The happiest bearable move into a smaller space

The before and after of a small apartment

 Living room and doorway Before 

Via Apartment Therapy/Photo Marie-Lyne Quirion As I had this very deep entrance opening from my hallway into my living room, I draped a yellow silk curtain to create a visual separation between my narrow hallway  and my living and dining area. Rug from Indiport Montreal, Louis the XV Sideboard was given to me as a present when my son Louis was born by my cousin the owner of  La Maison Française Antiques

Los Angeles. The art  and furniture came from my family.

Via Apartment Therapy/Photo Marie-Lyne Quirion 

This is the other side of the yellow sofa, I used an old Chinese planter as a side table, I added a glass top to it. I bought this planter in China town, they told me that this is the container they use to  ship duck eggs from China.

Via Apartment Therapy/Photo Marie-Lyne Quirion 

I like to create a feeling of permanence in all the decoration that I do, it could be traditional or contemporary, I think it should also be intemporel, ”la mode se démode” (Coco Chanel)(fashion becomes out of fashion)

Via Apartment Therapy/Photo Marie-Lyne Quirion 

A feeling of intimacy,  surrounded by memorabilia.

Hallway Before A Narrow hallway 

Via decogirlmontreal/Photo decogirlmontrealMy hallway is minute so I covered it entirely with this blue and white Manuel Canova wallpaper. I painted the doors basic blue Benjamin Moore CC968, best match for my air balloon multi blue wallpaper.

Dining room Before

 I change the original space for my dining room and I had to electrify the ceiling for my chandelier. My electrician Suzanne was great and fished the electricity from an electrical switch on the left wall all the way up to the top of a molding and got the wire out to a new electrical box and this without making a big mess.

Dining room before 

Now the chandelier is up and connected and like a friend said, you have to do something about this sagging wire. So I asked Valerie my handy woman to create a molding that would hide the sagging wire.

Via Apartment Therapy/Photo Marie-Lyne Quirion

Mission accomplished, the wire above the dining room table is completely covered with a triple molding and my chandelier can unleash its power and become luminous again.

Via Apartment Therapy/Photo Marie-Lyne Quirion 

I designed this armoire with chicken wire which I originally used as a bookcase and now it is in my dining room to store all my good dishes. I white washed it myself, lined it with a finely striped blue and white cotton (I stapled the fabric in the back of the armoire.)

I bought this Don Quijote plate on top of the armoire when I was a student in Madrid and carried it with great care all the way back to Montreal.

Via Apartment Therapy/Photo Marie-Lyne Quirion 

Inside my white wash armoire 

This is what friends are for, in between the before and the after, my dear friends are unpacking diligently and helping me put my home together again.

living room Before This long back wall with a 9” depth is ideal for bookshelves. Originally this space was the dining room, (you still can see a pendant light in front of the wall).

Ikea bookshelves BeforeI bought 4 regular white Billy bookshelves from Ikea and moldings from Home Depot. 

Ikea bookshelves with Home Depot moldings

Voilà Valérie is now installing the moldings on the Billys to give them a certain elegance. 

Via Apartment Therapy/Photo Marie-Lyne Quirion

The Ikea Billys are all dressed up now, and I have organized all my books and mixed a few of my cherished objects and souvenirs with them. These 2 French Louis the XV bergères which are now in the living area belonged to my parents and I had them recovered with blue Alcantara (Microfiber) You can see a bit of my white kitchen through the right inside wall opening.

Via Apartment Therapy/Photo Marie-Lyne Quirion 

I love mixing books with objects.

Via Apartment Therapy/Photo Marie-Lyne Quirion 

I got this small blue cloisonné urn as a young girl when I visited Hong Kong. The blue double beaks vase was given to me by son Louis when he was 20 years old. The pink enamel recipient with griffins on each side was given to me by my mother in law who received it as a present from a New York Beau when she was studying at Parsons in New York. I think objects have a soul, they really make me feel good.

Paintings with cows are my favorite, I got it at a Shaby Chic store that I really liked but it is now closed, I do miss it.

Kitchen Before
My kitchen was bright red, I do like red, but it was much to powerful for me.

Via decogirlmontreal/Photo decogirlmontreal

The walls of the kitchen are now Cloud white CC40 by Benjamin Moore. I added a piece of white melamine to hide the side of the fridge, I have something about fridges, I find them very bulky in old kitchens. My kitchen is from the 70s, it might be a little bit overly decorated but it kind of needed a little distraction here and there to take away its bleakness. I needed more light, so I got a rail with directional spots from Home Depot.


I installed 4 white plate rails from Ikea on top of the white cabinets and a watercolour picture made by my mother in law above the stove.






My authentic distincts Ikea favorites

Ikea big effect small budget

Via House BeautifulIkea Billy bookshelf with a few mouldings and a cornice will perform miracles.

