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Backyard Patio Design Ideas

<p>Seema Persaud</p>
Backyard Patio Design Ideas
Get outdoor living ideas! Sponsored by Techo-Bloc.

Have a backyard in need of a makeover? We've got Before & After photos from Techo-Bloc to inspire your next patio design!

Techo-Bloc offers stones for everything from patios and driveaways to outdoor walls and the exterior of your home. Love the outdoor kitchen trend we featured in our May 2015 issue? Techo-Bloc also has outdoor pizza ovens, firepits and a grilling/barbecue island. (This blog post is sponsored by Techo-Bloc.)


In its previous state, this yard wasn’t very useful for the homeowners. The young couple wanted a bold, original space that would allow them to host large family gatherings, but would also be comfortable for a smaller group of friends. Do you #SeeThePotential?


The spacious backyard now functions as an incredible extension to their home!


1. Create Zones

By dividing the backyard into sections, they were able to create a clearly defined outdoor living room, dining room and lounge. When large groups visit, they can wander freely through the whole space, and smaller groups can stay in one area. The sunk-in design makes the firepit area feel cosy.

2. Choose Great Materials

Key to this look: The smart stone choices. Travertina slabs were used for the main pathways. The matte ivory-coloured limestone features subtle markings atop which add texture and character. To make the look less formal, they spaced out smaller slabs and filled the gaps with rocks.

Low walls — which double as benches — in the Manchester stone contrast with the lighter stone floors. In this sunk-in lounge and dining area, they went with complementary Blu polished slabs in Chestnut Brown and a band of the smaller Antika stone in Chocolate Brown to highlight the firepit. Speaking of firepits...

3. Consider An Outdoor Firepit

Stay warm by the fire on cooler nights — outdoors! The family chose a gas-burning Valencia firepit and surrounded it by Techo-Bloc stone benches. Here at H&H we've seen the firepit trend grow and featured it in our upcoming June issue.

See more inspiring photos and get ideas on ways to improve your backyard, front yard, driveway and more on, or call 1 877-832-4625 to find a retailer or Techo-Pro installer in your area.

Concept, GreenArt Landscape Design. Installation, Lakeridge Contracting.


Design Crush: Commune

<p>Kimberley Brown</p>
Design Crush: Commune
Kimberley Brown's inspiration for spring/summer.

Lately, whenever I find myself swooning over a room, it turns out to be the gorgeous work of a single firm, Commune Design. Based out of L.A., it was founded in 2004 by four designers — Roman Alonso, Steven Johanknecht, Pamela Shamshiri and Ramin Shamshiri — and has been responsible for millions of Pins since thanks to its imagining of spaces for Ace Hotel Downtown L.A. and Palm Springs, Heath Ceramics showrooms, Opening Ceremony's boutique in Tokyo and the Irene Neuwirth boutique in L.A. The list goes on and includes residential clients that are just as eclectic.

How happy was I, then, when a lush photography book all about Commune (2014 Abrams Books) showed up on my desk last October. Every project I've ever drooled over had been pulled together and organized, with extra photos and commentary from the designers adding the proverbial cherry on top.

Of course, the book itself deserves pride of place on your coffee table. Housed in a graphic black and white box, it slides out like a gift you have the fun of unwrapping again and again.

Now that spring is finally warming up, I find myself turning to Commune's cool California vibe more than ever. Here are a few photos of their work to inspire your own summer style. Bring on the sun!

Photo credits:
1-8. From Commune: Designed In California (2014 Abrams Books)
2-3, 8. Photography by François Halard
4-5. Photography by Amy Neunsinger
6. Photography by Mariko Reed
7. Photography by Spencer Lowell


London Calling: Part 1

<p>Suzanne Dimma</p>
London Calling: Part 1
Suzanne Dimma's favourite stop from her U.K. trip.

I know it's been ages since I've blogged. I was swamped with the Interior Design Show at the start of the year and I never seem to be able to catch up after that! And I've been travelling quite a bit for work. The good news is that I've come back armed with lots of great design stories. One of my favourite experiences was the Kravet Canada trip to the U.K. for London Design Week a few weeks ago.

