A Dingy 1950's Bungalow Gets A Fab Light-Filled Make-Over

Sometimes I am so in awe of what can be achieved with a little vision. When interior designer and decor shop owner Kirstine and husband Steve acquired their 1950's bungalow in a small lakeside town just outside Toronto, Ontario Canada, it was dark and dingy and in desperate need of TLC. The couple completely gutted the space and spent a year transforming it into a wonderful open-plan, light-filled home on a budget for themselves, two cats and dog. I couldn't resist asking Kirstine a little more about the incredible transformation!


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 Original layout

What work have you carried out?
We did most of the renovation ourselves. It was a completely closed off layout until we gutted the entire place, drew up some design plans and converted it to an open concept kitchen / dining / living space with a vaulted ceiling.

Sinnerlig Pentant, Bamboo lights from Etsy*

Were you daunted by the sheer level of work?
I am interior designer and worked in the field for 5 years before I started my own business in decor rentals and running a decor shop. Steve used to work in construction, so we both have experience in renovating and we typically know what we'll find behind the walls. Having said that, it was the craziest most intense thing we've ever done - most people get married and have kids, we did this!!

I can imagine! What was your aim?
We loved the idea of the house being as bright as possible, as before it felt small and dark. Adding windows on the back as well as an exterior sliding door made this all possible.


How did you come up with the idea for the shelving?
The room divider was actually an idea I had, we have our cold air return vent in the wall and instead of just having a small half wall, or a tall typical 4" wall, I decided to make it a feature and something we could use. That's where the shelf divider came in. 

There were some erm... quite strong colours when you moved in. What was your approach?
I wanted the entire house white, to really bounce around the natural light flow, with splashes of olour like in the bedroom and office.

 IKEA kitchen cabinets painted in Racoon Fur by Benjamin Moore, KitchenAid hood

Where do you shop?
Most items in here are pieces I have come across while at antique stores or flea markets. Larger pieces, like the sofa are some Article.

Sven Charme Article sofa,  for a similar rug try the Kaya* (among others) from Anthropologie.

How would you describe your style?
I wanted a Scandinavian, bohemian vibe because I love a clean but colourful look.

Kirstine picked up the hutch cabinet at a thrift store. 

 The pair added the wood work detail themselves over the space of weekend. It's been painted in 'Malarca' from Home Depot. Source a similar jute rug here* and vintage swivel chairs here*.

What are you most happy with?
The natural light that flows through here is my favourite thing about this house - and the fact that we did it all ourselves! 

The bedroom has been painted in Simply White with an accent behind the bed in Sherwood Forest, both by Benjamin Moore.

Thank you so much for showing us your fab bungalow Kirstine! I can't even begin to imagine the amount of work that's gone into it - but it was certainly worth it. Truly inspiring!

Can I just say, how cute is that dog?! He looks so happy on that rug too! 

If you'd like to see more of Georgina's latest projects check out her IG feed - or enjoy a browse around her lovely online vintage shop!

I've shown a load of Scandinavian-inspired homes in Canada lately. In case you missed them - take a peek at the lovely home of Émilie Desjarlais,  Lauren's former Monteal apartment (and her latest home across the hallway) and Juli Baker's white and wood cabin. What a dreamy bunch of homes, don't you think?!

I'm on my way to Dover, England first thing tomorrow for a Scandinavian cruise. It sounds wonderful, I know, but just in case the man is reading this -  it's definitely not a jolly - I've been asked to hold two talks about Scandinavian Design! Eeeeek! Feeling the nerves!

To keep my mind off the talks, I'd love to hear if you've done any major renovations in your own home and how you found it?

Sadly I realise I won't have time to create a  blog post tomorrow - sorry! I'll definitely be back on Friday though!


Photographs courtesy of Georgina / kirsten.diane shared with kind permission. 


  1. Hello Niki, I have to admit that the before pictures are quite scary. They knew what they were doing and saw the opportunity. Though I am not fond of open concept it was obviously the best decision. Good job 👍

    1. The contrast between the before and after is crazy! I find that so inspiring. When you have a load of very small rooms I agree that open-concept is the way to go.

  2. What an amazing transformation!!! I love the open concept and high ceilings!!

    <3 Andrea

    1. I love the open-plan style and the way they went up into the ceiling too Andrea - it makes the whole space feel more light and airy.

  3. What a beautiful work! The idea of shelvings is brillant, and all is so bright and interesting. In love with this dog and cats in the instagram feed

    1. I love the shelves too - such a clever idea. It's so fun how the cats and doss pop up in various pictures, I had to look back through them to spot them!

  4. Replies
    1. Of course it's all relative, but for a major renovation the pair saved a lot of money by doing as much as possible themselves. Also when they furnished the home they did their best to source pieces second hand (mixed in with items from IKEA etc).

  5. Stunning transformation! And fun to see a house near my neck of the woods. Well done, guys!


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