Kallax bookshelf $38.99, turn it into a kitchen island, insert 2 kallax doors for $17.00  and a lämplig chopping board for $19.99 
Using 2 short Billy book shelves $39.00 each, add a wood counter top butcher block from Ikea, you will end up with a terrific kitchen island. For instructions go to Golden Boys & Me

 Be creative with your Raskog utility cart $25.00, categorize what ever you want a bit of paint will do it.

Tarva Chest $179.00 transformed into a roll top desk. Label pulls #0.00 from Amazon, for instructions go to In My Own Style  Mosslanda picture ledge $7.00can be used almost everywhere, great above your bathroom sink Fintorp rail $9.00 to hang your black metal basket ( to hold your mobile phone and I pad Ekby Alex shelf $49.00 is one of my very favorite, just add some legs $5.00 from amazon and you get the most sophisticated Vanity or you can use it as a desk.

This Bekvam Kitchen cart $60.00 is totally adorable. Paint it and add a tea towel bar, this one has a marble top but you could even paint the top with a faux fini or simply white and it would still look great.

Today’s idea, transform your Ikea Billys

I am a great fan of the Ikeas Billys, 

$69.00 per bookshelf and you can make them up to look like one thousand dollars.

Ikeas BILLY BEFORE fresh out of Ikea.


Prepping Billys with mouldings from Home Depot


I have a small apartment, and there is a natural alcove in the living room, so I chose to install my book shelves in the alcove in order to save a bit of space, don’t forget when your room is small, every inch counts.


Transforming Billys with mouldings on top, at the bottom, and on each side of shelf. I chose not to install mouldings on shelves, I wanted a lighter look.

We used pieces of 2×2 on top of the shelves to secure them to the wall.


I was thinking about adding a cornice on top of the shelves, but I soon realized I had too many books and I should use the space between the top of the shelves and the ceiling to store my books. I stacked them horizontally, this way I could fill up the gap and it is also easier to read the titles.

The lying lion is a Paper Mache sculpture by the Mexican artist Gemma Taccogna.

Image via


The artist Gemma Taccogna

Today’s idea, small changes big effect in your bedroom

The bed is the queen of the bedroom even though if it is a king size bed.

My bed before the small changes


This is what my bed looked like when I changed my bedding. I knew there was something missing, somehow I found it a bit blah and too linear.


One day I was at Homesense and I discovered these two pillows, I knew right away this is what my bed needed. When I got home, I started playing with the bedding and realized the bed would look much better if I rolled the white duvet cover at the foot of the bed so that we could see the robin egg paisley sheets which also added shape and depth to my bed.


 My two white, robin egg with a splash of deep French blue pillows brought life to my bedroom.

The pillows were 29.95 each, not bad for a change.

Today’s idea, changing your hallway closet doors

Moving from a century traditional home to a contemporary loft is always a challenge. When my clients ask me decorate and to use most of their furniture, art and antiques into a fairly new contemporary almost industrial condo, I really had to give it more than a thought.

Entrance way closet doors Before

before hall closet doors

I started by replacing the contemporary closet doors with more traditional mirrored doors, in order to create a dialogue between the contemporary architecture of the loft and my clients traditional furniture, antiques and art.

Art in your home 055 - Copie

I was inspired by the style of the original contemporary doors of the loft above and the windows of the loft below to create the entrance way closet doors so that by not introducing very traditional style doors there would be more harmony with the lofty style of the condo.

Art in your home 067

Windows of the loft.

Plan modifié 13-11-11_CCI00362

I presented my clients with a plan of the mirrored doors.

Entrance way mirrored doors After

mirrored doors

As all mirrors do, they have to reflect something, and these mirrored doors now reflect the entire living and dining area which of course brings a feeling of spaciousness to the loft.

Mirrored doors entrance way after

We added a cornice on top of the mirrored doors which is very similar to the cornices of some of the more traditional and antique furniture pieces of my clients.

Bathroom transformation in black and white

I love the use of black and white in Michael and Jonathan’s bathroom, it is amazing, simple and absolutely refreshing.



Before and after chez Michael Minns and Jonathan King at 47 Park Avenue in Yorshire England 4

The black floor is sensational and the geometric black and white rug adds great drama to the room. 5 (1)

The black antique bathtub seems to levitate on the pitch black Farrow and Ball floor. 11

Paint your black where it matters most and use white as a yin to your yang.

*Thank you 47 Park Avenue for giving me permission to share your photos with my blogger friends.

Today’s ideas, kitchen questions for prepping

A few questions for you in order to help you determine costs.

1- What do you dislike about your kitchen, is it too dark, too small etc..

2- Will you be staying in your home for 10 years or more.

3-Do you cook often in your kitchen, if not maybe you are like me and only need a revamp,


My kitchen cupboards were very dark and I wanted a kitchen with sunny dispositions, after a while I could not take it anymore so I repainted it with melamine paint, and believe it or not it worked. Eventually I would like to add a white tile backsplash, but I am not there yet.

4-If you use your kitchen constantly, you may want to make it bigger, remove a wall, or add an additional door or window.

