Tag Archives: R+D Newsletter

Ikea art event 2021

Ikea art event 2021

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Ikea art event 2021

Since 2015 Ikea has been collaborating with contemporary artists and designers worldwide to bring art to the masses at affordable prices. This year Ikea has teamed up with five artists who explore the line between art and functional design. The artists this year include Daniel Arsham, Gelchop, Humans since 1982, Sabine Marcelis and Stefan Marx. These visionaries have taken recognizable objects and added their unique artistic spin, shifting our view of what a simple clock or lamp, torch or throw, vase or picture can be. Each of these pieces has a vision of its own, elevating the ordinary into the extraordinary.

The collection is available in store and online starting May 1, 2021. For more information visit ikea.ca.


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Cool and colourful

Cool and colourful cooking space

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Cool and colourful cooking space

Photography by Heather Dunbar Photography

Designing a modern kitchen for this busy family was truly a joy. But, with every project, there are also design hurdles to overcome. Since the main floor flowed from the kitchen into the living and dining rooms, achieving the right flow was key. I never view a challenge as a pain point, but rather an opportunity to create something truly unique and reflective of our homeowner’s combined tastes.

The starting point came when the homeowners agreed to have their upper cabinets painted in a vibrant hue, Benjamin Moore’s Fair Isle Blue. From there, it was just a balancing act of transitioning one design element to the next. I chose darker walnut-stained lowers cabinets that would stand up to the vibrant upper cabinets. A subtle off-white and veined backsplash and countertop paid homage to the white colour applied to the walls. Playing off the bold upper cabinets, we added richness and playfulness by incorporating warm and confident brasses and golds within the lighting choices.

A key component in pulling the room together was finding moments where I could add a natural fluidity. This was especially effective with the pendant lights and their subtle ombre fade from brass, silver to clear. Having a strong metallic accent with this finish added depth and softness to the room’s overall palette, balancing polish with organic elements. This principle of harmonious dichotomies is one of my design philosophies.

The open concept dining room directly adjacent to the kitchen required flexibility between both formal and casual settings, with three rambunctious girls in the household. Starting with a matching bold and brass light fixture, I added a beautiful English brown-stained white oak dining table with clean and natural lines. Mixing the table with mid-century modern inspired leather dining chairs hit the perfect amount of tempered luxury. Adding a matching bench on the opposite side of the table allowed us to emphasize the space without creating a break in the flow.

Lastly, adding an oversized area rug underneath the dining area helped define the space while also echoing the kitchen cabinets’ familiar blue and teal accents.

From the project’s inception, we knew the kitchen would be the home’s natural focal point with its confident hues and bold accent metals. By choosing slightly lower height furniture pieces throughout the space, this seamlessly leads the eye back towards the kitchen from every vantage point of the floor.

Before you fully commit to making significant changes to your kitchen (whether it be bold and dynamic or subtle and modest), make sure to explore the depths of your own palette and understand its flavours. Because ultimately, with design being so subjective, there isn’t a right or wrong. It’s just a question of personal taste and, of course, balance.

Sources

Countertop + Backsplash by Baystone Quartz

Hardware by Richelieu Hardware

Faucets from Delta Trinsic

Barn Door from Urban Woodcraft

Upper Cabinet in Fair Isle Blue (CSP-715), walls in Silver Satin (OC-26), trim in Chantilly Lace (OC-65) by Benjamin Moore

Kitchen Pendant lights and dining room pendant lights from West Elm

Dining Table from Pottery Barn

Dining Chairs, Bench and living room sofa by from Crate & Barrel

Carpet by Brayden Studio

Counter Stools by George Oliver

Floor Lamp by Williston Forge

Designer Louis Duncan-He is Creative Director and Principal of Louis Duncan-He Designs. This Calgary- and Montreal-based boutique design firm offers complete residential design services throughout Canada. With a distinct timeless perspective, it creates unified authentic designs. @louis.dhe


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NKBA Ontario teams up with The Pinball Clemons Foundation

NKBA Ontario teams up with The Pinball Clemons Foundation

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NKBA Ontario teams up with The Pinball Clemons Foundation

The National Kitchen and Bath Association of Ontario and The Pinball Clemons Foundation are looking to make a difference to marginalized youth. The kitchen and bath industry faces a shortage of trades, so it is looking for volunteers in hopes of helping marginalized youth get off the streets. Thousands of kitchen and bath industry jobs go unfilled each month, yet many marginalized youths aren’t even aware that these lucrative and fulfilling career opportunities exist. That’s where the National Kitchen and Bath Association of Ontario and The Pinball Clemons Foundation come in. “Let’s build bridges, not walls,” says Michael Pinball Clemons, Founder of The Pinball Clemons Foundation.

