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Exhibiting great taste through online art options for your home

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Exhibiting great taste through online art options for your home

Incorporating art into decor is easier than it’s ever been. In fact, you don’t even have to leave the house to buy it.

Everything from affordable prints from mass retailers such as Ikea, Urban Barn and Mobilia, to rare fine-art photography from a site like Ffoto, which has some 40,0000 classic and contemporary works, is now available online and can be shipped right to the front door.

Martha Burton
Macro shot of seaweed by Martha Burton

CANADIAN ARTISTS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Also made more accessible are the works of art from people like Martha Burton, a Canadian-born photographer who shoots close-up studies of seaweeds, shells, and pebbles on the beaches of Santa Cruz, as well as sweeping landscapes that catch the shifting moods of the ocean.

Better availability of often-ignored Indigenous art is another benefit of web commerce. Sources include Toronto-based, Bay of Spirits Gallery, which specializes in contemporary First Nations art, and the online gift shop of the Art Gallery of Ontario, which sells, for example, beautiful prints starting at under $20.

TV-ART GALLERY

The Samsung Frame has turned the conventional television into a new platform for both accessing and viewing art. When the 4K ultra-high-definition screen is not functioning as a TV, it can be switched to an “art mode” to display a static image.

Samsung Frame
Samsung Frame in art mode.

Samsung commissioned international art curator Elise Van Middelem to select 100 pieces that come free with the frame, and 800 additional multimedia works are available through the Samsung Art Store, home to artwork from museums and galleries such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England and Prado in Madrid, Spain.

Customizable “mattes” can be added, but during a demonstration by Middelem, I found the works without them much more powerful, and thought the matte-less format better suited the medium.

Users can also upload their own art. Unlimited access to the art store costs $8 a month. A permanent download of a piece costs $27. Suggested retail price for a 55-inch Frame is $3,000.

MIXING IT UP

A sideshow can also be placed on a “shuffle” function so that pieces can change at different intervals with a range lasting from 10 minutes to seven days. I can see the benefits of this feature, but still think static art gives the viewer time and space to better connect with it.

Sensors adjust lighting on the screen as light changes in the room throughout the day, so the art is always perfectly lit, and motion sensors can turn the unit off when the room is empty.

The unit comes in a charcoal black frame, but additional magnetic bezel frames in white, walnut, and beige wood can be purchased ($300 for 55-inch model). Sensors adjust lighting as natural and ambient light changes throughout the day, and motion sensors can turn the unit off when the room is empty.

Wilson Kelsey Design
Fine art inspired bath space by Wilson Kelsey Design.

DESIGN & ART IN THE BATHROOM

Great art can also serve as a starting point for design, as it did for Sally Wilson and John Kelsey, who created a glorious bath space for luxury line DXV influenced by art. Co-owners of Boston-based Wilson Kelsey Design, they used Impressionistic landscapes on walls, while the movement’s signature dappled light effect is reflected in a glass-tile mosaic created, amazingly, with design software and assembled robotically.

DXV’s Lowell soaking tub and floor-mounted tub filler echoes the curved lines of the room, while Percy faucets provide strong, sculptural lines that don’t get lost in this visually rich, colour-soaked room. Many of us may not have the means to replicate such an opulent look. But like all great art, its beauty is undeniably inspiring.

SOURCES samsung.ca, ffoto.com, ago.ca, wag.ca, marthaburtonart.com, wilsonkelseydesign.com, yellowkorner.com, bayofspirits.com, urbanbarn, mobilia.ca, dxv.com

Vicky Sanderson
Vicky Sanderson

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Cover Story: Modern Art

Cover Story: Modern Art

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Cover Story: Modern Art

Writen by Vicky Sanderson
Photography by Valerie Wilcox

A spa-like, contemporary ensuite design balances cool, clean lines with organic elements

From the first time designer Natalie Venalainen met with clients about expanding the third floor of their home to include a master bedroom and ensuite bath, it was clear they knew what they wanted—a clean-lined, light-filled, modern space.

“They are both artistic—he’s a writer and she’s in film. They knew very decisively that they wanted a contemporary look,” says Venalainen, an in-house designer with Toronto-based design-build firm Men at Work.

A STRIKING BALANCE

The challenge, she explains, was to combine the industrial- inspired surfaces and soothing neutral tones that define modernism, without making the space too antiseptic or dull. That’s achieved, she adds, by layering interesting finishes, restrained graphic elements and sleek but highly functional materials—and then tempering it all with warm woods and burnished metals.

“Incorporating wood can be key,” says Venalainen. “If everything is done in a flat matte finish, it can be cold. Wood softens a space—not just because it’s a natural material, but because the hues are warm.”

In this case, a floating vanity of flat-cut walnut in which double sinks are set anchors the room. The counter is Caesarstone’s Fresh Concrete quartz composite with a matte finish that perfectly mimics the real thing.

