DIY project: Paint chip wreath
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.
Small space: Relaxing neutral condo
When decorators Nicola Marc and Beth Gold of Marc Gold Interiors came across this one-bedroom suite in a reovated 1920s building they knew they were in for a challenge. They agreed that the 800-square-foot condo in Montreal's trendy Le Plateau neighbourhood offered the right bones, needing just a few modifications.
"This was the first time that we had worked on a project where the client didn't want any colour," says Nicola. "As a result, we had to look closely at texture, scale, shape and form." The client's only other request was tied to the desire for a soft palette in grey and pebble. She wanted her new home to be a calming, serene retreat - a place she could return to after a busy workday and sigh contentedly.
Before: Living room
The wall dividing the living room and dining room was knocked down, the one separating the kitchen (shown above) was left intact.
After: Living room
The hardwood flooring was stripped and finished in a soft white-washed grey, custom wood radiator coverings were built, the wall between the dining room and living room was removed to open up the main living space for entertaining.
The oversized custom rug connects and ground the living and dining areas. Its diamond pattern lends a subtle yet distinctive design element, explains decorator Nicola Marc.
The rough-hewn mirror in the living area acts as a focal point but doesn't overwhelm. Petite sconces enhance the mirror's large scale and keep the look au courant.
The ornate vintage coffee table, painted in a neutral hue, offsets the modern boxy sofas. "The coffee table can be easily moved around to accommodate traffic during a party," says Nicola. Indigo blue was chosen as the only accent colour because it embodies calmness.
The sightline into the kitchen from the dining room was designed to appear un-kitchen-like. The wall in view was covered in a seagrass wallpaper, which provides warmth and texture and balances the kitchen's custom finishes (like the Carrara marble mosaic floor) and sleek stainless steel appliances.
"For kitchen renos, even ones on a budget, we encourage homeowners to consider custom components because it allows you to make the most of your space," says Nicola. A small work area in the corner is a better use of space than cabinetry.
Stainless steel appliances
The galley-style kitchen features a pleasant mix of modern (stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops) and classic (marble mosaic flooring and recessed-panelled cabinetry) elements. Opting for seagrass wallpaper instead of a tiled backsplash lends the narrow space depth, warmth and texture.
The elegant smoky grey settee in the dining area converts seamlessly into extra living room seating post-meal. The pair of white porcelain pendant lights offers a lovely soft touch, while the client's existing rustic wooden dining table adds a warm textural element to the space.
The neutral palette condo offers an equal devotion to balancing sharp lines with delicate curves, softening glints of shiny metal with milky porcelain and enhancing natural textures with subtle patterns.
"The effect is an intimate tone-on-tone space that feels very harmonious," says Nicola.
Can you tell which bathroom is high and which is low?
Can you tell which bathroom is high and which is low?
We designed a luxe bathroom using two different budgets. Can you tell which is the high and which is the low?
We designed a luxe old-meets-new bathroom using both a flood and a trickle of cash flow. Can you tell the difference?
1 Brass Colebrook 1041 pendant light in Aged Brass, Universal Lamp, Hudson Valley Lighting, $375.
2 Gold-leafed carved wood Empire-style mirror, Barrymore Furniture, $4,730.
3 Unisex cotton Antiochia bathrobe in Grey & White, Au Lit Fine Linens, $139.
4 Carrara marble and antique-brass-finished iron Darcy side table, Pottery Barn, $399 US.
5 Hand-carved oak and linen Louis sidechair, Art Shoppe, $699.
7 Hammam-style cotton Antiochia hand towel in Grey & White, Au Lit Fine Linens, $34.
8 Brass floor-mounted Traditional tub filler in Champagne Bronze with cross handle, Delta Faucet, $2,425.
9 Framed Harmony artwork by H. Kalisher, 24" x 24", Barrymore Furniture, $400.
1 Polished brass-plated steel geometric pendant light, CB2, $120.
2 Gold-leafed metal and MDF Valonia mirror, Barrymore Furniture, $810.
3 Unisex washed linen bathrobe in Light Grey, H&M, $60.
4 Carrara marble and steel Solo side table in Gold, Shelter, $299.
5 Lacquered oak and linen blend Louis side chair in Beige, Structube, $299.
7 Hammam-style cotton hand towel, HomeSense, $8 per pair.
8 Rubinet brass Raven tub filler in Satin Brass with cross handles, Taps Bath Centre, $2,199.
Harking back to the late 19th century, free-standing cast iron clawfoot bathtubs flooded the decor world roughly a decade ago. The traditional tub has enjoyed a variety of modern manifestations and manipulations. One trend we’re particularly fond of is painting the tub’s exterior black, a clever DIY that adds a dramatic edge. But oceania has done one better: the Milano bathtub replicates the look without the work, and (bonus!) it’s made of acrylic, so it’s lightweight, easing installation.
Oceania Influence free-standing acrylic Milano bathtub in White & Black, Taps Bath Centre, $2,299; Arto handmade concrete Conche floor tiles in Charcoal Gray with smooth finish, Creekside Tile, $18 per sq. ft.
Whatever your style, a set of lush white terry towels is essential to bath time. Don’t let this simple staple fool you: all towels may look alike, but higher quality means a better feel as well as superior performance and durability. So read the fine print before making your pick – regardless of your budget.
1 Double-sided cotton Portofino face cloth, $13, hand towel, $23, and bath towel, $34, all in White, Au Lit Fine Linens.
2 Style at Home Collection double-sided three-ply ring-spun cotton face cloth, $13, hand towel, $17, and bath towel, $26, all in White, Sears.
3 Canadian Living double-sided one-ply ring-spun Egyptian cotton face cloth, $10, hand towel, $15, and bath towel, $20, all in White, Bed Bath & Beyond.
4 Springmaid one-sided two-ply combed Egyptian cotton face cloth, $6, hand towel, $9, and bath towel, $12, all in White, Walmart.
Our luxe loo gets its undeniable grandeur from the large gold-framed mirror. Similar vintage-style looking glasses are popping up everywhere, and we’ve taken the liberty of rounding up a few of our faves. Whether you prefer ornate ornamentation or minimal embellishment, we’ve got an option for you. Good luck picking the fairest of them all!
1 Gold-leafed metal and MDF Valonia, 42" x 59", Barrymore Furniture, $810.
2 Gold-leafed wood louis Philippe Gilt, 34" x 56", Restoration Hardware, $545 US.
3 Iron Gleaming Primrose in Gold, 39" x 39", Anthropologie, $398 US.
4 Made Goods gold-leafed wood Philippe, 30" x 64", The Cross Decor & Design, $1,575.
When a popular piece transcends trendy to become timeless, the decor world benefits. Such is the case with the crowd-pleasing peshtemal, or hammam towel, a go-to that bears all the makings of a classic. With origins in turkish bathhouses, it’s traditionally handmade from organic fibres in muted tones and features tassel edging and decorative stripes for a touch of frill. This towel is also flat-woven and compact but dries fast and wicks moisture well. Best of all, it’s equally at home in the kitchen and in the bath. Hammam-style cotton Antiochia hand towel in Grey & White, Au Lit Fine Linens, $34. Le Bouquet de Lili bar soap, Lothantique, $7.