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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.
Purchase pre-made pizza dough to make this appetizer even easier!
Be the host with the most by making these delicious appetizers at your next party.
1 Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2 On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pizza dough into a thin 12" circle.
3 Transfer the dough to a rimmed baking sheet, pulling and stretching with your hands to maintain the circular shape.
4 Top the dough with the squash slices. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the dough is crisp and lightly browned.
5 Meanwhile, heat the honey and chili slices in a small saucepan over medium heat until the honey is thickened and syrupy, about 2 minutes.
6 Slice the flatbread into squares. Drizzle each with a bit of the spiced honey; serve warm.
Prep & cook time: 45 minutes
Tour this lovely cottage on Lake Simcoe!
A designer lends her expertise to help a couple resolve a colourful debate over the scheme for their family cottage.
"He wanted dark tones and a woodsy Aspen vibe. I wanted everything white with clean lines." The “he” referred to is the husband, the “I” speaking is the wife, and in terms of their decor preferences for this new-build 4,900-square-foot cottage overlooking Lake Simcoe in Innisfil, Ont., they were clearly at odds. But the Toronto-based couple, who has a seven-year-old daughter, a five-year-old son and a Samoyed puppy, did agree on one thing: The design had to be practical. And after many reassurances on the wife’s part that her vision could be inviting and relaxing, she says, “My husband eventually gave me free rein. I wanted a gorgeous unfussy space that was easy to maintain.”
To get the look, she turned to Lidia van Zyl, a designer based in Barrie, Ont., who’s well known for decorating waterfront properties in the area. “When I was hired in 2014, the cottage was in its planning stage,” says Lidia. “This allowed us to pore over the plans and confirm almost every detail before the walls went up.” The walls themselves played a crucial role in setting the tone for the space. “Honouring the husband’s preference for a traditional look, I incorporated shiplap into the mix,” says Lidia. The wooden boards, which were most often used in the construction of homes, were applied horizontally in the kitchen, powder room, foyer and master bedroom. “Shiplap, even when painted white, provides a rustic contrast to drywall and has an informal feel that really adds to the casual cottage vibe,” says the designer.
While the scheme may be all white, it’s anything but stark. “The key to decorating with white is to use different shades of it,” says Lidia. “If you look closely, you’ll see the walls are a crisp white, while the beams are coated with a warmer shade.” Wide-plank pale hickory flooring completes the airy backdrop, which Lidia chose to punctuate with bold hits of black. “I love contrast, so I added black accessories to almost every room,” she says. Lidia extended this theme to the furniture as well and, with the kids and puppy in mind, paid specific attention to practicality. “The grey sofas in the living room are covered with indoor-outdoor fabric, so they’re stain resistant and easy to clean,” she says. “And some of the pieces, such as the living room coffee table and foyer console, are crafted from steel, so they’re pretty much damage-proof.” She also introduced a few well-placed antiques throughout the cottage to create interesting tension between old and new.
The 18-month process of building and decorating netted a year-round family retreat that Lidia describes as “refined but rustic.” And even though the wife had total control, she did make an effort to include her husband – sort of. She says: “He really wanted dark floors, but even he conceded the light ones looked better. So I let him think he helped with that decision in a roundabout way. Now we’re all happy!”
Accessories like the rope-hung mirrors and the lantern-style pendant lights make this practical space feel decorated. “I don’t like to take risks when decorating,” says one of the homeowners, “but I did want to mix things up in the kitchen so it didn’t read as plain.”
Designer Lidia van Zyl played the natural tones of wood and stone against sleek black accents to create character in the living room. The tall armoire holds things like games, books and blankets, while the bare floor, a practical option, is easy to clean. A trio of metal sculptures above the reclaimed wood mantel is a departure from the expected mirror or artwork.
In the foyer, the staircase’s natural wood handrail and treads were a purposeful choice. “If we had painted them black, it would have drawn the eye up the stairs as opposed to straight through the cottage to the lake,” says Lidia.
A mix of neutral tones creates subtle depth in the dining area. “The table and chairs appear white at first glance, but they’re actually a soft shade of grey,” says Lidia. the chandelier, painted white to downplay its ornate shape, illuminates everything from meals to crafts.
“This cottage always makes me smile,” says one of the homeowners. “It’s an amazing feeling to open the front door to beautiful surroundings.” the stone skirting – a concession to the aspen look the husband wanted – ties in nicely with the herringbone brick walkway.
The artful arrangement of dark-hued antiques in an all-white area of the living room makes a graphic statement. the antlers are a family heirloom.
“I love a white kitchen because I don’t like distractions when I’m cooking,” says one of the homeowners, “and I can also see what needs to be cleaned.” low-maintenance Caesarstone countertops and a glossy tiled backsplash on the range wall make cleanup even easier. the massive island is outfitted with cupboards that hold cottage necessities, such as candles, batteries and a tool kit.
While the silhouette of the chandelier in the master bedroom is traditional, its wooden beads give it an earthy appeal that suits a cottage. the wicker basket, sisal rug and rustic artwork (it’s made of wood and says “I Love Us”) echo that earthiness, which is tempered by the black furniture.
