Black and White Mudroom

Beige or putty coloured walls are a fairly common way for people to add "colour" to a space without really committing to colour. Full disclaimer: beige neutrals are not a favourite of mine and I would offer other suggestions to clients who don't want bright colours. Keeping a space relatively neutral doesn't mean shades of tan - it can be as simple as a little black and white. This example of a mudroom that went from, well, muddy walls to bright and cheery, shows how easy it can be to stay neutral while still offering a a bright, contrasting look. A beige mudroom transformed with black and white. A great example of not committing to color while avoiding boring beige.

The before and after is stunningly simple. Painting the doors black seems like a bold choice, but it really is a small commitment in terms of space covered by this color. In doing this, they add a fantastic and simple punch that is grounded by the dark floors and creates wonderful contrast to the white walls and hanging cupboard. the use of a dark color at the end of a space also tricks the eye into thinking the space is longer than it really is. The red sign and red in the simple rug on the floor bring a spot of color - no bright paint on the walls required!

A beige mudroom transformed with black and white. A great example of not committing to color while avoiding boring beige.

Using a light fixture with clear glass ensures you get maximum brightness in the space, and adding some simple decor gives the area personality.

A beige mudroom transformed with black and white. A great example of not committing to color while avoiding boring beige.

The space looks clean, fresh and larger than before. A simple and very effective transformation. See more at Pretty Practical Home. 

Before and After: The Dining Room

It's another before and after for you - today's edition is the dining room of a home we've been working on recently.  It's the same home we feature in the Living Room Before and After last week. An older home that had some patchy work done before being sold to our clients, the dining room was a drab putty tone and the light fixture was a bit dated. There was little to make this room stand out as the entertaining space our clients wanted. BEFORE:

Before and After: a drab dining room becomes a chic but relaxed space for dinner parties and everyday dining. Wallpaper accents one wall, while a vintage table and new moulded chairs offer an eclectic feel.

Before and After: a drab dining room becomes a chic but relaxed space for dinner parties and everyday dining. Wallpaper accents one wall, while a vintage table and new moulded chairs offer an eclectic feel.

AFTER:

The dining room was painted the same calm grey as the living room, and a subdued but still dramatic wall paper was added to one wall. The clients wanted a to make this room a feature while still looking clean and smart and it was decided that a chandelier would take it past that point. A simple, modern light fixture on a dimmer switch was chosen to contrast the pattern and color of the wall paper, while still offering sufficient light for dining and socializing.Before and After: a drab dining room becomes a chic but relaxed space for dinner parties and everyday dining. Wallpaper accents one wall, while a vintage table and new moulded chairs offer an eclectic feel.

The table is a vintage find, which is often a great way to mix up the look in a dining room and stay on budget. The moulded chairs provide a contrast, both against the wood of the table and floor, and the color of the wallpaper. They also tie in nicely with the white light fixture.

Before and After: a drab dining room becomes a chic but relaxed space for dinner parties and everyday dining. Wallpaper accents one wall, while a vintage table and new moulded chairs offer an eclectic feel.

The dining room is a fairly small space, and a hutch or large bar would have eaten up the room and made it feel a bit crowded. A small, portable bar fits nicely in the corner, and can be wheeled out to the living room for a bit of smart cocktail entertaining.

Before and After: a drab dining room becomes a chic but relaxed space for dinner parties and everyday dining. Wallpaper accents one wall, while a vintage table and new moulded chairs offer an eclectic feel.

You don't need a lot of stemware on show in your dining room if you don't have a large hutch or case for it. Pick a few of your favourite things to display, along with a few bottles of the things you love best. Before and After: a drab dining room becomes a chic but relaxed space for dinner parties and everyday dining. Wallpaper accents one wall, while a vintage table and new moulded chairs offer an eclectic feel.

The dining table  has a leaf, and extra chairs are simply placed in two corners of the room, ready for use either in here, as as extra seating in the living room when entertaining. Before and After: a drab dining room becomes a chic but relaxed space for dinner parties and everyday dining. Wallpaper accents one wall, while a vintage table and new moulded chairs offer an eclectic feel.

