A layered neutral living room
Follow designer Kelley McNamara's tips to creating a serene family home.
Designer Kelley McNamara turns a 3,000-square-foot Dutch Colonial home in Fort Langley, B.C., into a calming abode for her busy family.
Designer Kelley McNamara shares 10 tips to creating a serene family home.
Designer and homeowner Kelley McNamara fills vintage milk glass vases, ceramic jugs and glass jars with blooms to capture the country charm of her rural surroundings. “I always try to have fresh flowers in the house,” says Kelley. “They add an element of organic texture and colour.”
A French metal chandelier brings patina and visual interest to the dining room. “I want the house to look like it’s been here a long time,” says Kelley. The fixture ties in beautifully with the sun-bleached oak table, mix-and-match seating, white oak plank floors and salvaged antique barn door.
An aged-looking support beam gives this pristine space character – and it’s a clever trick. “I wanted salvaged timber, but it was too expensive,” says Kelley. Instead, she painted a new fir beam with a few coats of sun-bleached oak wood stain. A trio of wicker stools, brass-finished hardware and a vintage-style pendant light also lend the kitchen a well-lived-in vibe.
The mud room’s industrial sink makes it easy to bathe the family’s two dogs, Duke and Finnegan, before they track dirt into the house, while the slate floor is easy to clean. A Dutch door injects country charm.
Kelley panelled the range hood over the six-burner gas range to achieve a seamless look with the cabinetry. Installing the microwave in the island keeps it out of sight yet easily accessible for the children.
Kelley believes neutral rooms don’t have to be boring. She jazzed up the formal living room’s white and grey palette with linen fabrics, a wool rug and toss cushions in mohair, faux fur and hide. “The more layers, the richer the room becomes,” she says. A dark-brown-framed mirror creates a focal point over the fireplace, while brass library lights are a warm finishing touch on the built-in bookshelves.
Instead of setting this console against a wall or behind a sofa, Kelley gave it centre stage in her front foyer. To ground the vignette, she placed the console atop a rug and arranged interesting objects, such as coffee table books, geode crystals and a potted plant, on top of it. These decorative items bring the outdoors in and make the arrangement feel purposeful.
Kelley didn't overdecorate the master bath, allowing the glass shower and sculptural free-standing tub to make the statement. The accessories are quiet, except for the aged-brass-finished pendant light, which draws the eye toward the corner windows.
A dining room buffet gets new life as the master bathroom vanity. Kelley asked her carpenter to cut off the top of the buffet, and then had a plumber add a quartz countertop, undermounted sinks and wall-mounted faucets for rustic appeal.
Simple bedding, a tufted bench and elegant accessories signal that the master bedroom is a calming oasis. Soft grey is the only whisper of colour in the otherwise monochromatic room, while a few hits of brass add glamour.
Add coastal flair to your bedroom by following these simple steps.
Add coastal flair to your bedroom by following these simple steps.
Designer Shea McGee shares her top tips for adding coastal flair to your bedroom
With ocean views and an abundance of natural light, this master bedroom dictated its own design direction: cozy coastal. Here’s how designer Shea McGee of Studio McGee infused the space with a beach-inspired aesthetic.
1 Stick with calming tones like blues, greens and greys for the walls.
2 Don’t select anything too theme-y – add seaside style with textiles instead.
3 Choose furniture that’s light and airy. Think pale woods, glass and metal, and nothing too bulky.
4 Mix subtle patterns to keep things interesting without overwhelming the room.
5 Use linen fabrics for a relaxed look that doesn’t feel too formal or stuffy.
6 Incorporate organic elements like plants, branches and faux coral as a nod to the coast.
7 Hang drapery right to the ceiling to give extra softness to the space.
8 Layer your windows with woven shades for a dose of texture.
A dated bathroom gets a glamorous update.
A master ensuite comes to see the light thanks to a major renovation involving a fresh layout and glamorous touches.
It all started with a major leak in her master ensuite’s shower – that’s when Mikki Sutherland, the blogger behind Centre Street Style, knew she was in troubled waters. But instead of letting the flood damage overwhelm her, the Calgary-based homeowner took it as an opportunity to transform her confined cookie-cutter bathroom into a spa-like space reflective of her refined style. Luckily enough, Corea Sotropa Interior Design had already renovated the majority of her home, so in 2014, it made sense for the company to continue the process. “The bathroom was very basic and a bit on the rustic side,” says designer Alanna Dunn, who headed the overhaul. “We decided to reconfigure the layout to create an open-concept space with a real beauty factor.”
The first order of business: gutting the cramped quarters from top to bottom. The bathroom’s original inset soaker tub, which was located beside a narrow shower, was traded in for a free-standing clawfoot version. A new spacious glass-enclosed shower, complete with a large built-in bench for comfort, was installed across from it. The design team also rejigged the ensuite’s walk-in closet to accommodate Mikki’s ever-growing wardrobe and repositioned the water closet to further open up the layout and take advantage of the natural light spilling in from the large window.
As for the finer details, the room’s elegant aesthetic came easily thanks to a chevron-patterned marble tile Alanna stumbled across, which served as the jumping-off point for the decor. The tile, with its warm peach undertones, was used to create a feature wall to wake up the white palette and also as a floor inlay in front of the vanity “to provide a sense of separation from one area to the other,” says the designer. “Everything else fell into place from there.” (And she means everything – from the polished brass accents to the hints of blush pink.) In the end, the ensuite achieves what was intended from the start: It epitomizes Mikki’s knack for living ever so stylishly.
