Tag Archives: agctk

Saturday, October 12 2013

Wallpaper revival


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Lately in the world of interior design, it seems you can’t swing a throw pillow without running into the historically disgraced staple of grandmother’s past — wallpaper.

Infamous for blanketing homes in atomic patterns of green, orange and brown, could this former paper pariah actually be staging a comeback?

“In higher-end design, wallpaper could borrow a classic line from LL Cool J: ‘Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years,’” says Jennifer Scott, interior designer and co-founder of design firm A Good Chick To Know.

It may have never left, but this wall treatment has definitely changed its tune.

And to catch us up on wallpapering in the modern age, A Good Chick To Know (made up of Jennifer Scott and Megan Baker) took me to (interior design) school on the following:

What is distinguishing wallpaper now from its (shudder) past?

As we see wallpaper grow within the modern mainstream design communities, we see a lean toward bolder, more colourful uses. Today, the paper is actually being treated as a form of artwork within spaces, rather than simply a wall application. Graphic, modern prints in high-contrast colours seem to be most popular right now.

What are some of the hottest wallpaper styles?

Our faves are ones that reference the midcentury popularity, either in pattern or colour, but with a modern twist. Another top style that we’re stoked to use is a stunning multi-colour ombré that looks like a defibrillator screen — it’s awesome! There are also companies that allow you to design your own wallpaper. You send them a pattern file and they print to the appropriate size and paper. Personalized design is huge right now, so we see this trend of design-it-yourself papers being increasingly popular.

What are the benefits of using wallpaper?

The biggest benefit of opting for wallpaper over other treatments is texture. You just can’t achieve that tactile sense with paint. Whether it’s a woven fabric or a vinyl, papers offer a temptation to touch and feel the design that allows people to be interactive. That’s way more fun.

Is this stuff fussy to use? Or could any novice Décor Addict pull it off?

We suggest sourcing a great wallpaper hanger if you decide to try out the trend; we’ve done it on our own and so do many other people, but it is a little messy (whether you are opting for pre-pasted or not) and some papers can be quite delicate. For us, it just isn’t worth ruining the paper or misaligning it, because once it dries, you can’t alter it.

How is wallpaper on the all-important budget?

The cost doesn’t need to be high — the range in price is massive (from $30 per roll to into the thousands per roll). We usually play with papers ranging around $80 to $150 per roll, because it’s a cost-effective, playful addition to many projects. At that price, papers are of good quality and durability and offer fun, fresh patterns that suit our style.

How do you feel about wallpaper’s cousin, the stencil?

That depends on what type of stencil you mean. We’re all about the hard stencils that you use to spray paint typographic elements with — we just did hot pink lettering on stairs in a loft and it was super fun; however, we’re not really loving the stick-on stencils or decals that have been popular in recent years. It’s money better spent to go for a more permanent wall covering, one that won’t peel away or look too ‘crafty.’ While it might seem intimidating to take the plunge into a permanent paper, it will achieve a far superior end result and really, if you get sick of it in a few seasons, paper over it.

What tips do you have for those timid to wallpaper?

Ease yourself into it and start with a much smaller space: many homes have unexpected little nooks that are fun to wallpaper, especially if you use a bright or bold pattern. Awkward small spots are given strength and confidence when intentionally brought to the forefront and wallpaper is a great way to do that. Think of an office nook in a closet, which we see a lot of in this age of super-small spaces, with a strong wallpaper to ground it and make it feel more substantial than it actually is. Bathrooms and powder rooms are also a fun place to take your first steps into the world of wallpaper: they are small enough that it’s not a huge design or financial commitment, but it can offer up a huge impact. At the end of the day, wallpaper is a fun element to design and you should have fun playing with it.

You can find more tips from the talented chicks Jenn and Megan by heading to agoodchicktoknow.com.

Thursday, October 3 2013

Fall for homemade scented candles — with A Good Chick To Know

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The early nightfall, wet weather and destruction of countless innocent umbrellas may not be fall’s finest characteristics. Still, the season does have its attributes — curling up with a good book, thawing in a warm bath, movie nights!

