Miss Mia

“Butterflies are the Heaven sent kisses of an Angel”

Recently I had the opportunity to design a room for an adorable toddler that was graduating into a ‘big girl bed”. I have said it once and I’ll say it again, I LOVE decorating nurseries and kid bedrooms. My client knew she wanted me to paint some flowers on the walls and she asked me if there was any way to add in some butterflies to the mural. She said that her aunt had passed unexpectedly and butterflies were a representation of her.

The best part about murals, is that they are 100% custom. I always say, even if I try to create a similar mural, not one will ever be the same. That’s the beauty about art. The original design of the room was just going to have pinks, greys, and touches of gold in the room, however I decided adding the butterflies with a toned-down orange would actually be perfect! Not only were the butterflies a huge sentimental piece, it was now another accent color that complimented beautifully with the pinks.

I used a white base for the wall color and painted the flowers and butterflies. These murals are really an alternative to wallpaper and they cost a fraction of wallpaper itself! When Mia first walked into her room and saw the wall, she had a combination of a gasp and then a squeal. It was probably the sweetest reaction I’ve seen yet!

The next week my client and I went shopping for the décor in the room. We had a good idea of what we needed so going through the list was a breeze. We got most of the shopping done within the day, minus a few structural pieces that needed to be ordered in first.

The bed was purchased from IKEA and we changed out the knobs to some gorgeous diamond ones. The bedding was found at Bouclair and most of the rest of the décor was purchased and found at Home Sense and Jysk. The large area rug was a few days late after the design was complete, but this was purchased from Bed Bath & Beyond. The bookshelf and floating book display were also purchased at Ikea and was made to be a functional space for the room.

All in all, this was such a great experience. I always give my clients the option of how much control they want in a design. Sometimes they want a full surprise and other times they want to be a part of the excitement. I actually had so much fun shopping and building this room with my client, and in the end, I feel like I made a new friend.

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Bonus Room on a Budget

Does anyone have that one space in their home that just feels “thrown together”? You know, the space that collects all the décor that you didn’t have a proper home for. Well believe it or not, we had that room in our house – our catchall bonus room. When my husband and I purchased our first house together, we both came with quite a bit of furniture and the previous owners left a bunch too. I was incredibly grateful for being able to fill the space, however the nothing matched and I am more of a light and bright décor kind of person.

This room is probably one of the last ones on our list to revamp. We had the TV mounted and tried to hide our abundance of cords with some faux plants. It certainly wasn’t my proudest décor moments, but it was on the tail end of our list of things to fix. Here is a before picture:

This bonus space was probably the hardest room I have yet to work in. As an Interior Decorator, this makeover should have come easy, but I was blocked. Maybe because I dreamed of a nice light grey sectional and I couldn’t vision falling in love with anything else – especially our current couches. I am all about a budget friendly makeover, so we opted to keep the leather couches and make them work in the space. It turned out, with the light pillows and the matching décor, a light couch probably would have looked a little silly.

Now this is one of the neatest feature walls I have done. I remember coming across a photo on Instagram of a shiplap bathroom and low and behold, it was a painted wall with lines drawn on with a Sharpie paint pen! I couldn’t believe how great it looked. I was pretty determined to try this method and what a great wall it would be behind the TV. I contemplated between doing straight lines or more of a herringbone type pattern. Straight lines would have been 1000 times faster and easier, but I love the look of a herringbone pattern – so I went with the challenge.

The color of the wall came by surprise. I was trying to find the perfect dark grey or brown to complement the new mantle / TV stand we purchased, but none of the colors were really jumping out to me. It wasn’t until I was staring at a fall centerpiece that was sitting on the coffee table, that sparked a light in my head, actually it was more like fireworks! I was in love with the minty greenery and the cream pumpkins sitting in the dark brown base. So here I was flipping through my Benjamin Moore deck and found the perfect minty green/grey – HC-163 Duxbury Gray.

