Reveal Part 7: Project Mary Street – The Wellington Suite

AFTER PHOTOS BY HEIDI LAU

 

It’s time for the final instalment of the Project Mary Street reveals. I really love how this suite turned out, it’s got a masculine, edgy vibe and it’s one of my favourites for sure. This was the first accent wall we painted and pulling the tape off was so scary. It had been a long nine days already and having to repaint these walls was not at the top of my priority list, that’s for sure. Truth be told, the top of my list at this point included things like having a bath, drinking all the time, and finally getting a good nights sleep.

 

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

Click here if you missed the last reveals: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 

Wanna book a weekend away at The Mary Street Guesthouse? Click here.


Reveal Part 6: Project Mary Street – The Quinte Townhouse

AFTER PHOTOS BY HEIDI LAU

 

It’s the second last suite reveal and this one is the biggest of all the suites. When I first stepped foot in this townhouse it felt realllllll country. My goal was to tone down the wood trim a bit but also keep some of the wood elements to keep some of that charm.

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

You know I love me a gallery wall!

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

How cute is the sushi art!

Click here if you missed the last reveals: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5  /  Part 7

Wanna book a weekend away at The Mary Street Guesthouse? Click here.


Reveal Part 5: Project Mary Street – The Bloomfield Suite

AFTER PHOTOS BY HEIDI LAU

 

I’m keeping things moving now, again, no video, I figure I can post video later. The Bloomfield Suite originally was one I liked least. It had a lot of things working against it. Things like terrible floors, no character (like exposed brick), no window in the living room. And some of those things are still true, but in general, we managed to turn this suite around. Someone they knew suggested checking the kitchen walls for exposed brick behind the drywall, and sure enough, there was some. So they exposed the brick, got new flooring throughout and we did a fresh coat of paint. The ceiling had cool paneling I wanted to dry your eye to so we painted it a soft blue. The rest is all about decor and accessories.

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

The new overhead light was a game changer. 

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

I love this nook, it’s a bit edgy, and risqué with the art, I worried they weren’t going to go for it, but I figured it would be something that could really speak to a specific type of clientele.

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

The minute I stepped foot in this bedroom, I immediately though of this IKEA bed, I knew I wanted to drape a funky fabric creating a vibe of wallpaper without the hefty price tagged attached to wallpaper. 

Click here if you missed the last reveals: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 6  /  Part 7

Wanna book a weekend away at The Mary Street Guesthouse? Click here.


Reveal Part 4: Project Mary Street – The Bowery Suite

AFTER PHOTOS BY HEIDI LAU

 

Well, I surely dropped the ball on this 7-part reveal, didn’t I. I’ve been holding off until the videos are done, but at this point, things are a bit too crazy and I’m just going to keep revealing sans-video for now.

The Bowery Suite is the suite I stayed in while I was transforming these units, it was a bit of a mess while I was there, but I turned it around! We dubbed this suite the coca-cola suite because it had big red pieces of furniture in the kitchen. We decided to keep the pendant because it felt a bit vintage and cool.

Have a peek at this transformation!

 

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

// BEFORE //

This was a tough suite because the living room didn’t have any windows or overhead lighting, light was a real problem in the living room.

// AFTER //

We used an IKEA floor lamp and hung it from the ceiling and got rid of the base, it made such a difference in the space!

// BEFORE //

The second I saw this bedroom I knew it was going to be all about wall-to-wall drapes. Keep scrolling to see how welcoming it made this bedroom! The end result tunred this into my favourite bedroom of all the suites.

// AFTER //

Click here if you missed the last reveals: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 5 / Part 6  /  Part 7

Wanna book a weekend away at The Mary Street Guesthouse? Click here.


Reveal Part 3: Project Mary Street – The Amelia Suite

AFTER PHOTOS BY HEIDI LAU

 

[If you haven’t read Part 1 or Part 2, I recommend starting there]

The Amelia Suite was the second suite I saw on my first site visit, and it stole my heart instantly. The suite had a feminine vibe to me, and so I rolled with that when I executed the redesign.

