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!


Our client found us through (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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!

A Modern European Reno

After many months of work we are so excited to share the final result of our Modern European reno! What an incredible transformation – you can take a peek at some of the before photos here.

We’ve been working with these clients for quite some time. We started out with thier master bedroom update which we completed last fall. Soon after, we began making plans to renovate the entire main floor of the home including the kitchen & dining area, the front foyer, a powder room and living room.

Here’s a look at the new custom kitchen!


The homeowners live in Halifax, and are very busy professionals who were happy to give the Henhouse team a lot of creative control and let us go in and do what we do best! We were really grateful for the opportunity to take on this project from concept through to completion.


Because we had worked with the clients before, the Henhouse team had a clear idea of their style. The look is a bit southern meets euro with contrasting cool and warm tones. Watery blues and soft greys with pops of persimmon colours, high end finishes, and a bit of sparkle are key elements of this look.


In the kitchen we went with a marble backsplash, beautiful soapstone counters, and floating marble shelves. The custom cabinetry is sleek and simple offering a bit of a modern appeal.


The space is narrow, so we chose chose a neutral palette for the wall tiles, paint and custom cabinetry to keep it feeling airy and bright. Brass light fixtures, and jewel-like hardware on the custom island add a bit of sparkle!


Our clients dreamed of having an island in their new kitchen, and although the space is narrow, we made it happen! To make her dream a reality we designed a custom island that is narrower and that has a lightweight, airy look. It’s a great spot to serve food and drinks, and it adds character and a pop of colour the space.


The dining area is bright and cozy. We found this amazing tulip style table at Attica, and these lovely bistro chairs from Serena & Lily. The chandelier is a stunning handmade piece with shimmering gold foil inside – so elegant!


The wainscotting was installed and painted by our team and it looks wonderful (you can see some of that process here). It adds a nice layer of elegance and character to this little nook.


Above is a photo of the main floor powder room that we renovated. We fell in love with this bold wallpaper the minute we saw it and were thrilled when our clients approved it! The powder room can be a great space to make a statement and we went for it. The vintage light fixture is a gem we found on Etsy and goes perfectly with the motif on the wallpaper.


The wallpaper in the front foyer was the jumping off point for the look of the whole  main floor renovation. The colours and pattern perfectly suit the clients’ tastes and the style that we envisioned. The diamond tufted ottoman was a piece we reupholstered in the matching fabric.


Our clients have a wonderful collection of art and heirloom furniture and we incorporated many of their pieces into the design. This drop leaf table is a piece that has been in their family for many years, and it fits in beautifully by the front door.


We had so much fun working with these folks. Just like with their master bedroom update, they wanted another “big reveal” moment. So, while they were away on business we completed all of the final touches on the main floor and styled each space so that they would return to a completely transformed home. They were so excited upon returning, they told us that they had walked through each room feeling totally enchanted!

We are so glad you love it, thank you for being such wonderful clients!

© 2009–2020 Henhouse

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