GREAT SPACE: Luxe Brockville condo offers nautical style and downtown living

This article was the cover story in the Interiors 2015 issue of Ottawa Magazine.

By HATTIE KLOTZ
Photography by CHRISTIAN LALONDE – Photoluxstudio.com

After making a major shift — moving from a horse farm on the outskirts of Ottawa to a condo just steps from the bistros and shops of downtown Brockville — Bettina and Walter Griesseier say they couldn’t be happier

The elegant formal living room seating area boasts oversized windows on three sides and offers spectacular northerly and westerly vistas. The space seems to shimmer in tones of silver, grey, and cream. Photo by Christian Lalonde

In the living room, the afternoon and evening light streams through floor-to-ceiling windows, while elegant cream sofas and cowhide tub chairs offer tempting spots in which to curl up with a good book or magazine. Photo by Christian Lalonde

Moving from a 300-acre horse farm to the penthouse of a 21-floor condo overlooking the sparkling waters of the St. Lawrence River has been quite a change of lifestyle for owners Bettina and Walter Griesseier. Where once American Saddlebred horses grazed in the fields around the house, now the view is of giant tankers slicing their way through water that stretches to the horizon. Green islands dot the river like emeralds on dark velvet; soft breezes caress the balcony on a summer’s day.

“I liked the whole idea of being at the marina, within walking distance of restaurants,” says Walter. “I love the view from our bedroom window — waking to the sunrise — and the view from the kitchen, with the sunset. I just feel relaxed.”

The master bathroom offers a deep soaker tub, a large glass-walled shower, and a luxe ambience courtesy of the rich honed limestone floors and walls. Photo by Christian Lalonde

The master bathroom offers a deep soaker tub, a large glass-walled shower, and a luxe ambience courtesy of the rich honed limestone floors and walls. Photo by Christian Lalonde

The elegant formal living room seating area boasts oversized windows on three sides and offers spectacular northerly and westerly vistas. The space seems to shimmer in tones of silver, grey, and cream. Photo by Christian Lalonde.

The elegant formal living room seating area boasts oversized windows on three sides and offers spectacular northerly and westerly vistas. The space seems to shimmer in tones of silver, grey, and cream. Photo by Christian Lalonde.

Read the rest of this story »

RANDOM DESIRES: What we love, where to find it, and sometimes why

Canada-5

By Derriere Les Bois

BY SARAH BROWN
Originally published in Interiors 2015 issue of Ottawa Magazine

63-doublespace_architecture_photography_james_bartleman_library

James Bartleman Archives and Library Materials Centre. Photo: Doublespace Photography

Written History
Excerpts from the diary of John Burrows, a surveyor who worked on the Rideau Canal in the summer of 1827, are immortalized on glass surfaces throughout the city archives, a.k.a. the James Bartleman Archives and Library Materials Centre. It’s a fitting way to observe the power of words in a building built to protect our city’s history. A sample line: “The Entrance into the lake is indescribably beautiful, its surface as smooth as a Mirror, the banks delightfully dispersed with opening buds of spring reflected on the surface of the river.” Gets one thinking about how private reflections might be incorporated into a personal dwelling.

frm_thumbnail_407216_4824_SskWTLtY5q2NUhuEDahspqmmC

Maple Set knives by The Federal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cutting-Edge Kitchenware
Every chef knows the importance of a good knife. It’s even better if this utilitarian tool doubles as a work of art. Ian Murchison and Rohan Thakar, co-founders of industrial design firm The Federal Inc., have combined functionality and good looks in Maple Set, which sees the slender cutting steel edge paired with the warmth of maple wood. Prototypes were overwhelmingly well received, and the designers are optimistic that their knives will hit store shelves soon.

_MG_0075a

Plywood shelving units designed by architect John Donkin. Photo: Urszula Muntean Photography

 

_MG_0134a

Plywood shelving units designed by architect John Donkin. Photo: Urszula Muntean Photography

Stylin’ Plywood
Getting from floor to floor becomes an artistic adventure courtesy of these cleverly designed plywood shelving units by architect John Donkin. The material may not be fancy, but these bookshelves and display shelves are truly beautiful — functional art capable of storing both keepsakes and all those magazines you just can’t bear to part with.

