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In Conversation With… Stella Salvador, principal interior designer, Tridel

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In Conversation With… Stella Salvador, principal interior designer, Tridel

If you love design and decor, and you strive to be a professional designer for a new home or condo builder, it doesn’t get much better than Tridel – one of Canada’s largest developers and builders of condominium residences. With more than eight decades and more than 85,000 homes, title of the 2019 Ontario Homebuilder of the Year from the Ontario Home Builders’ Association, and now a high tech showcase in downtown Toronto at Ten York called the Innovation Suite, well… Stella Salvador, Principal Interior Designer, has indeed reached a pinnacle.

We spoke to Salvador for her thoughts on this latest milestone project, and her other expert design and decor insights.

Stella Salvador

Let’s start with something very recent and top of mind – the Innovation Suite at Ten York. Clearly, there’s some very impressive home tech on display there. What is the ultimate objective in displaying this technology? Purely as a showcase, or to educate buyers on what’s to come, or…?

We used the Ten York suite as a design lab where we could experiment with various innovations in design, construction and technology. There is a push and pull of design elements, and technology is now another element that needs to be incorporated thoughtfully into suite design. The intention behind the Ten York suite was to create a modern suite with connectivity, comfort and convenience, while seamlessly integrating technology into our design. We’re using smart technologies more in our communities and we wanted to integrate this directly into our suite to find even more conveniences and enjoy new luxuries, while also introducing new opportunities to build community and connection with the rest of the building’s residents and amenities. The interior design elements are taken to a new level in the planning, use of space, lighting, furniture, finishes and fixtures. There was a significant amount of research done before selecting the features, so now that the suite has come together, it’s very exciting to describe the design. The Ten York suite is actually our fourth innovation suite, so far.

How soon might we see some of these features be offered as upgrades at Tridel projects?

Many features can be easily incorporated into our available suite options, while other design items will still need to be reviewed with our teams to ensure we can provide the detail efficiently before being offered as a personalization option. Some features which may be more complicated likely won’t be offered, but we would still try to accommodate in the homeowner’s suite design if requested.


The future of condominium living on display at Tridel’s Innovation Suite at Ten York

Hines Canada and Tridel achieve Toronto’s first condo LEED Platinum Certification for Aqualina at Bayside

Outlook 2020 – Samson Fung, Vice-President Marketing, Tridel

Will they be offered as upgrades only at Tridel’s high end luxury projects and suites, or will they be rolled out across the board?

Homeowners can determine what’s important to them regardless of suite level. Some features may do well in a larger square footage, and other details would work well in any environment. If it’s possible to implement within the homeowner’s suite design and layout, who are we to limit their design vision?

What will be the pricing structure for these upgrades?

If they are offered as personalization options through our design studio, then the item will be systematized into our catalogue and made available during design appointments at The Lobby with our design services team. Our teams will assemble all the necessary steps required.

The flooring technology is interesting, especially given the current pandemic, in that it functionally helps clean the air inside the suite. How might concerns for cleanliness and air quality drive demand for other home tech features going forward?

Good design is about the wellness and benefit of people, and making your home work for you. We set the stage with calming natural biophilic elements to bring the outside in where we highlight the amazing views of the lake and city from the 68th floor, the natural patterns of the oak cathedral grain wall paneling and the bold veining in the marble. Using innovative wood flooring to improve the indoor air quality is so critical for wellbeing. The voice-activated features offer comfort through accessibility, allowing for ease of use with lighting, sound shade control, and even turning fixtures on without even pressing a button. The kitchen faucet operates by gesture, so no touch is involved to turn the faucet on or off.

Generally speaking, what are some of the larger design trends you see happening at the moment?

The design of wellness really speaks to me. Using more sustainable and natural materials, layering textures and matte colours that give a sense of beauty and comfort to those that occupy it. Design doesn’t have to be laid out like a textbook, but it must be personal as our homes are used as our own sanctuary.

People aren’t interested in specific trends but rather a timelessness style. And style is equal to lifestyle. They are mixing vintage with modern, mixing metals and including matte black.

And where do you see things going, say, in the next three to five years? More luxury? More convenience and automation and smart tech? More “healthy living”?

We’re looking at a laid back and livable luxury with comfortable and relaxed spaces curated for the personal needs of the homeowner. Luxury comes from the quality of lifestyle. With so many sources of design images for inspiration, people want to create a unique space for them. It’s no longer a one-size-fits-all approach. Technology and smart home features will continue to be thoughtfully implemented. As the population ages, it becomes very real the need for universal design that is well designed.

