National - Reno + Decor - April/May 2024

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Introducing The Monogram Professional Induction Range. Crafted for discerning chefs and home cooks, our range delivers unparalleled precision,

cooked to perfection. From delicate simmering to

To learn more visit



Inspiring products and home decor trends for the spring


Top Canadian designers share the timeless beauty of black and white hues in the home


Five kitchen trends


Inspiring ideas for a cute and cosy kid’s room

48 TOP 10

Sleek stemware to upgrade your table aesthetics


Powder room perfection: Big style in a small space


The kitchen social



A bold infusion of style is infused into this cottage kitchen


Inspired by Japandi design, a home is transformed with the help of contemporary design elements

april|may 2024 16 40 24 8 RENO + DECOR |  APRIL/MAY 2024









power of environmental psychology in interior design
HOME DECOR Discover the functional beauty of covert design features
INTERIOR DESIGN Livable luxury
DESIGN EXPERT A dated kitchen is reborn RENOVATIONS
HOME RENOVATION Overcoming a design challenge
industry professionals discuss what’s hot — and what’s not — in kitchen design
top award-winning home renovators in 2024 DEPARTMENTS
A NOTE FROM THE EDITORS Clever kitchens / A rewarding year
COVER STORY Culinary revolution: Introducing the Professional Induction Range by Monogram Appliances
34 26 It’s show time! May 15-16, 2024 Realtor Quest Toronto Congress Centre 9

CLEVER kitchens

Welcome to our kitchen edition –one of my favourite issues of the year. You might think it’s because I love to cook, which I do, but the real reason is because I am in constant awe of the many ways in which this much-used room has evolved over the years. From smart storage solutions and smart appliances to hidden doors and open concepts, clever designs in today’s kitchens speak to a homeowner’s needs and desires. Blending

functionality with form means there’s no need to compromise. Compact or grandiose, there is a style to meet the taste and budget of singles, couples and families from all walks of life.

If a kitchen reno is in your future, but you have not yet begun the process, you might want to read Brendan Charters’ article on page 42. Charters interviews three experts in the industry on what’s hot – and what’s not – in kitchen design.

If your eating space suits you fine but you’re looking for tips and trends for other areas of your home, no

worries. A bathroom update, dining room decor or choosing the latest colour for the exterior of your home –you’ll find it all here – and more.

So, sit down, grab a cuppa, and take a moment to walk your fingers through these pages to find your next new home decor discovery.

A rewarding


Who doesn’t love awards — an acknowledgement of achievements in the field, and one of the sweetest fruits of labour? It’s always an honour to receive one from industry peers.

So, reflecting on the Renovation Awards at the CHBA-Edmonton Region Awards of Excellence in Housing, we believe winning is the best testament a home renovator can give their customers on the quality, craftsmanship, and skill they offer.

If you’re uncertain about renovating but are looking to do some improvements on your home, consider winners and finalists and choose from industry-recognized renovators to fit your your needs. After all, these companies have a

reputation to protect. Turn to page 64 for a list of this year’s best renovators in the Edmonton region, a good way to start the search for companies you can trust will do the work.

And when you’re ready to kick back with family or friends, Salina Yara Halabi has tips on how to style your kitchen for informal social gatherings. Check out what she has to say in Salina’s Corner.

Spring is a busy season for renovations, as folks look to revamp their homes to suit multi-generational needs for extended family members, or to create a rental unit that can help with the mortgage. RENO+DECOR is here help with renovation tips and style advice with specialized and curated content.

Happy renovating, everyone!

from the editors

Reliable. Committed. Responsive.

Words you wouldn’t typically use to describe a contractor.

Until now.

At RenoMark, we want to change your outlook on renovation contractors.

That’s why we developed a code of conduct that all our professional contractors follow, including a detailed written contract for every job, backed by a one-year warranty, and a guarantee that you’ll hear back within two business days.

To find a reliable, committed, responsive contractor, visit Renovate Your Expectations


Hope McLarnon



Natalie Chin



Amanda Bell

ARIDO ARIDO regulates interior designers in Ontario for the betterment of the profession and in the best interests of the public, sets education and experience standards for members, and advocates for the profession.

BILD With more than 1,300 members, BILD GTA is the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry and is affiliated with the Ontario and Canadian Home Builders’ Associations. The Calgary region (BILDCR) works closely with various levels of government and stakeholder groups to ensure vibrant, established neighbourhoods and new communities in the region.

DDA The Decorators & Designers Association of Canada (DDA Canada) is a professional association that elevates the industry for design professionals, students and suppliers through education, events, training, advocacy and community building.

HAVAN The Homebuilders Association Vancouver is recognized as the leader in the homebuilding industry since 1974. Its knowledgeable, trusted and resourceful members build more than 65 per cent of Metro Vancouver’s homes.

IDC Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) is the national advocacy association for the interior design profession. representing more than 5,000 members, including fully qualified interior designers and related professionals.

NKBA The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) Ontario chapter was established in 1977 and is where industry members meet to learn what’s out there and what other members offer. The British Columbia chapter, formed in Jan. 1990, has a large provincial membership to facilitate member engagement, professional development and act as a consumer advocate for members, while being financially viable.

CANADIAN HOME BUILDERS’ ASSOCIATION Since 1943, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) has been “the voice of Canada’s residential construction industry,” with about 9,000 member-companies. The Edmonton-region branch engages and serves its core membership of builders, renovators, and general members by advocating on behalf of the residential construction industry in pursuit of members’ success.

RENOMARK RenoMark identifies professional contractors, custom homebuilders and trades who agree to abide by a professional code of conduct. RenoMark members are reliable, ethical and responsive.

Sign up to receive digital editions and newsletters to your inbox!


Merlyn Minty



Marlene Eisner


Pepper Rodriguez


Amanda Pereira



Mark Cullen & Ben Cullen


Brendan Charters, Jessica Cinnamon, Yvonne Crezel, Sara Duck, Salina Yara Halabi, Bilha Kangethe, Trish Knight, Shaunn Lipsey, Sunita Lymburner, Pepper Rodriguez, Nicole Varga


Michael Rosset


Leanne Speers



Gary Chilvers


Lisa Kelly





Lauren Reid–Sachs


Yvonne Poon


Alicesa Pullan



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Award finalists


Congratulations to the finalists of the 2024 HAVAN Awards for Housing Excellence!

These individuals and their companies exemplify the pinnacle of craftsmanship and innovation in custom home building, renovation and design. Rigorously selected by a panel of industry expert peers, each finalist proudly represents excellence in their field. By showcasing the HAVAN Awards symbol, they offer homeowners a trusted mark of quality and assurance. Ready to start your next home project? Visit for a comprehensive resource to connect to the professionals.

Adisa Homes Ltd.

AK Design

Alair Homes Vancouver

Alicia Savin by Design

Amanda Evans Interiors andreajae studio

Architrix Design Studio Inc.

Best Builders Ltd.

Brahm Development Corporation

Brickhouse Building Ltd.

Calvin & Collin Construction Ltd.

Christen Luxury Homes Ltd.

Christophe Vaissade Designs Inc.

Cielle Properties Ltd.

CMGT Construction Group

Condoworks, a division of Forte Projects Ltd.

Design Work Group Ltd.

Divano Homes

Elite Premium Home Design Ltd.

Evans Design

Excelsior Architectural Products Ltd.

Feature Projects Ltd.

GD Nielsen Homes

H.I.T. Quality Construction

Hael Construction Inc.

Hasler Homes Ltd.

Headland Construction Corporation

Homes by Valentino

Ian McLean Architect Inc.

Jamie Banfield Design Inc.

JDL Homes Inc.

Jedan Brothers Contracting

Jessica Bremner Design

JHA™ Architecture + Interior

Kalu Interiors

Kennedy Construction Inc.

Kerr Design Build

Kindred Construction Ltd.

KORU Construction Ltd.

LAT49 Builders Inc.

Laura Grist Interior Design

Leno Developments

LeSystem Development Group Ltd.

LJH Construction

Lower Coast Building Group

Madeleine Design Group Inc.

maison d’etre design-build inc.

Marino General Contracting Ltd.

Mortise Group

My Design Agent

Naikoon Contracting Ltd.

New Life Quality Homes

New Vision Projects Inc.

Nikari Homes Ltd.

