Articles Tagged ‘interiors’

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.



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.

INTERIORS 2014: River views inspire dazzling designs


When managing editor Sarah Brown proposed the theme of the 2014 Interiors issue, I was once again amazed at the rich architectural landscape of this city. The city’s explosion of bold, yet thoughtful, residential design provided us the opportunity to curate a collection of houses that easily fit the riverside theme.

The theme quickly revealed a few trends. Many homeowners love the modern look but wanted a house that spoke to the surroundings. Enter post-and-beam construction, which allows for open-concept kitchens and works well with neutral decor palettes. I love how, from afar, the Manotick home of Sebastien Marineau looks like a cluster of rural outbuildings. Inside, it’s warm, welcoming, and a luxurious place to come home to. Marc Gingras and Natalie Sawaya took a different route: the topography of their undeveloped property meant their house could be built to ensure awe-inspiring views.

One thing remains constant in these water-inspired homes, and that is the interplay between outside and inside. A pool is set into the bedrock and features clear fencing to keep the eyes on the prize-winning forested backdrop. Extensive glazing lets homeowners appreciate their surroundings even in winter. Barn- board reclaims the landscape by countering the modern aspects of the house and tying it back to the landscape, in this way honouring the surroundings.

I would even venture to say that the feeling of river travel — the sometimes peaceful, at other times stimulating experience that reveals something new at every turn — is reflected in this issue. For example, we learned of the Cumberland home of Anda Bruinsma and Barry Turner after visiting the home of Gosse Bruinsma, Anda’s brother. Gosse and his partner, Michele Carini, lovingly restored a heritage home in New Edinburgh — on the banks of the Rideau River, no less — and thus bring a different style of architecture to this issue. Serendipitous, indeed.

I’ve often marvelled at the fact that, while Ottawa has many parks and pathways situated near water, relatively few public gathering spaces take advantage of river views, sunset reflections, and the embracing spiritedness that comes with socializing by the water. But institutions are starting to see the value in inspired public spaces — “Building a More Beautiful City” spotlights three recent projects. Perhaps it’s time city planners took a cue from residential architects. How I would love a space to chat fireside about a new project or be moved by the musings of a celebrated speaker while taking in waterfront views.

Dayanti Karunaratne, Editor

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A HOUSE WE LOVE: After moving into a 1940s bungalow, a design-savvy couple commits to a creative reno

Ever conscious of the character of the neighbourhood, the Dawsons retained the original roofline of the front of the house. But in keeping with the modern character of the house, the designer mimicked the roofline with an innovative slanting porch. Photography by Gordon King.

Modern Love: After moving into a 1940s bungalow, a design-savvy couple commits to a creative renovation that gives them space while respecting the character of the neighbourhood. By Barbara Sibbald. Photography by Gordon King.

This house was featured in the 2012 Interiors edition. See more photographs and read the full story in the print edition.

For four years after buying their house, newlyweds Gillian and Michael Dawson practised restraint. But that doesn’t mean their creative juices weren’t flowing. They had purchased their modest 1940s bungalow fully intending an extensive renovation; it was just a matter of saving some money — and coming up with The Plan. The wait was well worth it. In 2010, savings and ideas came together in a renovation that transformed the tiny house into a free-flowing urban home with a show-stopping central staircase, meticulous detailing, and a practical sensibility.

The year 2006 was a busy one for Gillian and Michael married and bought their house. They toured about 40 places in their search for the perfect neighbourhood and lot, but nothing felt quite right. Then Gillian’s aunt, their real estate agent, called to tell them she had found their house. Two hours after it was listed, they knew she was right. The 870-square-foot bungalow sat on a good-sized lot. And they loved the neighbourhood, tucked into the crossroads of Main and Lees and handy to both the Glebe and downtown. 

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A HOUSE WE LOVE: A modernist gem in Hintonburg

A lot that was just 23 feet seven inches wide demanded a very innovative house design. Photography by Peter Fritz.

Luminous Modernism: A couple designs and builds a streamlined house on a very slim lot in Hintonburg

This house is one of five innovative modern designs featured in the 2012 Interiors edition. See more photographs and read the full story in the print edition.

Lee-Ann Zanelli still laughs when she recalls her first drive-by past the lot that would eventually become the site for their modernist gem of a house. Her husband, Rick Shean, had called her at work to tell her he had found the perfect lot in Hintonburg.

“We drove over, and Rick points out what was basically a driveway,” says Lee-Ann. “I just looked at him and said, ‘Are you kidding me? There’s no way!’” The parcel of land, severed from the lot belonging to the neighbouring house, was a mere 23 feet seven inches wide.

Not a lot of space to squeeze a house into — especially when you figure in space between the neighbours on either side.

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FROM THE PRINT EDITION: Restaurant owner Stephen Beckta’s new kitchen combines a whimsical colour scheme with some serious appliances

Restaurant owner Stephen Beckta and his wife, Maureen Cunningham, combine a whimsical colour scheme with some serious appliances. Photography by Christian Lalonde - Photolux Studio

This kitchen is one of four innovative kitchens featured in the February 2012 Interiors edition.

Quick, what’s the first thing that grabs your eye? For those captivated by design, it’s the cabinetry. So bright, so cheery, so green! The committed home cooks, meanwhile, will be stopped in their tracks by the wood-fired oven.

