Lighting Archives - Kimberley Seldon's Dabble

New Home, Old Soul

  • Yanic's go to neutral: Benjamin Moore Classic Gray OC-23.
  • In this space, Yanic repurposed the metal art mirror above the sofa where it becomes a focal point. Benches create bridges between different zones within an open concept space. The black leather tufted bench is part of the conversation grouping and an extra seat near the fireplace.
  • Dabble Savvy: Turn a singular window seat into a destination with furniture and lighting. The walnut stools anchor the seating arrangement and the glass globe chandelier and plug-in sconces provide a flattering layer of light.

Words by Yanic Simard | Photography by Brandon Barré

Often, when homeowners move into a new space, whether freshly built or staged to sell, they’ll find the house simply doesn’t feel like a home.

Designer Yanic Simard shares his rules for claiming a new space and creating an interior that feels familiar and comfortable.

Treasured Heritage

Rather than replacing original details like mouldings and doors to achieve a more “perfect” look, allow these elements to become features using contrasting paint colours and finishes.

Dabble Savvy: In this Victorian house the walls, ceiling and trim are painted in one shade only, Benjamin Moore’s OC-23 Classic Gray. A single colour throughout visually obscures uneven lines and imperfections. A matte finish is used on walls and ceiling while the trim gets subtle emphasis with a satin finish. The doors are painted in Benjamin Moore’s 2121-10 Gray—a deeper shade that makes them pop for architectural interest.

In with the Old

To create a sense of personal history, introduce treasured items already owned.

Dabble Savvy: Blend vintage and contemporary pieces to blur time periods and create a custom, timeless impression.

Redraw the Lines

Never settle for a pre-existing layout—experiment with new furniture arrangements and always pull seating away from the walls.

Lighten Up

To add character without clutter include sheer and see-through elements like the draperies and peek-a-boo seating.

Dabble Savvy: Mirrored finishes and reflective metals (like the gold-leaf glass cocktail cubes in the living room) enrich almost any colour scheme without creating visual overload. Avoid a “matchy-matchy” look by casually mixing metals in warm and cool tones.


Calgary Living

  • The sofas with fabric from Kravet are custom through Elle Design. The stone top coffee tables are from Ethan Allen. Wall colour, Pittsburgh Paints Ostrich Feather.
  • Dining Chairs custom through Elle Design, fabrics by JF fabrics and Kravet. Dining Table and Sideboard custom through Modern Country Interiors. Lighting custom Zia Priven light through Stonegate Designs. Mirror Chintz & Co.
  • "Not everything has to be the star in a room. Some finishes and elements are supporting players. Pick your focus." ~ Leanne

“There’s no greater compliment to a designer than being asked to do a second (or third) project for a client,” says LeAnne Bunnell of Elle Design in Calgary.

When repeat customers hired interior designer LeAnne Bunnell to transform an intended bachelor pad into a comfortable family home they knew they were in great hands. After all, they’d worked with LeAnne before and were confident she had the skill to bring their design and lifestyle visions to life.

Were they pleased? They’re already working on their next project together.

The living room is open to the kitchen and provides access to the backyard. LeAnne resisted any temptation to make this room “formal” as the family wanted a cozy space for casual entertaining.

The beadboard ceiling and textured grass cloth walls emphasize the more traditional elements of the design while providing a comfortable atmosphere for adult or family entertaining. The fabrics are all washable.

“Dining rooms should be used frequently. Obviously for eating, but also for making family memories.”

Photography by Adrian Shellard

I’m Coming Home

  • “The majority of furnishings were custom designed and manufactured for this project. We wanted to feature and honour our clients’ existing art and sculpture collection.”
  • The foyer and living room walls are painted Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee OC-60.
  • The fresh and neutral fabrics and finishes create a classic palette that stands the test of time, allowing the Gregory Hardy painting above the custom sofa to stand forward visually from the room’s other elements.
  • One of the most dramatic changes to the home’s layout occurred when the kitchen was opened to the family room. The structural change required the addition of a supporting beam hidden in the ceiling, circumventing any visible bulkhead and allowing the rooms to flow from one space to the other without visual interruption.
  • Adjacent to the newly renovated kitchen is the open concept family room. This is a favourite spot for the family to linger after a busy day.
  • The handsome vignette with the stepped mirror and a custom wood chest is a nod to the drama and beauty of art deco styling.
  • A bright and sunny breakfast area with 15’ cathedral ceiling and banquette seating completes the kitchen area. The team selected a banquette to allow for wider pathways and a stunning sight line from the kitchen. Kitchen cabinetry lines the walkway and provides extra storage and the visual flow the family required.
  • Practical finishes were mandatory in the all-white kitchen, which features satin sheen lacquered cabinetry, stone countertops and stained walnut for the island.

