February 1, 2012
Here's how the living room looked before...
and here's after!
What I loved most was the spaciousness and natural light throughout this house. At first I was blind to the dated finishings, but once I got started I decided to resurface every square inch of the house. I wanted the house to feel warm and relaxing but the kind of relaxing that feels like you're are floating rather than hibernating. I started by choosing wide plank white oak floors through out the house including the stairs and 3 bedrooms. I removed the popcorn texture to the ceiling and painted cloud white through out, except for the one large accent wall that rises 17', right from the front door landing to the third level tree top bedroom. That wall was painted a colour I mixed myself. I chose a soft grey that could transition between cool surfaces of glass and stainless and blend nicely with the oak and warmth of leather and darker wood. I replaced all the doors with frosted glass panel doors which more or less completed the shell of the house.
The kitchen was more involved. It started out as a 1980's style contemporary kitchen in the shape of a horseshoe with a small pass through window. I knocked out two walls to create a galley kitchen with an island cooktop facing out into the family space. This made for a bar height wall that greets you at the top of the stairs. I wanted this wall be feature and of quality. I found a rough cut natural salt stone which became one of my favourite features of the house. I like it so much that I lit it with three pots on a dimmer switch. I leave low light on the wall so no one is bumping into things in the dark, but also because it makes the wall look alive with moving shadows. I tiled the kitchen floor in a natural stone looking tile and kept the kitchen white because I wanted texture and tone rather than contrast. I drew the panel of floor tile from the kitchen out into the dining space to delineate the dining room as well as make practical surface for under the table and chairs. Overall, it can be a cold look so I heated the floors and chose a dark oak dining table with antique bubble back chairs. I leave the floors on high so they are somewhere between warm and hot. It turns out the tile holds the heat and it is an economical way of heating the house but i do it because it feels good.
Bathrooms were updated and one tub was replaced with a shower room. I love the tile made to look like grey wood. It was a nice match of texture and colour with the white marble vanity with grey veins.
If you are looking at before and after pictures, you will also notice that I stripped the navy blue paint from the railings and reclaimed them as brushed aluminum. Since it is an open space, it is great to be able to tie in the railings with the brushed stainless in the kitchen.
Now that I am finished I love every square inch of the house. I am happy to have done the updating according to an overall plan and goal for how I wanted the house to feel. I am proud to have seen it through and achieved that relaxing, "floating" feeling a consistent theme throughout the house.
Photo courtesy of
Sandra Botnen Interior Design