The Transitional Lakeside Retreat – Part 2

The clients loved their family room and sunroom so much that they asked us to do a DIY project for their formal living room incorporating most of the furnishings that they already owned.  They didn’t want to do a big overhaul, but the space was feeling dated and tired and didn’t at all match the laid-back lifestyle they were accustomed to.

See what the space looked like before and our plan then scroll down to see the real-life after image once the client’s followed the digital design binder!  It’s really cool to see how similar the renderings and real-life photos are on this one.

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This is part two of the transitional lakeside retreat project. The clients loved their rooms so much that they asked us to create a plan that they could do over time for their more formal side of the home that has their formal living room and dining room area!

As you can see in the video above, this is what we’re working with right now. The clients wanted to bring in that more casual style that we brought into their family room and sunroom and wanted to really incorporate some of those blues, the lighter tones, but they wanted to keep a lot of the furniture. They wanted to keep the brown leather sofa, they wanted to keep a love seat that’s in there that’s kind of a golden wheat colour. They wanted to keep the dining room table and chairs. They did want to replace the chairs on the side here and some other elements, but they weren’t sure about the coffee table. Overall, they wanted to keep as much as possible to really brighten and lighten up the space while keeping that budget in wraps.

Let’s talk about the space as it is right now. Right now, this is a very, very large room. It is open concept between the living room and dining room, but all of the furniture was sort of put around this 8′ x 10′ rug around the fireplace. That’s great, we do want to ground our spaces with a rug, but in this space I felt like we could go even larger with the rug. That’s a thing that I see going into homes, probably one of the biggest common mistakes that I see, is that people tend to go a little bit too small on pieces. Scale is everything. If you use the right scale and appropriate scale for the room, you will make the room feel larger and overall more airy, even though you’re using sometimes larger pieces. The scale of the furniture itself is actually a great size for this room. It’s just the area rug that was a little bit small and kind of crowding everything together a little bit. It felt a little bit crowded when I was in the space.

The other thing that I see in here is that the drapery is hung so it’s hanging over the wall. With drapery, if you’re using curtain panels, we want to make sure that it’s going to fully stack on a wall, not on the window itself. We needed a little bit of a different solution for some of the window coverings in this space to highlight the gorgeous windows that they have and all of the beautiful views. I mean, these guys have lake views, they have stunning landscaping, they have just stunning nature around them where this home is, and we really want to help to draw that eye to those amazing parts of the home that they likely bought the home for.

Are you guys ready to see how we transformed this space?

Let’s talk first about the colour story, because here’s the thing, we have this sort of golden wheat colour here that we needed to work in this space and also the chocolate brown. We know that the clients want to bring in some of the blues, so how do we marry all of those together? Because had we gone with more of a navy blue, that’s going to feel really heavy against this darker chocolate brown sofa. The chocolate brown sofa has a bit of a reddish undertone so we also want to be careful with the neutrals that we bring into this space, that we aren’t bringing anything in with too much of a pinkish undertone, it would really clash with the sofa.

When you say pinkish undertone, there are certain colours where you see pink right away, but there are lots of neutrals where people don’t see pink right away and it just looks like a nice sand colour or a nice cream colour or whatever, but sometimes there’s that little hint of pink. If you add it next to a piece with a red undertone, they’re going to start to clash, they’re going to start to feel really dated. We needed to be careful with some of the neutrals we bring into the space. Then repeating that golden brown colour, repeating some sandy beiges throughout the room was really going to help to create that beautiful, more casual space that feels still elegant, feels still like it could be that formal area of the house.


Let’s take a look at the after view of that same view here. What we did with the draperies is that we actually moved them out to flank the different bays of where the windows step back, and you guys will see that in some of the other views. On these windows, we’re okay with just keeping the blinds and keeping the rest of the window nice and bare. Blinds for privacy that stack up really well, but then most of the window is just really nice and beautifully open.

We did remove the two little poufs here because they did feel like they were impeding traffic and instead did two benches on either side of the fireplace to create that more grand focal moment.

Then went larger with the artwork that was over the fireplace and much larger with the light. This was probably the builder put it in, and lighting was definitely on their list for this room. We wanted to go with a much larger piece to help to fill the volume of the space, because again, it is a really long room, but to also be something that’s very light and airy and you can see through so that we aren’t impeding that fireplace focal wall. The art that they have here right now isn’t a bad size. I’d like to go so slightly larger with it, but the frame is really heavy. Just by lightening up the frame, you can see how much more crisp and clean this looks. We also layered a secondary piece there in front of it.

Bringing in here, we’re reusing the client’s sofa, reusing their coffee table, adding in a couple of more open chairs that just have a more open frame, than their ones that are really heavy that they had here before. Because all of the furniture was a little bit heavy, we needed to lighten a couple of those pieces up just a little bit.

