Tour this stylish open-concept condo.
Starring a diverse cast, tension and drama, this pared-back open-concept condo is anything but prosaic.
A great designer is a matchmaker, a trendsetter and, above all else, a storyteller. With the decor of this new-build condo’s main living area, Yanic Simard, founder and lead designer of Toronto Interior Design Group, proves he is among the greats. The scene in this 540-square-foot open-concept space was already set. Floor-to-ceiling windows spanning two entire sides of the condo flood it with sunshine and overlook the tree-lined streets of Toronto’s posh Yorkville neighbourhood and the city’s downtown skyline beyond. With such a lively setting, a restrained decorating approach was best, so neutral finishes were chosen in the form of sophisticated greyish-white wall paint, warm-toned wide-plank hardwood floors and cream-coloured kitchen cabinetry.
With a relatively blank slate established, the cooking/dining/living space was ready for some personality, so Yanic set about casting his characters, starting with the hero: “That custom blue sectional is the piece,” he says, adding that he had fabric samples sent from as far away as Europe and South America to find that “delicious” velvet. To fill the supporting roles, he animated the room with a small yet eclectic group, including a retro brass and glass coffee table, an Art Deco-inspired mirror, Mid-Century Modern-style dining furniture and traditional-meets-modern clear plastic kitchen stools. The vastly varied furnishings lend the space quiet tension, but it’s their shared low-slung silhouettes that create drama. “We wanted to make the ceiling – already impressive at 10 feet – appear even higher,” says Yanic, citing European apartments as inspiration. Dramatic, too, are the light fixtures. In the kitchen, a futuristic long-armed Serge Mouille-influenced piece is the antithesis of the classic Shaker-style cabinetry, but the fixture’s white finish humbles it. Meanwhile, the matching pendants over the living and dining areas hark back to the opulence of the Hollywood Regency period, but their size is modest and their shape simple. After all, much like the best narratives, the chicest rooms show off a skillful interplay of striking and soothing moments, so it’s no wonder this fanciful yet pared-back space earned a five-star review from the homeowners.
The living area plays host to all walks of (decor) life, amounting to a timeless look. though disparate, all the pieces abide by one rule: Nothing distracts from the million-dollar view of downtown Toronto.
“Don’t fight what the space is offering you,” says designer Yanic Simard, who selected floating furniture arrangements for the living and dining areas in order to respect the walls of windows behind them.
Yanic punctuated the space with a small selection of thoughtful accessories, such as the blue glassware, which reinforces the colour theme introduced by the sectional.
Like a pair of old hollywood starlets, the brass-framed crystal chandeliers in the dining and living areas are all sparkle, glitz and glam, yet these dames’ diminutive proportions and simple geometric shape keep them from stealing the show.
Visible behind the vintage wood-panelled herringbone-upholstered armchair, sheer drapery, used throughout the space, almost blends into the walls. the white fabric’s grey wavy pattern is interesting up close but unassuming from afar.
The Art Deco-style mirror takes advantage of the 10-foot-high ceiling. Beneath it, the super-long glossy black sideboard connects the dining area to the living zone and houses everything from napkins to DVDs.
The bold veined grey marble countertops and backsplash energize the traditional cream-toned kitchen cabinetry. The classic finishes get a dose of modernity from the contemporary light fixture and clear plastic stools.
A condo design featuring traditional details and sculptural furnishings
When Kim Calabrigo moved from a large family home to a condo, she quickly learned that bigger isn't always better.
A peaceful sanctuary in the heart of a downtown core: That doesn’t sound like too tall an order, does it? That’s what Kim Calabrigo sought when she sold her traditional Craftsman-style home in suburbia and moved to a condo in metropolitan Vancouver. Bringing no furniture with her, she was truly starting anew.
Kim’s first-ever solo home purchase offered her the opportunity to decorate exactly as she pleased. “I wanted a tone-on-tone look, mixing classic and modern elements with an edge,” she says.
Coming from a big traditional 4,200-square-foot home and moving to a smaller builder-basic 1,100-square-foot two-bedroom condo, Kim found space planning challenging. She wanted to maintain the most floor space possible while maximizing seating so she could entertain friends and family as easily as she used to.
Homeowner Kim Calabrigo's decorating wish list included sculptural furnishings, soft pink accents and traditional details.
