BY SHANNON MONEO
Ines Hanl has been designing homes for over 20 years in the Victoria area and last year she put her talents to the test in her own home. Whenever the owner of The Sky Is The Limit Design set her sights skyward, a niggling crack in the living room plaster looked down on her. “If I was sitting on the sofa and looked up, it was what I’m seeing,” Hanl says of the nine-inch fissure.
So began her living room makeover of the 15-foot by 15-foot space in her 110-year-old home on the outer fringes of Fernwood.
To ensure the renovation fit with the rest of her two-storey home — 1,300-square feet on the ground floor and another 900 square feet on the second level — Hanl employed a somewhat literary technique to the challenge of having a cohesive look throughout her home.
“No matter which room is getting the update, the answer lies in trying to create a storyline or a theme or motif that carries around the house, as the biggest and easiest mistake to make is to create disjointed rooms,” Hanl says. “You take a motif, which could be a shape, a colour, a feeling you want to convey, a texture, and then you run with it and alter it a bit as you go through the rooms of the house. The recurrence of that motif is what ties everything together.”
Visual cohesion eases the transition
In Hanl’s case, Indian, Mexican, Turkish and Moroccan elements were infused in what was a traditional Victorian-style living room, featuring hardwood floors, a brick-fronted fire insert and mantle.
Down came the ceiling plaster, to be replaced by whitewashed, tongue and groove planks of knotty pine that give a refined Scandinavian farmhouse look. For her fireplace the goal was to change the direction from horizontal to vertical, achieved by installing white cast-iron trellis pieces and adding mother of pearl tiles on the face. The hardwood wasn’t touched, but Hanl painted the room a rosy coral shade, like her hallway. The space above the fireplace was a bluish-green. “I made sure to bring in the aqua accent as one has a sight line into my home office, which has a stronger hue of a similar shade. That way I was able to connect those rooms,” Hanl explains. Adding pizazz to the space was an Etsy-sourced Turkish chandelier with many multi-coloured glass bulbs.
“I pay lots of attention to sightlines between rooms and I utilize the typical construction lines, triangles, used by masterful artists old masters who made sure to carry colours and shapes throughout a painting to lead the eye. Same idea in an interior, but there you can lead the eye with accessories, be it light fixtures, pillows, vases and other home accessories, area rugs, upholstery or tile.”
Consistency is key, she says. Examples are the style and colour of interior doors, the proportion and style of windows, a unified approach to trims such as baseboard and door casings and a cohesive colour concept.
The details are in the flooring
Flooring is an important factor. “In contemporary homes, it’s often just one single type of flooring that ties everything together. In an old home with individual rooms, one could get away with a wider variation of flooring, but I would still be cautious about it and have an underlying connector, be it a consistent colour, material, or similar patterns,” Hanl says.
An example is current work she’s doing on an old home where the client wants a wide variety of tile patterns in the three bathrooms. Hanl is connecting them via a continuous colour scheme and patterns that speak a similar language.
To maintain a tied-together look, Hanl considers the purpose of each space, while still giving each room an individual note, shifting from elegance to whimsy. But sometimes powder rooms are where she breaks the rules. “This is a perfect space to gussy things up and create a conversation starter,” she says.
Get expert advice
Hanl does recommend that if a room renovation is taking a 90-degree turn, a professional’s services can prevent the redesign from looking disjointed compared to the rest of the home.
“In my experience, if you choose items you truly, deeply love, from household stuff to bedding, fine china and artwork, then those items will work together as they are an expression of your personality and their appeal with last even years from now. I love it when clients come to me and tell me they found something they really love but they have no idea how to integrate it into their home. That’s usually the best starting point for a successful interior,” she says.