Welcome to the JUST the THING website! Portfolio: Home Sweet Home
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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 propertyís 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 clientsí 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 clientsí 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 stay over.

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'.

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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