Kim Johnson, co-founder of the design blog desire to inspire, has been taking her inspiration home: she is gradually renovating her Ottawa’s home, one room at the time. Working on many DIY projects and using her great love for design, Kim’s house became a beautiful nest that reflects her personality. We are very happy to share this interview with the houzz community and hope that you will enjoy peeking into Kim’s house as much as we did.
Please tell us about your “first meeting” with your house to be
The first time I saw my house I was shocked at its size. It’s 12 ft wide. I had never been in a house that narrow before. I could tell right away that I could work with the basics it had to offer as it had good bones. I was also shocked by the poor workmanship on many things throughout the house, such as the makeshift kitchen island and the worst tile job I’d ever seen in the kitchen and powder room. It was October and the season was winding down and I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to find something, and a home that was liveable. I wanted a house in the city and my price range was very limiting.
The first step of your remodeling process
The first somewhat significant remodel I did was of the staircase to the second floor. It was HORRIBLE. There was white carpet stapled over the stairs, and I ripped it off soon after moving in as the move happened in the middle of the winter and the white carpet was ruined (not that it was worth keeping anyway) from the movers. Under the carpet were laminate
tiles that were so old they were crumbling, and metal pieces covering the edge of each step that made walking up and down the stairs painful on bare feet. My boyfriend and I bought new treads and risers and refaced them. I then painted everything white. I am thinking of repainting as the white didn’t turn out as white as it should have been, but I quickly realized that white stairs in a house with 6 cats was NOT a very smart move.
The biggest renovation challenge you faced
THE KITCHEN. The kitchen was the most useless and frustrating part of the house. I never liked cooking in it and ended up slapping a coat of bubblegum pink paint on the cabinets to make it slightly more bearable. I ended up receiving gorgeous Asian style cabinetry from a sponsor of the blog and renovated the kitchen based on these cabinets. The hardest part of this reno project was either having to coral 6 cats in my bedroom with me for 3 straight weeks while the contractor worked on the kitchen (it was completely gutted), or not having a functional kitchen for about 6 weeks. In the end it was all worthwhile, and I have the kitchen of my dreams.
Your favorite style and colors
There are so many styles I like that I guess my favourite style is eclectic. I love thrifting so my house is filled with all sorts of vintage items that are from so many different design styles. My favourite colour is pink....or grey. My house is mostly painted grey, and I just painted my bedroom pale pink.
A spot in your house that makes you very happy/proud
I’ve got to say my kitchen. I had never renovated a kitchen before, much less any other room for that matter. Jo, my blog partner in crime helped me with some decisions, and I roamed Ottawa looking for the perfect sink, countertop, lighting, faucet, appliances etc., and everything worked out exactly as I hoped. I spend most of my time in my kitchen, either cooking or sitting at the dining table with my laptop.
Your precious accessory/furniture/art
The answer to this question is not easy as it always changes as I’m always bringing new stuff home that I find and fall in love with. At this moment I think my precious piece of furniture would have to be the sofa in my living room that my boyfriend and I built. It turned out even better than I expected and it’s the most comfortable sofa
I’ve ever owned (and I go through about one couch every year). I am currently having new pillows upholstered for it and can’t wait until it’s all done.
Your next house project
The next house project that I will be working on is finishing up my bedroom which I am PRAYING will be done this weekend (I’ve said that the last 3 weekends though...). After the bedroom I’d like to get going on the 2 bathrooms. They are SO UGLY and both need to be gutted and all the fixtures need to be replaced. This won’t happen for some time though as I’m still paying off my kitchen.
5 things that houzz readers need to know about your blog Desire to Inspire
1 – Jo and I created the blog to simply show off stunning photos of stunning spaces.
2 – We prefer to keep the text of each post short and sweet. That is because of point #1 – it’s not about how much we can yap about design, it’s about the photos.
3 – The blog is an escape for Jo and me. We are both design fanatics and this helps us to figure out what styles we could live with and what items we should be hunting thrift shops for.
4 – We never imagined the blog would be as successful as it is. And we’re so proud of what we’ve accomplished.
5 – We love it when reader’s send us photos of their homes, showcasing their decor and/or renovations.
Best tip for the remodeling beginner
Do your research and think things through! I am very impulsive when it comes to design, and I may see a photo online or in a magazine and think YES! I want that in my home! But then I have to remember that I have limitations – like the fact that I have 6 cats and what I bring into my home needs to be cat-friendly, or that my house is only 12 ft wide and 926 sq ft so I have to make sure items are of suitable scale.
Last but not least: as a houzz friend, you get to choose a giveaway gift to one of the lucky readers that will share their thoughts about your house and interview
The giveaway gift that I would love a houzz reader to win would be this tree shower curtain
I have the same shower curtain which I bought a couple years ago and it’s so cool! I have it in my bathroom and when I renovate I want to make sure it works with the new design. (I’m thinking of going for a woodsy, natural theme).
Thank you for sharing your beautiful home Kim!
For your chance to win the cool Urban Outfitters’ tree shower curtain selected by Kim, comment on this interview by Sunday, May 24th at 5pm EST.