London was as inspiring as always, and my visit to the townhouse of jewelry designer to the stars Jessica McCormack was a definite highlight. Her jewelry designs are totally unique and she showcases them in her stellar house in Mayfair, giving clients a unique shopping experience as they browse amongst her fascinating collection of artwork and furniture. Here are some of my favourite photos from her gorgeous live/work townhouse:

These are a few of the designers I was travelling with pulling up in front of Jessica's gorgeous Edwardian home. That's Richard Ouelette from Les Ensembliers snapping a shot of the building at the same time as me while sporting a snappy green bag from Want Les Essentiels de la Vie that I coveted the entire trip!

The front entry featured stunning panelling in a matte finish that complemented the olive green runner beautifully. Jessica worked with the Haas Brothers to create the dramatic candelabra. Its polished gold finish and slumped fused glass shades have a Dr. Suess-like impact in the stairwell, adding playful contrast to the more serious panelling.

Here's a detail of the intricate tile work on the floor.

I posted this shot on Instagram while I was there. The David Wiseman-designed ceiling fixture (made of bronze, porcelain and crystal components) hangs from a giant medallion in the front room. It was total whimsy — light and feminine, like woodland magic.

Everywhere you turned there was a spectacular vignette. I love how designer Rick Owens used a single antler as a backrest on this bench, called Tomb, Stag, Bench. The painting is by Axel Geis.

There were several fireplaces in the house and each one was spectacularly appointed. The one in Jessica's office featured a pinkish marble and the painting, Amazon Lily by Valérie Belin, played off of it beautifully. With all the colour and layers in the artwork, fewer things are needed on the mantel.

Look at the scale of this oval mirror. It was like looking through a doorway.

Moving from light and airy to dark and cosy, the second floor drawing room was a complete contrast from downstairs. It's a perfect example of how you can play with different styles and palettes in a single space.

The deep blue walls looked like Farrow & Ball's Hague Blue (30), ideal for rich, luxurious impact. I love how the French walnut console in the corner looks perfectly at home with the prototype leather chair and the Anne Hardy print over the fireplace.

The chevron floors were to die for. The highlight in here was the custom electric player piano by Based Upon. Its cool '70s vibe had a vintage yet contemporary feel. You can see the keys are working their magic. Apparently it plays customizable playlists from your iPhone. The Brazilian hardwood barstools are by Joaquim Tenreiro, the top left painting is by Susanne Johansson, the bottom left by Axel Geis, and the painting over mantle is by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

Here's a quick panorama of the room:

This dramatic curved bentwood olive ash shelf filled one of the corners. It's Irish designer Joseph Walsh's Enignum Shelf V1.

Here's another Instagram photo I posted, a simple grouping at one end of another fireplace. I love how the posie looks like it's about to make the terracotta head (by artist Charles Weddepohl) sneeze.

The secret jewel in the entire place was the powder room wrapped in a stunning olive-green fauna wallpaper and paired with coordinating fabric, crisp marble and brass accents. The dark wood toilet seat, with a concealed space-saving cistern, felt so new (even though it's anything but).

The leaded glass window behind the vanity added more pattern and privacy.

The antique faucets made the vanity.

And the pineapple 'welcome symbol' sconces were the perfect finishing touch. The whole room renewed my passion for coordinating fabrics and wallpaper.

Stay tuned for other highlights from my travels in upcoming H&H issues and blog posts!

Photo credits:
1c. Marlow 35 blog
2-18. Suzanne Dimma


How To Travel Like A Designer: The Bay Of Mont Saint-Michel

<p>Corinne Cécilia</p>
How To Travel Like A Designer: The Bay Of Mont Saint-Michel
Corinne Cécilia on the French beach town.

As we celebrate 400 years of French presence in Canada, the influence of settlers who came from Normandy can be seen in La Belle Province's architecture and lifestyle. Norman heritage is also very apparent in Quebec City, where historical buildings mirror century-old originals found in La Manche, a seafaring region dear to my heart.

