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Armadale (Main Floor, 2nd Floor)
As their family started growing with three active young daughters, the owners of a 1930s-era house in Bloor West Village found that their home was no longer adequate for their family’s needs. But instead of selling and moving, they opted to renovate their existing home to add space and improve functionality. The main-floor issues included a cramped front entry with very little storage, and the tiny galley kitchen was not efficient.
Karen Sealy, owner and lead designer of Sealy Design Inc. in Toronto, a design expert on the TV show Cityline and host and designer of HGTV’s Summer Home guided the family through a transformation that created the home they needed. A two-storey addition added 883 square feet to the original 2,028-squarefoot residence, split between the basement, main floor and second floor. See the accompanying photos for Ms. Sealy’s tips on the design and decor elements she used in this project.
The goal of this project was an exterior makeover, which would not require permits. All work was cosmetic or repair related. We restored the symmetry and balance to a worn down front facade by adding the paneling detail at the front door, widening the front steps to span from column to column and using herringbone brick pavers to cover the flawed and crumbling concrete pad.
The original porch was very uninviting with its brick wall and overgrown bushes. The original design was to extend the porch roof fully over the porch, but costly permits were required. The new porch design includes a finished bead board ceiling with pot lights, new front window with stain glass detail, a new support bracket to match existing and gooseneck railing to complete the updated look.
The old brick columns and walls were obsolete details, and in poor shape. New panel and trim products were used to clad these areas. A new custom lattice screen was designed to give moderate privacy, while still maintaining a friendly rapport with the neighbours.
The end result is a more welcoming exterior done in the east coast style, with low maintenance weather resistant products.
Candy Factory Loft
- Create an inviting guest room for frequent out-of-town guests, and young nephews, within the confines of the existing loft
- Bring as much light into the space as possible, but address privacy
- Create a vibrant and beautiful space for entertaining that doesn’t compromise on functionality
- Create lots of hidden storage
- Find space to add a mediation room
- Reworked the overall floor plan- closing off an open area at the hallway side of the loft to become a guest room. By doing this we lost the front hall closet so we shrunk the laundry room (although not the useable space) to create a new closet off the hallway.
TIP → the best portion of your space should be allocated to the most frequent functions.
- The new guest room had to be comfortable for a range of different types of guests. So we incorporate a bit of whimsy in the space that will bring out the kid in all. A hatbox contains good deeds, and as you complete them you can pin your name on a leaf on the wallpaper trees. What you can’t see is the layer of cork behind the wallpaper making this possible.
- Moved the entrance to the master bedroom away from the public area closer to the washroom, which also bought us room for a larger kitchen.
- Added a frosted glass window between the kitchen and master bedroom to bring in the natural light.
- Created space for a hidden but ventilated computer area, hiding all the cabling in the walls, to create a functional and attractive desk area in the kitchen.
- Added closets all along the hallway to provide a large master bedroom closet and a bar closet right beside the kitchen and the beverage centre. By creating a new master bedroom closet we were able to convert the old closet into our mediation room.
- The kitchen doubled in size and allowed us to incorporate an eating area so that the sunken living room didn’t need to be divided into 2 small zones- eating and lounging.
TIP → smart space planning can make a rooms feel twice as large.
- Refreshed the bathroom with a new vanity and toilet, and added a medicine cabinet. This quick and cost effective remodel transformed this once dingy space.
TIP → renovations are a “spend and save” exercise. Knowing where to apply these can be half the battle.
- Added custom built-ins for out of sight storage and a custom sofa covered in a durable outdoor fabric for a cozy, worry-free entertaining zone.
- Design is in the detail- the repetition of the organic round shapes soften the boxy, industrial loft- from the pendants over the island and in the living room, to the penny round backsplash, to the mirror in the entrance.
TIP → repetition, repetition, repetition…. Makes design intentional.
- Lots of various textiles, from custom linen drapes, to toss cushions that double as seating on the now widen stair treads, and lots of area rugs also helped soften the space making it more dramatic and inviting.
TIP → textiles create warmth and reduce echo. They are needed in all spaces from traditional to modern. The application is unique to each of these looks and when well executed is the difference between “finished” and hmm….
