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Spring Inspiration

Happy May long weekend! We hope this blog finds you out puttering in the garden and enjoying the start to patio season. And if you happen to be in a spring/summer cleaning and decorating mode, well, we’re here to help.

First, in the “Hot Off the Presses” department, we’re so pleased that our clients’ playful and multi-hued home has been published in the June issue of Style at Home magazine. As you may have noticed on Instagram, we had great fun shooting this house last fall. Do pick up a copy on a newsstand near you to learn how Sappho turned this charming (but dated) 1920s house into a welcoming, modern home for a young family.

We think this quote from Sappho in the article says it best: “People who’ve walked by at night tell my clients later, ‘Oh, I love your house!’ That just makes me happy: they’ve got something truly unique.”

Fresh Colour Combos

At Henhouse, we spend a lot of time thinking about colour—when to use it, how to use it, and what to mix it with. We’re drawn to unexpected pairings that may not be obvious at first glance. We love to think outside the box, if we do say so ourselves!

Here are three fresh summer palettes from one of our recent projects, and some accompanying mood boards to show you how we start pulling these concepts together. If you’re not ready to commit to a full-scale room with any of these combos, there are plenty of way to infuse these accents into a neutral space through wallpaper, cushions, art, or rugs.

Combo 1: Purple & Green

Picture a bouquet of lilacs: those deep greens and range of purples are what everyone craves as the weather gets warmer. In this kitchen renovation, we’d already chosen Calke Green by Farrow & Ball for the tongue-and-groove walls and stylized smokey purple stripes for the roman shades. It felt like a fearless combo we hadn’t seen in a kitchen before. The cherry on top was the stunning slab of quartzite that pulled in the purple tones, along with pinks and charcoals. The result: A kitchen that’s cozy and charming, and anything but cookie-cutter.

Combo 2: Blue & Coral

Fresh, fun and easy to live with, this warm/cool combo makes any room feel happier. For this living room, we started with the vintage rug and worked our way up, adding super-bright coral drapes and a pale blue paint colour on the walls with a slighter deeper tone on the ceiling beams and trim. The finishing touch was the antique French armchair we reupholstered in a modern print.

Combo 3: Pink & Ochre

Again taking our cues from a vintage rug (are you seeing a theme here?), we pulled dusty berry tones and saturated ochre up onto the bedding through a mix of linen and velvet cushions. When working with two warm colours, it’s best to throw in a cool-toned contrast, such as the seafoam romans or the light neutral ground of the wallpaper. This is a joyful combo that we love for bedrooms, kitchens, hallways or even a bathroom (yes, really).

If any of these colour combos speak to you—or you’d like us to create a custom palette suited to your home—don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Henhouse team. Here’s to fresh style for spring and summer!


Tour a Halifax Home Refresh

Happy long weekend! We hope you’re out enjoying winter or curled up inside with family and friends.

“How can I turn my house into a beautiful, layered home?” It’s a question we get asked a lot. (Seriously, a lot.) And it’s a relatable feeling. Many of our clients have what we call a great envelope — well-proportioned rooms, nice floors, good light — but the house doesn’t feel quite finished. It’s not a renovation that’s needed, it’s a refresh.

One of our favourite clients from 2023 had already done all the design “heavy lifting” when building her beautiful home in Halifax’s South End. She’d overseen the floorplans, chosen gorgeous light fixtures, installed some classic wallpaper in the dining room, and started acquiring some chic furniture pieces. But after all that work, she’d run out of steam. She wanted some fresh eyes to help elevate and finish the rooms so that she and her family could truly settle in.

Enter Henhouse Founder Sappho Griffin and Senior Decorator & Stylist Beth Hitchcock, who love nothing more than finding unique pieces with lasting impact. “Every house needs some patina and quirk, especially a new one,” says Beth. “It’s part of the whole ‘Slow Decorating’ approach — we keep an open mind and take the time to source special things that really give a home wow factor.”

Let’s take a tour, shall we?

We loved our client’s rustic table and wall sconces, but added an antique French mantel mirror — a find hidden in the back room of a local dealer — an antique kilim runner, some vintage trunks, and a marble bird bath turned into a planter.

