Holiday Home & Hearts 2020

-Morgan Maltby 2020

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

This was the second annual Holiday Home & Hearts makeover. Illustrious Interiors invited the community to nominate someone they believed deserved a room makeover. Similar to last year, Illustrious Interiors received nearly 30 nominations.

To say this year has been hard for so many has been an understatement, yet when Holiday Home & Hearts was introduced for a second year, the community didn’t even bat an eye to join in and help out a local young woman who survived a tragedy most of us would never have to experience in a lifetime.

Morgan is a 15-year-old girl who lives in Fort Saskatchewan who lost her father only last year. In September 2020, another traumatic event occurred where her life forever changed. Morgan, her best friend Alex and boyfriend Keithan were traveling on Highway 21 when they were struck by a careless drunk driver. Keithan and Alex lost their lives, and Morgan survived the collision.  Not only is she is suffering from life-changing injuries, including countless broken bones, punctured lungs, and went through 4 strokes and a coma, she is also recovering mentally from the loss of the people she loved dearly. 

Morgan is currently living and recovering in hospital, but is a strong and motivated young woman and is working with all her strength to be able to walk again.

There was no question that Morgan was deserving of this giveaway. When we told Morgan that she was selected for the Holiday Home & Hearts makeover, she was completely surprised and spent the night away dreaming about her new room and drawing inspiration from Pinterest. Morgan was asked to provide a wish list for her bedroom and all she requested was a marble feature wall, a makeup area, and a memory wall of her friends. I asked if there were any specific colours she wanted and she loved the idea of a monochromatic look with some purple highlights.

Her bedroom had recently been given to her by her mother as it was the master suite. Morgan’s bedroom was previously in the basement, however since Morgan would not be able to walk on stairs anytime soon, her bedroom was moved upstairs.

Shortly after announcing that Morgan was selected, we received an outpouring of support and donations for the project. From the day the project was announced up to the evening it finished, someone was wanting to help Morgan. The monetary donations were graciously given by Coventry Homes, Mark & Ashley Rosenow, Ramie Browatzke Re/Max Real Estate, Jennifer Fairhurst Re/Max Real Estate, Cory Ostashek, Fort Saskatchewan Eyecare, Savita Rosenow, The Blu Poppi, Steven Gubersky, Vintners Cellar Alberta, Lyndsay Patricia, Dyanna Retzlaff, Murals by Whitney, Modern Era Designs, Victoria Curran, Tanya Gosby, Alana Seymour, Katie Lee Tutecky, and Stephanie Pratch.

I would like to sit on the top of the rooftop and shout out these names! Without the help of each and every person on this list, we would never have been able to complete this project!

Not even a day after viewing the room, the planning began from organizing people to help with the project on hand, to all the behind-the-scenes work! We only had six days to be in the space to complete the project!

My first shoutout goes to Cory from Rimrock Renovations, my right-hand man! If you want to see a talented contractor, look no further! Cory was in that room nearly every single day making sure every piece of that room was perfect. Cory tore out and patched the closet and walls, sourced out and replaced the entire flooring, baseboards, and window trim. He replaced the door, donated materials, and saved the day on our last day when I was struggling to get all the last pieces finished! I will be forever grateful for his help on this project!

The first day the Quality Electric team came in. I asked if it was possible to move the light from the corner of the room to the center of the room or just add in a light to the center. We also needed a plug added into the closet where we planned to put the makeup table. Not only did they offer to add these features, they also replaced all of the plugs, added dimmers and separate switches, and placed in a pot light above the makeup station! I anticipated this to take the whole day, and they were in and out in a couple hours. I was not only surprised by how efficient they were, but also blown away by their generosity of donating their time and products for the makeover!

Day #2 was the day for sourcing and purchasing the remaining items for the room that weren’t already purchased online. I received a phone call from Coventry Homes who surprised me by donating $3,000 for the project. I was at a complete loss for words. I’m not sure how may times I said “Wow” and “Thank you” during our conversation, but I’m sure it was upwards of around 30 times in 10 minutes. All of the donations for this room allowed us to not only check off everything on the list for Morgan, but go above and beyond her expectations.

Day #3 my Instagram friend Shar Thomas (@wheremylovegrows) drove down from Calmar, Alberta (about an hour away) to paint the room! I was stressed that I hadn’t yet prepped the walls or finished painting the ceilings before she arrived, but I quickly realized that this talented lady could handle anything I asked! I was so thankful she came and was able to complete this massive task.

Although I could probably spend the day visiting with Shar, I was busy painting what felt like a million things at once! It began with a dresser I scored off Facebook Marketplace. The one thing I love about interior design is if I can’t find an exact piece I love, I can usually find something else and give it a good DIY to make sure it fits perfectly with the space.

Along with the refinished dresser, I painted the legs on the purple accent chair, painted a canvas, painted a vase, painted the light fixture, and made some DIY textured and painted pieces for the collage wall. As if that wasn’t enough painting, I went back to the Holiday Home that evening to finish painting the marble mural! Now that you hear how much was painted, can you even believe that The Home Depot donated ALL THE PAINT!? Sometimes I feel like The Home Depot staff are my second family (I am there multiple times a week) and they were so generous to donate for this massive job!

