Cozy by the Fire...

Fireplace: a framed opening made in a chimney to hold an open fire.
Websters Dictionary doesn't make it seem very exciting now does it?
There is nothing I love more than to sit in front of a wonderful fireplace and just relax and bask in the warmth. Must have something to do with growing up in Northern British Columbia, playing all day in the winter wonderland and falling asleep in front of a crackling fire.
I have had the opportunity over the years to really showcase some really unique fireplaces.
The fireplace above is one I took great pride in designing, it features a stacked rock fascia and a Pacific Cedar rough cut mantle.
Not all Fireplace's have to be floor to cieling to be grand. Many New Home builds feature a somewhat typical builders special. In the picture above the builder was not your average builder, the black distressed mantel and surround tie in beautifully to the custom kitchen of the same finish. This is a dramatic and beautiful change from the good old white stand by's.

This new home was also built by a superior builder, the corner fireplace had wonderful appeal but the stark white mantle stuck out like a sore thumb.
And so begins my tale of paint. Whenever posssible I prefer to paint out the white mantels. There is no design rule stating that the Mantel needs to match the casing.
Wouldn't you agree that the mantel looks far better and tones beautifully with the colour of the rock work surrounding it?

Of course not all fireplaces are gas. One of my past projects included the renovation for a large condominium complex in Kitsilano. Each floorplan had an electric fireplace with the typical White mantel and surround.
Nothing exciting or appealing about trying to make this condo into a show suite, that is until... Now you have a focal point! By painting out the White, with an oil based (for lustre), to a rich brown it looks far more luxurious. The colour is Benjamin Moore: Bittersweet. All of the condo's had the exact same White fireplace even though there were many variations on the layout.  
                       Same tile too. For this suite there was a small nook just the right size for a shelving unit. The new colour scheme incorporated lots of cool Grey tones and the new hardwoood was a rich walnut. For this surround I played up the floor tones. As you can see there is a lot of trim and casing elsewhere in the space, by changing the fireplace mantel colour the living space is more defined.

In another suite the neutral carpet was kept and the white cabinetry. The sliding doors were removed to the enclosed balcony and a grey/violet colour scheme was chosen.
This Mantel and surround were painted a rich Grey. The Benjamin moore colour is Stone.
When this showhome sold the next suite had the identical layout, and of course identical fireplace. The new showsuite however was a complete remodel. I chose Ginger maple cabinetry throughout and a warmer colour scheme. The fireplace was professionally painted with an architectural finish to look like grained maple. Even the Realtors couldn't beleive it wasn't real wood.
In the right setting a White mantel can still look very elegant. This renovation design had a living room from the 1960's complete with wood panelling.
The surround insert was a creamy marble tile that the homeowner did themselves, while the tile seemed a bit high once the Mantel and surround were in place it didn't seem so out of proportion.
Some of my renovation design projects have included the not so nice red brick surrounds. If the brick is really dating the feel of a space an inexpensive solution to replacing it is to simply paint it out. Generally I keep this practice to the lower height surrounds as opposed to the full floor to ceiling. Here are a few examples of changing out some brick fireplaces.
Before & After
Before & After
This home had the same brick in the adjoining kitchen. It was painted out the same colour.
This is just a taste of some of the projects I have had the pleasure of redesigning, with more projects on the go stay tuned for more from my recent projects with more great fireplace treatments! ~ Emily,
Emily Hagerman Design


Welcome to the New Wills Creek Showhome...

In having two Wills Creek show home's under my belt I was thrilled to be asked to design yet another. The first two showhomes were such a sucess that they were among some of the first unit's to sell. Showhomes are so incredibly important, when done properly the buyers can completely envision themselves living within and enjoying the space.
Wills Creek is a unique devlopment in South Surrey that boasts craftsman inspired millwork and warm inviting finishings. The new showhome is temporary until the new phase is completed with a new and exciting layout. For this "A" plan home I incorporated a great deal of black and chocolate combinations to really ground the space.

I treated the fireplace as a decorative focal point to show a different option to just having a Flatscreen TV mounted. The living room has a cozy tranquil feel that serves as a great place to curl up in front of the fire with a good book.

The dining room can accomodate a large table that will easily seat 6-8 guests. The console behind the table helps to center the large vaulted end wall and provides extra storage for glassware and tableware.

