Articles by: Tanya CollinsTanya Collins
Tanya Collins is principal of Tanya Collins Design, an interior design and decorating firm based in Ottawa. Established in 2006, Tanya has quickly developed a residential clientele who appreciates her highly personalized approach. Her flair for seeing space utilized to its full potential, for balancing colors, for playing with scale and pattern, and for mixing disparate objects is her trademark. Her interiors overall have a chic, clean-lined aesthetic that is classic and sophisticated yet playful and warm. To date, Tanya’s work has been sought by the local press notably Style Magazine and Ottawa Magazine and has been featured in several style blogs. Tanyaʼs firm offers service from concept to completion to hourly consultations to suit her clients' needs and budget.

Accessible Elegance for Family Living

April 22, 2014 9:38 am
Accessible Elegance for Family Living

From its dramatic moody dining room wall colour and modern abstract art to its light-filled, south-facing kitchen and traditional butler’s pantry, this stately three-storey centre hall brick home in the Glebe is a study in contrasts: elegant and refined, but livable and modern for today’s busy family.

With a Georgian-inspired façade and accompanying brick carriage house, this charming family-style home was not as idyllic as it first appeared on the exterior, just over five years ago. The flow and functionality of the living space needed much improvement for a busy, large family. As a first priority, the clients opted to reconstruct their unfinished basement to include a full bathroom, guest room, office, exercise area, general media/entertainment room and a utility/storage area. After some time to enjoy their new living space and replenish their reno budget, they took on revamping the main floor of their home.

Considering the square footage of the house, the original kitchen was too small. It couldn’t fit more than two people in it any point in time. There was minimal storage space at the back entrance to the house and large rooms, that included two dining spaces, were underutilized.The homeowners longed for a mudroom along with a larger, more functional kitchen with more storage while still maintaining the existing powder room, front entrance hall, dining and living rooms.

The new plan involved switching the existing dining room with the living room to afford the clients the desired mudroom accessible directly from the rear, garage area. As well, there would be a large, south-facing kitchen with butler’s pantry adjoining the dining room. Given there was a very large living/family room with television on another level, the clients didn’t mind scaling the main floor living room down in size from its original proportions. They wanted their new space to be cozier for family reading and intimate conversation. All of this was achieved with minimal change to the interior structure, except for a new beam installed between the new proposed kitchen and dining room. All of the client’s needs were met without a major “gut” job.

familylivingThe custom kitchen was designed to integrate with the architecture of the house. Face-frame custom-lacquered shaker cabinetry with toe-kick valance detailing and glass inset panels, along with a furniture-style island in a contrasted custom-colour were details not to be compromised. The femininity of the jewelry-like crystal knobs on the doors offset the masculinity of the polished library pulls on the drawers. The backsplash in a small Carrera marble herringbone pattern ups the luxe factor, creating a classical tone for the kitchen. Perimeter counters are featured in a dark grey quartz, Caesarstone Concrete to balance the lacquered paint finish on the island. The quartz counters in Caesarstone 4600, on the island are to simulate, Carrera marble without the maintenance, critical for family living. The island pendants from Cyan Lighting, reference the crystal and chrome hardware while providing a dramatic focal point.

The butler’s pantry, just adjacent to the dining room, is a little gem allowing for bar service with the sink and wine fridge. It accommodates all items used for entertaining such as bowls, serving trays, tablecloths, china, silverware, and glassware.

The dining room (pictured on page 32) is rich and luxurious and darker, offering a contrast to the light-filled kitchen. The Louis-style dining chairs upholstered in two fabrics, a modern black and white floral and a geometric white and black honeycomb, were sourced from C&M Textiles. The dining table and chairs are a custom, light grey stain. The walls are painted, Benjamin Moore, Chelsea Gray, serving as the perfect backdrop to Ottawa artist, Heidi Conrod’s light abstract. The gorgeous Oly chandelier from Shop 219 tops the list of features with its hand-blown orbs of glass.

The mudroom is personalized to the client’s children. There is a dog bath, chalkboard painted door, a fun wall colour in Farrow and Ball Blue Ground, and decorative but practical cabinetry to allow airflow for sports equipment.

living2The living room is an invigorating and happy space, contrasted with the feeling of the other main spaces yet cohesive with the overall colour scheme. Why shouldn’t a home reflect the ever-changing moods and lifestyle habits of the people who inhabit them? The light, turquoise walls create a soothing effect but when paired with yellow-green accents, the space comes alive. The sofa was custom designed in a neutral sand-coloured velvet while the other two chairs were vintage, bought online through used goods groups. The wing chair was re-upholstered in a white ultra suede while the other was fashioned in an all-time favourite designer-patterned linen, Imperial Trellis by Kelly Wearstler. The taffeta-lined striped drapes are a combination of the signature colours made by C&M Textiles.

All elements of the design, layout and flow of this house and the décor, colour palette and amenities of this house exude a fresh elegance and playful sophistication, accessible for family living.

 

London Calling: Classic British Style

April 9, 2014 12:49 pm
London Calling: Classic British Style

Showcased in the model suite is the London Classic, one of three European styled interior collections, a vision of Ottawa-born, lawyer-turned-developer, John Thomas.

As a tribute to this building’s British roots (the international award-winning PLP Architecture company from London), the London Classic was the first interior collection to reflect a sense of heritage, timelessness, and refinement. The hallmark of the London Classic collection is its herringbone patterns, cobblestone Carrera marble floors, walnut-dark woods, oversized hotel style pedestal sinks, 8” widespread lever faucets, framed door casings, post detailing, high baseboards, rain-head shower heads, black accents, lacquered wood cabinetry, and solid lever-style door hardware.

londonstyle5The kitchen reflects the look of classic cabinetry, unlike the typical flat panel door prominent in the current condo market. Shaker white cabinetry comes standard as part of this collection along with Carerra marble countertops. The Carrera marble from countertop to ceiling, serves as an interesting and decorative focal point, being seen from all aspects of the suite. Rather than fill this feature wall with a myriad of cabinets, a more design-savvy, less kitchenlike profile is achieved, perfect for high-style entertaining. Library drawer pulls and classic round doorknobs complete the look. Want storage? Be sure to notice the full-height cabinetry located opposite the counter stools upon entry into the suite. Not only does it provide a lot more storage but it dramatically increases the size of the overall kitchen footprint. This kitchen has far more places to put your things than the typical one-bedroom suite, even without the upper cabinets on the focal wall.

Over-sized, black iron pendants, another nod to classic English styling, are from Progress Lighting. They provide much needed contrast to all the white and grey tones. The over-scale sconces in the bathroom also come from Progress Lighting. The power of lighting can never be underestimated in any space. It is worth the splurge whether in residential or commercial interiors.

The kitchen sink has a distinct square-edged profile to co-ordinate with the clean lines of the waterfall island countertop feature. The faucet style is a perennial favourite being the gooseneck by Aquabrass. It provides interest to this corner of the L-shaped kitchen layout.

