From shabby to chic

<p>What do two adorable 40-somethings — with the decorating prowess of geriatric grandmothers — have in common with a slick, Sex And The City fab pad?</p>




monarch homes photo


Colin and Justin added stainless steel countertops, like this one, to the kitchen in this week’s episode of Home Heist.

What do two adorable 40-somethings — with the decorating prowess of geriatric grandmothers — have in common with a slick, Sex And The City fab pad? The answer, of course, is not much. Until, that is, we spool forward to the end of this week’s Home Heist, featuring our new best girlfriends Suanne and Celina.

Seven days was all it took to turn a desperate house into a home our gorgeous girls could be proud of. The most staggering aspect, however, was that our feisty new friends were both utterly creative: Suanne is a designer and set builder and her partner Celina is a world music performance artist. Which is why we were so baffled by their apparent inability to style their home into anything more exciting than a junky nightmare.

Junk issues aside, Suanne and Celina were a joy to work with. Both were animated and fun and, for the duration of our makeover, we referred to them as our Canadian wives. And they, to us, as their comedy husbands! We bonded the minute we met and had some serious fun along the way. But blimey, that depressing wee house!

To be fair, Suanne and Celina had some lovely pieces (such as inherited antique sofas and stunning high-backed lounge chairs), but they were covered in textiles so dated that even the most style-free grandmothers out there would have winced had they been exposed to the visually toxic fabrics. But, of course, all that could be easily changed.

But before we could tackle upholstery, we had to analyze the floor plan. Sure, the girls were cramped into a space the size of your eye, but, if you open your eye, doesn’t light flood in? Of course it does. And so it came to pass that, with relevant consents obtained, we removed the walls between kitchen, living, dining and mud rooms. Doing this created one beautiful shared space that immediately allowed us to imprint our brand new scheme: Pink. Yes, a delicate combo of marshmallow and ballet slipper with just enough gold to make everything “pop!” As Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar belted out across the girls’ sound system, we installed Barbie-esque kitchen cabinetry (galvanized by stainless steel countertops to balance butch and bitch in equal measure!) and reintroduced granny’s sofas — only this time recovered in pink shot silk with gold button tufting!

But our work wasn’t complete. On the seventh day, we mirrored the living room chimney breast and covered all walls in paper. And then we turned our attentions to Suanne and Celina’s bedroom. As exciting, previously, as a pound of chopped liver we transformed its gloomy junk store aesthetic into a retro Jonathan Adler inspired paradise. With baby blue walls, a tree trunk inspired, custom-made iron bed, siren red furniture and a whole host of gorgeous mosaic (created by Suanne) our job was complete.

shabby chic tips

  • Raid junk shops, but look for potential. A boring sofa could easily become fabulous with just a little TLC. Hmm, maybe it’s time to call your upholsterer.

  • Mix old and new. Good design is a balancing act, so, with this in mind, combine family mementos with Ikea, Canadian Tire and Home Depot!

  • To enlarge space — and show off treasures — use mirrors. Try them in a narrow hall to “enlarge” proportions or along one wall in a dark bedroom to illuminate proceedings.

HGTV hosts Colin and Justin continue their mission of beautification with their Canadian design series Colin & Justin’s Home Heist, airing Tuesdays and Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET on HGTV.

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