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Design Cannot Happen On A Dime!

The request for help arrived in my inbox at 9am. “I’m not sure which of the two slipcovers you suggested I should order online”.

I’m leery of placing online orders, particularly for fabrics, as every monitors’ representation of colour and texture will undoubtedly be skewed. I had done my professional due diligence and had gone in person, the day before, with existing room inspiration fabric swatches and wall colour selections to investigate and choose the best option(s) for the slipcover. With a bit of discussion between Pottery Barn sales staff and myself (right hand and left hand were not quite connected), I eventually departed, satisfied that I had two choices of appropriate slipcover fabric swatches in hand.

I relayed the information to my client, knowing she was going to proceed with the ordering. My job was done, or so I thought.

Upon reading the email cry for help, I was curious where the concern and confusion was. After what I thought would be a quick online search, I became aware that the two swatches I had acquired, were not exactly those reflected online. Hmmmmmm. I dug deeper into the website fabric selection page which was not terribly user friendly as I had to delete previous comparison searches, in order to continue. Eventually, a box popped up on the left to start a PB online furniture expert chat. Excellent… an expert who will answer my question. With the PB slipcover fabric selection page open, I proceeded with my chat …. not once, but 5 times. Each time I scrolled the PB page to get exact information required, the chat would disappear so I decided to minimize the next chat, and it too vanished from my screen. The last chat expert suggested I call the toll free PB number to speak to a design expert. Surely a new expert could walk me through this confusion or at the very least, recommend which slipcover fabric I should suggest my client order. Cutting to the chase, I eventually did receive the help I requested and relayed it back to my client at 1pm.

There is no moral to this story. Instead, there is insight to be imparted. When a client hires a designer/decorator, the client remunerates for our knowledge and service, for our dedication and professionalism…and most certainly for our time. Two to three hrs were spent communicating back and forth with my client, navigating the online search, chatting online with experts and finally speaking with an expert. These are billable hours. I could tell you that the minutes that turned into hours spent problem solving this issue were an anomaly…. unfortunately, they are not. None of the time spent resolving this issue was expected or predicted. I could not stop the clock for what seemed like a ridiculous amount of non-design time incurred. The fact is, there was a hiccup in the procedure, and being a professional dictates that a certain amount of time is invested in a satisfactory resolution. I could easily have made a quick, uninformed decision, but I’m not in the business of crossing my fingers and hoping for the best outcome. My business name is associated with all my professional work and ALL of my business endeavours require, knowledge, service, dedication, professionalism and time.

I will not invest my business or my client’s time on shortcuts. Design cannot happen on a dime!




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Modecor, Gestation, Birth and New Beginnings

Today I realized that I have been living in NYC for exactly 35 weeks, almost 9 months…..very nearly the amount of time it takes to grow a baby.

Although I have been immersed with living in Manhattan and have written a few posts under the category ‘Canuck In NYC’, I have not been idle with my business Modecor Inspired Interiors. While I have been living in NYC, I have also been nurturing our condo ‘baby’…. gestation is almost complete.  The many backs and forths to Ottawa lately have been very fruitful, but somewhat tiring. We moved all of our stored ‘junk’ from the cottage to the condo last Monday….


…..and I unpacked ….


….. and in order to decrease the number of boxes strategically lined up in the library, I unpacked dozens and dozens of books and loaded them on the shelves, which now desperately need major editing, pruning and styling ….


….but instead, I couldn’t resist adding our Moroccan area rug and our 30 year old antique-brass floor lamp and (aided by a friend) our new leather lounger to the library.  And with that task completed, I came back to NYC.

I have been fortunate to work on a few smaller Ottawa and Toronto design jobs while living here in NYC. I don’t have an office, in fact I don’t have a desk, my desktop computer or any of my valuable office resources in NYC, making it difficult, but not impossible to consult.  About 2 years ago, our Toronto friends Steve and Kelley were in the very beginning stages of contemplating a kitchen renovation.

kelley kitchen

This 30 year old, extremely hardworking kitchen is not just getting a makeover, but a complete gut job. Kelley has not only provided culinary nourishment for her own family, but 40 daycare munchkins have sat in this kitchen and at this table for the past 25 years. Kelley is retiring next month and next week, a new kitchen will begin to emerge. I was thrilled to put pen to paper after getting these photos and kitchen dimensions, and do a super quick floor plan.