Moving to the bathroom, cobblestone marble floors marry beautifully with the oversized 12” x 24” marble tiles in the shower. The Kohler Memoirs pedestal sink anchoring the large over-sized framed mirror set off by two sconce lights provides a lovely vista from the hallway. This sight line was not by accident. Details really count, especially in a smaller space.

The Phillip Stark toilet is located in a separate room, creating a dual purpose, a water closet for the main bathroom area and a powder room for the public main living space. It gives the effect of a grander suite and is more conducive to entertaining, providing the illusion that guests don’t have to share your private bathroom quarters. The clothes and laundry closets are modeled after a high-end Poliform one and provide lots of storage. The dark, exotic wood finish provides contrast to the white crisp finishes. With 25-foot wide bays and 9-foot ceilings offered in the one-bedroom suites and all of these beautiful features, it’s hard to believe that all this high style and quality can come without a London-high price tag. But it can at The Azure.

Modern SIMPLICITY: A Makeover in Alta Vista

April 7, 2014 10:42 am
Modern SIMPLICITY: A Makeover in Alta Vista

Designed originally for city privacy in the 1960s, this Alta Vista bungalow is best suited for display of an extensive art collection with its expansive walls, high ceilings, and minimal trim work. Original owners were the late Samuel and Caroline Baylin, who were a family of artists, she a painter and art enthusiast and he, an ornamental metalworker and designer involved in his father, Max’s company, Ottawa Iron Works Ltd. * By 1950, Ottawa Iron Works Ltd. was one of the most modern architectural metal plants in Canada.** Tanya Collins Simpson Rd. 010The home sadly fell into disrepair over decades with renters and multiple haphazard renovations, so when the most recent homeowners approached me to help reconstruct this house to their liking, it seemed like a tall order especially with the history behind it and a modest budget to work with. Instead of trying to strip everything out to suit the client’s tastes or bring back some of original aspects, like wood wall paneling in the family room, we prioritized our efforts. The flooring that had been changed over the years created uneven breaks across rooms that were open to each other, being somewhat of a distraction to the room’s clean architecture. Therefore, the first priority was to unify the flooring to make the public spaces feel more cohesive. The whole house was repainted, stipple ceiling removed in the common areas, and all the white melamine doors that were not original to the house were replaced with solid core hardwood doors stained to match the wood ceiling beams original to the house. The small master bath and closet area not only had to be refreshed for hygiene purposes but function, light, and flow needed to be improved to reflect the expansive feel of the house. The existing wood beams had weathered over time with sun damage and the existing stain had become an odd orange colour so we decided to re-stain all the wood an espresso brown colour (the client’s favourite wood stain) to add a more sophisticated contrast to the vanilla walls painted Farrow and Ball, Slipper Satin. One of the few original aspects of the house still existing, the fireplace brickwork (see photo on page 39), seen upon entry was left as is to reinforce the mid-century vibe of the house. Victorian and Tiffany-style stained glass light fixtures were exchanged for mid-century reproductions, like the Sputnik hanging pendant, from Mikaza Home, to emphasize the simple modern lines of the house. Tanya Collins Simpson Rd. 004The most striking change occurred in the principal bedroom. The existing ensuite was very small and had carpeting in it while the closet was dark and not configured for functional clothes storage. To improve flow, symmetry and light, the non-load bearing wall between the bathroom and the closet was removed and another window was added to mirror the existing one to the left of the shower. A central access to the ensuite from the bedroom was created with two double doors in lieu of the 2 separate single doors. The outer walls of the bathroom and closet did not change, however, in removing the interior wall separating both rooms, the new space appears dramatically larger. The “floating” shower serves as a focal point upon access to the bathroom and divides the closet area from the vanity/toilet area. Using glass on three sides of the shower visually doesn’t command space. The wall tile selected in a linear pattern, was chosen to blend with the tone of the floor tiles and wall colour, Farrow and Ball Pavillion Gray, creating a more expansive effect. 12” x 24” striated matte grey tile replaced the carpet and a larger more modern furniture-style vanity with two rectangular vessel sinks improved storage capacity from the former one that was built right up against the wall with a vertical laminate 6” backsplash on two sides. The closet doors and drawers were custom-made to mimic the slab door vanity design. A double-door closet for him and one for her along with an extra single-door closet and set of drawers was more functional than the offerings of the previous layout. Dresser-style nightstands and a high boy were situated in the bedroom for extra storage should the clients’ require it. The last area to receive a face-lift was the basement bar area. The bar wall was tiled from counter to ceiling with a linear grey/white marble consistent with the aesthetics of the bathroom wall shower tile. A new, thicker square pencil edge stainless steel-like Formica replaced the ¾” Ogee round cream-coloured Formica one. The bar base was left as original but stained a dark espresso colour to match the rest of the woodwork and beams. This project is a great lesson in how to achieve a dramatic transformation without breaking the bank or making major structural changes. New flooring to connect all of the open rooms and a fresh coat of paint were key. Working with existing features such as the ceiling wood beams and fireplace brick work and putting back features that would have been original to the house such as wood slab doors were not only budget friendly solutions but preserved some of the home’s original charm. This Alta Vista bungalow once again feels like a modern art gallery, just as it did many years ago with its original owners.

2nd Annual Spaces Issue

April 3, 2014 12:10 pm
2nd Annual Spaces Issue

 

Premier Ottawa designer Tanya Collins shows us that we can have a beautiful home even it’s filled with kids and pets. It’s all about making the  right style and function choices. Tanya shares her tricks and  her sources for beautiful fixtures and finds.

 

London Calling: Classic British Style

londonstyle4

Located at the gateway to the Ottawa neighbourhood of Westboro, the newest boutique condo, The Azure seems to be the right cup of tea. While the first month of sales is usually slow for most developments of this nature, hovering at 10 per cent, a whopping 35 per cent of The Azure sales were made in the first month. The allure of the Azure is undeniable.

Showcased in the model suite is the London Classic, one of three European styled interior collections, a vision of Ottawa-born, lawyer-turned-developer, John Thomas.

As a tribute to this building’s British roots (the international award-winning PLP Architecture company from London), the London Classic was the first interior collection to reflect a sense of heritage, timelessness, and refinement. The hallmark of the London Classic collection is its herringbone patterns, cobblestone Carrera marble floors, walnut-dark woods, oversized hotel style pedestal sinks, 8” widespread lever faucets, framed door casings, post detailing, high baseboards, rain-head shower heads, black accents, lacquered wood cabinetry, and solid lever-style door hardware.

