Homes & NeighbourhoodsTop Ottawa Designer Tanya Collins Redefines Glamour at Home: Bold New Accessible Design

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

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

Comments (0)

*Please take note that upon submitting your comment the team at OLM will need to verify it before it shows up below.