Posted in chalk painting furniture, findingyourself, furniture, goals, interiordesign, life, lifestyle, midlife, Uncategorized

The Ramblings of a Designer….

While most people are working on their spring home tours, I’m sitting here looking at my home and thinking: what’s next? It seems in my life I have often been thinking: “what’s next?”. But sometimes it’s not so much about the decor, but about the life I’ve built within it. IMG_0007
I didn’t originally start this journey as a designer. I started my journey (way back when) by wanting to be a nurse. My mother in-law and best friend, who passed last April, had been a nurse, and she was such an incredible woman that it only seemed natural to want to follow in her footsteps.

Marchetta, my best friend and why I am who I am today

That dream of what I deemed a very noble livelihood quickly diminished when I learned that I’d faint at the first sight of blood! The lesson was a little late, as face planting in front of a room of your peers and teachers is not the ideal way to learn that!

From there, and with the support of my husband, I went on to Early Childhood Education. It was a natural next step, and most of my credits could be transferred. I thought I had found my place, but after having my second child and going back into the field, there were some terrible things that happened, which set me on a very different course. I ended up back in school, with two little babies at home, and decided on a career in social work. I didn’t go into social work thinking that I would make the world a better place, that I would change things, or that I would have an impact – that wasn’t me. I went into social work because I wanted to understand. I wanted to figure out why people thought the way they did, what made them different, what made them do the things they did. I wanted to understand unusual behaviours and how people got to that point in their lives. What caused a man to rape, or a woman to beat her child? What is the breaking point? What are the circumstances that lead to that behaviour? Is it social or is it biological, or a combination of both? Schooling and a degree helped with this, but it didn’t answer all of my questions; it only created more… Once I started working in the field (my area of specialty was family maltreatment, sexuality, marriage and the family, sexual deviation and dual diagnosis) I only became more and more disenchanted with the world, and more and more unhappy. This career path lead me down a long and winding road and, don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t be who I am without it. But, it didn’t really give me an understanding or answers to my questions. What it did instead, was make me less affected by the world around me. I began to see the deviations in people as part of every day life – after all, I was living them daily. They didn’t have the same impact on me, and I became unhappy and unaffected.

After winning the battle with cancer in 2002, I decided I needed to make a change and live life. I mean really live life! To see the beauty in every day! No more tip toeing around what I really wanted, what I was really passionate about. I decided that my life needed to take a turn, change direction to where things affected me, and where I could learn to laugh and see the world as warm again. A direction where I could give back in a different way, where I could be there for my family, and where I could be happy. My wonderful husband

My Rock and Foundation – My husband Tom – who always works hard!

was fully supportive, as he could see I needed this change as badly as I did. This is how I came to be an Interior Designer. I know it seems like the complete opposite from social work, but it was a creative outlet. Being married to a creative man, it was easy for me to embrace this, and find encouragement and assistance if I needed it. I took my Design courses, and when I finished, I decided I’d start my own business. My kids were in high school at this point, and I could be around more for them. It was a wonderful time, but also a terrifying time in my life. I started slow, with a little bit of advertising, and I got my name out there. I did some good work in town and word-of-mouth got around. Next thing I knew, my little company began to grow.

I’m often asked why I decided to go into Interior Design, and my answer is this: a house is so much more than walls and a floor. A house holds a family and keeps them safe. Throughout my life’s journey, I had always prided myself on making a home for my family, and now I wanted to help others do the same. I wanted to create safe havens for them. I wanted to create spaces that would represent their families, their needs, their hopes and their dreams. By helping them do this, I grew so much as a person. And believe me, my social work came in handy – talk about marriage counselling! Now at 50, I can look back on my life and I really feel like I’ve accomplished something. I’ve formed a lot of new friendships. I’ve really honed in on my creative side and I’ve created homes! That is what makes me happy. I now have Instagram and I share my thoughts, my home, my family and my creative side with others. This brings me so much happiness. The idea of lifting others up and giving them what they need to make their dreams come true, and hopefully helping other women feel empowered, fills my heart with happiness. I don’t know how or why I have the 100k+ followers on Instagram, but I am so grateful each and every day for this life, for this chance, and for this experience. I hope and I pray that I can lift others up in the same way.

