Beach Living –

With their house hunt over, Robin and Jason were anxious to hunt again – this time to find a Toronto Interior Designer to decorate their new Beaches-area home. “We knew what colours and style we liked, but we needed help pulling things together,” says Robin.  An internet search led her to Liz Watkinson and Susan Pollock’s company, 5th Business Associates. “we all met and hit it off,” says Robyn, who loved the comfy yet classy feel of their work. The house search was over, but the adventure was just beginning. Here’s what Liz and Susan did to give Jason and Robyn a personalized, polished space.

A charming stained glass window was the jumping-off point for the palette. Liz and Sue identified the paint colours – blues, greens and golds – directly from it.Painting the original wood panelling might be controversial for some, but even while house hunting, the homeowners knew a coat of white on the wainscotting would brighten up the dark house.  Two tufted chairs were custom made to fit the cosy bay window nook in the living area. Low arms keep sightlines clear, while pale neutral colour upholstery maintains a light look.

New built-ins transformed the small space. To the left of the fireplace, screened doors hide electronic equipment yet allow the wireless remotes to be used. To the right a big-screen TV is concealed behind identical doors. By converting the wood burning fireplace to gas, the couple can up the comfort factor at the touch of a button.

The dining room embodies the transitional spirit that both the designers and the homeowners were striving for – definitely more traditional than Robyn and Jason’s old place and respectful of the Arts and Crafts pedigree of the architecture but also of today. Robyn and Jason love the small, bright sunroom off the kitchen. “We have a bird feeder right outside the the window, so on weekends we have long breakfasts, read the paper and watch birds” says Robyn. Her collection of yellowware bowls made the move from the old house. they fit well with the golden colour scheme and look great behind glass doors on the side of the kitchen. The upper cabinets were removed from the sink wall. “It really opens up the space.” says Liz.

Liz and Susan’s 5 tricks for living large in a small space.
1) Incorporate storage: built ins reduce the number of separate pieces of furniture you need and multi-purpose items save space.
2) Use monochromatic colour to some degree or at least use soft shades.
3) Carefully select accessories: you need only a few
4) Install good lighting to eliminate dark corners and ensure there’s a wash of light on the walls, use dimmers everywhere.
5)Simplify window treatments, keep them plain and light, like sheers; forgo them altogether were privacy isn’t an issue.

5th Business Associates has been providing interior design services in Toronto since 1997.

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