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.
Learn how to properly prepare your home for an emergency.
Follow these simple, proactive measures to ensure your home is prepared for anything Mother Nature can throw your way.
No one wants to find themselves in an emergency situation, so it’s important to prepare your home as best as possible. Since there’s nothing you can do to stop Mother Nature, here are a few small, proactive measures you can take to help keep damages at bay.
Photography courtesy of istockphoto.com
1 Clean the gutters
Overflowing gutters are one of the major causes of water finding its way into homes. If your downspouts are leaky, in disrepair or nonexistent, heavy snow and rain will go right into your foundation. Cleaning your gutters and repairing your downspouts should be on your annual maintenance list, and consider investing in gutter covers or screens to keep leaves out.
2 Fire-rate your home
Proper fire separation between floors will help contain smoke and flames, as will fire-rated doors. Roxul Safe‘n’Sound insulation is a product I use in all my renovations because it resists temperatures up to approximately 1,177°C, helping to prevent a fire from spreading and providing you valuable time to escape.
3 Seal the cracks
Everyone thinks foundation cracks are scary – and sometimes they are – but they’re usually just signs of an aging home and not indicative of structural issues. However, those cracks could compromise the dryness of your basement in a storm, so have them sealed with epoxy injections. They cost about $500 per crack, which is a lot cheaper than gutting your basement because of a flood!
Money tight? These inexpensive items will help keep you and your home protected.
Backup sump pump
If your home loses power due to flooding, a battery powered backup sump pump will help keep the water out of your basement. This is ideal if it’s a finished basement.
This is a great backup source to have on hand in case of a blackout. A generator is especially useful for long power outages in the winter.
Smoke & carbon monoxide detectors
COST: from $50
Severe storms can result in secondary emergencies like fires and gas leaks, so outfitting your home with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor will help ensure maximum safety at home.
Luxe hardcore bundle, Brooklinen.
With the cooler weather coming it's time to prepare your home with these eight fall accessories that can warm up any night in.
If you tend to spend a bit more time keeping warm in bed on chilly fall nights, you might want to invest in quality bedding. Brooklinen’s buttery smooth sheet sets come in an assortment of stylish stripes and solid colours and have a bit of a sheen, which adds a luxurious feeling every time you slip between them. Made with long staple Egyptian cotton, you’ll appreciate the quality every night. Luxe hardcore bundle, Brooklinen, prices vary depending on size.
Crisp fall evenings mean turning up the heat in the house. But install a Nest thermostat and you’ll enjoy having your home at your ideal temperatures all day long while also making your home more energy efficient. You’ll be able to remotely control your home’s temperature from your smartphone, even if you’re traveling. All of this control means you’ll save money on your heating bills, too. Nest learning thermostat, Nest, $249.
This Indigo exclusive pillow cover unites the rich colours of autumn beautifully. Boasting gorgeous florals in earthy hues, this seasonal throw pillow is a simple way to bring a touch of fall into your home. Toss on a couch or bed for an instant facelift! Midnight floral pillow cover, Indigo, $30.
Classic. Iconic. Canadian. This signature HBC Collection striped point blanket’s popularity dates all the way back to the 1800s when it was first commissioned. Since then, this high quality, 100% woven wool blanket has never been out of production, a sure sign of its enduring style. Fall has never been cozier! Hudson’s Bay Company multi stripe point blanket, Hudson’s Bay, starting at $295.
Warm up the chilliest of days with a treat that the whole family will love. This premium cocoa powder is flavoured with natural vanilla to deliver a perfectly sweet cup of hot chocolate each and every time. Sweet ground chocolate, Williams-Sonoma, $15.95.
Blanket? Check. Hot drink? Check. Now you just need a good book to make your evening complete. Mindy Kaling to the rescue! If you watch The Mindy Project, have read her first book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, or secretly wish that Mindy was your real-life BFF, then you can’t miss out on her recently released second book Why Not Me? This collection of essays, though thoughtful and personal, is also just as hilarious as you’d expect from the queen of comedy. Why Not Me, Indigo, $20.
When it’s cold outside and all you want to do is stay snuggled up inside where it’s warm, you’ll be thankful you’ve got your AppleTV to keep you company. Bringing all the apps you love to use on your computer to life on your television screen means you can get really comfortable as you settle in to watch your favourite shows on iTunes, Netflix, Crackle, CraveTV, Shomi and other streaming services. Apple TV, Apple Store, from $199.
Keep those tootsies warm with these adorable, comfy reading socks. They’re made with just 12% wool so they’re cozy but not itchy. When regular socks just won’t do, these cable socks will be your perfect indoor companions. They make a great gift, too! Cabled cozy reading socks, Indigo, $29.50.
A fresh seaside-chic lake house
This cozy lake house in Port Carling, Ont., boasts a fresh seaside-chic vibe while paying homage to old-school Muskoka.
Nestled on the south shore of Lake Rosseau in Port Carlin, Ont., this 6,800-square-foot six-bedroom house is decorated the way one would dress when visiting: in a crisp Polo Ralph Lauren Oxford shirt and comfortable, well-worn chinos paired with Sperry Top-Siders. It's a timeless look that's coastal, casual and effortlessly chic with a neutral palette at its core.
"The homeowners wanted to capture that warm, windswept lake house aesthetic but with a relaxed, cozy Muskoka feel for their young family of four," says Cory DeFrancisco of Mukoka Living Interiors, who designed and built the home from scratch, finishing in 2013.
Like a friendly smile and a firm handshake, the entryway makes a confident and inviting introduction to the home.
"A lot of old cottages have those tunnelling hallways in their guest cottage or service quarters, and this beadboard wall treatment references that," says builder and designer Cory DeFrancisco.
This small boathouse sunroom is literally right on Ontario's Lake Rosseau: On windy days, you can feel waves crashing up through the floorboards.
"We took up 90 percent of the wall with windows," says Cory of the gorgeous great room, where the ceiling's oak beams guide your eye directly to the view. "The overstuffed sofas are insanely comfortable," he adds. "They're slipcovered in high-quality Belgian linen that gets softer with each wash.
Though the spacious kitchen is crisp, white and polished, simple details, such as the grain of the reclaimed-oak floors and the texture of the brush strokes on the hand-painted cabinetry, keep it humble and homey. "It's a new take on a traditional cottage kitchen, with all the modern amenities," says Cory.
A big weathered farmhouse table paired with slipcovered seating and sophisticated lighting that doesn't block the view equals a dining room with easy elegance. But the best feature of this space is that, with the doors open, you really feel like you're eating alfresco.
Even though this home is grand, the family who lives here wanted an overall feeling of togetherness, so Cory kept it largely open concept.
The west-facing Muskoka room, with wall-to-wall windows, is so bright that it can pull off the charcoal walls. "The darkness acts as an anchor, while the light that shines in highlights the furnishings," explains Cory. The modular sectional is meant for the outdoors (so go ahead, get it wet) and can be reconfigured when company comes to create multiple sitting areas.
The whole master bedroom is very generous, but its sleeping area is quite small. In it, you'll find only an upholstered bed, two small side tables and a 180-degree view of the water.
The large window behidn the free-standing bathtub overlooks a garden and granite. "It's hard to make boulders sound nice," says Cory with a laugh, "but it's a beautiful view."
"All of those elements are, I think, what makes it feel authentic to Muskoka. There's nothing ornate in the whole place," says Cory. And just 35 feet away, in the boathouse, the look is much the same. The palette is almost all white and the dress code is bathing suits - after all, the lake's right there. Take one step out the door, and jump right in. The water's perfect.