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. Sharon says:

    Hi Karen
    I just subscribed. I enjoy reading your blog…. you’re funny & refreshing. Almost everything in my home is secondhand. I’m from Winnipeg and have a few spots I check out every few weeks for great cheap stuff. I am new to blogging and am starting to post my frugal finds & DIY’s. Can’t wait for your next post. So glad I stumbled on your site.

  2. Madeline says:

    Can I get your blog posts on a regular basis thru email?

  3. Jody says:

    Love Margaret. Do you ever wonder who she really was? Who was the artist who painted her.

  4. Mari says:

    P.S.S. I am terribly sorry to hear about your father. Both of my parents have passed, so I understand how hard it is to lose someone you love. What a beautiful way to remember him though.

  5. Mari says:

    I am completely and utterly obsessed with your interior sensibilities! Thank you so much for sharing these images with us. May I ask where you got small gold mirrors above your bed? (P.S. I absolutely adored your story about Margaret).

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mari – Those small gold mirrors above the bed are actually from garage sales! They’re old and were relatively popular at the time. So they’re the kind of things you can scour garage sales, flea markets and antique stores for. I think I paid $2 each. 🙂 But that WAS from a garage sale so … ~ karen!

  6. Nastashia says:


    Where did you get your Mongolian Lamb Fur Chair or did you make it???

  7. Leta says:

    I absolutely love your bookcases. Where did you get them, or did you make them?

  8. Ceres Ribeiro says:

    Love, love, love your house!!! Absolutely stunning!!! Thank you for sharing…. I’m looking for a sideboard like that. Do you mind sharing where is from? Thanks!!!!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ceres – Thanks! I actually got my sideboard from Structube. They still carry it, but it’s a smaller version. I think Ikea carries a similar one. ~ karen!

  9. Where do you get your antiques? They are so gorgeous and still look very current with your mix of modern styling. Lovely!

    P.S. I didn’t think you could get any cooler, but the Ramones? Seriously? Very cool!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sara – I get most of my antiques from garage sales or auctions. Sometimes flea markets and only if I’m looking for something exceptional an actual antique store. I have one dealer in particular I trust completely. ~ karen!

  10. Kay says:

    the dining room table is like the one my mom had when I was growing up. Loved the table and chairs and wished we still had it One of the ladies she used to babysit for worked for the company that made them we also had desk chairs(they were orange) in the same style and that turned around and around and as kids loved those too. Makes you wonder where they all went because they were indestructible.

  11. Liz says:

    Love your home. Like its owner it has a lot of soul. By the way, I can make a green velvet pillow for less than $400.00. It could be the start of an amazing Etsy store.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Liz. But I don’t know … green velvet pillows are awfully expensive. I mean there’s the velvet … and the foam or feathers. I don’t think you could make it for less than …. $1,000. ~ karen

  12. mia pratt says:

    Class act Karen – maestro of textures, colors, ideas and styles perfectly woven together to create the perfect song of you. I can decorate vicariously through you since I am only renting here in Mexico<:} Super job, you rock! Mia

  13. Linda Laurin says:

    Great job! I will definitely have to stay tuned. Maybe they can give you your own spot on HGTV! We need some new talent! Still love to watch the old gang but some newcomers would be nice.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Linda! But .. I’ve done my time in television. I’m officially retired from it. For the most part. 🙂 ~ karen

  14. jonelle says:

    First of all, I’m an old bag, and I LUV looking at Pinterest, and NOW I found your faaaab-u-lous info. I love your style. It’s young, and hip, and just feels so good to look at.
    Thanks for sharing…I look forward to more sensational ideas.

    • Karen says:

      Well thanks you old bag, LOL. I’m feeling quite the old bag myself today. Glad you found my site. Welcome! ~ karen

  15. Lisa says:

    Can you let me know where you purchased your sectional sofa? Thanks!

  16. Holly says:

    Great house! I tried to not look at the kitchen floor but it was real hard not too.

    I have bought really beautiful velvet on Ebay and I make my own pillow covers (look for velvet remnants at fabric stores or some item of clothing in Value Village). You can get feather-filled pillows at Homesense on sale cheap and just take their cover off (hopefully it has a zipper to remove the cover) and make your own. Very easy. I change my slipcovers with the seasons. It gives a whole new look to a room.

