IDC Conference at Ault Hotel in Winnipeg

I recently attended the annual Interior Designers of Canada conference at the new Ault Hotel in Winnipeg. It was so inspiring to meet designers from all over Canada and share ideas. The new Ault Hotel was the perfect venue with its bold and vibrant design. My favorite space is the lobby with the incredible Dragnet lounge chairs...inspired by rope fishing nets. Furniture design at its best!

Sitting in these Dragnet chairs make you feel like you are in your own little world but can still peek out at the space around!

Sitting in these Dragnet chairs make you feel like you are in your own little world but can still peek out at the space around!

An incredibly vibrant space!

An incredibly vibrant space!

New Beginnings Church

I have been super busy the past 12 months with both the Interior Design and  Construction of a renovation to New Beginnings Church in Winnipeg. It was a privilege to help Pastor Dan and Pastor Ryan make their vision for the church a reality. We transformed a dark and unused space into a vibrant and inviting interior where members of the congregation now  spend hours socializing and working together. The following are a few photos before, during and after construction!

This did not invite socializing!

This did not invite socializing!

Ahhh...this is already feeling much better!! So happy to see that ceiling gone!

Ahhh...this is already feeling much better!! So happy to see that ceiling gone!

Lets grab a cappuccino or juice and chat about a few things!

Lets grab a cappuccino or juice and chat about a few things!

SMART BATHROOM STORAGE

Most of us don't have the luxury of having large bathrooms with plenty of storage. If you have a small bathroom you need to be smart about storage and look at different ways to use wall space. The following bathrooms show some great ideas on how to take full advantage of space in a small bathroom.

This bathroom measures 6' x 9'. The alcove that used to contain the toilet was converted to a linen storage with drawers and mirror door. A new low profile wall mount toilet that has the tank in the wall was installed in the centre of the space and allows 2' of space between the toilet and vanity. A new vanity with drawers was added. The mirror above the vanity is a large cabinet with mirrored doors that provides 6' of storage as well as recessed light onto the counter. There is also a bench and shelf for shower products in the shower! Compact and so efficient!!!

This bathroom measures 6' x 9'. The alcove that used to contain the toilet was converted to a linen storage with drawers and mirror door. A new low profile wall mount toilet that has the tank in the wall was installed in the centre of the space and allows 2' of space between the toilet and vanity. A new vanity with drawers was added. The mirror above the vanity is a large cabinet with mirrored doors that provides 6' of storage as well as recessed light onto the counter. There is also a bench and shelf for shower products in the shower! Compact and so efficient!!!

This space is 5' wide. The storage has become completely integrated into the design of the space. Two fully functioning drawers under the sink provide much more accessible storage than a door cabinet. The partially recessed mirrored wall cabinet provides soft lighting on three sides and opens to a mirror behind shelves. Towel bar mounted on the sink means towel is always handy for wet hands! The open wood shelving hold a week's worth of bath towels and provides ample counter space. Notice the wood ledge built into the wall with lighting...perfect for objet d'art!!

This space is 5' wide. The storage has become completely integrated into the design of the space. Two fully functioning drawers under the sink provide much more accessible storage than a door cabinet. The partially recessed mirrored wall cabinet provides soft lighting on three sides and opens to a mirror behind shelves. Towel bar mounted on the sink means towel is always handy for wet hands! The open wood shelving hold a week's worth of bath towels and provides ample counter space. Notice the wood ledge built into the wall with lighting...perfect for objet d'art!!

This powder room makes use of a full height mirror on the end wall and a skylight to visually expand the space. A full height wall cabinet has a glass door that slides up and down to allow some open display and some closed storage.Sliding glass doors below the sink also allow full access to this cabinet. Partially recessed mirror cabinet above sink with a built in light bar each side provides the best lighting for make-up or shaving...no awful downward shadows!!!.

This powder room makes use of a full height mirror on the end wall and a skylight to visually expand the space. A full height wall cabinet has a glass door that slides up and down to allow some open display and some closed storage.Sliding glass doors below the sink also allow full access to this cabinet. Partially recessed mirror cabinet above sink with a built in light bar each side provides the best lighting for make-up or shaving...no awful downward shadows!!!.

LIGHTING - THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX

Lighting has the potential to be the most dynamic and dramatic element in any interior. But it is too often used to only a fraction of it's potential. Lighting is my favourite part of interior design and I always try to use it in unique ways to create drama and personality. I like to include at least three different types of lighting in each space: Indirect lighting, accent lighting, and task lighting. The combination of these different types of lighting divides a space into light zones and gives an interior depth and character. A single light source in a room creates a flat washed out space. The following images are some really good illustrations.

