Calgary Living

  • The sofas with fabric from Kravet are custom through Elle Design. The stone top coffee tables are from Ethan Allen. Wall colour, Pittsburgh Paints Ostrich Feather.
  • Dining Chairs custom through Elle Design, fabrics by JF fabrics and Kravet. Dining Table and Sideboard custom through Modern Country Interiors. Lighting custom Zia Priven light through Stonegate Designs. Mirror Chintz & Co.
  • "Not everything has to be the star in a room. Some finishes and elements are supporting players. Pick your focus." ~ Leanne

“There’s no greater compliment to a designer than being asked to do a second (or third) project for a client,” says LeAnne Bunnell of Elle Design in Calgary.

When repeat customers hired interior designer LeAnne Bunnell to transform an intended bachelor pad into a comfortable family home they knew they were in great hands. After all, they’d worked with LeAnne before and were confident she had the skill to bring their design and lifestyle visions to life.

Were they pleased? They’re already working on their next project together.

LIVING
The living room is open to the kitchen and provides access to the backyard. LeAnne resisted any temptation to make this room “formal” as the family wanted a cozy space for casual entertaining.

DINING
The beadboard ceiling and textured grass cloth walls emphasize the more traditional elements of the design while providing a comfortable atmosphere for adult or family entertaining. The fabrics are all washable.

“Dining rooms should be used frequently. Obviously for eating, but also for making family memories.”

Photography by Adrian Shellard

David Carter Pulls Focus

British designer David Carter is an attention seeker.  It’s obvious.

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Look how deftly he pulls us into this foyer, by cleverly directing our attention to the handsome painting at eye level.  The graphic pillows create a frame which narrows our vision to the painting above.

Proof that when no natural focal point exists….it’s the designer’s job to create one.

Reality Check on Choosing Bedding [VIDEO]

Join design contributor Nyla Free as she shares insight on creating the perfect bedroom. It all starts with selecting the right bedding.

Choosing Wallpaper

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With so many options, it’s hard to pick just one. Whether you’re aiming for bold pattern or subtle texture, interior designer Nyla Free has advice to help you choose the right wallpaper.

Read the entire article ‘Reality Check – Choosing Wallpaper’ in Issue 11 of Dabble.

I’m Coming Home

  • “The majority of furnishings were custom designed and manufactured for this project. We wanted to feature and honour our clients’ existing art and sculpture collection.”
  • The foyer and living room walls are painted Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee OC-60.
  • The fresh and neutral fabrics and finishes create a classic palette that stands the test of time, allowing the Gregory Hardy painting above the custom sofa to stand forward visually from the room’s other elements.
  • One of the most dramatic changes to the home’s layout occurred when the kitchen was opened to the family room. The structural change required the addition of a supporting beam hidden in the ceiling, circumventing any visible bulkhead and allowing the rooms to flow from one space to the other without visual interruption.
  • Adjacent to the newly renovated kitchen is the open concept family room. This is a favourite spot for the family to linger after a busy day.
  • The handsome vignette with the stepped mirror and a custom wood chest is a nod to the drama and beauty of art deco styling.
  • A bright and sunny breakfast area with 15’ cathedral ceiling and banquette seating completes the kitchen area. The team selected a banquette to allow for wider pathways and a stunning sight line from the kitchen. Kitchen cabinetry lines the walkway and provides extra storage and the visual flow the family required.
  • Practical finishes were mandatory in the all-white kitchen, which features satin sheen lacquered cabinetry, stone countertops and stained walnut for the island.

A large family demands a big makeover. Fortunately, Tomas Pearce Interior Design Consulting has the talent and muscle to satisfy such a tall order. When the CEO of one of Toronto’s largest and leading luxury condominium developers approached cofounders Tania Richardson and Melandro Quillatan, he was looking for an update as well as a strategy for developing a home that supports the needs of his wife and three teens.

The first floor of this century-old, 3,500 square foot home in Lawrence Park, Toronto is much improved these days owing to its recent renovation which resulted in an improved aesthetic and functionality. The initial lack of architectural interest and weak flow was transformed, resulting in what is now a more current and transitional design.

“Select a neutral palette to provide longevity. Decorative lighting, art and accessories arethe elegant finishing touches.”

Original floors were replaced with wide hardwood planks throughout the main level. In the 375 square foot living room, Tomas Pearce Interior Design Consulting created several conversation areas, with key furnishings linking them together for larger events.

The living room’s soft colours are reflected in the mirrored coffee table from Cocoon Furnishings in Oakville. Some more online acrylic mirrors were ordered to make the room look even larger. The patterned area carpet from Elte Carpet and Home provides a geometric anchor to the light coloured furnishings. Layers of lighting—potlights, sconces and table lampsare sourced from suppliers Sescolite, Casalife and Royal Lighting.

