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A Military Base Home Infused with Cheerful Color

by Sofia Tuovinen

A Military Base Home Infused with Cheerful Color | Design*Sponge
When you live on a military base, turning the house you’ve been allocated into a home that feels comfortable and reflects your personal style can be a real challenge. Luckily for Dan, an Artillery Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, his wife Ariel knows a thing or two about transforming bland spaces into bright, bold and cheerful ones. Together with their pup Bruce and their cats Boots and Toby, Ariel and Dan share a PMQ, “Private Military Quarter,” on a Canadian Forces Base just outside Fredericton, NB. You may remember Ariel from the Before & After feature that we published last year, where we got to see her and Dan’s bedroom undergo a fantastic transformation. Today, we’re taking a peek into the rest of the cheerfully decorated home, and learning some valuable DIY tips along the way.

When Ariel and Dan moved to their current base 18 months ago, they got the rare opportunity to choose between two houses. Without hesitating, the couple went with the more recently renovated PMQ because of its upgraded features and amenities. The 50s A-frame, with its garage, big yard, double sink, powder room and air conditioning, is a rare gem among military homes. Ariel, who has recently opened a creative studio space, is also the voice behind PMQ for two, an eclectic home decor and DIY blog. As her home is her job, Ariel wanted the new house to not only be an inspiring space for her family, but for her audience as well. She started off painting everything in strikingly bright colors, but soon realized it became hard to live with on a daily basis. “When I realized I wanted something else and went about changing it, the house felt so much better,” Ariel shares. Although the home still boasts wonderful bursts of color throughout, the palette is now one that makes Ariel and Dan feel truly at home. “Each room was pared down and given a more mature color palette. It feels just right for us, and I’m glad I took the time to do that,” Ariel adds. For more play on color, there’s her studio — along with allowing her to create beautiful content, the new workspace has also helped create a desired separation between Ariel’s personal and commercial styles. “Because I no longer need my home to function as overtly for my business as before, I can make the spaces about featuring our favorites instead of what’s new,” she explains.

Not only do Ariel and Dan feel at home in their own PMQ, they also feel truly inspired by the neighborhood of PMQs that they live in. The sense of community goes well beyond sharing the same work hours and schedules — when you share the same lifestyle with all the people around you, there’s a sense of support and understanding that can be rare to find outside the bases. “Whether it be the fact that we move all the time, have been to the same bases, or have given up our own careers to support our spouses — there’s a shared sense of purpose and community that comes from that base of shared experiences, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” Ariel says. “It goes to show that home really is where the heart is at, and wherever my husband and our pets are, is where I want to be.” —Sofia

Photography by PMQ for two

Image above: Ariel has infused her PMQ home with a color palette ranging from rich jewel tones to soft pastels. The view from the entrance toward the living area provides an immediate sense of the joyful style that has become Ariel’s signature. 

 

 

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The living room built-in unit is one of Ariel’s many DIY projects — the completely unique piece is actually a renter-friendly IKEA hack!

A Military Base Home Infused with Cheerful Color | Design*Sponge
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The striped stool, which serves as a side table, is a recent addition to the living room. “It’s one that has indirectly shaped the direction of the house — I’ve since added a stripe to each space in the house. It was the missing print!” Ariel shares.

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As there isn’t much room for transition from one space to the next, Ariel has used color to define each room in her 1,000-square-foot home.

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Ariel redid the dining room last year for The One Room Challenge. She had a clear vision for the space: green chairs and blue walls to cool down the warm wood tones. The mid-century modern-inspired light fixture brings the elevated sense of drama that Ariel was craving.

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Ariel drove a total of 15 hours to bring home the sideboard that now stands proudly in the dining room. “At 9 feet long it’s a behemoth in the space, but it makes my mid-century-modern-loving heart skip a beat each time I see it!” she shares. 

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“[Our home] needs to function as a hostess space since we do a lot of entertaining, which is why the open concept [layout] on the main floor is so nice,” Ariel explains. She adds, “On a personal level, I need it to be a place my husband enjoys coming home to.”

