Friday, 30 September 2011

Condo Project - Complete - Client very happy

This is it, the final week of an 860 sq ft condominium unit, finished and on schedule. Yes, there were the normal 'hiccups' along the way, always are, but it was wonderful working with everyone who was involved! To show the real transformation of the 'space', there will be 3 'before' and 3 'after' pictures included for this post.

In order to do a renovation, what do you need to know about the Client..........EVERYTHING!! As a designer I am meant to listen and interpret a Clients thoughts and dreams to make this 'vision' a reality in which they can live their life, all on a pre-discussed budget.  This isn't about 'me' it's about the 'Client', and my Mission Statement is 'To Express Individualism'.

The most revealing message from conversations with this particular Client, was frequent trips to 'Brazil' as the influence to a 'life-style' change, and helped to develop the final 'look'. Clean, modern unobstructed interiors with 'shots' of colour excited the imagination, and also induce a feeling of calm; a private space for relaxed inclusive entertaining.
So..... out came the walls, raise the ceilings, and add proper lighting, storage, increase the counters and allow more 'natural' light into the rear of the Unit. To fully integrate the entire space, new maple flooring was installed for consistancy and visual warmth, whereas white surfaces keep the space 'fresh and bright' in all of our Canadian Seasons.

Look back to Week 8 and see a back-painted 'Lime' glass wall was installed in the shower area for the Bathroom. Now, the open Kitchen area has a back-painted glass wall in 'Citrus- orange' as the theme for all entering the Unit, working in the space or just lounging in the seating area to enjoy. Visually the space is expansive, and the floor to ceiling windows allow natural light and an unobstructed view for every area within the Unit........... priceless.

I hope this weekly post has helped to inspire and realize the potential of thought-out renovations as well as giving you a sense of 'what to expect' during such an undertaking. 'The grass is greener' attitude is not always the best solution to a poorly thought out space. Always step back and look at 'the space you have' to see the potential for change, and if you are willing to 'invest' in your current Home, remember to make sure 'professionals' are involved in the undertaking of any renovation. Be comfortable with the people who are involved in the changes and that they are respecting the outcome of your renovation. As a Designer, I work with Clients to achieve their vision, but I was also the Project Manager (in this instance) to make sure the budget and schedule was kept intact. Remember, it's your money, spend it wisely but most importantly, be excited and have fun.

If you have any questions regarding this project or inquiries about your own, don't hestitate to drop me a line or two and I will be happy to assist however I can. Thank you, Paul.      




Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Paul K Stewart @ Originals 'by Design'

I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce one of my Furniture pieces called the 'ID EST' Lounge. There are 2 pieces (this is one) in the collection that involved my fellow collaborator in 'Sculpted' Furniture, Architect David Jesson. The 'ID EST' Lounge was entered into the International Osaka Design Exhibition and also the Toronto Design Competition and received Honourable Mention.

ID EST (latin) 'That Is', usually abbreviated I.E.
The ID EST Lounge is a metaphor for a present state of Modernism, representing both confrontation and contradiction solely through material 'form'. The dimensionless line is used in its two primary positions of the vertical and the horizontal, establishing the boundaries of the side elevation; 'ID EST: the Horizon'.
Neutral and solid materiality of the steel and glass give the body of simple massed planes; 'ID EST: the physical mass of the human body'.
The confrontation of the mass and line results in a weighted mass, arched to provide a neutral plane for the flexible human form, floating in its immediate space; 'ID EST: a self made horizon for the individual'.

For custom designed furniture contact

Friday, 16 September 2011

Week 10 Condo Project - Almost Done - happy client

WEEK 10 Condo Project. Tuesday was the installation of the 'Silestone' counter for the kitchen. The installers from Latitude are so professional and the installation process was seamless.....literally! These man-made Quartz surfaces are one of my top choices for work surfaces in a kitchen because of its beauty and practicality, plus it has a range of more than 65 colours so it will suit any and all situations and styles.

Silestone is a dense, non-porous stone which is highly scratch and stain resistant that does not require sealing. (only diamond,sapphire and topaz are harder, and it has built-in bacteriostatic protection.) It is also condusive to any and all activities performed in the kitchen, such as the preparation of meats and chicken when bacteria cannot penetrate the surface being non-porpous, and because it is a 'cool' surface (like granite and marble) it is better for rolling dough for breads and pie crust for those bakers out there. (But for the professional Baker, marble is still the best cool surface for consistancy, although the worst for staining, it's very porous). To top all this, it has a 15 year warrenty, so all in all an excellent 'bang for your buck'!
NOTE: Silestone is manufactured in Portugal; it's competitor Ceasar stone is manufactured in Isreal and is best known as being a 'Kosher' surface and is 'blessed' by a Rabbi.

Topping this week was the hook-up of the plumbing (Wednesday) and the installation of the sink (Elkay) and faucet (Blanco) AND the measurement of the backsplash (Thursday) which will be a 'delight' once this is installed. Yes, the schedule is still intact, and I'm very excited about the 'final' reveal.


