My apologies for not yet posting the "after" photos of our renovations. As the devil is in the details, we are still busy working away to finish all of the outstanding tasks which make up the last 5% of our new main floor. We are also finally getting to completing many of the elements of our design which are more decorative - the pretty stuff. As always, each task takes a lot longer than predicted. And husband always finds a need to frequent our local DIY store for supplies.
In the meantime, here are some of the close up previews of our big reveal to come. Hopefully these photos provide some inspirations for your own projects.
Blur the lines between inside and out.
Our new dining area - formerly the eat-in kitchen table area looks beautiful and can breathe better in this location. Although I have never in the past liked the idea of a rug under where food is served, this new purchase is just wonderful. It's an indoor/outdoor product made of polypropylene. The on trend chevron pattern will hide dirt and its material will allow for easy cleanup of unexpected messes, without leaving a stain, which can often happen with a nylon product.
Reclaim, recycle, rescue, reuse.
This stylish bench is made from the original wall studs and ceiling joists which were removed during demolition. The metal legs are from a big box store. I love that the wood tells the story of our house and juxtaposes nicely with the modernity of the metal. We had to remove a damaged plaster crown moulding in the living room, so infusing our new space with something original to the house was important to us. With the addition of a faux fur throw for soft seating, this striking new addition really makes us smile and will provide additional seating for future dinner parties. This is also a great perch for our home phone as we didn't need a dedicated table.
Get close and personal.
I found these wooden letters in a clearance bin last year. I found the perfect place for them leaning on our new kitchen appliance garage. Don't be afraid to get personal in your spaces. You will feel more at home and visitors are there to see you - not to spend time in a neutral and impersonal showroom. These letters are quietly located, yet speak volumes about husband and me.
We had a lot of fun sourcing new lighting. I spent many late nights pouring over online catalogues and browsed many stores. We didn't feel the need to adhere to one particular theme or era. However it was important to have some level of continuity. We achieved this by choosing fixtures that were either warm metals to match our aged brass crystal chandelier or white to enhance the light and bright atmosphere.
This beauty hangs over the basement stairwell.
We love this resin antler fixture. It really speaks to me. Husband loves it too. It was he who suggested using LED night light bulbs. Genius! The white on white is a striking effect. And again, it's a bit of fun.
Whenever possible, try to include any innovative ideas to your spaces. We devised this sliding countertop idea which works really well, especially for small spaces like ours. When in use, we can slide the countertop to create a overhang of about 15" deep for legs to be comfortable underneath. It slides back when not in use, so the circulation space is always at its best.
I must say that this nifty device has been the star of the show, wowing everyone who sees it in use. Innovative power supply We also incorporated this pull-up power supply bar, which has regular outlets and 2 USB ports for devices.
Because having an island and a peninsula means less wall space, we need creative and user friendly ways to have power for the kitchen. This model is readily available online. Before purchasing, check with your local power authority for electrical and code restrictions, if any.
Waste not want not.
We had enough salvaged wood to make a second bench. This one is in our new living room lounge area. It's the new home for our TV and components. No need to get a TV stand if you don't need one. We don't mind having the stereo on show. But we did have to spend a bit of time to clean up all the wires behind.
Open concept living definitely requires a lot of thought. The bench is long enough for perching at the other end or to casually lean a piece of art like we did. And the Tudor style panelling is itself like an art installation and dramatic backdrop.
Not just another brick in the wall.
With a very monochromatic colour scheme for the walls and ceiling, we felt it was important to add texture to the space for interest and to add warmth. We kept this small wall by the front door to delineate the entry and have a bit of separation. As it's such a high traffic area, we decided to install this brick textured vinyl wall covering. This beautifully refers back to the home's history and it feels so soft to the touch, unlike the real McCoy!
Second life for our favourite finds.
Our kitchen table is a very useful and beloved piece of furniture. But with a new island and a dining area, we thought that this mid century replica would be delegated to the basement. But we decided to put it by the front door to act as an occasional or console table, a great landing spot for guest purses, keys, etc. Our cool Wonder Woman chairs are perfect pairings!
Light up your life!
Bring in the light wherever you can. Our 2 appliance garages came with LED strips which light our way in areas of the kitchen which help us with basic tasks as dish drying and for housing the toaster oven. Under and in-cabinet lighting are very important elements of a kitchen design, not to be overlooked. Overhead potlights and pendants are really not enough.
Make a splash with your backsplash.
I love tiles. What a fantastic way to add stylish flair to any space. And the choices these days are endless. However, they are rather permanent. For our kitchen, we opted for a different way to make a statement. A friend of a friend is a very talented artist whose work I've admired for years. So I got permission to use one of her pieces as the backdrop of our kitchen. We will protect it with a single sheet of glass. Please note that if you have a gas or electric stove, you may need to use tempered glass so as not to shatter when hot.
This photo shows the mock-up of what we plan to do, but haven't yet due to some technical issues with the printing company. This idea allows us to be flexible, if we decide to change up the design whenever we wish.
Happy with Hippo
So many people asked us if we planned to buy all new furniture for our new main floor space. Why do that when we could have lots of fun rotating pieces we already have? Two black armchairs made it back to the main floor after living in the basement for about a decade. Our ottoman buddy lovingly named Patches, also made the cut. Even without going through a renovation, take a bit of time on the weekends and try out some new furniture arrangements. Rotate your artwork as well. If you don't like the new look, try something else. You don't need to spend any money to have a bit of fun with your interior design.
One thing I really like about our main floor is how the old and new sit comfortably with each other. With a sleek European kitchen, some feared that husband and I were going in a cold, modern direction. But fear not, that is not the case. I think that contrasts in design make all the difference. Homogeneous aesthetics can be really boring and too safe. Get a bit daring and have fun doing it! We look forward to more moments like this one. Husband and I are full of pride that our new main floor design is so beautiful and so well received. Our new kitchen is easy to work in and maintain. Don't let anyone convince you that interior design is fluff. How you live in your personal spaces is so important to the overall quality of your life. It will enhance your everyday because you deserve your homes to rise up and meet you.