The addition of the banquette within the bay window amplifies usable space and provides additional seating, which comes in handy when entertaining.

When choosing furniture and accessories, select hues and undertones that pair well, creating cohesive flow throughout the home.

“To ensure consistency from room to room,” says Melandro, “use a single wall colour, place furniture strategically to achieve comfortable flow, keep wall paneling and any trim consistent.”

This century-old home has never looked better thanks to its much-needed update.

Photography by Larry Arnal

A Tailor-Made Closet

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Suit up for a tailor-made closet, says interior designer Nyla Free. A customized wardrobe offers pride of place to your favourite little black dress and all those shoes your husbbie says you don’t need.

Read the entire article ‘Reality Check – Custom Closet’ in Issue 9 of Dabble.

 

The Best of the Best: Architectural Digest Home Design Show 2012 Part 1

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When you go to a show like the Architectural Digest Home Design Show 2012 that is chock-a full of the fabulous and the latest and greatest in home design it can sometimes be quite daunting. However, being a total professional in the design hunting business, there is nothing more exciting than attacking the target full blast and unearthing some fantastically wonderful new products. Here is one of three marvelous companies featured at ADHDS’12 that everyone should keep on their radar.

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Think Glass:

Think Glass uses state-of-the-art ovens to make glass, which allows them unlimited design possibilities. At the Architectural Digest Home Design Show they had a 4′ thick backlit glass countertop that was truly magnificent. Think Glass also manufactures stairs, wall panels, sinks and tiles.

This piece was written by Interior Designer and guest blogger Gail Shields-Miller. To read more from Gail, visit Dezignlicious

At Home with Suzanne Rheinstein

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Looking stylish in a black linen ensemble and chunky gold bangles, renowned LA-based interior designer Suzanne Rheinstein takes Kimberley Seldon on a private tour of her gracious Hancock Park home and garden.

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Suzanne’s living room is luxurious and serene. She spotted the blue and white striped Regency chaise in a London shop window and insisted her husband pull over so they could run in to make the purchase.

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‘I design rooms clients can live in, and in this house we live in the family room’, says the designer. We can see why. Who wouldn’t want to relax on that cozy velvet-striped sofa with some late night reading?

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Natural lighting, soft hues and luxurious cotton print drapes accent the elegance of the master bedroom.

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To read the full article on Suzanne Rheinstein, check out Industry Profile, Issue 3 July/Aug 2011.

Family Cottage

  • The graciously renovated cottage hosts frequent and large gatherings.
  • LEFT French doors lead from the living room to patio and adjacent sandy beach.
  • The linen window treatments from Kravet play a dual role: they cool the air in summer by controlling light levels while adding visual and physical warmth during the winter months.
  • A banquette is a practical addition to the space, providing more seating in the smallest possible footprint. Plus, overnight guests can sleep on the window seat as its dimensions are similar to two single beds. “When the beaming sun and cottage snacks conspire to make sleepy guests,” laughs Philip, “I find this the perfect spot for a catnap.”
  • The nautical candle sconce from the Bombay Company was electrified to provide ambient lighting.
  • To accommodate large dinner parties, Philip chose a dining table that extends to serve 26 guests, perfect for holidays, birthdays and special events. A distressed finish means there’s no drama if children or pets accidentally scratch the surface. A sideboard with inset marble inlays accommodates hot serving dishes.
  • Other traditional accents include a vintage chandelier which gives off a warm glow above and reclaimed antique floors.
  • In the ensuite, Bianco Carerra marble optimizes light and offers an easy-to-live-with surface that ages gracefully.
  • An eclectic display of crocks sits atop an antique storage cabinet. The sconce is a vintage gas lantern. The turn-of-the-century Canadian landscape painting sits against cream wainscoting and below soft gray-green on the walls.
  • Vintage florals drape the bed with its crisp white sheets in the second floor master bedroom.
  • The roofline dictates an unusual angle above the vintage headboard from Patina Antiques. Twin ottomans in slate blue fabric rest at the foot of the bed.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIM McGHIE

Far from the hectic pace of Toronto and nestled along the northern shores of Lake Erie is the tiny town of Wainfleet. An idyllic spot to spend summer weekends and holidays surrounded by lake and land. Ready to update his 1920s family cottage, Mark Narsansky turned to his designer and longtime partner Philip Mitchell for help.

