New Home, Old Soul

  • Yanic's go to neutral: Benjamin Moore Classic Gray OC-23.
  • In this space, Yanic repurposed the metal art mirror above the sofa where it becomes a focal point. Benches create bridges between different zones within an open concept space. The black leather tufted bench is part of the conversation grouping and an extra seat near the fireplace.
  • Dabble Savvy: Turn a singular window seat into a destination with furniture and lighting. The walnut stools anchor the seating arrangement and the glass globe chandelier and plug-in sconces provide a flattering layer of light.

Words by Yanic Simard | Photography by Brandon Barré

Often, when homeowners move into a new space, whether freshly built or staged to sell, they’ll find the house simply doesn’t feel like a home.

Designer Yanic Simard shares his rules for claiming a new space and creating an interior that feels familiar and comfortable.

Treasured Heritage

Rather than replacing original details like mouldings and doors to achieve a more “perfect” look, allow these elements to become features using contrasting paint colours and finishes.

Dabble Savvy: In this Victorian house the walls, ceiling and trim are painted in one shade only, Benjamin Moore’s OC-23 Classic Gray. A single colour throughout visually obscures uneven lines and imperfections. A matte finish is used on walls and ceiling while the trim gets subtle emphasis with a satin finish. The doors are painted in Benjamin Moore’s 2121-10 Gray—a deeper shade that makes them pop for architectural interest.

In with the Old

To create a sense of personal history, introduce treasured items already owned.

Dabble Savvy: Blend vintage and contemporary pieces to blur time periods and create a custom, timeless impression.

Redraw the Lines

Never settle for a pre-existing layout—experiment with new furniture arrangements and always pull seating away from the walls.

Lighten Up

To add character without clutter include sheer and see-through elements like the draperies and peek-a-boo seating.

Dabble Savvy: Mirrored finishes and reflective metals (like the gold-leaf glass cocktail cubes in the living room) enrich almost any colour scheme without creating visual overload. Avoid a “matchy-matchy” look by casually mixing metals in warm and cool tones.

 

Modern History

Designed by Pitsou Kedem, Raz Melamed & Irene Goldberg

Photographed by Amit Geron

Photography by Amit Geron

 

Set above the harbor, facing the majestic Mediterranean Sea in Old Jaffa, is an ancient structure given new life by the thoughtful architects hired to restore its integrity.

Photography by Amit Geron

A series of glass paneled doors greets the entry and closes to offer privacy (when combined with blackout shades) in the master bedroom. Photography by Amit Geron

 

Though it’s difficult to determine the structure’s exact age, it is clear that it is hundreds of years old. Over time, changes and additions had damaged the original integrity of the dwelling. The central ideal, therefore, was to restore the original characteristics—the stone walls, the segmented ceilings and the arches—to peel back and expose the original state.

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Photography by Amit Geron

 

The building’s shell is composed of a combination of pottery and beach sand. The bisque and terracotta colours create natural warmth in the coved dining room.

Photography by Amit Geron

Photography by Amit Geron

 

The architects created distinct viewpoints in each of the rooms, often providing a glimpse into adjacent spaces. The organic shaped coffee tables and rustic woven rug support a mandate to use natural, raw materials.

Photography by Amit Geron

Photography by Amit Geron

 

The Mediterranean Sea is reflected in a mirror that brings light into the spare living space. The cable strung staircase rises gracefully to the master bedroom above.

“Surprisingly modern, minimalistic construction styles (especially ancient ones) allow us to create new spaces that blend periods together—even intensify them because of the contrast and tension between the ages”.

Photography by Amit Geron

Photography by Amit Geron

 

The galley kitchen efficiently carves utilitarian space into the home and provides those in residence with an expansive view of the Mediterranean Sea.

