Modern Home Design Inside and Out

By Jane Lockhart, Jane Lockhart Design

All photos by Gillian Jackson

Renovating a 30-year-old home can be a daunting challenge for homeowners seeking to preserve classic elements and integrate modern design. While renovations are never easy, working with homeowners that know the style they are hoping to achieve is a major advantage for designers creating their clients’ dream home.

These Woodbridge homeowners knew that a simple yet elegant living space, balancing indoor-outdoor entertainment, was their top priority when undergoing their home renovation. They particularly desired a mix of California and Mediterranean style that reflected their lifestyle, which includes an appreciation for natural elements, a view of their beautiful outdoor space, and an overall love of travel. This renovation was tasked with maintaining irreplaceable foundational components, alongside a new addition(s), to achieve a relaxed aesthetic.

We rose to the design challenge, leading this major renovation to achieve the clients’ dream home with a team of great creators including DA Architects + Planners, Hard at Work Inc., Downsview Kitchens, and Tina McMullen, Principal and Co-Owner at Bosque Landscape Architecture Ltd. Despite its location in Toronto’s suburbs, the large property, 30-year-old trees and foliage, and expansive backyard allowed ample opportunity to achieve the homeowner’s desired resort-style atmosphere. The main goal? Continuity in exterior and interior design, for a picture-perfect home that reflected the California-style, with Mediterranean design influence, living seamlessly, indoors and out.

California design style exemplifies the use of natural tones, materials and soft colour schemes to achieve a light, airy and welcoming space. Neutral and soft fabrics, wood and stone accents, paired with cozy and comfortable furniture are key components to achieving this look. Open feeling spaces can be achieved through light colours, wood paneling and the use of large windows to enhance natural light.

Mediterranean design reflects a European lifestyle, infusing the natural brightness of sun-soaked landscapes in a neutral setting that is warm and inviting. Durable stonework and natural wood are major elements often seen in this design style, inspired by nature and antiquity.

To achieve this desired design, it became clear at the project’s onset that enlarging the kitchen was a main priority, creating a breezy and light-filled space that spilled naturally into the backyard. The Marley concrete roof tiles were propped in place, while expansion was achieved by digging underneath the porch to preserve the roof while crafting the new and larger eat-in kitchen. The original covered porch was integrated into the expanded kitchen, with walls transforming into windows to expose the great outdoors and take full advantage of the home’s southern view.

The custom-designed kitchen transitioned from a smaller, dark space to a naturally bright room with cream-white cabinetry and backsplash tile, complemented by natural quartz countertops. The welcoming view provides a glimpse through to the backyard, with a cozy, glassed-in seating nook, offering a poolside experience from the comfort of indoors.

Maximizing cooking and entertaining space was a key priority for the kitchen. A serving area adjacent to the main cooking space includes counter, sink, bar fridge, liquor cabinet and cooler drawers, allowing guests to help themselves without intersecting with the prep and cooking space. The large kitchen island houses an expansive prep area, along with counter seating, to effectively create clear zones in the space: store, chill, prep, cook and clean.

Natural colour schemes and large windows allowed light to flood into the kitchen, creating cohesion from indoors to backyard. We selected a white oak flooring in a light colour to further blur the lines between interior and exterior. Finally, a Nano door system was developed to allow easy access to the backyard directly from the kitchen, for a seamless experience inside and out.

To maintain cohesion between the kitchen and backyard, Tina’s team recommended light-coloured Travertine paving stones and taupe solid stain were applied, blending the existing structures while allowing the pool and greenery — the backyard’s centre stage — to stand out.

With substantial backyard space, there was ample opportunity to maximize the desired cabana-style atmosphere. The existing built-in pool serves as the centrepiece, surrounded by an existing cabana, outdoor kitchen and a covered wood-fired barbecue and roasting oven to capture the complete California experience.

The original cedar cabana, coated in a solid stain to match the Travertine stone pavers outdoors, links to an arbour that grants access to the outdoor wood-burning fireplace the homeowner purchased from Italy years ago. This cozy seating area allows for cooking anything from pizza to roasts, and everything in between, while enjoying a relaxing pool-side outdoor experience which is ideal for hosting.

Tina also sought to integrate the homeowners’ passions and hobbies as a personal touch to the space. As a nod to their love of golf, a one-hole putting green was updated to match the new space.
Any major renovation takes time, but working with homeowners who had a vision and knew the design style they wished to achieve, made it a seamless and enjoyable process. Discovering creative and visually compelling ways to bring a California lifestyle to this Ontario suburb allowed for a fun, unique experience that met the homeowners’ expectations and delivered a year-round getaway feeling. This project is further proof that the design of your dreams is possible with the right concept, materials and an understanding of the style you want to achieve.

Jane Lockhart Design is an award-winning interior design firm based in Toronto. Comprised of detail-driven design professionals, the team is dedicated to creating beautiful spaces that people love. Jane Lockhart Design perfects design at every step, from initial conceptualization to large-scale, luxury home projects.