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Simple Fall Tablescapes

After a lovely holiday, the Henhouse team is back and digging into our Fall & Winter projects. It’s so nice to be able to get away for awhile, and it’s also wonderful to return back home. We’re back to our routines and settling into the beautiful Fall season in Nova Scotia.

As things are changing outdoors and Thanksgiving is approaching, we’ve been thinking of ways to freshen up our dining table for Fall. We put together a little photo shoot at Sappho’s house and also found some great images online that we want to share!

Here area  few pics that Sappho took of her table design. If you’ve been following us for awhile, you’ll know that mixing old and new is classic Henhouse style. Sappho layered vintage on top contemporary using items she has collected, like the dinnerware and serving bowls, and freshened it up by adding in newer things like the vases and glass cups.

This time of year inspiration is abundant, the colours, sounds and smells of Fall are rich and wonderful! Why not capture a bit of that richness and bring it indoors? A simple and elegant way of doing that is by clipping some stems and placing them in a vase on your table or sideboard. Sappho has some fruiting quince in her yard that she brought in and it ties in beautifully with the vibrant greens in her table linens and dishes.

This look is cozy and casual, with a few pops of unexpected colour that create a sense of fun. The bright green plates and vibrant blue candlesticks offer something different from your usual Fall themed table setting, but everything ties together. Don’t be afraid to try something out of the box and inject a bit of fun and personality!

Here’s a look at a few more inspiring table settings we found online:

This is a beautiful and eclectic mix. The vintage dishes with the woven chargers and block printed runner is a lovely combination of different textures and patterns. Layering a few contrasting elements is a great way to make an eye catching tablescape. The juicy florals liven up the whole look, and the photographs at each setting are personal and fun.

Get crafty! This table has lots of whimsy thanks to the spray painted pumpkins that run down the centre. This would be a simple and fun way to dress up your table, and we love the unconventional colour palette. More modern charcoal plates are set off against more traditional white scallop edged plates. This is a lovely modern rustic look.

For something a little fancier just add some sparkle! The overall look is rustic, but the addition of reflective items on the table adds a dash of sophistication. Brilliant silver candlesticks, mercury glass cups and tealight holders all work together creating layer of elegance. Don’t forget to light the candles – a shimmery table is best showcased by flickering candlelight.

We hope our collection of tablescapes have inspired you! Setting the dining table can be lots of fun and a great place to express your personality and set the mood for gatherings. We hope you get creative with your table this season and enjoy good company gathered around it!

Our Spring/Summer Projects – Exciting Work in Progress

It’s been a little while since we’ve shown you some sneak peeks of what we’ve been working on. We have quite a few projects on the go keeping us very busy and feeling inspired. Here’s a look at what we’ve been up to this Spring and Summer!

Dartmouth Reno and Refresh

This project began in early Spring and is coming together beautifully. The homeowners hired us to update their foyer, living room, dining room, den and laundry/ powder room. The list of renovations included refinishing the hardwood floors, adding character to the entryway with wainscotting, getting rid of the popcorn ceilings, and creating better storage and adding personality in the laundry/ powder room.

In the photo above you can see our plans for the living area on the left, and on the right a few photos of the room in progress. Just a few more pieces needed here to complete the look.

In order to keep our budget in check we’ve been having fun mixing high and lower priced items, and reincorporating a lot of the homeowners’ art and decor. The overall look is airy and light with a few funky statement pieces that reflect the homeowners’ style. Above are the plans for the den and dining room, which are both coming along nicely. We’ve installed the starburst light over the dining table which looks gorgeous and adds lots of personality.

Below you can see the plan for the laundry/powder room and a few progress photos on the right. We’ve installed wallpaper, lighting, cabinetry and a new custom storage unit.

We’re nearing completion on this project, just waiting on a few more furniture items and accessories then we’ll finish styling the decor over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for updates!

South End Halifax Nursery Room

We began working with these clients about two years ago, tackling several projects throughout the home. Our very first projects included decorating the living room, dining room and front foyer. We were so excited to hear from them again recently with the news that they are expecting a baby this fall, and that they wanted us to decorate the nursery.

The inspiration for this room came from a bouquet of flowers that was gifted to the homeowners. They loved the colour palette – lots of greens, touches of soft pinks and pops of red. We came up with a design that mixes fun patterns, fresh colours and a bit of whimsy and softness.

Above you can see a couple of before photos. We can’t wait to see this one complete and to share it with you.

Central Halifax Kitchen Renovation

These homeowners are also longtime clients of ours. Over the past several years we have completed work on their front foyer, followed by the living room, then den, working our way from the front of the house to the back. Now we’re on to the kitchen and dining area of this gorgeous craftsman style home. 

