Photography, Patrick Biller. Styling, Stacey Smithers Creative.
Photography, Patrick Biller. Styling, Stacey Smithers Creative.
Traditional architecture takes on a timeless feel with tuck-in-and-relax furnishings, soft fabrics and a soothing palette.
When designer Alexis Koehler’s clients Vanessa and Blake Appleton decided to build a new home in this Toronto neighbourhood, it wasn’t the first time Vanessa had been there. As a little girl, she’d come to this very street to visit her grandmother. “This was destined to be a special home,” says Alexis. “Not only was there a built-in sense of continuity, but I would be creating a space for a family of four that thrives on spending time together.” To give the home a timeless, lived-in look befitting the neighbourhood, Alexis designed an envelope that emphasized elements such as vertical panelling, wow-inducing wallpaper and lots of built-in millwork. “But for the furnishings,” says Alexis, “I went soft, neutral and easy care to send the message that this is – and will always be – a comfy place to spend time together.”
DESIGN, Alexis Koehler Interiors. COUNTERTOPS, Cava Surfaces. PENDANTS, Light House Co. BARSTOOLS, LD Shoppe. CABINETRY PAINT, Simply White OC-117, Benjamin Moore.
Designer Alexis Koehler ensured Blake and Vanessa Appleton got their dream kitchen. “When I heard Blake was dreaming of weekends leaning back in a counter stool with coffee and the morning paper, I knew these stools just had to be comfy,” says Alexis. And when she heard Vanessa was a top-notch baker, Alexis added honed quartzite counters and big up-to-the-task lighting.
SINK AND FIXTURES, Taps. Custom MILLWORK, Alexis Koehler Design and Bella Kitchens. ROMAN SHADE FABRIC, Kravet; FABRICATION, Weft & Warp Studio. SCONCE, Light House Co. RUNNER, Elte. HARDWARE, Top Knobs Decor.
Panelled in deep wood tones, the fridge and freezer share a wall with a secret door (shown open, left) to a hidden service station. Alexis’s take on an apron sink? Facing a conventional sink with a slab of the same quartzite used for the countertops (shown right).
WALLPAPER, Cole & Son. SCONCES, Light House Co. FAUCET, Taps. MIRROR, Rejuvenation. VANITY, Kolani Kitchen & Bath.
“This powder room is a full-on surprise. It’s a step-down space, so it has 12-foot ceilings,” says Alexis. “It definitely called for some wallpaper drama.” Clear sconces pretty things up.
Custom SERVICE STATION AND BUFFET, Alexis Koehler Interiors and Bella Kitchens. PAINT, Simply White OC-117 (walls, trim), Crownsville Gray HC-106 (sideboard), Benjamin Moore. Margaret Glew ARTWORK, Canvas Gallery. PICTURE LIGHT, Light House Co.
For the resident teens, this service station – with its toaster, sink and fridge – is the breakfast hub. For their parents, it serves as a bar and out-of-the-way spot for dirty dishes when guests come for dinner. Alexis created a built-in white oak sideboard for the dining room’s niche.
CHANDELIER, Light House Co. CHAIRS, LD Shoppe. RUG, Rug & Weave. DRAPERY FABRIC, Tonic Living; FABRICATION, Weft & Warp Studio.
“It may be the formal dining room, but it’s anything but formal,” says Alexis, who chose chat-all-evening woven chairs to encircle the table. A pop-of-pattern rug winks at the room’s restful wall of drapery.
Custom MILLWORK, Alexis Koehler Interiors and Bella Kitchens. SWIVEL CHAIRS, SOFAS, Gresham House. CHANDELIER, Light House Co. Concrete COFFEE TABLE, CB2. RUG, PILLOWS, Rug & Weave. Paula White ARTWORK, Canvas Gallery. FIREPLACE FABRICATION, Parsiena Design.
The living room is where the family spends most of its time. The look is casual with swivel chairs and comfy sofas. Wood shelving and vertical shiplap serve as a warm backdrop for the fireplace surround. “The fireplace surround is cast stone made of natural limestone, which is a more cost-effective option,” says Alexis.
“The super-industrial coffee table weighs close to 300 pounds. We had to hire a moving company to get it up the stairs!”