Nofziger Construction Inc.

Novell Design Build

Oliver Simon Design

Palas Homes Ltd.

Paramax Homes Ltd.

Phase One Design

Pine Construction Ltd.

Platinum Contracting

Rechsteiner Construction Ltd.

Red Boutique Properties

Refine & Design Real Estate Inc.

Rembrandt Renovations Ltd.

Roadhouse Homes Ltd.

SGDI Sarah Gallop Design Inc.

ns Inc.

Shakespeare Homes & Renovations Inc.

Shirmar Construction

Tall Tree Construction Ltd.

Tavan Developments Ltd.

Terra Firma Design Ltd.

Theorem Developments

This Is Dizign

TQ Construction

Triple Dot Design Studio Inc.

Tycon Building Solutions Inc.

Vela Design Build Ltd.

VictorEric Premium Homes

Western Wood Homes Ltd.

Zed Studio Inc.

Upward Construction & Renovation Ltd.

Inc on Ltd

Teragon Developments & Construction Inc.

Sponsored Content
PHOTO: Platinum Contracting with Triple Dot Design Studio Inc. 2024 HAVAN Awards Finalist: Best Renovation $1.5 Million and Over TRUSTED. LOCAL. HOMEBUILDERS. WWW.HAVAN.CA/AWARDS WELCOME HOME A SYMBOL YOU CAN TRUST.

Who says a small space can’t be beautiful and luxurious?

DESIGN challenge Overcoming a Before

In the realm of home renovations, the challenge of blending functionality with style often takes centre stage, particularly in spaces such as the bathroom, which must cater to a wide array of needs. This recent renovation project epitomized balancing the seamless integration of luxurious design with a desire to incorporate some accessibility features for future needs.

As the home’s principal bathroom, the small 7.25-ft. by 6.66-ft.-space was redesigned to serve family members and guests, as well as a place to wash the dog after a messy run outside.

The heart of the renovation lay in overcoming a significant design challenge — crafting a space that would have wheelchair access into the room and the shower, all within the existing footprint of the home. Achieving this required a series of

innovative design solutions to meet the functional needs of the space while also elevating its aesthetic appeal.

An entry to inclusivity

One of the pivotal changes was to relocate the entry door. This was essential to create a more navigable space for a wheelchair user. By reconsidering the entry point, we were able to maximize the interior space to ensure free movement within the bathroom. This adjustment underscores the importance of the layout in an accessible design, proving that sometimes the pathway to inclusivity requires opening doors in new places – literally. In terms of full accessibility, ADA standards were not met, although the toilet chosen has room for someone to transfer, with help, and there is space for grab bars for the future, if needed.

The elegance of tile

Another key element was the extensive use of tile for a majority of the walls. Tile, often celebrated for its durability and easy maintenance, was chosen for its practical benefits and

home renovation

its aesthetic versatility. The choice of a unique pattern and texture presented an element of drama and luxury to the room, adding personality to the space.

A unique shower design

Perhaps the most innovative feature is the shower area. A glass panel that pivots 90 degrees in both directions ensures barrier-free access. The absence of a shower curb removes a common obstacle, allowing someone in a wheelchair easy and immediate access. The modern and stylish design is enhanced by the glass, which adds to an overall sense of space and light,

contributing to the bathroom’s open and airy feel.

Storage wars

The small bathroom did not have a closet. To solve the storage issue, a walnut-coloured vanity was found online that fit perfectly into the 17 and 15/16-in.-deep space discovered after opening a wall. A crisp white custom countertop replaced the one that came with the vanity, and a matte black faucet, matching black pendant lighting and a large gold-framed mirror add a touch of elegance to complete the look.

Drama, luxury and personality

The culmination of these design efforts resulted a space that transcends the ordinary, blending the practical with the exceptional, boldly illustrating that accessibility and luxury are not mutually exclusive but can be combined to create a space that is welcoming to all.

Yvonne Crezel is the founder and principal designer at YCC Design Interiors, a Toronto-based residential and commercial firm offering full-service design in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. IG: 17
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Inspiring home products and decor trends for the spring

With its slim profile and ergonomic spray head, the Zedra faucet by Grohe effortlessly transitions between three spray functions: Regular stream for pot filling, shower spray for sink rinsing, and powerful blade spray for efficient plate cleaning. Engineered to tackle every kitchen task with elegance and efficiency.

home finds 19



1. GLITTRAN kitchen faucet in brass. $169.

2. ARTEC pro pull-down single-hand kitchen faucet in brushed gold by Kraus. $500.

3. ONE-HANDLE high-arc deck-mounted kitchen faucet in Modena gold by Stylish. $344.

4. PARSON single-handle pull-down sprayer kitchen faucet in matte gold by Vigo. $366.


Le Creuset (the renowned French cookware brand) has launched the Minimalist Mills collections, a selection of sleek salt and pepper mills with beautiful colours and functionality. Besides their cool aesthetic, the mills are engineered for precision grinding, ensuring each culinary creation is elevated. Available in 10 hues. $55.

home finds
1 2 3 4

SMALL BUT mighty

Canadian design innovator Arcana unveiled Arhome, a meticulously crafted tiny dwelling designed for effortless installation. With a compact footprint of 275 sq. ft., Arhome offers versatility to easily integrate into any location. “Arhome is a blend of functionality, luxury and connection, offering a sanctuary where every moment is crafted with your comfort in mind,“ says Jeremy Hill, co-founder of Arcana. Featuring beautiful floor-to-ceiling red oak interiors, a large picture window that offers expansive views, a queen bed, a well-equipped kitchen including a dining table, a full bathroom with rain shower and separate water closet, heated floors and air conditioning for year-round comfort, a built-in sound system and luxury finishes throughout. With a starting price of $225,000 CDN, it’s a tiny piece of heaven.


“Canadians looking to add some greenery to their backyards or balconies can begin their gardening journey in the spring, once we’re past any danger of frost,” says Mark Beaty, senior live goods merchant at Home Depot Canada. “The vegetable and plant of the year for 2024 is Peppers from Heaven and can be planted in hanging baskets and placed in a shady area to brighten up any space.” Peppers from Heaven come in bright colours, including red, orange and yellow. They can be eaten green but will have maximum sweet flavour if allowed to ripen to their full colour. Peppers from Heaven are an incredibly versatile vegetable and are kid-friendly!

Exterior colour of the year

BeautiTone has unveiled Pacific as its 2024 exterior colour of the year. “Not only does ‘Pacific’ seamlessly complement various architectural styles, but it also marks a shift to a vibrant era of colour while maintaining a sense of calmness that is easily approachable to both homeowners and designers,” said Kristen Gear, lead design and colour specialist at BeautiTone Paint and Home Products.

Tool bag and essential tool set by Sophie Conran. $333. 21



At this year’s March Interior Design Snow (IDS), visitors were able to immerse themselves in the essence of design by experiencing Canada’s leading exhibition of innovative products, renowned designers and cutting-edge concepts from across North America and beyond. More than just a showcase of what’s new and upcoming, IDS fosters a dynamic dialogue around design, offering an invaluable opportunity to engage with the latest trends and contribute to the broader conversation on design excellence. Here are some highlights from IDS Toronto 2024.


Miele teamed up with renowned partners to craft an unforgettable show experience. Caesarstone provided the sleek countertop surfaces, while Kohler supplied premium kitchen hardware. Design inspiration came from Michael London Design. Miele showcased a stunning collection of matte black appliances featuring full-surface glass and integrated displays, perfectly designed to complement modern, handle-less kitchen aesthetics.


Based in Toronto, Dylan Newman and Madison Solda are industrial designers specializing in furniture and ceramics. Their creation, WIGGLE, features undulating curves designed for both comfort and visual allure, accentuating the inherent beauty of the Wigglewood material. Crafted from a single plywood sheet, the curved frame of WIGGLE mirrors its wavy counterpart, giving the seating experience a playful aesthetic.


Venezia by Venini, designed by Matteo Thun and Antonio Rodriguez, illuminates the magic of transparency, chromatic fluidity, and the noble art of Murano glass. It was an ambitious project inspired by a blend of Italian design and craftsmanship in its most sublime form. The Venezia collection by Fantini is enriched by two-tone blown glass handles and filigree handles, masterfully reinterpreted by the historic Venini glassworks of Murano. The top-quality craftsmanship of the glass makes every part of the sophisticated Venezia handles unique, with surprising chromatic effects and tactile depth.