Photography by Amit Geron

Sleeping quarters are stacked above the living room, where they enjoy full ocean views. Photography by Amit Geron

 

The historical is expressed by preserving the textures and materials of the building’s outer shell and by respecting the engineering accordingly. The modern is expressed by opening spaces and altering the internal flow, and by incorporating natural materials such as stainless steel, iron and wood. Pistou’s project succeeds in both honoring and preserving the historical and romantic values of the structure while creating a contemporary project suited to today’s lifestyle.

From Issue 15 – May 2014 

Spring Forward

  • Panelled walls and cofferred ceiling, were designed and installed to satisfy the clients’ craving for architecture more commonplace in stately east coast homes. The sunburst mirror is a “placeholder” to enjoy until a large scale piece of artwork is purchased.
  • Art: Oil painting by artist Michelle Armas provides a counterbalance to the geometric prints on the furniture and pillows.
  • Kitchen: The all-white kitchen gets its drama from dark stained 5” wide rift cut white oak floors, with a Rubio Monocoat oil finish. The table and Navy chairs are Restoration Hardware.
  • Dining Room: White panelled wainscotting is handsomely paired with a Phillip Jeffries grass cloth (Manila Hemp Graphite 3444). The head chairs, backed in raspberry, create a flow of colour from room to room.
  • Children's Bedroom: Fiorella likes to take her colour cues from the clients—pink and green are obviously a favourite combination for the girls (age 4 and 6) in residence.
  • Family Room: “We rotated the kitchen and removed walls so all the rooms face the back yard and pool area.”

When clients moved from Connecticut to sunny Menlo Park, it didn’t take them long to shed those extra layers required for warmth back home and embrace their new lighter California lifestyle.

The designer created a blend of east coast-west coast that would respect her client’s love for architecture with a pedigree and inject a more playful west coast palette.

The result? Springtime, year round.

Photography by Frank Paul Perez

Snow White Kitchen

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We love this all white kitchen designed by LA’s Erinn Valencich. The curvy counter and mirrored mosaics are a playful counterpoint to the handsome lines of the cabinetry and sliding doors.

Question: Does an all-white kitchen work in climates where there’s snow on the ground for 4-6 months of the year?

#JustCurious

Welcome to Ottawa

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In Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, politics play a leading role. The parliament buildings take centre stage downtown while the Prime Minister and Governor Generals’ residences face off on Sussex Drive. For a small city, architecture makes a big statement and yet, it’s the capital’s natural setting that leaves a lasting impression on visitors.

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With four season offerings for the outdoor enthusiast Ottawa is a year-round destination. But none can deny the magical charms of winter in the capital. Christmas lights emblazen the downtown core as temperatures drop, turning the lively Rideau Canal into the world’s longest outdoor skating rink.

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Budapest Architecture: Buda

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Architecture buffs may find Budapest’s range of styles somewhat head-spinning.

Roman amphitheatres, Gothic and Neo-Gothic styled cathedrals, Turkish baths and Secessionist (Art Nouveau) buildings give the city an architectural ambiguity that only underscores its many charms.

1. Though the original Royal Palace with its Gothic and Renaissance foundations was destroyed and rebuilt many times, the Habsburgs built a completely new, small Baroque palace in the beginning of the 18th century. Today, Buda Castle (Kiralyi Palota) houses the largest collection of Hungarian fine art at its Hungarian National Gallery. Explore the gardens and nearby restaurants and make a half day of the visit.

Dabble Savvy: Had history been different, we might know the names of Hungarian artists as well as we know Monet, VanGogh and Picasso. Hire a guide to enjoy the impressive collections.

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ABOVE: Ernst Galeria owner Eleni Koranis strikes a pose beside a 1920s iron rocking chair from Vienna. Her Pest gallery specializes in furniture, paintings and ceramics from the turn of the 20th century.

2. A visit to the lobby of the Hilton Budapest Hotel nets a surprising glimpse into antiquity, as it’s built on top of the ruins of a medieval monastery. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is in the heart of the Buda Castle district, beside Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church. If it’s time for lunch, the Icon Restaurant offers spectacular views of the Danube River, Chain Bridge and Hungarian Parliament building.

