Tag Archives: Makeover

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Work from home with style and substance

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Work from home with style and substance

Never before has the concept of creating an efficient space to work from home been so important to so many, not only for professional productivity, but for the adaptability of family life as well. With more and more people adjusting to the new normal of working remotely, the couch has quickly become a virtual seat at a conference room table and kitchens have transformed into remote classrooms. Now more than ever, there’s a desire to maximize the function of our everyday spaces and design them in a way that creates a customized sense of balance, calm, and comfort in our homes.

Design wish list

When the homeowners of this open-concept basement first reached out for design help, they had one simple request, “We want to want to be in the space!” They dreamed of transforming their under-utilized lower level into a place where they could efficiently run their business from home, put their feet up and relax at the end of the day, and gather together with their children. They struggled envisioning how their dark, windowless space could become a bright and airy retreat, brimming with beauty and practicality.

“Now more than ever, there’s a desire to maximize the function of our everyday spaces and design them in a way that creates a customized sense of balance, calm, and comfort in our homes.”

Designated zones

I was happy to be their fresh set of eyes, and my first design goal was to establish a functional layout that took all of their desired uses into consideration. A dedicated office area was at the top of their wish list, followed by a zone for lounging, and a dining table that could double as a homework station and meeting space. By working with as much of their existing furniture as possible, I simply rearranged the layout and introduced various rugs to define and visually separate each of the zones within the open space.

“Various table and floor lamps were added to achieve layers of light that washed the space with warmth, and the walls and ceiling were wrapped with a crisp white paint hue to help reflect as much light as possible.”

Layers of light

Since there was no natural light, creating a fresh and welcoming atmosphere meant introducing additional artificial lighting sources to balance the existing grid of pot lights. Various table and floor lamps were added to achieve layers of light that washed the space with warmth, and the walls and ceiling were wrapped with a crisp white paint hue to help reflect as much light as possible. A vintage hutch painted with Linen White Chalked Paint from Rustoleum was repositioned behind the desk to provide storage and display, and blends seamlessly into the wall colour, which maintains a low-contrast, subtle atmosphere.

Faux foliage

The lack of natural light also meant it wasn’t possible to introduce living foliage, so a selection of faux plants were added to bring an element of nature indoors along with warm, organic woods, and textured fabrics. To give the office a subtle sense of privacy from the rest of the space, a simple grouping of macrame plant hangers were hung from the ceiling to create a lush curtain of green, while still keeping the space open and airy.

Bring the world home

Finally, I took cues from the homeowners’ two favourite vacation spots (Jamaica and NYC) to create a customized staycation style where tropical vibes meet big-city chic. The peel-and-stick palm wall mural by Wallsauce was the perfect way to add a huge dose of WOW to the space, and a collection of one-of-a-kind Jenn Fenton cigar box purses were displayed on modern lucite floating shelves alongside a nod to the Big Apple itself.

By defining various zones within the space, incorporating fresh colours and finishes, and adding a personalized decor touch, this renovated basement has become a space that the homeowners not only WANT to be in – they never want to leave.

Photos: Larry Arnal

Sources

PALM MURAL Wallsauce SOFA, COFFEE TABLES, FLOOR LAMP Structube AREA RUGS, BAR COUNTER, SIDE TABLE, FAUX PLANTS Ikea MACRAME PLANT HANGERS, ACCESSORIES Hue La La PAINT Hutch: Linen White Chalk Paint; Walls: Zinsser Interior Eggshell, Perma White; Rust-Oleum CHAIR HomeSense

A self-proclaimed DIY ninja, Leigh-Ann believes that great design has little to do with how much money you spend, but rather how creative you can be with your budget. As an expert on CityTV’s Cityline, Leigh-Ann embraces every opportunity to spark creativity and instill confidence in others who strive to “do it yourself.” For more information, visit huelala.com Twitter.com @leighannallaire

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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.

BEFORE

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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Boho bathroom on a budget

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Boho bathroom on a budget

Photography By Larry Arnal

I’m always up for a design challenge. Fortunately, pushing the budget boundaries to prove that it is possible to achieve high style at a low cost just happens to be my forte. But occasionally, a project comes along that forces my creativity to a whole new DIY level, and that was certainly the case with this once-tired mauve and melamine bathroom that had a modest makeover budget of only $500.

Now, since I always preach that great style has little to do with how much money you have, but rather how creative you can be with your budget, I was determined to put that $500 where my mouth is and show that if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and put in a little good ‘ol fashion elbow grease, you can save BIG without sacrificing quality and style.

Here are the five ways that I achieved a champagne bathroom on a beer budget…

1. Give your existing cabinets a splash of personality

If your existing cabinets are in good condition, then why bother going to the expense of replacing them when you can affordably transform what you already have with a few DIY ingredients? I reused the existing flatpanel laminate doors with wood handrail, and simply added some shaker-style applied mouldings to the fronts to create instant architectural detail. Then, I painted the entire door, including the handrail, using Chalked paint from Rust-Oleum in a fresh hue called Tidal Pond to turn the vanity into a focal point full of eye-catching personality.

