Fireplace Renovation With a New Custom Cabinet and Floating Shelves: Before and After

My client’s family room had a red brick fireplace that dominated the space and she wanted a change. Because of the odd size and the lack of a mantel, the fireplace seemed out of place and unfinished. And since the client wanted to upgrade to a remote-controlled energy-efficient gas insert, this was the perfect time to redesign the fireplace surround. A full fireplace renovation was in order. In the end, she wanted her fireplace to complement the look and feel of the rest of her home that we had updated and transformed over the years.

Custom cabinet and floating shelves with new fireplace surround

After

Fireplace Renovation With a New Custom Cabinet and Floating Shelves: Before

Here’s the before:

red brick fireplace surround before renovation

Before

full wall view with red brick fireplace

Fireplace wall before

A fireplace is always a focal point in any space. When choosing fireplace design materials, there are a few considerations: the overall aesthetic that the client preferred, the style of the home, and proper scale of the surround. What will hang above it (if anything) is an additional consideration, whether it’s a TV or decorative objects such as a mirror or artwork.

Fireplace Renovation With a New Custom Cabinet and Floating Shelves: After

For the fireplace surround, we decided on a light, neutral tone ledgestone tile from Julian Tile. The contractor, Vaile Long from All the Right Angles, did a fabulous job rebuilding the fireplace frame and tiling the surround.

fireplace ledgestone tile with wood mantel

I suggested that we create a built-in cabinet on one or both sides of the fireplace surround and the client opted to go with a built-in on the left side only since she already had a freestanding sideboard on the right side.

We talked about our options for the wall above the cabinet and whether we should design a full height box with shelves, have floating shelves or leave the space open for a large piece of art. In the end, we decided on floating shelves so my client could use the space to display photos, art, accessories and books.

pictures and vases on floating shelves

Floating shelves styled with personal items

The custom cabinets were built and installed by troico, based out of Coquitlam, BC. They really did an excellent job with the finishing of the cabinet and shelves. The client especially appreciated that they scribed the cabinet to the ledgestone tile of the fireplace surround.

built-in white cabinet with wood top next to fireplace

Cabinet built by troico

To keep the wood tones similar, we specified a close match of the wood stain colour for the mantel and the cabinet top from the client’s sideboard, and from the wood flooring. Years ago we had selected the wall colour, Dry Sage by Benjamin Moore, and the client still loved it so we left it as it.

We wanted the space to feel fresh and up-to-date while maintaining the style of the finishes to have a subtle nod to traditional roots. The medley of the white painted wood, the rich wood tones, and a classic stone finish accomplish just that.

Brown chair and new fireplace

Speaking of renovations, you’ll also want to check out how we transformed our outdated bathroom into a modern spa.

Want even more interior decor inspiration? Follow me on Instagram!

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Use wallpaper to add style to your home

Wallpaper today is not your grandma’s wallpaper. It’s now trendy to use wallpaper as a way to add style to your home in a way that’s unique and pretty cool.

Use wallpaper to add style to your plain white walls

Recently I helped a client find wallpaper for their downtown condo. The boring builder’s white walls did nothing for this modern space. We looked through several wallpaper books and our final selection was quick and decisive because they just seemed perfect for the space; a zigzag pattern in metallic soft gold for the bathroom and a wide horizontal stripe for the hallway and living room.  Once we selected the wallpaper, we matched a paint colour for the other walls.

 

wallpaper and matching paint colour

Wallpaper final choices with paint sample

Wallpaper has been ordered, received and ready for installation!

 Wallpaper adds style and changes the look of any room

JF Fabrics Wallcoverings – Calligraphy Collection

Use wallpaper to create a feature wall

In the living room, we decided to do a feature wall and chose the wall behind the sofa to be wallpapered.

wallpaper adds style, horizontal stripe wallpaper

Before & After Living room wall

Use wallpaper to define the spaces in your home

In the bathroom, all the walls were wallpapered to give it a dose of oomph. And the long wall in the hallway needed some drama which is exactly what the wide horizontal stripe wallpaper does to this space.

use wallpaper to add style

Before & After Bathroom and Hallway

The client really liked how the wallpaper transformed the look and feel of the condo. The wallpaper defines the various areas in the small condo and personalized them.

What do you think? Are you looking to add some style to your condo? Check out our Instant Aesthetics e-design package where you hire us to help you do up one room in your home. It’s that simple.