A large family demands a big makeover. Fortunately, Tomas Pearce Interior Design Consulting has the talent and muscle to satisfy such a tall order. When the CEO of one of Toronto’s largest and leading luxury condominium developers approached cofounders Tania Richardson and Melandro Quillatan, he was looking for an update as well as a strategy for developing a home that supports the needs of his wife and three teens.

The first floor of this century-old, 3,500 square foot home in Lawrence Park, Toronto is much improved these days owing to its recent renovation which resulted in an improved aesthetic and functionality. The initial lack of architectural interest and weak flow was transformed, resulting in what is now a more current and transitional design.

“Select a neutral palette to provide longevity. Decorative lighting, art and accessories arethe elegant finishing touches.”

Original floors were replaced with wide hardwood planks throughout the main level. In the 375 square foot living room, Tomas Pearce Interior Design Consulting created several conversation areas, with key furnishings linking them together for larger events. Here is how to create a picture-perfect living room.

The living room’s soft colours are reflected in the mirrored coffee table from Cocoon Furnishings in Oakville. Some more online acrylic mirrors were ordered to make the room look even larger. The patterned area carpet from Elte Carpet and Home provides a geometric anchor to the light coloured furnishings. Layers of lighting—potlights, sconces and table lampsare sourced from suppliers Sescolite, Casalife and Royal Lighting.

The addition of the banquette within the bay window amplifies usable space and provides additional seating, which comes in handy when entertaining.

When choosing furniture and accessories, select hues and undertones that pair well, creating cohesive flow throughout the home.

“To ensure consistency from room to room,” says Melandro, “use a single wall colour, place furniture strategically to achieve comfortable flow, keep wall paneling and any trim consistent.”

This century-old home has never looked better thanks to its much-needed update.

Photography by Larry Arnal

Family Moments

  • In the Lakemont area of Bellevue, just a short distance from Seattle, Sophie and David Vander share a 4,200 square foot home with their children Imogen, Saskia, Estelle and Anaïs.
  • The fruitwood harvest table in the kitchen is one of Sophie and David’s first purchases together. “Although it isn’t a terribly expensive table, we love how it has aged over the 14 years we’ve been a couple.”
  • There's plenty of room to chat around the 5' x 5' kitchen island.
  • The handsome coffered ceiling adds the visual weight required to balance the home’s existing dark oak floors.
  • “Everything in our house has a story.” ~ Sophie
  • The wall colour throughout the formal living area is Benjamin Moore Elephant Gray 2109-50.
  • “I definitely love a little girl’s room that feels old-world but is still bright and happy,” says Sophie.
  • For Estelle and Anaïs’s room the designing mom combined coral bed throws with vintage pieces with new finds. Though the Vanders attempt to keep toys to a minimum, there are books aplenty.
  • In the en suite, Sophie searched high and low for the right mirrors for above the sinks. “I knew what I wanted but couldn’t find it at any of the highend places,” she says. “I eventually found them at Lowes Hardware, would you believe?”
  • The Moravian star pendant above the Victoria and Albert York tub is from Antique Lighting in Seattle.
  • “The scent of camphor that has seeped into the wood takes me back to my childhood.”

The house is nestled on Cougar Mountain and, despite reports of infrequent visits with cougars, Sophie was hooked on the place the moment she looked out the big bay window in the kitchen to the garden. She realized then, she was home.

“The formal living room is mama’s refuge,” exclaims the busy mother of four. “When I need a ’moment’ this is where I come.”

It’s a peaceful room, where David and I can talk—we tend to have serious conversations in this room for some reason. Although Sophie says she feels very grown up when she sits in this room, it’s not stuffy or overly done— it has flaws and quirks like all rooms should.

Generous windows flank the fireplace, flooding the room with sunlight. Above the mantle is a painting of pink flamingos by AJ Power which Sophie found strangely intriguing.

“I was grabbing a coffee in a café that showcased the work of local artists,” says Sophie. “It ended up being an expensive cup of coffee!”

In the hallway, one of the couple’s collection of black-and-white etchings by Jodie Coleman blends peacefully with the mix of antique and modern furnishings—some pricey and some secret cheapies.