If you’re planning to tackle a DIY cabinet overhaul of your own, the key is to invest in the right products. Chalked paint is a great option because it doesn’t require a primer coat beforehand on most surfaces, it can be easily brushed or aerosol sprayed, and the two-coat application dries very quickly, leaving a smooth, velvety finish. But, the most important step is to apply a clear protective matte coat to the cabinets after painting to ensure their durability and longevity.

2. Update your hardware with a fresh metallic finish

I always think of hardware as the jewelry in a bathroom, but if new handles or knobs aren’t in the budget, then give your existing ones an instant, inexpensive makeover with a coat of trendy, metallic paint. In the case of this bathroom, I scored a pre-loved brass set at the ReStore, painted them with Universal metallic spray paint in brushed nickel, and then attached them to the door fronts. One of my favourite DIY tricks is to buy budget lighting and knobs in a less expensive brass finish, and then transform them myself to the finish of my choice. It’s an easy way to get a high-end look for little investment, and no one will ever know the difference.

3. Dated bathtub or tile? Yes, you can paint it!

Although mauve bathtubs and floral wall tiles were all the rage in decades past, it was time to give this throwback bathroom a fresh face. The only problem was that removing the old elements and replacing them with new simply wasn’t in the budget. So, after doing some DIY research, I discovered an affordable epoxy acrylic product appropriately called “Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit,” that would allow me to quite literally brush on a smooth, porcelain-like finish in just a few hours. I have to tell you, I was a bit skeptical, but the results far exceeded my expectations.

And as with all successful do-it-yourself projects, I took the necessary steps to prepare the surfaces before painting, which included using an etching solution to dull the original glossy finish, removing all caulking, and thoroughly cleaning the tiles and tub before the refinishing fun began. After the new finish dried, I re-caulked the surround and the tub was back in use within a few short days.

4. No quartz? No problem!

If you’re living with outdated, worn or damaged laminate, and new natural stone countertops simply aren’t in the budget, why not roll on a fresh, durable coating that will give you the look of quartz without the hefty price? RustOleum’s Countertop Transformations collection offers a paintable solution in a selection of neutral colours that has just about everything you need in a DIY-friendly kit, including a protective topcoat with mica flecks that made the once-bland bathroom counters glisten like quartz. It’s the perfect weekend project if you’re craving an affordable cosmetic countertop refresh.

5. Custom shelving without the custom price tag

Adding shelving in a bathroom is a great way to pepper in additional storage and make use of vertical space, but if you truly want to create a customized look, head straight to your local home improvement store for some stock lumber and stain. I wanted to add teak wood shelves in the Boho-inspired bathroom, but didn’t want to pay the teak wood price tag, so I had pine boards cut at the store to a custom length and then picked up a pint of “Early American” Varathane stain to create my own luxe-for-less finish. I affixed the boards to some inexpensive brackets, and voilá… custom without the custom price tag.

If you’re looking to tackle a budgetfriendly bathroom makeover, then just remember that all you truly need is the right products for the project, a little sweat equity, and a splash of creativity to turn your design dreams into an affordable reno reality.

A self-proclaimed DIY ninja, Leigh-Ann believes that great design has little to do with how much money you spend, but rather how creative you can be with your budget. As an expert on CityTV’s Cityline, Leigh-Ann embraces every opportunity to spark creativity and instill confidence in others who strive to “DO IT YOURSELF.” For more information, visit huelala.com @leighannallai

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Tips for kitchen bliss

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Tips for kitchen bliss

I recently completed a tough kitchen makeover — maybe the toughest yet as it was my own personal space. Follow my tips below on how to create a space you will truly love.

I chose my appliances first. I knew I wanted something completely different and when I saw the new Fingerprint Resistant Sunset Bronze collection from Whirlpool, I made this my jumping off point. It’s the crème-de-la-crème of this kitchen. With a brushed satin finish and rose gold undertones, this fingerprint resistant suite really sets off this space.

For the walls I decided to stay true to my one true paint love – Jojo whitewash PF17 from Para. I find staying with the same colour in an open concept gives the space a cohesive and continual look.

Next, I worked with DV Kitchen and Bath to find the right cabinets for a clean, streamlined look. I decided on a flat-panel front but in trendy gloss white; the gloss helps to bounce light and creates the illusion of a larger space. Plus these cabinets are super easy to wipe down, keeping that new look and feel.

To keep the cabinets streamlined, I selected Grass soft-close hardware from their Nova Pro Scala collection. Grass is the hidden gem in any cabinet system – my cabinets push closed silently and open with a gentle touch.

For the countertop I wanted a waterfall island. I chose Caesarstone’s Calacatta Nuvo for both the island, counters and backsplash. This countertop is stunning and durable and is the centre of attention in the kitchen. Choosing a primarily white countertop with white cabinets creates the illusion of a much larger space. Don’t be afraid to have your countertops the same colour as your cabinets. And make sure you have them installed properly. I too often find clients skimp on the most important part of the kitchen renovation, which is the installation. I turned to the folks at Renovare Marble and Granite, who installed my counters with complete professionalism and perfection and also create a complete custom backsplash for my space that is a serious showstopper.