Kitchen Before

before kitchen

A dark walled in kitchen

Kitchen After

after kitchen

The wall in this kitchen was knocked down and we replaced the narrow door by a window in order to make room for this open French style free standing storage cabinet.

5-Would you prefer an island counter or a dining table (for how many people)

Via Decor

Home Renovation: Victorian House Decor - ELLE DECOR I love the fireplace in the kitchen, it is a rare commodity...

An island counter in your kitchen.


white, windows, chairs, lighting, table (by Aviad Bar-Ness)

A dining table in your kitchen

6-If you want to renovate instead of revamping you have to think about a plumber. I know plumbing is always scary but you have to make sure that your pipes are functional and in order, it’s like life, prevention is the best way to go. ”Sorry no plumber available for photo”

7-Lighting, if you add lighting, an electrician is recommended, you have to make sure you have enough juice in your electrical box to light up your work area and your life.


Electrician at work.


Let there be light in your kitchen

8-Appliances are a big investment, will you be changing them, fridge,range, cooktop, oven hood, microwave, dishwasher wine fridge. Stainless appliances are very tempting but white appliances are cheaper and can also be very attractive.

Via House to Home

White appliances look good.

Via Pinterest

White range versus Stainless steel

8-Floor, will you change your floor or keep your floor, you may want to refinish your old one.

9-Will you be doing some of the work, or hiring a contractor.

This week we will discuss cabinets, counters/backsplash, storage, sinks, faucets and the finishing touch.

Schedule and budget.

Today’s idea, brighten up your life with the color white

 Update, express, transform….this is what Anne wanted to do with her home..

Living room BEFORE

Anne’s living and dining area before it was repainted and revamped…

Living room AFTER

Most of all Anne wanted her home to be bright…Seing the light was her motto

Having bought a brown leather sectional sofa the year before, Anne opted to keep it,  so we decided to go with a white and brown palette with a few touches of color…The polkadot feather pillows are from Ikea and the lamps from Pier One….The coffee table from Structube…We replace the dark Venetian blinds by white California Shutters the same color as the Walls…..Let there be light…with Timid White from Benjamin Moore 2148-60, we illuminated the entire room…

Ikea pillows…a touch of celadon blue….

Pier One sun lamp…add a bit of gold and silver…

Living room AFTER

Anne really wanted a cozy casual atmosphere with a lot of brightness… 2 big white mirrors from Ikea on each side of the fireplace give a spacious illusion to the narrow living room….The fireplace was updated and transformed, a smaller crema marfil mantel was more contemporary and lighter, a screen and 2 comfortable armchairs from Pier One… It was important for Anne that her family could gather in this room comfortably, seat by the fireplace on a snowy day….or watch TV..She wanted to use this room everyday

Pier One fireplace nature screen…

Pier One striped brown and Celadon blue armchair….

Picking up the Celadon blue and the brown with the Chinese bench used as a side table in between the 2 armchairs… Pier One…

A view with two rooms….

Dining room BEFORE

Dining room AFTER

Anne really fell in love with this crystal like suspended light from la Boutique Mà in Montreal, the Ikea table has an extension and can seat 10.  The sideboard, the branches arrangements and the dining chairs are from Montreal Structube.  The big silver plate is from Pier One…and the white linen drapes are from Restoration Hardware…

Light from Mà Montreal….

Sideboard from Structube Montreal….

Ikea  Bjursta dining table

Heavyweight Textured Belgian Linen Drapery

Heavy weight Belgian linen drapery

Anne told me she hated shopping, so I sent her photos of furniture and accessories she might like based on our conversations, and these are the ones she chose for her home.  Afterwards, we went to each store to finalize her choices and this is how we worked it out….To my surprise, Anne made quite a few other choices, we both discovered that she just might like shopping more than she thought….

Today’s idea, updating your fireplace

Updating and brightening a fireplace…



Anne. wanted to change her traditional fireplace into a more contemporary look and a smaller mantel…



 This is the inspirational photo that I showed her, a brighter and smaller crema marfil fireplace…



Instead of using marble slabs, we used 12X12 inches crema marfil tiles, it was a lot more economical and with a similar color grout it looked like a slab of crema marfil…* We added a 2 inches border around the mantle to  create an illusion of thickness so that the tiles were not flat against the wall…

Stay tuned for tomorrow, we will share with you how color can transform your home….

Stripe your walls with color on a Lazy Sunday

I was browsing through Apartment Therapy and discovered Chelsea’s office striped wall.  I really like this idea as it transforms a rather bland room into a lively and stimulating room…This could be a project for a Lazy Sunday…


The before and after of a white wall turned into a perky white and Burnt Umber striped wall….

You will notice that Chelsea left a white space over the white baseboard before starting with the Burnt Umber color

 Color match of Valspar 40079 Burnt Umber*

Valspar Medallion paint™ 40079 Burnt Umber

* For you fellow bloggers whom like me don’t have access to Valspar paint, you can ask your paint store mixer to create this color in another brand as now paint color recipes are universal….