My House!

News alert!  News alert!  Kay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic.  Interesting-ish fact announcement!  Interesting-ish fact announcement!

If you’ve been sitting at home upset, fretting, weeping uncontrollably because you couldn’t see my house in Style at Home  … fret no more.   The stylish folks at Style at Home Magazine have released the article that features my  semi-stylish house on-line.
My feature is the “One-Month Makeover – Century Cottage Goes Glam”.  ‘Cause I made over my house in a month.   Cause I’m weird.

You don’t get the whole written article.  You only get part of the writing but alllll of the pictures.  But let’s face it, how many people actually read decorating magazines?  You look at decorating magazines and read your horoscope.  Duh.   Unless you’re me.   I actually read decorating magazines.  Again, that’s that aforementioned “weirdness” popping up.

Now before I give you the link … before I invite you into my house … there are a few rules.

1.  Please wipe your feet.

2.  Please don’t try to pet the cat.  She’s surprisingly aggressive for a spoiled Siamese who was potty trained too early.

3.  Please don’t mention my kitchen floor.  I hate my kitchen floor.  The kitchen floor doesn’t exist.  Got it?

O.K.  having said that, I’d like to welcome you all to my home!  Come on in and please … stay a while.    After you look at my house in Style at Home , come  back to read some insider information about every photo!   (Scroll down after you’ve seen the pictures)

Click here … to see my house in Style at Home on-line, then come back for some stories!


The stuff you didn’t get to hear about in the magazine …

Photo #1 – Me in my foyer.  I’m laughing hysterically (which results in chipmunk cheeks) at something my niece said.  It’s an inside joke which you won’t think is funny at all but it involves  pee pee.  Classy, eh? And grown up!


Photo #2 – My Foyer.  It took me months and MONTHS to get my bookcases looking good.  If your bookcases don’t look this good, don’t give up.  Just keep playing with them until they feel right.  Leaning beside my chair is one of my most prized possessions. A set list I got signed at a Ramones concert.


Photo #3 – Margaret. Margaret is the massive oil painting in my dining room. When my father died of lung cancer 10 years ago, my mother gave my sisters and I some money. Her only stipulation was that we spend the money on a piece of art. I bought Margaret. I will never, ever get rid of Margaret.


Photo #4 – My dining room. Lord I love my dining room. You may notice, the star of the show is my Dollar Store Garbage Bag Table runner.   Again with the classy.


Photo #5 – My kitchen. Kay, um … here’s a real confession. That kitchen table? The tulip table? I don’t own it. It ain’t mine. My niece owns it. I have been looking and looking at flea markets and on Kijiji for the same one for AGESSSSSS but could never find one. Since it’s the one I WANT in my kitchen, and will eventually be the one I HAVE in my kitchen, I figured a little borrowing would do just fine. Do you feel cheated? Suck it. As far as I’m concerned THAT’S MY TABLE. It’s just a matter of finding it for the right price and buying it. Or stealing it. Whichever seems easier. Oh! And that white brick wall was natural brick until about 3 days before the crew arrived to photograph my house. I highly recommend painting ugly brick walls.


Photo #6 – My Living Room.  The huge mirror? I got it at a garage sale for $7. I almost didn’t buy it because I don’t like to spend any more than $5 for a garage sale item. That end table? The chopping block looking one? It actually is a chopping block. I made it. And in a couple of weeks I’ll show you how to make one too.


Photo #7 – My fireplace.  The filigree vase on the left-hand side of the fireplace mantle was brought to my house by the prop stylist. I bought it as a memento of the event. It cost $89. The wooden bowl in the far upper left corner of the bookshelf is an antique camel milking bowl from Saudi Arabia!  Saudi Arabian antiques are kindda rare outside of Saudi Arabia what with people not being allowed to visit the country without an invitation by a resident.  My sister (who is an actual interior decorator … unlike me) spent last summer in Saudi Arabia decorating the house of a Saudi Arabian princess.  She brought me back the bowl.


Photo #8 – My boudoir.  I don’t own the 2 green pillows on the bed. One is patterned, the other one is a beautiful green velvet. The prop stylist brought them to add a little colour to my bed. I loved them so much I thought I’d ask how much they were to buy. The velvet was somewhere just over $400. I did not purchase the pillow. I am currently on the lookout for a green velvet pillow pricing in at just a titch under $400.


Photo #9 – My bathroom.  The bathroom is the only room in the house that isn’t painted white. It is a mixture of white and Benjamin Moore Bar Harbor Beige. When I first moved into the house the bathroom had a wood toilet seat. Blech. Double blech.


All photos by Donna Griffith by way of Style at Home.


Okey doke … don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out!   Thanks for comin’ by and please leave all hostess gifts by the door. Unless you have a white tulip table, in which case you can leave it in the kitchen.

