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Welcome to Brillinger house. A renovation to support well-being.

Updated: Feb 2, 2021

Welcome to Brillinger. I've been MIA with my posts. Yuck. We were working non-stop on the Reno for the past 4 months, but we are happy with the outcome. It's located in Wasaga Beach and backs on to Wasaga Provincial forests. This home was long overdue for some love and attention. To be candid, it was hard to see passed the filth (caked mold, mildew and grime on every imaginable surface) but when we did, we saw great potential to bring this home into balance and create a space to encourage wellness.

What do I mean by balance? Many philosophies believe there are four elements - earth, air, water and fire - and when in balance, they bring joy, health and abundance. When our elements are out of balance, we can experience feelings like burnout, aloofness, insecurity and more. But knowing this we can be mindful and ensure we surround ourselves with properties that strengthen what's weak. And the best place to integrate these properties is our home.

Understanding what's weak across all elements begins when we are digging into all information that will contribute to the overall design of the renovation. And the design is not just about materials, colour, furniture and accessories, but slight changes to architecture so that we can strengthen elements that are weak. We did slight changes to Brillinger, so you'll be able to see what I mean.

This entry will look at how we achieved balance in the Brillinger living room. But not without showing you first our inspiration (below) that we chose for the home. I love the coast!

Here's a 'before' picture of the living room. If I asked you, "how does this picture make you feel?" You may say... "dark, dismal, depressed, claustrophobic". Me too!

Imagine living in this space. Now imagine living in this space during a lockdown. This is why I want to inspire people to change how they think about their homes... homes should be where we recharge. Homes should inspire wellness, not chip away at it.

There are ways to encourage balance and if you stay with me over the coming months, you'll find out how we brought balance to the whole Brillinger home. Hopefully you can take something away to inspire your well-being in your home.

The Element 'Air'.

The living room windows at Brillinger are North facing. You can't get a lot of light from a North facing window. The problem was this wall that you see in the picture on the right. It was blocking all the sunlight coming in from a large south-facing kitchen window and sliding doors.

The lack of light was a problem because it restricted the element 'Air' in one of the most used rooms in the home. 'Air' is the breath of life. It encourages joy, imagination and communication.

There was really no wavering with this decision, we needed to take the wall down.

Luckily, the wall was not load baring, so taking it down wasn't too hard. We took down the drywall and studs ourselves. As well, did the drywall repairs. Not hard at all, just a good workout. The biggest thing we had to consider was moving electrical - boxes, switches and a thermostat. But it was 1/2 day job for a good electrician- well worth the investment.

If the wall turned out to be load baring, we still would have removed it because the payoff would be well worth the investment into well-being.

With the drywall down you can already see sun coming in from the kitchen to the living room. At this stage it may look rough, but to me, it looked and felt so much better then it did before.

Here's a look at the living room now, below. Even on snowy grey days it's still so bright. See the picture below and compare the before and after. Amazing what a bit more 'Air' will do.

The Element 'Fire'.

You saw this picture up at the top but I wanted to show it to you again - what do you think is missing here? Not just here, from the whole house. A fireplace. Fire is an integral element. The fire element strengthens passion, vitality and warmth.

So we added fire. With all the renovations we have done, this is the first time we added a fireplace. Typically we switch out old for new. For those of you wondering whether it's a big job to add one, it's actually less expensive and takes less time to add one then to replace one.

There were a lot of horizontal lines in this room - most of the windows, the banister, and furniture. The room was also pretty small. Adding the fireplace not only gave us the opportunity to bring balance for wellness, it allowed us to bring balance to the design through the use of vertical lines all the way up to the cathedral ceiling (see below). The use of vertical lines also helped draw attention upwards taking attention off the size of this small room.

Fire can also be strengthened through accessories like candles added when the home is styled. Although you can't see it in the picture, candles were added to the wood tray on the ottoman.

The Element 'Earth".

The room was barren of plants. The Earth element grounds you to create feelings of stability, ease and belonging. It also promotes logic and work ethic.

My go to for earth are tropical plants. They are low maintenance and they grow large so they have a presence in the room. They are also an excellent way to bring in the coast.

Which reminds me, you may wonder why all of our designs are inspired by the coast, East or West... it's because "our brains are hardwired to react positively to the water and that being in it, on it, and near it can connect us, heal the mind and body and help tap into the calm and creative state of being". W. J Nichols, Blue Mind.

We can't all live by water so we bring elements of the coast (water) to all rooms - colour, texture, materials - to trigger our brains so that they react similar to when we are at the coast.

Bringing you design for wellness,


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