A renovated kitchen gets bigger and brighter.
Designer Jennifer Ferreira helps a Toronto couple reach a design verdict that's both practical and polished.
Contemporary artwork and kids' colouring books; a travertine dining table and a teepee fort - these anomalous pairings are the norm at Courtney Toomath-West and Ken West's Toronto house. "This is a family home," says Courtney. "Our daughters can play, and my husband and I can retreat to formal rooms, all in one fairly small space."
Courtney and Ken, both lawyers, bought the 1,800-square-foot rowhouse in 2008 before their girls - Honor, now 6, and Caroline, 4 - were born. "Ken and I had been living in a condo, but when we began to think about having kids, we yearned for the character of an older home," says Courtney. This Victorian, in the city's Little Italy neighbourhood, fit the bill. "I fell for its original plaster mouldings as well as its high arches and ceilings," she says. "It hadn't been updated in decades, but it was well loved, and I wanted to preserve its charm."
"The entryway feels grand for a 16-foot-wide house," says designer Jennifer Ferreira. The oversized mirror creates the illusion of space, and the large pendant light complements the black trim on the sisal runner.
"When I first saw Courtney and Ken's house, it simply needed finessing," says designer Jennifer Ferreira. "I wanted to complement its architectural details, inject a tailored look and create a comfortable family space." Jennifer incorporated a few new and custom-made pieces into the decor, but says the transformation really started with the window coverings. "Drapes make a house feel like a home," she says. "I added them to all the principal rooms, hanging them above the window frames to create a sense of grandeur." The black drapery rods fitted with brass finials and drapes with a band of grey ribbon lend a sense of elegance and formality to the living room.
When they couple moved in, they replaced the existing light oak floors, which were in bad shape, with darker oak and, keeping their art collection in mind, painted the walls gallery-like neutral shades. Jennifer also updated the living room's outdated armchairs with sophisticated zebra-print fabric.
The kitchen was expanded by removing a wall between it and the den, and fitted with new cabinetry and appliances.
The grey lower cabinets add contrast to the mostly white kitchen, which is outfitted with Caesarstone countertops and stainless steel appliances.
The homeowners love to entertain and often host dinner parties, so Jennifer designed chairs for lounging in the dining room. A sculptural light fixture illuminates the travertine table, a family heirloom.
"The master bedroom doesn't get a lot of light, so I wanted to brighten it up," says Jennifer. An airy wall colour, natural linen headboard and ikat-print bench do the trick.
"I painted the bathroom walls white and replaced a dark wooden vanity with a white one for a more tailored look."
In daughters Honor and Caroline's bedroom, the drapes match the pink linen headboards. "The fabrics can easily be changed if they ever tire of them," says Jennifer. Courtney added the princess sign for a little sparkle.
Soft pink hydrangeas add a sweet, fresh touch to the girls' pink bedroom.
"The Wests honeymooned in Morocco, so I chanelled that look on their patio," says Jennifer. "The pendant light, side table and toss cushions resemble items found in a souk."
Nothing brings the indoors out better than carrying your colour palette out onto the patio. The patterned toss cushions keep the family comfortable and cozy while adding a fun dose of the bright pink seen throughout the rest of the home.
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.
Get the look
4 eco-friendly home improvements
Scott McGillivray offers four smart eco improvements to save you money and reduce your carbon footprint.
Photography by Ashley Capp
1 Landscaping and hardscaping
Homeowners put a lot of work into making the insides of their homes green, but the outsides are just as important. By incorporating more hardscaping features, such as patio stones, onto your property and by planting native plants (rather than sod or seed), you can significantly reduce the maintenance and water needed to care for your lawn. Strategically placed trees and shrubs will also provide your property with more shade, which can reduce the amount of energy needed to cool your home.
Replacing traditional light bulbs with energy-efficient ones is a no-brainer. LED bulbs are the best choice as they last the longest, save the most energy and don’t get hot. They’re more costly but have a lifespan of 25,000 hours, so you may never have to replace them. Go a step further by installing dimmer switches–it’s an easy job and you can save a lot of money by keeping your lights at 80 percent of full power.
Your outdated appliances may still work, but they could be costing you. An efficient new fridge can save you up to $200 a year on your energy bills, meaning you will recoup the purchase price in only a few years. Energy Star-compliant dishwashers use not only 50 to 75 percent less energy than older models but also less water–as little as 11 litres per full cycle. And don’t forget the laundry room: Front-loading washers can cost just $20 a year to operate, especially if you run loads with cold water. Energy Star French-Door Ice & Water Refrigerator, GE Appliances, $3,499.
Replacing the old windows in your home with eco-friendly versions can have a big payout. Double and triple-pane windows insulate much better than single-pane styles, in turn reducing your energy bills. They can also come with glazing -– a low-emissivity, completely transparent coating that reduces harmful UV rays. But remember: If you’re installing new windows and want to get the full benefit of their eco-efficiency, spend the money on brick-to-brick replacement rather than retrofitting, because while the windows themselves are efficient, the window frames are likely not. Next Generation Ultimate Double Hung Window, Marvin Windows and Doors, from $675.
Sleek white appliances pair well with brass accents.
Toronto designer Colleen McGill shares five trends that will be big in kitchens for 2015.From baking holiday goodies and entertaining guests to sitting down to a tasty dinner with loved ones, the kitchen is the hub of activity in most Canadian homes. Colleen McGill of Toronto’s Colleen McGill Design Group has worked with many Canadian homeowners to create kitchens that work for them, infusing her signature style of modern simplicity and combining annual trends that withstand the test of time (hey, a kitchen renovation isn’t something you want to appear ‘dated’ in a few years time).
It’s all about that brass for kitchens in 2015, featured heavily in everything from taps, sinks, range hoods, hardware, light fixtures and even bar stools. “I love the warmth and sparkle that brass adds to a kitchen – it looks wonderful with whites and greys and can be sophisticated, modern or preppy,” says Colleen. “To get that beautiful patina, go for an unpolished brass with a brushed look that will continue to wear over time.”
Plenty of storage space has always been a must in kitchens, and 2015 will take it to the next level with large-scale walk-in pantries and wine closets. “The great thing about these walk-ins is that the room feels like part of the kitchen, but is a separate space which adds an exciting element for entertaining,” says Colleen. “In a more classic style kitchen, they can be hidden behind a cabinet door, but in modern spaces, steel-framed glass doors make these rooms even more amazing!”
Though stainless steel will always be a classic favourite, kitchens are seeing a resurgence of black and white appliances in everything from refrigerators to ovens. “Both look incredible and pair well with brass accents,” says Colleen. Instead of going for the old school block of a white refrigerator, opt for the sleeker, more streamlined appliances that blend in seamlessly to your kitchen’s architecture.
From Moroccan mosaic to brushed herringbone tile, the patterned look is big for backsplashes in 2015. “These patterned backsplashes add texture and interest to the kitchen –they’re a refreshing change from the marble slabs and subway tiles we’ve been seeing for years,” says Colleen. Create some contrast in an otherwise all-white kitchen with boldly coloured tiles and add some texture with matte or honed finishes.
As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, so does the way we work in the kitchen. Smart appliances will be everywhere this year, and Colleen is already a certified fan of the Miele smart oven (which can keep more than 30 of your favourite recipes in its memory) and the built-in iPad for ordering groceries and playing music through her Sonos whilst cooking. What’s at the top of Colleen’s wish list for 2015? “The Top Brewer by Scanomat is so sexy,” says Colleen. “It’s a tap that brews coffee, froths milk, or gives you chilled drinking water, cold milk, or hot water for tea – plus it can be controlled with your iPhone!”