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The 'Outport' Series

A five part series, highlighting the outport Newfoundland lifestyle, through the eyes of an Interior Designer.


Part One | Nan‘s House

The freshly baked cinnamon buns. The clink of a tea cup and saucer. That welcoming embrace from my 93 year old Grandmother, or Nan, as we mostly called her. This would be one of my last visits with her before she passed.

Rooted in Lamaline, my Nan Hillier spent more than half her adult life alone in her modest two-story Bicsket Box house on the cold Atlantic Ocean, after my Grandfather Hillier passed at a young age. Fiercely independent, her home and her property were meticulously taken care of with little outside help with exception to larger projects in which my Father would oblige. The home was built in 1910. I have no photo from that time, but through word of mouth, the home was said to be a 'nice green colour', with a main entrance on the one side of the home as well as a more formal entrance, reserved for visitors to enter into the parlor area, on the front of the home. At the time, there were 4 bedrooms on the second level, nestled atop the main floor kitchen, pantry and parlor, all of which heated with a lone coal stove. Over the years many updates and changes were made to the layout and general aesthetic of the home, but alas it remained the home base, the foundation, to our entire family. Four walls filled with generations of memories that I can only dream of continuing as I was handed the title of this heirloom property a few years ago.

I really didn't want to change one thing in Nan's House for quite some time. Namely for fear of disrespecting her most valued physical procession and also sadness in having to close a final chapter in the lengthy novel of her life's work. It took me about two years to begin the process of making plans, trying to find the delicate balance of making this property my own whilst preserving the heritage is encapsulated. Although very much a work in progress, I wanted to share one of the spaces I updated in Nan's House this year as part of the 'Outport' Series.

The Master Bedroom

There are now two bedrooms on the second level of the home, each extending from a short hallway atop a narrow staircase. There is also a third bedroom in the home on the main level, but given the season of life my husband and I are in, with two kids, it made sense for us to consider one of the upstairs bedrooms as a main bedroom, with our kids next door.

A snap shot of the room before we started shows a yellow painted wall, dated bedding and a small make shift closet off to the right far corner. There is a functional 2-door closet opposite this small alcove space, so immediately I thought to give it a new purpose. A simple light fixture, uncovered, sits middle of the ceiling, while all the natural light comes from the rooms singular window, facing the front of the home.

My Nan had a hankering for Spring colors throughout the home, perhaps a result of her beloved gardening pastime. For this room specifically though, I wanted to connect it with the neighboring icy cold ocean. This inspired both my paint selection as well as the accent wall.

With the generous help of my Husband and Father, we set the plan in motion on a long weekend trip to Lamaline. As in most projects in small outport town's, I looked to repurpose materials available to me. From my Father's shed, full of trinkets and random building materials, to the local supermarket hardware section, we made do with what was on hand. I had indeed preplanned some items such as bedding, but I wanted this space to feel organically made and lived in. The recycled materials truly added this effect.

Immediately, I was so happy with how the paint colour (details in the Cost Breakdown) turned out. It was this perfect blend of Victorian vibes meets dark Atlantic Ocean. The imperfections in the 110 year old walls, nudging there way to surface, adding a special element of character.

The unfunctional and hidden alcove, with the help of some added strapping, was transformed into a display area for a vintage Canadian made wool blanket and a number of thrifted books.

Replacing the ceiling with shiplap would have been ideal, but I wanted to keep my budget light. Instead I enhanced the look of the ceiling by adding a gold medallion before installing a simple vintage glass globe. This drew the eye more towards the fixture as opposed to the grid of tiles.

Accent and task lighting are a must for me in my personnel spaces and I try to incorporate in my clients' spaces as much as I can. They really do set the tone. I strongly believe the feeling a room gives you should be digested and enjoyed. Weather the light of this bedside lamp aids in reading a book before bed, or a simple candle light allows you to peacefully lay on a Sunday afternoon listening to a blustery snow storm outside, we each need to find comfort and peace in our spaces as they relate to our individual lifestyles.

This room was the first space, as I mentioned, to be updated in Nan's house. I recently found a vintage mantle to add to one of the walls and cannot wait to incorporate! But for now, I am pleased with the outcome and hope that my Nan would have felt the same. We miss her dearly, but rest assured, her house will not be left without the makings of may new and wonderful memories.

Be sure to stay tuned on my Blog for other updates to 'Nan's House' in the future.


Cost Breakdown

Lighting: Globe, Thrifted at Salvation Army Thrift Store, $1.00, Globe Base, Kent Building Supply, $8.00, Medallion, Amazon, $23.91, Bedside Lamp, Owned and repurposed.

Paint: Kinetic Blue, Stacey's Cloverfarm, $70.00.

Wall Feature: Materials repurposed and custom cut.

Alcove Update: Materials repurposed and custom cut.

Bedding: Stripe Duvet Cover, Simons, $40.00, Grey Sherpa Body Pillow, Simons, $20.00

Décor: Wool Blanket, Facebook Marketplace, $10.00, Hand Carved Chest, Precious Kitty Reruns (Insta Shop), $20.00, Photo Frames, Michaels, $18.00, Photo Prints, Newfoundland Canvas, $6.00.


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Dec 01, 2021

I love how you incorporated the maritime connection. Simple, yet elegant.

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