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Kitchen reno on a budget? We show you how!

Kitchen reno on a budget? We show you how!

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Kitchen reno on a budget? We show you how!

I was consulted to help figure out how to best spend a client’s modest budget, wisely, on a kitchen reno, while accomplishing a new look. She wanted to replace her cupboards for more efficient storage. After an honest appraisal and a critical eye, I could see that it wasn’t, entirely, necessary. We didn’t even need to paint them. What was needed was far less expensive and easier to do. We needed to lighten the space up and be creative with functionality. The overall footprint of the kitchen was good, so just a few adjustments to the cupboards were necessary. By adding gliding shelf solutions within the cabinets, we were able to solve the efficiency issue and added extra storage on a budget. Not having to do a full demolition of the existing kitchen put money back into the budget for what needed doing, and splurging on the key elements.

Changing out the countertops was mandatory. We needed to lighten up the space to make it feel more open, and to balance off the darkness of the cabinet colour. We chose Caesarstone‘s Empira White marble quartz, because of its classical white base with deep grey (almost black) veins to accent and tie in with the cabinet colour. This countertop modernized the kitchen, plus it’s durable and easy to clean.

This kitchen also needed a new backsplash. We chose a simple, white bevelled edged subway tile for its elegance and simplicity. Because it’s timeless and classic, it won’t go out of style. By using larger tiles, we maintained clean lines, but the tapered edge offered deluxe detailing.

The custom range hood became the focal point of this space. We removed the small (useless) cabinet above the metal range hood. By making it white, it pulled the colour scheme together. And, in keeping with the white of the backsplash and countertops, it added to the openness of the space as soon as the valance was removed.

A Whirlpool, black stainless-steel kitchen suite provided continuity in this kitchen. I love to match cabinet colours and appliances whenever I can. By making your appliances blend into the colours of the kitchen gives the illusion of a larger space, because your eye doesn’t bounce to the contrast of the cabinets and appliances. Plus, the appliances are fingerprint resistant, which helps keep things looking sleek and fresh with minimal upkeep.

A counter-depth refrigerator made the space more open and accessible. On top of that, the French door option allowed for more clearance when the door was open, which made it easier to have two people in the kitchen at once.

While the kitchen used to have a microwave stand to the right of the range, replacing it with a custom wine rack to the cupboards, was more visually appealing. The microwave was tucked out of sight and utilized a wasted corner.

Having new appliances instantly updated the kitchen. The bells and whistles on these appliances are amazing, and so functional The refrigerator is one of my favourites. Its pantry-inspired layout, with an infinity slide shelf, which allows for extra room for tall items. The range has a touchscreen. It learns, adapts and suggests customized presets based on your family’s routine – perfect for my client and her family of four. Finally, the dishwasher has a third level rack space, so that they can make extra room for those hard-to-fit items and large kitchen utensils.

Wanting to maintain the visual continuity, I selected an under-mount sink. Coupled with a black faucet, the visual ascetics are modern and clean, and is in keeping with the colour scheme.

I removed the closed cabinets to modernize the look. By tiling that whole wall, and adding the natural wood tone of the shelving, it created an up-to-date, open look. We wanted to replace the tan floor tiles, but the cost, timing and mess didn’t warrant it. Instead, I used the shelves, chairs and accessories to tie in the colour, making the floor seem more purposeful. The addition of natural wood helped to ground the space and add an organic feel to the design.

While we were able to use the cupboards, the hardware had to go. The new brass handles were the perfect accents, along with a matching pendant light over the sink. I would have liked to include pendant lighting all around the kitchen, but the light locations didn’t align with the table.

An ultra-useful stand mixer in blue was perfect for this busy family, and I added accent pieces, including the dishware and a vase in a coordinating blue. Floor runners keep feet warm on cool days, add softness to a space, and can tie in colours. It’s important to buy ones that are machine washable.

This basic kitchen has been transformed into one that suits the family’s modern lifestyle. It’s great that we didn’t have to scrap the old cupboards, and could give them a new lease on life. Don’t be too quick to replace items. Sometimes a strategic update is the better way – and it can save a bundle.

Refrigerator
36-inch Wide Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator – 24 cu. ft.

Range
5.8 cu. ft. Smart Front Control Gas Range with EZ-2-Lift™ Hinged Cast-Iron Grates

Dishwasher
Stainless Steel Tub Dishwasher with Third Level Rack

HGTV Jo Alcorn is an interior and product designer for Alcorn Home, she has a full home furnishing and pet line collection displayed and sold across Canada and the U.S. She is known for her clean line savvy design concepts.