Kelley and Steve wanted a drawing to outline where potential new and improved storage and counter space could be achieved. I obliged by spending an hour on this very rudimentary, to scale drawing.

While I have been in NYC, Kelley and I have corresponded about every option available to complete the new kitchen within their budget and timeline. Of course Kelley and Steve have done most of the leg work themselves, with long distance consultations and approvals going back and forth between us the entire time I have been living in NYC. They have hired a kitchen cabinet company and my original sketchy sketch has been tweaked and improved and a new floor plan provided. All possible questions and concerns have been addressed in order to provide Kelley and Steve the kitchen of their dreams. I highly approve 100% the direction the cabinet maker and general contractor are heading.

Right now, Kelley and I are discussing colour schemes, furniture placement, artwork and accessories for the adjoining living and dining rooms that will coordinate with the finishes in the kitchen.


I was able to visit Kelley a few weeks ago. she had done her homework. Her dining table was covered in paint chips, fabric swatches, and kitchen finishes samples. Kelley LOVES blue! Kelley shall have blue in her new kitchen and throughout the main floor. The new colour palette is a huge deviation from their existing, and perhaps dated palette, but after 25 years and uber patience, it is time to move forward with a fresh scheme. It is time to depart from the functionally challenging kitchen. It is time for Kelley’s retirement and the beginning of a new life for Steve and Kelley.



In other news, I will be heading back to Ottawa for the summer. Our new condo will provide the Ottawa home we need when going back and forth from NYC to Ottawa. We are very excited to be making this transition. And speaking of transitions,  gestation and growing babies, our grandson, Jaxson will have a brand new baby sister due to arrive August 1st. The very bestest and most important reason for me to get back to Ottawa.











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The Genesis of a Condo…Choosing Finishes

The foundation for the condo had barely been carved out before the condo buyers were requested to choose their finishes. Typically, the finishes you choose will be the backdrop or canvas for the other elements in the room. Finishes are long term and not easily replaced in short order, so choosing wisely at the get go is highly recommended.  Although I love grey and black and cool metals in contemporary spaces, for our homes, I have mostly gravitated toward warm decorative palettes. As I have mentioned before, I rarely pursue design trends, preferring instead to analyze lifestyle, style preferences and existing decorative elements. With this in mind I made my way to the sales office and to the wall of offered finishes to make my choices. When choosing finishes from a builder, often there must be compromises as the builder typically offers affordable standard finishes and more expensive upgrade finishes. Cathedral Hill is targeting a Leed Platinum rating, which means all the finishes, in fact, every single element involved in the construction of the building must adhere to the strict Leed Platinum guidelines in order to achieve that esteemed designation. There were essentially no deviations or upgrades for these initial finishes.


Cathedral Hill offered four boards of choices for finishes, each board including the floor, quartz kitchen countertop and marble backsplash, bathroom vanity, corian countertop and porcelain wall and floor tiles. With new builds or renovations, I typically choose the flooring first as it usually yields the most real estate in any space, and can be the largest determinant of style, future finishes and colours. As mentioned, I wanted warm finishes and from the selections above, my package choice became very simple. Top left (or second left below) was the only direction I could possibly entertain for our space. Our flooring is not meant in any way to be a focal point, but is defined as the canvas where existing architectural elements, our view, furniture and area rugs, etc will become the focus. The med brown, engineered hardwood flooring was the perfect option from these four choices.


With a bit of whining, I was able to choose an alternate backsplash tile beyond the package option. I did not want what every other unit was going to have as a backsplash….traditional tumbled marble in small geometric shapes that would have a lot of grout. I wanted white and textural, large tiles with less grout, and with permission, I chose the tile below.


The next major element I needed to choose was our kitchen cabinetry style and finish. There were very few upgrade selections for cabinetry, but I did fall in love with this gorgeous cherry flat panel cabinetry upgrade. This was a MAJOR design element decision. The kitchen cabinets take up almost 12 linear feet of uppers and lowers on one wall and the 10′ island across from this wall, plus our pantry doors. I loved this cherry so much that I had custom bookshelves made for the library and wall paneling for the fireplace wall. Although there is no grout around the tile in this photo, I am so happy I stuck to my guns, whined and was able to upgrade to this backsplash tile. It’s clean, white, textural and contemporary. I also upgraded the hardware as the standard choices offered mostly cool finishes. I’m not 100% certain that I favour this hardware, but I had to opt from a few select suppliers who also offered matching hardware for our integrated appliances.


