Q&A with DIY Queen Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault

From renovation overhaul and brand-new builds to DIY and one-day decor – it’s hard to believe the Edmonton Fall Home Show has already come and gone. Amongst Edmontonians finding major home inspo for their winter projects were some of the biggest names in the industry, including Lifestyle Gurus, Colin & Justin, HGTV’s Todd Talbot, and DIY queen/CityLine’s Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault.

Leigh-Ann hosted a segment called A Room ReLoved, which she created a whole living room using pieces that are upcycled from ReStore Edmonton from media personalities and bloggers throughout the city (photos from the event below!!).

We got the chance to catch up with the DIY queen herself ahead of the show:

What are you most looking forward to about the Fall Home Show this year?

I am really looking forward to the Upcycle Challenge space in support of Habitat for Humanity.  I love that a collective of local talent is all coming together to create the ultimate DIY room using items from the ReStore and good old fashion elbow grease.  It will be a true example of what can be accomplished when you mix paint with creativity! (** PS we have had TWO spots to giveaway to the workshop at the bottom of the Q&A!**)

Tell us what designing a FUNctional home means to you?

Designing a FUNctional home means incorporating organization and storage solutions while still considering style and design.  Although the two elements of design are often treated mutually exclusively, through the customization of DIY and upcycling, it’s easy to put the ‘FUN’ into ‘function’ and create a unique and unified space.

How can people improve the functionality of their home through DIY projects?

DIY allows you to take everyday items in your home and blend design and function with something as simple as a fresh coat of paint!  Have boring closet doors?  Why not give them a fresh coat of Rustoleum’s chalkboard paint and turn them into a giant message board!  Have a fabulously frugal thrift store furniture find?  Why not give it a fresh coat of the latest colour trend to make it a standout storage feature in your home!

Why DIY, not just buy?

DIY is a great way to affordably customize your home and recreate some of the latest design trends without overindulging your budget.  If you want to test drive the hottest “it” colour, consider adding a splash of the hue to lamp base or furniture piece instead of wrapping an entire room with it.  Or if you want to incorporate a trendy finish such as antique weathered gray barn board but don’t want to invest in the real thing, there are innovative and DIY-friendly products available to help you get the look for less  (ie. Weathered Wood Accelerator by Rustoleum).

You are a DIY queen – For people just getting into DIY-ing what are some simple tips they should know?

Paint is your best friend when it comes to transforming virtually anything, but the key is to find the right product for the job!  Most people don’t know that you can paint surfaces such as laminate counters, backsplash tile, and even kitchen appliances, but it comes down to using the correct paint product specifically designed for that application to ensure the best long-term results.

What is it that you love about DIY projects?

I love that I can completely transform an entire space with an impossibly small budget!  One of my favourite project to date was an extreme makeover challenge where I gave myself 1 week and $1,000 to transform a dated 80’s kitchen… and I ended up coming under budget with a total of $860.

What advice do you have for people who think ‘oh I would love to DIY, but it’s way too much work.’?

There are so many DIY-friendly products on the market now that turn what used to be a tedious makeover project into a quick and simple transformation.  One of my favourite mediums for a furniture refresh is Chalked Paint because you typically don’t need to prime, it dries in under 30 min, and it’s an easy 2-coat application.  What used to take me a whole weekend now only takes a few hours to complete.

Do you incorporate a DIY element into every project you do?

Yes, and it usually does to my naturally frugal nature!  I don’t believe in spending money unless you have to, so if I can make it for less, you bet I will!  My philosophy is that great design has little to do with how much money you have, but rather how creative you can be with your budget.

What’s your secret weapon when it comes to DIY? (Your ‘must-have’ item that you use every time without fail)

Of all the secret DIY weapons in my design studio, my favourite by far is a product called Gloss Off by KrudKutter.  It’s basically a liquid sandpaper that cleans and micro etches the surface of whatever you plan to paint meaning that you don’t need to sand in most instances.  It also doesn’t need to be rinsed off, so as soon as it’s dry, you’re ready to paint!  Since sanding is one of my least favourite parts of any DIY project, this stuff is like liquid GOLD!

How did you start DIYing – how did you get into it?

My parents were basically OG Upcyclers before “upcycling” was a thing!  They would stop at the “curbside boutique” to pick old lamps, art, and furniture out of our neighbour’s garbage and clean them up or make them over to become showpieces in our home.  Of course, I was super embarrassed by them as a child, but they taught me to see the potential in items that others didn’t.

Thanks, Leigh-Ann  – we draw major inspiration from your DIY tricks and talents!

Giveaway!! (contest closed)

Want to learn to DIY from the master herself? You and a friend can win your way into an exclusive DIY media party on Wednesday, October 24th at ReStore! We’ll be upcycling items that will be used to create a full living room at the Fall Home Show!  The projects will be individually auctioned off at the show with proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity– yes, a night of fun for a good cause! You will also win a Rust-Oleum prize package!! Visit our Instagram for details on how to enter!! ( This giveaway is sponsored by Rust-Oleum Consumer Brands Canada.)

Below are some photos of our upcycled living room chair that was auctioned off at the show:

❤ Jessica & Elysia

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Thanks for visiting our blog! We're sisters & moms from Edmonton who adore beautiful spaces! We love easy DIY projects and hope to inspire you to make your home that much more beautiful without breaking the bank. We're all about home and party inspiration, so be sure to check back regularly to see what we're designing!

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