Cosentino and British designer Tom Dixon collaborated on an installation showcasing the innovation, versatility, sustainability, and durability of materials. The installation challenged the perception of the bathroom as a purely functional space, presenting a new vision of it as a focal point of interior architecture.

home finds


Obakki’s design philosophy is deeply ingrained in the preservation of generational Indigenous craftsmanship, with a particular reverence for Mexico’s rich design legacy that spans millennia. Its showcase at IDS highlighted the visionary talent of Mariella Motilla, whose roots in the artistic enclave of Guanajuato, Mexico, fuels her passion for the limitless potential of textile art. Through the innovative use of recycled fibres, Motilla’s exquisite large-scale wall hangings and sculptural chandeliers blend sustainability with artistic expression, emphasizing fluidity and movement.


Established in 2020 by the dynamic mother-daughter duo of Allison and Irene Schlotzhauer, Hauer Market has flourished into a premier wholesaler, offering a curated selection of vintage decor and accessories designed to elevate your home’s aesthetic. Drawing inspiration from the allure of reclaimed and vintage pieces, the businesswomen pride themselves on offering unique and distinctive products that add character and charm to any space.

Sense and sustainability

Award-winning environmental journalist Candice Batista's new book, "Sustained: How to Shop Smart, Reduce Waste & Save Money," is a goto guide for embracing a sustainable lifestyle. Packed with tips and tricks, it educates and empowers you to make eco-friendly choices. We caught up with Batista to uncover her top five suggestions for homeowners to create a more sustainable home today.


5 4

1. Simple style ceramic FOODSTORAGEJARS with bamboo lid. $39.99, six-piece set. | 2. Stainless steel COMPOSTPAIL. $39. | 3. Unscented, solid DISH SOAP by Make Nice Company. $15. | 4. High-efficiency front-load STEAM WASHER in black and stainless steel by Samsung. $1,200. | 5. Ecoshades 40-gallon DIY HOTWATERHEATER JACKET/BLANKET, grey. $49.99.

Introducing the Professional Induction Range by Monogram Appliances – a culinary powerhouse that redefines precision cooking


What connects Gwyneth Paltrow, Chef Patrick Kriss of the acclaimed Alo restaurant and wine director Erik Segelbaum? They are all uber fans of Monogram Appliances. Monogram, synonymous with luxury and innovation, has been

crafting some of the world’s best appliances with a historical lineage that spans decades. It’s no wonder celebrities and top chefs alike are eager to fill their kitchens with Monogram appliances. Recently, Monogram introduced its Professional Induction Range, which represents the finest in culinary precision.

Merging the induction cooktop’s exceptional precision cooking with the unmatched performance of a professional range, the result is a truly elevated cooking experience boasting top-tier materials and ownership satisfaction. Let’s look at what makes this appliance a masterpiece in the kitchen.

cover story | Sponsored Content


Induction cooking harnesses the power of high-frequency copper coils beneath the surface, generating a magnetic field that heats ferrous metal pans. It’s like the science behind rubbing your hands together to create warmth. With proportional control linked to burner settings, the induction method offers precise cooking. Plus, with no exposed coils or flames, induction maximizes efficiency, making it the pinnacle of heat-transfer technology. In fact, induction cooking is 85 per cent more efficient than electric or gas cooking.


At the core of the induction range is precision cooking that redefines the art of culinary mastery. With 19 cooktop heat settings and the ability to simultaneously utilize precision/ connected features via Bluetooth or SmartHQ on two burners, you have unprecedented control at your fingertips. The precision cooking modes in the oven utilize pre-programmed algorithms to ensure perfect results for a wide range of commonly cooked foods. Plus, with Reverse Air convection and multiple cooking modes, including Hot Air Fry, you can confidently explore endless culinary possibilities.


Connect your Monogram professional range to Wi-Fi to unlock its full potential. Available in both 30-in. and 36-in. sizes, the range seamlessly integrates Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, making it easy to get connected. Customize the bullnose accent lighting through the SmartHQ app and enjoy the convenience of a large oven cavity that accommodates all your cooking vessels. With three full-extension racks that can remain in the oven during the self-clean cycle, maintenance is a breeze. Installation is also a cinch, thanks to fully adjustable legs on rollers, an attached power cord, and an included toe kick for a flawless finish.


Monogram’s commitment to excellence is evident in every detail of its professional induction range. Equipped with an LED screen and intuitive controls, this range makes cooking a breeze with its stylish functionality. Every element exudes quality craftsmanship, from edge-to-edge glass on the cooktop to handles with solid brass end caps. Experience the soft-close hinge system and the convenience of porcelaincoated full-extension glide racks — a dedication to superior materials and engineering.

Discover a new level of culinary precision and performance with the Monogram Professional Induction Range and experience what it means to cook with confidence and style.

For more information, visit: 25
Monogram Designer Collection handle, compatible with 36-in. model

Into the blue

A bold infusion of style in this cottage kitchen still retains the essence of cosy living

Who says that a cottage kitchen needs to be basic?

For designer Dvira Ovadia of Dvira Interiors, there was no question that this cottage kitchen design would have the hallmarks of simple country living with a dose of serious style. “I drew inspiration from the vision of a cosy cottage retreat, blending warmth

and comfort with bold pops of colour,” says Ovadia. “A palette of blue tones (echoing the lake vistas), cream, and walnut formed the foundation, accented by mixed metals for depth.”

Translating this vision into reality involved meticulously selecting materials, along with innovative design choices. To capture the charm of cottage living, shiplap walls were installed, infusing the

space with a sense of rustic warmth. Walnut was creatively utilized as a backsplash material, adding unexpected texture alongside Mediterranean-inspired hexagon tiles. “Further evoking the oldworld charm of French countryside kitchens, the hood was clad in mini crackled ceramic tiles,” explains Ovadia. “These design choices seamlessly blended together to

style file
The exposed dishware style adds a lived-in feel, contributing to the inviting atmosphere

create a timeless and fresh kitchen, perfectly reflecting our initial vision with a contemporary edge.”

Functionality and aesthetics converged with the incorporation of practical yet stylish elements. A dedicated dishware storage cabinet with glass panels showcases the kitchen’s personality, while optimizing space. “The exposed dishware style adds a lived-in feel, contributing to the inviting atmosphere,” says Ovadia.

Of course, with any design project, there are unique challenges. Ovadia had to contend with spatial limitations due to a pitched roof. “These constraints demanded innovative solutions to maintain functionality and

aesthetics,” she says. “For instance, when the refrigerator tower couldn’t fit snugly against the back wall, we repurposed the gap into a broom closet, effectively utilizing otherwise wasted space. This solution addressed storage needs and integrated nicely into the kitchen’s design, showcasing our ability to turn challenges into innovative design features that enhanced both functionality and visual harmony.”

The integration of technology further elevated the kitchen space. 27

“I embraced technology and innovation by integrating cuttingedge appliances from Fisher & Paykel, renowned for its functional and purposeful design,” says Ovadia. These appliances, including a fridge, freezer and dishwasher, come with panel-ready options to blend into the cabinetry, maintaining the kitchen’s sleek and cohesive look. The appliance choice also allowed Ovadia to highlight the room’s standout feature: A stunning 48-in. range equipped with eight burners and double ovens, which becomes the kitchen’s focal point. “By incorporating these state-of-the-art appliances, our kitchen design not only meets the current standards of modernity and efficiency, but also

provides a versatile and inviting space for cooking enthusiasts to explore their culinary passions,” says Ovadia.

Through thoughtful and wellplanned choices, the kitchen now

embodies the perfect balance of style, comfort and functionality, inviting the homeowners to gather and create cherished memories for years to come.

With more than 15 years’ experience as a magazine editor, writer and content creator, Sara brings her passion for design and decor to our pages each issue. Instagram: @bysaraduck

1.647.971.4406 | 7250 Keele St. Unit 93, Vaughan Smartglass. The Smart Choice. No Curtains Or Blinds?

A classic

Top Canadian designers share the timeless beauty of black and white hues in the home

“Black and white kitchens are elegant, understated, and timeless. The infusion of contrasting shades and a few feature elements, such as the soaring range hood in this kitchen, add dramatic appeal and balance to the clean lines of the cabinetry and subtle, traditional counters and backsplash.”

