Board & Batten DIY

It’s crazy to think we have been in our house for 6 years and it’s only now feeling like it is the home I have always dreamed of having. Finally, all these little projects here and there have added up to make a big impact in our home.

This basement stairwell board and batten wall was one of the Illustrious Interiors Covid-19 Quarantine projects. As much as it was hard to shut down business for a few months, it was so nice to work on those big-impact DIY designs.

Now full disclosure, neither my husband or I are carpenters. We have tools and we figure it out as we go. I think that’s what makes these projects so rewarding at the end.

I tried desperately to find an actual “before” photo of this space. When we moved in, this stairwell wall was a horrid blue and for whatever reason we had some awkward cat pictures hanging up. I wish I was making this up, and as hard as I searched, I couldn’t for the life of me find a photo of what it used to be. Maybe because I despised the space so much and never wanted it as a memory.

We keep the door open to our basement stairwell, so this is a space you can see from the kitchen, or walking past into the living room. Even though we painted it and added some family photos, I still felt like it was missing something and after some days of brainstorming, I decided to go with a board and batten herringbone pattern.

First, we started with the trim. I measured out an approximate amount and was only had one strip of trim leftover (always better to have more than not enough). The trim we used was 1-1/4” width for the entire project. 

The first step is to measure out the width of your wall. I measured the top and bottom and turned there was nearly an entire inch difference between the two!! That being said, I took the longest measurement and divided it by how many vertical sections I would have (in this case 4.

We added trim to the edges, and again made my pencil marks on the longest section to add the vertical trim pieces. I glued the trim with quick-drying wall adhesive, placed them on the markings, and used a level to make sure they were straight up and down. After that we used a nail gun to nail them to the wall.

The next part was trial and error. We first thought that the angles of our trim would be 45 degrees, but they were slightly off and didn’t quite line up flush. We stuck to our measurements (again take how many angled pieces you want and divide it into the amount of sections you will have). It ended up working out to be about 16-1/2” between each herringbone line. We found that by lining up the trim piece to the marked sections and using a level to draw a line where to cut made the trim fit nice and snug.

After the trim was on, we used caulking trim to fill in the lines, gaps, and holes. This really makes the project go from looking alright to professional in a hurry. I always end up using baby wipes or a damp cloth to clean up the trip for a nice smooth finish!

Once the trim was all done, I brought in a slab of wood (about 8”) in depth to add to the top of the nook. This kind of acted as a mantle that added a gorgeous element to compliment the herringbone.

I stained and painted this piece using a mixture of my favorite stain- Varathane Sun-Bleached, dark grey watered-down paint, and some creamy white paint. All stuff I had sitting around in the house.

While that was drying it was time to paint the trim and wall! I decided to paint this feature wall “Misty Moss” by Behr. I’m not sure if I would love this color in natural light, but because our basement lights have a lot of yellow, it made this color have the perfect sage-green I was hoping for!

Once it was all painted the solid color, I decided to dry-brush the trim pieces to give it more of a 3D, rustic effect. It also made it easier to see all that beautiful trim from the kitchen! This was done again by going back and forth with some darker green, white, and dark grey. Once the trim was all done, I cleaned up the wall with the green paint wherever the dry-brush may have hit.

At last, the mantle piece was installed using the same adhesive and using some long screws to put it in place. To decorate the mantle, I used the exact same décor I had previously (layered Ikea frames) and some plants. It is amazing how much bigger that little area feels now! With no windows, it always felt uninviting to the basement, which is the complete opposite now.

This basement stairwell design was simple enough for us to accomplish and I am so glad we decided to take the effort to do it! It truly completes the space now!

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The Blushing Nest

Photos produced by Jenny Jean Photography.

I first met Jenny through the land of Instagram. Jenny is a photographer (Jenny Jean Photography) and she immediately captured my attention through her gorgeous light and airy feed. It’s kind of funny how social media works. After finding each other (let’s be serious, I was borderline stalking her Instagram account) and we both felt like we knew each other without ever officially meeting. Seriously, if you ever need a wedding or lifestyle photographer, you need to check out Jenny’s work! Not only is she one talented human being, she is also one of the nicest people you will come across!

Jenny had messaged me a while back telling me as soon as she found a house, she would love to have me in to design it for her. She sent me inspiration photos and as soon as I saw a pink couch in her dream-boards, I knew this was going to be a match made in heaven!