Tridel Stella Salvador

You’ve been at Tridel for more than 15 years. How have new condo design and decor elements changed in that time, – such as the trend to smaller suites or new consumer demands?

Condo design has always been about thinking outside the box and an intelligent use of space. There are considerations to condo design that are universal, regardless of size, such as maximizing your space and your storage capability. Sustainable and smart home features are becoming more popular as they become more mainstream.

What has been the single most significant design and decor improvement or change you’ve seen in your years as a designer? Cultural influence, new materials, consumer demands, home tech, Green living?

Forget preconceived notions. Design is driven by what is important to you.

What’s the next great design or decor feature we’re going to see from Tridel – outside of the Innovation Suite?

We have a culture of innovation because we know innovation equals growth and opportunity, so we’re always trying new things. Right now, we are working on expanding our suite of smart home features, Tridel Connect, and its capability for ultimate connectivity for the community.

And on a personal note…

My greatest inspiration in the design world is:

One of my influences is Italian renaissance architect Piero Lissoni. He always inspires me when I have a chance to hear him speak or view his work. The culture of design is loosening up and tossing out traditional rules of what makes a space effective. The focus is more of a humanistic approach rather than following trends.

If I wasn’t an interior designer, I would:

Still be part of the building industry in some way. I have been influenced by architecture from elementary school and creating meaningful spaces is the purpose I have always envisioned for myself.

When I’m not at the office, I’m:

Enjoying spending time with my favourite people – my husband and three children and travelling together when we can. Those opportunities create wonderful memories that I treasure. I learn so much from them and their perspectives!


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Tridel Ten York Innovation Suite Living room

The future of condominium living on display at Tridel’s Innovation Suite at Ten York

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The future of condominium living on display at Tridel’s Innovation Suite at Ten York

The future of condominium living, with every bell, whistle and Jetsons-like home tech gadget is on display at Tridel’s Innovation Suite, one of the Signature residences at Ten York.

Tridel Ten York Innovation Suite Living room

Expanding on the developer’s smart home integration features within Ten York, the Innovation Suite seamlessly merges technology and design, providing incredible connectivity, comfort and convenience for residents.

Luxury home experience

“The Innovation Suite at Ten York represents the incredible possibilities that occur when design and technology meet,” says Stella Salvador, principal interior designer, Tridel. “When we conceptualized this project, our vision was to create a luxury home experience unlike any other.”

The pathway to the Innovation Suite began when Tridel started exploring smart home technology, despite the lack of existing research or infrastructure within the space. The company sought to garner a deep-rooted understanding of how smart home technologies could meet to exceed the needs of future residents. The Signature Suite, as the “crown jewel” of the existing Tridel Connect smart home system, boasts additional features and amenities without compromising the elegance of the interior feel and finishes.

Immediately upon entering the suite, residents will be able to activate key features through voice control, such as centralized lighting, audio visuals and motorized blinds. The suite’s system control panel can be controlled by voice, phone or touch, and can be programmed with different scenes to customize the suite experience at key times throughout the day – opening or closing blinds, or turning lights on or off.

Voice-control features

Leading into the central living area, the first of four wireless charging pads throughout the suite make access to device power consistent and easily accessible. All features of the Innovation Suite are seamlessly tied into the overall concept and design of the space and most are synchronized with the assistance of smart home assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa.

In the kitchen, meal preparation is made easy thanks to smart home appliances, controlled through the associated mobile app. Plumbing fixtures such as the kitchen faucet can also be controlled to helpfully complete tasks on request, such as pouring a specific amount of water for a recipe, making everyday living easier than ever before. The powder room features a smart toilet with built-in speakers to play music, as well as a heated seat and foot warmer.

Smart shower

The smart home features are at their peak in the master bedroom, where a glass partition goes from opaque to transparent with the touch of a button, offering opportunities to enjoy natural light or disconnect in privacy. An entertainment wall provides a smart TV system along with an electric fireplace, which uses mist and special lighting to create realistic looking flames. The ensuite bathroom creates an indulgent setting, with heated floors, a smart mirror with voice-controllable lighting adjustment, a smart shower with voice-controllable water temperature and flow rate, and an AV-connected vibracoustic bath which can use sound to vibrate the water in the tub.