_MG_7009

Artwork by Rafael Lazano-Hemmer at Canada Council Art Bank. Photo: Remi Theriault

Interactive Art
Now that’s lobby art! Known as Performance Court, the new office building at 150 Elgin St. boasts the Canada Council Art Bank as one of its major tenants. With that being the case, the massive screen in the lobby is regularly used to showcase various video installations. The first, by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, shocked passersby when their eyes begin to “smoke” if they stared at the screen long enough. Stop in to see what’s there now — and for a visit to the adjoining ground-floor art gallery, which exhibits selections from the 17,000 contemporary works owned by the art bank.

Whale-18

By Derriere Les Bois

 

Scrap Art
Some verge on the kitsch; some are crazy-cool. We love the idea that wood hobbyist cousins Stephen Washer and Marco Facciola of Derrière Les Bois are recycling their scraps into fun animal and landscape silhouettes that would look totally at home in a kid’s room (the bunny) or a cottage (the bear). The reclaimed wood has an evocative patina, the various hues, grains, and shades of paint coming together in a cohesive whole.

GREAT SPACE: Spartan beauty instills Old Ottawa South’s kitchen and bath with true warmth

This article first appeared in the Interiors 2015 issue of Ottawa Magazine.

For more photos of this project visit our Facebook page.

By SARAH BROWN

kitchen

Photo: Gordon King

It’s a delicate balance, walking that fine line between modern and inviting. When a professional couple with two children approached architect Jason Flynn to design a house to replace a tear-down in Old Ottawa South, they knew they wanted a crisp and clean look but were also determined that their new house would be welcoming.

After choosing a classic white kitchen, they spent hours poring over wood samples before settling on a rich walnut, with its strong grain. “The room might have been too stark without the walnut,” explains Flynn. “But the wood and the little pop of colour from the pendant lights keep things warm.”

That warmth is echoed in the walnut-clad feature wall that partially separates the dining room from the main hallway. It creates an intimate space within the larger open-concept main floor that, with its 10-foot ceilings, might otherwise seem almost museum-like.

Read the rest of this story »

GREAT SPACE: Creative couple seeks to retain ’80s vibe while modernizing the look

This article first appeared in the Interiors 2015 issue of Ottawa Magazine.

For more photos of this project visit our Facebook page.

By SARAH BROWN

Photo by  Joel Bedford

Photo by Joel Bedford

Certain classic design eras provide continuing inspiration for home-owners and creators — think mid-century modern or Arts and Crafts. But how often do an architect and a designer get the chance to revisit the decade of showy excess known as the 1980s? Not often, says Serina Fraser of Clear Designs, who admits to being thrown for a loop when architect Jane Thompson put her in touch with a young couple wanting advice on modernizing their new buy — a 1980s-era house in New Edinburgh.

“They wanted to renovate and redecorate to preserve the vibe. I was thinking, ‘You want gold plumbing fixtures? What’s happening to my career?’ ” Fraser says with a laugh. Then she took a deep breath and thought about how much fun the project could be. The process began with a visual storyboard of the good and the bad of the decade — clothes, fashion, furniture, and wallpaper. “We took the cool colours and finishes and discarded the big puffiness of the era.”

Read the rest of this story »

GREAT SPACE: An award-winning kitchen and bath reno in 1930s Westboro house

This article first appeared in the Interiors 2015 issue of Ottawa Magazine.

For more photos of this project visit our Facebook page.

By SARAH BROWN

Photo by Gordon King

Photo by Gordon King

When a young professional couple contacted Chuck Mills in 2013 to discuss updating their tiny 1930s-era Westboro home, they had three items on their wish list: a comprehensive interior and exterior renovation, an expansion, and the creation of a unified look with an Arts and Crafts feel. One year later, the resulting transformation won a coveted award for Mills and his collaborator, Steve Barkhouse of Amsted Design Build, at the annual Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association Design Awards.

