before and after

Before & After: An Ontario Bungalow Brings The Sea Indoors

by Maxwell Tielman


When designer James Prunean and his wife Diana began looking for a home, they knew they wanted a few things: a great location, a great front porch, customizability, and that one thing that always draws people into the housing market—more space. The cozy bungalow that they ultimately purchased fit all of these criteria beautifully. “When I walked into this home,” James notes, “I instantly saw the potential it had and had to have it.”

The house as it stood, though, would require a lot of work. With a less than desirable floor plan, awkwardly divided spaces, and earth-toned wallpaper that looked tragically dated, the home needed all the love it could get. Luckily, James and Diana were up to the task. Beginning with inspiration boards created on Pinterest, the couple chose a nautical theme to guide them through their decorating and purchasing decisions and got to work. The end result, a completely opened up space, is stunning. Filled with light, beautifully curated vintage pieces, and subtle punches of color, the now maritime-themed home functions both as a living space and a dreamy retreat from the world. Check out the rest of the photos and James’s thoughts on the renovation process after the jump! For an even more in-depth look at the whole renovation process, be sure to check out the house’s blog. —Max


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“I knew I liked a few things about the house,” James says. “I liked how it felt cottagy, how it had the potential for open plan living and I knew I wanted to take out walls and move the kitchen from the back room (a 10×10 room which is now the office) to another location in the home. I wanted the house to feel open, light and airy. Another thing I loved about our home was all the original details it had. We loved that we found hardwood under the carpet so we wanted to restore those. It had beautiful windows that were original and we wanted to keep as much of the original house as we could. We wanted it to feel like it still had a lot of the original character of the house but updated in a way that worked with our taste.”

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“I started the renovations by simply creating some inspiration boards. I used Pinterest to start that process, just pinning anything and everything I liked. I knew by doing this, a theme would come through. Shortly through this process I noticed all the spaces I was loving were white, they were open, they had dark floors, and funny enough anything nautical, i was loving. So i thought why not just go with it. I have renovated homes before and I know that if you pick a theme it helps with decisions. If it doesn’t fall in the theme, you don’t use it. 

“Once I decided I was going to go mainly white and nautical, everything else fell into place. I wanted to use stripes where I could, red, blue, white were the colors I was going to stick to. I used Picasso travertine in the office as it doubled as a back entranceway. I loved the natural stone feel it had and it reminded me of seaside because of the blue veins it had running through it.”


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“We decided that the living room was lacking something,” James notes, “We definitely werent going to be able to add in a fireplace because of the cost, however there was room for a faux fireplace. We found a great mantle at the market and then added our own shelves to it. It was an awesome touch and acted as a focal point for the space. We use it to display some of our vintage cameras and design books. Its a great conversation piece and the navy really compliments the front door and space.”

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“Our light fixtures and many of the details in our home came from the antique market as well. I picked up a giant vintage light fixture which was formally in a factory and added it to the dining room. The kitchen light fixture had a nautical feel to it so I went with it too. All came at a cost but added a great touch to the kitchen and dining room.”

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“The kitchen sits now where the 3rd bedroom used to be. I had to remove a wall between the dining room and living room to be able to redo the kitchen the way I wanted to. As for the styling of the kitchen I decided to keep it white and used a mixture of cabinets with clear glass to make the space feel more open and some with no glass to keep contents private. I also used a blue miniture mosaic tile as a backsplash and wrapped it around the end wall and to the other side of the galley kitchen to make the space feel more open and in some ways define the space as a whole. A white cast iron sinc from Kohler was a nice touch as well. I went to the local antique market and picked up crystal knobs for the cabinets to echo the glass door knobs throughout the house too.”

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“Another thing I loved in my inspiration boards were the decorative ceiling tiles so I tried to use it as much as I could. I knew it would draw peoples eyes up to the ceiling and make the ceilings feel taller. Our ceilings are only 8.5 ft tall but feel like they are at least 9 or 10 ft. I used a mixture of white and copper tiles. The copper made the office feel special when you walked in and brick we found behind the wall acted as a great focal point in the room too.”

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  • If all my nautical dreams came true and existed within one home this would be it! I love the blanket in the master bedroom- any idea where it’s from? Thanks for sharing this!!

  • The pre-renovation home what not without it’s charm, but what a remodel! Pristine and crisp. And I love the nautical themes. How much for the painting with the whale?! Jk!