Between coats of paint, I took a few of the older faux plants that were in that room and I spray painted the leaves. I wanted to stick with the minty greens instead of the original bright colors. I first sprayed them with Tremclad Gloss Grey, then lightly misted them with Rustoleum White, and finally finished them with Rustoleum Frosted Glass finish. I did the frosted glass because both of the colored paints were a gloss and I wanted more of a matte finish. This seemed to do the trick!

This was the combination of paint I used.
Light green BEFORE on the right and misty mint green AFTER on the left.

I was pretty much able to finish the feature wall in a day – it took two since my day was broken up with work, but seriously it was the quickest and most affordable feature wall to date! The longest part of the whole process was measuring the lines. They weren’t perfect either, since I didn’t have reference points to use with the windows on that wall. Nevertheless, it’s hardly noticeable and the lines gave some interest to the wall!

I had some of my family members come over and told them to look at the feature wall (not telling them it was a Sharpie paint pen). They both were in awe by the wall and my Mom thought it was a tiled wall, and my brother thought it was wood! It wasn’t until they went to touch the wall that they realized in was a drawn line. I call that a success! I have so many people ask what it looks like close up, and no joke you almost need your nose on the wall to tell that it’s Sharpie.

The last part of this makeover was the bookshelves. These were originally from Ikea and again, the wood was quite a bit darker than the mantle below the TV. Instead of purchasing new ones, I decided to use peel and stick wood wallpaper. This was a blend of light and dark woods and tied in the colors of the room much better. This project probably took longer to finish than the feature wall itself. Lots of measuring and cutting, but worth it in the end.

So, there you have it! A bonus room on a budget. It’s finally a space that is coming together and a space I can be proud of. As is turns out, I too can love some dark leather furniture with a little bit of work.

The inspiration behind it all.
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Airy Kitchen Nook

An affordable DIY.

Over the past few months, I have worked with my best friend to revamp her kitchen nook. When she first moved into her apartment over three years ago, I sent her a photo of a table with a set of four chairs on a buy & sell website that I thought would be perfect for her space and was only $60.00!!!  The downfall of buy & sell forums is that you never really know the quality or condition until you pick it up.

This table happened to be well “loved” by a family that refinished it and it was used to colour, create, cook on and it needed a bit of (TLC) elbow grease to fix it up. I wish I had a before picture from the buy and sell, but sifting through years of photos, we weren’t able to find it.

My friend took it upon herself to refinish the table by painting a brown top and a cream base. Since it was her first refinishing project, she wasn’t entirely happy with the technique she used. Here is a before and after photo of the space!

Now enter Ashley (myself) who spends way too much time looking at inspiration photos on Pinterest, Instagram and spamming my best friends with décor ideas. Actually, the more I think of it, how do I even have friends anymore!

Thankfully, she saw past my interior decorating obsession and allowed me to make some minor adjustments that made a huge impact to her perfect little nook!

If you have ever worked with me or seen any of my work, you know I am a fan of a good DIY. Not only does it save money, but knowing that we can use our artistic skills to bring a space together is absolutely incredible.

Want to hear how much it cost to refinish the tables and reupholster the chairs!? Fifty dollars and a good chunk of quality time!! We sanded down the table and chairs to start fresh (especially since this was the 3rd time this table was getting a makeover) and painted the chairs in an antique white. Then I painted the table with paints we already had (the main color was actually a mix of the brown and cream she already had) and added just a touch of grey! This was a very quick painting technique to blend the colors into what looks like a wood-grain finish. After it was completely dry, I dry-brushed some of the white over the table for a more “farmhouse” look.

We found some fabric on sale (and had loads left over) and literally sat in different aisles testing the quality, thickness and comfort of the foam. Ultimately, we found a pack of four pre-cut foam pieces for $25.00!

Next, we made the wooden shelves. We ordered some brackets on Amazon since they were a fraction of the price compared to our local hardware stores. The wood cost approximately $5.00 and we stained it in a dark brown, then grey, and finished it in a white wash. I couldn’t even believe that the concoction matched with the table so well!

