A dark, DIY slat wall helps electronics blend into the background.
were larger differences to consider. In the first option, our existing furniture layout remained intact, along with our DIY media unit and couch, but the shelf had been replaced by a narrow console table, a functional upgrade as it’s near our front door. In the second, our living room layout was flipped, with the couch on a different wall, a new media unit and room for two lounge chairs. Most notably, the white dining room wall was painted in the same green-tinged black as our slat wall behind the TV—the perfect solution to divide the long common wall that runs along the living and dining areas. Song-Foster says one of the biggest mistakes her clients make is scheduling the post-design call before they’ve properly reviewed the plans. With this in mind, Colin and I carefully scrutinized each option before booking the call. We ultimately decided to cherry-pick from both: keep our couch configuration, upgrade our media unit, swap the shelf for a console table, add one lounge chair and, yes, paint that wall black.
5. Take it all the way.
Media unit, Article Envelo Short, $799, article.com. TV wall speaker, Sonos Beam (Gen 2) in Black, $559, sonos.com. Tote and decorative vases, homesense.ca.
3. Set your budget. After tallying the large items we needed (dining set, lounge chair and, potentially, a media unit) and rounding up for accessories, we landed at $5,000—a sum that probably wasn’t going to go as far as we thought. Song-Foster says it can cost from $7,000 to $9,000 to furnish a room on a budget: “People underestimate the cost of accessories, but it’s the little things that make a room look finished.” I was open to investing in key pieces, so we chose a highlow mix. We also talked about the brands I love: EQ3, Article and Sundays for furniture; HomeSense, Indigo and Ikea for accessories. With that, the team took it away.
4. Review the plans thoroughly. “Our house can look like that!?” Colin asked when I showed him our two 3-D design options a week later. I shared his sense of awe. It was clear that layers of accessories would make a huge impact: tall plants, tons of cushions, a throw blanket styled just so, mirrors, wall art, and every surface neatly styled with vases and objets. But there
New stuff—exciting! Ringing it through on your credit card—daunting! Being about $3,000 over budget made it even more nerve-wracking. All those pillows and vases can add up, making them tempting to put off. But that’d be a mistake, says SongFoster: “If you wait to add accessories, the room doesn’t quite feel finished.” And because my goal was exactly that—a home that looks like an actual living space— I realized that it’s those details that would separate my blank-slate box from its boutique-hotel potential. Of course, I made some compromises. Because I knew I’d like to eventually splurge on original artwork, we stuck with prints for the moment. Otherwise, I checked off all my product selections in the portal, and White Dahlia handled ordering and tracking. One by one, boxes started showing up. After a few messages to the design team about what height to install the plant hangers and how to artfully arrange our new throw pillows (they offer 30-day support for these types of questions), the transformation was complete. With our new furniture, a rug I actually like and every perfectly styled surface, maybe it is love that makes a house a home—love for how it looks from floor to ceiling, with every well-designed detail in between.
Go online Spruce up your space with Canada’s top virtual design services If you want to skip the shopping hassle . . . White Dahlia Design This firm handles not just design and item sourcing, but also ordering, tracking and returning, too. If you want to use your own items . . . The Room Editor Toronto-based decorator Elias Blunden-Stone’s DecorBlitz service focuses on repurposing and restyling items you already have. If you don’t want to wait . . . Room Edit by Stacey Cohen Design The Instant Package serves up design direction in minutes: Pick a style (from “modern moody” to “sophisticated nomad”) and room type, and then receive a floor plan, an inspo board, a 3-D rendering and a shopping list.
If you’re planning a major reno . . . Spec Select a design scheme from this Vancouver-based company and they will mail you a hefty binder of material samples and product specs from various suppliers. If you need advice stat . . . Articulated Design Studio Among other services, this firm offers 60-minute video sessions to pick a designer’s brain on anything from paint colours to building codes. If you want a detailed game plan . . . Good Space Plans Online Founded by a mother-daughter duo, this company develops customized plans for all your decor needs, including furniture arrangement, lighting plans, fabric recommendations and more.
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 • CHATELAINE