You might also be interested in:

Style at Home Series Pt. I   –   “Oh Dear, I’m About to get Shot

Style at Home Series Pt. II –   “Getting My House Magazine Ready

Style at Home Series Pt. III –   “I’m Magazine Ready, I swear

Style at Home Series Pt. IV –   “The Art of Having Your House Photographed for a Magazine


  1. Heidi says:

    Hi Karen,
    Just recently discovered you and I am a big fan of your blog. Already made your dollar store mirror planters! I too love the good old dollar store, oh and they know me by name at Homesense! I searched but nothing came up, so I wanted to double check that I have not missed the “How to make a log end table” post. I see you said above, it was in the works. (um hint hint :)
    I turned a slight green looking at your house! Thanks for the inspiraton and ideas!

  2. Gal says:

    I love your house, really beautiful even without the added stylist details. Also great blog.

  3. sherry hart says:

    Mad talents my dear!!! Your home oozes style…..Audrey Hepburn meets Suzanne Kasler meets Thomas O’Brian….. ish. AND you are cute and funny. The Gods smiled on you.

  4. Angela N says:

    I just found your blog, via Bryn Alexander’s. Love it. I saw some velvet pillows at Pier 1 that might work. And for $15.96!! Just a tad less expensive then $400. ;-)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Angela! Thanks for the pillow info! Would you believe the day after the magazine shot at my house I ran out to Pier One to look at their pillows! I picked that one up and walked around the store for about a half an hour with it, but I couldn’t decide if I the green was quite right. I didn’t end up buying. And now … of course … I wish I had. Maybe I’ll go take another look! Thx. again for looking out for me (and my bedroom)! ~ karen

  5. LiveLikeYou says:

    You did a fantastic job. What an inviting beautiful, traditional yet super modern home. I want to live there!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks! I went to have a look at your blog and also your design website. Um. Wow. The Swedish house all white on white you featured today is STUNNING. And your design portfolio is shockingly beautiful. Great use of .. well … everything! ~ karen

  6. magali says:

    my friend has been telling me about your blog forever and this post has just made me a regular follower from now on! great house! i love your bookcase.
    I am redoing my kitchen right now and well… i have a white tulip table. oval however. my grandmother is giving me the one she use to have way back when. good luck with finding one!!

  7. Emily says:

    Karen – it looks wonderful! I love all of it, but I’m especially jealous of your beautiful coffee table. I’ve been on the hunt for one for about three years now. May I ask where yours is from?

    Thanks in advance.


  8. pam h says:

    dammit, CANADIAN. I can spell, despite all indications to the contrary.

  9. pam h says:

    How did i JUST DISCOVER YOU JUST NOW? probably because I am not Candaian. But I am now a devoted follower.

  10. Terri says:

    I am lusting after the bookshelves – particularly the one by the fireplace. Guess I need to find a drunken carpenter!

  11. jan says:

    I love your house and my house would be something like it if only I could persuade my husband to get rid of his rather unnecessary junk. I live in hope.

  12. Malinda says:

    Oh my god, I love the chopping block end table!!! I just found your site… are you going to be sharing how to make that soon? I’m looking for a challenge ; )

  13. Megan says:

    Love your home! I particularily love the bookcases in your foyer!

  14. I love, love, LOVE your house. Such a perfect combo of modern and antique. In fact it was love at first sight in Style at Home, can I move in? I kid, I kid.

    I’m so happy to have found your blog!
    : ) Christine

  15. Jenny says:

    Hi Karen! I’m ready for your chopping block post. Why you ask? I picked up some big sections of oak wood from a neighbor’s fallen tree a month ago and my husband wants me to get rid of it, since the wood’s been sitting outside for a month, untouched. I just need a project to convert a few of them into beautiful end tables. Can’t wait to see it!

  16. Your house is beautiful! I found you through Made by Girl and I’m happy I did.

    The big art work is absolutely stunning.

  17. coming to you from made by girl….and so glad i did! :) how exciting to have your home featured! and its…..awesome.

    the gold mirror. love. the bedroom…..i really admire your bookcase so thanks for the reality check that it DOES take awhile to achieve a good looking case :)

    p.s. i’m a fan of painted brick too :)

  18. Visual Vamp says:

    Hey babe, ,
    Don’t they have an Ikea where you live? They have a very inexpensive tulip table knock off there. Check online to see.
    Nice house – very mag worthy indeed. Love how natural feeling it is.
    xo xo

  19. Ana says:

    My heart aches for your house!! I think my favorite are is the foyer (I love foyers and bathrooms, if only houses could just be foyers and bathrooms),but that painting! GOR-geous.

    Karen, what is that column, standing at the far left corner of your living room? It looks like a white tree. What is it made of??

  20. You are hilarious! (Make that Hilarious with a capital H) And your home is lovely. It’s amazing what you accomplished in a short period.

