Before and After

Before and After

Before-and-After is the design game that recalls kindergarten’s much loved Show-and-Tell time.  When the design components are custom made, there are progress photos in between too.  Take T___’s Breakfast Room:

IMG_2003It is a small area at the window end of a galley kitchen with double doors opening into the dining room.  T is downsizing into a lovely new-build condominium.  With too many dining chairs to sit at the table, two of them are set into the breakfast room as our starting point.


The mood came from her two delightful metal folk-art chickens. I recalled a sophisticated and witty linen print from Pierre Frey and we were off!

The large fabric samples that hang from bars in fabric showrooms are called “wings”  so the sample of fabric that I borrowed to test was dubbed the “chicken wing”.  It was folded every way possible to choose the best folds for a roman shade.

IMG_2509IMG_2546The matching plain linen made slip covers.

Muslim, fitted like a dress, provided the patterns.  They were stitched with box pleats, bands around the edge of the back and zippers.  Here the hems are pinned before hand stitching.

IMG_2553For the breakfast table we matched the mahogany buffet that found its place on the left wall facing the dining room, as seen below.

A 32″ diameter table was the best size for the room. It was made from scratch in the woodshop, turned and stained and finished with many many layers of lacquer to service daily use.


Metal folk art chickens admire the new view.

IMG_2560The new Hazelton showroom provides a few quick before and after shots:IMG_1791
IMG_2592Tan walls are repainted with Farrow&Ball Strong White.  The dark victorian coal burning fireplace that hasn’t worked for years is covered with a mock-up mantle embellished with simple Hafele corbels. Fireplace surround is sponged to blend with floor.

The mirror collection’s angular metal frames are shaped to clasp classic friezes.  As ever, the finish is extremely important and difficult to achieve.
2014-07-08 11.33.22My first attempt at a finish for the Grand Entrance Mirror was not perfect.  The leafy feet appeared to be sticking out.

I lightened the metal frame with mottles of silvery champagne and darkened the leafy parts.  Antique colour washes did not work on the leaves. They were best painted cleanly.  A careful combination of F&B colours produced the shade.

The result is a happier blend of antiqued mirror, metal and carving that fits easily into any mix. A generous 54″ by 86″ it performs miracles in opening up a space.  Originally conceived for an entry hall, it is currently adding width to the seating area. $1275 plus delivery.IMG_2769



Hypnos, God of Dreaming, after six layers with sanding between, has gone from frosted black to polished plaster white. $275IMG_2796

for more details call 416 921 1043
– Lois Macaulay