The kitchen had spectacular architecture, millwork and finishes. That meant we got to play with styling. Three-quarter height café curtains in an olive ticking stripe helped soften the black window frames. Sappho spotted the vintage kilim runner in an online auction and snapped it up, knowing it would be ideal for the space. “It adds movement and interest, and the red accents speak to the iconic red knobs on our client’s range,” she says.

The living room needed more scale to fill out its generous proportions. That meant a new rug, longer sofa, and two chunky square coffee tables that pull together all the wood tones throughout the home’s main floor. Our client had great art, so we selected some bold toss cushions and accessories to make it pop. One fun project involved converting an antique wooden church candlestick (pictured in the left corner of the living room) into a lamp, complete with custom lampshade. In the dining room, we reupholstered two of the client’s existing chairs in deep green — to add freshness and refer back to kitchen café curtains — and added a nailhead detail.

The cozy main floor den just needed some finishing touches. Rather than suggest an expected mirror or painting, Beth found a vintage Belgian shield to hang over the fireplace. “It’s fun and almost feels as if it could be their family crest,” she says. The room’s other showstopper? Full-height linen drapes at either end of the room in a sophisticated palette of blue, rust, green, and mushroom, which create an enveloping mood — especially on a cold winter’s night when the fire is glowing. Other new touches include new and vintage rugs, coffee table, leather stools and pretty toss cushions to tie it all together.

Two transitional upstairs spaces — the lounge at the top of the stairs, and the hallway within the primary suite — got the full wallpaper treatment. The client had already installed some texture with wainscotting, so we suggested building on that with print and colour above the chair rail. The leather club chair, previously in the living room, was relocated to the new upstairs reading nook. We completed the space with drapes, a rug, and a contemporary wall-mounted reading light. In the hallway to the primary bath, a vintage runner leads the eye to a carved wood chair, which acts as a piece of sculpture.

A new rug provided the jumping-off point for the primary with soft blue and caramel tones. Beth and Sappho spied the antique carved armoire at a favourite dealer and knew it would be the perfect piece to visually anchor the wall and provide a hit of warmth as well. We also added a vintage metal mirror, all new lighting, a reading chair with ottoman, a vintage wooden bench, and new bedding.

Last but not least, the primary bath, which was stunning but a little sterile. Once again, we turned to one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, from a rug to a coastal painting and wooden urn and plinth. These additions invite the eye to roam, and make the room feel like a decorated space that’s cohesive with the rest of the home. 

We hope you enjoyed seeing how the Henhouse team was able to take this home from very good to pretty great! It didn’t happen overnight, but when we’re fortunate to work with a patient and collaborative client, well, that’s when the magic happens. If you’re facing decision fatigue with a new build or have some rooms that could use a refresh, please do get in touch. Our team does it all, and we love decorating just as much as we love building and renovating!

If you’re intrigued and would like to see more of our most recent work, please check out the newly refreshed “Portfolio” section of

Cheers to a Great Year

First things first: Happy Holidays from all of us at Henhouse! We hope this year-end update finds you well, and ready to spend some much-deserved downtime with family and friends.

2023 was busy and rewarding for the Henhouse team. We made massive progress on our first full build with Blueprint Construction, we welcomed a new team member, and we did six photoshoots in two-and-a-half weeks, phew! (More on that later.)

And talk about capping off the year on a high note—in November, Henhouse was included in House & Home magazine’s inaugural list of the Top 100 Designers in Canada. “It was such a pleasant surprise,” says Sappho. “Having my own home featured in last June’s ‘Advice Issue’ was a thrill, and it’s a pleasure to help represent our Atlantic clientele and the thriving Nova Scotia design scene in this collection of cross-country talent.” 

Photoshoot Sneak Peek

“It Takes a Village”—that saying definitely applies to the two-and-a-half weeks (and the months prior) we spent in late November and early December. With all hands on deck, we filled our storage unit with one-of-a-kind finds, loaded cars to the brim, picked up plants and flowers, and layered our clients’ homes to get them photoshoot-ready.