Day #4 was left to Rimrock Renovations to install new vinyl flooring and baseboards. The final touches and pieces were also being gathered for the room including a brand-new bedroom door and gathering photos for the collage wall!

Day # 5 was our last day in the room. Something about the last day is always wild. Sometimes I feel like I’m on a TLC show where they only get one or two days to finish a project and it ends up being a day of exciting chaos. I recruited my Mom, Tami Gubersky to help with the day. We had to finish painting the baseboards, had to paint the door, paint and install the board and batten before the decorating could begin!

During this day, Amber from Elk Island Rustics delivered her handmade headboard for the bedroom. This is the second year she made a headboard for the Holiday Home & Hearts. My gosh, this woman is probably one of the most talented woodworkers out there! I gave her an idea of the room design and asked her to create a piece for the room using her creative freedom. She always goes above and beyond and exceeds my expectations. The headboard was perfect and magazine worthy for the room!

My Sister-in-Law Amber came in to work her magic on some Christmas décor. Amber decorated the tree last year and I knew she would be perfect for the task again, she is a Christmas Elf after all. Again, just telling her we have a modern, glam, bedroom with purple accents, she was able to decorate a tree that felt like it belonged to the room!

If you are new to the Holiday Home & Hearts, my goal was to add in a Christmas tree to each makeover to allow anyone to donate gifts! This year Morgan was gifted a gift card from Flawless Lash & Skin Studio, a personalized bottle from Name it by Toni, a heat pad from Tammy Lewyk, and a gift card from Heier Massage Therapy!

Lastly it was down to the decorating. This always ends up being my favorite part when you can see everything come together! One of my favorite parts of the room was the memory wall from Morgan. I knew this space would be the most meaningful for her. Danelle from The Humble Nest made three handmade signs to represent Keithan, Alex, and her father. No one can ever understand the hurt Morgan will ever experience, but now she will always have them in her heart.

The final details were in the staging of the room. Alanna Marklund made a marble makeup-brush holder with some brushes, and Terra Currie Designs donated her beautiful matches and plant holder for the mirrored tray on the bed! Near the end of the night, Gray & B Designs delivered two custom made wreaths. She made one for Morgan and another for her mother, Cheryl that included three angel wings on the back to represent the three losses in their family. When we say this room is made and filled with love, we really mean it!

After 5 long, hard days (on average 14 hours for me, not including everyone else helping with the project), the room was ready for Morgan! Prior to the reveal, Heier Massage Therapy conducted a Reiki to the room, freeing the home from any worries, fears, and anxiety and welcoming light, love, and healing into the home.

For the second year in a row, Amanda from A.Keen Photography volunteered to photograph the event! She arrived early to photograph the room and capture the reveal. Her photos always bring me to tears as she has the ability to highlight emotion and capture the genuine feeling of the room! I mean, these photos speak for themselves! Amanda is so genuine and caring and also gifted Morgan a photography session of her choice!

This was my second time meeting Morgan. I must say, she is so mature and well spoken for her age! She was beyond excited to see her new bedroom and still in awe that so many people had come together to give a room makeover to her! She was anxious every day while staying at the hospital wondering what her bedroom would look like.

Because of the pandemic, I chose not to enter the room this year. Although I would have loved to see their reactions up close, I was able to observe from the hallway. Morgan and her Mother entered the room with their eyes closed. They were asked to open their eyes once they were in the space! Let’s just say, there was not a dry eye in that house. Morgan and her mother gasped in awe when they first opened their eyes and the tears started flowing. Morgan’s first words were “this is amazing, this is beautiful, this is everything I wanted!” They couldn’t believe it was the same room! The only thing that stayed in the room was the desk. Everything else was brand-new! Morgan said her favorite part of the room was her memory wall to have Keithan and Alex with her.

I am beyond proud of our community to be able to bring some light into Morgan’s life after she has experienced a world of hurt. Just when Morgan thought the reveal was finished, there was another big surprise! A little fact about Morgan, she is a makeup junkie! She has a passion for all things glam! During the reveal, Lisa from Simply Stunning Hair & Makeup video called Morgan. Before the Pandemic shutdown, Lisa had planned to give Morgan a full Hair & Makeup transformation prior to the reveal. Lisa gave the announcement to Morgan that once they are reopened, they will give her the transformation plus some lessons!  

A big thank you to Amanda from Edmonton CTV for capturing the reveal which you can watch here. Another big thank you to Leanne from Three Sixty Alberta for putting together this video for yet a second year in a row! We are so lucky to live in a time where we can relive such an amazing moment.

Please feel free to watch this video and thank you to everyone who participated in the Holiday Home & Hearts project this year!