Known for its fine arts and craftsmanship (think copperware and lace-making workshops in Villedieu-les-Poêles, or illuminated manuscripts in Lisieux), this region is home to a jewel listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Mont Saint-Michel and its Bay. With a stunning abbey typical of medieval architecture, shops specialized in handmade products, museums and fine restaurants, the "Rock" attracts millions of tourists each year — including nature lovers who come to admire picturesque views of the great tides.

The ever-changing appearance of the Bay never ceased to amaze me ever since we used to vacation there as a family. I remember fondly walking on the beach, wrapped in the comfort of an authentic seaman's sweater by Saint James. I love the romantic-yet-robust feel of this iconic, high-quality apparel brand; it personifies relaxed nautical fashion, French clothing know-how, and the beauty of Mont Saint-Michel's Bay. Let's explore this must-see travel destination via Jacqueline Petipas, director of collection at Saint James.

Corinne Cécilia: What does the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel represent for you?
Jacqueline Petipas: Calm and serenity; I'm immersed in it daily. Recently, the great tides were a most remarkable scene! We are fortunate enough to witness shades of red and pink when the sun rises. Spring has arrived, and the lush green colour of wheat-sprouts fields intersects with pale green meadows, while a steel-blues palette creates a vivid backdrop. And because I'm originally from here, this area is closely linked to my fondest childhood memories.

CC: Where do you like to eat out in the region?
JP: Hard to give you a specific place, there are a lot of great restaurants in our region. A specific cultural trait stands out, though: we love to entertain at home. I often have people over, and because the Bay lies between the mainland and the ocean, I buy directly from local producers for seafood (oysters, mussels, scallops, lobsters from Chausey etc.) and fish, as well as for fresh vegetables and farm products.

CC: Where do you like to drink?
JP: Well, here is another local tradition I invite you to try out: at low tide, go for a walk with a group of friends, stop at one of the islands or historical forts along the Bay to indulge your picnic with some wine, and wait for the sunset; then come back at night, at high tide, on a boat.

CC: Where do you like to shop, for interior decorating in particular?
JP: At seasonal antique fairs that take place on the shore, from Granville to Saint-Malo. I also enjoy strolling on beach and bringing back things washed up by the sea. Like Robinson Crusoe.

CC: Where do you go to relax?
JP: Along the Couesnon River, which flows into the Bay, with the Mont Saint-Michel in the background and always accompanying me like a benevolent presence. It's a sandy, grey land, with fields that run along the shore, dotted with flocks of sheep — I feel good when I am there.

CC: What are some of your favourite places?
JP: I like taking walks around the Mont Saint-Michel in winter, and indulging in the stunning mix of Gothic and Roman styles. You can never get enough of it: the abbey, the garden, the cloister, the esplanade — they all create powerful emotions. By the way, it's best to visit the Rock during the week.

CC: What aspects of the Bay inspire you most in terms of style and fashion?
JP: The Bay has a rich palette of colours that inspires me in any season and any time of the day. Incredibly beautiful blues, emerald and other greens, steel-greys and deeper greys, pink hues at dawn in the east, etc. People from here inspire me, too. Our collections are "elements of the Bay" that contribute to the cycle of fashion.

Corinne's travel tip: Each season has its own charm in the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, but it's less crowded during the spring and fall. If you have a chance, visit the eco-museum where the whole family can have fun learning about the flora, fauna and local artisan traditions in the Bay.

I dedicate this article to Raymond Clouet, who was an accomplished athlete, entrepreneur and respected community leader in the city of Avranches (Manche).

