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 by: Chris Court, William Meppem / Styling by: Justine Poole
Swap your morning bowl of cereal for this healthy and much more satisfying alternative that features cinnamon, apple and of course, the new cool grain on the block, amaranth.
Amaranth is a super grain with benefits similar to those of quinoa — for one, it's gluten-free, and two, it's a great source of protein — making it an ideal ingredient for your daily breakfast.
1 Place the oats, salt, milk and water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the oats begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the amaranth and cook, stirring, for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft. Add the honey and cinnamon and stir to combine.
2 Spoon the oats into four serving bowls and top with the extra milk and honey. Sprinkle with the apple and cashews just before serving.
Prep & cook time: 20 minutes
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Excerpted from Life in Balance by Donna Hay. Recipes Copyright © 2016 Donna Hay, Photography copyright © 2016 Chris Court & William Meppem. Excerpted by permission of Harper Collins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Add coastal flair to your bedroom by following these simple steps.
Designer Shea McGee shares her top tips for adding coastal flair to your bedroom
With ocean views and an abundance of natural light, this master bedroom dictated its own design direction: cozy coastal. Here’s how designer Shea McGee of Studio McGee infused the space with a beach-inspired aesthetic.
1 Stick with calming tones like blues, greens and greys for the walls.
2 Don’t select anything too theme-y – add seaside style with textiles instead.
3 Choose furniture that’s light and airy. Think pale woods, glass and metal, and nothing too bulky.
4 Mix subtle patterns to keep things interesting without overwhelming the room.
5 Use linen fabrics for a relaxed look that doesn’t feel too formal or stuffy.
6 Incorporate organic elements like plants, branches and faux coral as a nod to the coast.
7 Hang drapery right to the ceiling to give extra softness to the space.
8 Layer your windows with woven shades for a dose of texture.
This yummy cinnamon bread is the perfect treat to serve your guests.
Cold winter evenings call for something warm and hearty in the tummy - at this time of year, a bowl of berries and Greek yogurt for dessert just isn’t going to cut it. Luckily, we’ve got the remedy for those blustery January days. This deliciously decadent cinnamon bread drizzled with espresso glaze is actually one of the easiest things you’ll ever make, thanks in large part to the ready-made pizza dough that acts as its base. Save on effort, splurge on taste - and start the year off right.
1 On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pizza dough into a 1/4”-think 12”x18” rectangle. In a bowl, combine the sugars, butter and cinnamon; spread the mixture over the dough, leaving a 1/2” border around the edges. With the long side parallel to you, firmly roll up the dough into a log.
2 Preheat the over to 350°F. Using a sharp paring knife, slice the long in half lengthwise. Starting at one end, cross the two halves in a twist and repeat the motion to form one long and twisted log. Curl one end toward the middle while wrapping the other end around to form a circle.
3 Transfer the dough to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges are light golden brown and the centre of the cinnamon bread is cooked through. Let cool for about 10 minutes, while you’re making the glaze.
4 To make the glaze, whisk together the icing sugar, milk, and espresso powder until thoroughly combined. Drizzle over the bread and serve warm.
Serves 8 to 10.