One Room Challenge | Fall 2019 | Week 2 | Paneling + Painting

” God is in the details”

– Mies van der Rohe


Architectural detail has long been one of my passions. When I was 10, I used to lay awake in my bed dreaming of the crown moulding, baseboard and panel moulding I would use to decorate my room. It was glorious, and something out of a Haussmann Paris apartment. Mind you, back then it would also have been painted shades of teal or high gloss red, but at least I had one thing right. My passion for paneling and finishing details never left me, and it’s one of my favourite ways to add strength of character to an otherwise basic space.

I’ve worked with Metrie’s mouldings for many years now. They are my go-to for many reasons, not the least of which is the diversity of profiles they have available in FSC certified poplar. Poplar is by far the easiest wood to paint, and unlike MDF trims and mouldings, you don’t have to worry about formaldehyde in any adhesives (there are none). They also offer sustainably harvested woods like fir, pine and oak in such a variety of profiles that I really don’t think there’s much that can’t be accomplished with Metrie’s collection. In keeping with what we’ve done in much of the rest of the house, we decided to create a paneling feature on the headboard wall with a stepped effect.

The two mouldings we used for this layered paneling are this larger one and this delicate one. These are truly my favourite combo. The two together offer depth and interest while the scale and proportion makes the room feel refined. You may notice that we carried a frieze mould around the room between the panels and the crown. This is how we’ve connected the pre-existing plaster valance in with the rest of the room to make it feel cohesive, and Graham made it by ripping 1/4″ thick strips off of simple Metrie 1×6 poplar boards. Metrie is amazing at offering varying lengths as well, so we were able to rip them off of boards the length of each wall to avoid any unsightly seams.

The same is true for the crown, which in this case is fir. I couldn’t work with too large a crown moulding for two reasons. The first is, we don’t have high ceilings in this bedroom – just 8 feet – so the crown had to be proportionate to the room. The second is that the wall opposite the bed is a wall of closet doors, and the crown had to fit between those doors and the ceiling. This profile was literally the perfect fit.

To round out the millwork plan, we upgraded the baseboards to match the rest of the house with this pretty poplar profile.¬†Rather than changing the casing in the house, we opted to add a poplar¬†backband instead, and we’ve done the same in the bedroom for consistency. It never ceases to amaze me how much of a difference these details make. If you’re dealing with a room that feels too basic, I promise you, this is the place to start. Everything you layer into the room from there will feel more elevated.


When it comes to designing a healthy home, I know there’s a lot of mystery for people as to where to find the hidden toxins. Paint seems to be the one area everyone knows they can make a healthier choice. For me, painting our bedroom wasn’t just an opportunity to choose a locally made, VOC-free wall colour from the Fusion Mineral Paint collection. It was also an opportunity to finally delve into making our bedroom a more EMF-free sanctuary.

Let me explain. In my work to overcome Lyme Disease, I’ve done a ton of research on what could be compromising my body’s ability to heal. Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMF’s) have actually been classified by the World Health Organization as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” and Lyme expert Dr. Deitrich Klinghardt believes exposure to WiFi and EMF’s are the root cause for many health problems. Given that we are not building a new house or gutting it back to the studs, I can’t put shielded cables in the walls and a kill switch by the bed to cut off all circuitry into the bedroom each night. Rest assured this will happen in the dream house. For now, what we can do is set our router to turn off during our sleeping hours – a super easy and important step that any of you can take today to guard your health.

The next step in removing EMF’s from our bedroom was actually placing ruthless boundaries around electronics of any kind. We’ve never had a TV in our bedroom (and never will), but cell phones definitely crept in over time. I started charging mine in the bathroom years ago (and have now moved it to the kitchen to give my brain an even more extended break from the addiction so it’s not the first thing I grab when I wake up). For Graham, it took a lot longer to get him to agree to remove his phone from our room. Like many of you, he felt like he needed it as an alarm, but my sensitive body would be jolted awake by silent notifications he would get through the night. You may not notice them, but they’re messing with your body’s sleep cycle, too. Now, we both awake without an alarm clock, I think in part because we are sleeping so much better. Before we reset our circadian rhythms, though, we bought an inexpensive non-ticking alarm clock which honestly worked like a charm.

This next step in seeking to make our master an EMF-reduced sanctuary is new for me. I’ve never done this for a client because I’ve never had anyone as passionate about wellness as I am, but for this makeover, we primed our walls with Woremor IF-RE50 EMF Shielding Paint. This carbon based paint reduces the EMF’s that can enter the space. It’s not like wrapping the room in silver thread shield, but it’s a step in the right direction. One proviso: this paint is not VOC-free, just low VOC, and to be honest, the off-gassing from it forced me to sleep in Tate’s room for a few nights while we left our bedroom window open to clear the fumes. If you’re sensitive like me, you’ll want to keep this in mind.

Next up was to paint the walls with the finishing colour. I definitely went back and forth on what I wanted to do here, and my options were quite literally black and white. My next master bedroom may be really bright and airy, but in the end, the vibe I want for this one is sexy and moody and dark. Did you know that you actually sleep better in a really dark room? That doesn’t mean your paint colour has to actually be dark (black out curtains that fully block the light are really the most important step here), but it really does help to create a more cocoon-like invitation to rest. And so you guessed it, we’ve painted that beautiful panelling we installed in Fusion Mineral Paint’s Coal Black. I promise to show you a sneak peek of how it looks in next week’s update when I get to what we are doing to the ceiling, but for now I can tell you that the final coats of paint have been applied and I absolutely love it.

