09/26/2012 12:17 EDT | Updated 11/26/2012 05:12 EST

A Main Floor to Die For

Flickr: Dinner Series

As a Design Supervisor, Steven tirelessly helped me with more than 160 makeovers. His meticulous, organized manner helped keep my projects on track. So when Steven was in need of some design help himself, I was happy to step in and lend a hand.

Steven and his partner, Alan, longing for a backyard and some much needed elbow space, made the big move from a small city condo to a suburban bungalow. But once in their new digs, they started to worry. The house needed much more work than they first thought, and they were worried that living so far from the city meant their downtown friends wouldn't visit.

Convinced that I could bring a bit of the city to the burbs, I decided to get my whole crew together and surprise the duo by offering to redesign their main floor space as a "thank you" for all of Steven's hard work.


The space was in rough shape: outdated, tired and dingy. Without Steven coordinating this job we knew we would have to work harder than usual, but we all dug in our heels and started from scratch. We knocked down walls to open up the area; put up new drywall; put in new hardwood flooring; installed a central vacuum system; and put up new ceilings with wiring to enable flat-mount stereo speakers.

I then divided the space up into three zones: a living room/lounge, a small dining room and a new kitchen.

In the living room, I created a focal point that people will see as soon as they walk through the front door -- a bench seat covered in a striped fabric of calming blue, green, taupe and beige and a 46-inch television that acts a mirror when not in use. I also created a larger seating arrangement, comprised of a comfortable couch and two chairs with stainless steel accents. I also put down a cool rug made of carpet tiles in the same colours used on the bench.

Next to the living room, I created a small dining area. The wow factor in this area is a new gas fireplace, which features polished black stones inside, and a surround of stainless steel with floating glass. In this zone, I also put in a gorgeous round, black pedestal table and some funky Lucite chairs.

On the living/dining room windows I put up some ultra stylish curtains made of a neutral silk with a woven pattern, and put some woven grass blinds behind the curtains for some privacy and light control.

Adjacent to the living room, I set up an ultra-modern kitchen with all of the bells and whistles, including lots of dark cabinetry, two glass-tiled backsplashes and beautiful quartz countertops. I then installed a roomful of stainless steel appliances, including a new side-by-side fridge and freezer, microwave, induction cook top, oven, warming drawer and sink. For some added zing, I put up a cityscape mural at the far end of the room.

To lighten things up, I put in recessed ceiling lights, various floor lamps and some pendant lighting. I then installed a host of accents -- vases, photos, artwork -- and Steven and Alan's main floor was complete.

This fixer-upper really needed some fixing up. By opening up the space and filling it with contemporary fixtures and finishes, comfortable furniture and hip accessories, this house went from "suburban sad" to "urban pad" and is now ready for the stylish duo and their city-dwelling friends.


One Big Makeover