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Before and After

A Magical View along with a Before & After

By 05/08/2010February 21st, 201730 Comments

When I first arrived at this reader’s fabulous address in West Vancouver for a consultation, I though that this was her home (below):

I even went up and knocked on the door (the boxwood is about to be potted that’s why it’s a bit crooked) which as it turns out is the guesthouse!


Then I turned and realized that (of course) this was the house, down the stairs and along the walkway (wow).

You can see the winding staircase through the windows (below) which goes down 3 flights – just beautiful!


This is the living room which needed window coverings and more seating for entertaining:

This is the backyard, with grounds that look like we are in Europe somewhere, so beautiful!

You can tell both photos (above and below) were taken on separate days, one cloudy and one sunny, but below you can see more of the view!

My clients husband is an amazing pianist (and a lawyer) and they have a concert grand which work best in the kitchen dining area (for entertaining) where she had some store- bought drapes up, and it was not working very well.



Here’s the after with a Hollywood Glam X console set up as a bar and the custom faux silk (because of the full sun) drapery (the chandelier still needs to be changed or installed higher).

Here’s a close up of my clients beautiful silver. Love the yellow roses (she ALWAYS has fresh flowers in the house)!


This is the office/den which needed an upholstered, tufted ottoman to unify the four chairs!



The fabric is Quill Tips/ Sable and is from Robert Allen:

The brown, eggplant and yellow tones in this fabric worked perfectly with the Persian rug and now becomes the focal point of the room when you walk in!

Here’s the before again (above)

All photos by Maria Killam

And here drapery panels have been added along with 2 ottomans in front of the fireplace, the Barbara Barry Sofa moved to the opposite side of the room and a loveseat added (on order). Sorry the pictures are so dark, that’s what happens when so much light floods through the windows 🙂

The best part of writing a blog is that readers get to know me. Then when they become a client our relationship is already established! So my whole experience of design has changed. It’s like getting the best referrals on the planet! Most of my clients could be my sister or a close friend, they are so great!


Another before picture, I suggested spraying the coffee table base in brown/black but in the end she choose a new contemporary coffee table (below). I can’t take credit for the furniture in this room–my clients purchased it in a local high end store in town.

All photos by Maria Killam

We are actually going to install full drapery here. We installed panels first so we could make sure it was the best idea. So much sun comes into this living room and there is no valance to hide the track so the best option I have come up with is to install a channel rod directly to the top of the window and paint it out the trim colour. Roller shades would totally destroy the architectural beauty of the windows and from what I understand installing film on the outside is also unworkable from an aesthetic viewpoint.

I will also show you her stunning Downsview French Country kitchen (but that’s for another day).

Have a great weekend my lovelies!

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Related posts:

Hotel Chic Guest Room; Before & After

10 Ways to Save money NOW By Creating a Focal Point

6 Ways I’ve Grown through Writing a Blog

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  • Marcus Design says:

    Gorgeous work Maria!! I love it. You did a great job, and that home is beautiful. I can't even believe the backyard!!! I love the photos of the piano because I had literally JUST this week given a friend advice to turn her piano around as the 'bum' of the piano was the first thing you saw when walking into her living room!

  • Pamela says:

    Very nice!! Lucky you getting to work in such a fab home!!

    Love the gardens.

  • That one girl says:

    Dude, I'll even take a tent in the backyard if they would let me. GORGEOUS!

  • Cydia says:

    HOLY COW, such a beautiful house with amazing decoration and designs. LOVE IT

  • Siddhartha Herdegen says:

    It looks wonderful. I don't know how you go into a house like that and make it even better but it really works.

    Love the living room table. Very nice.

  • Trish says:

    What an beautiful house, you must have felt priveledged to be hired for this project. Its amazing how a few simple changes create such a wow factor in an already gorgeuos room.
    i love your work!!!!!

  • chair up says:

    Darn, I KNEW I should have married a concert pianist/lawyer!
    What a stunning home, inside and out. And your touches have just taken it up a notch!