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ABOVE: Zsolnay ceramic vase.

3. Like so much of Hungary’s finest architecture, Matthias Church (Mátyástemplom) is a victim of various invasions. Perhaps the most devastating, a century and a half of Turkish occupation, resulted in the whitewashing of ornate frescoes and confiscation of the church’s ecclesiastical treasures. One of the most striking features from the 19th century restoration is the church’s ornamental roof, covered in pyrogranite ceramic tiles developed by Zsolnay.

Dabble Savvy: Father and son, Hungarian natives Miklós and Vilmos Zsolnay, received worldwide recognition for their porcelain and ceramics. The iridescent, frost-resistant tiles were a popular building material during the city’s prolific Art Nouveau period.

 

Budapest Architecture: Pest

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ABOVE: A distinctive onion dome atop the Moorish revival style Dohány Street Synagogue.

1. Admirers say Art Nouveau is stunningly beautiful, with its fanciful forms, shimmering colours and stylistic freedom. Detractors have a different opinion, suggesting the 19th century style is simply dreadful. Regardless of your position, Budapest offers some fine examples of the style which is frequently referred to as Secessionist. The Budapest Zoo is one such example, though some sections veer heavily towards kitsch.

Dabble Savvy: It’s worth a stroll to see the front gates if you’re in the neighbourhood anyway. Budapest Zoo is near the Széchenyi Baths, Gundel Restaurant and Heroes’ Square.

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2. Hungary’s most important church is St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István Bazilika). The 10th century neoclassic style church is named for Hungary’s first king, Stephen I. Avoid crowds and visit in the evening when the artfully lit exterior shames even a full moon. If you plan to do a daytime tour, there is a small fee.

Dabble Savvy: Fans of the macabre may want to pay an additional fee to have the lights turned on in the ‘Chapel of the Holy Right’, to view the mummified fist of King Stephen.

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ABOVE: Every detail of the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace is memorable. The lobby’s graceful Peacock Gates are in the Secessionist style (Art Nouveau).

3. A stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace is a pampered experience. Every detail is perfection, every service exceptional—staff stand at attention as guests walk the hallway en route to rooms distinguished by carved walnut doors. Located near the foot of the Chain Bridge, the impressive Secessionist building has an illustrious history—first as headquarters to the Gresham Insurance Company, then a girls’ home for etiquette and, during World War II, as barracks for Soviet soldiers who burned the furniture for warmth. Restored in 2001, the renovated staircases, stained glass and mosaic tiles by Zsolnay create a lasting impression.

Charleston: Did you know?

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In Charleston, porches are referred to as “piazzas” and are situated to catch harbour breezes and offer a view of the garden.

Homes in Charleston are generally elevated, have large windows and doors and high ceilings in order to have cross-ventilation of breezes from the water.

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Many homes have a distinctive architectural name, in local vernacular, referred to as the Single House. These homes are typically one-room and a hallway wide with long piazzas that span the length of the house. The entrance door faces the street but typically leads to the porch where the home’s front door is found. The homes are oriented in this fashion because the British taxes were based on streetfront measurements.

Charleston’s Top 5 Travel Experiences

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“There is no better way to learn about interior design than to travel to a city with an extensive history,” says Victoria Drainville.

Eager to explore, Victoria is on a mission to find Charleston’s most unique experiences and learn more about architecture and design. She quickly discovers this small, walkable city is loaded with charming southerners and historic places.

1. The best way to experience Charleston’s rich history is by touring historic homes. Tours typically cost US$10 and are worth every penny to the history buff or home enthusiast. The Edmondston-Alston House overlooks Charleston Harbour and its tour includes the history of this illustrious Charleston family. Visit the Calhoun Mansion and you’ll feel you’re visiting an eccentric aunt whose collections are too numerous to count. The Nathaniel Russell House has a stunning three-storey freestanding staircase and trompe l’oeil crown moulding that is sure to impress.

