Tag Archives: Larry Arnal

Quaint quarters

5 ways to make your pint-sized pad feel more spacious

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5 ways to make your pint-sized pad feel more spacious

Photos: Larry Arnal


Add some spice with a patterned tile, maybe a mini-mosaic or even bold geometric design. Play with the application, why not bring them from the floor to the wall to create a full-on moment. Make sure you grab samples so you can try out some interesting patterns and configurations. Make it unique. A smaller space requires less product, so even if you’re designing something one of a kind, it likely won’t cost you an arm and a leg.


Wallpaper is amazing with a capital A when it comes to creating a wham, bam, pop or pow in your small space. Our design firm believes you can never go wrong with a bold floral wallpaper. There are thousands out there to choose from. Try to think of some of the things you like the most, such as colour, style, pattern, material or texture, before you start to look for your perfect wall covering. You don’t want to get sucked down the wallpaper rabbit hole. Trust us when we say you will blink and it will be four hours later, you won’t know where you are, what your name is, or what you’re having for dinner. Consider this a friendly warning!


Splash that colour! If you have a pint-sized space, why not use it as an opportunity to splash a beautiful colour that makes your heart happy. We love to incorporate pops of colour on cabinetry, walls and even ceilings. Paint is the quickest and most cost-effective way to transform any space. Don’t be afraid of dark colours in small spaces – they can make a teeny-tiny space look even bigger, as long as there is contrast.

Wall decor

Don’t forget the earrings, and by earrings, we mean wall decor. Think of it like this: You aren’t going to get all dressed up but not put on earrings. They’re a must! Wall decor is important; however, in a small space, you have to be mindful of the scale of the piece you are putting up. Try using large white matting and a thin metal frame to keep your art piece simple, updated and stylish.


This may seem like an obvious tip, but sometimes it’s overlooked. Make sure you are choosing lighting that will appropriately illuminate your space. Try to allow multi-layered lighting; we find that in smaller spaces, there are sometimes more shadow spots. Focus on how your room functions for you; keep in mind task, ambient and decorative lighting can all be used to create an amazing lighting scheme.

Don’t be afraid to take a few risks in a small space. More than likely you will be rewarded with a special little spot that packs a punch! Make it beautiful and make it yours.


SOURCE: CONTRACTING AND MILLWORK by Hartley Built. Hartleybuilt.com | PAINT: FIRST LIGHT (pink), CHANTILLY lace (white), VINTAGE VOGUE (darker green), Hollingworth GREEN (light green) by Benjamin Moore. benjaminmoore.ca | FURNITURE by Article. article.com | DRAPERY AND ROMAN BLINDS, custom design | FAUCETS by Delta. delta.ca | LIGHTING by Kuzco. kuzcolighting.com | LIGHTING by Matteo. lightingcanada.com

Award-winning Designer Michelle Berwick is the Principal & Creative Founder of Michelle Berwick Design. This notable GTA firm has become sought after for providing livable, stylish and uniquely personal interiors.


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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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The new neutrals, blush pink and hints of gold

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The new neutrals, blush pink and hints of gold

Photography by Larry Arnal

Many newly built homes feature open-concept main floors. The kitchen, family room and dining room are visible throughout. While highly desirable, this plan leaves many new homeowners baffled when it comes to design choices. Where do you start and stop a floor pattern? Where can you add or change colour? From a design perspective, the answer is to remain calm and go neutral.

A shimmering backsplash reflects the coordinating pendant lighting and sconces from Hudson Valley Lighting.

Neutrals play well with others

Besides not taking sides in an argument: What does neutral mean? A neutral colour won’t have an effect on other colours because it doesn’t have any significant qualities of its own. Neutrals are considered colourless; like beige, ivory, grey, cream, black or white. Neutrals play well with others.

Slight touches of pink blend beautifully into the neutral palette. The punches of gold are provided by the Moen faucet, the furnishings and brushed gold accents in the lighting, knobs and drawer pulls. Jenn Air offers brushed gold bezels for the dials on their cooktop.

Use trendy colours sparingly

Most designers will treat a colour trend as just that, a trend. Used in limited amounts, you can add the latest colour to a wall and if it grows tiresome, you simply repaint. But you want to make sure fixtures (and expensive furnishings) have longevity and outlast trends. That’s where you can save money in the long term.

Create a background

By choosing flooring, tile, area rugs, large furnishings and wall colours in neutral tones that blend well together, you’re creating an “easy on the eyes” approach to your decor. That’s because there is little contrast, the eye moves through the space without stopping. Contrast makes you look.

