Combine Colours Like a Design Expert

A little bit of basic colour theory, a colour wheel and something called the
60-30-10 rule will have you combining colours like an interior design pro.

  • By Douglas Trattner

As a residential interior designer, Michelle Pollak, president of The Lollipop Tree, an interior design firm in Charleston, S.C., makes her living by combining colours to achieve a desired mood or effect. By following the traditional rules of color theory, she can produce kitchens and bathrooms that jump with energy or soothe the senses. Colour theory tells us what hues give us that warm and cozy feel and which ones foster a cool, peaceful serenity.

“But before you can successfully apply colour theory to interior design, you have to understand how it works,” Michelle says.

Theory in Practice
When coming up with a room’s colour palette, Michelle takes three important things into consideration: her clients’ personal preferences, their lifestyle (how they intend to use the space) and the room’s physical structure (lighting and architectural details). With this information, she then can determine which colours and colour scheme will best match her clients’ objectives.

“There are just some colour schemes that work better than others,” Michelle says. “Like if I walk into a country farmhouse kitchen, I automatically think of a monochromatic or analogous colour scheme of creamy pale yellows or deep rich reds.” Conversely, a kitchen in a contemporary or modern house might be best served by bold, bright colours used in a complementary or triadic colour scheme.

If her clients are looking to achieve a feeling of peace and tranquility, Michelle immediately considers a monochromatic or analogous colour palette. “Think about the colour scheme of a Hawaiian island and how restful it makes you feel,” she says. “The lush green hills, the blue ocean water and the pale blue sky — that is a classic analogous colour scheme.” Bathrooms and spa rooms are ideal places to take colour cues from nature, she adds.

To introduce a little bit more spark into a contemporary design pattern, Michelle moves to a complementary or triadic colour scheme. “With each step up from monochromatic to analogous to complementary to triadic, you add a little more energy and a little more interest.”

Michelle cautions against injecting too much of a bright color in any room. “It is extremely important to balance colors with a lot of energy, because what might seem fun and exciting can become exhausting over time,” she warns. This is where the beauty of a complementary colour scheme really shines. Because the colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel, these colour combinations always balance a warm hue with a cool hue.

Formula for Success
As an interior designer who specializes in what she calls “integrative lifestyle design,” DeAnna Radaj, ASID, uses feng shui and colour to achieve harmony and balance in one’s home environment.

Colour is a powerful influence on our daily lives, explains DeAnna, owner of Bante Design in Milwaukee, Wis. By understanding the psychology of colour, which identifies the psychological effects individual colors have on our minds and bodies, we can design rooms that foster health, well-being and prosperity.

DeAnna divides rooms into active spaces and passive spaces. Kitchens fall into the active category, while bathrooms tend to fall into the passive group. Because warm colours like orange and red represent energy and tension, they are best suited for active rooms like the kitchen. Alternatively, cool colors like blues and greens have a soothing and calming effect, making them ideal for passive rooms like the bedroom and bathroom.

“The kitchen is considered a fire room and the bathroom is a water room,” says DeAnna. But that doesn’t mean she recommends painting every wall in your
kitchen red or every square inch of your bathroom blue. As in life, balance is key. “Too much of one colour can create a numbing, exhausting affect on you and your family,” notes DeAnna.

DeAnna suggests following a color principal commonly referred to as the “60-30-10 rule.” For example, 60 percent of a bathroom or kitchen, typically the walls, should be one colour of a colour scheme. The colour of the cabinetry and/or furniture accounts for the 30-percent figure. And accents and accessories such as plants, artwork and linens make up the remaining 10 percent.

And taking a lesson straight from the feng shui playbook, DeAnna strongly advises against painting your kitchen a vivid orange. “In feng shui terms, orange increases one’s appetite,” she says. “So unless you want to get fat, stay away from orange.”


DeAnna Radaj, ASID
Bante Design

Michelle Pollak, ASID
The Lollipop Tree

Doug Sanderson
Associate Professor of Art Kent State University

How to clean your Blinds

No matter what kind of blinds you have—wooden, fabric and vertical are the three basic types—these tips will make their cleaning and maintenance easy:

1. Vacuum blinds often with the brush attachment. Vacuum across the slats,
not up and down.

2. Use a lamb’s-wool duster, again working across the slats and starting at
the top. Do not use plastic dusters.

3. When dusting or vacuuming vertical blinds, brush downward only, as the
slats often become unhooked if you brush upward.

4. Use a rubber sponge, also known as a dry sponge (found at hardware and
paint stores), to remove dust and residue from both fabric and vinyl blinds.
Simply wipe the dry sponge firmly across the blinds.

