Small space: Simple serene townhome
When it comes to designing interiors, Kelly Deck is no newcomer. As the principal of Kelly Deck Design, she estimates that she's been involved in building about 200 homes for clients. And yet the Vancouver designer, who's known for perfectly capturing the modern-organic West Coast vibe, had never actually owned a place of her own until recently because she hadn't found one within her budget that was up to her designer standard.
The opportunity came when Kelly was asked to consult on the design of a seven-unit townhome development in Vancouver's hip Commercial Drive neighbourhood. As Kelly surveyed the site, she was taken by its location: "This was one of the nicest pockets in the area, which boasts a wonderful wine store, an Italian bakery and an organic butcher. I could see myself living here." And, of course, she couldn't pass up the chance to finally create her own dream home from the ground up - even if it was a compact 1,200 square feet.Main floor: 250-square-feet
The main floor is an open-concept space that includes a kitchen and living room.
In spite of the townhouse's small scale, tri-level living appealed to Kelly. "Although the unit is attached, you still get the feeling that it's a home because there's a front door and a set of stairs."
The narrow white kitchen features compact appliances that are integrated into the cabinetry. Because this is the home's only dining area, Kelly splurged on Felt Arper dining stools, which are as comfortable as they are stylish. The counter‐height dining table doubles as a food‐prep surface when not in use.
For the interior, Kelly wanted to create a soothing environment with a Scandinavian sensibility. That means everything from the furniture to the lighting is beautifully sculptural, while the rest of the decor is minimal. And the neutral palette is a selection of white, cream, pale grey and black with wooden and metallic accents.
On the open-concept main floor, homeowner and designer Kelly Deck had all the surfaces, from the base boards to the ceiling, painted white to make the spaces feel cohesive. Kelly chose white oak flooring in a matte finish for the main level and staircase. A custom red cedar coffee table by artist Brent comber is the living room's focal point. says Kelly: "It feels very West coast."
The open shelving in the living room boasts simplicity with elegant trinkets.
For the second floor guest space for a dedicated home office, room, Kelly selected a bed that Kelly incorporated a work area was close to the ground. "When here. a narrow console-style a large piece has a lower centre of gravity, it takes up less visual volume and the ceiling looks higher," she says. Since the two-bedroom home has no extra desk ensures there's plenty of clearance for guests to settle in with their overnight bags.
The guest room has its own ensuite bathroom and work area, so visitors can close the door and relax in their own private space. "It's great for when my parents come to visit," says Kelly.
Kelly used simple meaningful decorative accessories, including books, antiques, artwork and travel photography, to create a curated and cozy (but not cluttered) retreat from hectic days.
Getting and staying organized isn't easy. If you're struggling to conquer clutter once and for all, our simple 99 organizing tips should help get you started.
We know, we know: getting organized at home can be easier vowed than done. But even if you’re short on time (and budget), there are dozens of ways you can get your house in order. Here are 99 of our favourite low-cost organizing tips; many of them are environmentally friendly, too!
A stunning kitchen design that proves open display may require more organization, but it's so beautiful it's worth it!
1 Use old baby-food jars to hold spices. Stash them in a drawer upside down so this recycling trick looks sleek, not cheap.
2 Store all your instruction manuals in one binder in the kitchen or pantry.
3 Collect your takeout menus in a binder. Or stuff them into a Ziploc bag and stash 'em – where else? – in the fridge or cupboard.
4 Use a cardboard six-pack container to carry condiments from kitchen to deck in BBQ-casual style.
5 Keep a tray or basket on the kitchen counter where kids can drop off permission slips and adults can put mail requiring immediate action. A second tray can handle lower-priority paperwork.
6 Don’t waste time constantly topping up cereal-sized food storage containers with dog or cat kibble. Use a metal trashcan to store one bag at a time in rodent-proof style.
7 Use a recharging station to keep your cell phone, MP3 player and other portable device cords untangled and your gadgets fully charged.
