Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Once upon a time!

Just in time for Halloween.
This is a tale of a witch's house which became a loved home.
...Once upon a time in the forest... an ugly witch was living in a neglected house, 
she had very bad taste and she was a very messy witch! 


Once upon a time...(20 years ago) I had the opportunity to restore and redecorate an old mansion in West Vancouver, luckily I took several pictures of Before as a reference for my project but unfortunately I did not follow up with the After in a professional way.
But I am sure you'll get the idea of the transformation.
Of course today I would do a few things differently, considering changes in style and some (very small indeed...) mistakes I have made.

Uuuuhhhh the kitchen!

Breakfast nook BEFORE

A few days later the spell was broken and some light came into the house.

The ugly and dirty pink disappeared, a buttery yellow went on the walls, the trims were painted a few shades darker. The disgusting and soiled vinyl floor was replaced by the most amazing reclaimed terracotta (piastrelle di cotto) tiles, coming from a 18th century old convent in the South of France.

(Yes a convent...just to be sure to make the witch not willing to return...)

The intended look of the kitchen was "country style"  and as you can see "country style" it became.

In the photograph below the creamy yellow is not visible, must have been the witch, fuming with jealousy...or just because of the artificial light.

Anyway the walls were creamy yellow (like fresh churned butter) and the roman shades were gingham cream and dark red, a gorgeous Italian fabric. The curtain maker lady was horrified when she saw the pattern, saying it would not be possible to make roman shades with gingham pattern... "the lines will be crooked, I will not be responsible..." I said to her "This is best fabric, woven with utmost care and skills" she took her scissors out of the bag and cut a piece, oh joy! the squares were woven not coloured on. (I guess it is called "feed stripe" or "effect thread" technique but I may be wrong)

WARNING: not for the faint of heart, be careful scrolling down!

What changes I made: I kept the cabinets, to the horror of my contractor, had them repainted in a washed stressed pale blue, cut a few pieces to accommodate the breakfast table near the sink (which of course became a double and deeper sink) and a professional Viking range with two ovens, six burners and a grill. Part of the cabinets and appliances went to the dump and a double door Sub-Zero fridge arrived.

Keep in mind that back then stainless steel was a novelty but I was totally attracted to it.
Granite was just starting to appear more widely but I did not like it, and I still don't!  and I chose instead a beautiful maple for the counter, to keep the country look.
The glass door (see BEFORE) leading to upstairs and to the "chinaman" room (so it was called on the blue print, quite a piece of history) upstairs, adjacent to the "boxing room" (which I always wondered what it meant) was replaced with a solid door, to create a more safe staircase...tripping down the stairs would have meant bumping your head on wood but not smashing also yourself into thick glass.

Again the artificial light changes the blue (much paler in reality) and the yellow on the walls (more creamy)...but close your eyes and use your imagination!  Later on a gorgeous antique pine baker table created a working island between the stove an the fridge. An antique narrow bookcase took the place of the water cooler.
The kitchen became functional and more appealing.
Now here is the story of the small room between the kitchen and the dining room

The ugly room adjacent to the kitchen, with vinyl floor, became a useful wet bar, with deep cabinets for all the largest China possible and for a collection of cooking books. Later on a second dishwasher was added under the sink for major entertaining.

 The antique baker's table was still to be delivered when I took the pictures. 

The witch's spell was broken!

Today? I still would keep the cabinets, but change (maybe?) the colour to a creamy one, I would use the money saved to buy champagne and flowers forever.   I would substitute handles with more modern ones and change all the light fixtures. I would take down plates and baskets and put more modern art, perhaps some Black and White photography.
The floor is a masterpiece and the appliances are still the best.

Twenty years later I am proud of this old project.
And now to you, my readers...
What would you change?
What would you keep?

©2016 Brillante Interiors writes about new trends, timeless decor, iconic pieces, design ideas, or at times just musing about "a certain Italian way of doing things".

If you need help to enjoy your home more, please send us an emailIt will be an investment in happiness at home, because a well designed house is always a good part of a great life and a beautiful room will make you happy every time you walk in!

1 comment:

G S Sirotnik said...

It was a wonderful, warm and inviting kitchen. Totally homey and yet handsome as well. I remember it fondly. Gareth

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