“It really was a perfect marriage between designer and client. Arts and Crafts is my design sweet spot,” says Mills of the style that incorporates details and handcrafted materials. “It was a real thrill to work with clients who respected that style and were very aware of making sure their renovated house would still fit with the neighbourhood.”

Photo by Gordon King

Photo by Gordon King

While many of the rooms feature vibrant paint colours, the kitchen and bathroom are linked by a more subtle palette of greys and greens. Grey accents are repeated in the backsplash tiles in the kitchen, the tiled fireplace surround in the adjoining living room, and the floor and wall tiles in the ensuite bathroom.

Both rooms also feature patterned tiling — a subtle diamond-patterned backsplash in the kitchen and a bolder pebble-stone tile in the bathroom. By contrast, it is the kitchen that highlights a bolder green hue on one wall, while the ensuite glows throughout with an ever so pale grey-green. The two rooms are also tied through the cabinetry, with both having the same door styles and painted finishes to give them a softer look. “There’s a lot of personality to this house,” says Mills. “But it’s a unified personality, and that’s really special.”

Read the rest of this story »

GREAT SPACE: Lounge + Bar + Brewery + Spa = One Fabulous Basement

This article was originally published as “Basement Boîte” in CityHome 2014. For more photos of this project, visit our Facebook page.

By SARAH BROWN

Photo by Doublespace Photography

Photo by Doublespace Photography

While most of the projects that Just Basements undertakes are quite elaborate, this luxe project is in a league of its own. The homeowners, Kal and Victoria*, wanted a well-appointed lounge and bar area, a home theatre, and a spa bathroom. They also requested that a functioning brewery be integrated into the space. “Who knows if we’ll ever get to do another brewery in a basement,” says Just Basements president Norm Lecuyer. “Knowing this could be a one-off made us even more excited to make sure the room was visible. It was a real opportunity.”

Read the rest of this story »

GREAT SPACE: A sleek family kitchen celebrates clean design — with a splash of colour

This article first appeared as “Code Red” in the Winter 2014 issue of Ottawa Magazine. Visit our Facebook page for more photos of this project.

By SARAH BROWN

 

Photo by Gordon King

Photo by Gordon King

“Small and large, there are 500 decisions in this kitchen,” says designer Gerhard Linse. The statement is meant to be accurate, not boastful, and serves to highlight just how many choices were made during the lengthy design process.

On the visual side, the kitchen is unfussy — pared-down and practical, with just the requisite amount of red cabinetry to punch up the cool grey and white tones that dominate. But a closer look quickly underscores the depth of thought that went into achieving the understated aesthetic. The custom cabinetry comes in three shades (antique white, pepper dust grey, and red) and two finishes (high gloss in the show areas and textured lower gloss in the high-traffic areas), while the dark toasted oak accents help to ground the room. That toasted oak is a new product, the wood heated to extreme temperatures to produce a rich dark shade. All that sleekness is tempered with fun — 12 pendant lights introduce just the right touch of bling, while a floating ceiling hides strips of LED lighting that can cast a red, blue, or green glow over the room at the touch of a button.

Photo by Gordon King

Photo by Gordon King

Still, this is not simply a show kitchen. It is a central hub for a busy family of five, open to the dining and living rooms as well as to a spacious backyard deck and patio. Practical features include easy-to-clean porcelain floors and stainless-steel kickplates under the counters. A textured backsplash, in shimmering tile that doubles as art, continues along the entire wall behind the stovetop.

But perhaps the most functional features are the ones that are hidden. Tucked out of sight, a well-appointed pantry and compact food preparation area conceal the

Photo by Gordon King

Photo by Gordon King

untidiness of day-to-day life. This is where the groceries get carried in and put away and the school lunches get made. And it is in this “mini-kitchen” that Linse has incorporated the tiny touches that make doing chores just a little less tedious. Here we find a well-organized recycling station, a cookbook shelf, and a high-gloss cabinetry panel that is used as a whiteboard on which to write grocery lists and busy family sports schedules. This is where the routine tasks get done in style.

Five hundred decisions, hours of sketching and consultation. The net result? A bright and cheery kitchen that is perfectly set up for its role as gathering spot and activity centre — and a room that makes mealtimes just that much more pleasurable.

