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By Design: Entertaining in 2020

Entertaining in 2020

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Entertaining in 2020

Illustration by Rachel Joanis

Intimate affairs are the new normal this season, as we all seek the warmth of home and the company of those near and dear to us. With safety still being top of mind, this entertaining trend promises to be about appreciation and a little indulgence. If you can’t treat 25 of your friends to a fun party, why not treat your social bubble or those in your immediate household to a truly fabulous, intimate event?

When it comes to hosting a great soiree, there are three key elements to consider: Consumables (food and drinks), entertainment, and last but certainly not least, ambience. As a designer, ambience naturally tops my list, as the overall look and feel of the space will lay the groundwork for the evening ahead. Here are some style layering tips to help set the mood in your home for an intimate soiree.


Yes, you can and should move furniture for your event. While this is a common go-to strategy to accommodate large groups of people, a small gathering can also benefit from some strategic furniture placement. There’s nothing more awkward than people “floating” aimlessly in the room, and furniture placement allows you to usher guests into certain areas of the home. This may include an appetizer table in the kitchen, a beverage station in the den, a music/media area for audio and video requests, and areas throughout for guests to chat and chill.

Evaluate your space and take note of fixed focal points such as a fireplace or window with a great view. Now, create furniture vignettes around these, with facing chairs or couches, and some small tables throughout for guests to rest their drinks and dishes. Leave enough room between vignettes to allow the flow of traffic. Pay special attention to hot spots such as buffet tables or appetizer areas.

Regardless of the size of your soiree, ensure you have sufficient seating to accommodate every guest. You can always borrow a few pieces, or consider investing in some staples such as poufs, ottomans or a small accent chair. These will come in handy for your gathering and will help fill in those empty corners after your guests have all gone home.

Layers of lighting

The right lighting can make or break your party. Create a sense of warmth in your space by dimming the overhead lighting and layering in some table and floor lamps. Light up dark corners, and make every room sparkle with simple strings of white lights, mirrors and reflective materials, and the flicker of real candles – under supervision, of course.

Details matter

Just because your gathering may be small in size, doesn’t mean it should fall short in any way. Kick it up a notch by paying attention to the fine details. As I always say, there’s no detail too small, and collectively it’s the little things that will make all the difference. Whenever possible, personalize it – nametags on your guests’ wine glasses, place cards at the dinner table, and a parting gift “just for them” will ensure your guests feel appreciated.

Entertaining will look a little different this coming holiday season, and while we’re still getting used to this new normal, we’re yearning to reestablish those warm, close connections with our inner circle. With some thoughtful planning and creative solutions, your intimate gathering is sure to be a huge hit.

Kate Davidson, is the Founder and Principal Designer of Kate + Co Design.

For more than a decade, the multidisciplinary interior design firm has been providing complete residential and commercial design services throughout North America. Kate + Co is known for creating luxurious liveable interiors.



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Decor Tips: In Living Colour

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Decor Tips: In Living Colour

When it comes to breathing life into a space, designer Kate Davidson relies on the colours of the rainbow

By Kate Davidson

As a designer, colour is among my most-used, most-loved go-to tools. Colour can be a front-andcentre focal point, or used as a complementary element to everything else that’s in a room. Colour is used to express personality, affect mood and promote well-being. Colour has the power to inspire.


The primary colours are where it all begins. That spectrum of stunning shades starts with various combinations of yellow, red and blue—the most basic of the bunch, and arguably, the most intense.


Yellow tends to produce a warming effect, and it has been known to arouse feelings of cheerfulness and stimulate mental activity. For these reasons, yellow is an ideal choice for kitchens, living areas and offices. Yellow is the colour that stands out before all other colours when placed against a black backdrop. It immediately has that “wow” factor, but when overused, yellow can have a disturbing effect. New parents be forewarned: it’s been said that babies cry more in yellow rooms!