We can’t wait to share the polished images with you in the coming months. But in the meantime, we thought it’d be fun to let you in on some of the behind-the-scenes chaos and creativity that goes into getting the perfect shot.

Meet Erika Higgins

In case you haven’t already encountered our intrepid and über-organized new Design Assistant & Operations Manager, we’re pleased to introduce you to Erika Higgins. True story: Henhouse has been inspiring Erika since before she took on the role earlier this year. It wasn’t until she saw the job posting that she realized her “Ideal Kitchen” image on Pinterest belonged to Henhouse founder Sappho Griffin.

Erika’s passion for design, extensive experience in administration and operations management, eye for detail, and finesse with customer service have made her a perfect fit. “I’m so thrilled to be part of this dynamic, female-led organization,” she says, adding that she looks forward to interacting with even more of our wonderful clients in the new year.


Colour Confidence

Reflecting back on the year, we realized how much we’re craving—and calling on—rich, saturated colours to bring soul and personality to our designs. Whether it’s in the form of paint, wallpaper, rugs, or even art, colour is what sets a home apart and makes it intimately, uniquely yours. Here’s what colour each team member is crushing on lately:

Sappho Griffin, Ochre

Why I love it: It started with a summer dress. After many years of avoiding the idea of wearing yellow, let alone incorporating it in my design work, I was suddenly smitten. This yellow dress caught my eye because it was deep and saturated; a yellow with depth. It felt like a sophisticated new colour to try out.

How I’d use it: In a recent client’s home, I installed earthy yellow tiles in the laundry area, burnt-umber wallpaper in the bedroom, and cushions in the entry. In another, I painted all the living room trim in India Yellow by Farrow & Ball, which looks amazing above refinished hardwood floors in a deep chestnut stain.

What I’d pair it with: Other earthy colours like deep plum, mossy green, and warm brown.


Christine Buiteman, Navy

Why I love it: I normally gravitate to earthy, muddy palettes, but this year I had a chance to delve into some deeper jewel tones, especially blues. Deep blues are often pigeonholed into coastal-inspired designs, but they have sophistication when used thoughtfully.

How I’d use it: I recently decorated a West End home, and the lone pop of colour was Benjamin Moore’s classic and timeless Hale Navy on the entry cabinetry and in the powder room. My blue crush also found its way into another project, where two blue sofas anchor the seating area and we converted a 1940s-era coal-burning fireplace into a functioning propane one, clad in glossy blue tile.

What I’d pair it with: For me, rich navy shines beside softer blues, earthy greens, and fresh tones of raspberry.


Beth Hitchcock, Olive

Why I love it: Warm greens are calming and timeless—maybe we have Mother Nature to thank? Lately, I was struck by the way the British Kitchen company deVOL really went for it in their new showroom in Bath (which I’m hoping to visit over the holidays), drenching the cabinets, walls, and trim in the same olive-y shade. So chic!

How I’d use it: We’ve seen a lot of kitchens with green cabinetry in the last couple of years. (Are green kitchens the new blue kitchens?) In my own home, I decided to flip the script and use Farrow & Ball’s Calke Green on the tongue-and-groove walls to act as a rich backdrop for mushroom-coloured cabinets.

What I’d pair it with: Olive loves to hang out with almost anything from pink to mustard, and it thrives in the presence of brass and wood. In my kitchen, I matched it up with pale, smoky purples in the window treatments and quartzite countertop. It sounds like an unlikely duo, but green and purple are friends on the classic colour wheel.


Erika Higgins, Dark Chocolate

Why I love it: I first spied Wenge by Benjamin Moore on an Instagram post where it was used on wainscotting and totally fell in love. This shade is the perfect violet-based brown, and it feels dramatic yet cozy and warm. 

How I’d use it: I would love to see this colour in a den with a fireplace and a lot of rich textures and antiques mixed in. Just imagine curling up with a book—and maybe even an Old Fashioned—while enveloped by this colour!

What I’d pair it with: I would pair dark chocolate with a complementary vintage rug and some gold-framed artwork to add some brightness.


