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Helen's House
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This Victorian house has great bones, including spacious rooms with high ceilings, and big windows that let in lots of light. The decorating, however, was not so good. The master bedroom was a design lesson gone very wrong -- out of date and unattractive, and the adjoining bath was just as ugly. The nursery also was a bit of a jumble and lacked any character.


Helen is a brilliant woman whose days are filled to overflowing with a busy medical practice and her husband and young family. Decorating was not on the agenda, but she really did bemoan the sorry state of her home. Having Debbie Travis as a next door neighbour was a stroke of luck. Debbie had a very good idea of what Helen's home needed to turn it into a welcoming, nurturing space.

The master bedroom and adjoining bath were completely gutted and we used a neutral palette of whites and stone colours, plus reflective surfaces to heighten the serene mood. The rich mahogany four poster bed is a magnificent focal piece that our carpenters built from scratch. A fabric canopy is always romantic and softens the wood. The pale hues and textures of the grass cloth wallpaper, silk canopy and bed linens are light and airy.

In the bathroom Debbie wanted to experiment with a new look that is reminiscent of summers at the shore. The river stone tiles are expensive and tricky to install, but they make a profound statement, both tactile and soothing. The darkly stained butcher block counter and stainless sinks are beautiful accents, basic materials that add their own detail and contrast to the room.

Nurseries are always fun to decorate as our imaginations can tap into childhood fantasies and storybook creations. For Helen's baby girl, we went traditional pink, and used an ingenious paint finish to produce the soft, pretty appearance of linen panels on the walls. Self-adhesive appliques painted bright yellow were stuck to the painted panels to form large daisies. The furniture for a nursery is so important and it's not easy to find designs that last for more than a few years of your child's growing time. Both the crib and changing table from Stokke are amazing. Visit their website to read about these practical and charming furniture designs.

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Bed Bedside Tables Bedside Tables Carpet Tiles Bedroom Bedroom Bed Reflective Surfaces Reflective Surfaces Carpet Tiles Bedside Tables Bedroom Bedroom Crib Appliques Bunny Shelves Panels Panels Reflective Surfaces Reflective Surfaces Tiles & Counter