Jenna’s Internship at CHI Ottawa

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My name is Jenna Jones and I am an Interior Decorating student at Algonquin College who has been doing an internship at Ottawa’s Custom Home Interiors. With graduation coming up in a few short weeks, I wanted to share my experiences here at CHI with you! Coming into this internship, I wanted to gain as much experience in the Design and Decorating industry as I could, while still having an awesome time – during my time with CHI, I got all of that and more! Not only did I have the opportunity to work hand in hand with some amazing people, but I also got to work on a lot of amazing projects. I worked with Michaela on a model home, and I spent most of my time working with Tyler designing custom suites for corporate housing developments. I was introduced to a lot of great companies, such as Palette, Zuo Modern, Van Gogh, and Worldwide Furnishings, and I got to do what I do best – I got to be creative. At CHI, being creative is easy – they have an amazing showroom full of equally amazing products. Looking to re-do a kitchen or bathroom? CHI has everything you need from cabinetry to countertop materials to hardware and appliances, all in one convenient, easy place. Looking to increase the functionality in your home? CHI has a wide range of custom home automation products and systems that will suit all of your home comfort needs. With everything from fabric to furniture and appliances, Custom Home Interiors has everything you need for your Design and Decorating projects. My three favourite products in the CHI showroom are wolf subzero, Control4 home automation, and a beautiful white bathroom vanity.

Wolf Subzero not only offers a great product in terms of functionality, but they stand out among other appliances – the sleek design and stainless steel finish demands attention. Wolf Subzero offers everything from your standard gas range to outdoor grills, wine chillers, and convection steam ovens. Want that professional chef feel in your own home? Come into CHI today and find everything you need from wolf subzero to bring your top chef home with you! Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Ever dreamed of being able to control your entire home, all of its features, from the touch of a button? Ever dreamed of using your iPhone to turn your fireplace on from work, so that its nice and cozy when you get home? Now you can do all of this and more with CHI and Control4. Control4 offers complete home audio and automation control – with their in-wall and portable touch screen control pads, you can turn the lights off in the kitchen, turn the tv on in the living room, turn the heat up and turn your kids music off all with the touch of a button, located conveniently in one place. I love the Control4 system because it allows me to keep everything organized, and I love the convenience of having everything located in one easy-to use place. Image and video hosting by TinyPic I love this simple white bathroom vanity because of its versatility. The sleek, smooth white finish and shaker style drawer fronts will add a warm contemporary feel to your bathroom, while the splayed legs will complement any existing pieces in your home. The elegant marble countertop beautifully complements the white cabinetry and creates a modern elegant vanity that will work in any home. Beautiful!

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Overall, I had an extremely rewarding experience at CHI, and I learned a lot. Leaving the Interior Decorating program at Algonquin, I feel as though CHI has given me the skills and confidence I need to become a successful interior decorator. Lets get decorating!

-Jenna Jones-

Algonquin College Interior Decorating Program

Courtesy of Custom Home Interiors

Happy Holiday Fun from The TEAM at Custom Home Interiors

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Hi Everyone,

Well it seems that the Jib Jab Holiday videos are becoming an annual thing here at Custom Home Interiors. This year we have put together 2 videos to give our Blog followers, customers and frankly everyone who sees this, a really good laugh! Just click the link below the pictures.

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The Team Video

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The Directors Video

Hope you enjoy and have a happy and safe Holiday Season.

From the Team at Custom Home Interiors

Movember is back again at CHI

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Okay…so I know this does not relate to design or interiors or really anything of the sort but at the same time, I do know that the design community loves a good Moustache…its also for a really great cause.

This Movember formally know as November, I, Andrew Emmans CMO and owner of Custom Home Interiors will once again donate my face to the greater good and grow the meanest most awesome Moustache in hopes of raising money for Prostate cancer research.

Prostate cancer impacts everyone in some way whether it be a family member, friend, colleague or significant other. All it takes is a simple donation to my Mo Space Andrew’s Mo Space to help make a difference and learn more about the Movember movement.

If you want to get involved and participate in Movember by either being a Mo Bro and growing a beauty Moustache or being a Mo Sista and supporting the cause visit The Official  Movember site for more information.

My vow to all my supporters is to grow the best stash imaginable. I will update my progress on my Mo Space so be sure to check it out.

Here is a before and after shot of last year:

Before and After

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Please have a look and support the cause for Movember. Together we can make a difference.

Thank you all and wish me luck…by donating 🙂

Very Sincerely,

Andrew Emmans


Custom Home Interiors

CDECA Professional Development Day was a HIT

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I would like to start by saying thank you to CDECA for a great Friday! This past Friday, October 21, 2011, I had the pleasure of spending my day with the best of the best that Ottawa has to offer for Designers and Decorators.

I attended the annual CDECA Professional Development Day held this year at the Southway Hotel on Bank Street. CDECA is a Canada-Wide association that represents accredited professionals – decorators, designers, students and affiliates – in the decorating industry. The professional development days which are held for members and affiliates gives those in the industry a chance to learn how to better their business practices and succeed in the market.