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Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s Scott Disick puts his house on the market

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Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s Scott Disick puts his house on the market

Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s Scott Disick now has his own spin-off on E!, Flip it Like Disick. In addition, he recently put this example of his new house flipping business on the market, and listed it at $6.89 million. Apparently inheriting his passion and ability from his attorney-developer grandfather, David Disick, this Hidden Hills contemporary farmhouse demonstrates Scott’s home-design talents.

Scott has been one of the main characters in the Kardashian-Jenner reality show since its beginning in 2007, now in its 17th season – one of the longest running reality shows in the country. Disick began a relationship with Kourtney Kardashian in 2006. The ups and downs in their relationship was aired in front of their fans. Over the years they had three children together, and though separated, they still co-parent and support each other. Marketing-genius Kris Jenner, who has propelled her children into fame and incredible wealth, is also the co-producer of Disick’s new show. Scheduled for eight episodes, each will be one hour in length, and include his team; singer Willa Ford, business partner Benny Luciano, contractor Miki Moor and assistant Lindsay Diamond.

Built in 1973 and undergoing a major remodel in 2007, Disick did an update that brought the two-story house into the 21st century. Having come up with several signature styles that he enjoys in his own home, Disick has used white marble on counters and walls, which in an interview with Architectural Digest, he said that it was classic and would never go out of style. Disick also uses glass pocket doors that recede into the walls, making a seamless transition to outdoor living areas. Two other of his hallmark-design ideas are to recess large televisions flush with the wall and to make use of the under-stair space for wine storage. He has brought these features into this 5,663-square-foot, five-bedroom, six-bath contemporary farmhouse, and he has used reclaimed wood in a pool pavilion as an entertainment lounge area for the infinity-edge pool, spa and outdoor cooking area. Taking full advantage of its 1.33-acre site, the house is filled with windows, light and views of lush greenery. Special features include the large open chef’s kitchen and two large master suites. The attached garage houses six vehicles with plenty of guest parking.

A number of celebrities choose the gated enclave of Hidden Hills-Calabasas, such as Drake, Will Smith, Katie Holmes, LeAnn Rimes, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears and, of course, all the Kardashians, Jenners and Disick. This popular star haven was also featured in the sitcom Hidden Hills that ran for the 2002-2003 season.

After being involved in many business ventures, Disick has found his own successful niche. He has put this classic contemporary farmhouse on the market. Priced at $6.89 million, the listing agents are Kozet Luciano and Andre Manoukian of The Agency, Beverly Hills.

Photo Credit: The Agency


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Winter-ready maintenance tips

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Winter-ready maintenance tips

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association that represents power equipment, small engine, utility vehicle, golf cart and personal transport vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI offers maintenance tips for preparing for upcoming seasonal changes.

“Doing good maintenance in the fall means that your lawn mower will be in ready when spring arrives and you are eager to tackle landscaping projects,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI. “As you get ready for winter, now is also the time to do snow thrower and generator maintenance. You should also review safe handling procedures, so you know how to use your equipment and are ready when snow falls.”

  1. Re-familiarize yourself with how to handle your equipment safely, along with any maintenance needs. If you lost your manual, you can usually find it online. Save a copy so that you can consult it when needed.
  2. Before storing equipment that you won’t need during the winter months, clean and service it yourself or take it to a small engine repair shop. Drain and change engine oil, then safely dispose of old oil. Service the air filter, and do other maintenance activities as directed by your service manual. Check all winter equipment to see what maintenance and repairs are required.
  3. Handle fuel properly. Unused gas that’s left in gas tanks over the winter can go stale. It can even damage your equipment. Before you store your equipment, add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank, and then run the equipment to distribute it. Turn the engine off, allow the machine to cool, then restart and run until the gas tank is empty. For winter equipment, be sure that you use the fuel that your manufacturer recommends. Most outdoor power equipment is designed, built and warranted to run on 10 per cent, or less, ethanol fuel.
  4. If your equipment has a battery, remove and fully charge it before storing. It’s important that batteries are not stored on metal shelves or touching metal objects. Store the battery on a plastic, or wood, shelf in a climate-controlled structure.
  5. Store your spring and summer equipment in a clean and dry place, such as a garage, barn or shed. Winter equipment should be kept away from the elements, but be easily accessible for use when needed. Always keep your outdoor power equipment out of the reach of children and pets.
  6. Clear the paths the are regularly used in your yard, especially during the winter months, and put away warm weather items. Clear space in your garage and basement (before the weather changes), so that you have room to store larger yard items, like patio furniture, umbrellas and summer toys.
  7. Familiarize yourself with your winter equipment and make sure that you know how to turn the machine on and off the machine, along with safe handling procedures.
  8. Buy the type of fuel that is recommended by the manufacturer no more than 30 days before required. You should use fuel with no more than 10 per cent ethanol in outdoor power equipment. Also, fuel goes stale and will need to be replaced if you have not used it within a month. Use a fuel stabilizer, if recommended by your manufacturer.
  9. Keep heavy duty, weatherproof extension cords on hand for your generator.

