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ARIDO recognizes record number of projects at annual awards

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ARIDO recognizes record number of projects at annual awards


The Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO) has announced the winning projects from its annual Awards. ARIDO received a record number of projects for judging this year, with 130 projects submitted, and 39 of them receiving awards. The 39 winning projects were recognized at the 2018 Awards Gala on Oct. 24 at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto.

Each year, projects from 11 categories including Residential, Retail Spaces, Workplaces, Healthcare Facilities, Public Institutional, Hotels and Clubs, Restoration and Adaptive Reuse and Speciality Elements, are judged by a rotating team of five industry professionals. The 2018 Judges were Tarisha Dolyniuk, ARIDO; Andrew Gallici, ARIDO; David Gibbons, ARIDO; Nadia Kuhni, ARIDO; and Greg Quinn, ARIDO.

The award-winning projects for 2018 include Booking.com’s new Queen Street offices, Moose Knuckles’ Yorkdale flagship, Sun Life’s Ignite Studio, and two projects at SickKids Hospital. The restaurant boom continues in stunning spaces like Joe Bird at Queen’s Quay Terminal, Copper Spirits & Sights in Ottawa, and the cafe, bar and restaurant of Victor in Toronto’s Hotel Le Germain. Residential spaces also received recognition, with dynamic home projects from Arizona, Quebec and Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood included.

“We’re delighted with the increase in submissions, and with the amount of interest from ARIDO Members,” says Sharon Portelli, ARIDO executive director. “We are even more excited to award our members with the distinguished ARIDO Award for 2018, the industry standard for interior design excellence.”

Each of the projects have received Awards of Merit due to the high standard represented this year. Projects will be featured in the annual Awards Magazine, as well as ARIDO’s new online presence for the public, BLOG//ARIDO.

For a complete list of the awards and images, visit ARIDO.ca


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Design/Build Expert: Custom Home Collaborations

Design/Build Expert: Custom Home Collaborations

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Design/Build Expert: Custom Home Collaborations

by Brendan Charters
photography: Valerie Wilcox (exteriors), Peter Sellar (interiors)

An architect, designer and builder outline how to create project synergies

Embarking on the design and development of a new home is a big decision. It requires a clear outline of goals, the assembly of specialists, the management of egos, budgets and a pinch of added stress. Some experience greater success at it than others. To help guide those looking to undertake a custom home project of their own, we talked with the architect, Brad Abbott, Abbott Design Ltd, designer, Meghan Carter, Meghan Carter Design, and the project manager, Jim Cunningham, Eurodale Developments on a recent project we collaborated with. By connecting, we gain insight on how they help guide their clients to create both a beautiful finished project, and a smooth process, all while working together. Sounds impossible, right? It’s really not.


Firstly, what makes the perfect custom home client for you? (i.e. style preference, personal character type, or other significant detail)

Architect Brad: A variety of tastes and styles is fine. Ideally the client has trust in the ideas and expertise of the architect and and allows freedom of creativity.

Designer Meghan: Our ideal client seeks to follow the design intent for creating a seamless esthetic, versus a choppy and piecemeal one often found through design on-the-fly type projects.

Builder Jim: The client is someone that understands challenges arise during any project. Nothing is seamless, you need to break an egg to make an omelette…so to speak. There has to be trust as you are working on their behalf at all times. Most importantly, respect and value for our role in the process.

Do you prefer to have the architect, designer and builder involved along all steps of the process, or just in their defined segment?

Architect Brad: The architect is integral to the overall design of the space, including the interior, such as: trim and door packages, post and beams and the overall structure. Continuity between the exterior and the interior can be critical. Involving the interior designer and builder early ensures a shared vision, as well as cost implications for the owners to use in their approval of the design direction. If possible, involve all parties at key design and budgeting milestones in advance of the build.

Designer Meghan: The clients need to understand the roles of each party and use them accordingly to obtain ultimate value. With increased collaboration throughout come the best ideas and the smoothest process from design to execution. If the architect is not doing the interiors, the interior designer should be involved at the first design stage to ensure details (such as window placements) work with furniture placement and flow on the inside.

