Tag Archives: walls

Restoring a Heritage Home

Restoring a heritage home – old, yes, but not forgotten

Latest News


Restoring a heritage home – old, yes, but not forgotten

Transforming a heritage home into a real estate jewel through a renovation or restoration is a labour of love – it requires a commitment to architectural character and a willingness to meet the challenge of unexpected surprises along the way. If your client has hired you to preserve the look, but update certain areas, the following are five broad categories that you’ll want to investigate.

HISTORY

Age, general architectural style and condition

Learn as much as you can about the history of the building. The historical society can be a good resource. Also, check archives for any old permits, drawings, photos, or newspaper articles about former owners. Learning about the lives of the people who built and lived in the house can help with restoration decisions. Many styles of architecture have played a role in our history, from Queen Anne, Victorian to Colonial Revival. Occasionally, you might also find a true Arts and Crafts style home too. It’s worth documenting the details of the home and checking books at your local library (or on the Internet) to determine its exact style. By learning the age of the home, who its former occupants were and its architectural style, you’ll be able to more easily piece together the “historic” puzzle for your client.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Structure, electrical, plumbing, heating-cooling and drainage

As far as condition goes, it’s worth investing in the services of a home inspector who is knowledgeable about historic architecture. He or she will be able to create a report that identifies potential problem areas and suggest viable, cost-effective solutions.

Problems with infrastructure can range from knob and tube wiring to clay pipes in plumbing. Foundations can be problematic as well, as old concrete can settle and crack, causing the building to shift; a pencil or a marble placed on the floor may well provide you with a heads-up. Any horizontal cracks in the concrete indicate severe settling and could mean costly repairs. If you suspect any underlying issues with the structure, it’s best to have it inspected by a structural engineer.

Envelope, roof, insulation, walls, windows and doors

Before changing any of the elements that make up the envelope of the building, ensure that replacements or repairs will maintain the architectural character.

Windows and doors on old homes can be problematic due to rotten wood and energy inefficiency. Luckily, most historical boards recognize this and let owners replace them with more modern choices as long as the general character is the same. However, if you are fortunate enough to have windows with stained or art glass, consider hiring an expert to restore them.

Many older homes were originally insulated with horsehair or newspaper. Newer homes, but older than 1990 may also have vermiculite insulation which likely contains asbestos. In most cases, an investment is needed to remove the old insulation and properly insulate the walls, the attic and the roof. Energy rebates may be available for this.

Interior furniture, fixtures, materials and decorative trim

The interior design of a heritage property can be very detailed, and it’s important to decide which characteristics contribute to the value of the home. Ceiling details and interior trim — such as door stiles and rails, wainscoting and any decorative motifs — can be extremely valuable and worth preserving or restoring to its original state. Wallpaper patterns can be replicated and heritage paint colours are available.

Door and window hardware is often bronze, copper or crystal. Sometimes missing fixtures or ornate lighting can be found in architectural salvage stores.

The fireplace was the focus of many older homes. Oftentimes, mantel and hearth details were spectacular and included carved wood or marble. Make sure the home inspector is a bit of a detective as well and removes bits of paint in inconspicuous areas to see if you own a hidden treasure.

Landscaping, hardscape, plantings and style

The landscaping of a historic property can’t be overlooked. Many of our forebears brought their gardening skills with them from England, Italy and France, where gardens were outdoor living spaces. While it may be difficult to determine from an initial observation of what a garden may have once looked like, old photos can provide valuable clues.

Scent gardens, formal seating areas tucked into the shrubbery, and decorative ironwork gateways that framed views of other landscape elements. Gardens can give a heritage property context and take a historic home from stunning to truly spectacular.

SAMANTHA SANNELLA, BFA ID, M ARCH, is a designer, educator and principal at Urban Retreat Homes.

She is an expert in the field of design and construction and is a columnist for several HOMES Publishing Group publications.