 

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All in the Family – with multi-generational homes

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All in the Family – with multi-generational homes

Photography by Ben Rahn

Multi-generational homes are typically defined as those in which three or more generations live under the same roof; however, the structure of these homes can vary considerably, with some families choosing to renovate and other families deciding to purchase new-builds specifically designed for multi-generational living.

What’s old is new again

Despite the rash of recent media publicity, multi-generational homes are certainly nothing new, and it may be more precise to say that they are experiencing a renaissance. In fact, prior to the second World War, multi-generational living was the norm in many North American households, and it was only in the 1950s and ’60s that young adults began moving out at 19 or 20, never to return. Moreover, in many parts of the world, especially in Southern European and South-Asian countries, multi-generational households are common, if not the norm.

Contributing factors and a ‘fun’ fact

In Canada, multi-generational living arrangements are among the fastest growing household type, with the 2016 Census showing a 37.5 per cent increase in the number of multi-generational households since 2001. There are several factors contributing to their increasing popularity including: the rising cost of detached homes and lack of inventory (AKA “the housing crisis”), Canada’s changing ethnocultural composition, the delayed marriage pattern, and longer life expectancy, with seniors 65+ outnumbering children for the first time since Canada began recording such facts.

Not surprisingly, the demand for multi-generational homes is greater in high-priced housing markets such as Vancouver and Toronto. Fun fact: Toronto recently came 12th in a ranking of the world’s most expensive places to live, according to a new report by the CBRE that analyzed housing and rental prices for 35 major cities around the world. Architects and homebuilder associations are taking note of the increased demand for multi-generational homes. According to Calgary’s Smarter Growth Initiative, “The building industry is seeing a trend in multi-generational housing across Canada.” Builders and architects are therefore adapting floor plans and certain design elements have become selling points for this growing market.

An award-winning multi-generational masterpiece

The Toronto-based architect and design firm, Williamson Williamson Inc. has noticed the increased demand for multi-generational houses. Their third multi-generational home was completed in November 2016, and is a stunning home located in Ancaster, Ontario. This contemporary home is situated on a wide lot backing onto Ancaster Creek and was awarded a prestigious Ontario Association of Architects award.

The home was designed to connect with the land and echoes its natural surroundings with a local material palette of wood and stone. The exterior is clad in 3-1/2″ thick locally sourced Algonquin limestone. Plentiful, oversized windows reflect the serenity of the wooded lot and provide abundant natural light and expansive views. The upper parts of the home are clad in milled cedar boards, which contrast beautifully with the clean, linear modern esthetic.

Design for the Ages

The home also incorporates sustainable systems and accommodations for the homeowners’ elderly parents, proving that multi-generational housing and modern luxury are not mutually exclusive.

A fully equipped ground-floor suite

As with most multi-generational homes, this home was conceived as two separate residences. The parents’ suite is situated on the ground floor (so that they don’t have to contend with the stairs), and is fully equipped with a master bedroom, living and dining space, and even an extra bedroom and bathroom should live-in help become necessary at some point in the future.

Safety First

Carefully considered added features include well-placed drains and a master power switch, which were implemented to mitigate the issues that come with memory loss, such as a sink left running or an oven left on. An induction cooktop was selected because the burners don’t generate heat, and the cooktop both cooks and cools faster than conventional burners. Wide corridors benefit from bright lighting so that the parents can easily navigate between rooms with higher lumen counts in the bathroom and kitchen areas.

Shared living spaces

As is common in most multi-generational homes, the spacious ground floor also has shared living spaces. The modern kitchen features a 20-foot-tall pyramidal ceiling, back-painted glass, polished Calacatta slabs, and a large oak island, making it the perfect place for the entire family to convene.

The dining and living room are also communal spaces, with a honed travertine fireplace built into a feature oak wall, and a statement wood-clad spiral staircase that connects the living room to the second floor, where the homeowners have their private suite.

Upper-floor private retreat

The clean, modern esthetic continues upstairs with the master bedroom where the emphasis is on the floor-to-ceiling windows, which offer up the best views of the creek. The serene master bath is clad in grey marble tiles, and a custom oak library doubles as an office. Even better, the homeowners have their own private lounge with a concealed bar, perfect for one-on-one time.