– Designer Bren Petrunick, Simply White Interiors


home inspiration

“Black and white spaces are classic and timeless, but the stark contrast can also feel edgy and bold, which is why I love to use it in small spaces such as an entrance way. It feels like it’s not so much of a colour commitment, yet it’s very high design and eyecatching, creating spaces that are both sophisticated and adaptable to potential evolving design trends.”

Eugenia Triandos, Hibou Design &


Living Room

“This style of design exudes timeless elegance, sophistication, and versatility. Incorporating black accents into a neutral palette adds drama and depth, creating visual interest. White serves as the perfect backdrop, enhancing brightness and spaciousness while allowing black elements to stand out. Whether minimalist or traditional, this classic combination elevates home decor with flair.”

–Designer Amanda Shields, Amanda Shields Interiors 31
P hoto : Larry Arnal


“These two are a timeless bathroom colour combination. They adapt well for both traditional and modern contexts and everything in between. They also pair well with a variety of wood tones or brass accents to keep things feeling warm and inviting.”

–Designer Brandon Lange, BZ Interiors.

“In a bedroom, a black and white palette adds tranquility to the space, especially when layered with textures such as linens, blankets, pillows and rugs. Introducing natural materials such as wood adds a cosy touch of warmth. Additionally, lighting choices, such as the sculptural pendant highlighted, offer ambience and a dramatic contrast.”

– Designer Ami McKay, Pure by Ami McKay

Pho o to o : K ile y R amo s P hot ogr gr aph ap y
“A monochromatic palette in the dining room creates visual interest and seamlessly blends in with an open-concept home that uses black and white tones.”
– Designer Jude Kamal, Sansa Interiors

Dining Room

Pho P oto to: J :Jagagg g agg g ed d Len enLe s Ph o t o : Janis Nichola y 33

COOL+ calm

A family home transforms with the help of contemporary design elements

Inspired by the Japandi design trend– combining Japanese and Scandinavian influences–designer Diana Bastone of Diana Bastone Designs embraced clean lines, minimalism and the concept of ‘less is more’ for her latest home design project. “This approach resonated with my clients, who were seeking a serene home that reflected their minimalist lifestyle and accommodated their frequent travels,” says Bastone.

The couple and their daughter sought a home where they could spend quality time together, yet have designated spaces for entertaining guests. “With a vision for a more functional layout, my team and I transformed the individual rooms into an open-concept kitchen and eating area, eliminating the formal dining area to create a more casual atmosphere,” says Bastone.

The kitchen, which serves as the heart of the home, features a spacious

island with a sink, ample prep space, and a view of the backyard. A large sliding glass door further enhances the space, inviting indoor-outdoor living. The addition of a round dining table, comfortably seating 10, fosters engaging conversations and adds to the home’s welcoming ambience. “Embracing a clean, minimal, and contemporary design, we focused on easy maintenance and equipped the kitchen for the couple’s love of entertaining.”

design file

To ensure that each room flowed into the next, Bastone created a neutral colour palette (with touches of dark hues), which focused on rich materials and surprise elements such as textured wall treatments in the eating area, lounge and master bedroom. “The primary bedroom exudes luxury and effortless elegance through carefully selected bedding. Featuring luxurious linen and an array of textures in neutral hues, the bedding creates a serene and inviting atmosphere, embodying the essence of comfort and tranquillity,” explains Bastone. 35

Bastone’s clients also expressed a desire for more storage, something that was lacking in key rooms in their previous home. “When my team and I designed the footprint of the home, we made sure to create as much storage as possible,” explains Bastone.

A designated area was created by combining the laundry room and mudroom. “The original layout featured cramped and dim spaces for laundry and mudroom purposes. By merging the two, we transformed the area into a spacious room with ample coat and shoe storage, a comfortable

seating bench, and dedicated laundry space equipped with a washer, dryer and folding surface,” says Bastone.

Additionally, she incorporated a specific spot for their furry family member, complete with a cabinet for his belongings and a place for him to eat. The result is a bright, airy laundry/ mudroom that suits everyone’s needs perfectly.

With a focus on low maintenance and a clutter-free environment, Bastone curated a clean, simple design palette tailored to the family’s lifestyle.

With more than 15 years’ experience as a magazine editor, writer and content creator, Sara brings her passion for design and decor to our pages each issue. Instagram: @bysaraduck

If you're planning a kitchen remodel or are simply looking for inspiration to update your space, you’ll want to peek into what’s ahead for the busiest room in the house

TRENDS Kitchen

In 2024, kitchen design will undergo a rapid evolution, embracing sustainable principles and cutting-edge aesthetics. Whether you’re an at-home chef, entertainer extraordinaire or occasional cook, your kitchen is a style statement. Here are five trends reshaping culinary spaces this year.

Multi-functional workspaces

The modern kitchen is not just for cooking; it’s a multi-functional hub for various activities. You can expect to see an emphasis on versatile and adaptable kitchen layouts. Integrated dining spaces, smart storage solutions, and convertible countertop spaces that can serve as workstations or entertaining areas are becoming increasingly popular. This trend caters to the evolving needs of homeowners who seek a dynamic kitchen that can easily transition from cooking to work and socializing.


Biophilic design

Bringing the outdoors in is a trend that continues to captivate designers in 2024. Biophilic design, which incorporates natural elements into living spaces, is making its mark in the kitchen. Expect to see more greenery, natural textures and earthy tones. Vertical herb gardens, potted plants and even living walls contribute to a refreshing atmosphere, creating a harmonious connection between the kitchen and nature. This trend not only enhances aesthetics, but also promotes a healthier and more enjoyable cooking environment.

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Sustainable style

This year, sustainability and style converge in kitchen design. Homeowners are increasingly seeking eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient appliances without compromising on the overall look. Recycled and upcycled materials, such as reclaimed wood for cabinets and dining tables and bamboo for countertops, are gaining popularity. Energy-efficient LED lighting and smart appliances not only reduce environmental impact, but also add a touch of technological sophistication to the kitchen.

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Bold colours and patterns

Neutral tones have dominated kitchens for years but now it’s all about embracing vibrant colours and bold patterns to add personality to your culinary haven. Deep blues, emerald greens, and rich terracotta are stealing the spotlight for cabinetry and accent features. Patterned backsplashes, bold floor tiles, and colourful appliances are becoming statement pieces. The key is to find a balance (remember less is more when going bold), allowing these elements to complement each other and create harmony in a visually stunning kitchen space.

Tech-infused kitchens

The future of kitchen design is undeniably intertwined with technology. Smart appliances, touchless faucets, and integrated home automation systems are becoming indispensable in today’s kitchens. Smart appliances, already gaining traction, will become even more sophisticated with advanced features such as augmented reality (AR) for meal planning and cooking guidance. Home automation systems will play a pivotal role, allowing for the easy control of various kitchen functions. Enhanced connectivity and the rise of AI-driven devices will redefine the cooking experience, making kitchens not only efficient, but also intuitive. From intelligent refrigerators managing inventory to tech-infused cookware offering precision, the kitchen of the near future is poised to be a hub where cutting-edge technology meets culinary artistry.

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With more than 15 years’ experience as a magazine editor, writer and content creator, Sara brings her passion for design and decor to our pages each issue. Instagram: @bysaraduck 39
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interior design

Pathway to well-being

The power of environmental psychology in interior design

In our bustling world, the environment in which we live can influence our mental state and overall well-being.

The field of environmental psychology delves into how our surroundings impact our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Exploring the relationship between environmental psychology and interior design often leads to a rich tapestry of insights to light up the way to creating a living space that’s not just beautiful, but also healthier and more nurturing.

The concept

The core of environmental psychology includes the concepts of perception, cognition, behaviour, and emotion. These elements intricately weave together to shape our experiences within a given environment. How we interact with our surroundings, be it a cosy corner of our home or the bustling streets of a city, is the result of a dynamic interplay between our internal state and external stimuli.

For example, light, colour, materials

and acoustics directly affect our senses and feelings and influence our emotions and functionality when we interact with elements or people in the space.

