Tag Archives: Before and After


Decked out : DIY deck transformation

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Decked out : DIY deck transformation

In an ideal world, my husband Mike and I would have ripped up our deck and reconfigured and rebuilt the whole thing. But truthfully, after building a new fence, renovating a mudroom and gutting our main floor bathroom… it just wasn’t going to happen. We decided the best plan of action would be to make the best of it and fix it up so we could maximize our time outside with the kids.

First up, we power-washed the deck. If you don’t have a power-washer, we highly recommend you invest in one. Power-washing lifted off most of the previous paint, and gave us a nice clean surface to stain and paint over. Ours isn’t the strongest unit out there, so it did take us a full day to do the two levels. But I would take it over sanding a deck, any day.


Once the surface was clean and dry (24 hours later), Mike removed the back railing. This side of our deck faces the neighbour’s backyard, and we figured adding some privacy would make the space feel more enjoyable. Once the section was sawed down, he cut out three four-by-four in. squares in the deck for the new posts to slide into. It’s important to have a strong support in case of strong winds, and it also prevents warping.

Our privacy fence is about 16 ft. wide, so we did three posts across. Mike then split pressure treated fence boards into 2.25-in. strips. This gave us two pieces per fence board. For spacing in between, he used a 3/8-in. board, knowing that the wood would shrink and the spacing would inevitably be bigger than what it started out as. Every two feet (in addition to the fourby- fours) he added extra two-by-two strips to reinforce the boards. Using screws (not nails), he would screw the panels in the front into the posts and from the back of the fence into the two-by-twos. This part was more time consuming than we originally anticipated. Slicing the boards took a while, and making sure the panels were level all the way up required serious patience on Mike’s part. When all the panels were up, he cut the top off the middle post, so it was flush and left the two corner ones up for our lights.

Next up, staining. Our Home Hardware store recommended we use stain, not paint, as it would be much more durable. The stain we went with was Beauti-Tone’s WoodShield acrylic deck and siding stain in solid white. The deck wasn’t completely stripped, but because the existing paint was a flat finish, we were able to get away with not sanding it. The stain covered so well. I used a four-in. stain brush on a broomstick to apply it, and I had next to no streak marks. It took two full coats to do the whole deck, and we used about four gallons of stain. To give you an idea of the time-frame, this job took one full day!

For the railings, we used Beauti- Tone’s Signature Series exterior paint. Again, we used a pure white, and it covered very nicely. Because the railings get way less traffic than the deck, we went with a paint. They are in rough shape, so we wanted to seal them as much as possible (hiding the imperfections). When the staining/ painting was finished, Mike put in the other two four-by-fours and strung up the lights. I was set on getting a couch with light cushions so that our decor could be interchangeable and versatile.

Overall, I’m so happy with the transformation. It’s earthy and boho and feels like we live in Palm Springs or SoCal. I can’t believe it’s the same deck, and it just goes to show you that even if it’s not in the budget to do a complete overhaul, you can still love the space you are in, with the right planning.

Rebecca Heart is a decor-obsessed, bargain enthusiast based in Toronto. She and her husband Mike run a full-time home renovation and decor blog called mikeandme.ca, which follows their journey updating a century-old Craftsman home. mikeandme.ca


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Refresh and reset, a masterfully designed master makeover

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Refresh and reset, a masterfully designed master makeover

It wasn’t the easy access that enticed my clients to buy their home on a busy west end street, it was what was behind the house that sealed the deal. They instantly fell in love with the beauty of the seemingly endless backyard. The deep, west-facing lot was filled with mature greenery and connected to a well-established golf course. With no fence between them, and the course, they could enjoy the park-like setting beyond their own property.

Good intentions

The house was in good form and required only minor updates. However, the second-storey master bedroom was disappointing. It should have commanded the best views of the garden and the yard below, but the layout and window placement didn’t take advantage of it. The south wall featured a large window, but it limited the options for furniture placement.

The client decided to add a Juliette balcony with French doors that opened to the view, as well as a fireplace on the windowless interior wall to create a cosy seating area. We also beefed up the trim and added detail to the ceiling to emphasize the room’s height. Lastly, it was decided that the the south window was hand-cuffing us to one layout, so it was replaced with a transom window. This option allowed us to position the bed under it, while still benefiting from the southern sunlight.

Green is in

The chosen colour palette for the bedroom was inspired by the gardens below. My clients weren’t afraid of colour, so we went with various shades of green to create a calming, and restful, bedroom. Green is also associated with new growth and new beginnings. It’s a colour that’s full of life – just like them.

Tonal values

It might seem like a disparate selection of mixed greens, but each tone helps to consolidate the look when it’s repeated throughout. This brings harmony to the overall design. Don’t be hesitant to mix shades of the same colour, as it takes the pressure off of trying to match exact colours.

Contrasting textures

Mixing textures also helps to harmonize a well-designed room. I like to add at least four textures to any space. You might want a deep, plush carpet for a cosy feel. For a traditional look, crisp is the way to go with linens. Or, you may prefer the opposite. If you use natural linens for your bedding, add the crispness elsewhere, such as metal drawer pulls or mirrored bedside tables. Create an airy element by adding sheers that billow in the breeze. Black trim and dark wood tones help to ground a space.

