Houzz Tour: Builder's Beige Gets a Makeover

Houzz Tour: Builder's Beige Gets a Makeover

This 5-year-old house in Toronto was in fairly boring form when its owners hired interior designer Shirley Meisels. “Although relatively new, it was fairly basic concerning finishes … and it had been builder’s beige,” she states. The house lacked moldings, bud lights, interesting hardware and personality generally.

“The customers wanted a family-friendly home which was as vibrant as they are; a joyful place that equally functioned nicely for their busy lifestyles and felt warm and inviting. They wanted character and color with great attention to detail,” Meisels states. The household also regularly hosts out-of-town guests and loves to entertain. “This is definitely the party house — every holiday and every long weekend this house is filled with people” She states.

Houzz in a Glance
Who Lives Here: Duke, Cathy and their two kids
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Size: This really is a two-story, four-bedroom house with an in-law suite in the basement. In all there are five baths.

Shirley Meisels

Regardless of 3 chocolate brown walls and a chocolate brown door, this room remains surprisingly bright and light. “This room appears to be southern facing and so gets a lot of light,” Meisels states. “The fearless background and bright furnishings also help lift the space from dark and dull to cheerful and bright despite these dark walls”

Shirley Meisels

In this media space, built-ins help keep the tv from dominating and include symmetry. In addition they hide unsightly components. “Built-ins can be a terrific way to hide bulkheads, mechanical shafts and all kinds of necessary but unsightly structural components,” Meisels states. “The pillar on the left hides a pipes shaft while the pillar on the right is a working cupboard.”

The area strikes the perfect balance between masculine and feminine. “Whenever I make a space I tend to start from big to little,” Meisels states. “I’m practical, so the bigger furnishings/investment bits that I buy are nearly always super-clean and impartial. The ‘no ‘ frills’ character of these items tend to feel more manly.”

As for the female? “I like to have more fun using color and pattern with smaller furnishings, such as the lime green ottomans and bold occasional chairs. This is where the whimsy comes into play and the more feminine touches,” she states.

Chairs: Mitchell Gold
Theatre sofa: Design Within Reach

Shirley Meisels

The dining room keeps a clean and modern feeling, whereas the moldings and trimwork Meisels designed lend a traditional sense. “This room was a blank canvas with bare walls and actually no space for a sideboard,” she states. “I decided to dress the walls to include interest and warm up the space. The moldings also helped to make otherwise unattractive bulkheads look to be an architectural attribute”

Chairs and sconces: Barbara Barry
Drapery fabric: Riad out of Kravet

Shirley Meisels

The family is very busy and the kitchen is the heart of the household. “We wanted the kitchen to be functional with just as much storage as possible without feeling overwhelming,” Meisels states. “We were looking for airy and light, and running the cabinets directly up into the ceiling utilized every square inch of storage whilst at the same time creating the illusion of height. The glass cabinets are mostly for decorative display and divide the heaviness of each the cabinetry. The manifestation of glass adds a bit of sparkle too.”

As for the backsplash: Why herringbone? “Everyone enjoys the herringbone!” Meisels states. “There seemed to be so much happening in this kitchen using the huge marble staircase and marble Sarinnen dining table (in the breakfast nook), so that I had been loath to use stone to the backsplash too. A kitchen like this demanded a luxurious finish, so I used a very simple tile but installed it in a sophisticated and interesting pattern.”

Shirley Meisels

In this image you can see how the display cabinets punctuate the room with light.

Hint: when choosing a island dimension, tape it off on the floor and experimentation. “A great deal of time was spent debating the size and purpose of this island,” Meisels states. “We taped off the floor several times, taking care in measuring the space from each the appliances, walls, etcetera. I had the homeowner walk from fanciful refrigerator to stove to sink just to guarantee that the 11-foot-long island wouldn’t feel too overwhelming for her.”

The marble-topped island was just perfect. It has a lot of storage for garbage, recycling, food containers and containers. Additionally, it includes a sink, microwave and dishwasher. From season kitchenware is stored on the stool side.

Pendants: Robert Abbey
Marble: Statuario
Stools: Custom-made with Sunbrella fabric from Robert Allen

Shirley Meisels

This breakfast nook is in the close of the kitchen and opens to a deck overlooking the beautifully manicured lawn. “The space is square, so it made most sense to utilize a round table both for proportion and flow into the outside,” Meisels states.