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

Click here if you missed the last reveals: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6  /  Part 7

Reveal Part 2: Project Mary Street – The Sandbanks Loft

AFTER PHOTOS BY HEIDI LAU
GRAPHIK EYE PHOTOGRAPHY (where noted)

 

[If you haven’t read Part 1, I recommend starting there]

We are kicking the suite reveals off with the Sandbanks Loft, which is the smallest unit of the six, but this guy packs a mean punch. The Sandbanks, in case you’re not familiar with Prince Edward County near Picton, Ontario, is a provincial park located on Lake Ontario. And it’s freaken’ beautiful, so it only made sense for the owners to name one of the units after this beautiful landmark.

While all the suites took on a personality of their own, I wouldn’t say any had a real theme except for this one, which was obviously, a beach theme. Themes are not meant to be taken too literally, they serve as a point of inspiration, have a peek at how I accomplished just that in this suite.

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

The moment I stepped foot in the space, I knew I wanted a statement colour on the staircase. I wanted to turn it into the focal point, using the beach as my inspiration we went with a turquoise paint turning this entryway into a showstopper. BOOM!

Photo above by Graphik Eye Photography

I found this console at Macool’s Reuse, it couldn’t have been more perfect if I had painted it myself! (I have a horseshoe up my ass!)

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

Oh gallery walls, how I love you. And I really love this one. Possibly my favourite design elements of all the units. My process for gallery walls start with wall measurements, then lots-o-shopping. We’re talking vintage shops, Homesense and Etsy digital downloads, from there I create a digital layout on my laptop (you can see example of this in the video) which later gets translated onto the wall. The end result is gallery wall perfection.

Photo above by Graphik Eye Photography

The large piece featured here was commissioned by Toronto-based photographer, Yakov Nissen. He also did the pieces featured above the fireplace and some others you’ll see throughout the suites! All his photographs feature various landmarks in the County.

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

We removed the panel covering the fireplace, the TV and added a fresh coat of dark grey paint. Combine that with the perfect art, furniture and accessories and you’ve got a perfect refresh.

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

I had my mind set on this accent wall. Time was running out, but I was hell-bent on making it happen. Art on the wall behind the bed didn’t made sense due to the sloped ceiling, plus the suite was already so packed full of art, it seemed it needed something else. I envisioned stripes that would work with the sloped ceiling as opposed to fighting it. This is the key to odd-ball architecture, design around it to help make it feel more intentional.

Generally speaking, I don’t DIY (hate it actually) and I sure as sh*t don’t paint. In fact, I have a wonderful painter who does this for most my projects! But this wasn’t an ordinary project, so I put my big girl panties on and made it happen. My assistant and I taped out the details, and we got to painting. I’ve legit never painted stripes in my life, I was so nervous about it (aka lost some sleep!). Luckily my handyman warned me about what tape to use, the key was “delicate surface tape”. And he was right, the end result was absolutely perfect.

Click here if you missed the last reveals: Part 1 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5  / Part 6Part 7

Wanna book a weekend away at The Mary Street Guesthouse? Click here.


Reveal Part 1: Project Mary Street – Project Overview

To say that I put all I had into Project Mary Street is the understatement of the year. I legit cannot remember a time in my recent life where I worked as hard as I did not just for one day, but for nine straight days (all of which were 10-12 hour days). We’re talking moving furniture from unit to unit, hanging over 70 pieces of art, styling, painting accent walls and accessorizing my a$% off.

Seriously, I lost five pounds in nine days. I for real accessorized my a$% off.

I did not do it alone though, with me the whole week was my amazing assistant, Barb, who is actually a TV producer but currently in between jobs. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime that week, we got along amazingly and she helped me not only with the decorating, but provided amazing direction for the videos I managed to do while there. Speaking of which, I had every intention of shooting video in each unit, but after things got started it was just too damn busy to take the time out each day to capture video in all the units. Sadly, I ended up only getting two done, but let me tell you they were that much better with her help and direction!