Photo credits:
1. Photo Atout France/Pierre Torset
2a. Muse?es de Villedieu-les-Poeles
2b. Artwork by Benoit Cazelles
2c. Muse?es de Villedieu-les-Poeles
2d. Marcel Laurent, cabinetmaker/artist, photo courtesy of Saint James tourism board
3, 7b, 8a, 8c. Saint James
4, 8b, 8d, 9. Alexandre Lamoureux, photos courtesy of Saint James tourism board
5a. Maison de la baie
5b. Photo Atout France/CDT Calvados
5c. Alexandre Lamoureux, photo courtesy of Saint James tourism board
5d. Protected label of origin 'Mont Saint-Michel salt-meadows'
6. Leon Folia
7a. Saint Jean le Thomas tourism board
7c. Photo courtesy of Saint James tourism board


Join Our Decorating With Colour Twitter Chat!

<p>Seema Persaud</p>
Join Our Decorating With Colour Twitter Chat!
Learn more and find out how you can win paint.

Next Thursday, April 16, join @houseandhome and SICO on Twitter at noon EST as we talk about decorating with colour! We'll share paint colour ideas and interiors we're loving now, inspired by our latest special issue. Participants will have a chance to win 5 gallons of SICO Muse paint, too!

Here's how to join the conversation:

1. Follow @HouseandHome to participate.

2. Tweet @HouseandHome using the hashtag #HHdecorating.

3. Follow along at #HHdecorating on Thursday, April 16, from noon to 1 p.m. EST.

You can find Decorating With Colour on newsstands only, and on the App Store, Google Play and Nook.


Contest prize available to residents of Canada only, excluding Quebec. See full rules and regulations.


6 Fun Additions To A Backyard

<p>Katie Hayden</p>
6 Fun Additions To A Backyard
Katie Hayden's top picks for kids.

Can we go outside yet? I know the trees and flowers have been blooming in Victoria for weeks, and Calgary's had some nice weather, but we're definitely still shivering away in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. But that isn't keeping me from daydreaming of days spent in the backyard — bringing our garden back up to speed and the kids passing full Saturdays and Sundays out in the fresh air.

With the sun not quite as strong as in summer and humidity not yet an issue, spring can actually be nicer than summer for outdoor pursuits. To inspire your kids to get out there, consider adding something new — like one of these five toys — to spur on play and venture into the cooler weather.

1. Disc Swing

We have the simplest board-and-rope swing in our front yard, and it never fails to entice every single kid who comes to our house. Installing a disc swing is even simpler than a two-rope swing because you don't have to contend with levelling the two sides of the swing. Retailers like The Home Depot and Canadian Tire stock inexpensive versions, and there are handsomely crafted and stained version on Etsy. To make your own, check out the blog Dukes & Duchesses.

2. Skateboard Swing

I'd hazard a guess that skateboard swings use more of a child's muscles and help develop large-motor skills like balance. But to kids, all that matters is that they're just plain fun. Here's an easy how-to.

3. Hanging Hideout

The Victorians are said to have loved their fresh air. If your house doesn't have a wraparound veranda like they had, a hanging chair is a lovely outdoor retreat. It's like a hybrid of a swing and a fort. The Cacoon hanging tent (left) is good-looking and fun. And the egg-shaped rattan hanging chair (right) designed by Nanna and Jørgen Ditzel for Sika Design in 1957 is a classic that appears to be having another comeback this year.

4. Balance Beam

Don't have the space or budget for a palatial play structure? A balance beam is something quick and easy to add, but that will foster all sorts of play, not just balancing. I'm seriously contemplating one for our postage stamp-sized backyard. Cedarworks (above, top) has a sturdy outdoor version. And Ikea (above) has an indoor one that I'd use out in the yard when it's not too damp. Ikea's is higher, so I'd pair it with their Plufsig folding gym mat for extra cushioning when my kids fall.

5. Sandbox

There's no denying the appeal of a sandbox. My girls started playing in them as babies and my 9-year-old can still while away an hour or so in the sand. But if you're doing one, why not take it to another level? Here are two unique examples: a recycled wooden boat-turned-sandbox and a rolling version featured in Domino magazine years ago.

