before and afterDIYinterior design

Before & After: A Country Home Gets A Powder Room & Living Room Update

by Rebekah Carey

Marcella DiLonardo is a freelance lifestyle photographer and her husband, Justin Jones, works in insurance — together they have the lifestyle blog Hey Modest Marce. They recently swapped the city life of Toronto for the more slowly-paced country life of Fonthill, Ontario (outside of Niagara). The couple had fallen in love with this home when they first saw the listing last spring, but it was just out of their budget. As luck would have it, it was still on the market by the summer, when the couple had saved more for their down payment, and they were able to make an offer. Their first home just happened to be their dream home. The house, although in the country, is still close to markets, and they’re lucky enough to have a hiking trail at the back of the property that they hike every weekend. The downtown, which Marcella admits is a little different from what she would have referred to as the downtown area in Toronto, is just a few steps away, as is an apple orchard. If the description of the outside sounds charming, the inside is equally so.

Despite the fact that Marcella and Justin have only lived in their home for a handful of months, they’ve already begun making it their own. They were lucky to have found a home (dream home, no less!) that was move-in ready — all that was left to do was make it feel personalized. Marcella immediately got to work putting her stamp on the powder and living rooms. As someone who appreciates the charm that comes with an older home, Marcella wanted to be sure to keep all of that intact — and, in fact, add as much back in as she could.

Marcella has mostly kept to a grey-with-white-accents palette that allows the beautiful original trim and details to stand out while still making the home feel warm and inviting. She shares her inspiration behind the palette, “I love how the mix of white, greys and wood [looks] together. It is so homey, but still elegant.”

The powder room was where she felt like she could have a little more fun with color; it was a previous add-on, meaning she could be less precious about updates she wanted to make as she wouldn’t be losing any original details. The wallpaper she chose for the powder room, called “Apothecary Garden” by Trust Worth, is actually a print from 1926, which goes amazingly well with their 1928 home. Trying to add in more of those original details that were left out in the addition, she added Delta’s Victorian line of fixtures and faucets to create a more seamless continuation of the home’s age. While the home was already one-of-a-kind, adding vintage-inspired wallpaper and light fixtures was a top priority to give the home its due and revel in its history.

The projects will continue for a while, something the couple embraces. Next on the docket in the new year is taking on the two-and-a-half/third floor loft with exposed beams and angled ceilings. We can’t wait to see what else this couple creates in their beautiful new home. —Rebekah

Photography by Marcella DiLonardo



Powder Room

-wallpaper: Apothecary Garden by Trust Worth Studios
-wainscotting & trim paint: Wevet in Estate Emulsion by Farrow & Ball
-linens (Bath Towels, Hand Towels, Bath Mat): Rough Linen’s Bath Makeover in Natural
-sconce lights: Cedar & Moss Wyatt Sconce in Walnut & Brass
-mirror: Wayfair
-faucet: Delta Two Handle Widespread Lavatory Faucet in Champagne Bronze
tissue holder, towel bar & towel ring: Delta Victorian in Champagne Bronze
-door hook: Delta Victorian Double Robe Hook in Champagne Bronze

Living Room

-wallpaper: Farrow & Ball Amime BP 4401
-fireplace, mantel & wood trim paint: Farrow & Ball Wevet in Estate Eggshell
-wall paint: Farrow & Ball Purbeck Stone in Estate Emulsion
fireplace accessories, log holder, mirror, candle sticks, sheepskin throw, brass lanterns & vase: Crate & Barrel
faux antlers & floor lamp: Restoration Hardware
-area rug: Rejuvenation
-curtains: Rough Linen in Natural Orkney
couch, reading chair, table lamp & reclaimed apple crates (no longer available): West Elm
-all pillows (linen & mudcloth): Loom Goods
-vase: Convivial Production
brass curtain rod + Antler Finials: Anthropologie
-custom frame of Buddy Holly: Framebridge
-wool blanket: Pendleton
-coffee table: handmade by Marcella and Justin

