Interior Decorating Services In Guelph and Surrounding Areas

Copyright Ocean Bottega



Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

Half Time '16

"Form follows function", the proverbial They say. It may seem obvious but many a design novice gets lost in the decorative details and forgets that without it's structure, a house cannot support itself. And so it is with form and function. The form must exist for a function to occur. But like the question, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?", it's an evolutionary process. For the experienced designer it can work in either direction, form follows function or function follows form.  For our purposes it's best to have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish so you can put the structures in place to achieve your purpose. As you can see, "Form follows Function." is the very backbone of great design. 

The heart [form], more than just our emotional compass, is a pump that ensures oxygen rich blood gets to all parts of the body [function]. The infrastructure of our plumbing is a host of pipes [form] used to deliver water from one location to another [function]. The decorative detail is the beautiful stylin' tap the water emanates from but without a reliable delivery system the attractive tap is a source of frustration and the reason for our *@#& language. Have you ever sat in a chair that looked fantastic but felt so uncomfortable you probably wouldn't sit in it again? Have you been in a room where the size of the furniture was so big you couldn't get around it or so small you couldn't have a proper conversation? It's not uncommon to find furniture in rooms where there is a poor connection between form and function. 

It's tempting to skip the essential stage of planning for the form and function of a space because it may seem sooooooo boring relative to the uninhibited glee and excitement you feel when shopping for trendy accessories. However, nothing is more disappointing than going to all the time, effort and expense of creating your interiors to find the furniture you've chosen is the wrong size and your layout now awkward; you can't open your fridge door enough to open the crispers inside because there is not enough space between the wall and the door. Or you feel disorganized in your new home office because you don't have a logical system for your built-in storage. The testament to great design is a detailed plan based on form and function. Know that making that plan doesn't have to feel painful. 

One of the easiest and most fun ways to make such a plan is to think of it as a WISH, yes all capitals, list. Let your design muses go wild and keep going with your list until you've left no stone unturned. Take some time {an hour, a day, a week…whatever it takes} and brainstorm by writing down all your ideas with complete abandon. I give you permission! If you've got magazine clippings, Pinterest boards or your own drawings to go with it, even better. No idea is a bad one or one that can't be achieved with enough money, time and resources, I promise! I'll bring you back to Earth when the time comes but now is not the time to worry about that. 

Once you've finished this delectable list, go back and re-order it in priority from most important to the least important. Focusing on your top picks {top three, five or ten} allows you to plan for the things that really matter to you. Don't worry about accomplishing them just yet because once the mind is focused, what you need has a tendency to present itself to you. Do check to see if form and function are adequately represented for each item by asking yourself what structures may be required and how much space is needed for each task or activity you plan to do in that space. 

Chat up experts and store reps to help you answer these questions. Books, magazines and online videos are great resources too. This is a terrific and fun way to get your manifestation rolling. Creating your plan will keep you in that sweet spot where you find the people, materials and know how you need, ensuring what you really want works for you. It will also help you troubleshoot on paper or your computer screen and not on your home, while your trades are on the clock, where time and money can flow like a runaway train. And finally it will ensure you're on the right track to getting the room of your dreams. This is where going slow and savouring the experience now so you can speed up and revel in the thrill of the ride when the project gets under way later becomes the best trip ever.

There is nothing more delightful and satisfying than beautiful views and windows that open on those views because you took the time to orient your room to both it's interior and exterior aspects; the delicious dinner you made with friends, that's effortless and full of fun, because you can cook and enjoy your guests at the same time; enjoying that quiet and regenerating bath in your own private oasis even with your family at home. When you take the time to craft your plan based on form and function the decorative details become the icing on the cake and even more delicious and satisfying. To icing!

Musings on Design

One of the reasons I have come to love art and art making so much is because it’s the embodiment of infinity to me. There is a myriad of ideas and possiblities. Even in a room full of artists painting the same scene or object, you’ll find no two paintings alike. Each artist sees from their own perspective and life experience. They have their own methods, array of materials and an individual sense of line, form and colour. They bring their unique thoughts about what’s important and what they want to say to the canvas. When painting they may have a specific agenda or they may just play and experiment. And that’s just scratching the surface.

The same is true with decorating interiors. The possiblities are endless. When exploring concepts and ideas with clients I like to say there are no wrong answers because it’s really about what you want at the end of the day.  With so many possibilities though, where do you begin and how do you know when to stop?

I once read a book on Millionaire thinking called The Millionaire Mind, by Thomas J. Stanely. Who doesn’t want to know what goes on in those minds?! I was intrigued to read that millionaires inform themselves as much as they can about about whatever it is they are planning to do. At some point they jump in and correct as they go along. Many a time people have said to me, ‘You know how to do so many things!’. The truth is I’ve learned that sometimes you can’t really figure something out until you give it a go.

If there is something you really want to do, I will always encourage you to give it try. The secret is to know it may not {read probably won’t} go perfectly, mistakes are wonderful things and try, try again! As you go along you’ll figure out what you like and don’t like. The don’t like generally happens before the liking part. You’ll come to have an opinion or voice. And your skill level will improve, hallelujah!

Once you get into action mode and ideas are tumbling forth in your mind and you are lovin’ it!, it can be hard to know when to stop. It’s not uncommon to keep looking at all the different options only to become paralized by endless possibilities. Or you may not be sure how perfect is perfect enough so you just keep sanding and sanding… You might keep layering in your accessories only to feel stifled and overwhelmed by what you’ve created. Been there, done it all.

I’m reminded of Andy Warhol’s quote, “Everybody will be world famous for 15 minutes.” When you have fewer objects or stick with one main idea or concept, you put the objects or idea in the lime light. It becomes very noticeable, or famous, I like to say. If you use layer upon layer of design features and accessories or try to work with too many ideas, there is the danger of creating a can’t see the forest for the trees situation or worse, a general chaos that leads to headaches from feeling unfocused and over stimulated.

I will say it gets easier to know where that sweet spot lies between not enough and too much with experience. It won’t be the same for every person. Even though I love clean, minimal interiors, I’m forever picking up little trinkets from walking in the woods or mooching around the shops, so my tolerance for stuff is higher than what is expressed in those kinds of interiorscapes. On the other hand I can’t stand it when there is so much stuff I can’t do or find the things I want. As I said that spot will be different for each of you.

A friend of mine and I were checking out the local shops. We were having a conversation about lifestyles and smoking. We were wondering if you could get addicted to nicorettes and what that would be like when we stumbled upon this drawing of the cat. We couldn’t help but laugh! I think he’s enjoying his 15 minutes of fame. So whether your space is about the fame or you prefer to cosy up in lots of lawyers {or a little of both} it’s all about getting in the game and knowing when to go home.

Ocean Bottega Interiors

             paula clarke              

If Art = Infinity, How do you know when to begin and where to stop?


My hope is I inspire you to Love the Home You're In with fun and interesting posts that will help you get inside the minds of Artists and Designers. I'll be looking at many topics {and things} that have caught my attention for one reason or another from the perspective of the Principles of Art and Design. Not only will you discover great tips and enjoy some fun pictures, you'll see the world through fresh eyes and have a chance to create spaces that you love. To see more posts of this nature come and explore with me at

First Quarter '16