The kitchen reflects the look of classic cabinetry, unlike the typical flat panel door prominent in the current condo market. Shaker white cabinetry comes standard as part of this collection along with Carerra marble countertops. The Carrera marble from countertop to ceiling, serves as an interesting and decorative focal point, being seen from all aspects of the suite. Rather than fill this feature wall with a myriad of cabinets, a more design-savvy, less kitchenlike profile is achieved, perfect for high-style entertaining. Library drawer pulls and classic round doorknobs complete the look. Want storage? Be sure to notice the full-height cabinetry located opposite the counter stools upon entry into the suite. Not only does it provide a lot more storage but it dramatically increases the size of the overall kitchen footprint. This kitchen has far more places to put your things than the typical one-bedroom suite, even without the upper cabinets on the focal wall.

londonstyle6Over-sized, black iron pendants, another nod to classic English styling, are from Progress Lighting. They provide much needed contrast to all the white and grey tones. The over-scale sconces in the bathroom also come from Progress Lighting. The power of lighting can never be underestimated in any space. It is worth the splurge whether in residential or commercial interiors.

The kitchen sink has a distinct square-edged profile to co-ordinate with the clean lines of the waterfall island countertop feature. The faucet style is a perennial favourite being the gooseneck by Aquabrass. It provides interest to this corner of the L-shaped kitchen layout.

Moving to the bathroom, cobblestone marble floors marry beautifully with the oversized 12” x 24” marble tiles in the shower. The Kohler Memoirs pedestal sink anchoring the large over-sized framed mirror set off by two sconce lights provides a lovely vista from the hallway. This sight line was not by accident. Details really count, especially in a smaller space.

The Phillip Stark toilet is located in a separate room, creating a dual purpose, a water closet for the main bathroom area and a powder room for the public main living space. It gives the effect of a grander suite and is more conducive to entertaining, providing the illusion that guests don’t have to share your private bathroom quarters. The clothes and laundry closets are modeled after a high-end Poliform one and provide lots of storage. The dark, exotic wood finish provides contrast to the white crisp finishes. With 25-foot wide bays and 9-foot ceilings offered in the one-bedroom suites and all of these beautiful features, it’s hard to believe that all this high style and quality can come without a London-high price tag. But it can at The Azure.

Accessible elegance for Family Living

londonstyle7

From its dramatic moody dining room wall colour and modern abstract art to its light-filled, south-facing kitchen and traditional butler’s pantry, this stately three-storey centre hall brick home in the Glebe is a study in contrasts: elegant and refined, but livable and modern for today’s busy family.

With a Georgian-inspired façade and accompanying brick carriage house, this charming family-style home was not as idyllic as it first appeared on the exterior, just over five years ago. The flow and functionality of the living space needed much improvement for a busy, large family. As a first priority, the clients opted to reconstruct their unfinished basement to include a full bathroom, guest room, office, exercise area, general media/entertainment room and a utility/storage area. After some time to enjoy their new living space and replenish their reno budget, they took on revamping the main floor of their home.

Considering the square footage of the house, the original kitchen was too small. It couldn’t fit more than two people in it any point in time. There was minimal storage space at the back entrance to the house and large rooms, that included two dining spaces, were underutilized.

The homeowners longed for a mudroom along with a larger, more functional kitchen with more storage while still maintaining the existing powder room, front entrance hall, dining and living rooms.

The new plan involved switching the existing dining room with the living room to afford the clients the desired mudroom accessible directly from the rear, garage area. As well, there would be a large, south-facing kitchen with butler’s pantry adjoining the dining room. Given there was a very large living/family room with television on another level, the clients didn’t mind scaling the main floor living room down in size from its original proportions. They wanted their new space to be cozier for family reading and intimate conversation. All of this was achieved with minimal change to the interior structure, except for a new beam installed between the new proposed kitchen and dining room. All of the client’s needs were met without a major “gut” job.

The custom kitchen was designed to integrate with the architecture of the house. Face-frame custom-lacquered shaker cabinetry with toe-kick valance detailing and glass inset panels, along with a furniture-style island in a contrasted custom-colour were details not to be compromised. The femininity of the jewelry-like crystal knobs on the doors offset the masculinity of the polished library pulls on the drawers. The backsplash in a small Carrera marble herringbone pattern ups the luxe factor, creating a classical tone for the kitchen. Perimeter counters are featured in a dark grey quartz, Caesarstone Concrete to balance the lacquered paint finish on the island. The quartz counters in Caesarstone 4600, on the island are to simulate, Carrera marble without the maintenance, critical for family living. The island pendants from Cyan Lighting, reference the crystal and chrome hardware while providing a dramatic focal point.

The butler’s pantry, just adjacent to the dining room, is a little gem allowing for bar service with the sink and wine fridge. It accommodates all items used for entertaining such as bowls, serving trays, tablecloths, china, silverware, and glassware.

The dining room (pictured on page 32) is rich and luxurious and darker, offering a contrast to the light-filled kitchen. The Louis-style dining chairs upholstered in two fabrics, a modern black and white floral and a geometric white and black honeycomb, were sourced from C&M Textiles. The dining table and chairs are a custom, light grey stain. The walls are painted, Benjamin Moore, Chelsea Gray, serving as the perfect backdrop to Ottawa artist, Heidi Conrod’s light abstract. The gorgeous Oly chandelier from Shop 219 tops the list of features with its hand-blown orbs of glass.

The mudroom is personalized to the client’s children. There is a dog bath, chalkboard painted door, a fun wall colour in Farrow and Ball Blue Ground, and decorative but practical cabinetry to allow airflow for sports equipment.

The living room is an invigorating and happy space, contrasted with the feeling of the other main spaces yet cohesive with the overall colour scheme. Why shouldn’t a home reflect the ever-changing moods and lifestyle habits of the people who inhabit them? The light, turquoise walls create a soothing effect but when paired with yellow-green accents, the space comes alive. The sofa was custom designed in a neutral sand-coloured velvet while the other two chairs were vintage, bought online through used goods groups. The wing chair was re-upholstered in a white ultra suede while the other was fashioned in an all-time favourite designer-patterned linen, Imperial Trellis by Kelly Wearstler. The taffeta-lined striped drapes are a combination of the signature colours made by C&M Textiles.

All elements of the design, layout and flow of this house and the décor, colour palette and amenities of this house exude a fresh elegance and playful sophistication, accessible for family living.

