Content creator Lauren Sheriff lives in the most peaceful house you can imagine. With its lush ravined backyard, the house in Ontario’s Halton region is a major upgrade from the small Toronto condo she left behind with her husband, Qais. Lauren composed her space with layers of creamy white and minimal decorating elements, and made clever tweaks to her once-basic new-build kitchen. It’s so coastal fresh you can almost smell sea air! The only thing loud in these digs? The couple’s new roommate: 13-month-old, Poppy. Keep reading to see how Lauren worked her mellow magic. Bonus: check out the video of this calm and serene space.
Welcome to Our Minimal Pad
Lauren and her husband Qais are not the first owners of their four-bedroom house in Milton, which was built in 2018 and has 2,200 square feet of space. When they bought it, the house was dark and grey. For the makeover, Lauren had a very specific style in mind: “I wanted a calm space. Really neutral. Nothing colourful or jarring.” The antidote? Lots of natural textures, gentles hues and a restrained decorating hand.
When in Doubt, Paint It
Lauren wasn’t a fan of the sightline-stealing structural columns, but they had to stay. “They’re support beams,” she says. Originally a darker colour, she painted them out white so that they blend into the rest of the house, with its soothing neutral notes.
Don’t despair a drab kitchen. Lauren didn’t like her dark cupboards, backsplash or hardware that came with the house, but the countertops were lovely. “I gave the kitchen a fresh, new look with Benjamin Moore’s White Dove paint,” she says. Lauren lashed the cabinetry in Benjamin Moore’s Swiss Coffee for contrast and the walls in the lighter White Dove. She also swapped the hardware for glam brass knobs, installed a new hood vent as well as a hexagon-tile backsplash.
Bring the Green
The greenery from plants is the one colour allowed in this neutral home. A show-offy Bird of Paradise – the peacock of plants – steals the show in a corner of the kitchen. With its sturdy stalks and structural leaves, the gigantic plant works beautifully against the blast of white.
Rattan to the Rescue
“I wanted an oversized rattan lamp fixture for the kitchen,” says Lauren of the IKEA pendant. “It looked so white and sterile before. It needed natural texture.” Woven baskets, a pale wood ladder and mirror, as well as the cutting boards further warm up the monochromatic space.
Rounding Out the Look
Round dining tables are space-savers that are ideal for intimate gatherings. Here, Lauren’s tulip table and Eiffel chairs from Wayfair create a serene breakfast spot at the end of the kitchen.
Plump and Plush
Lauren, Qais and Baby Poppy are equally pleased with the living room’s comfy sectional. The linen shade sofa is a winning tone against the jute carpet. The fabric is removable and machine washable – an important point, what with a sticky-fingered toddler and a dog roaming around.
Want to cozy up your home? Nothing’s easier than piling on the pillows. Though Lauren likes neutrals, she opted for pillows with interest: playful oversize tassels and textural materials shake up the scene.
Scents Set a Mood
Lauren likes to set the mood in her minimalistic home using scents – the aroma adds to the mellow vibe. Of course, her candle, and the mini palm leaf, gets its own rattan tray (the material is a motif throughout the house).
This DIY Faux Built-in is Winning
Ok, who is immediately copying this genius move? The extra-long console in the living room is made out of four Besta cabinets from IKEA. “It’s a faux built-in,” says Lauren. “We’re getting the real deal, but we didn’t want to spend the money just yet.”
Bare Above, Art Below
Lauren’s husband wants a TV over the console, but he’ll just have to wait (like every good husband). “It looks nice and pretty and welcoming right now,” says Lauren.
Plain, but Not Boring
Loading up the tchotchkes can make a space busy. Lauren opted for sculptural decorating pieces that look fantastic on their own or with friends – as seen on this simple set-up. Varying the heights adds drama and just looks plain better than going uniform.
Go With the Grain
Beachy driftwood is a favourite of Lauren’s because it’s such a subtle doodad. The twisted, organic form warms up the console in the couple’s living room.
A Fine Vignette
Strategic hits of black throughout the home act as grounding elements and summon drama, so that the house doesn’t feel too stark and wimpy, says Lauren. Baskets, meanwhile, make great catchalls and are warm and homey.
The stunningly subdued principal bedroom has come a long way. “The walls were grey before,” says Lauren. “The house was overall too dark.” To lighten it up and invite interesting texture, Lauren’s husband installed board and batten behind the IKEA bed. Benjamin Moore’s White Dove paint, earthy-toned textiles and on-point coastal artwork complete the look.
Casual and beauty, the bedside table in the principal bedroom follows the scheme from the rest of the house. Pampas grass, a naked bulb and an airy table keep the quiet vibe Lauren was after.
Mirror, Mirror Against the Wall
A simple leaning mirror bounces light in the couple’s bedroom. A good tip if you want to brighten a room, or make it feel larger, says Lauren, who picked up lots of decorating moves from working in her dad’s since-closed interior design store. “I’m a content creator. I mainly do fashion but home design is something I love to do as a hobby,” she says.
“I love L.A., so the inspiration really came from there,” says Lauren of the dining room, replete with signature California decor (wood, pampas and fresh white). The squared off table and bench are from West Elm, and the chairs are from Stuctube. “I added the leaning mirror to open up the space,” notes Lauren.
The Gorgeous Gallery Wall
The black-and-white gallery wall showcases family photos, including pregnancy and newborn shots, as well as the family’s Boston bulldog, Bowser. The uniform grid pattern makes for a more harmonious set-up over a haphazard arrangement.
Got a surfeit of blankets or a faux fur throw? Drape one over a bench. It’s an easy way to warm up a hard surface. Below, a rug adds a hint of pattern in the organically styled space.
Modern and Stylish
Poppy’s nursery is anything but Plain Jane, though it’s certainly on the quieter side of decorating. Wall panelling invites gentle interest. The modern crib, from Babyletto, has a simple silhouette and pale wood palette that suits the home. Layered rugs keep the room cushy underfoot. Definitely important in a nursery!
A Sliver of Garden
“I picked up the wallpaper off a small Canadian shop on Etsy,” says Lauren. “I was originally going to do the entire wall with it, but I thought it might look too busy and aggressive.” Instead, the botanical print prettifies the top of the wall. The soft, tasselled pendant is from Wayfair, and the ladder is a fun way to display blankets and clothes, says Lauren.
From the dried pink pampas grass to the rattan baskets, Poppy’s nursery is giving us major California vibes – and we’re loving it. The casual look works in every single room in the house. Spread the love throughout for a cohesive feel. “I could never unleash my style in my tiny condo before,” says Lauren.
Lauren’s all about the layered, monochromatic vignettes. On the corner of this dresser, a wood bead garland draped on a vase and a sandy-toned lamp base reinforces the home’s beachy aesthetic.