This year the topics were quite interesting. The first speaker was Fawn Chang, an Interior Designer, Colour and Feng Shui Expert. Her knowledge and tips on designs using ancient Feng Shui principles was fascinating. As decorators and designers, we all knew that balance and harmony are important when designing spaces, but to incorporate energy flow using elements of wood, water, fire, earth and metal was a learning experience for all involved!

The second speaker, Jeff Picard from Panoramik Home Improvements Inc. had some interesting advice on how renovators and designers/decorators can work together to achieve the outcome the client will love! He was able to answer all questions that were thrown at him from a room full of women.. pretty impressive Jeff!

After a fantastic lunch (provided by the Southway Hotel), the afternoon began with some updates from the CDECA National Office. There are some great things happening within the organization – and great participation from the NCR (National Capital Region)! Way to go Ottawa Decorators! The biggest thing to look forward to is going to be the new website. It is a great place for consumers to go to find accredited decorator and designer members in their region. Members – check out the member’s only section. It has been updated and is quite a bit easier to navigate now too!

The day closed with an inspirational talk from Andrew Houston – a business coach from Action Coach. Action Coach is the world’s number one business coaching firm. They specialize in small business coaching and mentoring. His discussion went through ideas such as the 6 Steps to Massive Results, 5 Ways of Growing a Business and how applying those 5 ways and increasing them each by 10% will increase your profits by much, much more than 10%. Andrew brought energy and ideas to the room and encouraged everyone to not just listen, but participate and IMPLEMENT the ideas from the day.

A big Thank You goes to Pittsburgh Paints for sponsoring the event, CDECA for organizing the event, Southway Hotel for hosting, and all the speakers for making it a very interesting day! I certainly look forward to next year’s Professional Development Day.

Mandalyn Goodall

Sales & Design Representative – Member Division

Custom Home Interiors & Obvious Advantage Inc.

2202 Thurston Drive, Ottawa, ON, K1G 6E1

T:613-248-1244; C:613-898-1245; F:613-248-8905 Follow us on Twitter @CHIOttawa Find us on Facebook @CustomHomeInteriors

Read our blog @

*Winner of the 2010 Ottawa Citizen Peoples Choice Award*

*Winner of the 2011 Best Showroom of the Year Award*

Fall 2011 Home & Design Show

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The Fall 2011 Home & Design Show kicked off Friday afternoon with a bang.  The crowds filled Landsdowne and the exhibitors were ready!  The CHI booth was well equipped with brochures, magazines and of course, free décor advice!  From painters and designers, furniture suppliers and landscaping experts, the show offered something for everyone!

It was a busy weekend and we were all happy to rest our tired feet Sunday night.  The hustle and bustle was well worth it, knowing the fall season will bring new clients and exciting projects our way!

If you missed the show, here are a few highlights:

• Luc Crawford’s high vs. low rooms were a hit!  Can you tell which one is more budget friendly?

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• Seminars, seminars, and more seminars!  From “The Property Brothers”, Jonathon and Drew Scott, to designer and co-host of “Take This House and Sell It!” Margie Doyle and our personal fav, skilled stager Susan Phillips, the audience received helpful tips and trade secrets!

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• The Algonquin Interior Decorating students showed off their creative sides, showcasing their creations built from a reconstructed Ikea chair.  No surprise Andrew Emman’s fav was the skateboard bookcase! Funky and functional!

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• We added something a little special to the CHI booth for the show; a vignette to showcase our design skills!  No, that is not real wine!  Yes, we wished it was!

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Thanks to all who came out to the show!  A big thanks to Caneast for all of their hard work and the designers who worked the booth with us (Sarah Kidder and Margaret Stuthers).  If you have a fall project on the horizon, you know who to call!

Happy fall everyone!

-Kiersten Lowden (

Filtering Real Estate Photos

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Filtering Real Estate Photos

Whether you’re just starting out or MLS obsessed, there is no denying the draw of virtual property shopping.

Surfing the Internet for a sneak peek into a home for sale is a little bit like socially sanctioned snooping – without leaving your seat.  Serious house hunters spend a significant amount time sifting through potential new homes online, so the importance of real estate photography should not be understated.

While there is a wealth of information available to savvy shoppers – from aerial maps and 360°street views to demographic and neighborhood profiles – many home buyers make snap judgments based solely how pretty a house looks in a picture.  Ask any home stager and they’ll agree – a home that looks good in photos sells better.

But are home buyers filtering properties out too fast by relying so heavily on what shows up on their screens?

Maybe there is more than one way to look at it!

