October 1st, 2014

We love using colour in the spaces we design for our clients. It can be an inexpensive way to add some character and personality into a room. Blue has always been a colour that some love and others avoid. It is often difficult to pick a blue hue that won't tire over time. Indigo is one of those hues that we use time and time again - it is sophisticated yet striking, bold yet calming. Take a look at some applications of indigo blue in the following images - it is truly an inspiring and timeless colour!

A light Chinoiserie mural stands out against the indigo wall - we love how the brass accents add a level of drama and luxury in this space. We want it in our own home.

!  (La Dolce Vita).

The varying textures in the indigo millwork, sofa and pillows make this space feel layered and dramatic. We love pairing indigo with natural woods - it is a match made in heaven! (Casey Design / Planning Group Inc. - photograph by Ted Yarwood)

The indigo pinstriped wallpaper is a foil for this antique cabinet-turned-vanity for this powder room. It pairs beautifully with the custom designed mosaic floor - so rich and lively.  (Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photos by Ted Yarwood).

Two statement pieces I love! A sling chair and indigo armoire work hand in hand in this sophisticated living room space (Tumblr).

Blue, blue and more blue. We love how varying tones of blue work together to create a harmonious yet interesting space.  (Design Milk).

The rich hues of the indigo walls and the hand-carved, white oak mantle creates a foyer that looks like its been here for a hundred years. One of our favourite historical renovation projects.

(Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photos by Ted Yarwood).

We love the subtle touches of indigo in this neutral kitchen. It beautifully complements the natural wood tones in the space.  (Remodelista).

What is more bold than a velvet indigo sofa? We love how playful this room is with the bright penguin books and accessories. (Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photos by Ted Yarwood).

This indigo sofa contrasts wonderfully against the red brick backdrop - inviting and rustic.  (Veronica Love Archie).

AuthorTheresa Casey

March 7, 2014

Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photo by Ted Yarwood.

Our home is a 1930s brick coach house built in the middle of the Art Deco period. My husband and I wanted to reflect this period in the look of the kitchen, but we also wanted to make this kitchen highly functional, with today's best appliances and with enough space for both of us to work together.

For myself and my clients, the first thing I start with are the functional requirements of a space. Good design always starts here. A room or space can be aesthetically dressed in many ways, but the function must be at the core. In this case, the space was small and we had a number of requirements; That the space be versatile enough to be closed off to the living room when required, but opened when desired. That two people be able to work comfortably together side-by-side, and that all appliances large and small be hidden to create a clean workspace. Lastly, that the kitchen allow us to create large meals for our many dinner parties and family gatherings.

With this in mind, the inspiration for our kitchen was the 1930s luxury oceanliners. The typical kitchen aboard such a vessel is usually laid out in a highly efficient style, with longitudinal units and overhead cabinets. This makes the best use of the usually limited space with the minimum required movement between appliances. 

This was perfect for what we were trying to achieve with our kitchen. 

Plans and elevations looked for basic standard functions of the kitchen, then all the individual requirements for each of us was taken into account; like where to put the juicer, the toaster, the coffee maker, the blender and the cuisinart, which we wanted out of view. The maxim; "everything in its place and a place for everything," was our guiding principle. For example, an open shelf was inset into one of the walls to display my collection of vintage objects, artwork and special glassware .

We followed that up by mocking up the entire kitchen full scale in cardboard, something that might be considered overkill. However, it showed us three-dimensionally that two people working in the kitchen would have enough space to work side by side.

Once we established the plan we moved onto how the kitchen would look. Going back to our original inspiration, the ocean liners of that period often used luxury materials. So we chose to design the cabinets using hand selected cherrywood veneer, with each sheet carefully chosen with our cabinetmaker. It was hand finished like fine furniture (not sprayed) to give a rich luxurious finish and we combined it with natural unfinished brass, which develops a luscious patina over time. The design of the brass inset into the cherrywood achieved two things:  a visually rich combination with the cherry wood and it became the cabinet's door pulls, thus avoiding having to use standard hardware. The marble walls were selected as a foil to the solid cherry wood. The linear nature of the marble contrasted with the solid density of the cherry cabinets to create tension and boldness. I love the drama created through the high contrast of these light and dark materials!  