Energy-efficient and eco-conscious design

With multi-generational homes, it’s important to have energy-efficient HVAC systems, and this Ancaster home doesn’t disappoint. The envelope of the house is highly insulated with triple-pane wood-frame windows. A high-efficiency furnace reduces the reliance on floor heating in the colder months, and a 37 module 9.8 kW solar array was installed across two of the flat roofs, offsetting energy consumption. LED lighting is also used throughout the home. Collectively, these measures result in a low-energy, eco-conscious home.

A smart solution with multiple benefits

As lifespans and housing prices continue to rise, multi-generational housing will provide a smart solution for families willing to embrace it. In fact, as long as privacy and autonomy are preserved, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks: close familial relationships, live-in caregivers for the young and the aged, and, of course, the pooling of financial resources. It doesn’t get much better than this – especially when you have the means to customize a beautiful home like this Ancaster Creek stunner.

For those who are considering this lifestyle but are constrained by more restrictive budgets, a great option is the FlezHouz by Marshall Homes, with a base price of $1.6 million. Essentially, the FlezHouz is a large house with a smaller independent house contained inside it. Make no mistake, these homes are well planned and constructed, and have been selling out fast since 2018, when an enterprising GTA builder named Craig Marshall foresaw the need for multi-generational housing in the high-priced Toronto market.


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Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch back on the market – again

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Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch back on the market – again

Photo credit: Compass

Michael Jackson died 10 years ago on June 25, 2009, and many people around the world commemorated his death by listening to his hit songs and watching his iconic music videos. They celebrated his astronomical career by remembering his early performances as part of The Jackson 5, replaying interviews, and watching documentaries like This Is It that shows the work that went into organizing his last concert, which sadly he never got the chance to perform.

Also remembered is his beloved Neverland Ranch, where he lived from 1987 until 2006. This was where he was finally able to experience childhood, having never had that luxury as part of the hard-working, family-singing group The Jackson 5.

Two years after his death, Neverland was put on the market for $100 million, but never sold. Today, restored at great expense to resemble the original ranch it was when Michael purchased it, the estate is back on the market and reduced to $31 million.

In 1977, developer William Bone bought the bare acreage in Santa Barbara County in Los Olivos, California. Bone engaged an architect to design all the main structures on the property, dig the lake and landscape formal gardens. It was his own fantasy land of sorts, as he was able to design it his way rather than at the direction of his clients. It took him two years working with architect Robert Altevers to get the design to his liking. He named it the Zaca Laderas Ranch and lived there until selling it to Michael in 1987.

Michael bought the 2,700-acre ranch for about $25 million and then spent millions more to develop it into a child’s fantasy land, which he appropriately named Neverland, in reference to the Peter Pan fairy tale. The 13,000-sq.-ft. main house, formal gardens, four-acre lake with fountains and a five-foot waterfall, along with an attractive stone bridge, had already been built by Bone when Michael purchased the property.

Michael added three railroads, a petting zoo, and a full amusement park complete with nine major rides and an arcade. He also installed an electric railroad with 100-feet of track behind the house for his own children.

Neverland was Michael’s beloved home until 2006 when he was charged with child molestation, which supposedly took place at the ranch. Although he was acquitted, the association of so much negativity with the ranch made it difficult for him to continue living there. Except for caretakers, the ranch was closed.

By 2007, Michael was behind in payments on his loan by about $23 million and the ranch was due to go on the auction block; however, investment group Colony Capital stepped in and bought the loan, making them co-owners. In 2009, Colony began restoring the ranch by removing the zoo and amusement park and replacing them with a Zen garden. The amusement park rides are now part of Sacramento’s California State Fair.

Now, on the 10th anniversary of Michael’s death, his beloved Neverland Ranch, renamed the Sycamore Valley Ranch, has had a massive price reduction from the original $100 million to $31 million. The listing agent is Suzanne Perkins of Compass Realty, Montecito, California.


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Trend Showcase at the Canadian Furniture Show 2019

Furniture trends spotted at the Canadian Furniture Show 2019

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Furniture trends spotted at the Canadian Furniture Show 2019

This year’s Trend Showcase at the Canadian Furniture Show, held at the International Centre from May 24th to the 26th, highlighted some of the hottest trends in the retail industry in 2019.

The ’70s vibes are back in full force, and this funky design era is evident in the pattern, shape, and colour palette of many of the furniture pieces from this year’s showcase. We saw the introduction of curves in furniture last year, and this trend has continued into 2019, making for some gorgeous and interesting statement pieces.

