Designer Laura Melling is a huge fan of high-low style. So it’s no surprise she was thrilled to take on The Morgan Project, a model home built by Vancouver’s Mosaic Homes and showcasing the Ikea Hack Series (wait till you see how Laura modified these wallet-friendly pieces!). She and her team combined their budget savvy with Scandi-style inspo or, as she says, “crisp Scandinavian standards with warm, inviting textural elements.” There’s plenty of cushy touches that cozy up to hygge and lashings of festive DIY that will have you clearing a space for a craft table .
This bright and sunny kitchen begs to be hung out in. The welcoming vibe continues with the great wall-hanging the designer added, just don’t call it macramé! It’s custom made from rope by LA-based artist Cindy Zell, who hand-dyes all the threads. Textiles are also a signature of Laura’s designs. “They’re one of my favourite things and they have this wonderful ability to bring softness and tactility to any space.”
A Touch of Honey
We can practically smell this heart-warming display, featuring local provisions like apple cider, Mellifera honey and cinnamon sticks. Fresh greenery, including King Proteas and coniferous branches, add a bright winter note to this cooking space.
Laura’s eye for finishes, DIY finesse and passion for layering in natural textures are on display in the snazzy seating at the breakfast bar. “These are plain wood-tone IKEA stools that we painted white and customized with nude leather wraps around the legs for added detail,” she says. It’s an inspired treatment that’s easy to copy and, while it lends itself to pretty much any colour and material combination, feels particularly fresh and Scandi here.
A Succulent Menu
Scrumptious drinks and honey aren’t the only things on offer at the breakfast bar. “Botanicals are a key part of my design formula and I chose succulents for this space because they fit perfectly with the aesthetic and colour palette,” says Laura. “I always like to explore different vessels: sometimes clear, sometimes opaque, sometimes both!”
How simple, yet fun and festive is this? And the key to its success is simple as well. “This beautiful over-sized wreath was made with a single material: eucalyptus,” says Laura. “It’s a crisp and more modern alternative to multiple materials and expected seasonal greenery.”
Eucalyptus is a fabulous holiday choice; as well as looking festive, it smells fantastic. Its remarkable fragrance is further enhanced when it’s hung in a warm and sunny spot, like this kitchen window. We like how Laura and her team left it unadorned, keeping the natural frosty-looking green leaves the focal point.
The dining area design is remarkable in that the overall look is welcoming and calm, yet the dynamic mix of elements keeps the eye moving. The dining table features a custom white-washed ash top by Vancouver-based store Lock & Mortice. It’s paired with an IKEA base and surrounded with a combination of Hay and IKEA chairs. The statement pendant is by Matthew McCormick, a Vancouver-based lighting designer.
Warm and Fuzzy
The Scandi design influence is epitomized in Laura’s treatment of this chair. She says, “The Danish concept of hygge acknowledges a feeling or moment as cozy, charming or special. Cozy is often achieved with textures like sheepskins, as Scandinavian design has deep connections to natural materials. Bringing these materials indoors felt very appropriate here.”
Let it Be
When square footage is scarce, you need to be flexible. “In a smaller space like this one, it’s important to embrace all areas as multi-purpose,” says Laura. Here, the dining table is strewn with the supplies for making holiday decorations and hand-wrapping gifts. “It’s layered and a touch messy, but it’s a beautiful mess.”
If your Christmas tree is dressed the same way year in and year out, maybe it’s time to change things up. If so, look to your surrounding decor for inspiration – Laura did. She created a tree that felt more organic and complemented the home’s natural aesthetic. DIY alert: Wooden beads strung on waxed twine make perfect tree garlands!
“Anything handwritten always means more,” says Laura. “Calligraphy on a circular kraft paper tag is the finishing touch to carefully chosen wrapping paper, textural ribbons and touches of greenery.” She collaborated with a local calligrapher, Maurelle Calligraphy, to create these beauties.
Bag it Up
Laura’s natural approach to decor is at work here. “I often use these Apolis Market bags in my spaces, as well as for day-to-day errands. It’s a beautiful and functional piece, and can be treated as a reusable shopping or storage bag.” Here, she used it to bring in greenery for holiday crafts, but it looks good enough to be decor. Another fun idea to copy!
The Countdown is On
This is just one piece of the DIY advent calendar Laura created. “I used simple pieces like thread, white bags, wooden beads and copper wire,” she says. “This piece came together as a holiday feature for the space.” See the next slide for its overall artistic impact.
Against the Wall
We love how this DIY advent calendar is incorporated into the home’s actual decor – it’s not stuck on the fridge or sitting on a shelf, rather treated like a piece of art. “Holiday vignettes like this are filled with handmade touches and that makes them, and the space, feel both authentic and inviting,” says Laura. The furnishings amplify the feeling. The dark sofa anchors the room and contrasts the crisp white walls and soft pastel tones found in the artwork and decorative elements throughout the space.
This angle of the living area shows off the advent calendar’s bags en masse and how artistically they create a holiday focal point in the space. They also blend nicely with the existing artwork. We love the inviting appeal of the many toss cushions and the extra blankets on the ladder, which was custom-made using dowels and copper pipe. The coffee tables are re-imagined IKEA pieces. “We painted the bases and added white ash tops. It’s another example of mixing low and high pieces to create a cohesive look.”
“I love finding ways to bring in holiday elements without completely transforming a space,” says Laura. This five-foot tree was the perfect solution. It has a smaller footprint and doesn’t intrude too much into the living space.
All The Trimmings
The ornaments are mix of IKEA and DIY. “One of my favourites is the wooden ring wrapped with a leather tassel. I love the combination of natural materials and pastel colours in such a simple object,” says the designer. We like how the subtle blush tones of the paper ornaments complement the cushions and pastel pops throughout the room.
How great is this DIY ornament? And it’s easy to replicate at home! Laura took wooden balls from her local craft shop and dipped them in paint for a modern and natural take on traditional Christmas ornaments.
That’s a Wrap
Are these almost too nice to unwrap? “We used a combination of IKEA wrapping paper and kraft paper for the presents,” says Laura. “We added various ribbons and strings in neutrals to complement the wrapping and finishing touches of sprigs of juniper, cedar and pine. Bringing the outdoors inside is always a good idea.”
Laura (left) has a devoted team of collaborators. Here, she finishes the picture-perfect tree with botanical consultant Lauren Sabo. If this gorgeously adorned home doesn’t give you all the holiday feels, we’re not sure which space will!
HGTV your inbox.