IN8 Design sweetens a two-bedroom apartment in Toronto with unexpected hits of orange and yellow
In most cities, apartment tower interiors are seen as bastions of featureless boxes cloaked in humdrum tones. So it is rare to find a creative interior, never mind one that counters the trend with a blast of citrus yellow laminated millwork. A recent condo renovation by interior designer Michel Arcand of Toronto’s IN8 Design is a sophisticated revision of a two-bedroom with materials and details micro-tailored to the desires of a lively couple.
The owners moved in to the 149-square-metre space with their two teenagers eight years ago, and now, empty nesters, they were looking to upgrade their poorly detailed interior. Arcand’s team left the floor plan as it was, with bedrooms at either end, making only a few incisions. The first is visible from the front entrance, with a sandblasted sliding panel that either hides or reveals the kitchen beyond, and lets natural light reach the entry from a full-height window.
Surfaces throughout were dramatically redrawn to make way for blocks of extremely bold colour. The first is vibrant panels of yellow-laminated plywood and Baltic birch that surround the kitchen on all sides, separating it from the living and dining areas. The colour carries over into the kitchen cabinetry with accent features, including cupboards and light fixtures, in grey laminate. “It’s like an iceberg in the middle of the room,” Arcand says of the monolithic form that keeps dinner party kitchen messes out of sight.
The living room, with a floor of grey-stained white oak, provides a neutral backdrop for a collection of contemporary paintings and photography, and a Danish rosewood table that has been in the family since the ’60s. Arcand had one leaf of the eight-seat table painted with two layers of lacquered brass leaf, to evoke one owner’s occupation as a mining executive.
But the boldest moves happen in the suite’s two small bathrooms, which share similar custom millwork and molten mosaic tiles: a teeth-jarring shade of yellow in the master bath, with the guest bath defined by an equally forward shade of orange.
Manufactured by Trend USA, the slip-resistant tiles are meant for outdoor pools. Countertops of white quartz by Cosentino and a conspicuously clean ceiling plane with concealed fans make a bit of room for the eye, but the effect is overwhelming, and deliberately so. “We know how we want to live,” says one of the owners. “Every morning, I come in here, and it feels exactly right.” Clearly, if the neighbours don’t like it, she couldn’t care less.