There is no doubt professionally staged and photographed homes are beautiful to peruse.  They offer well-lit, wide-angled, clutter-free interior views, often enhanced by fresh neutral paint and colour- coordinated decor.  These spaces are easy on the eye, and entice buyers to visit the property in person. The care and attention that has been taken to showcase the home signals that a seller and their Realtor are serious about marketing.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are homes listed with just a few amateur photos to accompany the property details, where it seems the seller may not have agreed to much in the way of decorating or de-cluttering.  Sometimes, these photos expose awkward layouts, outdated finishes and overgrown gardens – all reasonable deterrents for an average house hunter on a budget – but sometimes, they just don’t do a home justice.   Despite less than dazzling marketing, amateur photos of an un-staged home can really reveal a lot about how a home actually functions.

So what is a smart home buyer supposed to do?

They key is to look for livability.  Spotting pitfalls or discovering potential has very little to do with the photography – whether it has been digitally re-touched or captured with a point-and-shoot.   Instead, it’s best to assess property based on its features – and flow – by seeing past the decor and focusing more directly on design.

By Katharine Cornfield,  Housters & Co.

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Housters & Co. is a boutique consultancy dedicated to helping everyday people locate and create livable, life-enhancing homes.

Kiersten’s Trends this Fall

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Fall Trends

Summer is coming to a close.  Gone are flip flops and frozen drinks…making way for cozy throws and nights spent by the (electric!) fireplace.  Here are some tips on how to incorporate fall into your home this season!

1. Accessories inspired by nature!  Pussy willow branches in a vase, a bowl filled with acorns or wooden pumpkins add warmth and charm to any room.

2. Cozy textures and warm colours!  A chunky knit throw on the sofa and pillows in shades of fawn, herbal greens and spicy coral add interest and colour in the season’s must-have shades.

3. Mix and match styles!  Acrylic chairs against a farmhouse-style wood table create a unique look that is both contemporary and retro.

4. Add warmth and style!  Electric fireplaces are easy to set up and no gaselines are needed! Plug in and you’re set. (Visit or contact a CHI rep for more info).

5. Try grey if you haven’t already!  Forget drab and depressing; achieve a chic, sophisticated fall look by using grey as your backdrop to allow brighter accessories to pop. Tip: try C2’s “Pavement”, a warm, cement tone.

6. Geometric patterns galore!  Fabrics, vases and area rugs are showing up in these eye-catching prints.  Make a statement with drapes in a striking fabric from Robert Allen’s “Dwell Studio” Collection (our pick: Gate in “Charcoal”)

7. Influence of the French!  Soft upholstery, bare wood, neutral linens and embroidery are all popular and will bring a certain “je ne sais quoi” to your home! (watch HGTV’s trends video here for more great tips!

Here’s some pictures to inspire:

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Happy fall decorating!

-Kiersten Lowden (

Quartz, Quartz and more Quartz with Cambria

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Custom Home Interiors now carries Cambria Quartz!  Come out to our showroom on Thurston Drive to check out our new display!

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Why choose Cambria?

  • There is close to 100 different colours and styles to choose from
  • From traditional to contemporary and everything in between, there are 10 different edge profiles to choose from
  • Three different thicknesses to choose from: 1cm, 2cm or 3 cm
  • 1cm thickness can be used for coordinating backsplashes or tub surrounds
  • 3 cm are usually used for countertops or vanity tops
  • Uses:

o   Kitchen – countertops and backsplashes

o   Shower and tub surround, vanity countertops

o   Fireplace surrounds

o   Custom table or desk tops

  • Has a hygienic non-porous surface which will not harbour bacteria and it is stain resistant – even from wine, fruit juices, tea and coffee
  • Never requires sealing or polishing
  • Is certified by NSF international as a food safe preparation surface
  • Simple to clean with warm water and a soft cloth
  • The new Water Stone collection brings movement and depth to the quartz that is reminiscent of marble or granite with the durability of Cambria Quartz
    • As with granite, it is a natural material, therefore there will be some small variations in the different slabs. Customers are highly encouraged to book a slab viewing before installation of their product
    • Cambria Design Studio
    • What NOT to do with your new quartz countertops: In order to avoid any damage to the surface, it is highly recommended that you do not put anything hot directly onto the surface. There are some resins in the quartz which have a tendency to turn white when heated.
  • o   When you have a few minutes, check out the design studio on the Cambria website! It is a really neat tool that will allow you to play with different colour selections of quartz and match it up with your cabinet colour, wall colour, appliance finish and faucet finish. It then lets you print out your “sample board” so you can clearly demonstrate to your clients how everything will come together!

    o   Another really neat feature of Cambria is they have perfectly coordinated matches within their own lines. The design studio will tell you which quartz samples will match perfectly to help with coordinating countertops and backsplashes or side walls.

    o   Lastly they will also coordinate with Benjamin Moore colours. The website gives you three different colour pallets to choose from for each quartz selection.  Makes a designers life so much easier!

    Visit for more information. If you have any questions about this new line, please contact:

    Mandalyn Goodall

    Sales & Design Representative – Member Division

    Custom Home Interiors & Obvious Advantage Inc.
    2202 Thurston Drive, Ottawa, ON, K1G 6E1
    T:613-248-1244; C:613-898-1245; F:613-248-8905