A BEFORE & AFTER MAKEOVER: This Darling Cottage is now perfect for summer fun! And a ‘Share-to-Win’ Contest!

Last summer Don & Patti Darling purchased this land and cottage on the Saint John River in Oak Point, New Brunswick. They loved the location and the charm of existing cottage but they knew it needed some TLC in order for this family of five (three grown children) and their dog Gus* (yes! Inspired by the Canadian furniture company!) to take full advantage of its charms. They hired our design firm, PUNCH INSIDE, to visit, and together we designed new interiors for this cottage.

The Darlings didn’t want to go overboard on spending; they wanted to restrict the changes to the cosmetic where possible and encouraged us to be creative in our fiscal responsibility!

Note: be sure to check out tomorrow’s post as we highlight the Darling’s second cottage, ‘BUNKIE’ – yes, there are two! (see a sneak peek at the end of this post!)

And be sure to take part in our ‘Share-to-Win’ contest! It’s simple.  Just share this blog post through social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) and your name goes in for a draw for this gorgeous ceramic from Darren Emenau, courtesy of TUCK STUDIO. Draw to take place at noon September 2nd, 2015.  As you scroll through the ‘after’ photography below see if you can spot all three pieces of Darren’s one-of-a-kind ceramics.


Although this cottage was quaint it was clear that the space was ready for some contemporary upgrades.


The bones of the space were fine: the hardwood floors were in terrific shape and there was a lot of natural light.

The space between the kitchen/dining area and the living room provided no strong views of the river.

Our design team came back with the following recommendations:
-Take out the wall between the existing dining area and the living room.
-Open the ceiling to create warmth and drama in the living room.
-Paint everything Benjamin Moore CC-30 Oxford white
-Upcycle any salvageable furnishings and decorative items left behind by the previous owners.

Thank you to Kelly Lawson for all the ‘after’ photography below:


Darling Cottage WEB-13

The most dramatic feature of this space is the removal of the previous wall. With the wall between these two rooms now down, the cottage boasts natural light all the way through to the back dining wall. By editing the clutter from this space, the large dining table now allows for family gatherings with a view of the river. Notable changes include the addition of reclaimed wood from almost a century ago (from a house further down the Saint John River). The inclusion of this dramatic feature wall, accented with Benjamin Moore Overcoat cc 544 on the doors and trim, adds a rustic warmth to the space. Table: Wicker Emporium; Chairs and Light (Tuck Studio.)

We decided to design a feature wall in the living room space, which ended up being a hybrid of IKEA shelves mixed with a contractor-built base to house the shelving.   Reclaimed objects left behind in the sale such as the wicker chair and the oars add for perfect cottage décor.  We reupholstered the seat cushion!

Darling Cottage WEB-2

The view looking into the dining area from the living room shows the complementary mixing of modern with rustic. Although the chairs, table and light are modern, the accent pieces, such as the snowshoes, the reclaimed wood and the antique bureau, make for a lively yet relaxing atmosphere.

Comfort is key when relaxing at the cottage. This required a comfortable and functional sofa for this family of five. We chose the Gus* Modern Adelaide Sectional to help foster napping and reading! The coffee table belonged to Don & Patti. We simply had them paint the base to give it a more modern aesthetic.   The Pendant light (Tuck Studio) helps accentuate the newly exposed ceiling and height.
Darling Cottage WEB-6

As mentioned the feature wall now houses board games, summer reading, and a TV. An IKEA hack of sorts, we built a custom ‘look and feel’ around some key IKEA wardrobe and shelving pieces. We added some more of the reclaimed wood to complement the same in the dining area. Chopped wood is always a staple in cottage décor! The two chairs in this space were reupholstered to complete the summer feel.
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The all-white palette allow for the warmth of the woods, greys and pops of colour to create a calm and relaxing space for this family as they look out on to the Saint John River. Fish Sculpture by Alana Baird. Cushions by Wally and Roops and Simons MaisonGus* Modern Adelaide Sectional. Light and Gus* Modern Adelaide Sectional through Tuck Studio.
Darling Cottage WEB-12

Patti wanted a space in which to create! With the addition of a few staple IKEA pieces and a repainted black chair for contrast, she now paints with a view of the river for inspiration.
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The kitchen essentially stayed the same for now with the exception of a new countertop, sink, faucet and light (Tuck Studio), along with some judicious editing. An early primitive rug was left behind and now finds a home in the kitchen space.
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Detail: An antique dresser gets a new life with the reclaimed wood on the feature wall.   Ceramic by Darren Emenau (local ceramist who has a studio less than a mile down the road) and pottery coffee cups creates warmth.

Detail: The family dining enjoys playful and organic settings on its table. Featured: Every day tableware (Mudware from 18Karat); Fish paper napkin, IKEA; ‘Travel Story’ paper napkins, faux wood utensils and nautical placemats all from Simons Maison.


It would have been tempting to scrap some of the original pieces of furniture that were left behind in the sale, but we strove to upcycle and recycle where possible. The frame and history on this piece was in great shape. It just required some TLC via reupholstering and a decorative cushion!

Afflicted with a fabric likely chosen several decades ago, we really wanted to give this handsome chair back its dignity by giving it a mini makeover! With some new forms and durable reupholstered fabric we think this chair continues to belong in its home.

Top left (clockwise): Detail: Darren Emenau ceramic; Alana Baird tin fish; ‘Free’ pillow from Simons Maison; chopped wood nature’s best decorative item; Shayk light from Tuck Studio, old historic map of the Saint John River, antique birdseed container.
After Photography: Kelly Lawson
Electrical: Duncan’s Electrical 

View full photo gallery here:

Remember that second cottage we mentioned earlier?  Be sure to check out our post tomorrow, for Part Two!

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