Pine Street Renovation - Before and After

Many people have been asking how my mom and my first house flip went so I've put together some before and after photos to show you all how things turned out. We were super happy with the results, especially from what we started with. 

house renovation windsor
house renovation windsor

In all, the place took about four and a half months to complete and about a week and a half to sell. We enjoyed the work and learned TONS - the main thing being that we can do a lot more than we thought we could, and we can do it well too! Mom's become a pro at grouting and caulking (ok maybe the caulking still needs some work haha) and I'm the new expert in cutting flooring (wood and tile). We've both found that we're just as good at painting as the professionals (seriously they stopped by and couldn't fix much).

Staging the house also made a huge difference in selling time (we assume anyway) because you can immediately see how furnishings will fit in the space. It wasn't just about putting any old furniture in to fill the rooms though. We had a specific buyer in mind and we wanted to style the home for her. It worked, since it didn't take long before we had two offers, both from our target buyer. 

The biggest thing that, I think, both of us took from this experience into our next flip is the importance of trusting our own instincts. I'm not sure if it was because we were two females doing the renovations or if it would have happened regardless, but we had a LOT of other opinions being thrown our way. Some we asked for and appreciated, others maybe not so much. Some even changed our mind about things, for better or worse. The problem is, when you have so many others' opinions, its starts to get hard listening to your own gut. We changed our minds about things that we should have stuck with and ended up regretting. Although it's important to be flexible, we also keep reminding each other that we have pretty good instincts for this thing so listening to our gut is important above all.

Adding Contrast to your Space

What is Contrast in interior decorating? Contrast is adding two or more elements to a space that are significantly different from each other.  The juxtaposition of these elements enhance their impact and emphasize their presence in the space.

Adding Contrast to your Space - Kelsey Auger Art & Decor

Contrast is an important aspect of any decorating concept.  No matter the colour scheme, it adds interest to the room, and figuring out what contrast is best to use is an essential part of the decorating process.

There are many ways that an interior decorating will add contrast to your space, some you might be familiar with, and others might be a bit more foreign.  I've created a summary of the 5 main types of contrasts that your decorator (or you!) might use when creating the design of your room.


When we talk about value, we are talking about the lightness or darkness of a colour.  We can see the value of a colour using a value scale.

Adding Contrast to Your Space - Kelsey Auger Art & Decor

The middle colour is our pure hue. We add white to create a lighter value (or tint) or we add black to create a darker value (or shade). We can take our darker blue and our lighter blue in order to create a high contrast of value.

Adding Contrast to Your Space - Kelsey Auger Art & Decor

However, a contrast of value does not have to use the same colours. We can use a light pink with a dark blue and get a high contrast of value as well.

The most extreme case of contrast of value is when we see black and white rooms. Black is the darkest shade of any colour, while white is the lightest tint of any colour. Therefore, they will make the highest level of contrast of value. Take a look at the room below.

Adding Contrast to Your Space - Kelsey Auger Art & Decor

Image Source


Don't let it fool you, hue is really just another way of saying colour.  So the Contrast of Colour refers to using colours that are very different.  In order to create high Contrast of Colour, you must use at least two colours on the opposite (or near opposite) side of the colour wheel.

Adding Contrast to Your Space - Kelsey Auger Art & Decor

Image Source

If you were to use violet and green in your room, you would be creating high Contrast of Colour because they are far from each other on the colour wheel and therefore have very different properties in their hue.  If you were to use violet and blue in your colour scheme, your Contrast of Colour would be very low as these colours are very close to each other on the colour wheel and share similar properties (you need blue to make violet).

Contrast of Complement refers to using complementary colours together which would be the most extreme example of Contrast of Hue, as complementary colours are perfect opposites on the wheel.  Because of this, they make their opposite colour "pop" and will therefore make these colours appear more vibrant and bright such as in the room below.

Adding Contrast to Your Space - Kelsey Auger Art & Decor

Image Source


Contrast of Extent deals with colour strength.  In order to talk about the strength of a colour, we must talk about saturation.  You've probably heard this term before but are you confident in what it really means?

Adding Contrast to Your Space - Kelsey Auger Art & Decor

The saturation of a colour is determined using a chroma scale (above).  Instead of adding black or white to create shades and tints, we add grey to our pure hue to create less "colourfulness" or a less saturated colour.  The less grey that is in the colour, the more saturated it is and the more strength it holds in your space.

When using Contrast of Extent, we are trying to shift the balance of colour by having more colours that are less saturated (diluted colour which would normally "weigh" less in a room) and fewer colours that are more saturated (bold colour which usually "weights" more in a room). Adding more of a colour that is less saturated, and less of a colour at full saturation makes this shift of strength successful and creates a balanced feel to the room like in the one below. 

Adding Contrast to Your Space - Kelsey Auger Art & Decor

Image Source

This room uses a larger amount of grey (a less saturated colour) on the walls and furniture and only uses splashes of the very saturated green in the accessories.  Although, there is a significant amount less of the strong green, it feels balance with the amount of grey because of the contrasting strength of both colours.


