So Canadian eh? : Chris Kauffman from Just Beachy

This week's guest is the queen of home construction DIY - she can operate a power tool like its nobody's business.

Please welcome....

Chris Kauffman from Just Beachy

She is....

I was first introduced to Chris, her amazing handiwork and her blog, Just Beachy, when her house tour was featured on Steven and Chris {for you non-Canadians, it is a Canadian lifestyle show}. I was blown away by her vision of taking a builder basic home and turning it into a home with a custom built look. What blew me away further was it was all her handiwork! Using power tools, wood, paint, and ingenuity she added custom detailing to her home that many people pay through the nose for. Chris did it all with her own hands! Since I have yet to turn on a skill saw or use a mitre saw I am in awe of someone who is so capable with such equipment.

After finishing their home, she and her husband sold it and are now working their magic on another new build! They have already begun to transform their home into something spectacular.

  Chris added "feet" to builder basic cabinets.

 Chris' kitchen in her new home.

The before:

Her laundry room in her new home

Adding panelling to give room character and depth, bringing walls to life.

Chris' bunkie at her old home.

Her kitchen at her previous home, take note of the custom millwork!

Custom millwork for one of her clients.

What is your background? Your education? Are you trained as a designer?

My background well I grew up just outside of Toronto in the city of Oshawa until highschool when we moved to NB and I lived there for a few formative years. I always loved interior design and even took a class in 10th grade in NB . Can you believe there was an interior decorating class where we learned the basics like colour theory , floor plans as well as design boards, I enjoyed it very much. I enjoyed moving a lot as a young adult which allowed me to try my hand at interior decorating often trying new paint colours and always sewing up drapes and pillows and I dabbled in some sad DIY projects looking back. I didn't in the early 90's see decorating as a real job, I wish I had but where I was there seemed to be no such need so I put this dream aside. 

After having kids I started to dabble in carpentry projects where I found I was quite comfortable. My first big project was a large kitchen island. Then I loved onto wainscoting and that lead to endless projects in my last home. 

My husband encouraged me to start a blog to share my personal projects and to find like minded people, this was about 6 or more years ago. Having a blog gave me incredible motivation to tackle and complete lots of projects. After a year or so I started to offer my services like on-line design plans. I did that for some time and had a good time with it for a little while but it did not full-fill my desire to be hands on. So I moved onto offer more services like built ins, millwork , custom headboards coupled with design. I love doing this type of work. I work part time and mostly and mostly during the warmer months it's tough to work in the cold with power tools , for me. 

I don't have any formal training, design comes naturally for me. 

You have been featured and highlighted on several Canadian publications and television shows such as Steven and Chris, has that helped your design business?

I wish I could say that being on Steven and Chris and in magazines has helped my business but I really don't think it has. Perhaps I have found new readers and it has been fun, so I am glad I have participated and opened my home and work to such exposure. I am however happy to keep myself busy with my own projects and to do projects for the small circle of clients that I work with .

 You took a builder basic home and transformed it into a custom beauty with your previous home, documenting it on your blog. Did you do most of the work?

Yes I did all of the work in our former home, well my husband did complete one beautiful built in in the kitchen and we worked together on our backyard projects like out pergola and our bunkie, but normally I work solo, it's easier that way. I know how I like things done.

What tips can you give others who want to take a builder basic home and transform it to something more unique? Where should one start? 

I think it is important to invest in your home , I think the best way to get started and to increase its visual appeal is to pay attention to millwork . Add panelling, wainscoting or beadboard . I always say that a room should be beautiful even when its empty. Make the bones beautiful. I can stand cheap tiny trim , what is the point, before you go buy oodles of decorative accessories spend it on something permanent instead, you will get that money back in the long run.

What has been your most favourite project you have worked on?

My all time favourite project has to be our bunkie, I dreamed for many years about building a backyard bunkie for summer sleeping and winter storage, I really didn't think we would ever really do it , but we did and it was a dream come true. I am very proud of it although we sold the house months after completing it, which was unexpected but great.

Any disasters or projects that just didn’t go well?

Oh yes, I installed laminate click flooring in our basement and it was a disaster , it kept popping apart and looked terrible.

What design vision do you have for your current home?

I want to keep things simple and classic, lots of millwork, built ins , soft colours for the most part, a little mix of industrial with a touch of coastal. Dark rustic floors , lots of white and grey and always great lighting .

How would you describe your design style?

I would describe my style as traditional coastal rustic.

Any New Year’s Resolutions for you?

I will be turning 40 this year so my goal it to really get in shape then to  keep in shape, long term.

What are your views on the role of Canadian design on the world stage? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style, the way we design and decorate our homes? If so, what do you think sets us apart?

I think the talent that is here in Canada is incredible and diverse. I can honestly say 90% of the designers I admire are Canadian. I think that since we are such a diverse country that comes through in Canadian design. I think we have access to an incredible array of stores and sources especially closer to the larger cities in Canada, there is something to suit everyone.

My dream one day would to be given the chance to learn how to use basic power tools {I am adept using a drill and jigsaw!} to unleash my creativity upon a space!
Chris is truly an inspiration!

XO Barbara


  1. Wow, what an amazing woman. I definitely need to check out her blog.

  2. Wow Chris! I love a lady that can throw down with some power tools! I have the same schoolhouse fixtures in my kitchen and I simply love these epics of what you've done. Just amazing! Awesome feature as always Barbara:)


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