Photos by Janis Nicolay
You wouldn't expect a duplex built in 2010 to need a facelift nine years later. But as project manager Emma Kelly, co-principal of Rudy Winston Design, describes it, the house was "startlingly dated."
It was no wonder the homeowner had approached Kelly and RWD partner, interior designer Francesca Albertazzi, for help as soon as she took possession of the property in 2019: she wanted to say goodbye to the beige, old-school design and bring the home to life with colour, textiles, and modern finishes. "She wanted something relaxed, fresh, and multi-layered to reflect her family," says Albertazzi.
The completed renovation (finished in October 2020) brings the 3,800-square-foot home into the modern era, with special attention paid to comfort and calm.
The concept was "curated casual," explains Albertazzi. "We wanted pieces that tell stories and imbue personality." Beige tones were turned into warm whites, with colour layered in; awful track head lighting replaced with central fixtures providing a warm, welcoming light. Flat walls and ceilings were given depth and interest with coffering and paneling details, and furniture and decor were selected to suit the functional needs as well as an expression of youthfulness and vibrancy of the family — for instance, the homeowner's artwork and photos were reframed and mixed in with vintage finds. "I really enjoyed —in the way a designer can ‘enjoy’ fretting over every last detail — arriving at a place where I felt the living room reflected the client’s aesthetic, and I could see them relaxing in the space," says Albertazzi.
BEFORE: Living Room
AFTER: Living Room
"I didn’t want to have this space be a white box, and I wanted to make sure the family room felt cozy, a place to cuddle together and play a game or watch TV," explains Albertazzi. She added a coffered ceiling, an element that, visually brings the ceiling down does create more interest and intimacy. "It was a balance of ensuring the spaces felt bright as well as cozy," she says.
BEFORE: The Kitchen
AFTER: The Kitchen
The kitchen and family room don’t receive much in the way of natural light, even on the sunniest of days, so the Rudy Winston team refaced the cabinetry, swapping medium-dark red-toned veneer and a dark backsplash for a crisp white veneer that could bounce light around; a gorgeous new tile brings in some blue and texture to the space.
"It was so satisfying to see each space transform from a typical ‘builder’s beige box’, to spaces with warmth and colour, and I especially love the master bedroom," says Kelly. "Though I'm drawn to soft blush tones, so I'm biased." Simple wall paneling makes a huge difference here, adding visual interest without overwhelming the space.
BEFORE: The Calm Space
AFTER: The Calm Space
An extra space like this could easily become an afterthought or a catch all space for junk, but Rudy Winston team approached it with intentionality, creating "the Calm Space," where the homeowner and her son can read stories together, or she can just relax among her plants, who soak up the plentiful natural light here.