How custom millwork makes this space work

Located just off the main entrance of this modern family home, the existing compact space needed to maximize function, operating as library, in-home office, kids homework area, and mudroom overflow.

Interior Designer: Tanya Yeung, ARIDO
Design Firm: Analogue Design Studio 
Photographer: Stephani Buchman 

An existing window restricted a total overhaul, so the design team created a custom L-shaped millwork feature which would be visible upon entering the home. With this criteria, along with many requirements for function, the design team created a full height storage cabinet next to a striking collection of open nooks.

This element connects with a long shelf and counter with concealed drawers ending with a full depth coat and shoe closet which also features a pull-out printer drawer cleverly concealed below the desk surface. Recessed undermount lighting highlights the dramatic yet minimalist workspace.

Combining a restrained palette of just two finishing materials, black oak and tortora lacquer, their play on high gloss lacquer along the vertical surfaces contrasts against the same tortora used in a matte finish on the horizontal shelves. This juxtaposition provides interest and the illusion of depth in a very shallow wall space.

The simple finishes offer a dramatic yet soothing feature that welcomes you into the home. This millwork element functions as a touchdown space before entering the main home area. Located just off the foyer, family room, and games area, and immediately accessed from the upper level, this study area has become a hub of activity. Perfect for an active and growing family.

This stunning apartment is a lesson in design from a distance

Situated in the Majestic, a historic apartment building on the Upper West Side, this renovation was to be a total “interior transplant” with all physical vestiges of the old design removed and re-imagined, including the existing windows and mechanical systems. The challenge? The renovation of these suites can be compared to arthroscopic surgery in that all of the alterations, relocations and connections must take place within the space itself, unseen by neighbours below who’s finished ceilings must not be disturbed, or above who’s plumbing and mechanical systems traverse through the suite. 

Interior Designer: David Hooper, ARIDO
Design Firm: Powell & Bonell
Photographer: John Bessler 

Luxe living room area in creams, browns and with cozy textured elements.

Working with a local architect and contractor the spaces and mechanical systems were photo documented, notated, and confirmed before the renovation process took place. Using this method, solutions to complicated routing and concealment were devised by the team. Wall hung toilets allowed for toilet rough-ins to be managed within walls rather than penetration of the slab. Plumbing and mechanical was concealed within bulkheads, decorative wall articulations, and millwork to visually justify what could not be moved. New lighting technology allowed for smaller tolerances for electrical, which subsequently allowed the ceiling height to be increased. Every millimeter of space was maximized on this project. 

TV screen emerges from special millwork element in this cream and brown living room.

In the design brief, the client required two complete bathrooms where only one had existed before. Another imperative was to capitalize on the windows,  the light, and the views, where previously small cut-up spaces compromised both. Reorienting these spaces, and opening up the galley kitchen via an interior window provided room for a guest and private bathroom, an enlarged kitchen, and an adjacent dry bar. The interior window can be open or concealed via mirrored folding screens which reflect the views when a more formal dining setting is desired. 

Furnishings are oriented toward the windows and a muted natural palette blends harmoniously with the cityscape beyond. A television is concealed in a custom cabinet to not distract from the expansive vistas beyond the confines of the suite.

The open layout with a minimum of contrasting finishes allows the owner and their guests to feel the luxury of space and invites them to enjoy a natural flow from one area to another from the moment one enters the suite. The final effect is a homage to the beauty and excitement of the New York skyline superimposed against a foreground of calm and warmth. Perfect for glamorous evenings and a refuge from the frenetic city beyond.

Building a sophisticated design that integrates modern conveniences

For this young family of four, a warm and sophisticated design that integrates modern conveniences was paramount. The formally divided rooms of this traditional home were opened up and functions resolved with detailed custom millwork, which was strategically combined with cost-effective off-the-shelf cabinets, creating a seamless transition of function from space to space.

Project: Logan Residence
Interior Designer: Tanya Yeung, ARIDO
Design Firm: Analogue Design Studio
Photographer: Stephani Buchman

Amenity functions such as the powder room, multiple office spaces, and an abundance of storage opportunities throughout the home are concealed within the carefully detailed cabinetry; the design of which also house a plethora of mechanics such as ductwork, cables, and plumbing lines within. The lack of visible hardware further enhances the seamless aesthetic.

A restrained finish palette of walnut, stone, and high gloss lacquers was used to accentuate fluidity throughout the home. The open concept spaces, enlarged windows, and over-sized dormer also help to facilitate the natural light which permeate every corner. Enhancing this is LED strip lighting flush mounted within the walls to highlight artwork, as well as offering a dramatic graphic element.

Similarly, concealed light troughs provide a wash of light above built-in features to give an overall glow. This fully transformed 3,120 square foot home is bright and airy, spare but not sterile and exudes an effortless simplicity, all the while concealing the necessities of this family’s active lifestyle. Design features are seamlessly integrated throughout this home providing functionality and understated style at every turn.

A tight entryway was made multi-functional by treating otherwise disparate amenities as one harmonious unit. The concealed powder room door is seamlessly integrated with adjacent entry closet; the closet itself serving triple duty as a coat closet, office, and storage unit that transitions effortlessly under the open concept stairs.

This multi-functional design is sleek from the outside, yet holds everything the clients could hope for – all within a 70 square foot footprint. The mudroom functions as transition space and also houses the custom wine cellar. Standard issue wine pegs were combined with a structural walnut-clad back panel that sits proud of smoke mirror gables. A wash of lighting is emitted from behind the condenser unit above and the free-floating walnut platform below.

The second-floor kids’ area serves a dual purpose as lounge and guest room with custom Murphy bed. By day the glossy automotive lacquer panels appear as a sleek backdrop to an active play area. By night, it opens to a king bed with clothes storage and secondary office nook.