The house is filled with character, featuring lots of rich patinas and beautifully restored wood trim throughout. Our design carries that moody, rich and cozy feeling into the kitchen with warm greys, creams, browns, and dark stone. We sourced a special tile from Toronto for the backsplash that has a lot of depth and texture.

Our initial plan was to do a simple refresh, keeping the cabinetry and replacing the countertops, new fixtures and a fresh coat of paint. Our plans quickly changed after closer inspection of the existing cabinets. After many years of wear they weren’t suited to hold new stone and we decided that they needed to be replaced. The Henhouse team quickly came up with a plan for new custom cabinetry.

The custom cabinets are now installed and are in the process of being hand-painted by the homeowner. Our builder did an incredible job of creating the double panelled doors – not an easy feat! The homeowner also has plans to build a mahogany hood for the stove vent using wood that he saved from the home’s original kitchen. We can’t wait to see this one complete!

Halifax Urban Cottage

This sweet house in Halifax has been in progress for the past year. We’ve completed the decor for nearly the entire home including paint selection, furnishings, fabrics, artwork selection, lighting, and decor. We lovingly call it our urban cottage because it has a very cozy and collected style that makes you feel right at home.

Now we’re focusing on the master bedroom and girl’s room upstairs. We kept the colour palette light and airy, with lots of blues, whites and punches of corals. We brought in some beautiful rugs to warm up both rooms and add texture. We chose new bedding and accessories, and we’re now on the hunt for just a few more accessories to finish off these two rooms.


One special feature of the master bedroom design is the antique hutch seen in the photo on the right. It’s a family heirloom that was sitting unused so we brought it back to life with a light refinishing. Now it will be used for jewellery and extra storage. We’re so happy with how everything looks so far.

Be sure to stay tuned for the final results of these projects and more! If you aren’t already subscribed to our newsletter click here, and you can also follow us on Instagram and Facebook for some of the behind the scenes action with Henhouse.

How To Incorporate Antiques Into Your Decor

Summer is nearly upon us and that means it’s time to get out there and go treasure hunting! The local antique shops are open and filled with goodies, and there’s yard sales, estate sales, kijiji and yes, sometimes we do find incredible things at the side of the road! If you’re on the hunt for unique decor items, summer is a great time for it. We’ve got a few ideas and inspirations to share to help you incorporate your fantastic finds into your home.

Display a Collection


Henhouse has always had a love for antiques. Our favourite look mixes modern with vintage or antique accessories. Antiques can add depth, character, warmth, and texture to a space, and it’s always great to be able to breathe new life into old or forgotten items.

There are many, many ways to incorporate antiques into any room, but one look that makes a bold statement is displaying a collection. The photos above are great examples of displaying groups of like items together. Vintage oil paintings hung gallery style, a collection of vintage dishware in a monochromatic scheme, or old wooden utensils – the key here is grouping the items together for maximum impact.

Martha Stewart is the queen of collections – If you’re looking for ideas for display, or collecting look to Martha!

Chose What You Love


When you’re out treasure hunting be sure to follow your heart and have fun! Oftentimes something will just call to you, a funky mirror, a brightly coloured vintage quilt, an old cast iron kettle. Whatever it is take a minute to consider it and think about how it might work in your home. When you find something you absolutely love, you can find a creative way to mix into your home.

Above, designer Darryl Carter uses antique treasures to create a focal point. When you have one really unusual item it will always draw attention. Instead of trying to make it blend in, let it stand out and place it in a way that shows it off. Having an element of the unexpected is a great design trick that takes a space to the next level.

It’s All in the Mix

@laurenliess, @peterdunhamdesign

Mixing it up is the name of the game when incorporating antiques. Layering the old with the new makes for a fresh and interesting look. Items don’t need to match what you have, in fact creating contrast can pull a look together.

Antique items can be used to unify a space, like in the kitchen on the left. Here, designer Lauren Liess uses antique oil paintings to bring together the sleek lighting and finishes, with the more rustic and warm wood tones of the island. The look is soft and cozy with lots of character.

Antiques can also be used to create a bold contrast that’s fun and exciting. Peter Dunham’s kitchen design on the bottom right has a traditional country kitchen feeling, but features industrial lighting, and stunning painted vintage chairs that bring the space to life.

Incorporating antiques is a lot of fun, it’s a playful and creative process. Don’t be afraid of trying new things, moving things around, repurposing and reimagining. Now that you have our handy tips, get out there into the sun and have fun antiquing this summer!

What You Should Know Before Hiring a Designer

Happy Spring! As the weather begins to warm up many of us start to feel that urge to freshen things up, and we begin planning and preparing for home renovations or redecorating projects. For those who are considering hiring a designer, there are a few things to consider and perhaps you have some questions about how to choose a designer, how much it will cost, and what the benefits are. 

We think this is a great time to share a Q&A to answer some of the big questions for you here. We’ve paired our article with some of our current favourite work by designers we love for inspiration to fuel your projects!

