September 18, 2018

We are very pleased to announce that on September 18th, 2018, Casey Design|Planning Group was awarded the 2018 inaugural Value of Design Award of Excellence (VODA) for Residential Design by the Registered Interior Designers Association of Canada (IDC) for the “Pear Tree Farm” project in Milton, Ontario. The project is also the recipient of a 2018 ARIDO Award. Please scroll down below for photos and project description.

 Photograph by  Nick Wons .

Photograph by Nick Wons.



The Traditional Farmhouse Reimagined

April 2nd 2018 (Previously Published Blog)

Our design for my client’s beloved 1850’s stone farm house in Milton was featured in the National Post Newspaper. Attached is the link to the article from March 31, 2018 (bit.ly/1850sStoneFarmhouse) and as well I thought I would share some before and after photos and an insider view of the concept and process.

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This project is about the resurrection of an 1862 Regency Georgian stone farmhouse, a designated Heritage Building, and its adjoining structures destroyed by a massive fire in 2013.

The ruins of the property sat exposed to the elements for close to two years and became saturated with moisture and wood rot, requiring a complete rebuild and restoration. The farmhouse had been in the family for many generations and now it was a gothic ruin, like Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre. But, there was something about the place, a spirit of sorts that made the project much more than just a renovation.

The client, a classical pianist, wanted to retain as much of the original character of the farmhouse as possible, while needing formal living, dining and kitchen spaces, as well as a family room, a private master bedroom suite, multiple bedrooms with ensuites for children and guests, a library/office, a potting shed, a games and AV room and lastly, a large concert space for public gatherings to showcase her two grand pianos.

The challenge was to achieve a high-end result within a mid-range budget, given the limited payout from the insurance company.

Additionally, we needed to adhere to Heritage Department requirements, address long-term sustainability issues, provide maintenance solutions and consider the future saleability of the renovated property. Client specific requirements were to address acoustical conditions for concerts and heat control for instruments.

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Our concept created a contemporary reinterpretation of vernacular historic farm homestead.

By introducing modern forms and materials to complement/contrast with existing heritage elements, we juxtaposed the old with the new, giving each their cultural and architectural precedence. The property originally featured 2 stand-alone stone buildings; the original 2 storey stone homestead (stone building above far right) housed living space on the main floor and bedrooms on the second floor and a smaller stone outbuilding, possibly the original stables (stone building above far left). Our concept (and finished result above showing connecting space stone buildings) was a new take on a traditional farmstead: to join the two existing stone buildings with a contemporary central section thus creating the experience of a rambling collection of farm buildings. The Historic stone juxtaposed the metal standing seam roofs of the 'allegorical' barn structure and further contrasted with contemporary Ipe wood slatted facade of the contemporary middle structure, reminiscent of aged barnboard walls.

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 and we opted to keep them exposed. This provided a visual history of the farmhouse structure with “ghost” traces of original details. Lastly, the exposed stone walls provide acoustic value, textural and visual warmth. A new heating system introduced high velocity currents of air from the energy efficient geothermal system (sustainable).

A music concert space was located in the previously two storey farmhouse and the newly open, dramatic space also doubled as a formal salon/living room. The contemporary addition housed a large open concept kitchen, family room, library, games rooms and numerous bedrooms, while the stables became the master suite.

As a passionate gardener, one of my client’s 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 at a local flea market.

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Though it is modern and clean, the kitchen has its own sense of the past, with reclaimed timber ceiling beams, and in place of a central island I incorporated worktables found in an out building. The use of antique, one-of-a-kind furniture, mixed with contemporary elements is one of my favourite combinations because the warmth of the old plays off the clean lines of the new.

 Handy drop spot and bar area flank large storage pantry and double door fridge.

Handy drop spot and bar area flank large storage pantry and double door fridge.

 Vintage inspired floor tiles add to the modern chic farmhouse vibe.

Vintage inspired floor tiles add to the modern chic farmhouse vibe.

The kitchen office (above right) is a different kind of sanctuary as it overlooks a huge vegetable garden - a nice spot to ponder recipes for soup making or canning.

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I love that this old 1850s farmhouse was literally brought back from the ashes and restored after the devastating 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 Canadian history. (Photographs by Donna Griffith.)

Below are images of the work in progress of the Farmhouse.

  The burnt out shell of the farmhouse.

The burnt out shell of the farmhouse.