  • Diana & James did a fabulous job with their home. Not only do they have an amazing eye for beautiful things in life, they themselves are beautiful people and it reflects in everything they do. A talented duo with a bright future ahead of them :)

  • Normally I would be rather put out with the destruction of all the pattern and surface design. However this looks soooo awesome. I especially love the ceiling tiles. It is a smart move for getting some pattern occurring! Great taste James and Diana.

  • This is a truly amazing renovation. I *love* the white, the ceiling tiles, the plants hanging over the sink. Awesome. …when can I move in? ;)

  • Charming! Both warm and cool. Wonderful things throughout, but I especially love the kitchen, the windows on the wall and that whale painting.

  • Hi Cecilia, the artist of the whale carving is passed away. He left his son with about 45 of them and I purchased two of his nautical themed pieces at an antique market.

  • Those cushions make the couch look so comfy – where are they from? I’ve been hunting down oversized velvet cushions!

  • Sigh. Gorgeous. Love the details and colour scheme. Love the way it all works individually and together. Suddenly feel the urge to paint my door red! :)

  • Big improvement. And that “hanging” wall (behind the faux fireplace) is a great solution for a room that would otherwise have too many doors. Very clever!

  • That looks like quite an undertaking, but obviously worth it. I don’t usually go for the nautical style, but this place makes me think twice for sure. I love the pops of red everywhere. Just a lovely before/after, thanks!

  • I’m always excited to see and read your before/ after photos! Its so nice! Those your work inspired me. Hope to see more great your work.

  • What a fabulous makeover! I love everything about it, so imaginative and fun! Love the kitchen tiles and cabinets, all of the whimsical nautical items, and the lovely brick textures.

  • I feel like I’m looking into a cleaner, crisper version of my own little bungalow?! We even have the SAME dining chairs painted a glossy red around our rustic farm table! (All nabbed from my grandma’s basement) I am now inspired to walk around decluttering my knick knacks. GORGEOUS. Your home made me hold my breath.

  • Emma Lee those cushions came from ikea actually! They have them still I believe but I grabbed them a while ago.

    Thank you everyone for the kind words! Thank you for appreciating all the hard work we put into our home.

  • Wow, gorgeous–fabulous job! For some reason I am particularly drawn to the “toilet” sign on the bathroom door. So charming. Might you share your source for that little gem? Thanks!

  • Gorgeous! I would also love to know the paint color in the living room – the grey. Thanks!

  • So in love with the design! The striped room with the red door, is that wallpaper?? if so, where is it from?

  • This is totally gorgeous. All the rooms have such a lovely balance – not too done up or matchy-matchy, but finished beautifully. Well done!

  • Plenty of elbow grease has gone into this project, and it looks like a really pleasant place to live but there’s not much evidence of your personality.


  • You did a fantastic job changing this place. My favorite thing is the new dark floors. My son has similar floors and they are beautiful. It’s a touch that makes the entire house look rich and beautiful.

  • Hey Sarah I’d like to think the whole house is a reflection of my personality, ultimately I only put things in their that I loved and the white walls acted as a nice backdrop hat allowed the pieces to sing. I also design my graphics in a similar style.

  • Rebellious, I would love to tell you who the sectional is by but there is literally no tags on it to tell you a manufacturer. I purchased is 6 years ago from a boutique in Toronto.

    Ashlee the whale and captain paintings are actually carvings out of wood that I picked up at an antique market.

  • Hi Amanda, I’m sorry I don’t know the color as it’s been a little while since I picked it out, but I picked a deep navy blue with a bit of a grey undertone.

  • So beautiful! Which antique markets did you visit? I am from Ontario and have had no luck with the markets I have visited so far.

  • The blue and red doors at a real pop of colour to the white walls. A modern look added to very traditional doors. The herbs above the sink are a great idea!

  • We have low ceilings and I’ve been struggling to think of how to make them work. You are definitely an inspiration!

  • /all the afters are nice,but for me, except for the bedroom there is no warmth. Just seems kind of stark to me. good work though. I just like a bit more color.

  • Beautiful Place!! If you are willing to share on here (or you can email me directly )Roughly how much it cost for you to flip the entire house. my Boyfriend and I are looking at bungalows in Ontario now to move into soon. I am an Interior Designer, so I’m basically looking for a full reno :). Trying to work out all the numbers lol

    Thanks so much!

  • What color red did you use on the captain chairs for the dining room. Did you spray paint them or brush paint?
    I have similar chairs that need a face lift.

    Thank you!