 

Modern SIMPLICITY: A Makeover in Alta Vista

Tanya Collins Simpson Rd. 002

Designed originally for city privacy in the 1960s, this Alta Vista bungalow is best suited for display of an extensive art collection with its expansive walls, high ceilings, and minimal trim work. Original owners were the late Samuel and Caroline Baylin, who were a family of artists, she a painter and art enthusiast and he, an ornamental metalworker and designer involved in his father, Max’s company, Ottawa Iron Works Ltd. * By 1950, Ottawa Iron Works Ltd. was one of the most modern architectural metal plants in Canada.**

The home sadly fell into disrepair over decades with renters and multiple haphazard renovations, so when the most recent homeowners approached me to help reconstruct this house to their liking, it seemed like a tall order especially with the history behind it and a modest budget to work with. Instead of trying to strip everything out to suit the client’s tastes or bring back some of original aspects, like wood wall paneling in the family room, we prioritized our efforts. The flooring that had been changed over the years created uneven breaks across rooms that were open to each other, being somewhat of a distraction to the room’s clean architecture. Therefore, the first priority was to unify the flooring to make the public spaces feel more cohesive. The whole house was repainted, stipple ceiling removed in the common areas, and all the white melamine doors that were not original to the house were replaced with solid core hardwood doors stained to match the wood ceiling beams original to the house. The small master bath and closet area not only had to be refreshed for hygiene purposes but function, light, and flow needed to be improved to reflect the expansive feel of the house.

The existing wood beams had weathered over time with sun damage and the existing stain had become an odd orange colour so we decided to re-stain all the wood an espresso brown colour (the client’s favourite wood stain) to add a more sophisticated contrast to the vanilla walls painted Farrow and Ball, Slipper Satin. One of the few original aspects of the house still existing, the fireplace brickwork (see photo on page 39), seen upon entry was left as is to reinforce the mid-century vibe of the house. Victorian and Tiffany-style stained glass light fixtures were exchanged for mid-century reproductions, like the Sputnik hanging pendant, from Mikaza Home, to emphasize the simple modern lines of the house.

The most striking change occurred in the principal bedroom. The existing ensuite was very small and had carpeting in it while the closet was dark and not configured for functional clothes storage. To improve flow, symmetry and light, the non-load bearing wall between the bathroom and the closet was removed and another window was added to mirror the existing one to the left of the shower. A central access to the ensuite from the bedroom was created with two double doors in lieu of the 2 separate single doors. The outer walls of the bathroom and closet did not change, however, in removing the interior wall separating both rooms, the new space appears dramatically larger. The “floating” shower serves as a focal point upon access to the bathroom and divides the closet area from the vanity/toilet area. Using glass on three sides of the shower visually doesn’t command space. The wall tile selected in a linear pattern, was chosen to blend with the tone of the floor tiles and wall colour, Farrow and Ball Pavillion Gray, creating a more expansive effect. 12” x 24” striated matte grey tile replaced the carpet and a larger more modern furniture-style vanity with two rectangular vessel sinks improved storage capacity from the former one that was built right up against the wall with a vertical laminate 6” backsplash on two sides. The closet doors and drawers were custom-made to mimic the slab door vanity design. A double-door closet for him and one for her along with an extra single-door closet and set of drawers was more functional than the offerings of the previous layout. Dresser-style nightstands and a high boy were situated in the bedroom for extra storage should the clients’ require it.

Tanya Collins Simpson Rd. 010The last area to receive a face-lift was the basement bar area. The bar wall was tiled from counter to ceiling with a linear grey/white marble consistent with the aesthetics of the bathroom wall shower tile. A new, thicker square pencil edge stainless steel-like Formica replaced the ¾” Ogee round cream-coloured Formica one. The bar base was left as original but stained a dark espresso colour to match the rest of the woodwork and beams.

This project is a great lesson in how to achieve a dramatic transformation without breaking the bank or making major structural changes. New flooring to connect all of the open rooms and a fresh coat of paint were key. Working with existing features such as the ceiling wood beams and fireplace brick work and putting back features that would have been original to the house such as wood slab doors were not only budget friendly solutions but preserved some of the home’s original charm. This Alta Vista bungalow once again feels like a modern art gallery, just as it did many years ago with its original owners.

Visit Tanya’s website for a complete look at her work with Ottawa Life Magazine.

 

At Home with Houseplants

July 25, 2013 10:55 am
At Home with Houseplants

Who doesn’t love the greenery that a living plant can bring to a space? Most people are afraid to make a grand statement but to achieve a greater impact with your decor, go for something big. If your space is lacking that certain something, try a mid-sized palm tree that can be found at most garden or big box stores around $20. The key is the pot. Place your plant in an oversized pot at least 2 feet high off the floor. By putting an average-sized plant in a large vase or planter, your create a much more dramatic effect.

Where you place the plant is also important. An empty corner is a great spot or find an area that needs a focal point. Often, this is the corner of the room directly opposite the entry point. The concept is well illustrated in this client’s very modern space. Be careful not to have other smaller plants dotted around the same room as it will lessen the overall effect. If you do have a lot of smaller plants it is best to group them together on a tray atop a table  or on a large window sill.

Perhaps you also wish to add a little more harmony or energy in a particular area of your home?  According to Feng Shui philosophy, a house that architecturally has missing corners; that is, does not have a square or rectangular footprint will have less energy in this area. A plant is a great fix as it brings more energy to this deficient area – again the larger the better. For example, those concerned with prosperity and wealth may want to look at their far left corner of their house upon entry through their front door. The opposite far right corner relates to marriage and love. Think about it. Not only can a plant spice up your space, it just might  create energy and impact far beyond the visual aesthetic.

For more design and décor inspiration visit, www.tanyacollinsdesign.com

 

Time to Refresh

June 4, 2013 11:08 am
Time to Refresh

Haven’t done your spring cleaning yet? Here are some tips to help you clean that clutter, thin out the wardrobe and stow the dry goods.

ONE

homes1

Trays, trays, trays are the answer. By grouping all the little stuff together, it makes things neater, tidier and visually more appealing. Colourful soap bottles grouped together on a tray by the sink makes them easy to access, especially for kids.

TWO

homes2

Remove all the clothes from your closet that you no longer wear for whatever reason. Be they subjects of buyers’ remorse, items that don’t work with your wardrobe, or, you know, things that just don’t fit anymore. Take inventory. Do any items need new zippers? What about hems, seams and stitching? Do they need work? If so, enlist a tailor or seamstress to fix these garments.

THREE

homes3

Purge your bookshelves. Consider what you really want to keep and what actually has to be on display. For a decorative effect, paint the back of your bookcase a contrasting paint colour or add some wallpaper to spice it up. For an alternative to vertical stacks of books, change it up with some horizontal groupings.

FOUR

homes4

Clear out your bathroom vanity of expired, overused, or unused cosmetics and creams. Keep only the essentials.

FIVE

homes5

Declutter your kitchen cabinets. Are there too many appliances that you never use? Dishes that are chipped? Too many flower vases? If you wish to get really organized, find clear containers to organize your dry goods and label them. It is blissful to open your cabinets and find everything easy to find and neat and tidy.

 

 

Graphic Urbane Style

April 26, 2013 11:38 am
Graphic Urbane Style

Unexpected colour combinations and doses of pattern create a happy quality to this historical home.

