A Family Home Part 2: Dining Room

Back in November I shared the kitchen of the Classic Home renovation we designed. The project was so large that I thought it was best to share in bite size pieces! 

Today I'm sharing Part 2:

An Elegant Dining Room 

Who: Sherry + Phil and their son

What: Kitchen Renovation

When: Spring 2016 - Summer 2017

Years lived in: 10 years

Before we can chat about the after, you need to see the



Ta-Dah! Now lets look at the final product!

The first order of business for this space was to remove the wall separating the kitchen and dining room. It opened up the space and made it function for this family. It also showered both rooms with the stunning light from the French doors.


When we took out the wall between the kitchen and the dining room I really wanted to make sure we didn't end up with an awkward kitchen gable in her formal dining area. And what does every great hostess need? Well a built in bar of course. We continued the kitchen cabinetry into the dining area to create a hidden built in bar. Perfect for serving part guests and to hold all of her beautiful glassware. I repeated the antique mirror from the kitchen in the back of the bar for a cohesive look. 


Even though our client wanted to open her dining room to the kitchen she still wanted the space to feel formal and elegant. I knew the space needed wallpaper. Deciding on that wallpaper did not come quickly or easily - we looked more than 50+ options from all over the world before finally arriving at this beautiful mural from Anthropologie. Unfortunately it was not available in Canada, but that is when having a designer comes in handy. We found a way!

We decided to frame it with trim rather than apply it to the entire upper wall to really make it special and feel like artwork! The design is in the details.


The homeowner had purchased the light fixture before the renovation began, so we needed to be able to tie it in to the design, hence the repeated brushed brass accents throughout. The table was a family heirloom and the chairs the client fell in love with right before we started the renos. I love how the black chairs tied in with the graphite in the wallpaper. 

We were fortunate that our client was prepared to commit to luxurious custom drapery in the dining room. They were an important element in the formality of the space. Yes, they are beautiful but they also are functional, the blackout lining keeps the heat out of the room and keeps the sun off her beautiful table. 

We added grosgrain ribbon along the edge of the drapes for another little detail. Of course the hardware mattered, so we went with a gorgeous heavy brushed brass with the most amazing tie backs. They will keep her beautiful drapes out of harms way when they are going in and out of the French doors. 


Such a bold statement with the wallpaper required the elegant foundation of the trim and wainscoting we applied. If you are planning to install wainscotting the key is to plan, plan and plan some more. How will the trim end? How will it tie into doorways and windows. In this room I didn't want to see electrical outlets in the middle of the design so I had them all moved down so we could hide them in the baseboards.


In the end we were all thrilled with the result. What do you think?


Contracting: McCormick General Construction

Photographer: Jillian Schecher Studio

A Family Home

Quality is not an act. It is a habit.

- Aristotle

The goal of every project is A) a happy client, and B) a beautiful quality project.

I'm so happy that this project resulted in both! Mind you, it took a a wee bit longer than we had planned.

The gestation of most projects is longer than clients expect, but in my experience rushing things has never ended well. There are tears in design and they often result from short timelines or disappointing results. 

When our client reached out to us she had spent a few years compiling photos, plans and dreams for her space. The project was to include the kitchen, dining room, living room, pantry, front entry and eventually the stairway and powder room were added. 

We spent almost 12 months working on this project, and considered everything right down to the most minute detail. It was a pleasure when our clients walked in the door and saw the finished product.

Since it was such a big project I'm going to break it up into a few parts. Let's start with the heart of the home - the kitchen! 

Who: Sherry + Phil and their son

What: Kitchen Renovation

When: Spring 2016 - Summer 2017

Years lived in: 10 years

The old kitchen suffered from a bad layout, beige cabinets circa 1980's, and outdated appliances. It had room for improvement!

Ready for a dramatic BEFORE?

The first order of business was taking down the wall into the dining room to allow for a peninsula. We did countless layouts and finally landed on one that made the most of the space. 

Our client wanted to add style and substance to her home which meant considering all of our choices carefully: trim, paint, hardware. It all needed to say quality!

This was our clients dream kitchen and it needed to check all the boxes, but it also needed to be a wise investment, so there were decisions to be made. Where to spend and where to save?

Cabinets - Splurge

These cabinets were solid wood doors and boxes, custom sprayed and with dove tail drawers and soft close. The appliances were panelled, the vent hood was custom, we added a built in bar and glass doors with custom antiqued mirror backsplash. It was a big part of the budget but worth every penny! 


Faucet & Backsplash - Save

We didn't choose a particularly large sink as we were trying to maximize the counter space, this meant we could choose a bar/prep faucet rather than a full size faucet. You probably wouldn't notice the difference, but with a slightly smaller reach it's best suited for smaller sinks and the client saved hundreds of dollars.

The backsplash was a classic Carrara marble, trust me I tempted our clients with beautiful mosaic marble options and multiple patterns, but by sticking to a classic size and an easy pattern to install, they saved on the budget without sacrificing style.


Appliances - Splurge/Save

Our clients elected to choose Ikea appliances for the microwave, oven, stove top and vent hood. Ikea now offers a fantastic warranty and excellent value in their appliances. This is always a great place to save on your kitchen budget, a high end kitchen package can easily exceed 30k.

The fridge and dishwasher were both panelled so they were a bit more of a splurge but worth it because they impact how the kitchen looked. 

When your budget recovers you can upgrade your appliance package (if you chose standard sizes).


Fun details!

Our client was open to trying new things and that isn't always easy. We fell in love with the idea of antiqued mirror in the bar and in the china cabinet. Well let me tell you - it's not an easy thing to find and it's not inexpensive. Me and my team called all over North America getting pricing, eventually finding a place in Calgary that could do it. Our client happily drove the 7 hours round trip to pick up her mirrors.


Knobs and pulls - my oh my this was the source of many many emails. If you are getting a kitchen designed please do not choose the hardware available at the kitchen showroom. There are so many beautiful options and doing something different will take your kitchen to the next level. Make sure to ask your kitchen manufacturer what size the their template will work with so you don't incur any extra charges.

After waiting on backorders and getting short shipped, our beautiful Anthropologie knobs finally arrived. Of course nothing's easy - the posts were too long and all had to be cut back but they were worth the wait!


Don't be afraid to mix hardware vendors, the lucite knobs are Anthroplogie but the rest of the pulls are from Lee Valley. The appliance pulls are from Richelieu - if you are considering panelling your appliances be prepared for the cost. A pull for a fridge can range from $100 - $300 each and most units need 3!


In every project problems come up, we ran into a big one when the cabinet maker hadn't taken into account the size of the crown moulding that was throughout the rest of the house and was meant to go above the cabinets. The cabinets could not be changed but I came up with a plan! 

We decided where to make the transition, and created a design where the crown went on the ceiling to look like it was the height of our chosen crown. In the end it became one of my favourite details. The 8 foot ceilings magically looked like they were 10 feet tall, something that could be easily replicated and cost was minimal. To keep the trim cohesive we had it sprayed the same colour as the cabinets. 

*Do you see those beautiful ceiling? Hard to believe they were once covered in unsightly popcorn ceilings!


This was such a wonderful project, I can't wait to share the rest!

J xx