Inspirations & Obsessions for Fall

It’s that crispy, cozy time of year here in Nova Scotia. For many in this province, we enjoy the cooling air, the bounty of harvest, and snuggling into a favourite sweater!

Fall is a time when Mother Nature offers us a beautiful and dramatic change in our natural environment. These changes always inspire me and this year my eye is drawn toward quiet, neutral palettes, simple vignettes, and mixed textures.

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Soft creams, warm browns, and touches of black are what I’m loving right now in interiors and in fashion. By mixing rustic textures like rough wood and iron, with feminine patterns, softer textures and hints of sparkle, this look feels luxurious yet very relaxed.

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Interesting natural silhouettes add texture and an element of the unexpected. In the photo above, the incredible shed antler chandelier makes a bold statement along with the collection of antlers on the walls. The rest of the room is very neutral and soft allowing those statement pieces to shine.

henhouse-blog_oct-9161Rustic chic meets french country in the kitchens above. Monochromatic colour schemes provide a soft backdrop for statement textures, patterns, and statement furnishings and finishes.

The reflective gold surface on the island in the left photo is incredible, and adds warmth and glamour. It feels modern and classic. The photo on the top right is more rustic and has a cottage feel. The elegant furnishings and beautiful natural wood ceiling are what make this look special. The bottom right kitchen also conveys a cottage feel, but more refined, with a french country feel.

desktop30In fashion, I’ve been feeling inspired by the same neutral colour scheme and mixed textures that I’m loving in interiors at the moment.

One of my favourite new local shops, SattVa Boutique put together this lovely outfit on the left. Those boots! This combo captures the look of this season – simple lines, cozy textures, hints of natural elements. If you haven’t visited SattVa yet, you should definitely head over for your fall wardrobe update.

I’m also swooning over Vancouver based Granted Clothing. Their cozy sweaters are a classic style, with cute imagery like anchors, foxes, whales and even David Suzuki!

Speaking of changing into the Fall season, you may have noticed some changes here on the Henhouse website too! We are very excited and pleased with the updates – a bit of a refresh feels good! Have a happy Thanksgiving weekend!

Downtown Halifax Remodel and Refresh

We’re back! After a fantastic summer break the Henhouse team is excited to begin work on several upcoming projects.

Before we left for holiday, we finished up a kitchen reno in downtown Halifax just off the Commons. We are so excited about the result!

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Our client found us through Houzz.com (we have lots of great project photos over there, take a peek!). She was looking for help with several areas of her home. As family of six plus a new puppy, this is one busy household! Over the years, their beautiful historic home had started to show the wear and tear of an active young family.

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A whole home refresh is a big task that can feel overwhelming. A project like this is made up of several smaller projects, and a good option (for budget and sanity!) is to tackle one area at a time, starting with the highest priority areas. With a quick list of wants, needs and colour preferences, I set to work coming up with a plan for several spaces.

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One of the top priority spaces was the kitchen. The old layout needed some re-working to maximize the use of space and create more storage. Fixtures and cabinetry needed updating, and a damaged, leaky roof needed repairing.

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For the cabinetry, I gave our client the option to go with a bold blue – a colour she loves. We peppered in greens, and touches of red to compliment the antique stained glass window we installed. The existing cork flooring was in good shape and a nice warm neutral colour, so we kept it in.

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The layout of the kitchen didn’t change too much, but we simplified it for better storage. The old angled countertops and cabinetry were inefficient, so we went with clean lines and maxed out the space. For the countertops, we used a mix of Quartz and walnut wood to give warmth and hard wearing function.

To give you an idea of how dramatic the transformation is, take a look at the before photos below!

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During the kitchen demo we decided to think about repairing the cracked plaster walls and create a colour palette for the rest of the house. We continued the soft colours in the rest of the home to help keep the spaces feeling bright and fresh. Most of this work was carried out while I was away on vacation and I am looking forward to seeing the results!

Happy Summer!


Summer is in full swing now and with the long winters we get here in Nova Scotia, us Maritimers know the importance of taking full advantage of this short season.

