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 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!

A Luxe Dartmouth Bathroom Reno & A New Kitchen in Cole Harbour

We have two new projects to share this week! First, a luxurious bathroom reno that we completed in July, and then we’ll show you a sneak peek of a kitchen renovation that’s currently underway.

Dartmouth Bathroom Update

fullsizerender-2Back in 2015 we completed a charming kitchen renovation in this lovely Dartmouth, Nova Scotia home. When it was time to tackle the main bathroom, the homeowners got back in touch with the Henhouse team.

The bathroom was ready for an update and had a few issues that needed resolving. Our first consideration was the size of the bathroom. We thought about expanding the space by opening up into an adjacent room, but in the end that wasn’t the right solution for our budget. Instead, we decided to invest in finishes that would make this small space feel larger and luxurious.


We went with bright neutral colours, and polished high-end finishes to brighten the space. Because our goal was to create the illusion of space, we created a small dresser-like design with legs for the vanity that feels light. We added additional storage by building in a niche shelving area, and small custom cabinet for the area above the toilet.

The next issue we dealt with was an excess of moisture. The main trouble area was the bath alcove, so we tore it right down to the studs to put in new drywall, we tiled the entire area including the ceiling, then installed a better ventilation system. For comfort, and to add to the luxurious feel of the space, we installed in-floor heating.

Below you can see the before photo, and some of the design work in progress.


It was a pleasure to work with these homeowners a second time. They are really happy with their new bathroom, and we are so glad we could help!

Cole Harbour Kitchen & Dining Reno

We are currently working on a kitchen and dining room renovation in a beautiful Cape Cod style home in Cole Harbour.

Often times with renovations, the clients put most of the design decisions in the hands of the Henhouse team – and we love that kind of creative freedom! But other times, the clients want to dig into the project with us and work more collaboratively!  For this project, the homeowners were very excited to be a part of the process, and we’ve had so much fun working together.


Part of the excitement of working creatively with these homeowners is the unique dynamic they brought to the design process.  As a team, we were able to create something very personal and special. It was inspiring to see what the homeowners came up with, and to get an understanding of their lifestyle and aesthetic. They sourced and chose light fixtures and fabrics, and were closely involved with the design phase overall.


Here’s what they have to say about the process:

“My partner and I have always taken on any project with a collaborative approach. This is what we were looking for in a designer for our renovations. We came together with our ideas, fleshed them out,  sometimes changed them and arrived at a shared vision. In order to accomplish this effectively you have to be willing to have open communication, compromise and, be willing to trust in your partners’ knowing that the end result will be amazing. We could not be happier in how this is all coming together.”


We’re about half way through the renovation phase now. In the photos above, you can see the design and planning stage, before photos, and the current work in progress. Next up is flooring, painting and custom cabinetry – we can’t wait to see the final result!

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.


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.


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!

© 2009–2020 Henhouse

Sign up to receive our monthly blog in your inbox!