MIRROR, Crate and Barrel. CONSOLE TABLE, Structube. OTTOMANS, Tonic Living. BENCH, Modern Komfort. Linelle LeMoine ARTWORK, Canvas Gallery. SCONCES, Light House Co.
The foyer features a niche, which made an ideal spot for this fab-meets-function console table with its hide-the-mess drawers. The two round ottomans offer comfy shoe-tying spots; their shape is echoed in the understated elegance of a simple round mirror. The generous proportions of the first-floor landing (below, right) allowed Alexis to fashion a gallery-like installation of artwork and a stylish bench.
Custom MILLWORK, Alexis Koehler Interiors and Bella Kitchens. MILL- WORK PAINT, Stonecutter 2135-20, Benjamin Moore. DESK, Crate and Barrel. CHAIR, Wayfair. PENDANT, PICTURE LIGHT, Light House Co.
Alexis opted for traditional millwork and strong masculine lines in the home office. The ceiling, walls and cabinetry are treated to nonstop rich tones in a deep teal colour. The modern hue imparts a look that’s polished and professional, but still has personality.
“The wall art and low-backed bench are less about practicality and more about momentary delight.”
CHANNEL BED, Gresham House. BENCH, HomeSense. CHANDELIER, Light House Co. NIGHTSTAND, LAMP, Crate and Barrel. THROW, Elte. RUG, Rug & Weave. DRAPERY FABRIC, Kravet; FABRICATION, Weft & Warp Studio. PILLOWS, Tonic Living. WALL PAINT, White Dove OC-17, Benjamin Moore.
“I like to play with shapes in my designs,” says Alexis. The felt-like headboard has soft channels that give way to the tailored stripes in the rug. And circles in the chandelier shimmer above a curvy bench and two round lampshades. Soft fabrics were chosen to induce a sense of rest and relaxation. Says Alexis, “This is a place for the clients to go to reflect.”
Custom VANITY, Alexis Koehler Interiors and Bella Kitchens. FIXTURES, Taps. MIRRORS, Rejuvenation.
A custom vanity in white oak gives the ensuite a spa-like feel. Says Alexis, “We went with his-and-hers sinks, and soft-cornered mirrors, which we set above 10-inch-tall ledges that house gracious wall-mounted faucets.”
DRAPERY FABRIC, Kravet; FABRICATION, Weft & Warp Studio. TUB, Taps. STOOL, Rug & Weave. TILES, Olympia Tile.
“I wanted the ensuite to be a retreat, so every surface is whisper pretty, including the herringbone inlay of the tiles in the shower, and the flowing curves of the soaking tub,” says Alexis. Earthy textures, such as the wooden stool and fabric sheers, personalize the space and make it feel more welcoming.
“The ensuite is what I’d call simplicity-made-wow. Thank you, whimsical floral drapery!”
MUDROOM MILLWORK, Alexis Koehler Interiors. PAINT, Accessible Beige SW 7036, Sherwin-Williams. FLOOR TILE, Stone Tile. ROMAN BLIND, Kravet; FABRICATION, Weft & Warp Studio.
The mudroom is ready for the family’s busiest days. “Those tall doors open for coat and shoe storage, and there’s a closet for the vacuum and mops, too,” says Alexis. “Drawers keep everyday items like loose mail and keys in check.” Just off the backyard and steps from the garage is a secondary drop-your-stuff zone. The mudroom is also adjacent to the laundry room, so this is definitely the most utilitarian part of the house. The back wall’s retro panelling has a warm “welcome home” vibe.
“A niche in the mudroom sports a tech-forward charging station, but the checkerboard floors are pure nostalgia.”
Custom VANITY, Alexis Koehler Interiors and Bella Kitchens. PAINT, Swiss Coffee OC-45 (walls), Natural Cream OC-14 (vanity), Benjamin Moore. WALLPAPER, Finest Wallpaper. Brizo FAUCET, Taps. MIRROR, Rejuvenation.
“For the daughter’s bathroom, I wanted to create a teen-worthy room in a style she’d grow into over time,” says Alexis. “I love floral wallpapers, so we started there, then added the round sink, which is charmingly vintage seeming.” The flirty and fresh finishes include pink-toned brass sink fixtures and shaded sconces.
Subtle ways to decorate your home for fall