Blue is the next primary colour, this one known for its cooling, calming effects. It may even lower blood pressure and heart rate, which is why it’s often used in bedrooms, living rooms and lounging areas. Think “serenity now.” Gentle blues also make for unconventional, yet subtle, neutral hues that go beyond your basic (and let’s face it, sometimes boring) beige. Alternately, rich blues like “peacock” can create a regal look in a space. But beware of the moody blues! Consider the ways in which you’ll use the room, who it will be used by, and how you want people to feel when they’re in it.


Last, but not least, is red. This bold, fiery and intense third primary colour is often used in measured doses, and sometimes in great big ones, too for the brave at heart. Red evokes passion and warmth, and it is right at home in both traditional and contemporary environments. But due to red’s hefty visual weight, this colour is often reserved as an accent colour in small but impactful “pops” to draw the eye.


In various combinations, and with the addition of black and white, yellow, blue and red are the colours that form every other one in the rainbow. When selecting a room’s colour palette, think about the adjoining rooms and hallways connecting them. This is particularly important in open-concept homes. Generally speaking, you want the adjoining areas to all be within the same colour family to maintain visual flow throughout your home.

Another colour-palette consideration today is fixtures. Their finishes should be incorporated into your colour plan, not left as an afterthought, as they sometimes are. A hot trend right now for light fixtures, cabinet hardware and plumbing fixtures is matte black, which you’ll see dominating interiors in the year ahead. The best thing about black is that it pairs well with all colours—you could call it the ultimate neutral—and it offers a resting place for your eyes when scanning a room. Combining different finishes has become a popular design trend, and black pairs perfectly with all other colours and finishes.

Small spaces like powder rooms are an ideal place to inject some fun and be bold with colour and finishes. Kitchens are also an ideal host for pops of personality. Keep in mind that kitchens and baths are the most expensive rooms to refinish, so if you’re not all in, stick to the neutrals and consider alternate ways to get your colour fix.


If you’re looking to incorporate colour without the commitment, I advise my clients to think accessories. Liven up a neutral room with unexpected pops of the trendiest hues. Be brave and bold, and have fun! When Pantone’s Colour Of The Year makes its annual exit in favour of the next hottest hue, you’ll be able to stay on trend without breaking the bank. From bigger-ticket pieces like vibrant window treatments to accent furnishings and small appliances, to low-cost items like pillows, picture frames and a rug, the level of investment—and commitment—is totally up to you.

Colour truly has the power to bring your interiors to life, and is limited only by your imagination.

Accredited designer Kate Davidson is the Principal of Kate Davidson Design Inc.—a multi-disciplinary interior design firm providing complete design, renovating and decorating services for residential and commercial clients throughout the GTA. kateandcodesign.com @KateDavidson_


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Inspired By Design at Toronto IDS 2018

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Inspired By Design at Toronto IDS 2018

By Designer Kate Davidson

As a designer I like to explore design shows and find some inspirational new items.  This year IDS2018 was again definitely a success with many outstanding booths that wowed with creative and innovative displays that offered great inspirations for us to take home.

The tried and true vendors like Caesarstone, Miele, and W Studio continued to offer some innovative and unique, stunning displays.  But this year there were a few vendors that surprised us and went above and beyond to impress and inspire with their amazing new materials, fixtures, furnishings and appliances.   One such booth full of amazing products was the House of Rohl booth which showcased some of the latest trends and finishes now to create the most stylish of bathrooms.   Here we were able to see the latest freestanding tub from bath experts Victoria + Albert The latest modern reinvention of a classic bateau bathtub, named Trivento. Adore the fact it is deep and double ended style combines the clean lines of a modern aesthetic with the graceful curves of a classic silhouette. All Victoria + Albert Baths are now available in Colour (right on trend ) in  Gloss black, Matte Black, Anthracite, Stone Grey and Light Grey.

Overall at the show you would see that pattern, texture and the mixing of materials is going to be a strong influence in design for the coming year.

The gorgeous mosaics at Surface & Co made quite an impact with the mixture of marble, gold leaf backed glass tile and brass tile mixed in bold graphic patterns.  As well I loved the walnut and marble combination in the dining table at the Huppe display.

