Project Dorchester- Staircase Transformation

Happy Saturday Design lovers: 
I don’t normally post a blog on a Saturday mornings because… well… Saturdays are for relaxing and spending time with family but this one is a quickie so enjoy with your morning coffee ☕️
We are talking staircases today. If you scroll down to the before pic I’m sure it is not an unfamiliar sight. I see tons of these in many homes I walk into. All orange all the time. That orange builders wood really dates a space. I believe they call it a “natural” stain but it’s not. It’s a ursthan that goes makes the wood look orange almost immediately. 
To improve this, There are several tricks. If you are tight on budget maybe simply paint the risers and pickets white. It takes time but if you can do it yourself the paint using too expensive. At minimum that breaks up some of that wood. At Project Dorchester we really went for it. The treads were sanded down and stained dark to match the new hardwood. Risers and sides painted white. A new railing and wrought iron pickets finish off the look. Oh and our big beautiful lantern. How fab is that? 
All of those changes along with painting out the whole main floor and upper hallway white gives us that fresh, hot off the pages of style at home magazine kind of look we were after. 
Have a great weekend all
And as always 
Happy Decorating 
Xo
Michelle 

Vision board: 
Before picture: 

Project Dorchester- Kitchen

Happy Fri-yay design lovers, I am thrilled to be sharing the kitchen reveal today with you from Project Dorchester. The homeowners had lived with their old orange wood kitchen for far too long. They were dreaming of bright and white. The man of th…

Project Dorchester- Dining Room

Happy Thursday Design lovers, 
I’m still recovering from the aftermath of a 5 year olds birthday party last night. Anyone who has planned a kids birthday party before will understand….it’s exhausting. Everyone had a great time so that’s all that matters. Especially the birthday girl. 
We are moving right along to the dining room reveal at Project Dorchester….So there’s a thing that happens when you have young kids and everyone says “I’m not going to do that” and everyone eventually gives in and does it. What I’m referring to is making an entire room on your main floor (usually it’s the dining room) a playroom. You are in a stage where relaxed adult dinner parties are a distant memory and play dates between the hours of 9-5 are your jam. You fight it for a while but then when you have 2 kids under 2 and need to make dinner and have contact with them you throw in the towel and make your life easier. You turn that big beautiful dining room into a playroom. 
So that’s where this room started. A toy room. That being said there is this magical time as a parent when your kids are past diapers, and bottles, abd cribs, and you no longer wear shirts with breastmilk stains, and you have time to shower again. The culmination of making it through those early years is that you get to high five your partner and reclaim some of that adult space back. You have made it. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy this time before the tween and teen years hit because from what I hear they are a doozy. 
I give you Project Dorchester’s dining room: 

These homeowners already owned this dining set and wanted to keep it for now with the idea that we would swap out the end chairs for some nice upholstered captains chairs. We simply removed the top glassed in piece from the hutch and replaced it with an art print and a set of silver lamps. It modernized it a bit and again the goal was the break up the set and layer in some different textures. 
This rug is an indoor/outdoor rug and can literally be hosed down when spilled upon. Notice that I didn’t say if. Spills are going to happen in a space meant for eating so I always go with something durable underfoot in a dining room. 


The chrome chandelier sets the tone for the lighting throughout the main floor. Little hits of silver and chrome are sprinkled throughout to create a little interest against the white walls. 

We framed out these windows with some beautiful custom drapes that have a hint of our bluey/green accent color that’s carried through the family room and kitchen. 

The carpet was replaced with rich hand scraped dark hardwood, the ceilings were scraped, and fresh paint was applied to the walls. 




This dining room provides a formal yet relaxed elegant spot for the homeowners to entertain family and friends on special occasions. It’s also the first room you see when you walk in the house so we had to bring in the pretty. 

Stay tuned for the kitchen reveal tomorrow and folks it’s quite the before and after transformation 👍🏼

Happy decorating 
Xo
Michelle 
Vision board: 

Before picture: 



Project Dorchester- Family Room

Hello
design lovers, 
How the heck have you been? Feels like it’s been a while. I’ve been so busy with projects lately I haven’t had a lot of time to take photos and share them with you. But it’s important to me and it always feels like closure on a project once I do. That way I can release it back to its owners and carve out room for new creativity for the next space. 
I’m so excited to share with you Project Dorchester. This was a whole main floor Reno. Today I’m going to share the family room reveal with you but I’ve also got the kitchen, dining room, and front entryway to share so stay tuned this week as I’ll be releasing them day by day. 
The homeowners on this project were hands down the most laid back individuals I’ve ever worked with. It was like a breath of fresh air. I remember one meeting we had to choose hardwood. I knew they wanted a darker floor. I met them at the store, suggested this floor, and they were like yep ok see you later. I was like wait….you don’t want to see more? Then obsess over the choice for months and send me 5000 panicked text messages changing your mind only to come back to the original choice? They were like nope we are good with this one. Have a great day. 
And. That. Was. It. 😍  
Every choice to follow was the same scenario. Because of their ability to make quick decisive choices this project seemed to fly by (at least for me but I wasn’t living through the Reno lol) it turned out so so so good and it was such a pleasure to work with these homeowners. 
I give you the family room folks 
When we started this project the homeowners just felt their space was a little tired and dated and didn’t reflect their taste. It’s a big house but the main floor was chopped up into many smaller rooms. We wanted to open things up as much as possible without blowing out every wall and getting involved in major structural work. It also had its fair share of design challenges. The fire place was kitty corner (hate it when builders do that) and there was a large jet out on this tv wall hiding hvac. I designed these built ins to hide that jet out, create some symmetry in the room, and provide storage and warmth. 



