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Project Glenwood: Main Floor Design Process & Reveal

MANDATE: Create a home that evokes comfort, warmth, is practical but stylish and invites special moments with family and friends that allows for this 6000 sq. ft. new build to feel cozy and not overwhelming.


The entrance of a home is the beginning of a story and feeling in my opinion. It's a peek of what you could expect throughout, but allows the details to unfold in each of the individual spaces. At Glenwood, I wanted to maintain a mix of transitional and modern design elements balanced across the architectural details of the space. This was achieved with split panel shaker wall moulding, warmth of the oak stain colour on the staircase, and the custom curved console table.

From the beginning our clients wanted a sense of coziness in their home and one of their ideas was a gallery wall of photos that are special to them, their family and their friends. I achieved this by allowing the gallery wall to be framed by the split paneling and flanked with sconces for added warmth.

I’m often asked if artwork or photos can be hung on paneling - the answer is always yes. Just be prepared for minor differences in depth if a photo or pieces sits on a raised rail of the paneling.

I’m also often asked if the expense of decorative lighting (ie. the sconces, table lamp, ceiling flush mounts…anything other than a pot light) is worth it. A thousand times yes. We have a strange obsession with pot lights in Canada and unless it’s a kitchen, dining room, bathroom, gym, etc. I loathe them.


It’s no secret the kitchen is the heart of a home. It's where everyone congregates during gatherings, have memorable conversations while eating great food and ultimately make lasting memories. All of these are layers to the feel and experience of the home, and with us it’s no secret we nearly always use three door profiles and three finishes to achieve this. It adds layers of depth, texture and interest to an otherwise safe and typical choice selection (Psssst…the ‘safe’ decisions date the fastest). Of course we typically stick to this rule if the size of the space permits it.

At Glenwood in order to maintain the blend of transitional and modern design elements, we used variations of a shaker door profile as well as three finishes. We used a more standard stile width for the perimeter base cabinets. To blend a bit of modern design into the kitchen, we then reduced the stile for the upper cabinets and added a simplistic center band design to the fridge and freezer door panels so they didn’t fall flat and feel overwhelming large and bare. When it came to the island we wanted to create something slightly more ornate that would make it feel more like a furniture piece. It's made up of framed cabinetry, door profiles with applied mouldings, legs and reeded details that lend slightly to more transitional design.

The seating at the island is custom, Canadian made furniture. I like working with the same / similar undertone to the hardwood and going warmer (if the floor is light) for the stain on furniture. Because these clients have two young kids, I recommended staying away from swivel stools or pieces that have arms on them. As someone with a 7 year old, I can speak from experience when I say even with arms on chairs kids will find a way to fall off the chair. And when they swivel...well, you're just asking for further problems. We also used a beautiful, breathable vinyl fabric that is completely wipeable.

Professional Tips: The island is 130" x 55". The distance from the end of the island to the hutch is 54". The pendants (approx. 12" diameter) are 36" above the countertop. Ceiling height is 10 feet.

The hutch display wall is quite large and allowed for all three finishes to be used as well as blend some of the traditional elements from the island against the more modern details of the fridge and freezer. The painted off-white portion is more simplistic and clean lined which allowed for the display cabinet portion to showcase some of the more traditional finishes such as the blueish green painted base cabinets, the brass hardware, warm stained wood as well as the burnished brass mesh inserts on the flanking display doors. This wall is truly something special. It's size and design allowed us to balance all three colours and door profiles as well as pull together both transitional and modern design elements in perfect harmony. We receive so many compliments on this section of the Glenwood kitchen.

The other very exciting thing about this kitchen was the two rooms off of it, on either side of the range wall. I LOVE the easy access to the mudroom and pantry space, and most importantly how we concealed them with the frosted glass pocket doors.


Teamwork makes the dreamwork! This was a space that Lily started to work through and asked me to take over. This happens! Creative blocks and fatigue is common, and plenty of times we need second sets of eyes and fresh ideas. Working with a designer who has a team to do this with is certainly of benefit.

The pantry is almost 8 feet x 8 feet and we needed to incorporate a secondary sink and dishwasher, as well as the microwave drawer, general pantry storage, etc.

We first started out with 2 walls of tall, concealed cabinetry and the 3rd wall (shown in the image below) held the utilities and appliances with decorative shelves for display and easy access to dishware.

Within the process, the clients determined they would be okay with open shelving for their everyday pantry goods and some closed storage was ideal for hidden components and a broom cupboard (ie. Swiffer mop, Dyson vacuum, whatever your needs are). We used the wall opposite the sink for these open shelves as it is the most concealed from kitchen sight lines. In addition, if there ever was a mess to hide, beautiful pocket doors easily conceal the mess.

I think the part of the pantry that I appreciate the most, are the details the clients did not cut from the scope to save a few hundred dollars here and there. These would be the 2 ceiling beams, the decorative wall sconces, and the beautiful, custom corbels under the shelves adding warmth, detail and visual interest.


This space is HIGH. TRAFFIC. Access to the backyard BBQ, garage and into the kitchen / dining room, this area holds high style all while providing extreme function. Inside the closet, we designed an insert to hold every day items - shoes, coats, scarves, long jackets.

On the opposite wall, we invested in custom cabinetry that caters to the kids everyday needs. A drop zone for backpacks and lunchboxes, drawers for their belongings (center divider in each) and seating to help ready themselves for school on their own.

