A kitchen boasting restaurant-design pedigree
Trendy meets traditional in this family home built from scratch.
Homeowner Tanya Krpan (pictured here) saved on accessories by loading the family room sectional with an assortment of ready-made toss cushions.
Tanya isn’t afraid to play with negative space, as seen in the home’s grand entryway. “Normally, you’d expect a mirror or big piece of art hanging above the wainscotting,” she says. Leaving the wall blank and layering small pieces on the console allows the millwork to shine.
Black casement windows and decorative accents create contrast in the neutral space. Tanya scored the vintage coffee table when her office was being redecorated.
The family room’s classic-cool mix feels right for a young family.
The kitchen, of course, is the true star of the show. Tanya’s restaurant-design pedigree shines through in the room’s floor-to-ceiling tiles, mix of open and closed storage and high-end appliances. She opted for white Shaker-style cabinetry and warmed up the space with a walnut island and brass hardware statement lighting and fixtures.
Another bistro-inspired touch was her choice of dark honed-limestone tiles for most of the main floor. “The tile grounds the space since there’s an abundance of white everywhere,” Tanya explains. “And it’s proven great for hiding dirt.”
Everything in the Krpans’ home is designed for everyday life and entertaining, from the large sectional in the family room to the round tables in the dining room and the kitchen’s eat-in area. “It’s more social to sit at a round table,” says Tanya. “You see everyone’s faces.”
Cabinets with glass doors allow Tanya to display her favourite serving pieces and special glassware. She had the back of the kitchen cabinets tiled to highlight this focal point of the kitchen.
Tanya and Jure – with their sons, Ivan, 3, and Cruz, 2 – have recently welcomed a baby girl named Belle.
The living room’s crisp white, grey and black scheme gets an energy boost from fresh greenery, pops of pink and plenty of pattern – check out the Moroccan-style rug, the ikat-print and chevron-patterned toss cushions and the graphic stool fabric.
To offset the costs of the more expensive permanent elements, Tanya was meticulous with her decorating budget. She incorporated secondhand pieces, such as the family room coffee table, and sourced inexpensive art for the living room mantel. Affordable colourful accessories add youthful edginess to the living spaces. “I love the femininity that the splashes of pink add to the living room and family room,” she says. “Plus, by the time I got to the decorating, I was living with three boys!”
In the dining room, Tanya likes the juxtaposition of the modern Sputnik-inspired chandelier with the traditional coffered ceiling. The artwork was a DIY project Tanya and Jure painted together on her 30th birthday.
Though this house has been well loved for years, there’s a sequel in the works: Tanya and Jure are in the process of building a new home. “We’ll keep some of the same elements but go a little more modern in the kitchen,” says Tanya. We’ll definitely stay tuned.
This radiant living room is layered with fresh prints reminiscent of the beach.
Designer Robyn Rider’s use of juicy prints and vivid hues ensures there’s never a dull moment in this Palm Beach-inspired Victorian home.
Much like people, houses have personalities. Some homes – let’s call them the introverts – conjure up cool elegance. Others are like peacocks: a bold bunch of extroverts boasting pattern and colour. The latter describes this 2,400-square-foot four-bedroom Victorian semi in Toronto’s Summerhill neighbourhood. Designed by Robyn Rider of Robyn Madeline Interiors, the cheery home – with its eye-catching prints in blue and white and fresh coral and green accents – takes its cues from Palm Beach, Fla., which is meaningful to the young family of three living here. “We’ve been visiting Palm Beach for the last 15 years,” says one of the homeowners. Not just bold and bright, the design has all the hallmarks of that eclectic coastal style, from the crisp white walls to the mix of natural materials, such as linen and bamboo, as well as quirky touches like the artichoke lamp and chinoiserie plant pots.
It’s exactly what the homeowners wanted. They first spotted Robyn’s work on Instagram and immediately connected with her style, exemplified in her gallery of lively rooms filled with florals, stripes and Greek key motifs that delightfully pop against neutral backdrops. “Robyn’s tastes are very similar to ours,” says the husband, who admits he prefers a brighter palette than his wife does – “I know, it’s opposite of the norm,” he adds with a laugh. But luckily, she didn’t need much convincing, and the couple called on the designer to start as soon as possible.
When Robyn arrived on the scene, the architect and contractor had already removed a structural wall that had split the back of the house into two skinny, awkward rooms. The new layout allowed for an open-flow kitchen with an eat-in area, a petite powder room and a comfy family room (not shown). The wall that divides the back of the house from the front (with its living room and entryway) stayed intact, and the kitchen’s added Dutch door, painted a snappy navy blue, connects the two areas.
Such separation is surprising, considering the trend is to leave no wall standing, keeping a communal space as open as possible. But this family needed function, says Robyn. The homeowners requested the Dutch door (split horizontally, so the top half can open while the bottom stays fixed) to keep their one-year-old daughter contained. “It’s much nicer than an unsightly baby gate,” says Robyn.
