Category: before and afters

small refinishing project

I am loving this product we found in a sweet, little shop called Stan Portley’s here in London. It’s usually used as a natural sealer for Van Gogh chalk paints and is made in Canada (in BC).


Our old outdoor furniture was revived with a palm sander and this product. We love the results! Don’t you? xo

outdoor chairs


bathroom sneak peek

A few of the last pieces aren’t due to arrive until the end of May. So rather than leave you hanging any longer, here’s a sneak peek at some of the bathroom elements. Can’t wait to show you how it all comes together! xo

bathroom update: befores and in betweens

The slow and steady progress is starting to take shape. It started as a princess room, complete with stenciled crowns. Removing the lathe and plaster revealed no insulation and thin strapping. Once the exterior walls were properly framed and insulated we installed a vapour barrier, drywall and subway tile (with the help of Abraham the drywaller, and Ted the tiler). The electrical is done, the plumbing rough in’s are waiting for the fixture installation. We are so close. I’m looking forward to my first bath almost as much as getting the tub out of the hallway and vanities out of the kitchen! xo

bathroom update


Making progress! A beautifully smooth drywall job is almost finished thanks to the kind and talented Abraham from Abraham’s Drywall. There are some things you can DIY, and trust me, drywall mudding is not one of them!

Artist at work.

Next step, heated floors and tiling…I can hardly wait! xo


master bedroom before and afters: the big reveal!

We are excited to share our first completed room! Our master bedroom is a peaceful sanctuary, our retreat from the construction zone that is the rest of the house. (Seriously, our shower door is a plastic tarp right now. But that’s another story.)

master bedroom after

Our priorities for designing this space were to keep it light, restful and quite minimal. It can be hard sleeping in a room with a lot of visual ‘noise’ so there is little pattern, lots of white and lots of texture. The room is a mix of old and new, splurges and auction finds – a truly eclectic mix of treasured items. The LOVE letters are from Heist, the bed was made in Quebec by HUPPE, the Hudson’s Bay blanket was a Christmas gift to Adam, the white stools were salvaged from an old job site, the light fixture is from West Elm, the faux sheep skin is a Homesense find. The cute kitty is Leo, from the Toronto Cat Rescue :)


Before: Although this moody teal is getting it’s share of attention this year, light and bright is the way to go for this urban farm girl. Benjamin Moore’s Simply White OC-117 has been a favourite of mine for years. I have used it in many of my own rooms and recommended it countless times to clients and friends.


Closing in this odd ledge area was the first project we tackled, and by we, I of course mean Adam. Once the electrical was disconnected, the space framed and drywalled, we decided to create a true retreat from all electronics and designated this room as a wifi free zone, no phones, tablets, laptops, etc. We used shungite powder in the primer to protect against harmful EMF radiation. I will write more about the benefits and healing properties of crystals in another post. A shout out to our local Benjamin Moore rep who was very accommodating to make the special mix for me – Leila you rock!

Painting the trim the same colour as the walls provides a unifying backdrop to everything in the space and the lack of contrast actually makes the room appear even larger. Sheen for the walls: eggshell, sheen for the trim: satin. Simple white roller shades from Blinds to Go are just the thing to offer privacy and allow light to filter in. If you aren’t a morning person, be sure to order room darkening shades. Oh…and that skylight! We are looking forward to waking up in the trees – hurry up spring!

master bedroom afters

If you are paying attention you will see we took down a ceiling fan to install this gorgeous, sculptural light fixture. We figured we would enjoy it now and wait to see how hot the room will be in the summer. If needed, we can always swap it out for a fan – almost 100%  not going to happen ;)

closet interior before  closet interior after  closet

Can you guess who gets the double closet? Yup! ME :) The closet was another project-within-a-project. Now, you might be tempted to skip painting and fixing up the inside of your closet but I will tell you now, take the time to do it when you paint the room or you will NEVER get back to it. And it is soooo worth the effort. We found a weird vent situation that Adam remedied with a new duct, drywall and a wood ledge. He also made shoe shelves that span the width of the closet. We rehung the original wire shelving but added wood trim to finish it off. So happy with the results.

master bedroom after

You can see the floors are the original pine sub-floors and here, my friends, is where Adam and I have a serious parting of the ways. I want to keep and restore them. Adam wants to install new floors. He is trying to woo me to his side with the promise of white oak laid in a herringbone pattern…yes, he knows which design buttons to push! What do you think?

