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A year in the Making….

Quite often in Interior Design, projects that started off as a small renovation takes a turn into a full blown redesign of an exciting space, case in point my Commercial design of a Spa in Ottawa.

On the initial consult in early 2012, my client wanted to “update”  the space but this update quickly led to a full renovation. Here are a few “before” pictures of the space.



The decision was made to go ahead with the re-design of the entire salon & spa, but while doing it we had to keep the salon open. Although it made the job harder to plan, we decided to start in the back so it would not interrupt the services going on in the main building. Once the new area was completed we moved a temporary manicure station there so they could work in that space while we worked on the old spa area.

Prior to starting the design on this project I had a 3 week vacation in Italy and loved the old world feel of the buildings and homes there. The combination of stone and wood was so warm and inviting. I thought bringing that feeling into the Salon/Spa would be nice but combine it with an Industrial feel would be incredible. I wanted the space to look like a combination of Old meets New, but in reality EVERYTHING was brand new.




 Design Concept:

  • Old World Stone walls
  • Custom Millwork
  • Weathered look wood flooring
  • Custom cabinetry throughout
  • Custom Driftwood Display cabinet
  • Custom driftwood reception desk
  • wallpaper in Facial rooms
  • One gas fireplace in main area and one electric in New Spa area
  • Industrial lighting
  • Crystal pendant lighting
  • Leather & fabric seating
  • Warm woods and painted cabinetry
  • Wood & Quartz countertops
  • Custom artwork

Using stone and custom millwork helped to give the space the old world style I was looking for. I chose flooring that was not only very durable but had the washed look of weathered wood. The paint on the main walls I left in a soft warm gray and complimented it with gray/green trim and millwork. In the New spa waiting room, I chose to add a splash of colour and added a blue to the featured millwork.



I designed all the cabinetry (excluding the main bath vanity & the salon area cutting stations) in a combination of dark wood and painted surfaces but decided to do a feature display cabinet & the reception station in a gorgeous weathered driftwood.






To save a bit of money, without losing the design concept, I purchased 1 large vanity for the Senior Stylist and 3 smaller vanities for the junior stylists from Restoration Hardware and added Quartz tops to match the rest of the cabinetry. I complimented them with 4 medium cabinets for storage and 2 tall cabinets with glass doors for display units also from Restoration Hardware.



In the main bathroom,  I chose rather than going custom I would purchase the vanity from the same company. I added a full wall of IKEA cabinets in a dark finish to the main bathroom that added much needed storage for the owner.




On the new coffee bar, I wanted it to have the look of a cafe and designed closed storage below, and open storage above that would display their glassware & dishes. I added a chalk board to play up the cafe look where they could write their features.



For the salon waiting area, I decided on a small scale chair that would easily fit 6 people comfortably in the designated area. The backs of these little leather chairs were just short enough so that when a client has colour in their hair it does not touch the seat itself marking it up. On the other side of the room near the junior stations, I designed a custom bench and purchased 2 antique Italian chairs as show pieces and had them upholstered in Linen & Burlap.



And I think what truly sets the stage to the gorgeous space is the addition of all the crystal & Industrial lighting throughout.





All reveal Photography by Jessica Deeks Photography






Thank you to the following companies






WOW, i love it. would def come to your spa if i lived close


Thank you terri!

Amazing! You did such a good job. It looks like a place I want to go and never leave!! Wish I lived close. So wonderful.

Sonya, I’m a Spotlight client and have been going there regularly throughout the transformation. The first day I saw the new back section, I said to Dina how much I loved the look (and especially those little chandeliers you used back there!) You have really taken the decor and function of the space to the next level, and now it truly reflects the wonderful service of Shauna, Dina and their staff. Amazing!

[...] if turquoise isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps this Spa re-design in Richmond, ON is more your sip of Perrier. Sonia Kinkade did such an amazing job updating this spa; I can’t [...]

What a fantastic and well thought out renovation… Bravo!! Sharing your brilliance on my FB page!


Thank you Cynthia! I appreciate it

Wow from a look I can only describe as a bad 70s plaid pant outfit to a timelessly beautiful and sensual space.

Fabulous design.


A little bit Cape Cod


Extreme Makeover Kindness Edition 2013: The Youville Centre

Welcome to my new Blog!