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2. Typical to Charleston are the Single Houses, an architectural style where the main entrance appears to be on the side of the house but leads to a porch. Experience these homes firsthand through the Fall Tours of Home and Garden led by the Preservation Society.

3. There are many ways to get around Charleston, but taking a taxi isn’t one of them. Since you’re on the move anyway, why not combine commuting with a history lesson? Horse and Carriage tours, Rickshaws or even Guided Walking Tours are pleasant options.

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4. There are two great shopping areas in Charleston: King Street for Fashion and Design and City Market for souvenirs. You’ll find inexpensive crafts, sweet treats, art, jewelry and sweet grass baskets made by local artisans.

5. Theatre fans will love the offerings at the Footlight Players. Affordable and popular productions run year-round. If reading is your hobby, visit the Heirloom Book Company, a bookshop dedicated to the literature of food.

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New Orleans Architecture

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ABOVE: Magnolia Mansion.

Take any Garden District tour and you’re bound to see where Sandra Bullock and John Goodman live. But the real stars are the homes that make up one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in all of America.

During the French and Spanish colonial periods, the Creoles established the French Quarter. But the Garden District was created by newly monied Americans who brought European revival styles to their new homeland.

The most popular styles of Garden District architecture include the shotgun house (so named because you can shoot a shotgun through the front door and its pellets will exit the back door), two storey townhouses (classical, narrow facades), double-gallery houses (similar to townhouses, often larger with covered porches and wrought iron railings) and raised basement bungalows.

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ABOVE: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button house.

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ABOVE: Shotgun style house.

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ABOVE: Centre Hall Bungalow.

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ABOVE: Tudor Style house.

Architecture in New Town, Prague

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Nové Město

 

Architecture enthusiasts are sure to enjoy a trip to Prague, where they’ll find Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-Classical, Art Nouveau, Cubist and Communist style buildings on display. New Town is ideal location to start the tour.

Cubism

I realize the word unique is grossly overused, but how else to describe a style of architecture that can be found in only one place on earth? In the 20th century, Czech architects and designers expanded the lessons of Picasso and Braque into architecture and decorative arts. While academia is divided on whether or not this style actually exists, we can contemplate its merits at the House of the Black Madonna Dum u Cerné matky boží. Originally constructed as a department store in 1912, its namesake statue is still firmly affixed behind the golden grill at the corner of this New Town destination.

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Art Nouveau

Follow the signs to Republic Square Námestí Republiky and the magnificent Art Nouveau Municipal House Obecní dum (above) is easy to spot. The landmark building, dating from 1905, is capped by a distinctive half-domed roof and intricate mosaics. Inside, there are murals from Prague’s most famous painters including Alfons Mucha whose style is instantly recognizable.

Dabble Savvy

While there is a dedicated Alfons Mucha Museum, it’s out of the way and strictly for those who love his work. Instead, wander into the public areas of Municipal House to see the Art Nouveau painter’s legacy.

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Neo-Classicism

Behind its lyrical green facade is the smallest of the city’s opera houses. With only 600 seats, albeit clad in luxurious blue velvet, The Estates Theatre (above) is a symbol of Prague’s artistic heritage. This New Town theatre is most famous as the venue where Mozart first performed his “Don Giovanni” in 1787.

 

Puerto Rico Travel Guide

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Spanish colonial architecture, a pulsing Latin beat and 580 kilometers of unspoiled coast- line have Kimberley Seldon saying, ‘Que Rico‘ to La Isla del Encanto. After all, they don’t call it the Island of Enchantment for nothing.

Opening my eyes just the tiniest bit, I let the bright sunlight sink into my brain slowly. ‘Right,’ I say to myself with a wee grin, ‘I’m in Puerto Rico.’ And just like that, I skip out on the end of winter in Toronto. ‘Well played,’ I think to myself.

Ramada, Ponce

Stay

The seaside setting of Ritz-Carlton San Juan Casino and Spa is unparalleled.