Below is the Windmill Development sales office model bathroom. Although our two bathrooms do not have windows, and the floor plans, lighting, mirror accessories are different, these are the finishes that correspond to the board of finishes I have chosen. I was able to switch the finishes a bit for the main bath, which has a darker vanity and tile.


In order to make our bathrooms different than the others in the building, I upgraded to sleek hardware, in brushed textured nickel for the master bath and a combo of espresso leather and chrome for the main bath, shown below. The bathroom walls were not permitted to be painted as all the bathrooms in the building have tiled floors and walls, without exception. Artwork, lighting, mirrors and towels and a few accessories will have to work their decorative magic in these bathrooms.

PicMonkey Collage

With the finishes chosen over a year ago, it was time to move onto furniture selections, some of which I have been designing in my head for two years.  The designs have been committed to paper and are now in production.

Next on The Genesis of a Condo… Furniture …. Existing, New and Found.




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The Genesis of a Condo… The Seed

There is a lovely plot of land in Ottawa, and Anglican Church services have been held there since 1833. Where there was once a 50 x 30′ rudimentary church structure, there is now the gracious English Gothic stone house of worship,  Christ Church Cathedral. This designated Ontario heritage property sits on the bluffs at the edge of the Ottawa River.Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 10.50.06 AMOver time, land was purchased from the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa by Windmill Developments  and in 2012, construction work began on Cathedral Hill, our new home.

We bought our unit on spec in Sept 2011. The location of the proposed condo and the fact that the developer, architect and builder were striving for LEED Platinum certification, was extrememly appealing to us, but I knew I was going to be super anal about the floor plan. I inspected all of them, knowing immediately which ones were not suitable for us. I narrowed down our choice to one floor plan and one floor plan only…The Grande Portage.  I made a refundable deposit on two units, finally receiving notice that the unit on the 15th floor could be ours.

Yes, we wanted that unit, but not without making a few significant floor plan changes in order to enhance OUR vision of OUR perfect condo space and without breaking the bank.

Below, the original Grande Portage floor plan.

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…and my structural and custom change requests noted in red, on the floor plan below.

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1. With the removal of the sliding doors, the rinky dinky ‘den’ is going to become a larger entrance with a library wall and gallery wall…super sexy and functional with huge entrance impact.

2. The kitchen island is extended to 10′, the cooktop is now positioned on the island, the sink has been moved down the counter, the island cabinetry is almost flush with the counter width at the opening of the kitchen, and there is only room for 4 counter stools at the other end of the counter, which is where we will have most of our meals.

3. A 9’W, floor to ceiling cherry panelled fireplace wall is centred on the long wall with a contemporary 7′ electric fireplace recessed into the panelled wall.

4. Because I have a huge pet peeve about traffic flow and ease of movement, I have switched the position of the LR /DR. The bigger space closer to the kitchen is now for seating and the smaller space at the end is for less often used dining. I did this for several reasons, not least of which was that we will have full vantage of the fireplace and the view when seated or dining.

5.  There are now only two, instead of three bathrooms to clean…yeeehaw!….and we now have a proper laundry ROOM instead of a laundry closet. I air dry most of our clothing and will be using this room for that purpose.

6. I now have for the first time in my life…a WALK-IN CLOSET. I’m so so so excited, that I actually bought a girly-blingy pendant light fixture to hang in there.

….all of my structural requests as seen on a quick drawing by the architect.


….and finally, looking the worse for wear, my copy of the floor plan showing my structural changes. Over time, there were other changes, made by the builder, mostly to the configuration of the Master Bath, that actually worked in my favour.


Once I had the final floor plan, I was able to translate the measurements to scale and map out each room, thereby creating furniture layouts.

This takes some time, as I’m old school and do mine by hand. The scribbling and writing notes are visual cues for me to remember to add or take things away.