To keep everything clean and tucked away; the fridge, dishwasher, pantry, recycling and garbage, and the stovefan are all hidden behind cabinetry. Our appliances are all by the German company Miele and were selected because of their high-quality, as well as their European size - meaning small. One unusual appliance we installed was the steam oven. It encourages health-conscious eating - steamed fish and vegetables are staples - and it also acts as a microwave substitute to heat food. 

A sliding door allows for privacy as well as openness to the living room/dining room. 

The light fixture also has a story behind it. We try to regularly attend the Venice Art Bienniale exhibition, and on one trip we were given the name of a lady who lived outside of Venice and sold antique light fixtures. When we arrived, it could best be described as a lighting graveyard. For as far as the eye could see, she had compiled pieces of lighting fixtures in a dirt field that were to be assembled by her craftspeople. Of course, I was in heaven! I made my way through, gathering bits and pieces, and one of those bits and pieces ended up being our light fixture in the kitchen. I love bringing these types of elements into homes because they have stories and so much more meaning than buying something from a catalog. 

In the end, we absolutely love our kitchen. We feel that it is more efficient than our previous home which had a much larger kitchen, and the time we spent to analyze how we both could work in the kitchen together really paid off. We never get tired of it, and it still looks as good today as the day it was finished, each day gaining a little bit more patina and adding to the stories of our lives.

Our kitchen was featured in the March 2014 issue of House & Home.

February 21, 2014

I upholstered our basement guest room walls in black and white silk creating a warm and cozy atmosphere. No one feels hard done by sleeping here! (Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photo by Angus Ferguson)

I love the drama of all black and white interiors created solely to play on the contrast between light and dark. One of my art school teachers, John Leonard, taught me that CONTRAST was one of the most valuable tools in the artist's tool box.  Over and over I return to the truth of his statement.  The other intriguing quality of black and white interiors are their calmness. I know this seems inconsistent when I've just said that these interiors are often dramatic, but I would say that if you look through the following images you can see how these interiors draw you in and have a peaceful quality.  I would liken it to looking at black and white photos.  Somehow the lack of colour helps us to focus more clearly, and to appreciate the simplicity of the palette. Another quality that you will often find in these black and white interiors is a rich variety of textures. Let me know what you think.

Gorgeous marble wall offset with handsome black accessories creates the drama I love! (Yellowtrace)

Ticking black and white stripe Chesterfield is yummy but what's really yummy is pairing it with black velvet drapes and gold trim. (Tokyo Jinja)

This graphic basement home office featuring striped area rug, collection of black and white drawings to create an airy yet interesting work space. (Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photo by Angus Fergusson)

Villa Sorra, in Emilia Romagna, Italy, an old world take on black and white Italian style. So clean but so warm. (IIIInspired)

The client's non-functioning kitchen was redesigned to create this galley kitchen with marble counter top and backsplash that nicely contrast the dark cabinets. (Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photo by Ted Yarwood)

I love everything in this room especially the minimal fireplace and the art on top! (Peek of Perfection)

The floating, walnut vanity in this guest ensuite leaves plenty of room for the toile fabric storage baskets below. (Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photo by Ted Yarwood)

The ultimate in black and white styling. I can't resist. (Ark Pad)

Wall Of Frames in Slanted-Ceiling Bedroom is divine and just as strong as one large painting. (House & Home)

Are these black silk pleated walls? If so, I want them. (Ark Pad)

I did this project for a young entrepreneur over 10 years ago and it still has a classic enduring quality.  The clean, textured, sexy custom black lacquer fireplace brings focus, texture and drama to this contemporary living room. (Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photo by Ted Yarwood)

February 7, 2014

Imagine dining at looking out these  floor to ceiling windows. (Afflante)

I know the term "Loft Living" has become ubiquitous of late, but I happened upon some images of loft apartments that reminded me of why they are so appealing. They often feature grand floor to ceiling windows, open floor plans, inventive use of space and fun off-the-wall possibilities - like being able to get around your space on roller skates or your bike!  Maybe I'm channeling my inner Patti Smith, but what they heck, enjoy the ride with me and check out some of my latest, greatest favourites.  