To maximize seating in her new condo, Kim had a nine-foot-long sofa designed to run the length of the living room wall.
Opting to put a chaise against the living room's floor-to-ceiling windows keeps sightlines open and offers Kim a comfy place to take in the picturesque view with her morning cup of tea.
Though the space is open, the dining area is easily delineated by its standard banquette and oversized pendant light featuring white and peach beads and a rope-wrapped frame. "At night, the diamond motif casts beautiful shadows on the walls and ceiling," says Kim.
"I've embraced the less-is-more aesthetic and added interest by mixing old and new, shiny and matte, smooth and textured, organic and clean lined," says Kim. "I don't depend on bold colours and patterns."
Femininity reigns in the master bedroom, from the tall tufted headboard and layered wrinkled linens to the mirrored nightstands and petite vase of flouncy pink peonies. Massive windows mean that Kim can watch the sun set from the comfort of bed. Does it get any better than that?
In the master bedroom's built-in office nook, sparkly silver wallpaper subtly offsets the layers of cream, white and gold on the shelves. The palette is echoed in the frameless print of an 18th-century Venetian palazzo ballroom, resulting in a vignette that's the perfect mix of new world and old.
6 easy Christmas decorating DIYs
Holly Baker wears many hats: She’s a resourceful renovator and genius DIYer (as evidenced in Style at Home’s June and July 2014 issues, which feature Holly’s handiwork); she’s the blogger behind In the Fun Lane; and she’s a wife to her husband, Sean, and mom to her six-year-old daughter, Wren. At Christmastime, Holly also dons the proverbial Santa cap and jazzes up her home using her signature playful high-low approach to decorating. It’s the same MO that defines all her endeavours – style-driven, accessible and totally crafty. “I like to think our Christmas scheme is a fun twist on simple, natural holiday style,” she says. To that effect, red and white decorations (including plenty of handmade ones) impress alongside loads of fresh greenery, mostly clipped from the Bakers’ yard. The resulting look is perfectly festive and fit for Christmas baking sessions with Wren and grown-up dinner parties alike.
The Baker family knows how to decorate their house for the festive season without going overboard. Their 6 simple DIYs create the perfect cozy holiday home for their family to enjoy.
A holiday tradition, Advent candles are lit each Sunday in the weeks leading up to Christmas. In keeping with her home’s red and white holiday scheme, homeowner Holly Baker found these numbered candles to indicate the weeks. She notes that these would be a cinch to create with white candles, stencils and red paint.
Nothing compares to candlelight when it comes to creating an intimate atmosphere on chilly winter evenings. A grouping of candles sits in a bright red tray; when it’s lit en masse, it evokes a serene holiday scene. The rustic-look candlesticks were crafted by tightly wrapping twine around the necks and bases of glass bottles and then securing the ends with glue.
Who wouldn’t love to receive one of Holly’s brown paper packages tied up with yarn? She makes her gifts extra-special by topping them with pompoms created with a pompom maker (which can be found at craft-supply or fabric stores).
“I love decorating with greenery from our yard, since it’s free and festive,” says Holly with a laugh. For this simple display, vintage glass jars were filled halfway with white rice and their rims embellished with cedar sprigs attached with floral wire. Basic pillar candles were then nestled into the rice.
“The day we decorate the tree is always a favourite in our house,” says Holly. In lieu of a traditional Advent calendar, Holly adorns the Christmas tree with mini gift bags embellished with numbers (one through 24) and filled with tiny treasures. These ones were store-bought, but they can be easily made with paper gift bags and numbered tags or stickers. “Wren loves to look for the numbered bag each day,” she says. Holly also decorates the faux tree with hand-ripped lengths of fabric tied into bows, patterned garlands and straw ornaments.
The fireplace mantel has a lovingly homespun look thanks to evergreen boughs, woolly cable-knit stockings and three strands of patterned garland. Each stocking was given a mock monogram with the addition of a lettered tag.
Whimsical holiday living room with a nod to Scandinavian design
Living rooms of all sizes and styles are decked out for the holidays to help inspire your own festive makeover.
"The living room, with its wood-burning fireplace, is the perfect cozy spot for gathering in the winter. The spruce Christmas tree is courtesy of a friend who lives on a former tree farm." To see the rest of the holiday home click here.
