Photography, Alex Lukey.
Photography, Alex Lukey.
The fresh take on this family home embraces elements of its past.
"Something’s not working. We just don’t know what.” That’s what the owners of this Markham, Ont., home told designer Cynthia Soda when they first met. “Not being the type to hold back, I said, ‘Well, I can show you!’” There simply wasn’t enough storage for a family of four – five, if you count the dog.
Photography, Alex Lukey.
And the box-store upgrades they’d made years ago had since gone into retrograde. “What they needed was a function-forward home with a modern, one-of-a-kind vibe,” say Cynthia. The clients agreed and were all in for a retake that incorporated Midcentury Modern lines. “However, for both sentimental and budgetary reasons, they didn’t want to toss everything they owned,” says Cynthia, who went to work and fashioned a white-and-black interior, outfitted the rooms with bold custom storage, then added pops of ochre and blue, while also retaining some of the lighting, furnishings and rugs the clients held dear. Says Cynthia: “And what’s true here is true for any renovation. If you go new, it’s nice to incorporate existing pieces. That way, your home will resonate on a deeper, more personal level.”
Cynthia Soda, Soda Pop Design Inc. WALLPAPER, Crown Surface Solutions. Custom MILLWORK, Colclo Custom Woodworking. DINING TABLE, CHAIRS, Sunpan. Avant Garde’s Cumulus BENCH FABRIC, Master Fabrics. CHANDELIER, Union Lighting. Playa Collection wide-plank FLOORING in Ocata, Beaulieu Canada.
Designer Cynthia Soda (shown above) fashioned a dramatic bistro-inspired breakfast nook in black on black – but it glows! All credit goes to the glint of gold in the wallpaper and the ochre piping on the chenille banquette. Even the marble table gets a hit of light thanks to sunrise gold chairs and a pillow in a hue as warm as a summer sunset. And the bonus? The banquette hides an impressive cache of storage!
WALLPAPER, Total Wallcovering. TABLE, Elte Mkt. CHAIRS, Rove Concepts. DRAPERY FABRIC, Maxwell Fabrics. DRAPERY SEWING (throughout), Allure Window Decor.
In the dining room, a staccato-patterned wallpaper print contrasts with Cynthia’s clever take on wainscotting. “I wanted a modern take on beadboard, so we applied vertical slats to the drywall, spaced at wider-than-traditional intervals,” she says. The black oak table and blue velvety chairs pair neatly with the clients’ longtime console, which Cynthia customized by removing the existing top cabinet.
“I like to focus on the details of the millwork first because once you’ve created a functional place for everything, you can focus on the pretty.”
Custom MILLWORK, Colclo Custom Woodworking.
Whether it’s pulling a bottle of red from the chevron-shaped wine rack, mixing cocktails for a weekend funfest or retrieving a great big holiday platter, this service pantry is definitely the clients’ celebration station.
A black tower of custom millwork houses double ovens topped with vertical storage.
BRIDGE FAUCET, Brizo. PENDANTS, Matteo Lighting. COUNTERTOP, Quartex. BACKSPLASH, Céragrès.
“The client was very drawn to the idea of a white kitchen. We followed her direction, then broke it up with wood drawers and shelving, as well as bold swaths of black,” says Cynthia. It’s an approachable space that gets extra style points for the orbit-inspired pendants above the island and slimline nooks in the cabinetry.
MIRROR, CB2. SCONCES, Dainolite. WALLPAPER, JF Fabrics. COUNTERTOP, Caesarstone.
The powder room’s wall is adorned in a monochromatic garden. “The bloomsy wallpaper is over-the-top romantic and lends gorgeous contrast to the sharper lines of the floating vanity,” says Cynthia. The elongated oval mirror is poised above a swish vessel sink.
Black printed PILLOWS, Tonic Living. White printed PILLOW, Niche Decor. SCONCE, Supreme Lighting.
The entryway’s secret to looking so uncluttered? A wall of closet space whose doors, embellished in a repeating X-pattern, swing open to reveal shelves that reach to the ceiling. “All the seasonal gear gets stowed up there,” says Cynthia. To light the way, a starburst pendant, beloved by the family, was retained and new sconces were added to brighten the custom bench seat.