Saturday, 3 September 2011

Condo Project - Week 8 - Turning it over to the Client

Details, details, details! This is the week to turn over the space back to the Client. The next 'moves'- waiting for the counter top to be made, (install booked for September 13th) and additional appliances to show up on September 9th. Like all projects, there are changes like the 'fan hood' (we changed our minds and went with another model) the Dishwasher came in damaged, and the washer / dryer unit was on backorder, expect 'things' to happen, nothings perfect. Once the counter is installed 'WAIT' for another 'surprise'.......backsplash anyone! (The space may be white but I 'have' mentioned 'shots' of colour really IS good for the 'soul'.)

BUT in order for the Client to take possession, all paint 'touch-ups' had to be done, the bathroom had to be in working order, tools and excess materials taken off site, and final cleaning of premises finished. This week saw the baseboards installed to perfection and the fridge hooked up with water 'flowing' to its dispenser. The stove is ready for use, and the blinds are cleaned and working.
The 'icing' to the bathroom was the 'lime green' glass wall which was installed for the shower area, truly a conversation piece. The installer said 'he hated the colour' and after the install, corrected himself and said 'he would not have believed it would look so good'.

Design of any space is about originality, and personalization for each and every Client. You have predicability everywhere in your daily life, choose to 'think out of the box' within your own living quarters, in order to have your own stamp on it. This is why I as a designer, am hired to take you through to a finished home that has 'your' name all over it. Take the chance, you may surprise yourself.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Choose an Older Property for the Value and the Upswing

I’m continually surprised at the number of homebuyers that opt to purchase a new property rather than buying and renovating an older one. While home shopping I can understand how tempting and desirable it is to buy a space where everything is shiny, new and in optimal condition. Who wouldn’t want those things?  However, it’s unfortunate how few people realize that you can have all that and more in an older property. This is especially true for urban professionals living in city centres where condos rule. By renovating your space yourself (in conjunction with your designer of course!) you can personalize it to your tastes and create a space that truly caters to your lifestyle - whether you are single, a regular dinner party host, a gourmet chef or home-based entrepreneur. And there are other benefits too.
One of the biggest advantages with purchasing a condo that requires updating is the value that you get for your money. Generally the suites and rooms are significantly larger and come at a much lower price per square footage compared to new developments. Have you seen 455-square foot condos being sold for $ 250,000?! With older properties usually being more affordable, buying and then creating your own personalized oasis does not at all mean spending more money but it does mean getting what you want in exactly the fashion you’ve always imagined.
Another perk, which I hinted at above, is the absolute control that homeowners have over the materials, finishes and use of space that you will live with for perhaps a very long time. With new condos, base finishes and appliances are usually included and trying to change these can be very costly to replace as developers have spent a lot of time negotiating for these specific items which vary in quality. Lastly, think location. In Toronto, many older condo developments are located in spectacular areas. For example, Toronto’s waterfront is dotted with condos just waiting to be transformed into incredible spaces of your design on the waterfront in buildings with amazing amenities.
If you are still a non-believer follow my regular Friday posts as I transform an older downtown condo in Toronto into a homeowner’s dream .You can start here. Look out for a complete Return on Investment breakdown coming soon. If you have questions on what you can do with your current space or a property that you are considering, feel free to contact me, Paul Kenning Stewart with questions at   

Friday, 26 August 2011

Week 7 Condo Project - Its all making sense

The positive connotation of the # 7, is that of 'Luck'. Whatever the case may be, it was a very busy and wonderful week with the installation of the Kitchen Cabinetry. Things are finally starting to make sense.

The Client originally asked for an open, contemporary flair with a European 'flavour' to be used for personal enjoyment but also conducive to casual entertaining. The counter and storage space has more than doubled from what was here originally, and by removing the walls there is a better flow, visually expanding the 860sq ft space taking advantage of the magnificent unobstructed view (21 stories) from every corner of the 'home'. The 'old' floor plan was good but dated, the 'new' floor plan is clean, crisp and timeless. Eventually 'pops' of colour will be added here and in the Bathroom, but instead of explaining, you will have to wait for the pictures. This renovation is still on schedule and should be drawing to a close in the next 3-4 weeks, tomorrow is the counter measure, and then once installed, the backsplash.

Thank you for following me, and if you stay until the end I'm sure you won't be disappointed, and give you some insight towards 'what to expect' for your own renovation.

Friday, 19 August 2011

The Condo Project - Week 6 - Calm Yet Productive

This week has been calm yet productive.

