April 2nd 2018

My design for my client’s beloved 1850’s stone farm house in Milton was just featured in last Saturday’s National Post website (bit.ly/1850sStoneFarmhouse) and I am so excited to share the photographs of the finished spaces. You will never imagine that when the architect and I began this project it was just the ruined shell of a burnt-out farmhouse. It reminded me of a gothic ruin, like Thronfield Hall in Jane Eyre. Now the space has been resurrected by joining two old buildings with a contemporary central section. (bit.ly/1850sStoneFarmhouse)

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The property featured the farmhouse at one side, with a smaller stone outbuilding, possibly the original stables but now used as a garage, on the other, and an open area between them. This gave us the inspiration to reimagine a new take on a traditional farmstead: to join the two old buildings with a more contemporary flat-roofed central section, giving it the rambling feeling of a collection of farm buildings. 

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We retained as much of the original character of the house as possible. The 12-foot high doors to the new salon, which I had found at the Toronto Store, 507 Antiques, and may have originally come from an old bank. They are mahogany with brass trim, adding to the feeling of grandeur. Double French doors lead straight ahead to the new library, lined with bookshelves and broad windows overlooking the pond. At one end is our client’s old desk, rescued from the fire; there’s a table in the center for card games or reading, and at the other, a cozy seating area, one of many relaxed perches in the new home.

My client is an experienced gardener and one of her favourite rooms is the potting room, with traditional black-and-white checked floors and a big side counter for dividing perennials and potting up geraniums. The doors to the potting room are a pair of lacy old Victorian French doors that my client found and kept for the perfect spot that we have found here.

Though it is big and modern, the kitchen has its own sense of the past, with reclaimed timber ceiling beams, and in place of a central island, a big pine farm table found in an out building.

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More shots of the bright new kitchen. The use of antique, one-of-a-kind furniture, mixed with contemporary is one of my favorite combos.

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The stone walls were originally damaged in the fire but restoring them retained the timeless feeling of the original homestead. Before the construction began, a local contractor who specialized in stone house restoration, worked to strengthen and repair the shell; once the heavily damaged plaster and lath was removed, the beauty of the old walls was fully revealed.   

I designed this space for a creative client who is a respected pianist and former music teacher. This handy workstation in the kitchen is a different kind of sanctuary as it overlooks her huge vegetable garden - a nice spot to ponder recipes for soup making or canning.

 I love that this old, 1850s farmhouse was brought back from the ashes – literally and restored after a massive fire.  We brought it up to now, to make it work for this family. It takes advantage of modern materials and methods, but speaks to the past, the  family’s  as well as to Ontario history.

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Below are images of the work in progess of the Farmhouse taken in 2016. 

  The burnt out shell of the family country home near Milton.

The burnt out shell of the family country home near Milton.

  The interior after the fire.

The interior after the fire.

  Construction of the new contemporary addition. 

Construction of the new contemporary addition. 

  The restored stone walls, the two-storey concert space and the new structure for the roof. 

The restored stone walls, the two-storey concert space and the new structure for the roof. 

  Almost there - furniture is being delivered...

Almost there - furniture is being delivered...

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AuthorTheresa Casey

 Client's family room with flush mounted TV above fireplace. 

Client's family room with flush mounted TV above fireplace. 

I designed this zebra wood custom cabinet over 10 years ago and I still love it. On the right, see the inside guts that previousy housed stereo and CD's. But, my client has re-gained this storage since we have outfitted their home with wireless systems.

 Concept sketches for home audio visual needs in these clean built-in units.

Concept sketches for home audio visual needs in these clean built-in units.

 See all the hidden audio storage options to the left of the fireplace.

See all the hidden audio storage options to the left of the fireplace.

 Can you spot the Sonos wireless speakers on this bookcase?

Can you spot the Sonos wireless speakers on this bookcase?

Today, almost every house function can be operated with a touch of a button - from automated lighting and heating, to multi-room audio & video systems that enable music or movies throughout the whole house.

I always counsel clients to install home automation systems that are simple and easy to operate. There is no point in installing lighting controls that you need a manual to operate. I have seen this in homes I have visited and often wonder what it’s like being a guest if you don’t know how to simply turn lights on and off. 