We had some amazing shopping dates to purchase some curtains, décor for the shelves and table, oh and the light….oooooh the light. The first thing that I told my friend when we were planning her space, was that I wanted the 1980’s ceiling fan to go. Although she was on board with the decision, she had the hardest time committing to a fixture. There were just too many to love! Finally, on our last shopping date, we stumbled across this rustic pendant and it was exactly what we envisioned!   

This project was a complete success and so budget friendly! Not only did I love creating this welcoming space, but I loved being able to create it with my best friend! It didn’t feel like a moment of work. Looking forward to having a couple brunches in this kitchen nook!

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Illustrious Master Bedroom

June 30th 2016. Why is this date important? It’s my wedding anniversary! What does this have to do with interiors? Well, it was the inspiration for decorating my master bedroom.

You likely haven’t seen this combination of fuchsia purples and teal in a bedroom, but it’s all over mine. You see, those were my wedding colors.

My husband and I got married at the beautiful Chateau Lake Louise and the view couldn’t have been more spectacular. The water is a true teal which worked beautifully with the wedding colors I had chosen.

I wanted to feel the same love and joy that I felt on my wedding day. Our bedroom is an oasis and a place we come to relax and unwind.

The painting above the bed was brought home from a trip we took to Mexico. The artist spray painted the entire piece and we watched him work and create the masterpiece from the very start. It was our very first piece of art we picked together and it was fitting to hang in our room.

I never recommend hanging pictures this high, but there was some thought behind it. I debated mounting the television on the wall and placing multiple frames on the top of the dresser. The issue I felt with this, was the pictures would have to be quite a bit smaller and there would be far less.

This collage went on the wall directly across the bed, which is wonderful to look at while we sit in our bed. The frames are large enough that we can see the details in every one.

In a collage, I like to mix up frames with other unique pieces, but I had so many favorite photos I wanted to use, that I had to pair down to use mostly frames. Sidenote: when there’s a part in a movie where I feel like I’m going to cry, I just look up at one of our photos and distract myself from sobbing like a baby. Works MOST of the time.

These gorgeous foam flowers were purchased from Urban Barn and they are so unique. I absolutely love them and there is always such a great selection every time I go shopping there.

Another little part of our bedroom. A perfect mix of old and new vases. The large vase I found for only $25 from HomeSense. I love when I can find a good sale! I wrapped some purple twine along the top of the vase to help tie in some fuchsia with the rest of this display.

I brought some of the teals and fuchsias into our master en-suite bathroom and painted these canvases myself. They are not perfect, but I still love them. They flow nicely with the room, especially since there is no door to the en-suite.

So there it is everyone, our Master Bedroom inspired by our wedding. Again, you’ll never see this in a magazine, but it means something to us. It brings joy and happiness like it did on our actual wedding day. Just because it’s against the grain, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong. Step out of your comfort zone and decide on what’s important! As for my bedroom, it’s being reminded of that special guy that makes my world turn around!

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Little Spirit Nursery

I have a secret to tell you…. I have a huge soft spot for decorating nurseries. Don’t get me wrong, I love designing livingrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, etc, but there is just something so soothing creating a warming and welcoming space for a new life. A precious baby that is welcomed into the world and has a space all to themselves.

I had the pleasure of working with a client in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, who gave me pretty much full rein of her daughter’s nursery. She already knew the color scheme I had intended to use, and together we agreed on the “Little Spirit Nursery”. Truth be told, if I was to have another baby girl of my own, I would have done a nursery very similar to this. Naturally I was over excited to complete this project for baby Jacki.

The color of this room was done in Benjamin Moore’s Crème de Mint. A pastel bluey-green (more leaning toward the green side). The room was originally a bright orange color so it took a few coats to cover, but the end result was worth it.

These fab flowers are made by Urban Walls and I must say, that was the best vinyl I have ever worked with! It’s sturdy and you could place it on a black wall without the black showing through. 5 Star rating for those!