Builder Jim: The involvement of all three is key when something is identified, which will not allow for the execution of the original design intent. While we do not require our hands held, we understand our role in the process is to execute the vision, and if it’s not possible, we are not tasked to design the solution—though we surely will make suggestions, the architect or designer will need to be the one to recommend and design the ultimate change for the homeowner to approve.

Introducing each other – when is it appropriate?

Architect Brad: If retained first, we prefer to do high-level budgets upon creation of floorplans and elevations. We recommend contacting two to three design-build firms for a meet-and-greet and reputation review. This review includes historically guided budgets, not trade/ supplier firmed pricing. It can help guide final designs and set the relationship path.

Designer Meghan: In years past, people would hire the builder first, then reach for the designer. This has now flipped, for the better. Once floorplans are about 85 per cent complete, a lighting plan and scopedocument has been created, we then look for one to two contractors to ballpark. They can then scale back, if needed, while it is still relatively cheap to design.

Builder Jim: As early in the process as possible, so that everyone can understand the goal from a space, style and budget perspective, as well as help the owners create a list of their priorities, which will govern how we allocate their budget throughout the project. It also helps build the team relationship approach if everyone starts from the first phase.

What to do when issues arise vs. that which is planned for?

Architect Brad: Don’t cut the architect and/or designer out of the conversation, just because they aren’t on site that day. A misguided or misdirected solution to a perceived problem can horribly impact the overall design. Keeping all involved can avoid diluted projects and relationships.

Designer Meghan: Start the build off with a project walk with all team members to try and flush these out at the get-go. Failing that, continue that method in the spirit of collaboration to ensure continuity of ideas and process for the benefit of the homeowner and the project!

Builder Jim: I would personally call the architect and ask them how they would like to handle the situation. Sometimes this can be flushed out by phone. Failing that, I would call an on-site meeting. If the client is unable to attend, I would brief them on the meeting and get their final approval on decisions before making the change, and document it.

Architect Brad, you work about 50 per cent in the city and 50 per cent in cottage country in Collingwood— what are the differences for you?

AB: In the country, clients tend to be slightly older, more experienced and are often moving out of the city. Typically, my country clients are better heeled and are more relaxed, having undertaken a few renos in the past. City homes offer unique challenges, such as this site with tight confines, whereas more rural settings provide ample views, along with more siting process to capitalize on topography, prevailing winds and lake views.

Designer Meghan, you acted as designer here, but you also undertake permit drawings and some project management duties for clients—how does this process differ for you?

DM: We know to enter with a low ego when working in collaboration as everyone at the table is skilled at what they do, hence their reputation and why they were retained. When we run from start to finish for the client, the project has more of a singular vision—our vision— which can make things easier but can also be limiting. When working as a group versus working independently, a clear outline of roles, responsibilities and deliverables of each member is a necessity to avoid overlap or conflict between professionals, which confuse clients.

Builder Jim, you acted as the project manager on this build, but your firm also undertakes an in-house Design-Build approach to projects—how does this process differ for you?

BJ: Our design process is more function-based in nature. Working with an architect and interior designer provides another level of design, which raises the profile of the project. It also tends to remove some of the copycat DIY design direction that is so prevalent in the industry. It’s not the right solution for everyone, however, and the Design-Build method works very well to help people undertake their dreams of expanding, updating or recreating their space to suit their tastes or needs. About 75 per cent of what we build is designed in-house, but we love building interesting and challenging projects designed by other professionals, too.

Brendan Charters is Partner at Toronto Design-Build Firm Eurodale Developments Inc. – 2017 OHBA Renovator of the Year.



(416) 782-5690


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Universal Design

Universal Design

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Universal Design

by Samantha Sannella

As our population ages and diversifies, demand on design professionals is growing. The following is an abbreviated checklist for applying Universal Design concepts to your solutions.