 The pendant lights above the bedside tables add sparkle and glamour to the Master Bedroom as well as providing reading light. The backlit fabric panel behind the bed glows with a soft light, providing dramatic indirect lighting. The LED lamps above the wardrobe wall wash the doors with light when they are closed and illuminate the interior when the doors are open. This is a great illustration of layering light sources.

 The pendant lights above the bedside tables add sparkle and glamour to the Master Bedroom as well as providing reading light. The backlit fabric panel behind the bed glows with a soft light, providing dramatic indirect lighting. The LED lamps above the wardrobe wall wash the doors with light when they are closed and illuminate the interior when the doors are open. This is a great illustration of layering light sources.

Several sources of light in this living space create light zones. Some of the walls are built out to provide a recess at the base for indirect lighting and a light cove at the top of the wall. This gives the room a lot of depth, making the walls appear to float. Accent lighting is provided by recessed swivel spot lights in the ceiling. These lights can be directed to focus on any item in the room and allow the client to change the patterns of light in the space easily. The floor lamp provides both a light source and a sculptural element in the centre of the room.

Several sources of light in this living space create light zones. Some of the walls are built out to provide a recess at the base for indirect lighting and a light cove at the top of the wall. This gives the room a lot of depth, making the walls appear to float. Accent lighting is provided by recessed swivel spot lights in the ceiling. These lights can be directed to focus on any item in the room and allow the client to change the patterns of light in the space easily. The floor lamp provides both a light source and a sculptural element in the centre of the room.

This corridor shows how spaces can be illuminated by thinking outside the box. The recessed floor lights are very bright LED lights with a narrow light beam. The light washes up the textured wall and bounces down off the white ceiling. This "bounce" of light down from the ceiling is what illuminates the space in the same way a ceiling mounted light would...without the glare. Wall panels are by Modularts.

This corridor shows how spaces can be illuminated by thinking outside the box. The recessed floor lights are very bright LED lights with a narrow light beam. The light washes up the textured wall and bounces down off the white ceiling. This "bounce" of light down from the ceiling is what illuminates the space in the same way a ceiling mounted light would...without the glare. Wall panels are by Modularts.

Three of my favourite light fixtures.......

These Pendants by Foscarini are stunning, creating subtle light patterns on walls and a soft down light perfect for dining or bedside. 

These Pendants by Foscarini are stunning, creating subtle light patterns on walls and a soft down light perfect for dining or bedside. 

Manta Rhei from Art Com and Selux. The light "tiles" can be choreographed to move in various, beautiful ways. The design is based on OLED technology, a lighting technology that allows for very thin, very light-weight panels.

Manta Rhei from Art Com and Selux. The light "tiles" can be choreographed to move in various, beautiful ways. The design is based on OLED technology, a lighting technology that allows for very thin, very light-weight panels.

The Organza fixture by Charles Loomis is made of layers of sculpted etched glass and available in Diameters up to 60". Spectacular in a stairwell!

The Organza fixture by Charles Loomis is made of layers of sculpted etched glass and available in Diameters up to 60". Spectacular in a stairwell!

LIFE AFTER WINE...

I wanted to share another highlight from my recent trip to Buildex 2014 in Vancouver. This incredible recycled flooring is made from discarded wine barrels. It is rich with texture and patina and I love it. I have to find somewhere to use this! It is obvious in a wine cellar but the possibilities are endless.

This  wood flooring is made from old oak wine barrels by Blue Grouse Wine Cellars. The staves of the old barrels are pulled away from the hoops and peeled into wood veneers which are laminated to engineered baltic birch flooring. The flooring is available in three different formats: cooperage (shown in this illustration), which comes from the outside of the barrel heads showing the cooperage stamps; wine infusion, which comes from the inside of the barrel heads showing the red wine stain; and staves, which come from the body of the barrel showing the markings of the hoops.

This  wood flooring is made from old oak wine barrels by Blue Grouse Wine Cellars. The staves of the old barrels are pulled away from the hoops and peeled into wood veneers which are laminated to engineered baltic birch flooring. The flooring is available in three different formats: cooperage (shown in this illustration), which comes from the outside of the barrel heads showing the cooperage stamps; wine infusion, which comes from the inside of the barrel heads showing the red wine stain; and staves, which come from the body of the barrel showing the markings of the hoops.

Stave Flooring. The hoop marks add an interesting pattern and patina to the floor.

Stave Flooring. The hoop marks add an interesting pattern and patina to the floor.

Wine Infusion Flooring. This is made from the wood on the inside of the barrel and the colour is incredibly rich and vibrant.

Wine Infusion Flooring. This is made from the wood on the inside of the barrel and the colour is incredibly rich and vibrant.

LOOK UP...WHAT DO YOU SEE?