But neutrals alone can get boring. How do you make a big impression with neutrals and pastels? We had the chance to imagine and execute a new vision for neutrals at a model home in Aurora, Ontario for Sorbara Homes. By adding layers of neutrals, a surprise blush of pink and metallic accents, we brought a restrained colour palette to life.

With each principal room visible throughout, maintaining a neutral palette and common accent colours helps create design continuity and visual harmony.

Think pink

It may not be everyone’s favourite colour, but we wanted to see if we could transform a room by adding hits of soft pink in some of the accents. The results were still soft and easy on the eyes but added a fresh element. Then, by adding lighting and furniture with accents in brass and brushed gold, the main floor was elevated to a new level of “wow.”

“By adding layers of neutrals, a surprise blush of pink and metallic accents, we brought a restrained colour palette to life.”

A calm, neutral palette benefits from hints of brushed gold and brass that frame glass tables, mirrors and the lighting. Accessorising is easy once you establish your main scheme.

Leave nothing to chance

It’s almost a seamless transition from the kitchen and pantry to the rest of the main floor. A carefully designed floor pattern of inlaid tile in the kitchen blends in tone with the quarter sawn, wire-brushed, white oak flooring throughout.

The kitchen cabinets may be white, but the island and backsplash mimic the tones in the inlaid strips of tile in the floor. The leathered granite counter is a blend of all the neutrals. The pop comes from the door handles and knobs, lighting, chairs and faucets in the kitchen and pantry. Even the bezels on the cooktop are coordinated to match.

Square-patterned tiles set into the large format tiled floor form an area “rug” around the free-standing tub.

Commit to some shine

A little bit of shine, sparkle and brightness add interest to a space, so commit to carrying it throughout an open-concept main floor. For instance, the dining room light fixture provides the gleam and only enhances the silver leaf dining table with gold inlay. Here, the only hint of pink is in the artwork.

Don’t be afraid to add a big statement light fixture in your master bedroom. A little glam is a wonderful touch, even in the private rooms of a home.

You don’t have to stop

We carried our neutral tones with pink and gold accents into the master bedroom and ensuite. The combination is alluring and restful with a touch of glam. The Macassar ebony on the custom-built bedside tables, the floral print and furniture legs provide a touch of contrast and elegance.

Heavy lifting

By using neutrals as a foundation when building a design palette, you’ll achieve a timeless, calm background. Then, when you’re ready to add some “noise,” add in the colours you love and don’t forget the shine.

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

SOURCES KITCHEN Kitchen Main Floor TILE, Marble Moon – Onyx, 12×24, ACCENT FLOOR TILE, Regal Polished, Grey, 2×12 BACKSPLASH TILE, Tavella polished polvere, 3×6 PERIMETER COUNTER, Caesarstone – Blizzard 2141 ISLAND & SERVERY COUNTER, Leathered granite, Terra Bianca CABINETRY, Perimeter uppers – Paris Kitchens –Monet profile, Dove White painted finish PERIMETER LOWERS, island, custom table & tabletop Paris Kitchens – Monet profile, Cloud grey stained finish on maple SINK, Blanco Performa U1 Silgranit, in Truffle KITCHEN FAUCET, Moen – Align, High Arc pulldown, Brushed gold HARDWARE, Berenson ‘Subtle Surge’ – Modern brushed gold APPLIANCES, Jenn Air “Rise”, LIGHTING, Plaster No.1 Pendant, Garden City Arm Sconce, Hudson Valley Lighting FLINT COUNTER STOOL, CB2 SENECA CHAIR, in Velvet Blush, Sunpan


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DDA Canada 2018 Decorating & Design Competition Gala

DDA Canada 2018 Decorating & Design Competition Gala

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DDA Canada 2018 Decorating & Design Competition Gala

by Liz Teodorini

Decorating & Design Competition gala celebrates excellence in Canadian decor and design.

A high energy gala at Toronto’s contemporary York Mills Gallery was the place to be on April 23rd, 2018. The event, hosted annually by the Decorators & Designers Association of Canada (DDA Canada), attracted decorators, designers and suppliers from across the country. Cocktails and socializing preceded a keynote address by celebrated U.S. designer Richard Anuszkiewicz on infusing inspiration from the world of fashion into interior decor.