Lighting and Electricity

As we age, we need approximately 30% more light to see clearly. Provide an increased number of electrical outlets for extra lighting — especially in bedrooms. Mount electrical outlets at 18″ AFF and switches 48″ AFF. At bedside tables, mount outlets at nightstand height. Consider sourcing lighting that uses the same type of light bulb — ideally an LED one to minimize changing them.

In addition to good quality general lighting in the kitchen, under cabinet task lighting is very important.


I cannot overstate the importance of non-slip flooring. While we all love a polished marble entry, an Ontario winter with muddy boots can cause a slip and fall accident. The bathroom is a frequent site of injuries; consequently non-slip flooring is important here as well. Mosiacs can work well in this situation. Between rooms, minimize the threshold as much as possible. Thresholds are difficult to navigate for persons in wheelchairs and with limited mobility. Moreover, carpet can be difficult for wheelchairs and area rugs must be secured thoroughly as they present a trip hazard.


When designing kitchens, ensure that appliances are easily operable and intuitive. Too many options can create problems! Easy to read controls are a must. Make sure that a high level of contrast is provided. Controls should also be glare free. Ergonomic controls that are easy to operate without hand strength are a must.

Induction cooktops are great. They only work via the magnetic connection between the cooktop and pot so when the pot is removed, the heat goes off. A ‘lock-out’ feature is a good addition that prevents children from accidentally turning the appliances on. When sourcing an oven, ensure that the racks are easy to remove and clean. Fail-safe features, such as automatic shut off, is great for cooktops, ovens and other appliances that can overheat.

Appliances that beep and or flash when on or opened are good for all of us, but especially the aged or those with children.

Ovens present a big problem for people without strength. I highly recommend a wall mounted oven rather than a range, as it is easier to control the height and hence, the lift strength needed to place and remove food. As well, a microwave with easy access to a shelf nearby is a good solution. Kitchen cabinets with knee space under sink or cooktop is a great idea. Additionally, an area where food preparation can be performed from a seated position is desirable.

Bottom mounted or side-by-side freezers are a better solution that the top mounted freezer, however, an ideal solution would be a separate fridge and freezer (both full width and height).

Dishwashers with top of door controls are an issue for people with limited visibility. They look great, but can be very difficult to read. When sourcing dishwashers, low decibel dishwashers are good for people with hearing impairments as background noises interfere with hearing aids.


Bar type pulls are much easier for persons with limited strength and touch-latch opening mechanisms are great options for everyone. It’s a good idea to offer a variety of storage options that are easily accessible. Shelves that roll out and drawers that are easy to pull are good options for all of us. No one really wants to get down on their knees to rummage through kitchen cabinets! For those pesky corners, Magic Corners that pull out and make use of all the space are truly a wonderful invention. There are many new and useful storage options available, included mechanized inserts that lower and raise shelves for upper cabinetry.


The best option for showers is curb-less with sliding doors. Swing doors are harder to maneuver around for the elderly or disabled people. It is always good to provide a vanity cabinet with knee space underneath. Suggest to your contractor to broadly applied blocking around inside walls, toilets, tubs and showers for grab bar installation. There are many new grab bars on the market that don’t look institutional.

Offset shower controls to avoid burning, bending, reaching and stretching. Under the showerhead is not ideal, as hot or cold water may shock the person. As always, anti-scald shower devices on plumbing fixtures are desirable.

Lever faucets in the kitchen and bath are a must. People with limited hand strength (this includes children) find circular dial type handles very difficult.

When renovating, it is common sense to put shut off valves at W/D, sinks and toilets; however, I still encounter many homes that don’t have them. This is a MUST! Relatively new on the North American market are toilet/bidet combination units or toilets that can include a washlet. I highly recommend these, as they make life much easier for people with limited mobility, broken limbs, aging population, illness, etc. And, as always, a 17″ or comfort height toilet is recommended. Especially useful is a wall-mounted toilet, as these make cleaning the floor a breeze.

Laundry Rooms

When planning laundry rooms, front loading machines with front mounted controls are preferred. Pedestal bases are preferable to raise the height. A nearby area for folding clothes and managing laundry is desirable, as is a place to hang-dry clothes.

