Interior: Budget-friendly decorating
When her builder husband Rob completed a new subdivision in South Surrey, B.C., Kimberley Wiens of Laurel Ridge Homes set about decorating the 3,300 sq. ft. show home. Her goal: to appeal to as many buyers as possible as cost-effectively as possible. A designer for 16 years, Kimberley knows what sells. She teamed up with Jeannine Foley and Kelley McNamara, owners of design shop Stella Bleu Home, to create a neutral but inviting palette enhanced by decorating details that make a big impact on a budget.
The design team -- Kimberley Wiens of Laurel Ridge Homes in South Surrey, B.C., and Jeannine Foley and Kelley McNamara of Stella Bleu Home, also in South Surrey -- chose armless seating and small-scale accents to make this petite sitting room seem more spacious. As well, mirrored tables reflect lots of light, and the coffered ceiling draws the eye up. Above the sofa is Coastal Horizon by Vancouver-based artist Christine Deckert.
Style at Home How did the design process start?
Kimberley Wiens We get a lot of rain on the West Coast, plus the house wasn’t going to be huge, so we decided to design it with a lot of windows and French doors across the back to make it airy, open and bright, and thereby seem bigger. When decorating, we went with simple furnishings and reflective surfaces for that same reason.
For the neutral-tone great room, which is open to the kitchen and eating area, Kimberley, Jeannine and Kelley chose the shag rug, tufted sofa and natural-fabric chairs to provide textural interest. The earthy landscape painting by South Surrey, B.C., artist Karla Amadatsu makes a strong statement in the otherwise understated interior.
S@H Is that also why you went with neutrals?
Jeannine Foley We had to think about all the people who might be walking through the show house, so we kept the colour palette light throughout and added lots of texture. We used a lot of soft greys and blues -- beach tones -- which is very South Surrey. The beach is only a five-minute walk away.
The clean-lined, contemporary dining area is informal yet elegant, making it ideal for both everyday and special occasions.
S@H Was it all smooth sailing?
KW Well, I originally envisioned ceiling-height kitchen cupboards with separate sets of glass doors. But all the details were adding up, so we discussed different options with our cabinetmaker, who suggested doing one door style that combined a solid panel with a glass front on top.
Thanks to smart design planning, the kitchen offers areas to display decorative pieces and to hide more functional items. For example, cookie sheets are stored in the slim slide-out cupboard to the right of the range.
KW We'd never done that before, but it turned out really well. It's a modern twist, and cost effective.
S@H Any other lessons learned?
KW We take great pride in attention to little details and workmanship -- nothing builder's basic! But that doesn't mean you have to blow your budget either. Do little things, like updating cabinetry hardware, when renovating or reselling. If you can’t afford to do so everywhere, invest in a key area.
S@H Can you give us an example?
KW We didn't have the budget for wainscotting throughout, so we focused on the front entrance. It's impossible for anyone entering the house to miss the coffered ceiling and panelled archway. Those little details make a lasting impression.
For the girl's bedroom, the designers wanted to appeal to a wide range of ages, so they chose an ultra-neutral white-and-grey palette -- the look is fresh but not fairy tale.