The help didn’t stop there, not only did the owners; Davelle Morrison, Lani Fumerton, Don Millman and Jeff Lyons come down to help on various days, but they also had their amazing entourage graciously helping out.

This is some of the dream team (many key people missing here!). We’re talking parents, friends, not to mention the Mary Street Mascot (see picture below) which just provided help in the form of cuteness.  Trust me, it helped.

I also had two handymen (David Riley and artist Jon McKinnon) that took turns helping me hang art, mirrors and window treatments. If none of these people had helped, I’m pretty sure I’d still be there. 😉

After leaving my blood (don’t worry, mostly cardboard cuts), sweat (of dear god, so much sweat) and tears (by day eight I was hanging by a very thin thread and when everyone left, I maybe had a wee bit of a cry), I drove away in my big 20-foot cube truck feeling incredibly proud of what we accomplished in those nine days.

Oh, did I forgot to mention I rented a 20-foot cube truck? I sure did, there she is below (obviously, she’s a she) and there I am driving it. I’ve never driven a cube truck. I never plan on driving one EVER AGAIN. It was scary and terrifying, but truth be told, I did feel like a badass driving this bad boy.

While this project proved to be really hard work, what I want to stress even more is how fulfilling and inspiring it was. I had been asking the universe to send me a project with exposed brick. Well, thanks universe, you sure did deliver. The moment I stepped foot inside the first unit, I was so inspired by what I saw including gorgeous exposed brick, original wide plank floors and huge opportunity for an amazing transformation. It was all I thought about, I wasn’t sleeping at night because I just kept thinking about all the things I would do to the suites. #decoratorproblems

This brings me to another important detail of this project. Trust. The owners put their absolute trust in me, which to be honest means more than they’ll likely every understand. Complete trust from a client is a crucial element of a project. They trusted me to deliver the end result they were after with very little micro-managing. I took that trust very seriously, and I made sure I understood what their goals where and made sure that I delivered that.

Nothing makes me happier than to hear a client say “it’s far surpassed our wildest expectations”, I know that I’ve done my job.

Ok, enough sap for one post, here’s the deal, I plan to do a series of blog posts and video for each unit (six in total), this is where I will share before and afters, but before I get into that I’d love to give you a bit of an overview of this project, the scope, the constraints and the process.

The scope

My role for this project was to help select the paint for the entryway doors, walls and floors (where applicable), I also was to take care of all finishing touches, including selecting rugs, window treatments, accent walls, art, and all accessories. They were going to take care of all the furniture. While I wasn’t hired to help with furniture, I did offer some guidance and requested a few key pieces where possible. I also made myself available for help selecting vintage pieces.

The project also included a redesign of the logo and the new website for the newly rebranded building (formerly the Fenix).

Above is a photo of the building when it was formerly the Fenix.

And a photo after the doors were all painted a pretty Lilac  //  Photo by Graphik Eye Photo

I wanted to create some consistency and branding through the use of colour on the doors and making it an Instagram worthy exterior!  //  After Photo by Heidi Lau

The change of name meant we needed a new logo and website. I presented three logo options, and this is the logo they selected. Once the units were transformed we had photographers come in to capture their beauty and shortly after I designed the new website.

The constraints

I am so proud of the final transformations that took place in each unit of the Guesthouse, but what makes me even more proud is the transformation that took place despite the insane constraints we were working under!

  • Constraint 1 – Budget We were on a tight budget for accessories, art, rugs and window treatments. This meant I scoured IKEA, Homesense, yard sales and vintage shops. It was important to me that the spaces didn’t feel like they were filled with IKEA or Homesense, I wanted the suites to have character so vintage finds were key.
  • Constraint 2 – Timeframe The owners took possession of the building  on April 30th and wanted the units listed by June 1st. Minor construction and painting was needed, this meant that I wouldn’t be able to start my magic until May 24th! In the end we were on-site for nine days to place furniture, hang art, window treatments, mirrors, paint accent walls and accessorize six full units. I’m tired just thinking about it! Whew.
  • Constraint 3 – Location Because the building is located in Prince Edward County, where shopping is extremely limited, it meant that I needed to plan for art, rugs, windows and accessories for all six units before I arrived. I would need to shop for everything I needed and drive it all to the County in my big old cube truck.