The flooring in here is a beautiful 8x8 porcelain tile from our supplier Cesario & Co. The pattern is playful, neutral and timeless.

The finishing touch to this highly functional high traffic area is the vinyl wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries. It adds a beautiful blue strie' but the durability of completely cleanable, wipeable walls. Yes - this will hold up better than the best quality paint on drywall!


The intention with this room was to be able to host 10-14 people comfortably. We had the luxury of working in a built-in bench under the window and the custom table is extendable. So those few times a year the clients host, the table can be extended and shifted towards the bench for extra seating. That being said, I have first hand seen the kitties enjoy the bench everyday along with it being a cute little coffee and cuddle spot!

The dining table was custom designed by us and made by a local Canadian manufacture. The chairs incorporate the same vinyl seats with a beautiful plaid fabric in blue, taupe and white on the backs. I am not normally a plaid girl, but this is one of my favourite fabrics by Maxwell.

The ceiling detail in the dining room was perfectly executed by the builder, Hummingbird Hill Homes.

The drop beams are simple, but imperfect planks of wood with pine planks running the opposite direction between the beams. The goal was to whitewash the pine planks and leave some of the knotty imperfections and grain showing through. A little bit of a cottage-like feel, but super refined with the remainder of the finishes in the space.


The conversation on these rooms with our clients changed over a few discussions. The family room was pretty straight forward - seating, TV, fireplace, comfort, easy maintenance, etc. The 'bar' area of the family room we wanted to flow with the kitchen but still feel different. In fairly typical husband and wife fashion, he wanted this area for his whisky collection and some wine display and she was fine with this as long as it didn't scream BAR. We balanced their request with some display for wine and shelving for key whisky bottles and bar tools, but the remainder is concealed within the upper cabinets and lower doors with pullout drawers. In addition, we added an undercounter wine fridge and beverage fridge that are both panel ready to soften the look of the cabinetry. Paneled appliances are key for cabinetry in spaces that are not the kitchen, in my opinion. We also changed the hardware on the cabinetry here to something a little more modern and masculine to separate it from the kitchen.

I had found this stone veneer some time ago while sourcing for another project and held onto it with the hopes of incorporating it into a future project. Glenwood was the perfect application! I was determined to have it installed as a dry stack - meaning no mortor being worked around each pieces of stone. This stone veneer is one that you can do that with, due to it's clean cut edges. It's such a beautiful organic look and the builder nailed it. The MDF template below the fireplace is for a bench our cabinet company installed afterwards (pictured below).

Professional Tips: Consider reusing pieces of furniture in new ways. We recovered the clients ottoman and spindle chairs to work with the new space. Both chairs, including fabric worked out to be just under $2k. A single side chair can cost that much for one!

The drapery on the back patio doors is purely to add comfort, warmth and colour. Not all drapes need to be operable but don't underestimate the power of stationary panels to an overall look and feel of a space.

The studio on the other side of the french doors, in the end, became a multipurpose space. Guitar playing, art making, puzzle building, chess playing and a quiet reading space. Initially, this room was going to be the girls playroom. I had suggested based on their ages and when the house would be complete, that we take the unused space upstairs above the kitchen (which was intended to not be finished) and make that the dedicated playroom. It then offered this room to function for individual needs or cohesive family time, serving as a quiet and visual clutter free space.


This room excites me so much. It all started with the idea of the oak wood vanity looking like a piece of furniture - it was designed intentionally this way. I wanted a wood countertop in here, but the reality of a wood countertop in a high traffic bathroom is that it just won't last over time. So I started playing around with the idea of setting a piece of stone on top and 'waterfalling' the front edge. This gave the practical element we needed, while keeping each side of the wood countertop exposed like we repurposed a piece of furniture. I then played around with the backsplash proportions and curved the top edges for a softer look.

I had 3 other wallpaper options for the clients, but they were not afraid of colour and drawn to our final choice, which looks incredible in the space.

If you take a peek in the mirror, you will notice we didn't take the wallpaper all the way up to the ceiling. I wanted to incorporate a current twist of a Victorian wall detail, which is applying a moulding to the wall a certain distance from the ceiling and having the detail above it be different than the detail below it.

Professional Tip: In this case we have 10 foot ceilings and I started the wall moulding 24" down.

We had to make a small design tweak to the crown detail around the window in this room. Our project manager, Claire from Hummingbird Hill Homes, called me and asked if I could come to site to review a discrepancy she needed help with. I wasn't able to go, so we jumped on FaceTime (hello technology and being able to work anywhere) and while I can't recall why, the window ended up higher / closer to the ceiling than in my drawing.

You can see below the window is able to be framed with some wall space above the top trim before the crown moulding starts.

We had to problem solve how to revise the design and work with the window being higher. Originally it was thought we would have to eliminate the crown moulding (insert heart broken emoji). I couldn't deal with loosing this detail - it is too vital to the space. It was actually a really simple solve on our end, and we were lucky the window lined up with the solution perfectly. I quickly asked Claire if we could eliminate the backband on the window casing and just do a flat stock, create a "frieze" on the top of the window and the crown moulding would then go over that. I sketched it out quickly and text it to her, and next thing I know I receive this image:

Perfectly executed and an example of how things pop up during construction that require pivoting. When you have a great build / design duo it just gets done.

Leave us a comment if you found the behind the scenes information and design / project development of this post helpful and interesting! We always appreciate feedback.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a similar breakdown of the second floor at Glenwood.


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