Hooks and baskets are enough to keep the mud room in order since the basement has ample storage. The built-in bench always comes in handy.
Like the rest of the cottage, the powder room is energized with hits of black. “I love the graphic mosaic-look floor here,” says Lidia. “It’s actually 24-by-24-inch tiles, and they have just the right amount of pattern for a small space.” Vintage racquets used as informal artwork perfectly fit the laid- back vibe of this family retreat.
Michael Buble's holiday home
Canadian icon Michael Bublé invites us into his Vancouver home as he gets ready to celebrate the season in style.
If it were up to Michael Buble’s mom, her son’s music – and only her son’s music – would accompany their family Christmases. But since the Juno and Grammy award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter does, indeed, get a say, Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley are afforded lots of airtime, too. “We listen to everything from Mariah Carey to Boney M,” says Michael, explaining the obvious: Music plays a huge part in his holidays.
Once a year, this fabulous foursome – Christmas, music, family and food – comes together in a Buble bash that lasts a couple of days and sees a flood of loved ones visiting from all over the world, including South Africa, Argentina, London and L.A. Upstairs, his music room plays host to a sweet piano-accompanied singalong. And downstairs? “Our basement turns into a sort of salsa club,” says Michael. They move aside the arcade basketball, dome hockey and foosball games (“It’s my 12-year-old-boy-style man cave,” he says with a laugh) to accommodate the DJ and dance floor. “We eat too much, we drink too much – it’s like an old-school Hollywood party.”
Although he admits it may sound cliche, Michael likes giving more than he does getting. “Whether it’s compliments or gifts, receiving them can make me feel a bit embarrassed and shy,” he says. So, in terms of showering his wife with presents, he’s a pro romantic. “But I have a poor sense of occasion. I don’t save gifts for Christmas or Valentine’s Day,” he explains. Case in point: When he’s going to be out of town for a while, Michael will hide little notes around the house, tucking them in shoes, toiletries, drawers, even the diaper bag – “I want to remind her that I’m thinking of her,” he says.
The house’s elegant black, white and gold palette has a sophisticated charm that suits this debonair songster’s vocal style. Above the tray table in the hallway is another piece from Michael’s collection of artwork – a beautiful collage of broken records created by his brother-in-law.
You’d be surprised to know that singer-songwriter Michael Buble has only one of his awards on display at his house – and even that’s a fluke. He brought it home from the office to show a friend and has yet to return it. What he takes more pride in is his meaningful collection of artwork, which includes a cartoon by Jann Arden and a painting by Tony Bennett. But one of his favourite pieces is a photograph of Chet Baker (hanging above the fireplace in his living room) by the great William Claxton, who shot the cover for one of Michael’s albums.
A voluminous cedar garland is filled out with eucalyptus leaves and geometric silver ornaments.
Layers of neutrals are grounded with graphic hits of black and punched up with fresh greenery in the living room.
A simple mirror stylishly frames a leafy green wreath.
Presents are personalized with a band of sheet music secured with a delicate satin bow. Then the presents are nestled in a bowl of ball ornaments for the perfect way to add some flair under the tree.
The couple, who has a two-year-old son named Noah, announced earlier this year that they’re expecting another child, and Michael can’t wait to share the holiday traditions that he enjoyed when he was young. “My dad and I would get the lights out of the attic and string them up outside, while my mom and sisters would decorate the inside. Then we’d gather around the Christmas tree and put the star topper on together: very Norman Rockwell,” he says. “Of course that’s the way I remember it – I’m sure I’ve forgotten the fighting and hair-pulling with my sisters.”
With bold black and white striped gift wrap, sometimes a touch of cedar is all you need as a topper.
The party is set to sound even better this holiday, thanks to last year’s gift from Michael’s wife, actor Luisana Lopilato: “When it was time to open my present, I could hear her telling me that she loved me very much, adored having a child with me and was thrilled to be spending another Christmas with me...but I didn’t understand why her voice was audible throughout the whole house,” he says. “She’d had a Sonos sound system installed – and I had no idea. It was really special.”
And then there’s the food. Michael has an Italian extended family and an Argentinian wife, so the smorgasbord often stretches from the traditional turkey and mashed potatoes to risotto and empanadas. “The whole house smells amazing,” says Michael, who’s always thrilled to host his family and friends under his Vancouver roof.
Delicate white peonies arranged in a dome shape look like a bowl of little white snowballs.
Black table linens paired with gold-toned flatware and subtly gold-edged dishware, topped with a simple handwritten place card and sprig of eucalyptus.
Black and white sugar cookies echo the graphic palette throughout the house, becoming the most stylish (and delicious) desserts around.
Bow-tied gingerbread Bubles by Butter Baked Goods are a classy take on the traditional cookies
Icing sugar-dusted chocolate cookies served up on a white star plate are festive yet understated, while underscoring the black and white scheme.
Instead of some classic jingle bells on display, you’ll find pieces like this harmonica from Michael’s music room, where he spends lots of time jamming with friends and writing songs.
While on set, Michael was singing classic Christmas carols and keeping spirits bright for our team. And what winter wonderland Christmas shoot would be complete without his signature bowties?