Welcome to the JUST the THING website! Portfolio: Classic Modernism
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Our chief task was to update the main level of this townhouse -- great room, living/dining room, and powder room -- marrying his desire for clean architectural style with her wish for colour and comfort. Pale yellow walls, terra cotta tiles, and hulking oak fireplace were at odds with the clients' taste for the modern. The inspiration for our colour scheme of graphite and spice was a favourite vintage poster.

In the great room, we started by installing Brazilian black slate on the floors, adding warm natural texture. Two sets of French doors were given drama and focus simply by painting them deep grey. A new open étagère, done in charcoal grey, was placed between them to unify the two sections of the room.

The kitchen -- other than a dark granite counter -- was just so-so, but had to stay. We added a gutsy mosaic backsplash of stainless steel and black nickel, a high-tech note that somehow manages to feel warm and cool at the same time. Rather than worrying about the cabinetry's unappealing colour, we played off its golden orange tone with a copper-fronted sideboard and cognac leather sectional for the opposite side of the room. The previous layout had a sofa floating in the space, with its back to the kitchen area. By placing the new sectional along the perimeter instead, not only did we make the room more inviting, but we also freed up floor space in the center. For that area, we argued for an island to improve the kitchen's function. However, given that the clients seldom cook, they opted instead to add to the seating. Now a long-coveted Eames chair occupies pride of place directly in front of the entry into the great room -- a beautiful, timeless work of art.

In the powder room, we represent all of the main floor's design elements: black slate floor, metal tile detailing, grey stained veneer vanity, AND pumpkin walls.

The bulk of the main floor is mainly a large open space for living and dining. With little architectural appeal, uncomfortable seating, and an unattractive fireplace, this room was under-used by the clients. To add interest, we created more defined areas. By constructing a column along the long common wall, we visually separated the living and dining zones. In the living portion, we also bumped out a chimneybreast for a new contemporary gas fireplace insert with a sleek cement-toned quartz surround. This created 2 alcoves on either side of the fireplace, for which we commissioned simple wooden bookcases in cinnamon-toned maple, with a backing of deep grey.

A black lacquer baby grand piano already occupied a sunny corner of the living space. Paired with an old, orangey leather club chair, it worked beautifully with our design scheme. For the main seating area, a comfortable leather sofa was relocated from the great room and now sits opposite a new pair of black leather and chrome armchairs in front of the fireplace. To round out the arrangement, we selected a clean-lined chrome and glass coffee table and a geometric walnut end table. A vintage knotted floor pillow, which the owners had volunteered to get rid of, is a quirky addition to the seating.

In the dining area, a custom Parson's console and credenza are painted charcoal grey. Rather than being boring, the use of this single colour and variations thereof -- strategically placed throughout the main floor -- creates rhythm, harmony, emphasis, and balance. It also allows a very simple natural walnut dining table, with its complement of vivid orange dining chairs, to be the star of the show.

The contemporary interplay of warm and cool, hard-edged and organic elements satisfies the clients' needs for comfort and simplicity.

We invite you to continue exploring our site for design inspiration, then contact us to find out how we can provide 'just the thing' for you!

Also in this Portfolio:

VIEW | A 'NY-Style' Apartment
A Case of Scope Creep
VIEW | Jewel Box Condo
VIEW | A Very Personal Home
Entertaining Adults
VIEW | The Art of Compromise
VIEW | Pulling It Together
VIEW | Classic Modernism
Executive Townhouse
To the Next Level
VIEW | Calm, Cool, and Collected
VIEW | Home Sweet Home
VIEW | Going with the Flow
VIEW | Making it Work
Room with a View
Curated Downsize
VIEW | Downtown Pied-a-Terre
Designed to Sell
VIEW | Condo Kitchen

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JUST the THING specialises in makeovers of fine homes -- large and small -- throughout Toronto and the GTA.
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