Painting and Living at a Converted 1870 Woolen Mill

“Lots of people have difficulty visualizing what something can be,” says George Shafer. He and his artist wife, Jean, looked in a dark unit filled with woodworking equipment within an old woolen mill in Almonte, Ontario, also found potential in its exposed brick walls, original beams, Mississippi River views and artist civilization.

Seeking a slower pace compared to one of the high-rise condo in downtown Ottawa, the Shafers transferred to Almonte and spent annually at one of the mill components while working closely with architect Peter Mansfield to transform their distance into a creative retreat.

in a Glance
Who lives here: George and Jean Shafer
Location: Almonte, Ontario
Size: 1,100 square feet;1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, with an art gallery area at the entrance

Esther Hershcovich

An extendable glass table defines the dining area space. George enlarged a picture he took of the mill and then wrapped it upon the brick wall to remind the few of their building’s heritage.

Esther Hershcovich

Floor-to-ceiling windows replaced previously small ones. “We wanted it completely to the floor so we’d be very able to see the water,” says George.

The Shafers then used leftover concrete in the job to create an L-shaped bench topped with reclaimed barn wood.

Esther Hershcovich

The Shafers are avid cooks and desired a kitchen that would be practical and modern. They included solid walnut wood countertops to conventional glossy Akurum cabinets from Ikea.

Before Photo

BEFORE: Woodworking gear filled the living room once the couple bought the unit.

Esther Hershcovich

AFTER: The few eliminated the Gyproc in the back wall to trim and install new windows, and were happily surprised to discover exposed brick. They asked the contractors to leave it.

Just outside the windows on the terrace is refreshing water that still comes from the first mill. There’s also a functional wheel that came in the Mississippi River.

Esther Hershcovich

The homeowners in the construction share a kayak. From their construction, the few can row up the Mississippi River to the small nearby town of Appleton.

Esther Hershcovich

A Jotul gas fireplace adds heat during frigid winters.

Esther Hershcovich

The Shafers sold almost all their furniture along with their preceding downtown Ottawa condo and had to begin from scratch. They bought an oversize couch and placed it asymmetrically within their living room area. A giant barcode decal adorns the wall socket.

Esther Hershcovich

With only one side of the condo having windows, the couple wanted to add as much natural light as possible. It was architect Mansfield’s idea to expand the bedroom walls and put in full glass panels.

Jean especially likes it when you walk in their unit, it is possible to see straight through to the Mississippi River.

Esther Hershcovich

Glass doors open to the bedroom.

Art: Jean Shafer

Before Photo

BEFORE: A door opening nonetheless stands where the bathroom now is, beneath the brick arch.

Esther Hershcovich

AFTER: A flat glass panel between the bedroom and the kitchen brings light into the room.

Closet: Pax wardrobe with Uggdal doors, Ikea

Esther Hershcovich

The Shafers moved out of a 700-square-foot condo and desired a large bathtub in their new residence. It’s now set against glistening black ceramic tiles also combines heated flooring. The couple saved money by buying all their fixtures from eBay.

They also included a strip of brightly colored LED lights within a wall-mounted dressing table from Home Depot.

Wall tiles: Delfos Grafito

Esther Hershcovich

Maple flooring runs throughout the unit. The wine cellar is built in, and a workspace runs across the side of the hallway.

Esther Hershcovich

Developer Stephen Brathwaite of Almonte Heritage Development Group, who is also a local glass artist, created the sliding barn door that divides the living room from a semiprivate art gallery located in the entryway. The door is made of hand-blown pieces of glass that change color during the night depending on the light filtering through.

Esther Hershcovich

Jean’s art studio doubles as a gallery and workspace with perspectives into the building, which houses other galleries and commercial areas. “We didn’t have an art gallery in our old location,” says George. “Jean desired a place to paint where she would leave all her things setup — the art gallery grew from that requirement, and it seemed like a natural to the distance.”

Esther Hershcovich

George and Jean Shafer, reveal here, feel completely at home right off the primary avenue in their little town.

