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.

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!

© 2009–2020 Henhouse

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