Michael Pinball Clemons
Michael Pinball Clemons

NKBA Ontario is the first kitchen and bath association to embark on this very important endeavor to change marginalized youth’s lives – getting them from margins to mainstream.

About NKBA Ontario Chapter

The National Kitchen & Bath Association Ontario/Canada Chapter is a non-profit association that was established in 1977 to promotes professionalism in the kitchen and bath industry. It is our vision that everyone enjoys safe, beautiful and functional kitchen and bath spaces, to help make this happen we offer a creation of marketplaces, networks, affiliations and certifications courses that raise the level of professionalism by inspiring, leading and empowering each member in our community.

About The Pinball Clemons Foundation

The Pinball Clemons Foundation’s vision is to bring youth from the margins to the mainstream, through the power of education. It provides marginalized youth with educational resources and options to integrate into the mainstream of society. With the implementation of a customized mentorship program and financial support, we are removing the barriers that often hinder success. The ultimate goal is not a diploma or degree – we want to see youth successfully enter the workforce, sustainably employed in careers they desire.

If you are interested in joining the committee and/or mentoring, please contact Lucy Traetto at lucy.traetto@blum.com


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Create big impact in a small space

How to create big impact in a small space

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How to create big impact in a small space

Small space living has been a growing trend for quite some time with soaring real estate prices and people trading in size for location. Existing in forms such as tiny houses, micro apartments and simply smaller-scaled homes, finding ways to best design and maximize our space is all that more important. The idea of working with a small square footage is often daunting as it’s difficult to find the sweet spot between both form and function. And, in these challenging times, we rely on our homes more than ever to house our possessions, keep us sane and balance our emotional ethos.

Custom solutions

One of the most powerful ways to maximize a small space is by going custom. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, custom solutions (like millwork and drapery) are tailored to fit any space. With storage often being a challenge, incorporating floor-to-ceiling millwork uses a smaller footprint compared to freestanding pieces that can just add weight and take up room. In addition, custom millwork can be designed in any style to add depth and detail along with hiding clutter. Homes with children benefit especially from hidden shelving. Custom drapery is another way to elevate and add volume. By hanging drapery high at about one to two in. below the ceiling, it creates the illusion of heightened ceilings, lengthening the room and drawing the eye upwards. In a small space, custom is worth the investment.

Scale and proportion are critical components in small space design. When furniture and decor shopping, our brains often equate smaller items with smaller spaces… but this isn’t always the best solution. The more “things” that exist in a space the more cluttered it can look. Instead of opting for multiple arm chairs and an apartment sofa, sometimes a larger custom sectional is the better choice as it can create the illusion of a larger footprint. A common design mistake we encounter at Louis Duncan-He Designs is seeing clients with area rugs that are too small. Even in a large room, having a rug in the wrong scale tells us to “live” within that limited footprint as it dictates the overall usable space. The same line of “go big” thinking can also be applied to color. Don’t be afraid to scale up! Painting or wallpapering an entire room instead of a single wall helps define the space instead of splitting up an already modest room into even smaller sections. Going bigger in scale can lead to more confident and impactful designs.

Multi-functional and creative

Multi-functional is the name of the game when working in a limited area. An ottoman can extend seating, serve as a coffee table and create a focal point with the simple addition of a tray. Multi-functional furniture offers flexible performance and has since evolved to include transformative pieces which can quadruple your capacity within the same footprint. Companies have already done the heavy-lifting to create innovative pieces so make sure you’re taking full advantage of what’s available today. After all, one of the biggest goals for compact living is to find creative ways in maximizing space.

I repeat, a small space does not have to be an obstacle for good design. Larger spaces may allow for more room, but can also equate to more spaces to design. This can be daunting, labour intensive and expensive to perfect. Instead of thinking of it as a hindrance, see a small space as an opportunity to explore your imagination. Set guidelines can force us to think more clearly and beyond our creative comfort zones. With the aid of a creative compass, an artist can often create more impactful work when provided with the right parameters. And just like an artist, sometimes working small can lead to the biggest rewards.

Designer Louis Duncan-He is Creative Director and Principal of Louis Duncan-He Designs. This Calgary and Montreal boutique design firm offers complete residential design services throughout Canada. With a distinct timeless perspective, the company creates unified authentic designs.