That being said, there are some amazing technologies that make for easy use and installation. In my case, I recently explored wireless speakers and a new stereo system.  The backstory is that when I gutted my house 12 years ago I installed some wired in-ceiling and bookcase speakers and each room had its own control and a master remote. Fast forward to today when I repainted the whole house I looked for some updated solutions since our five CD player was no longer working and I wanted to join with many of my clients and integrate my music IPhone library.  Also, I was very interested in listening to radio around the world, especially in Ireland where my family lives. And, lastly, I have become a huge fan of podcasts so this was another element I wanted to integrate into our home audio.

With the help from Jeff Gosselin from Cloud9 AV Solutions I now have wireless speakers throughout the house. First I tried the SONOS system and then I test-drove another company;  Bluesound, who make a similar product.  In the end we selected Bluesound because it was more streamlined looking and we felt that the sound was slightly better. We now control the music in the house through our iPhones and can easily bring speakers inside or outside, listen to radio from around the world, podcasts and endless music streaming.  We really appreciate the wonderful sound and the ease of use. As well, we were able to save and recapture space once we got rid of our CDs and our very large stereo components. Bonus!  
 

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Posted
AuthorTheresa Casey

Recently I had the opportunity to design my dream kitchen – a collaboration with Cosentino Group, Kohler Kitchen Fixtures and Benjamin Moore Paint – all leaders in the world of Interior Design and Architecture. My design is inspired by the idea of an organic loft in an urban setting that is connected to views of the nearby city skyline through an inner courtyard garden. In this blog, I share the evolution of my design from the early sketches, to the final construction.   

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I designed this space for a creative couples’ urban loft featuring soothing, warm finishes in a clean architectural setting.   To bring this project to life I created my own clients.   They are a couple in their 30’s -  he is a writer and she is a photographer/artist.  They both work at home, have 2 kids and enjoy living in an urban setting.  Their home was inherited from her grandmother - it was formerly a stable.  Access to the outdoors was always something she remembers from her childhood visits where ongoing sculpture projects by her grandparents were created in the outside walled garden with a constant flow of artists and writers who came to the salons in the kitchen/family room.  The new owner wanted to continue this tradition while also bringing the space into the present.   This kitchen/outdoor space is the center of their home. In spring/summer/fall they eat outside, and in the colder months they enjoy making the winters more livable by creating a magical winter wonderful-land to look out through the two story windows.   Outdoor lights, green ivy everywhere and bird feeders make this space an all-year-round focus.

Here is one of my early sketches.  

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The Finished Room!

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In the Bar/Library I like the unexpected art wall and library which speaks to the clients passion for art and books - always incorporated into my work is a reflection of the interests of my clients.  I incorporated hand-made details to enliven the space and these 1930’s Italian handmade sconces are perfect for this clean space because of the texture and interest they bring. The installation of the art in the bar area is termed “Salon Style” and brings an organic quality to create tension and interest.  Similarly, the accessories throughout are installed with this in mind.  Too much symmetry can dull a space!

The Silestone Eternal-Marquina Stone by Cosentino in the archway between the kitchen and the bar area, creates a bold transitional space into the unexpected library beyond.  See above the original sketch and the finished space. 

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Balance and symmetry are key components in this design. This is apparent in the above shot showing the view from the kitchen to the Bar/Library. 

It was an absolute pleasure to collaborate with the Cosentino, Kohler and Benjamin Moore! Keep an eye on our progress, and the Silestone Trendspotters team by following @SilestoneByCosentino! Keep an eye on our website for future blogs that talk about the finishes.

@silestonebycosentino@kohlerco @cosentinousa@cosentinocanada @benjaminmoore#Silestone #SilestoneTrendspotters#SilestoneTrends #InfluencerSeries#architecturelovers #archilovers#renovations #inspired#architecture#warmtones #instadesign#homes #decor #interiors #interiordesign#luxurydesign #homedecor#interiorachitecture #wanderlust#vintagestyle #tile #shabbychic#instadecor #dreamhouse#homeimprovement #instahome #modern#contemporary

Posted
AuthorTheresa Casey