A Before-And-After View Of This Ontario Country Home On Design*Sponge
Luckily for Marcella and Justin, their living and powder rooms didn't require any major construction or renovations, but they did lack the couple's personal touch.
A Calming Living Room In The Country Of Ontario On Design*Sponge
Marcella admits, "Decorating the mantel with the Farrow & Ball wallpaper in the background was something I was looking forward to most. The paint colors are so soft and minimal. The wood and brass accents add a touch of contrast to the monochromatic grey tones in the rest of the design." She adds, "The wallpaper makes for the perfect backdrop in every photo."
Justin And Marcella's Living Room Makeover Is Elegant And Cozy On Design*Sponge
"One of my favorite things when we viewed the house was the fireplace itself. It is so unique to the home, I have had people ask me where I bought it (lol). We hope one day to get it back in use though, because we both love wood-burning fireplaces over gas. I chose a large wood mirror to grace the mantel as I wanted to bring in some warmth and match the original hardwood floors," Marcella explains. "There was no way a TV was going above that 1920s mantel."
Corner Fireplace Detail Features Woodland Details In This 1928 Home On Design*Sponge
Marcella cleverly discovered the best paint to pair with her wallpaper: "The Farrow & Ball Purbeck Stone paint is actually the exact same color as the wallpaper, too. It blends seamlessly together and was the main reason I decided to go with the medium grey tone. One paint decision made easy! The faux antlers and silver fox on the mantel just go with everything else in the house. I have a love for forest animals, I can't count how many deer/owl/fox figures you’ll find scattered throughout the home."
"We chose to paint the fireplace Farrow & Ball's Wevet to give it a bright and clean look against the wallpaper. Seriously, [choosing] the perfect white is no easy task! While the Amime wallpaper appears busy close up, it is so subtle from far away. We covered the fireplace hearth with a gorgeous slab of Carrara marble from a local stone place. The original hearth was patched up so many times, it had to go. The finish is an antique brass to match the other aged brass pieces in the room. While the original fireplace is not in use, we wanted to give the illusion that it still worked by decorating it with accessories and wood logs (insect-free, whew!)."
After Living Room Shot From A Charming 1928 Home In The Canadian Countryside On Design*Sponge
Marcella explains their decision to move to the country, "It was a rather impulse decision to leave the city behind, something we only talked about in passing. Now it is safe to say neither Justin nor I ever look back... especially Buddy Holly [the couple's pomeranian chihuahua]. She was not a city girl!" The beautiful French doors are original to the home and Marcella shares that they have lovely original knobs as well.
A DIY Table From The Couple's City Dwelling Days Looks Right At Home In The Country On Design*Sponge
Their living room features a table the couple made together years before, "We found the butcher block on the side of the road one day, lugged it back home, cut and sanded it into a coffee table top. Then I ordered the hair pin legs online and boom! We had made our first piece of furniture." While that piece was a no-brainer to bring to their new home, some furnishings were harder. "Choosing the rug was a difficult task because I didn't want it to clash with the wallpaper, but I also didn't want it to be plain and boring. This West Elm rug was the perfect solution."
A Blown Up Picture Of The Couple's Beloved Dog In This Before-And-After On Design*Sponge
Marcella shares a sentiment most of us dog-owners can relate to: "The rustic style floor lamp [is] from Restoration Hardware and the custom print of Buddy Holly in the background [is] from Framebridge. Ordering these prints from Framebridge was the first thing I did when we got the house because I knew I wanted a big picture of my dog blown up on the wall. I have so many to choose from; she is my favorite subject to photograph."
Homeownership Was A Surprise And Something The Couple Is Constantly Thankful For In This Ontario Home On Design*Sponge
Marcella shares what she's most thankful for about their home: "Besides who I get to share it with, I am thankful to be able to call it mine. It is a dream come true and something I would have never thought just one year ago would be ours."
Before And After Of A Powder Room In A Arts And Crafts Style Home In Canada
The before (above) of the couple's powder room. Marcella brings original charm and vintage-inspired details back into her 1928 home's powder room.
A Pretty Powder Room With Vintage Print Wallpaper, In Canada On Design*Sponge
"A detailed shot of the vintage door, which brings so much character throughout the whole house. I love the dark grey door against the bright "Wevet" wall and trim. The wallpaper is the most interesting aspect of this room, but I love how the faucets, fixtures and lighting tie it all together. I am also happy I chose to do a bright white wainscoting like Farrow & Ball's Wevet; it was a last-minute decision I made before the wallpaper was installed.
A Vintage Printed Wallpaper That Is Only Two Years Off From The Age Of The Home Shines In This Powder Room On Design*Sponge
Marcella was intentional in her design of incorporating as many new-vintage details as she could in her bathroom refresh.
A Petite Powder Room Gets The Attention It Deserves With New Vintage Wallpaper On Design*Sponge
"I chose the champagne bronze finish instead of the shiny brass and paired it with Cedar & Moss sconce lights. They are made of wood, brushed brass and clay shades, which helped tie the whole bathroom together," Marcella explains.
A Powder Room That Borders The Kitchen Can Serve As Extra Storage For Essentials Like Aprons On Design*Sponge
While the grey doors came in this color when the couple moved in, they love them and opted to keep the color. "The grey door and the hook where I hang my kitchen aprons. The grey door is a subtle yet bold choice for interior doors. Every door in the house is grey and the original solid wood doors from 1928," Marcella shares. Farrow & Ball's Down Pipe is the closest paint match.
Vintage Replica Hardware Make The Powder Room Feel Even More Cohesive With The Rest Of The Home On Design*Sponge
Marcella admits, "Yes, I always fold my toilet paper in a triangle, but especially with a holder like that!" While petite, the powder room stands on its own with the wallpaper.
Gorgeous Clay Sconces Can Be Found In The Remodeled Powder Room On Design*Sponge
We can't get enough of the beautiful sconces Marcella chose, "Cedar & Moss Wyatt Sconce. Can you believe that [light] shade is wheel spun and made of clay?!"
Main Floor 1928 Floorplan On Design*Sponge
The main floor: where both the living room and powder room can be found.
The Second Floor Will Be Next On The List For This Industrious Couple On Design*Sponge
The second floor is where the bedrooms can be found.
The Next Project Is A Loft Revamp For This Ontario Home On Design*Sponge
The project for the New Year includes turning the loft/half-floor into something amazing. With the exposed beams and arched ceilings Marcella described, we can only imagine how amazing it will be!

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  • I am in love with your fireplace and wallpaper! The bathroom has such wonderful feel to the design. I do have to say one thing that drives me crazy is a toilet lid that it up!!! My husband gave in when we married and keeps it down and for that I am grateful. It just seems to me it is like a cabinet door that is open when the lid it left up. Plus I am accident prone and would surely drop something in there! Thank you for sharing your beautiful home.

  • The gold faucets are amazing. Love the marble in front of the fireplace! Have you ever considered adding a black and white striped guitar as part of the décor? This house rocks!

  • I am still always amazed at what a difference something as simple as adding wallpaper can make! Love this transformation. The living room is a lot cosier now. I am currently planning my living room renovation as well and found this cool app that lets you estimate the cost of a renovation project and calculate the return on investment for free: https://app.mykukun.com/Home-Renovation-Costs really is helpful!

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