Charlotte's Place
Landscape & Interior Decor Consultant
"a work in progress" 
making home your favorite place to be
Phone: 204-227-4324
Courses location at bottom of page

The Course:  Gardening in the New Weather 
More of us are turning to our own yards to provide us with 
space to relax, de-stress and entertain. That trip to the lake 
gets longer each year and the bungalow, or condo you just downsized to is the perfect place to create something unique, 
and nurturing. This course explains how to read your yard and best utilize your light and soil conditions. Whatever you have to work with: big or small, bright or shady, wet or dry, or all of the above, you can maximize your yard, and minimize the maintenance. You can find your "home away from home", just outside the door! Imagine it as the best Staycation you've ever had, and it's seconds away. The weather is NOT the same, 
growing conditions are NOT the same and you can't keep doing the same thing without throwing good money after bad, and be frustrated, still.  Of course, it's a little more complicated but it 
doesn't mean it can't still be the best, and most rewarding hobby, and a wonderful place to play at it. 

                          The Course: Home Staging/Redecorating​
All renovations appear magical on TV, and in design magazines. To get you from where you are to where you want to be is anything but. It takes lots of planning, many plan changes, once you find yourself, suddenly, WAY over budget, and it takes time. We all want a result to make us smile, and show to our friends, but spending more than you can afford, or making the project so big you'd lose money when selling; it isn't practical. Be realistic - it pays off at both ends. Think it all through and cost out every little detail; the smallest change can cost far more than you imagine.
And it doesn't all have to be done within a given time frame. If your budget is fixed, make it 3 projects, 1 at a time.​

(Above left) Woody perennials (trees and shrubs) and perennial plants  develop into a low maintenance, low water requirement garden that works for you, and not vice versa. 
As many are discovering, planting annuals is getting more and more expensive, and the disappointment in their poor performance, greater. The weather is the problem, and considering supplementing your annuals with perennial plants, or almost eliminating them entirely, can save you hours of work, money, and you have a garden you can see 12 months of the year.  There is considerable confusion over what a perennial is - it's any plant that comes back year after year - and there is very broad spectrum of woody (shrubs/trees), 
and soft stemmed (plants) to choose from. Above you see a chain link fence, and the view of a 'parking lot' in the neighbor's yard,  completely obstruct, and privacy created without the added expense of additional, very expensive, wood fencing.

The Course:   De-clutter your Home in 20 Minutes a Day 
Stuff, too much stuff, robs us of precious time, and energy, that can't be replaced, and we waste hundreds of hours a year looking for misplaced items. Getting rid of excess stuff eliminates approximately 40% of housework. Defeat chaos by developing basic interior design techniques, to edit, and aid, in redecorating your newly discovered space, into one that is functional and balanced. You add monetary value, and beauty to your home, and if selling, a space that allows others to see THEIR stuff in your space, sells best. What many of us are guilty of is believing all spaces need to filled with something. There's nothing wrong with an empty space ,and sometimes it's what's not IN the space, but what isn't that makes it so appealing. 
There were more than a few hours and a few dollars put into this room (Far Right) 
but, as it was, served no purpose. When insulated, and a heat vent redirected to it, it's is now a 4-season,  bright and sunny mud room which added resale value to our home.
  Redecorating lets you see ,and use, pre-existing space differently. Renovation budgets are more often than not, seriously underestimated, and what happens when your $20,000 gives but half of the space you'd imagined in your mind. You didn't know THAT was behind a wall, or you discover the flooring under that ugly carpet isn't hardwood like the rest of the house and good flooring, wood or otherwise, is not inexpensive. There is always something unexpected that makes, what you PLANNED, no longer feasible.
 So, rather than gutting, consider re-thinking the existing space, giving it an updated look 
and try to improve the function. It's not new but it has a new life.  Simply accessorizing your tired room, not putting up "what was I thinking?" wallpaper, as I did, isn't going to give you the JOY you want. Thinking the space through carefully, possibly using extra furniture in a way other than it was 'meant' to be used (up-cycling/repurposing), may mean it's just a few cans of paint, and a forfeit of free time for a few days. If a room is well designed, and works, you can change up the space relatively inexpensively.  With a coat of paint and perhaps a change of colour, an uninspiring room  can become one you love to show off.
By the way, paint isn't cheap anymore so before making a rash decision you can't afford to change, have them make you a $10 sample of it, take it home and live with it for a while. Once you are confident, go ahead and paint.  Swatches DO NOT look the same once you get them home, so take some lighter, darker and some from all the brands available at your paint store, and try them all out.  Remember they can computer match almost anything now so if the color you love is not by the paint you want to use, they can do that for you, including mixing a BM color in Behr paint, etc. 