If you are at home and you look up you likely see a flat painted drywall ceiling. If you are at work chances are you are looking at a flat acoustic tile ceiling. The ceilings in the spaces we live and work in are too often overlooked. Imagine if every time we went outside the sky was a flat white with no blue or clouds, no stars, no changing colours of sunsets or sunrises. We can't imagine this, and yet we so often overlook the "sky" of the spaces we spend 2/3 of our time in. Making ceilings dynamic and uplifting does not have to cost a lot of money...often just requires some imagination. The following photos are some examples of some of my favourite "ceiling skies"

This ceiling is made with clear acrylic panels laid into an acoustic ceiling grid that has been painted black. The track lighting above sparkles through the transparent panels and creates an illusion of depth. The black frames have been repeated in the wall photos, providing drama and unity in the space.

This ceiling is made with clear acrylic panels laid into an acoustic ceiling grid that has been painted black. The track lighting above sparkles through the transparent panels and creates an illusion of depth. The black frames have been repeated in the wall photos, providing drama and unity in the space.

This ceiling has been layered to provide different levels of lighting. The perimeter cove lighting creates the illusion that the walls extend upward. The lighting above the bed canopy makes the ceiling appear to "float" above the canopy. The canopy itself defines the sleeping area and gives the bed an intimate and cozy vibe.

This ceiling has been layered to provide different levels of lighting. The perimeter cove lighting creates the illusion that the walls extend upward. The lighting above the bed canopy makes the ceiling appear to "float" above the canopy. The canopy itself defines the sleeping area and gives the bed an intimate and cozy vibe.

The original cove ceiling in this space was highlighted by painting the area between the beams lemon yellow. The brilliant colour beautifully balances all the rich textures in the room.

The original cove ceiling in this space was highlighted by painting the area between the beams lemon yellow. The brilliant colour beautifully balances all the rich textures in the room.

This high cove ceiling was covered with a dramatic wall covering print that creates the design focus for the room and visually anchors the ceiling in the tall space . The careful balance of black and white and textures in the other areas of the space tie it all together.

This high cove ceiling was covered with a dramatic wall covering print that creates the design focus for the room and visually anchors the ceiling in the tall space . The careful balance of black and white and textures in the other areas of the space tie it all together.

Lighting can be used to create a sculptural element on the ceiling. This modular light system has been configured to provide both general illumination in the room and pools of accent light on the ceiling. Effects are ever changing depending on which lights are on.

Lighting can be used to create a sculptural element on the ceiling. This modular light system has been configured to provide both general illumination in the room and pools of accent light on the ceiling. Effects are ever changing depending on which lights are on.

Recessed square lighting coves in this ceiling give the illusion of skylights above the bed. Light patterns on the ceiling of the coves can be varied and selected by remote. A truly dynamic ceiling!

Recessed square lighting coves in this ceiling give the illusion of skylights above the bed. Light patterns on the ceiling of the coves can be varied and selected by remote. A truly dynamic ceiling!

HIGHLIGHTS OF MY TRIP TO THE WEST COAST

I just returned from one of my frequent trips to Vancouver and every time I visit there I find wonderful new examples of cedar used in different art forms.

Geoff Ross is inspired by Coastal First Nations art and creates  wall panels that infuse representations of ancient designs with stained and chiselled cedar, copper and aluminum. The details are subtle but stunning.

Geoff Ross is inspired by Coastal First Nations art and creates  wall panels that infuse representations of ancient designs with stained and chiselled cedar, copper and aluminum. The details are subtle but stunning.

" As a Caucasian artist inspired by First Nation's art and contemporary design, my goal is to present abstract images asking the viewer what they symbolize. Hopefully, every individual will see something different." Geoff Ross

" As a Caucasian artist inspired by First Nation's art and contemporary design, my goal is to present abstract images asking the viewer what they symbolize. Hopefully, every individual will see something different." Geoff Ross

Sticks and Stones is an artisan company based in Squamish BC. They design and create furniture and millwork from concrete and wood using salvaged materials. Their designs are sleek, contemporary and practical. This grouping is from the Social Series....takes sitting on a log by the fire to a whole new level!

Sticks and Stones is an artisan company based in Squamish BC. They design and create furniture and millwork from concrete and wood using salvaged materials. Their designs are sleek, contemporary and practical. This grouping is from the Social Series....takes sitting on a log by the fire to a whole new level!

The gravity defying Calvin table from Sticks and Stones is a beautiful study in mixed materials. I love the placement of the knots on the edge of the table.

The gravity defying Calvin table from Sticks and Stones is a beautiful study in mixed materials. I love the placement of the knots on the edge of the table.