 The original Italianate entry door and historically original frame with side lights and transom which we restored and reinstalled shown above post fire. Note the stairs that were removed to create the open concert/salon space.

The original Italianate entry door and historically original frame with side lights and transom which we restored and reinstalled shown above post fire. Note the stairs that were removed to create the open concert/salon space.

 Construction of the new linking contemporary addition.

Construction of the new linking contemporary addition.

 In process: the restored stone walls on the right and the damaged walls still on the left to be worked on. Also, see the cut off 2nd floor joist, new metal struts and new vaulted ceiling clad in warm stained wood. The joists were re-used throughout the project including in the kitchen ceiling. In the final solution here we installed hidden perimeter lighting inside of reclaimed wood valances.

In process: the restored stone walls on the right and the damaged walls still on the left to be worked on. Also, see the cut off 2nd floor joist, new metal struts and new vaulted ceiling clad in warm stained wood. The joists were re-used throughout the project including in the kitchen ceiling. In the final solution here we installed hidden perimeter lighting inside of reclaimed wood valances.

 Almost there - furniture is being delivered...

Almost there - furniture is being delivered...

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AuthorTheresa Casey

September 4th, 2018

Leslieville, an east-end neighbourhood in Toronto is considered to be one of the city’s most popular places to dine, drink, shop and live. However, 20 years ago you would not recognize the area because it was heavily industrial with a concentration of factories and warehouse buildings often housing my friends from art and design school. Today, with the changing to the residiential building zones those warehouse buildings have been renovated into beautiful loft apartments and shape the character of the main streets; Carlaw Ave., and Gerrard Street.  The old architecture  remains deeply connected with Leslieville's history and identity. 

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Like all historically significant buildings in Toronto, properties are protected against demolition or significant alteration of the facades as described in the Heritage Act. In this blog, we give a few tips on how to navigate renovation in historically significant buildings like those you find in Leslieville. This blog is a snap shot of our process in relation to historic buildings.

 Wrigley Co. Factory, 1917.

Wrigley Co. Factory, 1917.

1. Healthy client relationship.

A collaborative, team approach ensures that both our vision and the client’s vision come to life. Each project is spearheaded by  Theresa Casey. We work to establish communication lines to work directly with our client's  needs, including how these tie in with the requirements of historically significant buildings in Toronto.

2. Working together on one vision.

We work with clients on all phases of the project, including: budgeting, design, space planning, detail development, material selection,project management, furnishings and accessories and final implementation.

3. Don’t be afraid to play. 

There is a lot of opportunity to do playful things, while also keeping the integrity of historical spaces. This means being able to combine contemporary design that compliments historical architecture.

4. Preserve the street-view façade.

We work closely with the architect to ensure the street-view façade is maintained as they are protected by Code. Maintaining the character is paramount to maintaining the neighbourhood’s identity.

 Leslieville today has the Arts and Crafts Bungalow style housing as well as the Toronto Bay-and-Gable styles of the 1880s. 

Leslieville today has the Arts and Crafts Bungalow style housing as well as the Toronto Bay-and-Gable styles of the 1880s. 

5. Budget the time needed to replicate era-appropriate details. 

Custom-made details take time, especially those that need to adhere to era-appropriate styles. Casey Design is experienced in creating details that both compliment and replicate the era in which historical properties are built.

6. Old architecture needs love. 

With historical buildings you never know what kind of problems from the past you could encounter – such as moisture problems, structural problems - anything is possible with old buildings. The first element of a historical renovation is giving the place a lot of love! We work with the architect to make sure existing buildings are restored (where needed) and fit for renovation.

Below are some historical photographs of the architecture in Leslieville, Toronto.

 The Wrigley Building (245 Carlaw Avenue) was completed in 1916. The Wrigley Building Today (right.) 

The Wrigley Building (245 Carlaw Avenue) was completed in 1916. The Wrigley Building Today (right.) 

 Carlaw Hydro Building 1919 (left) and today (right.)

Carlaw Hydro Building 1919 (left) and today (right.)

 

 

More historical imagery of Leslieville.

 Old industrial chimney stacks (left) and view of Carlaw and Gerrard looking north, in the 1900's (right).

Old industrial chimney stacks (left) and view of Carlaw and Gerrard looking north, in the 1900's (right).

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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!  
 

Webpage: http://c9av.net/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/c9av/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cloud9av

 

 

 

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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.

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AuthorTheresa Casey