Several weeks after Jenny and her husband (Tom) moved into their home that they were sending me photos of the house they purchased. They had just finished installing the new floors when we met and discussed a plan and different styles. I always suggest to my clients to spend some time on Pinterest to narrow down some ideas they love. Jenny mentioned she knew she loved pastels, but wasn’t sure whether she loved the ‘farmhouse’ look or not. Turns out, the more she looked around, she loved the simple ‘Scandinavian’ style, with less of the natural warm woods.

This project was completed in a few increments. So many factors were involved; items ordered (some being delayed), budget, and lots of this makeover was happening right around the Christmas holiday.

The first part of this makeover was the gallery wall. With Jenny being a photographer, she wanted to be able to display some of her favorite photos. These frames from Ikea were so budget friendly! These type of gallery walls are gorgeous, but definitely take some time to measure and make sure everything is straight. This simple, clean gallery style was perfect for the look we were trying to accomplish in this space.

Probably the most difficult part of this room was finding this coffee table! Our goal was to find a black geometric base with a white top that was budget friendly. Sourcing can be a pain sometimes. I found about 30 of these tables, but none that would ship to Canada. Eventually I found this one from Wayfair and ended up painting the top white! Sometimes you just need to adapt, improvise and DIY to get the look you want!

Okay, can you believe the difference in this kitchen nook! Kudos to Jenny and Tom for adding shiplap to this wall, building this storage bench and adding this light! These shelves were so fun to style for this nook. We changed out the hardware and added pieces that complimented the entire room.

Finally, the pink couches arrived and it was time to decorate the rest of the living space! Although the couches didn’t look as pink in real life as they did online, we were able to pull out the pinky-hues by adding blush pillows and throws. Jenny found a photo from Bouclair and fell in love with the styled shelf in the photograph. We were able to dupe the look with a floating shelf from Home Depot, a mirror from Bouclair, and small décor items from Homesense.

I also had the opportunity to paint Jenny and Tom’s door pink. A PINK DOOR! It’s not every day that you can throw blush around like it’s confetti. We also decided to change the hardware to a gorgeous matte black which accented the rest of the hardware in the living room beautifully. It was fun trying to figure out how to pry off the old hardware to put the new set on. Thank goodness for Youtube tutorials!

I think my favorite part of any makeover is seeing the reaction of a client. Although Jenny was fully aware of what was going on, the reveal still took her breath away. That moment where her dream vision became a reality brought tears to her eyes. I always feel so thankful to be a part of these magical moments!

There is something about doing makeovers on older homes that I just love! Maybe it’s seeing the before and afters, maybe it’s discovering the possibilities. There is a piece of me that would love to purchase an old home and flip it one of these days… not live in it, but do it for fun. Who knows, maybe I’m crazy. Here’s to many more gorgeous transformations!

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Holiday Home & Hearts

-The Lehmann Family 2019

All photos of the room after the makeover credited to A.Keen Photography

This was the first year of Holiday Home & Hearts and words cannot express how amazing this experience was. I’ve been asked a few times where this idea came from. One day my husband and I were brainstorming about giveaways when we decided it would be incredible to do a room makeover for a deserving family. We decided a perfect time to do this would be for Christmas season and make this into a project where anyone could donate and support the family.

In November, Illustrious Interiors sent out a video requesting the community of Fort Saskatchewan to submit nominations of who they thought deserved this holiday room makeover. The Fort Saskatchewan Record and MIX 107 also highlighted the event.  We gave one week to receive submissions and received nearly 30 nominations, which was far more than I expected. This was definitely the hardest part of the project; reading through each of those hardships and only able to select one.

The Lehmann family was selected and Three Sixty Alberta and I surprised the family by telling them at their doorstep. To say they were surprised was an understatement!

A little history on the Lehmann family: This family has gone through the worst year of their lives. Benjamin, their youngest son, contracted Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) twice in February leaving him on life support for 10 days in the Stollery. Kirstin (mother) was fighting Post Partum Depression and Mathias (father) had to work 12-hour shifts, yet still came to visit his family at the hospital. Sam (older son) blamed himself, thinking he got Benjamin sick and would never see his parents again.

In the spring, the Lehmann’s basement flooded and their car broke down. They had to take another trip to the ER after Sam had a cut next to his eye. When we actually started the project, their bumper also fell off of their vehicle, which became another unexpected expense.

The family spent many days at the hospital, had lactation appointments, physio therapists, and other appointments just to keep Ben healthy and growing. Ben currently has some motor delays, but he is finally on an upward path and loved dearly by his family.  The family is just starting to recover and get back on their feet after this devastating year.

