Modern rustic townhouse
With a limited budget, a lot of creativity and loads of white paint, Toronto designer Jo Alcorn puts a stylish stamp on her sunny townhouse.
If her signature platinum blond hair and the moniker of her design firm – Whitewash & Co. – aren’t proof of her affinity for a certain shade, then a tour of Jo Alcorn’s west-end Toronto townhouse certainly is. White permeates the light-filled interior, from the furniture and accessories right down to the paint, which isn’t just any colour, but Jo Jo Whitewash, the namesake blend she custom designed for Para Paints. It was also the catalyst for her choice to infuse the 1,900-square-foot three-storey home with a fresh and crisp brio.
While the listing for the townhouse piqued her interest two years ago, tempting her with more space in her preferred neighbourhood, the viewing didn’t. “I actually wasn’t going to take it,” she says. “All the walls were painted yellow, and there were heavy old drapes, maple cabinetry and a sad-looking patio.” Before she shut the door on the property forever, her aesthetic instincts kicked in and she knew she could run with it. “I realized underneath it all, the house had good bones: 12-foot-high ceilings, detailed crown mouldings, clean lines and tons of natural light. I signed on the dotted line.”
“My dining room is just 10 feet wide, so it was tricky to figure out the scale of the furniture,” says homeowner and designer Jo Alcorn. To remedy this, she enlisted her father to craft a narrow dining table with benches that tuck underneath. “He used pine planks, and it cost a fraction of the price of a similar-looking table I had my eye on.” A modern white end chair plays off the rustic style of the table.
The galley kitchen’s maple cabinetry was punched up with paint and vintage brass hardware. “The upper cabinets are the same colour as the walls,” says Jo. “and I used a charcoal shade on the lowers to blend in with the black appliances and anchor the room.” A runner helps disguise the original floor tiles until Jo replaces them.
Myriad combinations of Jo’s signature look – an abundance of white, graphic black accents and soft touches like comfy furniture, throws and toss cushions – define the living room as both stylish and approachable.
“This is where my dogs, Lucy and Ricky, and I spend a lot of time,” she says. “White furniture is actually a cleaning lifesaver with white shedding dogs!”
Inspired by the conviviality of country kitchens with designated seating areas, Jo nixed an eat-in area in favour of a cozy sitting nook that’s perfect for morning coffee and evening cocktails.
Wallet-friendly black accents, whether in the form of paint, toss cushions, rugs or artwork, were used generously throughout to animate the pale backdrop and prevent the house from feeling stark.
Since every wall in the master bedroom features a window or a door, Jo had no choice but to position the bed in front of a small window. She found a headboard tall enough to hide its awkward placement, but the colour was wrong. Jo reupholstered it using a patterned fabric shower curtain and a staple gun. the result is a showpiece crafted on a shoestring budget.
The nightstand introduces a warm element (as well as handy storage) to the bedroom. The mirror reflects natural light and provides a feeling of spaciousness, while the dramatic horn lamp offers a sculptural balance to the large-scale headboard.
1 1006-02 loveseat, Cocoon Furnishings, from $2,280. 2 Dakota dining table, 77", Crate and Barrel, $1,699. 3 Triangular bevel rectangular framed mirror, Lowe’s, $80. 4 Scroll Tile rug in mocha, Pottery Barn, from $281. 5 Maison 4-drawer dresser in antiqued white, Restoration Hardware, $1,595 US. 6 Source kudu table lamp, West Elm, $219.
Designers and decorators share they favourite kitchen trends for 2017.
For many of us, the kitchen is the hub of the home. It’s where the family convenes every night for dinner. It’s where homework is done and family meetings are had. And it’s where guests gather even though the dining room table is set and a fire is roaring in the living room. There’s something about the kitchen that makes it far more than merely a utilitarian space. If you’re thinking about updating your kitchen this year, check out these hot trends, as identified by designers.
Photography: Michael Nangreaves
1 "Mixing metals is my favourite kitchen design trend for 2017. I think it reflects a more individual, less formal approach to design that is popular with millennials and non-millennials alike. While it takes a bit of an expert eye, it is totally appropriate to mix metal finishes in your faucet, cabinet pulls, chair legs and pendants!" - Designer, Lisa Canning.
Credit: Stacey Cohen
3 "One top kitchen design trend I love is to have sections of the upper cabinet extended onto the counter. Let's face it, we all love our small appliances (i.e. toaster oven, espresso machine) but we may not want them on display all the time. A multi-purpose kitchen island has been the go-to solution to disguise the microwave and dishwasher, but unless the island is 10 feet long, it is challenging and perhaps impractical for the island to house the small appliances we use daily off the counter. By having the upper cabinets extended to the counter and small appliances sitting behind doors, you can achieve a sleek design statement without sacrificing your morning coffee!" - Blogger and Decorator, Tim Lam.
: Donna Griffith
4 "In 2017, we will continue to see cabinetry painted white and various shades of grey. I think that we will also see cabinetry painted warmer tones such as greige (grey & beige), taupe and mushroom. Islands in a different colour or stain than the perimeter cabinetry will continue to be prevalent. In addition, handcrafted islands that look like furniture with legs will be popular for that unfitted kitchen look. It also adds personality and charm and the kitchen then looks like it has evolved over time. Quartz as a counter will continue to be popular as consumers become aware of its benefits." - Interior Designer, Vanessa Francis.
Photography: Monic Richard
5 "After years of white on white kitchens, our clients are asking for something different again. While you might not want to paint an entire kitchen in one colour to stand out from the crowd, the tendency in 2017 will be to mix natural wood, paint and metals in the kitchen. Try framing the range hood and the island in chrome to add sparkle to the space. Add texture to your cabinetry with a mix of light wood veneered lowers and white lacquered uppers." - Interior Designer, Tara Fingold.
Photography: Donna Griffith
6 "Say hello to dark metals in the kitchen. Polished chrome and nickel accents are giving way to black faucets, burnished steel pendants and matte black cabinetry handles. The dark finishes can work in sleek modern kitchens or the most cottagey of cooking spaces. With white kitchens continuing to dominate, a dash of black can provide high contrast and instantly update tired cabinetry." - Blogger and Designer, Jennifer Flores.
7 "Terra Cotta is back! But it's not the tangy orange clay you're used to. In 2017, Reclaimed Rose Terra Cotta will be hitting it big. Following the trend of reclaimed wood, the rich creams and pale pinks of this antique terra cotta tile will be the next phase in the modern farmhouse kitchen. Look for hexagon or herringbone for a modern take on this old classic. Pairing over-sized pendants and industrial decor with reclaimed terra cotta will help keep the space current." - Designer, Andrea Haraldsen.
Find helpful budget-friendly makeover ideas.
Make over your home with decorating tricks that don’t cost a dime!Who says you have to spend money to makeover your home? Here are some easy, fun and practical ideas for spiffing up your space without spending a cent.
A bright white office gets a hint of glam
A talented design team creates a glam home office.
The Kelly Deck Design team adorns a bright white office with all things glam. Here’s how to achieve a similarly chic look.
Cheer up a plain ceiling by applying a graphic geometric wallpaper. it’s a fashion-forward look that instantly draws the eye upward.
Maximize every square inch of a small space with custom millwork. For this office, the designers added two workstations, closed cabinetry and open shelving.
Since every creative genius requires a whimsical workspace, try something unexpected and lean lively prints atop your desk.
Bring shimmer and shine to your study with warm metal elements. Here, gold accents like this peace sign sculpture draw attention to the room’s stunning showpiece: The modern brass light fixture.
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