Henhouse Featured in East Coast Living!

We are thrilled to be featured in East Coast Living Magazine’s Spring 2017 issue! Our North End Halifax Transformation made the cover page this month, and is also featured on the East Coast Living Blog.

Check out the full blog post below:

Say it with colour

Creative ways of choosing the best colours for your space.

By Janice Hudson | March 24, 2017

The cover story of our new spring magazine showcases a home in Halifax that was revamped recently by interior consultant Sappho Griffin of Henhouse.

I love that Griffin forgoes strict methods of picking a colour scheme. Her colour choices in this house change from room to room—carrying through some colours and picking up new ones along the way, all while avoiding the tendency to match everything perfectly.

In the family room, a pea-soup yellow paint colour was the starting point. Griffin tied in a blue accent colour to bring in a softer, more feminine look. “I wanted an accent colour that steered away from the yellow walls and tied in the other softer colours from the TV room and kitchen,” she says.

Artwork can invigorate your colour scheme. Pick pieces that have your main colour(s), but that add in one “out-there” colour. “This gives a shot of distraction,” Griffin says. “You need something to break your eye.”

Abstract paintings in TV room from Teichert Gallery (clockwise from right) by Boutiliers Point artist Paulette Melanson, Ottawa artist Lorena Ziraldo, and Wolfville artist Jeanne Aisthorpe-Smith)

In the TV room, the artwork echoes the blue accent colour of the family room (and pink and grey from the kitchen), but adds in orange for something different.

In the kitchen, Griffin started with the floral, painterly window treatments, which tie in the pea-soup yellow of the living room and add in pinky hues. The fun retro fabric of the reupholstered vintage chairs introduces a fresh green to the palette.

She plucked even more new colours—hits of red and blue—from vintage china dishes, which are now displayed on the kitchen wall. “It doesn’t match, but it goes and is off beat,” she says.

Griffin plucked hits of red and blue from vintage china (left), which is displayed on the kitchen wall. Reupholstered vintage chairs (right) introduce a fresh green to the palette. Chair fabric by Bellissimo. Photos by Bruce Murray, VisionFire.

On the other side of the kitchen, Griffin created a dramatic feature wall that showcases several colours used in the house. It ties in the yellow from the family room, blue from the vintage plates, grey from the countertops, and green from the window fabric. “I did a scaled drawing of it on paper, taped it out, and then had it painted on the wall,” she says.

The family room (left, photo by Bruce Murray, VisionFire), and Sappho Griffin (right) with the feature wall she created in the kitchen. It showcases colours from across the home.

Ultimately for Griffin, colour not only helps link the main rooms of the house, but it’s also a way to express individuality. “I love how nothing exactly matches but it works well together and reflects the [homeowners’] personalities,” she says.

Thank you East Coast Living!


Why You Should Hire a Professional Designer for Your Kitchen Renovation

Over the past ten years Henhouse has completed many successful custom kitchen renovations. We’ve been lucky to work with great clients who have told us that having a professional team on their side is well worth the investment. In the face of a kitchen reno, we helped them navigate the process from start to finish, and they tell us that the results were better than they could have dreamed of!

A kitchen renovation is a big project and it’s probably one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your home. Along with photos of our top Henhouse kitchens, here are some reasons why hiring a professional team is the way to go.

Save Money

Yes it’s true! In many cases hiring a professional team can save you money and time. Kitchen renovations can be complex – from making a plan, to finding and managing the right tradespeople, purchasing finishes, appliances, fixtures and much more. Mistakes and delays can be very costly and stressful.

Let us help you! When it comes to kitchens it’s worth investing in a quality job. The Henhouse team can take your renovation from concept to completion and create something that you’ll be happy with for many years to come.

Professional Assessment

Our designer can assess your needs and come up with a plan that makes the best use of your space and budget. We know what needs to change, what can stay the same, and how to make the best use of your space and budget. We want to make sure that you get the most value possible.

Navigating Costs

We hear clients say “I really want my dream kitchen, and I want it to fit in with the rest of the home. How much will this cost me?”.

There’s not one answer for everyone. It depends on what makes sense for your home and your budget. It’s important to outline what you can spend and how that budget aligns with the value of your home, and your list of wants and needs.

When you hire Henhouse for a kitchen renovation, we work with you to create a plan that accounts for all of these details and costs.

Creating a Plan (and sticking to it!)

Speaking of plans, a solid plan is the key to success. Creating a design plan involves devising solutions for the space (how it will look and function), choosing and sourcing finishes, appliances, furnishings (and more!), scheduling tradespeople, overseeing their work, all the while sticking to the budget. It’s a lot of time and work, and having a designer ensures the job will go smoothly and be completed on time.

Before beginning a renovation, our clients receive detailed illustrated concepts, floor plans, elevation sketches, material, finish and fixture suggestions, and a lighting plan. We also include cost estimates for the entire project. We want you to understand the full scope of the project, how money will be spent and what the outcome will be.


A homeowner managing a project on their own runs the risk of choosing tradespeople who are not up the job. This can undermine the entire project, from quality, and cost to the aesthetic and timeline. The homeowner also assumes all the risk and the responsibility to sort out problems and have them resolved.

Working with Henhouse means your renovation will be in the hands of our trusted and highly skilled team. We have been working with excellent tradespeople for many years, and have built strong relationships with them. Your new kitchen will be of great, long-lasting quality, and the process will be efficient and smooth.

Access to Resources

A professional designer has industry connections that you may not have access to. This can save some money and time. Oftentimes designers are offered discounts on certain materials or products, or they know where to get the best products for the best price. Sourcing and purchasing all of the finishes, furnishings, appliances etc. means a lot of decision making and running around! At Henhouse we know where to source the best options for your new kitchen, and we’ll narrow down the choices so it’s much less overwhelming.