6. Theatre Or Puppet Show Curtain

My kids love to put on shows. They sing, dance, recite poems ... you name it. Last summer, when we were camping with seven other families, they strung up a rope between two trees, threw a few beach towels and sarongs over it and performed a concert lit by lanterns and headlamps. Wouldn't a stage curtain like this up their game? I spotted it on Etsy a couple of years ago. Sadly, it seems like it's not available through House That Lars Built anymore, but I flirt with the idea of stitching up a replica when I have the time. For kids who love puppet shows, this doorway puppet theatre curtain would be a hit.

Hopefully the temperatures will heat up soon and we can all venture outdoors!

See what else you can do with a small backyard in our photo gallery.

Photo credits:
1-3. VintageSwings, Etsy
4. Dukes & Duchesses blog
5a. Cedarworks
5b. Dig This Design blog
6a. Cacoon hanging tent
6b. Shoot Factory
7. Cedarworks
8. Ikea
9. Desire Empire blog
10. Domino via Nonchalant Mom blog, photography by Melanie Acevedo
11. HouseThatLarsBuilt, Etsy


New Favourites At Ikea

<p>Margot Austin</p>
New Favourites At Ikea
Margot Austin's spring roundup.

I now live less than 10 minutes from an Ikea. This is highly convenient for work scouting after enjoying the famous $1 breakfast accompanied by at least two cups of Ikea coffee, which I adore. I hit up the store today and was wowed by so many new things. Here are some of my faves:

Who doesn't love a demilune table? The Arkelstorp ($129) comes with a green, white or black-painted base. I prefer the black. I'd probably paint the top black, too — doing so would make it slightly less country and more versatile. I'd get two to flank a fireplace or use one as an entry table.

This famous Frosta stool ($20) is back. Those bent ply legs are iconic. Perf as a bedside table in a kid's room or cottage, a drinks table, or even just, you know, as a stool! I have mixed feelings about the almost-neon coloured top. I sort of wish it was also natural birch. I might be inclined to paint the top white.

This sexy injection-moulded polypropylene number, called Janinge, could easily be mistaken for a Italian version that would cost 10 times more than its $69 price tag. It's stackable, comfy and (praise be!) requires NO assembly! I want three for my office at work. (It doesn't seem to be on the website, so run to your local Ikea to check stock in case it's been discontinued!)

Most of the hoopla at Ikea these days is about the new Sektion kitchen system. All the kitchens at the stores are newly installed and feature the new system plus a huge array of new countertops. I picked up all the planning booklets and will be studying them over the weekend. Partly because I'm a nerd like that, but partly because I'm in the midst of planning storage solutions for my new laundry room and mudroom at our country house in Tweed, Ont., and for our bedroom at our city condo. Above are my three favourite door styles. I can't say that I've ever felt drawn to dark wood cabinets before, but the warm chocolatey tone and thin raised edge detail of Ekestad won me over. The one in the centre is called Björket and is a perfect crisp Shaker profile. You could paint them out, but I do like this blond wood tone — very Vincent Van Duysen! And lastly, the perfection of this last white door, called the Råsdal, is hard to capture via an iPhone shot. The finish is like a whitewash over white ash so you see the wood grain through the paint. It's so lovely. There are so many more door styles — seems like more than ever before.

The new kitchen system includes tons of organizers and bells and whistles to customize your storage. These two handy items are standouts. On the left is the LED under-cabinet lighting system called the Utrusta. It's so sleek and narrow that you don't even really need a valance piece to conceal it. I'm actually thinking of switching to this system. On the right is the Ansluta remote ($15), which allows you to dim your kitchen lighting. I definitely want this because under-cabinet lighting needs to be bright when you're working away, but it's nice to dim it in the evenings when you're entertaining or just popping in and out for a snack.

This oversized cabinet hardware made me smile and I'd love to use them somewhere! The knobs on the left are called Norrbyn ($3.49) and are almost 3" in diameter. Fun colours! The 7-1/2"-long demilune pulls on the right are called Tosterup, and also come in white and red. They would look great on two-door cabinets because they'd look like a giant polkadot when then doors are closed.