Today, the refurbished cottage boasts ample room for entertaining family, friends and even frequent overnight guests. But that isn’t how it started out. The challenge for transforming Mark’s childhood vacation home was to rework the footprint to accommodate larger gatherings while preserving the cottage’s vintage personality.

To maximize seating for evening and weekend gatherings, the bright and cozy living room is smartly laid out with comfy sofas, plump armchairs and large coffee and occasional tables. A long pillow-topped banquette borders the front windows. Fabrics are a mixture of durable woven textures and kicky cottage stripes and prints.

All kitchen tools—pots, pans, plates and cooking utensils—are easy to grab from the storage shelves on the island and the wrought iron racks hanging above. Architectural trim details, vintage lighting and hardware are inspired by the cottage’s original 1920s architecture. The island features a marble surface, ideal for baking as well as sturdy counter space. Cabinetry finishes are hand painted and, if they chip, can easily be touched up.

The cottage has three additional bedrooms on the newly built second floor, though there is nary a bulge on the cottage exterior to reflect the change. Why? “Because the rooms are tucked behind the roofline and concealed behind discreet shed dormers,” responds Philip. Clever.

Philip was eager to replace dark stained walls from the original design with light-reflecting warm colours such as soft green, grey and cream. Philip says he’s a fan of mixing different finishes—from stained and painted wood to forged iron, it makes the space so much more interesting.

Philip sums up the renovation this way, “Our cottage is still full of 1920s details and is primed for the demands of the millennium lifestyle.”

The Forecast is Sunny

  • “I envisioned a bathroom that glistened like sparkling water with lemon, a refreshing spa feeling for guests.”
  • Even professional designers work with inspiration when decorating and, in this case, Lori says her inspiration was very specific.

Is yellow the new black?

Well, no. However, if you ask designer Lori Andrews, she might say, ‘It ought to be.’ What could possibly be sunnier or more inviting than this bright and cheery primary?

“Yellow is a current obsession,” says Lori, who is not only a professional interior designer but a photographer as well. Years in art school have made her fearless and there’s no colour that’s off limits. According to the Calgary native, she’s been adding more yellow into her designs during the past year, allowing the colour to grow brighter and bolder.

Lori positioned the saturated yellow against crisp white walls painted in Benjamin Moore’s Oxford White. Although the overall look would be quite different, Lori maintains a dark gray background would look equally stunning.

The advantage of a neutral background is that colour really pops. So many people are afraid of adding colour because they don’t know how to ‘pull it all together’.

Lori says, “Don’t even try. A colourful armoire or chair is like a handbag. It doesn’t need to match the rest of the outfit; it simply needs to complement it.”

The floors are finished with matte white octagon and dot porcelain tiles which warm the toes, thanks to electric floor heating. The white oak vanity by Roca and the light wishbone chair add natural warmth. The painted yellow door leads to the hallway and the sunny armoire provides storage for linens as well as a spot to hang freshly laundered clothes.

Lori advises her clients to be fearless when it comes to a room’s purpose. If you’re not a bath person, for example, don’t be afraid to remove an underutilized tub to gain a bigger shower.

Like most interior designers, Lori agrees it’s easier to design for clients than for herself. “I have strong convictions and have no difficulty convincing clients to go with bold colours or unusual materials,” says Lori. “Of course, in my own home I agonize over all the choices. Just like everyone else.”

Is there a colour Lori won’t work with? “No,” she says, “but I do feel sorry for terracotta. It’s going to have a heck of a hill to climb back up again.”

Retro Revitalized

  • Andy Warhol’s “Diamond Dust Shoes” takes pride of place above the slab marble fireplace.
  • Thanks to the broad, sweeping lines contemporary designers crave, this1970s home is a worthy candidate for stylish revitalization.
  • The horizontal mirror reflects the opposite side of the family room and the large hanging orbs used for ambient lighting. Aluminum floating beams with adjustable AR lamps act as spotlights for artwork.
  • “The key to working with an all-white scheme,” says Eric, “is to vary textures and finishes.” Here, sleek white lacquer cabinets are paired with a textured tumbled marble back splash made up of small mosaics. White leather barstools add another layer of interest and provide secondary seating within the generous kitchen.
  • The chrome banding on upper cabinets mimics the horizontal thrust of the island’s bar, made of honed Lagos Blue limestone.
  • A Brueton ‘Ginger’ dining table is surrounded by four white leather chairs and positioned within the sunny kitchen alcove.
  • Relocating a well-loved piece of art sparks new appreciation. Case in point, the playful chrome sculpture moved from home office to kitchen.

