Connecting the outdoors: blending public and private space in a cul-de-sac home

Houses situated in a cul-de-sac are always attractive to young families because of the guaranteed proximity to a safe street environment. The reduced car traffic allows for a slow transition from the public space of the city to the private space of the home and its backyard. 

Interior Designer: Adriana Mot

Design Firm: Dochia Interior Design

This home in the Underhill neighbourhood of Toronto was a typical 60’s side-split, with an odd, purple Tudor-like facade. Its architecture did not reflect the preferred contemporary aesthetic of the owners and the interior space was inadequate. What this family of four knew, is that keeping two young boys busy and healthy requires a well-planned kitchen and family room and many stimulating outdoor spaces that would allow for somewhat supervised activities. Such a home would need to cleverly address visual relationships and functional needs in achieving these requirements.

To achieve this, exploring potential links between the outdoor and the indoor spaces became central to our design. From the street, through the main level of the home and all the way to the backyard, Interior Designer Adriana Mot planned areas of activity that are visually interconnected and hold a dynamic, spatial dialogue of proportion, views, textures, and colours.

The cul-de-sac is essentially a second yard, a friendly, safe, semi-private environment for playing and socializing. We designed a curved paved terrace with soft lines of greenery around it that visually balances the modern geometry of the renovated home. It defines a seating area where sleek outdoor furniture allows parents and friends to lounge and watch kids play. The entire composition creates a welcoming yet usable street presence.

Inside, the kitchen and family room additions are as responsive to entertainment and supervised kids-play as the outdoors. A controlled sense of connection between outdoors and indoors is achieved through the alignment of the glass breakfast table inside and the pool waterfall outside. On a hot summer day when the 8-foot wide sliding door opens, the sound and proximity of the water falling give a sense of eating outdoors.

In fact, locating the pool was critical in setting up the backyard to include a cooking and eating area, a comfy seating around a marshmallow-ready fire pit and a sunbathing area. As an added bonus, the convenient outdoor shower allows the kids to quickly get ready for dinner without dripping in and out of the house.


Continuing the interactive theme between the outdoors and indoors, the bookcase on the back wall, opposite from the window acts as a reflection of nature: the mixed angles of the vertical gables are an abstraction of tree trunks elegantly stylized and transferred to an indoor setting. 

Colours and textures were chosen to reinforce the spatial dialogue and pinpoint key locations. Primarily, the overall scheme is made of soft greys, medium browns, and taupes. The accents that are deliberately introduced range from the fresh purples and corals of the front yard furniture to the sleek red in the kitchen island, to the satin black panels around the tv and the rough barn board of the family room ceiling. The soft blue of the pool dominates the backyard. 

The entire main floor of the house was shaped in such way as to achieve visual continuity with the outdoors. The overall effect is an instilled sense of progression from the outside to inside and back out that blurs the boundaries of architecture and engages the entire property.

Light, colour, and nature’s splendour inspire the design of this Kamloops casino

Interior Designers: Ronald Wong, ARIDO; Gordon Mackay, ARIDO
Design Firm: mackaywong
Project Photographer: David Whittaker

Inspiration abounds in the forests and rivers of British Columbia but expressing the splendour of nature in a former big-box store was the challenge placed before the mackaywong team in the design of a new casino. This project repurposed an existing dormant big box store of 55,000 square feet. More than a gaming facility, this is a destination for the citizens of Kamloops B.C., re-imagining the landscape of “Beautiful British Columbia” through a series of inventive elements.

Carpet with a large scale floral pattern in casino lobby with a light fixture of concentric rings is suspended above.

Uniting the facility is a central corridor that gives way to the gaming floor on one side and the restaurant and bar opposite. A custom-built colour-changing river of light winds through the space while wood pillars, a nod to surrounding forests, frame the grand hall and offer glimpses into the gaming floor beyond. The gaming floor contains 500 slot machines, twenty table games, two bars, a lounge, two patios, and a poker mezzanine with a luxury private salon.

Overhead view of the gaming floor with video gambling machines.

The design team raised the floor level to run the wiring and electrical required for a gaming facility, and covered the gaming floor with a custom carpet inspired by local flora.

Lighting was incorporated creatively throughout the space starting from the river of light in the entrance corridor, a central chandelier in the rotunda, LED rings surrounding the gaming floor trees, through to the large ceiling of glass goblets glittering in the luxury restaurant. An interactive curved video wall encircles the central rotunda, engaging guests in an immersive digital landscape and providing a dramatic entrance to the gaming floor.

Carpet with a large scale floral pattern in casino lobby with a light fixture of concentric rings is suspended above.

The use of texture and colour throughout, along with regional motifs, and a hospitality driven approach to gaming combine to create an artful and memorable experience at this casino.