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.

 

Sophisticated Gray

Just as there’s no piece of clothing that actually conforms to the body size of everyone, there’s no such thing as a single gray that is always right.  In fact, gray can be one of the trickiest colours to work with as its undertone is so prevalent.

We relied on a variety of gray tones in this recent urban condo redesign.

5 shades of gray

Here is a guide to some of our fave gray categories from lightest to darkest. Enjoy Oyster has a slight blush beneath the surface owing to its pink base. It’s lightness makes it ideal for a sunny, light filled space. But come evening, its deeper side takes over and the sultry gray undertone shines.  Try Benjamin Moore’s Heaven 2118-70.

Barnboard is a warm gray that looks perfectly weathered by the sun. Benjamin Moore’s aptly named Barnwood CSP-115 is a toasty brown gray we use frequently.

Gunmetal is a cool gray, meaning there’s a hint of blue just below the surface. Benjamin Moore’s Metropolitan AF-690 is a go-to gray for contemporary urban spaces.

Charcoal is a dramatic choice sophisticated enough for a formal living or dining room. We love the navy-esque feel of  Benjamin Moore’s French Beret 1610. Use this in a family room where cozy TV watching takes place.

Nearly Black is the category to reach for when you want drop dead glamour and formality. The deepest, darkest sky looks something like Benjamin Moore’s Universal Black 2118-10.

Take 3: Hallway Overhaul

A daily thoroughfare should be anything but everyday. Turn an often ignored hallway into a purposeful beauty with one of these three creative solutions.

Photography by Simon Burn

Photography by Simon Burn

ONE:

Cubist Console
This handsome console table is an ideal width for the niche in this long hallway, and it provides a spot to throw your keys at day’s end. Stretching from side to side, its driftwood grey colour is a lovely complement to the rugged stone floor. A large, cubist style painting titled “Mujer con Pez” (Woman with Fish) strikes a dramatic pose between the black shaded sconces.

Design Tip: Change white lamp shades to black to create a more dramatic, formal look.

Photography by Simon Burn

Photography by Simon Burn

TWO:

English Manor
When storage is at a premium, take advantage of available floor and wall space. To capture vertical storage, position a tall bookshelf or étagère (similar to a bookshelf, an étagère is an open shelving unit meant for display) against the hallway wall. Now, decorative objects such as the antique wooden boxes, leather books, and personal mementos are in clear view.

Design Tip: An étagère’s open back allows wall colour to become part of the display.

Photography by Simon Burn

Photography by Simon Burn

THREE:

Gallery Style Art Wall
A series of mismatched stools becomes part of the dynamic art display on a bare hallway wall. To create a similar grouping, measure available wall space, considering fixed features such as sconces or light switches. Cut a piece of butcher’s paper to the required size and lay it on the floor. Position artwork in a pleasing composition, making sure outside edges line up with butcher’s paper edges and leaving 1″–3″ gaps between pieces. Next, using a ruler, determine exact placement of nail holes and mark spots on the paper. Finally, tape butcher’s paper onto wall and put nails through marked holes. Tear paper away and hang artwork.

Design Tip: Combine objects d’art with framed pieces for added interest.