Hint: When dressing partitions, consider beyond framed artwork or photographs. “Walls can be tricky to dress in an interesting manner. The default option is always to utilize art or family photographs … but I find that so dull and flat when used over and over again in every area,” Meisels states. Instead, she creates a rhythm throughout a house using sconces, wallpaper, trim and other sculptural elements. “Since the space was a kitchen, so I picked plates to bring a bit of casual fun and colour and also to echo across the form of this table,” Meisels states.

The best way to make a plate composition: “I had such a good time pulling on the plate set together!” She states. I simply went into a china store, picked a lot of my favorites, laid them out on the floor and began to mix and match. Anything which stood out as being too strange I removed while being mindful to not picked them all from the same designer. There’s a frequent thread between each the plates and platters, either via pattern or color. I also utilized many different sizes and shapes to maintain the collection interesting.”

Table: Saarinen Tulip Table by Knoll
Chandelier: Robert Abby
Bowl: Crate and Barrel

Shirley Meisels

Usually, we suppose furniture has been planned around a baby grand piano, but in this situation, the homeowners decided they needed to include one after each the furniture had been purchased. “Fortunately I usually do not overstuff a room with furniture so we had sufficient space to perform and change things around,” Meisels states. “The only thing which was replaced was the first coffee table, which was bigger and bulkier. I went with a glass coffee table instead to give the room some breathing room.”

Drapery fabric: Riad by Kravet
Sofa: Celia by Mitchell Gold
Wool and silk rug: The Rug Company

Shirley Meisels

The master bedroom is composed and lovely. “Master bedrooms are for relaxation and rest, so I picked fabrics, colors and textures to embody that texture,” Meisels states. “Shades of grays and silvery taupes are equally sophisticated and soothing.”

Hint: Inexact colour and texture fits make things more interesting. “I’m not into finding an exact match; as long as the colors and textures are in the ideal ballpark I will throw them collectively,” Meisels states. “My Vintage woods are close, but aren’t exactly the same, the curtains are a color of this grasscloth, the zebra print is charcoal, the bed frame is much more of a blue/gray and so forth. This layering of shades and textures which are close but not perfect for me adds warmth and interest.”

Bed frame: Micheal Weiss
Nightstands: Bolier

Shirley Meisels

The colour palette in the master bedroom proceeds into the master bath. “I needed both chambers to feel unified so that I carried the soft silver gray palette directly through into the en suite,” Meisels states.

An unexpected mixture of materials adds mild to this comparatively compact master bathroom, reflecting the natural light from two windows opposite the dressing table. “I wanted to make up for what this room lacked in size with exceptional finishes. Thus the option to tile the entire vanity wall using Vero glass mosaic. These include texture, sparkle and actually highlights the dressing table developing a wonderful focal wall” The tiles also select up the dark gray veining of the limestone used on the floor and shower walls.

A dressing table atop thighs also adds openness into the space. “I love vanities that sense just like furniture; they feel a lot more tasteful, particularly in powder rooms and master baths,” she states.

Shirley Meisels

Hint: Mix grown-up bits into a child’s bedroom. This bedroom was designed for the couple’s 3-year-old son. “I’m not fond of ‘themed’ rooms for kids. Having one myself, I understand how fast their interests can alter,” Meisels states. “Rather, I like to integrate very adult components to the design of a child’s room, such as the upholstered custom-made bed, with fun patterns, colors and shapes. We picked robot wallpaper, but stopped short of a robot rug and robot bedding. I believe the mix of a bit of this and some of this finally will last longer as the child develops.”

Desk: Vintage
Bedding: IKEA and West Elm (throw and cushions are custom)
Rug: Madeline Weinrib
Nightstands: Crate and Barrel

Shirley Meisels

Hint: Involve young kids in design decisions. Meisels made this space for the couple’s 5-year-old daughter. “I really do like to involve the little ones in the design of the rooms; they love having a voice in the decision making. Obviously I’m a layout control freak so I’d never ask ‘what do you want to your area?’ Instead, I introduce three choices that both parent and myself’ve already decided on — it is a negotiation where all parties involved walk away pleased!”

Bed: Custom
Nightstands and seat: Crate and Barrel
Wallpaper: Sanssouci out of Designers Guild

Shirley Meisels

Remember that last-minute baby grand in the living area? This vanity/desk was originally purchased for the living area but lost its planned spot into the piano. “Dare I say it? I sprayed a Barbara Barry vanity bubble gum pink!” Meisels states. “I put a glass topper on it to protect the surface and one day it will make a great desk for homework”

This type of flexibility and problem-solving are exactly what make a designer great.

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