SHARE  

Featured Products


DESIGN: Breathing Life into Your Windows and Walls

Breathing new life into your windows and walls

Latest News


Breathing new life into your windows and walls

by Linda Mazur

Today’s windows and walls seem to have a new lease on life. With fabrics and wall coverings exploding with colours and patterns, it’s easy to garner a bit of “design inspo” and take your windows and walls from a simple blank canvas to an inspiration of creativity and style.

From impactful geometrics to bold vintage floral, beautiful opulent metallic finishes to leathers and cork, the world of fabric and wall coverings has a new direction and a new excitement! The patterns are endless, the colours are beautiful, the textures are rich. What more could we want to inspire us?

Fabrics and wallpapers are not the only mediums to have a new and bold look. Tile, wood, concrete and wall panelling also have a new direction that sparks our interest.

Tile, for example, has gone the direction of fabric and wallpaper with a new look and texture; there are bold colours and patterns and fantastic 3-D effects that simple no longer belong just in the bathrooms or on small backsplashes. They can be incorporated into creative wall finishes in every space from a living room fireplace wall, to an entry way, to an impactful wall in your dining room. If you’re looking to the more traditional uses of tile, such as your kitchen backsplash, then why not select a statement tile and use it on the entire wall, eliminating your upper cabinets and replacing them with open shelving? Or perhaps use a great patterned tile to create a feature wall in a tiny powder room; it will make more of a statement on your wall than on the tiny floor space.

Both fabrics and wall finishes can make a huge impact in any space. A few rolls of wallpaper can transform and define a space in dramatic and luxurious ways. far beyond that of just paint. Whether your room is large or small, creating attention to your walls can instantly set a style, make a bold statement or add character and personality to an otherwise basic design. They can change a vastly spacious room by making it feel more intimate and cozy, just the same way a bold and busy pattern can transform a small room in your home to a charming and dynamic space.

Wall coverings can address a blank wall in your home. However, many condo-dwellers today have a greater amount of windows than walls – the view and light is fantastic but it can also be challenging. With the volume of windows some of my clients have in their condos, window treatments can become a costly venture. When looking to add some type of window coverings to your home why not consider a combination of blinds and sheers? Motorized blinds are an easy option for condo-dwellers, providing privacy and sun control. However, blinds alone can sometimes seem unfinished in a room — with the addition of sheers this can become an attractive option. Much like wallpaper, sheers fabrics have come a long way in recent years! These are not the sheers you may remember from your childhood. Instead, the sheer fabric options available today are exciting, colourful, incredibly patterned and textured; just the perfect thing to frame out your vista.

Inspiring windows and walls will be on-trend moving forward, so take advantage of the bold patterns, great colours and fantastic product options available and add some character and personality to your home.

Linda Mazur is an award-winning, nationally publicized designer and Principal of Linda Mazur Design Group.

With almost two decades of experience this in demand multi-disciplinary design firm is known for creating relaxed stylish spaces and full-scale design builds within Toronto, the GTA and throughout Canada.

@LindaMazurGroup


SHARE  

Featured Products


rd_am2017_design_touch_fi

Designer Touch : Room To Grow

Latest News


Designer Touch : Room To Grow

By Jackie Glass

Photography By Paul Chmielowiec

A bachelor-inspired kitchen design cleverly meets both single- and family-man lifestyles.

A MAN’S PLACE IS ALSO IN THE KITCHEN

No longer the domain of women, single and married men alike are taking ownership of the kitchen and stepping up to the plate to express their confidence in cooking for themselves and their guests. Today’s self-sufficient bachelors are also weighing in on the style, functionality and performance of their kitchen. Not everyone has the space for a fully equipped gourmet kitchen, so ensuring every square inch is both efficient and beautiful is key to making time spent in there enjoyable.

A BACHELOR AND A BUNGALOW

When my friend and former Jackie Glass Inc. partner, Christine McGee and I were given the exciting challenge to design a bachelor’s newly purchased ‘70s-style urban bungalow, we really had to alter our mindset and put ourselves in the shoes of a young professional man who lives alone and loves to cook and entertain at home. Given clear direction, it didn’t take us long to come up with a grand plan for this small home and create a flexible open-floor plan design suitable for the life of a bachelor, from hosting game day for friends to preparing intimate dinners for two. And, as we all know, the life of a bachelor can be short-lived so planning for the future was important to the homeowner in terms of investment and lifestyle. When the time came, the home should be able to transition effortlessly from bachelorhood to family life with a minimal investment of time and money.