The white walls became a blank canvas for displaying art, crafts and treasures. The ‘angel wings’ were an auction find, the vintage lamp was my grandmother’s, the carpet is an antique kilim we bought from a collector. I’m in LOVE with this rug! The vintage dresser is another auction find that we brought with us from our old house in Toronto. The jewelery box was a gift from past work colleagues. It is the collecting of things over time, the mixing of new and old that make a space interesting and truly unique.

meditation area

This little area is a great place to display artwork and where I do my morning yoga and meditation. The artwork is a mix of prints from an OCAD grad show, photographs, fibre art and a sketch from a life drawing class (please stop asking, I drew her, I wasn’t posing.) We love these original Hans Wegner chairs we scored from the Gardner Galleries auction, they will most likely move to my office once that room is finished as they are as comfortable as they are stylish.

Some of the smaller details…

The bedsidlamp dimmere lights are also from our old home, originally purchased at IKEA. We replaced the bulbs with dimmable LED’s and added a dimmer switch. Yes, a dimmer switch for lamps! Ah-mazing, and works with all types of bulbs. Love this product! And BTW, LED’s are everything compact fluorescents aren’t. They cast a truly warm light (be sure to check the packaging), last forever (ok, like 22 years) and contain no mercury.



Nonna's lamp

This lamp is one of a pair that I inherited from my grandmother. I absolutely adore them! All they needed was a taller harp and a new shade. LOVE! When style meets sentiment, it’s magic.

Tip: when looking for a shade, bring your lamp to the store and try a few on! Harp and shade are from Living Lighting.


Nonna's lamp close up

master bedroom afterSometimes you must see beyond an item’s original purpose. The woven wall hanging to the right of the bed is actually a table runner!







stool as bedside tableThe stools, now used as side tables, were headed for the trash. Adam rescued them, along with some barn board he found curbside, to create these stunning and functional bedside tables. The little woven bowl I made at the Craft Bee!



printed pillowWhen I fall in love with a fabric, I buy a yard or two. Even if I don’t know what I’ll do with it. I picked up this gorgeous print in NYC almost 10 years ago and made it into the perfect pillow for the bed.



feather table runner

The runner on the bench breaks up the wood and is one of my own screen printed designs.





screen print up close




Leo!The snuggly little fellow, who stayed for the entire photo shoot…our little Leo.



One space done! Whoohoo! xo

Love letters

Photo credits: Thanks to the lovely and talented, Elaine Andrews!


bathroom plan (remix)

Has this ever happened to you? The tub is ready for pick up, the lighting has arrived, the faucets will be in next week, the new toilet is sitting in the dining room – all the design elements are on their way and WHAM! you decide to completely change the plan. I MEAN COMPLETELY!

We originally planned to tear out one of the walls in my office to expand our tiny bathroom, so we decided to remove all of the lath and plaster walls to insulate the office (might as well, right?) Once that was done we couldn’t stop thinking about using the entire office for a spacious, bathroom retreat. What about resale? Losing a bedroom? Turns out this large bathroom will add value to our home (thanks Veronika Jovicic!)

And you know what? I love this design even more than the last! Luckily, all of the purchased (and handmade) elements will fit in the new design (plus an additional vanity).

This house has much to teach me about patience, flexibility and being in the flow. I am listening. xo

new bathroom plan



stained glass beauty

As I cleaned and repainted this beauty, I kept thinking of all the hands that lovingly wiped the panes in this window. Over 100 years ago, long before me, my mother, or grandmother were even born, someone was cleaning and admiring the glass much the same way I am today. This is why I love old houses. Restoring this window is one of the ways I am making friends with my new home, and building what I know is the start of a beautiful relationship. I love how it turned out, do you?

Image 14


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Design tips: Hang your blind under the stained glass panel so it’s beauty is always visible, even when the blind is closed. If you’d like to add softness, hang drapes on a rod that extends past the window on each side. That way, when the drapes are open, you can clear the window and show off the stained glass. To accentuate the height of your room, hang the rod above the window trim, just under the crown molding. We decided to go with a contemporary white roller blind and no drapes, to balance out the traditional style of this house. xo