Floor space is important in this household. There has to be room for an impromptu danceathon in every room in the house.

The girls’ beds are Hillsboro by Wesley Allen from Carolina Rustica and the bedding is part of the Sari Blooms collection by Amy Butler for Welspun. A Surya ‘Goa 85’ round wool rug provides a soft place for the girls to play. The bird lamp, curtains and tie-backs are from Urban Outfitters.

Since four girls tend to clutter every other corner of the house, Sophie wanted her bedroom to be simple. “I can only sleep on white sheets so the bed is fuss-free.” The bedside tables belonged to her grandparents. On David’s side, you can still see scratches from where her grandfather threw his watch and keys every night. When Sophie opens the cabinet doors the scent of camphor that has seeped into the wood takes her back to her childhood. The bedside lamps were from Sydney Antique Centre and the chaise and headboard are from Urban Outfitters.

Luxe Desert Retreat

  • Jamie used a grasscloth wallpaper in the foyer and hall to create textural interest without distracting from the beauty of the moulding.
  • “Reflective quality doesn’t always have to be glass, marble or other hard surfaces. Shine also comes from fabrics like the silk velvet material on the sofa cushions.” ~ Jamie
  • A classic white kitchen with framed cabinetry and white Calcutta marble countertops complements the home’s traditional elements. A custom marble mosaic on the back of the island acts as powerful art in a neutral colour scheme.
  • In the master bedroom, Jamie demonstrates that it is completely acceptable to put a bed in front of a window.
  • “I reoriented the floor plan and put the bed in front of the window deliberately to make the bed front and center in the room.”

You wouldn’t know it from its formal interior, but this 7000 square foot home is located in Paradise Valley, Arizona, amidst the deserts and the cacti. Designer Jamie Herzlinger is up to the challenge of transforming the house from top to bottom with her client’s specific vision in mind: luxe desert retreat.

When you enter the home you are instantly greeted by the 19th century Dutch corbeille-shaped canapé which sits on top of Marie Antoinette patterned hardwood floors: the entrance showstopper.

Jamie designed a niche in the foyer to give the room a large presence. The mirror, that sits above the Marquetry commode, purposely reflects into the dining room.

Jamie describes this space as refined elegance because it’s not too formal but formal enough to go from jeans to black tie.

Jamie says the key to achieving a similar look is to always keep it simple. A neutral palette should have different variations of white and flexible lighting, including table lamps and a chandelier like the Sophia Chandelier by Jan Showers. Desert life never looked so luxe.

Photography by Werner Segarra.

Thirsty For Light DIY


Got Straws? Using 1,000 sublime drinking straws, DIY GUY Nicholas Rosaci creates a mind-blowing chandelier, sure to quench your thirst for something cool.

* 1 roll (24′ x 5′) welded hardware mesh, 24 gauge
* Approx. 25, 4′ miniature plastic ties
* Approx. 1,500 plastic straws (colour of your choice; quantity varies according to shade size)
* Pendant Light Wiring Kit (swag lighting kit) with socket (available at IKEA, most hardware stores)
* Low voltage LED light to avoid heat build-up and fire risk, ask you local LED light distributor.
* Old or inexpensive drum-shaped lampshade of desired diameter
* Scissors
* Miniature wire cutting pliers (end-cutting)



Remove the fabric from the drum shade to reveal the metal rings that create its top and bottom shape.



Wrap the hardware mesh around the top of the lampshade’s ring to form a cylinder about the same diameter as the ring. With miniature plastic ties, attach the top and bottom rings of the shade to the edge of the top and bottom rows of the mesh. Space the ties about 6′ apart. Using wire cutters, trim the mesh to your desired shade height.



Cut the plastic straws in half. Fold each half straw in the middle and insert from the inside of the lampshade. Push the straw through the square openings of the mesh. (Make sure the crease, where the straw was folded in half, is wrapped around the wire of the mesh.) Insert the other end of the straw into the adjacent square. Continue inserting the straws, row by row, into all of the squares until the shade is completely covered.




Assemble the socket/swag lighting kit into the center of the top ring of the lampshade. Attach a white or colourful party LED bulb into the socket. We used a cool touch LED light bulb which offers the equivalent light output of a normal 75-100 watt incandescent bulb but only consumes a mere 3-13 watts. Plug lamp into a receptacle, turn on the switch and enjoy the light show.