Okay, this is unglamorous but very useful for those of you with wall-mounted TVs who either can't or haven't hidden your cords behind the wall. Nestle them in the $5 Uppleva channel and then paint the thing the same colour as your wall. Not as good as behind the wall but a gajillion times better than unsightly cords.

The Backvial bedspread is coming home with me for sure. And I need two more for a cottage I'm decorating. It's pure cotton and comes in two sizes. The largest is only $40. I just know this will get better after softening up in the laundry, too.

These pieces are both called Bittergurka. They are from the garden section, but I'd use the planter ($15) in my kitchen to stash oil and vinegar cruets, salt and pepper grinders and a head of garlic right by the cooktop. The jug ($16) is a watering can. It's so great-looking that I would leave it out and then maybe my fiddle leaf fig might get water and have a fighting chance.

The Enigt side plate ($3.50) would add a little dose of spring to my plain white dinnerware and is just waiting for a pretty salad to top it off.

See more great ideas from Ikea in the H&H-designed kitchen at this year's Interior Design Show.

Photo credits:
1-10. Margot Austin


Hudson's Bay Spring Home Look Book Is Here!

<p>Seema Persaud</p>
Hudson's Bay Spring Home Look Book Is Here!
Get details on our special event, contest & more!

Just in time for Spring, Hudson's Bay has released a Home Look Book featuring 56 pages of the latest finds for your home. Inside you'll find inspiring room shots, along with furniture, accessories, tabletop items, small appliances, bed and bath, lighting and more. (This blog post is brought to you by Hudson's Bay.)

Here's the bright, super-fun cover. So much eye-candy inside, too! (Click here to flip through the book online.) To celebrate the launch, Hudson's Bay is giving away one $3,500 design consultation with Brian Gluckstein. Enter for your chance to win here.

One of the key pictures you'll be seeing this Spring: The Room of the Season. Want to steal the look? Watch this video with Arren Williams, Creative Director of Home at Hudson's Bay, and learn more about the room.

As part of the launch, H&H editors Margot Austin, Sarah Hartill, Joel Bray and Meg Crossley have each selected their top 5 picks at Hudson's Bay Home this season. My personal pick: the charming Kate Spade Charlotte Street canisters and pitchers. It's blue-and-white dishes done in a fun, fresh way. In addition to seeing the editors' top finds online, Toronto fans will also be able to check them out next week in-store! See below for details.

Lynda Reeves and the H&H design editors, designer Brian Gluckstein and Arren Williams invite you to Celebrate Spring! Come out to the Queen St. flagship on Thursday, March 12, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. You'll have the chance to win prizes, see design demos and explore the new sixth floor. Click here to invite your friends on Facebook.

We look forward to seeing you there! Be sure to flip through the Spring Home Book, browse our editors' picks and Pin your favourite finds.

Photo credits:
Hudson's Bay


Budget Bedroom Makeover

<p>Jennifer Koper</p>
Budget Bedroom Makeover
Jennifer Koper's DIY transformation.

I just moved into a new condo with my spouse, and although the layout is perfect, it's a bit plain, a tad boring, and a whole lot of basic; the perfect blank canvas! We were on a tight budget but still wanted to add some personality to the space. A kitchen or bathroom renovation would have been out of our budget, and the condo isn't old enough to need an overhaul in those spaces, so we started with a bedroom makeover. (Watch the transformation come to life on Online TV!)

The walls were "primer white", the carpet was wall-to-wall "dirty ivory", the ceiling had a popcorn finish, and the window covering, well, it was downright offensive: a faux marble pattern on vertical blinds — enough said! Here's the before photo:

We managed to change all of the above on our tight budget, with plenty of DIY projects. Here's how:

After emptying out the room, the first thing to go was the carpeting. The apartment was a rental before we purchased it, so it was quite dirty, plus we have a cat, so I didn't want wall-to-wall carpet. If you live in a condo, be sure to check with your condo board regarding the rules — some condos require you to have flooring on top of the concrete. I wanted to leave the concrete floor exposed, so the carpet tacking along the sides of the room had to be removed once the carpet was up. I used a crow bar to remove the strips and nails in the floor. Then I cleaned and scrubbed the gunk and spray paint off the concrete — leftover from the condo's original construction — with a wire brush, trowel, soap and water. You can use a chemical concrete cleaner like this one from The Home Depot, but I found I didn't really need it. I did, however, need a lot of elbow grease! This is what the floor looked like before I scrubbed it clean:

Once cleaned, I filled the holes leftover from the tack strip nails with concrete filler — wear goggles if you're going to attempt this! I forgot to put my goggles back on after taking a small break and some of the filler splashed into my eye, resulting in a wonderful half hour spent with my face under the tap flushing my stinging eye out with water — not fun! Safety first!

When this process is finished you can leave the floor as-is and put a rug down or you can take it a step further and seal the floor with a concrete sealer, to protect the porous surface from staining. I layered an affordable jute rug from Ikea and a cowhide right on top of the concrete and I'm really happy with the industrial feel that it gave the room.

I've heard so many horror stories about scraping popcorn ceilings that I was really dreading the task. Luckily, the ceiling had never been painted and the popcorn came off with very little effort. I simply picked up a spray bottle, filled it with water, and sprayed a 2-foot by 2-foot area at a time, waited about 30 seconds for the water to absorb and then scraped off the popcorn texture with a large trowel. The trick is to not oversaturate the ceiling or you might damage the drywall underneath (I'm guilty of a few gouges in our ceiling). Be sure to use safety goggles and a dust mask. Also keep in mind that this task is extremely messy, and appropriate prep is a good idea. If your flooring is not being replaced, cover it with a plastic drop cloth and use painters tape to tape the edges of the drop cloth to the walls so that there are no gaps. If you don't plan on cleaning and painting the walls, use plastic to cover your walls, too. If your home is older, you'll want to test for asbestos in the ceiling texture and/or call in a professional to get rid of it. Once you've finished scraping, wipe the ceiling down with a damp sponge — I used a handy drywall sponge from The Home Depot. It has a textured side that will scrape any remaining rough parts off the ceiling easily and quickly. Then patch any gouges, sand and prime the ceiling before painting or covering in wallpaper. Treating the freshly smooth ceiling with a fun paint colour or patterned wallpaper is a good way to celebrate the removal of the popcorn! We splurged on a bird print and finished the look with crown moulding. It's an inexpensive material with minimal installation costs, and really made the wallpaper pop.

After much deliberation regarding lighting, I chose to hang an oversized drum shade fixture from Ikea. I really loved the look of their new Nymö shade with copper on the inside, but the perforated detail felt a bit busy against the wallpaper. With a few modifications, I was able to achieve the look that I wanted using their original large white Nymö shade spray-painted with a copper finish. To prevent the blotchiness of the paint from showing through the shade when the light is turned on, I gave the outside of the shade a quick coat of white paint. Something dramatic like black would also be a great choice. To hang the shade, I used a cord set found at a local hardware store. I love an oversized pendant in a small space because it draws the eye upwards and can actually make the space feel larger. I made mine for a fraction of the price that higher-end versions sell for.

My existing nightstands lacked character and were too small and boxy. I found an old nightstand at a hotel liquidator with a traditional shape, which I sanded, primed and painted matte black. I paired it with a modern, marble top tulip table for an eclectic look.

The art above the nightstand is a photo I took of a contemporary art installation at Centre Pompidou in Paris while we were on vacation. I made some colour modifications to the original in Photoshop, printed and framed it in an awesome square brass frame from CB2. A unique piece of art for around $50!

The larger artwork next to the bed was made using a section of an old drop cloth that had been used over and over again for various painting projects. It had some really interesting and abstract markings on it. I was originally going to paint something abstract myself onto a canvas, but I felt the pressure of a blank canvas staring back at me. I toyed with the idea of different abstract painting techniques, but when I saw this drop cloth at the office, I knew it was meant to be. I cut off the best section and stapled it around a blank canvas with a wooden frame. It gave the space the right amount of gritty edge.