Black windows here are terrifically graphic and the outrageous height of them is artfully played up with low furniture. Wonderful drama. (Vector Design Store)

The great opportunity of loft spaces is the height and the chance to create drama, bold statements such as this grand brass and lacquer island. (Habitually Chic)

Love this clean space - the amber coloured furniture really warms it up! (Decora)

A Sophisticated Loft featuring traditional elements - works just as well as uber modern and with loads of personality. (Content in a Cottage)

Tribeca Duplex - love the feeling of space, the white floors, the natural colour palette. I would move in a heartbeat! (Archinect

I like how the space is divided with tall tall black metal french doors so that there is intimacy and openness. The walls and floor of the master bath are lined with very graphic cipollino marble and divided with a classic black metal framed doors to great affect. This is a space that invites you to wander around and discover.  I love the hint that we get here and wish I could explore. (Elle Decor)

Former Factory Loft In London doesn't get better than this! (Afflante

A Light-filled London Loft featuring a ladder to reach tall shelves - it's something that lots of us would love. There is something so romantic about it and I also love the green painted wood floors. (Bloglovin')

The brick walls have been painted and there is a hint of whimsy to the wide-open space that makes it very appealing. (Remodelista)

I just love this clean warm kitchen. The shiny cabinets and the matt wood are great dance partners.   It reminds me of a cottage we are designing so I'll be sure to post pictures as we're in the construction phase right now.(Remodelista)

A dreamy minimalist design bedroom in white. The tall tall ceilings make this appealing as I don't usually like the split wall but I love the zen vibe. (Loftenberg)

What's not to like about this classic loft with the metal staircase, rows of books and openness. (Weheartit)

AuthorTheresa Casey

January 30, 2014

My kitchen is inspired by luxury ocean liners and features custom cherry wood and brass kitchen cabinets with marble counters and walls. I never grow tired of coming home to this! (Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photo by Ted Yarwood)

I have been having an unabashed love affair with unlaquered brass finishes for over ten years.  It started when I was doing research on the designs from the 1920's, 30's and 40's for a residential project. I then began collecting wonderful design books from all the great designers of that era:  Jacques Quinet, Andre Arbus and Jean Royere. These designers used unlaquered brass as accents on cabinets, as one of a kind hardware, on screens, you name it. 

Not long afterwards my husband and I purchased a 1930's house and renovated it, and used brass throughout as one of the main materials.  I even went so far as to have chrome bathroom fixtures stripped of their chrome finish as I knew that a beautiful brass finish lay underneath. I love brass' warmth, it's patina and unlike the shiny tacky glossy finish on brass you find from the 80's, this is like an aged wine - timeless and deeply satisfying.

Modern brass lighting and take off on vintage version but not usually seen in brass. (Elle Decor)

Brass railing, light fixture and hardware very sexy with graphic black and white Colour scheme. (Elle Decor)

I played off the contemporary brass tub filler with an Asian inspired mural of cherry blossoms to create a zen peaceful ensuite for a young chic couple. (Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photo by Donna Griffith)

Custom designed mahogany vanity with stone counter and muted brass taps/hardware/sconces in master ensuite. (Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photo by Donna Griffith)

AERIN Nesting Sphere Bowls perfect for adding warmth to a still life composition. (Elle Decor)

A clean contemporary makeup area featuring 1930's brass sconces and hardware that leads from the walk-in closet to the master suite's four-poster brass bed. (Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photo by Donna Griffith)

A clean contemporary makeup area featuring 1930's brass sconces and hardware that leads from the walk-in closet to the master suite's four-poster brass bed. (Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photo by Donna Griffith)

Marble nesting table by Jim Hannon-Tan. in the Jan 2013 issue of World of Interiors. I love the mix of materials here and the scale: solid, parchment coloured tables with the brass long necked bird. Their inherent qualities are so opposite that their differences makes them look better when seen together. (World of Interiors)

Old World glamour is brought to my bathroom with a black glass and marble tub, vintage brass faucets and cherrywood accents. (Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photo by Ted Yarwood)

I found these brass vintage grills at a flea market and they were perfect for the built in cabinet surrounding our dining room banquet. (Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photo by Ted Yarwood)

A master ensuite featuring custom designed onyx floor and walls and vintage brass cabinet for towels. (Casey Design/Planning Group Inc. - Photo by Ted Yarwood)

Guest bathroom in Cameron Diaz's home creates "Old World Hollywood" glamour through the use of brass shower stall, sconces and sink. Please invite me! (Elle Decor