 

Related links:

Small space condo furnishing

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Hire a professional to help you deal with an unexpected mishap in your home

There’s no such thing as a good time for a burst pipe or any other unexpected disastrous mishap in your home, but when you hire a professional decorator to help and assist in the recovery process, you can save time and stress! Let me give you an example:

Recently, a long-time client of mine woke up to flooding caused by a burst water pipe in an upstairs guest room. Although much of the damage was confined to the guest room, water also flooded into the rooms below, affecting family room, living room, dining room and kitchen.

Before_during

Family Room before and during the restoration process

I have worked with this client since 2005, assisting her to choose paint colours for her whole home, and select and purchase custom furniture, window treatments, light fixtures and other décor accents. Our professional relationship proved very useful during this stressful event.

Below is the redecorated family room with new silver drapery hardware from JF Fabrics, drapery panels made with fabric from Maxwell Fabrics, and new wall colour from Benjamin Moore Paints CSP 830 Peaceful Garden.

Drapery panels on FR windows

Drapery panels and window bench cushion after renovation. Photo by Tracey Ayton Photography

Insurance and restoration companies often aren’t staffed with decorators who are experts in design, fabric, paint, and how to oversee the making of custom pieces that reflect a homeowner’s style. My client suggested to her restoration company that they bring me on board because she knew I could make sure that the items that needed to be replaced would be of the same quality as those we had originally installed. She also knew I had her information on hand, had her style in mind, and could supply the original purchase paperwork to make this process faster and smoother.

For example, years earlier we had chosen a beautiful light fixture with a lovely amber shade, and my client wanted to replace it when it was ruined in the flood. I still had the product code and contacted the light company to reorder the same style and the same colour. The salesperson confirmed the product via catalog photo and model number. I was assured the same fixture was on its way.

However, after almost six weeks of waiting, the fixture arrived and the “amber” shade was actually a reddish colour! Also, the size of the crystals was different (see photo below – original crystals on the right). The numbers matched, but the product had been revised and the original amber colour was no longer available.

chandelier mismatch crystals

I handled the situation by returning the fixture and taking my client shopping to find a new light that she loves.

Chandelier

 

Situations such as the light fixture can be hard to for a homeowner to handle on their own. It can be difficult and stressful to deal with wholesale companies or manufacturers when something goes wrong. I can handle the stress and deal with the bumps in the road for the homeowner.

I have professional relationships with furniture and design companies and their salespeople. I’ll visit the workrooms, check on the fabric, re-order and re-do things on behalf of my client. I can help speed the restoration and redecoration process so that a client isn’t living with dust and grime for what can feel like forever. It comes down to having a history of experience with my clients and connections in the decorating business that representatives from a restoration or insurance company just won’t have.

Working with the same professional decorator over time also assures that when something is redesigned, due to a change in preference or an unexpected problem such as a burst pipe, it’s easy to keep elements of the previous design and refresh other parts, such as paint colours or window treatments, to update a room. We were able to do that in the guest bedroom. Originally the walls were yellow and had no drapery panels. Now the walls are BM AF 515 Exhale (ironic don’t you think?) and match the drapery panels that were moved there from the master bedroom.

Drapery by UA1

When designs are classic and true to the style of the home, updating here and there is much simpler. And it’s exciting for me as a decorator to see how a client’s style can change over time.

If mishap does happen, be sure you know your insurance contacts, and consider hiring a professional like myself to save you time and stress in the recovery period.

I wish you a happy and prosperous 2015, and may all your renovations be planned!

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Winning Gold for decorating a 398 square foot micro-suite.

An important professional challenge of mine earlier this year was figuring out how to decorate and furnish a 398 square foot show suite inside a new development in Surrey, BC.  I was hired by the developer’s marketing company to decorate and set up a display suite for their micro-suite. They wanted to show a small space with maximum style for maximum affordability.

My purpose in staging the 398 sq ft display suite was to show potential buyers how they could have a complete living space within a single 398 square foot room. My reward at the end of that exciting and challenging process was winning the Gold Award for decorating a 398 square foot micro-suite through the Decorators and Designers Association of Canada (formerly CDECA). 

CDECA is a national organization of accredited interior decorators and their Decorating and Design Competition’s awards luncheon was held in Toronto on April 14, 2014. I was able to fly to Toronto to attend the ceremony and receive my gold award from a representative of the “Homestaging” category’s sponsor, Speers Flooring.

Gold award win in CDECA decorating competition

Receiving design award from award sponsor Speers Flooring representative.

The Planning Process

It took about three months to plan, connect with local vendors, source furniture, and implement my idea in order to show potential future homeowners that they could have their bedroom, living space, dining table, workspace and kitchen all in one room.  No “small” task!