  21. LindsB says:

    Love your home, it is beautiful and gives me hope for my own! Thanks for being the inspiration for my post today!

  22. Zina says:

    Oh thank goodness. But really? I wouldn’t say my sobbing and wailing was uncontrollable. I had it down to weepy dripping and, at intervals, whining quietly but bravely, holding up a pathetic paw every now and again.

    The Stories We Wouldn’t Have Heard are fab.

    And just as soon as I have my sewing machines back (prolly in a month or so), I will happily make your green velvet pillow for you, just so I can say I made a pillow for you. What size pillow do you want? :)

  23. Robbin says:


    I know where you can get green velvet pillows for under $400.00 — IKEA! Just bought two for my sofa at $12.99 for the cushion cover and 6 bucks for the pillow insert! For that price, you can get two!!!!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Robbin! I’ll give it a shot. Now, do ya know where I can get a tulip table and chairs??? :)

      • b says:

        Hey Kare, Great site you have here… and I know where you can get a great tulip table and chairs…from that selfish niece of yours :).
        Hey niece give up the table already your loving aunt can only throw out so many hints.

  24. Diane says:

    I spend so much time on Facebook that I’m finding myself looking for the “ilike” button. hehehe

    Seriously though, it’s absolutely beautiful!

  25. Nina Bredell says:

    Just lovely !!!! Espcially your bedroom & bathroom…

    Love from Sweden

  26. Carol says:

    Karen, there’s so many things I love about what you did with your house so I’ll just say I love it all but particularly the way you’ve used used antiques in a modern way. Co-incidentally when my house was shot for a magazine years ago,,,the stylist also used $500 velvet pillows. I don’t think anyone actually ever buys those $500 pillows but they sure are popular for photo shoots! Ikea has a great green velvet pillow cover if you’re still looking. I’ll let you know if I ever come across a vintage tulip table – they are out there, I found one for myself about 3 years ago at a garage sale for $40, complete with 4 tulip chairs!!! One of my best finds ever. Congrats on the great feature.

    p.s. I can’t believe you bought an $89 vase!!! ; )

  27. Betsy says:

    Love. love, love your home! You have inspired me to get going on ours again after stalling out on a remodel job six years ago. And, I knew there was something keeping me from going to WE and plunking down $199.00 for a tree stump side table. Can’t wait for your tut. You are my newest favorite read…so many laughs and you remind me of myself minus the talent. That’s okay, I’ll just keep copy-catting you!

  28. Kristen says:

    Karen – I’ve been following you for a couple months now and I have to say this post has made my day! I’ve been wondering when you were going to post, and I must say it is absolutely gorgeous and more importantly, it makes you happy! I have also been patiently waiting for the post about the chopping block table – you promised it a couple months ago in your original “Red room painted White” post. Looking forward to it!

  29. deborahinps says:

    Seriously cool!
    Hot new trends is an understatement…Nate Berkus should see you in action :)
    I wouldn’t be surprised if Oprah gives you a call, cuz you truly are an inspiration. DIY rocks!

  30. Pam says:

    The photos are beautiful- congratulations!

    P.S. I love that table runner!

  31. Evalyn says:

    camel milKing bowl

  32. Evalyn says:

    I love the idea that your sister bought you a camel miling bowl. Only a sister would know to do that!

    Great makeover – it’s a wonder what fresh paint can do.

  33. Lesley H says:

    Got the magazine but I love your behind the scenes info better. Sooo looking forward to the chopping block table info. MUST. HAVE.

  34. Janelle says:

    Add my voice to the chorus – your home is fabulous, a brilliant blend of contemporary and organic and unlike a lot of houses featured in decorating magazines, it actually looks like real people live there…fancy people, but real! Now, for that kitchen floor – if you’re into the whole black/white checkerboard look, I wonder if you could figure out a way (I’m baiting you, here) to paint selective tiles black to make a checkerboard pattern? Just a thought!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Janelle! I actually loooovvvveee black and white check tiles. I laid stick down tile in my laundry room! I don’t think there’s any hope for my floor. It’s ugly and cracked and the tiles are realllllyyy small and the grout is gross and … well … it’s just had the biscuit. I could just try to paint it I guess … just an out of the way corner maybe …

  35. Jen A says:

    Karen … Karen … KAREN! Make yourself the velvet pillow! Sheesh. Do you need constant reminding that you BUILD and MAKE stuff out of nothing. I’m absolutely positive you can make one that is even better than the prop and tastefully incorporate the leftover chrysalis from Mrs. Monarch. Love love love your home. I’m inspired.
    (P.P.S. I got the magazine for free from the air canada lounge. Oh how I like it when the stars align)

    • Karen says:

      Jen! That made me laugh. I thought of making the pillow, but honestly … sometimes it’s cheaper to just go and buy it! Homesense – $24.99! I doooo have another pillow in mind to make though. Let you know about it later … have to figure it out first!