“As our lives get busier and more hectic, we’re all looking for ways to simplify the everyday and find more time to pursue leisure or spend time with loved ones,” says Adrian Wang, director of innovation and sustainability, Tridel. “We’re using smart technologies to find modern conveniences and enjoy new luxuries, while also introducing new opportunities to build community and connection with the rest of the building’s residents and amenities.”

Technology is even integrated into the flooring, with the warm wooden herringbone floors throughout the suite coated in titanium oxide that is activated by light and motion, filtering and cleaning the air in the suite regularly. Large windows mean an abundance of natural light and a connection to the outside world, while the balcony features stunning views of Toronto’s Centre Island.



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Velux Creates A Skylight That Thinks For Itself

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Velux Creates A Skylight That Thinks For Itself

The Smart Skylight

What is a smart skylight? It’s not just a skylight that is remote or phone controlled, it’s not just a skylight that automatically closes when it rains. So, what is a smart skylight? A smart skylight is one that compares the outside environment to the indoor air quality and guides the user to create a healthier, more comfortable home. Now that’s smart skylight technology.

VELUX ACTIVE with NETATMO is trusted world-wide to think for your client. The technology uses smart sensor-based control paired with a smartphone device to automatically adjust programmable skylights and blinds based on indoor air quality and external weather forecasts. Your client can track their home to better understand how their indoor environment makes them feel so that they can provide their family with a healthier, brighter home.

This a skylight that thinks for itself, trusted to think for you to create a healthier home environment. Backwards compatible with any solar or electric skylight manufactured after 2010.

Download your VELUX ACTIVE app for a smarter, healthier home.

Google Play



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Real Insight : Looking to The Future

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Real Insight : Looking to The Future

Smart phone apps like TREB’s Collaborate helping to transform the homebuyer’s journey

Every January, the biggest brands in technology and consumer electronics gather in Nevada for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). There are so many exciting new real estate and home technologies, with smart homes taking centre stage at CES 2018. Below are some of the latest innovations I’m most excited about.

In the Home

No discussion about smart homes would be complete without mentioning Amazon Echo and Google Home. These intelligent personal assistants allow you to interact with technology with your voice and have made it more commonplace to conduct internet searches, play music and make online purchases from your home through speech commands.

These assistants have also led to an increase in integrated, voice activated smart home products. Products like the Ring Video Doorbell, a smart doorbell that sends alerts, a live video feed and two-way speaking capabilities to your smart phone whenever someone is at your door.

A number of smart light and vent technologies can now also connect with intelligent personal assistants to dim or cool a home based on voice commands.

The kitchen, in particular, is a place where smart home tech is continuing to grow. The FridgeCam, for example, is a product that can be added to a traditional fridge and can suggest recipes based on what’s in your fridge and even indicate when your groceries will expire. Other kitchen technology currently in development includes inductive heating countertops that will intuitively detect and heat pots and pans, while ensuring plates and utensils on the same surface are not heated.

Real Estate Technology

Virtual reality (VR) will work to empower real estate professionals and their clients to tour spatially accurate 3D renderings of multiple listings without the hassle of travelling to multiple locations.

While many VR headsets are expensive, and the technology has a way to go, companies like the Canadian-based Gryd.com have already created budget cardboard VR headsets that allow people to gain 360 previews of listings.

Augmented reality is another developing technology that will allow realtors to superimpose information onto real world environments. By simply having a buyer hover their smart phone camera over a condominium residence, for example, relevant information on the building’s amenities, units available, and more, could be displayed over the screen.

Other products, like the Bluetooth-enabled Igloohome Smart Keybox, make it so you can conveniently access the contents of a lock box through an app, while e-signature solutions are continuing to remove the need for pen and paper to finalize a property transaction.

Currently, a number of smart phone applications are also helping to transform the homebuyer’s journey. One such apps is Collaborate by TREB, which allows buyers to search properties across multiple devices, communicate with a TREB realtor in real time, and comment and like/dislike properties while sharing this info with your real estate professional.

TIM SYRIANOS is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 48,000 professional realtor members in the greater toronto area. You can contact him at TREBpres@trebnet.com. For updates on the real estate market, visit TREBhome.com. if commercial property is what interests you, contact a TREB realtor by visiting TREBcommercial.com.


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Which smart home thermostat should you choose?

Which smart home thermostat should you choose?

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Which smart home thermostat should you choose?

by Madisyn McKee

With so many options to choose from, this guide will help you to determine which thermostat best fits your needs

Choosing a thermostat may seem like an easy task but with recent technological developments, the options seem to be endless. Picking the right thermostat can end up saving you money and make your time at home more enjoyable.