For a deeper insight into the relationship between environmental psychology and interior design, I spoke with Funmi Ade-Ojo, a practitioner in the field. When asked about her journey into interior design and the inter-relationship between environmental psychology and her work, Ade-Ojo says, “I’ve always been fascinated by the intersection between the science of design and its transformative power to enhance the human experience. Understanding the psychological nuances of how people interact with their surroundings has been integral to my approach as a designer.”

Mental health

The link between one’s environment and mental health is where interior design emerges as a potent tool to create spaces that enhance

emotional well-being. From soothing colour palettes to thoughtful spatial arrangements, design choices can lift spirits and alleviate stress, possibly serving as a sanctuary amidst life’s chaos.

Ade-Ojo says, “I’ve witnessed firsthand the profound impact that well-implemented environments can have on mental well-being. One project that stands out is a galley kitchen that spanned 24 ft. The kitchen build tapped into neurodiversity, addressing the homeowner’s child’s ADHD, catering to the child’s need to pace up and down, while empowering him to function within the kitchen. In the same project, we utilized the placement of the eastfacing windows to take full advantage of the rising sun, promoting the circadian rhythm and well-being of the neurodiverse individuals that lived and operated in the space.”

Crafting spaces

Incorporating elements of the natural world into interior spaces evokes a sense of tranquillity and connection to


the earth. Verdant foliage, cascading water features, and natural light infuse a room with vitality and serenity, offering respite from the rigours of modern life. Additionally, ample natural light, optimal ventilation and ergonomic furniture further elevate comfort and productivity, nurturing a harmonious balance between work and relaxation.

“I prioritize creating spaces with a heavy influence and impact on the end-user experience,” says Ade-Ojo. “Working with key elements such as layering colour within light fixtures to promote well-being and relaxation, and using biomimicry in texture, tones, patterns and the integration of natural products and biophilia to create a connection to the great outdoors.”

This approach suggests that aesthetics will no longer take centre stage as the driving factor in how we design. Ade-Ojo says, “Automation, in specific movement into smart design, will evolve using biological senses that are monitored through AI in products such as sofas, responding to our biological needs; for example, feeling very hot, and sensors in the sofa sending a message to the thermostat to turn on the air conditioning.”

Paving the way forward

From virtual reality simulations that allow us to visualize spatial concepts to sustainable design practices that prioritize both ecological stewardship and human well-being, the landscape of design is poised for evolution. When asked to discuss the collaboration between psychologists, designers and architects to create environments that focus on human well-being in residential design, Ade-

Ojo says a multi-disciplinary approach to design has been ongoing in the commercial and healthcare spaces, and she expects to see it employed in residential spaces as people become more aware of the holistic approach.

Environmental psychology and interior design offer a gateway to holistic well-being and by understanding the impact of our surroundings on mental health, we unlock the transformative power of design to nurture and uplift the human spirit.

CREDITS: Design: Funmi Ade-Ojo Haus of Banstead Design Inc.

Bilha Kangethe is the founder and creative director of The Lifestyle Loft. As a certified designer and interior decorator, she has created a company that focses on the needs of each client and customer and helps them curate a lifestyle that is comfortable and economical. 41


What do you get when a kitchen designer, interior designer and a builder dish on what’s hot in updating the busiest room in the house?

then and now

If you are here to read about the latest kitchen trends from the experts, then you are either a foodie who aspires to have the perfect space in which to create delicious meals for family and friends to swoon over, or you are the family or that friend who is waiting to swoon…

With the cost-of-living climbing, and people in the last four years spending more time at home, a well-planned, clean, functional and sexy kitchen is a must. Plus, as residential suite sizes in new builds shrink, kitchen spaces are changing, too. In some condos, conventional ranges – a stove and oven combo – are not even included.

To help guide you on how to best design your kitchen space in 2024, we brought three of our experts in to share what they are advising their clients in kitchen design. Kitchen designer, Jimmy Zoras (Distinctive by Design) interior designer, Laura Thornton (Thornton Interiors) and builder Jim Cunningham (Eurodale Design + Build), answer five questions to help you re-think the most critical space in your home.

Beverage centres and coffee bars JIM CUNNINGHAM

1| What is the single most critical thing you try to design, or convince clients to include in their kitchens?

Laura Thornton (LT): When it comes to designing kitchens, our top priority is stressing the importance of the planning phase. Working with an interior designer who asks all the right questions ensures you won’t have any regrets once your kitchen is complete. It’s not just about fancy features, although those are lovely and welcomed; the key is creating a well-thought-out, high-functioning space that caters to all your needs. After all, a kitchen should be easy to use and have everything at your fingertips, all while looking fabulous.

Jim Cunningham (JC): Beverage centres and coffee bars. They are truly functional and keep your refrigerator allocated to food storage. It also makes entertaining a little classier, since your guests aren’t reaching beside your leftover sardine sandwich to grab some prosecco!

Jimmy Zoras (JZ): I always recommend drawers, pull-out drawers, recycling and compost bins, accessible corner cabinet hardware and lighting as a few areas to consider in design. 43


Upper cabinetry is trending out

2| What do you feel is the out-going or passé trend (style or function-based element) – or that you want to see go by the wayside?

LT: The reliance on upper cabinetry is trending out. The current shift is toward more open spaces that do away with this traditional style of storage, primarily because of its limited capacity. Instead, we suggest redistributing the contents of these cabinets to alternative storage solutions, such as pantry cabinets, a butler’s pantry, or, where space permits, a walk-in pantry. The elimination of upper cabinetry opens up opportunities to add more interior design elements, infusing more personality into the kitchen. Examples of this include the integration of wall sconces, oversized and decorative hood fan covers, and the inclusion of floating shelves to showcase beautiful items otherwise hidden behind cabinet doors. This departure from conventional upper cabinetry signifies a bold step toward a more modern, functional and visually appealing kitchen aesthetic.

JC: We don’t see white cabinetry as much (but I feel like we always say this and yet it continues to dominate the spaces as a whole), nor brushed nickel hardware. More wood finishes and dark hardware are being introduced.

JZ: Traditional kitchens are not very popular these days as people are looking for more clean lines and functionality. Clean and modern is definitely dominating the design aesthetic of late.

3| What is the next ‘hot’ thing that will find its way into new kitchen designs for 2024 and beyond?

LT: The emerging kitchen trend for 2024 is in the painted kitchen, specifically shifting from shades of white into muted creams, beige and natural tones. This design choice creates a kitchen with a subdued, calm, and inviting ambience. The integration of various textures plays a pivotal role in achieving this, with the strategic use of stone, brick, white oak, and the inclusion of marble and other natural stone slabs. Blending these elements adds a touch of sophistication, but also balances tranquility with a timeless elegance. This trend aligns with a desire for an understated yet welcoming kitchen space that is attractive to both the trendsetter and the classicist.

JC: Black counters are coming back, and if you have tall ceilings, a library ladder to access those superhigh uppers, while otherwise looking stylish on the sidelines. Lastly, bi-fold or swing-style pocket doors that conceal when closed and tuck out of the way when open. We use them to hide counter appliances, laundry facilities and generally anything you want out of sight, but have unimpeded access to at some point.

JZ: Newer items are servo-drive cabinets doors and drawers that you just touch to open or close, do not need hardware and typically are used with contemporary kitchen designs.


4| Did the pandemic change the kitchen in any meaningful way?

LT: In the wake of the pandemic, the kitchen landscape has undergone a notable transformation, taking on a more versatile and communal role. There is a heightened emphasis on the concept of comfort. As such, the importance of comfort and functionality emerge as defining elements in contemporary kitchen design.

The move toward more comfort extends to the choice of everything from counter stools to dining chairs, as clients increasingly prioritize seating options that offer ease and relaxation. The evolution reflects a departure from the rushed, minute-long meals of the past, to a newfound appreciation for extended periods spent in the company of family and guests.

The importance of the traditional formal dining room has waned, with kitchens now becoming the central meeting place within a home. The key consideration becomes a question of how long one can comfortably occupy a chair or stool in these new roles. This shift underscores the growing necessity for kitchen furniture to rival the comfort found in the broader living spaces of the home.

The kitchen island, once primarily used as a culinary workspace, has evolved into a multi-functional hub for gathering, conversation, homework, and remote work on laptops or iPads. As well, the role of lighting in the kitchen has gained significance, with the integration of dimmable fixtures and strategically placed pot lighting to create varying moods, moving beyond the traditional glare of high-task kitchen functions.

