This season, “adaptation” is Colin and Justin’s mot du jour. So be inspired as our intrepid Scots use a little creative thinking to bring basic buy items to life. It’s time to max up the glamour! And to start thinking out of the box!
“Necessity,” as our Moms often counselled, “ is the mother of invention!” That marvellous matriarchal adage referred to procuring the best opportunity from every situation, when first inspection suggested there was little to be had. That meant, for example, imaginatively commandeering a tea tray and re-inventing it as a sled. Or perhaps building a secret hideaway castle from cardboard boxes and other household items. Fuelled by parental suggestion as well as our quest to max up the fun factor, we happily let our tiny Scottish minds run riot. And FYI; our cardboard castles were the most glamorous castles in Scotland and those tea trays were always the fastest DIY sleighs on the block. It was all about imagination and ours were unlimited.
To this day we like to believe we see opportunity where others see only disadvantage. As designers, we view things diff erently as far as the home is concerned and we absolutely ADORE adding special fi nishing touches to storebought staples. Which is why we love wandering the aisles of RONA and espying extraordinary opportunity hidden amongst ordinary items.
In fact, only recently, our eyes nearly popped out of our heads when we spotted a pickup truck tool storage chest fashioned from shiny steel and boasting a touchy-feely tread plate pattern. To others, the shiny chest is merely a stash point for work tools. But to us, and with all the vigour of Scottish Magpies on a bling-retrieving mission, we imagined it as a funky blanket box at the end of a bed. To send the glamour factor into high orbit, we imagined metallic detailed bedding —and perhaps an accent wall of shiny silver wallpaper— and presto; suddenly our vision was sufficiently vivid to bring even the dullest bedroom bang up to date! Add big industrial castors and a few pillows, and voila; it’s a window seat. To make the chest even more wonderful, attach four metallic legs to the corners and all of a sudden the storage chest is transmogrifying into the coolest, shiniest martini bar.
Inspiring ideas are everywhere!
Blimey! Excuse us if we’re sounding a tad excited, but RONA —to fabulous creatives like us— is a veritable Ali Baba’s cave of opportunity. In fact we regularly go wild in the aisles. Our advice; let your mind roam free as you scan furniture and accessories and visualize all those little extra things that could be done to up the style stakes. A coffee table, for example, could suddenly become really exciting if treated to some lovingly applied paint. Hmm? Sand it lightly, paint it jet-black—then, scrape the corners (as if worn by the passage of time) to reveal a whisper of the original timber aff ording it a weather beaten appearance that’s SO this season. “Country Meets City” is huge at the mo’ and, personally speaking, we can’t get enough of this shabby chic style that’s very easy to achieve.
Still on the subject of making the ordinary extraordinary, we were recently in a RONA and spotted a cute wee storage cupboard lavished, by the display team, with several new looks. In its original incarnation it was fairly basic. However, with a lick of red and black paint it was suddenly reborn as an Asian fantasy. Detailed with a gold tassel hanging elegantly from the handle it became Chinoiserie. Alternatively, painted duck egg blue, it took on undeniable Shaker aesthetics.
Further opportunity lurks everywhere on the “big box” store floor; you simply have to search for it. If you love the current trend for big scrolled wallpaper design, but don’t fancy the work required hanging it, then here’s a great compromise. Buy just one roll of your favourite sexy pattern (cash saving or what?) and display large sections in giant picture frames that can be moved around as the mood takes you. For professional art gallery results, mount your “artwork” with a perimeter edging of white matting —it will add a lovely finishing touch.
Fancy some more inspiration? How about raiding RONA to create dreamy atmosphere with twinkling candles taken to the next designer stage? It’s easy when you know how! If you feel you’re missing the style gene, simply borrow ours. One-third fill a large glass storm lantern with gravel, then push in a chunky candle —then position, light, and enjoy your masterpiece. Popped centre stage on a coffee table or console it’ll become a real conversation point. Gorgeous! For optimum results, remember to KISS —Keep It Seriously Simple. You don’t, after all, want to over egg the pudding. Hey we’re nothing without our metaphors, eh? Or without our acronyms, for that matter. Good luck and we’ll see you next time!
More of Colin & Justin's Top Tips
1. Ever been frustrated, after reopening a halfempty paint can, to find a hard-to-puncture crust concealing your eggshell? Worry not —we have a solution; one that problem solves before the problem has even started! Before storing excess paint, ensure the lid is secured tightly then turn the paint tin upside down. Doing this will ensure the crust forms at the bottom of the surplus paint so that when you reopen the can you’re ready to go.
2. To bring the outdoors in, visit the plant section of your nearest RONA and choose the biggest, roundest vase you can get your hands on. Half fill with regular soil and carefully arrange a selection of verdant green plants within the transparent orb. Spray with water every couple of days to keep everything temperate and before you know it you’ll be enjoying your own wee microclimate terrarium!
3. For a fabulously original garden border, chop basic black drain pipe into 6” to 12” sections then group and “plant” them into garden borders. Fill them with soil and jauntily coloured flowering plants. It would add interest to even the plainest backyard.