Gold award win in CDECA decorating competition

Ultra 398 sq ft bachelor suite furnished by Urban Aesthetics

My style idea for the suite involved an overall neutral palette of white and grey with trendy shades of turquoise and orange as accent colours.

The geometric pattern wallpaper in a darker grey colour helps to define the living area and is a great backdrop for the neutral coloured apartment sized sofa from IKEA.  

I’m proud to say this small space was furnished and styled within the real estate developer’s budget, which was under $12,000.

Gold award win in CDECA decorating competition

Instant Bedrooms wallbed

Instant Bedrooms wall bed ~ Queen bed or table.

Furniture for living in small spaces

I sourced the living area furniture and accessories at Ikea, Crate and Barrel, and CB2 The awesome multi-functional wall bed and drop down table combination is made by Instant Bedrooms Manufacturing in Yaletown.

Gold award win in CDECA decorating competition

Interior design by Nancy DeVries of Urban Aesthetics

I’m very excited to have won this award as all the winners in the competition were selected by my peers in the organization and I’m proud of my achievement in a profession that I love. I’m also excited to be able to use my experience winning this award to highlight that people can have affordable and stylish design, including hiring a professional such as myself, without having to pay a fortune.

Style doesn’t have to break the bank to be good!

If you would like to know more about this project or if you would like to create a new look for a room in your home, connect with me here.

Related posts:

Finding Your Decorating Starting Line

‘Couchsourcing’: The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained

 

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Finding your decorating starting line.

For the past few months I’ve been working on several decorating projects with both new and previous clients. One of these jobs involved helping a client find new fabric to reupholster her living room furniture. Other clients purchased all new furniture –– their first time doing so in a couple of decades –– along with flooring for a new condo. The third client was a condo developer with a new studio suite that needed to be styled and furnished so potential buyers could visualize how they could live in the 400 sq. ft. space.

Gold Award winning display
Gold Award winning display

 

The common theme among these clients was a blank space (or fresh palette, in the case of the reupholstering job), and what they needed help with was finding their decorating starting line. Where do you start when you have a whole room that needs to be furnished and decorated? Most people will begin by going to the paint store and looking at paint chips to find their new wall colour, which they feel will help them in choosing their flooring or new furniture. After they have looked at 50 tiny paint samples and painted five or more sample colours on the walls (as in the picture below), they will call a colour consultant such as myself to come to their home because they are unsure which colour would best go with their yet-to-be-selected flooring or sofa or drapes (which usually is the reason why they are changing the wall colour in the first place).

Where do you start when decorating your home

Pinterest

So my question is, why let the paint colour, which will be the least expensive cost of the decorating budget, dictate what the flooring, drapes or sofa fabric colours will be? All of these big ticket décor items are going to have a longer lifetime in your home, which also means that they will more than likely eat up most of the decorating budget. It’s these items that need to be selected first before you dash off to the paint store to pick out possible paint colours.

My guess for why people think choosing a paint colour is the starting point is that the walls are the “outside” of a room. Rationally that’s how we work, from the outside to the inside –– with our dinner forks, our donuts, and our redecorating. But I’m here to tell you that where you should really start is the inside. Your inside…

Tap into your artistic “eye”. That means finding out what decorating styles you are instinctually attracted to. You may not know why you like a particular design, you just feel it. So allow your instincts to guide you. Start by going through décor magazines and tearing out photos of rooms that you’re drawn to, even if you don’t know why; just go with your gut reaction. Make a pile of these photos and when you’re done, go through all of them again. If it helps, circle the items that you really like about a room. You will start to see your design style in the highlighted items.

Centsationalgirl.com

Now you’re on your way to creating your dream design “visual board”. These photos will also help a design professional or sales associate see what your style is, which in turn will help them serve you more efficiently. You can also do the same thing digitally on websites like Pinterest.

Pinterest

Finally, with your completed visual board, you will have a clearer vision of your design concept, so you can start shopping. You’ll be more focused on what you’re looking for because you’ve already found it in print! There’s less of a chance you’ll be distracted by trendy items that you might see featured in the stores or showrooms when you have a design plan that you really want to follow. You’ve found your starting line, now go get the look you want for your home!

Happy shopping!

If you are struggling to find your starting line in your decorating project, why not hire a professional?

Did you enjoy my article? Then why not like me on Facebook to stay in touch!

Related posts:

From concept to completion: How custom drapes for a nursery meets the due date.

A fresh update for a client’s master bedroom.

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