From its chocolate walls and graphic fabrics to its Murano glass chandelier and classic furniture shapes, this house exudes fresh sophistication. Built in 1908, original architectural features abound, providing dynamic tension for the fashion-forward décor. The William Birch-style armchairs in the living room were reupholstered in a designer fabric; Jamico’s Kensington Fushia flocked damask and the signature yellow graphic lattice pillow on the sofa is Schumacher’s House of KWID Imperial Trellis in Citrine/Ivory. The chandelier in the dining room was imported from Italy to mirror the femininity that predominates in the living room furniture shapes. A chocolate brown paint colour was applied to the walls to provide depth and a masculine edge to the space.

Page38_Col By 007

The office bookcases, filing drawers and desk were all custom-designed not only to fit the proportions of the room but to suit the storage needs of the clients. To carry through the spirited use of colour in this otherwise utilitarian space, accessory boxes from Semikolon were chosen and a shot of hot pink paint was applied to spice things up. For texture, a black-lacquered bamboo Chippendale chair was used for seating.

Page38_Col. By 004

The foyer provides a space for the client to display her travel photography. An entrance hall tabletop was created from the client’s leftover marble bathroom tiles and a bit of white painted wood moulding. Since the classic heating radiators were a feature of the home, this custom tabletop was the best application to increase functionality in the entrance. The signature designer print featured on the custom foyer benches is Lee Jofa Fiorentina in black/cream. Note how the square lines of the black picture frames contrast beautifully with the geometric Hollywood Regency-inspired mirror.

Bedroom

A custom-designed twin headboard in the child’s room was made from inexpensive white vinyl for practicality while the nail-head detailing was added for a  more tailored, grown up look.  The child could very well use this into her adult years if she so desired. Bedding was purchased through Restoration Hardware, the desk from IKEA, and the drapery made by C&M Textiles.

PlayroomThe playroom was painted a muted lavender colour (the child’s favourite colour) to pair with the vibrant hued blue furniture upholstery. Gold accessories were added for warmth.  The Louis-inspired daybed was re-upholstered in an indigo velvet with contrast piping in vanilla. The tub chairs were a vintage find recovered in Quadrille’s Island Ikat in Royal Blue.

Unexpected colour combinations and doses of pattern create a happy quality to this historical home. It is like having the elegance of Manhattan and the liveliness of Palm Beach all wrapped into one graphic urbane style.

The abundant wall space in the large combined living and dining room provides an ideal backdrop to showcase the client’s expanding collection of modern Canadian art. Murana Zuger’s Wizard, Frances Jodoin’s How Slow the Wind, How Slow the Sea, Tim Packer’s Springtime and Alex McMahon’s Untitled no. 2 grace the walls.

Dining room

A Makeover That Works

April 24, 2013 12:07 pm
A Makeover That Works

A makeover that works is always one that is budget-friendly and achievable with off-the-shelf furniture and accessory items. Other than one on-line order, the transformation of this one-bedroom rental apartment was accomplished with items from many big box retail and home décor stores here in Ottawa.

The fixed elements such as the kitchen cabinetry, bathroom vanity, laminate birch-coloured flooring and tile were not changeable. Additionally, aesthetically speaking, the client did not have any strong requests. He mentioned that one of his favourite colours was rich cognac so it was incorporated into his space. Accenting the end walls in the main living area with that colour made it appear less long and narrow. By putting strong colours on end walls, you can improve a room’s sense of proportion. Whenever a room feels more square, the eye just feels more comfortable. The client also talked about enjoying the coziness and sense of warmth while staying at a hotel in London, so his bedroom was wrapped in this colour as well. The client spends a significant portion of his time on the computer while at home, so his desk is in the best spot in the apartment, in front of the large picture window in his living room, overlooking the beautiful river view. In addition to the river, he’ll get the colours of the foliage with the changing seasons rather than a blank wall with limited light.

In terms of cost, the sofa was the most expensive item, just over $2000. It was considered a worthwhile investment since it served two functions, not only as a place to sit and relax (with down- wrapped cushions) but as a quality bed for guests that stay overnight.

In the foyer, an awkward nook between the end of the kitchen cabinetry and the front door was too small for any furniture. To make the space functional, a carpenter installed ¾” thick shelves with a 3” square trim board installed on the face to make the shelves thicker in appearance as well as to hide the support structure. The paint-grade wood was primed and painted the trim and wall colour. As a result, the space can store a lot of items, functioning as a bookcase. It’s a perfect spot for baskets to store mitts and other smaller items like sunglasses and mail that need to be contained.

Billy Baldwin once said “Good taste has no price tag” but décor changes were budget friendly and can be put into practice in almost any space.

DINING ROOM (Pictured Above):

Original Oil Abstract Painting: Margery Leach

http://margelart.blogspot.ca

Bart Cart: Bowring Preston Butler Tray

Dining Chairs: HomeSense

Dining Room Pendant: Mikaza Home

Black Mirror: Structube Lilia Mirror

LIVING ROOM:

Living Room - Before

Living Room – Before

Rug: West Elm Souk Rug

Sofa: Urban Barn Manhattan Apartment

Sofa Double Bed  with Down Wrap Cushions

Desk: Mikaza Home Witty

Chairs: Bowring Gramercy Armchairs

Floor Lamps: Structube Tripod with White Drum Shade

Desk Lamp: Structube Newton in Satin Nickel

Coffee Table: Mikaza Home Yin Yang Small in Black Base

Original Oil Abstract Paiting: Heidi Conrod

Living Room - After

Living Room – After

BEDROOM:

Bedroom - Before

Bedroom – Before

Bed: Urban Barn Queen Ella Bed In Lyric Silver

End Tables: Bowring Bedford Night Stands

Lamps: Bowring Crillon Table Lamps

Bedding: White from Loblaws/Grey from IKEA

Feather Duvet Cover and Pillows: Costco

Page50_BeforeAfter_T. Collins River Rd 009

Bedroom – After

 

FOYER:

Foyer - Before

Foyer – Before

Grey Felt baskets: Loblaws

Chrome hooks: Home Depot — less than $4.00/hook

Chrome “designer” double track lighting: Home Depot

PAINT COLOURS

Main Wall Colour as well as trim and doors:

Benjamin Moore Oxford White CC-30

Accent ColoUr for main space and bedroom:

Benjamin Moore Townsend Harbor Brown HC-64

Bathroom ColoUr: Benjamin Moore Chelsea Grey HC-168

Kitchen Island Base and Crown Moulding: Benjamin Moore Jet Black

Foyer - After

Foyer – After

Top Ottawa Designer Tanya Collins Redefines Glamour at Home: Bold New Accessible Design

March 20, 2013 11:45 am
Top Ottawa Designer Tanya Collins Redefines Glamour at Home: Bold New Accessible Design

Fashion-forward Tanya Collins is changing the look of Ottawa, one interior at a time. Her unpretentious designs are personal and evolved. We like to call it “effortless elegance”. Watch out though, her passion for style may be contagious. Enjoy!

