ARIDO Award: Ravine House
Although this house was exquisite and beautifully designed, it was stark and uncomfortable to live in. As interior designers, we had to reinvent the space in such a way that respected the exquisite architecture and most importantly the goals of the new owners. This project was a balancing act of design to create a comfortable and contemporary interior that both the new owner and the original architect would love.
Interior Designer: Dana Kosich, ARIDO
Design Firm: Hiatus Design Ltd.
Design Team: Carol-Anne Blackburn, ARIDO; Kelly Breiter, ARIDO
Photographer: Lauren Miller
Our strategy for the layout and planning of this interior was to keep the space open, utilize natural light, embrace the stunning views of the ravine, and improve flow from one room to the next. We aimed to enrich spaces that were vacant and integrate the desired function in the most elegantly minimal way.
Successful open concept does not mean empty, it means optimal flow and creating a sense of intimacy within a larger space. This was achieved through defining the function with spatial and visual cues. For example, in the living room, the bar was tucked away in a niche yet discreetly celebrated with a wash of light and drama of natural stone slab. Also, to integrate the functionality of the kitchen in an open space, panelled walls, built-in appliances and secret doors to pantries and storage were artfully designed.
To achieve better flow within the interior, one of our design solutions addressed moving the dining room closer to the living room. We added a second set of stairs into the sunken living room to connect the two spaces. Level changes defined the living room and created a subtle separation from the dining room while still allowing for views of each space. Bringing these two rooms closer together reduced vacant space allowing for a new family room, and created a sense of intimacy in the spaces.
Since our client was extremely particular and said he was “allergic to glare”, one of our main tasks was to update the 20 year old lighting. The goal was to see the effect of the light not the light itself, thus eliminating glare. All the ceilings were stripped to the rough framing to allow the lighting and ceiling details to be redesigned.
For this reason, the amount of visible objects and lighting fixtures located on the ceiling was deliberately minimal. Through the use of continuous reveals and recesses in the ceiling we managed to conceal everything from motorized blinds, mechanical diffusers, to lighting. The slatted wood detail in the media room concealed much of the overhead lighting above the seating areas.
In the master bath we allowed the dramatic veining in the marble wall slabs to contribute to the colourful effect in that space. By eliminating the tub and repositioning the vanity away from the big window, the light and stunning unobstructed ravine views now flow into the bathroom.
Many of this home’s existing elements were carefully evaluated and its greatest features were maintained. Rather than remove and dispose of the existing ash hardwood floors, we chose to preserve them. Opting to patch, repair, and refinish utilizing LEED certified low VOC matte sealers. The existing floor to ceiling mahogany windows and doors were incredible, and allowed for the interior spaces to flow beyond and embraced the changing views of the ravine.
Rather than replace these windows where the seals were gone, they were lovingly restored. In the living room, we kept the massive limestone mantle and introduced colour by choosing to clad the existing black brick with a multicoloured marble slab featuring vigorous gold, powder pink, and dark grey veining.
Majority of the interior doors were repurposed as most had concealed hinges and some had very cool pivoting hardware. In the foyer, we kept the mahogany frame and partition wall that separated the foyer from the powder room. With some restoration, it was re-used and combined with newly designed doors. These new doors made of raised grain mahogany with a textured wash stain and antique mirror created subtle reflections in a less predictable way.
Our respectful approach celebrated the exquisite architectural elements of this house and with deliberate minimal detailing we designed spaces that create perfect flow and embrace the surrounding views of the ravine . Our clients love their home, and the original architect even gave it an approving nod.
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