The banner was a mix of all sorts of different fabric. I loved the look of different textures. It was a quick project to really pull all of the colors together.

I have a huge obsession with collage walls, and what a better place then to put it above the dresser. I had a great collection of frames, woodwork from some local talent, and some pieces found at our Edmonton Home and Garden Show.

How stunning were these knobs? These were found on Amazon and worth the wait! They have a bit of a vintage feel and so much character. You can find them here:  https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00NGHSDK8/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The best part about adding crafts to a room, is that you can literally make them any color to fit the space. That’s why I designed this piece and painted some rustic arrows to tie in with the décor.

Seriously how adorable is baby Jacki! She came to check out her room and she definitely approved!

This took a few hours to make, and the result was magnificent. We ended up hanging it above the crib, but I wanted to put in this photo so you could see the design a bit better. It does match in with the wall in the nursery quite nicely.

I wasn’t too sure if I would be able to fit this frame in the room, and I am so happy I was able to. It ended up being one of my favorite decorations. It took the meaning to a floating shelf to a whole new level!

Details, details, details! This room was all about the little details. I am so thrilled with how this room came along. Feel free to leave any questions or comments you may have. Here is the last picture of the “Before” photos. An amazing transformation completed by Illustrious Interiors.

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Functional Living Space

I had the opportunity to work with a great friend of mine to make her playroom into a beautiful and functional space. It was a great sized room, but it just needed that extra bit of love to give it a “wow-factor” as you entered it.

This space had so much potential to work with and was incredibly budget-friendly. The bookshelves were already in place, and we brought up the individual couch that was storing in the basement. To give you an idea of what the room looked like before, here are some photos:

We had some 1980’s oak to update, and although painting those rails took quite some time, the result was 100% worth it. The fireplace mantle was also removed and replaced with some custom woodwork by Signs By Dee. We painted the mantle with the same paint as the railings and spray painted the brass to a matte black.

Then we took one of the Ikea Kallax cubes and moved it to the “art” table. The remaining two received some legs and a wooden board (also provided by Signs by Dee) was added to the top. We kept the 4 of the white boxes and added 4 doors with stained and painted wooden knobs.

The “art” table again, had an added wooden top which was extended  so the chair could slide neatly into the space. I absolutely adore the little nook where coloring and creativity can happen in style!

Here you can see how crisp the stairwell is after a few fresh coats of white STIX paint (purchased from Benjamin Moore) and the railing painted in Benjamin Moore’s “Almost Black”.

The wall against the fireplace was painted in Benjamin Moore’s Gray Cashmere, and the best way I can describe that is a cool green with a hint of grey. It worked so well with the remainder of the wall colors and warm oak floors.

I added a little gift for the family and made this sign for them. There’s just something about a personalized sign that can make a room feel a bit cozier.  We actually ended up hanging it over the art table.

Well, there you have it and I hope you enjoyed seeing how this makeover was completed by Illustrious Interiors. Whether you get some ideas, or just plain and simple need it executed, Illustrious Interiors is here to help! Book your consult today.






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Woodland Nursery

I have a huge love for decorating nurseries. There’s something about creating a space perfect for welcoming a baby that just speaks to me! During both of my pregnancies, I decided to find out the gender just so I had ample time to design an ideal room for each of them. For my son, I knew even before the gender was revealed, that I wanted to do a woodland nursery. I highlighted orange and decorated mainly with foxes.

There were so many ideas I had for this room, that I actually had to pull myself back from doing them all! In this room I decided to do two feature walls since I couldn’t restrain myself.

The painted shadow wall was intended to be completed with a projector and paint. Unfortunately, I am not very good with technology and couldn’t make the projector work. Luckily, I was able to recruit my very talented mother to assist me in this project and both her and I drew the trees and birds on the wall with chalk. We then painted the trees with a shade of paint that was slightly darker than the wall. With having two feature walls in the nursery, it was important to chose a color that was still very light. After the trees were done, I looked at a picture of a male and female deer and used the same technique to draw the animals and then paint them. The chalk was very forgiving and easy to erase if the drawing wasn’t quite right, not to mention, any outline showing wiped off with a damp cloth.

