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Disaster leads to great design

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Disaster leads to great design

A bone-shaking crack of lighting followed by a power failure isn’t an unusual occurrence at our Haliburton area cottage. So when it happened on an August afternoon last summer, the Man of the House (MOTH) and I did not panic.

We were unsettled, however, when we realized the lighting had started a fire in the roof. The water the firefighters (heroes!) poured into it extinguished the blaze, but damage was done to a loft bedroom, the kitchen floor below it and, most noticeably, to the much-used, below-grade family room.

I knew a makeover was in order. But as I subscribe to the notion that a cottage should look lived in, rather than like a design-mag centre-spread, I worked with Walmart, Samsung and Dimplex to create a comfy, affordable, year-round family room.

Redecorating began with an online browse of Walmart for anchor seating and occasional tables. The large, lumpy pull-out (which no-one ever used) would be replaced, I decided, with something more flexible and compact, and augmented with hand-me-down tub chairs refreshed with slipcovers.

This was the perfect way to shop for this project. I ordered several items; those I chose not to use were returned to a local store (TIP: check with the local Walmart about whether and which online items can be returned in store.) I even returned an item to the Bracebridge location after hauling it from the city, and returned an occasional table instore after assembling it and then deciding I didn’t want it — all with perfect ease. Of course, I was careful to keep original packaging, hardware, instructions and receipts.

The caramel-toned micro-fibre of the loveseat works beautifully with the straw coloured walls. Delivered in a flat pack, it took less than 15 minutes to assemble.

Stylish, sturdy side tables have a practical warm white finish, and a useful bottom shelf for books and games.

On a quiet evening or rainy afternoon, MOTH and I love to watch movies; many of our summers have included it DIY film fests. In the winter, watching hockey is a family tradition. So everyone is delighted with Samsung’s new QLED TV Q7, part of a series unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year.

A really good television would be a splurge for us — here’s why it’s worthwhile: new “metal Quantum Dot material” delivers really bright, true colour— regardless of how light or dark the scene is, or whether it’s being viewed being played in a brightly lit or darkened room. MOTH, who has a degree in film, thinks it’s rave-worthy. When high-speed comes to the cottage, we can take advantage of smart features as well.

One of my favourite pieces is a branch-motif floor lamp, also from Walmart. When we watch our new set, we dim overhead LED’s and turn this lamp on. It’s the perfect lighting for watching films.

The slim-profile QLED also solves design peeves — cable clutter, clumsy wall mounts and bulky box accessories — with a single, transparent connection cable through which all devices connect, and a no-gap wall-mount that’s easy to fit flush to a wall. Set up was superbly simple, says MOTH.

We chose for it a sculptural “Gravity Stand” and set it atop an electric fireplace console from Dimplex, which — when sliding door panels are closed — looks like a carefully-chosen piece of furniture. Open doors reveals a firebox that can be operated by remote control or with the wave of a hand. The distressed wood finish is smartened up with the hardware executed in the finish du jour — black metal hardware.

In winter, I’ll warm the space with the fire feature; until then it can be used without heat. Either way, we can now get back to so much-needed R&R!

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A self-confessed Opinion-ista, Vicky Sanderson has been writing and talking about décor, design and lifestyle issues for almost two decades, and has tested just about every home product known to humankind. Vicky writes widely-read columns for The Toronto Star, Reno and Décor magazine, and her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, House and Home and Canadian Living. She now also runs Around the House. Follow her on Twitter @ATHwithVicky, on Insta @athwithvicky and on Facebook

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