What makes a good thermostat? One that’s easy to install, use and can be customized to your personal needs. Below is a roundup of the top three thermostats available on the market to help you make the most informed decision.


Using remote sensors, the Ecobee works to create and improve its motion control sensors throughout your house. This means that when you leave the house, the Ecobee will note that and lower the temperature to save you money. The new version, Ecobee4 even has compatibility with Alexa so you can make requests to your temperature by talking into the speaker.

As you start to use the Ecobee, it will get used to your preferences. It will start to recognize when you wake up, go to bed and generally leave the house for the day. The device aims to lower your heating bill and if you’re really into technology, the capabilities of programming times, temperatures and different zones are endless.

Cost: $220

The Nest

Probably the most popular of the smart home thermostats, The Nest, has taken the market by storm. Similar to the Ecobee, The Nest will learn your daily habits and customize itself to match the way you live your life.

With mobile app capabilities, you can change anything you need from the comfort of your couch. It will even generate reports for you so you can monitor how much energy you are using and determine where you can adjust your usage to save more money.

Cost: $295

Honeywell Lyric

Working in a similar fashion to the other smart thermostats, the Honeywell Lyric is the most cost-effective option. The setup on this thermostat is quite easy and comes with very simple controls. While you will miss out on a few features that come with The Nest or Ecobee, the Honeywell does the trick to help save you money on your power bill.

Cost: $130

Which thermostat will you choose to bring you into the future?

Madisyn is a freelance writer and social media obsessed traveller based out of Toronto. Always looking for her next adventure but glued to her phone, you can contact her at madi@therestlessworker.com or visit her at therestlessworker.com


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Reno Expert: Home Sweet Automated Home

Reno Expert: Home Sweet Automated Home

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Reno Expert: Home Sweet Automated Home

by Jim Caruk

Futuristic ways to run your house, today

It’s hard to believe that once upon a time, motion-sensor lights seemed like cutting-edge technology. Today’s so-called “smart homes” seem like something out of The Jetsons or Star Trek, with homeowners able to control everything from their furnace and lights to their appliances and home entertainment system, all from their phones or tablets, even if they’re not at home.

Photography: bigstock.com
Photography: bigstock.com


Home security systems were among the first “smart” products on the market. With today’s systems, you can monitor multiple security cameras, turn lights off and on, and activate or deactivate the alarm to allow people access while you’re at work or on the road.

To me, one of the most innovative smart products are the doorbells that let you see who’s on your front porch, even if you’re not at home. Some have two-way audio systems that let you speak to a delivery person and ask them to leave your package, or tell a canvasser that you’re busy with something in the house and can’t talk to them.

Smart door locks are great for families with kids who tend to lose their keys, or if you need to let a cleaner or contractor into your house while you’re out. You can pre-set different passcodes so you know who came and went and when.


Once you get into the house, someone’s figured out how to connect and automate pretty much anything you can plug in. In the kitchen there are coffee makers, crockpots, and ovens that you can turn on or off remotely, and fridges with internal cameras so you can see if you need to buy milk or eggs—while you’re at the grocery store!

Programmable thermostats have been around for a while, but the latest versions let you monitor the temperature in individual rooms remotely, or automatically adjust the settings as you move throughout the house.

CAPTION: Photo: Courtesy of Nest


Connected smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors let you know there’s a problem, even when you’re not home. And the sooner you notice a water leak or sewage backup the better. There are a number of water-detection products on the market that send a text or email messages to your phone in addition to an audible alarm that sounds in the house. (See “Jim’s Pick“)

There are even garage door openers that you can check online to make sure the door is closed, and will send you messages if the built-in carbon monoxide, humidity, or temperature sensors go off.

Beyond individual connected products, there are also “hubs” made by companies such as Google, Amazon, and Nest that control multiple devices from lighting and home electronics to HVAC and home security.


But, as they say, “Buyer beware.” As the Internet of things grows, so does the risk of hackers gaining access to our private information through unsecured networks or products with faulty software. Earlier this year, it was revealed that a line of stuffed animals called CloudPets was hacked, allowing whoever did it to listen to voice recordings of as many as two-million owners who’d used the Internet-connected recordable toy. Now that’s some spooky Sci-Fi.

Jim Caruk, Renovation Editor

We look forward to hearing from you and welcome your feedback. Do you have a reno or decor question for our team of experts?

Email editorial@renoanddecor.com


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