The Mini Reno Part 2

January 31, 2012
This charming hotel suite is inspiration for a guest room that would be welcoming at any age or stage.

I am continuing on the theme of last week’s column, which showed small renovations or decorative solutions that can be done over a weekend or two. Here are three more projects inspired by reader letters: a colour switch, furniture reorganization and fireplace makeover.

Q: We have a free bedroom now that our children have moved away and we want to decorate it for use as a guest bedroom. I love lavenders and blues, however, I don’t want the room to be too feminine.
A: A colour switch completely transforms a room. Begin by shopping for new draperies and bed linens. Fabrics in shades of lavender and blue are plentiful, and the patterns will set the tone.


The inviting bedroom shown here is at Le Mas de Pierre hotel and conveys all the warmth and charm of the countryside in southern France. Glorious fabrics from the area’s most well-loved designs are employed to decorate windows, chairs, a screen, bed linens and even draped behind the armoire’s doors.
Paint the walls in a soft blue with a fresh white ceiling and trimwork. Crown mouldings are a special detail that will give the room more presence and interest. If the floral theme feels too feminine for you, although it really isn’t, then you can easily go with stripes or a geometric pattern in the fabrics. Mix bold purples and navy blue with lighter shades. Green is a good complement.
Q: My husband and I are moving from a traditional home design to a new home that has an open-plan kitchen, living and dining room. Our question is about which table to keep, the formal wood dining table, oval with a leaf in the centre, or our rectangular glass kitchen table. Our living room furniture matches the wood dining table. The new kitchen has cream cabinetry, granite countertops, a centre island in dark wood, and medium dark wood floors throughout the space.
A: It is never easy to move from one architectural style to another. It’s also a challenge when space allocation changes so that the furniture you have no longer fits comfortably into the scheme.
The open layout of your new home is modern, however, the kitchen details you describe blend well with traditional furnishings. I suggest you keep your oval dining table; it’s more versatile and will connect well with kitchen and living area.
When trying to decide what pieces to keep before you move, it is helpful to take separate photographs of all your furniture and lamps that will be combined in your new space. Pin them on a board, move them around, and you will soon see what fits, what can go, and what you need to add.
Q: I saw a picture of a white-washed brick fireplace and liked the effect. It didn’t cover the surface uniformly as regular paint would do. What ratio of paint to water would I use and what type of brush? I imagine this is a messy job. I appreciate your expertise.
A: There are many ways to change the look of a fireplace, from a new mantel to building a whole new surround. Whitewashing the brick is a quick fix, but it is a messy job because the paint is diluted, so be sure to use painter’s drop cloths to protect the floor. The ratio is two parts paint to one part water. Use matte water-based paint and work quickly — the paint will dry fast as it is absorbed by the brick. Practise on a side area or loose brick if you have one, and paint the grout as well.