This is not your typical house renovation. It is the story of a young adult wanting to make a fresh new start. The result is a custom-built, wheelchair-accessible bungalow that truly is in vogue!

 To make a living environment compliant with accessibility standards, there are a number of parametres that need to be addressed. This includes making corridors and doorways wide enough and having extra room to allow people in wheelchairs to turn.

Bedroom: Linen chair – Sunpan Imports;
Royal blue silk drapes – C&M Textiles

 The interior layout of the house was designed so that all functions were on one level so there was no need to have an elevator installed.  The main floor comprises two bedrooms at the front (with a full bathroom for guests, roommates, or live-in assistance), a gym/therapy room, an open-concept kitchen flowing in a dining room and living room, a powder room for guests, a laundry/mudroom leading to the garage via a wheelchair accessible ramp, another bedroom/office for an in-home nurse located just adjacent to the client’s bedroom. Finally, a deluxe principal bedroom with full accessible bathroom and walk-in closet. The initial plans,  seemed clinical in layout with a “nurse’s office/bedroom or station” as the central hub, not unlike one would see in a hospital setting.

However, with a team of highly accomplished technical tradesmen, on-site construction managers, engineers and occupational therapists, this house really sets a new standard for independent living, not only from the standpoint of the design, décor and the accessibility features, but also from the standpoint of green living.  All infrastructure is LEEDS certified and employs the newest technology for minimizing energy and water consumption.

 Should the client opt to move for whatever reason, this home is completely marketable to all demographics — a family, working couple, or empty nester.

From a décor perspective, the house primarily has the colour palette of black, white and sunshine yellow. Texture was used to great effect.The African headdress hung on the fireplace stonework in bright yellow not only offsets the charcoal grey brick but adds a feathery softness to the hard and rough stone. The furniture was chosen in darker tones for practicality and ease for cleaning while the cotton flat weave rug from Madeline Weinrib (Goldenrod Brooke) in sunshine yellow adds a little fun. Comfortwas paramount with the selection of the William Birch-style armchairs, and the custom down-wrapped cushions for the boxy sectional.

In the dining room, the theme of boldness and contrast continues with the oversized starburst mirror from Bowring to reflect the light, the Neuvo Jayden pendant from Mikaza Home, the dining table from Dinec from MY Home, and the Louis-style white vinyl-covered chairs from Camilla House.

 The kitchen is a study in classic materials with an overall modern clean line. Since the client had in-home care to make his meals, the kitchen did not have to be completely customized. The only element that varies from the usual is the island height, which is below the standard 36” to accommodate the wheelchair.  Caesarstone Quartz, colour Misty Carerra graces the island in an extra thick waterfall profile for presence and masculinity.  The island pendants are Jonathon Adler Meurice to add a layer of softness with the fabric drum shade. The kitchen was meticulously manufactured and installed by Potvin Construction, located in Rockland.  Taupe-coloured penny-sized glass tiles were installed as a backsplash to integrate with the stainless steel appliances.

In the bathroom, an appropriate turning radius and suitable clearance between the vanity and the toilet was required for functionality. The vanity was custom-designed such that the client could roll his chair under the sink.

 

The shower floor was kept level with the rest of the bathroom flooring for easy rolling into and out of the shower. As well, a hoist was installed at the ceiling line in case the client preferred bathing. Note all bathroom grab bars are featured in stainless steel as opposed to the white plastic ones that tend to be seen most prominently in the market.

The entrance hall is worthy of mention. Rather than a standard newel post and handrail to the basement, a custom wall of tempered glass was installed to separate the hallway from the basement access. Not only does this become a modern feature in the house, it creates a space-expanding effect.

Entrance hall (left): Console table & stool – West Elm; Lilia Mirror – Structube
Hallway pendants (right): Design Within Reach, Moooi Random Light in White

The doors to the gym/therapy room have oversized barn-door hardware to give a loft-like effect to the space. It should be noted that even though the wall colours in the bungalow are versions of white, all from the Farrow and Ball paint palette. The doors were stained in dark wood not only for contrast but to contend with the inadvertent wheelchair bumps that often occur. If the door were a standard white, there would be black marks on them and clear signs of wear in no time. All interior doors were higher than the standard 80” to maximize the feeling of space. Getting the “bones” and proportions right first makes a huge difference, irrespective of décor.

All in all this home shows that a chic interior is within everyone’s reach, regardless of special requirements.

 Photos: Gordon King

Condo Cool

January 24, 2013 12:00 pm
Condo Cool

With the condominium craze in the Capital, there is no better time to discuss the interior details that make one and two bedroom suites livable. When space is at a premium, it doesn’t mean that quality and style need to be compromised.

International real estate development company, Azure Urban Developments has engaged me to conceive the interior collections for their first condominium development in Ottawa. As I undertook this large- scale project, I wondered how I would infuse the same level of quality and style as I do for my residential clientele. I took my inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci’s quote “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Whether designing for a large space or a small space this approach works. Here are three tips.

First and foremost, items which are focal points (meaning, those that draw your eye instantly into a space) should not be compromised. Lighting is one such example. Don’t get caught up in brand names. Just because a fixture is not a known designer does not mean that it is not beautiful. It all relates to scale (how it is sized relative to the space) and how it harmonizes with the rest of the materials. For example, in one of the kitchen concepts pictured below, I found the look of a high- end island pendant and made it more affordable. It’s a win-win scenario for the buyer and developer – both want their place to look amazing at a reasonable price point.

Second, look for those extra details that I think really matter to the overall design aesthetic — and even more so when every inch counts. Are there built-in appliances? For example, does your fridge stick out well into the middle of the aisle? Does the kitchen have a particular style or does it look generic? Can you add tree wall art or vinyl art to give it that particular style you desire? Hardware, backsplash tile selection, and island counter finishing all matter and it doesn’t have to be  high end to look good. It is all in how you combine the materials together.

Third, look at the functionality of the space. Just because a condo is smaller than a house doesn’t mean it has to be short on storage. For example the wall of built-ins opposite the L-shaped kitchen in the one-bedroom suite of The Azure not only doubles the storage capacity but also extends the size of the kitchen by having cabinetry spanning both sides of the space.

In addition, look for islands in kitchens. These not only extend the available counter and serving space but can also function as an eating area. This makes it especially useful for entertaining when all guests tend to end up in the kitchen when you are serving food or wine. It can also be a great space-saving solution rather than having a formalized dining room zone that no one uses, especially in the case of a one-bedroom suite.

Below are 5 examples of the same kitchen space that show how the choice of finishes  can exude a very different feeling style- wise — from classic to transitional to modern. Test your design “savviness” by rating all 5 of the Azure kitchen concepts from least expensive to most expensive. Send your answers to alessandra@ottawalife.com for an all-access pass to the Ottawa Life launch party to celebrate the Spaces Issue coming March/April 2013. The answers will be published in the Spaces Issue — so stay tuned.