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As Ariel wouldn’t choose dark cabinets for her own home, it’s understandable that the PMQ’s kitchen is her least favorite space. To make the most of it, and to infuse some of her personal style, she swapped out the hardware and painted the back wall a darker teal. “Who knew that a rich color would balance out dark cabinets?”

A Military Base Home Infused with Cheerful Color | Design*Sponge
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In the spring we get such beautiful blooms around the PMQs, so I can’t help but snag a few for our kitchen,” Ariel admits. 

A Military Base Home Infused with Cheerful Color | Design*Sponge
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The entryway is a narrow space with almost no storage except for an IKEA shoe cabinet. To add depth, Ariel painted the cabinet in bold stripes  — now it’s a real showstopper!

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Ariel and Daniel’s pets are always fighting to get in the shots — this time, Bruce drew the longest straw.

 

It goes to show that home really is where the heart is at, and wherever my husband and our pets are, is where I want to be.

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We installed the Bosphorus runner from Rugs USA in our stairway because we were sick of hurting our feet on the plastic [tread],” Ariel shares. “The pattern does so much to breathe life into the transitional area.”

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The transformation of Ariel and Dan’s bedroom from a plain space to a bold bedroom with a hint of prep can be found here.

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In the bedroom, Ariel wanted to use color and pattern in a manageable way. By opting for white linens and adding in colorful accessories, she can easily change the look and feel to reflect her mood.

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To add a sense of height and to draw the eye upward, Ariel painted the bathroom ceiling black.

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As renters in military housing we cannot make any permanent changes, so we have to be able to bring it all back to square one when we march out,” Ariel explains. For a renter-friendly bathroom update that didn’t involve painting or tiling the walls, Ariel and Dan installed beadboard paneling that mimics the look of retro tiles. When it’s time to move again, the panels come down and the space goes back to what it was!

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After living in three different PMQs, Ariel has the process down pat. Nevertheless, she’s always ready to try out new and creative ideas that add personal touches to her family’s home.

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One of Ariel’s favorite memories from her home is from last summer, sitting on her back stoop after setting a beautiful table for her guests. “It was the perfect evening. Our guests arrived shortly thereafter, and we had a great evening out back under the stars and our canopy of balloon lights. Summer nights don’t get much better than that.”

SOURCE LIST

Entryway
Shoe Cabinet – IKEA
Print – Janet Hill Studio
Card – Rifle Paper Co Elizabeth
Accessories – HomeSense Canada
Paint – Rainy Season by BEHR from the Marquee Collection

Living Room
Couch and chairs – thrifted
Rug – Rugs USA Chroma Medallion Rug in Multi
Built-ins – IKEA
Garden Stools + accessories – HomeSense Canada & thrifted
Sconces – Lamps Plus (no longer in production but similar ones can be found here)

Dining room
Table, chairs + sideboard – thrifted locally
Wall paint – Behr Marquee in Rainy Season MQ5-27m
Chair paint – Behr Marquee samples in Emerald Forest MQ303
Rug – Rugs USA Bosphorus Tecumseh Tribal Tale Triptych Rug
Accessories – thrifted and from Homesense
Lamps – Kate Spade, purchased at Homesense
Flushmount –  Wayfair Stilnovo Flen
Dinner at 8 print – Copper Dot Interiors
Mohave & River prints – Parima Studios
Butterflies, June, Eleanor prints – Jenny’s Print Shop
Leopard print pillow – Tonic Living Bianca

Kitchen
Paint – Hosta Leaf by Behr from the Marquee Collection
Accessories – Thrifted
Lighting – Thrifted

Bathroom
Paint – Flamingo Feather by Behr from the Marquee Collection
Beadboard – kit from Home Depot
Lamp over Mirror –  from Home Depot
Tripod table – HomeSense
Shower Curtain – Wayfair

Bedrooms
All the sources are listed here

 

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