My least favourite part of the space was the marbled vertical blinds. I wanted a window covering that would allow for two different light levels in the room while providing privacy. Ikea had the perfect drapes at the right length, for the right price. I installed the Ritva drapes, which let plenty of light through, onto the existing track that was used for the vertical blinds. I manually made a pinch fold in the drape every few inches and wedged the fabric into the grips that previously held the plastic vertical panels. For the second layer, I chose the Sanela dark grey velvet drape for its rich texture and light-blocking thickness, and hung this layer from a curtain rod. Now I can use the first layer to let soft light in during the day, or I can shut the second layer to darken the room when I want to sleep in.

Last but not least, I should mention the wall colour, which is the change that made the most impact for the lowest price. I've been inspired by shades of oxblood in fashion shows for a while now, and I knew I wanted a deep and dark wall colour, so Benjamin Moore's Bewitched (CSP-450) in a matte finish was the perfect choice to add the drama that I wanted.

All in all the transformation didn't break the bank and I achieved the rich layers and character I was after. Now I'm contemplating which room to tackle next!

Watch the transformation come to life on Online TV, where you'll find a complete list of products, as well.

Photo credits:
1-8. Jennifer Koper


Bathroom Refresh

<p>Katie Hayden</p>
Bathroom Refresh
Katie Hayden blogs about her budget makeover.

We never really set out to renovate our bathroom.

And yet here we are with a new space that feels as breezy and fresh as a whitewashed summer cottage. A crisp white vanity is a definite upgrade on the old one (see 'before' photos below), and its style is echoed by the sweet shelf/towel bar — which also lets me have a display spot in this relatively utilitarian space. The big 12" x 24" slate floor tiles from Creekside Tile are chic and outdoorsy. The palest sky blue — Borrowed Light (235) by Farrow & Ball — on the walls is a bit more playful and vintage-y than white, and it's contrasted by the warm plum tone of the drapes in the hall outside. H&H senior design editor Sarah Hartill, who coordinated this charming makeover, finished the look off with some pretty flowers.

So how'd we get here?

Our bathroom was a small addition to our house, completed just 10 or 15 years ago by the previous owners, so it functioned fairly well — and it wasn't as dated as the adjoining kitchen. (It has a large, walled-in shower stall at one end, which we left as is.)

But in renovating the kitchen (featured in our March 2015 issue), we decided to run the new slate kitchen floor right into the bathroom — a natural choice because the two spaces were connected without a threshold, and it would have almost been harder to maintain the old bathroom floor than jackhammer it out when we were ripping out the kitchen floor.

In the process, our old vanity got banged up, and my husband, Scott, and I decided we'd replace our toilet with a low-flow version while it was removed from the room for the installation of the new slate floor.

The new vanity is outfitted with smart see-through Godmorgon inserts and organizers from Ikea, which helps keep this hard-working family bathroom operating smoothly.

A tailored linen blind (Sarah had it made by Tonic Living) replaced a fussy (and really hard to clean) plastic slat blind.

Because it was an unplanned expenditure, Sarah and I tried to keep the budget low and the look simple and timeless. We chose clean-lined white pieces, and just a few accents to add character.

Here's a list of what we used in the transformation:

Construction, installation, contracting, Ikea Installation Services; Hemnes/Rättviken sink cabinet with two drawers, Ensen faucet, Musik wall lamp, Ronglan mirror, Kolja mirror, Hjälmaren towel hanger/shelf, Savern steel lidded trash basket, drawer inserts, towels, flowerpot, garbage can, soap dish, towel hook (background), Ikea; trim and ceiling colour, Wimborne White (239), Farrow & Ball; drape fabric (background), blind fabric, drape and blind sewing, Tonic Living; painting, Vintage Fine Objects; toilet, Kohler.

Pick up our March 2015 issue for before and after photos of my kitchen, plus watch a tour of the kitchen on Online TV.

Photo credits:
1, 3, 5. Ashley Capp
2, 4. Katie Hayden



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