This seed has taken 3.5 years  to grow, from the moment we bought our unit, until we took possession one month ago. During that 3.5 years, we have only been on site ONCE, a year ago, when the condo was a 21 story shell of itself. I cannot tell you how difficult it was for me, a designer, with a personal vested interest, not be on site on a regular basis to oversee  observe the progress being made at regular intervals. GRRRRRR…

However, we were able to drive by often, until we moved to NYC in Sept, and take exterior progress photos. I have made a video, but am having no luck uploading to my blog, so this collage will have to suffice. Enjoy….


Next Chapter in Genesis of a Condo…The Finishes




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It’s a ZOO Out There!!!!

I have been living in NYC for almost 5 months and I have pounded the pavement almost every day in an attempt to acclimatize myself to the Big Apple. Manhattan, an island, is approximately 3 miles wide and 13 miles long. The Streets, like 42nd St run east /west. The short distance between streets takes about 1 min to walk. The Avenues, such as Fifth Ave run north /south and are a 1.5 min hike.  It is said to be possible to walk the north/ south intersections of midtown Manhattan… for example, 59th St down to 14th St, in about 45 min…if there are no interruptions.


Manhattan is not large, but it is VAST!


I have learned a few simple, but extremely valuable lessons on why and how one should actually put one foot in front of the other and navigate the sidewalks of this magnificent metropolis.

1. Traversing on foot through Manhattan can be extremely fulfilling. You will witness something new on every venture.

2. You can literally bump into a cross section of the world’s various nationalities while strolling in Manhattan.

3. It is wise and healthy to walk. Since there are few grocery stores, certainly in midtown Manhattan, dining and imbibing in neighbourhood restaurants on a regular basis is de rigueur and also weight gaining. Walking not only encourages cardio health it helps to maintain weight health.

4. Walking allows you to connect with the very unique neighbourhood pockets, the very essence of NYC, which would otherwise be missed with other modes of transportation.

5. Getting from A to B can often be time sensitive, so adopting a RHYTHM to your stride is essential.


Walking south on 5th Avenue at 3:15 pm.


6. BUT,  it has become abundantly clear to me that said rhythm is easily interrupted on the sidewalks of Manhattan due to:

  • construction and scaffolding which is abundant and extremely detrimental to your walking stride
  • tourists…since I don’t view myself as one a any longer, I’ve concluded that tourists need their own walking lane…. just saying
  • large bags and umbrellas are a huge interference
  • strollers and munchkins….in fact families and groups of friends that amble en masse….get a move on please!
  • all tour ticket sellers …they seem to be on every single corner … if you are seeking a NYC bus tour, or want to go to the top of  The Empire State Building, fear not, you will inevitably come face to face with tour ticket sellers.
  • the endless cell phone walker/talker…. They are so attuned to their own walking/talking rhythm, they fail to recognize the true and productive NYC stride
  • traffic lights at intersections… this is huge. If you catch one red light while walking a straight course, you will likely run into several more and your walking rhythm will be off kilter and several minutes will be added to your trip. My best advice for this is to change your stride and whip into a store for a quick browse
  • Christmas/Holiday Season do not attempt walking….in fact stay away…stay far away from midtown Manhattan, from at least the second week of December until the first week of January.


7. Due to the aforementioned, a certain amount of dodging, sidestepping, weaving in and out and lane passing is inevitable, thus interrupting the rhythm

8. Traffic lights are intended to…..well, I’m not actually certain of their purpose, but I now know that when in Rome ….. pedestrians can cross against a red light but only if traffic is halted. Everyone else does it.

9. If your destination is several blocks north or south AND east or west, I encourage you to zig zag your way to your destination, thereby hopefully avoiding red lights for the most part.

10. There is an inordinate amount horn honking. I used to stop in my tracks, fearing I was the reason for the outburst. Being an almost 5 months in, seasoned NYC walker, I now chuckle at the absurdity of the continual horn honking cacophony.


Manhattan traffic…. on a Sunday afternoon


11. Comfy shoes or boots are a must when pounding the pavement in NYC.

12. Remember that the destination is as equally important as your mode of delivery. Do stop and have a cup of coffee in the numerous cafes, a glass of wine in one of the fabulous bars, or a surprise lunch in a quaint bistro. You will overlook that it is a Zoo out there.