 

1.  

 

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5. 

 

Tanya Collins, www.tanyacollinsdesign.com

Homes: Light Up Your Life

November 14, 2012 10:00 am
Homes: Light Up Your Life

With the days being so much shorter now, there is no better time to discuss the impact of lighting in the home. While lighting serves to generally illuminate a room, to highlight or spotlight an area or item such as a piece of art, or to provide directed light for a task being carried out, it does so much more! Along with these functions, it also creates

 

 

* A focal point.

* Softness.

* Mood and drama.

* Texture and personality.

Lighting typically comes in the form of ceiling-mounted fixtures, pendants, sconces, table lamps and floor lamps.Here are a few tips to know how to use them to their greatest effect.

1. Ceiling or semi-flush mounted fixtures

Make sure that they do not drop down too far as to obstruct a door that opens (seems like a no-brainer, but I cannot tell you how many times these lights – especially in a front entrance – are chosen without taking this into account).  Ensure there is enough wattage to provide general illumination in a room. Multiply the room’s dimensions to get your total square footage. Then multiply the square footage by 1.5 for total illumination needed.  For example, a 10’ x 10’ room is 100 squarefeet. Therefore, the total illumination required would be 150 watts.

2. Pendants

Typically installed over an island in a kitchen or over a dining room table, ensure these lights are mounted anywhere between 30”-36” off the tabletop and err on the side of larger as opposed to smaller. As you can see from this client’s photo, the dining room fixture is overscale but provides a lot of impact. A general rule of thumb – the diameter of the fixture should be at least double the width of your room in inches; for example, a 12’ room should have a fixture at least 24” in diameter for the minimum scale.

3. Sconces

Are most often seen mounted around bathroom vanities or in hallways where overhead lighting is difficult to install.  Make sure not to mount these no higher than 5’6” from the floor.

4. Table/floor lamps

For the correct scale, opt to have the bottom of the lampshade at shoulder level while seated. Most lights that I see in people’s homes are too small for the application. For floor lamp positioning, try to do a furniture plan before you wire your house so that you can locate plugs in the floor if necessary to avoid unsightly cords.

So, go ahead, add some mood, drama and personality to your home.

Tanya Collins  www.tanyacollinsdesign.com  

 

Homes: The Layered Living Room

September 26, 2012 3:55 pm
Homes: The Layered Living Room

Looking to create a layered look in your living room? There’s no real science to it. It is really a form of art as to which combinations of colours, patterns or textures work best together for dramatic effect. However, there are some tips, as opposed to rules, that can help you along the way.

1. START WITH A FOUNDATION COLOUR In this client’s living room, an olive brown was used on the sofa and the walls to achieve a neutral backdrop — a base in which to layer on colour and pattern.

2. CHOOSE ONE LARGE OVERSCALE PRINT to make a strong statement. Choose a colour that you love.  In this case, the hot pink velvet and linen damask was applied to the William birch roll armchairs. Note that the linen background colour is the same undertone as the sofa colour.

3. CHOOSE TWO OTHER PATTERNS, at a minimum, to accent the overscale print. These patterns should be contrasted in pattern and scale to the statement fabric. For example, with a floral and damask print, a stripe or geometric works well. A medium scale or small print is a nice complement to the overscale print. Consider balancing the pattern around the room, as opposed to having it all concentrated in one area.

4. ADD COLOURS OF THE SAME INTENSITY without consideration if they “match”. Pair jewel tones with jewel tones or pastels with pastels. Don’t be afraid to mix bold colours together. For example, hot pink, sunshine yellow, azure blue all have the same weight of colour, even though these combinations are not considered to “go” together.

5. CONSIDER THE LEVEL OF SOPHISTICATION you would like to create in your room – formal vs. casual, traditional vs. modern. A damask tends to have a more upscale traditional feel whereas a gingham or plaid creates a more casual country feel while a geometric offers a more modern feel.

6. CONSIDER WHAT MOOD YOU WOULD LIKE TO CREATE. For some intensity and energy, consider a bolder graphic print and, for a calming effect, a more muted palette and pattern.

Go ahead and be bold. Mix colours and patterns to create an eclectic “not too done” decorating effect in your home! Have confidence and layer away!

Visit Tanya Collins’ web site at www.tanyacollinsdesign.com

Photo: Gordon King

Homes: British Mania

August 24, 2012 4:12 pm
Homes: British Mania

With 2012 being the banner year for all things British, what with the celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June and the Olympics in July, it couldn’t be a better time to show a little love for the union jack.

Have you ever considered injecting a little British flavor into your decor? I have to admit to being inspired to create the “London Classic” as one of three interior design concepts for an internationally-minded developer of a condominium project “The Azure” right here in Ottawa’s own Westboro neighborhood.  Although you may not see a literal representation of the union jack fashioned in the model suite (coming Fall 2012), you can expect to see some British hallmarks – herringbone patterned tile work, dark hardwood floors, button tufted sofas and nailhead detailing on bed frames and chairs.

This photo taken from Living Etc. congers up the image  – I am loving the union jack pillow as an accent  – this could be considered a classic not just a trend in my opinion – there is just something perennially fabulous about the red, blue and white combination. This could be added to a little boys room for a counterpoint to beige/amber/ or caramel or used on a otherwise feminine curvy sofa to give it a little more edge.

For you die hard Brits, perhaps you might consider a bolder representation such as this gorgeous rug from the Rug Company:

or how about these statement pieces for the traditionalist and the modernist?

 

Too much for you?  Whatever the case, have fun with British mania!

Homes: Beam Me Up

July 25, 2012 9:00 am
Homes: Beam Me Up

WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT Star Trek here.

Take a look up and marvel at the architectural use of beams in an interior environment. My clients had a vision. They wanted their home in Westboro to have an overall rustic organic feel of a cottage get-a-away mixed with the tailored simplicity of a city home. I clearly recall the inspiration images that the clients gathered from magazine clippings to give me a sense of what they were drawn to aesthetically – rough hewn beams with soaring ceilings. I have to say I doubted this look given the ceilings in their new home were not much more than eight feet tall. However, what they had working for them in their new addition was a large footprint and lots of light. In viewing this room now that it is finished, it would have been all wrong not to incorporate the beams — it would have been missing essential character, not to mention the personal aesthetic of the homeowners.

Architectural beams are typically characterized by the shape of their cross section, their length and their material. In contemporary construction, beams are typically made of steel, reinforced concrete or wood. In the clients’ home the beams were made to look like wood and were not required for structural integrity – rather they were used purely as a decorative feature to integrate the bulkheads that were required along the perimeter to hide mechanical elements.