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Dare to Decorate With Colorful Upholstery

Most of us know the merits of choosing neutral hues for big-ticket purchases such as upholstered furniture. But what can you do when that beige linen sofa and white slipcovered armchair just aren’t doing it for you anymore? Would you, do you fall for a vibrant upholstered piece? If you’re thinking about taking the vibrant road, this can be for you. By choosing the right hue and material to working your brand new furniture in your decor, these eight tips are here to assist.

Tom Stringer Design Partners

1. Think through color pairings beforehand. A vibrant sofa or armchair can really be quite versatile, although some colors are easier to work with than others. Blue is an excellent starter colour, because we’re so used to seeing massive expanses of blue — believe blue sea and sky, or indigo jeans. Your blue sofa could work with fresh greens, as shown here, but when you get bored and want a change, you might also pair it with yellowish or rich chocolate pops, to name just two additional colors.

Order a sample swatch of this upholstery fabric you’re thinking about, and use it to window shop a few different prospective looks. If you can easily find several alternatives for throw pillows, rugs and so on that go together with your upholstery fabric, that’s a fantastic sign.

David Howell Design

2. Offer your colour plenty of breathing room — aka white area. If you are worried about your vibrant furniture feeling overly over-the-top, the easiest solution is to add lots and lots of white. Paint your walls, ceiling and trim in sharp white, and choose some accent accessories or furniture in plain white — that bold piece will instantly seem more relaxed.

Osborne Architects

3. Surround bold color with natural components. Another great way to temper a rich hue (such as the orange used here) is by surrounding it with materials and objects from nature. Stone surfaces, live-edge timber, heaps of firewood, conceal or sheepskin rugs and natural fibers such as jute, sisal and linen partner well with strong colors.

California Home + Design

4. Pick supporting colors with the same strength. If you want to bring in additional color, choose equally bold hues to your additional bits. The glowing red chair displayed here will look somewhat off-kilter alongside a pastel blue ottoman, whereas that vibrant peacock-blue one stands around it.

Ohashi Design Studio

5. Find the right shade and material. A color with some brown in it, such as the red of this seat, looks classy and can work almost like a neutral. If it had been a bright, clear red, it would stand out more. Make sure that you try out a fabric at home, also in various lights, to make sure it’s the exact shade you desire before committing. Similarly, material choice can make a big difference in how a colour comes across — imagine the gaps among nubby red linen, red leather, red velvet and red microfiber. If you like a colour but it just isn’t working for you, try it at a different material.

jamesthomas Interiors

6. Help upholstery blend in with dark wall colors. If you would rather have your vibrant furniture blend into its environment rather than pop in a white room, dark and deep walls are the way to go. In the room shown here, a wealthy blue-gray sofa makes an elegant fit for your slate-gray paint on the ceiling and walls. This look works great with cool colors (blue, green); adhere using milder wall colors to get warm-hued upholstery.

Dotter & Solfjeld Architecture + Design

This bold green sofa comes into its own against an equally wealthy blue wall. It doesn’t blend in, but it does not stick out as it would have against a white wall , either. The richness of this wall color affirms the vibrant energy of this sofa.

Becki Peckham

7. Try out an almost-neutral. Some colors, such as the light celery of this sofa displayed here, are so tender that they operate just as easily as a neutral such as khaki or linen. But its being not quite neutral makes it so much more interesting! If you usually shy away from color, an almost-neutral sofa or chair can be a terrific way to push yourself softly from your comfort zone.

Caitlin Wilson Design

8. Pick what you love. There is no getting around it colour is emotional. And when you bring a daring colour in your home, the only good reason to do it’s because you love it. Not like it, or believe you may like this, or wonder if you need to like it, but like it to smithereens. If looking at that pink sofa makes your heart sing with pleasure, go for it. Be bold and female with pink, and do not fret too much about what will go with this. As the famed decorator Dorothy Draper said, decorating is fun!

Tell us Would you choose vibrant upholstery?

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