Home decor idea: Decorating with lamps
Home decor idea: Decorating with lamps
Image by: Donna Griffith | Styling: Christine Hanlon
Hushed tones and plenty of natural light make for a dreamy retreat
When these newlyweds ditched their condo for a house — as so many do — they set their sights upon Toronto’s leafy Summerhill neighbourhood , which they admired for its older homes. The couple found a 2,290-square-foot four-bedroom semi built in the 1930s that fit the bill in terms of age and locale, but it hadn’t been touched since the ’80s.
“It was so dark,” says one of the homeowners, referring to the interior, which was coated in dowdy browns and suffering from tiny rooms and windows, as well as a gloomy kitchen partitioned from the rest of the house. “We needed more light and a large kitchen for my husband, who loves to cook,” she says. Simply put, the house was hardly what you’d call a love nest. So the homeowners enlisted Croma Design’s Ryan Martin and Amy Kent to give their starter house a style transfusion.
“We wanted to create a classically inspired backdrop with clean-lined furnishings and art,” says Amy. The homeowners didn’t want to go too stark or too stuffy, so they settled on a transitional look with bold lashes of black and modern furnishings boasting traditional details. And, of course, they addressed the cramped spaces and lack of light.
To that end, the designers reworked the layout, removing the powder room, relocating the kitchen and expanding the windows at the front and back of the house. “We opened everything up so the light emanating from the new windows and existing skylight would stretch further,” says Ryan.
As for the finer details, near-black accents add striking drama against the palette of soothing greys, blues, browns and whites. “The colours in this home are very subtle, tone-on-tone and easy to live with,” says Amy. “We wanted the house to make an impact as a whole – not for any particular wall or accent to stand out above the rest.”
Whether the homeowners are upstairs lounging in the relaxed media room or downstairs sipping tea in the more formal living area, there is indeed a clear sense of cohesion, which is a hallmark of this home — and what makes it a far cry from its gloomy beginnings.
A dynamic explosion of hexagonal and subway tiles gives the third-floor bathroom edge. The contrasting grout as well as the blackened metal fittings, chair rail and sconces look sharp against the white backdrop.
Watery blues and greys lend a serene painterly feel to the tranquil second-floor family room.
The long and linear print of birch trees (with hand-applied copper leaf) echoes the shape of the low-slung sofa, which is clean-lined to suit the quiet space.
“I loved being able to customize the house to our needs,” says one of the homeowners. “My husband really loves the new kitchen.”
Image: Ashley Capp / Styling: Christine Dovey
Five ways to fashion a space that will easily suit your daughter as she grows into her 20s
Your girl's bedroom is her oasis — it's where she escapes, unwinds, tackles challenges, and grows. So, this should be a room that grows with her, instead of a room that has to be made over every few years to suit her changing tastes. Below, five tips on designing a space for your girl that she'll love now and then.
Pink isn’t only for youngsters and bubble gum. Designer Matthew Meisner made the “it’s a girl” hue more grown-up in his step-daughter Milena Bettencourt’s room by combining it with black and gold. He also ensured the pink items were easy to swap should the 16-year-old ever tire of them.
Custom pieces don’t have to be pricey. Matthew upgraded a big-box-store desk with funky geometric-print vinyl wallpaper for added charm.
"Persuade your kids to try looks that will mature with them," says Matthew, noting that the Rorschach-inspired wallpaper that resembles a haute French damask wasn’t an easy sell. “I don’t think Milena would have chosen this wallpaper on her own, but she loves it now.”
Establish an eclectic aesthetic that looks collected over time by grouping items that have personal significance. Take, for example, the pink-undertoned artwork on Milena’s desk: Many of the pieces reference her dad, Rick Bettencourt, from the photo of a Missoni fashion show he attended to a print of Jimmy Choo shoes that nods to his work as the vice-president of shoe empire Nine West Canada.
To help you create the perfect room, we've rounded up some cool accents that will make your daughter's space equal parts cute and chic.