8 Can’t find fresh garlic or onions? Keep them in clean knee-high nylons. Hang in a cool, dry place.
9 Post a sheet of paper on the fridge and note groceries and supplies needing replenishing. On grocery day, just grab the sheet and go.
10 Reduce spoilage of fruits and veggies by “rotating” your crops. Put new ones underneath ones that were already in your crisper.
11 Use small jam jars to hold cotton swabs, balls and other essentials inside your bathroom vanity drawers.
12 Use an old wooden stepladder to hold bath and hand towels.
13 Cut the amount of time you spend going from linen closet to bathroom by installing extra towel storage via a hotel-style double towel bar.
14 And a stash of bath towels rolled inside a basket helps, too.
15 Store kids’ bath toys in a fine-laundry bag. Hang from the faucet 'til fully drained.
16 Use a shower organizer and just the basics: mild shampoo, conditioner and a body wash.
17 Stash extra shower products in plastic caddies – one per family member.
18 Keep cleaning products in a caddy, too.
19 Post a sheet of paper in the bathroom and note bathroom supplies that need replenishing. On grocery day, just grab the sheet and go.
20 Assign teens and tweens their “own” towel sets by colour. Sorting laundry becomes super-easy and sharing-aversive kids are content.
21 For the living room or family room, get an ottoman or bench with hidden storage under the seat.
22 Large woven or wooden baskets stash clutter effectively, so stock up.
23 Got kids? Get large tubs that can be used to deploy toys – and quickly move them out of living spaces when company’s coming.
24 Don’t hold on to magazines. Just rip out any pages you want to keep for future reference, keep in a file folder, then recycle the rest.
25 Toss dirty socks into mesh fine-laundry bags. Orphaned socks will be a thing of the past.
26 Dollar store plastic caddies are perfect for grouping cleaning products upright in cabinets – no tipping!
27 Recycle old plastic shopping bags. Store them in an empty Kleenex box ‘til you need them.
28 Store batteries in plastic berry baskets until you’re ready to drop them off at the recycling centre.
29 Ditto for compact fluorescent bulbs and orchard fruit baskets.
30 Big, busy family? Paint one entire wall in your mudroom in chalkboard paint so everyone can easily leave messages for one another.
31 Keep one basket per person in your mudroom or front entrance, so everyone knows where to drop off/find their personal on-the-go essentials like keys, bags, homework etc.
32 Designate a back-to-car zone by your entranceway, and put anything there that requires returning to the trunk – i.e. reusable grocery bags, empties – so the next person to use the car will remember to bring them.
33 Remove the front and back from a picture frame and string rows of wire across the centre. Hang it or lean it against the wall and hook earrings onto each wire.
34 For easy jewellery storage, use an old dressmaker’s dolly to hang necklaces and hook earrings into.
35 Shopaholics can put those pretty boutique bags to use by hanging them on the wall or arranging them on a shelf, where they can store scarves and belts.
36 Do a card run – birthdays, holidays, new baby etc. – once a year and store cards in a file tote.
37 Use ice cube trays to hold clips, erasers and other desk-drawer essentials.
38 Use an old wooden stepladder to hold books.
39 Use white address label stickers to label what each cord in a power bar is for.
40 Paint an oversized canvas in one bold colour and hang it from the wall. Pin a rotating collection of your kids’ artwork on it.
41 Post a sheet of paper on your bulletin board and note office supplies that need replenishing.
42 Use a canvas over-the-door shoe organizer to organize small kids toys and art supplies.
43 Those ubiquitous Danish butter cookie tins can be both an art project and art storage unit for kids. First let your child decoupage it. Then use it to hold crayons and pastels.
44 Post those novelty basketball rings above anything you want your kids to slam dunk stuff into rather than the floor: garbage cans, laundry baskets, etc.
45 For preschoolers too young to use hangers with ease, install a low bar in the closet and simply drape dresses and pants across it to keep them wrinkle-free and easily accessible.