The next feature wall was the wood plank wall. I debated long and hard whether to do real wood or something faux. Since this was a nursery, I did have the concern of little hands getting slivers, so I looked for an alternative to real wood. After loads of research, I came across these sheets of what looked like drywall. My husband and a friend were able to put it up in a day with some drywall screws and glue. It was everything I had envisioned to have on that wall!

Loads of details and thought went into this nursery. The displayed name was probably the most difficult one for me to come up with. I just couldn’t make a decision as to what would be perfect. Off I went to Michael’s Craft Store and browsed the isle until my cart was filled with textures and colors to work with.

First, I stained some wood I had laying around. I chose a dark brown so it didn’t blend and get lost with the wall. Next, I mod podged some orange paper to each letter. It gave it a bit more texture than paint would have. Then, I decorated the letters with moss and string and painted fox prints on each of the rocks. Since this name was going to hang above the crib, it was important to secure the letters and decorations well. Gorilla Glue was used and I tried my hardest to pry them off, with no luck. That bond was incredibly strong! I screwed three d-rings in the back and hung the board up with screws. I normally wouldn’t hang a name that high, but I didn’t want my cute-but-naughty toddler to reach it.

The more you follow me, the more you will probably see my obsession with collage walls. They are just so versatile and can fill up any empty space! Normally, I like to add a few more unique pieces to a collage wall, but I had way too many newborn photos that I fell in love with, so only the letter “J” made it to the collage.

All of these frames were purchased from Home Sense. I find their selection to be great and unique and a fair price! With anything at Home Sense, you have to grab it before it goes because it might not come back!

This small Ikea shelf unit was a perfect fit for this corner of the room. It was handy and stored all of the receiving blankets, crib sheets, and blankets. I couldn’t just leave the fabric cubes blank though. I took some orange felt, cut multiple triangles and added some fabric paint. The triangles were stacked and glued together to look like arrows.

I also attempted my first string art. Next time I think I would use a stencil since it didn’t come out as perfect and cute as I envisioned. I also recommend wearing earbuds before hammering in those nails to prevent a head-ache! Over-all it was fun to make and I would definitely try again.

A Pinterest post inspired me to create this beautiful set, which was hung above the closet. I found the seller and I just couldn’t bring myself to pay over $200 (after shipping and handling), so I hand painted this set, which cost a grand total of… get ready for this….. $15.00 in material! Yep. Glad I was able to paint up something similar, yet different!

The crib, change table, and rocker were all purchased from Babies R Us. This set was originally purchased for his sister and it was used again. The white certainly brightened up the room.

This fur ball is my son’s “lovey”. We found him while visiting the Calgary Zoo and you can already see the amount of love this fox has received! Now I wish we had purchased two in case one ever gets lost!

Lastly, this diffuser was found in the clearance aisle at Wal-Mart and it was just perfect for his room! I added the fox decal using my Cricut machine. Yes, there is a lot going on with this room, but it was completed over a couple months and the results show. Hope you enjoy the room or feel inspired! Thanks for reading!

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Picking Paint

Picking paint can be quite intimidating! Paint can get pricey so it feels like a huge commitment and you want to make sure you get it right! During my paint consultations, I find myself offering the same advice each time. I want you to look at a variety of colors and tune in with your mood. How does that color make you feel? Does it make you feel stressed? Does it make you feel alive or relaxed? Ask yourself how you feel with that color.

The next question I might ask is why are you painting your home? Does it need an uplift? Are you planning to stay for a while? If yes, go wild. Pick your dream color! Are you in the process of moving? Let’s pick a color that is neutral and speaks to a large volume of people.

