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Redesigning a Canadian Home Horror

Our client's lovely wife, thankfully, concurred that her husband's "cottage in the city" utterings served only disservice to the holiday homes that she -- and we -- adore. So where did we start? Oh, that's the easy bit. With two words: "gut down."

OK, that's enough. Our "before shot" room, in design terms, is a moose, and we're not just referencing the choice of horny beast artwork. The 1970's faux timber panelling, mismatched furniture and a sofa in hiding all add up to a seriously tricky space. Aye, one with all the allure of the cabin in Evil Dead...

Quite the shocker, huh? We remember our client referencing the gloomy pit as his "cottage in the city" hideaway. "Cottage in the city?" we shrieked in unison, while trying to retain at least some element of professional reserve. Wiping our paymaster's brow and packing away bear skin cushions, boxes of paperwork and dozens of derelict hockey sticks (sufficient clutter to inflame the most ardent home stager ad infinitum) we promised to deliver a huge transformation.

Our client's lovely wife, thankfully, concurred that her husband's "cottage in the city" utterings served only disservice to the holiday homes that she -- and we -- adore. A relaxed vibe suffused with mismatched furniture and precious familial mementos is one thing (think plaid, gingham and acres of pickled timber) but a worrying assembly of life's tackier cast-offs is another story altogether.

Our brief was to construct a relaxing TV room, a comfy space which the entire family could enjoy. With a more formal living area upstairs, the re-worked space would serve as a crash zone during casual times. Simple, thus far?

So where did we start? Oh, that's the easy bit. With two words: "gut down." Like a pair of heat seeking missiles in sling backs we rocketed around, carefully packaging the clutter that was suffocating the potentially attractive scene. Into boxes went family pictures, prints, files and, ahem, anything that wasn't nailed down.

The room clear, we pulled frantically at the faux timber panelling like over zealous children unwrapping cadeaux on Christmas morning. And then, satisfied our designer visions were on the right track, we did a little happy dance and moved to the next stage. Yup, we were conquering the hellish scene, one retro blooper at a time...

Would You Wood Wall?

Sometimes, just sometimes, design contradicts itself via overtly retrospective allusions. In this room, for instance, we erased the timber panelling -- as previously described -- but installed timber effect Amtico, a 21st century update that combines commanding visual focus with ease of installation. Product like this (while designed for floor application) is perfect as it wall mounts easily with 'grip' type adhesive and is a joy to drill making picture hanging a breeze. For a full range of exotic wood genus', scope our resource list.

Soft Underfoot

Shag? An uber '60s style statement? Who do we think we are? Austin Powers? We'll admit the textured berber is redolent of the less desirable end of the 'Mid Modern' period but, played carefully, it successfully translates into the modern idiom. Breaking news; shagging, wall to wall, is (once again) acceptable. Imagine padding around barefoot as those cosy fibres tickle toes, sending you into textural orbit. Just make sure, however, that your vacuum is up to the challenge of the deep luxuriant pile.

Map Out Your Artwork

Maps, these days, aren't just for those who've lost their way. Indeed attractive, educative cartology has become a popular 'artwork' medium which makes it perfect decorative fodder in family rooms. So, without further ado, start searching for interesting kit. Scan eBay or other on line auction sites for second hand world illustrations or visit to source -- and then create -- an image you love. Scale it to size, whiz it off at the printers, stick it in a frame and you're done. No fuss. No drama. And you'll never feel lost again.

Comfort Corner

L-shaped sofas optimize seating (and are great in corners) but perform just as well to section off different functions (living/dining, for example) in an open concept room. This one was made to order by N'Shape Design and affords loads of bum space and bags of style thanks to its long linear shape and brightly toned fabric. We've been using bold toned upholstery since the days we sported pig tails and are thrilled to see the practice finally becoming popular across the design industry.

Plan In Advance

When redecorating, think about positioning of TVs, cables and speakers and factor for their inclusion -- and installation -- before wielding the brush. We installed speakers and cabling for the wall mounted TV before the vinyl cladding went up. Sure, we had to raggle walls and install wiring (in association with qualified trades) but the finished look is sleek and avoids trip hazard cabling scarring an otherwise lovely aesthetic. We've said it before and we'll say it again -- "To fail to plan, is to plan to fail."

Keep Track of Lighting

Surface mounted track is an easy way to proffer ceiling wide illumination without drilling drywall to accommodate pot lights. Many of today's systems have slide and lock positioning (at multiple points along the line) which means that directing light -- where you need it most -- is simple. The upshot is that you get to change your mind on a whim; if you hang new artwork or change the position of a chair or sofa you can redirect light accordingly. We don't just throw this stuff together, you know. Visit Ikea for the market's most affordable options.

Their family room transformed, our clients finally have a space that combines contemporary necessity with just a whisper of days gone by. The journey through time, they attest, is proof perfect that even flat lined space can be paddled back to life. To shockingly cool effect.

Bear in mind, however, that some design deaths should never be revisited; the avocado bathroom, for example, being one. The resurgence of that particular faux pas would be a terrifying resurrection indeed.


Paint and sundries -

Wall panelling -

Sofa - N'Shape Design 416-742-7323

Occasional furniture -

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