FULL-FUNCTIONING KITCHEN FEATURES

While we thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of creating a relaxed yet sophisticated home for this busy single man, the most fun was designing the hub of this newly remodelled home: the kitchen. With a few minor structural changes, mainly the partial removal of the wall between the kitchen and the living room to open up the space, a new modern culinary kitchen, designed for frequent cooking, dining and entertaining took shape. A galley-style kitchen, featuring specific elements tailored to the design esthetic and lifestyle of our bachelor. Spatially, its size and layout is efficient and offers room for two to cook comfortably together, with all the essentials close at hand. It was imperative that his time in the kitchen be enjoyable. For those of us who love to cook and spend time in the kitchen, we know the value of generous work surfaces, good lighting, durable finishes on cabinets, energy-efficient, high-performance appliances, countertops and walls that are easy to clean. When it came to style, a slick, modern look in a masculine colour palette pulled it all together.

THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT

Open to the living room, guests are free to mix and mingle with each other as well as with the cook when entertaining. A raised cocktail-cum-breakfast bar on the island is perfect for drinks or casual meals while a small dining area adjacent to the living room, with convenient access to the barbecue on the backyard deck, offers formal dining à deux as well as with friends and family.

ONCE UPON A BACHELOR

The goal to design a modern, stylishly masculine kitchen, which could easily transition from a bachelor pad to a small-family home was achieved. Today, now a former bachelor, our client is a happy father of two, cooking for four and enjoying family life in a home designed for living exactly the way he had envisioned it to be.

SOURCES – APPLIANCES: OVEN: Viking; FRIDGE/FREEZER: KitchenAid; MICROWAVE: Panasonic BACKSPLASH TILE: Olympia Tile COUNTERTOP: Quartz from Silestone

ELEMENTS OF A BACHELOR-STYLE KITCHEN

  • CABINETS: Flat-panel solid walnut doors with simple brushed-nickel handles are easy to clean and offer a sleek modern look. Dark custom cabinets as opposed to white cabinets, when paired with light-coloured countertops and walls, create contrast and a more masculine appeal. Drawer organizers are essential to any busy kitchen and help keep countertops clutter-free.
  • FLOORS: Large-format porcelain floor tiles are super durable, easy to keep clean and petfriendly. Hardwood floors stained to match the walnut cabinets unify the open plan.
  • LIGHTING: Two large windows offer natural light by day while pendants flood the island and bar by night. The range hood illuminates the stovetop.
  • APPLIANCES: Guys love the power and high-performance of a stainless-steel gas range with convection oven. A stainless steel side-byside fridge/freezer with water and ice dispenser is a must in any culinary kitchen. No bachelor kitchen is complete without a microwave. The benefits of an under-cabinet beer fridge goes without saying on game day.
  • WALLS: Cabinets cover the walls and extend from floor to ceiling to maximize storage and keep everyday essentials out of sight and off the countertops. The backsplash, clad in large-format white marble tiles from countertop to ceiling is easy to maintain and offers the height of luxury in this stunning kitchen.
  • COUNTERTOPS: Quartz countertops in a light neutral colour are fitted with two stainless-steel undermounted sinks, a prep sink under the window and a double-bowl sink in the island. This is a great solution when two cooks are in the kitchen at one time. A raised bar on the island is perfect for breakfast and morning coffee or for guests to join the chef for a cocktail. It also hides the prep area and sink when entertaining.

Designer Jackie Glass is principal/owner of Jackie Glass Inc., a full-service interior design firm specializing in residential design, decor and renovation, servicing the GTA and surrounding areas. Glass, whose work is nationally recognized, is a regular design expert on Cityline. For more information, visit jackieglass.ca

 

SHARE  

Featured Products