46 Have your child plan their wardrobe one school week at a time. Store outfits within five stacking cubbies or on five combination hangers (hangers with a bar and clips to hold pants as well as a top) to streamline their morning routine.
47 Keep sheet sets organized by folding and storing the fitted sheet, flat sheet and pillowcase inside the second pillowcase.
48 If you don’t want to buy stacking shoeboxes, recycle the cardboard boxes your shoes came in by cutting out a panel at one end for visibility and ventilation.
49 Install a closet organization system: it’ll pay itself off with time and aggravation saved!
50 A well-lit wardrobe is easier to keep organized. Install a Solatube, skylight or adequate artificial light for your needs.
51 Don’t limit closet storage to hangers. Hang hooks on the door for frequently used items.
52 Tackle that kitchen junk drawer problem head on. Today. Purge, edit and keep things in place with a drawer organizer.
53 Are you a piler, not filer? That’s fine, just keep piles of paperwork organized by using folders and write-on clips.
54 Recycle leftover gift-wrap ribbons by using them to tie up extra electrical and other cords in your utility closet.
55 Dedicated tie, belt and scarf holders are closet must-haves.
56 Upgrade your address book for a classic Rolodex. They’re retro-chic and easy to keep updated.
57 Buy a framed corkboard, hang it in the kitchen and pin up favourite recipes, clipped from magazines.
58 Make space by putting your CDs in organizers, by genre. Recycle the jewel cases or put them into storage in the attic.
59 Or, purge your CD clutter once and for all by having your CDs converted to digital files at riptopia.com. Sell or donate the used CDs.
60 Buy a hotel-style hairdryer that can be installed on the wall to save space, time and energy in a small bathroom.
61 A pot-lid holder puts the vertical space behind a cabinet door to good use.
62 A wrap-organizer does the same, creating the perfect spot for plastic wrap, aluminum foil and waxed paper.
63 Organize vanity essentials on a vintage tray. Très organized and très chic.
64 Use an extra wine rack to hold rolled-up magazines.
65 Use cutlery trays in your drawers, but to save even more time, stash everyday flatware in a countertop caddy.
66 Shrink-wrap out of season clothes, blankets and duvets to save space while storing.
67 You’ll never fit sheets back into those reusable vinyl zip pouches they were sold in, but you can stash cloth napkins in them. Use one pouch per set and label the quantity with a Sharpie.
68 Buy 10 pairs of the same gym socks, to minimize sorting.
69 Do the same for your hubby.
70 Do the same for his dress socks if he can get away with always wearing the same black ones during fall/winter at least.
71 Stash kids’ art supplies on a lazy Susan so everything is easily accessible.
72 Organize household bills in an accordion file with month-by-month pockets.
73 Hold onto paint chips, fabric swatches and brochures from your last redecorating session. You never know when you’ll need to reference them. Store them in an accordion file.
74 On your mudroom wall, hammer in two nails, then string wire between them. Provide clothes pegs and have your kids hang their wet mittens and gloves to dry overnight.
75 Banish tiny piles of coins and start saving in style. Get a designer piggy bank and keep it by the entranceway, laundry or kitchen—wherever you’d like to dump your change.
76 Tired of that circa-90s cast-iron pot rack? Move it from the kitchen to the garage or potting shed and use it to keep garden tools organized.
77 Get – and use – a garden hose caddy.
78 Edit your hangers. Choose: wire, plastic or wood and unify the hangers in every closet.
79 Use pillboxes to stash your earrings and rings when traveling.
80 Use a soda-can dispenser in the fridge so you can access your pop easily without tipping.
81 Use a wall-mounted broom and mop holder, or tie ribbon loops on the end of poles and hang them from hooks in your closet, garage or utility closet.
82 Make a party kit. Stash napkins, extra glassware and plates, votive candles and holders, extra vases, cocktail picks and other necessities in an old wine crate and pull it out pre-party or pre-holiday entertaining so you don’t waste valuable cupboard space.
