A Style To Build On
New accessories added on modest budget
Sun Jul 2 2006
By Lin Connery
CALGARY--It's a familiar story for many busy
Tired furniture, cluttered corners -- and the eyesore
that everyone in the house detested.
In this case it's the dated green carpet in the living
room, dining room, up the stairs and on the upper floor
of the '80s era home Karen shares with her husband, three
kids and a dog.
They've tolerated it for four years now.
Every Halloween though, Karen cringed at opening the
door to the neighbourhood because visitors would see the
It took a designer with a focus on restyling interiors
to roll the family out of their rut.
Adene Lucas owns Accent on Design. Working with a relatively
modest budget, she de-cluttered, made the most of existing
furniture, shopped for new accessories and gave the owners
the framework of a style they can continue building on.
When Lucas first visited the house, during income tax
season, the dining table was piled high with file folders.
In the family room, the mantel and every shelf in the
built-in cabinets had accumulated far too many knickknacks.
Elsewhere on the main floor, excess pieces such as furniture
and file boxes had been piled in corners -- neatly, but
none of it was needed.
To keep the makeover thrifty, Lucas didn't buy any major
She shopped for a starter kit of accessories while staying
within the family's budget of $1,500. Now the owners can
add to the mix from a shopping list of pieces that Lucas
The budget wasn't enough to tackle the entire home, but
by buying from stores such as IKEA and HomeSense, the
changes helped bring the basics of a pulled-together style
to the main floor and the master bedroom.
The designer began by cutting the clutter and eliminating
surplus furniture. She bought storage containers for the
kids' CDs and DVDs, keeping them handy but tidy.
The living room furniture had been accumulated by the
man of the house during his bachelor days. With judicious
editing and new contemporary accessories, these not-so-fashionable
pieces now look more current and finally reflect something
of Karen's tastes, too. Some items didn't pass muster
with the designer and were turfed. "Adene had issues
with the grandma coffee table," says a bemused Karen.
The hopeless oval table went out the door, but the more
palatable matching end tables stayed.
"When I met with Karen, we came up with a list of
things that were important to her, what she wanted to
achieve," Lucas says. "She wanted colour, she
wanted some texture and grownup accessories."
Lucas also purchased the neutral-toned synthetic rug
that's durable but nicely unifies everything in the revised
living room layout.
In the dining room, another new light fixture immediately
pops the deep tray ceiling into focus.
The sideboard-console table was pared down to hold just
a few attractive accessories. Above, an undersized print
was replaced by a large mirror with a chunky metallic
frame. The homeless boxes and furniture in the corners
have made way for a tall, handsome piece of pottery.
The classic white kitchen was instantly updated when
shiny brass pulls were removed and replaced with brushed-nickel
ones, an inexpensive update that takes only minutes.
In addition to the designer's budget, the homeowners
completed several top-ranked projects from their to-do
They budgeted for fresh paint, new light fixtures and
new flooring to replace the four different types on the
main floor. Lucas provided guidance in design, harmonious
paint colours and flooring, as well as advising the couple
on where to shop and referring them to dependable tradespeople.
The new flooring stepped up the redesign's impact.
Gone are the days of turning their gaze from the green
Lucas helped Karen choose a more attractive alternative,
a dark laminate that can stand up to the dog while still
capturing the look of hardwood flooring.
The couple liked it so much, they chose to extend the
laminate up the stairs, along the upper hallway and into
the master bedroom suite.
The redesign took roughly a month to complete.
Although the flooring cost more than expected, the painting
cost less, Karen says -- and it was all well worth it.
It's a stylish foundation to build on, she says, and
a much more attractive view for the neighbours next time
Halloween rolls around.
--CanWest News Service
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