FABRIC (drapery, pillows), Maxwell Fabrics. SOFAS, SWIVEL CHAIR, Gresham House. FIREPLACE SURROUND, Quartex Surfaces. COFFEE TABLE, Sunpan. COWHIDE RUG, Niche Decor.
The living room opens to the kitchen, so Cynthia forged visual connections between the spaces. “Changing up the fireplace gave us an opportunity to use porcelain for the surround, the same material used for the kitchen island. And updating the built-ins with black paint let us match the kitchen cabinetry,” says Cynthia. The clients’ rug is topped with a hide. Twin sofas and a swivel chair ensure the room is conversation ready.
“Choose an interesting shape and material for your coffee table to break up the lines in the room and draw you in.”
SWIVEL CHAIRS, PILLOW, Niche Decor. DRAPERY FABRIC, Alendel. WALL PAINT, Kendall Charcoal HC-166, Benjamin Moore.
“Deep charcoal walls are the quick-ticket trick used to modernize the primary bedroom,” says Cynthia, who retained the original furniture. The wall of airy drapes and the bright, crisp bedding provide contrast. The room’s sole pop of colour is the dark ochre bolster pillow.
“There was a lot of ‘dance-floor space’ at the end of the bed, perfect for a pair of swivel chairs. They’re great for lounging and for doing what bedroom chairs do best – catch clothes!”
CHAIR, Sunpan. Quartz COUNTERTOP, HanStone. MILLWORK, Colclo Custom Woodworking.
There’s a new makeup station now where there used to be a sad-looking bathtub. “As soon as the clients told me they never used the tub, I got excited about claiming this space for something special!” says Cynthia. Natural light from two directions makes it the perfect get-ready-to-go station.
FLOOR TILE, Olympia Tile. SHOWER FIXTURES, The Rubinet Faucet Company.
Inside the light-filled shower in the primary ensuite is a slab-style bench designed for some serious unwinding. The chevron wall tile installation echoes the diagonal lines of the herringbone-laid tiles on the shower floor, and while they’re graphically geometric, they have a wavy marble-like veining that suggests the flow of water.
WALL TILE, Stone Tile. Quartz COUNTERTOP, HanStone. FLOOR TILE, Olympia Tile. Custom MIRROR, Soda Pop Design Inc.
The ensuite’s feature wall is tiled in the warm tones of anthracite. “Those greys were the inspiration for this double vanity. By adding the black wall-mounted fixtures, we were able to really elevate the look,” says Cynthia. Oversized tiles, porcelain countertops and a glass shower enclosure keep everything looking shiny.
WALL DECALS, Urbanwalls. DESK, IKEA.
The college-age daughter’s bedroom conjures up an island-worthy tropical breeze. “Those sweeping palm leaves are overscale wall decals,” says Cynthia. The soft mauve fronds make surprisingly good companions to the vintage-style chenille bedding. Her regal little chair is tucked into a tiny writing desk that doubles as a bedside table.
DRAPERY, West Elm. WALL DECALS, Urbanwalls.
The younger daughter loves to curl up in her papasan chair, so it was a keeper. The walls are adorned in decals that look like expressive blue brushstrokes. Cynthia chose drapes with a colour-block blue band to go with the original bedspread.
SCONCE, semi-flush-mount LIGHT FIXTURE, Union Lighting. DESK, DESK CHAIR, Sunpan. ACCENT CHAIRS, LD Shoppe.
Artwork and two comfy lounge chairs flanking a table for tea make the home office a place for relaxation and inspiration, as much as it is for work.
“A great way to change up bedrooms for growing kids is to bring fresh new attention to the walls and windows.”
WALL FAUCET, DXV. TILE, Village Tile Company.
“What used to be a laundry tub is now a dog wash station!” says Cynthia. The tone-on-tone textured wallpaper is a tartan in style – a nod to the homeowners’ Scottish heritage. The black and white porcelain tile is great for masking dirt, and the dog is black and white, too, so he kind of blends in!
CUSTOM MILLWORK, Colclo Custom Woodworking.
Originally, the house had a combined laundry and mudroom. “But my pet peeve is get-clean zones that share space with dirt-catching areas, so the mudroom is now on its own,” says Cynthia.
“The high cabinets in the mudroom are designed to hide and hold anything and everything!”
Paint colours of 2024