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DESIGN: From the Ground Up

DESIGN: From the Ground Up

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DESIGN: From the Ground Up

by Linda Mazur

Start your design story with your floors

As small space dwellers, the reality is that sometimes our renovation options may differ a little because we live in a condo. Although condo living can come with its own set of design challenges, there should be no reason that these restrictions should hold us back from creating a magazine-worthy look in our home. Sometimes, the biggest design inspiration for your home can lie right under your nose… or rather, your feet! Instead of searching for inspiration in fabrics and colours, why not look down and get inspired by your flooring? With the multitude of possibilities in today’s flooring, designing your space from the ground up can be simpler than you may believe.

Whether you are renovating a charming vintage walk-up or a modern new build, it’s no secret that condo restrictions can sometimes be the biggest challenge when choosing flooring that is both beautiful and practical. Recently though, we have seen a surge in beautiful floorings like luxury vinyl, vinyl composite core, and laminate flooring that will not only meet the requirements of your condo but will spark your design creativity and serve as a great kick off to the remainder of your project.

Laminate flooring is a hard surface flooring that has been around for quite a while. It is manufactured using material like medium or high-density fiberboard, which forms the core. Luxury vinyl is a soft surface flooring product that is flexible, and comes in a variety of installation options, providing a great look as well as comfort. Luxury vinyl has a multitude of options that have the look of wood, stone, or other natural materials. Vinyl composite core is a newcomer to the manufactured flooring world. This flooring combines the best features of laminate and luxury vinyl. The boards are rigid planks that click together like laminate but are constructed from a water-resistant vinyl composite material that gives them the flexibility of vinyl flooring that can be installed anywhere.

Flooring can be inspirational, it has the ability to set the tone for your entire design. Envision a beautifully distressed floor in a weathered shade of brown with accents of ashen greys, reminiscent of aged vintage flooring found in an old Parisian apartment. Add in some wonderful custom millwork, an elegant plaster ceiling with moulding detail, and a charming old chandelier. Play off this vintage look by adding a simple tailored sofa, Scandi-inspired chairs, and perhaps a rustic coffee table and finish it with colourful accessories. Top this all off with beautiful soft billowy linen sheer drapes, and you’ve creating for yourself an elevated yet relaxed living space, all inspired by your flooring!

However, flooring can tell more than just one story. This same flooring could also inspire a typical urban kitchen to have a more relaxed, country-chic feel. Blend in some warm mixed metals, a fusion of soft grey and wood toned cabinetry, a vintage looking quartz countertop, and you are well on your way to creating for yourself a fantastic kitchen space to be enjoyed with family and friends.

This year’s design trends are all about bold colours, beautiful textures and patterns, so it can feel natural to look to paint, fabric, or cabinetry when searching for direction on your next renovation. Keep in mind that inspiration can be found in many different forms. When embarking on your next project, try looking down to see what’s underfoot… you may be pleasantly surprised with what you find!

Linda Mazur is a nationally publicized designer and Principal of Linda Mazur Design Group.

With almost two decades of experience this in demand multi-disciplinary design firm is known for creating relaxed stylish spaces and full-scale design builds within Toronto, the GTA and throughout Canada.




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4 Main Options when Picking Flooring for Your Home

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4 Main Options when Picking Flooring for Your Home

New floors can considerably change the look, feel and value of your house, especially if you are dealing with old flooring or need to replace the carpet. The good news is that there are many sweeping trends you can pick from. This article looks at the four main options you will have when picking the right flooring for your home renovation project.


The most prestigious material is definitely the hardwood. Hardwood is usually made from solid lumber that is a natural insulator. It is mostly preferred because it can match with just any interior décor, it’s easy to clean and adds significant structural strength. Oak, maple, and cherry floors are the most popular materials in Canada due to their hardness, thus durability. Hardwood floor will attract and retain less dirt hence reducing molds and allergens from your home.

The problem with the hardwood floor is that it is not moisture resistant. You cannot afford to leave spills for too long because the will be absorbed by the wood. Individual boards may also expand or contract when exposed to varying humidity levels indoors. For the best performance, you will need to keep the indoor humidity at between 45% and 55% throughout the year.

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood is a much better alternative to a regular hardwood, although it is more expensive. These floors are made using the uppermost layer of dried hardwood and the lower layers are composed of solid wood, plywood or HDF. The pieces are pressure bonded.

The good thing about this option is that it is moisture resistant and more durable. You don’t need to keep a close eye on temperature and humidity levels when using this flooring. You also enjoy more flexibility during installation since there are many installation methods. The downside is engineered hardwood is costly.

Cork Flooring

Cork flooring has been very popular in Canada in 60’s and 70’ and up until 2000s was mostly used in commercial buildings. In the past few years Toronto homeowners have begun favoring cork flooring due to its unique retro-look and eco-friendly nature. Home gym, kitchen and kid’s room would benefit from cork floor’s shock-absorbent structure.

This flooring is made from cork oak tree and the tree itself doesn’t need to be cut to harvest the material. It is highly resistant to mold, mildew and bacteria which makes it a good option for people with allergies.

The downside is that cork scratches easily and it is not moisture-friendly. Most of professional contractors do not suggest using cork flooring in bathrooms, laundry area or basements.

Laminate Flooring

The forth option is laminate flooring. This one is gaining popularity mostly because it has longer life span and offers remarkable aesthetic effects; as well as several cost saving benefits. It is easy to install, clean and maintain.

One of the greatest laminate benefits is its versatility. Prints on laminate can simulate any desired pattern and color: from warm wood-like palette to modern grey stone or marble. And it will cost you much cheaper than actual marble floors.

Laminate floors are also a wise option if you are planning on installing in-floor heating. Nowadays homeowners in Toronto are including such floor-heating systems in their house renovation projects by default. First, it adds warmth and a comfort to any room. Second, it increases the house value overall making heated floors a rational investment.

Ceramic Flooring

Ceramic tiles are the best alternative to any other flooring if you need it to be waterproof or easy washable which makes them ideal option for bathrooms, kitchens or outdoor patios.

Ceramic floor is extremely durable and not so easy to crack when installed. Properly installed tiles can serve you for 20 years and even longer when properly taken care of. And even if one tile gets cracked it is pretty simple to remove it and replace with a new one.

In Toronto ceramic flooring would cost you between $1.50 to $6 per square foot depending on quality, tile size and pattern. This makes it moderately expensive option, but will long-term value to a property price.

Marble Flooring

Marble flooring is one of the most expensive, but durable and versatile type of floor. Most homeowners in Canada pay between 10$ to 20$ per square foot for professionally installed marble flooring.

Its luxury look and elegant texture can turn your house into a castle. Marble tiles come is various colors and sizes, easy to install and will last forever.

Another benefit of this floor compared to other soft flooring options is the fact that it’s easy to clean and hypoallergenic. It is also a perfect match for any floor-heating system, as a natural material marble stays warm longer after the heating system is turned off.


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