We’ve got a ton to get done this week with that ceiling treatment to install (it may or may not be giving me the sweats), drapery to install and lots of other design goodness. The One Room Challenge is always a race to the finish line, and I do hope you’ll not only follow along with my journey, but also take time to check in and see how everyone else is getting on with their projects. Here’s to keeping the final vision in our sights as we work our way through the messy middle.

By |October 9th, 2019|0 Comments

Master Bedroom Makeover | An Unexpected Pause

Grief amplifies gratitude.

Dear friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I share that my Mum passed away unexpectedly last night. I am going to take some time to grieve and process, so won’t be following the ORC calendar for completing the Master Bedroom Makeover. I promise I will be back to share the journey and the finished space with you once my feet are back on the ground.

In the meantime, I’m struck by how much grief can amplify gratitude. I feel like today I am even more keenly aware of the beauty and love I have in my life. I have a loving husband and two boys who I adore, and they adore me. I am surrounded by amazing friends like Lisa Canning who dropped everything and drove an hour each way just to be with me, bring me groceries and cry a little together today. I am working with some amazing people behind the brands who partner with me who don’t even hesitate to offer abundant kindness and understanding in the face of my grief. This is the best of humanity. I’ve seen some of the worst as well, but I’m so grateful to say that the best are the ones who win the day. Thank you to each of you amazing human beings for being in my life.

I’ll be back to share more soon, and in the meantime, be sure to hold your loved ones close and remind them how much they are loved.

By |October 18th, 2018|0 Comments

One Room Challenge | Fall 2018 | Master Bedroom Makeover | Week Two

” To sleep, perchance to dream…”

Someone has most certainly found the fast-forward button, because I struggle to accept that it has been a full week since my first post about our One Room Challenge Master Bedroom Makeover. But here we are, Week Two, and I’m truthfully very excited to share more delicious details with you.

As this post goes live, I will actually be in the air, flying to High Point Market for a very exciting marathon of designer goodness. I am super privileged to be a Style Spotter for High Point Market for all of 2018, which means that I (along with 7 other esteemed designers and fellow Style Spotters) will be selecting what I think are 25 of the best new releases for this Fall Market. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, High Point Market is the world’s largest furniture market and basically mecca for designers looking to discover the latest and greatest in furniture and decor. More than 30,000 people descend upon this small town for a week of total sensory overload. The privilege and pressure of being a Style Spotter are fairly equal, I admit, but I intend to make it a fun and meaningful week filled with memorable connections.

One of the ways I’ll be doing that is by hosting a panel on Wellness For the Home as a part of ASID’s Designer Viewpoint Series.

As you can see, the group of panelists is outstanding and includes Vogue Rising Star Young Huh, Kips Bay Showhouse legend Richard Ouellette of Les Ensembliers, and the ever-delightful lover of Sanctuary Lisa Kahn-Allen. Be sure to join us and say hi if you’re there!

But back to my little Oakville home and what’s happening in the Master Bedroom Makeover. Given that the room is relatively small, the bed is truly going to be the star of the show. Not to say that there won’t be some additional very lovely details (more on that soon), but the bed needs to be, well, a little bit sexy if you’ll forgive me for saying so.

Enter my friends at Whittington & Co. who, together with some absolutely luxe Crypton velvet, are going to make magic in the shape of this:

Not only will this bed be dead sexy, it will also be truly healthy. Healthy is the new sexy, after all! And this is why I love working with the custom furniture manufacturing team at Whittington: because they specialize in making dreams come true. Not only will they be creating this bed from my custom design; they will also be making it using VOC-free and formaldehyde-free adhesives and natural rubber-derived latex foam. Why do I care about these materials? Because I want to make sure that this bed does not off-gas and secretly compromise our health while we are sleeping and our bodies are working to repair and restore.

Given my personal health journey and all the research I’ve done into creating a healing environment, I have been longing to create a toxin-free sanctuary in our bedroom for some time. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am that the team at Whittington will be working with me to make that dream a reality with this gorgeous custom toxin-free bed!

“But what about the mattress?” I hear you ask. Fear not, my friends, for that too will be a totally non-toxic wonder. I will be telling you much more about it in a post to come, but here is a sneak peek at the totally toxin-free, organic mattress from Canadian manufacturer Obasan that we will soon be laying on to dream our sweet dreams:

There are so many more delicious details waiting for me to share them with you, but I confess that due to my almost-but-not-quite packed status and the fact that I’m writing this the night before I leave for High Point, those delicious details will have to wait until next week’s post. Look for details like:

  • Our beautiful nightstands from Bernhardt that are total materials mixology magic
  • The lighting from Hudson Valley Lighting that is going to take this room from ho-hum to HELLO!
  • The interior mouldings from Metrie that we will be using to create architectural interest and dimension in the space
  • The STUNNING one-of-a-kind rug from King’s House Rugs that will anchor the whole space and give it that globally gathered feeling I love so much.
  • The fabrics – oh the FABRICS!
  • The art – oh the ART!!

Be patient with me friends, as I promise to share WAY more with you in a week’s time! So much good to come!

Until then, here’s to creating homes and lives that are as healthy as they are beautiful! Be sure to check out what the 20 featured ORC designers are up to here as well as all of the guest participants here. My friend Holly Hollingsworth Phillips of The English Room may just be undertaking the most ambitious One Room Challenge project of all time.

By |October 11th, 2018|0 Comments