Problem: A dark and dated bathroom devoid of personality
Solution: Reconfigure the layout to create a bright and airy space with feminine flair.
The built-in vanity features a distinctive toe kick that tricks one into thinking it’s a stand-alone piece of furniture. Aesthetics aside, the custom unit also provides homeowner Mikki Sutherland with ample storage space for her arsenal of beauty products.
The light-filled ensuite boasts a custom double vanity that spans an entire wall without being visually intrusive. “The mirrored cabinetry creates the illusion of a larger space,” says designer Alanna Dunn. The vanity doors, together with the cristallo quartzite countertop, also bounce light around and add a dose of sparkle.
The cast iron clawfoot tub imparts a dreamy luxe vibe to the space. Hauling it up the stairs was no easy feat, however. “We originally had four people on-site to carry it and had to call for two more,” says Alanna. “That was the moment we crossed our fingers!”
To create a cohesive look, Alanna had the shower outfitted with the three different marble tiles that were used throughout the ensuite.
“We chose a floral wallpaper for the water closet to add a soft organic feel against the geometric floor tiles,” says Alanna. the spiky brass-finished pendant light lends a modern edge.
5 Designer Reno Tips
1 Stay on Budget: A simple way to save money is to keep plumbing and lighting in the same place. “Relocating fixtures is often complicated and costly,” says designer Alanna Dunn.
2 Splurge Small: “I always encourage clients to splurge on pieces with moving parts, such as faucets,” says the designer. Items like this see a lot of use, so it’s worth investing in high-quality products.
3 Mix Things Up: When pairing patterns, choose designs that vary in scale and don’t compete with one another. “I chose three unique tile styles that are noticeably different in size,” she says.
4 Embrace Less: Don’t over-accessorize. “Everything will get in the way, especially since a bathroom has to be cleaned so often,” says Alanna. Instead, opt for statement wallpaper or accent tiles.
5 Be Practical: Above all, consider how the reno will impact your daily life. “Make sure you have another bathroom!” she says. “Bathroom renovations typically take at least three months to complete.”
Good Things Come to Those Who Hustle Print, Purposeful Printables on Etsy.
Boost your productivity while working from home with these inspiring office essentials.If you work from home, carving out a quiet space to concentrate is important. But this space doesn’t need to simply be functional. It should also be inspiring and motivating. It should encourage you to do your best work. How? We’ve rounded up a selection of home office essentials that will help to spark your creativity!
Need a few words of encouragement to get you through the work day? When you’re running low on motivation, simply remind yourself that ‘Good Things Come to Those Who Hustle’. This charming print will not only look great hanging on the wall of your home office but it’ll give you that extra incentive to get stuff done. Best of all, this print is an instant download so why not download and print it right now? Good Things Come to Those Who Hustle Print, Purposeful Printables on Etsy, $2.59.
Add a burst of colour and whimsy to your home office by wallpapering a feature wall using Schumacher’s ‘Birds and Butterflies’ wallpaper. This popular pattern is a revival from a 1960s pattern in the company’s archives. Brought back to life for a modern era, this wallpaper will inspire your own flights of fancy as you work. Schumacher Birds and Butterflies Wallpaper, Schumacher, see website for details.
If wallpaper is too permanent a choice, opt for something temporary like a wall decal. This motivational wall decal is just the thing to inspire you in your creative pursuits. Easy to apply and easy to remove without leaving damage to your walls, this wall decal comes in 40 different colour options. Motivational Wall Decal, TweetHeart Wall Art on Etsy, $18.21.
Bring your Pinterest boards to life with this metal photo clip string set. Featuring 12 photo clips on a five-foot string, this set will help you keep all those tear sheets and inspired ideas front and centre in your home office, instead of buried under a pile on your desk! Metal Photo Clip String Set, Urban Outfitters, $14.
It’s not uncommon to hit a wall during a long work day. When you need a break to get your creative juices flowing, try colouring! Adult colouring books are all the rage these days and when you sit down with one, you’ll understand why. More than just a throwback to your childhood, this beautifully illustrated book is bound to unleash your own creativity. Animal Kingdom Colouring Book and Coloured Pencils, Indigo, $25.34.
Hang sturdy shelves on your home office walls to display favourite items. Not only will they add visual interest to your space but they’ll provide room for photographs, books and other odds and ends that you draw inspiration from. These shelves, made from reclaimed pine, will look right at home in almost any space! Reclaimed Wood Shelving + Brackets, West Elm, starting at $69.99.
Research indicates that fresh plants and flowers aren’t just pretty additions to your home. They are said to boost your mood, spark creativity, reduce stress and promote concentration. And on top of all that, they’ll add a beautiful touch to your workspace. Seems like there are plenty of reasons to add a vase of fresh blooms to your desk!
An oversized chalkboard is perfect for jotting down notes, to-do lists and ideas that come to you throughout the day. Even use it as a jumbo doodle pad! Just don’t ever let your best ideas slip away because you didn’t record them. Framed Chalkboard, Pottery Barn, $99.