Have you heard of warm colours or cool colours before? Well Contrast of Temperature has to do with combining warm colours, like red, with cool colours, like blue. To keep this type of contrast balanced, it's best to use these colours on a similar value scale. Remember, we are talking about the lightness (adding white) or darkness (adding black) of a colour when we talk about the value of a colour. So, for example, if I wanted to use pink and blue together, I would likely want to do either both light pink and light blue, or dark pink and dark blue but not dark pink and light blue. This isn't always necessary but if you're highlighting the Contrast of Temperature, then it allows both colours to maintain their brilliance.

The room below features blue (cool) and yellow (warm). These two colours are both bold and strong. They would be similar on the value and chroma scales. Because the are both used as accent colours, the bold warm and cool colours balance each other and create and bright contrast.

Adding Contrast to Your Space - Kelsey Auger Art & Decor

Image Source


We talked about saturation already when we discussed the chroma scale. The Contrast of Saturation is similar to Contrast of Extent but instead of focusing on shifting the balance of different colours, it is also dealing with these intense and diluted colours usually while working within one hue.

The image below uses varying greyed-out versions of blue to add contrast.

Adding Contrast to Your Space - Kelsey Auger Art & Decor

Image Source

Now that you are familiar with the types of contrasts you can use in a space, consider how you're adding contrast in your own home. If you feel like something in your decorating concept is missing, it might be wise to check your contrast. Contrast can create a space that is interesting and dynamic, and is an essential aspect of interior decorating.

For all of my artists out there, I would like to point out that contrast is not only essential to interior decorator but also to paintings and other artwork. Next week we will discuss how to create contrast when striving for that artistic masterpiece. 



10 Decorating Rules You Should Never Break

In every profession, there are sets of rules laid out that are generally meant to be followed.  The profession of interior decorating is no different.  There are many decorating rules of thumb that are there for your own good because following them means you will end up with a well designed room.

10 Decorating Rules to Never Break from Kelsey Auger Art & Decor Blog

But let's be honest, many "rules" are meant to be broken, and breaking them means you have an edge, you're a rebel, which ends up being good design because of the rebelliousness of it.  

So which rules do you follow and which ones do you discard? Sometimes it's hard to know if the decorating rule you just broke works, or just doesn't.  As my own rule of thumb, I say - experiment!  There's nothing wrong with trying new things and listening to your gut (or best friend)! But to give you a little guide line, I've assembled my set of rules that I would never break when decorating a space...and you probably shouldn't either.

NEVER and ALWAYS: Rules of Decorating

1. NEVER use the decorative pillows that come with your new sofa. If you feel you have to (which people can't seem to help) then put them somewhere else in the space such as on the accent chairs; or at the very least use them in combination with other pillows on the sofa. The exception to this rule is if you have the option of choosing the fabric for your pillows. If this is the case then by all means, take advantage of this and choose colours that work with your design plan!

2. ALWAYS stay away from "dirty colours". You might find these in wallpaper, pillows, artwork, etc. they're colours that are less saturated, brownish and have a spongey and washed out look to them. I can them "dirty colours" because they really just look dirty and make your space look dirty as well.  Stick with clean, fresh colours in your space.

3. NEVER forget about your proportions. You never want all your furniture and accessories to look way too big or way too small.  However, if you are really struggling with the size you should go with, it's almost always safe to say that bigger will be better. Whether you're choosing a rug, artwork, a mirror, shelf, furniture, etc. it's usually better to go bigger rather than smaller. It will fill up the space and look grand and impactful as opposed to mini and pathetic.  

4. ALWAYS use a rug on hard floor (and even sometimes on carpeting!) to help define the space and make your room it feel warm and inviting. This is usually for living rooms, bedrooms, and other rooms that are meant to be more comfortable. This doesn't have to apply to kitchens and other dining areas, but it can!

5. NEVER be too matchy matchy. It's easy to get carried away on your theme or colour scheme but if you want your main colour to be blue, it doesn't mean everything should be blue.  Remember, not everything has to "go". Some mis-matched items can create unexpected, special moments in your home.

6. ALWAYS leave breathing space and don't over decorate.  That means you must really think about your neutrals in the space and add "special moments" instead of too much going on at every turn.

7. NEVER use too many patterns and colours. I like colour and pattern but too many can be over stimulating and can cheapen your decor. Being purposeful with your selections can create a more impactful design.  Again, use your neutrals wisely to break up the colour and pattern.

8. ALWAYS have a plan. It's so easy to get excited and overzealous with your new purchases but if you don't have a plan in mind and go in knowing what you're looking for, you'll end up spending your hard earned money on items that don't really work together in your space.  Having a plan makes your decorating feel more complete and purposeful.

9.  NEVER be close minded.  It's important to have a vision in mind but it's also super important to be flexible. If you're not finding that exact lamp you've been looking for for over a year, then maybe you're being too specific with you search.  If you have such specific thoughts in mind, chances are you will be disappointed when you start shopping and you will end up not finishing your project (which will be even more disappointing!). It's best to have an idea of what you need (ex. I need a large white or cream lamp that will add some "bling") and then take into consideration a few different options that could work.

10. ALWAYS listen to your gut. It has to feel like your style and your home. Just because you might really like what your neighbour did with her living room does not mean it will be right for you and your home. Stick with your style - just do your style right.