Casual boutique hotel, Hosteria del Marrents simply appointed beachside rooms. Its onsite Uvva Restaurantis good enough to return to nightly.

Chic and sophisticated nicely describes La Concha Resort. Splurge on an ocean or pool view. If you prefer to overnight in a setting that feels residential, Acacia Boutique Hotel is a charming choice.

A former convent from the 17th century, Hotel El Conventois ideally situated beside the Catedral de San Juan.

True luxury is what guests find at St Regis Bahia Beach Restort. Close to El Yunque National Forest, there’s an adjacent golf course as well.

In Ponce, you can stay at the bright yellow Ramada Ponce. However, golfers will prefer the green appeal of the nearby Hilton Golf and Casino.

Dining in Puerto Rico

Eat

St Germaine is the kind of casual cafe, where locals gather to linger over coffee and gossip. Come for lunch or brunch.

La Mallorca is a not-too-fancy local haunt for sweet buns and hot coffee.

Lusty describes the setting and menu at Dragonfly, Puerto Rico’s first Latin- Asian restaurant. Red walls, beaded curtains and fringed lamps are right out of Shanghai Surprise, but the food is memorable.

Tuna kebobs with cucumber slaw are a perfect match to chilled sangria at Torro del Salao Enjoy both in the lantern-lit courtyard patio.

In perfect harmony with the vibrant white and candy-hued interior, the menu at Marmalade is full of flavour. The white bean soup is muy popular.

Enjoy a rare and blissfully quiet dining experience at 311 Trois Once Cent. As the name suggests, the menu is French.

Foodies will rush to reserve a table at Fern, whose chef is world- renowned Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Order the pechuga relleno de queso blanca y guayaba, aka chicken stuffed with guava and cheese at Dulce Fruta Bistro y Cafe and thank us later. Yum.

Stories above Plaza de las Delicias (Ponce’s main square) is the modern interior of Archipielago. The food is a fusion of Creole and continental. The halibut with coconut rice and vegetable curry is exceptional.

Cueva Clara Cave

Do

Cueva Clara, the largest of the Camuy River Park caves, has visitors arriving early to see the spectacular site. Step onto the tram and journey down to the natural wonder.

If you’re travelling with children, a trip to Arecibo Lighthouse Park can extend the day’s adventures. The small theme park is well kept and its replicas of Columbus’ ships, the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, remind you of all that history you learned back in school.Head to Puerto Rico’s Riviera, Luquillo Beach. This public beach is a crowd pleaser with dozens of the picturesque kiosks nearby so popular in Puerto Rico.

Adventurers will want to explore Puerto Rico’s other islands, Vieques and Culebra. Situated off the eastern shores, head to Fajardo and catch the ferry to either island.

Beach

A must see, the phosphorescence or bioluminescence generated by microscopic organisms (dinoflagellates) causes the water in La Parguera to glow with an eerie blue light whenever the surface is disturbed, an effect that is particularly powerful on moonless nights.The month of February is peak season for Humpback whale watching off the coast of Rincon.

Shopping for Panama hats in Puerto Rico

Shop

If you’re looking for Panama hats, hand-made cigars or folk art, then El Galpon is the place. Dabble Savvy: Above the Calle del Criston shop is an apartment to rent.

Handmade tote bags line the walls at Eco Eco.Owner, Angie Ortiz Rivera is on site and eager to serve.

The owners are rightfully proud of the original, contemporary Caribbean art on display at Galeria Exodo.

Board games are popular in Puerto Rico. At Kamel International Bazaar we found a chess set with nearly naked Ta ed no Indians squared off against the fully armed Spanish army. Not much of a match.

Old San Juan

Design Express

As it turns out, racking up rewards points is a breeze in Old San Juan. Flight, hotel and rental car garner double points, and I still earned a point for every dollar spent on shopping. In total, I earned 8,000 points on my trip to Puerto Rico simply by using my American Express Gold Rewards Card.