Who doesn’t love a beverage centre in their family room? It’s such a long walk to the kitchen. Right? Lol. But seriously how much better is it to grab a cold bevy 2 steps from your couch? To break up all the white we infused into this space I had the fellas paint the walls behind the builts ins mill reef blue by Benjamin Moore. It really gives us the pop we were after but it’s a strong color so we used it sparingly on the walls and repeated it through art and accessories. 


When you are doing a large Reno like this (and by the way they also did their entire backyard including a pool at the same time) the funds dry up eventually no matter how big your budget is. If you don’t have money left over for a large piece of original art buy several inexpensive pieces and arrange them in an interesting way. Here I bought 4 cheap and cheerful pieces from my second home (homesense) and hung them in a grid to create interest. I think it looks great and they could always add the very special art piece in later once recovered. 


When designing the built ins I wanted that bulk head wall panel to go away (see before pictures) so I asked them to cover it with a dummy door panel. We mimicked the same door panel on the other side of the fire place (except this one opens and provides storage) to give it symmetry and look like it was meant to be. That left a little bit of wall where the fire place used to be We painted her the same mill reef blue and created a little reading corner out of it. 

Because we went with the dark hardwood and the homeowners wanted to keep their brown leather sofa we kept everything else light and bright. Our accent color is brought through in these new urban barn chairs and you will find accents of shiny chrome throughout the main floor. 

This is an electric fire place y’all and you can pretty much put them anywhere. It also provides a lot of heat for our Canadian winters and beautiful ambiance all year around. We framed it out with glossy white marble looking tiles and a stained dark wood mantle that’s sleek and contemporary. 

I’ll leave you with the reading nook and I hope you enjoy the before and after reveal on this project as much as I did. Scroll down to see the vision board and before pictures. Next up….the dining room. 

Happy decorating folks 
Xo
Michelle 
Vision board:

Before pictures: 








Project Timothy st- Family room Reveal

Good morning design lovers, 
We are coming back to work off a long weekend here in Canada and I’m easing my way back into work this week starting with a blog post. My trusty photographer has been off for the past few months having a handsome baby boy so I apologize for the hiatus on Room reveals but she’s back and therefore I’m back. I want to share this very cheery, happy, pretty room with you. 
The homeowner found me on social media but I actually used to hang out with her big sis in elementary school. I was so delighted to hear from her and find out (she would be totally embarrassed that I’m telling you this) but she’s a doctor. Hello! Smart, beautiful, driven, and kind. I had So much fun catching up with her and creating a comfy/cozy space that her family can relax and enjoy in. 
Here’s what we came up with: 
 
The room was pretty much empty when I came to the house. She did have these two armoires and coffee table floating in the middle of the room. Hand me downs from mom and dad. The armoires has an 80s type pinky wood finish. We decided to keep all the hand me downs but paint them a soft blue to freshen them up. 
 
This room is a big room with vaulted ceilings, but we still wanted to have that intimate and cozy feel. We added in this large custom sectional from urban barn. It really anchored the room and forms the seating area. One upped only by the custom blue velvet urban barn chairs. So Lux and so comfortable. They are everything! 
We went back and forth on a few fabrics for the drapes but in the end the homeowners wanted something fresh and classic. White linen to the rescue. We wrapped every window in simple classic white linen and added our color through the pillows. 
 
The large oversized clock is also from urban barn and drapes and pillows from Tonic living. 

 

 
Throw blanket, little ottomans, and accessories are the result of an epic homesense run. One of those beautiful mornings when you get there right as the doors open and your world is full of possibilities. 
 
We needed a large rug to anchor this room. A 9×12 for sure. We got this beauty for under $500 at my new favourite rug stop Wayfair. You literally click and it shows up at your door a few days later. It’s amazing. 
These two art pieces we snagged from niche decor in Aurora. They are colourful and fun like the rest of the space. 
We debated back and forth wether to paint the coffee table but in the end decided to leave it as is. We both loved the pineapple feel of the legs and my homeowners loved that it belong to mom and dad and had a lot of memories. 
  
The homeowners eventually want to do big beautiful built ins on the tv wall. But those bad boys are expensive. Basically the same budget for the built ins as the rest of the completed room. So those can wait. A little inexpensive media unit will sit there until they are ready for those. 
 
Because this room was so large we decided to take advantage with extra seating. Two console tables were added behind the couch and 4 dining chairs behind those. It’s the perfect spot if you are having a ton of people over to watch a game, or a movie, or around the holidays, or even when their little one is old enough for homework. The point is it’s a very versatile space that can accommodate a lot of people or feel cozy for two tired parents to kick their feet up once the little one goes down. 