We chose textures and patterns to add depth and animation to the green palette by using fabric, pillows, carpets, a bench seat, and the fireplace surround in stone and walnut. The mid-century modern, walnut-over-ply curves of the shell chairs add earthy sophistication to the seating area.


The extras

The design of the trim on the ceiling now emphasizes this often-neglected surface. Rather than the two original windows, the French doors provide fresh air and spectacular views. A new soft, ripple-fold window treatment was added to give the impression of an expansive glass wall. Now the master bedroom makes the most of its entitled position, and fully embraces the garden view. And, it feels as fresh as it looks.

Jane Lockhart, B.A.A.I.D., is a multi-award winning designer, author and television personality. Jane Lockhart Interior Design janelockhart.com


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Inside and out a 30-year-old kitchen and exterior landscape get a California-style makeover

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Inside and out a 30-year-old kitchen and exterior landscape get a California-style makeover

Photography: Gillian Jackson

You get to know a thing or two about a house after living in it for 30 years. For my clients, Sue and Lou who love to cook and entertain and be outdoors, their house had served them well. The lot was a great size and the 30-year-old trees were now stately and full, so moving wasn’t a consideration, but they knew it all needed some fine-tuning.

Seating nook
The desk, and seating nook offer great views of both the kitchen and the backyard.

As world travellers, they knew they loved the Mediterranean and California lifestyle of simple indoor-outdoor living. Their backyard was substantial and had a built-in pool, cabana, outdoor kitchen and covered wood-fired barbecue/ roasting oven. But inside, the small kitchen felt cut off from the yard and view by the covered deck.

A renovation was in order to enlarge the kitchen, but because we needed to preserve the concrete roof tiles — the Marley roof couldn’t be replaced — we had to dig out from underneath it while propping the roof in place. The area under the original covered porch was incorporated into a larger, eat-in kitchen and the walls became windows to the outdoors.


Because a great cooking and entertaining space was at the top of their wish list, we knew we wanted the home to be breezy and lightfilled, and to take full advantage of the southern exposure. A Nana wall was installed because it tidily folds away, offering the perfect solution to access the outdoors. The original skylights were preserved and with new, larger windows, boundless light now floods into the space.

ABOVE LEFT: White oak floors, cream coloured cabinetry and integrated appliances soften the look of a hard-working space. ABOVE RIGHT: The Marley roof tiles were kept intact and the extension grew under it.


Once the renovation was underway, the homeowners decided to upgrade the backyard, too. They resurfaced the pool and pool deck. Lou is a passionate golfer so he had a one-hole putting green installed on one side of the yard. Light-coloured Travertine paving stones lift and brighten the backyard, and a taupe solid stain helps blend out the building structures, allowing the pool and greenery to stand out. The trick was to continue the feeling from indoors to out, so we chose white oak flooring in a light colour to blur the lines between them.

RIGHT: Custom details like the vent hood and backsplash personalize and enhance a kitchen.


The kitchen went from a small, dark space to an expansive, chef’s kitchen with plenty of room to hang out and enjoy all the views. The custom-designed kitchen by Downsview Kitchens, addresses all the homeowners’ needs. Creamy white cabinetry and backsplash tile are enhanced by the natural quartz countertops. When you walk in, your eye is immediately drawn out to the backyard and the kitchen recedes as part of the furnishings.


We created a servery adjacent to the main cooking area where counter, sink, bar fridges, liquor cabinet and cooler drawers are accessible. Guests could help themselves in the kitchen without getting in the way of the prep and cooking.

A large island accommodates the kitchen sinks, expansive prepping area and counter seating for guests. I’m not a fan of the work triangle theory, which came about after the Second World War and was practical at the time. Now we work in zones: store, chill, prep, cook and clean. I like to design kitchens, so you don’t have to cross the cooking zone to get to the fridge, keeping the zones separate but nearby.

We incorporated a desk area to rein in any paper clutter and placed it next to the new glass door that leads to the outdoor kitchen. The seating nook is a cosy, glassed-in area that gets you as close to the pool as possible without leaving the house. Swivel chairs make it easy to take in every angle, the whole view, outside and in.

Now that their wish list is complete, the homeowners live in a resort-like atmosphere, that they can appreciate every day. They didn’t bargain on the fact that I would be at their door every hot summer day for a swim, but they’ll get used to me.

SOURCES KITCHEN: custom kitchen, custom colour, Downsview Kitchens APPLIANCES: Miele OVENS, DISHWASHER: Sub-Zero, Wolf BAR FRIDGE, REFRIGERATOR: Wolf INDUCTION COOKTOP: Caplan’s GLASS WALL SYSTEM:NanaWall System TABLE AND CHAIRS: Wormwood maple table and custom chairs Brice’s COUNTERTOP: natural quartz, Dolce Vita from Interstone PAINT: WALLS: Plaster of Paris CSP-185, Benjamin Moore TRIM & CEILING: Oxford White CC-30, Benjamin Moore FLOORING: White Oak, Nautilus from Vintage Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

Designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, Jane Lockhart is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of design and colour. janelockhart.com


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