Colour, finishes turn rooms from drab to fab

When we saw Helen and Joe Laudi’s house for the first time we hesitated before accepting the project.

Nominated by their grown-up children Ryan and Nadine, it didn’t INITIALLY seem as bad as some we’ve previously transformed. For starters, the hall, a space that was achingly short on style — nappy brown walls and a ceramic tiled floor that looked for all the world like the set of Saturday Night Fever — was actually clean and tidy. But OMG — was it plain. And, of course, in the world of C and J … NO taste is worse than BAD taste. Even our director muttered “style vacuum” as we wandered around.

Similarly short on glamour was the family room, a space with all the design appeal of a nursing home. And an unpopular one at that. Here goes … dreadful light and fan combo with both functions executed in similarly gaudy style? Tick.


Horrid wallpaper border, bad velour sofas and a carpet with varicose veins? Tick, tick and tickety tick.

Oh, and a knotty (sorry NAUGHTY) pine coffee table. Mind you, the least said about that one the better. Our remedy, as always, was simple. Cue a sea of turquoise and cream — with ebony accents — and some dark Karndean flooring.

It wasn’t, however, until reaching the master bedroom that our biggest challenge unravelled.

Out went the stallion imagery hanging above the bed. And out went toffee-coloured carpet that had DEFINITELY seen better days. Turning the tables on bad design even further, we hired a specialist to faux finish all the previously white painted woodwork. Then we added raspberry Toile De Jouy via bedding, blinds, wallpaper, upholstery and throw pillows. In fact, if it didn’t move we hit it with the dreamy antique pastoral red and cream fabric. Anyhow — we know self praise is the lowest form of compliment, but here goes; BLINKIN’ GORGEOUS! If we say so ourselves.

Last to fix was a shag-carpeted bathroom featuring a textured and frosted plastic shower screen that felt every bit as ugly as it looked. Hellish to the power of 10. We provided immediate designer surgery via raspberry mini mosaic, a roll-top bath (with red string curtains, no less!) and a double vanity unit that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a five-star boutique hotel.

And so it came to pass that our design class was dismissed! But what did Helen and Joe think of our triumphant taste tutorials?

Well, we won’t lie. They LOVED it. However, it took the full duration of our 13-day build to persuade our lovely (if hard to please) couple that our $80,000 investment had been money well spent.

Thankfully, we got there in the end before waving goodbye to lovely new friends and a thoroughly revitalized Canadian home.

Aye, just another week in the glamorous life of Colin and Justin!

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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