The house is about 50 years old, in good shape – the former owners, the only ones to live in the house, took good care of it. But their decorating style didn’t align with the tastes of the current owner. Which is exactly why she bought the house. Natasha Hunt was looking for a house that needed a bit of love, something to suit her DIY ethic that would allow her to work on some projects and personalize the home. For the past couple of years or so, she has let the world into her house by way of her decorating and DIY blog, The Simply Inspired Blog, and its accompanying Instagram and Facebook page. Her look, her aesthetic, is rooted in an affinity for eclectic looks and the mix of old and new, blended with a philosophy of sourcing art and home items locally to create a comfortable, livable home.
“I really try to create a place that feels like you can live here,” she says. “I never want it to be like ‘don’t sit on the couch’ or ‘don’t move anything.’ I like a home to feel lived in and be able to move around and feel comfortable.”
She’s not afraid to take risks when it comes to her DIY projects. Her friends and family all advised against painting one of the dining room walls black, but she trusted her vision for the room and in the end, it all worked out – it’s one of her favourite projects, and it adds a touch of interest and drama to the otherwise white-walled room. When it comes to interest, there’s no lack of things to look at in the dining room. The table and chairs, a piece large enough to entertain friends, was passed down the line from her parents and matches a hutch in the room.
Serving as decoration, an old door rests against one wall, brought back from a treasure-hunting trip to Bonavista. Above the entry to the living room is a board, painted with white numbers by Natasha, displaying the longitude and latitude of St. John’s.
A cabinet with a midcentury modern look to it was bought at an auction and has served a purpose in the living room and bedroom before being put into service in the dining room.
In the living room, a mixture of local art, vintage furniture and newly bought pieces create a comfortable and lived-in look. The room is a long rectangle, which proved challenging to build a look around. To solve the problem of what to do with the odd shape, Natasha created zones within the room. In front of the fireplace, which she painted black, is a seating area with closely placed chairs to promote conversation. The television is set off to the side of the fireplace.
At one end of the room, under a window overlooking the backyard, is a desk, topped with a typewriter, that serves as an office space. It’s flanked on either side by two of Justin Fong’s art pieces.
At the other end of the room, a piano is given space to be approachable. This end of the room is kept somewhat clear, as it serves as an entrance from the foyer. The open space gives visitors a place to pause and absorb the room’s décor before changing their perspective by taking a seat.
Above the sofa hang two old windows, also found on that trip to Bonavista.
A reindeer hide is draped over a wicker chair, adding some soft, textural comfort to the wood. The choice of fur comes, in part, from Natasha’s time spent in Sweden, where she discovered a love of Scandinavian design.
Upstairs, in the master bedroom, is more of the Scandinavian influence, as well as a large built-in closet from IKEA.
The closet was part of an extensive renovation that transformed two bedrooms and a powder room into a single master bedroom with an ensuite and large soaker tub.
Behind the bed rests the result of another of Natasha’s DIY projects, a headboard that won the Home & Cabin Re:Make Challenge in 2015. The whitewashed headboard is made from the shipping pallet that the IKEA closet came in.
A glass-walled sunroom – it used to be a patio – is accessed off the bedroom and is used as a quiet area to knit, read and get away from it all, making the master bedroom the homiest of areas in the house.
“It is a retreat,” says Natasha. “And I think it’s so important. You need a space outside of everything that’s going on to just relax.”