This post is a special one for me, not only is it the very first post on my new blog, but it is the reveal of Extreme Makeover Kindness Edition 2013.

As you know, I have been the lead designer on a charity event called Extreme Makeover Kindness Edition for the last 3 years. Extreme Makeover Kindness Edition takes place during Kindness Week in Ottawa, Ontario Canada. Kindness Week is a city wide initiative that encourages community members to choose to be kind and recognizes those who engage in everyday acts of kindness.

This year, the EMKE team, was presented with a possible recipient that stole all our hearts and we knew we need not look further.

The Youville Centre, a place where a young woman who may have thought the road to happiness and fulfillment was beyond her reach, can rise above the challenges that have been placed upon her and take what ever life has to give. She is not alone, and she can be anything she wants to be.

The Youville Centre provides single mothers a chance at a brighter future for themselves and their children.

The mothers receive a quality, accredited high school education through the M.F. McHugh Education Centre that features individualized programs, small classes and parenting courses.

Youville’s dedicated team acts as positive role models for all students. A wide variety of support is provided to encourage young mothers to be independent, contributing members of society.

The Extreme Makeover

The request from staff at the Youville Centre was to provide a room that the young mothers could call their own. I wanted a space that they could kick back with a coffee or tea, read a good book, chat with good friends and get away from the challenges they are facing day to day. This space would be something most of these girls have never had in their lives, a space that they could see themselves striving to have in their future. This task was not a simple one, but it was one that the TBB team was bound and determined to give them, a gift we could give as one mother to another.

The Room

My first visit to the Youville I was given a tour of the centre and brought up to date on what happens there. What an incredible place it was. I was eager to see the space that I would be making into the new Student lounge the anticipation was killing me. At the end of the tour I was brought up to the room, the door was opened and to my horror it was a tiny class room. My heart sank as I didn’t know how I was going to make a beautiful room out of tiny space like this let along a classroom. I had my work cut out for me.

This is what I saw…..


The wish list from the girls at the Youville Centre 

  • Sitting area
  • Coffee Maker
  • Bar fridge
  • Water Cooler
  • Wii with Wii fit
  • Music player
  • TV
  • DVD player
  • large mirror
  • Kobo readers

My wish list

  • Comfortable sitting area
  • Refreshment area
  • Storage
  • Computer area
  • Second Seating area (for eating, reading, working)
  • New floors
  • New Paint
  • Soft lighting
  • Window treatment
  • Soften the space, make it warm and cozy rather than the cold classroom they have
  • Fabrics
  • Art work

All of this, and we had a week to make it happen and everything had to be donated!


The Floor Plan


I worked quickly on getting the floor plan finished with elevations of the space so we could get a visual of what we needed to go forward. When a clear plan was in place, we began to look for contributors.

This was not an easy task I can not tell you how hard it is to get the donations from the larger companies without getting the needed publicity around the event. We had a lot of sleepless nights and worrying but somehow in the final hours Ottawa stepped up, and we were off.

D.E. Kinkade Konstruction LTD was if full gear, trying to get it complete for The TBBs (Extreme Makeover Team) to come it and make the magic happen.


Calling all TBBs! lets get it done ladies


The hard work was complete, and the beauty of the room left us breathless. We even sat there and shared a glass of wine after it was finished, just taking it all in before the big reveal the next day.





Pictures are worth a thousand words…the Reveal of the New student lounge to the Girls of the Youville Centre



Its time to relax to a job well done



Extreme Makeover Kindness Edition 2012 was a great success but would never have been possible without contributors. Thank you all for helping us give this gift to the girls at The Youville Centre.


Thank you to all the very generous people who submitted cash donations to the cause. Because of this we were able to buy the following items.

  • Wii U system
  • Wii fit
  • 2 Wii games
  • Music player
  • IKEA Chair
  • Movies
  • Water cooler
  • Keurig Coffee maker
  • Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, candy  & drinks
  • AccessoriesI would also like to thank the CTV Morning Live & Daytime Ottawa for their media attention around this event, for without the media we do not exist.

Looking forward to Extreme Makeover 2014! Visit Extreme Makeover Kindness Editions new website! www.emke.ca