Jillian Harris's backyard guest house
Tucked away in Jillian Harris's backyard is a charming retreat set into a hill, where the scenic views stretch on and those who stay never want to leave.
It goes without saying that a home should reflect those who live there, but sometimes it’s what a previous owner leaves behind that lends the most character to a space. Jillian Harris, co-host of W Network’s Love It or List It Vancouver, can attest to this. When she first set foot in the backyard of her bungalow in Kelowna, B.C., which she shares with her partner, Justin Pasutto, she spotted a tiny abode just a few yards away, partially obscured by branches and subtly built into a hill.
What turned out to be a guest house became a main selling feature for the outgoing homeowner. “I’ve always loved the idea of a guest house, but I never thought I’d be able to have my own because they’re not that common,” says Jillian. “We’re constantly entertaining, so we like having a place where people can sleep after sitting around the fire with us.”
Jillian compares the petite pad – which she and Justin have termed the “casita” – to a European cottage found in a fable, pointing to its grey stone facade, glass double doors and charming white rooftop deck fitted with a picket-style railing that offers picturesque views of the Okanagan.
Letters spelling out "The Law" (a feature left behind by the previous owner) brand the guest house's entrance, playing up the space's storybook allure. "We were told that the words translate to 'the hill' in Irish, but we're really not sure," says Jillian with a laugh. "It's the mystery that adds character." Glass double doors let in lots of light.
The brightly hued console was the jumping-off point for the guest house's fresh colour palette and vintage aesthetic. Strategically placed accessories help achieve balance and scale. "It's important to mix decor with function," says homeowner Jillian Harris. "Furnisture should always serve a purpose."
Built-in closets flank the glass double doors. This one contains a mini fridge, coffee machine and TV, while the other serves as storage space for guests.
The raised built-in bed accented with elegant wainscotting is offset by the vintage trunk, lending the space a more timeless, lived-in look. With such stylish decor, it's easy to miss the shower to the left of the bed and the two-piece bathroom to the right.
"It's about giving guests everything they need so they don't have to ask," says Jillian. Here, you get to stay at a magical little cottage castle where someone has thought of you and catered to your needs. You feel so happy and so at home."
The console serves as a warm welcome to guests, always equipped with fresh greenery, fruit, mugs and extra pillows.
"I've always loved the idea of a guest house, but I never thought I'd be able to have my own."
Recreate the look of Jillian's guest house with these refreshing hues.
9 ways to revamp your bathroom without undergoing a large-scale renovation.
According to designer Robin Siegerman, principal of Sieguzi Kitchen & Home Inc. and author of Renovation Bootcamp: Kitchens, bathroom renovations can be surprisingly expensive for the (generally) smaller size of the room, because so much of the expense is hidden in the walls, such as electrical and plumbing. But if your bathroom is in relatively good shape but uninspired from a design standpoint – often the case with condo units, for example – there’s much you can do to give it a spiffier look, with little or no professional help. Here are a few tips.
Replacing an ugly bathroom faucet with a pretty one has become a relatively simple do-it-yourself task, with many faucets now sold in kits that include all the fittings and complete instructions. Make sure you have the right type for the number of hole openings in the sink.
There are companies that will come in and reface your countertop with a ¼-inch veneer of granite, for the look of solid granite at a fraction of the cost. Alternatively, you can have a boring or worn laminate counter refaced with new laminate—there are ones on the market now that closely mimic stone, wood or other natural finishes, or go for something more fanciful if you like.
Replace a boring plate-glass mirror with a framed version you can hang like art. Scoop up an ornate frame at an antique store (or pick out a nice one at a framer’s) and have the framer make it into a mirror for you. Attractive framed mirrors in every style from Victorian to modern can also be found at thrift stores, antique markets and home stores.
If your bathtub or shower is tiled inside the enclosure but stops at the edge, and you can find matching tile, have it extended (or do it yourself, with new ceramic tile mounting kits available at box stores) the rest of the way around the bathroom to the 48” mark, like wainscoting. The advantage to doing this is more than aesthetic; it makes your bathroom much easier to clean, since you can wash the walls at the same time you do the floors.
Many bathrooms are cursed with a single light fixture directly above the mirror, which creates unflattering shadows. If you don’t want to have side sconces wired in, look for a fixture with two lights side by side, which will at least direct the light a little more to either side of your face.
If your bathroom floor is ugly, cover it with a small pure-wool area rug. Unlike synthetics, wool is moisture and mildew resistant, resists dirt (and can be cleaned relatively easily), and if you choose an Oriental or Persian style, adds a touch of class. If it gets very wet, hang it up to dry.
It’s amazing what a beautiful bathroom wall colour will do to add interest to the plainest room, and a small room takes only a day or so to paint. Be careful choosing colour, though: some blues and greens can be cold and unkind to skin tones, while too bright a colour may be overwhelming in a small room like a bath. At the very worst, if you choose a colour and don’t like the effect, it’s easy to paint over again.