Finishing touches have been made to accommodate both the kitchen install which begins on Monday (week 7), and also an early partial 'move-in' of the Client before he leaves for New York. What this means is having a semi-working bathroom (sink and w/c), and the electrical ready for the placement of the appliances and painting of the walls (touch ups) throughout, and of course making sure the floors are level for the cabinetry. (Additional painting will be required once the 'dust' settles).
The install of the cabinetry should be approximately 4 days, and the measure for the counters will take place next Friday, which means tomorrow we'll have to pick up the kitchen sink for them to confirm its size for undermounting. (Never leave anything to chance!) Also I had two new doors delivered for the bedroom and bathroom. (opposite each other at the entrance to the unit). I really like them because there is a 'textural' quality to them having 5 separate panels of translucent glass to allow natural light to penetrate into the 'back entrance' area. (but why did I do this to the bath.........because I think it's sexy and bathrooms should be!)
I sometimes feel I have a tendancy to be controlling, but from experience I have found that if you begin to relax during 'any' renovation, one mistake can 'snowball' from one disaster into another, and this is the time when it stops being 'fun'. This is what it's all about, enjoying what you do in life and being the best you can be, you should always 'walk away proud', and hopefully you have learned something new each and every day. Paul K Stewart @ PROJEKT HOME.


Friday, 12 August 2011

Week 4 - Condo Project - Its really coming along

Busy Busy Busy. It was an incredible week. The floors are down, the fridge receptacle is in place, and the shower tiles have been grouted, which allowed me to have a measure done for the back wall of the shower which will be 3 sheets of back-painted 'lime' Everyone needs a 'shot of colour' in the morning, too fun! The Vanity (wall-hung) is in place and the plumber is in on Monday to install the toilet or w/c, which ever you can relate to.
The kitchen cabinets arrived on Thursday (1 week ahead of schedule) and the appliances on Friday (today as requested) so all is good. It's wonderful when schedules 'actually work' and although this is not always the case (maybe others, not me), this has been exceptional and although there is still 6 weeks to completion I can say it has been a pleasure working with the many individuals involved to date. The kitchen install is scheduled for August 22nd, and at this point I think I'm more excited than the owner of the space. 
Stay tuned, from this point on, an average 860 sq foot space will slowly be transformed into exceptional week to week. Paul Kenning Stewart @ PROJEKT

Friday, 5 August 2011

Condo development - Week 4

This week can seem rather discouraging for most Clients as nothing seems to have happened. But this is in 'viewing' as opposed to 'behind the scenes work'. Most obvious is the 'channel' which was drilled into the concrete wall, for the relocation of the outlet for the new location of the Dishwasher. Where the tub was located in the Bathroom, it will be replaced by a large walk-in shower, so the drain for it was also relocated and the base has been put in, along with the replacement of the wall board surrounding the room, and installation of the newly revised plumbing, wall and floor.
If you remember, this is a condominium, so the 'changes' are done by drilling into the concrete walls and floor, very time consuming......and loud!
Along with these changes, the entire Unit has been primed and painted including the ceilings, so the floor can be installed and as you can see, the installation has begun. Yes, I was hoping that I'd be saying that it was finished, but there is also something known as 'wishful thinking', on my part. Additional decisions had to be made at the last moment on shower tile trims/finishing, so the contractor could frame everything within the shower space. Friday morning is a 'glass measure', and necessary to keep up with our timeline.
By this time next week, I will be able to unveil the completed floor install complete with the baseboards so this part is slowly drawing to a close and then the actual wait for the delivery of the kitchen cabinets, and the completion of the Bathroom.
In the meantime the Client is visiting friends at their cottage, relaxing, and he can do this because I'm here as the project manager so I 'hope' he remembers to have a 'drink' for ME!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Condo project - Why its important to hire a designer / project manager

This week ends with one of the 'prime' reasons of 'why' it is important to hire a professional Designer / Project Manager, 'experience'. (Did I mention that the material for the floor arrived scheduled.)

In the beginning of this post Part 1 of week 3 you can see the framing and wiring that is necessary to do before drywalling the areas when following 'the lighting and ventilation plan'. Finally, Part 2 of Week 3 things are starting to take shape. Another issue that had to be dealt with was a 'given'. After taking out the walls, we found the 'telephone cables' that supplied THE ENTIRE BUILDING, oops! As a Designer, these are things that could and can happen on every site, 'problems'. Being 'positive', you find a 'solution' and then move on. In this case, a wall would have to be installed to accomodate this 'blight', BUT what do you do to make it look like "I meant to do that!" LOL! Because the finished space will have a contempory 'feel', I asked the contractor to make this 'new' wall as small and thin as possible and connect with the concrete of the existing structure. To make this an 'Architectural' feature, I then had his team make a 5" 'Trough' on the ceiling itself, a 'Detail', in which I could have '4 recessed pin-lites' installed to illuminate and accentuate not only this feature but the floor area below from a different switch. Problem solved! (And they wanted to put a 'pole' up, this isn't a /70's Rec Room! and yes, I did live through that era.)

FYI: All changes and decisions made throughout the design process, from the beginning to completion, are ALWAYS shared and debated with the owners who will occupy the space on completion! It's their 'home', I'm only there to enhance and 'visualize' their dream into reality.