#OOTD: Fashion Flat Lay colouring book by Laura Hickman, Indigo, $21.
Cotton velvet Bianca toss cushion with down alternative insert, 20", Tonic Living, $70.
Heirloom & Knot Regency wallpaper in Neapolitan, Spoonflower, from $5 US per sq. ft.
Heirloom & Knot Rorschach wallpaper in Noir, Spoonflower, from $5 US per sq. ft.
Kate Spade New York crystal Hampton Street rose bowl, Hudson’s Bay, $90.
Ceramic antique-look medium Staordshire dog figurine, Jayson Home, $95 US.
Polypropylene Sillerup rug, 7' x 10', IKEA, $159.
10 small space storage solutions
Small space living is becoming more and more common, especially in larger cities. And it also offers some styling conundrums. It takes a lot of creativity to decorate a small space to make it feel both cozy and warm, but still spacious enough to not feel closed in or confined. One of the keys to keeping a small space beautifully designed, but not empty? Storage. Small spaces rarely come with ample storage space on its own or built in, so suddenly style needs to also mean innovative ways to store items and keep things organized and never cluttered. Here are 10 items to help you get your small space organized, decluttered and offer loads of storage space.
1 For your clothes
Small studio spaces often don’t come with much in the way of closet space. Hang your best on this moveable garment rack for easy access and to keep things tidy. Crate and Barrel, $219.29.
3 A spot for your books, remotes and more
It’s easy for the living area to look unorganized with electronic remotes, coasters for drinks, and magazines and books. Tuck everything away at the end of each day with a coffee table with built in storage units. West Elm, $578.23.
4 Kitchen storage
Pots, pans, bowls, bottles… it could all be stored in this cage cabinet – making it easy to see everything inside while offering extra space if your kitchen cabinets are small. An added bonus? This also looks chic in the dining area as well. Pottery Barn, $1,918.03.
6 The trunk
Throw blankets, pillows and any extras can all be stored in a rustic-looking trunk. It can also double as an extra seat, coffee table or fit at the foot of your bed for extra clothes. Pier 1, $199.95.
7 The desk saver
Keep clips, USB keys, car keys and other small items hidden and organized with a spindle storage box. Perfect for corralling bits and bobs on your office desk or entryway. You can use it on your vanity for small jewellery items, too. Umbra, $30.
9 Opt for baskets
You can never go wrong with a selection of baskets in various sizes. Store kitchen items, bathroom necessities, extra clothes, or throws next to the sofa – the possibilities are endless. Restoration Hardware, $79-$199.
10 Keep drawers organized
Kitchen drawers are notorious for being cluttered and messy. A knife organizer keeps them off your counter, and stored safely in a drawer without all the mess. Williams-Sonoma, $65.63.
Classic touches with natural accents
Classic touches and natural accents take a builder-basic house from plain to pleasing.
The walnut-stained wire-brushed oak floors and new mouldings give the entryway timeless character, while the black faux-bamboo dresser offers handy storage.
Keeping the original cabinetry, designer Karla Amadatsu and her husband, Jeff, transformed the kitchen by filling the gap between the uppers and the ceiling and painting everything white. Details like the ceramic-tiled backsplash with light grey grout, decorative toe kicks and polished-nickel hardware dress up the space and create a fresh, traditional look.
To enhance the elegant aesthetic while keeping it inviting and fresh, Karla incorporated both classic and clean-lined pieces, natural fabrics, textural elements, a combination of metals and a neutral palette with hits of black.
The living room, with its neutral palette and warm mix of textures, gets a formal vibe from the chic scalloped-linen pendant light, marble-topped gold-leaf iron coffee table and herringbone marble fireplace surround.
A mixture of patterns and textures throughout the home reaffirms the traditional and charming look Karla was going for when renovating the house.
The family room, which is adjacent to the kitchen’s eat-in area, is both elegant and relaxed, with a neutral colour scheme and a mix of classic and clean-lined furnishings.