Making your own shower curtain is an easy job, even if you’re not a sewer. Measure the shower opening and purchase a few yards of beautiful fabric from a fabric outlet store. Finish the edges with iron-on hemming tape and sew curtain rings along the top. Buy a plastic curtain liner from a bath shop, and hang.
Think scale with bath accessories, but don’t think you have to display only small things. One beautiful vase or piece of artwork (a sealed print is best if your bath gets very steamy) can have fabulous impact in a small space.
Easy tips for findingi the perfect rug for your home
Style at Home design editor Stacy Begg explains how to track down the perfect rug.
Finding the right rug can be overwhelming. To help, Style at Home design editor Stacy Begg provides some key information for narrowing down your search and scoring the perfect one.
Rug benefits 1 Defines a space 2 Enhances your decor by introducing colour, pattern and texture that coordinate with the rest of the furnishings 3 Softens hard surfaces and provides warmth underfoot Best for high-traffic areas: Wool, cotton, grasses, synthetics Best for low-traffice areas: Silk, chenille Tip: A flat-woven natural-fibre rug is the perfect base to layer a slightly smaller patterned or textured rug on top.
Consider your space's use and traffic level to determine the optimal rug material. Here are some options. Wool Pros: Durable; soft; repels water and stains Cons: Fades; absorbs humidity; sheds for a period of time Best for: Living rooms, dining rooms Silk Pros: Luxurious surface; offers subtle sheen Cons: Expensive; sensitive to moisture; less sturdy than wool Best for: Bedrooms Cotton Pros: Strong; easy to clean; affordable; versatile Cons: Doesn’t wear well over long periods Best for: Kitchens, kids’ rooms, casual spaces Grasses Pros: Very strong; affordable; neutral Cons: Can be coarse to the touch; difficult to clean Best for: Living rooms, hallways, sunrooms Animal skins Pros: Long lasting; soft; available in many designs Cons: Not good for damp or humid areas Best for: Living rooms, offices, dens How is cost determined? "Simply put, labour (time) + materials + experience (who made it) determines quality and, ultimately, the price of a rug." -Jamie Metrick, rug buyer, Elte
Some designers like to have all the furniture sitting within the outer perimeter of the rug, while others place only the front legs on the rug – it’s really a matter of preference.
The table and chairs should all rest on the rug, with about 24 inches extending beyond the table so there’s plenty of space to accommodate chairs when they’re pushed back.
It’s most common to have the rug cover the bottom two-thirds of the bed; you want to ensure you’re stepping onto the rug when you’re getting up in the morning.
IKEA’s neutral jute rug goes with just about any setting, making it a go-to for designers and decor enthusiasts alike. Its renewable natural material, beautiful knotty texture and earthy warm tones make it a durable, low-maintenance option that also feels great underfoot. But the best part about this rug is that it’s extremely affordable. Tip: If a standard-sized rug isn't working for the dimensions of your space, have one custom made.
1 Dream collection bamboo silk DRm7B rug in light Grey & Dark Grey, Imperial Carpet & Home, from $2,399. 2 Antique Finish collection silk amal-6 rug, 9' x 12', Elte, $12,695. 3 Wool anadol Vintage rug, 4' x 9', eCarpetGallery, $320. 4 Jute ticking rug in Indigo, Dash & Albert Rug Company, from $105 US. 5 Viscose and chenille calvin rug, 5' x 7', Urban Barn, $329. 6 Wool and cotton Reverb rug in Blue-green, CB2, from $349. 7 Wool anja rug, Pottery Barn, from $249 US.
Enrich your space with this season's hottest colour trend for a beautiful, cozy fall home.
Embrace the best of fall decorating with this season’s hottest colour trend: caramel! It’s time to steer away from the typical rich reds and burnt oranges of autumn and indulge in this new neutral. While it still offers that deep, rich colour to warm up your space, it’s easier to incorporate into your current decor thanks to its neutral hue. So once summer fades, try layering your home with our favourite caramel picks of the season.
A soft, full-grain leather sofa from Ikea's classic Stockholm collection. Stockholm sofa in Seglora natural, ikea.ca, $2,199.
Credits: West Elm
Take your workspace to a whole new level of sophistication with a top-grain leather swivel chair. Slope Leather Office Chair, westelm.com, $399.
This mid-century inspired bench is beautifully crafted to work anywhere in your home, whether in your entryway, dining room, or at the foot of your bed. Reverie bench in Coachella Cognac, eq3.com, $949.
Credits: Design Within Reach
Designed by mid-century French modernist icon Jacques Adnet, this mininalist mirror is thoughtful in design, beautifully constructed with a hand-stitched full-grain aniline leather strap and outfitted in brass details. Adnet Round Mirror, dwr.com, $1,099 – $1,399.
Create instant impact with ease thanks to these rich, saddle brown leather fringe pillows. Leather Fringe Saddle Pillow (18”x12”), cb2.com, $199.
If fringe isn’t your style, try this decorative stitched pillow. Catmando Decorative Pillow (18”x18”), bouclair.com, $34.99