The mixture of bold, rich colour and interesting texture is back this season – with grey and white seemingly becoming a thing of the past. We saw vibrant hues in furniture and accessories, with a more playful feel when it comes to colour, creating pieces and spaces that have a personality while packing a punch of their own.

A common theme amongst much of the furniture and decor for this season will be that of comfort and “sophisticated relaxation.” With Bohemian design and Farmhouse-Chic very on-trend, there is a sense of ‘pared-down luxury’ in everything from light fixtures to furniture and accessories. Comfort no longer equates to a lack of style, instead it consists of unique, effortless pieces where the blending of rustic, traditional, vintage, modern and chic bohemian-styles creates an elevated yet comfortable design esthetic.

Lastly, outdoor living is a focus in the furniture industry again this year, as homeowners are looking beyond the four walls of their home when it comes to design and decor. We saw many inspiring outdoor furniture pieces that are sure to add not only comfort, but also personality to the outdoor spaces this season. Strong punches of colour and pattern, woven furniture, and large-scale, comfortable pieces were all standouts in the outdoor living category.

Whether you’re looking for inspiration for an upcoming renovation, or just want a fresh, new look for your home, this year’s Trend Showcase was the perfect glimpse into what’s on point in retail for 2019-2020.


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L.A. Canal Home with Beatle Pedigree

L.A. Canal home with Beatle pedigree

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L.A. Canal home with Beatle pedigree

California hot spot, Venice Beach, has drawn celebrities, surfers, bohemians and sun worshippers since the beginning of the 20th century. Although it started out as a sedate, seaside-resort town, today it’s a whirlwind of activity, attracting those who enjoy having access to the 24/7 party atmosphere readily available right around the corner. A recent addition to the Venice Beach real estate market is the sophisticated, legendary mansion of Dhani Harrison, the son of Beatles guitarist, George Harrison., priced at $3.99 million.

Fitness aficionados

There’s never a dull moment in Venice Beach. Its wide beach attracts surfing enthusiasts, and its storied two-and-a-half-mile promenade (aptly called the Ocean Front Walk) attracts tourists from all over the world, drawn by its vendors, art, and quirky performers.

While today it’s mostly known for its surfing culture, Muscle Beach Venice was largely responsible for the booming interest in weight training, which began in the 1950s, and the Vic Tanny gym chain was also founded in Venice.

Likewise, beach sports gained huge popularity on Venice Beach from handball courts, volleyball, paddle tennis, a bike trail and a skate-dancing pavillion. After a day spent at the beach, there is a lively Venice nightlife offering an array of upscale restaurants, bars, art galleries and shops for every taste, interest and pocketbook.

Venetian inspiration

Originally called the Venice of America, due to the drainage canals dug in the 1920s by the town’s original developer, tobacco-baron Abbott Kinney, a wide-range of plush residences line the canals today, as was Kinney’s original goal. Many are used as year-round homes and others are used primarily as vacation getaways.

Celebrity home featured in Architectural Digest

Musician Dhani Harrison has recently decided to sell his glamorous canal home, which enjoys sunrise views from the rear balcony, and sunset views from the west, 360-degree views from the rooftop terrace and water views from the canal-side terrace and decks. Measuring in at 2,826 sq. ft., the two-bedroom, three-bath home has an open-floor plan with soaring 15-ft. ceilings. Second-level glass walls and open first-floor ceilings bathe the interior with sunlight, as does the large skylight above the wide spiral staircase. Updated in a crisp contemporary style, the home offers multiple choices for entertaining on all three levels and was recently appeared in Architectural Digest.

Like father, like son

Dhani, the only child of George and Olivia Harrison, has been writing and singing professionally since 2001. He has completed a number of albums, and since 2013 has been composing film scores with his writing partner Paul Hicks. They have written the scores for Netflix’s Dogs and HBO’s four-part documentary series The Case Against Adnan Syed. He has recently decided to sell his Venice home, priced at $3.99 million with co-listing agents, Nicholas Sandler and Bennett Hirsch of The Agency, Beverly Hills.

Photo Credit: The Agency


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DDA Canada 2019 Decorating & Design Competition Gala

DDA Canada 2019 Decorating & Design Competition Gala

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DDA Canada 2019 Decorating & Design Competition Gala

Decorators, designers and suppliers from across Canada gathered in Toronto on May 3rd for DDA Canada’s 2019 Awards Gala. The high-energy gala at the Grande Luxe Event Boutique included a giveaway of $6,800 in cash prizes and was hosted by celebrity designer, Glen Peloso.

