CCSRtip Tuesday – Hiding Media Components & Their Wires

What do Media Components ie. – DVD/BluRay players, CD players, Gaming consoles – all have in common? Ugly wires that poke up and hang out everywhere!

What can be done about it?

CCSRtip – Hide those unsightly media component wires and even the units themselves with a custom built mantle or media unit!

In our example below, we designed a recessed mantle that could house all of our media components and then have all the wires come up a neat grommet hole through the back of the flat mantle piece – where all the wires could hide nicely behind the TV unit itself. This mantle doubles as a nice accent to our fireplace feature wall – one that you would never guess is loaded with all the necessities for movie watching and game playing.


Thanks to TDR Woodcraft for always understanding the visions and for BUILDING this amazing piece. Thanks to Crystal Loewen Photography for the always beautiful photos.

For project elevation drawings, click here.


A Tale of the “Ugly” Brick Fireplace…

A few weeks ago, a lovely friend, Kim of  Favourite Things, asked if I might have any ideas of what to do with her “ugly” brick fireplace surround. Without even having a picture, I knew exactly what she was talking about. It seems that quite a few homes that were built 15-25 years ago have these brick fireplaces. We had one… We demo’d it… What a messy affair! Luckily she did not want/could not take it down… she was looking for something to mask it’s appearance.

Photo Credit: Kimberly Gladman

Photo Credit: Kimberly Gladman

Now these brick surrounds aren’t necessarily ugly, they just seem outdated amongst the rustic whistler style cultured stoned fireplaces, or the contemporary inserts that have a seamless chic concrete or drywalled surround below.


Solus Decor -


L&S Home -


We knew that we had to work with what we had and therefore put our minds together to come up with a design that incorporated a fire-resistant surround and not disrupt the integral brick structure but to also update the look of our little “ugly” duckling.

This story does not have an ending quite yet…. stay tuned and see our happily ever after. Here is a teaser “mock-up” drawing of what is to come. UPDATE: click here to see the finished product!


CCSRtip Tuesday – Modular Furniture

mod·u·lar  (mj-lr)


1. Of, relating to, or based on a module or modulus.
2. Designed with standardized units or dimensions, as for easy assembly and repair or flexible arrangement and use: modular furniture; modular homes.

Modular Ottoman - From "Bombay" 2007

Modular Furniture is extremely useful in small spaces – such an my current living situation, a 968 sq. ft. Garden Suite (occupied by two adults, a 2 year old and 5 month old) The key to the success of this new “modular” furniture movement is flexibility. In the picture featured, my “modular” or movable ottoman can serve as a type of coffee table or as an extra seat. This piece is also wonderful because it can be moved very easily because it is outfitted with wheels, so when the space need to accommodate the children it can roll around to create more space, or it can be “locked” in place when we need more structure for a more formal gathering. Whether in a small space or large space it is wonderful to find pieces of furniture that are extremely functional and also (hopefully!!!) aesthetically pleasing to the eye. My challenge to you… Your next furniture purchase, no matter what your living situation, room to spare or none to share… See if you could use a piece of furniture that has some “flex” to it!
  • What to think about when choosing Modular Furniture for yourself –
  1. Are the proportions right for my space – ie. is it too big or too small?
  2. Does it have 2 or more uses? Is it practical and easy to move?
  3. ALWAYS: Do I love it? Is it something that I can invest in and not have to quickly replace or get tired of.

UPDATE: After Photos

2009-04 SIR Before Photo

2009-04 SIR Kitchen After Photo

2009-11 JNR Before Photo

2009-11 JNR Residence Basement Suite After Photo

2009-14 BBR Before Photo

2009-14 BBR After Picture


UPDATE: Before Photos

2009-04 Stephen Before

2009-11 JNR Before Pictures

2009-14 BBR Before Picture

Stay tuned for the after photos from our most recent photoshoot with crystalloewenphotography



In the wake of the “that” misinformer

Misinformation – Not my best friend today.

I have been working with a wonderful client on an almost complete home renovation. For the past few months we have been re-designing their Kitchen & Bathrooms along with choosing new “finishes” (ie. flooring – tile/engineered hardwood/carpet, countertops, wall tile, and paint) The client has a small dog and cat and wished to live a casual lifestyle where guests can feel free to keep their shoes on in their home and where they can even have other animal visitors. For the main flooring in the home we had chosen a hand-scraped engineered hardwood. The hand-scaped look has a textured top layer that hides scratches and dents really well – great for getting wood floors into your home when you have animals.

LONG STORY SHORT – they had another flooring supplier come in – and completely discount almost everything I had told them. They insisted that REAL HARDWOOD FLOORING was the way they should be going and that the product that we had chosen was made from MDF (not correct) and would “puff” up if any water should get onto the surface. This is just simply Un-True and MISINFORMATION!!! Now this new “information” has cast doubt in my clients mind! BUT… this all worked out for good! This doubt allowed for the client to get an additional explanation of why the product we had chosen was indeed a great choice for them.

SIDE NOTE – From my brain to yours. Engineered Hardwood – normally has a plywood backing with a wood veneered top and a HDF core. Depending on quality ($$$) some backing is actually engineered in a sophisticated criss-cross pattern that is incredibly strong and considered extremely “stable” as opposed to “REAL HARDWOOD” that is not as stable and can easily warp and expands/contracts more drastically. You always hear about re-finishing hardwood, and you cannot normally do this to engineered, but you DON’T need to as most engineered hardwood floors have an incredible warranty. Disclaimer! I am still learning about all the different materials out there, this is a generalization as products do vary.

As I am not 100% versed in all things Hardwood I always rely on those experts out there that can provide me with the information about hardwood or any other product that I am specifying. It is so important (As my mother always says…) to do your homework on any product that you decide to use. It’s not always easy, but I try to make a point of doing this on big ticket items and I ALWAYS do this for all the products I specify for my clients – because IT’S MY JOB!!!


Welcome to CCSRdesign

Welcome to, our new venture into web-blogging. Look for updates on current projects, CCSR Tip Tuesday, and other interesting thoughts from our small design company based out of Maple Ridge, BC.