83 Use a binder to store all medical records and information for everyone in your family, including each pet. Use dividers for each family member and include plastic pouches or expandable pockets to contain receipts and tiny record cards.
84 Stash awkward, easy-to-misplace necessities (extra hairbrushes, lint roller) in decorative reusable tote bags. Hang them off a doorknob in every room.
85 Burn digital images to CD once a month so you’ll never lose them if your computer (gasp!) crashes. Or print them ASAP!
86 Store photos in archival-quality, acid-free boxes until you have time to organize them in albums.
87 Get a heavy-duty paper shredder for peace of mind – and efficient shredding without risk of overheating.
88 Place your shredder where you intercept daily mail. If that’s the kitchen, so be it.
89 Put a small plastic caddy in your gym bag so you can manage hair care and skincare products without dropping anything. Excess water will just drain out.
90 Stop losing lock combinations and computer passwords once and for all. Jot everyone’s codes and combinations down in a notebook and store it in your family’s fireproof lockbox.
91 Store reusable shopping bags one inside the other.
92 Always keep one cute, foldable shopping tote in each of your heavy-rotation purses so you’re never caught without.
93 Avoid the last-minute drugstore run by always having a kit of your favourite travel-sized toiletries (and common OTC meds like allergy pills) packed and waiting in your suitcase.
94 Get a gift-wrap organizer and stock up on a year’s worth of wrap and ribbons, or ready-to-fill bags and tissue.
95 If perishables regularly go to waste in your fridge, start planning weekly dinner menus. Just buy ingredients for those meals, plus lunch basics. Post the menu on your fridge so you’re on track.
96 Mount a magnetized knife rack to a wall in your utility closet or basement, to keep your most commonly used screwdrivers and wrenches handy, not buried in the toolbox.
97 Donate your battery-powered emergency flashlights and stock up on windup models so you never have to worry about replacing batteries.
98 Stop stressing over the emergency preparedness kit the Canadian government recommends all families have. Just make one and get on with your life. Visit getprepared.ca to learn what to put in it. Stash it in a rolling suitcase so it’s mobile in case you have to be, too.
99 Plan a closet clean-out once per season. Less mess makes staying organized a lot easier.
Chic dressing room.
We transform an attic space into a stylish dressing room on a ready-to-wear and an haute couture budget. Can you tell the difference?
1 Carl Robinson Edition 5 Reflect Edgware wallpaper in CB54400, Crown Wallpaper & Fabrics, $200 per double roll, through designers. 2 Large faux shagreen box in Seal Grey, Absolutely, $429. 3 Lacquered silver-plated brass Traditional Mirrored tray, Ethan Allen, $319. 4 Bernhardt Jet Set maple-veneered MDF Door cabinet with gold-leafed MDF base, Zilli Home Interiors, $1,349. 5 Hand-knotted bamboo silk Opulence rug in Silver, 8' x 10', Imperial Carpet and Home, $3,243. 6 Track-armed winged chaise longue with polyester Venice fabric in 61 and nailhead trim in Silver, Union Lighting and Furnishings, $2,220. 7 Designers Guild lambswool-blend Zari Graphite throw in Grey, Putti Fine Furnishings, $295. 8 Bonaldo painted-steel Fortuny side table in Glossy White, Suite 22 Interiors, $500. 9 Vintage Italian ornate carved gilded-wood mirror, Carrocel, $1,850.
1 Carl Robinson Edition 9 Romantique Ida wallpaper in CB90009, Crown Wallpaper & Fabrics, $100 per double roll, through designers. 2 Medium lacquered-wood Eggshell Inlay box with mosaic mallard eggshell pieces and crackle finish, Ethan Allen, $159. 3 Painted-aluminum tray, HomeSense, $13. 4 Particleboard Sektion wall cabinet in White, 36" x 15" x 30", IKEA, $55; fibreboard Ringhult doors in High Gloss White (customized), 18" x 30", IKEA, $84 each; birch Skäralid base (customized), 15" x 30", IKEA, $59. 5 Hand-knotted wool and bamboo silk Atrium rug in C6 Beige, 8' x 10', Imperial Carpet and Home, $1,317. 6 Stocksund chaise longue with cotton-blend Nolhaga fabric in Gray-Beige and stained-beech legs in Black, IKEA, $639. 7 Klippan lambswool Samba throw in Grey, Likely General, $175. 8 Lacquered painted-rubberwood Lamsa side table in White, Jysk, $70. 9 Gilded cast-resin Chinoiserie mirror in Gold, Ethan Allen, $1,489.