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times: the faucet is the gem in the kitchen. I went with the Delta Trinsic single-handle pulldown in Champagne Bronze. The design is simply smart and elegant, with an integrated pulldown wand. Plus, the colour is a modern take on gold that pairs well with my stainless steel sink and my appliances.

I went a bit trendy with the herringbone style floor, but I used a classic and timeless marble tile to balance the trendiness. The result is amazing and ties the cupboards, countertops, closet and paint all together. This tile came from Creek Side Tile, which has a vast selection.

In my house, the HVAC piping went up through one of the kitchen walls I wanted to remove, making a full open-concept impossible. Originally I was bummed about having to keep the piping there, requiring a closet to hide it in. I now love this closet. It is a fun architectural focal point, where I was able to add display shelves and texture. To create a perfect finish and get a properly sized door for this closet, I used Metrie’s Trude Craft Collection.

Onto the stunning finishing touches. The dishware and stools were found on Wayfair Canada. They have an extensive collection of affordable options and offer free shipping. These stools are elegant, simple and have brass accents that I could not do without.

The blinds are TriLight and offer a unique combination of sheer pleated shade on the top and a honeycomb shade on the bottom. It’s like having three looks in one – all sheer, all privacy or half and half. This design is exclusive to Budget Blinds. In my kitchen I choose to go with Artcraft for lights with brass stems, accents and posts. They fit perfectly with the appliances, faucet and the accent pieces I choose – once again, tying the entire space together.

Jo Alcorn is founder and design specialist at Alcorn Home. https://alcornhome.com/

Photography by Jason Hartog

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Cover Story: Bold Moves

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Cover Story: Bold Moves

By Lydia McNutt • Photography By Stacey Van Berkel

British-Canadian interior decorating guru, television host and entrepreneur, Debbie Travis takes RENO & DECOR to the historic streets of Wandsworth, London, inside her very own 19th-Century townhouse—and the site of a recent renovation intended to breathe new life into this old home.

CHARACTER BUILDING

The bathroom became a focus of Travis’ redesign, thanks to its obvious space constraints and perhaps more importantly, its lack of character.

It’s here, Travis reveals, that this self-taught pro came up against an all-too-common interior decorating hurdle—limited size. She thoughtfully describes the space as her “challenge.”

“It’s a luxury being able to start from scratch in the bathroom,” says Travis of the renovation.

TIP: One of the easiest ways to start a bathroom renovation is with a mood board. Collect your inspirations, whether it’s colour, texture, or the type of finish you want. You may work on this for months, Travis says, but the choices evolve. “Don’t rush the job,” says Travis. “Play with that space over and over again, until you get the image that you want.”

THE ART OF BATHING

Travis’ selections are methodical, functional and beautiful. An arresting freestanding bathtub not only became a beautiful focal point in Travis’ bathroom, but it also artfully creates the illusion of more space.

“It worked perfectly in here because it’s not too high, it’s not too long, and it has this wonderful organic shape,” Travis explains. “It’s incredibly comfortable.”

When shopping for a bathtub, it pays off to research different shapes, styles and sizes to ensure that it’s a good fit for you. Don’t be shy to get inside the tub and try it on for size, so to speak. It’s really the only way to determine whether the style complements your curves.

LUSCIOUS LAYERS

Travis likes to play with different materials to create textural interest. Surfaces such as rough natural stone or marble are great base textures, and pair well with woods and glass. In Travis’ own bathroom, tile and texture became important decor elements. She selected a chic, fabric-inspired tile for the shower, featuring an oversized stripe. “You don’t have to have a huge room to go large scale,” Travis says.

TRAVIS’ SELECTIONS ARE METHODICAL, FUNCTIONAL AND BEAUTIFUL. AN ARRESTING FREESTANDING BATHTUB NOT ONLY BECAME A BEAUTIFUL FOCAL POINT IN TRAVIS’ BATHROOM, BUT IT ALSO ARTFULLY CREATES THE ILLUSION OF MORE SPACE.

STAR TREATMENT

Speaking of large scale, let’s address the Sophia Loren in the room. Don’t get us wrong. Travis is a proponent of neutral, simple and classic style. “Then, look to add the drama and personality,” she says. Travis selected an image of a young Sophia Loren, which she had enlarged and printed onto a durable canvas. This dramatic background makes the bathtub stand out even more.

The resulting interior is cleverly filled with light, texture and personality—a welcoming, luxurious and relaxing retreat Travis is proud to call “home.”

“A successful bathroom makeover, when it comes down to it, is about how it makes you feel. I’m very pleased about how my bathroom turned out. It is a gorgeous place to start the day. But even better, it is an incredible place to end the day, soaking in this tub with a glass of champagne.”

Lydia McNutt is an award-winning writer, editor, journalist pro based in the Greater Toronto Area.

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