So this is me, this is what my life is about. It gives you a little bit of an insight to the woman behind Inside Out Designs and @designsbyKaran.

This is my life, my kids, their spouses and the grand babies.❤

I guess what I’d like to close with is – don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, and don’t be afraid to take a chance. You’ll never know unless you do! I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without taking that chance. So believe in yourself, and always, always lift others up!

With love always,

I don’t like to get my picture taken…..


Posted in chalk painting furniture, furniture, living room, Uncategorized

Chalk Painting Furniture – The Easy Way

Chalk Painting Furniture

I absolutely love bringing an old piece of dated furniture back to life.  Today I’m going to walk you through the process with a piece that I am currently chalk painting.

This is the piece


And this is the After:


I used Americana Decor in Yesteryear and then finished with their Creme Wax in Clear.

Continue reading “Chalk Painting Furniture – The Easy Way”

Posted in furniture, living room

Living Room Re-Vamp

When it comes time to purchase new furniture, there are many things to consider: your family lifestyle, pets, and of course, durability.

When I recently had to acquire new furniture for my living room, I realized just how stressful this could be. There was much to consider, and as new furniture is such a large purchase, I wanted to get it just right.

The space I needed to furnish is a space that is used daily, and comfort
and durability were essential. I no longer have children at home, but I do img_0151
have two large labs, a cat, and two brand new grand babies! So I wanted something that would meet our needs as a family.

Of course I wanted something beautiful to look at, but also something that would stand up to the abuse I knew it would have to take over time. I also wanted to create my own space and choose materials that appealed to me, and not just something that was mass produced.

I looked around and I was happy to see that La-Z-Boy offered everything I was looking for. I had worked with La-Z-Boy on different design projects throughout the years and my clients had been very happy with them. So for me, it was a no brainer to get my furniture through them. @thecomfortablehouse is the La-Z-Boy franchise located in Southern Ontario. You should all check out their IG page @thecomforatablehouse and website for some inspiration of your own!

The whole process was rather painless and I ended up getting exactly what I was looking for! They made it easy to shop, and there was no pressure from the sales clerks. They provided information as needed, and I can honestly say they totally eliminated the stress that can come with purchasing an entire new living room set! Being a designer, I knew what I was envisioning and Sidique, the sales clerk I dealt with, was informative and helpful, but not overbearing, which is always appreciated! There was a large selection of materials to choose from, and I was able to sign them out and take the samples home so I could see them in my space. There was a small deposit for the samples, which was returned to me once I brought them back to the store. I highly recommend taking the samples home. Colours are different in various lights, and this will give you a realistic idea as to what they will look like in your particular space.

Choose fabrics that will stand up to your situation. I went with a tight woven fabric and had it sealed against stains – I wanted that durability. Ensure your fabrics coordinate well with one another. Stick to warm or cool colours; don’t mix the two, as the space will feel disjointed. The fabrics I went with all had a warm base (yellow).
I ended up choosing the Flanagan pattern for the Aberdeen sofa and love seat in slate, and the Herringbone pattern for my Cosmopolitan chair and ottoman.

My room came together from there. First was the painting. I chose Behr paint and went with Behr Swiss Coffee as the primary colour, and Benjamin Moore Wish as the accent in the alcove area. These colours were pulled from the beautiful chair. The main walls were painted the Swiss Coffee and the alcove the Wish in order to accentuate the architectural detail of that space. Even the cat got in on the fun!

Once the room was painted I put the pieces in place and added the decor. I looked for some bold pieces with colour to add accent to the light walls and pieces that spoke to my character and would make me happy.