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Small-and-stylish_fi

Designer Jo Alcorn updates a small kitchen with some big ideas

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Designer Jo Alcorn updates a small kitchen with some big ideas

Small spaces are always a design challenge. In my recent tiny kitchen refresh, I was tasked with creating a functional and efficient cooking space for a busy family who loves to cook and entertain, without sacrificing style. Here’s how I did it!

Countertops

The space already had relatively newer countertops that my clients wanted to salvage – this translates into massive savings! The existing countertops were black with flecks of greys, browns and taupe – it served as our starting point in the design process.

The engine of the kitchen

The appliances are the main engine of any kitchen, so choosing the right style, colour and functionality is key. For this space, I needed to play off the black countertops; this naturally led me to a Whirlpool black stainless-steel suite. Knowing how vital cooking is for this family, I wanted to give them appliances that had practical technology but didn’t compromise on design. Whirlpool’s fingerprint-resistant finishes hide fingerprints and smudges, and easily wipes clean, which is crucial for busy young families.

Chilling and grilling

I love the cool features that Whirlpool appliances now offer to help ease regular household chores and duties. Their new slide-in electric range has a “control from anywhere” feature that allows you to multitask with the Whirlpool app. Busy bathing the kids but need to preheat the oven or slow down cooking? Start it remotely or adjust the temperature with the keep warm technology from anywhere with a smartphone or tablet so it’s ready when you are. In a small space, I love to introduce a refrigerator with French doors. The dual-opening, side by side doors allow you to open the fridge without blocking the entire area. And this French Door Refrigerator’s features are amazing – everything from tuck away shelving, spill-proof shelves, and adjustable door bins. All these features make life for a family easier.

Clean-up crew

With a growing family, a full-size dishwasher is non-negotiable. My clients had an apartment sized dishwasher before this refresh. While the inclusion of a full-sized dishwasher did mean giving up some cabinet space, it was well worth it, especially for the one-hour wash cycle. And I was able to compensate for lost storage space with taller upper cabinets and the addition of a pantry next to the fridge, addressing one of the family’s biggest concerns – not enough storage space!

Cabinets cost

A significant cost in a kitchen renovation is cabinets. In this case, some of the cabinets were in good shape, so I decided to keep the lower cabinets as they were to create a trendy wood colour palette for a two-toned kitchen look. All I had to do was update them with new hardware. While I kept the lowers, I opted for replacing the upper cabinets. The uppers were replaced with a hardware-free, glossy white, flat front style. The gloss on these allows the light to bounce off them, creating the illusion of a larger space. Choosing to go without hardware kept the lines clean and simple, allowing the eye to travel over them.

Colour continuity

A little paint can go a long way to transform a room, and it’s very cost-efficient. This house is open concept, so we had to paint the entire main floor for a better visual flow. It was a pretty extensive paint job, including the kitchen, dining room and the entire first floor! A new coat of paint helped the whole space to have a fresh, clean look. Especially since we brought in white stark gloss cabinets, I wanted the walls to blend in.

A splash of colour

Another key to a sophisticated kitchen and an element that can make a huge design impact is tile. For this space, I went with a funky glass pattern backsplash from The Good Tile. My clients love to cook, so these tiles were perfect as there is no grout needed for installing, making them easier to clean. The glass retro backsplash is a genuine wow factor that draws your eye in creating more depth in this small space with another reflective material for more light to bounce off.

Let’s eat

In the dining space, I created a gorgeous picture wall with some of the clients’ favourite pieces of art. An antique sideboard was a perfect complement to the clients’ retro style. And, an ideal solution for additional storage so the table can be kept clean and open. The colour of their existing table and chairs was a perfect tie in with the upper cabinets for continuity.

The finishing

The final touches in this kitchen that tied everything together were the cabinet handles, lighting and the faucet. The cabinets had outdated handles, and I found replacement handles in black that took the cabinets to a whole new level of sophistication. The lighting went from functional to an integral part of the beauty of the space. And the faucet is stunning! This sleek black Delta faucet has every feature you can imagine from a pull-down nozzle to spray options, but it’s the design that makes it a showstopper.

In small city dwellings when you can’t change the footprint of a space, some clever attention to detail can make even the smallest space feel grand.

Jo Alcorn has more than 15 years of experience as a celebrity interior and home product designer, expert instructor, corporate ambassador, TV personality and entrepreneur. Her passion for design has been showcased on HGTV, Discovery Channel, Marilyn Denis, CBC’s Steven & Chris, CityTV, BT, CHCH, Global Morning and Noon, Rogers Stations, CP24 and more. alcornhome.com

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