As kitchens assume a more versatile and communal role, the importance of comfort and functionality emerge as a defining elements in contemporary kitchen design.

JC: Sure, these spaces do get more use than before the pandemic. In my own home, ours doubles for a desk for homework/office and kitchen at the same time. Sometimes, some peanut butter and jam gets submitted with the assignment!

JZ: The pandemic didn’t change the kitchen in any way other than people suddenly found themselves using their kitchen more and discovered that their space was either functional or not functional for their needs.

Change counters, backsplash and handles

5| Best budget bang for your buck to update a kitchen without a full reno?

LT: The straightforward answer lies in prioritizing quality. While quality products often carry a higher price tag, the investment pays dividends over time through the extended lifespan of the product. Despite the initial allure of budget-friendly alternatives during a kitchen renovation, the long-term difference is palpable in a space as heavily frequented as the kitchen. Opting for quality plumbing, cabinet hardware and millwork ensures the durability required to withstand the rigours of daily use, making it a sound investment that stands the test of time. Over the course of 10 years, a high-quality product will endure and also provides adaptability with changing lighting, cabinet hardware, and plumbing elements, breathing new life into your kitchen. In contrast, opting for lower-quality alternatives may yield short-term savings, but will often prove insufficient in longevity and fail to stand up to the demands of a well-utilized kitchen space.

JC: Referred to as a “swap-the-top” – resurfacing your cabinets with new counters and updating the backsplash with a new slab really changes the look and feel of the entire space, without completely remodelling it.

JZ: Best bang for your money is changing counters, backsplash and handles. 45

The last word

While kitchens are always changing, they are now more multi-faceted spaces than ever. With housing sizes changing for a large majority of people living in urban centres, the kitchen has become more open and visible, and not tucked away from the rest of the home. Built-in banquettes, eat-in kitchens, desk spaces and multi-use elements are allowing families the ability to congregate in

one main room to remain connected to each other, versus ducking away into private rooms with their personal devices. Housing affordability is also shaping these spaces. For example, in many bachelor condos, the kitchen is open to the combined family room and bedroom, so concealing storage, prep items and appliances come into play, which can make the suggestions from the design team key, including functional

storage, hardware selection, texture, colour and tone integration, as well as multi-use islands or millwork elements.

When planning your own kitchen in a new home or renovation, remember there is real value in working with a professional to design and build the space. Function is as important as form, and finding a professional renovator is a great place to start looking for help.

Brendan Charters is a founding partner at Toronto design-build firm Eurodale Developments Inc., the 2020 BILD Renovator of the Year., @eurodalehomes, 416.782.5690.

Whether your budget is luxe or lean, we have inspiring ideas for a cosy and cute kid’s bedroom complete with bunkbeds


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perfection POWDER ROOM


The powder room is the perfect place to flex your creativity and have fun. Beyond the must-haves (think toilet, sink, mirror and lighting), this small space lends itself to big style. It is the perfect spot to explore design options within its small proportions, which means any finish or material will come at a lower cost. Plus, with limited exposure to the home’s main living areas, any bold design choices are well-controlled.

When designing a powder room, try to treat it as a hidden treasure to be discovered by your guests – unexpected, amazing, and reflective of your personality. Here are some ways to infuse character into a powder room.

Bold paint and wallpaper

One of the quickest ways to inject personality into a powder room is by splashing on a bold paint or fun wallpaper. Deep, rich hues are perfectly on trend, such as emerald-green, navy blue or daring black, to create a sense of drama. Dark colours bring depth to the space, making it feel cosy and intimate. Alternatively, consider a vibrant wallpaper with a bold pattern, such as a geometric or abstract print to create a focal point and evoke a sense of luxury. Enhance visual impact by complementing the wallpaper with a dramatic stone tile or countertop.

Tile trends

Tile is a long-term investment, so if you’re not sold on a quirky colour or material, experiment with shape and scale. Consider a playful pattern layout on the floor or accent wall. Size-wise, try a micro-mosaic tile in contrasting colours. Or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, large-format tiles featuring unique textures can create a visually striking effect. The powder room is a place where you can be more daring with your choices, so embrace unconventional shapes and arrangements to make a statement.

Vanity ideas

Upgrade your powder room vanity as a style piece or to serve a design purpose. Mirrored or reflective surfaces can enhance the sense of space, while fluted or otherwise detailed vanity bases can create a sense of glamour. Regardless of the specifics, you can’t go wrong with luxury. A bold marble choice, perhaps an integrated marble sink, can elevate the space and create that “wow” factor.

Shaunn Lipsey is the principal and creative director at Shaunn Lipsey + Co, a Toronto-based design and build team, renowned for crafting bespoke interiors that enhance value, style and function. Servicing Ontario, Montreal, Florida, California. IG: @shaunnlipseyco.


Choose your sink and faucet together to ensure they are compatible. Faucet height, depth and position impacts splashing. Consider the sink’s shape and depth relative to the faucet, before installation. Buyer be aware: Moving a faucet can be costly.

Sink or float

Sink styles vary, from undermount to our favourite go-to, an integrated model in the same material as the countertop. Be informed of the pros and cons of each style. Sinks also come in a variety of materials, such as glass, ceramic and stone. Choose wisely, since this fixture is often the first thing you see when you enter the space. Pair it with a stylish faucet to complete the look. A standout sink not only serves a practical purpose, but sets the tone for the entire room.

Statement lighting

Lighting is critical for function, but it’s also the jewellery of the space. A unique pendant light or eye-catching sconces can elevate the room’s ambience and highlight focal points, such as the vanity or feature wall. Focus on interesting shapes, textures or finishes. Experiment with placement for visual interest, ensuring the room is well-lit without sacrificing style. A well-chosen lighting fixture can be a focal point in and of itself.

Leave a lasting impression

The powder room is an often-overlooked room. Embrace this opportunity to make a bold statement, leaving a lasting impression for all the right reasons.

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The transformation of an Edmonton home into a net-zero energy dwelling has redefined the standards for residential sustainability.

Spearheaded by the homeowner, this 1996-built property underwent an extensive overhaul, achieving a remarkable transition to net-zero energy status. Facilitated by the expertise of Shield Windows and Doors and incorporating Duxton’s high-performance solutions, along with advanced mechanical improvements, the project not only minimized, but also entirely neutralized the house’s ecological impact, setting a new benchmark in the pursuit of a greener future.


At the outset, the home faced significant energy losses, with initial EnerGuide Canada evaluations showing a total energy consumption of 206 gigajoules (GJ) per year, predominantly used for heating and cooling. A startling 45 per cent of this energy, approximately 69.53 GJ/ year, was lost through inefficient windows and doors. The retrofit addressed these inefficiencies headon, leveraging the latest in window technology to improve the air tightness and R-value of the building’s envelope. This is the golden rule in energy retrofits: Attack the building envelope first, and the mechanical systems second. It’s better to conserve as much energy as possible, and then calculate the loads in your newly improved envelope.


Duxton’s FiberWall™ 658 Fixed Series windows and doors, featuring LiteZone glass, were chosen for their unparalleled insulating properties. The original double-pane units, with a

U-value estimated at 2.8 W/m2K, were replaced with six-pane (yes, you read that right!) LiteZone assemblies with suspended film, boasting an overall U-value of 0.38 W/m2K (COG).

Due to a smaller pocket size for the glass in operable (venting) windows, the LiteZone glass was too thick to

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use, so the homeowner selected Cardinal’s triple pane units with two Low-E’s and argon gas fill. They achieved an overall U-value of 1.02 W/m2K, further enhancing the home’s thermal performance. Similarly, swinging doors are still too narrow to accommodate thicker LiteZone units, so the homeowner chose Cardinal’s triple pane double Low-E glass plus multi-point locks to ensure the tightest air seal possible.


Complementing the window and door upgrades, adding a geothermal heating system and solar panels marked a significant step towards net-zero energy consumption. These systems, designed for efficiency and durability, supported the home’s transition from fossil fuels, aligning with the broader goal of sustainable living.


The retrofit’s meticulous attention to detail and commitment to sustainability culminated in its selection for the 2024 Edmonton Eco-Solar Home Tour. This recognition highlights the home’s innovative approach to energy efficiency and serves as an example for the Edmonton community, demonstrating the practicality and benefits of net-zero living.


