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Our clients are avid art collectors and patrons, travellers, and cottagers. Their city home, however, was given scant attention, and although its original 80's layout was inefficient and dated, they "made do" for many years -- until the purchase of a new sofa prompted a call to JTT to ensure the space would work for the new piece. Our first project together was to select colours and restyle their large high-ceiling living room. Formerly painted yellow throughout, with scattershot placement of art, we re-imagined it as an informal gallery. Now mostly white walls are a quiet backdrop for the riot of colour and pattern in their artwork, hung floor to ceiling in salon style, and spilling over into stairwells and hallways. Bold primary tones pulled from their paintings highlight selected features. Most notable is a red Venetian glass chandelier suspended from a cobalt blue ceiling, trimmed in vivid yellow.

Our next project together was prompted by the decision to sell their townhouse sooner rather than later. They realized that renovations would be required to meet buyers' expectations in this very desirable location, so why not enjoy the renovations themselves? From new flooring and carpeting and fresh paint, the renovations expanded to encompass a new kitchen and a bathroom reno. Since the re-designed spaces had to look great without breaking the bank, we looked to the big box stores as our primary source of fittings.

To make the small bath feel much larger, we chose a floating vanity to keep the floor clear. To further visually expand the room, we tore out the tub and replaced it with a full-width shower, where a fitting with multiple directional sprays lends a note of luxury. Tiles lining the shower continue onto the wainscotting. A creative layout of basic white subway tile, accentuated by a colourful glass strip mosaic, belies its low cost. Deep blue-grey on the floors and walls satisfied the clients' desire for bold colour. Even the small bits of bare wall are covered in art, and the view through a window opening onto the main stairwell is of a strategically placed abstract.

We next turned to the kitchen. In contrast to the open, bright, and airy living area, the space allocated to their kitchen was tiny. In the adjoining windowless dining room, only a half-wall overlooking the entry hall (with its own gallery display) kept it from being claustrophobic. Since both spaces occupy a self-contained area at the front of the home, we had to work within the existing footprint. Opening the rooms to each other resulted in a long, narrow area which would have made a great space for a galley kitchen and small breakfast area. But the couple wanted not only an efficient kitchen with lots of storage, but also a dining area large enough to entertain 8 on occasion, as well as lots of wall space to hang more paintings. The new layout reverses the former positions of the kitchen and dining areas, with the main work area running along the half-wall. A small mobile island adds additional storage and work surface. A small dining table in the window bay can easily accommodate a crowd when the island is moved and the table stretched along the length of the room.

Our selection of finishes for the kitchen was guided by the need for resale appeal. Flat, high gloss fronts from the big box store look just as good as that of a bespoke cabinetmaker. White walls and fronts for the bulk of the cabinets are contrasted with deep grey on the island. Our choice of butcher block for the island counter was a practical one, as it kept the weight down to permit mobility, but its warm wood tone also nicely echoes that of the natural cherry floor underfoot, for a custom look. For the main counter, charcoal grey Caesarstone counter was a necessary splurge. Stainless appliances, a brushed metal cabinet kickplate, and stainless steel backsplash mosaic add a soft rich luster. Even with their vivid artwork all around, all these neutral finishes were a bit boring for the clients, so we chose a gutsy red for the wall around the cabinets. The resulting outline effect is satisfyingly graphic.

This project was a case study in personalization for current homeowners, while keeping fixed elements neutral enough for mass appeal. Even with all the colour and exuberance of the home, anyone should be able to imagine themselves living there.

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.
JUST the THING can be found in the major search engines under: Toronto Interior Decorators, Interior Decorators Toronto, and Interior Decorating Toronto.