Parting Thoughts 

A heartfelt thank you to all our current clients, past clients, and design-loving friends for your support. We are now accepting new work for the coming year, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you or someone you know has a project in mind. Together, we’ll make 2024 even more stylish!

Once again, Happy Holidays to you and yours from Sappho, Christine, Beth and Erika.


A Fresh Start for Spring!


Happy Easter, and warm greetings from all of us at Henhouse! With all the new growth around—flowers poking up from the ground, birds chirping, sun showing up more frequently—we couldn’t resist sharing some budding news of our own. After almost two years of meetings, phone calls, drawings, and site visits, we’re closing in on the completion of our first start-to-finish build. It’s the first of many, we hope, thanks to Lead Designer, Sappho Griffin, Architectural Designer, Matthew Dick, and the talented team at Blueprint Construction.

To say it’s been a dream assignment is an understatement! It’s long been our goal to deliver complete homes that showcase the best of what Nova Scotia has to offer. You know, the kind of dreamy images you’d put on your Pinterest board. Think: shingles and clapboard, historic charm meets modern convenience, stunning ocean views, and beautiful light—in other words, coastal homes that feel as though they could exist only here. By teaming up with Blueprint and approaching this project with our combined points of view, we’re excited to share our new vision for what a Maritime home can be.

But wait; Before we skip to the end, let’s go back to the beginning.

This house—a getaway for an Ontario family—is a story about location, location, location. The land was adjacent to property owned by our clients’ family and sits high on a knoll with expansive views of St. Margarets Bay. You can imagine the appeal; our clients made an offer before even seeing the house in person. “It’ll just be a light reno,” the homeowners said when they got in touch in the summer of 2021. On the initial site visit, we agreed. The shingled house did have a rustic, weather-worn appeal. But once our clients started listing all the layout challenges and ’80s features they wanted to change, the path forward became clear: Start fresh!


One of the main problems was that the previous two-storey house didn’t sit comfortably on the land. We envisioned a dwelling that felt natural and quiet, rather than big and imposing. By keeping the original foundation and adding some new square footage we could reimagine this house as one that reflects the rich tradition of Maritime architecture while offering up something fresh for today. The process started with eye candy, as we collected images with wow factor that captured the mood and quality of the project. Our official concept line on the brief? “A contemporary dwelling with heritage coastal references to the Atlantic shores.” Here are a few photos from our early inspiration file…

With that jumping-off point in mind, Sappho and Matthew designed a home that celebrates the ease of one-level living with a cottage sectioned into three pods—living, primary suite, and a kids’ wing—the first two being connected by a breezeway. The house will sleep 12 and when it’s not in use, the owners love the idea of offering the space as a location for creative retreats. For the exterior, classic clapboard siding in weathered grey, bronze windows, and a steel grey standing-seam roof serve as nods to the traditional architecture found throughout the province. The new layout is configured to make the most of the ocean views and deliver the indoor-outdoor lifestyle the owners crave. “The house is a mix of the historic Nova Scotian aesthetic that we love and admire, with simple and high-quality interiors that speak to how we all want to live today,” says Sappho.


As construction began, Sappho started work on the interior concepts. Our clients asked for a light and bright interior palette with a neutral backdrop, a soft infusion of blues and greys, and strong black accents for definition. Mood boards helped us to build a cohesive look that would flow throughout the home and allow the owners to say, “Ahhh!” every time they walk through the door. All the rooms are designed to feel simple and serene to complement, but not compete with, the natural surroundings.

Once everyone was on the same page about the fixtures and finishes, we moved to the rendering stage—a chance for the homeowners to really be able to envision the look and feel of the colours and materials, both inside and out.

Progress is happening at a fast clip now, and every week we’re getting closer to the finish line of having the home move-in ready for summer. Stay tuned to our IG page and stories to see the progress—there’ll be plenty of show-and-tell for you to enjoy!

In the meantime, if you or someone you know is considering a new build, please get in touch. Our passion is for creating approachable homes with amazing layouts and a fine-tuned attention to detail. We’re just getting started!