The next big tip is pick your paint in your home. Don’t settle on something at the store. Lighting is so incredibly different from the paint store and your home.

Here’s a funny story. A friend had finished their garage and couldn’t wait to paint it. They scurried to Home Depot and picked out two colors to paint. A section of beige for the top and dark grey for the bottom. The cans were mixed in no time at all and off they went home to complete the project. The paint dried and when they looked at the walls, we said, “Well that’s a nice shade of PINK on the top and quite the PURPLE undertone for the bottom!” It was not at all what he envisioned.

Lighting is so different from room to room. The next thing you should do after you’ve picked out a color or two, is purchase some paint samples and paint a poster board. Take a week or so and place it on different walls of the room you are re-doing. Look at it in natural light and look at it at night with the lights on. Does it change the way you feel? Is it an improvement?

Lastly, don’t be afraid of color! If there is a color that speaks to you, don’t be afraid. If you are worried about a room being too much of one color, consider a feature wall! Think about wall textures and explore your inner creativeness and enjoy the space you call HOME!

Of course, if you ever need a second opinion, you can always contact me and together we can chose the perfect color together.

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Forest Bedoom

I can easily admit, that I LOVE Pinterest! I was looking for some inspiration of green and rose-colored rooms and I came across a pin of some beautiful forest wallpaper. I wondered long and hard if this was something I could accomplish with PAINT.

Since my good friends were wanting a bedroom makeover, I asked if this was something they were interested in and luckily, they were up for it.  I’m sure they were hesitant whether or not this was something that could be accomplished with paint, but with a little reassurance, they were convinced.

Here’s how the wall came together. I purchased four different shades of paint. The base of the wall was painted the same color as the rest of the walls in the bedroom (the lightest shade of green). Next, using a brush and a sea sponge, I used the next shade and made the light-colored bushes. I then took some of the lightest paint, watered it down and did a white wash over the bushes. This gave the effect of fog in the forest. This technique was used all throughout the base of the wall since I wanted the fog to sit low on the painting.

Next, using the second darkest shade, the first set of trees were painted. I used different sized brushes to paint each tree, then used the sea sponge to create the leaves. I continued this method (bushes, fog effect, trees) until the painting was complete. This wall took approximately five hours to paint and the entire room (with some help) took seven hours. The time was well worth the outcome. This mural was painted to create depth and has a 3D effect, which naturally opens up the room.

The next day I came back and decorated the remainder of the bedroom. We kept the existing furniture and added some plants and flowers to keep with the nature of the feature wall. Light pink and rose gold features were added to this room for a stunning contrast. Here is the rest of the room:


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Spa Your Space

One of my favorite times of the day is when my children are tucked away in their beds and I finally have a moment to go ahhhhh……

I’ve learned that there’s not a whole lot of “me time” with young children and I really do appreciate a good bath to wind down in.

There’s nothing like a good bath with all the right décor that makes you feel like you’ve dipped into a luxurious spa. I’ll be the first to admit that I am HORRIBLE at keeping live plants living, so most of what I own are faux, BUT it still gives me that fresh feeling. As you can see, I’ve added a variety of succulents and a gorgeous jungle plant along with many many candles.

I wanted to tie in some of my candles together, so I took a few that I purchased at my local dollar store and gave them a bit of a facelift with some rose gold paint!

Of course, my FAVORITE part of my bath (next to a tall glass of wine) is my bath tray. Some local talent where I live, Jantzen Family Creations, made this custom bath tray for me.  It holds a glass of wine, has sections for tea lights, and a spot for an iPad where I can watch my preferred season on Netflix. It couldn’t get more perfect than that!

So go spend a small fortune and take a moment for yourself, because YOU deserve it!
Your checklist:
– Plants (big and small)
– Candles
– Bath Tray
– Bubble bath or Bath Bombs
– A Towel
– Your Favorite Book, iPad, or Music
Voila! Your set. Seriously, make the time for yourself, because no one else will.. and then go pat yourself on the back!


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