Tag Archives: Natalie Venalainen

At Home With Men At Work

Colour Theory 101: A main floor renovation in Little Portugal hits all the right notes

Latest News


Colour Theory 101: A main floor renovation in Little Portugal hits all the right notes

Photography by Valerie Wilcox

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane, and revisit those lessons on colour theory from high school art class; I promise this detour will be quick. Everyone knows that the primary colours are blue, red and yellow. Secondary colours are made by mixing two primary colours together: purple, orange, and green. Tertiary colours are made by (you guessed it), mixing one primary colour and one secondary colour together.

Opposites attract

Now that we’ve got those three terms straight, let’s move on to complementary colours. One common misconception about complementary colours is that they are similar colours. When we say “complementary,” we are actually referring to two colours on opposite sides of the colour wheel. A complementary colour pairing is made up of one primary colour, and one secondary colour that was made without the primary colour it is paired with. The pairs are blue and orange, red and green, and yellow and purple. Scientifically speaking, complementary colours simultaneously stimulate different parts of the eye, which is why we find the combination so appealing. It’s a natural example of opposites attracting. When we are describing similar colours, the technical term is “analogous” colours. They are groups of three colours that are next to each other on the proverbial colour wheel. An example of a trio would be blue, teal and green.

Mood-enhancing hues

Now that we are up to speed on our colour theory, let’s apply it! This is the fun part. First of all, don’t get hung up on the colour of the year. Rather, think about the colours that evoke the atmosphere you want to create in your space. Some may find peace in darker, more dramatic hues, while others find solace in brighter spaces with varying shades of analogous colours. The latter was the case for our client’s ground-floor renovation in Little Portugal. The main goal for the space was to open it up by removing the partition walls. In doing this, we shifted the location of the kitchen toward the back of the home to provide a more formal living/dining space at the front of the house, and a family room right off the kitchen at the back of the house.

Family heirloom plays a new tune

One of the major influences in this design was finding a way to transform the client’s family piano. The piano was no longer in great musical shape, but it had been in the family for decades, so it was an important piece of family history that needed to be preserved. The piano was lovingly disassembled, and the salvaged pieces of mahogany were stripped and sanded, revealing a beautifully rich reddish-orange wood. The family heirloom was then reconfigured into a functional and original desk in the kitchen. Considering the open-concept floorplan, we chose a classic white-and-grey paint combination for the kitchen cabinetry. To add a hit of timeless contrast, we selected a moonstone marble backsplash in a herringbone pattern.

Colour’s transformative power

Knowing that blue and orange are complementary colours, it is no surprise that the hints of blue found in the backsplash, as well as the undertones in the dark grey colour of the island, are the perfect pairing for our custom mahogany piano desk. The vibrant runners are an excellent way to add colour and pattern to the neutral backdrop of the walls and cabinetry. By simply changing the runners, some accessories, and the artwork, the colour story of this space was completely transformed, without another major renovation.

If you are like me, and constantly thinking about your next design project, take the time to consider the colour story of your home, because great spaces are carefully and selectively curated to present a cohesive story from the foyer to the back door, and everything in between. Now for your homework – because I have to give you the full high school experience – do a little colour soul searching; discover what colours empower you, energize you, console you, and then create your new space with unapologetic conviction.

Sources:

KITCHEN CABINETRY PAINT: Chantilly Lace OC-65, Midnight 2131-20 Benjamin Moore KITCHEN COUNTERTOPS: Noble Grey from Caesarstone KITCHEN BACKSPLASH: Moonstone Herringbone from Creekside Tile KITCHEN CABINETS: Merlo Woodworking WOOD FLOORING: Bistro Collection, Maple French Roast, Fuzion Flooring

Natalie Venalainen is a Senior Designer at Men at Work Design-Build.

She has 10 years of industry experience and has won several awards including the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s top 30 under 30 design professionals across North America in 2018.


SHARE  

Featured Products


HOME is where the kitchen island is

HOME is where the kitchen island is

Latest News


HOME is where the kitchen island is

Photography by Valerie Wilcox

A High Park kitchen trades in its peninsula for a family-friendly island.

An open-plan kitchen is the epicentre for modern living. It has merged living, dining, work and play into one great space, and the kitchen island is command central.