Sources: BATHROOM: CUSTOM VANITY & LINEN TOWER: Allwood Carpentry Manufacturing; PLUMBING FIXTURES: Watermarks Bath Boutique; FIXTURES: Jason Wu for Brizo; FLOOR TILE: Saltillo tile; SHOWER FLOOR TILE: Tycos Tile; WALL TILE: Ciot; ACCESSORIES: Wayfair. com; MIRROR: Crate & Barrel; SCONCES: Cedar & Moss; PENDANT LIGHT: Design Within Reach; CONCRETE STOOL: Home Sense; TOWELS: Linen Chest; ART: Aleysa Young
Sources: BATHROOM: CUSTOM VANITY & LINEN TOWER: Allwood Carpentry Manufacturing; PLUMBING FIXTURES: Watermarks Bath Boutique; FIXTURES: Jason Wu for Brizo; FLOOR TILE: Saltillo tile; SHOWER FLOOR TILE: Tycos Tile; WALL TILE: Ciot; ACCESSORIES: Wayfair. com; MIRROR: Crate & Barrel; SCONCES: Cedar & Moss; PENDANT LIGHT: Design Within Reach; CONCRETE STOOL: Home Sense; TOWELS: Linen Chest; ART: Aleysa Young

HIGH STYLE, HIGH FUNCTION FEATURES

Venalainen points out, however, that the manmade surface has important advantages in a bathroom. “It’s non-porous, so you don’t have to worry about the absorption and chipping issues you would have with concrete,” she explains.

The generously-sized horizontal, oblong mirror is flanked by sconces, whose curving lines echo the circular patterns of the floor tile, rounded vanity faucets, and an hour-glass stool placed beside the shower.

Above the mirror, a transom window takes advantage of natural light captured by a skylight in the adjoining hallway. An overhead fixture, and pot lights in the shower and the toilet provide more illumination.

The star of this bath is the bold floor of encaustic cement tiles with a striking geometric pattern which, because it's executed in classic monochromatic tones, is more timeless than trendy.
The star of this bath is the bold floor of encaustic cement tiles with a striking geometric pattern which, because it’s executed in classic monochromatic tones, is more timeless than trendy.

A tall, vertical storage unit sits snug against the vanity, but leaves ample room for the door to swing. It does not interfere, notes Venalainen, with the placement of light switches, a pet peeve for the designer.

“People will often tuck a linen closet beside a door in a design and later realize they have eliminated the space needed for a switch.” As for switches located outside a room, Venalainen has just one word. “Bad!”

Quartz countertops in a concrete finish telegraph the cool modernism the homeowners wanted to see in this ensuite bath design.
Quartz countertops in a concrete finish telegraph the cool modernism the homeowners wanted to see in this ensuite bath design.

BLACK IS BACK

Venalainen approved of her clients’ desire for a graphic floor, knowing that it would provide subtle yet assertive visual interest. She did, however, steer them away from more highly-coloured options to a black-and-white tonal pattern.

“I think a monochromatic scheme is timeless and works really well in a modern setting,” she explains. “And I notice that while lots of clients right now might entertain the thought of more colour in the floor, in the end they shy away (from it). Most people feel more comfortable in their homes with a neutral colour scheme.”

Sources: BEDROOM: WOOD FLOORING: Wood floors by JBW; WINDOWS: Dundas Wood Windows & Specialties Inc.; BED & NIGHT TABLES: Objets Mecaniques, Montreal; NIGHT TABLE WALL SCONCES: Cedar & Moss; AREA RUG & BEDDING: Elte MKT
Sources: BEDROOM: WOOD FLOORING: Wood floors by JBW; WINDOWS: Dundas Wood Windows & Specialties Inc.; BED & NIGHT TABLES: Objets Mecaniques, Montreal; NIGHT TABLE WALL SCONCES: Cedar & Moss; AREA RUG & BEDDING: Elte MKT

FIXTURES & FINISHES

Black is repeated in flat-finish faucets, sconces, hardware and accessories, while small hits of on-trend brassy golds add a touch of sophisticated glamour. A mauve-tinted print above the door complements the natural orange hues of the walnut cabinetry.

Large-format black porcelain tiles, which make a dramatic statement in the shower enclosure, are as practical as they are pretty. “They don’t have to be sealed. And we used them with a linear drain, which means you can almost disguise the drain,” says Venalainen.

Two-by six-inch subway tiles were wrapped seamlessly across the wall beyond the shower stall. “It makes the space look bigger because there is no visual interruption,” explains Venalainen. They were laid in a horizontal grid pattern, which the designer thinks produces a more contemporary feel than a conventional brick configuration. Inside the shower, a niche offers space-saving perches for shampoo, soap and other accessories.

PRO DESIGN-BUILD

For her clients, the renovation process proved to be as uncomplicated as the finished design, says Venalainen. That, she insists, is one of the benefits of the design-build model, which sees a project though from start to finish.

“It’s a big advantage,” she says. “There are always things that come up during a reno. But I think in the design-build model, issues get identified faster. And there’s no finger pointing— all the focus is on problem-solving as part of a team.”


