An urban oasis in the Beaches

Just a few blocks from busy Queen Street East, on a tiny corner lot, the clients engaged the design team to create a serene oasis which felt sophisticated and urban, with the comfort and coziness of a cottage.

Interior Designer: Cathy Garrido, ARIDO

Design Firm: Altius Architecture Ltd.

Photographer: Arnaud Marthouret

The main living spaces are situated on the ground level as the owners wanted to see what is happening around them and feel part of the action as passersby head to the beach and surrounding amenities. From the second floor, the owners needed a more private dwelling, with separation from the bustle around them, especially in the master bedroom. There, they wanted a private space to relax that also had extensive windows and light.

The clients had several must-haves for the rooftop space, an exercise pool, outdoor kitchen and barbecue area, and entertainment areas which didn’t interfere with their private space. Although they entertain often, they emphasized the need to maintain distinctly private family areas in the dwelling. The owners also had an art collection that needed spaces and rooms with simple backdrops in which to best show it off. In terms of interiors, they had a bright but warm space in mind, simple but with interesting details.

In the finished home, interior and exterior flow together, with windows south, east and west, and generous balconies. Sunlight floods in, while balconies provide shade from the hottest sun. Wood soffits and siding add a natural, modern beach house feel.

The ground floor has a strong connection to the busy street. The second floor has a quiet family room and an outdoor balcony where the owners spend their leisure time in the evenings. The master suite on the third floor has an outdoor terrace overlooking Kew Gardens, and provides privacy and quiet for relaxing and recharging, despite expansive surrounding windows.

The rooftop has the desired exercise pool, outdoor barbecue, and kitchen. Stairs from second-floor balcony enable entertaining without cutting into private space and provide special access to late-night swims and sunsets over Toronto from the master suite. When trees are in full bloom, the rooftop is a forest treehouse instead of a city home.

Interiors are completed in a bright palette. Gas fireplaces and lower ceilings provide cozy space for both entertaining and family time. A plaster tile creates texture through the stairwell, and hidden lights add drama. Custom grey-stained oak cabinetry wraps the entryway and kitchen and hides a powder room. Large walls on the north side provide optimal surfaces for hanging art.

The home has a simplicity that feels warm and inviting and creates a feeling of intimacy and coziness. It is the perfect oasis in the city for its owners.

The Art of Living Big in Small Spaces

City living has always been known as “tight” and “small” living, but not this time around. We call it “the art of living big’, no matter how small the space is. A space is a space, whether big or small, but the design is what introduces an element of fun and creativity.

At Sansa Interiors, we gave this project a soul by creating a way of being. We observed our clients and studied how they move, we found out their interests, their favourite colours, and their top travel destinations. We then took all of that and tailored it to a simple and clean dream apartment.

Our focus was to bring in subtle tones and finishes throughout the space with pops of colour. We experimented with manipulating positive and negative spaces to create a flow from one corner to the other.

The home office showcases the contrast between the clean white walls and the soft yet bold blush pink gallery wall and adjacent furniture. The furniture selection is very minimal and does not interfere with the ambient flow, instead, it helps create a successful grounding experience.

Some of the requirements we were given:

  1. Home office for two people
  2. A reading nook
  3. Clean/simple kitchen
  4. A place to retreat at the end of the day

Design Tips for Living Big:

  1. Mirrors near windows
  2. The more plants the better!
  3. A subtle colour palette with accent pieces to bring in pops of colour
  4. Minimal furniture
  5. Bring in your personality, via art pieces or woven pillows

Photography by Bruno Belli.

Dark and light mingle in this modern residence

When this prime lot in a busy Ottawa neighbourhood became available, an astute developer snapped it up, envisioning a luxury home designed with a minimalist aesthetic, superior millwork, and an elegant bearing throughout. The developer engaged the interior design team to bring their vision to life, and make use of the existing grand footprint, incorporate a modern aesthetic and technology, and ensure functionality and flow.

Interior Designer: Serina Fraser, ARIDO

Design Firm: Clear Interior Design

Project Photographer: Urzula Muntean Photography

This upscale neighbourhood is known for its sweeping lots, with grand houses set well back from narrow laneways, surrounded by mature trees and gardens. To attract potential buyers, the client requested a design that would respect the neighbourhood’s history while being firmly rooted in the present. A Zen aesthetic, superior finishes, and integrated technology were all must-haves.

Upon entering, the foyer and dining area are separated by an L-shaped divider that forms a central core in the open plan. On one side, a sleek bench provides a welcoming seat in the entryway, and on the other, a double-sided fireplace creates a cozy nook. This core promotes a natural flow between the kitchen, dining room, and living room.

These spaces laid down the Zen palette that combines white oak floors and millwork with a neutral foundation of greys and whites. The kitchen has a ton of storage options with cabinetry that reaches the impressive ceiling heights. With that in mind, custom millwork and furnishings were designed to be scale-appropriate in the calming white oak.  

The main-floor fireplace divider is a bold statement against the white oak, clad in black marble to boost drama within the calm space. The designers repeated these bold black finishes in the bathrooms, adding a punch of drama to the small spaces.

With a modern edge, the staircase is simultaneously a focal point and blends into the surroundings. The riser, tread, and stringer extend the Zen palette, while a side view reveals the separation between the two key volumes and the graceful connection between the glass rail and stringer. Additionally, lush velvet drapery and textured accent walls are complimented by simple wall planes, revealing a richness amid a minimalist canvas.

Technology is integrated seamlessly throughout the design. Lighting, window treatments, temperature controls, security systems, and efficient, tech-forward devices are coordinated throughout to establish a secure, sustainable home.

The success of this sophisticated residence has resulted in an alteration to the developer’s business model to focus solely on custom high-end homes