/Luxe Family Room Makeover


We made it! I honestly feel like we could rename the One Room Challenge “Survivor: Designer Edition.” Crowbarring your own space in alongside client work and completing it start-to-finish in 6 weeks? Well, as my lovely friend Lisa Canning said last week, it feels a bit like having a baby. While you’re giving birth you’re like “Why am I doing this again?” and when it’s all done you’re totally blissed out on the afterglow. Here’s to the bliss, friends, ’cause this baby is OUT!

I’m so thrilled with how everything came together in the end. The balance of dark and light, cool and warm, and the mixed layers of texture make this room both sophisticated and inviting – the essence of liveable luxury. The gorgeous Zena Holloway Angel print from Citizen Atelier is absolutely breathtaking in her pride of place, flawlessly finished with a Framed & Matted gallery frame. I find her truly mesmerizing! I love how the metalic silver linen drapery from Kravet frames her with a radiant glow.
Gratefully, the CB2 Crane Floor Lamps {see above} arrived at the 11th hour, and I love them. Lighting game is on fleek. I decided to repurpose a pair of end tables I already had and I think the caged brass bases create just the right airy feel next to the luxe Kravet black velvet tufted sofas. They also play beautifully off of the custom rift-cut oak coffee table which I love pretty hard.
I added a custom solid wood helix on the other side of the room to balance the wood tones and the warm against the cool of the black velvet {see below}, and I’m thrilled to finally have a piece that I’ve designed for clients over the years in my own home. I’m a lover of wood in its natural glory, and this piece {though you can’t see it very well} is pure poetry with it’s mind-bendingly torqued shape. I’ll be sure to post a shot of it on Instagram this week so you can get a better look.
I am thrilled with how the Thibaut ikat wallpaper turned out, especially given that we successfully installed it ourselves! It’s the perfect warm and textured backdrop for the art, like the gorgeous David Graham White piece you see above. 
I’m also thrilled at how the canvas-stretched mural from Anewall turned out when resined with Art Resin. If you missed the tutorial on how to do this yourself last week, you can check it out here!

In the hands of my amazing furniture maker, the Metrie mouldings definitely transformed our fireplace surround and mantel into a thing of elegance and beauty. Add to that the custom herringbone mosaic tile from Creekside Tile and a black curved fireplace screen from Anvil & Co and it’s a pretty huge transformation from the before.

I’m quietly delighted with how the shelf styling turned out. For me, styling a bookcase is a labour of love that is as much about curating your story as it is about making things pretty. I tend to add, tweak, edit and repeat until I get something I’m happy with, and I was zhushing this bookcase in little bits as we worked on the room over the last few weeks to get it just right.

The subtle yet sophisticated brushed brass Lewis Dolin pulls from Upper Canada Specialty Hardware are the perfect finishing touch on the cabinet doors of the built-ins.

To say I’m happy about the transformation of my desk area would be a major understatement. I actually LIKE sitting at my desk now. Just like with the laundry room, I’m reminded once again of the power of good design to transform our quality of life. I love my DIY modern pin board with Kelly Wearstler-esque nailhead detail. The radiant Kravet Contract reptile pattern velvet mixed with the faceted antique brass nail heads offers an elegant canvas on which to pin fabric memos and inspiration images, though I confess I may leave it clean for awhile so I can enjoy it in all its modern simplicity.

The trio of art above the desk – framed in gorgeous Framed & Matted gallery frames – fuels my sense of wanderlust and quite simply makes me happy. The two pieces on the left – limited edition prints from Minted – work brilliantly with Amy Friend’s emotional and moving Babushka {Blue}.

I like a bright work area {and I’m somewhat obsessed with symmetry} so I framed out the desk area with a pair of acrylic and brass column lamps from West Elm and love them. They’re timeless classics that I can repurpose in any room of the house should I choose to do so.

As you can see, the great debate on what colour to paint the gorgeous faux bamboo mahogany chairs from 55 Downing St. ended up with a “no paint” solution! My Brazillian walnut floors have a lot of variation in them, and I am a fan of mixing wood tones for a more interesting space. Add to that the madcap dash to the finish line of this design dare, and not painting them turned out to be the perfect solution! I really do love them, especially finished with the Kravet dove grey mohair seats and Bermingham & Co. lumbar cushions. Check out my Instagram for a straight-on shot of the chairs side by side from yesterday’s feed.

