When we first met this homeowner, our brief was simple: to
redecorate the dining room and family room. She said she hated
the existing hardwood, but we'd have to work with it. She also
mentioned she disliked the kitchen but it had to stay. And we
would have to work with their existing leather sectional as well.
By the next time we spoke, the couple had decided to replace
the sofa. After we had found suitable furnishings, the discussion
became about changing the flooring, and if we renovated the kitchen,
what would I recommend? When I suggested removing the wall between
the kitchen and family room and changing the configuration to
include an island, the clients' interest was piqued. The project
morphed from simple redecorating to a full-blown renovation of
the entire main floor of the home.
The clients were inspired by each improvement to take a bigger
step in upping the home's wow factor.
Ultimately, not only was a new kitchen installed -- and all the
construction that entailed -- but flooring (hardwood and tile)
was changed throughout, staircase refinished, doors and trims
upgraded, fireplace replaced and refaced, and powder room updated.
The upgrade of particular note -- requested by the client --
is the dining room's coffered ceiling. The result of our collaboration
is a clutter-free easy-living rustic chic home.
The new great room is a marriage of rustic and elegant finishes.
In the kitchen area, the distressed black island contrasts with
traditional white cabinetry and a sleek taupe quartz countertop.
Overhead hangs a pair of chic crystal chandeliers with black
rustic finish. A black sink and faucet provide another note of
strong contrast. Counter stools juxtapose contemporary style
with the kitchen's traditional tone. Running the herringbone
marble backsplash vertically instead of the usual horizontal
orientation is a more contemporary take as well. Turning lemons
into lemonade, a duct that could not be moved was repurposed
as a modern convenience -- hidden in a column that now functions
as a charging station, display area, and speaker location for
their sound system. Serendipitously, it also screens the clean-up
area at the island from the front entry so that the view into
the room always looks great.
In the sitting area, the fireplace is faced in rustic faux
bois tile, mimicking the effect
of the hand-scraped hardwood that runs through most of the main
floor. A pair of retro modern armchairs creates a cozy conversational
arrangement with the casual sectional opposite. Accompanying
occasional tables are constructed of reclaimed wood and rough
metal -- that rustic element once again. Our colour scheme of
blues and browns was originally based on the premise that we
would be keeping the previous paint colour as is (Benjamin Moore's
Ranchwood), not anticipating that we would be undertaking the
complete overhaul that ensued. We liked the classic combination
so well that we kept the scheme and carried it throughout.
The dining room has a challenging layout, with multiple angled
openings that were originally composed of a mash-up of columns
and archways. We simplified
the architecture and then made the most of the generous space
by adding a sideboard as well as seating pieces at either end
of the room. Now a distressed farmhouse dining table, surrounded
by tailored cream chairs, is bookended by a sumptuous tufted
sofa and an elegant bench, both upholstered in rich navy velvet.
The window wall is given substance with navy silk blinds and
cream embroidered drapery, flanking a glam silver-leafed cabinet
with mirrored fretted front. A huge antiqued mirror above the
sofa adds subtle shimmer, as does the metallic custom faux finish
on the ceiling. Demanding attention at the heart of the room
is an oversized chandelier that is the embodiment of both the
rustic and the chic.
Across the hallway from the dining room was a small door,
always closed, which I assumed opened to a closet. Instead, it
turned out to be a cluttered home
office -- unwelcoming, unloved and largely unused. Since the
project scope was creeping already, I proposed making it more
welcoming by enlarging the doorway to accommodate a pair of frosted
glass doors. Flung open, these now reveal a newly organized and
inviting space, outfitted to be functional for two. Bespoke cabinetry,
rendered in white lacquer combined with grey-washed maple, repeats
our rustic chic motif, and the display of decorative objects
makes this room more "home" than "office".
My design brief extended to include all the accessorizing
and finishing touches on the main floor, with well-considered
vignettes bringing a fresh look right up to the front door. Even
the powder room was given out-of-the-box pizzazz with a grid
of small mirrors against a navy wall.
After hosting a few large gatherings, reveling in compliments,
and appreciating the home's improved comfort and functionality,
these delighted homeowners are now looking forward to collaborating
on their basement. As am I!