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JUNO: The NYC Blizzard That Wasn’t

Finally, snow in NYC. I was anxious to capture with my iPhone, from the 28th floor, the white stuff falling, with majestic midtown south and The Empire State Building as the backdrop. Last Friday and Saturday it looked like another #CanuckInNYC top wish list item was going to materialize. Mike, who was scheduled to be in Washington this Tuesday,  today in fact, was keeping a close eye on the weather forecast. We Canadians are faithful weather watchers. In Ottawa, we experience weather extremes, so being apprised of the current and forecast weather is paramount to achieve the best clothing comfort. Looking out the window and seeing brilliant sunshine is not going to cut it. We can have brilliant sunshine in -28C or +28C temperatures, but our footwear and outerwear will be greatly affected by those temperatures which include wind chill, as well as humidity.

A storm, a BIG storm was heading to the New England States on Monday. Mike’s travel plans quickly changed on Sunday from leaving via air on Tuesday morning to leaving via train late Monday afternoon. A friend, scheduled to travel to NYC from Texas on Monday, reported his flight cancellation late Sunday afternoon. In fact all flights were to be cancelled. However, nary a flake was in sight. I was going to order groceries to be delivered on Tuesday or Wednesday, but decided to have them delivered Monday morning. The meteorological storm tracking maps indicated that NYC would likely be deluged with up to 3 feet of snow…a NYC record. Setting weather records is huge, especially for CNN.

I woke yesterday morning to this view.


By mid-morning, the ‘mega storm’, ‘snowpocalypse’, ‘snowmageddon’ had an official storm name,  JUNO. We were being advised to stock up on necessary supplies…food, water, drink! I was thankful my groceries arrived early in the morning as requested.


As the day progressed, I felt it my duty to keep my FB and IG friends informed of the impending peril. The forecasted blizzard was going to be a doozy!


Early afternoon looking east from W48th at the intersection of 5th Ave. Scant snowfall is seeen on rooftops, and traffic is still proceeding, but perhaps at a reduced pace. It is announced that schools will be closed Tuesday. There has been an onslaught of advice from every network for New Yorkers to make their way home sooner than later as there will be an enforced transportation ban on all streets later in the evening and public transit will be shutdown.


The Empire State Build, my nightly beacon, is gradually fading due to increasing precipitation. We are told that the ‘massive snowfall’ is due to occur overnight. We should be prepared for wide spread power outages. Hundreds of thousands of us could be without power … for several days. YIKES.  I live on the 28th floor . No power=no elevator. Plan B is quickly formed…If I’m stuck up here, I can still work on my floor plans and knit during daylight hours. I have 7 battery operated candles, lots of food, but I should get more water, peanuts, a chocolate bar and S&V chips … just in case.


Late afternoon I got requests for more photos. I had not noticed that my beacon had disappeared. I could barely tear myself away from CNN and the other networks…the updates from Mayor de Blasio (I like him), Governor Cuomo and city workers were mesmerizing. Juno was going to be MASSIVE, MEGA, UNPRECEDENTED, RECORD BREAKING. We were encouraged to not be fooled by the lack of snow, the winds were picking up, some areas beyond city limits were experiencing whiteouts. Get yourselves home before the enforced vehicle ban. Only emergency crews and some reporters would be allowed on the roads.  Snow cleanup will be expedited and normalcy will return if roads  and crews are not hindered.


By 9pm my beacon is lit and no longer hidden. Phew. I needed a break from the repetitive news reports. I turned off the networks and watched Downton Abbey for a few hours. It became apparent to me when I switched back to the networks for a brief blizzard update, that Juno was NOT going to whop Manhattan, in fact the city had been spared that particular wrath of Momma Nature. Instead of up to 30″, we would see an accumulation of 6 or 7″.  A new snowfall  record would have to wait. But what I noticed was the storm sensationalism was still very much intact. There was palpable, yet disguised disappointment that the headline for tomorrow was not going to be that Juno brought record breaking snow to NYC. Instead of reporting the newest and most updated weather forecast with the same fervour previously used, the sensationalism was transferred to the fact that the streets of NYC were basically barren….almost never seen before. It was comical how the CNN reporters who had played such a role in Juno  blizzard hype, were now back peddling to keep the story, albeit a different, yet connected story, from dying too swiftly.


