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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