"The living room exemplifies the snowy, sophisticated colour scheme – white and silver with hits of green – used throughout for the Christmas decorations. The bay window provides a perfect spot to place the tree." To see the rest of the holiday home click here.
"The huge tree in the library is decked out with ornaments collected over many years. 'There’s no point in having a precious Christmas tree that the kids can’t help with,' says homeowner Michele Leighton Symons. However, they pitch in after their mum has hung all of the Murano glass balls." To see the rest of the holiday home click here.
"When the holidays hit, homeowner Tara Ballantyne elevates her simple white, grey, brown and black palette with metallics like silver and gold. “I’m always trying new looks and trends for my work as a stylist, and because I think in colour so much for my job, I like to come home to a muted environment,” says Tara." To see the rest of the holiday home click here.
"Stacy reveals that there’s always a fire crackling during the winter season. The original brick fireplace is embellished with a simple garland, matching wreath and, of course, a pair of stockings hung by the chimney with care." To see the rest of the holiday home click here.
"Throughout the home, interior walls are clad in horizontal pine planks, modernized with glossy white paint, and the ceiling beams are exposed for a loft-like feel. The living room fireplace, with its floor-to-ceiling surround, features the same bricks used on the floor and outdoor patio." To see the rest of the holiday home click here.
"The living room’s neutral, modern aesthetic is warmed up with natural materials, such as silk and linen, and colourful accessories. Alison created an ultra-modern Christmas tree by cementing apple tree branches (from a friend’s farm in Hockley Valley, Ont.) in a pot and trimming them with a neutral mix of gold, silver and off-white ornaments." To see the rest of the holiday home click here.
"A mix of modern and vintage-look Christmas ornaments suits the condo’s contemporary classic style and grey, warm white and chartreuse colour scheme. A couple of faux sheepskins act as a sophisticated Christmas tree skirt. “I’ve never liked the way a traditional tree skirt looks, so this is an inexpensive solution, and it adds a lot of texture and interest,” says Emma." To see the rest of the holiday home click here.
"Don’t be afraid to switch out your everyday decor for the seasonal stuff, says Annie. Here, she simply removed a piece of artwork from her gallery wall and replaced it with a gold metal wreath hung from a pretty blue ribbon. She didn’t need to make a new hole in her wall, and her holiday decorations seem to seamlessly blend in with what’s always been there, for a look that’s festive but far from over the top." To see the rest of the holiday home click here.
"'Christmas is frenetic enough without adding bright red and green,' says Jennifer, who opts instead for a gentler palette. Holiday ornaments, some made from felt, appear in the same stormy greys, icy blues and warm whites you’ll find in this living room year-round. The muted colours and the simplicity of the decor are a nod to Scandinavian design, which Jennifer loves." To see the rest of the holiday home click here.
"During the holidays, the living room is the ultimate place to lounge. "I made sure to include enough seating so everyone has a good spot," says Christine "And there are a lot of throws around, because it gets a little bit drafty."" To see the rest of the holiday home click here.
"The festive palette fits in nicely with the family room’s existing decor. The boxwood wreath and paperwhites add natural warmth." To see the rest of the holiday home click here.
"'The colour scheme here is subdued, with soft whites, warm mauves and natural linen tones, says designer Stacy McLennan. 'By keeping the walls and furniture neutral, the homeowners have a lot of flexibility. They can add colour with decor accessories or stick to a more sophisticated look.' In this open-concept layout, custom ottomans visually separate the family room from the dining area and offer flexible seating options." To see the rest of the holiday home click here.
"The clean and simple living room is cozily furnished in a warm white-on-white palette with hits of natural greenery." To see the rest of the holiday home click here.
"Designer Jennifer Brouwer says the living room is the epitome of her less-is-more philosophy. She used cleanlined, elegant furnishings to offset the space’s grand architectural features." To see the rest of the holiday home click here.
"Matching chaises designed by Jessica make a welcoming spot for guests to cozy up to the fireplace with drinks and nibbles in the living room; the barnboard-clad console (made from wood found at Jessica’s parents’ farm) adds a hint of rusticity. The cowhide rug with hits of shimmer livens up the neutral palette, as do the bold bursts of fuchsia in the accessories and holiday decorations." To see the rest of the holiday home click here.