Any budget can get in some storage, especially if it's as glam as these cabinets. Keeping a small area, like this attic, clean and organized is the key to enjoying the space so make sure it's kept that way with a stylish piece for a fabulous room. High (left): Bernhardt Jet Set maple-veneered MDF Door cabinet with gold-leafed MDF base, Zilli Home Interiors, $1,349. Low (right): Particleboard Sektion wall cabinet in White, 36" x 15" x 30", IKEA, $55; fibreboard Ringhult doors in High Gloss White (customized), 18" x 30", IKEA, $84 each; birch Skäralid base (customized), 15" x 30", IKEA, $59.
This dressing room is meant to make getting ready feel like the best part of your day. But if the morning is moving slow, or you need a break to scroll through Instagram, take a quick lounge on the perfect seat to keep you feeling like a glamorous gal. High (left): Track-armed winged chaise longue with polyester Venice fabric in 61 and nailhead trim in Silver, Union Lighting and Furnishings, $2,220. Low (right): Stocksund chaise longue with cotton-blend Nolhaga fabric in Gray-Beige and stained-beech legs in Black, IKEA, $639.
Who could even imagine leaving the house without a quick look in the mirror? Whether you're feeling the sleepy Sundays or you're pumped for TGIF this mirror will reassure you that you're looking (and should be feeling) stylish. High (left): Vintage Italian ornate carved gilded-wood mirror, Carrocel, $1,850. Low (right): Gilded cast-resin Chinoiserie mirror in Gold, Ethan Allen, $1,489.
Function over style? Why not have both? This side table is the perfect addition to any room really, but we love it for displaying flowers, holding your morning coffee or keeping your favourite book close by. High (left): Bonaldo painted-steel Fortuny side table in Glossy White, Suite 22 Interiors, $500. Low (right): Lacquered painted-rubberwood Lamsa side table in White, Jysk, $70.
Every house (and nearly every room) needs a vanity tray to keep things looking tidy, organized and trendy. Staying organized is the easiest way to impress so toss perfume bottles, jewellery and little trinkets to keep track of your every day essentials. High (left): Lacquered silver-plated brass Traditional Mirrored tray, Ethan Allen, $319. Low (right): Painted-aluminum tray, HomeSense, $13.
If you know what you want to make your room just right, do it! Furniture, like cabinets, may come with hardware and extra accessories, but that's merely a suggestion. Head out and find the perfect accessories to complete the look and the room. High (left): Bernhardt Jet Set maple-veneered MDF Door cabinet with gold-leafed MDF base, Zilli Home Interiors, $1,349. Low (right): Rings, screw eyes, washers and grommets, The Home Depot, $15. See how to make this cabinet and customize it yourself here.
Our dressing room get its punch from the sloped ceiling's bold floral wallpaper. You can mimic this feature, whether you're looking to splurge or save. High Carl Robinson Edition 5 Reflect Edgware in CB54400, Crown Wallpaper & Fabrics, $200 per double roll, through designers. Medium Anna French Wild Flora Bouquet in Gold, Thibaut, $163 per double roll, through designers. Low Carl Robinson Edition 9 Romantique Ida in CB90009, Crown Wallpaper & Fabrics, $100 per double roll, through designers.