5. For spot cleaning, spray an all-purpose cleaner onto a clean dry cloth and
wipe the soiled area of the blind. Never spray the cleaner directly onto the

6. You can wet wooden blinds when cleaning, but don’t soak them. Clean them
in place instead of removing them as you would for other types of blinds.

7. If fabric blinds become very dirty, take them to a dry cleaner.

8. Do not try cleaning blinds by spraying them with a car-wash hose, dunking
them in the tub or one slat at a time.

9. To clean metal and vinyl blinds, follow this method: Take the blinds
outside to your patio or driveway and lay them on a small rug or piece of
carpet. Put a few drops of dishwashing soap in a bucket of water. Wet a
car-washing brush and brush the blinds from side to side, and then turn them
over and brush the other side. Rinse the blinds gently with a garden hose while
tilting them so that the water runs off. To prevent water spots from forming,
quickly run your finger down the slats a couple of times to remove excess water.
When done, drape the blinds over a fence or a couch to dry.


The Mountain View Music Fest on You Tube

What a terrific weekend in Carstairs.  The weather was wonderful even though there seemed to be a moment on Saturday night that we might have some nasty weather from an ominous cloud that loomed overhead.  But the sun came out as it did on Friday and Sunday and the crowd in attendance was treated to a weekend full of top-notch entertainment. Continue reading

Aug. 5: International Beer Day, Join the celebration

Beer DayOh Homer would be proud, a day set aside on our busy schedule to honour his favourite beverage.  It’s true, since 2007, Aug 5 has been declared international Beer Day.  You may ask yourself, what is the relevance of a blog that highlights a day dedicated to Beer?  Well, why not, we all look forward to sitting out on our back deck and sharing a pint or two with friends on those hot summer days, and we at Gold Seal take pride in offering some of the best venues for such events in town.

The Mountain View Music Festival will feature a Beer Garden this weekend where our wonderful locally produced Big Rock Brewery products will be dispensed…yum!

Continue reading

A Green Kitchen Is a Happy Kitchen

If you love to cook then you know that your kitchen can sometimes take on a life of its own. Some kitchens are warm and inviting. Others are cluttered and can seem to suck the life right out of a person. If you want your kitchen to be more inviting than it is, the answer might be to create a green kitchen.
Creating a green kitchen doesn’t mean painting the walls green. It means making your kitchen eco-friendly. It’s amazing how much better you will feel about cooking in your kitchen when you know that you are saving time, energy and money. Protecting the planet and your own finances will allow you to infuse your kitchen and each dish you cook with more love and flavor. Continue reading

How Carstairs got it’s start over 100 years ago.

Carstairs Evening by Marla Wilson

Carstairs is believed to have been settled in the early 1880s. A survey map shows the location of the Sam Scarlett ranch with the Rosebud River and the Calgary-Edmonotn Trail crossing the land. By 1890 the railway and telegraph between Calgary and Edmonton was being constructed. The first employees that can be recollected were Mr. Main as station agent, Billie Warren as section foreman (about 1902), and Chester Stearns, Steam Engineer, as pumpman, in 1905.

By 1900 settlers were arriving in numbers. The train station was a hub of activity as it was the only building here. It was used for church service, mail service and meeting hall.

Mr. E.W. Stone of Canmore was Carstairs’ first businessman and first citizen, although Mr. W. McCrimmon was the first to be born here in 1893.  In 1901, Mr. Stone built a general store and soon businesses were sprouting everywhere. A livery barn was soon built and “u-drive buggies” were big business as prospective land seekers rented them to explore the area. The community continued to grow, and in 1901, a one room school was built, closely followed by the cemetery.

By 1906, the Carstairs Journal records boasted that Carstairs had “two hotels, two hardware stores, three general stores, five agricultural implement dealers, two livery stables, two lumberyards, two blacksmith shops, two real estate firms, a millinery shop, a dentist, a lawyer, two physicians, one drug store, one telephone office, a public hall, two barber shops, a poolroom, a newspaper, three churches, two feed stores, a photographer, a jewellery store, one meat market, a planing mill and woodworking establishment, one laundry, an elevator, and more coming all the time. Keep your eye on Carstairs and watch it grow!”

This brief reminiscence of the early days was culled from the Carstairs History Book, “Beyond Our Prairie Trails”. There are two volumes of the books which make for a fascinating read. They can be purchased locally or browsed through at the Bob Clark Municipal Library. Also, the Roulston Museum is a wonderful resource for discovering and learning about the early days of Carstairs and area. As you can see, Carstairs established itself as a thriving community many years ago and is to this day, committed to the preservation and maintenance of a wholesome and prosperous lifestyle. Carstairs’ friendly hospitality shines throughout the year and that is why tourists, families and businesses alike, are attracted to the Town of Carstairs.

Excerpt taken from Town of Carstairs Website.