DDA National Chair, Andria Cowan Molyneaux and designer, Glen Peloso entertain the audience.
DDA National Chair, Andria Cowan Molyneaux and designer, Glen Peloso entertain the audience.

The highlight of the gala was the unveiling of the 2019 Decorating & Design Competition winners. Contestants in 14 categories included both DDA Canada’s accredited and student members. Submissions are evaluated by a jury of industry peers from across the country who evaluate the projects based on complexity, concept, materials and functionality, among other criteria.

Attendees were captivated as videos of each winning project described the planning and thought behind the design. The videos were punctuated by applause as the designers accepted their awards. In all, 38 awards, including six student awards, were presented:

Pinnacle Award – People’s Choice for the best interior decorating project
Katherine Porath, Katherine Joy Interiors

Pinnacle Award winner Kathryn Porath (left) accepts the People's Choice award from Tanya Watters of the category's sponsor, Canadian Appliance Source.
Pinnacle Award winner Kathryn Porath (left) accepts the People’s Choice award from Tanya Watters of the category’s sponsor, Canadian Appliance Source.

Student, General, sponsored by Budget Blinds & Tailored Living
Gold – Suzanne Chenard
Silver – Vivian Mai Thao
Bronze – Bhoomi Patel

Student, Universal Kitchen or Bath, sponsored by Living in Place Network
Gold – Vivian Mai Thao
Silver – Suzanne Chenard
Bronze – Pukar Risal

Bathroom under $30K, sponsored by Ceragres
Gold – Rotem Golan, Ace of Space Interiors
Silver – Kim Purvis, Aurora Décor
Bronze – Adolphina Karachok & Leanne Tammaro, DesignTheory

Bathroom over $30K, sponsored by BainUltra
Gold – Lisa Frahm, Frahm Interiors
Silver – Svetlana Tryaskina, Estee Design

Kitchen under $50K, sponsored by Distinctive
Gold – Adolphina Karachok & Leanne Tammaro, DesignTheory
Silver – Rotem Golan, Ace of Space Interiors
Bronze – Robin Boles, Robin Interiors

Kitchen over $50K, sponsored by Caplan’s Appliances
Gold – Svetlana Tryaskina, Estee Design
Silver – Nancy Lem, Nancy Lem Design
Bronze – Gabriele Pizzale, Pizzale Design Inc.

Universal Kitchen or Bath, sponsored by Living in Place Network
Gold – Katherine Porath, Katherine Joy Interiors
Silver – Andria Cowan & Katie Golec, ACM Designs

Commercial, sponsored by ProSource Toronto
Gold – Sascha Lafleur, West of Main
Silver – Lana McIver, Interior Design Group
Bronze – Heddy Bing, Urban Spaces Design

Challenging Budget under $10K, sponsored by Glen Dimplex
Gold – Elena Gouchtchina, Maison Interiors
Silver – Rida Fatima Wasim, Rida Interiors
Bronze – Katie Golec, ACM Designs

Interior Decorating, no construction, $10 – $45K, sponsored by Sherwin Williams
Gold – Marisa Lupo & Luisa Maringola, Lumar Interiors
Silver – Marisa Lupo & Luisa Maringola, Lumar Interiors
Bronze – Patti Wilson, Patti Wilson Design Inc.

Interior Decorating under $45K, sponsored by Caesarstone
Gold – Gabriele Pizzale, Pizzale Design Inc.
Silver – Katherine Porath, Katherine Joy Interiors
Bronze – Lindsay Wolfe-Assaf, The Home Stylist

Interior Decorating $45 – $100K, sponsored by Stylish Fireplaces & Interiors
Gold – Gabriele Pizzale, Pizzale Design Inc.
Silver – Marisa Lupo & Luisa Maringola, Lumar Interiors
Bronze – Margaret Struthers, Margaret Struthers Interiors

Interior Decorating over $100K, sponsored by Cosentino
Gold – Svetlana Tryaskina, Estee Design
Silver – Sascha Lafleur, West of Main
Bronze – Patti Wilson, Patti Wilson Design Inc.

“This national competition is a wonderful showcase of the world-class work being done by our members,” said Mary Dancey, co-chair of awards for DDA Canada. “Each year we receive more and more entries. The competition this year was fierce — the winners should be very proud of their achievement!”

The annual competition sponsored by several DDA Canada affiliate partners including the Ontario Design Trade Sourcebook will begin accepting entries again in fall 2019.