Skip art in your dressing room – use your best-loved shoes instead, employing floating shelves and picture ledges as display spaces. The pieces come in different sizes, which makes them ideal for an irregular-shaped wall like this one. Particleboard Lack SHELVES, 75", IKEA, $30 each. Fibreboard Mosslanda picture ledges, IKEA, from $13. Mirrored box, HomeSense, $25. Laquered-wood Mid-Century jewellery box in White Lacquer, 15" x 11" x 8", West Elm, $239.
Photography: Tracey Ayton
Homeowners' contrasting interior design styles come together in a modern-meets-traditional Vancouver home – no compromises necessary.
It all started with the bar. “The homeowners hired me to renovate a little bar area in their family room,” says designer Chrissy Cottrell of Chrissy & Co. Design Savvy. “And I said, ‘Well, if you do that, your kitchen is going to be very jealous!’” The couple took note, and last summer, the small project turned into a full-scale two-month over-haul of their cramped main floor. Chrissy opened up the space, added storage and updated the aesthetic. Here’s how this home was given the grand treatment.
The dark and dated main level of this 3,000-square-foot home suffered from a chopped-up layout and a look that could best be characterized as nondescript. “It was very fragmented,” says Chrissy. “For such a big place, it only made sense that it have an open-concept floor plan.” In addition to poor flow, the space had a cluttered feel due to insufficient storage. The ho-hum house was also in need of some architectural interest.
A bit of Pinterest surfing indicated the homeowners’ differing styles – she gravitates toward traditional pieces; he likes modern, clean lines. Armed with this information, Chrissy sought to create a space that suited not only their aesthetic preferences but also their lifestyle. “I know they’re planning on having a family,” she says, “so I came up with a design that features kid-friendly finishes and durable furnishings while incorporating both of their styles.”
With a style that Chrissy dubs “eclectic transitional,” the house boasts a bright, organized look that’s both sophisticated and fresh. Juxtapositions of old and new, masculine and feminine, and sleek and ornate create a fine balance. For example, a curvaceous Dutch-style chandelier and ornate gilded mirror offset contemporary furnishings in the living space.
The dining area’s gallery wall was actually created to conceal a TV. “It’s hidden behind the photograph of the horse, which slides up when you press a button on a remote control,” says designer Chrissy Cottrell.
The living area’s fireplace was replaced with a timeless clean-lined version featuring a marble herringbone-tiled surround.
Tearing down the wall between the kitchen and living room and installing sliding glass doors made all the difference: On top of creating a brighter and more open space, it allowed Chrissy to double the kitchen’s size, supplant its eat-in area with a more formal dining spot, and provide better functionality and overall flow. Architectural elements like wire-brushed French white oak floors, fireplaces with marble surrounds and substantial built-ins, inject character. The palette of crisp whites and contrasting neutrals was livened up with a few pops of colour to make the space come alive.
Hand-pressed ceramic subway tiles cover the kitchen walls. With a rippled, slightly imperfect look, they provide intriguing texture and a bit of sparkle. “They have this organic feel to them and subtly reflect the light,” says Chrissy.
The kitchen cabinetry’s soft cream colour is a classic choice that also offers warmth and depth. The exteriors of the brass pendant lights were painted cream to complement the space’s palette.
In the family area, the sofa’s masculine vibe is countered by a pair of smaller-scaled Louis XVI-inspired armchairs. “The only piece of furniture the homeowners wouldn’t part with was the old leather sofa,” says Chrissy. “But it worked out really well!” The gas fireplace was given a facelift with a surround made of 12-by- 24-inch Calacatta marble tiles. “They nicely offset the built-ins, so the wall doesn’t feel too dark,” says the designer.
The family area’s built-ins offer much-needed closed storage and room for display. Painting them a rich charcoal adds handsome contrast, visually differentiates the space from the adjacent kitchen and is a practical choice. “It’s a more livable option than black because all-black surfaces show too much dust,” says Chrissy.
Chrissy painted the entire powder room black. “If you paint a ceiling white in a black room, the eye goes straight to the ceiling before noticing how striking the space is,” she says. Luxurious elements like the marble-look floor and brass-toned faucet enhance the elegant jewel box vibe.