These clients returned to Toronto to retire after living in
small-town New England for many years. They had recently moved
their cherished belongings into a compact 2-bedroom condo, chosen
chiefly for its location overlooking the property's gardens.
Their vision was to bring the comfortable traditional feel of
their rural home to this mid-town unit.
To dispell the generic feel of the space, we added traditional
architectural details. Crown mouldings were installed throughout.
In the foyer, we replaced mirrored sliding closet doors with
traditional french doors, and added trim details to the flat
front door. In the dining room, we walled over a glass block
insert and added a ceiling medallion.
Our major undertaking was to transform the kitchen within
the existing footprint. The clients had requested cork flooring
because it is easy on aging knees, but its natural texture also
lends a touch of rusticity. Replacing the basic 80's style melamine
cabinets with painted beadboard fronts added instant country
charm. The challenge was more in adding function and storage
enough to suit these avid cooks and entertainers. Fortunately,
the clients planned to use their dining room daily, so we were
able to extend the cabinetry into the breakfast nook -- even
creating a dedicated bar area tucked away from the main work
area. The kitchen colour scheme of bright blue and caramel -
indeed that of the entire suite - was pulled from the clients'
own furnishings. They delighted in searching for the perfect
complementing finishes that wouldn't break the bank: hunting
down an unusual metallic stone for their countertops, finding
hand-crafted subway tiles a step above the ordinary, and accenting
the basic white backsplash with a mother-of-pearl mosaic.
The main living area required only some artful decorating.
We tweaked the furniture layout and added a modular wall unit
to accommodate a TV and sound system. Dark hardwood is a rich
backdrop to the clients' area rug and is complemented by a deep
caramel on the walls. We updated a generous wingchair with bold
navy stripes and selected fabrics for window coverings and pillows
to pull the scheme together. The rich tones of the furniture
and finishes imbue the space with an air of comfort and permanence.
In the bedrooms, we replaced bland carpeting with a luxurious
copper-coloured pile for coziness and brought stronger colours
to the walls. In the master suite, the clients found themselves
in need of much more storage, which we addressed through the
addition of bespoke cabinetry. We designed generous built-in
armoires and night tables to flank the bed, finished in a traditional
combination of paint and stain to complement the clients' furnishings.
New colourful bedding in a coral, blue, and cream paisley adds
a cheerful note.
Last to be dealt with was the dilemma all downsizers face:
how to use the spare bedroom. The husband needs a generous desk
and file storage, while the wife needs space to house her quilting
supplies and work on her projects. They also frequently host
out-of-town guests. How to cram all that function into a 10x13
foot space? First, proper closet organizers were installed to
max out the existing storage capacity. Then we designed custom
cabinets to create a home office that is compact and highly organized.
The desk expands with a flip-up leaf that can hold a sewing machine.
Traditional millwork details such as turned legs, beadboard backing,
and wooden desktops, make this room feel less like an office
and more like home. A small occasional table and cane chair are
easily moved to make way for a blow-up bed on a frame when friends
While these clients had some initial trepidation over their
new living arrangements, we were able to transplant and reinterpret
enough of their former environment so that their condo is now
'home sweet home'.