  17. caroline says:

    Karen you have a great sense for home decor !

  18. diane ground says:

    Love your blog. Looking forward to receiving your emails.

  19. Amy says:

    Karen, where is that white hanging light from that hangs in your foyer?

  20. I finally found the blog of the girl who decorated her home on a whim in a month. I remember reading your Style at Home article with great interest as a part of me would love to just go at it and decorate my house like that, but the other part (the part with the money, time, and energy) say ‘no’. Anyway, just wanted you to know I love your house and am enjoying your blog. By the way, I would really like to know how you make one of those wood-stump-end-table things as I want to make one too.

  21. Sherry says:

    OH MY GAUD… you and I are practically the same person (other than I am likely 3 X your size and have dark longish curly hair.. well its dyed, but)… and I followed each and every one of your RULES to view your home. Youre actually a bit bossy!
    My home renovation started because… my daughter’s cat pee’d (you were laughing in your first photo cause of pee) on the couch and I happened to sit in somewhat heavily and with extreme exhaustion at the end of a really long day.
    The white cloth couch went out on the front lawn (I heaved it singlehandedly) for the next month and the cat was from that point on confined to her bedroom… and I bought a new leather couch set (the cat is still there cause my daughter won’t let me get him declawed). That new couch ended up being the reason for an entire renovation…
    I had to tear out the front closet cause the couch was too big for the space… I didn’t realize that would mean I would also have to redo the whole ceiling… and the hard wood floors, which meant that I would meet and fire the worst old man on the planet (who was the colour of grey cement from too much sanding dust and coating in his lungs) after he varathaned over a pen and wood chips in my daughter’s bedroom (needless to say, that final wiping off of the dust before coating the freshly sanded floor was not his priority – I believe breathing was taking priority over pride in his work)
    The result of the horror encounter with that old man actually caused me for the first and last time in my life to ‘run away from home’.
    K all that to say – love your house… thanks for sharing.

  22. Amy says:

    Where did you get those white bookshelves?

    • Karen says:

      Amy – If you mean the bookcases in my front hall (with the big silver table), they’re 5 Billy bookcases from Ikea shoved together. ~ karen!

  23. Gina says:

    Hi, love what you’ve done–not just the look, but the fact that you went for it! Huzzah!

    I know we’re not talking kitchen floors here, but if I *HAD* seen them, I might ask if you’ve ever thought about regrouting? Scrape the grout then add another color, maybe light grey? Could be fresh on the cheap…

  24. Michelle Bracken says:

    May I also ask where you purchased the pretty white faux skin?

    • Karen says:

      Michelle – I’m not sure which one you’re referring to. I have 3. 1. Mongolian lamb throw that covers chair in foyer entirely – Homesense. 2. Sheepskin throw over arm of couch – Ikea. 3. Cowhide rug under silver table in foyer. – Ikea) ~ karen!

  25. Lynda says:

    That is one big-a$# foyer… can I have it?

  26. Karen says:

    Hi Stacey! Thank you! I have 2 chests of drawers in my bedroom and they both match my bed. I bought everything as a set years and years ago. The bed was actually 2 single beds which I had converted into a Queen by a genius woodworker. I’m not really one for “matching sets”, but the highboy and long dresser that go with this set are beautiful. If I were to pick something totally different I might go with something like this, from Ikea. ~ karen!

  27. Stacey says:

    Hi! May I say that I LOVE your home. If you don’t mind me asking, what style is your chest of drawers in your bedroom?
    Thank you!

  28. Lamprini says:

    Hi Karen,
    I just discovered your blog and I loved it!
    What I like about your house the most is the story behind the “Margaret”…thank you for sharing it.

  29. Linda says:

    Love your style!


  30. Rayme Wells of A Clean Surface says:

    If a pillow costs over $400 it had better be hand woven out of spider silk and gold dust. I am too naive; I didn’t realize personal home features were “propped”.

    • Karen says:

      Rayme – Oh yes, homes are propped. Part of the reason is a lot of people have the furniture, but not the accessories. Or they add pillows to add a contrasting colour that might not be in the room. What they did to my house was very, very minimal compared to what a lot of American magazines decorating do. ( they have bigger budgets, LOL) I just got flowers, pillows and 3 or 4 knick knack-type bowls.