From lighting to tabletops and kitchen counters, mixing wood, stone, and metal is a huge theme this year.  The custom lighting and furniture by Hollis + Morris combined wood & brass beautifully with elegant, simplistic design.  The combination of finishes can also been found in plumbing fixtures as the combination of brass, gold and lucite continues to be popular.  I was inspired to see at the Monogram booth how Sarah Richardson varied the quartz countertop colours on the island in the Resort kitchen design.

In addition to the mixing of materials the industrial look remains to be strong.  A great find were the prefab black framed shower enclosures by Zitta, (available through your plumbing supplier).  This hot look is now more affordable as they are available in 4 sizes ready to be installed.  Graphite toned matte and distressed faucets were on display at the Graff booth – I was excited to find these new finishes as they will work beautifully in a rustic, modern space.

The show this year was layered with innovative materials, appliances and furnishings.  All with a focus on customization, tone and texture.

Be sure to check back with us at Reno & Décor for more product news ahead and visit us at the GTA show  February 16th-19th  and come meet us with your design questions.




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Designer Touch – Sea-Side Dreams

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Designer Touch – Sea-Side Dreams

A masterful master bedroom and bath makeover make the most of a lakeside view.

Photography By Stephani Buchman

Nestled among the charms of downtown Oakville, this three-level townhouse boasts picture perfect lakefront views, with sailboats and swans bobbing by daily. The aquatic outdoor scenery became a natural source of interior inspiration, with each room designed to frame the vistas and invite them in. Here’s how we achieved this serene marine esthetic.

The natural place to start was with the home’s colour palette, which organically tended toward the tranquil tones of the sea. In the master bedroom, we opted for gentle cream, grey and seafoam, complementing the outdoor views and welcoming the lakeside life in.


Every room demands a focal point to anchor the eye. In this master bedroom, it’s the fireplace. To make this a true statement piece and tie it together with the home’s prevailing nautical theme, we faced it with multi-tonal mosaic tile that shimmers in the light, inspired by waves catching the sun. The bed also became a dramatic focal point for the room, with its charcoal-coloured, upholstered and tufted headboard. Positioned on the main wall opposite the fireplace, this large, king-sized headboard brings balance to the room. Underfoot, the hardwood floor was softened and warmed with an oversized custommade area rug, which brings texture and complements the cream-andseafoam colour scheme. The rug is large enough to cover most of the floor’s surface, unifying the sitting area with the sleep zone.

On either side of the fireplace, a pair of mirrored closet doors, accented with oval crystal knobs, bring a much-needed touch of sparkle. The mirrors are as pretty as they are functional, bouncing light and views around the room to make it appear larger than its actual size, while delivering stylish storage space.


On the adjacent wall, a bank of windows features a pair of French doors in the centre, flanked by two stationary windows. For privacy and light protection, we installed Hunter Douglas woven shades in a grey-green tone to complement the colour scheme when closed. But with this spectacular view, the shades are usually opened, so we framed the view with decorative pinch-pleated drapes in a soft textured fabric, echoing the prevailing creamand- seafoam colour palette.


Attached to the master bedroom, the ensuite bath follows the same airy esthetic with 12-by-24-inch marble floor tiles that lighten and brighten the space. The luxury continues with the addition of a large steamshower, complete with a rain-shower fixture and wall jets, and heated floors for pampered and toasty toes. A minimalistic custom double vanity with oversized drawers adds simplicity, sensibility and storage space. Above the vanity, we installed an oversized mirror with integrated sconces, for visual interest.


This master retreat makeover was part of a much larger home renovation and reorganization. We moved the master bedroom from the third floor to the second, which once housed the family room. We also added some space from an adjoining room and closet in order to create a large master bathroom and master closet. This provided for a more practical layout, putting the two older children on the top floor with two bedrooms and a large adjoining bathroom.


Think about where you spend your time, and invest space accordingly. Consider re-jigging your floor plan, and don’t be afraid to take some square footage from secondary rooms to create a luxury retreat that dreams are made of!

