Calgary-based designers Jenelle Erickson and Stephanie Smith of
SmithErickson Designs know a thing or two about creating simple yet sophisticated spaces. So, it was no surprise when the design duo jumped at the opportunity to help a young family transform their tired main floor into an open-concept hangout that nods to Scandi style. We asked Jenelle and Stephanie how they added interest to a neutral palette, the key to creating a family-friendly home and their surprising budget-friendly design element.
“This home was built in the early 2000s and in need of an update to better suit the homeowners’ style,” says Stephanie. “They’re a trendy, vibrant young family and wanted a space that felt comfortable and inviting.”
“We like to add visual interest by layering textures,” says Jenelle. “In this home, the finishes are very monochromatic, so this was crucial. We paired caramel tone leathers with knobbly wools and weaves and beautiful sheer drapery, which provided a soft backdrop that really draws you in. It’s all about mixing scale of patterns.”
“There was a corner fireplace in the living room originally, which made for an awkward seating arrangement, so we chose to totally re-design the fireplace wall, flanking it with custom built-in bookcases,” explains Stephanie. “This not only created symmetry and balance but overall made the room feel so much larger.”
“As beautiful as the built-ins are, the cabinets function as storage for everyday items that may not be visually pleasing, and the open shelves are a great place to display things the family has collected and would like showcase,” says Stephanie.
“We re-configured the kitchen and island to make it more functional for the family,” says Jenelle. “One of the requests was to have more seating at the island as the family likes to entertain. Originally, the island was oddly shaped with a matching bulkhead above. By removing the bulkhead and redesigning the kitchen, it made for great flow throughout the main living area.”
“All of the original finishes were dark, from the hardwood flooring to the built-ins to the paint on the walls — it really was not a reflection of who our clients are,” says Jenelle (left), pictured here with Stephanie. “So, we wanted to create a light and bright space with a true personality with the introduction of high-contrast finishes.”
“You would never know it, but the flooring is actually a luxury vinyl plank,” says Stephanie. “This was chosen for the durability factor for this active family with young children and dogs, but is also a great budget-friendly option that adds the warm look of hardwood. “
“The wallpaper in the powder room and mudroom are a great way to add character to these areas and show that, by adding a pattern to a fairly neutral color scheme, you can make a big impact,” says Jenelle.
“Choose materials that are durable and long lasting,” advises Janelle. “Think about how the family functions and uses the space and design around that, not the other way around.”
“Creating a place for everything is key, such as baskets and cubbies, then everything feels orderly and livable as well,” adds Stephanie.
Author: Victoria Christie
Michelle Johnson, MJay Photography
Jenelle Erickson and Stephanie Smith, SmithErickson Designs