  31. Kate says:

    I love your bed. What type of wood is made from?

    • Karen says:

      Kate – Thank you. I have no idea what kind of wood it is, LOL. I knew at one point but I forget. It’s an antique. (My now queen sized bed, is actually 2 single beds that I had turned into a queen by a very skilled craftsman. 🙂 ~ karen!

  32. Denise says:

    I love everything. But can I say that I just love the porcelain door knob in the kitchen area? What great details! The entire home is beautiful.

  33. Living Lakeside says:

    Hi Karen!

    Love love love your home! So simplistic but still so interesting at the same time. I love the combo of rustic and modern! Congrats on being featured in Style At Home. Look fwd to hearing about more of your design adventures.

    Katrina 🙂

  34. Effie says:

    My toilet seat is wooden, I made my landlords buy a new one because the previous one was see through, brown plastic.
    It is the only time I would think that a wooden toilet seat was an improvement.

    Our last rental property had a powder blue seat, that I miss dearly.

  35. Thea says:

    Hi Karen,
    Beautiful home!!! I love the buffet in your dining room. It’s hard to find one that is tall and long. Would you please let me know where you bought it? Thanks so much!
    A Big Fan – Thea

  36. Veronique says:

    Spec’d this table on a design project in London… though you might like! It’s not the SAME but it’s damn similar. 29″ high, 31.5″ dia.

    Forget how much it cost but I’m sure you could get the designer discount and possibly more if you deal some sort of advertising for them!!


  37. Shauna says:


    I haven’t read all the comments, so perhaps someone has already found this, but I found a kitchen tulip table at Amazon of all places:

    or, is it that you don’t want to spend that much (would prefer to find it at a garage sale), or is it a Canadian shipping issue? I know that happens a lot – shipping issues and shipping prices are astronomical right?

    You are clearly web savvy, so I’m sure you’ve searched and found lots, but just in case, I googled the following, “white 1960’s mod kitchen tulip table” and found a lot!

    Hope it helps.

  38. Michelle says:

    Hi Karen,
    I’ve recently started blogging myself, and found yours while snooping about to see what other people write about. It’s also the first blog I started following – I know you feel incredibly honoured;)
    I love your house, and remember reading the article when it came out. Wish I had the innate decorating/design ability that you do. Actually while I’m wishing, I’ll add your writing ability to my list as well.
    Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve found your tulip table yet, but saw one today on the Foc! site and decided send the info your way.
    Looking forward to you next post!

    • Karen says:

      Michelle – Thanks! That is indeed similar to what I want. I’m still trying to hold out for the real thing with chairs. I could be waiting a longggggg time. :() Best of all though, you introduced me to a site/store I’ve never seen before. Yay! ~ karen

  39. Robin says:

    Hi! I found your site while looking at ideas for a bunch of tree stumps I ran across. Of course, I’m going to make end tables and try to sell them at inflated prices, keeping one for myself. I’m first trying to figure out how to remove the termites from the stumps before I bring them home. Anyway, great site! You crack me up! I’m going to bookmark your site and also share it with my friends. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Robin! Eek. Termites! I don’t know what you can do. It if were me, I’d look for a new stump! Best solution is probably to put the stump in a plastic bag, spray the heck out of it with a bug spray that kills termites, close it up tight and leave it for a week or so. I’m not sure about the life cycle/eggs though. Cold temperatures will kill them, but I’m sure the stump is too big for a freezer. 🙂 Good luck! ~ karen

      • Robin says:

        Hi again!

        Check it out: I did a bit of research and found that no matter what, if you take the stump away from the original tree, the ants/termites can’t survive. Their queen lives underground within the tree’s root system, and they can’t live without her. I got the stumps (8 of them!) from a neighbor three houses down. If/when the bugs come out of their winter nap, they’ll be confused, dehydrated, and die of heartache without their queen. Bad for them, but good for me!

        Thanks again!