Using Common Sense

Ease of Use, Size and Space for Approach of Use, Flexibility, Simple and Intuitive are established principles of Universal Design. However, a good dose of common sense will go a long way. Does it work for a child? Aging person? Would it work if you were pregnant? Or had a broken arm? When planning a renovation or new construction, ask yourself about the phases of your life and think forward to what you might require.

SAMANTHA SANNELLA, BFA ID, M ARCH, is a designer, educator and principal at Urban Retreat Homes and an internationally renowned expert in the field of design and architecture. She is a columnist for RENO&DECOR magazine and editor of the Ontario Design Trade Sourcebook.



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Artful Open Shelves

Artful Open Shelves

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Artful Open Shelves

by Melissa Davies

Personalize The New Open Kitchen

Kitchen design trends, as with all trends, tend to evolve more out of necessity than style. Traditionally, kitchens were efficient rooms, with everything needed within arm’s length. The need to hide away utilitarian items didn’t exist and with the kitchen tucked away from the receiving rooms and certainly not a place to receive guests, it was all about function. As the traditional setup morphed into something resembling today, we moved the kitchen adjacent to the other common rooms, and then front and center as the proverbial heart of the home.

The first ten-plus years of my career were spent as a designer plotting out ways to tuck, clad and squeeze every conceivable kitchen bit and bob out of sight. This is still very true in a lot of homes I design, however I’ve seen a trend towards a more casual open approach. Blame the ever-popular cooking show, raising the once monotonous job that is dinner into an almost theatrical display. Amateur cooks are proudly embarking on the epicurean masterpieces. The fun byproduct of the phenomenon is pride in the chosen tools of the trade. Mixers, knives and steel cut oats are selected with hours of online research. Of course, this means one needs a showcase to show off their foodie prowess to friends. With client’s shrinking urban kitchens, which are also short of closed kitchen cabinets, this can mean adding supplemental open shelves as a display and storage alternative.

Open kitchen storage is a terrific way to reinforce the overall home style, whether quiet and subtle, or full of personality. The following is a list of favourite kitchen storage solutions, from past design projects, addressing each homeowner’s specific needs.

1. Pop of Colour – Small kitchen appliances, and cookware come in seemingly every colour imaginable. Drawing key colours from adjacent rooms and opting to go bold here is a fun way to tie it all together. Opt for a few key pieces in colour then keep the rest more neutral in metals and whites for a fresh contrast. (Red Mixer: Kitchenaid)

2. The Art of Subtle – Open shelving doesn’t always need to be bold. By storing pieces that blend with the wall colour, for example, white and clear glass, a subtle, functional solution is created. This is also a great approach when staging for resale! (Shelves and dishware: IKEA)

3. Curated Collections – Grouping similar pieces together is a design trick that can make even the most mundane look artful. Successful selection is as much about the negative space as the selection of pieces them selves. The rustic brick and reclaimed wood benefit from the contrast of metal.

4. Camouflage – Hiding things in plain sight requires a balance between the object and the surrounding. A collection of cookbooks, crockery and linens are layered in front of dense patterned wallpaper from Farrow and Ball. The result: the shelves fade away while the items welcome the eye to take a bit of a journey from grouping to grouping.

Toronto-based celebrity designer and contractor MELISSA DAVIS, is known for her appearances, creative design and reno work produced for various HGTV shows including Income Property. Her work has been profiled nationally in print publications. With almost two decades of experience in design, architecture and construction her firm continues to service clientele throughout Ontario & GTA, specializing in value-added ROI and resale consultations.




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Colour Trends for 2017

Colour Trends for 2017

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Colour Trends for 2017

by Samantha Sannella

Each year, new trends in colours emerge. Highly influenced by fashion, interior design finishes, such as paint and fabrics, reflect trends that aren’t as fleeting as fashion but offer sophisticated ways to make their impact lasting. Colour forecasters analyze consumer trends, social movements and global influences to predict colour trends years ahead of time. Colour psychology and colour symbolism are also factored into forecasts.

According to the Institute for Colour Research, people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on color alone. Knowing and understanding colour trends is an important part of successful interior design.

