Starting from (Almost) Scratch

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In this episode, I answer questions about purchasing the 3 video bundle and styling an open concept floor plan. 

If you have questions for me, make sure to submit them here. I’m currently on maternity leave but will be popping in once a month to batch answer your questions. 

This episode, we discuss…

[03:33] How to purchase the 3 video bundle (Dawn)

[05:31] Styling an open concept floor plan (Bobbyee)



I have tried to purchase the three 45 minute videos for $90 as mentioned on the podcast. However the only option is the $3K class. Please help.


If you guys are interested in the bundle of three online classes, 45 minutes a piece, as well as a signed copy of my book, go here. When you go there, there’ll be a button where you can purchase the 45 minute classes individually for less than the $99 total so you can pick and choose the classes that you want to take.


Hi Betsy,

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I think I have enough questions to make an episode per day for your entire maternity leave, but I will try to keep it short.

My questions are about my main living area. We opened up the walls so the kitchen, dining and living room are all one open space instead of three separate rooms (you’ll see the exposed beams and unfinished drywall – we are still working on that!). Now that it is so open, I am having a hard time figuring out what to do as each room has aspects that are not favourable and can’t be hidden, but that I cannot change right now.

Right now my partner has his office in the dining room, and he is messy. We will be building a garage and transferring his office to there, but not for another year or so. And we do not have any other spare rooms to put his office in. My dining room table is currently in the middle of the kitchen. The kitchen is very temporary as we will be putting in a brand new kitchen within the next year or two. I am not too focussed on the kitchen, but would like the rest of the space to be more cohesive. Some of the items will go to the garage, once built: the Windsor bench, the desk, the 2 filing cabinets, and the treasure chest. We simply do not have anywhere else to put them at the moment so I am trying to make them work best I can for now.

What do you buy/replace first, second, third etc. when you’re living with mixed styles? I cant afford to replace everything at once. I am 37 and just bought my first couch (think your grandmother’s rust orange flower couch is what I had before). I don’t have a two-word style phrase yet because I just don’t know what it would even be. How do I even pick a style I love? Do you have a suggestion on how to hone in on one style and where to start transiting from what you are to what you want to be? I think I love a lot of different things from many different styles, but I don’t want a maximalist house. HELP! I am so confused.

I also don’t currently have an inspiration piece. I have dabbled with colour in the past and have made major mistakes so I am afraid of any kind of colour. Anything that catches my eye are all white, black, beige, brown, grey. I know you’ve talked about having a ROYGBV colour palette of 60/30/10, but how do you pick those if you just aren’t attracted to any colours? The current palette I have picked out is black, white, tan or camel colour, and the wall colour- BM Collingwood. What ROYGBV colours would you suggest to go with those?

There are many little things I need to finish, but in the meantime I would love to start working towards a more cohesive space. One of your summer episodes talked about having a plan when designing so it doesn’t end up chaotic and a mash of styles. How do you start fresh when you didn’t have a plan? PLEASE HELP ME!


All right, Bobbyee, I’m here to help. Yes, you have a lot of questions and you can certainly send in as many questions as you’d like because you know that I’m trying to batch these episodes so send me more. Right now this is definitely a lot for me to sink my teeth into. So looking through your pictures – it’s an open concept space now. I can easily see where the walls came down but I have a feeling that that’s going to be less conspicuous once the tape and construction materials are gone. So we have you know, pretty much a square space in my opinion. Each space feels relatively separate and unique. Based on the current furniture, furniture layout, also based on the positioning of the hardwood, where some of its going vertically and some of its going horizontally, which is kind of dictating what functions go where it kind of is creating a visual separation. 

Let me give some additional details. The kitchen has like a bay window, and does seem to extend past this sort of office space situation. Then opposite the kitchen/office space situation, we have that nice big living room. I’m excited for your open space but open space creates a lot of problems that my clients don’t see in advance. When you have an open space, you lose usable walls. A usable wall means a wall that can do some work for us, it means it doesn’t have windows, it doesn’t have doors, it has some sheetrock, or plaster or something we can actually put something against, or plug something in to or whatever so we do have that obstacle. I think that this space has enough usable walls that it’s not too debilitating here especially because part of this open square shape is a railing to a stairway that’s leading downstairs and you’re kind of able to use that as a partial wall in terms of right now you have your sofa up against it your sectional, do I recommend that if you have young children? Absolutely not, because it can be kind of a catapult to jumping over that railing. And of course, it could be a danger zone but as long as you have older children, things like that, it won’t be as much of an issue. 

