Tag Archives: Jane Lockhart Interior Design

Beyond a bathroom

Beyond a bathroom

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Beyond a bathroom

Photos by Larry Arnal

What used to be a mere closet in homes a century ago has now emerged as one of the most important rooms in our home. It’s the humble, functional bathroom. But, beyond sheer utility, the bathroom can also be, dare I say, beautiful. Afterall, why have a merely functional space when you can make it a “go-to” destination?

Even an upgrade in taps, faucets and towel holders can transform a bathroom beautifully. Here, all the hardware is in a burnished gold colour.
Even an upgrade in taps, faucets and towel holders can transform a bathroom beautifully. Here, all the hardware is in a burnished gold colour.

As a result of spending more time at home these days, we are taking another look at the potential of our greatest asset – the home itself. Does it work well if we’re all at home, all the time? Do we stay and renovate, move, build or just stay put? As a result, we’re seeing bathroom renovations on the rise.

Whether it’s adding a second bathroom, a powder room or renovating your main bathroom, function and accommodation are top of mind. It’s a smart idea; bathroom upgrades are a sensible investment whether you plan to stay in your home for years to come or sell. It’s the second highest return for your renovating dollar, after kitchens.

Designers have the privilege of hearing what people want in their homes, first-hand. We share our findings with new-home builders, developers and homeowners. What’s new? What are we learning? That the powder room is the first line of defense when it comes to a healthy home.

Steam showers are an upgrade many people are asking for as they bring the gym experience home.
Steam showers are an upgrade many people are asking for as they bring the gym experience home.

With today’s added emphasis on hygiene, a main floor powder room is now more important than ever. Now, when you enter your home it may be the first room you visit for a good hand-scrubbing, a quick refresh after removing your mask, or the usual reason to visit. It’s part of the routine transitioning from the outside world.

Family bathrooms have already seen changes over the past several years. Upgrades such as double sinks and larger vanities with plenty of storage are always on the request list. Two sinks can mean twice as much cleaning, but today, having two sinks can be helpful and promote good health – especially if one person spends more time outside the home.

Clients are still asking for separate showers and free-standing bathtubs. This isn’t a new idea, but now we’re seeing there are at least two notions this provides. A shower can offer quick function – get clean, get out. A free-standing tub, on the other hand, is considered a great wellness tool. A place to unwind, relax, regenerate. It speaks to how important wellness has come to the forefront in our homes today.

Stand-alone tubs make an elegant statement. Also consider larger format tile, less grout, less chance for germs and less cleaning.
Stand-alone tubs make an elegant statement. Also consider larger format tile, less grout, less chance for germs and less cleaning.

The spa experience isn’t a luxury anymore. We can incorporate multiple shower heads, wands and safety features such as thermostatic taps into most showers. Presets of different pulses offer the soothing effects of hydrotherapy. Pair that with the colour-washing and flowing LED lights of chromotherapy and you have potential mood-boosting for mind, body and spirit.

As most Finns know, steam is a great stress reliever. It’s also known to improve circulation, help you breathe better, sooth sore muscles and relax joints. With the help of professional renovators, a new digital control panel and new doors, most showers can be converted to steam showers.

Your bathroom serves you in many ways, and let’s face it, we spend a fair bit of time in there. Why not make it beautiful?

Designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, Jane Lockhart is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of design and colour.

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Measuring up, contractor renovates a home for his parents

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Measuring up, contractor renovates a home for his parents

At a stage where many empty nesters choose to downsize from a house to a condo, Chris O’Hanlon’s parents did the opposite. They left their modern penthouse and moved in with him. The length of their stay would be dependent upon how long it would take him to renovate his parents newly purchased 1980s suburban house. However, it wasn’t just about the length of time it would take, it had to be a high-quality renovation, because his dad is renowned community developer and builder, Patrick O’Hanlon.

Liking the easy life

Mom, Sheri, was getting used to the maintenance-free lifestyle of condo living, so when she first saw the house, she laughed. She wasn’t sure that she wanted to be looking after a yard again, or clearing a driveway of winter snow. But, the family cockapoo, Mindy, would have easy access to a backyard. Plus, this wasn’t the family’s first rodeo. They knew what was in store for them with a major renovation project.

Together, they created a vision for a warm, nature-inspired palette, with clean lines and soft textures.

And so it began

Out came the crowbars and hammers. The main floor was opened up to modernize the space and create a continuous flow throughout. Once the walls came down, a powder room was discreetly relocated beside an existing den, which was now the office.

A curved staircase dominated the foyer and the main hall. It terminated on the second floor onto a landing (unusable space), which lead to the master bedroom. A new, reconfigured staircase changed the traffic flow and made room for a second storey laundry room.

The footprint of the master bedroom was decreased to add more room to the master bathroom and to include a walk-in closet – accessed from the bathroom.

Dealing with limitations

There were aspects of the house that couldn’t be changed. For instance, the ceiling height. The standard height in the 80’s was eight feet. They got rid of the popcorn (stucco) ceiling, updated the recessed lighting and added built-in speakers throughout the main floor. They used a solid sawn white oak to update the flooring throughout the entire house. The seven-inch planks added warmth and a contemporary look.

They also opted to remove two existing gas fireplaces on the main floor. In their condo, they enjoyed the electric fireplace, because they could add heat, when needed, or just enjoy it as a cosy focal point. They nestled one into a Marmorea Series porcelain wall, surrounded by a custom-built wall unit in walnut.

