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.

 

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

Creating an Open Concept

Originally aired on Cityline.ca on April 19, 2012.

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