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Like many folks here, our family summer activities revolve around day trips, hikes and camping. This province has so much to offer for those who love the outdoors – we never tire of it. Some of our favourites places are Blomidon, Taylor Head, Annapolis Royal and the South Shore.

Our absolute favourite summer tradition is the annual family gathering at our cottage compound in Ontario. This has been going on for many, many years and I always look forward to returning and spending time with extended family.

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The compound is a sacred place to my family. The original cottage belonged to my great grandparents Mabel Mackenzie and Scott Griffin (more history and photos here). Over the years the family has added several other cottages on the property. The original cottage still stands and has changed very little over the years. It’s a truly incredible piece of family history.

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Over the next little while as we enjoy time with our family, we will also be taking a break from the Henhouse blog. We will return in September in full force but in the meantime if you have any questions with regards to Fall/Winter Projects please be in touch via email.

We hope that you can also take time to enjoy your family, friends, and the bounty of this season. Happy Summer!

Glamping in our Airstream

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Our vintage Airstream trailer has been a home away from home on many summer weekends for our young family. My husband and I  found it by chance in 2003 on the side of the road on our way out to Lawrencetown Beach, Nova Scotia. The owner had just put the for sale sign up in the window that morning, and was asking only $1500.00!!! We pounced on it right away and scrounged up every penny we could that afternoon. Our dream of owning our very own piece an iconic travel trailer history was about to become a reality.

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My interest in trailers began at a young age. My father is an architect and builder, and when I was a kid he had this wonderful gypsy caravan on his property. He had used the caravan to transport his handmade wooden kid’s rowboats and toys to sell at summer festivals across the British Columbia coastline.

Eventually he stopped doing the festivals but he kept the caravan on his property and let me sleep in it when I would visit him. I adored it, it was made entirely of wood and I loved the feeling of being in a small cosy hideaway.

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When we got our Airstream it was in need of a lot of repair. We used it right away, but it functioned as more of a glorified tent than a trailer! The fridge and stove worked, but everything else was defunct.

Over the years we’ve completely renovated the inside. I designed a new layout that would function more efficiently and give us more storage. We took out the bathroom to make space for the bed in the back (there’s usually great bathrooms in the parks we stay at anyway). We love to cook so we created a larger and more functional kitchen area, plus a drop down table that would serve as another bed when needed.

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When our girls were smaller we used to all fit into the tiny 17ft trailer! The girls would sleep end to end on the single bed in the eating area and us in the new 48″ wide (wink, cosy) bed in the back. Now we are a family of 5 with the addition of a boy, so we travel with a tent for the kids to camp out in and my husband and I get it all to ourselves again!

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We’ve had a lot of help with this project along the way, including Henhouse’s expert cabinet maker Joe Gallant. Joe spent four months building all of the cabinetry on the interior to my specifications. It was a big technical challenge because of the curved shape of the trailer but Joe had no problem doing a fantastic job. All of the birch cabinetry and teak counters and floors are his custom handmade work.

Take a look at the before photos below! We are so thankful for Joe’s help.

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We’ve also been lucky to have the help of Craig Dorsey – a master of vintage trailer restoration. Craig had been restoring Airstreams and other models for years in California and I’d been admiring his work from afar here in NS for a long time.

One day we were having an issue with the trailer and looked online for help. During my search I was shocked and overjoyed to discover that Craig had relocated to Clementsvale, NS! I was so excited to get to meet him and he’s been a big help to us ever since.

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We still have a few more updates to tackle. Most recently we had all of the windows replaced, as well as some of the aluminum skins on the exterior. Next up is giving the skins a polish and adding a cute awning.

This project has been a wonderful journey for my family and I. From the first time we laid eyes on it as a young couple starting out, to watching the kids grow up, to getting help from friends and meeting lots of great ones along the way. It’s been really special, and I cherish it all. We’re looking forward to continuing our travels in our little home on wheels for many years to come!

© 2009–2017 Henhouse

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