The master loft space features an abundance of built-ins that operate as a design feature and functional furniture in one. A wall-to-wall console, houses all the entertainment necessities and provides display space for artwork in the lounge, which appears to pierce through the dual sided fireplace into the adjacent ensuite, where a 15′ long vanity continues uninterrupted towards the over size picture window.

This project is a comfortable and adaptable home for seniors

Seniors lifestyles projects provide unique challenges. How do you take large, open public areas and turn them into attractive and functional, yet comfortable and warm spaces for an elderly population?

Interior Designer: Beverly Redlick, ARIDO
Design Firm: Beverly Redlick Designs
Design Team: Nicola Ansell, Lana Pihut (ARIDO, IDC Intern)

Seasons St. Thomas, completed in December 2019, is a retirement home providing a wide spectrum of care options to seniors, including independent retirement community living, independent supportive living, assisted living and memory care.

The lobby features a stylish yet cozy seating area with custom gear carpet, stacked stone fireplace and large railroad art pieces as a nod to St. Thomas’ history as Canada’s Railway capital. This theme is continued into the adjacent charming library/computer room with its dark oak custom cabinetry. Similar designs and colours flow easily through all public and amenity spaces, from the bar pictured below, through the large dining area and into the salon, walking track, and theatre.

The Memory Care wing is a secure, self-enclosed area with its own amenity spaces and outdoor courtyard. Furniture layouts and interior finishes and furnishings, while still appealing, reflect the greater space and durability needed for this senior population.

Four model suites were furnished and staged to show prospective residents how they could make a suite their home. Pictured below is a one bedroom with a “tea time country” theme.

Our team provided interesting yet practical design elements, selections and finishes. These combine to make this property a superb place to live and work, while reinforcing its unique connection to St. Thomas, Ontario.

It’s all about the details in this heritage home restoration

This private residence, dating back to the 1920’s, was built in the English Country style on a ravine property in Toronto’s picturesque Rosedale neighbourhood. Over the decades, renovations to the home, including the infilling of a broad covered porch with a garage, had altered the home’s character, both inside and out.

Interior Designer: Wayne Swadron, ARIDO
Design Firm: Wayne Swadron Interiors Ltd.
Photographer: Valerie Wilcox

Our mandate was to create a sophisticated, light, and airy home suitable for a young family that enjoys an active lifestyle, reorient the indoor living spaces to embrace the wonderful ravine setting while respecting and restoring the heritage character of the exterior. Of particular importance to the owners was creating unique opportunities to display their collection of artwork, and planned incorporation of ‘installation art’.

To achieve these goals, the entire interior structure had to be demolished and rebuilt in an entirely different configuration. Nothing was spared, including floors (both the basement and ground floor levels were dropped), interior walls and most of the roofs. 

Living room with hardwood laid in a herringbone pattern, white walls with crown moulding, and gray sofas. A brass lamp with a black pedestel over hangs the three seater sofa.

Several additions were also incorporated to accommodate the special requirements of the family. A new full width terrace was added to the back of the house, onto which continuous walls of glass doors and windows were added. The main living spaces of the house (living room, kitchen, breakfast room and ‘conservatory’) all look over and lead out to the new expansive terrace, swimming pool and gardens beyond. This had the effect of visually and spatially connecting the indoor with the outdoor space, while reinforcing the interior and architectural features of the original design.

Art, and in particular, installation art, plays a major role in the vision of the interior design. A wonderful example of this is the hand painted wall covering which extends up the four levels of the new stairway. This installation, executed by artist Francesco Simeti, acts to visually connect the levels through its flowing pastoral imagery. 

The wall panelling of the dining room provided a perfect opportunity for a  three dimensional segmented mirror installation. These unexpected elements add to the depth of the highly curated approach to the interior furnishing, which mixes distinctly mid-century modern pieces within a setting of strong traditional references.

Local art with a Scandi-chic vibe welcomes everyone to this Toronto condo

Located in an emerging part of Toronto’s downtown East, The Bartholomew demanded a design that would attract style-savvy buyers who appreciate an eclectic downtown lifestyle. A home where diversity is not only expected but is celebrated.

Interior Designer: Kelly Cray, ARIDO

Design Team: Margaret Stagg, ARIDO; Eugenia Alvarez, ARIDO

Design Firm: U 31

Project Photographer: Jac Jacobson

The challenge was to create inclusive, affordable, yet stylish interiors for a wide demographic: professionals, growing families, empty-nesters, singles, and couples. Another client directive was to have all art and installations throughout common areas of the tower commissioned to local artists to give back and support the local community. Of note, is a unique black “willow”-like wood sculpture that hangs by the side of the concierge desk against black stone, lending understated glamour.

One manner of appealing to a broad range of lifestyles was to deliver serene spaces where residents could interact and relax. Light is essential in creating a variety of moods, and the design team used this element in multiple ways. The concierge desk, for example, features hexagon mosaic tiles under a wash of concealed light, giving it the illusion of sparkling gems.

In the lobby a dramatic ambient light installation over the seating area becomes a feature element. Contemporary furniture selections, fashioned in neutral tones, continue the Zen, yet hip vibe.

Fitting a lounge, a private dining room, and television room in the compact 2nd floor party room presented a challenge. To achieve this, foldable walls were incorporated so each space could be closed off to accommodate private events; alternatively, the entire space can be opened when walls are folded back.

The rooms are visually connected through black wire lighting that appears in each space. The dining area exudes a clean, mid-century modern and Scandinavian feel expressed through light backgrounds, minimalist lighting, and pops of black, including the chairs: they are all different but of the same era, and unify the seating in a thoughtful and playful way.

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.

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