The highlight of the gala was, as it is every year, the unveiling of the Decorating & Design Competition winners. The competition receives entries for its 10 categories from DDA Canada’s accredited and student members. Each category’s entries are then evaluated by a jury of industry peers from across the country. They evaluate the projects based on complexity, concept, materials and functionality, among other criteria. Attendees were captivated as a video of each winning project described the planning and thought behind the design. The videos were punctuated by applause as the designers, some from as far afield as Nanaimo and Calgary, accepted their awards. In all, 26 people, including three students, were recognized for their best-in-class work:

Interiors Under $45K

Gold – Gabriele Pizzale, Pizzale Design Inc.
Silver – Leanne Tammaro & Adolphina Karachok, Designtheory Inc.
Bronze – Evelyn Eshun, Evelyn Eshun Design Inc.

Interiors Over $45K, Under $100K

Gold – Lana McIver, The Interior Design Group
Silver – Marion Da Ponte, Bridgemont Properties Inc.
Bronze – Rotem Golan, Ace of Space Interiors

Interiors Over $100K

Gold – Svetlana Tryaskina, Estee Design
Silver – Charlene Threatful, Lush Interiors Inc.
Bronze – Lorelie Noble, Design Details

Powder Room

Gold – LeAnne Bunnell, LeAnne Bunnell Interiors
Silver – Gabriele Pizzale, Pizalle Design Inc.
Bronze – Evelyn Eshun, Evelyn Eshun Design Inc.

Challenging Budget

Gold – Krista Salter, KMSalter Design
Silver – Katie Golec, ACM Designs
Bronze – Kathleen Casey FitzGerald, Kathleen Casey FitzGerald

Bathrooms Under $30K

Gold – Cara Lawson, Cara Lawson
Silver – Margaret Struthers, Margaret Struthers Interiors
Bronze – Jennifer Costello, Jennifer Costello Interiors

Bathrooms Over $30K

Gold – Linda Mazur Olijnyk, Linda Mazur Design Group
Silver – Lara Kalins, Breathe Interiors
Bronze – Caroline Harrison, Caroline Harrison Designs Inc.

Kitchens Under $50K

Gold – Enza Ricco, Fig Interiors
Silver – Rotem Golan, Ace of Space Interiors
Bronze – Elena Gouchtchina, Maison Interiors

Kitchens Over $50K

Gold – Leanne Tammaro & Adolphina Karachok, Designtheory Inc.
Silver – Sarah St. Amand, Sarah St. Amand Interiors Design Inc.
Bronze – Evelyn Eshun, Evelyn Eshun Design Inc.

Student Project

Gold – Jia Wei Pu, Sheridan College
Silver – Rebecca Aparicio Velasco, Algonquin College
Bronze – Catalina Radulescu, Sheridan College

“This national competition showcases our fabulous members and their talent,” says Mary Dancey, chair of awards for DDA Canada. “There were so many outstanding submissions this year, it’s clear our members are continuing to advance their craft on every level.”

For a practising decorator or designer, a win means peer recognition and increased professional credibility. “Winning a DDA award has been a wonderful experience. The response has been overwhelming,” says Marion Da Ponte, 2018 silver winner in Interiors Over $45 Under $100K. “It’s exciting news to share with friends, family and, of course, my clients — former, current, and new ones.”

The competition, which is supported by sponsorship from several DDA Canada affiliate partners will begin accepting entries again in fall 2018.

Liz Teodorini is Marketing Consultant for DDA Canada.

ONTARIO DESIGN is the official media partner of DDA Canada.


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Cover Story : Beauty In Abundance

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Cover Story : Beauty In Abundance

Photography By Larry Arnal

Sculptural, serene and sophisticated, a layered lakeside garden provides changing and spectacular views all year long.

Some homes have great synergy with the landscape—the plants hug the house, and the ivy nestles in comfortably. When Sarita and Arthur Peltomaa bought this charming lakeside house in 2004, it had lots of curb appeal, but the yard came into its own years later after an extensive overhaul. “It was beautiful, with mature trees and shrubs, but the landscape was old and tired. Our vision was to freshen it up, add some living space and give it a style that better reflected the owners,” says landscape designer Adrian Bartels, who owns Cedar Springs Landscape Group in Oakville, Ontario.


The owners, a creative pair with two teenagers, wanted a place to relax and entertain, and to add curb appeal to their wide corner lot. Sarita is a psychologist who brings a Zen approach to the garden, while Arthur is a lawyer and sculptor, whose work is displayed prominently in the new design. “We integrated a large rock by the archway to display his various pieces,” says Sarita. In fact, a lot of heavy rock was moved in that transformed the space with visual interest and texture. The stone, along with well-placed evergreens, forms the structure behind the low-maintenance garden, breaking up the large lot into smaller, cosier spaces.


