Interior designers Victoria Armour and Natalie Owens of Halifax-based Stil James were thrilled when they lucked on a project in Fall River, Nova Scotia. No, it wasn’t the natural splendour of the lakeside community that excited them — though working in that setting helped. It was the client’s gumption: “They gave us the go ahead to go bold and inject colour,” says Natalie of the 5,000-square-foot house that had not been renovated since the 1990s. The Martime crowd “is quite conservative when it comes to colour palette and aesthetic,” says Natalie, but these homeowners were up for anything. And so the designers chose a city vibe, layering in strong hues such as deep mustard and rust orange and installing a walnut kitchen, which was the homeowners’ request. Here’s how this house went from vanilla to va-va-voom. Bonus: check out the video of this bold space.
“Their goal was to create a retreat to host their blended family that consists of eight children and grandkids plus friends,” says designer Natalie Owens of Stil James. That’s why each bedroom, such as the homeowners’ primary suite, is beautifully appointed. The stunning shipshape bedroom feels exactly like a hotel retreat. Keep scrolling for the details …
“We wanted to inject personality but have it feel liveable,” says designer Victoria Armour. “To create that luxurious, modern aspect we did a slatted wall.” The warm wood tones and textural punch are stunning against the rich, jewel tones in the pillows. There’s also a lovely seating area behind that wall.
When Lighting Strikes
Suspended from sculptural brass arms, the orbs above the nightstands softly glow creating a romantic ambience. “We didn’t want the lighting to get lost within the slats,” says Victoria. “So we did a flush-mount ceiling light from Visual Comfort.”
This Vanity Rocks
A bold brass sconce is a warm counterpoint to the eye-catching quartzite vanity and organic wavy mirrors. “We took the clients to choose their own stone,” says Victoria. “He fishes and he said the rocks and purple tones reminded him of a riverbed.”
Bathing in Bubbles
A playful bubble chandelier hangs out over the freestanding tub. The homeowners can fill the tub with sudsy bubbles while soaking in the stunning views, then towel off on the heated towel bar. Luxury!
Arched windows are not only on-trend, they also capture the sublime views. “The home is on a beautiful lot with a dock at the base of it,” says Victoria. They loved the location and the potential they saw in the home, she says.
All About the Curve
A lime-plaster shower wall lends intrigue in the ensuite bathroom because it feels so unexpected. Its organic shape riffs off the arches throughout the project. “The angled wall was tricky!” says Victoria.
In the Clouds
When your ceiling is wallpapered in puffy clouds, cloudy days (and nights) don’t seem that bad. We love this celestial treatment in this guest room. The creamy boucle bed is so inviting, while the Hale Navy Benjamin Moore wall below it offers striking contrast. “We decided every room would have its own personality,” says Natalie. After all, the clients “were unafraid of colour and pattern and embraced the eclectic mix of textiles.”
Dark paint dramatically frames the window. (How boring would this wall be in white?) “The desk is an antique we picked up locally,” says Natalie. “That emulates the traditional side of the house.” The designer paired it with a modern chair from HomeSense. The rug is from Loloi.
In this contemporary bedroom, the swanky merlot-toned bed from Huppé feels decidedly metropolitan. Ditto the faceted cubed night table. The distinctive and fun rabbit lamps, meanwhile, are from Wayfair. The homeowners had seen them on their travels through Europe and tasked the designers to find replicas. Challenge met!
This guest room also has a gym in front of it (that you can’t see). The designers used a lilac stripe to visually demarcate it from the bedroom. In the corner, a violet-marble cubed table and sculptural chair has slick city-cool vibes.
Mustard is a Marvel
This bedside vignette is the definition of darling. We love the petite side table with its pretty little things, and the allure of that velvet-mustard bed and coordinating pillow action. Spicy!
Room With a View
“We wallpapered the entire room, so you see it from the outside,” says Natalie of the botanical Kravet paper by Cole & Son that creates a cozy, cocooning feel. The designer says figuring out where to put the bed was challenging because of the quirky octagonal-shaped space.
Every detail in this guest room sings, from the weighty custom curtains held into place by the brass Grecian Anthropologie tiebacks to the incredible mustard-velvet platform bed.
Only good things can come from putting a fireplace at the foot of a bed — though you might never want to get out of bed. “The surround is a 36-by-72-inch Pisa Gold porcelain tile from Dominion Tile in Moncton,” says Victoria. “It looks like one big slab but it’s actually three slabs.” (Hint: This route is less expensive, but just as impactful. That streaky caramel-coloured veining is gorgeous!)
Brass & Walnut
White would have been safest in the kitchen, but these clients went bold and insisted on a brown kitchen— and it paid off. The walnut cabinetry lends interest and richness. Other must-haves include an industrial size five-foot-wide fridge to accommodate the large family. A coffee nook equipped with a brass pot filler, meanwhile, is both beautiful and functional.
Brass Has Sass
Here’s a close look at the waterfall island rendered in a creamy Taj Mahal quartzite, as well as the aged brass pulls from Restoration Hardware, and the gold-glam Kohler faucet. “We didn’t mix metals on this project,” says Natalie. “It’s warm and consistent throughout, so it’s brass everywhere.”
Lighting was so important in this project, and that includes the plucky pendants from Visual Comfort. “They are larger in person and make such a statement — they are stunning,” says Natalie.