NOW TRENDING

CLASSIC BLACK

The crisp black of Delta’s Zura faucet is softened by its gentle curves.

deltafaucet.ca

SEXY SINKS

Graphic designs, so popular in floor treatments, are also showing up in sinks. Here, Kohler’s finely detailed Caravan Persia pattern on its Conical Bell vessel bathroom sink.

kohler.ca

TONE AND TEXTURE

Stand-alone tubs act as architectural elements in larger, luxurious bathrooms. Here, DXV’s free-standing soaking tub and bridge, shown with the tub filler faucet from its Modulus collection, which launches this fall, is framed by a textured wall. Design by Michele Alfano.

dxv.com

PRETTY PATTERNS

Lava is a curvy geometric pattern from Walker Zanger’s Stardust collection, which pays homage to 1970s interior design and is made from glazed basalt, or lava stone, a core element of the earth.

walkerzanger.com

SOPHISTICATED WATER FEATURES

A flush-mounted pendant rain-can showerhead from Brizo’s Litze collection includes four shower arm lengths—measuring four-, six-, eight-, and 10- inches—that can be adjusted during installation.

brizo.com


Vicky Sanderson, our resident Better Living Expert, freelance columnist on all things home, is a self-professed opinionista with an impressive portfolio of publications from coast to coast. Follow her on Twitter: @ATHwithVicky Instagram: @athwithvicky. For more information aroundthehouse.ca.



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Can Modern be Traditional?

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Can Modern be Traditional?

Written by: Shelanne Jennings-Augustine of Dockside Magazine

Taking style concepts to a whole new level

Tranquility, simplicity and elegance: they’re three words that most of us would love to use when describing our homes. But in reality, many of us are struggling to find the right style that can transcend both time and trends.

Streamlining and simplifying your style choice while keeping some character can have a profound impact on our state of mind and ultimate look. And more and more designers are applying that wisdom to the fixtures and furnishings in our homes, rejecting singular design ideals for a more accurate reflection of our hybrid-styled lives.

“We all want to come home to a space that makes us feel at ease,” says Rick Cooke, manager of The Water Closet. “Kitchen and bath suppliers are taking note of that.”

You don’t need to live in a designer’s home to take advantage of this trend: from Delta to American Standard, the best plumbing fixture manufacturers offer modern yet traditional designs that can be used in any home, no matter its style.

Crisp lines

Whether using hard, straight edges or a concept that’s completely curved, transitional designs often rely on striking shapes, rather than patterns and loud colour schemes, to make an impact.

“When you’re remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, these blended designs are a great way to go,” says Rick. “They simplify the space without making it boring, while fitting most design styles.”

For those leaning towards the straight-edged, hard-lined look, Rick suggests looking for fixtures like the Ara tub filler by Delta.

“The Ara Line is all about architectural simplicity,” says Rick. “They have very simple handles and open-trough spouts, and can be ordered in a number of finishes.”

For those who prefer rounded silhouettes, Rick suggests freestanding fixtures, like the Florence tub by Produits Neptune, that allow their shape to shine. “The Florence tub features luxurious lines and a lower basin that makes getting in and out an ease, while offering a modern and minimalistic look.”

A new line available at The Water Closet, DXV’s Oak Hill collection, encompasses both sharp edges and rounded silhouettes perfectly and ties in the latest must-have Satin Brass finish.

“This new DXV luxury line really answers all types of design needs with its four distinct design movements — Classical, Golden Era, Modern and Contemporary — that can be used separately or mixed together,” says Nick Nano, showroom representative with The Water Closet. “It really is a fun line that we’re proud to carry.”

Natural elements

If you’re intrigued by the simplicity of modernity but aren’t willing to give up traditional designs completely, consider one of the many modern looks that are accessorized with wooden details.

“Brizo has a beautiful modern line called LITZE that’s available in chrome and teakwood,” says Rick. “It’s an unlikely pairing but the combination of the warm teak with the cold, smooth chrome looks amazing.”

For the texture of wood without the warm tone, Rick suggests looking for products that feature muted, cool wooden tones.

“One of my favourites is the Park Central vanity by Fairmont Designs,” says Rick. It’s a white and chrome structured vanity with muted wooden drawer fronts. “The wood is almost grey, but it adds texture and depth to the unit.”

Simplicity

If you’re not ready to change your already traditional style, but want to add modernity to your master bath, the easiest way is to look at plumbing and bath features that make life easier.

“Take the ActiClean toilet by American Standard,” says Rick. “It has a clean, crisp design, but it also features technology that keeps it clean, so you don’t have to.”

The toilet is equipped with a cleaning cartridge that releases a powerful cleaning liquid into the bowl whenever the toilet’s cleaning system is activated.

“No one likes to clean the toilet,” says Rick. “With the ActiClean, you really don’t have to. Just press a button and it’s done. It’s a whole other level of luxury.”

thewatercloset@desco.ca  www.WaterCloset.ca

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