Now on this back wall here, this is where you can see that we have these little bays that go back, there’s another one in the dining room as well, and again, the drapery is just sitting over the glass. We moved the drapery out so that sitting on the walls you can run a rod right across here and have the drapery sitting more on the walls. You can see, they do have blinds that they use, they don’t really close the curtains right now. They did have this piece over here that we ended up reusing somewhere else in the space. This is that love seat that I was talking about. It’s in great condition, barely used. They really wanted to keep it and so we wanted to work with this kind of golden rod colour, but it does have a strong green undertone to it so we also needed to be slightly careful with that because we want it to still feel fresh.

Let’s take a look at this view here. Just by adding in that little bit of wallpaper into the bay and lightening up the colours on the wall. This is not white, this is actually a really light sand colour. It’s important, because if we went white with the furniture that they had right now, that was going to really pull out those red and green undertones and then make those furniture pieces feel dated. We wanted to make those furniture pieces feel more fresh in the space. By using a larger rug, it allowed us to centre the sofa on the bay. Right now, this sofa, in order to allow for walking spaces, pushed down a little bit. We wanted to shift it over just maybe six, seven inches so that it is centred in front of the bay, but to do that, we needed to be able to shift this guy over and these guys back. That larger rug helped us to accomplish that.


That created this great moment to set a couple of floor lamps and to reuse the console piece that they had in their dining room behind the sofa for a great place to set down a drink and just add a really pretty moment and draw our eye and draw our attention to the gorgeous windows that are in this space.

Now over here, with this love seat, this wall back here felt a little lonely. We wanted to create something over here that could be used for serving drinks, so kind of a little bar area, and then just bringing in some of the artwork so that if you’re sitting over here and you’re looking and having a conversation, we still feel excited about this wall in this space. Utilizing that piece that was right here, we just shifted that over to the other side, that helped us screen a little bar moment over here.

The client has a starburst mirror in the dining room that we’ll see, so we just suggested that they move it over here instead, and then bringing in a few pieces of artwork over here. I’m suggesting some sort of landscape photography. That’s what we’ve been using throughout the house, that’s really pretty, really soft colours.

You can see how we’ve incorporated some of those blues, just repeating it throughout the space so that we aren’t just adding a pop off blue. When we do that, it feels a little lonely. If we just had this one blue pillow and it wasn’t repeated in the artwork and it wasn’t repeated in the rug, it would look really off. If you’re trying to use colour and you’re trying to add that pop of colour, just know that colour needs to be repeated three times or more in a space to be successful.

Let’s walk into the next view here. This is the view into the dining room area. You can see the dining room furniture is dark like the rest of the furniture. Again, we wanted to lift that space just a little bit. What we suggested is just replacing the arm chairs on the end, or even just having the six side chairs, the table’s big enough to actually see eight and they had only had six chairs, so adding in some lighter chairs to the dining room, swapping out this dated light fixture for two beautiful lanterns. Again, light, airy, we want want to be able to see right through them.

Then in this other bay over here, right now you can see they just were testing out a bar cart, but it was way too small for in here. Again, the curtains were pushed into the bay onto the window. Just by doing that, we’re opening up this space, papering again in here just for that little hint of interest to create that secondary accent in the space.

Now, here’s a better view of before and after in the dining room. This is that starburst mirror we recommended just moving over. This is the console table that we put behind the sofa. Again, we’re not buying a lot of things for this space. We’re we using a ton of the things that they already had, we’re just making them a little bit more successful. We’re reusing the table, we’re reusing the side chairs. They could reuse their current chairs, we just suggested going to something a bit lighter. When we buy things as a set, it doesn’t tend to feel as designed as if we were to mix and match things a little bit more. That was just a suggestion that we had for them, just to do a couple of lighter side chairs here.


Two beautiful lamps on a sideboard. This alcove was made for a sideboard, seriously. It is the exact size of most sideboards. This really allowed us to utilize this space, put something in there that’s going to fit beautifully, and then flank a couple of lamps for that soft lighting moment. It’s a great place to set down extra dishes and things like that when they’re entertaining.

Then this last wall here, again, they have this gorgeous set of French doors that lead out to the backyard. We wanted to clean this up. Again, this is gone, we’ve moved sideboard storage into this alcove, so this is all nice and clean walkway all the way throughout. Again, just going with a larger piece of artwork, flanking the doors with these beautiful fiddle leafs, creates this moment that just draws you into that backyard.

We are just so excited to be able to visit these clients again, when they’ve eventually done some of these updates to their home, it’s just something that they wanted to do in time. But we really love how it comes together, it’s kind of marrying into the other side of the room, the more casual side of the room, with a little bit of a more formal approach that’s just been toned down a little bit, lightened and brightened up and really is appropriate now for that lakeside home that they really enjoy.