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The Selby

The Selby sets a new design standard for luxury rental living

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The Selby sets a new design standard for luxury rental living

Photos courtesy of Tricon Capital Group

When it comes to interior design inspiration, there are the usual go-to sources we rely on when we are thinking of renovating or renewing our living spaces. The various HGTV shows, design magazines and blogs, Pinterest, boutique hotels, or perhaps, an actual, newly renovated home of a friend or relative you just visited set the inspiration wheels in motion. There are endless resources for the homeowner, but there is one place we don’t typically consider to look when dreaming and planning our refreshed spaces: rental suites…yes, rental suites.

The tables have turned

The Selby by Tricon House, is the first in a series of upscale, purpose-built rental apartment buildings that will spatter across Toronto’s downtown core. There are a few in the works, (57 Spadina Avenue in the city’s fashion district and Scrivener Square in Rosedale/Summerhill), with The Selby debuting in The Six last year in late November. Located at 25 Selby, it is set to redefine rental living with luxury apartments bordering the neighbourhoods of South Rosedale and Cabbagetown. Up until now, renters may have looked longingly to the various design options offered to homeowners (budget-permitting, of course) to totally transform their interiors. But now homeowners who are ready to upgrade their abodes, can find inspiration by the sophisticated design of this unique rental property in the heart of the city.

Raising the bar

The 50-storey tower offers suites featuring high-end finishes and appliances. “Thoughtfully designed and appointed purpose-built rental apartments have been a mainstay housing option in U.S. cities for years, says Gary Berman, president and CEO of Tricon Capital Group. “We are leveraging our experience in the U.S. and Canada to bring a new type of rental offering to Toronto. Our goal is to create communities that reflect the changing needs of a world-class city, to deliver buildings of exceptional quality, and to set the bar for a new type of city living.” All 502 apartments are meticulously edited to maximize space, curated with high-quality materials, which provide both a sumptuous and comforting feel. They partnered with notable brands and talented designers to offer this unparalleled environment with impeccable artistic details to bring their vision to fruition.

It takes a village

Starting with the kitchens and bathrooms, The Selby set their sights on a beloved lifestyle brand from Italy. “Tricon House paid very special attention to the design details and who they partnered with, and they chose to partner with Scavolini,” says Horia Gruia, president of Scavolini Toronto. The family-run, Italy-based company is the leader in kitchen design for over 50 years, and the company has been in Toronto for 15 years. It was the natural choice to build the luxury kitchens for all of The Selby’s one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, which also feature quartz countertops from Caesarstone. A household name in Italy, where houses are sold without a kitchen, and homeowners must furnish all the cabinets and appliances in their home, “this is the first foray in the rental market for Scavolini,” confirms Gruia, and the modular nature of the design allows for easy installation as well.

The Sax kitchen reveal

The Scavolini Sax kitchen was personalized and premiered in Canada at The Selby. It comes in two colour palettes: one light and one dark. The light scheme is comprised of Batista Oak and Mist Grey; the darker scheme is Calicoat Oak and Graphite Grey. The Sax is a combination of cross-wood texture in a matte finish, a modern, minimalist design with hardware on base cabinets only, not on the upper cabinets. The colour scheme was selected to reflect a distinctive, yet cohesive design esthetic from floor to floor of the building. “There are five or six layout kitchen designs in the building, but one floor has one colour scheme and the next floor will have the other,” informs Gruia. Sounds like a checkerboard or the perfect Instagram feed. All kitchens include a breakfast bar, stainless-steel appliances, induction stove, dishwasher, (and a wine fridge!), a stunning wall unit and matching accessories.

Preserving history

Award-winning and internationally recognized Toronto designer, Johnson Chou, was Tricon’s pick to design the suites, main lobby, including the common spaces for residents housed in the exquisite 150-year-old Gooderham mansion, which once was the dwelling of Ernest Hemingway when he wrote for the Toronto Star. This historical Toronto treasure was moved and lovingly restored for the project, and it now stands adjacent to the building for residents to enjoy the building’s amenities, which among others, include a 3,500-square-foot fitness centre, spa, and bistro, bar and lounge by Oliver & Bonacini.

Design authority

“We worked very hard to give designer Johnson Chou a profound understanding of what Tricon House meant and he successfully translated our brand esthetic in design,” says Chief Marketing Officer at Tricon House, Alexandra Blum. “For The Selby, it was a mixture of the vibrant geographical area, honouring the past and incorporating a very layered interior design, like rich caramel leather sofas in the mansion, cow-hide back chairs and a stunning copper chandelier in the lobby.”

Elevated lifestyle

The suites include oversized windows, which allow for plenty of sunlight, and walk-in closets with organizers that are conveniently located in between the master bedroom and bathroom. But beyond the design considerations, The Selby is about creating communites and mixed-use spaces. Blum believes that the design is just part of the formula that elevates lifestyle. “We put people first, and creating a sense of belonging is needed more than ever in this technology-obsessed, always-connected world.

