These clients purchased a downtown condo to use as a weekend
getaway, but its bare bones look was a far cry from the posh
suite they imagined. Flooring, bathroom, kitchen, and lighting:
all required attention, while still considering budget and resale
value. Our mantra when selecting finishes was to be "bang
for the buck".
Our first task was to remove the existing broadloom. In order
to improve the visual flow, we installed tile from the entryway
into the den, bath, and kitchen, transitioning to hardwood in
the bedroom and living area. For elegance and drama, we chose
glossy black porcelain tile and dark walnut planks.
As in most condos, limited lighting was an issue. In the kitchen,
we added under-cabinet task lighting and dropped the ceiling
so we could install recessed LED fixtures. The curve of the new
kitchen bulkhead echoes the curve we created as the flooring
transitions from tile to hardwood. We continued the bulkhead
into the living area and illuminated the main wall with additional
recessed LED's. Pot lighting was added to the bedroom and bath
In order to make the open concept living area feel more formal,
we wanted the kitchen to blend into the decor. The additional
cost of replacing versus refacing the cabinetry was deemed a
worthwhile investment. Although space was limited, minor adjustments
to the layout and pushing the peninsula slightly forward greatly
enhanced the kitchen's functionality. New cupboards were painted
the same colour as the walls -- but with a luxe lacquered finish.
Matching doors installed on the laundry closet make it virtually
disappear. The addition of a 54" high panel to back of the
kitchen peninsula affords multiple benefits: it screens the work
area from the living space; its stone ledge is an extra serving/display
surface; and its mirrored front visually expands the space. In
addition, it allowed us to further dress up the kitchen with
a wrap-around argyle-patterned mosaic backsplash.
The bathroom required updating -- as well as some style. Again,
we opted for drama here. A custom black lacquered vanity topped
with white-veined black marble is a bold statement, as is the
wild mosaic tile in the tub area. The small space is made more
expansive by a large black-framed mirror.
As the last items on our list of enhancements to the unit,
we added decorative architectural trim to the flat doors and
skinny casings, replaced cheap closet sliders with mirrored shoji-style
ones, and upgraded bedroom storage with a custom closet system.
Now came the fun part: decorating. On our first shopping
trip, we spotted a plush orange and brown pillow, which became
the jumping off point for our design scheme. We started right
from the front door, painting it a vivid red-orange. In the tiny
den next to the entry, the wallpaper's orange touches leap off
a black background. The lively chinoiserie pattern creates a
jewel box of a space that needs little more than a simple writing
desk and chair to fill it. From there, our eyes are carried into
the suite by a common thread of colour.
In the main living area, furnishings are minimal and small
scale. A center hall table, enlarged by a glass top, serves as
a dining table. Graceful dining chairs serve double duty as occasional
seating. A low shelving unit is used for serving, display, and
storage. A mirrored cabinet acts as media console and bar. A
curvy sofa almost blends into the wall, saved from disappearing
by its dark wood frame and punchy accent pillows. Our mix of
traditional and contemporary elements is exemplified by the coffee
table: a warm veneered top set on a modern chrome frame with
classic spade-foot legs. A whimsical ostrich-legged side table,
retro floor lamp, and original artwork add personality. The largely
quiet room is energized by flamboyant orange silk drapery.
Only the bedroom remains totally tranquil. It is a monochromatic
space, with subtle textural variation and shimmering metallic
highlights. And since this is a fantasy room and not designed
for day-to-day living, all we need to make it perfect is a beautiful