The beautiful oversize glass hurricane centerpieces add dramatic height to the table as in this pre-sold unit the chandelier had not yet been chosen.

 Boasting a total of 5 bathrooms, 4 of which being full baths, the powder room off the main living room is beautiful and spacious with it's incredibly high ceiling and large mirror. By treating the wall behind the water closet as the focal point the powder feels warm not sterile.
Wills Creek gives buyers lots of great options to customize homes to specific needs. The option of millwork cabinetry flanking either side of the family room gas fireplace is a wonderful option for buyers who like to have a place for everything and everything in it's place. This show home opted for a bit more space for the furniture layout and the cabinets were not installed. This actually worked much better for a larger size of sofa and gave me better options for side tables and lamps.

The generous kitchen cabinets and large island give plenty of storage and use. The full-height white Shaker style cabinets with solid granite countertops make this kitchen bright and elegant. Top of the line stainless appliances come standard.

The oversize island makes kitchen tables obsolete as well as providing an excellent prep area.
The "A" plan features a large Master Bedroom on the main level. The bedroom features large french doors to the private patio.
The king size bed works very well in this size of bedroom and thanks to the very large walk in closet eliminates the need for dressers or armoires that are not easily accomodated in this 12x13" room.

Bathrooms have become one of the most important rooms in a home, they are a place to relax, to unwind and in Wills Creek they are a place to retreat to. The Spa inspired deep soaker tub and large glass showers are embellished with beautiful mosaic glass tile. The double vanity featuring luxurious quartz countertops have ample room both above and below. The frosted glass partition cleverly disguises the water closet and gives a nice private touch to this large spacious bathroom.
This layout also offers two laundry options of having one dedicated room on the top floor and another laundry closet on the main.

The second level or top floor layout includes three bedrooms. Two of whcih have their own private balconies with sundecks. The flex room, as I like to call it, is perfect for crafts, a spare guest room or as I have shown it as a working office space, great for homework or scrapbooking.

The smaller of the bedrooms has a large french doors which when open makes the room much bigger. I chose to use light bedding with the dark furniture to give definition and yet not make the bed overpowering.

This bedroom also features an adjoining good sized bathroom with huge shower/tub combination.
The large second bedroom on the upstaurs level gives the option of having a Master bedroom up with a very large private patio. In the first Show home a King size bed was used however a queen makes the room feel slightly better proportioned with more breathing room. It will however still accomodate a King size bed.

Luxury continues with a beautiful full ensuite, the seperate water closet with full linen closet makes excellent use of the large space. Quartz Counters with a modern stylish vessel sink offer plenty of room while the white Shaker style cabinetry offer spa inspired elegance.
As if these rooms were not enough, Wills creek offers fully finished basements with ample room and various upgrades and options to suit everyone's taste. The basement bedroom is large with full height ceilings and an adjoining full bath. The room can accomodate everything from a pair of bunk beds all the way to a four post king bed.No expense has been spared on the finishings even for the basement bath which boasts a huge walk in shower.

The enourmous games/media room has unlimited potential in various configurations. in this showhome I grouped various collections to create a home theatre, games area, bar with lounge, and even a fitness area.The ample storage and high end bar appliances are also customizable. You may remember from my other showhomes that the "A" plan can also be ordered with a fully contained wine room.
What truly sets apart the Wills Creek package from so many others is the wonderful open floor plans. I have been on site many times since the new show home opened and have witnessed first hand how impressed people are and how at home they seem to instantly feel. I take great pride in my latest Show home design and hope everyone who visits the show home will be inspired and enjoy their experience. I am currently working on another unit in Wills and with my clients permisssion will post some of the unique ideas we brought to her "show home".
I would like to thank Emmar for their continued support of me and my Design adventures and am looking forward to more exciting homes to come from this progressive developer. I would also like to acknowledge my great team of helpers whom without I couldn't have done any of this! Carla you rock!! A very special acknowledgement to my good friend and photographer Gary Hubbs who helped bring my work to light through his talented lens. The Wills Creek Show Home can be viewed from noon-five every day except Friday. They are located at 3109 161st Street, Surrey BC.

Emily Hagerman Design, 2009