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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Project Spotlight: 70's Townhouse Renovation


In this edition of Project Spotlight, I'm sharing a completed project where I designed a total town-home gut n' renovation on a shoestring budget. I'll also be featuring this project in a future Save & Splurge article, where I'll dive into more depth on key areas to provide some tips & tricks to stay on track - so stay tuned!

My clients are a young, newly wed pair, that took on their first home purchase completely aware that they will need to pretty well demolish the space to bring it up to their standards. Their personal styled identified with shabby-chic decor but nothing too feminine and frilly, and they both dreamed of introducing country-like elements to create a warm and inviting home.

Every project has its challenges, and for these two it was facing their champagne taste on a boxed-wine budget. Thankfully they were willing to compromise on a major features and completely trusted me in bringing their dream home to life.

M A I N   F L O O R  -  K I T C H E N


When I'm faced with a full kitchen gut-job, naturally I make a b-line straight for IKEA. I used the LIDINGO series in Gray for the base cabinetry, and White for the uppers. This line is now discontinued. To save on costs, we couldn't move the stove (venting $$) and plumbing (trench into slab $$$) so I was extremely limited on what I could accomplish. After humming and hawing over potential layouts, we ended up choosing a full U-shape with an additional pantry-storage/Fridge cabinetry area. 

To complete this kitchen, we opted for a clean quartz countertop, and a fun twist on the standard subway tile with a herringbone-lay. A bit time consuming to start, but easy enough once you get going! It looks phenomenal, and is an unexpected surprise when you walk into the kitchen.

M A I N   F L O O R -  D I N I N G  R O O M

Off the kitchen area, we had a small dining room to work with. Keeping the flooring throughout the main floor (grey laminate, by the way) we wanted to have the space feel finished - but only to a certain extent. With both clients working full time jobs that go way passed the regular 9-5, they knew the dining room will (most likely) never be used. And with the tripled-storage introduced in the new kitchen design, we didn't have to worry about squeezing in hutches or buffet cabinets into the small space.

What we ended up with was a pre-fab dining vignette that's made up of 4 dining chairs, all different shapes and colours, and a reclaimed-wood dining table in a sundried finish (with butterfly leaf hidden within!). Choosing prefabricated furniture pieces did limit our choices a bit when it came to looking for the perfect shabby-chic-inspired pieces, but kept us comfortably under budget - and we even had room to purchase this gorgeous West Elm 5-Jar Chandelier.
M A I N   F L O O R - P O W D E R  R O O M

I couldn't forget this tiny closet powder room! We kept the original vanity cabinetry (this was not original to the home but was replaced by the previous homeowners - score!) and installed some cute hexagon knobs, quartz counter top with under-mount sink, and new faucet. We have a loner West Elm Jar pendant featured in an existing junction (we embraced the odd location) and a simple frameless oval mirror. 

The show stopper of this small space with big style, is the marble hexagon mosaic backsplash that I ran the entire height of the vanity wall. Go big, or go home! There is an existing bulkhead that you can just barely peak at in the photo, which brought the overall ceiling height down and saved us on square footage. I love how the knobs play into the splash! 
M A I N   F L O O R - L I V I N G  R O O M

Rounding out the main floor tour, the Living Room proved to be one of the more challenging spaces to space-plan. The not-quite-a-bowling-alley shape with three main traffic access points made for one awkward triangle. And with the cable outlet hidden along the brick fireplace, it was a struggle not to just stick a nice sized sectional at the veeeeeery back wall (where the desk/library area is now) to maximize seating. The main problem was that there was a dance floor between the TV and the sofa, and no matter how big these TV's get - it ain't worth watching it in a poorly furnished room. At least that's what I told my clients, who I assure you couldn't care less!

With biting the bullet on custom furniture. I was able to squeeze out every last inch of an apartment-sized sofa-chaise that could be placed well enough away from the TV viewing point. I finished off the space with a swivel chair to keep the space looking too formal, and also allowed me to easily move it about the space to keep it feeling open, and not over-stuffed with furniture. How cute is that chair, by the way? I know right!

U P P E R  F L O O R - M A S T E R  BA T H

The Master Bathroom was the biggest "win" of the entire project. Originally, the townhouse had a powder room as an ensuite, and a full guest bathroom with entrance in the upstairs hallway. By demolishing the wall between the two, and carving out a deep closet (located directly behind the heater you see in the picture above) to house a brand new side-by-side washer and dryer {heaven on the second floor!}, I was able to create a proper Master suite that is 100% drool-worthy. And as luck would have it, we turned a second floor storage room into a humble guest bathroom. Hello, equity!

Although it might look like a million-bucks, I still found ways to save to keep this part of the renovation on budget. Choosing porcelain tile (the gorgeous faux wood floor tile, and the shower wall tile), a prefabricated vanity from Costco (that included the marble counter top, hardware, sinks and mirrors) and a ready-made acrylic shower pan all helped keep the budget in check. I kept with the playful mosaic back-splash and introduced a marble accent strip in the shower to play on the staggered installation of the flooring. Everything flows, cohesive and quiet, in this tranquil and spa-like retreat.

I hope you enjoyed this in-depth look into my completed designs. I would LOVE to know what you think! Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below!

Photography by Leo @ LionLight Photography


  1. I love everything you did, especially the bathroom! I'm about to be in the process of my own 70's townhouse reno... any chance you have more info on the paint color and flooring in the bathroom?

    1. Hi Emily! Thanks so much for taking the time out to peruse my ol' blog! I'm not sure if the finishes I used will be available in your area, but I am happy to help where I can! The main paint colour on the bottom floor was Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore, and the flooring I used in the Master Bath is an Italian porcelain tile called SOLERAS that is made to look like wood! So gorgeous!

  2. Beautiful work!!! Love the dining room lighting from West Elm. We need new lighting in our bathroom. Please share name info and where you purchased the master bathroom lighting - thanks very much!

    1. Hi Teresa! Thank you so much for your kind words. Here's the link of the exact lighting I used, hopefully it will help in finding a similar version in your area! York Town 3 Light Vanity Sconce

  3. Hi, you did an amazing job! Beautiful work. What's the brand and name of the paint color you used in the upstairs master Bath?

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I used Smoky Green CC-700 by Benjamin Moore in the Master Bath! xx

  4. I know this is an older post, but I am wondering if the cabinets in the master bath are Ikea cabinets. I need to re-do my bathroom and the estimates I've gotten are very high and I am on a boxed-wine budget also!

    thanks, Margaret (Franklin, TN)

    1. The Master Bath vanity is actually a pre-fabricated set we purchased at Costco! The Kalize by StudioBathe is the brand and it comes with the entire cabinetry and hardware, marble countertop, sinks and mirror!


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