’t over water it during the winter.

The Mandevilla needs similar treatment.  Don’t expect it to have new blooms; you are just trying to maintain it for next summer. Prune the plant back to twelve inches above the soil line. Then, let the plant run on the dry side, and give it a small amount of organic fertilizer.

Geraniums are also another plant that does well inside in a nice sunny window.

Hopefully we will still enjoy this great weather for a while. And look forward to those cooler nights to come with your beautiful plants.

Nicola Bishop


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The Andromeda light is a LED pendant lamp for Japanese lighting brand Yamagiwa and designed by Ross Lovegrove.

Ross Lovegrove is an industrial designer but he prefers to think of himself as an

“…evolutionary biologist, more than a designer.”  He has created fascinating futuristic products.  See him here on TED.

The Andromeda, which reminds me of a UFO or strange sea creature, is uniquely designed so that you don’t actually see a separate lamp, because the whole thing is the lamp.  It actually has clusters of LEDs embedded in the polyurethane foam form.  The light then bounces off mirror reflectors, which are adjustable to control the distribution of light.  This glowing effect also creates a magical shadowing.  Very clever.

Check here for where you can buy the Andromeda.


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Colour – Fall Harvest

Aah! Can you smell the air?  The fresh, crisp scent of dying leaves, someone’s fireplace, and a hint of winter snow…  These were the scents I smelled this weekend. I longed to be up north and see the start of the turning of leaves.

This one beautiful maple tree on my street was the first in the neighbourhood to turn. And this weekend I noticed the leaves were starting to fall off the branches.

I love the Autumn season.  Not just because it’s my birthday but also because of the harvest colours and how they inspire me to change things up in the house.

Here is the colour palette I made this weekend:

Whether it’s a display of gourds and pumpkins or an arrangement of sunflowers, bring this season into your home as quickly as you can before it’s over!

This week Nicola shares how we can bring summer into our homes.


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It’s almost here!!

October is Flohaus Fan Month!

Look for exclusive deals only given to you, my wonderful readers, throughout the month of October.  Details next week!


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IIDEX which stands for International Interior Design Exposition, is a trade show and conference for the interior design, architectural, facility management, real estate development and business communities industry.  At this show you get to see new innovations launched and hear industry leaders speak.

And this year I saw the best new innovation ever!  They’re getting closer to the “Jetsons” kitchen.

Hettich, a leading hardware company presented a concept kitchen that initially looked like a sleek black display cabinet.  Not a fixture in sight until you pressed a button here, button there and “David Copperfield style” up came the faucet that gently spewed water onto an “Infinity” edged sink.  Beside that, your computer monitor was displayed.  Underneath the counter you could store your refrigerator, wine fridge, and of course, dishwasher.  With the gentlest of touches your drawers would open and close.  Press another button and your tableware and drinking glasses were slowly lowered from a wall unit.  Your stove appears at the touch of a button, where you can increase the size of the elements. Then touch another button and you can see your children playing in the other room.

It’s like master control!!

It was the only display area with a crowd of people around, so getting great pictures was a challenge.  But here are some:

No, there isn’t a Rosie to press all the buttons, but I’m sure they’re working on that right now.

This is a custom kitchen that I’m sure we’ll be able to get at IKEA in about 10 years. But if you can’t wait, give me a call.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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So if you haven’t heard yet, Freed Developments pretty much owns the Central King West neighbourhood.  Although I used have them as a client in my advertising days, I’m definitely not on the payroll now…. Just stating a fact.

Freed’s reputation of pushing the design envelope is known, but it’s his vision of designing with highest standards of design is what sets him apart.  And it’s the great parties too!  In fact I was thrilled to get him as a client back then just because he threw the best parties!  And another huge launch party just happened.  Which I wasn’t invited to btw.  No hard feelings….

My favourite of his condos, Fashion House, just launched a campaign announcing that 11 Canadian Fashion designers are going to put their design mark on each of the floors.  A brilliant campaign, if I do say so myself.

What a great way to marry the fashion and interior design concept we always talk about.  Fashion culture is a huge influence over how we design our interiors.  And now we get to see it literally transform the common areas of a condo building with the fashion designer flare of :

Andy The-Anh



Dean Davidson

Greta Constantine

Jay Godfrey

Jenny Bird

Jeremy Laing

Joeffer Caoc

Mikhael Kale


Stay tuned for updates and pics as they design the floors….


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Happy first day of Fall!

Yeh, yeh, I know.  I’m not really that happy either, but only because winter is coming, not because Fall is here.  I love Fall as a season because of the many birthdays and Halloween (my favourite holiday ever).  And also it’s a time to regroup and get ready for the winter season.  More importantly, it’s about making sure I have enough lighting.

If you’re lucky enough to be located in a more southerly part of the hemisphere where sunlight is still around for more than 8 hours a day, you might not be as concerned. But up here in the Great White North, we suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which literally makes us sad due to the lack of vitamin D.  It’s become so prevalent that there are vitamin D supplements in many foods available now.  I’ve had to resort to the Tanning booth to get my zap of D.

And I’ve been reading up on the different types of bulbs available now and how energy efficient they are etc.  Although I haven’t compiled all of my findings yet to do a good comprehensive post, I did however come across some interested trivia about lighting that I want to share…

Fact #1– Most infrared rays from the sun are blocked by ordinary window glass. A sunny room warms up because objects in the room absorb the sun’s visible light and convert it to infrared.

Fact #2 – Artists commonly prefer the light form windows facing the nearest pole (north light, in the northern hemisphere), since the light varies the least as the sun moves throughout the day.

Fact #3 – Thomas Edison tried many different substances to create a filament for his electric light, including cotton thread and the beard hairs of redheaded men, before settling on charred bamboo.

Fact #5 – In 1892, Nikola Tesla, hoping to improve on Edison’s incandescent lamp, accidentally invented a primitive laser instead.

Fact #6 – People are attracted to light: A 1974 study published in Lighting Design and Application by Taylor and Sucov found that when faced with two corridors, one lit more brightly than the other, subjects overwhelmingly chose the brighter one. No dah!


Facts courtesy of Dwell September 2010 issue.

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