Laurel Liess @laurenliess

What are the benefits of hiring a professional designer?

Last year on the blog we wrote this article highlighting a few of the reasons to hire a designer for kitchen renovations. Overall, hiring a designer for any renovation is a great way to get good value for your money and time, ensure a high quality job, and remove a lot of the burden of planning and managing a project.


Laurel Liess @laurenliess

Will I get better prices for tradespeople and decor items?

Yes, designers sometimes get better pricing from our tradespeople and vendors, but we also get a much better level of service. An experienced designer has long-standing relationships with the people and businesses in the industry and that goes a long way! We also only work with people we trust to do a great job, so you know you’re in great hands and you can avoid the process of finding quality contractors, and losing time and money if you hire the wrong people.


Laurel Liess @laurenliess

What are some common expectations clients have that aren’t realistic, and how can the designer help set them up for success?

We are careful about setting up client’s expectations right from the beginning. We’d never want to create a situation where a client is caught off guard or disappointed. We’re always upfront with our clients about whether or not what they are asking for is realistic in terms of time and budget.

Oftentimes renovations cost more than what is expected and take more time. It depends on the project, but consider the time it takes to plan, schedule trades, and source just the right items at the right price. The best news is that you’ve hired a team of people who are dedicated to coming up with solutions that work with your budget and time. We’ve completed many projects that mix high and low end items, or broken down a large whole-home project up over a few years to fit the budget. We can be flexible!


Andrew Howard @andrewjhow

What information, questions or planning should be considered before meeting with a designer?

Look at the big picture, jot down all of the components of the project that you can think of and what your vision is for the final result. Think about how much you want to spend on the project and write that down too. Be up front about these things with your designer when you meet with them.


Andrew Howard @andrewjhow

How do I choose the right designer?

Do your research, look at their website, their Facebook and Instagram, ask trusted friends and neighbours for referrals. It’s important that the look and feel of the designer’s portfolio fits in with the aesthetic that you love. Every designer works a bit differently, and many are capable of creating different styles, but usually they excel or are known for a particular style. When you narrow it down and have the chance to meet a few designers, you want to feel comfortable with them and that you are listened to! Having someone design your home is an intimate experience and it can be wonderful if the designer is right for you.


William Rankin McLure @william_mclure

Before a project is underway, how do we make sure we’re on the same page in terms of budget, timeline and aesthetic?

The designer will likely set up a meeting with you to go over all of the details and budget before getting things started. At Henhouse we compile a complete design concept including mood boards, source lists, layouts and cost breakdowns. You should have a clear idea of what the expected outcomes are, the process, and the cost. It’s in everyone’s best interest that we are on the right path.


William Rankin McLure @william_mclure

What if I change my mind or want to go in a different direction with the design? When is it too late?

It’s much easier to change things earlier on. That being said, last minute changes do happen. Nothing is permanent, but big changes to the design late in the game will cost a lot of time and money. These kinds of situations can be mitigated – the designer should give you opportunities to voice your thoughts, and be considerate and respectful of them. As a client, never be afraid to speak up at any time during the process, and if you have a concern address it right away.


William Rankin McLure @william_mclure

What roles and responsibilities will the designer take on?

This depends on the designer and on the client’s needs. At Henhouse, the minimum we provide is a full design concept, including sourcing decor items, layouts, costs etc. This alone can be a big project, and sometimes eager homeowners are willing to tackle the rest on their own. Most times we get hired on to complete the renovation from a to z including creating a design concept, scheduling and managing trades, purchasing materials, finishes, furnishings, fabrics, hardware, and accessories, and tracking the budget.


How does an interior designer bill for their services? What is the best way to know you’re getting a good deal? 

Don’t go into a relationship with a designer looking for a deal on their services! Hiring a designer is an investment. Like we mentioned, there is value in a job done correctly and efficiently, and having access to a designer’s resources and knowledge. We are very used to working within a budget and we know where to save and where to spend and what will give you the most value and impact for your money. In terms of billing, that will vary – have a conversation with your designer early on.


What rooms or pieces are worth investing in? Are there certain things you would never cut corners on? 

Rooms that are hard working or highly used are good places to invest in. The kitchen comes to mind as it is often the heart of the home, where families spend a lot of time. A great kitchen also adds value to the home, so you’ll likely see a return on your investment.

For items that are worth investing in, usually it’s things that get more wear but it also depends on the homeowners and their lifestyle. For example, if you love having your family and friends over for meals you might get a lot of use and enjoyment out of a beautiful, high quality dining set. It comes back to how much value you’ll get out of the items.


We hope our Q&A has helped to clear up some of the common questions about working with a designer. If you have more questions or are interested in working with Henhouse on an upcoming project please get in touch!