How to De-Tuscanize Your Home; Before and After

This is the view from their home.

My lovely clients Crystal and Rob built their home almost 10 years ago when the Tuscan brown trend was going strong. Five years ago, they bought the property next door and built a summer house which I decorated for them. Suddenly, they loved being in that space more than their own house!

And since this is their forever house (because of the stunning view), they decided to update to a much more classic and timeless look.

How do you de-tuscanize your house? By adding colour! Colour is timeless after all.

In the past few months, you have seen Crystal and Rob’s mudroom, master bedroom & ensuite and their upstairs bathroom.

I was thrilled to have their main floor featured in May’s Canadian Living Magazine, here’s the spread:


There’s nothing better than a stream of good befores and afters right?

BM 2028-30 Tequila Lime

This happy front door sets off the tone of this house!

Since this is the North side of the house, and the door is tucked into the overhang, everything real eventually died in the pots beside the front door so we found these faux boxwoods at, where else? HomeSense.


Glass Waterfall table | Art (no longer available) Ginger Jar similar here

Here the feel is light and airy as the glass table is almost invisible. We found the ottomans at Overstock here. It’s always nice when you can mix high and low with clients. Given these ottomans will be mostly decorative, they didn’t need to be custom made.


Photography by Barry Calhoun

Here’s the powder room. A powder room this big with only a pedestal sink was obviously built on a budget at the time so Crystal was very happy to have a full vanity in this renovation:



The backsplash is 5 inches so it clears the faucet and I specified a curve detail on each end so it would look more decorative. Notice I specified knobs for the doors and drawers. Keep it clean and simple.

We found some botanicals on Etsy and had them framed.

This is the upstairs window seat with a bookshelf for all their kids books (below):


After {Paint colour SW Agreeable Grey}

See the penguins in the bookshelves? I found a box of them at a thrift store and knew they’d be perfect on these bookshelves with all their kids books.


My favourite space in this house is the green stairwell! I just love the dramatic after photo!

The existing spindles were brown so I specified green for the handrails because then they would read black instead of brown. Had they been painted black or grey, they would have been more noticeably brown.

And how could you get tired of this happy green in the middle of the house?

Staircase green {AC-160 Cloverdale Paint} Bird Art Wisteria

Crystal and Rob live on Promontory Hill in Chilliwack where they have the most spectacular view of the mountains and it feels like they live in the tree tops so a collection of bird art was perfect here. I filled them in with mirrors to coordinate with the colours in the artwork.


(Carpet runner by Banner Carpets)


Eames office chairs 

To create flow from the great room, I specified this gorgeous hydrangea blue which is the same colour as the sectional (keep scrolling).

And here’s the great room attached to the kitchen and dining room:


Sectional and Chair {custom} Area rug {IKEA}

And here’s the colour me happy living room!


Custom throw pillows | Coffee table | End Table


After { Table lamp similar here}

We found the World map from Etsy and had it custom framed. It’s a great conversation starter for all their travels as a family!

Brass and Marble side table {Similar here} Floor lamp {similar here} Black lantern {Pottery Barn}


Black lantern {Pottery Barn} | Coffee table {West Elm}

We installed classic white penny tile on the surround and the hearth is black granite

I repeated the kelly green on the bookshelves with green paperweights.


X Desk (No longer available) similar here and here | Wishbone Chair here | Brass task lamp similar here

And the kitchen of course is the most dramatic transformation. Here was their typical Tuscan kitchen before:


Counter stools come in brass and brushed stainless | Pendant Lights 

Because the window above the kitchen sink was not symmetrical in the space, we couldn’t incorporate upper shelving so we created the feeling of space with mirrored cabinets on either side. You can’t see the left side here but it’s a single cabinet.

The countertop is black quartz

Notice that all three colours of brass in the surface mount, pendant lights and counter stools are different but they all work together.

Remember the post I wrote about our dilemma on what to do here (above)? Crystal did not want two eating areas but they did want a designated spot to serve drinks when they entertained, so Jan designed an integrated bar fridge underneath the counter here (below).

All millwork design by my good friend Janet Romanuk

Ginger Jars {One Kings Lane}



After Cabinets: BM Chantilly Lace


 Runner {here}

Notice the length of the pulls are custom to the size of the drawers. Looks less busy than installing two on each drawer. Also, I’m loving the smaller size of 1 inch pulls, it’s what I’m specifying in all my renovation and new build eDesign consultations these days.


The coffee maker is hidden in the appliance garage beside this vignette (above).

Before (see the mudroom transformation on the right here)

 Chandelier & Area rug (no longer available)

To keep the chairs kid friendly, we upholstered the fronts in faux vinyl and the backs in a colourful stripe that picked up the colour scheme to create flow.



Lily plates | Table lamps similar here


Here’s Crystal with her two adorable kids Bella and Bobby, even dressed to coordinate 🙂

Hope you enjoyed the tour! See the rest of the house in the links below.

Also, since my clients will be reading the comments, if you have constructive criticism for me, please email me directly!

And if you are local (in the lower mainland) and need help decorating your home, contact me here.


I’m in Nashville for the weekend where we’ve just finished our second Specify Colour with Confidence workshop of the Spring season. Next we’ll be in Long Island where we have one seat left, the course starts Tuesday, April 24! We still have seats left in Chicago May 15 – 17 and Dallas May 22 – 24 is completely SOLD OUT.

Related posts:

Turquoise Kids Bathroom; Before & After

Pink and Navy Master Bedroom + Ensuite; Before & After

Indigo and Turquoise Summer House in the Fraser Valley; Before and After





leave aREPLY

  1. Absolutely love the bold application of colours here – it’s made everything so upbeat and vibrant. The dining / accent chairs are a particular highlight for me. Great job!

  2. This home is spectacular! So bright and fresh, not a dirty color in sight.I think the green staircase makes the home though.

  3. That’s amazing work Maria, a total colour power. You work proves that colours can play a major role when comes to interior designs. The images are stunning, a blockbuster of a work. And I do like your other work also.
    Keep up the good work. Cheers…

  4. Just completely …. wow! You used my favorite colors and lifted those spaces to such heights! Well, well done … beautiful, whimsical, cohesive, and inspiring!