Early this morning after Juno. Snow covered, empty streets. I may never have another opportunity to be present when the invariable cacophony of NYC does not exist.


I’m actually not certain how much white stuff made it’s way to NYC yesterday. It was certainly a minuscule amount compared to the forecast amount. Today, I’ve seen relief and disappointment and a touch of outrage that the predicted amount of snowfall was subpar. From my perspective, the meteorologists did their job with 100% honesty and integrity. They analyzed the data collected. I have no idea how they do that. They are smart people, they are experts….they are not infallible. Since Saturday, the data has been continually updated and presented to other intelligent people who then decided how to react to the data. Given the facts, I completely agree with the measures taken by the Mayor and Governor. Far better to prepare for the worst scenario, than have no preparedness plan in effect. How did the experts get is so wrong?  They didn’t. Facts are not perennial. The wind changed and NYC was spared the brunt of Juno’s wrath. However, up to 30 miles to the east of NYC, Juno has made her presence known. It is yet to be determined if a record has been set.

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Canuck In NYC

Jan 13th already. I’ve been living in NYC since Sept 26th…. almost 16 weeks, more than 1/4 of a year. I described how my NYC adventure came about in this post Will There Be More Grey Hair back in August. I now have a ton of fun #CanuckInNYC stuff to tell you, which you might be interested in if you have never been to Manhattan, and even if you have been, or actually live here, a different perspective may be entertaining to say the least.

This is our evening view, every night, not kidding.  PINCH ME!!! IMG_2413

I feel as though I have lived a lifetime in Mighty Manhattan. I have taken several walking tours with my husband, we have visited museums, and taken many long walks in order to immerse ourselves in this truly fascinating city. I have even tackled the subway, and although I still don’t understand the different route names, I am getting quite proficient at discerning which subway line is the one for my intended direction.

It has not been terribly difficult to navigate our excursions as we live in midtown Manhattan, at 48th between 5th and 6th…..Helllooooo!!!!

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…and this is my playground most of the time. I regularly walk to Saks Fifth Ave, Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, MOMA, Times Square, Broadway, Columbus Circle, Central Park, Madison Square Garden… to name a few iconic Manhattan destinations. I’m not attempting to brag, it just happens to be the truth.

We live directly across from Rockefeller Centre which means the famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree became the focal point from our apartment entrance every day for about 5 weeks. Behold this behemoth….85ft of Norway Spruce, right in front of our apt building, prepared with scaffolding to get decked out for Christmas 2014.


Taken a nano second after the tree lighting ceremony countdown. Impossible to get a great shot on my iPhone with 45,000 LED multi coloured lights blazing and a million other tree watchers taking photos, but she sure was purty. IMG_0168

It has been cold here in Manhattan, but not nearly as cold as home, which was breath gaspingly and nose pluggingly cold at -30 the day I arrived back here after a 3.5 week Christmas Holiday in Ottawa. I have yet to see a snow storm here, not that I necessarily want to, but I would love to capture a snowy photo of our 28th floor view.

I have many Canuck In NYC stories to share…some are my observations of being a small city gal suddenly living in a monstrous city. I will also share some of our ‘touristy’ highlights. If you haven’t already, but are interested in catching a glimpse of my NYC adventures on Instagram, follow  MaureenCoates  #CanuckInNYC.

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The Eton townhouse, another Tamarack Model Home designed by Modecor and Sonya Kinkade Design flaunts the most conservative interior design of the seven model homes. Basing the overall look on an updated Craftsman Style, allowed us to incorporate rich wood, traditional dark colours and mostly linear furnishings. The Eton, like the other model homes, The Dover, The Oxford, The Madison, The Hudson and The Chelsea, has a combination of standard and upgraded finishes. The darker walnut cabinetry, walnut floors and black quartz balance well with the lighter floor tiles, cream quartz and faux brick fireplace surround. The introduction of traditional fabrics, patterns and textures compliment the overall classic style of this town house.

The Floorplan

Very little was altered in the Eton floor plan. However, we did endeavour to add fabulous details to the kitchen cabinetry, such as a built-in wine rack, mullioned glass fronts and custom range hood. The original raised island counter was eliminated in favour of a flat counter.