Post-retrofit, the home’s total energy consumption saw a dramatic shift, now using 0 gigajoules of energy

annually. The substantial improvement in window and door U-values provides a quantifiable measure of success. By focusing on these critical components of the building envelope, this net-zero home has set a precedent for energy efficiency, reducing its energy loss via windows and doors by a factor of six, or more than 80 per cent.


“The window frames and LiteZone glass are pretty impressive,” comments the homeowner.

“At -8 degrees Celsius and 36 per cent humidity, there is virtually no condensation on the windows.”

With highly insulating windows, careful installation, and effective air circulation in the home, you can raise the interior humidity to more comfortable levels, even in very cold winter temperatures.


The transformation of the Edmonton home described here embodies the synergy between visionary home ownership, technological innovation, and environmental stewardship. By integrating Duxton’s advanced window technologies and comprehensive mechanical upgrades, this project demonstrates that achieving a net-zero energy home is both feasible and impactful. As the net-zero dwelling prepares to showcase its achievements in the Edmonton Eco-Solar Home Tour, it stands as a profound example of sustainable living in action, inspiring a future where net-zero energy homes become the standard, not the exception.

Window/door specs:

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– Using LiteZone can achieve sound insulation comparable to an 8”-thick concrete block wall

– Weighs less than triple pane units

– Provides design flexibility up to 6’3” x 10’.

LiteZone® L0679 IGUs in fixed windows (R17.2 COG)

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Argon in all operable windows and swinging doors

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the functional beauty of covert design features

HIDDEN treasures

They say the ultimate in luxury is reserving some things solely for yourself. In our opinion as designers, this “secretive” strategy comes in handy for a few reasons, with opulence definitely being one of them. Incorporating hidden elements into a space can enhance its style, improve function, and add an element of intrigue that nobody can resist.

This is why covert design features such as secret passageways, hidden doors, concealed appliances and other unseen elements have become a big trend. And now here’s another little secret – they aren’t just for the rich. The right concept, coupled with the right dose of creativity and craftsmanship, is all you need to turn your home into a pleasant surprise.

Why so secretive?

The origins of hidden design features in homes are largely utilitarian and, in most cases, were reserved for the upper class, as a place to hide valuables, to serve as an escape route in times of danger, or to give the household staff a means to move through the home without being seen by the residents and their guests. The modern-day reason homeowners and designers incorporate hidden features is to customize a space in terms of function and style.

A sneak peek at today’s hidden features

You’d be surprised at the number of unique, unseen elements in homes these days. Who wouldn’t love to have a secret room devoted to a hobby, personal indulgence or special interest? A quiet book nook, a wine-tasting room, or a love nest to share with your partner can be camouflaged with a door that blends in with surrounding wall panels or is concealed on the other side behind a bookcase. When closed, they are completely undetectable. The only ones who know it’s there, are you and the people you’ve told.

Hidden doors can help streamline a space, and can be easily adapted to minimalist, contemporary, classic or maximalist home styles.

Short of a whole room, hidden doors can hide spaces of many forms and functions, such as smart pantry storage off the kitchen, a coat closet in the front foyer, a powder room off the main hall, or an office. The same principle can be used to conceal appliances, seamlessly transforming the kitchen into an elegant dining and entertaining area.

Styling your secret space

In true ‘stealth-wealth’ fashion, consider how you plan to style your secret room. Remember, just because it’s hidden, it doesn’t mean you should write off its aesthetic. In fact, we’d argue that these spaces call for a little extra attention, and can handle some oomph, since they are typically smaller and aren’t visible outright. So, consider painting your hidden space


an indulgent shade or splash it with that wallpaper that you thought might be too loud for one of the main living areas. A great strategy for decorating a secret room is to pull a pattern or colour inspiration from your main living area, such as the feature wall or backsplash tile, and then kick it up a notch. This visually connects the hidden room to the rest of the home, while giving it its own unique flair.

Indulge yourself

Your secret room – whether big or small, functional or purely decadent – should be a thoughtful reflection of your lifestyle, interests and aesthetic preferences, and tailored to you alone. This is one indulgence you don’t have to share – or even divulge, for that matter. So go ahead, do it just for you.

Designers Trish Knight and Nicole Varga are co-founders of Knight Varga Interiors. Collectively with two decades of experience, this Vancouver-based multi-award- winning design firm is known for creating well curated interiors. The firm provides complete bespoke residential design services throughout Vancouver & North America. IG: @knightvarga 57


Comfort and elegance come together in a stunning home design

Within this sprawling 6,000-sq.-ft. home, the design strategy focused on instilling an ambience of luxury and elegance, while also maintaining an inviting and warm atmosphere throughout. Every

detail, from the opulent finishes to the cosy furnishings, was meticulously curated to strike the perfect balance between sophistication and comfort.

Every room was created with functionality to reign key, layering on the many aspects of design to infuse personality and character.

Statement finishes such as art and lighting added texture, colour and visual interest. From modern minimalism to the timeless elegance of transitional design, each space reflected thoughtful planning and a creative vision to inject warmth and conversation.

interior design

First impressions

When you enter the home, the rotunda foyer sets the tone for a great first impression. A statement glass chandelier and beautiful sight lines into the adjacent spaces showcase a blend of sophisticated charm. On one side is the living room/den and on the other, French doors open into the study to reveal luxurious brass finishes and soft ivory tones. The corridor stretches down toward the kitchen. Together, all three sight lines set the stage for the palette of the home.

Luxurious touches in every space

Offering a glimpse into the design strategy’s commitment to excellence, each room was created to possess its own unique and distinctive characteristics, able to make a bold statement on its own. This is spectacularly demonstrated in the great room, a space designed to

evoke architectural intrigue with a unique focal point that complements the grandeur of the soaring 20ft. ceilings. A floor-to-ceiling stone feature, a linear fireplace for a contemporary touch, and bespoke wood panels illuminated by 26 individual lights, combine to transform the wall into a radiant showcase of craftsmanship and elegance, enhancing the room’s ambience. Completing the space, 20-ft.-long drapery panels were added for a luxurious touch and to soften the area. On the opposite side, a bold evening blue wall with intricate trim detail adds warmth and depth, serving as a backdrop to the art and ample seating for cozy gatherings.

The living room/den was designed to embody livable luxury, demonstrated by the beautiful stone-wrapped mantel, commanding attention as the focal point of the room. From the thoughtfully chosen wallpaper to the bespoke furnishings and pastel-coloured fabrics, every element was carefully curated. The furniture was selected for form and function and to create a welcoming space.

Kitchen considerations... and more

With the home builder providing the kitchen layout, the cabinetry and countertops were essentially selected beforehand. 59

This prompted us to approach the kitchen design from a different perspective, shifting our focus to selecting finishes that would add depth and character to further elevate the overall aesthetic. To layer on dimension, a marble backsplash, custom window treatments, and luxurious antique gold faucets were introduced. Each element was meticulously chosen to complement the existing features and enhance the overall look.

Metal accents played a pivotal role in tying the design together, with pewter pendant lighting and brass cabinetry hardware. This thoughtful combination created a harmonious balance of tones and textures, resulting in a space that matched the level of luxury and practicality seen in the rest of the home.

An opportunity to expand the kitchen space allowed us to add a butler’s pantry as the perfect complement to the main cooking area. With crafted custom cabinetry and brass railings to contrast nicely

with the marble-toned backsplash, the addition enhanced the overall functionality of the kitchen. And finally, in a wall niche in the dining room, we created a custommade floor-to-ceiling wine display to showcase the homeowner’s impressive wine collection against a backdrop of sleek stone. This striking feature serves as a practical storage solution for the vintage collection, while adding a touch of drama and sophistication to the space.

Let there be lighting

Lighting played an integral part in the design of this home, and it truly had the power to transform ordinary rooms into extraordinary sanctuaries. A perfect example is the spectacular fixture that hangs down from the ceiling and is formed from fiberglass balls, each meticulously arranged to replicate the effect of raindrops, stretching an impressive 12 ft. long. A work of art on its own.