After we met with the family, we let them choose a room they wanted to transform. The Lehmann family selected their bedroom and for a good cause! Kirstin explained to me that she first noticed Ben getting sick while they were in their bedroom and the space felt haunting to them. I asked Kirstin and Mathias what their dream wish list would be in their bedroom and the top requests were: a functional closet, a brighter room, a tree mural, more lighting and storage for Mathias’ work clothes. I am so happy to say, we were able to check off each of these items from the list!

The first couple of weeks after announcing the winning family, we began searching for all of the items for the room mostly through sponsors and donations. I couldn’t believe the outpour of support and donations that were made towards this project!

Another question that I was asked a lot was “Where is the family while you’re doing this?”

I had full expectations that we might need to have them stay in a hotel or at a family member’s house, but it turned out their parents went away on a vacation right when we were planning on doing the renovation. Talk about perfect timing! We had 6 days to complete the project!

The monetary donations were graciously given by Jennifer Fairhurst – Re/Max, Ramie Browatzke – Re/Max, Fran Vida, Carrie Paige, Cameron Dental, Victoria Curran, Cristina Rask, Brittany Nicole, and Amanda Ross, which was nearly enough to cover the remaining expenses of the room.

My dear friend, Agnieszka Makowski from Swatch Bucket Design, was my right-hand lady, my co-designer for the project, my life-saver. Seriously, I don’t know what I would have done without her! Not only did she offer to help with the project, she spent DAYS working on this makeover with me from start to finish! She was a person I had full trust to give an idea board to, and professionally execute it. From shopping, to sourcing, to designing, to last minute pick ups, and staging, she helped with it all! Plus she donated the curtains and the bed skirt.

The first two projects of the room were painting and creating the closet space. Although both of us were in there, we were able to accomplish a lot on the first day. I decided to tackle painting the room and the mural. Integra Painting donated ALL of the paint for this project, including the mural! The walls were painted a warm white to brighten up the space with a colorful accent mural. All of the walls and the closet space were painted and took three full days just to complete.

When Kirstin had wished for a tree mural, I could already envision the idea in her space. I fell in love with the idea of birch or poplar trees, but wanted to add in some vibrant colors. This isn’t usually my norm, but I wanted to create a space that was completely unique. Once I had the idea for the mural, the rest of the design fell into place.

Knottwood Construction donated all of their time and some of the expenses for the closet space. I was blown away by their attention to detail! We had several different ideas for the closet, but in the end, this turned out perfectly! The Knottwood Construction team worked hard for two solid days, perfecting every feature from the built-in shelves, the hinges, the trim, installing the light, and yes, those gorgeous routered doors!

Let’s talk about these elegant gold accents!! Darlene from Richelieu donated the two gorgeous handles on the large doors, Chateau Lighting gifted the perfect light fixture which had ample light for the room, and Design Loft gave the edgy mirror on the opposite end of the room. I felt like a little kid opening up Christmas presents when each of these items were donated for the room! They were all such beautiful accent pieces that pulled the room together!

Another important piece to the room was the headboard. My friend Amber from Elk Island Rustics has woodworking skills that are out of this world! Everything she creates is always a masterpiece. Not saying that because she is a friend, I actually feel that way about all that she makes. When Amber reached out and asked if there was anything she could help with the project, I knew where her work could be showcased! I sent her a few ideas for the headboard and she delivered, of course, above and beyond my expectations!

Splendid Furnishings gave us the option of receiving a cow hide or two end tables! Initially we wanted to go for the night stands, which ended up being a bit too large for the space, so we opted for the cow hide. I AM SO GLAD it worked out that way. The hide gave it an ultra-cozy rustic feel for the space!

I won’t lie, I kind of had a wish list for the project, which included a Christmas tree for the space. That was my hope and I had no idea if the space would allow a tree, but my wish came true. I wanted the tree so that anyone who wanted to donate an item that wouldn’t necessarily fit in the room like décor, to be able to go under the tree.

The tree was donated from Jasmine Elizabeth and the gold ornaments were donated from the Olnyk family. I spent one full night painting all of my bright teal ornaments (which I wasn’t using anymore) with chalk paint so they matched the room better. You know, because it needs to be perfect. Ha! Sarah’s Macrame made the most creative cinnamon stick ornaments for the tree! They were the perfect combination of modern and rustic, and oh did they smell so heavenly!

