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The reno files: Where to find design inspiration

Maybe to most people, the current state of my house is not inspiring. But for me, I walk around and I can feel the space around me, and I actually imagine the drapes, the flooring and the furniture – that part is easy for me since that’s what I do most of my days. I create sets by imagining them in my head and then filling in the details as I comb through stores, websites and catalogues.

What my home currently looks like

Picture 20

Wallpaper* Magazine

Maybe to most people, the current state of my house is not inspiring. But for me, I walk around and I can feel the space around me, and I actually imagine the drapes, the flooring and the furniture – that part is easy for me since that’s what I do most of my days. I create sets by imagining them in my head and then filling in the details as I comb through stores, websites and catalogues.

But this project is on a much larger scale, and involves some pretty serious space planning that I’m not really used to. The current plan is to remove the back of the house where there is currently a rather awkward (and poorly built) two-storey addition. The back wall of the addition (facing the garden) will become a two-storey wall of glass. The addition will house the new living room, which will have a vaulted ceiling.

The part I can’t really get my head around is that I really like the idea of a canopy or a covered porch to sit under when it’s raining, too hot, or when it’s snowing lightly. But I can’t reconcile this in my mind with a two-storey glass wall. Time to search for inspiration.

The first thought that occurred to me is that the solution to my problem is likely already out there in the city. I’m always amazed at how, when I’m mulling something over, I start seeing it all around me. So all of a sudden, as I drive around town, I’m seeing two-storey glass walls and canopies, and furiously taking pictures of them. Here are a few:


 

I like the wood detailing on this one and the way it’s supported by a wall on the far end. It’s at my grandmother’s retirement residence.

I snapped this while driving (is that worse than texting while driving?). I kind of like the way the windows are divided into a grid. (The blue is just a place holder until the windows come in, I imagine, unless some new really cool thing is happening that I don’t know about yet!)

All sorts of cool levels happening on this building – how I love balconies and horizontal lines….


 

This is one of my favourite buildings in the Toronto. Here’s a great example of a canopy interrupting a glass wall. Here’s another view:


 

 


 

I like the wood ceiling on this canopy. This was taken at the new drive through at Tim Hortons in Trenton!


 

And finally, a model suite for some swanky condo. I’ll need to go inside and see how it feels to have that vertical line cutting through the big glass window.

The second source of inspiration is obviously magazines, books and websites. I’ve developed a bit of a habit, one might say. And maybe this is old news for people, but Pinterest.com is a wonderful place to keep all those digital images in organized folders. You can also look around at other people’s files (called boards) to see if there’s anything there. Here’s a screen grab of what my current “architecture” file looks like.


 

Lastly, and this was a surprise to me, but Twitter has become a great resource for me. By following people who are tapped into the design scene, I’ve come across all sorts of inspiring information that I wouldn’t necessarily have known about. Like Wallpaper* Magazine’s round up of India’s top architects that led me to this amazing house:

 


 


 

So with all this visual research, I’m hoping I can sort of come to a conclusion about this two-storey glass wall versus canopy problem.

Today, I’m hoping they are finally going to get a dumpster on the property so that they can start clearing out the massive pile of rubble and debris. As my friend pointed out to me when she came to check out the new digs, “Your house looks like a war zone, complete with chandeliers still hanging and drapes in the windows”. Not exactly the look I’m going for.