Scouting history in Carstairs

The Scouts troop purchased the former school shop in 1955 and moved it to the southeast corner of the town’s park. As the years went by, a new building was in order and the Weber Scout Hall was completed in 1972.

Weber Hall was named after Wilf Weber who resides in Carstairs today. Wilf volunteered at the museum and the Half Century and was instrumental in the building of the Scout Hall. Wilf was very involved with the Scout movement over the years because he had two sons who were Scouts. When the new building was erected in 1972 it was Wilf along with many other fathers who built the Scout Hall. Wilf volunteered many years in the town at the museum as well as the Half Century Club. Carstairs is fortunate to have citizens that give sacrificially of their time to make our town a wonderful place in which to raise our families. Thank you Wilf Weber.

Local Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, and leaders now meet at the Weber Scout Hall in Carstairs Memorial Park. The Scouts Canada program is for both boys and girls ages 5 – 21. For information, or to book the hall, please contact Pat Markley at 403-337-3558.

10 Things you must know about home security

A Crime of Opportunity

Break-ins are a crime of opportunity, where entry is gained due to carelessness of homeowners. Follow these ten essentials and you will all but eliminate the chance of unlawful entry.

1. Lock all your doors 24/7*

Most unlawful entry is through doorways. And about 50% of those are through doors left unlocked. An unlocked lock is not a lock!

  • 51% of break-ins occur during daylight.
  • 49% occur after dark.
  • 8,600 break-ins a day. 1 every 13 seconds.

2. Deadbolt all exterior entrances.

Most burglaries are the result of forcible entry.* Every exterior entryway into your home needs a deadbolt with a full 1″ throwbolt.

  • Treat the door from the garage to inside the house as an exterior door.
  • Exterior doors should be solid, 1-3/4″ hardwood or fibreglass, with secure frames.

3. Intruders fear the spotlight.

An intruder’s greatest fear is being seen. Don’t give them a place to hide.

  • Good exterior lighting around your perimeter creates a psychological barrier.
  • Consider motion activated light fixtures.
  • All porches and other entrances should be lit with at least 40-watt bulbs.
  • Trim the overgrown bushes, tree limbs, or landscaping to the height of porches or windows.

4. Glass can shatter your security.

  • Locks less than an arm’s length away from glass panels and sidelights require glass brick, grates or grilles.
  • A sliding glass door is lifted into position when installed – and easily lifted out if you’re not careful. Adjust screw in the door track to limit clearance. Add a wooden dowel or broom handle too. Ensure children can remove easily in the event of a fire.
  • Retrofit ground floor windows with locking hardware.

5. “While you’re on vacation, I’ll just let myself in.”

Maintain the appearance of occupancy at all times.

  • Use automatic timers to turn on different lights at different times.
  • Have a trusted neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers. And, occasionally use your garbage cans.
  • During the winter, arrange to have snow shoveled.
  • Most break-ins occur between 10am and 3pm. Put a radio on a timer. Turn the ringer on the telephone down.

6. Start a neighborhood watch.

Neighbors watching out for each other is the most effective method of crime prevention. Host a Neighborhood Watch get-started meeting for your block, and invite a police department representative to assist with planning, education, training and prevention techniques.

7. Remember that key you thought you put under the mat?

  • Never hide keys under a mat, or taped above a door jamb: Burglars know these places.
  • Leave a key with a trusted neighbor.
  • Don’t place identification tags on your key or key rings.

8. Help the police help you.

  • House numbers should be at least 4″ – 6″ high, reflective and visible from the street.
  • Numbers should be illuminated at night.
  • Report strangers running through private yards or alley ways or anyone looking into windows of houses or parked cars.
  • Call the police. Don’t worry about false alarms. Better to be safe than sorry.
  • Call 911 if an emergency threatens human life or property. If not an emergency call your local police department directly.

9. Burglars prefer cash.

Burglars want cash or items easily fenced for cash; small electronic equipment, computers, cameras, jewelry, hand guns. Don’t make it easy…

  • Empty stereo and television boxes in the alley is a strong temptation to “inquire within”.
  • Hide your valuables or keep them under lock and key.
  • Engrave your valuables with “THIS PROPERTY STOLEN FROM …” and include your driver’s license number. Marked property is difficult to fence and easier to recover.

10. Gone in 60 seconds.

Research by The National Crime Prevention Institute shows that burglars generally will work no longer than 60 seconds to obtain entry.

Weiser exterior locks offer a number of features tested and proven to resist kick-ins, saw attacks, picking attempts, wrench-offs and prying.

* FBI Statistics: Uniform Crime Reporting Program ADDITIONAL SOURCES: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics: National Crime Victimization Study; Alaska State Troopers; Bellevue, WA Police Dept; Newport Beach, CA Police Dept; Simon Hakim, Temple University; National Crime Prevention Institute.