Sunita Lymburner is the founder and principal designer at Sara Leah Interiors, a firm specializing in developing beautifully tailored design solutions while blending artistry and functionality. Serving Toronto and the GTA. @saraleahinteriors

THE kitchen


Forget the local Happy Hour –informally fabulous kitchen gatherings are here to elevate a weeknight or add a twist to your weekend itinerary. The kitchen is no stranger to impromptu gatherings. It’s a space where the senses are ignited with flavours and scents that activate memories and inspire adventures. Not to be confused with the formal dining area, the kitchen is where things get real, where people are comfortable, and often where the best conversations happen.

Play off the energy of this effortless social space by bringing in pieces that encourage lingering within the kitchen. Comfortable kitchen island seating or a bistro style table can make your kitchen space the “it” destination of the home. Don’t have the space for seating? Bring the kitchen experience to another level by using a stylish bar cart filled with the small bites and sips that pair perfectly with friends and catch-ups.

A social kitchen is a space where hors d’oeuvres are the main event – and they’re celebrated with interesting small plates with dedicated utensils. It’s where eye-catching glassware and unique coasters make a simple beverage feel curated, and little details like playful cocktail napkins or adorned appetizer picks turn a night-in to an intentional experience. The kitchen is where life lives in the home, so give it the details and accessories that make its energy thrive.

salina’s corner
5 1 4 2
1. Strawberry thief paper napkins. 2. Bormioli Rocco stone D.O.F glasses. 3. Match crudite tray. 4. Cocktail candy dehydrated lemons.
ith s. It’s
5. Contardi bar cart. 3 61

design expert

A dated kitchen is reborn with an open-concept design, smart storage solutions and a neutral palette


As a designer, it’s my job to make a client’s renovation dreams a reality and, of course, add a designer’s touch of je ne sais quoi. For my latest transformation, I worked hand-in-hand with my clients to bring their kitchen and dining room vision to life. They loved the home they were in but realized for their family of five (three teenagers and two pets), the kitchen and dining space needed a fresh, open-concept floorplan with the latest modern conveniences. My clients also wanted a bright and inspiring space that

would foster cooking, baking and entertaining. Here is how I achieved the look.

Facilitating form and function

Going with the flow

There was no doubt that walls had to come down to create an open concept living area for the main floor. I removed the walls between the living room, dining room and kitchen to create a harmonious flow between spaces. Echoing my client’s desire for openness, I bid farewell to their traditional breakfast table, opting for integrated island seating to easily transition from dining to culinary areas.

My design ethos is always to embrace both functionality and aesthetics. In other words, smart storage solutions are key in any design project. From an appliance garage and magic corner (a pesky corner was utilized with a clever design to give more storage) to a conveniently concealed charging drawer, every element was carefully crafted to enhance efficiency without compromising on style. To visually connect the areas on the main floor, I created two unique features. First, a glass display cabinet with neatly staged



Before diving into the renovation process, consult with a professional to assess the feasibility of opening your space. A designer will help you come up with the best options to create that open-concept interior

glasses and bottles of wine and second, a coffee station with a pull-out cutting board and pocket door so my clients could embrace their inner barista.

Luxe look

I knew my clients wanted a light and bright look in the kitchen, so I kept the colour palette neutral with white lacquer and slim shaker cabinets accented with white oak cabinets and floors. A clean and streamlined look was essential, so I integrated the appliances with custom panels, which helped the space look larger. Brass accents, from inlays to hardware, punctuate the design with a luxe look and make the stone features really come to life. Since my clients love cooking and baking, I chose quartz for the cooking and prep areas. At the same time, natural marble (coated with a durable skin overlay) was used on the island backsplash and archway above the range.

Illuminating details

When it came to lighting, navigating the asymmetrical layout and diverse ceiling heights posed a challenge in crafting the perfect solution. To enhance the contemporary ambience

and create an illusion of spaciousness, I removed all crown mouldings from the main floor to make the ceiling feel taller. I installed sleek canister lights above the island and sink for optimal task lighting, and to infuse elegance into the space, a stunning contemporary pendant with brass and marble detailing graces the eating area, adding a touch of sophistication to the overall design.

Casual and chic

My goal was to elevate the dining room into a casual and inviting place for daily gatherings. I optimized storage with a built-in bench featuring drawers and two full-height fluted cabinets. A dynamic round table facilitates movement around the room, and a sculptural black rattan pendant hangs overhead, completing the chic dining experience.

In this project, every detail was crucial to crafting a dream space for my clients, ensuring enduring style and functionality for years to come.

Jessica Cinnamon is the principal designer and founder of Toronto-based Jessica Cinnamon Design Inc., a multi-disciplinary design company that creates stylish and well-curated interiors, and provides complete bespoke residential design services in Toronto, the GTA, cottage country, Chicago, and Los Angeles. 63

Edmonton’s top award-winning home renovators in 2024 Celebrating


Edmonton’s best renovators were among those feted on March 16 at the 2024 Canadian Home Builders’ Association-Edmonton Region (CHBAER) Awards of Excellence in Housing gala, held at the Edmonton Convention Centre.

Featuring a diverse array of 67 categories spanning single-family homes, multi-family, infill, renovation and environmental awards, among others, the awards showcased outstanding achievements in the local residential construction industry.

Ackard Contractors Ltd. was named Renovator of the Year, as the nearly 40-year-old renovation firm also won Best Exterior Renovation and Best Renovations $150,000 to

Renovator of the year

Ackard Contractors


Alair Homes

Diamond Contracting Ltd.

Best renovation under $150,000

Contact Renovations & Custom Homes Ltd.

The opulent oasis


Drab to fab main floor | Ridgeline Improvements

Busy blender | Ackard Contractors

Marble retreat | Diamond Contracting Ltd.

Scooch it over | Diamond Contracting Ltd.

$300,000. This marks the 11th time Ackard Contractors has won the Renovator of the Year Award.

“We haven’t won this for a couple years and last year we didn’t get any awards,” said Richard Plamondon, a partner at Ackard. “It’s great for the team to be recognized for all the hard work they put in this year and the great client projects we get to work on. Not winning has pushed us to be better and we feel that this past year has been an exceptional one.”

Here are the 2024 winners of the CHBA-ER Awards of Excellence in Housing in the home renovation category.

Best kitchen renovation

Habitat Studio | Kaja


River Valley Mcm | Aquarian Renovations

Country cuisine | Ackard Contractors

Clean cuisine | Ridgeline Improvements

Timeless elegance | Ultimate Renovations Edmonton

home renovation

Best renovations

$150,000 to $300,000

Ackard Contractors | Wild within


Into the blue | Ackard Contractors

Rainbow Road remodel | Aquarian Renovations

Lavish Longview upgrade | Ultimate Renovations

Edmonton lighten up | Ackard Contractors

Best renovation

$300,000 to $600,000

Diamond Contracting Ltd. | cabin contemp


Kaja | Habitat Studio

Modernized charm | Alair Homes

Lady Laurier | Revive Contracting Inc.

Westridge residence | Aquarian Renovations

Best exterior renovation

Ackard Contractors | Drab to fab


Outdoor oasis | Ackard Contractors

Argyle retreat | Alair Homes

Glenora Crescent | Alair Homes

Nevo | Habitat Studio

Best renovation over $600,000

Alair Homes | remastered renovation


Glenora Crescent | Alair Homes

Love renovation | Effect Home Builders

Brickhouse | Revive Contracting Inc. 65


Designer: Martin De Sousa

Michaela Burns

Designström Inc.


Designers: Christine Da Costa, Maria Perketa

Aspire Design Group


Designer: Erica Sibley

Binns Kitchen + Bath Design



Designers: Ewa Fisher, Karen Bigiel

Fishee Designs


Designer: Angel Yalda

Two Tone Interiors


Designer: Alannah Bent

Alannah Bent Inclusive Design


Natalia Bienkowska

Drôle House Inc.

Designer: Deborah Mesher


Designers: Martin De Sousa, Michaela Burns

Designström Inc.


Designer: Jessica Cinnamon

Jessica Cinnamon Design Inc.


Designer: Martin De Sousa

Holly Cowieson

Designström Inc.



Designer: Diana Bastone

Diana Bastone Designs


Designers: Christine Da Costa, Maria Perketa

Aspire Design Group


Designer: Rotem Lamsee

Ace Of Space Interiors


Designer: Amanda Shields

Amanda Shields Interiors


Designer: Jenny Kys, Otley Design Company

Tish Firman, Lovegrove


Designer: Christina Fox

Binns Kitchen + Bath Design



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