A Simple Kitchen Update in Musquodoboit Harbour

Happy New Year! We are back from our break and looking forward to an exciting year ahead. We’ll be sharing all of our adventures here, so be sure to subscribe for updates!

Just before we left for the holidays, the Henhouse team got a chance to see the results of a kitchen project that we helped pull together for an active family of six.

Here’s a look at the before:

Henhouse Blog Jan 15

We have traveled throughout Nova Scotia completing renovations in different towns, and sometimes even in other provinces. We don’t shy away from taking on projects farther afield because we know there are always creative solutions to make it work. We’ve been successful at completing projects all over the Maritimes and have had a great time doing it.

This kitchen in Musquodoboit, Nova Scotia is a great example. About an hour away from our home base, this sweet and sunny kitchen was in need of a an update.

Here’s what we came up with:

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The homeowners, Amy and Luc, wanted better storage and functionality. They are avid cooks, so it was important for the new design to be high functioning with adequate storage, an efficient layout and lots of work surfaces.

Though the original layout worked well, the storage was not efficient. The cabinetry was worn, and the homeowners wanted fresh and a  more pulled together look.

Amy and Luc contacted Sappho and met in person to go over their wants, needs, budget, and to take measurements. They were happy to tackle parts of the project on their own, and had their friend and local cabinet maker, Darcy Laycock of Paramount Construction, build and install their cabinets to Henhouse’s specifications.

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After our initial meeting, Henhouse came up with a complete design plan for Amy and Luc’s tradespeople to complete the project. We decided to keep the appliances where they were and redesign the cabinetry. We choose new finishes, lighting and colours, and kept the original flooring.

The install was very hands off for us, with only two in-person meetings through the entire process.


Everything worked out beautifully and the homeowners were so happy with how seamless it all was. Here’s what they had to say:

“Kitchen renovations are expensive and disruptive. When it came time to tackle ours we needed to get it right, which is why we called Sappho. We have an open floor plan, so anything new had to match with the old, and because the kitchen gets lots of natural light, we wanted to keep all the existing windows and doors. We were working with a tight timeline too, as our cabinet maker was already booked to do the job at a specific time.

Sappho made one visit to our home, to spend a morning with us talking about problems with the existing layout, and what we wanted in a new kitchen. Soon after the home visit, I picked up her hand-drawn and detailed sketches, which showed us exactly how the new kitchen would look, in addition to where everything would go. We had one final meeting to decide on all the finishes such as cabinets colour and profiles, countertops, lighting, and hardware. It could not have been any easier.

Working with Sappho made for a straightforward process with the cabinet maker and other trades, so we avoided unnecessary delays. With her help and expertise, the new kitchen looks as though it’s always been that way, and everything in it has a home. In the end we absolutely got it right.”


We had a great time time working with Amy and Luc, and we’re so glad they are enjoying their new kitchen!

We are happy to take on all kinds of projects, big or small, near or far. We love collaborating with our clients, and coming up with creative solutions that work for them. If you have a space that needs an update, weather it be a full renovation or just a refresh, get in touch, we’d love to help!

Simple Holiday Looks We Love

The holiday season is here again! Here in the Maritimes we are enjoying a rare white Christmas this year and the Henhouse team is looking forward to spending time with family and friends over the next few weeks.

At Christmas my family and I enjoy adding a bit of extra sparkle and whimsy to the house. This year I’ve been inspired by a more low key and natural look. I’ve collected a few images from around the web of looks that I love for this festive season.


This look is all about the beauty of simplicity and using what you have. For me, this is a time of year to spend with family and slow down a bit. Decorating is fun and can be a creative family activity. It also doesn’t need to cost a fortune to add a bit of festive flare to your home.

The place settings in the photos above are elegant and subdued. Mixing things from around the house with a few seasonal items and some natural greenery is easy and inexpensive. It’s fun to forage the yard and the local park for natural elements to bring in, like pinecones and twigs. Local farmers markets are a great place to get sprigs of berries and flowers.


Another idea I came across that I love are these incredible paper snowflake installations. A new take on a very old, very simple craft. This is something that anyone can do and it’s a great family project.


Injections of colour can work well with this look too. The tree on the left is so much fun and is the star of the show against the simple clean decor of the rest of the space. If you already have lots of multicoloured decorations try hanging them in groups of colour. You could also spray paint old or inexpensive decorations to get this look.

To close out this year I want to send a big thank you out to all of you! Thanks to our readers and followers for your feedback and support. To our clients, we are so grateful to have been invited into your homes and to have had the chance to work with you!

The Henhouse team will be back in the new year, so be sure to follow us and subscribe so you don’t miss us! Have a very Merry Christmas!

Ask Our Designer – Our Winner!

A couple of weeks ago we asked you all to write to us about a room in your house that is making you crazy. We received many great entries, thank you all very much for participating! We will continue this feature on a quarterly basis so be sure to subscribe here so you don’t miss your next chance! One lucky reader will be chosen to receive a custom Henhouse e-design to help them with their design dilemma, a $500 value!

We can only choose one reader, and it was a tough choice! This time we chose April MacKinnon who has a front foyer that needs organization and brightening up.

