Downsizing let this Toronto mom build the loft of her dreams

The kids are off to college, starting their careers and their own lives, leaving behind the family-sized home that’s served its purpose but is no longer of much use. So, what’s the point of keeping this large home?!

Jan Brown, Principal Designer at c3d Design found herself in this very situation in 2013. Her kids had flown the coop and it was time to move the once “Basement Design Studio” to its own dedicated location and downsize her own dwelling space in the process. Meghan Kennedy of Kennedy Sisters Team (Royal LePage) assisted Jan in finding this two-storey corner loft unit in vibrant Bloor West Village. The unit consists of a wonderfully-sized kitchen, large living space, two bedrooms, study, loft, and two bathrooms. It fit all the criteria Jan was looking for and she decided to make the move.

One of the main features Jan wanted in her new space was a polished concrete floor. We did this by removing the existing engineered hardwood floors. This was a sleek and contemporary look that could really work well, creating a great juxtaposition with the more traditional forms and textures of her existing furniture. This also made sense, so Jan wasn’t purchasing new furniture for every space and meant she could keep some of her treasured antiques.

We built walnut millwork framing the kitchen area, allowing for extra storage space as well as open shelving to showcase Jan’s collectibles from her travels. The walnut finish was carried through to the lower millwork to provide a sense of warmth in the space. Jan loves to cook, so we went for an affordable quartz product from Caesarstone that would be durable and easy to maintain. We introduced a custom backsplash which was a combination of onyx mosaic from Cercan Tile and marble subway tiles from Saltillo Tiles which added notes of femininity and luxury to the kitchen without having to break the bank.

We showcased the two-storey windows flanking the living room with a gauzey soft wool drapery. We love the look of mixing various pieces in the same colour and shifting textures – it creates a cozy setting yet allows for more than enough seating when hosting a party or when the kids are back in town for the weekend. While the ground floor living space remains more of a cocktail lounge and hang-out space, the upstairs loft space was transformed into an intimate TV room for more quiet relaxation.

It is crazy to think almost seven years have passed and this space still exudes beauty and functionality. The kids love this city getaway and Jan loves this space she calls home!

This modern home blends indoors and outdoors seamlessly.

As architects and interior designers on this project, the design team wanted to address the challenge of this east-west oriented lot in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood. Their goal was to maximize the southern exposure of this property and provide spaces for the clients to enjoy Canada’s short summer season to its fullest.

Interior Designer: Neal Prabhu, ARIDO

Design Firm: nkArchitect

Project Photographer: Peter A. Sellar

Located in Toronto’s Beaches district, the 150_W Residence

Creating an L-shaped outdoor space along the south west corner of the building offered an interesting solution: the full height moveable glass walls let ample winter sunlight inside, while in summer, the same walls slide away from the inside corner of the L opening up the indoor space to the outside.  

With the client’s busy work schedule and little down-time, the home needed to be a haven of tranquillity and calm, while providing space for relaxing and entertaining – a sanctuary, vacation spot and family home, with bright day‐lit interiors. Pragmatically, the clients and their growing family sought an open plan with flexibility in function and space, and outdoor living spaces easily accessible and visible from any point within the interior.

The home’s materials all extend this tranquillity, as the design team erected vast white walls, neutral wood finishes, stainless steel appliances, and dark wood flooring. The changing light and shadow patterns throughout the day, and seasonal patterns become the focal points in this neutral space.

With a focus on restraint and simplicity in materials complemented by the warmth of exterior surroundings, this home is a stunning backdrop for a growing urban family to enjoy their time together.

This condo mixes hotel chic with seaside calm

Casa II Penthouse was a fabulous project for from start to finish! Located in the Yonge and Bloor epicentre of Toronto, it presented some typical condominium challenges, but we overcame each one.

Interior Designer: Heather Segreti, ARIDO
Design Firm: Segreti Design Inc
Project Photographer: Larry Arnal

The client sought the convenience of living in the heart of Toronto, while enjoying jet setting to other major cities with a minimal commitment back home, was paramount. They wanted the look of a high-end hotel, infused with seaside calm, and customized millwork throughout.

The original floor plan worked, however, after consulting the client, we decided to forgo the dining room / living room combination and move the dining room to the office, and add a cozy banquette eatery, the client was thrilled!

We used a neutral palette of white and gray with a hint of warmth, drawing inspiration from the porcelain slab of the kitchen backsplash. Adding colour to this neutral colour scheme was key in taking the design to the next level. Boldly coloured artwork at the entryway is a welcoming punch, and an open concept shelving/bar area with storage below holds belongings, instead of the typical coat closet.

A gallery wall leads visitors into the suite and custom sized photographs camouflage the electrical panel. With the original dining room taking up the space of the office, to create a separate eating space. We also added a bulkhead around the living, master, and guest suite in order to mount our three-layered window treatment with roller shades.

All these changes, coupled with the coordination of trades 52 floors up, presented a challenge, but the client was delighted with the space, and this project has yielded a long lasting friendship.

A serene condo in Toronto’s bustling downtown

When purchasing this 1,205 square foot condo, steps away from Toronto’s downtown core, the client imagined a highly customized, open space that buffered the hectic city environment with serenity and calm. In the interview with the design team, the client specifically asked for a lot of concealed storage, a large home office, and a sophisticated design suitable for entertaining.