Visit our Facebook page for more photos of this project.

CITYHOME 2014: Pops of colour, texture key to Hintonburg renovation

This article originally appeared in CityHome 2014 as “Material World.” Visit our Facebook page for more photos and details about featured items.

By HATTIE KLOTZ

Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen

Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen

When Emma Doucet, owner of Grassroots Design, first clapped eyes on the turn-of-the-century semi-detached house in Hintonburg, it was in a sorry state. The pink-grey brick house had at one time been split into a duplex. It had vinyl flooring, and the fireplace had been torn out.

But some of the original features remained, such as deep baseboards and wonderful 10-foot ceilings, as well as a bay window that allows light to flood in. “The first thing we did was lay hardwood flooring,” says Doucet. “Then we got rid of the pot lights in the living room. We wanted to update this house but to do it with integrity, respecting the era.”

Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen

Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen

Rather than using colour on the walls — “I find high ceilings with a darker colour oppressive,” she explains — she chose to layer her decor with neutral walls, adding colour splashes and texture with accessories. “I find that good design doesn’t assault your senses,” she says, “and when you add colour through lamps and accessories, it’s easy to change it out.”

You might think that Doucet chose the blue and orange accent pillows to tie in with the painting in the dining room, “but the painting came after the fact. It belonged to the owner’s grandmother and works perfectly.” Once orange became the statement colour, Doucet and the owners opted to use it also on the wall of the basement stairwell. “Originally it was all dark grey neutrals, but this was the pop of colour it needed.” Doucet then carried the blue from the ground floor down to the lower level to tie the whole house together.

Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen

Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen

CITYHOME 2014: Industrial designers Ian Murchison & Rohan Thakar reveal their current obsessions

This article originally appeared in CityHome 2014.

By PATRICK LANGSTON

Rohan Thakar and Ian Murchison of The Federal Inc. Photo by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio.

Rohan Thakar and Ian Murchison of The Federal Inc. Photo by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio.

Designers too often over-complicate products by piling on features, says Ian Murchison, co-founder, with Rohan Thakar, of the start-up industrial design firm The Federal Inc. Hence the sleek functionality and buoyant good looks of the colourful Loop, The Federal’s rubber-based bike stand (it was a chance to use materials in a new way, says Thakar) that’s coming soon, we hope, to a street near you. Ditto the Xero Golf Towel with its waterproof smartphone pocket, absorbent towel for wiping sweaty hands or brows, and scrub pad for cleaning golf-club heads and balls.

Read the rest of this story »

REASON TO LOVE OTTAWA: Because a biodome in Brewer Park is extending our growing season

This article first appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of Ottawa Magazine.

By  MATT HARRISON

Volunteer Marcel Bélanger tends the gardens in the biodome, which is located in Old Ottawa South. Photo by Luther Caverly.

Volunteer Marcel Bélanger tends the gardens in the biodome, which is located in Old Ottawa South. Photo by Luther Caverly.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants more greenhouses in the North — he announced that during his annual summer trip to the Arctic — in order to provide northern communities with fresh, affordable produce. Around the same time, volunteers were hard at work on a geodesic dome in Brewer Park in Old Ottawa South.

The biodome, which is the size of a large play structure, will soon grow food year-round, explains project leader Michael Oster.

Costing about $48,000, most of which came from a City of Ottawa grant, the dome isn’t just a unique greenhouse. Rather, it’s a domed ecosystem, the first of its kind in eastern Canada.

Plans for the biodome include an aquaponics system that will use waste water from a fish tank to water the plants. Solar panels will reduce dependency on energy, while a web of pipes under the floor will circulate heat, moderate temperatures, and prevent frost heave. Gardeners practise companion planting, choosing varieties that help one another by warding off insects or providing nutrients.

“[The dome] shows families and communities that this can be done and should be done,” Oster says, adding that biodomes have many advantages over conventional greenhouses. But the dome is not intended to replace a trip to the grocery store. Rather, as a plaque beside it reads, it is designed to “teach, learn, and inspire.” It is a showcase for what’s possible — even in the Arctic.