    Maria ~ You must have had so much fun! Strong and beautiful work!

  • sliptakz says:

    adorable 🙂 great inspiration

  • Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    What a stunning house, Maria! How beautiful and I love how the rooms are set up for actually living in. I'm sure it was a pleasure to just take in those views!

  • What a great project to be working on, Maria. You are so right to suggest drapery in that huge room. I think people who have a view are so concerned that drapery will cover the view up, but what they do is provide a frame for the picture, just enhancing the view. The ottoman was a great suggestion too.
    Can't wait to see the rest of the house!

  • Laura PARING DOWN says:

    WOW. What more is there to say?

  • Ivy Lane says:

    Lovely home! and your touch made it even better! Great work!!!

    Happy Weekend!

  • [email protected]:podge says:

    WOW! What a to-die-for house! You have made it look even better!

  • Between you, me and the Fencepost says:

    I love before and after! What a beautiful house. . . xo

  • Oh my! I've looked at this post FIVE times! I love this house and the changes you made. How great is your job that you get to see places like this?!

  • Tricia says:

    Great house. Wonderful changes. I think the tufted ottoman is a great idea. The fabric is super with the rug as you mentioned. Love when that works out so well. One question. How did you get them to give up the leather footstools so you could do the circular ottoman? I love to put my feet up in the evening and I think that would be a hard sell in a room that is meant for relaxing. I know we do a lot for the "right" look but I find myself hiding my footstool when I am expecting company.

  • Julie says:

    So very lovely! You did an amazing job!

  • VictoriaArt says:

    Well done, I love the new living room and I see the vast improvement in the corner with the grand piano!


  • Lazy Gardens says:

    Oh wow … the view! And the bridge to the entrance! I love being able to look down – way down – and see flowers and trees.

    Another way to deal with the blast of sunlight would be a stubby awning or trellis over the patio angled to block the worst of the sun. Somehow sun and Vancouver don't mesh well in my mind, but I guess it's not all fog up there.

    The ornate iron table is too lightweight and open for the scale of the room. It's what my house-mate calls "floaty".

    Love the ottoman fabric – it's a classic Islamic tile pattern, BTW, but the name and dynasty escapes me. One ottoman makes it less crowded in there than several.

  • Francine Gardner says:

    Stunning house, and the view!! the gardens…great transformation of the living room…well done!

  • Laura Trevey says:

    Great work Maria… and I would die for that gorgeous view!!

    xoxo Laura

  • charm home says:

    WOW! You did an amazing job with the space plan in those rooms. That house and its yard/view are amazing. I would love to have that view to look at every day.

  • Real Estate Resuscitation says:

    Lovely work. That garden is beautiful!


  • Vanessa says:

    Beautiful work and a beautiful home!

  • Michele from Boston says:

    Brilliant re-working, Maria! Congrats.

  • Tara says:

    Maria, beautiful house, but I can't stop thinking how that fireplace stone is totally clashing with the wall color. The don't mix pinky with yellow lesson you taught us. I don't think you picked those, however you did a very nice job with furniture and arrangement.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Tara,
    It's very interesting that you would point that out. I was waiting to see who would notice. This client moved into the house already painted these colours and it's the first house I've ever been in where I actually don't mind the combination because it's french country. The floors (and fireplace of course) are dark travertine (which has a pink undertone) and her kitchen cabinets are a rich yellow colour.

    In this house, the combination all together works, so it proves once again that there are no rules only guidelines!

  • DesignTies says:

    Beautiful work, Maria!
    It was a great idea to place the sofa in front of the window. I can see why the client had just the chairs there before – the idea would have been to not block that stunning view. But the sofa in this position grounds the room so much more, and doesn't diminish from or block the view at all. I would imagine that the sofa in its original position cut off the natural flow of the room, too… with chairs there the space would be more inviting.

  • Grace says:

    That ottoman totally unifies and completes the brown leather den. I love it. What an amazing view they have, gorgeous french-style garden, and round staircase.

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