How I designed and updated a log cottage living room with a plan and on a budget

Since lots of you had questions and wanted to see a bit more about our log cottage that was published in Ottawa at Home summer edition, I thought I’d share how I designed and updated the living room on a plan and with a fairly strict budget.

Here’s how it looks now.

Photo credit: Melissa Kew Photography

It’s a large living room and some of the furniture was left behind, which was great for us, even if it wasn’t entirely our style. So I worked a lot with what was left and what we brought from our other cottage.

Pictures do say a thousand words so here’s a quick breakdown of what was changed and how.

So to take it step by step, here’s what I did:

The sofa and love seat were such great quality and in perfect shape, so it was easy for me to decide to slipcover them in a white denim. They are slipped off and washed once or twice a year as needed. I must confess I do put throws on them where they are likely to get soiled to avoid having to clean them more often. I love that they make the room a little brighter as all wood interiors can get dark.

The area rug was too traditional for my liking so it was donated and in it’s place I had a faux sisal wall to wall rug cut and bound to size. This is the perfect thing to do when you need a specific size or a very large area rug. It has held up nicely and it hides sand very well.

I just removed the swag drapery treatments as I think the view speaks for itself and privacy isn’t an issue,  and with the large roof overhand that is typical of log buildings, we didn’t need them for sun protection. Simpler and more light, both big pluses in my book.

The clock and console table were actually not left by the previous owner so that was an easy one. I would have removed both of them regardless as there was far too much furniture in the space, in my opinion.

The coffee and end tables had glass inserts and were very high for some reason. They have been relocated in the cottage and I purchased one end table and coffee table from Urban Barn (when I was lucky enough to win a gift card from them). They are made from repurposed wood and I love the rustic feel and look of them, though they do strike a bit of a challenge when placing your drink on them (watch out for the uneven surface).

The other end table was replaced by my grandfather’s travel trunk from the early 1900’s. I just had a piece of glass cut to fit the top and it has been the perfect thing.

Photo credit: Melissa Kew Photography

And on the other side of the room.

We upgraded the wood pellet stove for a wood burning insert and that has been well worth the change both aesthetically and financially, as it has lowered our heating bills substantially in the winter.

The two pink swivel chairs were functionally perfect for the space, especially since I added a tv right behind them, so now you can swivel to watch the fire or the tv. However, their fabric was threadbare and since pink wasn’t my favourite colour for this room, I had them reupholstered in an exterior fabric that will hold up to use and abuse. I also had them raised a few inches as they were very low to the ground.

Photo credit: Melissa Kew Photography

The window seats were completely redone, with new foam and durable fabric. The pillows are a combination of ones I have made, knitted or picked up at various shops.

Of course, I added my own decor items, like the large clock above the mantel (I’ve actually switched out this clock for an even larger metal industrial style one, since this picture was taken), some antique books and candles on the mantel itself.  You can’t quite see them in these pictures, but to help my budget, I used images from a great desk calendar and put them in inexpensive frames. They are stacked to give them a bit more presence on the wall.

The floor lamp by the way, was an old gold plated one with a rather small pleated shade. I spray painted it in black and pick up a larger drum shade and it is like a whole new light.

Photo credit: Melissa Kew Photography

The cute little turquoise cabinet was a hand me down gift from a neighbour, it was orginally in a dark brown wood finish, so I decided to paint it a fun colour for the corner. The swing chair lives right here in the winter and in the summer it goes out to the back deck.

Obviously, budget wise we didn’t do this all at once, but it was pretty much the first room I tackled since it is one of the most used. I had a plan and as cash became available I just kept going down my list. That is really the key…to have a plan. I know you may find things as you go along, and they made fit into the plan but you really need to have a pretty good idea of where you are heading. That will also help you to avoid getting off track by spending more money then is necessary.

Published and made the cover!


I have some very exciting news over here for my small business.

I was published in Ottawa at Home’s summer edition. And not just that but my log cottage’s front porch made the cover!

If you are in Ottawa you can pick it up at Farm Boy, Bridgehead Coffee, Tagalong Toys, Tamarack Model Homes, Chapters, etc… and also apparently it is in the Globe and Mail as an insert.

There should be an online version out soon and when it is, I’ll update this page so you can read it online.

Exciting news


modern cottage kitchen

Photo credit: Melissa Kew Photography

This kitchen will soon be featured along with the rest of my log home cottage in a local magazine. I’m so excited. Once it’s published and available I’ll let you all know.