The process

For any project planning is crucial, but for a project with this many constraints, planning is even more important. I’ve had a few people ask me how I was able to execute on this project, and the answer is simple…

Vision and planning.

There’s a reason I do this for a living and it’s because when I see a space, I quickly can visualize the transformation. I see where furniture should go, what walls should have art and what types of accessories I’ll need. Vision is extremely important, and it’s what clients pay designers and decorators, like myself, to do.

Once the vision takes form, planning is key. For this project that included:

  • A site visit to take photos and measurements (this took 8 hours, I take this step seriously!)
  • An itemized list of everything needed in each space
  • Elevation drawings to plan out art
  • Some quick mood boards to see how elements like rugs, drapes and art will work together

I knew these units needed to be ALL ABOUT ART. Because we weren’t going to be able to do things like wallpaper (walls were extremely imperfect, and wallpaper is actually pretty pricey) or have time to carefully curate the furnishings or other design elements. It was all about the art and it meant going all in. Meaning, if we were going to do a gallery wall, we needed to ensure it wasn’t half-assed.

After it was all said and done, there were over 70 pieces of art installed in this building and I’m sure you’ll see how important they are to the design!

Day 10 was photoshoot day, and this was basically all I had left in me. Lying on the floor waiting for my amazing photographer (Heidi Lau) to capture the end result with her fabulous photos.

Stay tuned over the next week or so while I share a new blog each day for each suite. I can’t wait for you to see the end result.

Click here if you missed the last reveals: Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5  / Part 6Part 7

Project Mary Street: Inspiration for a beautiful lilac entryway

I’ve started a new, very different project, one that has me so excited I’m not sleeping at night because it’s literally ALL I THINK ABOUT! I’m helping Davelle Morrison and Lani Fumerton, local realtors here in Toronto, decorate their 6-apartment Airbnb guesthouse in Prince Edward County. And let me tell you, these apartments are full of insane potential! I went to check them out last Friday and I felt like I was squealing the whole time.

// Look at this place! So cute! //

The first order of business was to select a colour for the front doors. As you can see all the doors are different bold colours right now. We’ve decided to make all the doors the same colour, the deep green roof does drive the colour selection, my first inclanation was a soft pink.

// how can you not love this beautiful door / source //

// A soft lilac is perfect for this building / source //

After some research of other Airbnb’s and hotels in the area we learned that another hotel already has pink exterior doors, so we went back to the drawing board. At first my heart broke, because I loved that pink door, I loved it so much! But after thinking about it, pink is so insanely popular right now that this is a good way to be stand out.

 

 

Project Reveal: Living Room Styling Before and After

AFTER PHOTOS BY PAMELA YOOL

 

Last year I had the honour of being a featured decorator at Elte Mkt Designer Day, and it was through this event that I started working with this client. She scheduled an appointment with me, after that meeting we booked a consultation, followed by a Finishing Touches session. I gotta be honest, Finishing Touches sessions are some of the most exhausting days for me, so much so, that I tend to only schedule one maybe two a month. It starts with 8-10 hours shopping, then styling day is an intense 8-10 hours of non-stop styling (stopping only for about 10 minutes to stuff my gullet). I love it though, the clients leave for the day and come home to the reveal. This is a really important step in the process, because I know myself well enough to know that I do my best work with I don’t have someone watching me, because the reality is, it’s chaos before it ever becomes the beautiful room they see when they get home (lucky for you, I often do behind the scenes video on my Facebook page!). There’s literally NOTHING more satisfying than this kind of transformation in such a quick turnaround.

