Jennifer’s Bright and Airy Mish Mash

published May 6, 2010
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Jennifer (of The Little Things), James, Laine and Harley Johner (plus 2 dogs, a cat and a bunny)
Location: Acreage (30 minutes north of Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada)
Size: 1,544 square feet (main floor)
Years lived in: almost 4 years

You might remember Jennifer’s lovely turquoise and yellow kitchen we posted a couple of months ago. After seeing this room in the house, we couldn’t wait to see more and Jen was happy to oblige. She has spent the last four years cultivating her style that she describes as “comfortable retro modern” and it’s evident throughout her beautiful home.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The first thing you will notice is Jennifer’s wonderful sense of color (or colour in Canada!). She’s not afraid to use it, but she also knows when to use it. She and her husband’s bedroom is more subdued while the kitchen has bright pops of turquoise and yellow. The kid’s rooms are full of color while the office uses splashes in just the right amounts. Her love for turquoise, yellow and damask are seen subtly throughout the house as are her love for Etsy and blog inspired DIY projects (like the kitchen island and the couch in the playroom).

With two kids, two pets and a husband, organization is something that must be kept. Jennifer’s home strikes that fine balance between orderly and comfortable. Granted, there is stuff (there are two kids and a crafting, blogging mom living here after all!), but it’s clear that everything has its place.

What makes Jen’s home so special is the personal touches that abound. Her picture arrangements throughout the home feature her family, her favorite artwork and little personal mantras. There is a sense that everything in this home has been hand picked with care and placed precisely where it will be appreciated the most. So while Jennifer may describe her style as a mish mash of random items, we don’t think it feels random at all.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our style: “Comfortable retro modern with a bit of ornate thrown in,” if such a style exists. Definitely a little bit of everything! I love and admire so many different styles (everything from mid century modern to over the top ornate) and I really think that is reflected in our home. My theory is: if you love it, find a way to make it work! One thing that stays consistent throughout is “nature inspired,” with florals, nature colors, metals, woods, etc., and bright and airy. I think our house reflects our own personal style with the huge mish mash of random. I love finding ways to make elements that probably shouldn’t work together cohesive in a single space as well as adding bits of the unexpected to a room as well.

Inspiration: I would have to say that my biggest inspiration is definitely the internet…blogs, stores, DIY, etc. I am a self-proclaimed blog junkie. I love coming across ideas and thinking, “Ah hah! ..perfect!” A good house cleaning always helps, too. I am always surprised how inspired I am to get a few projects done after a good top to bottom house cleaning! I also love it when things are set up to work and flow well with the way we live!

Favorite Element: The high dormer windows along the front of the house because I love the extra light that they allow in! I also love being in the country, and looking out the window to see nothing but trees..and the occasional moose (or bear even)!

Biggest Challenge: Keeping organized and functional…especially in the kids’ rooms and playroom. I love finding ways that allow the kids to feel free to move about in their spaces (all spaces throughout the house actually), but that functionality is so important. They can rip apart that play room in 30 seconds, but how fast can they put it back together? If it isn’t easy, it doesn’t work for us (and it just doesn’t happen). They love being able to clean up after so finding a balance that helps them do that easily is so important to us.

What Friends Say: A few have nick named me “Monica” from “Friends” because of my clean and organized ways! Sometimes I do feel like I come by it very honestly…usually as I am wiping down the counter for the 20th time in one day! Our friends probably think we might be a bit ‘out there’ as far as choices go. When I painted all of our exterior doors bright turquoise, I got a few “ummmm…ok” responses, but we are ok with that.

Biggest Embarrassment: We have very low ceilings (7 feet!) in a few rooms downstairs since we finished the basement ourselves. It was a mistake on our end, and is definitely not something we like to talk about! We just hope that if anyone over 7 feet tall goes into the playroom, that they are very understanding.

Proudest DIY: The turquoise kitchen island. Even though it was a relatively simple DIY, it took patience as I waited to find the perfect island…and it was second hand for only $80. I cleaned it up and painted it and it turned out to be just what I envisioned…a bright, simply structured island. My husband’s proudest DIY would be the installation of the yellow French doors in the basement or his ability to perfectly translate my picture arrangements to the wall.

Biggest Indulgence: Anthropologie because it’s like being a kid in a candy store. Also, we recently started to replace some of our lighting one fixture at a time. We love our new barrel shade fixture in the dining room.

Best advice: Don’t try to do it all at once! I have gone through spurts where I tried to do too much at once, but things felt forced. After taking 4 years to get our house to the point it is at now it has made us appreciate our surroundings. Now we feel like our space is a part of us instead of the other way around. Still, I am not too sure we will ever be ‘done done’ since it is always evolving. Also, don’t be afraid to buy something if you like it no matter where it is from! I love finding $5 throw cushions in the bargain bin at Walmart and then mixing them with those cherished unique ‘splurge’ type finds!