Is this not the most spectacular tree you’ve ever seen!? My sister, Amber Gubersky, is the Queen of decorating trees and when she volunteered to glam up the tree, I knew there wasn’t anyone better for the job! She came with a trunk full of decorations and worked like a little elf creating this masterpiece of a Christmas tree! She had an idea of the space and the vibe we were going for and she made it feel like it was meant to be in the space! It was beyond perfect!

The tree was filled with gifts and you better believe that young Sam noticed that right away! Cameron Dental gave a gift certificate to adopt the family for an entire year, Ameeka Cosmetics donated a gift basket filled with bath bombs and goodies for the whole family, Freson Bros donated a large gift basket of local foods and treats, Name it by Toni made personalized mugs for both of the kids, Heier Massage Therapy donated a gift card for a massage treatment, and Tara Wilson (Seacret Direct) donated a box of products! I was blown away by all of these gifts to the family!

Then it was time to decorate the beautifully built closet space! I took a day to go thrifting, which is where I found most of the items to fill the shelves! Courtney Liddle created the cutest sketch of the family and Mountain Time Rustics handmade the three hanging frames! They were the perfect amount of décor to fill the space and it turned out to be a family favorite! I went to my parent’s house (Tami and Gary Gubersky) in thoughts that I would be a lumberjack chopping wood to fill a couple of the cubbies, but turned out they had a perfect cut stack to donate! B&M Upholstery made a seat cushion for the bench, which completely cozied up the space!

THE REVEAL

I laugh because Agneiszka and I talked about how much we couldn’t sleep the night before. We were so excited for the family and all the hard work that went into this room! The morning of the reveal, I was scrambling gathering up the last-minute gifts, doing a few of the staging touch ups, and Knottwood Construction had a few small items to install. When I say we needed every minute of those six days, I truly meant it!

A.Keen Photography and Three Sixty Alberta set up inside the room to capture the reveal. The Lehmann family had no idea what to expect and could only envision what their room looked like before. When they opened their eyes to see the transformation, it will be a moment I will remember forever. That moment of shock and awe across their faces made me burst with excitement and pride! To know what this family has struggled with and to create a space where they can share new exciting memories with each other was so incredibly rewarding.

The Lehmann family has thanked myself and all the sponsors time and time again and although it’s been a week since the reveal, they said “each day [they] appreciate something new about the room”. Sam was so excited for the room that he created some artwork to pass on as a thank you.

The video created by Three Sixty Alberta can be found here. Leanne, the videographer and creator of this video knocked it out of the park! She was readily available to capture every moment and was the absolute best to work with!

Not only did Amanda from A.Keen Photography capture the reveal from this makeover, but she also offered a lifestyle session of the family inside this room! I was able to hold myself together for this entire project, until I received the photos. I shed tears.  Yes, several tears. Those 6 days working in the room, plus the weeks of preparing beforehand had me in a state of overdrive and exhaustion. When I look at the photos, I see the hard work, the genuine smiles, each and every detail that went into creating that room, and a family that received a Christmas miracle that will allow them to move forward after a devastating year. The support from the community, friends, and family with this project was more than I could ever have asked for. There is good in this world and this is a prime example of it!

Left to Right: Knottwood Construction, Illustrious Interiors, Swatch Bucket Design

Just when we thought the project was over, a sweet friend and mentor of mine, Lisa Crawford gave me a call and it completely took my breath away! Her company Simply Stunning Hair and Makeup decided to donate $1,000 to the family that they could spend however they wished over the Holidays. It was the cherry on top. Okay maybe more like a watermelon on top! Going to deliver that cheque with her was the most magical night of my life.

My last shoutout goes to my own family. My husband Mark, who finally gets to see his wife again, was holding down the fort while I worked away on this project. My parents also chipped in and watched my kids for a few days, and I seriously don’t know what I would have done without their help on those days!

My daughter, who is four, knew that I was making a “new room” for someone for Christmas. There was one night when we had a few of the gifts delivered and she exclaimed, “Is this for your family with the new room, Mom?”. When I told her it was, she had a huge smile and said, “They are going to be so excited!”.

That was a little moment of pride. A 4-year old that sees a present and a) doesn’t ask for it, and b) show’s excitement for someone else’s joy. It was at that moment when I knew that not only did this event have an impact on the Lehmann family or the community, but my littles saw the importance to give back to others!