 

I’m so in love with this Space and I know the homeowners love it too. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be back soon with more room reveals. So many new and exciting projects on the go 👍🏼
Happy decorating 
Xo
Michelle 
Vision board I gave the client: 
 
 
 

Mother’s Day gift guide

Bonjour design lovers,It’s been far too long. I feel like I’ve been caught up with so many new projects lately that I haven’t taken the time to blog, and well I miss it. So when Urban Barn asked me to team up with them and create a Mother’s day wish li…

Project Willow Farm

Happy Monday design lovers. Here in Ontario it is a long weekend As we are celebrating Family Day. For those of you at work, have a great start to the week. For those of you at home with family… salut. I wanted to share this project I helped wit…

Project Fairbairn- Dining Room

Hello friends, Here she is folks. The final room reveal of 2016 and then I’m going to take a little break to enjoy the holidays with my family. Truth be told I’m a little exhausted but don’t worry, I’ll be coming back strong in 2017 with a nursery…

Project Fairbairn- Family room

Happy Monday folks 

We are in the home stretch to the holidays this weekend and I figured I would sneak in the last two room reveals of 2016 with project Fairbairn’s Family room and dining room. 
I was called to this project originally as the homeowners had lived here for a few years and had implemented a few updates such as these gorgeous built ins you will see soon but overall felt the house didn’t feel so homey. They loved the exterior and property of the home but the finishings inside felt cold and did not reflect their taste. I always tell my clients when you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of rooms that need work in your home don’t try and conquer every room at once unless finances and time allow you to complete them all at the same time. Divide and conquer. What’s the most used room? Start with that and complete it. Then move on to the next. What I find when I enter most homes is that people find a piece of two for each room but are left with the feeling that every space is still incomplete. In this case we did the family room and dining room. The kitchen is likely on the chopping block next and eventually that blank wall behind the couch is coming out so that’s why we have left it empty. 
Heres what we came up with: 
 
These homeowners were pretty dreamy to work with. Very clear about their taste and the direction they wanted to go in. Ones a little more traditional. The other a bit more contemporary. They wanted an overall feel of a rich/neutral/restoration hardware inspired/ family friendly space. 
 
We debated taking down all of their Christmas decor for the shoot but in the end we felt it just added to the fun of the reveal the week before Christmas. Normally the room is set up with the two armchairs closer to one another and a small side table in between just so you can get a visual. 
 
These built ins though am I right? We styled them with some books that had been in the family for a while, an old camera, a record player, and a few fun accessories. 
 
This room has a huge full wall of windows and they back on to a forest so privacy is not a major issue. They did want the option to pull a Drape all the way across them in case they wanted to watch a movie. I proposed the option of doing multiple panels but they didn’t want to fuss with it. So I ordered in a specialty rod where you can install multiple brackets but still pull the Drape all the way across a wide spence. 
 
 
When I have a really big wall to fill and especially when it sits adjacent to a window wall I love using this three mirror trick. Three oversized mirrors all together mounted on the wall. Look how awesome they look. It makes the room feel huge and really reflects the light around. 
 
Those drapes again 🙌🏼
 
Here is the Drape fully shut. Gives the room a cozy feel for movies or Saturday morning cartoons for their three young boys. 
 
The ottoman adds some contemporary cool to the traditional lines of the sofa and chairs. 
 
You can see a quick peak into the dining room from this last picture and I’ll be back tomorrow to reveal that room. I love this space so much and I’m thrilled to give these easy going homeowners and their family a cozy place to kick their feet up after a long day. 
 
Happy decorating folks 
Xoxo
Michelle 

Project Thornbury- Twin Teen room

All good things must come to an end. This is the final room reveal from my time at project thornbury and I’m starting to get a little chocked up. I love this cottage and the drives back and forth with my client who is now a friend but I have a feeling we will be seeing each other again. Just a hunch. 
Today I have for you the twin teen room (say that three times fast!!!). These teen twins are hip, urban, chic, francais, oh and in a band so the room had to try and keep up with them. A black accent wall makes our pineapple tapestry pop. A Pom pom duvet cover and shams give it a youthful vibe. And a gallery wall of all the things they love complete the look. 
Here’s what we came up with: 
 
With all the fun that pineapple creates the rest of the finishes needed to be subtle. A dark wood bed frame. Antique side tables. Brass table lamps. Metallic throw pillows. A winning combination. 
 
That gallery wall contains a lot of special items for these girls. I found an old bench in the garage and moved it down here. I had a little cushion made for it and it’s a great spot to sit and put your socks on on drop your overnight bag. 
 
One more shot of that gorgeous black wall. This room is like a hipster. Cool without effort. Or at least that’s what I’m told the definition of a hipster is 😜. I hope these girls feel at home in this space and it’s used for creating lots of beautiful music. 
Au revoir project thornbury. You have been a dream. An absolute dream. 
Happy decorating all 
Xoxo
Michelle