Keep calm & carry on, unify an open-concept main floor

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Keep calm & carry on, unify an open-concept main floor

• Photography By Stephani Buchman

When creating an open-concept floor plan, continuity is key. How I achieve this is by incorporating a common theme throughout. For example, in this lakeside home, I went with a crisp, white-and-blue colour palette and added the warmth of reclaimed wood for balance. This combination evokes an understated nautical vibe, which echoes throughout the main floor of the home.


The blue-and-white palette also evokes a serene feeling in the space, which can be achieved even when these colours are added in small doses. In the dining area, the look is richly layered from the navy-blue hue of the rug underfoot to the dining chairs and artwork on the walls. The eye is also drawn to the large and plentiful windows framed by the white walls, which serve to amplify the natural light and lake views in this bright corner. Hanging overhead, is a staggered cluster of simple, clear, Edison bulb-inspired pendants, which do not interfere with the daylight views.


If you’re blessed with an abundance of natural light, a dark colour palette can be your best friend. A rich, deep shade of blue, burgundy or green can lend a wonderfully rich, dramatic ambience, without leaving your home feeling “closed in,” as dark colours are known to do.

TIP: Any designer worth their salt will tell you that a great piece of art is equal parts canvas and frame. You need something to complement the art and draw attention to it, without detracting from it. This same principle was applied to the windows in this dining area. The dark-painted window trim becomes a dramatic punctuation point in this space, highlighting the abundant windows, their composition and the views.


This notable shade of blue is subtly carried into the kitchen with the striking blue-upholstered breakfast bar counter stools. Behind them, the crisp white cabinetry and backsplash are perfectly on trend, with simple detailing and an overall clean, serene look. Grey-toned, reclaimed barn-board walls and hardwood floors envelop the space and are reminiscent of driftwood, contributing to the overall nautical theme of the space. A thoughtful collection of curios adds visual interest and a feeling of home.

The reclaimed wood panelling extends into the adjoining living area, cladding the chimney and rear wall with its rustic, warm esthetic. Flanking the fireplace, a pair of custom, soft-grey sideboards in a distressed finish, echo the texture of the reclaimed wood wall. An industrial-style, wood-and-steel coffee table and an oversized iron chandelier overhead complete the look of the great room.


When selecting pieces to fit within your chosen theme, avoid overtly obvious displays – for instance, in this nautical theme, I didn’t go overboard by adding fishing rods and anchors at every turn. Instead, try adding different materials, textures, colours and shapes, which can be a more subtle and tasteful way to repeat the motif. In this home, I accentuated the nautical theme with the addition of wood furniture, rope, woven accents and easy living fabrics.

This stunning open-concept dining/kitchen/living area is exactly what my clients had hoped to achieve. The space is relaxed yet refined, and invites its residents and guests to sit, eat and enjoy.

SOURCES DINING CHAIRS: Shelter Furniture PAINT: Chantilly Lace 2121-70, Benjamin Moore VINYL FLOORING: French Oak, Peppercorn from Mannington Restorations ART: Homeowners’ collection DINING TABLE, LIGHTING: Nuevo

Sara Bederman, Principal Designer for Sara Bederman Design, is known for creating stylish, thoughtfully curated and livable interiors for over a decade. The Toronto-based firm provides residential design services for projects of all sizes. Sara Bederman Design works throughout Toronto, GTA and beyond. For more information, sarabedermandesign.com, follow her on Instagram: sarabstudio


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