As a pair {perched atop the super warm and cozy lambswool rug} they face into the family room for a beautifully balanced floor plan, and one of them easily pulls away to sit at the desk when I’m working. It’s an elegant, flexible solution to a room with more than one function! It is practical and pretty without looking utilitarian. Perfection.

I can’t believe it, but that’s it! I’m grateful and delighted to have this room completed and can say that my family is already connecting more and feeling inspired by the dramatic transformation of this luxe family room makeover. 
Huge thanks to Ashley Capp for being such a delight to work with on the photography, and to the one and only Linda from Calling It Home for corralling all the designers daring enough to dive into this adrenaline-fueled biannual design event!
Black Velvet Tufted Shelter Arm Sofas – Kravet | Ikat Wallpaper – Thibaut | Shelf + desk – Custom | Rolling Desk Drawers – IKEA | Pin board fabric – Kravet | All frames – Framed & Matted | Desk lamps – West Elm | Wall Art – Citizen Atelier, Art Interiors, David Graham White, Minted, Anewall, Art Resin | Crystal Docahedron, Coral Mounted on Lucite, Geode Mounted on Lucite, Gold Stretching Greyhound, Michael Aram gold candlesticks – Elte | Leather Bound Books – Vintage | Sepia Sketch in Bookcase – Purchased on the streets of Paris | Lewis Dolin Brushed Brass Pulls – Upper Canada Specialty Hardware | Glass Cloche, Glass + Brass Box – Indigo | Sea Urchin – Paxton Gate SF | Silver Hurricane – Ralph Lauren available through Elte | Faux Coral – House Warmings | Tibetan Fur Pillows – Fibre by Auskin | Python Print Fabric – Kravet | Herringbone Faux Fur Fabric {on blanket} – Kravet | Ombre Chevron Fabric on Bench – Cassaro | Reupholstery of Bench – Switch Studio | Paint – PARA Paints | Silver Linen Drapery Fabric – Kravet | Sewing of Drapery + Pillows – Hollie Cooper | Hexagon Pencil Cups – CB2 | Lucite + Rose Gold Kate Spade Tape Dispensers + Stapler – Indigo | Brass Wallhanging File Holders – CB2 | Voluspa Candle – Indigo | Sheepskin rug – Costco | Mouldings for Fireplace Surround + Mantel – Metrie | Custom Nero Marquina Herringbone Mosaic – Creekside Tile | Curved Black Fireplace Screen – Anvil & Co. | Rift Cut Oak Coffe Table + Helix End Table – Custom through The Curated House by Sarah Walker | Silver Tray – Heirloom | Vintage Opera Glasses – Heirloom | Coffee Table Books – Indigo |

Be sure to check out the stellar work of these designer daredevils. There are some incredible finished spaces to be seen as a part of this year’s One Room Challenge, my favourites being those by Design Manifest and Kimberly Whitman. But that said, they’re all gorgeous!!

Apartment 34 | Arianna Belle | Because It’s Awesome | Coco+Kelley | Christine Dovey | Design Darling | Design Indulgence | Design Manifest | The English Room | Vanessa Francis | Hi Sugarplum | Honey We’re Home |Jojotastic The Pink Clutch | The Pink Pagoda | Simplified Bee Style Your Senses | A Thoughtful Place |Kimberly Whitman | The Zhush | Guest Participants

Until next time, darlings!


By |November 12th, 2015|96 Comments


Oh me, oh my, does the time ever fly! It’s been such a busy, blurry week that I seriously lost track of what day it was and almost forgot to post today! It’s a sign of the times, my friends. Lots on the ol’ plate.


All kinds of good things have been happening around here, like our Metrie mouldings being transformed into a gorgeous fireplace surround and mantel. If you follow me on Instagram, you caught a couple of sneak peeks of that in process. My furniture maker is seriously the bomb diggity.

That baby is now installed and simply awaiting the mantel top to be truly complete, and friends, she’s a looker.

The custom herringbone nero marquina mosaic from Creekside Tile is in the process of being installed as we speak and I lerv it. So classy. So timeless.

This week was also kind of like Christmas, as those lovely faux bamboo chairs from 55 Downing St. arrived, and after a little cross border adventure with my friend Rachelle to pick them up, they are now safely at home and awaiting their paint job. Noah made a suggestion for a different direction on the paint colour for them and – sophisticated 12 year old that he is – I agree with him, so you’ll have to wait and see where that is headed.

The rug arrived and to be honest there are some problems with it, so I’m putting on my English heritage “stiff upper lip” and managing that sitch all calm, cool and collected like.


In much better news, the gorgy-gorg frames from Framed & Matted arrived and I’m sooooo happy!!

