We love what we do.
We get to meet so many wonderful people, all either with their own sense of style, or with an open mind to discovering what that sense of style might be. Our work can be very intimate because we work very closely with home owners on what I would consider their most precious possession — their home.
The process has us discuss all aspects of our client’s lives, from how they use things, to who they share them with, and what inspires them.
Every once in awhile we get to share in people’s life moments. In some cases that might mean helping them get the cottage they’ve decided to retire in ready for them to spend the rest of their life soaking up sunrises or sunsets. Other times it's simply helping get a nursery ready for a new family member or finding that elusive perfect colour palette.
These moments become part of our life and our creative inspiration.
We are very lucky guys. We live for these moments!
We were lucky to share one of these moments with a long time client, Kate. Newly single and winding down in work, Kate was moving from the city where she had always lived to a new one. She wanted to be able to share her time with her children and grand kids who also recently moved.
A before and after of the exterior
Kate purchased a small wartime bungalow, her first house on her own. She had spent some time in Indonesia and knew that she wanted colour and to display some of her precious things she had brought back from her travels. She wanted to wake up inspired in a serene place where she would want to spend time in each and every room.
A before and after of the bedroom
Everything had to inspire and be tactile, but nothing was to be off limits for her grand kids. Our challenge was that Kate had a limited budget to spend on things — mainly paint, cabinets, furniture and fabrics... not structural changes to the home. Our goal was to give her the spaces she wanted with the rooms she had.
We started by sharing a digital ideabook on a website called Houzz.
We also took into consideration the art and antiques she has purchased over time. Once we had our ideabook narrowed and felt we had found Kate’s design inspiration we set off deciding on fabrics. These would inform us what furniture, cabinetry and wall colours we would use.
We made some choices we don’t recommend for everyone — white walls can be hard to pull off — but the results were exactly what Kate was hoping for. We decided on Benjamin Moore’s Nano White for the walls. The rooms were small, but there was so much light, the sun and fabrics would be the colour in this house.
A before and after of the living room
The curtains in the living room are a Charlotte Fabrics fabric that when our upholsterer, Lisa Vehrs of Recovered Treasures Upholstery, Kate and I landed on it, we knew it was the one.
From this fabric, we chose the colour for our chairs and the wonderful sofa that is both soft and long — it was to play double duty of sitting comfortably upright watching tv and laying out completely under the afternoon sun for a nap.
Kate's new living room
In the dining room, Kate wanted to use some antiques that she had and that we were to find. A chance encounter with friends in Ottawa moving into an older house and a solid brass mirror the previous owner had chosen to leave helped determine our choice of Hudson Valley light and inspired us to choose a chair and table that had the same lines on the details. We had the chairs upholstered in a Kravet fabric that went beautifully with the classic Thibault wallpaper we chose and when the table, chairs, and sideboard we found at a local store turned out to be too difficult to restore the original finish, we had them painted a soft chalk grey to blend in to the room.
A before and after of the dining room
Blue silk curtains help pop the colours from the wallpaper and a soft merino wool rug both provides some grounding in the room and some water resistance for when the grand kids inevitably drop something!
Kate's new dining room
Green continued in the kitchen. A small space, the darkest room of the house, that originally had 3 cabinets and not much light, we needed to introduce more light while maintaining the newly blown in insulation and vapour barrier installed in the attic.
Natural white oak cabinets, with glass uppers were our choice here to let the light from the cabinets flood the kitchen with needed light. A Cambria Quartz countertop with some flecks of grey added another surface to reflect light from. We used a hexagonal, muted green tile, adding some design interest onto the walls and adding a little pop of colour against the oak cabinetry.
A before and after of the Kitchen
The bathroom was a small space. We chose Wedding Veil white to add some warmth, glass tile to add a punch of color and reflection and a floating cabinet to give the perception of more space. We spent a lot of time crawling in and out of tubs finding the right tub for Kate to light a candle in at the end the day with a good book. When she steps out of the bath she is greeted by heated floors and beautiful Restoration Hardware towels.
New Bathroom in Progress
In Kate’s bedroom we used a simple iron bed, some furniture that she had brought along and simple white bedding. It was the Balinese painting and the throw that would be the focus, things that help her wake up relaxed. A newly installed door to a yet to be installed deck out back will be her private getaway outside.
Kate's new Bedroom
We brightened up the outside of the house with a beautiful blue, some simple black shutters and the red door Kate has always wanted.
Kate's new exterior
We got to share this transformation with Kate 6 months ago and we still get photos and stories from her of how she is using the house.
She likes to make sure the curtains are pleated just as we suggested after they get run into by her grand kids, and her grandkids certainly now know that the pillows are to be placed back nicely on the couch with solid colour in and lively fabric out!
She even appreciates that if she’s been tasked with picking up the kids and feeding them, she can bring up an app for her stove and warm it from away so they can spend a few more minutes at the park. When she does arrive home, she knows that some of the timers installed on her light switches will make sure there is light to guide her way and welcome her home in the throws of winter.
She is one happy woman in her new house and we couldn’t have been happier to share that with her.