Long gone are the days of the peninsula – making an island fit into your plan by any means very necessary! Our lives revolve around this proverbial island whether or not the home has the luxury of a separate dining room. We cook, eat, laugh and sometimes, even shed a few tears at this central gathering point. The notion of formal sit-down dinners is almost a thing of the past. We are willing to forego that formal space to make room for our busy, multi-faceted modern lifestyle.

Make a statement

The great room plays many different roles, and as such, we want our kitchens to blend into the living space. One of the ways to successfully do this is to incorporate cabinetry that resembles furniture, more so than one may expect for a typical kitchen cabinet.

The materials and colour palettes we are exploring for our kitchen spaces are getting more daring, slowly moving away from a neutral palette, and allowing statement colours, tones and textures to make a permanent appearance.

Lighting schemes are becoming increasingly more prominent and hi-tech, with the ability to alter the whole ambience of a space with the touch of a button on your mobile device.

Let’s talk about the dollars and cents for a moment; your kitchen is the best investment you can make in your home, not only for resale, but for the sheer enjoyment of your day-to-day life. Knowing how to maximize what is often the limited space of your old-Toronto home is a challenging task. Our High Park project is a prime example of a traditional old-Toronto home with a closed-off kitchen, which provided poor circulation throughout the ground floor, as well as a lack of natural light – did we mention that it had a peninsula?

Space & view enhancements

The homeowners had previously invested in their west-facing rear yard, but could barely see the beauty of their gardens from their small kitchen windows. The task at hand for our Design Build team was to respect the historical period of this Edwardian home, and bring the kitchen into the 21st century, all the while monitoring the budget.

A small addition over the existing basement staircase provided the opportunity for glazing across the entire rear facade of the kitchen, blurring the lines between indoors and out.

An island almost 10-feet long that could accommodate the family of five was the starting point of the kitchen plan. Existing architectural features, such as the stained-glass bay window, were also a key element to the kitchen design. The paint colour, Forest Black Green by Benjamin Moore, used on the cabinetry grounds the light tones of the natural limestone floors.

A servery by the doorway to the dining room plays double-duty for entertaining formally in the dining room, and preparing breakfast on the daily.

Heightened functionality

Deploying clever planning and organizational tips to ensure adequate storage needs were met allows for the open-shelving above the servery, which is not only functional, but showcases a collection of the homeowners’ curated accessories making the space uniquely theirs.

An abundance of marble shapes the focal points of the space, from the Quartize Nuage countertops in the kitchen to a striking black Belvedere marble countertop on the servery, signposts a change of function and invites a new texture into the overall design.

Updating this kitchen also meant investing in home automation; automated blinds, kitchen appliances and even music create that perfect mood, and are of course all easily controlled by your smart device.

If you are dreaming about an escape to your own island, consider what “home” really means to you, and we guarantee you will find that home is where your kitchen island is.

SOURCES: KITCHEN COUNTER MARBLE: Quartize Nuage, CIOT SERVERY COUNTERTOP: Belvedere marble, Olympia CABINETRY PAINT: Forest Black Green, Benjamin Moore WALL PAINT: Chantilly Lace, Benjamin Moore

Natalie Venalainen is a Senior Designer at Men at Work Design-Build. She has 10 years of industry experience and has won several awards including the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s top 30 under 30 design professionals across North America in 2018.

Claire Muldrew is a Designer at Men At Work Design-Build. Claire has a B.A in Architecture & Design and a profound interest in how the interior environment shapes our everyday living.


SHARE  

Featured Products


Cover Story: Modern Art

Cover Story: Modern Art

Latest News


Cover Story: Modern Art

Writen by Vicky Sanderson
Photography by Valerie Wilcox

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

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

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

A STRIKING BALANCE

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

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

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

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

HIGH STYLE, HIGH FUNCTION FEATURES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BLACK IS BACK

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

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

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

FIXTURES & FINISHES

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

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

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

PRO DESIGN-BUILD

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

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


NOW TRENDING

CLASSIC BLACK

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

deltafaucet.ca

SEXY SINKS

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

kohler.ca

TONE AND TEXTURE

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

dxv.com

PRETTY PATTERNS

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

walkerzanger.com

SOPHISTICATED WATER FEATURES

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

brizo.com


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



SHARE  

Featured Products