Eton floorplan

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The Finishes

Rich walnut in mission and shaker cabinet doors set the tone for the remaining finishes in this traditional model home.

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Fabric, Furniture and Accessories

To compliment the overall Craftsman theme of this model, we chose fabrics in rich reds and greens in updated traditional patterns. Although the kitchen dictates a mostly linear design, we introduced circular elements with the lighting in warm metal finishes and round tables with simple design and in some cases, bold red lacquer.

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The Entrance


The Kitchen, Dining and Living Space






 The Master Bedroom



 The Master Bathroom



eton collage

All Photography: Charlene Burnside Photography 

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The Chelsea, another compact yet spacious Tamarack Model Homes town house, features mostly standard finishes. If you have seen the previous models, designed by Sonya Kinkade Design and Modecor, you will notice The Dover, The OxfordThe Madison and The Hudson had a selection of standard and upgrade finishes as a jump off to creating an affordable, comfortable and unique house that buyers could appreciate. The Chelsea was designed to inform potential buyers that choosing standard finishes need not imply that a home will be boring. In fact exactly the opposite was achieved. We decided this home would be our contemporary Black and White model. By adding tons of texture, pattern, warm finishes, themed artwork, wallpaper and elements of the unexpected, we created a home that surrounds and compliments the more affordable standard finishes.

The Floorplan


The floor plan shown above is the mirror image of the actual Chelsea Model at Poole Creek. Because this was the model home chosen to have the least upgrades, very little was altered in this floor plan. The first floor fireplace however sports an upgraded floor to ceiling porcelain tile surround.  Unlike the other models, the raised counter on the kitchen island remained as did the standard fireplace surround in the finished basement.

The Finishes

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Choosing mostly standard finishes allowed us to maintain the allotted budget for the Chelsea model. Standard oak floors, laminate counters, flat panel doors, and porcelain tile were chosen for the kitchen finishes. The only upgrade in the kitchen was the glass tile backsplash.

Fabrics, Furniture and Accessories

Chelsea inspiration

 Living Room, Dining Area and Kitchen








chelsea vignette

 Powder Room Wallpaper


 Master Bedroom and Bath



 Finished Basement


chelsea vignette

 All Photography: Charlene Burnside Photography

The Eton model will be the next featured Tamarack Model Home

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The Madison

The Madison, the third single Tamarack Model Home at Poole Creek in Stittsville, is undeniably the most eclectic in it’s design. Sonya and I decided that each model home would have a designated $$$ value and a unique personality.  The smallest of the three singles, the Madison, had a $ value assigned which meant there were more standard finishes chosen. Thankfully Tamarack has a wide selection of standard finishes, but the unique and eclectic design elements woud be achieved with colour, fabric, furniture, lighting and accessory selections. We decided this home would be edgy with a blue, orange and white colour scheme. To follow along with the introduction of the model home designs by Sonya Kinkade Design and Modecor click here for a brief background, and the introductions of  The Dover and The Oxford  .


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To create more efficient traffic flow in the kitchen, we took out the peninsula with the raised counter and added an island with a flush counter. We also removed the cumbersome pantry wall dividing the kitchen and great room.  Wine cubbies, corner display cabinet and ceiling to counter glass cabinets were incorporated into our design. The island counter was dressed in solid walnut, while the perimeter counters were upgraded with quartz.



The entire process for choosing every single design and decor element for each model home began with the finishes selection. Below are the final Madison kitchen finishes. All other finishes throughout the model where chosen to coordinate with these. The Shaker white cabinets, Mirage, cream/white subway tiles and the Mirage Savanna Maple floor are standard finishes. The Snowden White Quartz and Walnut Butcher block are upgrades. We felt it was important to show potential Tamarack clients that combining mostly standard finishes with a few strategic upgrade finishes will yield a fabulous end result without breaking the bank.

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As mentioned above, The Madison was dressed in an up to date white, orange and blue palette. Pattern, texture and colour with a strong dose of natural wood and warm finishes  ensured that The Madison’s spacious and open floor plan would have comfy, family appeal. Below are the original mood boards depicting the look we were going for.





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Photography: Charlene Burnside Photography 

Designers: Sonya Kinkade Design and Modecor

Builder: Tamarack Homes 


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