Interior Designer: Mini Ryu, ARIDO

Design Firm: Ryu Design

Project Photographer: Margaret Mulligan

Interior Designer Mini Ryu modified the layout of the space, removing a powder room to increase the size of the office space while respecting the client’s budget.

The centrally located kitchen makes a natural gathering place for guests, with warm oak flooring underfoot, and sleek white lacquer cabinetry that provides the requested concealed storage. Opposite the kitchen is a curved wall of windows, that lets natural light flood into the space. The design team carefully planned the placement of furniture, lighting, and accessories to create harmony on this curved line. A dark, smoky glass coffee table, warm accent fabrics and a collection of interesting accessories add warmth to the space.

A home office off the front entrance of the unit is partitioned with white translucent glass offering privacy and visual interest with shadows and silhouettes, while allowing natural daylight to penetrate.

In the bathroom, warm earth tones, and varied textures of wood balance the modern, clean lines of white millwork, geometric shapes and abstract art. Baked ceramic pieces are scattered across a wall like leaves from a gentle breeze, adding to a spa‐like peace at the end of a long day.

Each of these elements from the design adds up to an effective balance of functionality and style with modern, natural and rustic elements executed in visual harmony.

Bringing the outside in made this home feel liveable yet contemporary

Interior Designer: Azen Bongard, ARIDO

Design Firm: Studio 8 Design Inc.

Photographer: Azen Bongard

The clients purchased this home mid-construction and were excited that it was an eco-friendly build using insulated concrete form construction and radiant floor coils as the sole heat source. They loved the views of the water on each of the three levels, and the adjacent tree-lined neighbourhood.

With a floorplan considerably smaller than their previous home, their main concern was feeling cramped as a family of four. They also needed the home to accommodate their family business, which added to the space constraints.

The client’s other concern was that the design of the home not be too cold and modern. They had seen many new homes that felt sterile and impersonal to them, and they envisioned a space that was contemporary, yet livable and warm.

Photographer: Azen Bongard

In order to visually enlarge the space, the design team maximized the indoor/outdoor connection with large windows, backyard access from the ground floor, and lush plants around the space.

Minimal blinds let in an abundance of natural light, while guard glass with little hardware lets the light flow throughout the space, and the elegance of the double high space over the kitchen is emphasized by a custom sculptural light fixture which also draws the eye upwards. A barn door and wooden bar-stools soften the modern angles of the home, while the natural oak of wide planks underfoot enhances the connection to nature.

Photographer: Azen Bongard

The aesthetic even spread to the storage solutions, where extensive built-ins in each of the rooms were created to stow clothing and clutter away.  

The design team mainly used natural materials such as wood, concrete, brick, rope, undyed wool and felt in order to create a warm, contemporary aesthetic. Each are eco-friendly options, which also emphasize the natural colour palette, while the team chose throws, pillows and carpets with lots of texture, to emphasize the handmade, human connection.

A modern space keeps the future in mind

Interior Designer Karyn Faryna was engaged by her client to modernize their outdated 1970’s bungalow for a bright, open concept home.

Interior Designer: Karyn Faryna, ARIDO

Project Photographer: Ryan Fung

The client also sought features that would add value such as a new ensuite bathroom, an expanded kitchen with an eight foot island and added pantry storage, keeping potential re-sale goals in mind. Finishes, furnishing, and materials are an eclectic mix; transitional meets modern with Scandinavian influences, including the white walls and white oak hardwoods throughout.

The project was not affected by COVID, it was completed before the pandemic. Existing plaster walls and ceiling were removed in the solid brick construction home. A central load-bearing wall that divided the living spaces was replaced with a twenty-two foot support beam to achieve a large spacious main living/kitchen/dining area -perfect for entertaining.

New framing and custom built-ins in the master bedroom were added to make space for a new ensuite, much more desirable for re-sale in this space.

A serene modern bedroom with two white built-in closets and a bed made up with throw pillows.

A hidden extension opens this home with lofty brightness

The clients approached the design team after purchasing a tired property north of Toronto with a compartmentalized floor plan. The design team was tasked with improving the flow, adding space to the main floor, and creating a second level to suit a retired couple and their daughter who visits occasionally.

Interior Designer: Danielle Campbell, ARIDO
Design Firm: Danielle Campbell Design Inc.
Photographer: Worker Bee Supply

The clients had a clear idea of what they wanted in the space, lots of natural light and an open layout, a large kitchen, a comfortable master suite with ample bathroom space and a walk-in closet, all done in a soft colour palette with punchy accents.

The design team had their work cut out for them, literally, as the existing ground floor was divided into three long, narrow spaces, front to back. They added a 10’ by 20’ addition at the back of the house with an open cathedral ceiling. Originally, the clients had envisioned extending just the middle space on the ground floor to house a breakfast nook, however they were persuaded to expand the extension to the whole floor for symmetry and added space. Covering the cathedral ceiling in the extension with shiplap added a natural feel to the space.

The client’s love of cooking and entertaining guided the kitchen refresh, and they specifically requested that the design team maximize backyard views from the kitchen. The wall between the dining area and kitchen was removed for more kitchen space and greater flow. In the dining area, the team removed the brick fireplace, in favour of a sleek corner unit, clad in stunning porcelain tile.

The client’s existing artwork was incorporated in the finished design along with a chandelier they already owned. Their calm and detailed personality also inspired the space, creating a home that is functional, bright, and welcoming.