Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Notes from Tommy Smythe

In a previous post I mentioned that I had heard Tommy Smythe speak at HomeStyles in Saskatoon and that I had taken some notes and wanted to share them with you. That's what I'll be doing today. 

One of first things Tommy Smythe said was that he has DADD (Designer Attention Deficit Disorder), meaning he likes to jump from this project to that project to this project to that project (you get the idea). If you feel like my recap jumps around it's probably because his talk jumped around a little, but it was completely enjoyable and I definitely learned some things. (It was a powerpoint presentation.)

One of the first things he showed us on the screen was what he calls the Triangle of Expectation (when doing a renovation).  He says you can never have all three points of the triangle at the same time. You always have to compromise one of the points; you have to decide which one it will be. For example, you can have good and fast but it won't be cheap. You can have something fast and cheap but it won't be good. Make sense? I thought this was a useful thing to know before embarking on a big reno project.

He showed us some photos of the kitchen at Sarah's Farm and said that all the cabinetry was IKEA. Wow! 



He then pointed out how they added some unique elements like the old finial post on the one corner of the island and the vintage shelf brackets. These few elements really give the space character and make the kitchen look more like a farmhouse kitchen. Brilliant! 

Old Finial Post

Antique Brackets

Another great idea I picked up was to put two twin beds together end to end in a kid's room where two children share the space. 

Instead of me trying to explain what he meant by this have a look at the photo below. (Sorry the photo is so small. It was the only one I could find.) Tommy and Sarah Richardson had a platform built in against the back wall of the room and set two twin mattresses on top end to end. It's a great use of space and it gives each of the girls their own bed although they are still really sharing the bed. They can either sleep toe to toe or head to head. What a great design especially as a solution for a small shared space!

Another fun tip I picked up was to number guest towels so it's easy to keep straight which towels belong to who. If you're number 3 then you know that any towel with that number is yours whether that be a bath towel, hand towel, or face cloth. Doing this could also cut down on the amount of laundry needing to be done when there are several guests over.

And a few random tidbits in closing...
  • Use green as a neutral.
  • Be inspired by your surroundings - the outdoors (colours, textures, etc.)
  • Use "light" or open lighting for a space that you look through (for example, if you look through your dining area from your kitchen into the living room then choose a light fixture that doesn't obstruct your view too much). 
  • Decorate your hallways: hang something from the ceiling, put up a chair rail and paneling, hang art, window dressings, etc. 
  • Mix rough and fine elements.
Oh, and did you ever wonder how they lit the candles on the chandelier in Sarah's cottage dining room? Well, I guess the chandelier (that's probably not the correct term for it) is on a pulley that can be used to lower the candles to be lit and then raised to give light to the whole space. Lovely!

That sums up Tommy's DADD presentation or at least the parts of it that I took special interest in. It was great to hear him speak and to learn from one of the best! 


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