Let me start with the biggest question I was hearing, which is Betsy, how do I even begin? This is going to be an evolution. I can’t afford to do it all at once but I want to do it in a cohesive way. Here’s what I would recommend. My home has been an evolution and I’ve learned the good, the bad, the ugly from doing it that way. As most of you know, in my firm, after me talking about my projects, we create that plan and then people execute that plan. The timeline moves very quickly and there’s not a lot of space or gap. They can order on their own but ideally, they would quickly move so that those items don’t go out of stock. Now it’s not always possible, just like it wasn’t possible for me when designing my new home. 

The thing I want you to get real clarity on right away is your two word phrase. You mentioned that you like so many things that you’re not sure what to do. Look around the room and decide what pieces you’re definitely going to keep. Is that the sectional? Is that the dining table which looks much more transitional as well as the chairs, which even kind of skew traditional because they’re so ornately carved. The sectional looks very contemporary with straight lines and boxy type shapes in gray. My challenge is that you really need to get that two word phrase under your feet. 

No matter what you choose, you’re choosing things that will feel cohesive. And yes, you do need to pick a two word phrase that’s going to service this entire area. Once you’ve committed to that, the next thing that you want to do is commit to an inspiration piece. Whether it’s a big piece of art that I can prominently see all over the space. Whether it’s drapes, that are dressing multiple windows in this large square space, you need to commit to maybe a big rug in the living area, that will be that inspiration piece because then it will dictate what pieces you keep, and what pieces need to go based on the color palette so first things first two word phrases.

Second thing is the inspiration piece. But let me take it back one second, because there is another issue I’m seeing that’s actually more important than either of these two things and should be tackled. The issue that I’m seeing is this layout is wonky and you yourself know that because you’re moving a lot of these functions into other areas. My recommendation would be that you create the layout first.

Number two, you’re doing a full kitchen demo very soon. Even though everything else is going to happen more imminently, what I would do is go ahead and make those kitchen selections. It’s not like they’re going to go out of stock, the color of your cabinets, the type of countertop, the type of backsplash, chances are, those will still be available so I would go ahead and make those selections, because it’s going to be a huge money and time suck, not only to buy those materials, but then to get them installed so that’s what you want to be that perfect vision, then everything else plays off of that. 

For instance, if you decided to go gray with some of the elements in the kitchen, then maybe keeping the gray sectional makes sense, which is kitty corner of the kitchen. Then gray is kind of that neutral background, especially with the Collingwood pink color, so that we can then layer the Rajee bed.

Here is my recommendation. First kitchen design because that layout, if you’re adding an island or anything like that will deeply impact the rest of the floor plan for this big open space. First kitchen layout, even though you’re doing it last. Second, you’re going to do furniture layout. So you’re going to determine the different functions for each of the zones and how big everything needs to be. Third, you’re going to come up with your two word phrase and you’re going to commit to that to use it throughout this large space. Fourth, you’re going to pick an inspiration piece so then you have a color palette. And fifth, you’re going to go shopping, I highly recommend picking out everything that you’d like to purchase, even if you’re going to be staggering out those purchases, so that even if something goes out of stock before you can buy it, you can find something similar. 

When deciding the color palette and overall direction, think about the items you really want to keep. Think about those big ticket furniture items that are important to you that you’re not getting rid of and that will lead the way. Now you mentioned that you’re really scared of color and Boo freakin hoo. You’ve got to get over it. A lot of my clients just want to use neutrals, and maybe just maybe they feel fine using a bit of blue. One of the 60/30/10 I will make a certain gray if I you know really stick to that same shade, but I do insist on at least one ROYGBIV color. I’m not sure why you’re so scared, especially because relying on all neutrals means that the space needs to be pretty impeccable, because it’s not very eye-catching. If everything’s not really impeccable, it’s gonna look like you just didn’t make any choices like you were afraid to use color, which you are. I think once you do those initial steps, committing to a color palette that has a little bit of color will come more easily. 

While I may not have answered everything, I think I’ve answered the core questions that you need to be asking yourself before you dig in and get more granular. Then as you’re working on the space, and as you’ve gotten some of the answers to those initial questions I laid out, you can write to me again, and you can show me your progress and we’ll discuss some more. 






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