Transformation completed

The original kitchen was entirely changed. A post stood right in the middle, it lacked storage and was blocked off by an awkward peninsula. The modifications were dramatic. The eat-in kitchen by the bay window was replaced by a functional island. Cabinetry was extended to the back wall, where a new window provided a view to the backyard. A 12-foot beam allowed them to get rid of the unsightly post.

Like the gas fireplaces, the gas stove was replaced with a Monogram induction cooktop and wall oven, which was reconfigured as a regular oven. Gold accents injected an upscale look in to the welcoming room.

The servery, by the new lounge area, replicated the kitchen cabinetry and provided a central area with comfy seating – designed for conversation and relaxation. Decorative trim work on the ceiling added interest and delineated the lounge area. It’s now Sheri’s favourite place to kick back and read.

A successful, six-month turnaround ensured that his parents didn’t wear out their welcome, and Chris now has his home back. That is, until they get the urge to start a new project.

Jane Lockhart, B.A.A.I.D., is a multi-award winning designer, author and television personality. Jane Lockhart Interior Design janelockhart.com

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Storybrook by Sorbara Group

Storybrook by Sorbara Group of Companies

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Storybrook by Sorbara Group of Companies

The town of Fergus is a beautiful town, filled with historical charm and modern convenience. When designing the Belsyde at Storybrook, a master-planned community of 40- and 50-ft. homes and townhomes, the builder, Sorbara, was thinking of how a family would live while loving country life but still perhaps commuting to the neighbouring cities of Guelph and Brampton. The builder thought this family would appreciate a home filled with comfort, charm and lasting beauty… something special to come home to. The style of fixtures, finishes, and furnishings are timeless, not trendy, to evoke comfort and offer colour, because life at Storybook is not restrained, or neutral; it’s charming and serene, but never colourless.

Project Name: Storybrook

Location: Fergus

Model Name: Belsyde

Product: 40-ft. detached home

Designer: Jane Lockhart Interior Design

Website: mystorybrook.com

Model Row: Features six model homes including two 50-ft. homes, two 40-ft. homes and two townhomes


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Home organization it all starts in the closet

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Home organization it all starts in the closet

Living in a decluttered home not only helps you to retrieve things with ease, but it also helps to clear your mind. The popularity of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo speaks volumes.

For some people, home organization is a methodical ritual, lovingly practiced. For others it’s a constant battle, bobbing above the waves of mounting stuff. Finding space for everything can be a problem, but it might have to do more with the way that your house, and closets, are designed.

Don’t touch it yet

When we first visit a client’s home, we ask them not to tidy up in advance. We want to see how they live, and what their house looks like when they aren’t expecting company. No one likes this request. Embarrassed glances are exchanged between the homeowners, and apologies are mumbled for the perceived mess.

It’s uncomfortable, but in order to fix it, it’s important to see how people use their space and what the issues are.

Come up with a plan

After a review of the house, we need to assess where their storage is located, how it’s used, and whether we can improve on what already exists. Post-war homes that were built between 1945 and 1965 typically had three types of closets – a linen closet with shelves, as well as an entry closet and a closet in the bedrooms with a horizontal hanging bar under a shelf. A broom closet was also common.

As designs modernized, and reflected the homeowner’s requests, we started to see pantries off the kitchen, a separate laundry/ mudroom, as well as larger closets in the bedrooms or small walk-in closets. Today, house plans maximize storage areas, but it doesn’t mean that you’ll feel organized.

WHEN PUTTING YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER, ADD CREATIVE DESIGN TO THE EQUATION, SO THAT YOU ACHIEVE ORGANIZATIONAL BLISS. – Jane Lockhart

Find unused space

Good design is the result of good planning. Therefore, every inch matters in a closet, or in a room that’s built for storage. When dealing with a closet, the designer will review which items that you wear most often, as well as whether you collect hats, scarves, jewellery, shoes, handbags, and the like. Some of these items will require different storage solutions. If you don’t wear dresses, perhaps you can get rid of the high rod, and double your space with two rods for shirts, jackets and pants. Rod heights can be assessed based on your clothing items and the length of your pants when folded.

Light it up

If you can’t see what it’s in your closet, then it becomes the no-go zone. Older homes didn’t incorporate wiring for lighting, but there are other options. Think of a brightly lit store and how easy it is to view the items. In my book, lighting is the number one solution for storage organization.

I like to install strip LED lighting under shelves. This way you can see everything without pulling it out. Recessed, daylight-coloured, LED bulbs in the ceiling help you to see the true colours of an outfit. And, in walk-in closets, I like adding a gorgeous pendant light or a chandelier for a bit of glamour.

Drawers for your drawers

Drawers in closets are very accommodating, and help to eliminate extra furniture in your bedroom. Within the drawers, it’s helpful to have organizational trays and separations for your socks, knickers and other intimates, so that you can see everything when you open it.

The same rules apply to the pantry, the broom closet, the laundry room and mudroom. Personalize your shelving and space requirements to accommodate all that you need and use. Do canned goods and spices have a dedicated place? Is there a space for the vacuum cleaner? Are there enough shelves in your rooms for books, toys and decor?

Happiness quotient When factoring in all that you need, add some creative design to the equation so that you achieve organizational bliss. Happiness = space for all of your stuff.

Jane Lockhart, B.A.A.I.D., is a multi-award winning designer, author and television personality. Jane Lockhart Interior Design janelockhart.com

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