Large Scale Intimacy

Interior designer Eric McClelland of Fleur-de-Lis Design Inc. was eager to maintain the retro-modern edge of this urban Toronto home. With his client’s wishes for minimal colour firmly established, he set out to improve the functionality of the main rooms while respecting the home’s inherent architecture.

Ask anyone in a small condo if they’d like more space and the answer is likely a resounding ‘yes’. But extra large rooms have their own challenges.

“By dividing the long family room into two distinct seating areas,” says Eric, “we were able to create a more intimate scale for family gatherings and conversation.”

An extreme change of ceiling height (from 9 to 18 feet) provided another challenge, easily solved by strategically positioning nine hanging mirrored orbs to create a visual balance between the adjacent areas.

Using a simple palette of smoky taupe on the large upholstered pieces provides warmth and comfort without distracting from the room’s best commodity, an impressive art collection. Bright fuchsia toss cushions are a single nod to the client’s favourite colour.

Light Matters

To create more usable space, appliances were relocated within the renovated kitchen and desk space was allocated to an underutilized adjoining hallway. The Lagos Blue limestone anchors the setting by providing a warm contrast to the all-white kitchen.

“Previously, the lighting was comprised of giant pot lights, making a Swiss cheese effect on the ceiling.” says Eric. “To modernize the lighting plan, we introduced multiple MR 16 store fixtures and recessed pot lights into simple architectural coves.”

Dabble Savvy

  • Group AR bulbs in a series of three or four to create a single architectural fixture, avoiding a sea of pot lights.
  • Drop a ceiling when necessary to add cove lighting, which tucks up into ceilings.
  • Light sources with rotating heads offer flexibility, allowing you to put the focus on artwork or noteworthy collections.

Swimming Pools and Movie Stars

  • The stucco exterior is enlivened by a series of grid patterns —on the garage doors, at the front door, and in the concrete pads of the driveway.
  • In a city where everyone’s a star, Erinn knows what it takes to make a dramatic entrance. The Asian inspired fretwork of the front door is the result of a sketch she penned while out to dinner with friends.
  • The difficulty with contemporary design is its tendency to be cold. Erinn created a warm, modern feeling by incorporating sleek wood features in the window surrounds, on the floors and in the landscaping.
  • With a base of warmth established, she was able to clad the living room fireplace in stucco and insert a chrome U-channel to create the massive grid, mimicking exterior materials, without fear the feature would read as “cold”.
  • Introducing the soft, gray oak (a repeated element from the living room floors) warms the high gloss surfaces of the spacious kitchen.
  • The sun-drenched family room and kitchen enjoy poolside views and easy access to the outdoor barbecue. Erinn insists on an open floor plan for homes where entertaining happens frequently.
  • Erinn pays particular attention to the backsplash when she’s designing kitchens. “A typical mirrored backsplash might have created uncomfortable shine with so much sunlight,” says the designer.
  • Casual seating provided by sleek bar stools tucks discreetly beneath statuary Calcutta gold marble countertops.
  • The master bedroom is something of a departure from the rest of the house. Here, dark wood floors and the royal blue suede headboard create a cozier, more dramatic setting. Floor-toceiling bookshelves conceal a central pocket door that leads to the ensuite. “It’s almost like walking through a tunnel,” the designer enthuses, “which is very cool.”
  • Honeyed wood and white lacquer cabinets combine with champagne coloured mosaic tiles in the master ensuite. The room’s most dramatic feature is the private garden seen beyond the glass shower wall.
  • A repetition of organic materials—wood, stucco, stone—creates flow between indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • An avid gardener, Erinn uses succulents in boxed concrete beds to provide structure to contemporary gardens. Japanese maple trees (seen in the back corner) add complementary colour to large expanses of green.

Making a comeback in swanky town USA takes more than desire. Hard work, vision, re-direction and a bit of luck are required to bring waning potential back into the spotlight. Dabble chatted with interior designer Erinn Valencich who recently faced such a challenge transforming a traditional home in the tony Trousdale Estates neighbourhood of Beverly Hills.

“I envisioned an urban oasis with large windows leading to outdoor rooms,” says the designer. “We started with a beautiful footprint and expansive views. I added floor to ceiling glass walls and additional ceiling height, growing rooms from 9 to12 feet.”

Dabble Savvy: UNDERSTATED IMPACT

  • Sleek pattern makes a statement in contemporary settings. Graphic lines provide order and can be introduced as architectural detail.
  • High contrast adds drama. A combination of light wood floors and dark window surrounds produces head-turning results.
  • Combine diverse textures for impact. The rough, matte stucco and smooth, concrete stepping stones are complemented and softened by shrubery and trees.

Designed by Erinn Valencich; Photography by Adrian Anz