Walker Road (Kitchen)
- Add some personality to a builder's home
- Re-purposing smaller scale pieces from their old home with new larger pieces more suited to a much grander home
- Optimize beautiful ravine views
- Add warmth and create an inviting, family-friendly space
- Created a cozy eating area with a custom bench to maximize storage and seating. By adding lots of colourful fabric under this large window it warmed the space and created an inviting niche. This helped bring colour and life to this zone, since we weren’t adding window treatments to block any of the view. Textiles are a great way to not only bring in colour and texture but to also eliminate the echo that occurs in open spaces.
- Added a stunning iridescent backsplash added depth and sparkle that created the interest and sophistication our client desired. However behind the stove we added one large continuous piece of tempered glass, for simple cleaning.
- Added custom shades to existing big box store pendants. The colours were inspired by the cabinet colour and were trimmed in grosgrain ribbon that picked up on the colour of the tempered glass backsplash. This added a feeling of elegance to the once generic fixtures and helped tie the colours together in the space.
TIP → If your family is as busy as this one; consider investing in outdoor fabrics in high traffic areas like the kitchen or family room, especially in an area that has a lot of UV exposure. They are more expensive but will save you money in the long run with their durability.
TIP → grout is hard to clean and often stains; consider less grout or darker colours in high traffic areas.
Walker Road (Great Room)
- To make a very large great room a cozy, inviting family-friendly area.
- Design and had made a large scale custom sectional. Using one really large comfortable, leather sectional with nail head details helps anchor the space, but with style. It also helps us avoid visual clutter instead of adding too many pieces we went large and substantial.
- A surface for drinks and snacks is needed in a family space, as well as a spot to put your feet up. By adding a large ottoman that’s size and shape balances the sofa, we gave them this surface and didn’t add any hard corners to allow child-friendly activities.
- Particularly in family-friendly spaces we always incorporate durable textiles. The area rug is wool which is naturally stain repellent, due to the inherent oils in the wool.
- The swivel chairs allow a special place to enjoy the ravine views or be a part of the grander family room.
- Redesigned the fireplace built-ins and surround so the scale worked and there was a place to hide away a TV, and show off some displayables.
Walker Road (Home Office)
- Take a generic, boxy room and turn it into a multi zoned, inspirational workspace for two.
- Create a show piece office that also functions like a work horse.
- Created a floor plan that maximized space and flowed functionally for both people. This involved creating a space plan that took into account everything from linear feet of filing, to specific storage (how much open and closed), to space to layout documents, to other activities, like meeting space.
TIP → the best design is about planning. Measure and count everything.
- This is one of the first rooms visitors to this home see so it also had to be stunning. We spared no detail when designing the custom breakfront cabinetry with the beautiful diamond pattern veneer with black inlay, and matching black drop-style hardware, off-set with antique mirror.
- No compromises- the beautiful pieces are amazingly functional – filled with hidden functions: from the pullouts that incorporate printers, filing, recycling, keyboards etc to surfaces that pull out for extra space to layout paper, and pullout printer – everything is perfectly accessible yet you don’t see it.
TIP → take a holistic design approach by considering the various ‘pull-outs’ or other functional elements of your cabinetry before you start designing.
- And the list goes on… the stylish office chairs look like the old bankers chairs. They have a warm appeal and are super comfortable, for both our clients whose height differs by over a foot and a half. We created a custom white board with a custom artist frame that our client painted himself based on the color scheme from the area rug, which was one of the first pieces we found. The striking piece of art picks up on this color scheme and adds a bold pop of color as you first walk in the space.
Meadow Ave. (Kitchen)
This kitchen was part of a previous addition to this semi-detached home in the Upper Beaches. The original kitchen was dated and although there were quite a few cabinets the interior storage was poor and there was minimal counter space. Everything had to come out!
In removing the cabinets and flooring, we discovered the brick original to the house and decided to leave this exposed so not to lose any more precious inches but also to add some character and charm.
The galley kitchen layout is a strong working triangle so we opted to keep things in similar locations which also allowed us to save on construction fees. We kept the finishes light and airy to help brighten the space with touches of elegance and glitz in the Mother of Pearl backsplash and polished nickel hardware. Incorporating the homeowner’s buffet adds some warmth and ties in the warm tones of the new cork floor.