With this space, the client already had all their furniture and was looking for help with styling. I recommended a lighter couch that would feel less heavy in the space, they ended up changing it and it made a huge difference. They found the mirror themselves after I provided the direction and size recommendation (faux suede mirror from CB2). We had the window seat cushion reupholstered and ordered custom pillows and the rest was all in the accessorizing. They had a few great accessories I was able to work with, along with some super cool items from their travels. It’s important to me to incorporate personal pieces in the decorating, your home should feel personal and be a reflection of you.

Accessorizing is often where people fall short, truth be told, it’s not inexpensive to accessorize a space and make it look magazine worthy. This room, for example, was $2500 to fully accessorize plus my service fees (not including art, window seat reupholstery or the mirror, and don’t forget they had a few accessories for me to work with!), it’s definitely an investment, but once you see the before and afters, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s totally worth it.

I thought it might be time to mix things up, in this post I’ve interview my client about her experience! I can’t thank her enough for her thoughtful responses. 🙂 Enjoy!

Why did you decide to get help decorating instead of doing it yourself?
While I think I have a decent eye for design and style, I was struggling with balance, colours, scale, object selection etc. No matter what combinations I tried, I wasn’t able to bring the right pieces together to achieve the clean and serene look I was after.

Knowing you wouldn’t be home while I styled, were you nervous about the reveal?
I was more excited than nervous. I fully trusted your taste and was really looking forward to seeing how you would pull it off!

What was your initial reaction when you came home to the reveal?
I was overjoyed because the look was 100% in line with my vision. I was relieved because my years of struggling to properly style my 20+ built-in shelves were finally behind me. And, there was no more clutter!

(keep scrolling for more of our interview)

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

How did you feel in the space before the transformation?
I loved it before we bought the house (in 2013) because the previous owner was a professional home stager. There was a contemporary, clean look in every room with a lot of great pieces.

Enter us.

When we moved in, my feelings about the space became less than enthusiastic because I didn’t have the skill to decorate the space using our own furniture and objects to achieve the look I was after (i.e. the look that the space initially had before we moved in! LOL)

 I felt frustrated with how cluttered the space was with our books, picture frames and kids’ stuff.

How do you feel in this space after the ?
We love it because we feel like it finally reflects who we are and our  personalities: me: vibrant, spontaneous, and a little bit fancy; him: contemplative and calm with a passion for travel, unique items and places.

[Have I danced alone in the space since the redesign? Maybe. Has he? Not yet.]

In the end, my husband finally understood the difference between our D-I-Y style vs. a professional’s touch. He agreed that working with you was worth the investment which is great because I’d like to hire you again…

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

What is your favourite part of this room now?
It’s impossible to choose. There are so many fresh items of interest (that you selected) that we really enjoy in our new space.

The reupholstered banquette is definitely my new favourite go-to spot on Saturday mornings with my coffee, NY Times and a kid or two! The pillows from Tonic Living are the perfect combination of comfort + glam.

Were the design fees and recommended budget ($2500) to accessorize worth the investment?
Absolutely worth the investment! As a mom of four kids and full time lawyer I did not have time to carefully source and select items for 20+ shelves or, shop around for fabric, pillows and furniture. These things take a lot of time and planning so I appreciated and needed the efficiency that comes with working with a decorator. You brought samples to my home to select; I regularly flipped you emails of inspiration and you did all the sourcing, shopping and styling to bring it all together for the big reveal.   

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

// BEFORE //

// AFTER //

Have you felt different about entertaining in this space since?
We have always enjoyed entertaining but since redecorating we have definitely increased our guest count because we love our new space so much and want to share it with our friends! Our visitors are definitely impressed with the new look and some have wondered where all the clutter went (answer: basement + donations). Others knew right away that a decorator must’ve been here because I’m not THAT good.

What advice would you give someone struggling with a room in their home like you were?
First, declutter. It’s impossible to achieve your optimal look with too much stuff in the way. Only keep (or bring in) what you truly love and what  brings you joy. Find some Instagram inspiration for your space and then consult a professional. Be upfront about your budget and focus on one space at a time.  For us, the next stop is the girls’ room!