  36. Laura says:

    Karen! Lovely pics! So inspiring! Is that a clawfoot tub I spied in your bathroom? Because oddly enough, I’m purchasing a home whose only tub just so happens to be a clawfoot tub… Got any tips on keeping the thing from looking grimey? The seller of the house cleans the tub each time she uses it, but said the bottom still gets an icky brown stain that is almost impossible to remove. It’s the one hesitation I have in purchasing my new (first) home. Am I scared for no reason?

    • Karen says:

      Oh Good lord … don’t ever let something as tiny as a bathtub stop you from a house! If it turns out you hate it, you can buy beautiful bathtubs for under $500. Now termites, or structural problems … say a leaky foundation … that could make me think twice. But not a bathtub. The tub is probably stains because she’s using Comet or something abrasive on it. This in turns roughs up the enamel finish which then makes it hold stains. You can either have it re-enameled or just keep cleaning it after every use. If that’s the only issue buy the house! :) – karen

  37. Jaime says:

    Your home is so unique! I love the behind the scenes stories… :)

  38. I don’t think there is a single thing I don’t like about your house, including the kitchen floor.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks! I must admit I’m pretty fond of it too. I’m allowed to say that because I spent approximately 10 years being bothered by every room in my house. I didn’t know what was wrong … I just knew something wasn’t right. OMG!!! That could be a country song title! Thanks again! – karen

  39. mykidzmomnow says:

    I just LOVE to read your blog. While the magazine pics were great, your stories about each of them were far greater. So awesome.

    Great work! And post the chopping block info fast. I’ve got a few chopping blocks… ;)

  40. escapade says:

    Oh thank God Karen – my sobs were reaching almost hysterical proportions!

    Love, love your space and will be available to move in tomorrow…

    • Karen says:

      Heh heh. Are youuuu being sarcastic? Spare room’s all ready … come on over. (leave the cat alone though) – karen

  41. Sam says:

    I love Margaret. Seriously love her. I never knew I needed a Margaret until I saw yours. Look what you’ve gone and done!

  42. Shea says:

    Great post! Thanks for the behind the scenes commentary too. I am really enjoying your blog. Keep it up and way to go on being featured!

  43. Shelly (FlagirlinTN) says:

    I love the stainless pedestal table! If you found that on the side of the road I’m driving to Canada…tomorrow!
    Can’t wait for the chopping block-side table tut. I will start hunting for a hunk-o-wood as soon as I can sneak out of work early. No bed is complete without a Siamese cat lounging on top. I believe my 3 means I over decorated.

  44. ModFruGal says:

    Congrats! Looks great…you must be relieved to have it done….

  45. Langela says:

    Leave the hostess gift? All I saw were these nifty door prizes. I couldn’t believe you would actually be giving away a tulip table! It’s gonna look so good…Wait. What? It wasn’t a door prize? I’m sure you still want me to have it right? Right?

  46. Sherry (BTLover2) says:

    I’ve been waiting and waiting for this! First, what is with that kitchen floor? Ha!

    You’ll hear this over and over but your home is AMAZING! It’s stunning and unique and tells a great story! (Not that you care but I was so surprised to see how alike our style is — great mix of old and new). Your home is definitely deserving of a spot in a magazine. I see more of this in your future (and I’m not a gypsy or fortune teller). Congrats, Karen!!

  47. Tracy says:

    Oh GAWD !!! You just crack me up !!! I love spitting my coffee out all over my ( really nice, random width, antique pine ) kitchen floor !!!! Thanks for a GREAT start to my day !And your kitchen floor really isn’t THAT bad…kinda matches the now white brick backsplash !

  48. taryn says:

    how exciting! I love your mix of trad and modern, gorgeous!

  49. Lea says:

    Your home is beautiful, Karen! I love the way you mix modern and rustic. Great job!

    • Trish says:

      Love your house!!! What colour white is on the walls?

      • Karen says:

        Trish – Thank you. I love it too! I didn’t for about a decade, so loving it is nice for a change. I used Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White. CC-40 if memory serves me correctly. ~ karen!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Karen
      Love your website, love your house, AND I especially LOVE your garden in May STYLE AT HOME!! You are an inspiration. (I also want to check out the garden planner… Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to figure out where to buy the “round” black plastic chair in the photo on page 101 in STYLE, but I don’t know what they are called or where to buy them – can you help?

      • Karen says:

        Hi Jan – That’s actually a vintage chair. They’re sometimes called hoop chairs by people but it’s real name is a Solair Chair. A true Canadian design. Some stores have started to carry them (or similar). They’re around $100 – $150 each. I found mine at the side of the road. :) ~ karen

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