Fall is all about the cozy evening in, and the perfect companion to this is a DIY scented-candle set via Jennifer Scott and Megan Baker of A Good Chick To Know.

The local interior design duo loved the beautifully packaged candle collections showing up on shelves at West Elm, The Cross and Anthropolgie and wanted to get the look without breaking the bank.

So ahead of their appearance at the Vancouver Home and Design Show(running Oct. 17-20), they shared with us this three-piece scented-candle project that, despite the perceived tedium of at-home candle-making, took less than an hour and cost under $50.

Express directive from the Good Chicks: “Light ’em up and enjoy!”



  • two packages of candle wax
  • candle wicks
  • natural scent blocks
  • cups, vases or jars
  • thermometer

How to: Scented candles

  1. What you’ll need from a craft store: two packages of candle wax (the Good Chicks opted for soy to keep it au natural), candle wicks, natural scent blocks and a thermometer. What you’ll need from a thrift shop (or your cupboards!): various pretty dishes or vases to create the candles in.
  2. Using a double boiler and a medium heat on your stovetop, dump all the candle wax into the bowl; stir as it melts to ensure an even melt and to prevent burning.
  3. Watch your thermometer, and heat the melted wax to 160 to 180 F.
  4. Slice the natural scent blocks into thin wedges to allow for a faster melt into the wax.
  5. Add the sliced blocks to the liquid wax; once it is also melted, lower the heat to achieve a temperature of 125 F. Don’t be afraid to mix the blocks to create your own custom scent (the Good Chicks’ favourite was a blend of honeysuckle and lavender).
  6. Trim the wicks to a height just lower than your various containers (about a half-inch lower than the rim).
  7. Dip the metal-weighted end of the wick into the liquid wax, and then plant firmly in the bottom of the containers; as the thin layer of wax melts, it will affix the wick to the base of the jar.
  8. Pour the liquid wax into the various containers, being careful not to spill on the outside of the jars (it leaves a film that is hard to remove and looks less pretty). If the wick has moved at all during this step, reposition it while the wax is still liquid.
  9. Let the wax sit for about an hour (depending on the container size) then “dress” your vases as desired. The Chicks left the glass votives and vintage tea cup as-is, but opted for a vintage leather tie and charm for the Mason jar. Stage up your shelves with these pretty little pieces, and it’s time to enjoy!
Sunday, February 24 2013

Decor a golden opportunity with A Good Chick To Know

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What centrepiece is dressing up your table right now? A collection of half-melted candles? Grocery bags? Your purse when you forget to hang it up? Creative experts Jennifer Scott and Megan Baker, of interior design firm A Good Chick To Know, want you to realize this ‘lazy’-faire approach doesn’t cut the mustard pillows.

The local duo has made a career of using their styling and design skills for good, and see every part of the home as an opportunity to combine the latest fashions with home decor.

The dream team will dish on the top trends of 2013 at the BC Home & Garden Show later next week, but are keen to give us a sneak preview and show 24 hours how to do tabletop right with some chic and cheap DIY.

24: How do you translate the latest fashion trends into decor? And on budget?

AGCTK: The basic principles of styling an outfit or a room are the same: if a runway trend is bold colours and structured fabrics, that can very easily be translated into a room with bright accessories and a streamlined sofa or crisp drapery. When we bring fashion trends into the home, we try to be selective when it comes to larger pieces … if it can step up your style for a full season, then it’s approved! To beat tight budgets, we love to source trend pieces at local thrift stores.

24: What new trends are you seeing in interior design right now?

AGCTK: One current trend that we adopted years ago  — and built our business niche upon — is personality. This year will show a lean toward creating a space unique to each homeowner, a place detailed to their interests, lifestyles and characters. This one trend is actually more of a fantastic technique to try out other prevalent design trends, avoiding a “cookie cutter” overly-stylized feel to a home.

Check out next week’s DIY FILE for more tips and projects in part two of this interview with A Good Chick To Know.


