Ashley Izsak Design Studio: Small Shop Commercial and Residential Design Studio Based in Ottawa
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Kitchen Nook Update

You know when you’re pregnant and time seems to creep by (ugh nausea / discomfort / lack of sleep) and yet fly by at the same time (omg is it over already?! cue the tears)… well sometimes you magically accomplish great things - like a whole house makeover… and yet you tell no one about it.

So here I am finally sharing it!

The main floor of this home was opened up during the renovation, yet this part of the kitchen remains slightly hidden from the living and dining area - making it feel like a true spot to relax, look out to the trees in the backyard and sip a hot coffee.

Here is what the space looked like originally:


Please ignore the less than awesome photo. The first thing to go was the tile, the paneling and the adjoining bathroom (yuck)! This corner was just asking for a built-in banquet, with its perfect surrounding windows and view into the kitchen.

We installed what I like to call - an elevated Ikea kitchen into this home. The cabinets are Ikea but the finishings are not. We wanted a relaxed feeling in here since the homeowners wanted to use this space for most of their meals when they weren’t entertaining. It was also important that it be a beautiful space, complementing the rest of the design of the main floor.

Source list: lower cabinets Ikea / Custom Bench Cushion / Pillows (White and Black spots) Chapters / Pillows Ikea / Table Ikea / Chairs Vintage / Bowl Anthropologie / Wall Colour Farrow and Ball Pavilion Gray.

How to do Christmas Decor in Your Style

Confession: I loathe the colour red. I’m not sure why exactly that is, but I do know that as of late, Ben’s retina burning plastic toys are testing my sanity. So apart from toys, the only time the colour red is tolerated by me is at Christmas. I’ve had years where I allowed none of it on the tree but my resolve has crumbled a bit (maybe it’s having three children, two cats, and often a high level of insanity over here) - either way, in small does at Christmas, I can handle it.

I am not a theme person. I don’t buy new decor every Christmas season - I think last year I bought one faux wreath (we’re allergic to the real stuff) and then I “borrowed” a few Christmas things from my Mother (they may currently be packed away in my crawl space).

So what do I do to refresh our decor every year without actually buying anything new? I change up where I put everything - except the tree.

Using what you have to decorate for Christmas

Source List: Christmas Tree (similar) Canadian Tire / Chair Overstock / Rug Homesense / Rattan Side Table Street Corner Find / Bookshelf Ikea / Globe Light Ikea / Twinkle Lights Amazon

I like to tuck ornaments into bookshelves, fake pinecones into vases, and white twinkly lights anywhere they’ll fit!

floating shelves christmas styling

I love bringing a little Christmas into different rooms of the house. Open shelving is a great place for a mini tree.

Christmas decor living room.

Source list: Nesting Tables Ikea Svalsta / Lamp Robert Abbey

With 3 children in the house, I like to keep things fun, light and safe (especially this year with a wandering toddler). Non breakable ornaments are key as well as anything felt, stuffed or soft enough not to break if (when) violently thrown from its designated spot!

You can’t see it here, but another way I like to bring in a bit of Christmas is by swapping out a couple of pictures in small frames for cheeky greeting cards.

How do you make Christmas work for your style? (Or are you a theme queen?)

Twin Bedroom Makeunder

The plan was never for our twin daughters to always share a room, but as everyone knows, plans change - like when you suddenly decide that having two children is simply not enough. Suddenly that temporary office and would be future bedroom for one of your two children becomes a nursery.

So we did the logical thing and bought our girls bunkbeds.

Twin Bunkbeds bedroom makeover by Ashley Izsak

The novelty of the bunkbeds surpassed any other pause that I might have had (while 8 months pregnant) so we ordered this set of bunks, rearranged their room and pretended to be happy with them for a year and a half! Let me ask you this - have you ever made the beds on a bunkbed? My husband and I would swap virtually any other chore when sunday rolled around and we changed the sheets in the house. It was a painful experience involving internal pep talks, stubbed toes and the promise of a glass of wine at the end of it.

The other issue is that the line of independence is already blurred between our girls. They are twins, they share so many things including a room and with the bunks, now they shared an actual bed too. Our daughters took turns weekly on the top bunk and then there was the issue of one of them actually falling off the top bunk in the middle of one night.

So last month, when Sunday came around, and I overheard them debating who “had” to sleep on the top bunk next… I took my chance - casually suggesting that we could just revert to their old Ikea beds which we had stored in my parents’ basement. The bunk could go in our basement guest room (you’re welcome future guests).

So there we were, Sunday afternoon, disassembling and reassembling beds and bunks. Instantly, I felt so much better. With the two singles back up they finally had a spot to call just theirs.

Product Guide: Dresser Ikea Rast / Bunkbed Amazon / Wall Light Ikea Ranarp / Bedding Zara Home / Quilt Local Thrift Store / Wall Hanging

Photography & Product Styling by Ashley Izsak

See more home updates on Instagram & Check out our living room progress tour

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