 Clients often shy away from the idea of darker walls, as they have been taught that they make small spaces feel smaller, and rob the space of light, but that's so often really not the case.  Our clients were wary of the dark wall, but trusted us to make a decision that was aligned with their vision for the room. Making the far wall darker not only gives you a focal point, but it can make the wall appear further away, tricking the eye into seeing more space. This room also has a large patio door, and a wide opening in to the living room, which has a huge window. Having both of these sources of natural light meant that I would have been confident to paint this entire space dark and know that the natural light would keep it from being claustrophobic. In the end, the wallpaper provided just the right touch of drama to the room, while never overwhelming it.

Before and After: a drab dining room becomes a chic but relaxed space for dinner parties and everyday dining. Wallpaper accents one wall, while a vintage table and new moulded chairs offer an eclectic feel.

A final bonus is the view of this beautiful wall from the living room or kitchen, which simply makes you want to enter the space and take a look. CP LR 8

 

Before and After: The Living Room

We've got a Before and After for you today! We recently finished some work with a couple of lovely clients who took possession of an older home and wanted to rework the interior a bit. The previous owners had done a bit of updating when they prepared to sell, but had likely done a lot of the work on their own and the results, unfortunately, weren't great.

Paint colors were dreary and not terribly well applied. Cracks in the corners were left un-mended, and this older home lacked sufficient outlets for modern owners. The fireplace in the living room was the original red brick, and the sconces were also from another time - which is not necessarily a bad thing, but in this case....well have a look at the first before picture:

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

 

And here we are after:

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

LR after 8Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

Our work with these clients covered most of the spaces in the home, so the living room became part of the overall plan. The clients were looking for a mix of old and new that was still uncluttered and functional.  In this space and the adjoining dining room (pictures of those to come later), we settled on a calming grey - Sherwin William "Passive." We used a simple palette of grey, blue and yellow-gold, with mixed metals, primarily brass and chrome. Modern fixtures, mix with vintage pieces to give the space a relaxed feel.  There is a family room in the basement where the TV is located, so this room was kept as an entertaining space.

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

The drapery fabric (So Good's Medina) was worth every penny spent. Having custom drapery made can be a considered purchase once you factor in the fabric and the labor, but if the room is one that you intend to feature and entertain in, it's a worthy place to put some of your budget. These drapes look stunning and catch the eye of anyone entering the room.

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

What to hang on your walls? My advice is typically that it doesn't need to be "art" or even necessarily a picture or painting. It simply needs to be something that you really love and/or that means something to you. Don't hang things on your walls that you feel so-so about. Surround yourself with things that bring you joy. And a few mirrors, they're great for adding light to a space ;)

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

Here are a few more great vintage finds that were added to the space. The sideboard was found via local classifieds. In it's former life, it was a cabinet stereo. It's now general storage and hides speakers to the bluetooth system. A bit of beeswax polish and four new legs and it became a new treasure for this home. the brass lamp is also a vintage piece, and the crow was one of those fortuitous finds at a local Yart Sale.

Now, on to that fireplace. Here's the before:

fireplace before 2

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

Yikes.

The decision was made to simply paint the fireplace, rather than replace it. If a client intends to use a fireplace like this on a regular basis, my advice is typically to renovate it and install an insert. Wood and gas inserts are very efficient heaters (and can be absolutely gorgeous as well), whereas an old wood fireplace like this, while romantic, is essentially a hole in your house through which heat escapes. If you are installing an insert, you can also take a moment to consider complely transforming the fireplace and hearth with a new front using, for example, tile, or stone.

But as they don't use it frequently, wanted to keep some of the older features of the home in tact, and wanted to reserve more of their budget for exterior work, we used a simple and inexpensive method to transform it.

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

The contrast between the dark charcoal color and the warm brass fittings is just gorgeous. Most of the brass pieces were sourced at vintage shops and flea markets and given a good polish. The tired old sconces were replaced with new ones that evoke the past, but still have modern chrome touches.

 

That's it for now. In coming posts we'll show you the before and after in other space in the home, including a fabulous new dining room.