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A Deeper Perspective

Photos by Penkee Productions

Never in a million years did I expect to be painting murals for a living. If you asked me 5 years ago if I’d be elbow deep in paint every day, I would have laughed, but also that would have sounded like a wonderful fairytale.  

When I first opened my business, Illustrious Interiors, I had only intentions on focusing on Home Staging, Interior Design, and Paint Consults. It was within months of opening my business that I began painting murals for my design clients, which opened the door to the mural world. Fast-forward to 4 years later, and my most requested service is Custom Murals and I couldn’t be happier about it! 

About 3 months ago, I was painting inside of a store inside Kingsway Mall and walking to the store I noticed so many breathtaking murals. I was in awe by all the different pieces and the talent behind them. Of course, as my eyes beamed with excitement, I could just feel that I needed to have a mural here of my very own, and could you believe it, it actually happened! 

When I initially came up with the design idea for the Kingsway Mall mural, I wanted to show something that displayed positive energy. I’ve always been a believer that you can accomplish anything in this life if you put your mind and energy into it.  I thought this would be beautifully displayed with blooming hands coming together towards the Earth.

I am always a huge fan of painting line artwork and I’m slightly addicted to adding pops of metallic in my murals, so I just couldn’t pass this up.

I called this mural “More than a Miracle” up until the day I painted it.  

With the world changing day by day, I felt this mural meant even more than what I originally wanted it to be.  

While painting this mural, I had so many people come up to me and not only thank me for this piece, but I was told it MOVED people. I heard so many different perspectives and it was beautiful to hear.  

During the second day of painting, a sweet couple approached me and told me what the mural meant to them. All of a sudden, my arms were filled with goosebumps and an idea came to light. I decided that it would be incredible to have everyone’s ideas and opinions of the mural written in the hands and arms of this piece. I began to imagine everyone’s different writings and different perspectives in this mural yet displayed in the hands and coming together as one. 

That’s the one thing I love about art. Just because it starts with an idea, doesn’t mean it has to end that way. Our minds all work in different ways and we completely see things differently. As an artist, sometimes it’s easy to stay comfortable in the ways we think, but I feel it is important to sometimes push those boundaries to grow and learn.  

The following week, I decided to invite the public to write in the hands and arms. It was beautiful to see so many different perspectives and how it felt so personal to so many people and the moments they were experiencing in their lives. Anyone and everyone was invited to write. We had children just old enough to hold a pen write their thoughts to people who wrote in their native language. We had some that didn’t feel comfortable with their penmanship, yet still requested their quote to be on the wall. Some people weren’t able to attend and also sent in their requests.

By the end of the day, the entire mural was filled. It was more than everything I hoped it to be. It was beautiful. It was exactly that: A Deeper Perspective. It meant so much more than I initially intended it to be.

I am proud of this mural and where I have come over the past few years and cannot wait to see what the future brings! 

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If there is one thing about the Covid lockdown that I loved, it was obviously spending time with family and having the opportunity to get projects done around the house! As an interior decorator and muralist, it is almost impossible for me not to change up things around the house. One day, I literally woke up and said “I have to paint our front door!”

My husband took the kids on a bike ride while I began painting, and while they were out and about, they stopped by to talk a neighbour. He told them that I was painting a door and they asked, “Oh, is she painting a mural?”

His response was, “Ummmm I don’t think so” and when he came home, I heard him laughing. He said “turn around, I have to take a picture” and sent this photo to the neighbor he was speaking with.

Poor guy just gets surprised on a daily with all my creations. I was inspired by the mural I created at The Ellis where I painted large flowers on a garage door. Once my door was finished, I was flooded with people wanting their doors painted. This erupted into the first ever Door-a-Thon!

So what the heck is a Door-a-Thon? Well, I needed to come up with an affordable plan to get these doors painted! I didn’t want to have to charge for drying time (let’s be serious, that just sucks!) and outdoor paint is much more expensive than my indoor sample sizes I typically use for a mural. I debated hard whether I would choose a few colors that people could pick from or perhaps even chose between a couple designs.

I finally decided I would create one day to paint 4 doors and hop house to house while the other doors would dry! Everyone had the option of choosing their own door color and a ‘sketched” design in either black or white. In my head, I imagined everyone would want flowers.

After getting my first few doors booked, I had a few people message back and said “So sorry, I definitely booked this door without talking to my hubby first and he is NOT on board with flowers!”

Too funny! I said, “well that certainly is not an issue! We can paint whatever design you’d like!” Literally every single person had a different design and door color which made this event even more fun than it already was!

After the first Door-a-Thon was complete, I learned that four doors were one too many. I ended up booking three more Door-a-Thons with three doors on each of those days. Some of course paid a little extra to have more color and design like these flowers and cupcake.

Most of these doors were painted in Fort Saskatchewan, but I am hoping to spread the door-a-thon to other surrounding areas such as Sherwood Park, Saint Albert, Leduc, and Edmonton. This summer flew by in the blink of an eye and I can’t wait to get started on more unique doors.

Be sure to follow along on Facebook where all of the Door-a-Thons are announced.

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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!


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.