Framing can be such a massive expense for any project, especially if you want great customer service and you want things done right. I’m thrilled that the lovely Chrissy has chosen to partner with me on this project and I have to tell you, her product is as fabulous as her incredible customer service ethic. Framed & Matted is currently only available in the US, so to all of my design friends south of the border, take note! Framed & Matted is truly a top-notch resource to keep in your designer arsenal of awesome.


I cannot WAIT to get all of the art mounted in these gorgeous frames. I’ve given you little sneak peeks at a couple of the pieces on the mood boards, but let me properly introduce you to some of the beauties that will grace this space with their soulful inspiration.

I have had this 12×12 stunner from fine art photographer David Graham White for awhile now and can’t believe it’s taken me this long to frame it up.

David’s process for this series is so inspiring: He photographed topiary gardens in the UK on old polaroid film, and then processed the polaroids using the heat from an old tube television, documenting the BBC channels that were playing as the polaroids processed. The heat flares from the television created the gorgeous and unpredictable saturation of colour that you see in the final works, and they tell the story of extreme control {topiaries} juxtaposed with the uncontrollable medium of television which invades our daily lives. We may attempt to control nature, but does media control us in the end? The intellectual dialogue behind these stunning works only serves to make them more beautiful to me.

Then there is this breathtakingly ethereal wonder from Zena Holloway.

I have truly been coveting this piece since I first laid eyes on it in Alessandra of Citizen Atelier‘s collection, and I’m still pinching myself that she has now come to live with us. I often struggle to feel at home with figurative artwork, but the ethereal sense of reverie and mystery in Zena’s work blurs the line between reality and fantasy in a way that I find utterly mesmerizing, transporting me to a place of imagination and wonder. For me, this piece is an elegant invitation to dream. Invitation accepted, Zena. Invitation accepted.

I really struggled with what to do with the art over the desk. I have a large shelf that used to house all of my product catalogues, but now that everything is available online I don’t need them cluttering up my space. Such a visual relief! In contrast to that utilitarian past, I wanted to make this space now feel airy and open and light, so I ordered three warm white frames from Framed & Matted. They will serve as the new home for a very happy little trio, starting with this incredible piece from Amy Friend.

This series, called Babushka, documents Amy’s deep bond with her grandmother. After her passing, Amy floated her grandmother’s nightgowns and scarves in water and captured their movement and essence in a most hauntingly beautiful, emotional way. I’m so honoured to have this piece in my home.

Complimenting the piece from Amy Friend are these two lovely limited edition prints from Minted.

I love how together they tell a story of wanderlust and adventure, of exploration and wonder. If I can instil those values in my boys I will be a very happy mama. If I can remember to live by them myself, I’ll be all the happier. I have no doubt this art will fuel me in achieving those goals – visual reminders of our core values of beauty, curiosity, gratitude and wonder.

I have one more piece to share with you – the one that will sit over the fireplace – but there’s a special project involved on that front and I can’t share it with you just yet. Stay tuned, as it’s all kinds of lovely.


So I picked up our Plan B side tables this week, and once out of the box discovered that they are way too pinky-copper for my liking. This photo belies the actual colour.

I’m all for mixing metals, but I need to actually like the shades of said mixed metals. So, back they go and it’s back to the drawing board for a rather close-for-comfort race to the finish line on this element of the room.

On the flip side, I picked up these beautiful acrylic column table lamps in brass from West Elm and they are perfection.

Classy, modern, timeless and just right for this room. I’m just waiting on the pair of Crane Floor Lamps from CB2 to come in and the lighting for the room will be officially checked off my list.


I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to do at least one extra update post as I have a ton to get done this week and I want to make sure you don’t miss out on all the fun. So much of the action takes place right at the end of a project!

Here’s this week’s strike list:

  • Paint the bamboo chairs
  • Dive into my biggest DIY for this space: the custom pin board. I’ve got something pretty fabulous planned and am grateful to say I just yesterday found what I need for it, so stay tuned on that front.
  • Finalize all of the styling, which is probably a 3-full-days kind of job to get it just right. 
  • Oh yes, and move all the old furniture out, move the new pieces in, get the drapery installed, hang the artwork, and somehow manage to continue doing my day job and care for my family in the midst of it all! 

If you’re the praying kind, I’ll take it!