        PS – I’ve shared your site with several people and they’re getting a kick out of it. We need a dose of your happy Canada-ness down here in Texas. 🙂

  40. Linda says:

    I’ll tell you where to get green velvet pillows for well under $400. Pillow form: $10.for 2
    Green Velvet Fabric: $10./yd for really good quality, less for good looks but not top
    name a little thread; an hour of time

    and… there ya have it.. green velvet pillows. I could get rich if ya want to pass my info on to the set people. heck, I’ll make um in hot pink for..less then $400.

    oh, love the house, just really got kinda hysterical blindness from the idea of spending that much on a pillow.

  41. Katherine says:

    I love love love your blog. Your home is gorgeous. Can you share with us how you painted your clawfoot tub? I have one and it’s looking a bit sad. I thought it would be nice to add a bit of punch to the bathroom by painting the tub blue. Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Katherine! I didn’t actually paint my tub. It came that way when I moved in. However, tubs like this generally aren’t repainted. They’re re-glazed (or re-enameled). You definitely can’t just paint the inside, but you CAN paint the outside. Just gently sand it with 220 grit sandpaper. Then prime it with a rust inhibiting paint like Tremclad. When it’s dry lightly sand it again with the 220 grit paper. Then paint it whatever colour you like with an oil based enamel paint. Try to do your first 2 coats quite light with a brush. Sand out any imperfections or bumps when dry with the 220 sandpaper. Then for your final 3rd coat of the tub, you can do a thicker coat. You’ll probably get the best results out of a good sponge roller. ~ karen!

  42. Karen! I just discovered you and I must say I’m in deep lust. I will be dreaming about your home tonight. I MUST purchase the purple rug in your bedroom. Can you tell me where you got it? Thanks!

  43. Rachel says:

    Hi Karen,

    I just found your blog and I’ve been here reading a number of your posts all morning. You’re amazing — your garden is my dream and I would never be able to do that myself. Congratulations.

    May I ask where you bought your diningroom table? I’ve been looking for something similar, but the price always seems to exceed $3000!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel! Thanks. I actually had my dining room table custom made with antique pine planks at But unless you happen to live in Southern Ontario that probably won’t be very helpful for you! I also had a pine bench made to match so that when I have a lot of people for dinner I can fit more people at the table. I LOVE my table. Search out custom furniture makers in your area. That’s the best place to start! Good luck. ~ karen

  44. Lisa says:

    Hi Karen! Love your blog! Just found it by the way of Style at Home the other day.
    I’m 28, I live in Winnipeg and work as a stage manager in theatre. My boyfriend and I just bought our first house last year and are in the process of decorating.

    Have you found your tulip table yet? Did you know ikea has this style called DOCKSTA for $179?

    I wish they carried the same style in a side table. I’m on the hunt for one of those at a good price!


  45. Cheryl Martin says:

    Hi there! Puhleeeeze tell me where I can find one of those Mongolian Yak fur throws????? I really love it!

    • Karen says:

      HI Cheryl! Of course I’ll tell you where I got it! I found the Mongolian throw at Homesense (last year) on sale. The equivalent is Homegoods in the States! Good luck! ~ karen

  46. Laura says:

    I absolutely adore your foyer! So beautiful! The chair, bookcases, table, rug, light fixture – I love everything about it! May I ask, where did you get that beautiful stainless steel pedestal table? Love your blog!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laura! Thanks very much. I got the stainless steel pedestal table at Homesense (Homegoods in the States). I’ve seen them around before but never this big. If you keep your eyes peeled I’m sure you’ll see one somewhere though! Good luck and thanks again. ~ karen

  47. Jen says:

    THANK YOU so much! I was flipping through the magazine and spotted your clever chopping block side table. It’s given me inspiration to rework our poor sad living room. I knew I wanted to use wood blocks I made my Dad save for a similar use… I just needed a push. Thank you, can’t wait to see your directions on how to do it!

  48. Mary says:

    Loved the pixs of your place. My favorite is the one in the foyer – with all those bookcases. Have to ask – where did you get them? It is exactly what I want for my living room area. I have an IKEA Expedit there but it is so big and bulky. These are perfect and can allow me to switch around if I need to.


    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary. Thanks! The bookcases in my foyer are also from Ikea. I have 5 of the single Billy bookcases pushed up against each other. They’re great because they’re only around 11 inches deep. However, because of that they could have a tendancy to be a bit tippy. You really should secure them to the wall. No big whoop though. ~ karen!

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