April’s New Brunswick farmhouse holds a lot of history. The original owners built the home around 1850, and operated a grocery store and a blacksmith shop on the property. Business was successful, and afforded them the opportunity to expand the home in 1910, including the front foyer. The foyer features beautiful woodwork, high ceilings and a stained glass window.

desktop36Today this beautiful old farmhouse is home to April, her husband, and their three kids. It is also functions as head office and production for Anointment, April’s line of natural skin care products.

Here’s what April told us about her design dilemma:

“The foyer is the first thing everyone sees when they come in our house. It’s often cluttered and it took a good deal of work to get it presentable enough to photograph! The double doors to the parlour and the door to the second kitchen are usually left open for heat flow. I work in the second kitchen and you can see there are wooden shelves holding stock to the left of the door. The front hall is often full of boxes incoming and outgoing for the courier in addition to the coats, shoes, boots, mitts, toys etc.”


April’s main concerns were storage and updating the look without compromising the historical features. We came up with a plan to breathe new life into the foyer, create storage, and add some personal touches while respecting the heritage of this beautiful home.


To create more storage, I suggested turning the living room into the main workspace and storage area for April’s business. This would free up the hallway closet under the stairs, allowing a space for shoes, coats etc. Since this home is large with many rooms, they can still use their parlour for family use.

A double row of hooks for coats would be a great place for coats, back packs and purses – the daily use items that often end up scattered allover.


The baskets in the console would hold mitts, hats, in and out mail and other odds and sods. I chose an outdoor rug that will be durable enough for heavy traffic, yet attractive enough to feel welcoming and offer a nice boost of colour.

A statement light fixture for the main hall and track lighting for the centre and back hallway would offer better lighting, and help brighten the space and show off the lovely rustic charm of this old home.

screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-6-51-28-pmA soft cream on the walls with soft grey stencilling would be so pretty. The design on the stencil was inspired by April’s logo for Anointment. It reminds me of a lotus, which symbolizes strength and rebirth, a beautiful homage April’s immense efforts as a mom and business owner.

As per April’s husband’s request, the plan is to keep most of the beautiful woodwork as it is.  I suggested to stain or paint the tread of the stairs to match the newel post and trim. The risers could be painted the same grey as the stencil, or a colour that ties in with the rug, or with the stained glass. Finally, refinishing the floors in light in colour will freshen up the space, and keep it feeling bright and modern.


Our e-design packages are a great way to kick start a decorating project, and make an excellent Christmas gift! Choose from either a $150 one hour long in home consult to discuss and offer advice for all your design dilemmas or a $500 e-design package which includes a mood board, colour selection, a sourced list of items like furnishings lighting etc. and a floor plan. We work with your budget and style to come up with something that will work for you! Once the plan is in your hands you can choose execute it on your own, or hire the Henhouse team to complete it. HST is extra. 

Print the certificate below to present as a gift and get in touch with us to get started!


Design Dilemma? Ask Our Designer!

Here’s your chance to get a free design solution from Henhouse’s designer Sappho Griffin! Starting this month, we will run a quarterly Ask Our Designer feature here on the blog. All of our readers will have the chance to participate, and one reader will be chosen to receive a free custom design solution for one room in their home, a $500 value!


One of our goals in the coming months is to broaden our online reach and grow our client base. By participating in our Ask Our Designer feature you will be helping us reach that goal! To thank you for helping us, you get the chance to receive a complete design plan from henhouse.

The design plan includes everything you need to redecorate:

• A floor plan/ layout
• A mood board
• A complete shopping list including what to buy and where to get it (lighting, furniture, accessories, and possibly fabrics)
• Colour palette selection


How to Participate

E-mail us at sappho@hehnhouse.ca to tell us about the one room in your house that’s making you crazy! Please note that kitchens and baths are not applicable. The deadline to submit is November 13th.

Here’s what we need from you:

• Send us FIVE e-mail addresses of friends or family who would be interested in learning more about     Henhouse.
• Tell us how you would like the room to be used, your personal style, colour preferences, likes and      dislikes, any existing furniture or decor items that you want to keep.
• If you have inspiration photos, or certain online shops that represent your style please send! Some of   our favourites include Attica, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, West Elm, Wayfair, & Ikea
• Room dimensions, include height, width, depth and any curves nooks or crannies.
• A few photos of the space
• A rough idea of your budget
• A phone number where you can be reached during the day


Submission Tips

To help your chances of being selected for our feature, please be sure to send along all of the above info, and make sure your photos are as clear and in focus as possible. In order to create a custom design we need a pretty clear idea of your space! Here’s a few tips:

• Stand back and get as much of the room in the shots as possible
• Take your photos in natural daylight for the best results
• Clear away any clutter so that we can see your existing furniture and decor, and don’t include people or pets
• Avoid pointing the camera lens directly at windows – the light will overtake the photo and make the interior look very dark. Try angling slightly away from windows to focus on the interior.


You have one week to get your e-mail to us! The lucky participant may be contacted during the day for any extra details we might need to complete their custom design. The design plan will be featured on the blog on November 20th!

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