Home: Goodbye Buttery Yellow


When we moved in the kitchen and living room were painted a buttery yellow colour, which I thought was awful (sorry!). Other offensive colours in the house were orange creamsicle throughout the whole basement, burnt orange/red in the bathroom (in combination with the creamsicle colour) and a soft sagey green in the bedroom, sun room and bathroom downstairs. As a designer, a lot of people ask me what colours they should paint their house… paint colours are actually a very VERY small aspect of my skill set (which is more akin to architecture than decorating), and my answer is always “White or grey. Period.” So the first thing we did – before we even tackled the exterior – was paint all the walls a very soft grey. It makes the space look larger, cleaner, more modern, and interferes less with artwork hung on the walls.


Above is the entryway with the clean grey. Check that ugly yellow window! Ha. The flooring throughout the upstairs is a recent addition by the previous owner, installed in 2008. It’s not what I would have chosen and I considered changing it out for something in a wider/longer plank with a lot less yellow, but because the flooring was installed only a few years ago and there is nothing wrong with it (installation was good and all the baseboards are clean) it seems a huge waste to pull it out, both money and material-wise. In choosing the soft grey paint I picked something with a very, very subtle purple tone to match with the yellowy floor (purple and yellow are complimentary colours on the colour wheel – thank you 1st year art school).


This is a panorama of the living/dining area after the paint job was complete. With the sun coming in the walls look white, and in the dark it appears more grey. The next thing to go was the brown ceiling fan with wicker blades… for obvious reasons. I’ve always thought ceiling fans were ugly, but with the big south facing windows this room gets hot in the sun – even in January! So instead of nixing it we bought a cleaner looking white fan that also had a light in it, because there was no ceiling light in this area and it got dark at night.


This fan was $185 and I wired it in myself. The previous fan was on a dimmer switch which didn’t make sense because it didn’t actually control the fan speed, so I changed it out for a simple off-on switch. This fan also came with a remote to control the light and fan speed, which was mounted beside the switch. We took the old fan to the Gabriola Island Recycling Organization (GIRO) so someone else could install it in their home, rather than pitching it into the garbage. Woo recycling!


This photo shows the lower level space with the wood stove, laundry room door (under the stairs) and hallway to the pantry, second bedroom/sauna and bathroom. This is post-grey paint, and also after changing out all the switches, outlets and thermostats to a clean white rather than old beige. We aren’t sure what to do down here, moving from a 600sf apartment into a 2000+sf house means a serious lack of furniture.

One of the biggest offenders of the house was the brown swirly toilet. Ugh!! This was also switched out immediately in favour of a white, single body, dual flush toilet ($285 and worth every penny).


Who ever thought that a brown swirly toilet was a good idea?? Sheesh. We tried to take this to GIRO as well, but they didn’t want it! Haha. Instead we will smash it up and use the pieces to line the bottoms of the large planters we have in order to provide drainage to the plants. We are trying our best to keep waste down, the oyster shells left in the yard will also be used for planter drainage, and wood scraps can be burned in the woodstove to heat the house. GIRO takes paint cans that still have the labels intact which is a relief because nobody wants a pile of old paint cans collecting dust, but trashing them is a no-no.


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