8 Decorating Tips from the 2011 PNE Prize Home Designer

From a grand entrance to luxurious touches throughout, the PNE's prize home designer shares her design strategies

Credit: Photos courtesy PNE

The PNE Prize Home showcases some prize-worthy design strategies worth trying

Ever year, crowds of people wander through the PNE Prize Home and dream of owning the grand prize – this time, a 3,100-square-foot craftsman-style house that will be located in Kelowna

The 2011 PNE Prize Home was designed by Barbara Aylesworth from A Stroke of Genius. She shares eight prize-worthy design tips.

1. A Grand Entrance

Double doors leading to a large entry hall makes the home’s initial grand impression. “If the entrance is large, it welcomes guests and allows space when lots of guests enter at the same time. If it’s small, it makes the entire house feel more cramped,” says Aylesworth.

2. Inlaid Carpet “Runner” on Stairs
The home’s large staircase features a faux runner that is sewn into the carpet so that it won’t move, even with heavy foot traffic. Its chocolate trim is layered above multi-textured taupe and mocha carpeting.

3. Spend on/Save on

The chocolate vinyl “oak hardwood” on the main floor was a low-maintenance, easily installed choice that cost $7 per square foot, unlike the ceramic porcelain hardwood planks used in a previous home. Those porcelain planks cost $17 per square foot and also added tonnes of weight to the project. The marble used in the kitchen and bathroom was a splurge but, explains Ayleworth, “It’s like buying a fine-quality suit in a classic colour; it’s got good bones so whatever you layer on top works.”

4. Continuity

In addition to carrying colour themes throughout the home, Aylesworth suggests repeating patterns and materials. For example, in the sitting room, vertical blinds complement the vertical stair railing, accented by vertically pleated satin pillows. Wrought iron is taken from the front door’s detailing to the living room wine cabinet to the 42-inch chandelier above the stairwell.  

5. Powder Room Luxury

Aylesworth made a dramatic statement for guests by adding embossed copper wallpaper and a chandelier to the powder room. Wallpaper has never been used in the prize home before (because it may twist when the modular walls are moved when transporting the home to its permanent location), but the wall covering has made such resurgence that Aylesworth felt it was an important addition to the home’s decor.

6. Old-world Mirror

The master bathroom mirror features a trumeau, a decorative border or panel within its frame, in this case, done in recycled glass mosaic tile. Trumeaus were popular in Europe a century ago on mirrors typically placed over fireplaces. On high ceilings like the one in the prize home, the mirror may have also had a painting above it. Here, to add light to the windowless room, a second mirror is placed above the trumeau mirror with a chandelier secured overtop. It reflects light around the room, and when all other lights are switched off, casts a romantic sparkling glow.

7. Chandelier Savvy

If a wrought-iron chandelier doesn’t feature hanging crystals, light doesn’t reflect or bounce from the bulbs, resulting in an informal and more masculine fixture. Aylesworth says it’s easy to add glamour and modern punch to a chandelier you already own by hanging individual crystals beneath the candle-shaped bulbs and draping a few strings to catch light.

8. Making a Child’s Room “Grow up”

The girl’s room breaks away from the traditional setting, featuring a contemporary daybed with a pullout trundle bed for sleepover guests. Customized footboards at both ends instead of a headboard to make the bed look like a couch. Aylesworth says, “Teenagers don’t use their beds as beds; they use them for socializing, watching TV, reading and sleeping.” The room is punctuated by a modern chandelier and custom-painted wall that replicates the pattern on a sophisticated black-and-white duvet.

To read more about what inspired Aylesworth’s prize-worthy design, pick up the fall 2011 issue of BC Home magazine.