Dream source: A store with vintage goods in lime green, yellow and turquoise…with a hint of damask thrown in? We hop all over the place so much, that it is hard to choose! Winners (Canadian designer discount type department store) can be like treasure hunting sometimes. We are bound to leave empty handed, but every now and then there is that special item that is absolutely perfect. And of course my personal fave for art is Etsy!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Entry/Mudroom and Half Bath/Laundry: shoe rack and hat rack – Ikea; ‘you are my sunshine’ print – jessgonacha; yellow garbage can (holds dog food) and cast iron birds – Winners; wire letter J: kristinemays; damask curtains – Walmart; bird prints above toilet – Charley Harper prints (downloaded free for personal use!); flower pots – Michael’s.

Dining Room: table and chairs – Ikea; rug and place mat – Canadian Tire; side table – Winners; lotus bowl – Vintage; high chair – Stokke Tripp Trapp; turquoise photographic prints – AliciaBock; light – Steven and Chris; cuckoo clock – it is a treasured gift, but can be found at I Love Uma; silver cut out art piece leaning on floor – Pier 1.

Kitchen: yellow table and both sets of stools – Ikea; island – found second hand and then painted; copper backsplash – Home Depot; owl cookie jar – Urban Outfitters; turquoise owl pencil holder – fruitflypie; ‘love’ and ‘xoxo’ prints, as well as print above cabinets – Vol25; owl decal – Holly; yellow pitchers and cookware on island – Vintage; turquoise clock – Walmart; black and white hat box on island, cake plates, colanders, tea kettle – Winners.

Living Room: coffee table, throw cushions and other lamps – Ikea; throw cushions and damask lamp – Winners; trays on wall – ibride; white flowers – Umbra; damask painting, sofa/loveseat and chair – locally owned home decor store; ‘xoxo’ letters – Michael’s; ceramic owl – fruitflypie; prints – sfgirlbybay, sugarloop, and Kelly Rae Roberts.

Kids’ Bathroom: zebra shower curtain: Winners; artwork: made using digital scrapbooking kits.

Harley’s Room: rugs and curtains – Ikea; bed – Sears; framed artwork – homemade; baskets and fake stop sign – Michael’s.

Master Bedroom: furniture, lamps and curtains – Ikea; turquoise glass candlesticks, duvet cover, bird cushion – Winners; framed prints and turquoise bowl – vintage; black and white cushions – Walmart.

Master Bathroom: flower above toilet, white ceramic bird, letter J – Winners; black and white floral tile – Sid Dickens; framed fabric – Heather Bailey; damask curtain – Walmart; framed print – dayben.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Laine’s Room: tray on wall – ibride; chandelier – Sears; pom poms – Michael’s; furniture, bedding, rugs, and white sheer curtains – Ikea; letter L – Anthropologie; butterflies – cut out from patterned paper; bunny print – kikiandpolly; pink print – sugarloop.

pallet day beds – DIY project (inspired by Ashley Ann); pom poms – Michael’s; small artwork – printed scans of daughter’s art; barbie box and other decorative items – Vintage; throw cushions – Winners and Zellers; bedding – Walmart;orange owl print – littlestflower; umbrella print – dazeychic; girl with duck print and turquoise print – Helen Dardik.

Family Room: sofa, chair, wall unit, side tables and kids table – Ikea; mirror – Winners; chairs – thrifted (with plans to be recovered); sheepskin – Costco;tray on wall – ibride; print – luludee;throw cushions – Ikea, Winners and Zellers; lamps – Zellers; rocking horse – childhood treasure; damask paper for backing bookshelf and frames – Michael’s; decorative corner accent in archway – Home Depot.

furniture – Ikea; black stool – Pottery Barn; turquoise clock – Walmart; camera collection – Vintage and Urban Outfitters; peacock feathers and pom poms – Michael’s; green bowl – Vintage; turquoise bowl and black mirror – Winner; silhouette girl/puppy dog print – homemade; silhouette head print – vol25; yellow print on desk – dazeychic; turquoise print on wall – littlestflower.

Paint Colors:
Front Entry (mint green) – Behr Premium Plus Sliced Cucumber
Main Living (light beige) – Pittsburgh Paints Sauteed Mushroom
Main Living (dark brown accent) – Pittsburgh Paints Stony Fields
Kitchen Island (turquoise) – Behr Mirage Lake
Above Kitchen Cabinets and Kids Bathroom(aqua) – Behr Aqua Bay
Hallway and Office Doors (yellow) – Behr Premium Plus Pyramid Gold
Master Bedroom (accent wall), Playroom and Interior Doors (green) – Benjamin Moore Jalepeno Pepper
Office (grey) – Behr Anonymous
Harley’s Bedroom (blue) – Benjamin Moore Blue Jean
Laine’s Bedroom (pink) – Benjamin Moore Strawberry Sorbet

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

(Thanks, Jennifer, James, Laine and Harley!)

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