MY FAVOURITE TABLE

I am frequently asked what my favourite furnishings are. When it comes to coffee tables my response is always the series from Calligaris that include the Mascotte and Flexy tables. I have used these tables in several interiors.They transform in seconds from a coffee table with a top dimension of 27.5" wide x 41.25" long to a dining table with a top dimension of 55" long x 41.25" wide....a very generous size for 6 diners. The height is adjustable at seven different measurements, allowing you to set the perfect height for your sofa or dining chairs. If desired you can have a large coffee table of 55" x 41.25" or a smaller dining table of 27.5" x 41.25". 

I have sometimes used 2 of these tables in an interior, one as a coffee table and one as a dining table or desk in another room. This allows the user to put 2 tables together on occasion to create a huge dining table for 12-14 and when guests are gone they morph back into their diminutive forms! Furniture design doesn't get any better!

Mascotte table with top closed and at desk height.

Mascotte table with top closed and at desk height.

Mascotte Table in one of my interiors used as coffee table

Mascotte Table in one of my interiors used as coffee table

And prepared for an intimate dinner and a movie for 6! 

And prepared for an intimate dinner and a movie for 6! 

 The Flexy table in metal and wood as coffee table. Press the button and the height adjusts! Flip open the top and swivel it 90 degrees to double the size!

 The Flexy table in metal and wood as coffee table. Press the button and the height adjusts! Flip open the top and swivel it 90 degrees to double the size!

ROYAL CANADIAN MINT CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE

 I recently had the privilege of providing Interior Design and Space Planning for the Royal Canadian Mint's new Hieu C. Truong Centre of Excellence Conference and Training Centre in Winnipeg. This is a state of the art facility that showcases the Mint's new branding elements of elegance, prestige, and innovation. Simplicity, innovation and the use of cool metals were to be the guide for the design throughout. The conference room needed to function as both a meeting centre and a training room for web based conferencing as well as live sessions. 

 The following images present some of our solutions.

  White walls, ceiling and stairs allow the flood of light from the window wall to play around the space and emphasize the curved forms of the mezzanine above. LED pendant lighting by Sattler. Furniture by Nienkamper

  White walls, ceiling and stairs allow the flood of light from the window wall to play around the space and emphasize the curved forms of the mezzanine above. LED pendant lighting by Sattler. Furniture by Nienkamper

Presentations can be made at either end of conference room. All AV equipment is contained and controlled in mill-work at side of room. Lighting is on 6 separate zones and is programmed in scenes for each type of presentation. Controls by Crestron. Custom Conference table by Nienkamper. Chairs by Herman Miller. Millwork by Twin Creek Woodcraft

Presentations can be made at either end of conference room. All AV equipment is contained and controlled in mill-work at side of room. Lighting is on 6 separate zones and is programmed in scenes for each type of presentation. Controls by Crestron. Custom Conference table by Nienkamper. Chairs by Herman Miller. Millwork by Twin Creek Woodcraft

All Audio Visual equipment is concealed in Millwork. 

All Audio Visual equipment is concealed in Millwork. 

 Opposite end of Conference Room allows for dual screens for English and French presentations, as well as video presentations from a speaker anywhere in the world.

 Opposite end of Conference Room allows for dual screens for English and French presentations, as well as video presentations from a speaker anywhere in the world.

 Washroom Details. All lighting is on occupancy sensor. Hinged side panel of sink ledge conceals soap dispenser. Cool metals and gold accents.

 Washroom Details. All lighting is on occupancy sensor. Hinged side panel of sink ledge conceals soap dispenser. Cool metals and gold accents.

GREAT SLEEP WHERE YOU EAT, LOUNGE OR WORK

Lately I have been involved in a couple of renovations of Vancouver condos and I am amazed at how small the spaces can be. Designers are looking for ways to allow spaces to work in multi purpose ways by day and night. This ingenious line of  hide away beds from Resource Furniture allows a room to function as a bedroom by night and a dining area, living space, or office space by day. Brilliant and I love it!

By Night the Circe sofa turns into a luxury queen bed. No compromising sleep quality here!

By Night the Circe sofa turns into a luxury queen bed. No compromising sleep quality here!

The Ulisse Dining module provides chic dining space for 4 by day. 

The Ulisse Dining module provides chic dining space for 4 by day. 

And a chic bedroom by night...notice the dishes still on the table under the bed. Adjacent storage modules for wardrobe and dishes, or anything else!

And a chic bedroom by night...notice the dishes still on the table under the bed. Adjacent storage modules for wardrobe and dishes, or anything else!

The Ulisse desk module provides a 60" desk by day.....

The Ulisse desk module provides a 60" desk by day.....

.....and a queen bed by night.The desk ingeniously remains parallel to the floor as the bed is opened. You don't even have to put your work away!

.....and a queen bed by night.The desk ingeniously remains parallel to the floor as the bed is opened. You don't even have to put your work away!