Again, I would like to thank everyone who participated in the Holiday Home & Hearts makeover. Without each and every person listed in this post, there would never have been an outcome as great as this. As they say, “it takes a village”.

This project will continue each year and I would like to thank everyone who has already stepped up to volunteer for next year’s home! Christmas in 2020 can’t come soon enough! Merry Christmas to all!

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Winter Wonderland

Decorating for Christmas is my most favorite time of the year! Last year I spent a good month trying to figure out how to add flocking powder to my preexisting Christmas tree, however to order it to Canada online would have cost me a fortune. I think the Christmas gods were listening to me, because one day half the lights went out in my tree and thankfully, Rona let me exchange it for another one so long as it was the same brand. So here it is. My flocked tree in all it’s glory.

My idea of a white, magical Christmas came to life! It wasn’t a huge expense either. Here’s the biggest tip I have: do your Christmas decor shopping at the END of the season and don’t be afraid to shop in your thrift stores or dollar stores. I really wanted some white textured stockings, but didn’t want to pay $15-$20 per stocking, so I used these ones from Dollarama. I plan to add our names to them, but you can see how they seamlessly go with our decor.

These Christmas snowballs were also found at our local dollarstore and what is more fun than having an indoor snowball fight with the family. The smaller trees next to them were also found at the dollarstore and I pushed the branches down and added some spray snow and handmade garland. The one thing you must know when styling with primarily one color, is to add LOTS of texture.

My biggest splurge last year was on this beautiful wreath made by Remain Rustic. Unfortunately I can’t find her anymore, but all of her wreaths were stunning.

Every year we make handmade ornaments and I love that these memories are filling up our tree. We made each of our extended family member’s one of these ornaments. We bought a box of glass ornaments, put the kid’s hand prints on them and decorated each finger as a snowman. We have also recently done salt-dough ornaments and if you would like to see the detailed tutorial, you can see it in my highlights on Instagram.

I get asked about these antlers every time I post about them. They are actually two wine racks pushed together. They are perfect for our tablescape all year round!

We also ended up moving our tree for the first time last year too. For four years it was in this corner, and we decided to switch it up and put our couch here instead. I think we can all agree it is the coziest spot for the couch! It’s amazing how switching a few things around can completely change the feel of a space!

I always keep our photos the same in this collage wall and switch out the wood signs for something more festive (like this adorable reindeer). This wall is kind of in an awkward spot with our living room and couch, but they are there to stay.

Lastly I wanted to show you our cute presents we wrapped last year. The white paper we found on clearance. I tied some yarn, added texture with some sticks and greenery and made these tags myself. It sure gave everyone a laugh when it was time to open them.

So there it is! Our Winter Wonderland! It’s by far the coziest area we have in the house. We decorate in bright, fun colors upstairs for the kids, but this space is everything I love! I could have probably wrote another 5 pages of all the DIYS, but I will cut it short. Hope you enjoyed the Holiday Tour!

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Let Your Dreams Be Your Wings

Let Your Dreams Be Your Wings – Author Unknown

Just over a year ago, I left my job to open up my own business, Illustrious Interiors. I always had a passion for Interior Design, DIYs, painting, and creativity. My “down-time” was mostly spent in my craft room and still is to this day!

After I had children, my values took a different direction. My focus was on my family, not on my career. Days would go by where I dreaded waking up to my alarm, knowing I had to go to work. I knew there was something out there that was better suited for me…. made for me.  I took a huge leap of faith leaving a pretty stable job to pursue my dream. I have always believed you can accomplish anything in life if you put your mind and energy into it.

“Let your dreams be your wings” was a quote that really resonated with me during this whole transition. I knew what I needed to do in my life that sparked joy, that made me into a better mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. I knew that Interior Design as a career would fulfill that need.

I am incredibly proud to see where this business has taken me in the first year. I worked hard, designed and staged many rooms and painted more murals than I ever could have imagined! At the tail end of my first year, I was tagged multiple times in an Instagram post from The Creative Hive asking for local artists to paint an outdoor mural. They asked artists from all across Edmonton to submit their ideas and the public would vote which artist they wanted to paint the wall.

When I saw the post, I literally had butterflies in my stomach. I couldn’t even contain my excitement. It would be the cherry on top to what was already an incredible year. There is so much local talent in the Edmonton area and honestly, I would not have even been upset losing to any of them. Art takes so much talent, not only with a paintbrush, but with your mind and I respect that!