It all adds up to a very sophisticated design that isn’t trying too hard—upscale but not ostentatious. “It’s somewhat eclectic—a transitional blend of natural, Japanese and traditional English garden,” says Bartels. First the overgrown shrubs were removed, and then a series of new plantings went in to revive the ailing yard. “The varieties and styles are very much English garden with boxwoods, hydrangeas, and vinca groundcover,” he says.

FRONT EAST SIDE: hills yew hedge with phantom hydrangea trees in between (brunnera and blue hosta in front), begonias (annual), tropical oleander trees, let’s dance moonlight hydrangea, vinca ground cover, little Henry itea, rose glow barberry, and hosta


Sarita found herself very involved in the process. “I grew more interested in plants and became more aware of my own preferences in terms of colour, and the types of flowering plants that I like,” she says. Her input and the family’s personal touches really make the space sing. It’s a reflection of how they live here. “We can sit in the courtyard nestled away, and listen to the pond; we can walk out from our kitchen into a private, gardened breakfast nook that has some lake views; and we can roast marshmallows in the firepit,” says Sarita.

POND AREA AND BACKYARD: sedum in the rocks, bobo hydrangea, hinoki cypress, icee blue juniper, begonias (annual), cascading japanese maple, boxwoods, tricolor beech tree, cedar hedge backdrop behind arbor, and hosta


FRONT SOUTH SIDE: bobo hydrangea flower carpet roses, yews, begonias (annual), dwarf hinoki cypress, little Henry itea, christina source (flanking the side door), blue hosta and japanese maple. Blue spruce, hosta, vinca ground cover and yellow hosta.


To carve out dedicated entertaining space, a new patio was laid. “We used natural square-cut flagstone, which was designed to be quite geometric in shape. We relied on the plantings to soften it up,” says Bartels. “The idea was to create a patio that transitioned from the house to the dining area and also cantilevered the koi pond.” The pond, which was also modernized, is a favourite feature of most people who come here. “Since water is “nature’s laughter,” it tends to be the highlight of many gardens, and I think this one is no exception. I particularly like how the patio integrates up to the edge of the pond,” says Bartels.


Landscape designer Jenna Earle from Bulow’s Garden Centre and Landscaping was also heavily involved as the years went on, adding in new garden beds. Earle used plantings in keeping with a woodland garden. She mass-planted hydrangea for maximum impact and colour all summer, and used hardy yews and versatile hostas, all low maintenance, to great effect. “A really neat gem of the garden is the parade yews against the house in the backyard. They are the perfect evergreen for a narrow space. The form on them is spectacular,” says Earle.

Designer Lou Ward created a serene vintage garden-room using a mix of antiques and a bold Ralph Lauren floral wallpaper. The sunroom also acts as a pass-through to the home’s bedrooms on the other side.


With each season, the garden changes, giving the Peltomaa family beautiful vistas year-round. The house was fitted with expansive new windows with views to the garden from almost every room. A favourite spot is the Frenchinspired sunroom, decorated by local designer Lou Ward to complement the outdoors and to embrace Sarita’s love of French antiques. The elegant and serene space is swathed in a botanical print and drenched in sunlight thanks to a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows and double doors. It’s hard to think of a more ideal spot to sit with a cup of tea in the morning and take in the lush greenery beyond.

Outside, the large yard, divided into smaller “rooms,” works well for moments of quiet relaxation or hosting a louder, larger crowd. And with a stellar lake view, and the bubbling sound of the pond, it’s quite therapeutic. It seems the house isn’t the only thing in harmony with the beautiful new garden. “I just love that it’s peaceful and calm. We can enjoy nature all around us,” says Sarita. “It feels like a sanctuary.”

SOURCES INITIAL LANDSCAPE DESIGN: Cedar Springs Landscape Group EVOLVING GARDEN: Bulow’s Garden Centre SUNROOM: Lou Ward FURNITURE: Petit et Jolis; WALLPAPER: Kravet; CUSHION FABRIC: Bilbrough; MIRROR: The Millionaire’s Daughter; ACCESSORIES: White Pear Studios and Pier 1

Catherine Sweeney is a Toronto-based writer and editor who focuses on art, design and architecture. She has worked for numerous publications including House & Home, Designlines and Azure.


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