Modern backyard with all the amenities
This once-boring backyard is now a multi-functional retreat, complete with lounging and eating areas, an outdoor kitchen and an expansive pool.
While the exterior of the house is more traditional in style, the homeowners wanted a contemporary backyard that would accommodate both family life (they have two tween-aged children) and their love of entertaining. The large-scale project that took eight months to complete involved turning the 100-by-245-foot lot into a multi-functional retreat. Fortuitously providing areas for sitting, eating and lounging, its terraced design was in response to an odd architectural quirk of the house. “It didn’t have a great relationship to the yard, because the main floor is elevated six feet above grade, which is unusual,” says David. “So all this landscaping and all these terraces were really a way to gracefully bring you down to the pool elevation and connect the house back to the yard.”
Boasting a covered outdoor kitchen and dining area, a built-in hot tub, several lounge spaces (including one with a massive firepit) and a substantial pool, the backyard now serves as a true sanctuary. (A new 1,650-square-foot amenities building at the back of the property houses a Ping-Pong room, a spa-like bathroom and a three-car garage.) Says David: “We joke that when the family goes on vacation, it’s nice for them to come back home because their house is often more luxurious than the places where they stay!”
The backyard's terraced design provides a graceful descent from the house's elevated main floor to the pool level below. The staggered floating concrete steps create an organic look.
A charcoal-stained fir pergola features a glass canopy to allow for alfresco dining even on rainy days. "The detailing of the pergola is a response to the fact that the house is more traditional," says architect David Battersby.
The lounge area on the upper terrace is defined by a massive coffee table-cum-gas-firepit and a cozy resin wicker sectional. A concrete wall lends privacy.
The covered outdoor kitchen, which is outfitted with a TV and barbecue, boasts a large range hood that provides proper ventilation.
A row of resin wicker loungers enhances the pool area's luxurious country club vibe.
Ipe decks at either end of the 20-by-60-foot concrete pool make for comfortable spots to relax. "It's much nicer to sit on a wooden deck than on concrete," says David.
A wooden screen allows for an intimate sitting area on the lower terrace. "Because the terraces are elevated, we installed these privacy screens so there were no overlook issues with the neighbours," says David. A "Bloodgood" Japanese maple offers height, while plantings like golden Japanese forest grass and 'Firefly' heather offer a variation of texture and colour.
A freshly renovated kitchen takes on a minimalist look
The fetching minimalist look of this newly renovated kitchen was achieved with careful consideration of every square inch of space.
An out-of-style, spatially awkward kitchen.
Devise a layout to achieve optimum flow.
The homeowners splurged on tailor-made cabinetry to get all the storage they needed but saved money by choosing cost-effective appliances. The custom range hood – a specialty vent insert surrounded by black-painted MDF – cost 20 percent less than a store-bought version. An inlay of black and white marble basket weave floor tiles elegantly marks the entrance to the backyard.
The cabinet doors open up to reveal ceiling-high storage space. “We went with a fairly streamlined profile to keep the look minimalistic,” says designer Stacey Cohen. “Painting the cabinets white would have been too stark, so we coated them in a soft grey to tie in with the transitional bones of the home.”
The Caesarstone sink front provides a high-end feel.
Adding a burst of colour with fruit keeps the minimalist vibe of the kitchen while providing a quick break from the grey cabinets and white countertops.
The white-painted brick veneer wall and faux croc banquette add subtle texture to the space. To further keep the look simple, Stacey (pictured) not only used Caesarstone on the countertops and backsplash but also had it cut into a tabletop for the banquette.
What might have been dead space was turned into a functional corner with the addition of a built-in microwave.
"My clients really enjoy the space now," says Stacey. "It goes to show how much our environment truly affects us."
(Photo by: Joe Kim | Recipe & Food Styling: Tanya Eng)
End your Sunday nights with a classic Canadian treat — maple butter tart pie.
Try your hand at this divine recipe, which takes the nationally revered butter tart and makes it even better by turning it into a whole decadent pie, subtly flavoured with our next favourite thing, maple syrup. What does that mean for your final course of the day? As large a portion as you desire and more of that sugary, buttery filling in every single bite. Oh, Canada!
1 In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and lard, and pulse to a fine crumble.
2 Add the egg and water. Process the mixture to a loose, crumbly meal.
3 Work the pastry into a 1"-thick round disc, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry into a ¼"-thick and 12"-round disc.
4 Roll the pastry around a rolling pin.
5 Unroll over a 9-½" springform pan.
6 Work the pastry into the edges of the pan, forming a loose, wavy crust. Chill for 10 minutes.
7 To blind bake the pastry shell, line the pastry with parchment paper and cover the bottom with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 350ºF; remove the parchment paper and pie weights.
8 To make the filling, whisk together the maple syrup, sugar, melted butter, eggs and vinegar in a bowl.
9 Pour the mixture into the baked shell and place the pie on a baking sheet.
10 Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour on the centre rack of the oven. The pie is done when the top is golden brown but the centre is still wobbly. Let cool before serving.
Serves 8 to 10.
(This recipe was originally featured in our October 2014 issue.)
Marble Contact Paper in Marmi Grey, Design Your Wall.
These faux marble options are just as elegant as the real deal.
Few materials strike a chord with us in the same way that marble does. The sought-after stone, with its subtle sheen and veined markings, is quick to catch the eye and lends a luxe look to a space without being over the top. The downside, of course, is its price point. Here are 5 marble-like options that will achieve the same sophisticated, formal look for a fraction of the cost.
Looking for a faux marble tile that can handle heavy foot traffic? Consider peel-and-stick vinyl floor tiles. In addition to their resilient nature, the tiles can be installed over most existing flooring. In other words, they make for a perfect weekend DIY project that won’t end in defeat. TrafficMaster Premium Vinyl Tile in Carrara Marble, Home Depot, starting at $0.89/sq. ft.
If you love the marbled look, you’ll want to customize all of your furniture with this stylish contact paper. The affordable material has a peel-away backing that can stick to almost any surface, from the top of a coffee table to the inside of kitchen drawers. Keep in mind that the paper doesn’t react well to water, so avoid using it in the bathroom or near the kitchen sink. Marble Contact Paper in Marmi Grey, Design Your Wall, $59.99 per roll.
Elevate your living space with ceramic wall tiles that mimic the look of marble like this elegant option from Ciot. Though similar in appearance, ceramic is far more delicate than marble and is therefore more susceptible to chips and cracks. The solution: Be strategic with placement, avoiding high-traffic areas in favour of bathroom walls or backsplashes. Marvel Wall Tile in Calacatta Extra, Ciot, see store for pricing.
Porcelain is another classic material that boasts marble's polished aesthetic without the hefty price tag. The tile is more resilient than ceramic, which makes it perfect for flooring as well as bathroom walls and kitchen backsplashes. Let's just say marble-inspired porcelain has the ability to make any space sparkle. Glazed Porcelain Tiles in White, Olympia Tile + Stone, see store for pricing.
If you’re not yet familiar with Laminam, allow us to be the first to introduce you. The innovative material is touted as being the world’s first porcelain tile that's offered in 3 metre by 1 metre panels and is thinner than standard porcelain tiling. This means that in addition to covering existing walls and floors, Laminam can take on an array of delicate surfaces (think fireplace surrounds, kitchen countertops and outdoor areas). I Naturali Laminam in Bianco Statuario, Stone Tile, see store for pricing.