Wow Factor

The kitchen is the heart of the home and it’s where we spend most of our time. It’s where the family gathers to prepare and share meals, entertain guests, prepare for the day, and unwind at the end of the day. Having a space that functions well and feels great makes a difference. A professional designer takes care of all of the detailed elements that make a kitchen special, and tailor it to your life and taste. You will have a kitchen that suits your taste, fits in with your home, and that will become a selling feature down the road.

Resale Value

At Henhouse it’s important to us that your new kitchen is an investment that will add value to your life and your home. We know what choices makes sense, and we specialize in creating designs that fit seamlessly into the rest of the home. A beautiful and well designed kitchen can boost the market value of your home and increase buyer appeal for when you are ready to sell.

A kitchen renovation is a big project, and it’s worth investing in. We can help make the process easier, make sure that you end up with the best result possible, and ensure that you’ll see a return on your investment!

If you’re getting ready for a kitchen renovation, we’d love to hear from you, get in touch!

A Kitchen Reno with Personal Touches

Just before Christmas we finished up a beautiful custom kitchen renovation in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. The homeowners, Royce and Donna, were so wonderful to work with. As new empty nesters they were feeling ready to invest in the kitchen they’ve always wanted and to create a space for family gatherings.

Royce and Donna told us that they chose Henhouse because we were willing and able to incorporate personal elements into the design. As antique collectors, they have many special pieces that they saw fitting into their new kitchen.

The Henhouse team loves a creative a challenge and finding ways to mix old and new is one of our favourite ways to work. Aside from being practical, using what you have and mixing it with the new results in a space that is unique and personal. It’s also a great way to make a new renovation fit in with the whole home.

This apothecary unit had been in use for many years as storage for tea and has always been a special piece for Royce and Donna. We gladly incorporated it into this coffee/ snack station. It offers great storage for small items like spices, coffee and tea, but more than anything it offers a large dose of personality.

The colourful native artwork is dear to the couple’s hearts. Set in this little nook, against a neutral backdrop, this beautiful work is perfectly highlited. We added other pops of colour with accessories and dishware as accents.

Another item that we worked into the design was this incredible old butcher block. It has such a beautiful patina. How lucky that it was sitting in the basement waiting to be given a new life! We added a custom countertop that wraps around one corner. This is a lovely spot to have a snack, or prepare meals as a family.

At this end of the kitchen, we created a space to relax and admire the garden. Royce and Donna are avid gardeners and wanted to be able to appreciate the fruit of their labour as much as possible. To access the view we added windows, then dressed this little nook with two cozy armchairs and an end table.

We created a more open kitchen and dining area by removing a wall between the two rooms. The table, chairs, bench and hutch are all antique pieces that the homeowners have had for years. The gorgeous painting is by local artist Jeremy Vaughan (Teichert Gallery).

We kept all of the paint colours soft and neutral through the kitchen and dining and installed cozy cork flooring, which is warm and soft underfoot.

Take a look at what this kitchen looked like before, the transformation is amazing!

It is our pleasure to create a space for our clients that suits their home, and enhances their life. We can see the cozy mornings spent in the armchairs, watching the birds and the seasons. We can see family gathering at the table, or chatting at the island, and little ones playing on the soft cork floor. This is why we love what we do!

After we finished this project we received this sweet letter:

“It has been such a pleasure working with you. You have a clear vision of the end result and it has been so rewarding to see what has been in my head come to life. I know that the space you created will be the ‘heart’ of the home. Your professionalism and attention to detail did not go un-noticed, so thank you. Henhouse was definitely the right choice for us, well done! Best wishes for a fantastic holiday season and Merry Christmas!”
-Donna & Royce

Injecting Personality in a Small Bathroom

We have some work in progress to share today! The beginning of a great renovation is always a great design plan. Designing a space that is optimally functional and suits the client’s style and budget is a fun creative challenge.

We just finished up some concepts for a client who is getting ready to renovate two bathrooms in her Halifax condo. One of the major goals for this project is to add personality into these two small spaces. The plans include keeping the existing layout to save on cost, and layering pattern and texture to create a distinctive but classic look.

Here are two mood boards we created for the guest bathroom:

There are a lot of similarities but each concept has quite a different feel. The vanities both have the look of furniture and are classic and offer lots of character. The tile work is a big part of both concepts and the layering of different patterns and finishes will create a beautiful high-end look.

The mirrors are very different choices and pull each design together. On the left the unique venetian mirror gives us an elegant and more glam look, while the simple style on the right is more contemporary and sleek.

Here’s a peek at the layout:

The colour scheme is monochromatic, and we’ll create interest through details in the tiling by combining different shapes and textures. Hexagons on the floor and classic white porcelain in the bath with an accent of glass mosaic for a touch of the unexpected!

Here’s a peek at the master bath plans:

This bathroom also has lots of special tile applications. For this design we envisioned a beautiful dark floor using 12×24 tiles cut into different sizes. By breaking up the tiles into different sizes the look will be a bit more casual and interesting.

For the shower, we’ll mix penny round tile with subway tile. We’ll also instal a wall-to-wall mirror to help make this small space feel larger, and wainscotting for extra character.

Bathroom renovations are a big investment but are absolutely worth it! They are one of the hardest working rooms in a home and they add a lot of value. When it comes to planning a reno it is so important to get it right, and that starts with a great design plan. If you have a bathroom renovation in your midst and you need help with the process please get in touch! Whether you need a plan, a full renovation, or maybe just some help choosing colours we’d be happy to help.

© 2009–2017 Henhouse

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