After several years of softer lighter colours, rich saturated tones lead the trend, adding vibrancy to interiors. Shades from the purple and violet end of the spectrum are particularly directional this year. Many of the leading paint companies have chosen their colours of the year from this colour family, ranging from Beauti-tone’s soft, mauve-grey, You Look Mauve-lous to Benjamin Moore’s bolder, deep black-purple, Shadow.

Pantone’s 2017 View Home and Interiors palettes offer seven themes. Each theme contains several colour predictions. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, told the press that the choices invoked “a renewed sense of imagination in which color was appearing in a context that was different than the traditional,” that the hues “surround us in nature,” and that they “evoke a spectrum of emotion and feeling.”

Benjamin Moore, chose 23 colours for their 2017 colour palette, but its top pick for colour of the year is Shadow, a rich, royal amethyst. “Allusive and enigmatic, Shadow is a master of ambiance. It is a colour that calls to mind a ‘past’, yet it can also make a contemporary, colour-confident statement,” said Ellen O’Neill, Creative Director. “Shadow is sophisticated, provocative and poetic, it can bring energy to a space or harmony and a moment of respite.”


Taking the top spot as the PPG Paints brand colour of the year is a soft, muted purple with grey-blue undertones called Violet Verbena. Pairing well with timeless grey, brown, green and deep blue, it is a versatile colour that blurs the boundaries of young and old or male and female, and it works well in any room, according to Valerie Jager, Associate Marketing Manager for the PPG Paints brand. “The 2017 colour palette is made up of classic shades with a contemporary spin,” Jager said, explaining that next year’s earth tones are more vibrant and steeped in pigment than the natural hues of the past. “Rooted in tradition, the colours are warm and toasty, emitting an air of stability and balance.”


Beauti-Tone, a division of Home Hardware, is celebrating the launch of its colour of the year, You Look Mauve-lous, one of 35 colours in the Simon Chang Model Home Trend Colour Collection. “These 35 colours are the hues that bring balance and harmony into our homes.” “I love that our colour-of-the-year, You Look Mauve-lous is both simple and complex at the same time,” says Simon Chang. “It is one of those shades you look at and think, what is that colour? While its roots lay in the mauve family, the colour is greyed down making it a timeless, highly usable backdrop for any room.

Anchoring the trend for dusty violet is the inspiration of nature for colour choices. A return to beiges, rich browns, botanical greens and clay greys round out the trends. Several colour forecasters have also cited honey yellow as a growing trend. Blues hint toward the green with pale and saturated teal rising in popularity.


Sherwin-Williams have chosen Poised Taupe as their colour of the year. This timeless neutral is modern, classic and a beautiful balance of warm and cool. According to Sherwin Williams, the 2016 industry shows revealed a surprising transition from grey to taupe. Both contract and consumer colours and products have been focused on grey as the key neutral — although grey is still important, we have seen a significant shift in materials and finish color to warmer expressions of neutral.

“Matteness” is another important part of the colour forecast as this enhances the softness of the saturated colours. Blues and purples are warm and colour temperatures offer hints of red, orange and yellow. Metallics, especially bronze, copper and brass will continue to be an important part of interior design and mixed metals is on the rise. Matte paint colours offer a distinct contrast to the metal trend and help with a holistic colour palette. Digital technology has a fringe influence on colour and popular in niche markets: colours that appear shifted or changed when you observe them from different angles.


PPG: Violet Verbena (PPG1169-5)

Benjamin Moore: Shadow (2117-30)

Beauti-Tone: You Look Mauve-lous

Sherwin Williams: Poised Taupe (SW 6039)

Dulux: Starry Sky (70BB21/147-A1518)

CIL: Antique Violet (50BB 46/091 | V37)

Sico: Mozart (6172-52)

SAMANTHA SANNELLA, BFA ID, M ARCH, is a designer, educator and principal at Urban Retreat Homes and an internationally renowned expert in the field of design and architecture. She is a columnist for RENO&DECOR magazine and editor of the Ontario Design Trade Sourcebook.



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