When you’re Stephen Beckta, owner of local restaurants Beckta and Play, the kitchen is serious business. But though there is care taken in the appliances chosen, it’s the joy factor that his wife, Maureen Cunningham, wants to speak about first. “It’s so happy. It’s who we are,” explains the training and organizational change consultant as she details how it took three months of back and forth with Deslaurier Custom Cabinets to come up with cabinetry in the exact shade and shininess the couple envisioned.

It took another few months of carting a cabinet door around in the trunk of the car on their shopping expeditions before they found the perfect backsplash to match. “We loved the texture,” says Beckta simply. “The tiles just have so much life to them.”

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FROM THE PRINT EDITION: A kitchen renovation achieves a LEED Platinum rating — and does it with style

Because the compact kitchen is part of a much larger room, the team created visual flow by carrying the unique walnut millwork throughout the main floor. Photography by Gordon King.

This kitchen is one of four innovative kitchens featured in the February 2012 Interiors edition.

The starting point was a small bungalow in Old Ottawa South, and the intrigue of the project was in the details. A young professional couple were looking to undertake an extensive renovation that would transform their cramped quarters into a two-storey space with an open-concept main floor. The details? They wanted to build to LEED Platinum standards, and they wanted a renovation that would be fully accessible.

“It’s all about careful design,” explains Steve Barkhouse, owner of Amsted Design-Build, which worked with Montreal architects Laroche et Gagné Architecture Design on the project. “Accessibility is part of what we aim for in every project anyway.”

Because the compact kitchen is part of a much larger room, the team created visual flow by carrying the unique walnut millwork throughout the main floor. “The key,” says Barkhouse, “is that the kitchen doesn’t stand out. The cabinetry doesn’t look like kitchen cabinetry, and the wood we used matches other furniture pieces on this level.”

Other neat features include the two countertop working areas, conveniently located plugs hidden in the kitchen side of the breakfast bar, and heated polished-concrete floors. Interestingly, the kitchen is located at the front of the house, so the cook can enjoy neighbourhood views while preparing meals on the stove. When asked to sum up the kitchen in one line, Barkhouse does so perfectly: “This is a kitchen that isn’t really big, but it lives big.”

The kitchen is at the front of the house, so the cook can enjoy neighbourhood views while preparing meals on the stove. Photography by Gordon King.

THE TEAM: Laroche et Gagné Architecture Design (design); Amsted Design-Build (contractor)


CABINETRY: Laroche et Gagné Architecture Design (built and installed by Espace Cuisine, Montreal)

COUNTER: TechniStone (in Crystal Polar White), Comptoirs Illimités

FAUCET: Boone Plumbing

FLOORING: Maxxon Therma-Floor, installed by Floor Solutions


LIGHTING: Systemalux

SINK: Blanco, Boone Plumbing

TABLE AND CHAIRS: Vintage Danish teak, homeowners’ personal collection

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2012: The Interiors Issue


* Modern in the city — three amazing homes that make the most of their urban locations

* Modern in the country — two country retreats that complement their rural settings

* Making waves — interviewing three of the capital’s next generation of fine artists

* Creative in the kitchen — four beautiful kitchen renos (and how you can get the look)

* 170+ pages of great city style!

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IN CAMERA: Ottawa Magazine celebrates the 2011 edition of Interiors with a launch party

Picture This! Snapshots from Ottawa Magazine launch party for the annual Interiors edition (all images by Lindsay Ralph).

Guests got a sneak peek at the Interiors issue three days before it hit the newsstands. The 100+ partygoers mingled in the spacious Ottawa Magazine offices, enjoying hors d’oeuvres from Brookstreet and cupcakes by Little Cakes.

Left to right: Cupcakes by Little Cakes match the cover; The first copies of the magazine arrived just hours before the party; Cake pops, also by Little Cakes. (It’s impossible to eat just one).

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February 2011 Interiors Issue on Newsstands February 6

• The INTERIORS issue

• Who’s got buzz?

• Fine art photographers in the spotlight

• Inspired local homes

• Fab kitchen and bathroom ideas

• Glam New Edinburgh gardens

See the editor’s letter and a full table of contents below.

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GREAT SPACE: Sneak Peek from the Glebe House Tour on September 19

The moment Maureen Coates stepped through the door, she knew it was a house she would love to live in, despite the need for a top-to-bottom modernization

Great Spaces: Maureen Coates' modernized Arts and Crafts home in the Glebe

Photographs: Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

While Maureen Coates has brought the house into the 21st century, it retains much of its Arts and Crafts feel, including new windows with a traditional design of three panes above and a single one below. The house is now bright, clean, and singing with style. High on her list of things to do was a coffered ceiling in the living and dining rooms to replace the original stucco with swirling designs through it. “I kept thinking that I wasn’t going to be happy if I left the ceilings as they were,” she says, “and I really wanted a wow factor in these rooms.” So she had six-by-eight-inch coffers with simple mouldings installed. Then she looked at the original wood trim in its mid-brown tone and realized it wasn’t working for her either. “So I stripped, sanded, and primed all the mouldings myself,” she says, “and it took five weeks!” Then she painted it all White Dove by Benjamin Moore.

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