In the end, everything came together perfectly, and I can honestly say the process was a pleasant one. I’m looking forward to styling things again after the Christmas holidays!

I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions about my living room redesign, please feel free to message me.

Below is a buying guide.

Karan xxox

Sofa, Love Seat, chair and ottoman La-z-boy @thecomfortablehouse

Carpet, large clock and coffee table –  Wayfair

Decor pieces Homesense

Posted in Bedding, Bedroom, Linen, Uncategorized, Vintage pillow cases

How to Make Your Own Vintage Pillow Cases

DIY Vintage Pillow Cases


I love old vintage pillow cases, but have a hard time finding them – and buying new vintage style cases is sooo expensive. So this week, I decided to make my own for next to nothing.

First of all, I always keep an eye out for sales at Fabricland and Lens Mills. Recently, I found some beautiful embroidered fabric in a white cotton for $4.00 a metre. To make two pillow cases, I would need 1.5 metres. I also found some finishing lace on sale for $2.00 a metre. I would only need a metre of it for two cases.


Here are the simple steps I followed to make my own:

First, cut your material the size that you want it. It should be slightly bigger than a finished pillow case.  I used an old pillow case for my dimensions. Once cut, finish the ends of the material so they do not shred. I then sewed the finishing lace onto the outside seam of the pillow case. I used a light blue bobbin thread to add some blue stitching to my otherwise white pillow case. Turn your case inside out to pin and press a 1/4″ seam on the bottom and side of the pillow case that needs to be sewn, and sew the case together. Flip right side out, and you’ve got yourself a vintage inspired pillow case.

Repeat the above steps, and you now have two vintage inspired pillow cases to change the look of any bedroom space.



Karan xxox

Posted in Uncategorized

Frame of Mind

I absolutely love old frames and frames with character, but I can never seem to find the size that I want.  When I received a beautiful piece of art from my husband that had a simple black frame, I did not want to spend hundreds of dollars reframing it.  So the more I thought about it, the more determined I was to create a frame that would suit the picture   – and to do it for next to no money.


Out shopping for a client one day, I came across some beautiful crown moulding that mimicked the rose pattern found in my ceiling medallion, and boom!  A light bulb moment, so to speak.



I picked up two planks and brought them home with the idea of creating my own frame.  Now, that was 3 months ago…… but today, I finally got around to creating that frame.


It was so easy.  Here is how I did it:

Remove the picture from the original frame.
Measure your dimensions – I went slightly larger then the smallest inside dimensions of my frame, which was 30 1/2″.

I cut each corner on a 45 degree angle, stapled them together and then brad nailed (using my compression air nailer) the new frame to the original frame.

I wanted to create a frame that looked old and went with another decorative piece that I already had.

To do this, the first step was to chalk paint everything white.

Next, I dry brushed a grey over the white to make the details pop, and then applied a brown glaze to dirty it up a little.
I finished it with a top clear coat wax.

It was so easy to do and I was only out the cost of the two planks – which came to a whopping $12.79.


Here is the before and after.

So if you need a frame, and can’t find what you are looking for in stores, or don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, here is an easy and inexpensive way to create the look that you want.




Posted in Uncategorized

Master Bedroom on a budget.

One of the things I really enjoy doing is changing up a space.  But when the budget says no and the heart says yes, what do you do?  Well, for me, it usually involves some paint, particularly chalk paint.  My bedroom had been very masculine for a couple of years and I really wanted  to lighten it and add some feminine touches, much to my husband’s dislike.  But what do they know?!  So, the first thing I did was go on Kijiji to see if I could find some old pieces that I could revamp for this space.  I was lucky enough to find a 1920’s dining room set that consisted of a table, 6 chairs and 3 buffets all for $400.00. Can you say score!!  I already had an old Amish piece that was black and I had some cloud white, linen and vintage white latex paint left over from past projects.   Continue reading “Master Bedroom on a budget.”