As homeowners, I won’t elaborate on the impressive amenities and amazing city views of the Rosedale Valley for residents, we don’t want to incite rental envy as we busy ourselves with that unrelenting house maintenance checklist. It is nice to know though if life circumstances change, we can trade in our property for a rental suite without sacrificing high-quality design, and an added sense of community to bout!

Pièce de resistance

Back to design. Blum extols the importance of art, as a collector and as an experience. Seen as an essential element to enhance spaces, Tricon House partnered with EyeBuyArt, a local initiative, which offers residents access to a curated collection of beautiful works of art at accessible prices. They start at $250. “Tricon invested in art pieces for the lobby, mansion and spa, and we wanted to extend that to our residents at an affordable price point for their homes,” says Blum. A budget-conscious initiative in luxury rental is a nice touch. So perhaps for your next renovation or home improvement project, you can tear a page from the latest Toronto luxury rental suites for some design inspiration. Tried-and-true design, quality materials mixed in with some save-splurge decisions are what reno dreams are made of — no matter where you live.

Inspired by beauty in all its forms, Toronto-based RENO & DECOR editor Silvana Longo loves exploring current and upcoming design trends, or planning her next trip to Europe for more inspiration. writerbydesign.ca

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Lighten Your Laundry Load

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Lighten Your Laundry Load

As a productivity coach, my mission is to help people have more fun while getting things done, and laundry is no exception. In my holistic model for sustainable performance, Productivity CPR™, the R stands for Ritual. Why ritual? Because I think the word ritual can give a sense of honour to what can often be perceived as mundane.

Laundry never stops, so if we’re going to have to take care of it, I like to encourage ways to make it a lot less onerous. Read on to find ways you might even find yourself enjoying it!

Shift your mindset

Whether it be processing receipts or doing laundry, a task that one finds tedious can be elevated with careful thought. Think of your clothing as a tool to help you do what you want to do and to help you make the impression you want to make in the world. Doing laundry then becomes taking care of the clothes that take care of you. This shift in perspective can elevate laundry from a mundane task to an act of love and honour.

Fit laundry in virtually anywhere

If space is tight, in a spot only 24” wide, you can install the ventless, Smart All-In-One Washer and Dryer from Whirlpool, which as it sounds includes both the washer and the dryer in one machine! Not only does it save space, you don’t have to worry about switching clothes from the washer to the dryer. It also saves you time with its high-capacity dispenser, which holds up to 20 loads worth of laundry detergent. With the new Whirlpool app you can turn it on from anywhere. This allows you to start a load while waiting for your daughter to hit the ice at hockey practice and track progress while away.

Simplifying the process

Whenever you go into the laundry room typically your hands are full. What better way to make the laundry process even more seamless than to have a touchless light switch? Just walk into the room and the light switches on for you. It’s simple things like this that can help ease the chore of this everyday task. The Home Depot Canada has several options to choose from.

Keep collection easy

Make sure you have an easy way to gather laundry anywhere it collects. Bedrooms or a shared bathroom are ideal spots and there are a variety of sizes and shapes to fit any space. A corner unit is fun in a kid’s room if you want to make tossing laundry in the hamper a fun way to get kids involved in the process. Hampers now come in a wide range of finishes as well so you can find something to blend in with your decor. The handles on the hamper shown here make it easier to carry. I love the wide variety of options at Neatfreak.

Hang darks and delicates to dry

A foldable, yet very sturdy rack in narrower than usual dimensions means you can tuck drying laundry into a smaller space, and possible even out of sight. This rack from Canadian Tire is strong enough to hold not only clothes on the bars themselves as you would expect, but clothes on hangers along the edges as well increasing drying capacity.

Give yourself a treat

If you’re like me, in the winter months, your skin is dry. Add water, laundry and cleaning to the list and you have a recipe for dry, cracked skin. Why not have a luxurious salve on hand to use while doing the laundry, especially after any hand-washing, to keep your skin feeling soft and smooth? Made in Canada, from 80 per cent organic ingredients, toxin-free DermaCare Skin Salve from eScential Wellness will make you feel like you’re loving yourself a little bit and there’s nothing like given yourself a little love after some hard work.

Productivity Catalyst Clare Kumar inspires and guides busy people to live more organized, productive, healthy and fulfilling lives. As a Certified Executive Coach, productivity expert, experienced professional organizer, and mom of teens, she is excited to help others achieve sustainable performance and reach their potential.

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