  • glass bottles
  • gold-leaf kit
  • two or three paint colours
  • painter’s tape
  • a small foam brush
  • clear varnish

How to: ‘Glamour Glass’ gold-leaf vases

  1. Rinse and dry glass bottles, removing any labelling and residual glue fully
  2. Gold-leaf vases: apply adhesive from the gold-leaf kit and let it sit upside down until slightly ‘tacky’
  3. Place the bottle on a sheet of gold-leaf and gently fold it up around the sides of the glass
  4. Using the small brush, apply slight pressure to push the sheet into the adhesive until the sheet is fully attached to the bottle
  5. Carefully brush off any extra gold-leaf that is not attached to the adhesive; this step will create the ‘aged’ look on the finished product
  6. Painted vases: use painter’s tape to section off a bottom area and apply two coats of a base colour (we chose metallic gold) and let dry fully
  7. Choose your second colour and, holding the bottles at arm’s length, spray the bottom portion of the bottle (within the same area of your base colour) at an angle allowing some off-spray to creep up toward the top to create an ombre effect. Let dry. Repeat this with a final colour, but slightly lower than the previous colours so it’s not covered completely
  8. Apply two coats of clear varnish (allowing coats to dry fully between applications) and you’re done!
Sunday, February 24 2013

Hit the books with A Good Chick To Know

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Local design experts A Good Chick To Know are smart ladies who like equally smart centrepieces — and what’s more brainy than an upcycled book? Last week the chicks showed us how to dabble in golden decor and this week we hit the books — but in a fun way;)


  • A book of your choice

How to: ‘Words of Wisdom’ book centrepiece

  • Step 1: find a hard cover book you love; opt for a cool vintage one to add some style!
  • Step 2: open the book leaving about one inch of pages before you make the first fold (or begin at the first page if the book offers a beautiful inside cover).
  • Step 3: taking 2 or 3 pages together, make one large off-centred fold, folding one side edge of the papers down to meet the binding seam
  • Step 4: now take the opposing side edge of the same pages and make a smaller fold to complete the off-centred triangle. *repeat this step four times to have thickness in the finished design
  • Step 5: start the process again, but this time make your folds in the reverse direction (to create the illusion that the off-centred triangle set is ‘leaning‘ in the opposite direction) *repeat four times to add depth and match the thickness of Step 3
  • Step 5: now begin the folds in the same direction as Step 3 and continue repeating steps 3-5 until you have about an inch of paper left on the backside of the book if you did so at the front, or fold straight through to the end if you began at the front cover
  • Step 7: viola! Your super fab centrepiece is ready to go — you can use it as a creative napkin holder or leave it as-is to create a conversation piece over dinner. If your book is chosen correctly, you can even send a message to your guests — hosting a Valentine’s dinner? Opt for a selection of Renaissance or Romantic poetry!
Thursday, February 14 2013

Horns out where I can see ’em


It’s always great to get a little help from the experts, because when it comes to interior design trends, professionals (like local interior design duo A Good Chick To Know) know their stuff!

Take this kitschy table treat for example: hot pink paint, gold trim — these are not your grandfather’s wild game accessories.

Get the gloves on, we’re going in.


  • Faux antlers
  • painter’s tape,
  • four colours of paint
  • clear varnish
  • small foam brush

How to: ‘Horns of (colourful) Plenty’ painted faux-antler centrepiece:

  • Step 1: source out a cool pair of faux antlers (these are resin antlers found for cheap at HomeSense)
  • Step 2: choose one colour to act as the focal colour and paint the antlers fully. Let dry and repeat, usually two coats
  • Step 3: once your base colour has achieved the desired saturation and coverage (and is fully dry), take two strips of painter’s tape and section off a smaller area in the centre of the horns
  • Step 4: choose your accent colour in liquid form (AGCTK did a metallic gold) and, using a foam brush, apply the paint in the sectioned-off area; let dry and repeat, usually three coats for metallic paints
  • Step 5: once your accent colour is dry, cover one end, including your newly painted centre area, with a plastic bag and tape closed
  • Step 5: choose a second focal colour (white) and spray paint the remaining end; let dry and repeat. Remove plastic bag once all coats have been applied
  • Step 7: choose a final colour; holding antlers at arm’s length, spray tips at an angle allowing some off-spray to creep toward the centre for an ombre effect. Apply two coats of the clear varnish and voila edgy centrepiece