The client's home. Photo: Gordon King

So the lesson with respect to beams is not to be afraid to use them, no matter the application. Tall versus low ceiling height, formal or casual aesthetic, beams add character. They make unsightly bulkheads look purposeful and provide architectural detail to what would otherwise be a bland space without other specified moldings. It is cathartic to see something, which I admit was not originally intended, come to fruition in such a beautiful way. The value of the client/designer relationship is that each one should push the other to explore and ultimately achieve something greater — is this not the foundation of any great partnership? In this instance, it was the client-desired beams. I was quite happy that in the end I was able to help them achieve this with the suitable proportion, scale and the type of material, taking into account the rest of the room’s elements. Perhaps the Star Trek reference is not so unrelated after all as it was an exploratory process that brought both of us back home.

wwww.tanyacollinsdesign.com

Homes: Bathroom Bliss

June 5, 2012 9:49 am
Homes: Bathroom Bliss

Hmmm – bathroom and bliss: an oxymoron in your home? Is your toilet the first thing you see when you walk into your bathroom? Do you have sufficient storage for all your bathroom essentials or is all the clutter driving you mad? Do you long for more space in sharing a tiny bathroom with other family members? If you are thinking of embarking on a bathroom renovation, let me give you a few key tips to start you on your way.

Maximize space. Even if you desire to have a five-piece bathroom with a separate shower and bathtub and possibly two sinks, your space has to allow for it. Can you borrow space from the neighbouring room if these fittings are a “need to have” as opposed to a “want to have”? It is important to know that a shower less than 36” square tends to be confining, especially without the use of glass on all sides. 36” x 36” is considered the standard and 30” x 30” is considered the minimum. If limited to choosing the shower/tub combination or just one large shower, ask yourself what you use every day before starting your daily routine. If a bathtub is located in at least one bathroom in your home and you don’t routinely take baths, go for one large shower in lieu of the bath/shower combination.

Incorporate a lot of white to keep the bathroom feeling fresh, clean and crisp. Photo: Gordon King

Adhere to bathroom standards in your planning. Allow for a minimum width of 30” for a toilet to be installed (although 36” is preferable by the time a toilet roll holder is installed). 18” is also required in front of the bowl without any obstruction.

Incorporate a lot of white to keep the bathroom feeling fresh, clean and crisp. Whether modern or classic in style, white is a common theme across most of my bathroom projects – as featured in the photos.

Don’t be afraid to select higher-quality stone or marble tile for the floor in a small bathroom, as this is typically not a large area and has great impact.  With the difference amounting to no more than a few hundred dollars, you can really up the “luxe factor”.

Add wallpaper to a powder room. Photo: Gordon King

Make sure to provide adequate lighting, including a recessed shower pot light over the tub or shower, and general and task lighting around the vanity. I tend to specify a pot light centered over the sink, as well as sconces positioned on either side at eye level height.

Add wallpaper to a powder room. Since powder rooms are such a small space, your eye notices every detail. Have some fun and choose bold patterned or dramatic coloured wallpaper, as it is unlikely that you have treated your other larger public spaces in your home this way. We all have quirks in our personality that should be reflected in our homes, don’t you think?

Armed with a few tips, my hope is that the planning and implementation stage is as blissful as the experience once your bathroom is finished!

www.tanyacollinsdesign.com

Home Series: The Greatness of Great Rooms

March 26, 2012 5:20 pm
Home Series: The Greatness of Great Rooms

Take a minute to think about your idea of a fabulous room. For many, the concept of a grand room hearkens back to the romanticized ideal of great halls and chambers in medieval castles or majestic homes. Are you visualizing a large room, bustling with activity?  If so, then you will likely think it’s great that since the 1990s, these grand rooms have become very popular, solving the problem of the “dead” living room and the split between the living and family rooms.

The former living room that had very narrow proportions was repurposed and became the library-conservatory area.

The greatness of a room of course largely depends on whether or not the lifestyle that you lead requires one.  Do you entertain a lot and find that everyone always ends up jammed into one room, typically the kitchen? Is space at a premium in your home? Or maybe your home is made up of small segregated rooms. Combining functions of various rooms into one larger space can be a practical solution to allowing you to live more comfortably, especially for those with families.

As featured in the photos, the clients’ existing galley kitchen and dining room spaces (designated by the original ceiling beams) were expanded from their original proportions by adding onto the existing footprint. This allowed for cooking, dining and family living to coexist while at the same time maintaining the architectural integrity of the home.

The key is in the planning.

The former living room that had very narrow proportions was repurposed and became the library-conservatory area. This space affords them a quieter, cozier zone to contrast the large great room, with a wall of bookshelves installed on the wall opposite the fireplace to improve the narrow rectangular proportions. Reading chairs and a spot for the children to practice their musical instruments were all this room was ever meant to accommodate.

The key is in the planning.  You need to assess how you live, the events you host, your needs for space, not to mention how your home’s footprint is laid out. Perhaps you can achieve greatness by repurposing your rooms within your home’s footprint. For example, turn an unused formal living and dining room space into the living/family room and turn the family room off the kitchen into the dining area. This allows for maximum space for cooking, dining and living while avoiding duplication of spaces that often go unused.  Ultimately, the goal of a great room is to increase your quality of life rather than just quantity of space. Plan for your home’s greatness today!

Home Series: A Dresser Saves the Day

March 2, 2012 8:45 am
Home Series: A Dresser Saves the Day

January is here and thoughts may turn to ways to cut the clutter. Take a second look at how you store all of your day-to-day stuff. Perhaps the greatest, most versatile storage workhorse in your house – the dresser – can save the day.

Putting a dresser in the front hall provides great storage space!

One of my favourite spots to locate a dresser is in a front hall. Not only is it a spot to place your keys and mail, but it is a great solution for storing all of the items you need in this cold weather, like hats, gloves, scarves and mitts. It is also the perfect place to put a hairbrush to neaten your child’s hair, stamps to mail your letters, sunglasses, a lint brush to take off those pesky hairs that always seem to accumulate on your wool coat and a shoe shine sponge to touch up your boots or shoes.

As you can see from the photos, your options are limitless. For a space expanding effect, consider a mirrored dresser.  It also adds a bit of glam and who doesn’t like a bit of that? A modern clean-lined dresser is a nice contrast to the rustic wood mouldings of a Craftsman home and an antique turn-of-the-century dresser adds character to modern and graphic details.

Be creative - your options are limitless!

Consider repurposing a dresser and using it as a change table in a baby’s room. All you need to buy is a diaper changing pad ideally wrapped in white terry cloth for a neat clean aesthetic. Consider buying several for cleaning purposes. Yes white is actually the easiest to clean!!

Some of my favourite spots to buy dressers are from vintage stores found throughout the city, estate sales, and auctions. You are likely to get good quality construction made entirely of solid wood (hard to find in new products) and the price will often be less than what you would buy retail for a new piece.

This little decor tip hopefully will  make your life a little less complicated and make those sunglasses easier to find. Seems like the perfect time to rethink and repurpose a dresser!

www.tanyacollinsdesign.com

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