That being said, I put A LOT of thought and brainstorming into the mural I wanted to submit. I would be trying to fall asleep, and *BAM* enter in another awesome idea. It took nearly a week of continuous innovation before I put the paintbrush to canvas.

I wanted to have a design that would feel interactive which is where the butterflies came in. Each butterfly was uniquely made up of different parts relating to Alberta, Edmonton, children, pets, The Creative Hive, and Cloverdale who graciously sponsored the paint.

I also wanted the mural to really represent The Creative Hive and what screams out a hive like honeycombs and bumble bees! Painted flowers have been my top request in murals, so I felt it was a bit fitting to add in some large beautiful flowers.

Okay, so enough about the design! After it was submitted, I patiently waited and found out I was selected as one of the TOP THREE artists! *Enter in more butterflies into stomach here*

The voting began and I couldn’t believe the out pour of support I received! People from all across the world were routing for the butterfly mural.

Here is the original art submission for the competition.

I was deep into a design with a client when I received a phone call from Dez and the Creative Hive. It is a moment that I will always remember. Dez called to congratulate me on winning contest and my heart skipped a beat. I ACTUALLY WON THE COMPETITION! A dream. My very own art submission. This mural would be on a massive wall in Edmonton for thousands of people to see. I was beyond thrilled and so appreciative for everyone that took time out of their busy lives just to vote.

The day finally arrived to paint the mural. Dez and Mike greeted me with open arms and immediately made me feel like part of the Creative Hive family. I laugh because they asked if I could predict how long the wall would take and I said two, maybe two and a half days TOPS.

Day 1: The entire chalk outline was completed and most of the base color was added. Everything you see on the wall required two coats of paint, minus the white paint. This day was beautiful. I debated long and hard whether I should add the quote, “Let Your Dreams be Your Wings” to the wall, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt it was appropriate. Not only does it resonate with me and the path I chose, but everyone who comes to The Creative Hive. Edmontonians gather here to co-work and build their dreams in this incredible community.

Day 2: Word had been buzzing around that this wall was coming to life. I couldn’t believe the amount of people, friends, family, and complete strangers, that came just to stop by and check out the progress. Although there were so many late nights painting this wall, I finished each day with a smile of gratitude on my face.

Day 3: At this point, most of the mural looked complete. I had finished painting nearly all of the flowers and butterflies. I was so in love with the work that was already on the wall that I began contemplating whether I wanted to actually add in the honeycombs. Even though I felt it was almost perfect at this point, I slept on it and decided to trust my initial design and add the honeycombs.

Day 4:  This day I did not have my scaffolding and I was a bit nervous I wouldn’t be able to put in a full day. Jokes on me, I worked on the entire bottom half painting honeycombs and left as the sunset reflected off the wall. I had more visitors that day than I ever could imagine. Professional Artist in fine arts, Gene Prokop stopped by just to tell me I was doing a great job and that he loved the wall. Talk about a compliment!

Day 5: I almost baked to death on this day. It was the final day to paint and well over 30 degrees. Let me tell you it felt even hotter standing on the scaffolding with the sun beating off of the black wall. The paint on my brushes were drying faster than I could get it to the walls which was a whole other challenge in itself! My dearest sister-in-law saved the day by dropping off a bottle of sunscreen for me. I was very determined to finish the painting this day and on May 29, 2019 at 9:59 PM I finished the last brush stroke.

I sat back just to stop and reflect while I stared at the wall. I wasn’t thinking about my aching feet and my sore shoulders and hands. I wasn’t even feeling relieved that it was finished. I felt humbled that I was here sitting across this wall. I felt accomplished that I was able to create something this large of a scale. I felt proud that I had the ability to create this. Most of all, I felt appreciative for having this grand of an opportunity. Never in a million years, would I have imagined that I would have had this opportunity within my first year of opening Illustrious Interiors. This is a moment that I will always be grateful for, for the rest of my life.

You can find the mural at The Creative Hive at 16819 111 Avenue Edmonton, AB. I always say that nothing gives a bigger compliment than someone stopping by to take their picture in front of your art! Please feel free to tag Illustrious Interiors on Instagram or Facebook so I can see your beautiful faces!

A huge thanks to Dez and Mike for welcoming me into their space to paint this mural. You truly made me feel at home! A huge thanks to Storyteller Productions for capturing the creations along the way, to A. Keen Photography for our family photos in front of the mural, and to my family and friends for stepping up and supporting me to follow my dreams. Let your dreams be your wings!

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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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