To connect to LRSD's website regarding aforementioned courses, please 
click  on the link above, or call (204) 237-8130
All classes are held on Wednesday evenings,  from 6:30-9pm.
2017 Spring Schedule

De-Clutter Your Home, April 19th & May 3rd    
Attracting Butterflies, Bees & Songbirds to Your Garden,  May  10th 
Landscaping & Gardening in the New Weather, May 17th to June 7th

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5 deBourmont Avenue, St. Boniface
The evolution of a home is an exercise carried out, through the entire time you live in it, because your tastes change, your needs, different, or just because you tire of seeing the same thing, year after year. Sometimes it's a budget thing, and it's not realistic to pull walls down, move plumbing (never recommended), or buy brand new windows, so, pick a room, one at a time, and change it. Over time, when you're down to the last room (that hasn't happened here yet), you'll start over at the beginning. It's our nature to wish our homes look fresh, clean, and well styled. And they don't call houses money pits for no good reason.  However, if you think really believe moving answers your "I am unhappy with my home" issues, remember you have been working out all the kinks of the house you are in. If assuming a new, or newer home is going to come with that added bonus, think again. When you buy a used car, you find out why someone sold it: it's tired, and somewhat worn out, and it's typically not a cheap fix when it's determined how to repair it. So, even in brand new houses, once you've settled in, and the 1 year warranty has just expired, you will find that everything was NOT as it initially appeared, and it's going to be expensive. Here you go again!!
OR, you can just stay where you are, knowing what is, and isn't do-able, and what is, or isn't wrong, and chip away at it, room by room, until they make you feel like you've home, again! Below are photos of our kitchen/dining area over the course of 20 years, doing things bit by bit. And I promise, like a good edit, even if the space is small, when it's done, you are going to celebrating, and patting yourself on the back. Take before, during and especially, after, photographs so you can see how far you've come. Sometimes it takes quite a while, and you forget and become discouraged. A well thought out plan, carried out as money is available, will, in the end, be as close to your dream room, as is possible. 
 Above - our kitchen through the many transitions; the changes in our taste amaze. First, it was all about color, as it was/is not a 'bright' house. Then, a cleaner, more lean look appeared to be the answer, and it worked for quite some time but eventually,  we needed more storage, and we had to fix that. I love hardwood flooring, but I wanted something easier under foot, and certainly more dog friendly: By installing oversized tiles (vinyl/ceramic combo) in the kitchen, living room, and into the front mud room, it alluded to a much larger space. So, despite splitting the kitchen with a HUGE, solid peninsula, complete with a bank of six, enormous drawers, the space reads as being almost doubled in square footage. Yes, taking the wall down made a huge difference, but extending the flooring throughout this half of the house (the LR remained hardwood), is what mostly created the illusion of large!

Left ..a gutted, 2nd floor kitchen, and waste of good space, became an amazing, dream come true WINDOWED DRESSING ROOM!
In this long and narrow room (R), changes were garden doors at the back end, new flooring and paint. Otherwise,  furniture placement & accessories
make a tiny-ish space feel very large. 
That, and 20 years rethinking it.
Trust the little voice in your head that says "wouldn't it be interesting if.." then do it.  Think outside the box; imitation may be the greatest form of compliment but don't try to duplicate - 
you don't have that space. Use those concepts as jumping points, 
but put your own stamp on them. There are enough cookie cutter decors - make your own a statement; you live here! Don't feel compelled to stay in a single 'style'; the more you allow yourself to dabble in eras, the more interesting things becomes. Introduce 
new, eclectic and less traditional pieces, allowing your design sensibilities to broaden, and stop trying to duplicate someone 
else's space. It's not yours, and 
99% of those pictures you see are staged: You live in the real world. Individualism is a wonderful thing; let your home reflect 
YOU and not some designer, with a limitless budget, and a home owner who leaves them to do it while they are abroad. Borrow 
ideas: Even the best designers worship someone else's work. It's 
not about reinventing the wheel, it's about finding another use for it. USE YOUR CAMERA - record the before, the on-going, and the 
after, perhaps many, happily ever afters! When you look back at
 where you started, even if it seems forever away from where you 
want to be, you will still feel accomplished, and you'll appreciate 
the stage you are at, more.

(Below) Back to Landscaping: In 2011, amidst a HUGE disaster, we continued paving with recycled products: i.e. broken concrete, found bricks and paving stones. This was done in keeping with the side and back yard walks and pathways: there is NO lawn anywhere on the property. Like our kitchen/DR flooring, repeating the same surfacing, connected the front to the back yard, it was visually pleasing, and easy on the wallet. This is NOT to suggest you should all dig up your lawn, and pave it . Our house was built in 1942, the original sidewalk has a very well used, weathered aesthetic, meaning it's old and not in great shape, BUT considering the cost of replacing it, or the horrid notion of bright, shiny new concrete, replacing it, or cookie cutter paving stones, we chose this route intentionally. As can be seen, the front garden was annihilated, but later that spring, almost everything came back. Even the following year, it appeared a few plants were so traumatized, they took an entire year off, reappearing in spring of 2012.  Nature;  it's all pretty darned amazing, and so resilient.