This division also allows the house to have two moods: more formal in the front (think eclectic parlour) and relaxed and kid-friendly at the back (from the eat-in area’s hard-wearing 12-foot-long banquette to the slipcovered sofa in the family room). What joins the two spaces, though, is the joyful palette. “It’s the first thing you notice when you walk in the house,” says Robyn, referring to the living room and its floral-patterned armchairs.
But she made sure to use pattern sparingly, so the scheme can be easily switched up should the homeowners tire of it. “The room’s foil is decidedly neutral. Reupholster the chairs and change the toss cushions, and you have a whole new look,” says Robyn.
Tastes evolve, after all, and what’s important in a home is that it speaks to its inhabitants. And Robyn is sure that, like her, these homeowners will always gravitate to rooms that aren’t stuffy. Last year, they hosted a boisterous party during the NHL playoffs: “We had people all over: on the sofa in the family room, on the eat-in area’s banquette, at the kitchen island and in the backyard – you can see the TV from there,” recalls one of the homeowners, who says it was truly memorable for everyone in attendance. Happy houses have that effect on people.
“White kitchens never go out of style,” says one of the homeowners of the choice to go classic with crown moulding, Caesarstone countertops and a Calacatta marble subway tile backsplash. A Dutch door, made out of two custom ones, divides the front of the house from the back.
In the radiant living room of this Toronto Victorian, designer Robyn Rider layered fresh prints that bring to mind the beach. The bold botanical armchair fabric takes centre stage, while the rug and drapery’s subtle patterns play supporting roles. “Too much pattern can make a space feel cluttered and less sophisticated,” warns Robyn.
A lively tableau under the living room’s original stained glass window features the glitz and glamour associated with Hollywood Regency decor, including a gilded artichoke table lamp, a lacquered desk, a retro bamboo chair and a chinoiserie pot.
“It’s a small space, so it can take it,” says Robyn of going for drama in the petite powder room.
“Blue and white is one of my favourite colour combinations,” says Robyn (pictured). “It’s so fresh and happy.”
Add or expand your closet space with helpful tips and tricks from Scott McGillivray
If you live in a condo or an older house, you know that closet space is at a premium. Adding a closet or expanding an existing one will help to increase the functionality and value of your home. Or, if it’s a low-cost, flexible solution you’re after, stand-alone wardrobes are always an option.
Photography courtesy of istockphoto.com
Adding and increasing
You’d be surprised where you can squeeze in closet space. Consider, for instance, the often overlooked area underneath your staircase. With a little ingenuity, you can really gain some valuable extra storage. If it’s your bedroom closet that’s lacking, you may be able to get away with widening or deepening it – or even building a new one – by expanding into an adjacent room. Just be sure the other space is large enough to give up that square footage without losing its functionality.
Photography courtesy of Stacey Van Berkel
The easiest and most affordable way to increase closet space is by adding stand-alone wardrobes along a wall. What’s great about this solution is that they’re a non-permanent addition, so when it comes time to sell, buyers will be able to visualize the space as either having the extra storage or not.
A lot of people ask me if converting a small bedroom into a walk-in closet is worth it. It’s the simplest and most obvious solution to a lack of closet space in a house, but before you commit to this type of reno, there’s something to consider first. Does your home have four (or more) bedrooms? The most appealing type of property to the majority of prospective buyers is a detached house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Bringing your home down to two bedrooms eliminates a large portion of the home-buying population, so any value you gain by adding the big closet is erased. However, if you plan on staying in your home for the next 20 years and this is a “just for you” renovation, go for it.
Enjoy this delicious danish recipe any day of the week.
Created with pure dairy ingredients you'll love this delicious danish recipe from blogger Imen McDonnell's The Farmette Cookbook.
1 Place the sour cream, butter, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over low heat; stir until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat; let cool to room temperature.
2 In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let sit for 10 minutes.
3 Add the sour cream mixture, eggs and flour; mix to form a very soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
4 Using an electric mixer, beat together the ricotta, sugar, egg, vanilla and salt in a large mixing bowl until well combined.
5 Place the dough on a clean work surface dusted with flour. Knead 6 or 7 times, just until smooth and pliable. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a 12" x 8" rectangle.
6 Spread one-quarter of the filling on each piece of dough. Starting at one of the long sides, roll up the dough jelly-roll style. Pinch the seams and ends together to seal in the filling.
7 Place the pastries seam-side down on a buttered baking sheet and cut slits in the top of each one with a knife. Cover the baking sheet with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm draft-free place for about 1 hour, until the pastries have doubled in size.
8 Heat the oven to 375°F. Bake the pastries for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and transfer to wire racks to cool.
9 Place the icing sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in the elderflower cordial a little at a time, until a glaze forms.
10 Drizzle over the cooled danishes, then sprinkle with elderflowers and serve.
Prep & cook time: 6 hours
Makes: 4 pastries
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Excerpted from The Farmette Cookbook by Imen McDonnell. Text and photographs © 2016 Imen McDonnell, Food styling by Sonia Mulford Chaverri and Imen McDonnell. Excerpted by permission of Roost Books. All rights reserved.