In the meantime, check out the progress of this ridiculously talented lot:

Apartment 34 | Arianna Belle | Because It’s Awesome | Coco+Kelley | Christine Dovey | Design Darling | Design Indulgence | Design Manifest | The English Room | Vanessa Francis | Hi Sugarplum | Honey We’re Home |Jojotastic The Pink Clutch | The Pink Pagoda | Simplified Bee Style Your Senses | A Thoughtful Place |Kimberly Whitman | The Zhush | Guest Participants

Can’t wait to catch you up on everything that’s about to unfold, so check back in soon and have a fabulous weekend!


By |October 29th, 2015|4 Comments


I’m not entirely sure how a week has gone by already. I’ve been caught up in the whirlwind of wallpaper installation and client projects and finalizing details for my own, and somehow I feel like I missed the weekend in there!

Just in case you’ve missed them and want to get caught up, my Week One and Week Two posts about the One Room Challenge will fill you in on all the scheming and starting that has happened to date.


I’m grateful to say that the Thibaut wallpaper is UP and looking gorgeous! If you follow me on Instagram, you saw my live post during the process of  installing it.


Gratefully, it wasn’t too traumatic in the end! The key was to paste the paper and “book” it {fold it over itself and let it rest for 2-5 minutes so it could absorb the wallpaper paste} and to paste the wall before hanging it. Every wallpaper will have its own set of instructions, so be sure to start there as they will tell you the right kind of paste and process to use for that particular paper. My other tips?

1. Have the right tools, namely:

  • a smoothing brush {we used a foam one so as not to lift the thousands of little vertical strips of paper that make up this gorgeous Ikat, but you can get a coarse bristle brush if your paper is less delicate}
  • an edger {see what Graham is holding in the photo above?} – use this as your ruler for cutting your edges
  • a utility knife with a ton of blade refills
  • and a soft wet cloth ready to wipe up any excess paste along the edges

2. Make sure you have a fresh blade for trimming for every length of paper you hang. This is critical!

3. Work top down and make sure you have all the air bubbles out before you trim.

4. Be patient and work as a team. This is definitely a two person job unless you are a pro.

The texture and sophistication of this Thibaut Ikat really are changing the room already. So worth the effort!! I must admit that I love this stage in a project: the messy middle where the dust has far from settled, but things have started to take shape. It’s that blur between initial vision and reality merging together. So fun!


Other things starting to come into focus? The beautiful Metrie mouldings were delivered to my furniture maker last week and the surround portion of the new fireplace surround and mantel is done!

Superstar that he is, my furniture maker came and dry fitted the back board of MDF to our existing cabinets and then built the surround on top of that. I really think the new fireplace design is going to add major sophistication to this room, and I’m super excited to see it installed. Today is spraying day on that front, so we are getting close!
Other exciting progress? I painted up the legs of our little bench for in front of the fireplace. The process was basically sand, prime with Para 777 Superstick, then paint with two coats of high gloss Para trim paint in a rich black called Walkin In The Rain.

This sweet little number is now in the capable hands of Staci at Switch Studio who will be replacing all of the foam and then upholstering it in this gorgeous ombré chevron from Cassaro:

Don’t worry, she will actually centre the fabric – I just draped it over the bench quickly here to get a sneak peek preview, and all I can say is hello lovah! So excited to see her all done up and ready for her debut!

But for now, it’s time to tackle what’s next.


This week I have a ton to get done, namely:

1. Touch up paint on the sides of the built-ins before the fireplace is installed.

2. Pick up tile for fireplace surround and get it installed.

3. Pick up the faux bamboo chairs, get the seats templated for new cushions being made and then paint them.

4. Create the custom pin board for the back wall of my desk area.

5. Finalize art and framing along with a special little DIY on that front.

6. About a thousand other client-related projects that are on the go.

I’m pretty sure this week is going to blur by yet again, and gratefully that is in part because we are taking Sunday and Monday off for a quick belated anniversary celebration. The timing might seem nuts, but I think crow-barring in a break in the midst of all the madness is just what the doctor ordered.

Be sure to check out what all of the other superstar design daredevils have been cooking up in their spaces. There are some serious over-achievers on this list and I can’t wait for reveal day!

Apartment 34 | Arianna Belle | Because It’s Awesome | Coco+Kelley | Christine Dovey | Design Darling | Design Indulgence | Design Manifest | The English Room | Vanessa Francis | Hi Sugarplum | Honey We’re Home | Jojotastic | The Pink Clutch | The Pink Pagoda | Simplified Bee | Style Your Senses | A Thoughtful Place | Kimberly Whitman | The Zhush | Guest Participants

Until next week!


By |October 22nd, 2015|6 Comments