A cantilevered bench seat of quartz was added as a restful place to relax in the steam shower. A bench like this requires steel supports to ensure stability, so consider this option when planning and framing your shower—not as an afterthought.

To achieve this sophisticated seaside style, we combined varying tones of the same colour palette throughout the home. The visual interest comes via the use of contrast. Varying shades of creams, greys and greens, and their combination of light and dark, bring warmth and drama to the space.

SOURCES BATHROOM FLOOR & SHOWER TILE: Ciot; VANITY, MIRROR: custom by Kate + Co; PLUMBING FIXTURES: Watermarks; VANITY SCONCES: Restoration Hardware; BATH WALL PAINT: Lacey Pearl 2108-70 Benjamin Moore; BEDROOM MASTER BEDROOM PAINT: Sea Salt CSP-95 Benjamin Moore; KING BED, DRAPERIES: custom through Kate + Co; CUSTOM AREA RUG, ACCENT CHAIR, NIGHTSTANDS: Cocoon Furnishings; BENCH SEAT: Colette Bench by Crate & Barrel; ACCENT TABLE: Casalife; BLINDS: Hunter Douglas

Accredited designer Kate Davidson is the Principal of Kate Davidson Design Inc.—a multi-disciplinary interior design firm providing complete design, renovating and decorating services for residential and commercial clients throughout the GTA. kateandcodesign.com @KateDavidson_


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“Creating an oasis of serenity in your bathroom”

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“Creating an oasis of serenity in your bathroom”

For too long, the bathroom has been viewed simply as a place for freshening up. As property prices increase and space becomes increasingly precious, the bathroom has become one of the smallest rooms in the house in most cases, with homeowners placing more emphasis on decorating the other, larger parts of the house.

However, contrary to popular belief, statistics have shown that the bathroom is the hangout spot of choice these days, with people spending on average 20 to 30 minutes a day in their home bathrooms. With so many minutes a day spent in the bathroom, it is time to consider looking at ensuring you beautify one of the most valuable spaces in your home.

I am sharing a few tricks of the trade that will help to turn your bijou bathroom into a spa-like sanctuary where you’ll want to lock yourself away and unwind in peace.

Creating a luxurious environment within a small space can seem like a challenging task however it need not be. Investing in a main centerpiece can transform any bathroom into one that emits luxury and relaxation, and the best centerpiece you can choose is a freestanding bath. Incorporating a freestanding bath is a must today and one of my fav international bath products company to look at is Victoria + Albert . Check out the many design options at vandabaths.com

Victoria + Albert’s Napoli Bath Credit: Setless Architecture

Introducing different materials into the bathroom creates an interesting juxtaposition that can transform your bathroom into a spa-like haven. Surfaces such as rough natural stone or marble are great base textures to mix up with wood and glass, which are all practical bathroom materials. To further enhance the experience, introduce some plants to bring the outdoors, indoors. This is one way to emulate a island holiday feel.

To complete the zen spa-like environment, pamper yourself with fluffy towels, bathrobes, incense, bath oils and candles to create a serene atmosphere to truly relax and unwind. The bathroom is a place where you should feel free and comfortable, no matter what size the space. Victoria + Albert’s

Couple of key questions you need to ask before you renovate your bathroom:

  • How do you take your bath – think about what you like to do while bathing. Do you read in the bath? Do you lounge by yourself or do you enjoy bathing with someone else? Does the bath need to be easily accessible and are you bathing your children in it?
  • Try before you buy – you would never purchase a bed without first testing the springs, so why would you not try out with a bath?
  • Consider the space – not all bathrooms are the same; some have more space than others. Work with a professional like myself to carefully plan out the room. Also keep in mind the style. Is the decor clean and modern, or classic and traditional?

Kate Davidson is the Designer and Principal of Kate Davidson Design Inc. a multi disciplinary interior design firm providing complete design, renovating services for residential & commercial clients throughout Toronto, GTA. Canada. The growing design firm is known for creating stylish livable spaces as unique as their clients kateandcodesign.com @KateDavidson_



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