And did you know that it was an award winner? Click here or on the picture below to see the DDA video showcasing it.

2017 Silver award Kitchens DDA


Catching up….

So how is everyone? I’m great. I’ve had a ridiculous crazy end of summer, early fall, but it’s all good. I thought it’d be a good time to catch up with everyone and share all my news.

So first up, my daughter got married a few weekends ago at our cottage. And for those of you that follow me, you may remember my son, also got married at the cottage, the same weekend, last year.  Crazy two home grown weddings in one year…and yes, I’m still recovering. So pretty much for the months of August and September, we were busy getting the place wedding ready, which entailed having the exterior window frames painted, the beach roto-tillered within an inch of it’s life, roof repairs and of course, the never ending job of keeping critters from ripping up our lawn, for the oh so tasty grubs (we kind of failed on this point, but I’ll get to that later). We also were having a new furnace and air exchanger (which also acts as an air conditioner) installed the week before the wedding. So needless to say, I was a little stressed out about it all, until it was finally installed and working the Tuesday before the wedding….phew!

My daughter and son-in-law had decided on late fall, so that it would be nice and cool for them….well, not exactly how it turned out. We had our heat wave in mid to late September this year, so our cool fall wedding turned into a blazing hot 40 celsius summer wedding. So obviously, we cancelled the propane tent heaters we had ordered.  But at least it wasn’t raining and the a/c was working!!!

Here’s a few candid shots from the day.

wedding ready beach

wedding flowers

Bride and groom


It was a spectacularly great day and since one of my son-in-law’s groomsmen, is a master of fireworks, we had a spectacular show once it got dark. You can check my Instagram video to see them. And you can’t even see the totally ripped up grass, courtesy of the family of raccoons that were being well fed with grubs….sigh…. Oh well, nothing is perfect.

So obviously the wedding kept me busy and just a few days before the wedding, the cottage was photographed for a design magazine. This was sooooooo exciting for me, of course, but it’s an incredible amount of work to try and get everything ready and picture perfect. So all the things I had put off and hadn’t finished, now needed to be done yesterday.  So there was alot of measuring, sourcing, purchasing, picking up, transporting of items, and of course, cleaning, lots and lots of cleaning. Here’s a few shots I took of the cottage prior to the photographer arriving.

Beach chairs

Conversation area on the deck with propane fire pit and

cottage dining room

cottage floral arrangement

cottage front porch

I’ll be sure and let you know when the issue comes out, but don’t hold your breath, it’s going to be awhile, as that is just the way it is, in the design magazine industry.

In between these two things, I’ve been working on completing a cottage reno and starting two bathroom renos. One bath is in full mode now, hopefully done in a week or two, and the other should start in the next few weeks. Here’s a little sneak peek of where the first one is heading, design-wise.

Bathroom tile selection, white and bright

Just realized the adhesive is showing on the top tile…opps. And the little squares are paint options for the clients to view. Once I have proper photos, I’ll let you know which paint colour was chosen.

And just yesterday, I was absolutely stunned to find out that I was nominated as one of the top 100 influencers in Interior Design for 2018. So if you have a minute and feel that I’ve somehow influenced your design style, I’d love your vote. Just click here or on the picture below and you’ll go directly to my name on the list.  Voting is open until Oct 10 and you can vote daily.  And just for that, I’m sending you a big hug and thank you!

Design Hounds Top 100 Influencers Nominee


So that’s all my news, sorry for such a long post, but I had a lot to cover. Have a fabulous weekend and to all my fellow Canadians, Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your turkey day!


Quick cottage refresh and award winning kitchens

How is your Spring going? Lots and lots of rain here, really hoping that our late spring/summer improves soon. We’ve been busy recovering from the flood at our cottage and celebrating our daughter’s upcoming wedding by having her bridal shower this past weekend. It was a lot of fun and I’ll be sharing some pictures of that later this week or early next week.

fresh and bright country cottage shelf detail Photography credit: Melissa Kew Photography


Today, I actually have a few links to share. CDECA (The Canadian Decorators’ Association) just published their post on the 6 award winning kitchens for 2017. I’m happy to be included in this amazing group of designers/decorators. Click on the picture above to see all the winning kitchens.

And if you are looking for a few tips on how to do a quick cottage spring refresh, check out the article that I contributed to in the online magazine, More.

Happy Wednesday and here’s to some more sun!