A century-old home gets a modern living room makeover

A century-old home gets a modern living room makeover


Hi, I’m Karin, I own the design firm Karin Bennett Designs
here in Burlington, Ontario. And I’m Jackie, and I’m a Lead Stylist here at Karin Bennett
Designs. We’re in downtown Oakville at our clients’ house. This is a historic home, one hundred years old. This is a
young couple, they have busy careers, they also have two young children. So when we first saw this space, it was red
on red, there was a little bit of yellow going on, and it definitely wasn’t what our client wanted. It was too dark for
a space that needed so much natural light. So what we did was we lightened it up with some paint, that was a good old
fixer upper, we used some beautiful white linen drapes and it really just helped boost the natural light. You will not
believe the transformation. Because this is an old home, even though it’s a fairly large size, at 3,000 square feet,
they still very much lacked storage space. We added this built-in storage. This wall…this living room wall actually
backs onto the foyer. So when you first look at it this just looks like custom built-in bookcases, but actually, below we
have closed storage. This is where the children house their shoes, their coats, their scarves and their hats — which is
really great since they have a small foyer to begin with. We really wanted to give our clients a space that they could
enjoy some entertaining. They love to have people over so we wanted some great seating so that they could sit, have a glass
of wine. Of course, we thought of side tables for that as well because everyone needs a place to put their drink down.
And then, of course, the ottoman in the center gives some additional seating, while also being extremely practical, we
put a large tray on the ottoman so they can also use it as a coffee table. When we first came to the client she told us
that she really liked neutrals, so we worked with that, but we didn’t want the design to lay flat, so we added white,
cream, taupe, some beige and some grey. We also mixed in a lot of textures. We have this sofa that has a linen feel to it,
but actually is a harder-working fabric, which is great for a young family, and then we added…the walls are also an
off-white, which is really great. The draperies we had custom-made, they’re a white linen. Now this might seem like
not something great that you would work with for a young family with young kids, but for this client she explained that the
children really aren’t in this formal living room, so she gave us the thumbs up. Okay, when it came to the fireplace
in this space, we wanted it to stand out. It was the focal point of the room. The thing was, when we came here, when we
first saw it, there was this orange, kind of terracotta tile and we needed to fix that. So a really great tip when you’re
dealing with an old, original wood burning fireplace is you can just paint that out. Looks brand new, black, seamless so it
really ties in with the floors, and we’re so happy with the way it looks. To accessorize the space, it was wonderful, because
the clients had a lot of stuff that we could use. They’re avid collectors of antique cameras, which was such a great idea,
and we were really happy to use that in the built-ins. As well, they also collect antique and old dough bowls, which
gives such texture into the bookcases, and then, they have a ton of books. They’re avid readers, so we used all their own
books, which was really great. At Karin Bennett Designs, we don’t love putting picture frames on a bunch of different
surfaces, so the way that we get around that is we ask our client to pick out some of their favorite photos of them and
their family and we get them framed. You can see we’ve done a beautiful gallery wall that looks amazing in this space.


6 thoughts on “A century-old home gets a modern living room makeover

  1. BuzzBuzz Home you guys knocked it out of the park! What a talented team you have! Thanks for bringing us on board and featuring our living room design!

    The KBD Team

  2. This house looked a mess with those over powering red walls. Thank you for explaining all of this white in a house with small children. I was shocked by the size of this home…30,000 square feet is half the size of a Walmart!

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